§ The Speaker
said, that he had to acquaint the House that the House had been summoned to the House of Peers, where his Majesty had been graciously 140 pleased to deliver a Speech to both Houses of Parliament, of which he had obtained a copy, and would read it to the House. The right hon. Gentleman then proceeded to read the King's Speech.*
The Earl of Ormelie
said, he rose for the purpose of undertaking the important and honourable, but highly responsible duty, of moving an humble Address to his Ma-jesty, in answer to the gracious Speech he had that day delivered to the assembled Parliament of the country, and which had just now been read to the House from the Chair. Though the Representative of a large county, he felt too sensible that he owed this distinguished confidence on the part of his fellow-countrymen more to his attachment to the principles he had ever entertained, than to any power or qualification he possessed to fulfil those arduous duties which the Representatives of the people were now called upon to discharge. It would, however, be gratifying to him to have the present opportunity of making known to the House the feelings and opinions of those who had done him the honour of sending him there, because he was conscious they were those of loyalty to his Majesty, of attachment to the Constitution, and of reason and moderation in all their expectations as to the happy results which they looked to from the reform which had taken place in the representative system of this country. Assured, therefore, as he was of being the Representative of such a constituency, and having himself always given his support to those principles which guided his Majesty's Councils, and having a firm reliance in the wisdom and integrity of the Ministers who directed those Councils, he had not allowed himself to be influenced by any feelings of a personal nature, which would have urged him not to take a prominent part on the present occasion; and though conscious of his own inadequacy to discharge the task which he had undertaken, yet he relied on the indulgent kindness of the House to bear with his inexperience while he made a few observations before moving the Address. He could not but think he spoke the sentiments and opinions of a large majority of the House, when he said, that the circumstances under which they were assembled were calculated to call forth feelings of joy and congratulation—of loyalty and grati-* See Ante, p. 87.141 tude to his Majesty for the constant solicitude he had ever evinced for the welfare of his subjects, and more especially for the wisdom and firmness of his Majesty's Councils in having strengthened and confirmed their just rights and liberties. If custom or precedent were wanting upon the present occasion, he thought that those feelings would lead the House at once to the Throne, with an humble expression of its loyalty and attachment. They were feelings which, he was satisfied, pervaded and actuated the people of this country—of the more northern parts of which he could speak with greater confidence, as, from his own experience, he could state that the prevailing feeling in Scotland was such as he had described; and he was equally inclined to believe that they were those of a vast majority of the nation. He was happy to speak of the feelings of the Scotch nation, who now for the first time could be said to have a political existence. Too long had a selfish and prejudiced oligarchy suppressed the voice of the people of Scotland and repressed their energies, but they had at last obtained and now enjoyed the rights and privileges of freemen, and the blessings of the British Constitution—of that Constitution, which he would say possessed within itself a renovating and re-animating principle, suited to every change of circumstances and coequal to every alteration, and co-extensive with every improvement and advancement of knowledge. He much regretted to see in many parts of the country men of influence and property alienating themselves from the affections of the people, by taking a course opposed to the emphatic expression of public opinion which had been from time to time exhibited; but he trusted that such individuals would calmly consider the course they were themselves pursuing, and reflect whether or not it was calculated to ensure the peace and happiness of the country. He would particularly address himself to that portion of the State which, with mistaken notions and feelings, had arrogated to itself the exclusive title of Conservatives; and would call upon them to consider whether their course did not tend to create that political excitement in the country which they spoke of with so much regret, and to enhance all the existing evils? He would also ask them whether the barrier they had raised between themselves and the people would tend to allay any excitement that might 142 yet prevail, and whether that end would not rather be accomplished by their yielding up party feeling and spirit, and joining hand in hand with those who now looked to the course which opinion was taking in the country, and acted accordingly? Did this party suppose that those who felt with himself wished to impair the institutions of the country, or to pull down or destroy any thing that was valuable or conducive to the general good. No such wish prevailed; on the contrary, it was sought by salutary improvement to strengthen and confirm the institutions in the hearts and affections of the people. He was aware that circumstances had lately occurred to lead some rash legislators, and others with cooler heads, to look for still further and greater change in the laws regulating the representation of the country. Such persons he would request to allow the alterations which had already been made to be fairly tried. So far as the Reform Bill had been tried, laying aside a few partial defects that might have easily been remedied, it had worked in such a way as to make him confident that it would be a benefit to the community, and an imperishable monument to the fame of its promoters. Before any rash innovation was made, he would urge the consideration of the subject with that cool temper of mind which ought to regulate the thoughts of legislators, who should be devoid of that party feeling and those passions which, though natural to be entertained by those who had lost the power they once held, but little served to promote calm deliberation. He, notwithstanding all that had been urged in favour of further change, trusted that all those benefits would accrue which the most ardent Reformer could hope for by any further alteration in the representative system. Turning from that to a more interesting subject, he could not but regret that one part of this empire was disturbed, that lawless violence prevailed, and that the grossest outrages were daily committed. Need he add that he referred to the state of Ireland, which no one could deny had been long oppressed by serious ills and grievances? No one would venture to deny that Ireland was and had been long oppressed, nor did the Government of the country deny it. The Government not only admitted the fact, but was composed of men who, through the whole of their political lives, had evinced 143 a sympathy for Ireland ["No, no," from Mr. O'Connell]. He repeated that those who now directed the destinies of the nation had ever shown a sympathy for Ireland, and it was notorious that the noble personage who now directed the Councils of his Sovereign refused place and power because the great measure of justice which some years ago became the law of the land could not be extended to that country, owing to circumstances which then existed. Not only on this occasion, but through the whole of his political life, he had ever evinced a strong sympathy for the wrongs and grievances of Ireland. Long oppressed as that country had been by centuries of mismanagement, and oppressed still further by mischievous agitation—oppressed by those fomenters of evil discord who live and fatten upon the ills of I heir country—oppressed by those harpies, or birds of prey, who had soared over and watched the agonies of their victim, ready to pierce their destructive talons into its side—oppressed he admitted, and said, it had been, but at length a crisis had, however, arrived in its fate. Property and life were now no longer safe; the law and justice of the country were insufficient to punish the offenders; and a system existed which threatened the destruction of all Government, and even of the whole social edifice. It had, therefore, become unhappily necessary that measures of vigorous coercion, and power should be applied, even though such were necessary, deliberate measures of relief were to accompany them. The hon. and learned Gentleman, the member for the city of Dublin, would not deny that there was no safety for property or life in Ireland; and as both must he protected, he was satisfied that the hon. and learned Member would also admit that any law was better than no law, and that, therefore, Ireland must be dealt with according to the circumstances under which the Parliament unfortunately found her. While measures of power and force more than the law could at present apply were adopted, remedial measures must follow, or else they would not strike at the disease itself, but would merely attack some of its symptoms. No evil to which the interesting but unhappy country to which the attention of Parliament had been called was subject, had in his judgment, been so great as an agitation of a most mischievous nature—he al- 144 luded to the question of a Repeal of the Legislative Union between this country and Ireland. Regarding the great interests of the United Kingdom, as well as those of Ireland itself, the agitation of such a question at all not a little surprised him, and still more that it should have found supporters. He would ask the man with the most Irish heart—of those the most devoted in their attachment to their country—whether he really believed that justice would be better administered by a Parliament in Ireland, or that less party spirit would prevail, or the interests of that country he more impartially protected by a Parliament in Dublin (the focus of the ardent spirits who agitate the people), than by the assembly of the Representatives of the people of the United Kingdom? It was contrary to reason and sound sense that such would be the case; but while he held that the repeal question could not be supported by any argument of reason, justice, or expediency, he again admitted, that Ireland had many serious evils to be redressed, and that Parliament must seek for remedies to remove the diseases of ages of oppression and misgovernment. He would ask the hon. and learned member for Dublin, whether he would not act better for the interest of Ireland, and of the United Empire, calmly to consider the state of his own country—he would ask that hon. and learned Member, whether it might not be more conducive to his character as an Irishman, and a subject of the realm, to endeavour to allay the excitement which prevailed, and to co-operate with those who would use their best and most strenuous endeavours to remedy all the practical ills that prevailed, than to foster and augment it. As a Scotchman he might perhaps be permitted to speak on this matter, as Scotland had once been independent of this country; and should such a measure as the Repeal of the Union with Ireland be carried into effect, the pride of Scotland might feel aggrieved, but were her sons, therefore, to give way to such poetical feelings of fancy and imagination? Such feelings or motives, at least, ought not to actuate or influence a Legislator, and though with such views he might himself look upon his country as degraded, yet he could turn to the more solid advantages that Scotland had derived from the Union; and, still further, when he looked as a subject to the moral influence which this country might and 145 should possess in the great affairs of the world, and looking with integrity and with a firm desire to promote that end, he would no more wish to see a Parliament in Edinburgh than he would wish to see one sitting in the city of Dublin, He would beg to ask the hon. and learned Member, and those who supported the question of a Repeal of the Legislative Union, whether the real question did not mean a dismemberment of the Empire? He would maintain that in Ireland it meant dismemberment. Was the present, he paused to inquire, a fitting time for the agitation of such a topic—a time when such a measure of relief and justice as the Reform Bill had been extended to every part of the United Empire—when an enlightened Administration governed this country, and sympathized with Ireland? His Majesty, in the Speech from the Throne, had directed the attention of Parliament to the Reform of the Church Establishment in Ireland, and had also directed the Parliament of the realm to look at the question in such a way as to promote the best interests and the security of that religion which it professed to teach, and the respectability and efficiency of its ministers. His Majesty had also directed the attention of the House to the question of tithes, and, in allusion to the unfortunate scenes which had occurred in Ireland, in the collection of them for the payment of the clergy, had desired that an endeavour should be made to allay the excitement which had originated from these causes. He repeated, when such measures as those he had enumerated were contemplated, it was not the time for agitating the question of a Repeal of the Union between the two countries. For himself he had every confidence in the policy of his Majesty's Government generally, and, with regard to the internal affairs of this country, that they would be guided on those sound principles which were in accordance with the law and institutions of the country, and with the present times, and circumstances, as well as with the improvement and advancement which it might be said was daily taking place. The present Ministers had done much, but much still remained to be done. He used not the language of panegyric when he added that, by passing the Reform Bill, and by redressing other grievances, his Majesty's Ministers had laid the basis of greater pros- 146 perity and happiness to the community at large than had been ever before experienced. His Majesty had also been graciously pleased to direct the attention of Parliament to many other ameliorations that might be made, in particular to the Church Establishment of this country, with a view to the correction of existing abuses, and also to the mode of the collection of tithes here, as in Ireland. All these important topics would, he was sure, meet in Parliament with the most rigid and impartial investigation, and such arrangements he was sure would be made as would allay the effects of all those grievances, of which the people complained, and while they lightened or removed those restrictions which pressed upon the energies of the country, he was sure they would promote the increase of religion, education, and general prosperity. His Majesty had also been pleased to call the attention of the House to two great measures of commercial legislation—he alluded to the question of the Bank of England and the East-India Company's charter—questions which he was sure would be discussed in the spirit recommended from the Throne—that was, with a view to the general commercial prosperity and welfare of the country. For his own part, he must say, that the fewer impediments were thrown by legislation in the way of the industry and skill of the country, the more likely would its free and uninterrupted course tend to the enlargement of the national happiness. He had now endeavoured to direct the attention of the House to those topics which might suitably be discussed on the present occasion, and he would conclude by expressing his confident hope, that the House would now agree to carry the humble Address to his Majesty in such a spirit as should exist among the Representatives of a free, loyal, and grateful people, to a Monarch whose greatest pride and glory would ever be that he had strengthened and confirmed the Constitution of the country, and extended to every part of his dominions the rights and liberties of freemen. It was his humble prayer, that the Almighty disposer of all events might grant to his most gracious Majesty a long life, to enjoy that prosperity now opening on his reign, and to contribute to the happiness of a loyal and grateful people. The noble Lord concluded by moving the adoption of an 147 Address, which he read, and which was, as usual, an echo to the Speech.
§ Mr. John Marshall
rose to second the Motion. He claimed the indulgence of the House while he shortly stated the reasons which appeared to him to be quite sufficient to induce the House to agree to the Address which had been moved by the noble Lord who had just sat down, the adoption of which he had risen to second. He hoped the House would not think it unbecoming in him, the Representative of a large manufacturing town, now for the first time represented in Parliament, if he shortly alluded to the measure of reform which had entitled that town to Representatives, and which had been discussed, and so happily concluded, in the last Parliament. It had been made apparent, and must be clear to the most strenuous opposers of that measure, that, at any rate, its machinery had proved most effective, and it must be allowed, as far as that went, the plans for registering the voters—the mode of taking the poll—the duration of elections—all these arrangements had been found of the greatest advantage; and he entertained no doubt that equal benefits would result from the more substantial parts of the measure, and particularly in the character of the proceedings of the House, with reference to the bringing to a happy conclusion all those great and important measures which must be submitted to its consideration. He could not avoid stating the satisfaction he felt at the change made in the constitution of the House; neither could he deny himself the present opportunity of expressing his gratitude to the Administration by whose great exertions the change had been brought to bear. That a reform must have been effected at some time he never had a doubt, but he must say, that the Administration had done that which entitled them to the good opinion of the country, in having brought forward the measure in a time of peace and tranquillity, when its details could be calmly and dispassionately discussed. Coupled with this, a greater attention than formerly was now paid to a strict economy in the public expenditure, while, by the exercise of the influence of this country with regard to foreign relations, the Ministers had manifested a course of policy in accordance with the true interests of the country. He could not but think 148 that the Speech delivered from the Throne this day showed the same policy which had hitherto been pursued by his Majesty's present Government. He, however, could not but regret that the settlement of the Belgian question had not yet been accomplished, but certainly, by the capture of the Citadel of Antwerp, one step had been taken towards a termination of the hostilities between Holland and Belgium, He trusted that the House would support his Majesty's Ministers in this respect, for, had they acted a different part, it is not possible to conceive in what position this country would have been placed, and any other course than that which had been followed would have been dangerous to the interests, not only of England, but of Europe. This nation was certainly mainly interested in the maintenance of peace; for by that the peculiar interests of Great Britain could be better protected, and all those great questions submitted for legislation in times of tranquillity, which it now so much behoved the Government to bring to a satisfactory conclusion. The condition of Ireland, though all-absorbing, he would not now touch upon, further than to state his opinion, that a separation between the countries would be most injurious to Ireland, and that he thought the interests and wants of that country would be better treated and protected in an imperial than in a local Parliament. The hon. Member concluded by seconding the Motion for the adoption of the Address.
said, that it was impossible in his opinion for the Representatives of the people to agree to such an Address. He thought it was a bloody, and brutal Address [laughter]. Yes, in spite of that laugh, he was sure that it was a bloody Address. It was exactly what he expected—a declaration of civil war, and that declaration would be echoed by many a wail and many a lament throughout Ireland. It was such an Address as this that was put forth to America when England sent her secretaries there to write her history in blood; but that attempt terminated in the utter disgrace and discomfiture of this country. He repeated, that the Address proposed was bloody, brutal, and unconstitutional; and when he heard the talk in that House as to the deep interest which it felt for the welfare of Ireland—when he 149 heard the gallant officer and the newly-returned member for Leeds speak of the attention which the situation of Ireland would receive in that House—he could not avoid telling them, with indignation, that this brutal Address showed but too plainly what sort of system was intended to be acted on towards that unfortunate country. He called it a brutal Address—for it was nothing else. He had told the right hon. Secretary last Session, that his measures would increase the evils of Ireland. He prophesied it at that time, and his prophecy had proved to be a true one. He should now beg that that part of his Majesty's Speech at the conclusion of the last Session, which related to Ireland, might be read.
The Clerk accordingly read the following passage :—
" I have still to lament the continuance of disturbances in Ireland, notwithstanding the vigilance and energy displayed by my Government there in the measures which it has taken to repress them. The laws which have been passed, in conformity with my recommendation at the beginning of the Session, with respect to the collection of tithes, are well calculated to lay the foundation of a new system to the completion of which the attention of Parliament, when it again assembles, will of course be directed. To this necessary work my best assistance will be given, by enforcing the execution of the laws, and by promoting the prosperity of a country blessed by Divine Providence with so many natural advantages. As conducive to this object, I must express the satisfaction which I have felt at the measures adopted for extending generally to my people in that kingdom the benefits of education "
continued. Here Ireland was described as a country "blessed by Divine Providence with so many natural advantages." It was, indeed, so blessed. Had Scotland, he would ask, so many advantages? Had even England so many advantages? How, then, did it happen, when they talked of the natural advantages of Ireland, that that country was in so wretched a state? He might be sneered at, but he would assert that there never was so fruitful a country presenting so much misery; there never was in the history of the world, so poor a people with so rich a church. How was, it, that after seven centuries of op- 150 pression, there was still to be a call for blood in that country? If Irishmen had had the conducting of Irish affairs, and the country was found in its present state, then the Parliament of England might have reproached them. But such was not the case. The work of evil was perpetrated by others. It was unnecessary to speak of what the noble Lord and the hon. Gentleman said the Government meant to do for Ireland. If, after seven centuries, during which Ireland was subject to this country—if, after that long lapse of time, a territory so blessed by Providence, and so cursed by man, was still in a state of wretchedness and misery, he threw the blame on those to whom the Government had been intrusted. He would tell them that their schemes of domination and of oppression could not succeed; and he would say that there was but one remedy for the woes of Ireland, and that was—to do justice. He had asked, on a former occasion, why it was that Ireland was plunged into such a wretched situation? But he received no answer. Oh—yes, he did. The noble Lord, the member for Devonshire, made a speech at him, the noble Lord emptied on him the phial of his wrath; but how did that affect him? He felt it not. He very well knew that there was not a scion of English nobility that did not think himself betler than an Irishman; and because he stated the wrongs of Ireland—because he argued that his country should not be left a spoil to the right, hon. Secretary—he was sneered at, and even accused as the author of the evils by which his country was weighed down. Was Ireland, he demanded, more peaceable now, after the measures of the right hon. Secretary, than it was at the time to which he alluded? Had not crime increased? Why had it increased? That was the only subject of inquiry. Originating where it did, and spreading as it had done, these points properly considered would show what sort of care was entertained for the welfare and happiness of Ireland. It was very well to talk of what was meant to be done for that country, but neither he nor those who thought with him would be content with the lip-service and mere professions of any set of men. He asserted, that crime had increased. Then came the question, why had it increased? There were two modes in which it had been accounted for. The noble Lord accounted 151 for it by saying, that it was produced by agitation; and it appeared, from the manner in which the statement was cheered, that many Gentlemen entertained the same opinion. But the Gentlemen on the other side of the House forgot, when they thus expressed their hostility to agitation, that it was only last year that they themselves were reproached with the crime of being agitators. Those Gentlemen were told that the people of England wanted no such Reform as these agitators contemplated; that they wanted none of those changes and innovations which Ministers proposed and carried; and the charge of agitation was then advanced against them infinitely more strongly than it had ever been directed against him and his friends. So far as he was himself concerned, he treated with contempt this charge of agitation. The question was, whether the increase of crime was caused by agitation or by misgovernment? He would prove that the latter was the cause. Crime had not been increased by words, but by deeds. This was the question at issue between him and the noble Lord. The noble Lord, after having called him "a bird of prey," and after having made use of several similar metaphors, had, in the end, the singular modesty to request his co-operation in supporting certain measures. What cooperation could be expected from a bird of prey, he certainly could not conceive. They had heard much of what was to be done for Ireland. The right hon. Secretary had been for two years in Ireland, and what bad he done for that country? What measures had he given notice of to night? Why, his rodomontade alteration in the Grand Jury Law, which he had introduced the Session before the last, and another measure for increasing the constabulary force in Ireland, Those were the only projects they had heard of. Now, really, whether he was a bird of prey or an agitator, he did not think it was worth while to call on him for his co-operation with reference to such measures. When the noble Lord had done as much for Scotland as he (Mr. O'Connell) had done for Ireland, then, perhaps, the noble Lord would be justified in speaking so confidently. Did the noble Lord find his countrymen trampled under foot? Did he raise them, by his exertions, from that state of degradation? If he had done that, then he might have raised his voice as he had done. But, in the absence 152 of any such claim, let him not, whatever his rank and station might be, assail men better than himself. What a curse was it for Ireland, that every popinjay you met in the streets, who was capable of uttering fifteen words, was sure to lard his sentences by sarcasms against Ireland. The terms which the noble Lord applied to him he rejected with indignation and scorn. They proved the noble Lord's disposition to be injurious, but they proved nothing more. Looking back to his past career, he recollected the time when the reproaches directed against him that night were multiplied tenfold. The epithet "bird of prey," and other angry expressions, were light and idle compared with the reproaches which were cast on him when he agitated the Catholic question. He agitated then efficiently; and the conduct of the King's Government that day would enable him to agitate still more effectively. The Government agitated for him. They were forcing Ireland into a situation from which it could only be relieved by due concession, or by a sanguinary convulsion. In his opinion, then, the Repeal of the Union was necessary for the preservation of the Throne to the King and his successors—it was essentially necessary for the peace and the prosperity of Ireland; and he thanked the repealers of Ireland for having, by their conduct, raised that question to the dignity and station which it at present held. It was the habit, last year, to sneer and laugh at that question—in short, to talk of it as a subject that never would be agitated in that House. But now what was the case? All parties in Ireland were nearly reconciled by the conduct of the right hon. Secretary, and all men agreed that the question was one which demanded, and must have, a public, a distinct, and solemn discussion; and, moreover, that it was a question which was not to be put down by the force of the bayonet, but, if possible, by the moral force of proof, and that he was certain could not be adduced; for those who supported repeal had right and justice on their side. He would now return to the original question. It was said that agitation had led to the present state of Ireland. He asserted that those who thus argued were totally wrong. He, on the contrary, would aver that agitation had reduced crime. The history of the country proved it, and it was a great pity that men could not read their 153 own history correctly. If those who opposed his opinion were right, then agitation ought to be put down; but if wrong, then justice should be done to Ireland. He claimed justice, and nothing but justice, for Ireland; but the Ministers proclaimed civil war for Ireland—theirs was the system of bayonets and bullets. They called for additional force. In this mode of Government there was no ingenuity, no talent, no new discovery; for 700 years England had governed Ireland in the same way. In the time of Henry 8th, when only a portion of Ireland contained King's subjects—in the time of Elizabeth, when only a part of the Irish were Queen's subjects—the Government was carried on in the same way. And here he could not refrain from remarking that so very ignorant were Englishmen in general of the history of the sister country, as it was sometimes styled, that he never yet met the Englishman who knew that it was not until the year 1614, in the reign of James 1st, that all the inhabitants of Ireland became King's subjects. Having thrown forth this observation, he would next remark that more blood had been shed in Ireland during the Administration of the right hon. Secretary than during that of the Earl of Strafford. The peasantry were slain by day—assassinated by night—openly by soldiers and policemen in the day—at night murdered by the wretched outcast from society, the white-boy—a man most commonly converted by misery and oppression into a monster. The wantonness with which life was every day sacrificed in Ireland was appalling. By a late post it appeared that a farmer in Wexford was shot by the police, in passing a river, because he refused to stop in obedience to their mandate. In Mayo, the other day, peasants were shot for looking hard at the police. In the Queen's County, a man was murdered for singing a song which sounded unpleasingly in the ears of the police. And there was the affair at Kanturk. Really this was worth a moment's consideration from the House. Several parishes, it appeared, had assembled for the purpose of peaceably petitioning for relief from tithes. The right hon. Gentleman had since put down all meetings consisting of more than one parish. Well, so be it; but, as usual, the police attended this meeting in coloured clothes, and mingled 154 with the peasantry. The soldiers, too, were of course brought to the ground with guns loaded, bayonets fixed, and all things in a state of warlike preparation. Now mark—one of these disguised policemen threw a stone at the soldiers. Fortunately the people did not follow his example, and the military displayed that temper and forbearance which, in the discharge of their arduous and afflicting duties in Ireland, had distinguished them so often. The man was seized—there were seven witnesses to prove that he had thrown the stone; but there was excessive difficulty in getting a Magistrate to receive the depositions, and when the bill of indictment came before the Grand Jury of the county, it was ignored. That was the way in which justice was administered in Ireland. Hear another story:—A party of police went out lately—one of them was drunk. Hearing the approach of his officer, he went into a cabin, and said to the man and his wife, "For God's sake hide me; if my officer sees me in this state I shall be broken." The police were not in favour with the people: still they could not find it in their hearts to refuse him; so the woman hid him in the bed with her children. The party of police called several times, asking for their comrade. The woman said she knew nothing about him. At length she took him out of the house, and, as the country thereabouts was rendered dangerous by the frequent eyes of coal-pits, she walked upwards of a mile and a half with him, to put him on a secure road, and carried his gun for him all the time. When she came home, however, she found another party of police in her house. They insisted that she had concealed the policeman, and finally seized and handcuffed the man and woman—actually handcuffed her. There was no doubt here; yet there was no indignation expressed. A Mrs. Deacle was handcuffed, or said to have been handcuffed—he did not mean to say she was not—and that House, and indeed all England, were thrown into uproar by it; but the poor woman to whom he alluded was merely an Irishwoman. To proceed, there was some resistance offered by the people who witnessed these things, and there was, in consequence, another slaughter. He begged to tell the gentlemen of England this question was one of life and death. If they employed additional force—more military and police— 155 they would only have more blood. In the case to which he had alluded, a Coroner's Jury brought in a verdict of wilful murder. Now he accused the right hon. Secretary of being a party to all the slaughter at the other side of the water; to that of Newtownbarry, for example. Here he would take for granted that the yeomanry were right; so be it: still it was the right hon. Gentleman and the Government that put into the yeomen's hands those deadly weapons by which men, women, and children were slaughtered. The right hon. Secretary had turned Lord Anglesey into Tithe-Proctor General for Ireland. The gallant Governor and General had made a right glorious campaign; he had conquered parish after parish; he had confiscated the petticoat of the old woman, and the porridge-pot of the young child; he had converted all the barracks into receptacles for tithes, the soldiers into drivers for them; he had scoured the country with cavalry and infantry, aye, and marines; and there certainly was no question, that wherever he had thought proper to apply force he had been successful. Where, then, was the need of additional force in Ireland? Additional force, he contended, would only be productive of additional crime. He now came back to the question, was crime the offspring of agitation or misgovernment? It was proved by the parliamentary reports, and more especially by the last, that all those crimes were committed by the lowest class of the community, and that there was no connexion between them and any feeling of a political nature—nay, more, he would defy any person to point out a time when there was political agitation in Ireland that was not comparatively free from crime. He would give them an instance of this fact. There was no period in which Whiteboyism was more rife in Ireland than in 1821 and 1822. The system had almost assumed the character of actual insurrection; the parties assembled on the hills, and committed murders in open day. There was no political agitation at that time. On the accession of George 4th, and particularly after his visit to Ireland, relying on his supposed sentiments, the Catholics determined to wait until the Monarch expressed his own spontaneous sentiments on the subject of Catholic emancipation. They therefore abstained, at that time, 156 from agitating the question. In what state was the country then? There were eleven counties proclaimed under the Insurrection Act, and seven more were about to be placed in the same situation. But when the Catholic Association was formed, and when the principle of agitation had been in full force for ten months, then disturbance ceased, and every county in Ireland was quieted. That was a positive fact, and he challenged the Gentlemen opposite to contradict it. Let those who cheered so loudly when agitation was mentioned as the cause of insubordination, bear this point in mind—that crime was widely extended when there was no agitation, but that it was repressed when agitation prevailed. When he made this statement, was he speaking to the deaf adder? Was he addressing himself to men who would not listen; or who, if they did listen, would not take a lesson from the past with respect to the course which they ought to pursue for the future? They might outvote him against Ireland, but they could not shake those truths. He was speaking for Ireland, for unhappy Ireland. They might sneer at, or taunt him as the agitator; but, conscious that he was performing a sacred duty, he could laugh at all that now. What became of this argument founded on agitation, when he proved, that when they did not agitate, multitudes of crimes were perpetrated; but that, when agitation prevailed, crime ceased? What was the reason of this? It was because the Irish were a shrewd, a calculating, an observant people. Seven centuries of misgovernment and oppression had taught them to understand the signs of the times; and when they saw any prospect, however remote, of effecting a beneficial change for their country, they seized on it with avidity, and it absorbed every other feeling and sentiment. But why did Ministers call for additional force? Had they not already put down every tithe meeting? Had they not dispersed them at the point of the bayonet? Let every reasonable man examine the system which they wished to uphold, and say whether it was a just or fair one. In his parish there were 12,300 and odd inhabitants, of whom seventy-five were Protestants. Now, was it not reasonable that the 12,225 Roman Catholics should resist a system which impoverished them, to benefit so miserable a minority? He again contended that in- 157 crease of crime had followed, and would follow, increase of force. Yet such was the project of this liberal Government. He would say, that there never was such a persecuting Government; they had prosecuted the Press, the people, and even the priests. They had done nothing to restore the country to tranquillity. Had Ireland any real grievances, was the question which they had to decide. What cared he for their laugh, or their taunt, or their sneer? He boldly avowed, in spite of laugh, taunt, or sneer, that while Ireland had grievances to complain of he would agitate to redress them. This was what Englishmen did to achieve Reform; and he, pursuing the same course, would agitate as long as he had the power, and found that there was a necessity for such a line of action. An unreformed Parliament had passed two Acts with respect to Ireland which an Algerine government would not have sanctioned. A Reformed Parliament, it appeared, would be called on to pass another, to put an end to agitation. But he would tell them that it would be many and many a day before they could frame and carry an Act to effect that object. Almost all the measures adopted with reference to Ireland led, more or less, to the shedding of blood—the blood of an honest, a religious, a warm-hearted, a good people. More murders were committed in that country than in any other place on the face of the earth. The people here knew little of Ireland. The White-boy, driven to wretchedness and desperation, thrown an unwilling outlaw on the common of crime—even his crimes, the offspring of adverse circumstances, could not be advanced as an argument against the general good and virtuous feeling of the Irish people. When that people had so many grounds of complaint, had they not a right to agitate? In the first place, he complained of the Magistracy of Ireland. He would suppose that by conquest or otherwise, the French became masters of this country, and established a religion different from that which accorded with the feelings of the people. The thing, he knew, was impossible, but he used the supposition in order to show more clearly the situation of Ireland. Suppose a Magistracy was established hero professing a religion different from that of the people at large—armed with arbitrary power—having authority to inflict fine and imprisonment—and against the members of 158 which it was hopeless to seek redress—what feelings would such a state of things generate? In Ireland, since the Union, so many forms had been introduced in the law (and they formed some of the blessings which flowed from that measure), that he defied any man, however injured, to maintain an action successfully against a Magistrate. He need not weary himself and the House by showing that the Magistracy of Ireland was on a bad footing. It was admitted by the noble Lord and his colleagues. They had all spoken of the necessity of a revision of the Magistracy of Ireland. Even the right hon. Baronet, the member for Tamworth, had expressed himself in favour of a revision of the Magistracy. When application was made to Lord Manners to restore a dismissed Magistrate, he observed, "I have made you the best retribution in my power by again placing you in the Commission; but the last thing the King said to me when I became Chancellor, was, My Lord Manners, look particularly to the Magistracy." A sort of revision took place at that time, and a comical revision it was. A number of Magistrates were struck off—all those that had died were struck off—some military officers, not in the country, were struck off—some Roman Catholics were struck off—and several improper persons were struck off. But this did not last. Lord Manners knew nothing of the Irish Magistracy, and there was a superior influence at the Castle, by which the old abuses were continued. There was no doubt—the fact could not be denied—that there were a great many improper persons in the Commission of the Peace in Ireland; the fact was recorded in the evidence of General Bourke before a Committee of that House. At the time that the present Administration came into power he and others called for a revision of the Magistracy in Ireland. The answer then given to them by the right hon. Secretary opposite was, that six months after the late King's death, the Commissions of all the Magistrates in Ireland would have to be renewed, and that the Government would then take care that none but proper persons should be put into the Commission of the Peace in Ireland; that renewal of the Commissions of the Magistracy had since taken place, and he should like to know what improper persons had been excluded from the Commission of the Peace there? He could, 159 on the contrary, enumerate instances of several improper persons that had been left in it, and left in it too, from party motives, and from partisan views and objects. The right hon. Gentleman had taken especial care that to such persons the Commission of the Peace should be continued, while many most respectable, most worthy, and well-qualified individuals, were excluded from it in various parts of Ireland. Such was the mode in which the right hon. Gentleman governed that unfortunate country. The right hon. Gentleman, during his short career in Ireland, had achieved that which had never been accomplished before—he had contrived to make the whole people of Ireland unanimous, for all persons there concurred in considering him most unfit for the government of that country. When Ireland, in former times, revolted against oppression, Harry 8th swore lustily, that if Ireland would not be governed by the Earl of Kildare, the Earl of Kildare should ruin Ireland. Was that the principle now to be enforced? Was that the line of policy that was now to be pursued? Such, at all events, would be the effect of the Address that night submitted for their adoption. The power of the Magistracy in Ireland, as regarded the lower classes there, was omnipotent, especially since the introduction of the Petty Sessions; and they exercised that power with most complete impunity. In order to attach responsibility to the exercise of power, you must isolate that power; but the Magistrates at the Petty Sessions in Ireland, by acting together and in a bulk, rendered the exercise of their power entirely irresponsible. The publicity of their proceedings at Petty Sessions was salutary, but their combination rendered it impossible for the poor man to obtain redress for the injustice which he might suffer at their hands, and, with the aid of the Trespass Act, it was in their power to inflict grievous injustice upon the lower orders in Ireland. They heard a great deal of the crimes that were committed in Ireland, but such crimes were, in most instances, to be traced to the injustice effected upon the poor there, through the means of such Acts of Parliament as that he had just referred to—they were the wild justice of revenge to which the poor were driven when all other modes of obtaining redress failed them. By means of the Trespass Act the Magistrates were 160 enabled to determine every right of the poor man—every right of his connected with his land and his property. By means of that Act the Magistrates at Sessions could even try questions of title. He had known an instance of a man who had a good equitable case—and in a civil bill ejectment case an equitable was as good as a legal defence—and yet the Magistrates fined him 5l. as a trespasser. Though the Statute said, that they should not try rights, yet the effect of their decisions in such cases was actually to try them. He might be told that the poor man, in the instance he had mentioned, had his remedy; that he could get rid of the decision in question by bringing an action; but the expense of such a proceeding rendered that remedy totally unattainable to him. The very cost of a latitat was probably more money than a poor man ever had in his possession at one and the same time in the whole course of his life. In the way he had just stated, the determination of all the rights of the peasantry of Ireland was put into the power of the Magistracy of that country. He did not mean to say, that all the Magistrates in Ireland were open to the accusations which he had thought it his duty to prefer against them as a body; he would not even accuse the majority of them of the malpractices of which he had spoken; but this he would say, that a large class of the Magistrates of Ireland, and the most influential amongst them too, were swayed by party zeal (the zeal of a party opposed to the mass of the people) and influenced by factious motives in the discharge of their duties. Since the commencement of Lord Anglesey's Administration in Ireland there had been thirty-four stipendiary Magistrates acting in that country; of these thirty-four. Lord Anglesey had nominated twenty-six, and in such a country as Ireland, the large majority of its inhabitants Catholic, especial care was taken that not a single Catholic should be amongst those twenty-six stipendiary Magistrates. There were thirty-two Sub-inspectors of Police in Ireland; he did not know how many of them had been appointed by the present Administration; but this he did know, that there was not a single Catholic amongst them. There were five Inspectors-general of Police, and there was not a Catholic amongst them. He would ask them, with such facts before them, could they be surprised at the present situation 161 of Ireland? With such real grievances affecting the people of that country, where was the necessity of attributing its disturbed and discontented state to the efforts of agitators? Before the Parliament was reformed—before the corrupt and borough mongering House of Commons had been got rid of—many rational and well-disposed men in Ireland, who were equally indignant as the rest of their countrymen at the wrongs and injustice inflicted on their country, refused to join in demanding a Repeal of the Union; saying, that they ought to wait to see what the first Reformed Parliament would do for Ireland. Well, they had waited to see what the first Reformed Parliament would do for Ireland, and what would be their feelings when the brutal and the bloody Speech which had been that day read, found its way to Ireland?
§ Lord John Russell
rose to order. In consequence of the words which had been just used by the hon. and learned Gentleman, he (Lord John Russell) rose to request that the hon. and learned Gentleman's words should be taken down.
said, that if he was out of order in the observations which he had been making, if he was irregular in the words which he had been employing, he would desist from using them. He was determined to give no one an opportunity of acting against him. He would take the noble Lord's hint. Strong language was of course not justifiable when such topics were under consideration. It ought to be—in bondsman's key.With bated breath, and whispering humbleness,that he should speak when speaking of Ireland and her wrongs. It was not a "bloody Speech "—oh, no! Did the noble Lord object to the word "brutal," too?
§ Lord John Russell
said, that he did not object to any words which the hon. and learned Gentleman might think fit to use respecting the Address which was proposed in that House; but he did object to the words "bloody Speech" being applied to a Speech which had been so lately pronounced by his Majesty in person in the other House of Parliament.
said, that the noble Lord's objection raised a great constitutional question, from trying which he would not shrink; it was a question that concerned one of the most important privileges of Parliament. If he were wrong, he would not persevere in the course he 162 was pursuing; but if he were right, he would not retract a word which he had applied to the Speech, considering it the Speech of Ministers; for, in doing so, he conceived that he only exercised the constitutional privileges of a Member of the British House of Commons. He had spoken of the Speech as the Speech of his Majesty's Ministers, for as such all King's Speeches had been hitherto, and for obvious constitutional purposes, considered. If he was now to be told, that he must speak of it as the Speech of the King, no words regarding it should escape from his mouth but those of the most profound respect for his Majesty's Crown and person; but if he was justified in considering it, as such documents had been always hitherto considered, as the Speech of his Majesty's Ministers, and for which they alone were responsible, words were not strong enough to express his abhorrence of it.
§ The Speaker
said, that having been appealed to upon this point, he must say that the opinion expressed by the hon. and learned Gentleman was perfectly correct—namely, that in a constitutional point of view, and for constitutional purposes, the Speech of his Majesty was usually considered the Speech of his Majesty's Ministers, and, for that Speech, it was true that his Majesty's Ministers were alone responsible; but it appeared to him that that was altogether beside the question which had been now raised for their consideration. He would put it to the hon. and learned Gentleman, whether, if order and decency were to be preserved in the public debates of that House, they could possibly be preserved consistently with the employment of such language, whether applied to the Speech of the King's Ministers, or to a Speech just delivered by his Majesty himself in person?
said, that the constitutional question having been decided as he expected, he should, in deference to the admonition of the Speaker in regard to preserving order in the debates, not proceed further in the course of observations which he had thought it is duty to make upon the Ministerial document. He should now proceed to advert to the other grievances of which Ireland had to complain. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Stanley), did he think that the Bench of Justice in Ireland was such as to deserve the confidence of the people of 163 that country? Did the right hon. Gentleman know the history of that country, even for the last twenty or thirty years, and the manner in which the judicial situations had been filled up there? Did he know that during that period the enemies of liberty and the enemies of Ireland were in power, and that it was with their own political supporters and partisans that they filled up the judicial situations in Ireland? Was he aware that persons had been made judges in Ireland for no other reason than because they had voted for the Legislative Union, and with no other qualification to fit them for the office? Did he know that during twenty years, promotion at the Irish bar was withheld from any man that signed a petition in favour of Catholic Emancipation? But when the persons which such a system had promoted to the bench retired from it—when Lord Chief Justice Downes, Mr. Baron George, and others of that stamp left it, and when men of business and professional eminence were placed upon it, it was thought by him (Mr. O'Connell), and by others, that justice would at length be properly administered in Ireland. He was sorry to say that such anticipations had not been fulfilled. He was willing to make every allowance—he was not for going too far—but Europe and European civilization should be made aware of the fact, that there existed no confidence in the administration of justice in Ireland. Was it consistent with that unsullied purity which ought to belong to the judicial character, that Judges should have their families quartered upon the public purse, and that, as regular as the quarter came round, their applications should be made to the Treasury for payment? His Majesty's present Ministers had selected from amongst their most inveterate enemies an individual to fill a judicial situation in Ireland (that of Chief Baron of the Exchequer), and should they be surprised that that learned Judge left the bench, to go and vote against Ministers at one of the late elections? The learned individual to whom he alluded was about as old as the learned Judge (Chief Baron O'Grady) whom he succeeded on the Bench. He was undoubtedly a man of talent, but of the strongest political feelings—so strong, indeed, that they induced him to go from the Judicial Bench to vote against the friends of his Majesty's Ministers. They had also appointed Mr. Doherty Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas in Ireland. 164 It might be said, perhaps, that he (Mr. O'Connell) entertained strong personal feelings against that learned individual. He was sure that no one who knew him would say so; but this he would say of Mr. Chief Justice Doherty, that he had a great deal of common sense, and that he managed himself upon the Bench, with only one or two exceptions, much better than any of his brother Judges. But then Mr. Doherty never had fifteen briefs in any one term during his life, and yet they made him a Chief Justice. He had already glanced at the mode in which Judges, and the relations of Judges, were paid and remunerated in Ireland. The subject was one that he thought was well worthy the consideration of the first Reformed Parliament. It was very well to talk about the independence of Judges. It was true that they were independent of fear, but were they independent of hope? They could not take them off the Bench, but they might still further reward them; they could not un-judge them, but they might enrich them and their families. Under such circumstances, that House would not be doing justice to the country, unless it passed a law the would not say that such a law was wanted in England, as he did not know the state of things here; but he would assert that it was absolutely essential in Ireland to restore a confidence in the administration of justice, there) enacting that there should be no such mode as that which existed for paying Judges. They should not see the Government giving briefs to Judge's sons who had no other clients—they should not seethe Government employing a Judge's sons and relations when no other persons thought them worth employing in the most trivial causes—they should not see judicial independence thus bartered for at the public expense. There was another branch of the administration of justice in Ireland that he thought the people of Ireland had much to complain of—he meant the jury system in that country. Did they think that the people of Ireland should be content with the jury system that existed there? The noble Lord (Lord Althorp) had promised him in the last Session, that the Government would support the Jury Bill in the House of Lords; but the Government broke their word on that occasion—the promise was not kept. And what was that Bill to give to Ireland? It merely went to extend to Ireland that which had been law in England for the 165 last seven years. They talked of the Union, and of the benefit that it was of to Ireland, but why, he would ask, did they refuse it the benefit of the Union in that instance. Why did they not make the same law in Ireland that they made law in England? Was he to be told that such a law was not necessary in Ireland—that it was not required there—that the administration of justice in that country was so absolutely pure—that party passions and political feelings interfered so little to corrupt its source or impede its progress, that such a fair mode of selecting a Special Jury as that of the ballot, which had now been in existence for seven years in England, had not been demanded, on account of the excellent mode of selecting Jurors at present practised in Ireland? But the law of last year, which was indeed a poor boon, for it was not to come into operation for another year, was rejected. Poor, however, as it was, and though the remedy which it would afford was at best but a prospective one, it would, had it been passed, been productive of beneficial effects for bad jurors would have ceased their malpractices, seeing that the time would be near at hand when they would be responsible to the public for their conduct. But, spite of the promise of the noble Lord, that law was thrown out in the House of Lords. He had another objection to urge against the jury system in Ireland, as it affected the administration of justice in that country—he alluded to the power which the Crown had of regulating the selection of juries there. He had been himself a living witness of the abuse. He knew of a case where, out of a panel of upwards of 800 names, not above twenty could be taken to find the simple fact that, in the instance of a man who had been ridden down by twenty lancers, and who then was taken prisoner and committed to prison because he had been so ridden down—twenty could not be found, he repeated, to find that in such a case a common assault had been committed. The hon. and learned Gentleman then complained of the great power enjoyed by the Crown in the selection of jurors. By the ancient Statute Law the Crown could not permanently challenge a Juror; but the Judges soon arranged this. The Crown could set a Juror aside; and, in Ireland, at least, this was in practice equivalent to a permanent challenge, because it was the custom, supposing the 166 panel to be exhausted, not to read over the names of those set aside, but to order the Sheriff to enlarge the panel. The practice of packing Juries on this principle was carried to an amazing extent in Ireland. They all, he said, read with affright of the crimes committed by the peasantry in Ireland; but were they to be astonished at it when they knew of the mode in which justice was administered in that country? Who did they think was the foreman upon the Jury in Dublin who, the other day, there tried Messrs. Costello and Reynolds for an alleged offence in regard to the tithe system? The foreman was a gentleman who had not very long since figured before a Committee of that House—a Mr. Long, a coach maker in Dublin, a furious partisan of that faction in Ireland which hated the present Government no doubt, but hated the people still more. He would quote as instances, in corroboration of his arguments of the Crown's challenging Jurors, the practice at the late assizes at Mullingar, and at Cork. These were, he said, the complaints that he had to make on the part of Ireland. They had no confidence in the Bench there. The Juries were selected from the bitter enemies of the country, and the present Government had instituted the greatest number of prosecutions that any Government had ever instituted in that country. He might be accused of agitating Ireland, but the agitation and the discontent of Ireland were to be laid at the door of that Government which had instituted such countless prosecutions, and that had conducted them in a spirit worthy of the Star Chamber itself. Was it not enough to send the proprietor of the Waterford Chronicle to gaol for twelve months, together with the imposition of a pecuniary fine, without sending the printer of that paper, for the same offence, to prison; thus consigning to punishment the man who had only acted as a mechanical agent in disseminating the alleged libel, and who would have been as ready to set up, in the way of his trade, an eulogium upon the Church in Ireland, as he had been to set up an attack upon it, or upon the Irish Government? Was it just that such a man should have been sent to rot in a prison? It was the Government that had commenced the agitation with regard to the tithe system, by endeavouring to put down the public meetings on that subject. They had endeavoured to do so by 167 a construction of the law of conspiracy that would never have been endured in England. There was, as all good lawyers knew, nothing so doubtful as the law with regard to conspiracy. The words of one of our writers on the subject was, that there were few things so doubtful as that portion of the Common Law under which the combination of several persons together became illegal. In fact, the thing was so exceedingly doubtful that it was laid down by the late Lord Ellenborough that nothing but the evidence of something false—falsi, of some falsehood, would render a combination of the kind illegal. It was true that that decision had been since overturned, for, in this country, the Judges made the law, but at all events the circumstance showed that there was nothing more doubtful than the law as it related to conspiracy, seeing that the first Judges in the land differed as to what it was; and yet this was the law that the Government of Ireland strained to the most unwarrantable extent to achieve its purposes! Would it be believed that the Government of Ireland preferred under that law indictments against persons for exciting to conspiracy? Would it be credited, that the printer of the Tipperary Free Press had been arrested three times in the same day, and held to bail for articles "tending to excite to conspiracy? "Conspiracy was itself a constructive crime—the exciting to conspiracy, the second construction of it, under which the Government indicted, was carrying such a crime far enough, one would think; but the third construction of it, namely—tending to excite to conspiracy, was carrying it to an extent that had never been heard of before, and that assuredly would not have been borne in this country. It was, however, good law enough for Ireland, perhaps, and it was well worthy of the Whig Reforming Government of that country. Another of the evils of which Ireland had to complain, was the Grand Jury system. They were told that that system was to be revised, but it was not until it was loudly called for, that a remedy was about to be applied to that monstrous evil. They had yet to see whether the remedy to be proposed would be an efficient one. The power possessed of imposing taxes by that self-appointed body was immense—a body, the majority of which generally consisted of the agents of absentees; and it was well known in Ireland that there were good roads in the neighbourhood of Grand 168 Jurors' residences, while it was generally the reverse elsewhere. The taxation imposed by that body reached the enormous amount of 940,000l. a-year, the sixteenth part of the entire landed revenue of Ireland, and 1s. 5d. on the entire rental of the country. It was in the hands of such men—men connected with one party in Ireland, that such enormous power was vested; it was from amongst that body that Sheriffs were generally selected; and here he had to remark that there was but one Catholic Sheriff appointed this year. The grievance of the Grand Jury system as it existed was acknowledged by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Stanley) himself, he having already stated that he had a remedy to propose, it was, therefore, a grievance that could not be attributed to the agitators in that country. The right hon. Gentleman, he believed, intended to bring in a bill to remedy that system, but unless that bill was founded on the principle of representation, the proposed remedy would be inefficient. He was ready to maintain that no man ought to be taxed, unless through his Representatives; and upon such grounds, he would contend that the office of Grand Juror should be made elective. No doubt they would vote this Address to-night by a large majority, and then, forsooth, they would tell the people of Ireland to look to that Reformed House of Commons for justice and protection. Corporations constituted another great grievance in Ireland. He was sure the right hon. member for Cambridge (Mr. Spring Rice) would not deny the fact—he was sure he would not deny that they possessed enormous and unjust monopolies. The Reform Bill had no doubt, done much to remedy the abuses of corporations, but to reach the root of the evil they must go still deeper. The Corporation of Cork, for instance, one of those close corporations, possessed a revenue of upwards of 70,000l. a-year—a revenue greater than the cost of the general government of the United States of America. The bigotry and intolerance of those corporations were well known. Though Catholics had been for years admissible to them, few had been admitted in Cork, and none had ever been allowed to discharge the duties of any of its officers. The Corporation of Dublin, too, continued a close monopoly, from which Catholics were systematically excluded. They might taunt Catholics with intolerance and bigotry, but he would defy 169 them to produce any such instances of either intolerance or bigotry, in a Catholic assembly, under a Catholic constitutional government. True it was, that in Catholic States, where the Church was wedded to the State, the natural offspring were intolerance and exclusion; but under Catholic liberal governments, no such intolerance as that exhibited by the Corporation of Dublin was to be found—into which corporation, though Catholics had been admissible for forty years, not one had been admitted; bigotry thus proving itself superior to law and Parliament. It might be said, that it was wasting the public time to talk of corporations; but let it be remembered that corporations elected Sheriffs, and in Dublin, the Sheriffs had the selection of Jurors in the four Courts there, for the trial of the most important causes, civil and criminal. Now, no man was appointed Sheriff in Dublin, who did not give a pledge to the cause of bigotry, by publicly giving a toast that was considered the watchword and the party pledge of the factious supporters of that cause. He had himself drunk that toast, it was true, and he hoped that it would be universally drunk throughout Ireland. He had drunk it for Repeal, and he was ready to do so again; but the members of the Corporation of Dublin drank it as the shibboleth of a party. He drank it as a pledge for Repeal. He did not, in what he had said, mean to assert that the right hon. Gentleman was entirely answerable for the present state of things in Ireland—of course he would not make him answerable for the sins of preceding Governments—but this he would say, that all the crimes which were now being committed in that country, must, in justice, be laid at the door of the "Whigs. The Whigs had always proved the bitterest enemies of Ireland. It was the Whigs that violated the Treaty of Limerick. The Whigs of the present day were only treading in the steps of the same party which had gone before them. To the Whigs, he would say, that, by the course they were now pursuing, they adopted, and rendered themselves answerable, for all the crimes which might take place in Ireland. Instead of doing justice to that unfortunate country, they were now calling for increased powers to enable them to still further sink it down and oppress it. Let them but do justice to Ireland—let them put down the cry for a Repeal of the 170 Union, by showing that it was unnecessary—let them show by deeds, and not by words, that they meant well to that wretched country. Why did they not do that? Why did they not propose such measures, instead of calling on the first Reformed Parliament for more bayonets and more guns, for the cannon and the musket, in order to crush the people of Ireland to the earth? The next thing he had to complain of was the armed police of Ireland. It might be right that the police there, as in this country, should, for self-defence, possess some species of arras, but was it right that they should go armed with deadly weapons, even to fairs and markets? Were they to go about with arms in their hands, with which, when the least resistance was offered to them, they could spread deadly slaughter around them. Such a police force, so armed, would not be endured in this country. He protested against the principle of arming them with deadly weapons. The Government made them do so; but the result would be, that the slightest resistance—even an accidental opposition, would be punished with death, for the only weapons they had were deadly ones. Why did they not in England, instead of a staff, put into the constable's hands a musket and a bayonet? Why not arm him with a loaded carbine, so that, in case of any resistance, or even accident, which might occur in a crowd, he might inflict death not only upon those who opposed him, but also upon those who happened to come within his reach? But he was talking to little purpose. He knew how little the Government cared for the blood of the Irish. He knew with what sovereign contempt they listened to those who taunted them on the subject. But he put it to every man of feeling and humanity, whether the constabulary ought to continue armed, so that every offence, instead of imprisonment or capture, should be punished on the spot with death? When the Government put the police thus armed in the way of resistance, they promoted crime. Another thing was, arming the yeomanry. He did not believe, that any thing had ever occurred more dangerous than arming the yeomanry. There had been an increase of crime in Ireland since that had taken place; but crime was not yet at its acme. The people still had confidence—they still placed reliance upon those calumniated agitators, who were more; 171 anxious than the Government to put down crime. The Government had armed the yeomanry in Ireland, and had increased them from 22,000 to 31,000. He knew what had once happened, and he cautioned the Government that the people of the North of Ireland were to a man armed. The North was the quietest part of Ireland, yet it was but a sleeping volcano. There was a tremendous force there, ready to enter into a servile war. The moment that the Government distributed arms, the Catholic population thought it necessary to arm themselves for their own protection. The slaughter of the Catholics by the Orangemen had ceased two years ago; but he knew, and said, that it would increase on arming the yeomanry. What was the consequence? The people established penny clubs, and, as soon as five-and-twenty shillings were collected, a musket was purchased. This process of arming was going on to a frightful extent, and a Magistrate the was ready to give his name if necessary,) had told him, that he had, within the last six weeks, seen 1,000 of the Catholic peasantry perfectly well armed. What could all the powers of the Government do to prevent this species of arming? What Act of Parliament could they pass that would discover the secret of an Irish peasant? Nothing was so much hated in Ireland as an informer, and no money would induce the people to become such. But the Government would take more power. They would prevent the agitators, who sincerely desired to put down crime. He did not ask them to believe him; they might believe him if they pleased, but he scorned to ask them; they might gag those agitators with Algerine Acts; they might immure them in prisons by a suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act—they might shed their blood upon the scaffold, but, under that very scaffold, they would see the peasantry of Ireland display those very arms which the Government had been the means of putting into their hands. He warned the Government by the instance which he gave them of the North of Ireland. They might depend upon it, that the spirit which prevailed there, would pass elsewhere, and the combination of ignorance and crime would be better organized. There would be, not a moral revolution or a political revolution, but a revolution of the sword in Ireland. In the mean time, the Government was suppressing the legal channels of discussion. The 172 tithe meetings were suppressed, and yet were any of those meetings half or one-third so numerous as the meetings of the Birmingham Political Union? With one exception, he had never heard a word which could be construed as threatening language. But, at all events, whatever interpretation might be put upon words, he defied any man to show a single instance of a breach of the peace, a single assault, or a single person threatened. He defied any man to show him an example of any thing of the kind; and yet the Government suppressed all those meetings. He would ask the hon. Gentleman who had seconded this Address, with a degree of modesty which he had always observed to accompany talent, what he thought of suppressing meetings which assembled, too numerously perhaps, for he was not an advocate for too large assemblages of the people—but at which no breach of the peace occurred, and which separated quietly, as soon as they had accomplished the object for which they had met? More power the hon. Gentleman wanted, but if the hon. Gentleman knew as much of Ireland as he did, the hon. Gentleman would be a greater agitator than he was. Although he knew it was in many cases absurd to say, post hoc, propter hoc; yet it was an undoubted fact, that whenever agitation ceased in Ireland, crime had extended itself—and that whenever agitation was extended, crime had ceased. Some great and crying grievances in Ireland remained to be enumerated. Was the Vestry Cess no grievance? Was it no grievance that seventy-five Protestants in a parish should have the power of punishing, by taxation, 12,000 Catholics? Was it no grievance that the Catholic inhabitants of a parish ten miles from Waterford, in which Lord Duncannon was the only Protestant resident, should be thus treated? Was it no grievance that the vestry might impose upon the Catholic parishioners whatever tax it pleased, for the Communion wine and other purposes] He would mention a flagrant instance of this imposition. In the parish of St. Andrew, in Dublin, the Protestant inhabitants voted 300l. to the two curates in addition to their salary. This was in direct contradiction to the law, and as no person could appeal against the assessment without giving securities to the amount of 100l., two gentlemen gave the necessary securities, and brought forward an appeal, which was 173 tried in the King's Bench, and the assessment was quashed; of course it would be supposed there was an end of the matter. No such thing. The costs of resisting the appeal were charged upon the parish, and the 300l. were revoted again. As the party who appealed was obliged to pay his own costs, and as the costs of resisting the appeal were charged upon the parish, the parish very wisely thought it best to submit quietly to the imposition, and not to contest the matter further. Was that no grievance? Was there any other country in the world where there would be no redress for it? Before the Government asked for more force let them remedy that evil. Why should the Catholics pay for the sacramental elements and other articles for the worship of the Protestants? Why should they pay for the building and repair of Protestant churches? There was a parish called Cappado, in the neighbourhood of Dublin, where there was but one Protestant; and a Church was forced upon him in spite of himself, at the expense of the Catholics, although the Protestant presented two petitions to that House, stating that his Catholic neighbours and himself were on excellent terms, and that he had a pew at Maynooth Church, which was near enough, and there was no necessity for a new church. Such were the acts which his Majesty's Government required additional powers to enforce. Let them first do justice. Why should the Catholics be compelled to pay Protestant clergy? Why should the Catholics be compelled to build Protestant churches? Before the ascendancy of the Protestants in Ireland, there was a superabundance of churches in that country; but the Protestants had sold them, or let them go to ruin; and now they called upon the Catholics to repair the consequences of their neglect and misconduct. Was there any agitation equal to this? Look at the temporalities of the Church, and say if anything could be more monstrous—if any effect of agitation could be so pernicious as this system? The living of the brother-in-law of Earl Grey had been estimated to bring in nearly 30,000l. annually; there were 96,000 acres of ground belonging to it. Was this paid by members of the Church of England? No; the Presbyterian and the Catholic—worshippers in a different form—were compelled, by this most monstrous system, 174 to pay this divine. They were 8,000,000 Catholics, and there were 1,000,000 of Protestants; at least it was said so. Well, there might be 1,000,000, but he did not believe it. Was it to be borne that they were thus to be treated? What he wanted to know was this—was the Church to be cut down? They were agitators, it was said, but their agitation was of a clear character—it was of a different sort to that which was the real source of the distress and the insubordination, and the what-not. He did not know that it was distinguished by two epaulettes, or by troops to cut down the people. Force was the cry. This had ever been the Government conduct. For forty years, let it be remembered, force had been unceasingly talked of to Scotland; but Scotch broadswords were unsheathed—Scotchmen knew their rights—they rallied—they united—they struggled—and they succeeded. He did not ask for supremacy; he wanted no supremacy then, and if talked of hereafter, he would resist it; but ha did strongly contend against the present unfair and harassing system, and insisted on its abolition. The Irish wanted that tithes should be extinguished, as the Government had said they should be. He knew they afterwards added that they did not mean it, but he wanted them to do what they said. He wished to know whether tithes were to continue, or whether any mitigation was to take place? Was it to be a 74, or a rasé? Were the Catholics to continue to pay the Bishops and Clergy whom they never saw? There was no weapon for agitation like this grievance. The Government treated the Catholics worse than the Turks treated the Greeks. The Turks even, cruel and harsh as they were, despised such oppression towards the Greeks; they never insisted on their support of the Mahometan faith. The Ministers, however, of England were worse than the Turks. He meant to detain the House a little longer on the subject of absenteeism. When speaking of crime, he wished they would look to absenteeism—to the rents that were constantly going out of the country. Would they litigate that? He would tell them they could not. Did Ministers wish to push them on to a servile war; would they compel them, with the devotion of a Falkland, to join criminals because greater criminals were arrayed against them? They called out "force." 175 Why not begin? Why not postpone the threat, and do justice to Ireland; and then, if agitation continued, if insubordination showed itself in midnight plunder and outrage, call out for "force." Wait for this—try it, and then, if it failed, take the excuse, and he would support the cry. He wanted nothing but justice for Ireland, and justice this country had never rendered to her. The Speech which had been delivered was a prototype of one in the reign of Elizabeth, when Raleigh slaughtered the garrison of Merbick. The cry for power had ever been the cry of the Government of this country, and under it were committed those English crimes which were written in the blood of Ireland. Strafford, the prototype of the right hon. Gentleman, acted no otherwise; he confiscated the property of two entire provinces in Ireland, and when Juries refused to convict, he sent them for two years into Dublin Castle. In the reign of James 2nd, 8,000,000 acres of land were forfeited in defending the right of his father. In the present day the same part was acted—the scene was somewhat changed—the actors were different—but their conduct was substantially the same. There was no real amelioration—no change, nor any intended, as was proved in that Address which he had designated as bloody and brutal. What he wanted was, a General Committee, that that Address might be duly considered and discussed line by line. If that were really a Reformed House—if justice to Ireland was really their object, they would not refuse it. Justice had not been done to Ireland by the Reform Bill. He strongly doubted if he had acted rightly in supporting so strenuously the English Bill. He had received hints from several quarters upon the subject. But he had supported it, and that unflinchingly. Ireland, in her Bill, was not used anything like so well as England. The blunders were solely attributable to Government. The Duke of Wellington took away the franchise; the Ministers found that injustice when they came into office, and they sanctioned it. It was no idle motive which made him anxious to introduce so many of his family into that House. He too well knew the incurable ignorance which there prevailed on the real state and wants of his country, and he was determined to tell them trumpet-tongued to all. The number of Repealers returned would at least give 176 the Government some insight into the sentiments of the people on that subject. He wanted a Committee of that House—he desired that that declaration of war against the people of Ireland should be modified. Let the Ministers give them a strong and emphatic declaration of intended justice to Ireland—and if then they applied for force, he would support them. But the Speech promised nothing. There were still several points untouched, there were the prosecutions, to which he would not then advert, and twenty other topics on which he could say much, but he would abandon the intention. He knew he spoke in vain—he felt he made appeals which would fall unheeded on their ears. He should now know of what that Reformed House was composed—he should see the high and independent Members for England voting for "more power." It was of no use his pleading before a Reformed Parliament in behalf of Ireland—it was vain to lift up his voice in her cause—for he was sure his answer would be a laugh at himself, and a laugh at his country. Were then the grievances of Ireland not real? It was well known they were real, heavy, and intolerable; and if so, was it not the duty of the Government to redress them? He would defy any one who had heard his words—who had taken notice of his statements—to instance one case in which he had aggravated a grievance; and he would defy any one to find a people, look where he might, who had agitated, or who had been guilty of midnight outrage, of insubordination, and reckless crime, without real grievances. He had done—he thanked the House for the patience with which they had listened to him—they were the last hope, the last refuge of his country. To them he could only look for relief from the autocracy of the right hon. Gentleman; from that "sic volo, sic jubeo, stat pro ratione voluntas' to which his country was subjected. Whether Government was to be administered by the right hon. Gentleman alone—whether all was to continue to be concentrated in his self-sufficiency—they must decide. Seven centuries of misrule had been endured by Ireland—Government had been carried on on no other plan than that of Tamerlane; and the most outrageous cruelties had been inflicted on a prostrate people. For himself, he laboured under one calamity—that of a supposed 177 personal hostility to the right hon. Gentleman opposite. Had he—could he have any such feeling towards him? They had never come together, and no such feeling was in existence. Heaven knew that he had no personal motive. There was no pursuit of his in which the right hon. Gentleman did or could, or, he presumed, would wish, to impede him. He spoke of him merely as the enemy of Ireland. He looked at the accumulation of crime—at the quantity of blood increasing as it flowed in his unhappy country, and he still found that right hon. Gentleman, the Lord of the Ascendant dictating to the Ministry the measures to be pursued. These things he wanted altered. He asked for the real grievances of Ireland to be redressed, and then he would go any lengths the Ministers might require. The learned Gentleman concluded by moving, as an Amendment, for a Committee of the whole House to consider his Majesty's Speech.
§ Mr. Richards
said, after the splendid exhibition of eloquence by the hon. and learned member for Dublin, he felt a considerable reluctance to address the House, which was not a little increased by his labouring under the effects of indisposition. Still, under present circumstances, he should not feel satisfied in giving merely a silent vote. The hon. member for Dublin had complained of what was in the Speech, but he rose to complain of what was not in it; the hon. Member accused the Ministers of sins of commission. but he accused them of sins of omission. He did expect that some mention would be made of the condition of the labouring and industrious classes, of their distresses and privations; and he did expect that Parliament would be instructed to inquire into the causes of those distresses, and into the means of relieving them. He did not come there actuated by a spirit of paltry ambition, by the mere desire of the empty honour of franking a letter, so valued by some hon. Gentlemen; but to do his duty to the people; and, in discharge of that duty, he claimed an early and searching investigation into the causes which had brought on the labouring population a degree of distress unparalleled in the annals of the country. On their behalf he challenged that inquiry which could not be slightly passed over. In the Speech from the Throne, the people of England were complimented 178 for their quiet and peaceable demeanour. Was it, therefore, supposed, that they were satisfied and content? Let not the Ministers of the Crown lay this flattering unction to their souls. The people of England were suffering great distress; and they looked forward to the deliberations of the House with the deepest anxiety, and in the hope and expectation that measures would speedily be proposed and adopted to relieve them. The peaceable and virtuous manner in which they conducted themselves, and the admirable patience they exhibited, instead of causing them to be passed over almost without notice, gave them additional claims on attention and regard; and he called on the House to enter into that investigation of their state and situation, which, it appeared to him, it was necessary to make. He did not intend to impute to Ministers any intentional disregard of the feelings and interests of the people. But, in the high situations they filled, it was not perhaps so easy for them to become intimately acquainted with the condition of the people, as it was for the humble individual who was addressing the House. Nor was it improbable that men in power would not believe that distress existed, till those who suffered it broke out into acts of insubordination and violence. He thought fit to make these observations, although he did not intend to vote against the Address. He came into the House with the intention, as far as he conscientiously could, of giving his support to the Ministers. Far from him be anything like factious opposition to them [laughter]. He appealed to the House [continued laughter]. The hon. Member who spoke at first from the Bar, had advanced to the table, in order to make himself heard, and continued—"I really don't understand "[renewed laughler]—
§ The Speaker
, suggested to the hon. Gentleman, that if he were to speak from his place, consistently with the usual orders of the House, he would be less likely to be interrupted.
§ Mr. Richards
was exceedingly indebted to the Speaker for explaining the cause of the laughter. He had frequently heard of his kindness, and he now found that what had been told him of his courtesy and urbanity was founded simply in truth. Of the causes of the distress on which he was commenting he should not then enter, but should take the liberty of saying a 179 few words on what had fallen from the hon. member for Dublin. The noble Lord who moved the Address censured agitation and attributed, he believed, more power to the agitators than they really possessed. It should be recollected, that agitation was not the cause of grievances in Ireland, but the effect of those grievances. But his Majesty's present Ministers were not chargeable with them. They could all recollect numberless acts of insubordination and outrage before the present Ministers entered upon their functions, and, therefore, to taunt them on that head was neither fair, just, nor right. He knew from experience that the Irish were as gallant, generous, hospitable, and intellectual as Englishmen; they were more Open and frank; but it was not fair to ground the evils under which they laboured on any supposed injustice of this country. The grand evil was the want of poor laws. So far as he knew, the conduct of England had been one series of acts of generosity. In proof of the prosperity of Ireland he would read a few statistical details. The hon. Member accordingly read the following statement;—
|Imports into Ireland from all parts, in 1801 and 1825.|
|In 1801.||In 1825.|
|Cotton Manufactures, entered by the yard||44,314 yards.||4,996,885 yards|
|Cotton Yarn||375,000 lbs.||2,702,000 lbs.|
|Cotton wool||1,200,000 lbs.||4,065,000 lbs.|
|Flax Seed||376,000 bush.||535,000 bush.|
|Tallow||16,000 cwts.||131,000 cwts.|
|Iron, unwrought||7,454 tons||17,902 tons|
|Coals||315,000 tons||738,000 tons|
|Exports out of Ireland to all parts.|
|In 1801.||In 1825.|
|Cotton Manufactures, entered by the yard||1,256, yards||10,567,000 yards|
|Linen Manufactures||37,911,000 yards||55,114,000 yards|
|Flax, undressed||1,639 cwts.||54,898 cwts.|
|Irish Spirits||178,000 galls.||629,900 galls.|
|Aggregate Official value of Imports from all parts.|
|In 1801||£.4,6211,000||In 1825||£. 8,596,000|
|aggregate Official Value of Exports from all parts.|
|In 1801||£.4,064,000||In 1825||£.9,243,000|
|Entered for Home Consumption in Ireland.|
|In 1792.||In 1827.|
|Tea||1,844,000 lbs.||3,888,000 lbs.|
|Coffee||40,000 Ibs.||585,000 lbs.|
|Sugar||161,000 cwts.||319,000 cwts.|
N. B. The duty on Black Tea was only 4½d. per lb., and on Green, only 6½d., in the first period; whilst in the last it was cent per cent.
§ The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite had said a great deal about the ill-usage of Ireland by the people of this country 180 ["No " from Mr. O'Connell]—well, then, by the Government; and this complaint of ill-usage was added to a complaint of neglect. He, for one, was ready to take his portion of any obloquy that might be cast on the Government for their conduct during the last two years. He denied that Ireland had experienced either ill-usage or neglect from the Government during that period. On the contrary, Ireland had received from them every attention. Her interests had been promoted, and every means had been taken to alleviate the sufferings of her people. Large sums of money had been voted by the Parliament to the different public charities of the country. He would state the sums paid annually by Government to the charities in Dublin.
|House of Industry||36,640|
§ From the statement he had read of the consumption of exciseable articles, and particularly those of tea, coffee, and sugar, all of which were rather luxuries than absolute necessaries of life, it was plain, in his opinion, that there was an increasing degree of comfort among the people while from the last statement, it appeared that a great attention was paid to their wants. He must say, that it appeared to him too much, after all these facts, for the hon. and learned Gentleman to ascribe all the evils of Ireland to the Union: and he believed that when the hon. and learned Gentleman did so, he fell into the vulgar error, asserting propter hoc, quod hoc. He must repeat his opinion, that the miseries of Ireland were not attributable to mistakes in criminal jurisdiction, or to the promotion of improper persons to the seats of justice, or to any of the numerous and multifarious complaints which the hon. and learned Member was accustomed to detail to that House, It appeared to him, he must repeat, that the evils of Ireland were mainly, if not entirely owing to the want of Poor laws—to the want of a demand for labour—that it was to these causes that the crimes and outrages in that country were attributable, and not to any of those things to the account of which the hon. and 181 learned Member had eloquently put them. The House would, perhaps, indulge him while he related an anecdote on this subject. "In travelling," said the hon. Member, "recently from Liverpool to London, I met in the coach an Irish Protestant clergyman. He told me that he was coming to take a house in the vicinity of this great metropolis. I asked him why he did not remain in Ireland, and discharge the duties of his situation there? He said, that neither he nor his family could remain there in safety. I asked him why, and then he told me that he was an Irish Protestant clergyman in the county of Roscommon, that he held a living within seven miles of the town of Roscommon, and that it was a living of 400l. a-year; and he added, but I do not get a shilling.' I asked him if that was the cause of his leaving Ireland? He said it was not, for that he had a small independent fortune; but he left it because he had been shot at twice. I asked him if he had strictly enforced the payment of his tithes, or done anything likely to render himself unpopular? He said he had not; but that, on the contrary, he had endeavoured to do all he could to render himself popular—that he had established a dispensary, and had frequently employed more than half his income in relieving his poor parishioners. I said, that all this appeared to me perfectly unaccountable, and I asked him whether he knew of any cause of personal pique existing against him? He said that there was none that he knew of; but, said he, I was riding with another clergyman, and we were both shot at. He then told me that only last spring twenty of his parishioners had called on him, and said that he had some nice potato land; he said he had, and wanted to know if they wished to rent it; they said that the potato land they meant was the piece of land in front of his house. 'Aye, but', said he, 'that is my park for my cows. 'Yes said they, but we want that for potato land;' to which he answered, but you cannot have that, for I want it for my cows;but, they replied, 'that is the land we want, and must have it;and the next morning', at a very early hour, he found that more than 100 men had assembled upon it, and before night every bit of it was turned up, and converted into land fit to receive potatoes. He applied to a neighbouring Magistrate, who said he could send a body of police, 182 but asked, at the same time, of what use that would be? Besides this, he told me that three months ago his wife had received letters, stating that he certainly would be shot, in consequence of which she was taken with premature labour, and suffered most severely. I asked him to what he attributed all this, and he answered, to the popish Priests. I replied, that I had often been in Ireland, and that a more virtuous body of man than the Popish priests I did not think could be found, and that I was convinced they would never have recommended such outrages on his property, or such threatenings of his life. At the same time, I said, that I should be glad if he would allow rate to ask him what was the rate of labour in his neighbourhood? He answered, that it was 6d. a-day. Sixpence a-day, said I, and can you expect to be free from outrage if such is the rate of labour?' Oh, but, said he, they think themselves in Heaven if they get 3s. per week, and look upon themselves as far from unfortunate if they get two days labour. I said, that after what he had told me, I was surprised that he could possibly attribute the acts of outrage he had mentioned to the Popish priests, and not see that they arose, in fact, from the want of a demand for labour, and from the wretched condition of the labouring poor. After all this, I say, that the hon. and learned Member's opinions, eloquently as I admit them to have been expressed, and though I am willing to give him every credit for honest intentions in entertaining them, are erroneous, and I am convinced that he is mistaken in what he conceives to be the causes of insubordination, and in attributing to any list of grievances he has enumerated, and which he charges on his Majesty's Ministers, the evils that have prevailed in Ireland for years past, and the state of degradation in which that country is at present. I believe, on the contrary, that these evils are to be attributed to the causes I have mentioned, and that those causes themselves have been owing to the mistaken generosity of the Parliament of England in not giving Poor-laws to Ireland, and making the country gentlemen of Ireland bear a part of that burthen which presses most unjustly and injuriously on the landowners and people of England." The hon. Member went on to say, that he would not, however, argue this question, ill-treated as 183 England had been, after the generosity it had shown to Ireland upon that point alone, though he was convinced that there was no instance in which our generosity had been more misplaced than in suffering Ireland to be free from the payment of those Poor-rates which the English landowners and landholders had so long been called on to pay. If we wished for the tranquillity of Ireland, we must remove the cause of the disturbances; and if we wished the agitation to cease, we must apply proper remedies. To apply those remedies, we must trace those evils to their source. That was to be found in the want of demand for labour—in the want of a due rate of wages. Capital would flow into Ireland, and the wages of labour would rise, if Poor-laws were established, so as to take off from the market the surplus amount of labour now thrown upon it, and thus ensure peace and tranquillity. He repeated, that by such a measure the demand for labour would be increased, better wages would be paid, the labourer would feel he was enjoying the certainty of employment, and would be contented with his condition. He was sorry to have trespassed so long on the time of the House, but he felt that he had some right to complain of one part of his Majesty's Speech. He meant no disrespect to his Majesty's Ministers; but he must say, that in that Speech they had not honestly brought forward the state of distress of the people of England, nor considered the anxiety with which the people would look to the result of the present deliberations, and the expectations they had formed that their complaints would be distinctly referred to—expectations which, he must say, the people of this country were justly entitled to have gratified.
said, he was convinced that the House would bear with him whilst he trespassed upon their attention for as short a time as possible. He felt that as a member of the Government it was impossible that he could remain silent after the eloquent (for such he must allow it to be), and forcible invective (for he could not call it argument) of the hon. and learned member for Dublin. It certainly did not surprise him that the hon. Member who had just sat down should have entered into some calculations for the purpose of answering a speech which he might naturally have supposed would have been made by the hon. and learned member for Dublin, rather than 184 that which had actually fallen from him. The hon. Member of course had a right to expect that on an occasion like the present, when the Legislative Union or the separation of the two countries was placed at issue by the King's Speech, the hon. and learned member for Dublin, who had represented the Repeal as the one and only mode of redressing the grievances of Ireland—who had promised the people of Ireland that before June twelve months there should be a Parliament sitting in Dublin—who had pledged himself that that alone could relieve them from the yoke of the sassenach. [Mr. O'Connell: No.] No! Surely the hon. and learned Gentleman would not deny that every word, every syllable, which he had spoken—every inflammatory harangue by which he had stirred up the passions of a too easily excited people, whilst he fallaciously allowed the words conciliation and peace to drop from his lips, had tended to create in the people of Ireland this feeling—that as long as they were subjected to the foreign yoke, there was no hope of remedy for their grievances, no alleviation of what he was pleased to call their grievances—no amelioration of what he designated their degraded state; and that in repeal alone, and in the throwing off" of the bonds of the Saxons, any improvement of the condition of Ireland could be hoped for. The Government now came to the hon. and learned Member, and told him before the assembled people of Great Britain and Ireland, that his panacea was one which, with all the power of Government, and with, he believed, the cordial assent of the people (without which the Government could do nothing), should be resisted to the death. They told him, that considering his proposition would be the death-blow of the empire, they who wished for its strength abroad, for its united councils, and united enterprise, whenever it might be called upon for exertion—they would be traitors to the kingdom and to the duty which they were called upon to exercise, if, with all the means in their power, with all the resources which this empire placed at their disposal, they did not oppose the separation. They called upon the hon. Member to meet them; they affirmed their proposition, and they challenged the hon. and learned Member to negative it. Instead of doing so, however, the hon. and learned Member had risen and made a speech, 185 which, he must be permitted to say, was addressed less to those within than to those without the walls of that House, containing the usual declamation relative to the indifference with which the affairs of Ireland were treated by the House, which never received a more convincing refutation than by the patience with which the House had listened to the whole of the hon. and learned Member's observations. The hon. and learned Member had accused the Government of injustice towards Ireland, charged them with indifference to the sufferings of the people of that country, stated a long catalogue of grievances, some of which Ministers had already announced their intention of remedying; but with the question of the dissolution of the Union, with respect to which an opportunity offered of obtaining the test of public opinion, by means of the Representatives of England, ay, and of the Representatives of Ireland, with that question he had not ventured to grapple in the Legislature of the United Kingdom, although he had told the people of Ireland that they should have a Parliament in College-green by next June. He would now endeavour to follow the hon. Member through a portion of his charges, one of which came from him with no good grace as an Irishman, as a Catholic, or as an individual—namely, the charge that the present Government had neglected the Catholics of Ireland. The hon. and learned Member himself admitted the awful and afflicting position of Ireland as described in the Speech from the Throne, where it spoke of the frightful increase of crime, and the insecurity of life and property. It would almost surpass belief if he were to read the record of the crimes committed in Ireland. He could not, however, omit referring to two counties in which the system of agitation first commenced, and in which that system had not, as the hon. and learned Member asserted, been put down by any extraordinary exertion of power. He would enumerate a few of the principal crimes which had been committed in Kilkenny and Queen's County during the last twelve months. In Kilkenny alone, during that period there had been, thirty-two murders and attempts at murder; thirty-four burnings of houses; 519 burglaries; thirty-six houghings of cattle; and 178 serious assaults; and by those he meant assaults of such a nature 186 as to be attended with danger of the loss of life. In Queen's County, during the same period, the number of murders was still greater—namely, sixty; of burglaries and nightly attacks on houses, 626; of malicious injuries to property, 115; and of serious assaults on individuals, 209. He would not add to this catalogue of crime, because he believed that he had already stated sufficient to bear out the passage in the King's Speech, which was assented to by the hon. and learned Member, relative to the frightful increase of crime in Ireland. He would merely add that the list which he had read, formidable as it was, contained only the crimes of which notice had been given to the police, and which, in fact, constituted only a small portion of the offences really committed. For the perpetrators of the crimes which he had enumerated, rewards had been offered to the amount of 120,00l., of which rewards two only had as yet been paid. So complete was the system or organization established by the midnight murderers and disturbers of the public peace that their victims dared not complain. They knew the individuals who attacked their thatched cabins, and submitted to the despotic commands which they imposed upon them, because they knew that they carried the means of death, in the hands of those whom he could only denominate actual insurgents. Was this a state in which it could be said that the law afforded adequate protection to the people? He had almost feared that he should have been taunted on the other hand by those who charged the Government last year with being too supine. If it were a fault not to have applied to Parliament for extraordinary powers at an earlier period, he must plead guilty to it. He had been willing to try the unaided power of the law; the experiment had been tried, and it had been proved to demonstration that the law was inadequate. Knowing the jealousies and discord which would naturally be engendered by going beyond the law, he wished, if possible, to avoid the necessity of being driven to the last extremity—that of calling for extraordinary powers; but, placed as the Government was, he could not now do otherwise. The hon. and learned Member had himself described the population as prepared to enter into a servile war. That was the description which, the hon. Member had given, and 187 he affirmed it by his cheer at that moment, and yet he told Ministers not to come down to Parliament and ask for powers to repress such a state of things, until, forsooth, they had provided remedies to his satisfaction for every one of the grievances of which he complained. Those grievances were too deeply seated to be remedied by a single act of any Parliament, however well drawn. If, however, Parliament were to be called upon to remedy grievances under the terror of a servile war—under the threat of injury to life and property—under the menace of anarchy, which, perhaps, was only qualified by the despotism of some self-styled liberators—if those were the circumstances under which the Parliament was called upon to act, it was not required to deliberate, but to crouch before the danger which was threatened. The hon. and learned Member said, that Ministers ought to have postponed the application for extraordinary powers until they had proposed a redress of grievances. Were those grievances the result of the Union only? Were they the work of yesterday, and inflicted by the English Parliament? Those evils were many of them inflicted by the Irish Parliament, except so far as the domestic Parliament was corrupted by English money, and compelled to yield a servile obedience to the commands of England, under the fancied name of an independent Legislature. Let it be the duty of a United Legislature, in which no angry or party feelings, which the hon. and learned Member knew so well how to conceal under philosophical pretences, could enter, to remedy, as far as they were able, the grievances complained of, but let them do it with power in their hands. The hon. Member who last addressed the House related an anecdote, which, from his manner, probably excited some mirth. If, however, that story were attentively considered, it would give rise to far different feelings—it would create a feeling of compassion and at the same time produce a conviction, that the power of England must be put forth for the protection of her subjects. Good God! here was a Protestant clergyman, an amiable and loyal man, deprived for years of his income, having his life placed in danger under circumstances of peculiar aggravation, and having his property forcibly appropriated by others. Yet this Gentleman, 188 so far from attempting to go beyond the law had not exacted what was due to him, and, besides that, he had expended half his private fortune in relieving the distresses of his parishioners. The House would observe that, in this case, there was not the exaction of tithes to complain of—and he admitted the evils of that system as fully as any man could—but no conceivable case of evil could justify such a proscription from the pale of the law as was enforced against a meritorious body of men, whose only crime was, that they wished to be suffered to live at peace. No small portion of Protestant clergymen, who had been brought up, he might say, in habits of luxury, and received the education of gentlemen, and imagined that they were sure of a provision for life, on which some of them had insured their lives, were compelled to beg their daily bread from the hands of those who were disposed to assist them. If it were a crime to endeavour to protect these persons, he pleaded guilty to it, and was ready to meet the hon. and learned Member on that point. The wretched condition of the Irish peasantry, the difficulty of obtaining employment, and of procuring a scanty plot of ground from which their year's subsistence was to be got, had induced many of them to join the midnight peace-breakers. It, however, was not the less necessary to repress their illegal acts. If it were true, as the hon. and learned Member stated, that these acts of outrage were committed by the lowest class of the people, it was also true that they were committed upon the same class, who were most deserving of protection. It was not the wealthy, but the cottar and the widow, the poorest and most defenceless portion of the community, who were the objects of outrages which would disgrace a country in a state of half-civilization. It was for their protection that Government asked for powers for the defence of life and property which he was certain Parliament would not refuse. The hon. and learned Gentleman had another panacea. He said, that all would be well if Ireland had agitation. It might have been thought that, by this time, he would have had agitation to his heart's content. Could the hon. and learned Member put his hand on his breast and say, that he had not given his ignorant countrymen advice which led them to transgress the law, whilst he 189 cautiously told them to avoid going beyond it? Would Parliament suffer these poor people to be led into acts of outrage, which fell on those who were deceived, not on the deceivers? He would also ask if the law was to be braved, and the Government bearded, merely because the ignorant people were cautioned to seek their end by "legal means" only—not, forsooth, to violate the law by refusing to pay the tithes which the law imposed, but merely to offer the payment a passive resistance?—whether the public peace was to be endangered and disturbed by meetings of thousands, ay, tens of thousands, of an infuriated, and agitated, and grossly deluded populace—meetings who were encouraged to attend sales, not, to be sure, to take any part themselves as purchasers, but to observe and mark who durst become purchasers? Were such things to be in a civilized land—in an integral part of an empire in which the law was not a mere dead letter? And he would ask, could such proceedings have any other effect than the goading on some deluded victims till they expiated their own crimes, and the still greater, though unpunishable crimes of others, by their blood? [Mr. O'Connell said, that he never encouraged his countrymen to commit a single act of a character like those just specified by the right hon. Secretary.] The learned Gentleman had more than once, not only in his speeches, but in his deliberately concocted letters, and addresses to the people of Ireland, told them how the law might be evaded without incurring its censures. But though the law might, perhaps, be thus evaded, and though the acuteness and subtilty of the learned Gentleman, in pointing out the mode, had been the frequent theme of his own eulogy and of his followers, yet it so happened that the learned Gentleman was proved to be not infallible. For instance, the learned Gentleman, in a letter which he could not deny, having his own hand and seal annexed to it, pledged his professional reputation that a letter or speech inciting to a breach of the public peace or resistance of the law, could not be indicted under an act which, on its progress through that House about two years ago, had obtained the commendation of the learned Gentleman himself as a mitigation of the Whiteboy Act. Well, within three weeks from the date of the letter thus put forth (no doubt 190 with the purest intentions by the learned Gentleman) a case occurred which the law officers thought it right to prosecute under this commended Act. The person prosecuted was an attorney, and he was charged under that very statute and by an indictment which the hon. and learned Member said, would not lie. How fared the learned Gentleman's prediction? Why thus—the Gentleman prosecuted obtained the advantage of the learned Gentleman's professional assistance, and what was the result? Why, simply, the learned Gentleman advised his client to come into court with this advice—" I think it would be your most judicious course to plead guilty to every count in the indictment." Did the learned Gentleman mean to deny that such was the exact advice given by him on the occasion alluded to? [Mr. O'Connell; I don't deny it.] Then, as he did not deny the fact, he would merely observe, that the case would show that even "a high professional reputation" was not irrefragable; and surely, if a high legal authority and a great agitator to boot, thus mistook the law, it was not to be wondered at that an ignorant peasant should get beyond the pale of the law and, in ignorance, be guilty of a violation of the aw. And that was the only inference he would draw from the transaction. The learned Gentleman had called their attention to the power exercised by the Crown in the selection of Juries, complaining of that power as a most oppressive grievance to the subject. It was true that, in some instances in Ireland jurymen had been set aside on the part of the Crown; but was this power of setting aside Jurymen only exercised by the Crown? Would the learned Gentleman have the goodness to answer the question? What was his conduct in the ease of the prosecution of Sir George Bingham—a case which he would not then discuss, not meaning to imply that the prosecution was wholly uncalled for, or that that gallant Gentleman might not have been led by excited feelings to outstep the strict line of the law? The Crown certainly exercised its power of challenge on that occasion, by excluding nine Catholics and three Protestants who presented themselves to be sworn as Jurymen; but it was solely because those identical persons were themselves engaged or involved in a case implying a violation of the very law the asserting of which on the part of Sir George Bingham, had led to the prose- 191 cution. But how did the learned Gentleman, as prosecuting counsel, act? Why, he set aside not less than seventeen persons, and actually had the case referred to the decision of eleven Catholics. [Mr. O'Connell: Ten.] He had heard ten, and one Protestant, who had been a Catholic. Indeed, to such an extreme did the learned Gentleman push this power of setting aside Jurymen on this trial, that Mr. Justice Moore, who tried the case and who was a man of undoubted impartiality, and as respectable a man as any on earth exclaimed, "This is an abuse of the power of setting aside Jurymen in cases of Crown prosecutions to which I have seen no parallel since I occupied a seat on the Bench." And, yet in the teeth of this fact, the learned Gentleman had the hardihood to accuse the Government with abusing the power of setting aside Jurymen in Ireland. There were other specific charges of the learned Gentleman against the Irish Government which he also felt himself bound to notice and rebut; and he persuaded himself that the House would admit that he was able successfully to answer them. The learned Gentleman's attack was not aimed at the law as it stood, but at its present administrators—the Whig Government—the Whig Government, which had done nothing for the Catholics—the Government which had been the cause of more evil and less good to Ireland than any other. Did the Whig Government deserve these inculpations? Had it effected nothing for the Catholics? He knew the learned Gentleman, with a disinterested and well-founded modesty peculiarly his own, had, in that House and elsewhere, assumed to himself the exclusive merit of carrying the Catholic Relief Bill. He would say nothing of the good taste, and good feeling, and gratitude of such an assumption, which so strangely took it for granted that the world forgot the long and arduous services of years of the ablest and honestest labourers in the cause of civil and religious liberty. For himself he could say nothing; he had only had the opportunity of voting every year for seven years in favour of the Emancipation of his Catholic fellow-countrymen, but there were those with whom he had the honour of acting, who for many a long year had laboured in the good cause, till, by their votes and speeches, they had acted upon public opinion till it assumed a force which, as indicated by a yearly increasing majority in Parliament, 192 at length compelled a reluctant Government to grant what every man must wish to God had been granted sooner; and were these services to be wholly forgotten, and were they, instead of thanks, to be told that they were withholding from the Catholics what they must sooner or later yield to them without thanks? The learned Gentleman charged the Government with a "systematic slighting of the Catholics" quoad the promoting them to places of trust and power ["No "from Mr. O'Connell.] The learned Gentleman most distinctly said so a few minutes since, though perhaps he attached, as on other occasions, little or no definite meaning to his words. He would answer the learned Gentleman's charge by reading the list of legal promotions which had taken place since the accession of the present Government to office; and it would show whether it had "systematically" overlooked the just claims of Catholic gentlemen to trust and power. It appeared then, that since the accession of the present Administration, two serjeants-at-law had been appointed in Ireland—one was the hon. member for Monaghan (Mr. Perrin)—a Protestant, it was true, but a man of the most decided liberal principles—a fact which in itself showed how well-founded was the collateral accusation of the learned Gentleman, that the Irish Government manifested a strong predilection in favour of Tory candidates for office; and the other was a Catholic Gentleman of great eminence in his profession. During the same period but two King's Counsel had been appointed, and both were Catholics—one Mr. Woulfe, honoured by all parties; the other, a Gentleman (Mr. O'Connell we believe), of whom he would only then permit himself to observe, that the promotion was but a just and tardy tribute to his legal and professional reputation. Two gentlemen had been appointed Assistant-barristers—one was a Catholic; eleven clerks of the Crown had been appointed, four out of the lot were Catholics; one Cursitor, a Catholic; one Master in Chancery, a Protestant, but a liberal man, and consistent supporter of the Government. Did these legal promotions indicate a systematic slighting on the part of the Irish Government of the claims of Catholic candidates for legal promotion? "But," said the learned Gentleman "there are no Catholic gentlemen High Sheriffs, only one in the whole country, though several 193 eminently entitled by birth, property, and character. But was this any fault of the Government?" Did not the learned Gentleman know, that in Ireland, as well as in England, the Executive had no part whatever in the selecting of gentlemen for the office of High Sheriff, and that their functions were exclusively limited to the pricking or selecting one name out of three sent up to them from each county? If, therefore, no Catholic Gentlemen's names were sent up to the Irish Government among the selections for the office of High Sheriff, surely the blame did not he with it. But the conduct of the learned Gentleman with respect to the Catholic promotions was characterized by, if possible, more than his usual audacious inconsistency. The learned Gentleman, in that House and elsewhere, was in the habit of denouncing the "Whig Government" for overlooking the claims of the Catholics to official promotion; and yet, no sooner did a Catholic gentleman accept of office under this "accursed Whig Government" than he was branded and held up to the odium and execration of his countrymen as a "miscreant and slave who has basely sold himself to the enemies of his faith and country." The learned Gentleman was correct instating, that there was the authority of Mr. Barrington—an unquestionable one he was free to admit—for declaring, that the law as it stood provided a punishment for all those insurrectionary offences which disfigured the social condition of Ireland. That was very true, but that was not the question. The question was, could the law be enforced? Was it not, in point of fact, a dead letter, inasmuch as they could not count on the moral courage of Juries? Was it not a notorious fact that it was almost impossible to find a Jury in Ireland who dared convict for an offence invested with popular associations? If Juries did attend and honestly discharge their duty, did they not do so under the threats of popular vengeance—their persons were marked—their houses perhaps burned—and their crops destroyed—though it was well understood they were only obeying the obligations of a solemn oath. And on the other hand, were there not unfortunately too many instances where Jurymen condescended to attend more to the applause of the populace than to their oath-bound duties as Jurymen—and who, for having voted in favour of a popular delinquent, had their crops reaped for them by the alternately intimidating and approving 194 multitude? Was, therefore, the existing law sufficient to meet the exigence of insurrectionary crime? Was the law sufficient when it was thus notorious that no Jury could be found to convict the midnight incendiary, or perhaps murderer—and, if even there was a Jury—no witness who dared afford the necessary evidence for the Jury to act upon, though the guilt of the culprit were as notorious as the sun at noon-day? And yet for calling upon Parliament to afford a remedy for such a terrific—he spoke in a moral sense—state of things, Ministers were taunted by the learned Gentleman with a re-enactment of the bloody scenes of Elizabeth and James; and the old one-sided stories of a bloody page of history were mischievously ripped up by the learned Gentleman, with a view to hold up a Government only anxious to do the best to preserve public peace, to public odium. America, too, was appealed to by the learned Gentleman as an instance of successful resistance to arbitrary power, the inference being, that the treatment of Ireland was equally arbitrary, and of course the resistance equally just and called for. But what was the case with America? Did the circumstances which induced her to revolt apply to Ireland? Was not the contrary the glaring fact? America complained that it was taxed, and oppressively taxed, without having a voice in the imposition of the taxes; that it was compelled to obey laws in the framing of which it had no share whatever; that it was in fact so shackled and oppressed, that it had no appeal but to force to assert its independence. It did appeal, and, justice being on its side, appealed successfully. But would any man, even the learned Gentleman himself, venture to assert that Ireland was thus taxed and shackled and oppressed, without any means of redress save an appeal to brute force? Had it no voice in the decisions in the Legislature? Had it no Representative to assert its claims to an impartial share of the public burthens? Was it now, as in 1782, not to go further back, or in those comparatively modern days, when the Crown disposed of its superfluous revenue without the consent, or being within the control, of its so called Parliament? Were the wrongs or grievances of Ireland buried in oblivion for want of efficient Representation, or from an unwillingness to attend to them on the part of the united Legislature? Was not the 195 contrary, he repeated, a glaring fact? Were not Irish questions as much attended to in that House as English; and were not Irish Members, in every function and sense, as efficient Members of the Imperial Legislature as the Scotch or English Members? The learned Gentleman was fond of repeating, that only the King, Lords, and Commons of Ireland had the right to impose taxes upon it. He admitted the doctrine; but it was the King, Lords, and Commons of Ireland, merged in, and co-equal, and co-existent with the King, Lords, and Commons of Scotland and England. Though these topics closely bordered upon the question of a Repeal of the Legislative Union, he would not touch upon it, as the learned Gentleman had not himself provoked a discussion. He rose only for the purpose of repelling the charge of gross impartiality and injustice towards Ireland, urged by the learned Gentleman against Ministers. The King's Speech, which they had that evening heard read, in itself refuted the charge of Ministers not intending to propose any measures of relief for the grievances of that country; and abundant opportunity would present itself for discussing in detail the several other topics touched upon by the learned Gentleman. Before he sat down, however, he thought it right to notice one assertion of the learned Gentleman with respect to the amount of tithe levied in Ireland, and which the Government proposed to perpetually commute. The learned Gentleman boldly asserted that the tithe in Ireland was one-tenth of its gross produce. Now the evidence before the tithe Committee clearly showed, that so far from a tenth of the produce, it was not even a tenth of the rent of the land—a fact the more worthy of notice, as the learned Gentleman was fond of appealing to the tithe commutation in Scotland as less burthen some to the people than that which Ministers proposed for Ireland, while, in point of fact, the tithe commuted in Scotland was one-fifth of the rent, being more than twice the amount of that for which Ministers meant permanently to commute tithe in Ireland, by which permanent and equitable commutation they confidently expected they would relieve the Irish landlords from the evils of a fluctuating and oppressive burthen which impeded agricultural improvement. He would not then enter on the question of how far the Composition Act 196 of last Session relieved the industry of Ireland from much of the fluctuating burthens of the tithe tax, it being plain that a permanent charge was more favourable to agricultural improvement than a fluctuating one; nor did he then feel himself called upon to specify the exact provisions contemplated in the King's Speech for those grievances which still existed in Ireland connected with the tithe system. Neither would he follow the learned Gentleman through his observations on the vestry cess, further than to remark that it was a little too hasty in the learned Gentleman to assume that Ministers did not intend to deal with that important subject, the rather when he ought to have inferred that they could not well avoid being led to its consideration by its intimate connexion with the still greater question of Church Reform. In conclusion, he begged leave to repeat that he rose solely for the purpose of repelling the learned Gentleman's gross attack upon the Irish Government, it being unnecessary and indeed impossible, for him then to follow him through the several other topics of his long address. He considered the motions of the learned Gentleman in the same light as the learned Gentleman—as a mere form or vehicle for expressing his sentiments to the House. He would merely add, that he conceived it to be hopeless to attempt to remedy grievances, unless the Majesty of the law be in the first instance asserted. No Government could apply itself efficiently to the remedying of grievances, unless it also possessed the power to make the laws respected. A Government to be loved, must first be feared; and it must make itself feared, if necessary, by those measures of coercion which gave it the means of protecting the property and lives of the King's subjects, for whose welfare the Government was responsible.
, in explanation, begged leave to say, that his charge against the Irish Government of partiality and injustice was confined to two topics, neither of which the right hon. Secretary had at all touched upon. He did not make it a matter of charge that so few Catholics were High Sheriffs, he merely alluded to the matter indirectly; but he distinctly charged that Government with having, since their accession to office, appointed twenty-six stipendiary Magistrates of Police, of whom not one was a Catholic. Instead of meeting this damning fact, the 197 right hon. Gentleman read them a list of legal promotions, which had no connexion with the charge.
§ Colonel Davies
had listened to the right hon. Secretary's speech with equal pain and indignation; and, indeed, knew not how to account for the tone which the right hon. Gentleman assumed among his colleagues. Instead of rebutting or justifying, if it could be justified, the fact urged by the learned member for Dublin—namely, that Ministers had grossly abused in Ireland the right to challenge jurymen in Crown prosecutions—the right hon. Gentleman contented himself with taunting his learned accuser with having himself been guilty of the same offence. If it was an abuse on the part of the learned Gentleman, why did not Ministers propose an abolition of the practice? If, in some two or three cases, the Government found it expedient to have recourse to it, was that a reason why all Ireland should be denied the benefit of the law, or deprived of the trial by jury? To express alarm, it seemed, at the state of Ireland, was, according to the right hon. Gentleman, unmanly, and to lack courage. A man of as high reputation for courage as the right hon. Gentleman, and in the estimation of every person in the empire, except perhaps the right hon. Gentleman himself—almost as great a man in the estimation of the public as the right hon. Secretary—the Duke of Wellington, was not ashamed nor afraid to express his alarm at the state of Ireland, and to express his horror of the ills of civil war. In truth, the right hon. Gentleman's speech was, in every sense, an insult to the people of that country, and proved, in every phrase, how totally unfit he was for an office which afforded so many opportunities of endangering the peace of the empire. Enshrined in a fancied aristocratic superiority of birth and station, the right hon. Gentleman seemed to think it quite beneath his lofty reputation to hold out the olive-branch to Ireland. Indeed it made one's blood boil to hear any Minister presume, in a freely chosen Parliament of the British people, to utter a speech so calculated to incense an excitable, and long-injured, and sensitive, and brave people. But it was useless remonstrating with a Gentleman so wrapped up in his own fancied superiority. He therefore addressed himself to the noble Lord opposite, who so eminently blended the suaviter in modo with the fortiter in re, with the 198 hope of inducing the noble Lord to counteract the mischievous effects of his right hon. colleague's speech, by his assurance that Ministers intended to propose such measures of relief for the ills of Ireland as would enable him, and those who acted with him, to give Ministers their conscientious support. He was as opposed as any man in that House to a Repeal of the Union; but unless justice be dealt to Ireland, he would vote with the learned member for Dublin, against the coercive policy of the right hon. Irish Secretary. Let them deal even-handed justice to Ireland, and they would effectually put an end to agitation, and the other ills which distracted it.
§ Mr. Roebuck
had every disposition to give the present Government his best support, and, so far from throwing obstacles in its career, was prepared to forego some of his own views and opinions, but most certainly was not prepared to give them a vote which must lead to a civil war in Ireland, as he should do were he to vote in favour of the right hon. Irish Secretary's intended measures. That right hon. Gentleman seemed to play with men as if they were so many puppets, and not human beings like himself, of strong feelings, passions, and high emotions—indeed, as so many "kneeded clods," to be treated as checkers or dice, but not as rational creatures to be appealed to through their kindlier feelings. When called upon in a great crisis in public affairs to legislate for a great nation, instead of discussing the question calmly, and as an intellectual and moral being, the right hon. Gentleman made a furious and insulting appeal to their worst passions, regardless that the result might be the involving, not only of Ireland, but England and the world, in a conflagration. This was no ordinary question—it was no" mere Irish" question—it involved the interests of good government in every clime and language. Had the right hon. Gentleman read the history of the last fifteen years? If so, he must have seen that the two great antagonist principles were in fierce and unslackened contention—the principle of self-government—and the principle of aristocratic domination. He must have seen, too, that the former, the better principle, that which involved the best hopes of the human race—the principle of self-government, had every hour waxed more and more in strength and glory, and had manifested itself in 199 high places in a manner which even aristocratic phrenzy could not withstand. It was its growing strength that had driven the great captain and the influential and all powerful Minister, the Duke of Wellington, from office and station; and it was it which wrung the repeal of the Test and Corporation Act, and Catholic Emancipation, from a reluctant oligarchy. It was to its daily extending influence that the people were indebted for the Reform Bill, as it was it that would prevent even the immediate authors of that Bill from longer directing the power of the Executive against the long-oppressed Irish people. And was the first Act of a Reformed Parliament, the calling upon the chosen guardians of the people's rights to aid the right hon. Irish Secretary in his rash career against the rights of the people of Ireland? But who dared to follow him? They were told, on the highest authority, that Ireland was in a state of anarchy and civil confusion; and what was the right hon. Gentleman's proposed remedy? Why, the doing away altogether with trial by jury, and, of course, suspending the Habeas Corpus Act. He would recommend a far other policy to the right hon. Gentleman—one, too, which evidently never entered into his head, though, forsooth, a member of a liberal Administration; he would recommend him to treat Ireland honestly. Yes, for the first time, try the effects of those exploded virtues honesty and justice. Legislate for Ireland as if its inhabitants were rational beings; address them—if, indeed, the right hon. Secretary knew how—by an appeal to their understanding. Attempt not to redress their grievances by force, when excision was the obvious and fitting remedy; and do not irritate their festering wounds by such peevish appeals to their worst passions as those attempted, he trusted unsuccessfully, that evening by the right hon. Secretary for Ireland. Instead of following the learned member for Dublin through his statement, and, if in his power, rebutting his charges, the right hon. Gentleman had contented himself with making a low-motived appeal to their pitiful national vanities. Indeed, were he an older Member of that House, there was no term of vituperation and contempt which he would hesitate to apply to the right hon. Gentleman's most ill-directed harangue. It indeed would seem that they were not to be addressed as the Representatives of a thinking people, and that the 200 first Act of a Parliament chosen by the intelligence of, the British people was the recommending brute force to be applied to a case which only required justice and kindliness. What would the people of England think of their Representatives, in the first Reformed Parliament, if they thus threw the country into civil war in obedience to the obstinate self-opinionatedness of a right hon. Gentleman who had proved himself wholly wanting in every element of the true statesman? He, for one, could not lay that night his head on his pillow with a feeling that he had conscientiously discharged his duty to his country, if he did not give that right hon. Gentleman his decided opposition. No words could express his feelings when he heard that right hon. Gentleman call upon the House to wage civil war against the people of Ireland—nay, as he had, against the human race. "A Government," said the right hon. Gentleman, with his usual pert self-complacency, "to be loved must be feared." Did the right hon. Gentleman know what the term "loved "meant? The right hon. Gentleman sneered at the question. He understood the meaning of that sneer; for if there was any feature more offensively distinguishing than another of the oligarchic aristocracy of this country, it was its readiness to sneer and laugh when the kind and honest feelings of our common nature should be appealed to. He had heard another astounding declaration that night. They had been told by the noble Lord (the Chancellor of the Exchequer), that the other great demand of the people—that of popular instruction—was also to be denied.
§ Lord Althorp
was understood to deny that anything had been said about a refusal of popular instruction,
§ Mr. Roebuck
Why, what is the refusal to take the stamp duties off newspapers but a denial of popular instruction?
§ Lord Althorp
I merely said, I was not prepared at present to say that these duties should be taken off.
§ Mr. Roebuck
knew the language of parliamentary evasion; but he thought it high time the people of England should have distinct answers, and that the replies to their demands should cease to be evasive; and comparing that answer with the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman, in trying to persuade them to adopt coercive measures towards Ireland, he could not help feeling that the suspicions that were 201 entertained of Ministers were not altogether without reality. There was something about the conduct of his Majesty's Government which should make the House alive, lest that Government should deceive them. He used plain language on all occasions, and he had not been long enough a legislator to learn the use of evasive expressions. It appeared to him that the Ministry did not understand the opinion of the people at this time. He stood there as an independent Member of that House—as the Representative of an English constituency. He had nothing to do with Ireland—and he asked, as a Representative of the people of England, what he was to do at this particular juncture—how he was to proceed—in what manner he was to act, if the right hon. Gentleman got up and divided the House upon this Motion? He had a great desire to support his Majesty's Ministers, but what should he say to that awful topic in the Speech? Could he tell his constituents that he had not considered it? They sent him there in order that he might give it consideration. What, then, he wished to know, did his Majesty's Ministers mean by those dreadful and mystic expressions? It seemed to him, at this juncture, that it would have been well if his Majesty's Ministers had carefully inquired into the situation of the people, and had made themselves acquainted with their mental, moral, and physical condition. He stood there as a witness to that condition, and from what he had seen of the people—and he had gone amongst them for the purpose of judging—he knew that there had arisen a deep bitter feeling of suspicion, which was going through them, and which he prayed his Majesty's Ministers and the House to respect, and not provoke. That feeling prevailed not only in Ireland, but in England. In Ireland it exhibited itself in the shape of White-boyism—in England, in a quiet but determined spirit of resistance, a feeling which last year induced the people to refuse the payment of their taxes and parish rates, and which feeling was even now in operation. Men were up and stirring. That feeling the Ministers had not considered—they sundered themselves from the people—and when within their own mystic circle, they shut out the evidence of their senses. If, however, they refused to pay attention to the people, the people would soon rise up in such terrible array against them, 202 that they would know not where to retire. Hitherto they had been accustomed to appeal to the people to support them in extremities; and if they divorced themselves from the people's cause, that last resource would be taken away from them. When he heard a declaration made against all improvement in our Constitution—when he heard the noble Lord declare the finality of the Reform Bill—that there was to be no further constitutional reform—he could not help asking what was the real meaning of these declarations? He feared it meant this—that the Ministry would arrest reform as long as they could, and when they were so pressed and frightened as to dare resist no longer, they would then yield to the demands of the people. He prayed them to pause in their course—to yield to the popular cry, and not to resist it; for if they refused to go on ward with the people until they had driven them into the state which he described, great mischief must inevitably result, and they would at last be obliged to meet their demands in the face, loaded with additional difficulties, and with their power of meeting those difficulties materially diminished. He trusted the House would take these circumstances into consideration; in the mean time he must humbly enter his protest against the Measures proposed for the Government of Ireland by the right hon. Gentleman, as the best possible method of rousing the people to a state of fearful dissatisfaction, and depriving the Government of their confidence and support.
§ Lord Althorp
felt himself obliged to make a few remarks, in reply to the hon. Gentleman who spoke last, in reference to what he had said, at an earlier period of the evening. He had only said, that he was not in a situation to answer the question which had been put to him; that he did not know the present means of the revenue: but he had stated further, that it was his opinion, that the tax on newspapers was a bad tax. If the hon. Member took that as a proof that he (Lord Althorp) was opposed to liberal instruction, that was supposing his premises correct, which was straining it a little, still the imputation was rather a strong one. His right hon. friend (Mr. Stanley) had been complained of on account of the speech he had delivered to-night against an hon. and learned Gentleman. But that hon. and learned Gentleman, as usual, had not been very sparing of 203 vituperations in his speech. The hon. and learned Gentleman had attacked his Majesty's Ministers on every point, and certainly with great eloquence, with great force, and with great vehemence; and he had particularly and personally alluded to his right hon. friend. His right hon. friend could not exhibit the least alteration in his countenance—he could not move a muscle of his face—without giving umbrage to some one. If he smiled, it was a proof of aristocrat-ical pride; some interpretation of that kind was put upon every particular motion of his right hon. friend's face. He (Lord Althorp) did not think there was any thing in the speech of his right hon. friend that called for such observations as had been made by his hon. and gallant friend (Colonel Davies), or by the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. Gentlemen might say, and he (Lord Althorp) agreed with them, that it was the bounden duty of this House to remove every just grievance of the people of Ireland. It had been his endeavour always to do so; and it was not his intentions only, but that of his Majesty's Ministers to remove every grievance they possibly could. But was it not a grievance that life and property in Ireland were not secure—that murder, burglary, and arson should exist in every part of that country? And since it was their duty to remove other grievances, ought they not to remove this grievance also? It was impossible they could apply themselves to remove the grievances of Ireland sincerely, if they left out of consideration the grievances he had alluded to. The hon. and learned Gentleman did not deny the facts; and it was impossible seriously to set about remedying the other grievances of Ireland, unless they put down this in the first instance. With respect to the remarks of the hon. and learned Gentleman on the Magistracy of Ireland, which he said was still in a very bad state, he did not know how the Government could set about regulating the magistracy of the country in a better way than that tried by the Irish Government, by applying to persons of authority and weight in each county. The very charge against his Majesty's Ministers was, that they did not govern Ireland on party principles, and that the Lord-lieutenancies were given to Noblemen politically opposed to his Majesty's Ministers. But a 204 large majority of the Lord-lieutenants of Ireland, were persons of liberal opinions, and Ministers took advantage of their services, whoever they might be, and there could not, he believed, be a better system. The hon. and learned Gentleman objected to the establishment of the petty sessions in Ireland, which was a most extraordinary objection, for he had certainly always considered it to be one of the desiderata, that investigations should be before Magistrates, and that their court should be a public one. The hon. and learned Gentleman said, that, amongst a bench of Magistrates, there would be a divided responsibility, and, therefore, it was a grievance, for that was no responsibility at all.
§ Lord Althorp
should have thought that the responsibility amongst a bench of Magistrates was divided. So, as far as the responsibility went, the system was good, but the great improvement was, that the administration of justice took place in public. The hon. and learned Gentleman had stated, and stated in fair terms, not as an accusation against him, that he had given a pledge that the Jury Bill should have the support of Government. He (Lord Althorp) acknowledged, that he did give such a pledge, believing that he had full authority for so doing; the Jury Bill was, however, dropped at the close of the Session, but, as he had stated in another way to the hon. and learned Gentleman, entirely without his knowledge. He regretted it, but it was not his fault; and when he gave the pledge, he considered it, and even long afterwards, he was confident that he should be enabled to redeem it. He did not know, after the speech which the House had heard from his right hon. friend, that it was necessary to detain it longer. As to the measures of relief for the grievances of Ireland, his Majesty's Ministers were determined to apply the best remedies the case admitted of; but it would be recollected that the grievances of Ireland were of too long standing to admit of a remedy at once; that if they passed any measure which the most sanguine person could suggest, they would not at once remedy discontent and disturbance. Then, if they saw Ireland in the condition in which it was described in the King's Speech, and in the speech of the hon. and learned Gen- 205 tleman, which had exceeded the description in the King's Speech, and since the whole of the grievances of Ireland required a remedy, no remedy could have the immediate effect of calming discontent, for it was impossible to suppose any remedy could act like a miracle. Ministers were bound to protect his Majesty's subjects resident in that country, their lives, properties, and d wellings, and to adopt such means as the House should think expedient for repressing the outrages at present prevailing in Ireland.
thought, that if the power now sought to be obtained by Ministers could by possibility be done without, it ought not to be granted. It was a question of serious consideration whether the House had sufficient confidence in his Majesty's Ministers to grant them such additional power without an apprehension of its abuse. He had listened with great attention to the statements of the hon. and learned member for Dublin, as well as those of other hon. Members, and he came to the conclusion that, be the fault where it might. Ministers were incurring an awful responsibility in thus seeking an additional physical force for the suppression of disturbances in Ireland. He had been much astonished at the catalogue of Irish grievances poured forth by the hon. and learned member for Dublin, particularly when he found him going so far back as the reigns of Henry 8th, James 1st, and Charles 1st and 2nd. But the hon. and learned Member should recollect, that if Ireland had suffered under the tyrannical sway of those despots, England had also had her share of suffering under them; and it was only after they had passed away that her government approached its present form. He was astonished also at hearing the hon. member for Dublin declare, "upon his conscience," that he did not believe the Parliament or people of England would do justice to Ireland. He would say for himself, as the Representative, however unworthy, of a very considerable number of constituents, that the people were most anxious to do justice to Ireland; and he could assure the hon. and learned Member, that the wrongs of Ireland, which even his (Mr. O'Connell's) eloquence had failed to paint in adequate colours, were deeply and feelingly sympathized in by the people of this country. He felt convinced that, under all circumstances, the power now sought for, and which he trusted would be grant- 206 ed —["hear, hear," from Mr. O'Connell.] If the hon. Member had only had the patience to hear him finish the sentence, without the interruption of his sarcastic cheer, he would have found that what he was going to say was calculated to satisfy even him. What he was going to say was, that if that power were granted to Ministers, they would take it with an awful responsibility upon their heads; and if, after suppressing the grievances complained of, they should be found sluggish in applying themselves to the other abuses under which that unhappy country was at present labouring, then the people of England would not be slow in visiting them with the severest censure and punishment which their conduct deserved. It was not that the Parliament was to bestow this power as a gift, but as a dangerous weapon, for the proper exercise of which the Government would be called to a strict and severe account. He, in common with the hon. member for Bath, felt dissatisfied at what had fallen from the noble Lord, the Chancellor of the Exchequer relative to the non-removal of the taxes upon literature. He implored his Majesty's Ministers to bear in mind (if his feeble voice could have any effect), that while they called for physical force on the one hand, the most certain mode of effectually improving the moral and social condition of a people was by educating them. Unless the Minister adopted this system, they might rest assured that, if they required thousands this year to repress evil, they would next year find it necessary to call for tens of thousands for the same purpose. He thanked the House for the attention with which he had been heard, and concluded by stating that, unless he heard something more convincing than he had hitherto done, he should vote for the original Address.
§ Mr. Lalor
expressed his surprise, as was understood, at the course taken by the right hon. Secretary for Ireland, whose only grounds for demanding additional powers in Ireland appeared to be because Juries were not found efficient, owing to the system of intimidation in use in that country. Now, he challenged that right hon. Gentleman to state whether, out of the 150 cases tried at the late Special Commission held in his county, there was more than one acquittal? He protested against the measures to be employed against Ireland. The forces they had already were not sufficient for the purposes 207 they were intended for. The great reason of the excesses was, the interference of Government agents among the people. One instance of their interference he recollected, where a Police Chief, who was called to give evidence in a case where his party had killed a young man, and alleged as a reason, that he had received an intimation from the Secretary of the Lord Lieutenant, acting upon the suggestion of the Attorney-General. This was law. He recollected the feeling exclamation of the father of the lad that was killed:—" Ah, Sir, if I had been called on to give evidence, and refused like that gentleman has done, I should have been handcuffed and sent to prison; but there is one law for him and another for me," He (Mr. Lalor) had heard the agitators taunted with being the cause of all the excesses and crimes; but he repelled the charge as most infamously false, and would say his sincere conviction was, that but for the interference and advice of the agitators in all parts of that kingdom, there would have been much more crime and bloodshed than at present. There were many causes to agitate Ireland, but the great branch of agitators were the hireling incendiaries, who were sent about by those who ought to repress them, stirring up the people, already goaded by their deep injuries, inflaming their passions, and drawing them into crime, and to form illegal associations, which, as soon as formed, were informed against by these wretches. With respect to the assertion, that in Ireland no one dared to give evidence on pain of death, he again denied it altogether; and defied any one, even the hon. Member who seemed so well acquainted with the King's County, to produce any instance where any witness or juror had suffered for the lawful discharge of his duty. Yet this was the only ground assigned by the Ministry for taking away a portion of the constitutional liberty of Irishmen. He cautioned English Members against assenting to a destruction even of a portion of the liberties of their Irish fellow-subjects, for, if the example was once set, they knew not how soon the case would become their own.
§ Mr. Clay
, as the Representative of a constituency which in no point was second to any in the empire, could not give a silent vote in favour of the Address. He should give his support very reluctantly to the Address without a more distinct pledge from Government of efficacious 208 remedies for the evils complained of. He was sure he spoke the sense of the majority of his constituents in declaring his full opinion that coercion would utterly fail of success. He would ask, too, however modified they might make the system of collecting tithes, did they intend to appropriate these enormous revenues, when collected, to the support of a mouldering establishment, which only administered religious consolation to one-sixteenth of the population. He wished to be distinctly informed of the proposed appropriation. He was most grateful to the men who had—he would not say, procured Reform, for that the people had done for themselves, but who, having discernment enough to see the spirit of the times, had given it an impulse and direction which had quietly accomplished a great benefit. He was, therefore, unwilling to believe that such men would now draw back, and fail ultimately in carrying forward to its proper result the legitimate and satisfactory remedy of all our grievances. He would not trespass longer on the House, but would conclude by warning his Majesty's Ministers that the majority which now appeared so triumphant in their favour would fail them, if they exhibited any falling off from a determined spirit to carry forward every beneficial measure to its fullest extent.
§ Mr. Gillon
would not give a silent vote on the present occasion, in favour of the amendment of the honourable and learned member for Dublin. An hon. Member had expressed some regrets which he shared—that nothing was said in the Speech from the Throne in allusion to the distresses of the working classes. He could vouch for the severity of those distresses, and for the patience and magnanimity with which they were borne. This omission was not intentional on the part of his Majesty's Ministers; but most likely it was still to be regretted as having relation to those who must ever be considered as forming the true strength of the nation. He also objected to that part of the Speech which referred to the Church, which was unsatisfactory in the highest degree. In that portion of the country to which he belonged there was a growing desire for an immediate separation between the Church and the State. He hoped that that separation would be made one of the consequences of reform. He was also strongly opposed to the sentiment which 209 pervaded part of the Speech, implying, in effect, that the property which was now considered as the property of the Church, could be legally applied to none other than ecclesiastical purposes. If the Legislature were unable to make such an arrangement as might alter its appropriation in some particulars, for what object was the Parliament reformed? The noble Lord, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said, that it was not in his power to take off any of the taxes on knowledge until he knew what was the state of the total revenue of the year. Was this all the country was to gain by our boasted reform? In one or two years more, indeed, we might perhaps read, it should seem, cheap newspapers. When asked by the people for the abolition of the malt and hop tax—the tax on soap—on insurances—what were they, their Representatives to tell them? When they came to them with this just demand for a redress of some of their grievances, what answer were they to give them? That they were to go on, burthened as usual, and groaning under the weight of excessive imposts; but that the bishops, the chapters, the deans, and all the long catalogue of tithe-consumers, were still to fatten on their labours. There was another point connected with the same subject, to which some allusion ought to have been made in the Speech from the Throne—the propriety of ecclesiastical persons retaining their seats in the other branch of the Legislature. He meant, however, to introduce a motion on this subject himself, as he conceived that the time had now arrived—or would speedily arrive—at which they must put an end to that impolitic and Unchristian association of Church and State that now subsisted; and place religion on its best and surest foundation—its own purity and truth—free altogether from those shackles of the secular arm with which it was now encompassed.
§ Mr. Henry Grattan
expressed, with great regret, his dissatisfaction at the Speech which had been that day delivered from the Throne: and he was still more sorry to find fault with the Speech of the noble Lord who proposed the Address, in answer to that communication. Much as he had been surprised at his Majesty's Speech, he was still more so at that of the noble Lord, who had brought a question before the House which had nothing to do with the subject at present under consideration. That noble 210 Lord had certainly committed an act of imprudence; which, however, as he was a young Member, would have been pardonable on his part, had he not, when speaking of Ireland, taken the liberty of casting aspersions on some of her brightest ornaments. He (Mr. Grattan) would not follow his example in travelling out of the question—but confine himself to the subject before the House. The Speech from the Throne announced, that in Ireland a spirit of insubordination and violence had risen to the most fearful height. What authority had the right hon. Gentleman opposite for that statement? Was it the authority of Chief Justice Bushe, of the Special Commissions, or of the hon. member for Queen's County? His Majesty called upon that House—a Reformed House of Commons—to apply a remedy to grievances which existed in two counties—and how? By suspending the law throughout Ireland: for it appeared that the Jury law was to be suspended. Why should the entire of Ireland be subjected to a suspension of the laws for the misconduct of Kilkenny and Queen's County? Was ever such a course pursued for England? He would appeal to the older Members of this House, whether, before the Habeas Corpus Act was suspended, there was not an inquiry instituted into the circumstances which were stated to call for so extraordinary a measure? What George 3rd and his most tyrannical Ministers never dared to do with a House of borough mongers and nominees, the present Government now proposed to a Reformed House of Commons. Look at the Speech itself, from the Throne. It was a poor, meagre Speech. Such words might not be very palatable, perhaps; but he would add, it was a monstrous Speech; an unjust, an unworthy, an ungrateful, an artificial Speech. Look at the very words of it. The King required of the Legislature additional powers—to do what? To keep down disturbance in Ireland? Aye, and to put a stop to "agitation"—to the expression of the feelings of the people. Of what use had their fine proclamations been? Had they stopped agitation? The people acted—and not violently—and the proclamations became useless. He would ask those noble persons opposite, was it intended to send forward gentlemen armed capàpee to repress disturbances, for the asserted existence of which there was not the shadow of a foundation? Ought not 211 the right hon. Gentleman opposite to tell the House the real facts of the case before he called on them to suspend the law? What was the opinion of the twenty-two Gentlemen who sat on the state of Ireland last year? Decidedly opposed to such a course. What was the opinion of the clerks of the peace—of individuals coming from that country? That coercive measures would not do. What did Mr. O'Connor say? That the peasantry of the country were starving—lying in ditches, without garments, in a state such as never was known or experienced before, which it would harrow up the very soul to describe. He would appeal to a report of that House, which stated the whole numbers of the population of Ireland and the portion of them in employment. The House would scarcely believe, that out of 8,000,000, there were now only 1,600,000 employed. He might refer to other documents—to a report which stated, that out of a population of 200,000 in the metropolis of Ireland, 100,000 were obliged to support themselves by the work of their hands—that one-fourth of that population were in a state of absolute want. This was a grievance which called loudly for redress. Then came another: the people were turned out of their farms, reduced to a state of the most abject privation—left to he in ditches. To remedy this state of things, the Ministers proposed to saddle the country with taxes, and with an increased military force. They hoped thus to stop the agitation of the question: "Whence arises this state of things?" and which agitation they thought, perhaps, had no foundation, no solidity, no heart, in the feelings of the people. They ought to have taken a different course. In the report which he had alluded to, they would find it stated, that those disturbances, the occurrence of which formed the text of so great a passage of his Majesty's Speech, would have been put down if the Magistracy of Queen's County had done their duty—that everything like outrage would have stopped, but that it would yet be impossible to accomplish that desirable end by force unaccompanied by conciliation. The Ministers now called on the House for strong measures, without even stating what were the evils they complained of, and how, precisely, they were to be remedied. They had promised nothing—they had said nothing of their intentions. The words of the 212 King's Speech were these:—'An Act was past during the last Session of Parliament for carrying into effect a general composition for tithes; to complete that salutary work, I recommend to you, in conjunction with such other amendments of the law as may be found applicable to that part of my dominions, the adoption of a measure by which, upon the principle of a just commutation, the possessors of land may be enabled to free themselves from the burthen of an annual payment.' That was to say, having made tithes compulsory, they would continue the compulsion of their payment: but would allow the annual tax to be commuted. How-did the Ministry think the people would receive such a measure? Would they, then, talk of vindicating the law? Vindicate the law! They had no idea of what law was. Had not the House seen the officers of the Crown bring 5,000 actions for the amount of as many farthings? He had a list of the suits instituted for the recovery of tithes; the first was for 2d.! In this case payment had been made; the agents of the Crown said it had not been made; and then the individual produced his receipt. He could adduce many instances in which proceedings had been commenced to recover tithes, which bad been already absolutely paid. In one case, in the county of Dublin, a promissory-note had been given to a clergyman, and paid; it was sworn, by some one on the part of the Crown, that such was not the case; but the note was brought forward. He distrusted the hon. Gentlemen opposite, because they had shown that they did not understand their own measures. If the right hon. Secretary had been intelligible last Session, a great deal of the present confusion would have been avoided. He told the House that he would extinguish tithes. Not only had he not performed his promise, but he proposed a Bill to commute them, in order to make them permanent. That was what he called "extinguishing" them. To carry into execution his purpose, he now asked for a military force, and a suspension of the law of the land. He said, that these coercive measures were to be accompanied by others of a conciliatory nature. But did he state what his remedy for the grievances was? How many Bishops did he mean to have,—how many incumbents? Or did he intend to keep up the clerical body at its present complement? Was one-seventh of 213 the produce of Ireland still to be applied to their support? Were they to have 1,700,000l. distributed among them; and then was it to be said that the people of Ireland had no grievances to complain of? If the Representatives of that country were not to exclaim against such an attempt to mislead Parliament, as this, they would be unworthy the trust reposed in them. The remedy which the right hon. Gentleman opposite called for, might be called a declaration of war; at all events, it exhibited a great want of statesmanlike abilities, and prudence on his part. He said that he would support his cause "to the death." He would remind that hon. Gentleman of what Mr. Fox once said: "If Ireland is to be held by force, I do not think she is worth holding." Let the right hon. Gentleman go home and study the speech in which that passage occurred; let him come down to-morrow and retract that brutal expression of his. He (Mr. Grattan) was not in the habit of obtruding his opinions: he had never made himself conspicuous as an "agitator," but he was not to be deterred from doing what he conceived to be his duty to Ireland, by those exploded opinions and sentiments about loyalty, and the rest of the trash which was usually given out in no measured terms or quantity, when that country was the subject of remark. It was a mistake to think there was a want of honest spirit and constitutional knowledge in the lowest classes of the people of Ireland. He would allow that they occasionally committed excesses; but those excesses were brought on by their cruel situation. Put them in a natural, a fair condition, and those excesses would cease. Was it not an injustice unheard of in history, that a body of men should come to an island, take the rents of almost all the land in it, and then run away from it, contributing nothing to its produce or its revenue? And when the people complained of "grievances," were they to be told, under such a state of things, that they had none? The people of Ireland had lately mixed up the question of the Repeal of the Union with the wished-for redress of their grievances—not because they understood and approved the nature of such a question, but because they were oppressed by imposts and taxes of all kinds—oppressed by Church cesses and tithes, in a manner if not unconstitutional, at least unseemly and irreligious. Was not the patience of 600 years enough 214 to entitle them to relief? Was not the patience even of the period which had elapsed since the Union, sufficient? It was said that the people of Ireland were led by demagogues, who inflamed their minds, and excited them to demands which would otherwise never be thought of. But what was the real fact? That the Irish people patiently waited for a great number of years; they knocked at the door of that House, they were refused admittance for a long time, and allowed it only (as was usual in such cases) when it was useless any longer to deny it. The same inattention had been shown to all their subsequent desires, and they now looked to themselves. The right hon. Gentlemen opposite might disregard them. He would remind them that there was once a Tory party in Ireland—it was now extinguished. There was, too, a Whig party; let those gentlemen take care that it be not extinguished also. The proceedings of this debate had surprised him. He was astonished to see individuals, from whom he had expected better things, coming forward to advocate a line of conduct which the experience of past years had shown to be productive of such baneful effects. Let the House look at the consequences that had frequently occurred in attempting to carry into execution the provisions of the former measure, which the right hon. Gentleman intended to follow up so vigorously—at the imposing array of military and police force which were called into requisition for that purpose. In one case, a company of the Lancers, two pieces of artillery, and two companies of the 92nd Highlanders, were called out to attend the sale of one unfortunate cow. When that measure for the commutation of tithes was proposed, what did the Irish Members say? That Government would require troops to execute it; that they would degrade the array, and convert them into pig-drivers and cattle-drivers. Were they not right? The troops themselves felt the degradation, and expressed their feeling. He would mention an instance which came within his own knowledge. He was staying at an hotel, to which some of the officers who had been engaged in one of these transactions came. They were English, he was told, and judged so from their Yorkshire dialect: and he learned that they expressed the greatest dissatisfaction at the duty which had been assigned to them. He would 215 ask the hon. and gallant Officer opposite, whom he saw shaking his head, was the condition on which he accepted his Majesty's Commission, that he should turn pig-seller? The gallant Commander, however, to whom the general conduct of this business had been intrusted, had been guilty of a violation of the law. He might be a good soldier; but lawyer he was none. To his (Mr. Grattan's) knowledge, the troops had been engaged in collecting—not the tithes of 1831, which were assigned to the Crown by the Legislature of last Session, but the tithes of 1832, with which they had no right to meddle. Their interference was illegal, moreover, because no Magistrate or other deputy of his Majesty had a right to call out the troops, unless he received information that the lives of the King's subjects were in danger. They had, in some instances, attempted to collect tithes which had been already paid. In proof of this, he would mention the case of Mr. Clark, and the letter which Lord Anglesey wrote him. It appeared that the tithes of 1832 were called for by the clergyman, with a body of police, and a party of carabineers and lancers. Mr. Clark was from home; and the cattle were being driven away, when Mrs. Clark went out to the officer in command, and soon made it appear that it had already been agreed to accept a composition for the tithes. Lord Anglesey then wrote a letter of apology, stating that the conduct of these troops did not meet with his approbation. Was such a state of things to be continued? Were these temporalities of the Protestant Church to be kept up? Was Ireland to have the same number of clergymen in future, as now—men, who were admitted to be in a state of complete poverty? The entire population of the country was against the system. There must, then, be something wrong—radically wrong, in its principle, and in the mode of its enforcement. He was attached to the people of England, not because they were rich or better informed, or possessed of more talent than the people of Ireland (for he agreed with the hon. member for Knaresborough, that there was to the full, as much talent on the other side of the water as on this), but he was attached to them because of their Constitution—their great Charter—their Trial by Jury—their Petition of Rights, which they would not allow to be dormant. He was confirmed in that attachment by the firmness with which they maintained those rights, 216 and resisted all attempts at encroachments. Far different, indeed, was the case of Ireland. That unhappy country had ever been the victim of oppression and misrule. The few privileges she did possess, were now, it appeared, to be taken away, because she cried out for a redress of the grievances under which she groaned. He trusted that, hereafter, it might not be recorded, that, after 600 years of various government, there were two great parties dominant in Ireland—the Tories, who supported the pitch-cap and triangle—and the Whigs, who supported the bayonet and bullet. Was this an appendix to the history of England, to be written by the right hon. Gentleman opposite? He would tell him, that if the Union was to be maintained between England and Ireland, the bond of connexion must not be the red coats—it must not be the sword; it must be a harmony of interests and feeling. The conduct of the present Government was singularly imprudent; the course which they pursued rendered it impossible for a large body of Members to support them, from whom they might otherwise derive the most essential aid. The right hon. Gentleman had talked contemptuously of the Irish Parliament, which existed previous to the Union. If that Parliament were bad, it was so from the bribery of the Ministry of England. When Ireland received her Constitution, it was thought necessary to provide, carefully, against the chance of any benefits accruing to her from it. They were obliged to undermine the superstructure which they raised, in order to continue the system which they desired. The folly and incongruity of the conduct of his Majesty's Ministers was striking; it was obvious to all but themselves. He would implore the kindness and amenity of the noble Lord opposite, to prevail over the severity and cruelty of the right hon. Gentleman by his side. This was a question in which all were deeply interested; it was impossible not to feel strongly on it, and not to express one's feelings with warmth. It was a question of life or death, and what was more, a question of liberty. He would rather his countrymen were rebels than slaves. He called upon the House to consider well the course proposed to it: it was this—to suspend the law throughout Ireland; to subject that harassed and miserable country to all the evils of military government? What authority had 217 they for supposing that such coercion would produce the effect desired? Was it, he would ask again, the speech of Chief Justice Bushe? Was it the Special Commissions, or the Clerk of the Crown? Had not all these told Ministers that not a single offence could be committed in Ireland for which there was not already a penal law? What more would they have? He called upon them to pause before they increased the already overwhelming load of taxation, and alienated entirely the feelings of the people of Ireland. The consequences which were likely to follow upon these violations of the law might be gathered from the history of the revolutions of America and France. At the close of the last century, the people of the latter country clamoured loudly for a redress of grievances. It was attempted to resist them. The resistance was vain, and the people triumphed. Then came that dark period of the annals of that country—that course of crime and blood which was prompted by the philosophers of the age, and which terminated in their own overthrow by one greater than themselves. He would forbear to continue the subject; and would now conclude, simply expressing his ardent hope and wish, that England and Ireland might remain united—but his anxious fears, that the course of policy pursued by his Majesty's Government was ill calculated to attain that object.