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22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, KStJ, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

Treatment of Portuguese Political Prisoners

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Treatment of Portuguese Political Prisoners is an article published in The Times on 7 february 1914.

Report of a meeting of the British National Protest and the Howard Association where Arthur Conan Doyle gave a speech about the treatment of the Portuguese political prisoners.

Treatment of Portuguese Political Prisoners

The Times (7 february 1914, p. 7)

British Protest Meeting.

A meeting convened by a joint committee of the British National Protest and the Howard Association was held in the Westminster Palace Hotel yesterday to urge the granting of a general amnesty to all Portuguese political prisoners, Royalist, Republican, Socialist, and Syndicalist.

Lord Lytton, who had been expected to take the chair, was unable to be present, and wrote that the gross violations of the principles of liberty and justice on the part of the Portuguese justified the strongest protest from the British public, while the traditional relations between this country and Portugal justified a representation from the British Government.

Mr. P. Morrell, M.P., presided. He said he wished it to be quite clear that they were met in no sense in hostility to the Republic of Portugal or Republican institutions. As a Liberal and a democrat he disclaimed any desire to interfere with the arrangements of another country, and they asked for nothing more than was desired by moderate Republicans in Portugal. Their protest was made on behalf of principles of Liberalism and common principles of humanity, and against what a French writer had declared to be a reign of terror only to be compared to that under Robespierre, Marat, and Danton. A new Prime Minister had been appointed, and that might indicate a new policy was intended, but unless an amnesty was immediately granted it would be agreed, he hoped, by Englishmen of all political opinions that it was high time for the British Government to interpret the feeling of the people and make representations that would bring the condition of things in Portugal to an end. He moved:— "That this meeting protests against the violation of justice on the part of the Government of Portugal in arresting and imprisoning men and women on account of their religious and political opinions and denying them the right of trial by due form of law ; and calls upon the British Government to make representations to Portugal with a view to securing a general amnesty for all political prisoners, so that the principles of ordinary justice and humanity may be established in the country."

Adeline Duchess of Bedford, in seconding the resolution, said that she could never forget the hands stretched through prison bars, the imploring eyes, and the accents of despair she met with in her visits to the prisons.

Sir A. Conan Doyle said that there were precedents for the interposition of the British Government in the affairs of her old friend and ally. In present circumstances, with a now Portuguese Prime Minister, it might be wise not to use too strong a pressure, and if by the meeting they could bring the matter to the cognizance of Sir Edward Grey, though that statesman moved slowly when he did move it was with effect. It was to be hoped this would be the last meeting it would be necessary to call for this object. (Cheers.)

The resolution was unanimously adopted, and a copy was directed to be sent to Sir E. Grey.