HC Deb 06 February 1824 vol 10 cc103-5

Sir John Newport moved for copies of the communications which had been received by the lord lieutenant, respecting the right of burial in Ireland, as regards Roman Catholics and Dissenters from the Established Church. The right hon. baronet anticipated no resistance to his motion, as he was convinced the tranquillity of Ireland depended materially upon the question to which it related.

Mr. Goulburn

said, he was always loth to appear to withhold information; but the house would be aware that there might be circumstances under which disclosure could only tend to do mischief. He relied upon the candour of the right hon. baronet in giving credit to him (Mr. G.) for sincerity, when he stated his belief, that the papers in question were likely to revive disputes, without forwarding the object which the right hon. baronet had in view. The right hon. baronet wished to repeal the statute of the 9th William III., which applied to burials in the church yards attached to decayed monasteries. He said nothing upon the main question, whether the statute ought to be repealed, or whether it ought not; but it was an object which could no way be aided by the production of the papers in the possession of the lord lieutenant; while their publication would certainly revive differences which were now in a way to be forgotten.

Sir John Newport

, since the matter was referred to his candour, thought it due to public justice, and to the people of Ireland, that the papers should be produced. If there had been imprudences committed, let them he upon those who Ought to bear them, namely, that part of the episcopal and ecclesiastical body in Ireland, which had attempted to strip the people of the right of burial according to the forms of their religion. His object was not that which the right hon. secretary had stated. He wished certainly to repeal the statute, the 9th William III.; but he wished also to secure the right of burial, generally, according to the forms of their religion, to the Catholics and Dissenters from the Established Church of Ireland. When it was considered, that this question was of all others the most calculated to excite public feeling, and that six-tenths of the Irish population were interested in it, the house, he trusted, would go with him, if he pressed the production of the papers to a division.

Mr. Grattan

thought it would be better to postpone the question, and give a regular notice. The gentlemen on his side the house were taken by surprise, not having conceived that the papers would be refused. The question was one, as he viewed it, of the highest importance to Ireland. If it was not soon put at rest, there would be no burial without an affray.

Mr. Abercromby

said, that of all the frightful questions which had been mooted in Ireland, this was decidedly the most terrific. He so far went along with the right hon. Secretary for Ireland, that if he thought the question likely to be settled satisfactorily, he would not call for the production of papers which contained an inflamed view, perhaps, of past disputes; but then, so far from seeing any disposition on the part of government to take measures of itself for putting the difference at rest, he understood the right hon. Secretary to suggest, that what had passed had set it at rest already.

Mr. Goulburn

said, that he was misunderstood by the hon. and learned gentleman. He had spoken only of particular differences as in a way to be set at rest; not of the general question.

Mr. Abercromby

said, that the right hon. gentleman still stated no intention on the part of government to take measures. Under such circumstances, the house was bound to proceed itself, and consequently to call for the fullest information. The vital importance of the question was admitted. There were doubts upon it in every way: doubts as to the law; doubts as to the practice. A specific course by parliament was necessary; and he therefore should support the motion for the production of documents.

Mr. Peel

thought it would be well to separate the general question, of burial, from the immediate question before the house, namely, the production of papers. Upon the general question he should reserve his opinion; but he thought that the papers ought not to be produced.

Mr. Calcraft

supported the motion. The documents in question were not private; and the only difference was, whether members should obtain them personally, or whether they should come regularly before the House.

The House then divided: For producing the papers, 39.—Against it, 56.

List of the Minority.
Abercromby, hon. J. James, W.
Althorp, vis. Lamb, hon. G.
Baring, H. Lushington, S.
Benyon, B. Maberly, J.
Bernal, R. Mackintosh, sir J.
Birch, J. Nugent, lord
Buxton, T. F. Ord, W.
Coffin, sir I. Prendergast, G.
Crompton, S. Robinson, sir G.
Curwen, J. C. Russell, lord J.
Davies, T. Robertson, Alex.
Duncannon, vis. Staunton, sir G.
Ellice, E. Tennyson, C.
Fleming, J. Tierney, G.
Grattan J. Wilkins, Walter
Grenfell, P. Williams, John
Gordon, R. Wood, Matthew
Haldimand, W. Wrottesley, sir J.
Hamilton, lord A. TELLERS.
Hume, J. Calcraft, J.
Hutchinson, hon. C. H. Newport, sir J.