§ Mr. Lambert rose to present two Petitions from the Protestant and Catholic Inhabitants of New Ross, in the county of Wexford, praying the House to adopt measures for disarming and disbanding the Irish Yeomanry. The hon. Member said, that from the inquiries he had made relative to the unfortunate affair at Newtownbarry, he was of opinion, that it was a wanton, unprovoked, and, he had much reason to fear, a deliberate, premeditated massacre. He did not use these words without a perfect understanding of their import. He did not believe, that there was any country in the world in which the Government was not strong enough to bring the perpetra- 644 tors of such an outrage to justice. He would shortly advert to a memorial which had been addressed by certain gentlemen of the county of Wexford to the Government on this subject. That memorial had been described as hostile to the Government—as breathing a factious spirit—and as having been got up under the direction of the hon. and learned member for Kerry. He denied, that its spirit was hostile; he denied, that it was in any respect factious. What, he asked, was faction? It was the uniting together of a number of discontented men to carry some unworthy purpose. Those who agreed to that memorial had no such object in view. They were men who had nothing to ask from the Government, nothing to demand for themselves, but much to demand on the part of Ireland. The remonstrance to Government was, he maintained, made in the most temperate and respectful manner. The persons who had signed it were not likely to hold put a threat; and the noble Lord at the head of the Government of Ireland, was the last person, he believed, who would suffer himself to be intimidated by a threat. They only declared those sentiments which they were in the habit of uttering every day. The memorial was handed round, and those to whom it was offered were asked to sign it, with an intimation that it would be presented to the Government. It was presented; and by whom? Why, by Lord Duncannon, who was not a very likely person to be the bearer of a factious and hostile document. But it was asserted, that the memorial had been got up under the direction of the hon. and learned member for Kerry, Now, if the former charge were without foundation, this was even more so. He (Mr. Lambert) was the person who brought it to the hon. and learned member for Kerry; and, however he might approve of some of the proceedings of that hon. and learned Gentleman, he was too independent in his principles to be swayed by him contrary to his own sense of what was right. He had, on some points, disagreed with that hon. and learned Member, in places more stormy than that in which he now spoke, and he had also agreed with him on others, and hoped that he should often do so again. When he considered the benefits which the hon. and learned Member's exertions had procured for Ireland, he could not help looking forward with hope that he would yet 645 effect more, and that he would be greatly instrumental in restoring peace and tranquillity to that country. He confessed, that it gave him deep pain when he heard personal attacks made on that hon. and learned Gentleman. It was not for him to say upon which side was the balance of discourteous expressions, but he would say, that the hon. and learned Gentleman's services would last in the grateful recollection of his countrymen, whilst the services of others would be forgotten, or only remembered to be despised. Putting aside all personal motives and party-feelings, he must say, if there ever was a time when the regeneration of Ireland could be achieved, the present was such a time, and they would incur a fearful responsibility who neglected to profit by the present opportunity.
§ The Petition was brought up.
said, he was obliged to the hon. Gentleman for giving him an opportunity to defend the Magistrates and the Yeomanry of the county of Wexford. The hon. Member had commented with great severity on the conduct of the Yeomanry of that county; and on this point he differed from the hon. Member as much as one man could possibly differ from another. He held in his hand a statement, signed by forty noblemen, gentlemen, magistrates, and other highly respectable persons, and they held the same opinion with respect to the Yeomanry corps which he entertained. They said, "We, the undersigned noblemen and gentlemen of the county, having seen resolutions published in the Wexford Independent, purporting to proceed from a 'great county meeting' held in Wexford, on the 30th of July last, feel ourselves bound to express our dissent from resolutions so published, and particularly wish to avow publicly our conviction, that the maintenance of the Yeomanry force is essentially necessary to the preservation of the public peace—'to quell insurrection,' and the other purposes for which that force was originally levied." In his opinion, if they gave up the Yeomanry corps of Ireland, the most disastrous consequences would follow. Such a step would, he believed, end in the separation of the two countries. He now wished to advert to the statement which had been made some time since by the hon. member for Wexford, relative to the Newtownbarry affair. He had written there immediately after that statement had been made, and 646 he had collected such materials as would afford him an opportunity of refuting it. He meant not to say, that the hon. Member, in making that statement, intended to mislead the House; but ho was sure that those from whom he had received his information had misled him. The hon. Member had stated, that, at Newtownbarry, two persons had been coolly singled out by the Yeomanry, and shot. He had likewise said, that while the country people were at chapel, offering up prayers for the souls of the deceased who full in that affray, some of the Yeomanry fired shots over the house of God, to terrify those who were engaged in this pious duty. And he had asked, "if such things had happened in England, would it not have excited the indignation of the people?'' No doubt they would have been indignant, had such an occurrence taken place; but no such circumstance had happened at Newtownbarry. In consequence of that speech of the hon. member for Wexford, he had sent to Newtownbarry to have the facts inquired into, And here he gave notice, that he would to-morrow move for a copy of the document which had been transmitted to Government, in consequence of their having sent a special agent to the spot to investigate the affair. But what was the result of the inquiry which he had himself caused to be made? Why, he held in his hand the affidavits òf eleven most respectable persons, with every one of whom he was intimately acquainted for years, and they declared, that they were close to the chapel of Newtownbarry during the time in which the priest was employed in celebrating mass for the repose of the souls of the departed—that no shots were fired—and that they were so near, that if any shots had been fired they must have heard them. He would not quote all the affidavits, but content himself with refering to one made by a gentleman who was a perfectly impartial witness. Lieutenant J. S. Schonswar, of the Dragoon Guards, deposed, that there was a large meeting at the chapel, attending the service for the repose of the souls of those who were slain on the 18th of June last; that he was so situated that he must have heard shots if any had been fired; but that he had heard no shots fired. These affidavits were signed by most respectable persons, and therefore he came to the conclusion, that the hon. Member had been misinformed, and that no such occurrence as he had 647 described took place at Newtownbarry. It was a singular fact, that, until the report of the hon. Member's speech reached Newtownbarry, no person in that place, and this he could positively state, heard of this supposed occurrence. No such report had been previously spread as to shots having been fired over the chapel. The hon. Member had asserted, that two persons were selected by the Yeomanry and shot. Let the hon. Member inform him of their names, or give him some clue that could lead to a knowledge of them, and he doubted not, that he would be able to give as direct and as satisfactory a contradiction to that part of the statement as he trusted he had done to the other. The hon. Member then gave notice, that he would to-morrow move an Address for the production of the Report made by Brigade Major Bush to the Irish Government, after an investigation, by the direction of his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant, of the charge made against the military, of firing shots over the chapel at Newtownbarry during the performance of Divine service.
said, he was obliged to commence his observations on the slaughter committed at Newtownbarry, in the same manner, he was sorry to observe, that he had been compelled to adopt upon former occasions when that subject had been brought before the House. Here were seventeen individuals sacrificed—in all forty persons killed and wounded—and yet not one solitary expression of regret was uttered for that horrible and most unnecessary waste of human life. It seemed to be treated as nothing but an ordinary occurrence, a mere everyday matter, and therefore unworthy of particular notice. Gentlemen talked of every thing, they spoke of every thing, but not one particle of pity was shown for the agonized feelings of the surviving relatives of the slain. This was the fifth time that the subject was introduced, and still no touch of compassion was manifested for those unfortunate persons. What was more, he would ask, had any effort been made to visit the perpetrators of this cruel deed with retributive justice? No, no; the parties remained in triumph, and the hon. member for Cavan came down with his exculpatory document, signed by nobility and gentry. There never was so false, so atrocious a document as that to which the hon. Member 648 had first referred. In that document they were told, that the Yeomanry were necessary to preserve the peace. Why, at that time, Wexford was the most peaceable county in Ireland. To preserve the peace! There was not a single instance of breaking the peace, until the occurrence of the Newtownbarry affair. O nobility! O gentry! you assert a falsehood, when you say that the peace of that county, or of the country, requires the aid of such a force. Secondly, it was stated in this document, that the Yeomanry were necessary to keep down insurrection. Where was there a particle of insurrectionary spirit to be seen? Who thought, who dreamt, of insurrection? No one but those noblemen and gentlemen. Here were those men, after this slaughter, this massacre, coming forward and charging the people with a tendency to commit a breach of the peace, and with harbouring feelings that pointed to insurrection. Where was the breach of the peace? Where was the tendency to insurrection. If neither took place—if neither were to be traced any where—what, then, became of the hon. Member's highly respectable certificate? But who, he would ask, were on the Grand Jury? The friends and relatives of those whose conduct he reprobated, who made false charges, and who, when human blood was shed—when men, women and children were slaughtered—remembering that they were the friends and relatives of the parties inculpated, would not find a Bill against them even for manslaughter. Where were the people, in such a state of things, to look for justice? Where were they to seek redress? Where could they hope to find protection? If they wanted not to drive the people of Ireland to madness—to despair—let them immediately wrest the arms from the hands of the low Protestants. Could the hon. member for Cavan deny, that he had designated them correctly? Could he say, that they were not low Protestants? He would call emphatically on the Legislature to free Ireland from the scourge of the Yeomanry—to free her from a proud aristocracy, who unnecessarily, by the agency of an infuriated Yeomanry, shed the blood of innocent people. What had occurred, not long since, in the north of Ireland? Here was another specimen of the equal justice which was distributed in Ireland. Two parties consisting of Orangemen and Catholics, had a rencontre; the Magistrates in- 649 terfered, and the Catholics threw down their arms and fled: in their flight these unarmed individuals were fired at; and he had yet to learn whether any of those who had thus assailed them had been brought to punishment.
§ Mr. George Dawson
said, the hon. and learned Gentleman was partly correct and partly incorrect in his statement. He was present on that occasion, and the Magistrates wished to act impartially between both parties: but one of those parties was too strong for them.
continued. The Catholics stated, and the fact was not denied, that they were fired at when they were running away. Four times had he mentioned the Maghera case in that House, but no mention was made of it—it did not go out to the public at all. He supposed, that it did not suit the purpose of those who were employed on these occasions. On the 17th of December the Orangemen made a complete wreck of the habitations of the Roman Catholics, destroyed their furniture, assaulted the men violently, and even beat the women. With respect to the charge of firing over the chapel while a solemn service was in the course of being solemnized, the hon. Member had brought forward the affidavits of eleven persons in contradiction to that fact. Now he should be glad to know, whether only one religious ceremony was performed for the repose of the souls of seventeen slaughtered persons? Besides the high mass, would there not be a solemn service for every one of them? The hon. Member's eleven witnesses seemed to think that one service only was performed; and it certainly was a very extraordinary circumstance, to find eleven Protestant gentlemen walking close to the chapel, at the identical time when no shots were fired. It was a very marvellous coincidence, indeed; He attributed the whole of the frightful party feelings which agitated Ireland to the Orange magistracy. Why, he demanded, did the Government permit those parties to continue in the commission of the peace? Why should Government fear them? Why should Government, in opposition to the great body of the people, protect, uphold, and support them? Let them but strike three or four of these Magistrates out of the commission, and the remainder would become perfectly calm and quiescent. The Government had said a great deal, the Government 650 doubtless, intended a great deal, with respect to the welfare of Ireland, but still things went on precisely in the same old and objectionable way. Let them refrain from sending forth their instructions and their letters missive; let them, instead of taking that course, dismiss three or four of these exotics—these Orange Magistrates—from the commission, and they might depend upon it that the remainder would be perfectly tame. What was the consequence of keeping up this Yeomanry force, which Government seemed afraid to disband? Why the Ribandmen were again organizing. He understood, that 8,000 of them had assembled together very lately, and of these 200 were armed with muskets. This was an appalling state of things. Would men thus situated calmly suffer themselves to be slaughtered? He feared not. If they did not show their resentment in the day, they would at night. The wild justice of barbaric revenge, if not called into operation in the light of day would perhaps be fatally busy in the dark. The Ministers had not acted with that just spirit which the people expected, and which they demanded. They had, in fact, alienated the people from them, and given their support to a faction, who hated them even worse than they hated those whom they wished upon all occasions to oppress.
lamented, that the hon. and learned Gentleman had, in the course of his speech, entered into the discussion of every subject that could create party feeling, and keep alive that spirit of irritation which every thinking man must wish to see extinguished. It was a most unjustifiable speech; and it was the more unjustifiable, and the more uncalled for, when they considered the calm and proper manner in which the hon. member for Wexford had introduced the petition. The speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman formed an extraordinary contrast with the temper and moderation with which the hon. member for Wexford had conducted himself—a gentleman, it should be observed, who was connected with the county, and who, therefore, in speaking on this subject, might fairly and justly be excused, if his feelings had been excited, and his passions exasperated. He, however, with singular propriety, had abstained from the use of a single violent or offensive expression. The hon. and learned Gentleman declared, that his great object was to secure the peace and tranquillity of Ire- 651 land; but most assuredly nothing in the world could be conceived more directly opposed to that object than the violence and vituperation in which the hon. and learned Gentleman indulged in that House. The hon. and learned Member certainly had no right to attack others, on account of what fell from them, because no man within those walls indulged so much in strong language, and in the display of overstrained feeling, as the hon. and learned Member did himself. Could the hon. and learned Member imagine, that those who were in any way connected with Ireland, whether in the government of that country or not, could look with anything but unmixed horror and grief at the unfortunate occurrence of Newtownbarry? If, as the hon. member for Wexford had said, it was most desirable to forget the past, to cast it into oblivion, and to look forward with cheerful hope to the future, unquestionably the mode which the hon. and learned Gentleman took to second and secure that all-important object, was the most extraordinary that could be imagined. In consequence of what had occurred on a former occasion, he had this day brought down an official document, which the hon. Member had given notice of his intention of moving for to-morrow. That document related to the inquiry which had been instituted by the Irish Government, with respect to the charge which had been made against the Wexford Yeomanry—that of having insulted the people at the chapel of Newtownbarry, by firing over that chapel while a solemn service was performing for the repose of the souls of the slain. Without further preface he would read the communication to which he alluded. It was dated Newtownbarry, August 17th, and was addressed by Brigade-Major Bushe, who had been directed to inquire into the circumstances, to Sir William Gossett. The right hon. Gentleman proceeded to read the report as follows:Newtownbarry, 17th August, 1831.Sir,—On receipt of your letter of the 15th instant, I immediately set out for this place, for the purpose of procuring the information you called for; and am able to state, that after having made the most minute inquiry, I find the representations made to Government, of the Newtownbarry Yeomanry, to be totally untrue, and without the slightest foundation. On my arrival here, my first inquiry was of some wealthy farmers, and of the lower class of country people and town inhabitants, all of 652 whom declared they never saw anything more quiet and well conducted than the conduct of all parties on the day of the celebration of mass, and that a Yeoman had not appeared as such since the affray. My next inquiry was of the most respectable and distinguished persons of the town and county—namely, Major Irvine, Major Devereux, Mr. Ralph, and others, all of whom declared, that they heard of no offence having been offered, or saw or heard of the disturbance or disorder on the day alluded to; and the Yeomanry did not appear as such on that or any other day since the affray. They heard no shots, nor heard of any shots having been fired, except one, said to have been fired by Lord Farnham's Gamekeeper, in his Lordship's demesne. My next inquiry was of the cavalry and infantry officers who were in the town at the time, and who fully corroborated the foregoing statements. My last and conclusive inquiry was, of the Rev. Mr. Walsh, the priest of the town, who celebrated mass upon the day alluded to, and who stated to me, that, on the morning of that day, it had been (as since appears) falsely reported, that it was the intention of the Military and Yeomanry to parade the streets that day, to the great annoyance and disturbance of the friends and relatives of those who had fallen; that, upon receiving this report, he communicated the same to Major Campbell, the commanding officer, who immediately called upon the Rev. Mr. Walsh, and assured him, that there had not been the most remote intention, on the part of the Military or Yeomanry, to offer the slightest interruption or offence; and that, lest the appearance of the Military might have that effect, he had, before he received Mr. Walsh's communication, withdrawn the troops into Lord Farnham's demesne, where they should remain until the people left town. Mr. Walsh told Major Campbell, that a shot was heard in the direction of the troops. Major Campbell said, he heard the shot, and that it was at a considerable distance, in Lord Farnham's demesne, and that he did not know who fired it. Mr. Walsh stated to me, that, some time after his interview with Major Campbell, he heard that the shot was fired by a Yeoman, and afterwards heard that it was fired by Lord Farnham's Gamekeeper. Mr. Walsh also stated to me, that, at the funeral of one of the persons who had fallen at Newtownbarry, a shot was fired at a distance, at the opposite side of the river from whence the funeral proceeded, and which was said to have been fired at or near the house of a Yeoman who lived in that direction. This was all (he said) he knew of the subject alluded to, and upon which I required information; and, upon the whole, disclaimed any knowledge of any disturbance having taken place, or the slightest interruption or offence having been offered by the Yeomanry on that day, or any other day, since the affray. Considering the Rev. Mr. Walsh's statement quite conclusive, I do not think it 653 necessary to trouble you with the detail of any further inquiries which I might make, and which could only be a repetition of those circumstances already stated.He had thus (the right hon. Gentleman continued) from an official document, contradicted the assertions which had originally been made relative to the conduct of the Yeomanry. And that contradiction, so full and clear in all its particulars, ought to show Gentlemen the necessity of making the most accurate inquiries upon subjects of this nature, before they ventured to make statements which were calculated to produce the most injurious consequences to the parties who happened to be implicated. His hon. friend, the member for Wexford, knew very well, that Government wished to place the Yeomanry force of Ireland on a less objectionable footing than it at present was in different parts of that country; and he must also know equally well the difficulties which stood in the way of such an arrangement. Government, he would fairly state, was not ready, on account of the fault of a few individuals, to pass a sweeping censure on so large, and, in many instances, so respectable a body of men. But, let a single instance be clearly brought before Government, in which it should appear that any corps of Yeomanry had exceeded its legitimate duty, and he would assert, that on the instant, Lord Anglesey would take the most prompt and effectual steps to correct or punish the abuse. He was extremely sorry, that such an occurrence should have happened in the county of Wexford, as it certainly laid the yeomanry there open to considerable objection. But that circumstance did not form a sufficient reason for disbanding a very large body of men, which could not be done unless general misconduct and utter want of discipline could be proved against the Yeomanry. With respect to the Yeomanry of Newtownbarry, he had stated over and over again, that the Lord Lieutenant would not adopt any step with reference to them, until the proceedings at present pending were brought to an end. When those proceedings were finished, such a course would be adopted as the Government might conceive that the case demanded; and he would then be ready to justify any steps which the Irish Government might deem it proper to adopt. The Lord Lieutenant had felt that the calling out of the Yeomanry at 654 Newtownbarry by the Magistrates was wrong. That opinion had been communicated to them. Two of the Magistrates had, in consequence, sent in their resignations, and those resignations had been accepted. Further than this the Lord Lieutenant was not disposed to go. He must in conclusion say, that he hoped the House would not suffer itself to be drawn into a discussion of all the topics touched on by the hon. and learned member for Kerry, and, above all, would not discuss them with the same spirit in which that hon. and learned Member had delivered his speech.
§ Mr. George Dawson
had heard with the greatest satisfaction and pleasure the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, and he knew, that that speech would be received in Ireland with a pleasure and satisfaction equal to his own. He had just returned from Ireland, and had witnessed the effect of the excitement occasioned by the unmerited aspersions cast, in that House, and particularly by the hon. and learned member for Kerry, upon that most useful, most constitutional, and most patriotic body, the Yeomanry of Ireland. He fully acquitted his Majesty's Government of participating or taking any part in an endeavour to degrade that most respectable body, and he was happy to find, from the speech of the right hon. Secretary, that he was also of opinion that they had done nothing which deserved degradation. He felt the greatest indignation, which he believed would be shared by a large proportion of the people of Ireland, at the extraordinary speeches and statements made by the hon. and learned member for Kerry—a feeling which had shown itself throughout the country. The honourable and learned Member and his friends had adopted every means in their power to put down his Majesty's Government, for the purpose of effecting their own objects. He had heard the present speech of the hon. and learned member for Kerry with indignation, and the same feeling would be excited in Ireland when it should reach that country ["hear, hear!" from Mr. O'Connell]. He heard the significant cheer of the hon. and learned Member; but he neither regarded the cheer of the hon. and learned Member, nor did he fear the attacks which that hon. and learned Member might make upon him. He would assert, that a vast proportion of the 655 wealth, the respectability, and the intelligence of Ireland would join in resisting any attack that might be made upon the Protestant institutions, or on the character of the Yeomanry of Ireland. The speech of the hon. and learned Member, as far as related to the affair at Newtownbarry, had met a complete refutation from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman opposite; and, as he had no connexion with the county of Wexford, he was not called upon to enter into that question. He must, however, say, that when he heard of what were called the atrocities of the Yeomanry in that county, notwithstanding the respectable authority from which those statements came, that he did not believe them. He thought, that the hon. Member opposite who made those statements in the first instance, was completely deceived; and was happy to find his opinion confirmed by the decided refutation given to those statements by the most competent authority. His disbelief, in the first instance, did not arise from any information he possessed, but from the suspicion with which he listened to any story of this kind coming from one side or the other. When anything of this nature occurred in Ireland, the statements concerning it were always so much exaggerated, that there was a very great difficulty, nay, very often an impossibility, in ascertaining the real facts, even when both sides had stated their case, and those who decided after hearing only one side, would certainly form an incorrect judgment. He should be very much deceived if the House were not satisfied of the truth of this observation, when it should be in possession of the report on the Newtownbarry affair, and if that should turn out to be what the hon. and learned Member had termed it—"a deliberate massacre." As the report, however, would shortly be laid before Parliament, he agreed with the right hon. Gentleman, that it would be only fair and right for the House to suspend its opinion on that particular transaction. He would say a word on the cabal, as he must call it, which had been formed of Members of that House, to beard the Government, and force it to enter into their views with respect to disbanding the Irish Yeomanry. He alluded to those Members who thought it necessary to wait on the noble Earl at the head of the Government, on this subject. When he was in Ireland he read the account of this transaction with the 656 greatest surprise. It was nonsense to talk of living under a Constitution—of having a mixed Government with the King at the head of the executive, and two Houses of Parliament to check and control each other, if a set of men chose to arrogate to themselves the character of the Members for Ireland, though they represented only a small portion of the wealth, the intelligence, or the respectability, of that country; and, having formed themselves into a cabal, forced themselves in a body to the chamber of the chief Minister of the country, to dictate to him the measure he should pursue, and to beard and overawe the Government.
§ Mr. Grattan rose to order. If the right hon. Member meant to attribute to him that he was the member of a cabal, it was false [cries of "Order"].
§ The Speaker
having called the hon. Member to order; said the expressions he had used were most disorderly in calling another hon. Member to order.
§ Mr. George Dawson
said, that the mode of calling to order adopted by the hon. Member, was the most extraordinary he had ever known. It showed the way in which the business of that House was sometimes conducted. He had made no allusion whatever to the hon. Member: he had said that a cabal had been formed to beard his Majesty's Ministers, when the hon. Member got up, and avowed himself a member of the body he had so described. He thought it most extraordinary in the hon. Member to interrupt him in the course of observations which, as a Member of that House, he thought it his duty to address to their consideration; the language the hon. Member had used on the occasion, was not according to the usage of Parliament—it was not a parliamentary phrase, nor such as would be used in private society. He would, notwithstanding, say that those Gentlemen who had gone to Earl Grey, appeared to be actuated by a desire to intimidate his Majesty's Ministers. The answer which they received from the noble Earl at the head of the Government, must have been felt as a strong reproof. He (Mr. George Dawson) might have been mistaken in what he said—there might have been no cabal—but the matter he alluded to had very much the appearance of being a cabal, and he had a right to express his opinion. He would now, in the most friendly manner,—yes, in the most friendly manner towards the right hon. 657 Gentleman opposite—beg him not to encourage the idea that the Yeomanry were to be disbanded. Such a measure would excite the indignation of the whole of the people in the north of Ireland. He would express in the most intelligible language his conviction, that nothing was wanted to induce them to join the bands of the hon. and learned member for Kerry, in demanding a Repeal of the Union but such a measure. He knew, that such was the object which that hon. and learned Gentleman had really at heart. In the pursuit of that object, he had vainly appealed to the people of the north of Ireland; they did not trust him; but if the Ministers should come to the unwise determination of disarming the Yeomanry, they would excite a feeling which would induce these men to throw themselves, for this purpose, into the arms of their enemy. It was easy to say "disarm the Yeomanry;" but that would be no sooner done, than the Protestants would arm themselves at their own expense. He had heard from hundreds, that the disarming of the Yeomanry would be the signal for the men to arm themselves, which they would find no great difficulty in accomplishing: the arms and accoutrements of each man might be purchased for 25 s., and if the Government wished to precipitate the two parties into immediate collision, they would disarm the Yeomanry, and thus hold out encouragement to the individual arming of the Protestants. That would most assuredly be the case in the north of Ireland. There was no part of Ireland, nor, indeed, of the British dominions, at present more loyal than the north of Ireland, which the hon. and learned member for Kerry, called the focus of Orangeism. In confirmation of this fact he might quote the charge of Mr. Justice Jebb, to the Grand Jury of Derry, which might safely be taken as a just description of all the northern counties. The charge was very short, and he would read it. "Gentlemen of the Grand Jury—It is highly gratifying for a Judge to meet so large an assemblage of gentlemen, composing the rank and respectability of this truly happy and prosperous county, to witness and partake with him, the pleasure which such a happy prospect must afford. The present calendar is unexampled in lightness, not merely in the annals of this county, but will bear a comparison with that of any county in the empire. From the long experience I have had in travelling this 658 circuit, I am able to say, that your county yields not to any in Ireland for peacefulness and respect to the laws; and this is to be attributed to you, gentlemen, who are most deeply interested in the peace, happiness, and prosperity of the country. It would be needless in me to dwell on this subject, but it affords a cheering contrast to other parts of the kingdom, from which I have just returned, where I also found the gentry rally round me, to support the laws, and endeavour to promote a restoration of the public peace; yet these gentlemen have been exposed to hazard, not only in their property, but even in their persons, in some cases, in discharge of their duty. I trust you will never be called upon under similar circumstances, and, indeed, I am sure you never will." He would then advert to the speech which Mr. O'Connell had attributed to him, as having been uttered by him on a former occasion, and said, that both Orangemen and Catholics, had on the occasion alluded to, been armed, and had come armed to the battle, and that a loss of life had been the consequence; but that had nothing to do with the conduct of the Yeomanry, for on that occasion the contest was between the Catholics and the Orangemen, and the Yeomanry, as Yeomanry, took no part in the affray. Both Catholics and Orangemen had been afterwards tried and convicted for the offence, and both had been imprisoned, and, after some time, not one only, but both, had been released from confinement, before the regular term of their imprisonment had expired. That, he hoped, was a sufficient refutation of the statement made by the hon. and learned Member. He was sure, that almost every Member from the north of Ireland would agree with him, and would be ready to get up in his place to defend the Yeomanry against the aspersions cast on them by the hon. and learned member for Kerry, and Gentlemen at his side of the House, who ought to pause before they made unfounded statements, and inflicted such wounds upon the feelings of this body of men. He hoped the Government entertained no notion of acceding to the demands for the disbanding the Yeomanry. That force was as loyal as it was constitutional. It had rendered great services in preserving the peace and tranquillity of the country in the worst times, and he hoped that it would not be disbanded upon the suggestion of interested persons.
§ Mr. James Grattan
felt that some explanation was necessary. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Dawson) was at perfect liberty to lecture the Government, which perhaps did not want his advice, yet he did not conceive, that he had any right to make observations, in the terms which he had used, on a body of Gentlemen as independent as any in that House, who thought it their duty to wait on the noble Lord at the head of the Government, on a subject, as they conceived, intimately connected With the preservation of the peace and tranquillity of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman described that independent body of Gentlemen as a cabal, going to Lord Grey's house for the purpose of bearding and intimidating the Government. He was certainly one of the body who waited on Lord Grey; but he had no such object as the right hon. Gentleman imputed to him, and thought it necessary to give the statement an unqualified contradiction. If such an object was attributed to him, he repeated, that it was an utter falsehood.
§ The Speaker
had great hopes the hon. Member rose for the purpose of retracting the offensive expression he had previously used, and not of repeating it. From the explanation which the hon. Gentleman had previously given, it was quite clear, that he had not intended to use the term "false" in an offensive sense; but it would have been as well if he had stopped at the explanation.
§ Mr. James Grattan
said, his only object was to refute the calumny thrown out against him and the other Irish Members who had waited on Lord Grey. He believed the pacification of Ireland could only be effected by the gradual reduction of the Yeomanry in those parts of the country where collisions had taken place between the Yeomanry force and the people: and, entertaining this opinion very strongly, he and other Irish Members waited on the head of the Government to communicate their sentiments on this subject, and to avoid hostile discussions in that House. He was as well aware as any man that the Irish Yeomanry contained many respectable individuals, and that it was a constitutional force; but it was not properly organized. It consisted chiefly of Protestants, and its members were imbued with strong religious feelings, and were not subject to proper military discipline. He had heard nothing which in- 660 duced him to change the opinion he had formed, that the transaction at Newtownbarry was a most wanton murder, and that a well-disciplined military force would be advantageously substituted on every occasion where the civil power was not sufficient.
§ Mr. James E. Gordon
would have complied with the recommendation of the right hon. Secretary for Ireland, but for the intemperate and exaggerated statements of the hon. member for Wexford. The affair at Newtownbarry was by him designated as "a most unprovoked and deliberate massacre," which he considered a most exaggerated and unfounded statement. He would not go through the history of that transaction, but he never could patiently hear it called "a massacre." The hon. member for Kerry had talked of some Yeomen having fired over a Catholic chapel, but the fact was never proved; on the contrary, it was denied; and yet no retraction of the charge had been offered by that hon. Member.
I will not permit myself to be thus alluded to, in adding to a great misinterpretation of what I did state.
§ Mr. James E. Gordon
The hon. Member had burst out into a fit of great indignation, because the House, as he said, evinced no sympathy, or put on no mourning, for the sufferers at Newtownbarry; but that hon. Member himself exhibited no feelings of sympathy for the streams of blood which were flowing in the south of Ireland, where assassination and murder were daily and nightly committed against the Protestants. The sympathy of the hon. Member was all at one side of the question. The hon. Member said, that Ireland should not be governed by a party—and so said he; and, above all, not governed by that most degraded party in Ireland who wished to dictate the course that ought to be pursued by Government, and employed themselves, night after night, in bringing forward discussions tending to the separation of the two countries. The hon. Member said, and said truly, that the Government were now making an experiment; they had gone into the tiger's den to soothe him down, but the tiger had turned round upon them. The hon. Member said, that the Orange Magistrates should be displaced, but, if they were, he hoped that many Magistrates in the county of Wexford, whom he could name, would be also dismissed. The Orangemen 661 were next called exotics, although Orangeman was almost the distinctive appellation for Protestant. [Mr. O'Connell: I deny that to be a fact.] He really believed the wish expressed for the introduction of the King's troops into Ireland, had no other object than to put down the Orangemen and Protestants; and thereby accomplish the ulterior designs of the hon. Member. He would not further enter into this subject; but once for all say, that but for the inflammatory topics introduced into this discussion, notwithstanding the beseeching exhortation of some hon. Members, he should not have said a word. But he could never consent to have the House made the organ of that delusion, which, through the Press, would find its way into every town, village, and hamlet, in the United Kingdom; and he never could sit still while mis-statements were made, without giving them a contradiction. He would only for a moment advert to the statement made by the hon. Member a few nights since, as to the Grand Jury of Carlow having drank certain toasts. He denied the statement at the time, and he then held in his hand a written document, containing a voluntary disclaimer of the Grand Jury, that no such toasts were drank whilst any member of the Grand Jury remained in the room. After that, he thought, no doubt whatever could remain on the mind of every Member, that the assertion he had contradicted was totally without foundation.
would put it to hon. Gentlemen, if they ever heard in that House a speech more calculated than the speech of the right hon. member for Harwich to revive and encourage discord. That right hon. Gentleman accused him (Mr. Jephson), and some other Members of that House, of forming a cabal for the purpose of brow-beating his Majesty's Government. But, he asked, was not the speech of that Gentleman (Mr. Dawson) himself remarkable for a disposition to brow-beat the Government? The Irish Members who waited upon the Prime Minister, would have been unworthy of the trust reposed in them by their constituents, if they dared not represent to any Government their feeling as to its measures. He complained not only of the right hon. Gentleman but of the noble Lord himself at the head of the Government, who had so expressed himself as to appear to coincide with another noble Lord, who put some 662 questions respecting the Prime Minister's intention with those Irish Members. If those Members did not meet that noble Premier's dignity, as he himself might call it, or, as they would say, his pride, with the pride becoming such a body as they formed, he would not have felt as he did feel, that it was a high honour to him to have made one of that body. As to the imputation which had been cast upon them by another noble Lord, he would not say one word, because he considered anything that fell from that noble Lord to be beneath his notice. He concluded by stating, that the object of the Gentlemen who waited upon Earl Grey was friendly to the Government.
could not help expressing his surprise at the complacency with which right hon. Gentlemen on the Ministerial side, received the clouds of incense which were poured upon them on some occasions, from the Gentlemen opposed to them. He would admit, that the evidence of Gentlemen connected with Ireland could not, perhaps, be relied on implicitly on the subject of the Yeomanry; because "we come here," said he, "bribing with faction." But surely, the evidence given against that body by its friends and defenders—nay, by some of its own members—might receive some credit; and, according to their testimony, what was the constitution of that force? Colonel Verner himself, the Grand Master of the Orangemen of Ireland, stated, in his evidence before a Committee of that House, that no Catholic would be received into a Yeomanry corps in the north of Ireland. He referred to all the evidence taken before the same Committee, to prove the systematic exclusion of the Catholics from the Yeomanry, especially in the north. When a number of Gentlemen connected with Ireland waited upon the Prime Minister, to express their feelings with respect to some of the measures of the Government towards that country, they did not go to beard him, as had been said, but to tell him honestly, candidly, and respectfully, their opinions, so that they might avoid making that House nightly the theatre of irritating discussions, by which the public business was impeded. The right hon. member for Harwich said, that the Members for Ireland did not agree with the Gentlemen who waited on Earl Grey; but he would beg leave to remind the right hon. Gentle- 663 man, and his Majesty's Ministers, that all those Members for Ireland, who usually support the Government, were present at that interview. As to the affray at Newtownbarry, he wished to God that the question were set at rest for ever by a full and impartial investigation.
was very unwilling to prolong this discussion, but after the speech of the right hon. member for Harwich, he could not refrain from saying a few words. The right hon. Member had been pleased to call those Gentlemen who went to Earl Grey, a cabal. If the right hon. Member meant to impute to him any of those motives which were supposed to influence a cabal, he must tell him that the imputation was unjust and unfounded. The right hon. member for Harwich was greatly mistaken, if he supposed that he, and the other gentlemen who had had the interview with the Premier alluded to, waited on that nobleman, for the purpose of bearding the Government. He had not signed the paper which was first sent to Earl Grey, because, like the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down, he did not quite agree with some expressions which it contained. But when the interview was appointed, he felt that he should not do his duty were he to absent himself on the occasion. Many who attended there differed essentially from the hon. and learned member for Kerry on one great question regarding Ireland, and he (Lord Killeen) must say, that he was one of those. It had been before stated, that the interview was sought in a friendly spirit; and indeed, if it were otherwise, he should not have attended it. The object was, as they stated to the Prime Minister, to prevent the interruption of the important business now before Parliament, by discussing in that House the subject of their application. The right hon. Gentleman was very sensitive about the annoyance which they had given to the Ministry: indeed, he complained as if he thought that they were poaching upon his manor. As to the Yeomanry, it had been admitted by the right hon. Secretary for Ireland, that they were a party force; and surely no member of the Government or of the House would say, that such a force ought to be maintained in Ireland.
§ Mr. Ruthven
was satisfied to leave it to the Ministers to make such modifications of the Yeomanry force as, upon 664 consideration, they should see to be expedient. He thought it inconsistent with propriety and with parliamentary usage to speak of any body of Gentlemen in the language applied by the right hon. member for Harwich to the deputation which waited on Lord Grey. It was unbecoming to taunt those Gentlemen with having gone to beard the Minister, whereas, in fact, they waited on him in a respectful manner, and with the most friendly intention, to prevent angry discussions being continually renewed in the House. He had no doubt that it would have better pleased many Gentlemen below him (on the Opposition Benches), had the deputation been conducted with a factious spirit; but because the Gentlemen who composed it came back to that House to give the Ministers their support in measures which had the good of the people for their object, the right hon. Gentleman, no doubt, was disappointed and displeased.
§ Petition brought up. On moving, that it be printed,
§ Mr. Lambert
said, that the manner in which he had brought up the petition seemed to have given very different satisfaction to different Members. The right hon. Secretary for Ireland praised his moderation, whilst the hon. member for Dundalk (Mr. James E. Gordon) accused him of having made an immoderate and violent speech. He could not hear the attacks which had been made upon the hon. and learned member for Kerry, without expressing his deep sense, as an Irishman, of the services which that gentleman had rendered to his country. He had expressed no sweeping censure of the Yeomanry, nor cast upon them, as had been said, any insult as a body. But he agreed in the opinion of the most experienced friends of Ireland, that it was the very last species of force that ought to be employed in Ireland; and he hoped that the Government would place it in a state of what he would call (to use an Irish phrase) wholesome decay, and that they would begin its gradual abolition with the reduction of the Wexford corps. As the hon. member for Dundalk was indignant that the affray at Newtownbarry should be called a massacre, he felt himself compelled to lift up the veil which had been thrown over this transaction, and he would mention to the House only one incident, which he had learned from a Protestant gentleman of the highest respectability, 665 and of extensive property, who, however, was not a relation of any of the Yeomanry or Magistrates who had been connected in the transaction. Immediately after the horrible occurrence, that gentleman saw a wretched husband leaning over the body of his wife, whose womb had been torn by those butchers—her murdered child protruding from it. There were several persons who had seen that woman deliberately aimed at by a Yeoman, who fired at her, disregarding the cry of shame that burst from the bystanders. There could be no doubt of the fact; and yet, whilst the Judges were sitting almost upon the spot, the assassin was walking abroad in open day unmolested, and the murder was to this hour unpunished.
said, that as he had been personally assailed by the hon. member for Dundalk, he must say a few words in vindication of himself. Because he had complained that some Gentlemen had expressed no pity for the unhappy persons who had been killed by the Yeomanry, the hon. Member had turned round upon him and said, that he never expressed pity for those who were waylaid and murdered in Ireland; and that he seemed to desire that all the commiseration should be on one side. Now, was that fair? He would tell the hon. Member, that he had never spoken but in terms of execration of the miscreants who had committed the foul deeds of which the hon. Member had spoken. The hon. Member complained of his having called the Orangemen "exotics." But the hon. Member was himself a proof that it was not considered a crime in Ireland to be an "exotic;" for if it had been, how could the hon. Member, speaking a dialect which few Irishmen could understand, have won his way at Dundalk? It could not have been by the bewitching accents of his tongue—he must have gained their hearts by the sweetness of his countenance. He had another charge to make against the hon. member for Dundalk, and he should like to hear his answer to it. That hon. Member some time ago read a letter to the House, which he stated had been written by the Rev. Mr. Murphy, a Catholic clergyman in the county of Clare. Observing some Scotticisms in the letter read by the hon. Member, his suspicions were awakened, and finding, that the document which the hon. Member read was not in the handwriting of the Rev, Mr. Murphy, 666 with whose handwriting he was well acquainted, he asked the hon. Member for the original. The hon. Member then said, that he had read to the House a copy of the original letter, and that he would produce the original. He repeated the same promise to his friend opposite, the hon. member for Ilchester, who put a similar question to him on that occasion. It was about two months since the hon. member for Dundalk had made that promise, but had never fulfilled it, and he therefore defied the hon. Member to produce the original of that letter, which he stated had been written by the Rev. Mr. Murphy, and which he had promised to produce. There never was a grosser mistake than that which had been committed by the hon. member for Dundalk, in attributing to him the statement, that if the Yeomanry were disarmed, the people would attack them. What he meant, and what he had said was, that the Government, while they pursued the system that they did, durst not disarm the Yeomanry. The right hon. member for Harwich had, in fact, in the course of his valorous speech, told his Majesty's Government, that if they disarmed the Yeomanry, they would get arms themselves; and he had put it to the Government, whether they would put those poor Orangemen to 25 s. a head expense. The Government ought to despise such threats from the Orange party in Ireland. There never was a Government which was so capable of meeting, if it chose to do so, the threats of the Orangemen of Ireland with utter contempt and defiance, as the existing Government of this country. While the Government had the people of both countries with them, they surely should not experience any alarm from the impotent threats of such a miserable faction. Let the Government take the King's arms out of the hands of the Orange Yeomanry, and then if they should dare to beard the Government, the unarmed peasantry would be able themselves to preserve the peace, and to defeat the efforts of the faction. The shedding of blood daily and hourly in Ireland was a sufficient excuse for the Government to put an end to such a mischievous force. Why not disband this Yeomanry force, and in its stead augment the number of the King's troops in Ireland? Or why not send over 20,000 or 25,000 of the English militia to Ireland, to take the place of such a justly obnoxious, long censured, and most mischievous 667 body? For his part, he for one would be ready to vote that the whole expense of maintaining that militia should be thrown upon Ireland, if the Yeomanry were put an end to. It was absolutely necessary for the peace of Ireland to get rid of such a party-prejudiced and factious force as the Orange Yeomanry presented. They wanted a force in Ireland, that while it had arms in its hands, should not be mixed up in village feuds and party animosities, which were still further enhanced by the infusion of religious discord. They did not, at the same time, require that this force should be cut down at once. All they asked for was, that it should be gradually abolished. During the preceding Administration, and up to the time when the present Ministers came into office, this force was a perfect nonentity—the very shade of a shadow. But the present Ministry had put arms into the hands of 28,000 of those men, and they had been ever since affrighting and alarming the people, and, he would not say murdering, but, at all events, blood-letting in Ireland.
§ Mr. James E. Gordon
said, that he was astonished that the authenticity of the letter which he had read to the House on a former occasion, had been called in question. He certainly had not the original by him, but when he read the letter he said that the original should be forthcoming. He made the statement which he laid before the House, with regard to the letter of the Rev. Mr. Murphy, on the authority of an individual who had transmitted a copy of it to him from Ireland. It had quite escaped his memory, and he had never thought of sending for the original until the hon. member for Kerry had referred to the matter a few days ago. He then immediately wrote for the original to the gentleman in Ireland who had transmitted the copy to him. He had since understood, that that gentleman was in England, but he had no doubt that as soon as his (Mr. Gordon's) letter should reach him from Ireland, the original document would be forthcoming. The fact was, that the letter in question had been published in the Ennis paper a year ago; it had since gone the round of all the papers in the empire, and it had not been contradicted by the Rev. Mr. Murphy, who resided within seven miles of the town of Ennis.
§ Mr. Wyse
said, that the right hon. member for Harwich had thought proper 668 to read a lecture to the Irish Members, for threatening, as he had accused them of doing, the Government of the country. Now he (Mr. Wyse) would refer that hon. Member to a meeting of the Irish Members, which took place during the Liverpool Administration, to denounce the Still-fine system, and to insist upon its abolition. Very strong regulations were passed by that meeting, and a deputation from it was appointed to wait upon Lord Liverpool. If his memory served him right, the right hon. member for Harwich was one of those Members who got up that meeting, though he now objected so violently against a meeting of Irish Members, upon a similar principle. The hon. Member had accused them of using threats towards the Government. They had used no threats, but the system of threatening was one that had been adopted by the right hon. Member himself, for his speech was a series of threats against the Government. He menaced the Government with a separation if they disarmed the Yeomanry. If the Irish Members, whose conduct had been subjected to the censure of the right hon. member for Harwich, had talked about a Repeal of the Union, what would he have said?
§ Mr. Petre
said, that when the hon. member for Dundalk read the letter to which allusion had been made, he asked for the original, and the hon. Member then promised to send for it. If it should turn out that such a document had really proceeded from the pen of a Catholic Priest, he should be as ready to disavow the sentiments which it contained as any Member of that House.
§ Mr. Maurice O'Connell
observed, that the Rev. Mr. Murphy was upon the bed of sickness at the period when this letter which was attributed to him, was dated.
§ Petition ordered to lie on the Table, and be printed.