§ On the order of the day for the third reading of this bill,
§ Sir F. Flood
said:—The bill which the right hon. gentleman now finds it necessary to suspend is a very extraordinary one; and I attribute this extraordinary character in part to the late period of the session, and the hurry in which it was carried through the House. The right hon. gentleman promises a new bill to supply the loss of the present. I wish the right hon. gentleman had left us in quiet possession of the former act—that act was framed by sage and experienced heads—by the Irish parliament. I hope the outlines of the intended bill will be laid before parliament previous to the Easter recess, in order that the grand Juries of Ireland may understand them, and construct the next presentments accordingly I am glad that the late bill is to be given up: its tendency was to introduce into every county a set of men total Strangers to it, at salaries from 500l. to! 600l. a year. What ever had been said of jobbing before, jobbing would surely I be the system under it. Grand juries were far better judges of what concerned the interests of their own counties than itinerant surveyors could be. That man is undeserving of the character of an Irishman who could assert, that hitherto presentments had been founded on perjury and fraud, and that grand juries paid more regard to the advantages that might be derived from the money raised than the 146 wants of those who paid it. I am sorry to hear such imputations thrown out against my countrymen; and will maintain, that they are as averse from fraud and perjury as any men. The money raised on account of presentments affords employment to numbers of poor people, and is not drained away into distant or foreign channels.
Mr. V. Fitzgerald
said, that he did not think it necessary to discuss the merits of a bill not yet brought under the notice of the House. The hon. baronet had expressed his sorrow for imputations thrown out against Irish grand juries; but he must tell the hon. baronet that he never had heard any such imputations till he heard them from himself. It had been merely declared in general, that perjury and fraud did exist.
§ Sir H. Parnell
said, there appeared to be a misunderstanding on the part of the hon. baronet. Perjury and fraud had by none been imputed to grand juries; such things had been only said to prevail, without specifying, in what quarter. It was undeniable, that grand juries were composed of men as pure, as upright, as any in society; but it was also a fact, that under them frauds had been practised, and to prevent the continuance of those frauds, it was necessary to give a more extensive control over those intrusted with the expenditure.
§ The bill was read the third time.