Skip to main content
250 CHARLES STEWART PARNELL [1880
remedy is suspension of trial by jury, but trial by jury first.'
Lord Cowper placed his views before the Cabinet and before Mr. Gladstone personally in a series of able communications, some of which I shall now set out:
Lord Cowper to the Cabinet
[Early in October 1880.]
' There has been an immense increase of agrarian crime. Men who have taken farms from which others have been evicted have in many cases been intimidated into throwing them up, and of those who remain a large number are under police protection. Meetings denouncing in strong language the very class which has been subject to this outrage and intimidation have at the same time been held throughout the country, and it seems reasonable to connect the meetings with the increase of crime. In spite of the fact that some of the speakers have dissuaded their hearers from committing murder, and of the suggestion that if freedom of speech were stopped secret associations would derive increased strength, it is my opinion that the meetings cause more crime than they prevent.
' I would preserve freedom of speech to the very utmost as long as it is confined to general subjects, such as abuse of England, abuse of the Government, or advocacy of political measures, however impracticable ; when it has the immediate effect of endangering the lives or property of individuals, it should be stopped. One would wish to check it either by stopping meetings, or only prosecuting the promoters of meetings or the principal speakers. Can this be done ? We might, it is true, have stopped the Charleville meeting, because