^Ei. 36] THE CKIMES BILL 359
ment on that 8th of May. Parnell made a short, manly, straightforward speech, condemning the outrage in unqualified terms, saying that it was a deadly blow dealt to his party, and expressing the fear that, under the circumstances, the Government would feel constrained to revert to the policy of coercion—a deplorable prospect.
The Government did revert to the policy of coercion. On May 11 Sir William Harcourt (the Home Secretary) introduced a ' Crimes Bill/ based practically upon the lines laid down by Lord Cowper in his letter to Mr. Gladstone already qxioted.1 In certain cases (inter alia) trial by judges or by magistrates was substituted for trial by jury, and power was given to the Executive to summon witnesses and to carry on inquiries in secret, even when, no person was in custody charged with crime. Mr. Forster had his revenge. The assassins of the Phoenix Park had, for the moment, placed him in a position of triumph. They had in a single hour done more to subdue the spirit of Parnell than he during the whole of his administration. The Irish members, of course, opposed the new Coercion Bill, opposed it even with energy; but it was clear all the time that they, and Parnell especially, fought under the shadow of the crime of May 6. While keenly criticising the details of the measure and rebuking the Government for this backward step, he spoke rather in sorrow than in anger. There was a touch of pathos, a tone of dejection, in. his speeches which sounded unusual and strange. Mr. Gladstone especially he treated with the utmost gentleness ; nor did he attempt in any way to conceal the bitterness of his conviction that the Phoenix Park murders strengthened the hand of the
1 Ante, p. 328.