HC Deb 15 August 1831 vol 6 cc20-2

On the question that the Petition be printed,

Mr. James Brown

said, that, seeing the right hon. the Secretary for Ireland in his place, he was very desirous of putting a few questions to the right hon. Gentleman, on the state of the county with which he was connected. It was stated in some of the public papers, that the most frightful disturbances had taken place in that part of Ireland; that they were committed, not under the cover of night, but boldly, in the open day; that the law was set at direct defiance, and the disturbances were of a character to threaten the very existence of society. Under these circumstances, he wished, first, to ask the right hon. Secretary, whether the communication which the Government had received upon this subject agreed with those statements in the public papers? His next question was, whether the Government of Ireland had thought it expedient to adopt any more vigorous measures to put down these disturbances? and his third question was, whether the Magistrates and the officers whose duty it was to watch over the preservation of the peace in Gal way and Mayo, had acted with that degree of vigour and firmness which the necessity of the time required?

Mr. Stanley

said, that if he properly understood the questions of his hon. friend near him, he should have little difficulty in answering the two first; but must, decline giving any answer to the third. With regard to the first question, he regretted to say, that, although the disturbances in the county of Clare had altogether ceased, and property seemed restored to a state of perfect safety from violence, yet that there were still disturbances going on in Galway and Mayo, and he feared that some of them were of a violent character. With regard to the second question, he answered, that the Government had, on this occasion, taken all the means in its power for exercising in full force all the authority they now possessed—with all which they were now intrusted by the law of the land; and he must take that opportunity of saying, that a case stronger than that of Clare, and infinitely stronger than that of Galway at this moment—nay, even stronger than that of Mayo, with which the hon. Member was more peculiarly connected—must be made out, before the Government would be induced to come down to that House, and ask from Parliament for the grant of any extraordinary powers. Ministers would, upon all occasions, most strenuously exercise the powers they possessed; but they felt, that the evil, though it might be put down for a time by the operation of measures of unusual strength, was, in the end, rather increased than diminished by their effect. In the present instance, the Government had done all that they could, in the increase of the stipendiary magistracy, in the increase of the peace-preservation force, and in other measures of a similar kind, to put down these disturbances. Similar measures had been successful in Clare, and he trusted they would be equally so in Galway and in Mayo. With regard to the third question, he was quite sure that the House would feel with him, that it would be improper for him to give it any answer.

Petition to be printed.