rose for the purpose of making the motion relative to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, of which he had given due notice. He was placed in rather an unfavourable situation respecting this question. The House had been long occupied in a discussion about the state of England, and he was well aware that the subject which he was about to bring forward about Ireland, was unsavoury to the House [cries of "Ok, oh!" in which Mr. Spring Mice joined]. The hon. member for Limerick, who now sat on the Treasury Bench, might cry Oh, oh, and hear, at his remark, but he could assure that Member, when the time came, that he would show him that he was not to be interrupted, and that it should be remembered to him, that he, sitting on the Treasury Bench, sneered against Ireland—[cries of" Order, order."]—
§ The Speaker
interrupted the hon. Member, and informed him, that he was proceeding in a manner which would be disorderly, and requested him to confine his remarks to the subject of which he had given notice.
said, he would bow with deference to any recommendation from any Member of that House, but with still greater deference, when that call to order and recommendation, came from the Chair. He was not aware, however, that any reproof was deserved. He had a right to ask, why he had been interrupted by a foolish, unmeaning cry [cries of "Order, order!" "Question, question!"]—
§ The Speaker
said, the hon. Member had already been informed that he was out of order, and he was rather surprised that he did not find out the cause of the interruption.
§ Sir Charles Wetherell
rose, solely for the purpose of asserting that order and 312 dignity which it became Members of that House to observe. The Speaker had informed the hon. Member, with great urbanity and amenity, that he was out of order, and this intimation did not appear to have the desired effect. He, as well as every Member, he believed, was ready to make allowance for hastiness of manner, and to treat it accordingly. He was surprised—the House was surprised—that the intimation had not had the desired effect. If, however, the hon. Member persisted in his course, regardless of the intimation from the Chair— You, Sir— (addressing himself to the Speaker) will be required to rise from your chair, and assert the dignity of the House.
—The hon. member for Boroughbridge has called on you, Sir, to rise from your chair ["No, no.!"]. I say he did. Why does not he, or some other Member, stand forward, and not call on the Speaker in this manner? Let him stand forth who says he did not ["Order, order!"].
§ The Speaker
.—I am quite sure that the hon. Member must feel on reflection, that when I interrupt the course of any hon. Gentleman's speech, I always do so with the greatest lenity of manner, consistent with the discharge of my duty. The hon. Member will not be the single exception, as I trust, in the House, to believe that I interfered when I was not satisfied that the hon. Member was out of order; and if I abstain from expressing myself in strong terms, it is not only from a hope, but from a confidence, that the hon. Member will take the hint, and not oblige me to discharge a most arduous and painful duty.
.—I thank you, Sir, for not having contradicted, and, consequently, having confirmed what I asserted ["No, no"]. Thank you for your "noes!" But I ask this simple question—why do not those who cry out "no!" stand up in their individual capacities and say so. The hon. member for Boroughbridge did call upon the Speaker to rise and put me down. The hon. Member accused me of having been disorderly; and with that tact and ingenuity which belongs to his profession, to pervert any truth, however palpable, into quite the opposite ["Order, order! question."]
§ The Speaker
.—I still cannot but persuade myself that the hon. Gentleman, on a moment's reflection, will see, that he 313 has been disorderly on two grounds; first, for addressing himself to a subject not connected with the question he is about to submit to the House; and, secondly, for accusing another hon. Member of a wilful and professional perversion of truth.
.—I am now precluded from alluding any more to the member for Boroughbridge in this House, but I may meet him again elsewhere. [Order.] How am I out of order? I am no more out of order now, than when I alluded to a peculiarity which I considered particularly applicable to the member for Boroughbridge. As the Speaker abstained from saying I was disorderly then, I have his testimony in my favour [cries of "Order!"]—
§ The Speaker
.—I am quite sure the hon. Member will feel, and if the hon. Member does not, I hope the rest of the House will feel, what is due to its own dignity. I claim nothing for myself personally; but I do claim something for the dignity of the Chair. I tell the hon. Member, that he was out of order on two occasions; and I tell him further, that this House never has been in the habit of submitting to the manner in which the hon. Member is now pleased to address the House. The House always takes care to give full notice to any hon. Member, who might be in error through mistake, to retrace his steps; but if he perseveres in an objectionable course, then the Speaker, in the exercise of his duty, is bound to take that step, which alone remains, and call upon the hon. Member by name, who will be then brought before the House, and have to make an explanation of his conduct.
§ After some pause, the Speaker asked, has the hon. Member any motion to make? No answer was given, and the cry of "Question," became general.
then rose and said, that, after the threat denounced against him by the Speaker, he was at a loss how to proceed with the discussion of the subject. If he had been guilty of a dereliction of duty, he would yield to the sentiments of the House, but if he had not been guilty of such a dereliction, he did not see why he should be arraigned at their bar. He had been arraigned at their bar as a delinquent, and did not know in what capacity to address them. If he had not trangressed any Act of the Constitution, he would ask, why he should be pronounced guilty? Was he guilty towards 314 the member for Boroughbridge? The Speaker said he was not. He would bow to the member for Boroughbridge, or the borough Member, but he would not bow as a delinquent. He was sorry to see some Gentlemen so far forget themselves, as to attempt to slight and depress him in the House. It was said, he did not address himself to the topics, but he had been interrupted from the Ministerial bench—and was it out of order to make an allusion to such interruption? Being interrupted by the hon. member for Limerick, he had made a reply, and he would appeal to the whole House, and to the books of that House, whether he was incorrect in so doing? He had stated, that they had no taste for the subject— that it was not savoury, and in so saying he was not guilty of any breach" of order— ["Order!"] They cry "Order," but he would say he was not out of order. He would next proceed to the question before the House, and if he had only been allowed to go on without interruption, it might then have been settled. He was anxious to tell in what state Ireland was, and to ask in what relations Ireland and this country stood—whether as friends or foes. His chief object in doing so was to arrive at the truth. Perhaps it would be said, that this was an exaggerated picture of Ireland, and of the feelings of the Irish people towards England—that it was the representation of a Member for a remote part of that ill-fated country, and was, therefore, not to be relied on. They might hug themselves in that supposition; but he would tell them, as a body of Englishmen, principally, that Ireland was resolved, cost what it might, to have again its own Parliament, as she had 30 years ago, to legislate for its wants, and look over its interests, which had been totally overlooked by that British Legislature. That was a thing resolved upon. The only question was, how was this object to be attained, by negotiation, or by other means? Ireland was tranquil at present, because she waited to see what course the Government intended to pursue on this momentous question. England was disturbed on account of tithes and taxes; Special Commissions were issued for the trial of the unfortunate men, whose distresses had urged them to infringe the laws; and England could no longer constrain Ireland. Ireland was tranquil for the reason which he had just stated, and yet, gracious God! how much 315 greater cause had she to complain! The only object of the Ministers and the English Parliament, he now saw, was, to devise means to evade the reasonable request of that country. As that infamous Act of Union had been carried through the medium of persecution, blood, and rapine, were they prepared to say—for to that the resistance to the repeal would amount —that it should be maintained by political persecution, by blood, and by rapine? In a word, were these likely to cement the hearts of Irishmen to Englishmen? Were these the fit and proper materials to effect political and lasting union between the two countries? But what had Ireland, and the wrongs of its population, to expect from Englishmen and English Members of Parliament, when, on the motion of the hon. member for Preston, only an hour since, for an Address to the Crown, beseeching it to extend mercy and an amnesty to 800 of its own miserable starving peasantry, who had been forced by their wretchedness to outrage, there were but two Gentlemen, himself and the honest member for Louth (Mr. Alexander Dawson), who had humanity enough to prompt them to walk out with the member for Preston, in support of that extension of clemency and mercy to those poor, starving, misguided individuals? Gracious God! and that, in that English House, only this Gentleman and himself, both Irish, should be the only ones to support such a motion.
Mr. Hughes Hughes
rose to call the hon. Member to order. He had frequently made use of the name of the Deity in a manner unusual in that House.
§ The Speaker
believed it was far from the intention of the hon. Member to make use of that revered name in any way that would be offensive to the most delicate ear or the most tender conscience.
resumed.—He begged the House to accept the assurance of the right hon. and learned Chairman. Something must, however, be admitted in the heat of argument, and there could scarcely be a suspicion entertained that he did not sufficiently respect the Deity, as had been so sanctimoniously assumed, when he told the hon. Gentleman opposite, that he had been brought up in a Jesuits' College. He therefore should be found orthodox in most things, even so far as to the Motion for a general fast [laughing]. He was glad to find the House in good humour, and willing 316 to excuse his lapsus lingœ. He himself was particularly fond of good fellowship, harmony, and conviviality [laughing]. [The hon. Member hesitated for some minutes as if he had lost the thread of his discourse, and at length said, that he only now wished that the hon. Member to whom he owed the interruption would restore him again to that state and position in which he was when proceeding in his argument at the time of that interruption.] Yes; now he recollected he was going to appeal to their better feelings. He would solicit of the House as a boon that which he had little hope of, when they had refused it to their own countrymen an hour since—namely, charity and commiseration to his countrymen in the depth of their wretchedness and misery—a wretchedness and misery, compared with which the distress in this country was as nothing in the balance. Within a short period back the fact had become notorious, and was established on the oaths of two of the Magistrates of the county of Mayo, that, in one parish (Newport) in that county, there were 3,031 persons without food—even a meal's meat—totally destitute of clothing of any kind, or a bed to lie down upon. Here was a state of misery, compared with which the 6s. or 7s. a week, and one meal a day, of the distressed peasantry of this country, would bear no comparison. Happy, too happy, would these wretched animals be to obtain but 2d. a day to put a mere potatoe with salt into their mouths, and work for that pittance from six to six, or from sun-rise to sun-set. Here were 3,031 persons, ascertained, on the oaths of the Magistrates themselves, to have been, ever since the 10th of January, without a single particle of food to maintain life [laughing]. Before the 1st of March, 2,000 more individuals would be reduced to the same situation [renewed laughter]. Good God! and was this the tone of condolence in which their unmerited sufferings were met? He could scarcely have believed it had he not witnessed it to-night. And all this misery was heightened by the severity of the weather, the ground being covered with snow; and there they were, without clothes, under the snow six feet deep. This was the condition of the country which England wished to have united to her. Now was the time to act. Let not the House be deceived. Ireland had no confidence in England. It was folly to talk 317 of controlling Ireland by force. Even the power of the Speaker was vain as applied to her in many cases. For instance, there was a talk of a Call of the House. Of what use was their Call? Could a Call of the House supersede the ordinations of nature? So deep was the snow now, that all communication between Dublin and the remote counties was cut off. If the House and the Government consented to hear the voice of reason at all, now was the time—now, or never. All that could be expected would, at best, be but a compromise—a compromise with Ireland, either to Repeal the Union, or consent to hold the Session of Parliament alternately in the capitals of England and Ireland "no, no!" and laughter]. He repeated, however they might cheer or disapprove it, that a compromise was all they could expect, and that through one man, and one only, who had well earned the confidence of the Irish people. Could they, by such cheers as they saluted him with, prevent the poor wretches starving now under six feet of snow, from laying all these evils at their door? He certainly did not mean that England was the cause of the snow;—he thanked the hon. Member for the ingenious hint, but still there it was on them, and they believed all their hardships and severities, want, and snow, were to be charged to their account [loud laughing]. Really, he did not understand that treatment. He almost wished he had been born with a pugnacious disposition, that he might be properly qualified to meet this expression of dissent as it merited. If they were disposed to consult the mutual interests of both countries, a compromise through this channel must be resorted to, and that speedily. Of the cause he did not despair. Before the recess there was but one county Member (and he did not call such persons as the hon. member for Ennis, or of such rotten places, Members representing the people of Ireland)—and he had then prophesied, and did so now, that, before the end of the Session, there would be twenty county Members for Ireland in favour of the Repeal of the Union. He was himself anxious to reconcile, if possible, the mutual interests of the countries. The two countries might stand or fall together, or they might not: God forbid that Ireland should be enabled to stand by the aid of French bayonets and French battallions; but stand she would, and her 318 people were resolved she should. If she stood in firm union with England, that union could only be cemented by allowing her rights equal to those of the people of this country. France, Belgium, and even distant Russia, had each had a notice —no Revolution had struck us into astonishment and dismay. Let them beware in time, lest like the Sovereigns of those countries, they, by and by, should exclaim, what fools they were not to take warning ere it was too late. Whilst time yet remained, he called upon the House for their own sakes, for the sake of the glory of the British Constitution, to take the subject into their serious consideration. It was said, that England and Ireland must stand and fail together. England had been standing for some time with her foot on the back of Ireland. In this manner she had maintained an elevated position amongst nations; but when Ireland should be taken away, she would be reduced to her proper dimensions, and her iron heel would press on the cold soil. Irishmen loved England, but if their country called on them, in the name of Him who made the world they would part from England. If they now cut the painter, and sent Ireland adrift, or separated the barrier, the consequences all would deplore. Let them not do so. Let them take time by the forelock, and consult their interests ere it be too late. But he was afraid his advice would meet with but little attention from them. They would, on going home, perhaps say to each other, "What a petulant, impudent, insolent man that is in Parliament;" and, with such an expression, consign to oblivion all he had said: but he begged they would not act so, in sheer pity to the cause he attempted to espouse. [The hon. member reviewed the measure resorted to in order to put down the Catholic Association in Ireland by the late Government.] The bill passed for that purpose was the result of a compromise for the attainment of a great object. The late Secretary for Ireland had, as far as hit proclamations went, put the law in force. For Sir Henry Hardinge he had the greatest respect, and never would that gallant officer have attempted the odious course which had been pursued by his successor. A new Ministry, the avowed friends of Ireland, and of liberal policy towards her, had succeeded. That Ministry was composed of Whigs—a set of men who had pronounced that law 319 of the former Administration an infamous and disgraceful outrage on the Constitution. Yet that Ministry, whom he had come from Ireland to support, not because they were Peter, Jack, or Tom, had made that law a pretext to arrest, by the hands of common thief-catchers, the only man who had the boldness to be the genuine friend of Ireland. That Ministry, too, to his deep dissatisfaction, had just falsified its pretensions and its promises by the introduction of a Civil List, against which all loudly exclaimed. Yet he would not change his place behind the Treasury benches, nor go over to the opposite side, until he had more fully given that Ministry an opportunity to display their true sentiments, now that they were possessed of the power to redress the grievance they had before admitted. He scarcely thought that, unless it had been known that it would not be very disagreeable to the Government, the Chief Magistrate of a Corporation would have, allowed his catch-pole to rush, in a ruffian-like manner, into the house of a gentleman, who, by his profession, was obliged to be always forthcoming. The courtesy usually observed by Magistrates forbade this. Why, then, he would ask, was the hon. member for Waterford not now in his place? Why was he not present to hand in the petitions which had been intrusted to him, and which ought to have been presented several nights since? It was because he had been caught up under a quibble of the law, and a law which the Lord High Chancellor of England had declared not to be a constitutional law, but, on the contrary, a direct violation of the Constitution. The late Chief Secretary for Ireland, also, had declared it to be a bad law, and the Whigs had all joined in pronouncing it to be unconstitutional and unjust. The persons who had been proceeded against in Ireland would not have been brought before a criminal tribunal, were it not that they advocated a Repeal of that Union—a measure which was not popular here, but was all-popular in Ireland. He did not mean that it was popular amongst the absentees, who held their property here, and spent their time at Paris or Rome—who lived in Italy, and drew their rents from Ireland. Such men were adverse to a Repeal of the Union; but the occupiers of the soil unanimously called for it. The entire property, influence, and respectability of 320 the county of Roscommon had entered into unanimous resolutions that Englishmen were not fit to legislate for Ireland. The counties of Clare, Meath, Tipperary, and Armagh—the Archiepiscopal county of Ireland,—in short, the whole country was animated by the same desire. Was he stating any thing at variance with the truth? If he was, the hon. member for Boroughbridge—that stedfast friend of order,—might interrupt him. He should certainly adopt that hon. Member as his model in matters of order for the rest of his life. He should always appeal to his example in all cases where order was in question; and he should not issue a single placard to his constituents without heading it with a picture of the hon. member for Boroughbridge, which he knew would be his strongest recommendation. He called on the House to take some active measures with regard to Ireland, while it was not yet too late. Lord Anglesea had said, on one occasion, that Ireland might be led by a silken string, but could not be bound in chains. Irishmen had hitherto lain quietly by, but that might not always be the case. They might, at length, discover, that they were men, and deserved to be treated as such. Therefore, he called for some decisive step. He would ask, whether England had any confidence in Lord Grey? What was his title to their confidence? Was it not his adherence to principle? That noble Lord had been one of the strongest opponents of the Union between England and Ireland, and said, that if it took place it must soon be abrogated. Would they show their distrust of Lord Grey by frustrating his prophecy? He, for his part, would show his affection for the noble Lord, by endeavouring to verify his prediction, and to obtain a Repeal of the Union. It was vain to hope that any other course would satisfy the people of Ireland. England might send her armies and her troops to that country, but she knew not in what state Ireland was. She would, however, receive a knowledge of it in a few weeks. He had said, that the Premier of England had declared against the Union. What had Lord Plunkett, the Chancellor of Ireland, said? He pronounced it to be a sort of political murder of Ireland, and said, like another Hannibal, he would swear his son and all his children at the altar against the English who were instrumental to it. Were the 321 sons of Lord Grey and Lord Plunkett in the House? Probably they were sitting for some borough. If so, he defied them to deny his statements. The hon. member for Borough bridge called him to order when he attempted to give the House information regarding Ireland. The hon. Member might have rejected his communication if he had gone up to him and taken hold of him by the handsome habiliments which hung; so gracefully on him—if he had come between the wind and his nobility, he should have had a scene from Shakspcare—no doubt, of it. There they were, then, with this Repeal of the Union; and it would go on. They might send their cohorts to Ireland, but that would not do. The time for deliberation was gone by, and the people were determined to carry the measure. Then Mr. O'Connell, for advocating this, was to be brought before Judges,—Mr. Justice Jebb, and Lord Chief Justice Bush, who were once violently opposed to the Union,—but now their opinions were altered, because the ermine sat easily on their shoulders. The people were determined to carry the measure of the Repeal of the Union; and Mr. O'Connell, with all his popularity, could not turn them from their purpose: he would be considered as a traitor if he did. Let the House then permit him to offer a suggestion which might lead to an arrangement to which Ireland might, perhaps, assent; but in which he should certainly never concur. He might acquiesce in it for the moment, but it should never have his support or approbation—namely, that Parliament should sit here and in Ireland alternately. He candidly confessed, that he suggested what he did not think could be accomplished. Even the hon. member for Waterford himself would be humbled from the high station of popularity which he occupied, and considered, and justly considered, a traitor to his country, if he recommended the people of Ireland to desist from calling for a Repeal of the Union. He would then tell the House what he had not been at liberty to disclose when he was last before, it—namely, that he had himself been for eleven years and a half, heart and hand, a member of a secret Society, consisting of Protestants and Presbyterians, the only object, of which was, to obtain a Repeal of that Union, which was not brought about by negotiation, or by any fair process of dealing between 322 two nations, but was purchased by treason and blood. Now, he might to-morrow, for aught he knew, find himself on his way to the Tower, if he was deemed worthy of notice. If he had not avowed this before, it was because he had not the sanction of those who composed the society, and because he was desirous to see what spirit, there was in Ireland to stand by the law. He could tell the House, that the rankest Orangemen had been members of that Society. It was now done with—the Society existed no longer. As soon as it was perceived that Mr. O'Connell was prosecuted for advocating a Repeal of the Union, the members determined to identify themselves with his cause—the Society was dissolved, and permission was given to him to avow its former existence. Gentlemen in England could have no notion of the state of Ireland. What would the House think of the Courts of Justice being barricadoed? Such was the case a few days back, when he was called upon to perform a legal function—[Here considerable laughter was excited, by the hon. Member, in the earnestness of his gesticulation, accidentally striking off the hat of Sir James Graham, who sat below him, and who very good-humouredly joined in the mirth.] He was warm on this subject, but he spoke to men who had a Constitution here. They had none in Ireland. Could the King himself order the Members of that House to disperse No! but in Ireland the King's deputy's deputy's sub-deputy could do that which the King himself could not do in this country. The deputy's sub-deputy could send the Members of a peaceable meeting to prison in fourteen minutes and a half after they were told to disperse. Yes! in Ireland any ignorant fellow—a mere baboon with a bit of parchment which, perhaps, he could scarcely read, had power to dissolve a meeting, and if the members refused to disperse in fourteen minutes and a half after his command, they might be sent to gaol. Was this a Constitution? The people were excited, and in the midst of this, the man of the people—their great favourite— was to be sent to prison. The moment he should be consigned to a dungeon would dissolve the Union. His opinions as to Mr. O'Connell were well known; no earthly consideration could have induced him to shake hands with him, if he had not been persecuted; but being; persecuted, 323 he would stand by him through good and evil report. He had shaken hands with him, and every Orangeman in Ireland would now do the same. He hoped the Ministers of this country would be able to divest themselves of any connection with the late proceedings in Ireland. That was the object which he had in rising; tonight. The moment they sent the member for Waterford, he repeated, to a dungeon they decreed their own divorce from Ireland. They would send seven milions of Irish hearts along with hint. He had trespassed too long upon the patience of the House. With the exception of the hon. member for Boroughbridge, he was grateful to the House for the kindness and courtesy with which he had been treated. He knew not how to return his thanks—and, perhaps, he could not do so better than by not obtruding himself longer upon its attention—the, hon. Member concluded by moving, "that there be laid before the House Copies of the Proclamations issued by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland since the passing of the Act against Unlawful Assemblies; also, a copy of the letter of the present Chief Secretary, to the Magistrates."
§ Lord Althorp
said, that he rose very unwillingly, but after the speech which had been made by the hon. member for Clare it was impossible for him not to enter at some length into the conduct of his Majesty's Government with respect to Ireland. He regretted that the hon. Gentleman had made his motion in the absence of his right hon. friend, the Chief Secretary for Ireland, as also in the absence of the hon. member for the county of Waterford; because it was impossible for him (Lord Althorp), in his statement, not to allude to the conduct of the hon. member for Waterford, in a way in which he was sorry to allude to the conduct of any Gentleman in his absence, and especially a Gentleman in the situation in which that hon. Member was at present placed. He had suggested to the hon. member for Clare, in private, that if he would move for the papers in question without making any. observation, this might be avoided. The hon. Member, however (and he did not mean to impute to him any blame on the subject), thought that it was his duty to make the statement which he had just made; and he (Lord Althorp) told him, that, in that case, he should feel it necessary to make a counter- 324 statement in defence of the Government. The state of the case in Ireland was briefly this:—The hon. member for Waterford was exciting so much discontent, which he called agitation, that notwithstanding he cautiously terminated every speech, however inflammatory, with a recommendation of obedience to the law, it was evidently tending to insurrection and rebellion [loud and general shouts of "hear, hear!'' with intermingled shouts as loud from O'Gorman Mahon of "no! no!"]. And what was the avowed object of the agitation excited by the hon. member for Waterford? To obtain the Repeal of the Union. Now, he asked the House, if it was not absolutely the duty of his Majesty's Government to prevent an agitation, having an object in view which must lead to the separation of the two countries? Who was there could conceive it possible that one Legislature could sit in England, and another Legislature sit in Ireland, and that the two countries could long remain united? The experiment had been tried. Let the House recollect the difference of opinion that existed between the two Legislatures of England and Ireland in the year 1783. Was it not a matter of notoriety, that if the malady of George 3rd had continued, the government of Ireland would have been in the hands of one set of political individuals, and the government of England in the hands of another set? He admitted that no such difference had since taken place. But would the hon. member for Clare wish to see such Parliaments in Ireland as those which had since been seen there? Would he wish for a repetition of such scenes as those of 1797 and 1798? The hon. Gentleman talked of deluging Ireland with blood—what did the Irish Parliaments do? He(Lord Althorp)was, therefore, quite at a loss to conjecture whence the benefit was to proceed from the Repeal of the Union, which the friends of the Repeal expected from it. Seeing this, and seeing the agitation which was excited for the purpose of procuring the Repeal, it was manifestly the duty of Government to apply every means in its power for suppressing that agitation. He by no means intended to say, that the only policy which his Majesty's Government in Ireland ought to pursue was, to suppress the agitation merely by force. The wise policy was, while they firmly suppressed that violent and seditious conduct which tended to insurrection and rebellion, to show the 325 people of Ireland, by measures of conciliation and kindness, that there was every possible disposition to attend to and remove their grievances. That was the policy which his Majesty's Government had resolved to adopt. They were determined to use their utmost exertions to resist the designs of the agitators; but, at the same time, by giving employment to the people of Ireland, by repealing such laws as were obnoxious to them, and by other measures of a similar character, to do all they could to conciliate their affections. He hoped and trusted that the advocates of the Repeal of the Union would never succeed in the attainment of their object. Knowing, as he did, the feelings and the spirit of his country men, and of those of the hon. Gentleman, he could hardly conceive the possibility of their obtaining that object except by civil war. No man held civil war in greater detestation than himself, but even that he should prefer to the dismemberment and destruction of the empire.
§ Mr. Leader
said, that after what had been stated by the hon. member for Clare, with regard to secret societies, he felt it necessary for himself to declare solemnly, that with any society whatever, of a political nature, he had never been connected. He had heard the hon. member for Clare declare that deliberation was over, and— that the people of Ireland were determined to obtain by force a Repeal of the Union.— [The hon. member for Clare here observed, that he had been misunderstood. He had made no mention of force.] He had expressly heard the hon. Member state, that deliberation was past, and that the people of Ireland—if he did not actually use the word force—were determined upon having a Repeal of the Union, it had happened to him, since he had a seat in that. House, to have passed some of his time in Ireland, and to have gone through a considerable part of the country. He had not been afraid, from his proceedings in that House, even though he was a Protestant Gentleman, and many of his family were churchmen, and, therefore, his creed was not congenial to the feelings of his countrymen,—yet he had not been afraid to face 30,000 of his Catholic countrymen, to account for his conduct, and to explain the line which he intended to pursue. He had told them, that, looking at the Union, with all the evils of absenteeism, and with a rate of taxation that was oppressive, and a Go- 326 vernment too indifferent to the condition of Ireland, on the one hand, yet, on the other, they had the British market open for their commodities, and various other advantages derivable from British connection; besides which, there was a prospect of an immediate Reform of Parliament; and that, if these things were put in contradistinction to the evils of the Union, there ought to be a pause before any procedure of violence took place, He had likewise said, that in that House he would endeavour to secure for Ireland practical benefits; that he was sure it was the intention of the Government, in which he had full confidence, to extend these benefits to Ireland as much as possible. That, under this persuasion, he would continue that line of conduct most likely to ensure these results, and, if he failed, he would go back and tell them what his conduct should be in future, cither to join in seeking for a Repeal of the Union, or to resign his trust. And what had been the consequence to him, a Protestant? A unanimous vote of confidence. He regretted the proceedings that had been adopted during the pendency of a case in the Courts of Law, which must greatly affect the character of a Member of the House; and he admired the candour of the noble Lord, in recommending the hon. member for Clare not to enter into this discussion at such a period. He concurred in this feeling, because every one acquainted with the proceedings against the hon. member for Waterford was aware that the case was one of great legal difficulty; one of the construction of an Act of Parliament which would find no favour either in that House or in a Court of Law. He knew that great discontent existed in Ireland, and he was one of those old Whigs whose principle it ever was, that, when great discontent did exist, the presumption was always against the Government. This was a principle he had heard laid down by Mr. Fox, and repeated also by Lord Grey. Knowing the condition of the people of Ireland, he would, on a future occasion, when the measures of which notice had been given were brought under the consideration of the House, express his sentiments on the details. This he would say, that, willing always to make allowances for the people, he was also inclined to allow a good deal to a new Government, to enable them to form their judgment, and take time to consider the best measures of practical 327 relief. He also had the highest, esteem for the chivalrous character of the gallant soldier who was Viceroy of Ireland, and, from his knowledge of him, believed that if, from precipitation or haste, he had gone too far, no one would be more willing to reconsider or retract an inadvertency. It should be recollected that up to Christmas-eve Mr. O'Connell had been attending his duties in that House. If, then, on his arrival at home, the Trades of Dublin, admiring his conduct in Parliament, were disposed to pay a compliment to a popular Member of the Legislature, who, as they thought, had discharged his duty with zeal and fidelity—and if, on the following day, a proclamation was issued, prohibiting this display of feeling—in his judgment that was a measure which, if the Marquis of Anglesey had duly considered, he would have deemed inexpedient, and would have thought it better to allow this compliment to be paid, than to hazard the danger of collision with the people. Although willing to make. every allowance, he was not inclined to shut his eyes to danger, or to the improprieties which he lamented to say had taken place in Ireland. He had, however, always heard that it was the duty of Governments well to weigh their acts, and not to widen any breach that might exist with the people; and he could not conceive them to be guilty of any dereliction of duty in making allowance even for popular intemperance. He thus trespassed on the House, because he had travelled since he had last addressed them, a distance of fifteen hundred miles through the country, and thought it necessary to observe, that the people of Ireland were neither prepared nor willing to go the length of civil warfare to attain the Repeal of the Union. He knew the country well, both as a resident in the country and in Dublin, and of any thing like civil warfare there was a universal disclaimer on the part of the people, who declared, that a Repeal of the Union would not be worth obtaining could it be got only by force. The hon. Gentleman concluded by saying, that he hoped and trusted the time was not gone by for a peaceable arrangement, and sure he was, that the sooner the dispute was settled, the better for the country.
§ Sir R. Peel
regretted very much that a discussion had been brought on, which would have been much better reserved; but as the necessity had been imposed on him, to take part in that which he could 328 have gladly avoided, in the absence of the hon. member for Waterford, whose character was involved, and whose situation was concerned in the question then agitated; but since the time was come for the discussion, it became every man who took a lead in the discussions of that House, to declare that he had irrevocably made up his mind to stand by the Executive Government, and maintain the Legislative Union between the two countries, and prevent the dismemberment of them at all hazards. This was that domestic concern which was now of paramount importance. He should be ashamed of himself if he did not cast into utter oblivion all party political feelings which might have existed between himself and the right hon. Gentlemen opposite; he should be ashamed of himself if he did not cast them aside, and without hesitation express a steady determination, by all the means in his power, to support the King's Ministers in all extremities of maintaining inviolate the Union with Ireland. He would support them in their proceedings, and should they make any little slips, and he did not say that they had made any, he would put the best construction on their conduct; and give them credit for their good intention, should they be driven to any harsh measures to meet the evasions and artifices of the declarations of the hon. member for Waterford. The House could well conceive the difficulty under which the declarations of that hon. Member placed the Ministers; but it was the duty of Government, even at the risk of the dreadful extremity to which the noble Lord had alluded, even at the hazard of civil war, to prevent the dismemberment of the empire. If the Union with Ireland were severed, if the feelings of independence were encouraged in Ireland, why not in Scotland, why not in Wales, and why not break up the empire altogether? It was to him perfectly clear, that after the Union was dissolved, the empire could not be preserved: the Union was necessary, therefore, to preserve the empire, and if it could not be preserved but by force, the Government was authorised to use force. If there was a difficulty in maintaining this Union—if the Government were, as it ought to be, resolved to maintain it, the Government would be to blame if it did not first employ every legal means, however severe—every authority it had received from Parliament, however much the late Ministers might have been blamed for 329 procuring that authority; the Government, he said, would be highly blameable if it did not first employ every legal and authorised means in order to avoid the necessity of having recourse to that dreadful alternative, suppressing the agitation by force of arms. If the laws were unable to stay the progress of those who desired the Repeal of the Union, still the Government would be highly to blame, should it afterwards dye the scaffold, or the plains of Ireland, with blood, if it did not first try all the existing authority of the laws. The hon. Gentleman who spoke last deprecated the proclamation which had pre vented the meeting of the Trades; but that meeting must not be taken by itself The hon. Member must conjoin it with the declarations made by the hon. member for Waterford, who had signified his fixed intention to try the question of enforcing the proclamation, and who had distinctly declared, that when the opportunity came, physical force should be employed to sever the Union. The Government, then, he contended, had no alternative, and it was mercy as well as good policy to resolve by law to interdict the first meeting of the people. The noble Lord had referred to the constitution of Ireland between 1782 and 1800; but he called on the House not to deceive themselves by supposing that, by the Repeal of the Union now, they could place the two countries in the same situation as they were in before 1800. It was not after the Union that the two countries could be placed in the same situation as if no Union had taken place. After a divorce the feelings were not the same as before marriage. "Oh Sir!" exclaimed the right hon. Baronet, "let us not. deceive ourselves—very different will be the feelings—bitter animosity and hatred will succeed; there will arise different feelings as to religion: the country will be separated into hostile and intolerant factions, and the country will be a theatre of outrage and violence." ["No, no, "from O'Gorman Mahon.] Both he and the hon. member for Clare were then speaking of futurity, and it became them to speak with becoming diffidence of the fallibility of human judgment: but he certainly never held more confidence in any opinion than he did in the opinion, that, if the Union were dissolved, such scenes as he mentioned would be realised. If the Union were dissolved, they would have many of those secret societies, of which he had heard for 330 the first time that night. Me did net certainly suppose that the great body of the Catholics had been united to obtain the Repeal of the Union, but to obtain their civil rights and religious freedom; but he did know that the great body of the Catholics, who had obtained their wishes, had resolved to preserve their faith, and preserve that tranquility, and that freedom they had obtained. It was not religious differences that now disturbed Ireland—it was not the want of any political rights—but the bad example of Paris and Brussells, acting on the excitability of a generous people, which had produced the present unfortunate state of Ireland. He did not look to any other means for restoring tranquility than the gradual return of the reason of the people. He did not wish to revive religious animosities, or to embody again the Orangemen. That would be a bitter sacrifice; but he relied on the returning good sense of the great body of the Catholics. He was certain, that after the lapse of a short time, when reason should have returned, that they would see the folly of their madness— [and it was madness if ever a nation could be mad—it was madness to attempt to sever the Union. Let them only look at the depreciation it would occasion in the value of all property. Let them remember, too, that England could never, and would never, but at the last extremity, consent to the Repeal of the Union. Let them re- member, that if they should succeed after a twenty years' contest, what they would make of their country—a great moral wilderness, in which every bud passion and every crime would flourish and ripen. With these feelings, he declared, that it was the interest of both countries to remain united. He should listen with favour to any proposals of a conciliatory nature coming from the noble Lord; but they must be proposals for doing justice to all parties. The noble Lord must not attempt to patch up tranquility and peace by giving a triumph to any party. He considered Ireland at present to be in greater danger from the abuses of liberty than from the abuses of power, and, therefore, he, placing full confidence in the Government, should entertain with favour any proposition for enforcing the law, and giving strength to the Government. If circumstances should arise to make it necessary, he should be ready to arm it, and the Government had good ground for asking it, with new 331 and greater power. He should be ready, he could assure the noble Lord, to support any proposition of that kind he might make.
§ Mr. W. O'Brien
expressed his satisfaction at the manly declaration of the noble Lord, and his admiration at the conduct of the right hon. Baronet. He exhorted the Ministers to continue to shew that they were not indifferent to the real interests of Ireland; "to be just and fear not," and he was sure they might rely on the national gratitude and on certain success.
dissented from the whole speech of the right hon. Baronet below him, with the exception of his recommendation to Ministers to do justice to Ireland. But when the right hon. Baronet said "justice," did he mean by that to keep up the Church Establishment as at present? Were the people to submit to tithes, and Vestry Acts? Were the people to be denied the privilege of Englishmen and Scotsmen, and deprived of the power of discussion—especially as to the question of the Union—one of the greatest importance. He regretted the opinions which seemed to prevail at both sides, and he especially regretted that a meeting called for the purpose of discussing the Repeal of the Union should be denominated a revolution. He regretted that Ireland had hitherto been governed by force; and he had, in consequence, hailed the accession of the present Ministry, in the hope of their acting on the principle of conciliation. But how had they done this? Why they had been guilty of acts of which every other Ministry would have been ashamed. As a British subject his blood boiled to hear of their revolting proceedings in Ireland. He had formed very different hopes and he must express the deepest regret at the violent and arbitrary conduct of the Ministers, so different from the language they had held, recommending conciliation, when they sat on the Opposition side of the House. He denied that it was in the power of Mr. O'Connell, or any man, to agitate a great country, unless that country was filled with discontent from reasonable causes. Ireland had reason to be discontented—she had been long misruled and oppressed. He recommended the Ministers to abolish the Church Establishment, to do away tithes, to recall the Lord Lieutenant, and place Ireland in a similar situation to that of Scotland, allowing her to have her own Church Establishment; and those things 332 would do more to pacify her, and restore tranquility and maintain the Union, than any other measures- No danger, in his opinion, was to be dreaded from revolution or rebellion, and he was sorry to observe so manifest a disinclination on the part of the House to entertain the Union Question. He trusted that Ministers, instead of risking a civil war, would adopt the measures he recommended, leaving the Protestants merely such a provision for their religion as their numbers required. The fact was, that Ireland might as well be governed by the Dey of Algiers as under the present system; but 7,000,000 of people would not be tame enough much longer to endure it. He denied, that Mr. O'Connell's plan went to separate the two countries, but only to give a separate Legislature to Ireland for her domestic purposes, leaving the general policy of the empire to be determined by the united Legislature. He was opposed to that hon. Member, but did not comprehend the arbitrary and un-English manner which had been employed to put him down. The hon. Member concluded by entreating the Ministers to derive wisdom from experience, and now to act on the maxims they had delivered when they sat on the other side of the House.
§ Viscount Palmerston
could not help rising to express the great satisfaction he felt on hearing the observations which had fallen from the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir R. Peel), as to his determination to support, not the present Administration or the present Government, but the very Constitution of the country itself. Such conduct was what might have been expected from the high mind of the right hon. Baronet. Very different, however, was the language of the hon. member for Middlesex; and he must own, that he did not anticipate even from him, such mischievous extravagance. They were now assembled but a few months after having passed the greatest act of concession ever granted by a Legislature, and yet they were told by the hon. Member, that they had trodden down those to whom they had made that concession with an "iron heel." But facts were the best refutation which could be offered to such a charge, and it might suffice for him to mention, that Ministers, at the very time when they expressed their determination to put down factious, turbulent, and designing men, were deciding upon measures from which 333 great benefits and advantages must necessarily accrue to Ireland. He (Lord Palmerston) denied that the noble Marquis at the head of the Irish Government had acted with precipitation in his endeavours to put down the designs and machinations of evil-disposed persons in that country. He acted with the deliberate advice and full concurrence of the British Cabinet; and not only he would be undeserving of his situation, but Ministers would merit the severest censure and condemnation, did they allow themselves to be imposed upon by the shallow artifices of any factious and rebellious plotters against the best interests of the empire. The conduct which they had lately witnessed would lead them to doubt the expediency of Catholic emancipation, if any thing could shake their conviction on that subject. But, notwithstanding the advantage which had been taken of it, Ireland, he would confidently affirm, did not desire the Repeal of the Union: he spoke not of the wretched creatures who submitted to the guidance of a demagogue, but of the intelligence, the property, and respectability of the country. He could safely state to the House, that all persons of property, and all those who had any stake, or anything to lose in the country, were opposed to the Repeal of the Union; and if, by maintaining the Legislative Union inviolate, the country must be deluged with blood, as the hon. member for Clare had stated, the guilt of the blood which would be shed, and all the disastrous consequences, must fall on the heads of those who had driven the people to acts of violence; and the Government must, in the eyes of heaven and man, stand exonerated from all blame.
§ Mr. Wyse, as an Irishman and Representative of a county in which this question had been frequently canvassed and discussed, begged to assure the House that he had, for the first time that night, heard of secret associations established for the purpose of procuring a Repeal of the Union, and took that opportunity, on the part of himself and those who acted with him, to disclaim all participation in such proceedings. Their deeds were before day, and under the eye of the public, and they disdained to intrigue for any political object through the medium of clandestine assemblies. He was disposed to ascribe the agitation for the Repeal of the Union in Ireland to the influence of the example of 334 France and Belgium; and he was sure that all his countrymen remembered the conciliatory Act of the Session before last by which he had been enabled to stand before them as the Representative of a county of Ireland. He, for one at least, but, he believed, in common with the great body of the respectable Catholics of Ireland, felt most deeply grateful for that measure of conciliation and concession to which he had just adverted. He knew, at the same time, that with respect to the Repeal of the Union, there existed a diversity of opinion, not only geographically, but morally. There were, in fact, whole districts in which the question had not, as yet, been mooted; and others, in which the opinions of the inhabitants were split and divided. He felt in the fullest degree, the honest pride resulting from popularity well-deserved; but the dearest blessing which attended popularity was the fact of its affording means of guiding and enlightening the people; but most strongly did he protest against that popular chivalry—that worst species of chivalry—which carried desolation into the bosoms of families; and which, under the sacred name of liberty, would lead to despotism; that worst species of despotism, the lawless rule of the mob, from which there was no haven.
§ Sir C. Wetherell
was sorry that he had, by his delinquencies, put the hon. member for Clare out of humour. Now, however, as his good humour had been re-established, he trusted it would last for the next two hours. In the absence of the hon. member for Waterford, he would not commit himself by stating any arguments he would not advance in his presence; and more especially as his trial was now pending, he would avoid saying anything respecting the law under which he was arraigned. He would content himself by observing, that on this occasion he would vote for Government, and moreover tell the hon. member for Clare, that in the catalogue of his delinquencies he had omitted the fact that the member for Boroughbridge was the framer of that Act, which the hon. member for Middlesex, using a word for which he must have steamed over to the Pigeon-house, had designated as the Algerine Act. Fearless he had ever been in his conduct, and the hon. member for Clare would see that he was equally fearless in maintaining it. He avowed himself the framer of that Act; and when the time did come, the member 335 for Boroughbridge would rise in his place, and with that deference to that House which he should always show, would defend the necessity and the preservative of constitutional principles of that Act, with a spirit equal to the hon. Member's own. He contended that, in supporting that law, Government were supporting a law which had been called for and wanted at the time it was enacted—a law, the non-execution of which would have been as disgraceful to Lord Anglesey as its execution was honourable to the spirit, the integrity, and character of that illustrious individual. He trusted the hon. Member would not take it ill—he knew he would not—it was quite impossible there ever could be any ill-humour between them again—he trusted the hon. member for Clare would not take it ill if he expressed his regret that he had not been wrong about the Catholic Question. It was really startling to hear from that hon. Member, that now nothing but a disunion between the two countries could save both from a civil war; when only eighteen months before, he had been told, that Emancipation was to be the healer of all sores, and the preventive of all evils. He hoped, however, that the measure was not so completely gone—so perfectly functus officio—so effete as the hon. Member seemed to think. He never could admit such a monstrosity in argument, as that the only means of avoiding a civil war was to be found in the Repeal of the Relief Bill, and of the Union Bill—in the dissevering of England and Ireland. This was not a question of Whig and Tory —of those who sat on that side of the House, or those who sat on the other. It was not a question of parties in the State, but of the whole State—of the country at large, and the just authority of Government. He would now resume his place, stating, that, although an occasion might by-and-by occur when he should not be able to give his assistance to Government upon a question which was not one respecting the Executive Administration, yet that he now most cordially tendered it his support, and acknowledged that on this question the noble Earl at the head of the Government had redeemed fully, completely, truly, and honourably, one of the pledges which he had given elsewhere;— viz. that he (Lord Grey) would fully maintain the executive power in Ireland. From what had fallen from the noble Lord opposite, he was justified in concluding that 336 Lord Anglesey had acted with the privity and advice of the British Cabinet; and therefore he admitted the noble Earl had maintained his proposition, when he stated that he would support the just authority of the Crown. He also allowed that the noble Earl had maintained another of his pledges, relating to the disturbances at home; that noble Earl had declared, that he would maintain the power of the law in the disturbed districts, and the effect produced by the Special Commissions fully proved that he had succeeded in performing the task which he had so spiritedly undertaken. He had no objection to the production of the papers moved for. He thought that the hon. Member seemed to acknowledge they were only a peg to hang a speech on. He rejoiced, however, that the speech had been made, since it gave many persons, and, among the rest, the member for Boroughbridge, an opportunity of recording their opinions, and clearly showed, that on this vital question all parties were united and ready to maintain the just prerogatives of the Crown, and the constitutional exercise of them unimpaired.
Sir F. Burdett
remarked, that the Government was in an awkward predicament, and that the hon. Member near him and others, who, like him, professed to support it, pursued a line of conduct calculated to cause it much annoyance. If they called that backing their friends (a plague on such backing!), he would only say, the Government would find more difficulty in avoiding these side attacks than any fair and adverse Motions which might he brought to bear on it by declared opponents. He compared the indiscriminate attack of the hon. member for Clare on all men and all parties in that House, to the conduct of one of his own countrymen at a fair, who laid about with his stick, breaking, indiscriminately, the heads of friends and foes. Long as was the speech of that hon. Member, it was difficult to pick out any one thing which admitted or required an answer. There was simply a string of general remarks, in which he reflected on Irishmen, the best friends of Ireland, and on the Whigs of England, who had fought the battles of the Catholics for half a century, and thereby precluded themselves from the enjoyment of Office, and those stations which were an object, of ambition to all honourable men. From what had fallen from the hon. Member, it would 337 appear, that Dean Swift's assertion, "that what was true everywhere else was not so in Ireland," was well founded; and it would even seem, that words bore a different signification in Ireland from what they did every where else, and therefore, when Irish Catholics talked of gratitude without end, they must have meant gratitude without a beginning. He must say, that he had never heard anything with more surprise than the tirade of the hon. member for Clare against the Whigs, which has re-echoed from the great agitator at the other side of the water.
§ Sir F. Burdett, after explaining to the lion. Member, proceeded to contend that benefit had resulted from the Catholic Relief Bill, and that they felt it. Mr. O'Connell could not now agitate Ireland as he had before agitated it. He had advocated the claims of the Catholics to equal rights, because he thought their claims were just, and feeling this, he did not know if he should have waited to consider the policy of conceding them, although he thought that policy and justice always went hand in hand. It was to be remembered, that Ireland was not all Catholic, and that the whole body of the Protestants, and the most respectable and influential portion of the Roman Catholics, would be found in the hour of trial ready to assist the whole of the Protestants, and the whole of the Catholics of England, in maintaining inviolate the Union between the kingdoms, the Constitution of the country, and the safety of the empire, if it were invaded. The difference between us and the Irish agitators was this; that whereas in England we had discussion before decision—in Ireland they had decision first, and discussion afterwards. Like the Irish gentleman in the play, they said, "Oh! a pretty sort of thing indeed to explain—no, let us fight first, and hear the explanation afterwards." The cry of the Repeal of the Union was general among the people of Ireland. Among the lower classes there, the phrases "Union," and "Repeal of Union," were indifferently applied, for they did not know what was meant by either of them. The people of Ireland were suffering from distress, no doubt; and as they were told by Mr. O'Connell that the Repeal of the Union would give them food and clothing, of course they wished to have food and clothing. He was sure that what the 338 Marquis of Anglesey had done, had been done with the best intentions. He had full confidence in that noble Marquis, who possessed a sound understanding to guide him, and liberal feelings by which to direct his conduct. To the Irish the noble Marquis had shown himself decidedly attached—for their interests he had laboured with earnestness and zeal, and the Irish must have short memories indeed, or else they would know and remember what sacrifices he had made for them. The noble Marquis, who but a short time ago was so much lauded among them, had sacrificed in the pursuit of what he considered to be their advantages not only all the ordinary objects of ambition, but a friendship, that from its length and intimacy must have been peculiarly dear to him: he had sacrificed the friendship of the late King, with whom he had been bound in ties of early and long-continued friendship. It was he who was the real Liberator of the Catholics of Ireland, and to him the gratitude of the Catholics was really due. The hon. member for Clare professed his anxiety to preserve the peace and union (the moral union at least) of the two countries, and yet he did nothing but threaten them with separation and hostility. His voice might be the voice of Jacob, but his hand was the hand of Esau; he was like the rowers on the Thames, who looked one way while they rowed another. It was possible, that, like them, he might get successfully to his journey's end, but it was much to be feared that in this respect the comparison between them could not be maintained. Like the Earl of Dorset, in the time of Charles 2nd, he might be "the best tempered man," but certainly, like that noble Ear), he had "the worst tempered muse;" for while he professed peace, he made the strongest demonstration of hostility. It was true, lamentably true, that Ireland now suffered under many evils; but what was the cause of them? There was one authority on that subject to which the hon. member for Clare could not possibly object—he meant Dr. Doyle, who distinctly attributed the present evils of Ireland to the unsettled state of the people, to the evils of agitation. He said, as an Englishman, that there was no subject which had occupied more time, or had more interested the feelings of that House, than the happiness of Ireland, and that the Government was equally as anxious to 339 promote her welfare as that of England. It was a vulgar prejudice to suppose that Englishmen were not interested in that subject, because, forsooth, Ireland had once been a separate kingdom—he begged pardon, not one kingdom, but five kingdoms in one—and because there might be now five Kings of that country, all with a perfect claim to the Throne; or, in other words, the claim of one was as good as the claim of the other. He had no objection to the discussion of this question; but he did not call that discussion, which was the mere stringing together declamatory words and phrases. Yet that was the discussion given by Mr. O'Connell, who now abused the Marquis of Anglesey, though, not long ago, when the trammels were not taken off him, and when the noble Marquis was trying to take them off, he had been the fawning encomiast of the noble Marquis. He begged to remind the hon. Member, that Catholic Emancipation had been granted on the ground that the Union of the two countries made the measure safe and practicable; and he was sure, that if the Irish were asked whether they would have the Union with Emancipation, or the Repeal of the Union without it, he was sure they would answer, una voce, "Give us Emancipation and the Union," [O'Gorman Mahon: no!] He was sorry to say, that he was unfortunate enough to be so old that he could recollect such to be the prevailing opinion of the day when the Union was effected. The Irish Agitators rendered the discussion of this question impossible, at least at the present moment; or, if not absolutely impossible, at least only possible in that House. There let them introduce the question. If it would really benefit Ireland, Englishmen had a true interest in carrying it. They had, indeed, a stronger interest than Irish gentlemen, for these were not so heavily taxed; and the system of sub-letting, which saved them from the evils under which English gentlemen now laboured, were really the cause of the evils of Ireland. That system produced misery there, and drove the peasantry of that country into this, where they over burthened the market for labour, till our own peasantry were utterly thrown out of employment. The hon. Baronet then made some remarks in reply to the hon. member for Preston, and his attempts to settle a higher rate of wages for the workmen at Over toil than the farmers could give, and entered 340 into a dissertation on the circumstances which determined the rate of wages, which he said, were supply and demand. Like every body else he wished to see the comforts of the labourers increased, but Legislation could do no good by tampering with the rate of wages. In conclusion, the hon. Baronet repeated his wish for the discussion of the Union Question, but declared, it could never be fairly and satisfactorily discussed under circumstances of universal agitation.
§ Mr. Hunt
dissented from the views of the hon. Baronet, and thought he would have acted a more manly part to have waited till the hon. member for Waterford was in the House before he had made many of his observations. Both the hon. Baronet and the noble Lord, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, had threatened Ireland. The hon. member for Clare had stated, as he understood, that discussion was at an end; and how? Why by the proclamation issued by the Lord Lieutenant; and yet the hon. member for Westminster taunted the Irish, and the hon. member for Waterford, for putting off discussion till after decision, when it was the Government which would allow no discussion. It was like knocking a man down, and reproaching him with not keeping firm on his legs. He begged leave to caution the Ministers against the use of threats; he cautioned them how they allowed themselves to be hallooed on by the Inflammatory speeches of the hon. members for Tamworth and Boroughbridge, for he was sure the Government had no power to execute such threats, and quite certain that the people would not submit to them. He recommended Ministers to abolish taxes and tithes, and curtail the Church Establishment of Ireland, if they did not entirely destroy it, and they would make the people so happy that threats would not be required, and they would never hear again of the Repeal of the Union.
replied. He denied that there had ever been a pledge given by the Catholic body not to agitate the question of the Repeal of the Union, in case Emancipation were granted. On the contrary, ten years ago, the Catholic body, forgetting the grievous wrongs under which they personally suffered, proposed to the Orangemen to unite with them for the Repeal of the Union, and to leave their own injuries for the redress of an Irish Parliament. What the people of Ireland 341 now wanted, and what they were determined at all risks to have, was, equal laws and equal rights with the people of England. Had they this at present? Englishmen, recollect that the King's deputy's deputy can do at this moment in Ireland that which the King himself cannot do in England, for he could suppress discussion upon whatever subjects he pleased. The noble Secretary for Foreign Affairs had dared to tell the people of Ireland that, if they ventured to seek the restoration of their national freedom and independence by force, the blood which would inevitably How in the struggle must be on the heads of the Agitators. He said, no; the blood must be on the heads of the people of England, who refused the people of Ireland their rights, and acted, as they always had done, like tyrants in that country. He was sure that till lately the appeal to force for the Repeal of the Union was the last thing which the people of Ireland dreamt of. Whether that would be the case after the declaration made by the English Ministry that night, he would not venture to determine. This only he would say, if blood were shed, the guilt of that blood must be on the Ministry of England.— "But this I tell you, Englishmen, you will have enough to do abroad, without breaking your spears on the bodies of us Irishmen, who have neither forgotten nor forgiven the days of 98." He repeated a third time, that if blood should be shed in the struggle for the Repeal of the Union, the guilt of it would be on the English Ministry, not on the Irish people, who were determined never to succumb to their tyranny.
§ Motion agreed to.