§ Mr. Lambert,
on a Petition being presented for the disarming of the Irish Yeomanry, called the attention of the House to a statement he had made relative to the affair at Newtownbarry, which had been contradicted by the right hon. the Secretary for Ireland, upon the testimony of the rev. Mr. Walsh. He had received a letter from that gentleman, which corroborated his former statement, and he could not help complaining of the right hon. Gentleman, who had been so ready to describe his statement as an Irish exaggeration. From the circumstances which took place at Newtownbarry, he thought the Government ought to allow the Yeomanry to go into disuse.
said, that the witnesses who had been examined by Major Bushe, who had been sent down by order of Government to inquire into the matter, had denied that any shots had been fired. It had been stated that a woman had been ripped open. He did not believe that any such thing had occurred: if such an atrocious act had been perpetrated, and the Government had received any report that such had been the case, they ought to communicate it to the House. The trials at Newtownbarry were yet undecided, and he hoped that the hon. Member (Mr. Lambert) who had expressed an opinion on the case, would not be on the Grand Jury at the next Assizes.
was unwilling to prolong the discussion on this unhappy affair; his object in rising, was to assure the House, and the hon. Member opposite, that the circumstance related of the unfortunate woman who lost her life at Newtownbarry was perfectly true. He had it from authority which he could not doubt.
had also received a letter from Mr. Walsh. That gentleman stated to Major Bushe, that a shot had been fired, but he left it to that gentleman to draw his own inferences whether or not it was intended as an insult to his congregation. Mr. Walsh could not dive into the hearts of other persons to discover their intentions. He confirmed the statement of Mr. Lambert, that the woman had been shot through the womb by a Yeoman, and that the child, of which she was pregnant, 924 was also killed. He hoped both the hon. member for Galway and himself would be on the Grand Jury at the next Assizes. Having expressed an opinion on the subject, he should be sorry to be on the Petit Jury, which would have to decide on the merits of the case.
§ Mr. Crampton
remarked, that the whole question was in course of judicial inquiry. The moment Government were apprized of the fact, they employed a professional gentleman of the highest character, and of the utmost impartiality (Mr. Green) to examine into all the circumstances, and to make his report. He must object, therefore, to discussions of this kind, the effect of which must be to prejudice the case of the policeman, against whom a bill for manslaughter had been found, in the case particularly alluded to. There was no ground for apprehending, that public justice would not be satisfied, and that end being attained, he thought that no complaint could be reasonably made.
contended, that public justice would not be done by trying the policeman on a bill charging him only with manslaughter: either he had been guilty of murder or of nothing.
§ Mr. Crampton
called the hon. and learned Gentleman to order. The present discussion was trying the policeman by anticipation.
said, the result of a prosecution for manslaughter would not satisfy the people of Ireland in such a case. The Government should have disarmed the Yeomanry; and he might fairly state, that no Government but the present would ever have suffered them to retain their arms after such an occurrence. Under the Government of Lord Liverpool, when some of the people were killed by the Yeomanry at Straby, the Yeomanry were deprived of their arms; and the present Government should have adopted the same course, after they had admitted the fact that there was no occasion whatever for calling out the Yeomanry at Newtownbarry. He was sorry to say, however, that the present Government was desirous of throwing its shield over those who committed outrages upon the people of Ireland. Their feelings towards the people of that country might be gathered from the fact, that they had appointed twenty-one stipendiary Magistrates in that country, not one of whom was a Catholic.
affirmed, that the testimony 925 was so contradictory as to the conduct of the Yeomanry, that the question could not come fairly before the House until after the case should have been investigated by the ordinary tribunals. There was no point so doubtful as, whether the Captain of the Yeomanry directed the men to fire, or whether they fired without orders; and, under such circumstances, the House was not in a condition to form a proper judgment on the matter.
stated, that the soldiers alleged that they were ordered to fire, while the Captain said, that he had given no such orders. This was sufficient to warrant him in asking if such a corps ought to be continued in existence? No matter what might be the result of the judicial investigation, there was, at all events, ample reason for breaking that corps of Yeomanry, and the late Government would never have allowed it to exist after such an occurrence.
said, that the evidence he alluded to was not that of either Captain or men, but of witnesses, disinterested and unconnected with either.
begged to ask the right hon. Gentleman, if the Captain and men were agreed in their account of this transaction? All he knew of this affair was what he had learned from the newspapers, and from the reporters who attended at the Inquest, whom he knew. They stated, that the soldiers said they were ordered to fire, but that the Captain said they were not so ordered. If they were not agreed in this matter, how could the Government say, that the subjects of his Majesty in Ireland were protected, while arms were left in the hands of such men?
§ Mr. Henry Grattan
said, that nothing could be more monstrous than the conduct of individuals connected with those Yeomanry corps in that part of Ireland in which this transaction had occurred. The fact was, that things had come to that pass, that his Majesty's Government must give protection to the people there, or they must protect themselves. In the parish of Rathdrum, the Orangemen had compelled his tenants to pass under an Orange arch which was suspended across the street of the village; and when the parish priest came up, on his way to the chapel, an Orangeman shook his fist at him, and fired a pistol so close to him as to burn his face. That was one of the insults which had been offered to the 926 people, of which the people complained, and which had been denied by the hon. defenders of the Orange Yeomanry of Ireland in that House. The real truth was, that things had arrived at that pass, that the Government of the country must put down those factious disturbers of the public peace, or they would put down the Government.
§ Mr. Lambert
said, that reference had been made to his statement the other evening, relative to the ripping open of the abdomen of a pregnant woman in Newtownbarry. It was most painfully distressing to him as a man, and as a Member of that House, to have such a statement to make, but he should not have felt, that he discharged his duty, if he had not laid it before the House. He would not retract a word of that statement, but, in confirmation of it, he would, beg to read to the House the following extract of a letter which he had received from a highly respectable gentleman in the county of Wexford on the subject:—"I have just seen a person who saw the body of the poor woman, Mary Mullony, the mother of six children. A horrid sight! The ball passed through her, and ripped her belly across. She was within six weeks of her confinement, and the child's head and body were seen protruding through the wound. This numbers saw, who can testify it on oath."
said, that the time had unquestionably arrived, when it was incumbent on his Majesty's Government to institute an inquiry into this most melancholy transaction, in order to ascertain the real facts of the case, and to satisfy the just expectations of the people of Ireland. Hon. Gentlemen were grossly mistaken, if they supposed that the people of Ireland would be satisfied unless a proper inquiry were instituted into a transaction in which seventeen persons had been put to death by a corps of Yeomanry, not a single individual of which had been as yet punished for the perpetration of the crime. They were greatly mistaken if they supposed, that the people of Ireland did not look upon this matter in a serious point of view. The time of the House would be taken up, and Irish Members would be justified in taking it up, night after night, on this subject, until a proper investigation was instituted by Government into the whole transaction.
said, that if the hon. Gentleman meant that the time was come when his Majesty's Government should take that into their hands which was still before the ordinary tribunals of the country, and upon which those tribunals had not as yet pronounced, he must beg to say, that the time was not come for such a course of proceeding on the part of his Majesty's Government. In a transaction which involved much party-feeling on the one side and the other, the Government had acted with rigid impartiality. They sent down an Officer to inquire into the transaction. After the Coroner's inquest had been held, the Government undertook to conduct the prosecution according to the verdict of the Jury; and when the private parties to that prosecution refused to proceed with it, the Government still persevered. The Government were still determined to bring the matter which was at present pending, according to the verdict of the Jury, before the legal tribunals of the country at the first opportunity. Again, when a statement was made in that House by the hon. member for Wexford, that the Orange party had offered insults to those individuals who were engaged in celebrating the last obsequies of those who had been killed in that melancholy transaction, Government sent down an Officer to institute an investigation into that matter. The hon. member for Wexford when he made that statement, no doubt made it in perfect sincerity, but it now appeared from the Letter of the reverend Clergyman to which he had referred, that it was not altogether borne out by the facts. The reverend writer said, that the statement of the hon. Member was highly coloured, but that there was foundation for the substance of it, and that it was a statement which was excusable on the part of an orator. Such was the statement of this Clergyman in his Letter to the hon. Member. It might be excusable in an orator to make such a statement, but the House would see, that it was not one upon which the Government would be justified in founding any proceedings. The only anxiety of the Government was, to do full and impartial justice. It would be a lamentable thing indeed if such a transaction as this should not be subjected to the fullest investigation. The legal guilt of the parties concerned in this transaction had not as yet been decided by the legal tribunals of the country. Therefore, 928 though the Government might have formed an opinion as to their moral guilt, it would not be justified in giving expression to that opinion until the question as to their legal guilt had been finally determined.
said, that a body of armed men had committed a gross outrage—had taken away the lives of several of their unoffending fellow-countrymen. The House had that fact before it: there was also another fact, namely, that bills had been sent up to a Grand Jury and ignored, and therefore no public trial took place. Was it not then fitting, that the Government should see, that persons thus intrusted with arms had not made an evil use of them? Did any man in his senses doubt that the persons to whom he alluded ought to have their arms taken out of their hands; and was it not in the power of the Irish Government to do so?
begged to ask the right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary for Ireland, if there was any case still pending which would go to establish or not, whether Captain Graham and his troop ought to have been present at the affray?
said, that Government had distinctly expressed its opinion, that the Yeomanry ought not to have been called out, and the three Magistrates who had called them out were so severely reprimanded, that two of them thought proper to send in their resignation, which was accepted.
said, that if the inquiries made by Government justified it in making such strong remonstrances, it ought to have gone still further, and without interfering with the civil investigation, it should have treated the matter, as far as the Yeomanry were concerned, as a military offence, and should have discharged them altogether.
§ Mr. Hunt
said, that it had been said, that such an occurrence would have been tolerated in no other country than in Ireland, but he begged to remind the House, that sixteen of the people had been killed, and 600 wounded at Manchester [a laugh.] It was no doubt a laughable affair—a very laughable affair, but it was nevertheless unfortunately too true.
§ Mr. Lambert
said, that the facts stated in the Letter of the reverend Clergyman, to which the right hon. Secretary for Ireland had referred, sufficiently bore out the statement which he had made to the House 929 on a former occasion as to the circumstances to which it alluded, though he would admit, that it was possible that an honest expression of feeling, of which he was not ashamed, might have imparted to his statement that high colouring of which the reverend author of the Letter spoke.
§ Colonel Torrens
said, that Ireland would never be what she ought to be without the establishment of an equality of laws. It would be necessary, in making a change of system in that country, to choose the Lord-lieutenants of counties from the members of all religious persuasions—to choose Grand and Petty Juries from Catholics and Protestants indiscriminately—to educate the lower orders, and to hold the scales of justice with perfect impartiality.
§ Petition, out of which the conversation arose, to be printed.