Mr. Parnell raised the question as to the character of
Mr. Forster's administration of the Coercion Acts on Wednesday, in a speech which certainly proved that a good many of the sus- pects are not exactly those "dissolute village ruffians" who are the instruments of the terror, but rather, in a great many cases, the agitators whose strong language excites the people to breaches of the law. The Irish Solicitor-General replied that in 113 cases out of 192, the offence "reasonably suspected" was one of the terrorising offences, and he had no difficulty in showing that though in proposing the Coercion Acts, it was the manuals sujets, the instruments of violence, whom the Government had chiefly in their minds, yet that they had taken power, and had meant to take power, to arrest any one whose acts directly tended to multiply violent deeds. The truth is, that if Mr. Forster will have such a measure as he framed at all, he has used his unscrupulous measure rather too scrupulously. If you ask and get leave to strike terror into evil-doers, you should strike it. It is no use to plant artillery, and then hesitate about firing till you are quite sure that all harmless persons are out of the way. For our own parts, we would not have had the Coercion Act at all. But having once decided for it, we believe that it has been rather too conscientiously than too cruelly used. "Buckshot" Forster has always felt a great deal more aversion to dis- charging his own buckshot, than any one of the Irish party would have felt, acting in his place. They trade on his scruples, while they revile him for his want of scruple.