HC Deb 04 March 1831 vol 3 cc21-2
Sir Robert A. Fergusson

presented a Petition from the Apprentices of Londonderry, against the Repeal of the Union between England and Ireland.

An hon. Member, under the gallery, said, that the Repeal of the Union would so completely separate England and Ireland, that the latter would no longer form a part of the empire.

Mr. O'Connell

was thoroughly convinced, that if the Union were not repealed, Ireland would indeed soon cease to be a constituent part of the British empire. It was necessary to the welfare and happiness of Ireland that she should have a domestic Legislature. If anything' could retard the Repeal of the Union, by remedying existing evils, it would be the beneficial measure of Reform now under discussion. It was a calumny upon the friends of the Repeal of the Union, to say that they wished for political separation.

Sir R. Bateson

said, that he had attended the meeting at which the petition was agreed to, and it reminded him of the manner in which in former times the "apprentice boys of Londonderry" had opposed themselves to bigotry and Popish supremacy. He also noticed the fact, that at one of the dinners he had attended, the hon. member for Waterford had drunk the health of the Orangemen of Ireland in Boyne water. He applauded the energy of the present Government, which had stopped the progress of mischief, by encouraging the loyal, and alarming the disaffected; he especially approved of the measure of calling out the Yeomanry.

Mr. O'Connell

admitted, that he had drunk the health of the Orangemen of Ireland, as he wished to bury in oblivion all animosity, but contended that the word "Popish," which the hon. Baronet had used with reference to the conduct of the apprentices of Londonderry, ought not now to be introduced into Debate. The Irish Roman Catholics had even resisted the bigotry of James 2nd.

Mr. Villiers Stewart

begged to put this question to the hon. member for Water-ford—whether it was his intention in the present Session to bring the question of the Repeal of the Union before the House.

Mr. O'Connell

replied, that it would depend very much upon the fate of the Reform Bill. If it were rejected, he hoped, before the close of the Session, to bring the question of the Repeal of the Union before the House.

Petition to be printed.