§ Lord Althorp
moved the Order of the Day, for the House to resolve itself into Committee on the Suppression of Disturbances (Ireland) Bill.
§ On the Question that the Speaker do leave the Chair.
§ Mr. Cobbett
rose, and said, that as he had not had an opportunity during the debate on the Bill to express his sentiments on it, he should take advantage of the present opportunity. He was sorry to think that the Bill had been engendered in the heart of an Englishman, and brought into that House by the hands of an Englishman, but he should deem himself unworthy of existence if he did not stand up and declare the horror he felt at the introduction of such a measure. He had been lately looking into—though, indeed, it was not necessary for him to look into—for he well remembered the deeds of Pitt, and Sidmouth, and Perceval, and Castlereagh, but the present measure had an infamous pre-eminence over all the deeds of all those men. In the first place, under this Bill military tribunals were to supersede the ordinary Courts of Justice. They had heard a great deal of Whitefeet and Blackfeet, and midnight outrages, and murders; but when he looked into the Bill, he found that the military tribunals were not confined to the trial of the Whitefeet and Blackfeet. Those red-coat tribunals were to decide in cases of libel, without the intervention of a Judge or a Jury. The Whitefeet, and the midnight robbers and assassins, were not the writers of libels? This part of the Bill, therefore, could not be intended for the Whitefeet, and the midnight robbers and assassins. Comparing this Bill with others to which it bore any resemblance, he found in it one very remarkable omission. The Members of that House Were not protected. It had always hitherto been usual to insert a clause, stating that if any Member of that House was charged or suspected of having committed any of the offences 732 against which the Bill was directed, its provisions should not be applied to him until the pleasure of that House was first taken. No such clause, however, appeared in the present Bill, and any Member of that House who happened to be in Ireland either by accident or design, might, at the will of the Lord Lieutenant, be seized and tried before one of those red-coat tribunals, and transported the next day. Any one of the Irish Members of Parliament, who stood up in that House for his country, and spoke against this Bill, was liable upon his return to that country, to be condemned and sent off to Botany Bay before the House could hear of his arrest. And would they allow this? Was the House sunk so low as that? Would it suffer that any Member of that House might be transported at the pleasure of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with a red-coat tribunal, every Member of which the Government might dismiss at its discretion. This was a new power to invest a Government with. They were obliged to come to a Reformed Parliament for that power. The unreformed Parliament—the Parliament of the boroughmongers, their nominees as it was called, never did anything like that. He had always said, that to a military Government this country (as well as Ireland) must come, unless the Government reduced the pressure of taxation. It was impossible to carry on the Government as at present, without a military force. The taxes could not otherwise be levied; Judges and Juries must be dismissed wholly and entirely, in order to carry on a system so partial, so oppressive, so villainously unjust. Therefore he warned the House, and he warned the people of England, against the scourge which his Majesty's Government was preparing for them. It was nonsense to say, that this was only a temporary measure. Ministers meant that it should be permanent—the settled mode of governing the country; and they meant to introduce the same into England as speedily as possible. He said, the other evening, and the assertion was well, as the argument had been left unanswered—that he believed the Government had the project in contemplation to begin to govern England, as Ireland has been long governed. He believed that they had it in contemplation to establish, first, police stations in all the towns and villages of the kingdom; second, to supplant these by a more direct 733 military force; and third, to erect the red-coat tribunals for the trial of offenders, and of all matters of dispute. Tyranny always came by slow degrees; and nothing could tend more to illustrate that fact than the history of the police in this country. When the establishment of a police force was first proposed, Englishmen were shocked at the idea. The name was completely new among us; but coupled with the history of France, it carried with it fearful notions of tyranny and despotism. The noble Lord opposite doubtless remembered well, how stoutly the noble Earl, now the First Lord of the Treasury, and Mr. Sheridan, and some others, who pretended to have a regard for the liberties of Englishmen, and who, at that time professed, as it were, an inbred hate of every thing bearing the remotest semblance of military Government, fought against the introduction of the police system into this country. They made a noble stand upon that occasion; but, all that they could obtain in relaxation of the original proposition was, that police officers should not vote at elections, and that they should be eligible to sit in Parliament. So we continued for some time with a police office in Bow-street, a couple of police Magistrates, and a few police officers. That was not so very insufferable: but at length the right hon. Baronet, the member for Tamworth, came forward and said: "I think that owing to the improvement of the age, we want something a little more regular in the form of our police." This led to the introduction of a police with blue coats, red waistcoats, blue pantaloons, and ash sticks in their hands. These gentry walked about and showed themselves with wonderful pride; but no sooner were they established than he had said "This is the first step—we shall soon have them in half uniform." His saying proved to be true, for, behold we had now a police with numbered collars and embroidered cuffs—a body of men as regular as any in the King's service, as fit for domestic war as the red-coats were for foreign war. The right hon. Baronet, however, left his police unarmed; that last improvement of the age was reserved for the present Government; and now we had the gratification of seeing the police with swords on thighs, and pistols in their belts. "What did they want with swords and pistols if they were not going to war? But the improvement of the age 734 proceeded, and we should by-and-by, see them with carbines and bayonets, as regularly armed as the police of any of the French sovereigns, from the days of Hugh Capet to the present hour. Besides, the system was spreading. Formerly it was confined to London, but Ministers had been smuggling it into the great towns; and before long there would be a regular police force established in every village. Nothing in the world would prevent that—nothing in the world could successfully obstruct this march of tyranny, but that right of resistance which the people may use against acts of oppression. How the noble Lord and his colleagues could reflect upon the past—how they could look upon the history of their country, and then contemplate the present state of things, and the designs which they had in view, he for one was at an utter loss to imagine. All foreign writers had agreed, that the highest excellence of a wise government—that which distinguished England above all the countries of the world was, that it was governed by the sheriffs wand and the constable's staff. "The latter," said one of them," even though it be a decrepit old man who wields it, is ever found sufficient to exact the most implicit obedience of the laws. This is the highest test of a good government and of a happy people—this is the beauty of England, of its laws, its Constitution, and its community." How the noble Lord, therefore, could reconcile to the integrity of his mind the course which he and his colleagues were pursuing, was a matter of the utmost astonishment to him. He conjured the noble Lord, as a member of the Government, to take heed, lest, by his proceedings, he prevented the hope of ever again seeing the people of England willing to yield to the un-backed authority of the constable's staff. He, and those who thought and spoke as he did, were accused of harbouring wishes to destroy the Constitution. The fact was not so. His desire was, to restore it to its former brightness. He wished to see England as happy as she was when he was born; and the principle he went upon was, not to leave her in a worse condition than he found her. But he feared he should not succeed in his object. Blackstone, in his "Commentaries on the Laws of England," laid it down that the main principle upon which those laws were based, was the prevention of the Executive from forming a body too dis- 735 tinet from the people; and, therefore, that it ought to be selected from the people, as in the Roman republic; but the main object which the Constitution seemed to be directed towards now, was to make the Executive as distinct from the people as possible—in fact, if it must be said, to make it an instrument of tyranny over them. The same authority to which he had referred, said also, that the army ought to be composed only of the real subjects of the King of Great Britain, not of Hanoverians; that they ought to be enlisted for a limited time; that the soldiers ought to be encouraged to mix with the people; that they ought to have no separate camp, no barracks, no inland fortresses;—and Blackstone said, also, that it would better accord with the principles of the Constitution, if the soldiery were so enlisted and discharged, as to keep up a general and constant change throughout the army, so that all the people should serve by turns. The people had only to read Blackstone to be made sensible of the full extent of their present degradation. To be sure, some of the commentators upon that Judge differed considerably from his explanation of the law; Mr. Christian, for instance, who said that barracks were good for the soldiery. He would not trouble the House with any further remarks upon this topic, but would proceed to inquire what the next step would be after this Bill was passed; he believed it would be the introduction of military tribunals into England. These tribunals, to be sure, at present were only collaterally introduced. They were introduced into Ireland; but he thought it his duty to resist their introduction as much as if they were about to be introduced into England. Every man loved his country—every man had a peculiar liking to that part of the country in which he was born. He also felt this love; he was affectionately attached to the spot of his birth-place—the western district of the county of Surrey; yet so help him God, he would as soon see the introduction of military tribunals into that part of the country as into Ireland; because nothing could be baser or viler than, when a Government demanded extraordinary powers, to demand it for one place alone, and that a weak or distant one, and not for the whole kingdom. When this power was introduced into the districts of Ireland, it would be soon introduced into those of 736 England. Why, if the slightest disturbance appeared in Cornwall or Kent, they would immediately have recourse to the same measures, and extend them all over England. If the people consented to this monstrous precedent, they would shortly see armed stations in every hole and corner of England. He might be asked, perhaps, whether he believed that the nobility and gentry of England—the country gentlemen of England—whether they, who had such a stake in the country, would ever give their consent to the introduction of such a measure into England? He believed that they would; that they would even like it. He thought they would find it very convenient to have a police-station in their several villages, to serve as gamekeepers, and the instruments of a little parochial tyranny. That was his real belief; and, therefore, he would recommend the people of England to look well to the progress of this measure; they should use every means in their power to prevent the consummation of tyranny. For his own part, he had seen no information to warrant the assertion, that the ordinary laws were not sufficient for the present state of Ireland. At one Assizes he saw that seventy persons were convicted, or ran a chance of being so; but the framers of the present Bill represented Ireland as in such a state that the ordinary laws could not be enforced. The truth was, some counties were disturbed, but Ministers wanted to make the whole country alike, for their own particular purposes. In circumstances somewhat similar, how did Washington act? When the country he governed, within 200 miles of the State of Pennsylvania, was in a state of commotion to put down the excise laws, what did he do? Did he demand a suspension of the Habeas Corpus? Did he ask for Courts-martial? No; he told; the disaffected to obey the laws, or he would use military force to compel them. Not that of a standing army, but a force composed of freemen and citizens. The discontented did not obey the first order, and in less than ten days Washington had an army of 10,000 volunteers, accoutred at their own expense, to enable him to enforce obedience to the laws. The commotion was soon quelled; one culprit was condemned, and the others pardoned. What was the consequence of such conduct? Why, the most ready obedience to the laws was restored. Why did not, the present rulers of the country act in 737 that way towards Ireland, instead of introducing military courts, the officers of which depended for their daily bread upon Government, and who had the power of transportation for life? His great objection to the Bill was, that it was clearly a declaration of the establishment of a military Government, not only in Ireland but in England. Let any legal resistance break out in any county of England, and then in another, and not only those comities, but the whole of the kingdom would be subjected to Martial Law. This might happen before long, and it was his firm conviction that Ministers contemplated such an end, and that they would come to it, if the Bill were suffered to pass that House. However, he felt satisfied that their unworthy and base scheme would not succeed. The people of England had too much good sense—they needed no precedent of resistance—they were taught by nature to resist such an Act as the present, and to prevent it from ever becoming a precedent for their posterity to be enslaved by. The right hon. Secretary on the Bench opposite, would not deny, that there was such a right as the right of resistance. How could he, after what he said the other night about the American revolution? How could he, when he reflected that the present reigning family were placed upon the Throne by this very right? He might also recollect, that after the Restoration, Charles 2nd had an act passed, in the fourteenth year of his reign, by which, under no circumstance, and in no case, the subject had a right to resist the King. But by the first of William 3rd this act was repealed, and consequently, the law was left as it was before, allowing that, in some cases, the subject had a right to resist the King—nay, that in some cases he might take up arms in furtherance of that resistance. The case that justified such resistance was, when the main principles of the Constitution were attacked by any portion of the Government. Then a right to resist with arms was permitted. The right hon. Secretary for Ireland and the hon. member for Leeds, had emphatically stated to the House, that the Americans had a right to resist their King; that their revolution was a glorious one, and that those who aided in it were heroes, whose deeds deserved to be loudly applauded. Very well, what made them resist? Why they resisted because the King "attempted"— 738 mark the word attempted—to take away Trial by Jury. That was one cause of their resistance, and it was allowed that they made it on lawful grounds. In the next place, they resisted because there were mock trials of the English soldiery, who committed murder and yet were acquitted. Whether these last sorts of trials were now destined to be used towards the soldiers employed in Ireland he knew not. Another ground of American resistance was, that the King "affected" to make military power superior to civil power. This was not a charge that could be literally brought against the present Ministers; they had not only affected to do it, but they had done it. These three causes had been deemed sufficient to justify the American revolution. Now, what were the causes which were deemed sufficient to justify the resistance of our ancestors to James 2nd? They were these:—He had superseded, in some instances, the Trial by Jury, and he had kept up a military force without the consent of Parliament. Unfortunate James—had he lived in our times, he would have had no difficulty in obtaining the consent of Parliament to that or any other measure he might have proposed. All the crimes which England committed against the liberties of America, and which James 2nd committed against the liberties of England, were committed by this Bill against the liberties of Ireland—and in the name of common sense, what for? They were about to cover the face of the country with armies, and for what purpose? To put down those who resisted the payment of tithes. This was clear to everybody that made the slightest inquiry into the matter. A great deal had been said about poor parsons, as if there was one in every parish of Ireland. Pity the poor Irish parsons indeed! Why there was not one of them who was poor. In Ireland there were twenty-two Bishops, and, therefore, twenty-two dioceses; there were 3,436 parishes, according to the returns made when the Duke of Bedford, the father of the noble Lord opposite, was Lord Lieutenant, and there were only 501 resident parsons in that number of parishes. Now, how could these parsons be poor? But the fact was, that people did not know how Church matters stood. They did not know that Bishops, who might be termed a species of overseers, had seldom more than half-a-dozen parsons to oversee and look 739 after; and there was another thing they did not know—that all Church property, at least the great mass of it, belonged to the aristocracy. That property was now in danger, by the present resistance to tithes; and it was to put down this resistance that the present Bill was about to be passed. Why did not the framers of this Bill call it one to protect the collection of tithes, and not one for the protection of the rights of property? The former was its proper title. Eighteen out of the present twenty-two Irish Bishops belonged to noble families, or had been the tutors of the scions of nobility, and the greater proportion of Irish Church property belonged to about forty families of the aristocracy. That was a sufficient proof that the Church was the property of the nobility. "Their's is the Gospel, and their's the Law." That was what they were fighting for with arms, both military and ecclesiastical. They opposed all Church Reform, and opposed it violently; and no wonder. Did ever anybody see a fowl snatched out of the jaws of a fox without the old fellow being in a great rage? This was the reason they were in such a rage at present, and why they were so willing to fight. They were inclined to fight, not for the Gospel, but for the good things of this world. "Why, in this very Ireland, there were about 250 parishes held in propria. My Lord Shannon held seven, and the Duke of Devonshire twenty, and so on; so that in point of fact, there was little or no bonâ fide Church property in Ireland. That property had little more to do with religion than the waves of the sea, and the sharks that live therein. The whole of that property, which was originally intended to uphold religion, and to support the poor, was now in the hands of the aristocracy, and to wrest it from their gripe would require efforts that had not been yet made in that House, but which he hoped would be begun by the resistance given to the present Bill in its passing through the House. To show that all the blame laid not with the aristocracy, he would quote a late writer, did he not fear to weary the House. The writer he meant to quote was not one of his party; he was an ally of the noble Lord opposite, and one whose testimony the noble Lord could not doubt, as he was a member of the Church. As the noble Lord, in bringing forward his measure of Irish Church Reform had recourse to rooting and raking up old 740 documents for his purposes; so he would find, that no small portion of the clergy had recourse to similar means, and that they were ready to contend that it was not the clergy that kept back this property from the uses it was destined for, but the aristocracy. The great tithes of twenty parishes held by the Duke of Devonshire was a specimen, and a case in point. The clergy were not half so much to blame as the aristocracy. They were, moreover, at present placed in rather a pitiful plight—they were placed between two fires—the one from the people, and the other from the aristocracy. The aristocracy were about to throw the clergy overboard, and the property they were now about to take from them, they would take very good care to give to themselves. As a proof of this, he would refer to the book of the Prebendary of Durham and Rector of Northallerton, the reverend Mr. Townsend, in which he plainly accuses the grasping aristocracy of a wish to seize on now all that the Reformation left untouched of Church property. The reverend gentleman accused them of this, and said that they were proving themselves the true successors of their plundering forefathers. How could the noble Lord opposite answer this accusation? The reverend gentleman who made this accusation, had drawn up a bill of his own, since he considered the noble Lord's Bill one for the spoliation of the Church; and though that bill was not exactly such a one as he would propose, still he preferred it to the noble Lord's, as it had something equitable on the face of it. He did not know whether it was a recommendation that it had among its advocates many of the fire-shovelled gentlemen. The reverend gentleman proposed a plan to reduce pluralities; he was speaking of England, and not of much-abused Ireland. He would read this plan for the abolition of English pluralities [Question]. What he was about to read was to the question. [The hon. Member proceeded to read some passages from the proposed plan, but cries of "question" made it impossible to catch the sense of what he was reading.] He maintained that he was strictly speaking to the question, because he was about to show whence might arise the right of resistance to the proposed measure, and because he was about to show, that this Bill would lead to worse than the plunder perpetrated at the Reformation, and worse than anything James 2nd had done, or 741 anything George 3rd was accused of doing towards the Americans. What right had Government to expect that the people of England would not resist the injustice about to be done to the people of Ireland, when they were sure that that injustice would soon, as a gangrene, spread over the body, extend itself to England, for they felt convinced that the present Ministers could not carry on their system; of government in any other way. He had, very frequently, called them tyrants, and; their measures tyrannical. Now, if it could be proved that they were tyrants, every body would allow that there was a right to resist them. If it could be proved that they were tyrants, there would be as; good a right to resist them, as Moses had in destroying the task-master, or as Jehu had in ordering Jezebel to be thrown out of the window, and give her blood to dogs to lick. What tyrants always wanted was, to seize on the fruits of other men's labour, and to get their money. When the labourer let the tyrant do that, the tyrant did not want to eat his flesh or destroy him, no more than the farmer wanted to destroy the horse that ploughed his fields. This was a proper definition of the word tyrant. Let all men know what tyrants were, and remain slaves, if, when able to resist them, they did not do so. With that last sentence he would conclude. Yet since hon. Gentlemen expressed so much satisfaction at his being about to conclude, he would go on a little longer. If it were impossible to resist a large standing army and a large body of police, created to watch every movement of the body, as long as there was no paper money, as long as the Government paid in gold, the people would be more than a match for them. Why, even the very Saving Banks would be more than a match for them. But a bank restriction might be introduced, such as that the hon. member for South Durham recommended for the Dublin bank a night or two ago. But that would not do either—that would not answer the purpose of, Government. To be sure, by an Order in Council, they might make paper a legal tender, and, by so doing, rob the Saving Banks; but it would be of no use, for their filthy rags had lost their power, and would not even be taken in payment for those bayonets and bullets that might be served out to the people. He did not accuse the present Ministers of being tyrants by nature—they were only tyrants half by nature and; 742 the rest by necessity. [Question] "Who's that "said the hon. Member "callsquestion? I'll make it a very long question for him if he don't mind." The Government appeared to him to be endeavouring to excite the resentment of the country, by doing that which would necessarily be considered wrong. He thought it right to lay that statement—a statement of the true facts of the case—before the House and the country, and he would allow the country from that to judge of the propriety of the measure. He called on the people to exert themselves against the passing of that measure. He called on the people of England to make common cause with the people of Ireland in resisting it. He conjured the people of England to think of their own safety by taking measures for the defeat of an Act which was to enslave their fellow-subjects of Ireland.
§ Question again put, that the Speaker do leave the Chair.
§ Mr. Thomas Attwood
wished to take that opportunity to give notice, that he would move "That all further proceedings in the Irish Disturbance Bill be suspended till the measures relating to the Reform of the Church of Ireland, and the other measures for the amelioration of that country, have passed into laws. The day would never come when the Irish Disturbance Bill, as it at present stood, could pass into a law. His Majesty's Ministers said, that they would resign if it were rejected. He would much regret that such should be the consequence of the rejection of that measure; but even with that threat before him, he could not consent to deliver over the Irish nation to the dominion of the military. Did his Majesty's Ministers mean first to bring the country to a state of resistance in consequence of their measures, and then to resign in favour of their predecessors? He had another Amendment to more, which he would take an opportunity of doing-while the Bill was in Committee—namely, "that all the power granted to the Government by that act be limited to the counties composing the province of Leinster." The right hon. Secretary for Ireland had said, that the disturbances were confined exclusively to the province of Leinster, with very little exception. He therefore, as a friend to the integrity of the kingdom, and an enemy to the Repeal of the Union, thought it most desirable not to exasperate, the people of Ireland by 743 making an Act general as to them, on I account of the disturbances in one district. That was his reason for giving notice of the Amendment.
The House went into a Committee on the Irish Disturbances' Bill.
The Chairman read the fourth Clause. "And be it enacted, that it shall and may be lawful for the Lord Lieutenant or other chief Governor or Governors of Ireland, with the advice of his Majesty's Privy Council in Ireland, at any time after the passing of this Act, and from time to time during the continuance thereof, as occasion may require, to issue his or their proclamation declaring any county, county of a city, or county of a town, in Ireland, or any portion thereof respectively, to be in such a state of disturbance and insubordination as to require the application of the provisions of this Act; and such county, county of a city, or county of a town, or any portion thereof respectively, shall be deemed, and taken to be a proclaimed district within the meaning of this Act."
§ Mr. Lambert
wished to learn from the noble Lord, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what was the remedial measure relative to the clergy and their rights which his Majesty's Ministers had stated they had in preparation? At the same time he must announce his intention to move an Amendment to the effect, that "that Bill should not be made use of for the purpose of enforcing the payment of tithes in Ireland."
§ Lord Althorp
said, it would be unnecessary for the hon. Member to propose such an Amendment, because his Majesty's Ministers had in contemplation to propose a measure, which while it would reserve the rights of the clergy, and secure to them what fairly belonged to them, would relieve the government of Ireland from the necessity of enforcing the measure passed during last Session for the commutation of tithes. He hoped that the proposition was one which would secure to the clergy their rights, and he was sure it would save the people from any unnecessary prosecution for arrears which might be due by them.
hoped as that was the case, that the noble Lord would consent to the suspension of the enforcement of the payment of tithes by means of the police, for the present. Collisions were happening frequently, he might say every day, between the people and the police. 744 Even that very day he had got an account of an unfortunate transaction which had happened in the county of Cork. The miserable people had attacked a party of police who were employed to levy tithes, and the police found it necessary to fire, when three or four of the people were killed. That was in a parish where he knew that there were not thirty Protestants. He hoped that the noble Lord would consent to his suggestion. There was another matter of which the people complained; that the police when they got payment of tithes from the people, refused to give them an acknowledgment for the money. Even in Roscommon—a county which was quite quiet, the police when they levied tithes, refused to give any vouchers.
§ Lord Althorp
said, that it was impossible for the Government to suspend the laws for the enforcement of tithes.
said, that he did not mean to press the noble Lord to put an end to tithes. But the present system of enforcing them was so oppressive to the people, so destructive of human life, so harassing to the peasantry, so ruinous in its consequences, as regarded the Government, and so contrary to every just feeling, and to the dictates of religion, that he put it to the noble Lord whether the payment ought to be enforced while those measures were in progress? If the noble Lord were to suspend the enforcement of tithes, he (Mr. O'Connell) was sure that he would have the most respectable majority with him, in support of that measure, that he ever had since he went into office. Was the noble Lord aware of the state of misery of the Irish people? This was the period of the year when they suffered more than at any other period. The last crop was exhausted, and they had nothing for their support till the next crop came in; and the misery and want to which they were subjected, was incomprehensible to any person who had not seen it. If the noble Lord would accede to his suggestion, he was sure that it would in a great measure allay the ferment which the passing of the measure then before the Committee would necessarily produce in Ireland.
said, that the hon. and learned Member must be aware that it was impossible for the Government to accede to his proposition. He did not know what the hon. and learned Member 745 meant by saying that the police levied tithes in Ireland. There were two ways in which the police were employed in connexion with the collection of tithes. One was, where they were employed to protect the clergy in the levying of their tithes; and the other, where they collected the arrears of tithes by order of the Government, in those districts where money was advanced by the Government on the tithes, as voted by Parliament during last Session. But he could say, that none were employed on the part of Government to collect tithes, who were not of the respectable classes, and who had not distinguished themselves by their forbearing conduct in suppressing the disturbances. He denied that Government had proceeded against any person in arrear who could have any difficulty in paying his arrears, or who had fallen into arrears from real poverty. They only proceeded against those who opposed payment from a systematic resistance to just demands. He could not say in what manner the clergy enforced their claims, but he again asserted that the Government enforced payment from those only who were able to pay. He (Mr. Stanley) thought that the hon. and learned member for Dublin was incorrect in his information, when he stated that the police refused to give receipts to those who paid them money.
said, he was always anxious to avoid making inaccurate statements, and he did not think, that the information on which he made that one was erroneous. When the police acted in the enforcement of tithes, the people, without drawing the nice distinction drawn by the right hon. Secretary, considered that they did so by the orders of Government, and indeed that their acts were the acts of the Government. In Roscommon, none but the police were employed to levy tithes. And as to the refusal of the police to give vouchers, which was doubted by the right hon. Secretary, he (Mr. O'Connell) was sure that information might be got in London to corroborate it. There were many instances in which people offered to pay their arrears, if they could get vouchers, but vouchers were refused. He was sure that the senior member for Roscommon, if he were in the House, could confirm what he said.
§ Mr. Denis O'Connor
said, that the hon. and learned Member was right in his statement. He (Mr. O'Connor) was aware 746 of several instances in the quarter of the country with which he was acquainted, where the people were ready to pay, and had offered to pay if they could get vouchers.
§ Mr. French
denied that such was the universal practice. He could say that the tithes in one of the largest parishes in that part of the country, were not one-fortieth part of the rent, and were collected without difficulty.
An Hon. Member
said, that the general impression in Ireland was, that the Bill was merely intended for the enforcement of tithes.
§ Mr. Lambert
stated, that since the Bill had passed the House of Lords, he had received many letters from Ireland, in which it was stated, that if they did not think it was intended for the purpose of aiding the clergy in the enforcement of the tithes, they should have little objection to it. A provision therefore, such as he proposed, would recommend the Bill to the people of Ireland.
§ Mr. James Talbot
would not have voted for the first and second reading of the Bill if he had not been under the impression that it was not meant to enforce the payment of tithes. With regard to a statement made by the hon. member for Tralee on a former evening, that he (Mr. Talbot) had been a member of the Political Union, he denied that he had ever become so with his knowledge or consent.
§ Mr. Maurice O'Connell
begged leave to read a letter which he had received from Mr. John Joseph Murphy, of Dublin which would show the House what that gentleman's version of the story was. The hon. Member then read the letter, in which it was stated that Mr. Talbot accompanied the writer and Mr. French to the meeting of the Trades' Union. While there, Mr. Murphy asked Mr. Talbot to allow him (Mr. M.) to put him into nomination. Mr. Talbot answered, "Not now." Mr. Murphy then proposed that he should be put in nomination at the next meeting; to which Mr. Talbot did not object but assented. And accordingly he was proposed, and made a member. A few days afterwards Mr. French received a letter from Mr. Talbot, who by that time had gone to Athlone, in which he stated that he feared it might do him an injury with his constituents if it were known that he was a member of the Union, and begging of Mr. French to get his name withdrawn. 747 From all this it would be seen that Mr. Talbot was aware that he was made a member, and that he consented to be put in nomination.
§ Mr. Talbot
said, that the version given by the hon. member for Tralee was very different from what he had formerly heard from Mr. French. He (Mr. Talbot) was not ashamed of having attended the meeting of the Union. He went there merely from curiosity, just as he had once gone to the Rotunda to hear the hon. Member lecture on the state of the Church.
§ Mr. Henry Grattan
wished to know in what part of the Bill his hon. friend (Mr. Lambert) proposed to introduce his amendment. The right hon. Secretary said that none had been proceeded against except those who were able to pay. He knew, however, that the Attorney General had incurred expenses to the amount of 20l. for the recovery of a few shillings of tithe. He thought it would be better that the enforcement of the payment of arrears should lie over for three months.
§ Mr. Shaw
thought there should be no misunderstanding on this subject, and hoped, therefore, that the noble Lord (Lord Althorp) would explicitly state whether or not he meant to convey, that the established clergy of Ireland were to be treated as outlaws? Whether or not they alone were to be denied the protection of whatever laws might be in force for the security of person, property, and life in Ireland? He did not ask more for them than for any other class of his majesty's subjects—but it would be the most cruel injustice if they were to receive less merely because they were the most defenceless and oppressed class of persons in the United Kingdom at that moment.
§ Lord Althorp
said, that if outrages were committed, they should be punished because they were outrages, not because they had reference to tithe.
§ Mr. O'Connell
said, that the addition a powers were merely for the enforcement of tithes. It was a tithe bill from beginning to end.
§ Mr. Finn
thought that his Majesty': Ministers should avow what the real object of the Bill was. If they said one thing and meant another, the consequence would be most injurious. The right hon. Secretary had talked of extinguishing 748 tithes, but he had only enforced the collection of them, and the consequence of that was, that blood had flowed in torrents.
§ Mr. Sheil
said, that the noble Lord opposite denied that the intention of the Bill was to enforce tithes. He did not mean to say, that the intention of the Government was, that as soon as a decree was given against a man for tithes, that decree should be delivered over to the soldiers to be put in force. But though the Ministers did not go so far as that, they went further than they pretended. There was in this Act a distinct reference to an Act of Parliament which referred exclusively to tithes. The Act 27th Geo. 3rd, related exclusively to tithes, and it was embodied in the Bill then before them. There was a series of enactments in that Act, which related not to property in general, but exclusively to tithes. That the noble Lord could not, and did not deny. Then it was pretended, that the Bill then under their consideration did not relate to tithes, but to property in general; but still that Bill referred to, and embodied, another Statute which referred exclusively to tithes. The only difference was, that the last Bill was severer than the former. It was as if they had culled out all the Irish statutes. [An Hon. Member said the Act to which he had referred was the Whiteboy Act.] No; it was not the Whiteboy Act. The White-boy Act was the 15th and 16th of George 3rd. He thought it a pity that some of the Law Officers of the Crown, the Solicitor General, for instance, should not be present, to set the House right when they I were at a loss about statutes. What he; charged the Government with was this—that they passed a measure, as a general measure, the last clause of which must be; intended by them for the peculiar and; specific protection of one class of individuals. That was his allegation. Did the Bill not refer to the Act 27th Geo. 3rd? It did.—[Mr. Stanley here rose to make; some observation, when Mr. Sheil exclaimed, "Now, don't be angry!"]—Did the Bill refer to the eleventh clause of that Act? It did. Did not that Act refer to tithes? It did. Did not, therefore, an Act, which embodied the whole; of the provisions of that section of the 27th George 3rd, refer to tithes? And was it not intended for the protection of the clergy? He did not ask the Ministers not to deceive them; but he asked them 749 not to deceive themselves, by imagining that the Irish could believe, that a bill which embodied the whole provisions of an Act which referred entirely to tithes, was not intended for the protection of the clergy alone, and to enable them to enforce the payment of those tithes.
said, the clause referred to by the hon. Member was, "such persons as shall by force, threat, or other unlawful means." ["Hear, hear," from Mr. Shiel.] He would not say to the hon. and learned Member "Don't be angry," but he would express a hope as the hon. Member had had his turn, that he would allow him to have his. The Act to which reference had been made, was passed for the purpose of putting down the Whiteboy system in Ireland. It was ordinarily known by the name of the Whiteboy Act, and was intimately connected with what was called in that country" the Whiteboy code." The present Bill, in embodying that Act, only placed tithes on the same footing as other property. It gave the property of the clergyman only the same protection as it afforded to other kinds of property in Ireland. It was an Act not for the collection of tithes, but for giving security to property, and it would be gross injustice and folly if, in reciting this Act, the Government had excluded the sections which afforded protection to tithes, whether the property of the clergy or of the laity. Parliament had not as yet thought proper to take the tithes out of the hands of the clergy; until the property was so taken from them, they were entitled to its possession as fully as any person was to any other species of property. It was impossible not to see that this Bill would be applicable to the protection of property in tithes; but if Parliament had left out those provisions, there would have been no such thing as collecting tithes at all in the disturbed districts. The hon. Member had said, that its object was, to assist in the collection of tithes alone; but that was an unjust conclusion, for tithes were only included because it would be a gross absurdity and a gross injustice if tithes were the only kind of property not entitled to protection under that Bill.
§ Mr. O'Connell
observed, that the Act which had been referred to, and which appeared to be followed in the Bill then before the House, looked to tithe property almost exclusively. It legislated for 750 tithes far more than it legislated for bona fide landed property. He denied that the 27th George 3rd was a Whiteboy Act. It inflicted penalties on those whoattempted to prevent the collection of tithes or dues, or who endeavoured to defraud the clergy of tithes or dues. The powers granted in that section of the Act which had been quoted were, by this Bill, given to a Court-martial of five or seven officers. He, therefore, said emphatically, that this was a tithe Bill—a bill for collecting tithes by the aid of Courts-martial. Any man who refused to pay tithes might be considered by such a tribunal as having committed an act of fraud; by this Bill he might be visited with transportation—under the other, imprisonment or whipping awaited him. This measure, he repeated, was emphatically a Bill for tithes.
§ Lord Althorp
denied, that the interpretation of the learned Gentleman with reference to the 27th George 3rd was correct. If the hon. Member would read the particular clause, he would find that it was directed against" any unlawful combination to prevent the collection of tithes, or any forcible obstruction to the clergyman, or any violence used towards him in collecting tithes." The only point in which tithes came within the purview of the clause was, where an illegal conspiracy was entered into for the purpose of preventing the payment of tithes. The construction of the hon. Member was not to be found in the common sense of the clause.
§ Mr. O'Connell
said, the construction was not his alone, but that of the Judges of the land. Mr. Barrington, who was for seventeen years Crown solicitor on the Munster circuit, said, that the Act contemplated every "unlawful obstruction; "but the Judges declared "that any obstruction was unlawful." Such was the construction put by these learned persons on the statute; and that construction would, of course, be acted on by the field-officers in future. He repeated that this was a measure for the collection of tithes, and would be so construed and acted on in Ireland. The Courts-martial would be useless if it were not so. It would be a dead letter unless the power contemplated by the Act referred to were admitted; and, if it were allowed, he feared it would lead to the shedding of much blood.
The Chairman recalled the attention of the Committee to the question before it, 751 which was, that the fourth clause, as he had already read it, should stand part of the Bill.
§ Sir Richard Keane
would move as an amendment, to insert the words in the first part of the clause to the effect, that in all cases where it was deemed necessary to apply for the proclamation of any county of a city or county of a town, the Lord-lieutenant of the county and at least six Magistrates, should certify that the insubordination of the district called for the putting in force the provisions of the Act.
§ Lord Althorp
said, this proposition, if agreed to, would only have the effect of dividing the responsibility, which he wished to remain as it was originally settled by the Bill.
§ Mr. O'Connell
agreed with the noble Lord, and added, looking to the way in which the Magistracy of Ireland was constituted, that the proposition was calculated to make the Bill a great deal worse than it was.
§ Sir Richard Keane
defended the conduct of the Magistracy of that part of the country which he represented. There were four of those Magistrates then about him; and he would say, speaking of them generally, that a body of men more anxious lo do their duty never existed.
§ Mr. James Grattan
was of opinion that some alteration in the clause was desirable. Whether that of the hon. member for Waterford was or was not the best to be adopted he would not say. He thought, however, that the Lord-lieutenant ought not to act until full and sufficient information was laid before him. The county might, for instance, be called together, and from such a meeting a call on the Lord-lieutenant, if it were necessary, might emanate.
§ Mr. Barron
thought it would be advisable that the opinion of the Lord-lieutenant of any county should be taken before it was proclaimed. Having been personally alluded to on a former occasion, he must say, that he had procured an application to have an additional stipendiary Magistrate and the refusal to appoint one, reached him on the same day as the account of the murder of Mr. Leonard. He would never admit that the existing laws were not sufficient to punish crime, if they were promptly administered. In the case of the recent murder of Mr. Leonard, no less than thirty individuals were apprehended, 752 and were now in gaol, charged with that offence. Was there, then, any deficiency, either with reference to witnesses or to Jurors? He was convinced that there was not. In the case to which he had just alluded, 500 men went out voluntarily as constables, and apprehended those men without the assistance of the police.
§ Mr. James Grattan
again expressed his conviction that it would be necessary, before the Lord-lieutenant proclaimed a county, that the necessity of such a step should be clearly demonstrated to him. A district should not be proclaimed on the mere will or caprice of the Lord-lieutenant.
§ Amendment withdrawn.
§ Mr. William Roche
was of opinion, that it would be advisable to convene the county at large, and to take the sense of those assembled, before the Lord-lieutenant proclaimed it to be in a disturbed state.
could see no reason, if the country at large were disturbed, and if there was an agricultural district of many miles square in the centre of the country, for excepting it from the operation of the Act merely because that central district happened to be under city jurisdiction.
thanked the hon. Gentleman for reminding him and the House, that it was the Marquess of Wellesley, and not the Legislature, which exempted the district in question from the operation of the Act. Might not the Marquess of Anglesey act in the same manner as the Marquess of Wellesley? The Legislature had left it in that case to the discretion of the Lord Lieutenant, and why not in this?
said, it did not follow because one Lord Lieutenant was considerate and humane, that another would 753 be. It was for the Legislature to prescribe, and not to trust.
§ Mr. Henry Grattan
protested against the clause, as establishing a perpetual dictator in Ireland. It was a premium for agitation. It gave the dictator power to proclaim any district, and it would enable agitators to procure any district to be proclaimed, and would thus give such agitators a power over every individual in it. As they had brought in such a Bill, why did they not define the powers it conferred? They ought not to give such latitude to any man, whether he were a Lord-lieutenant or Secretary, as was conferred by the fourth clause. The Secretary or the law officers might easily find cause, in what they called the demoralization of the people, for proclaiming any district, whether there were any real disturbance in it or not. Had the right hon. Gentleman forgot Nobber? After passing this clause, it would be better for the Irish Gentlemen to vacate their seats and go home. The Government knew nothing of the state of Ireland; and he knew the right hon. Secretary too well to be deluded or deceived by him. He was sure that the whole Bill, and the whole conduct of the Government betrayed the grossest ignorance as to the state of Ireland. If the right hon. Secretary had applied himself to the business of his office, he might have put down disturbance. Yes, if he had done his duty, there might have been an end to outrage. But he knew what the right hon. Secretary was about: he was sending his lancers and his dragoons to collect tithe-pigs and tithe-pence, and he knew nothing of the disturbances till they had got to a great height. There never was an individual went to Ireland with such powers to do good as the right hon. Secretary, and there never was an individual who had done so little good. The right hon. Secretary now found that every one of his measures was a complete failure; he found that his Tithe Bill could not be enforced; that it was good for nothing; and he called upon that House to suspend the liberties of Ireland, and place that country under a perpetual dictatorship. If they would try Ireland once more—if they would spare her this additional curse, and withdraw the right hon. Secretary and his Bill for the forcible collection of tithes, the disturbances would cease, and peace and tranquillity would be restored to the country. He conjured them to pause— 754 to suspend this clause till after the other clauses were gone through, when some form of words might be found which would render it more definite and less obnoxious. The right hon. Secretary had declared, that he had the best intentions towards Ireland; he believed the right hon. Secretary; but, with those best intentions, he was, unfortunately, always doing wrong. Let them suspend the clause, like the sword of Damocles, over the head of the Bill till the end, when some hon. Member, more prudent than himself, for he was not capable of it, might suggest to the right hon. Secretary how it might be made less mischievous than at present.
§ Colonel Perceval
objected to making any distinction between the jurisdiction of counties of cities and other districts, and supported the clause.
§ Mr. O'Connell
would, at the proper time, move to exempt the jurisdiction of the county of the city of Dublin from the operation of this clause.
§ Mr. O'Dwyer
contended, that the power given by this clause was of itself calculated to throw the whole country into confusion, and to create general disturbance. Why should malignant Magistrates, or perverse Lord-lieutenants, have a power given them to work mischief at their pleasure.
§ Mr. Baldwin
would seriously ask the Government if it meant to extend this clause to the cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and other towns? Would the Government prevent the inhabitants of such cities from going about their business, and compel them to remain at home after dark? Why, it would prevent them from transacting their ordinary affairs. If any man were to plan a measure to restrain liberty, destroy the interests of industry, and ruin the property and revenue of a country, he could not plan a more effectual measure than this, if it were to be extended to cities.
§ Mr. Lalor
referred to six cases which had happened in the Queen's County, in which men had been distrained on for tithes who did not hold one acre of land each. He knew that personally; and yet the right hon. Secretary had said, that nobody had been distrained on for tithes except such as were well able to pay. The 755 assertions of the right hon. Secretary showed that he knew very little about Ireland, and very little of what was done there in his name, and, as it was said, by his orders.
§ Mr. Lambert
rose to move an Amendment to the end of the clause. He had given his assent to the second reading of the Bill because of the outrages and agitation which existed, and which must be put an end to. He had seen nothing lately to make him form a different opinion. On the contrary, he had lately read a letter from one of the agitators, which had been published in a journal in the county with which he was connected, which called on the people of Wexford to wreak their vengeance on his hon. colleague and his children for the vote he had given in that House. He must still support the Bill; but he hoped it would be so modified as only to suppress outrage and put down the system of agitation. If it were so modified, he should give it his support on the third reading. As the Bill now stood, it was difficult not to conceive it to apply to the collection of tithes. He knew that, in many instances, tithes had been levied with kindness and with forbearance; but there were other instances, and he had seen some, in which they were levied with the utmost seventy. The Bill of 1832, which had transferred the rights of the tithe owners and the odium of collecting tithes to the Government—the Bill for forcibly collecting tithes of last Session had, as was foretold at the time, signally failed, though Government had used all its means and exerted all its powers in endeavouring to enforce it. The police, though contrary to the Act creating that force, had been employed to collect tithes, or, at least, to protect those who were employed in collecting and valuing tithes. The Army, too, had been brought out for the same purpose, and that, he must say, was a most perilous experiment. In one case, when the soldiers had been employed to enforce the collection of tithes from a poor man's potato-field, they had been unwilling to perform the duty; and the sergeant of the party at length exclaimed, "Comrades! we won't bear this any longer; let us club among ourselves and buy the tithe off, rather than enforce the payment." The Bill had increased the danger of the country, and had greatly extended the disappointment of the people. The consequences had been most injurious to the general peace and tranquillity. He 756 had in his possession a petition which described these effects, and which said, that there were many persons who were but too willing to profit by the discontent of the people. There were some clergymen, also, who were not averse from profiting by this compulsory Tithe Bill to create disturbance. The poverty and distress of the people made them the ready victims of those who liked agitation. The Bill, during the short time it had been acted on, had driven thousands of peaceable men from their homes and into exile; and made men guilty of outrage, who, if allowed to remain in quietness cultivating their own fields, would have been loyal and peaceable subjects. For a time the operation of the Act had been suspended—the war had been stayed—but the campaign had been again begun.The war which for a space did fail,Now, trebly thundering, swells the gale,And 'Stanley' is the cry!The right hon. Gentleman was heir to a great name—noble blood flowed in his veins—and he hoped that the generous, the chivalrous feelings which belonged to high birth and noble descent, would induce the right hon. Gentleman to listen to the appeal which he made. He hoped, that the right hon. Gentleman would willingly consent to what he asked in the name of his unfortunate country. He hoped, that the concession would be given freely, and not as if it were extorted by menace. He hoped, that if it were freely given, it would gratify the people. He believed, that the Amendment he meant to propose would tranquillize the country. It would not, indeed, render the measure palatable to the people; it was not palatable to himself, except as it was absolutely necessary to suppress agitation and outrage. He had received letters from several persons in the county he represented, who stated, that some measure of this kind was most necessary. Many other persons were of the same way of thinking, who did not dare to avow their sentiments. At the same time they wished for some modification of the Bill; and, above all, they wished that it should not be applied to enforce the collection of tithes. He wished that the Bill should bear that upon its face—he wished that the promise already given by the noble Lord (Lord Althorp) should form part of the Bill; and it was to carry that promise into effect that be would propose his 757 Amendment. The hon. Member concluded by proposing to add to the end of the clause a proviso to the effect—" Provided always, and be it enacted, that it shall not be lawful for the Lord-lieutenant, or any Chief Governor or Governors of Ireland to apply the provisions of this Act to any county or district merely because the tithes are not paid in that county or district; nor shall this Act be at any time applied, in any manner whatever, to the levying of tithes, or to enforce the payment thereof."
§ Mr. Warburton
supported the proviso, and observed, that after the promise made by the noble Lord (Lord Althorp) on a former night, to the effect that this Act was not to be applied to the levying or enforcing the payment of tithes, he could not conceive what objection could by any possibility be offered by the noble Lord or his colleagues to the present Motion. If, however, such a proviso were rejected, and the Bill were to be allowed to apply to the 11th section of the Act of the 27th George 3rd, the present could only be called "an Act for the collection of Tithes." The 11th section of the 27lh George 3rd, provided that "if any person or persons should by force or threats, or other unlawful means, prevent any clergyman or lay impropriator, or any person employed by such clergyman or lay impropriator, from viewing, valuing, setting, or selling any tithes to which said clergyman or lay impropriator was lawfully entitled, then that such person or persons should be held to be guilty of a misdemeanor, and liable to punishment by fine or imprisonment." Now, there was one species of offence which it might be contended that the provisions of the Bill could be fairly and legitimately applied to redress—he meant personal acts of violence towards clergymen, firing their houses, &c.; for such offences persons might be punished under this Act; but let it not be applied to any case that could be met by civil process. If an Amendment were not introduced which drew a distinction between crimes of violence and an opposition to tithes unaccompanied by such offences, the mere presence of a party at a tithe sale with a view to discountenance the tithe system might be brought under the 27th George 3rd. He considered the noble Lord as being bound in honour, after what he had said on a former evening, to put some limitation on the en- 758 forcement of the powers of the law as enjoined by the 17th clause of this Bill, which directly referred to the 27th George 3rd, chap. 15. If the noble Lord refused to make such limitation, he, for one, should consider it a direct breach of promise on the part of the noble Lord.
§ Lord Althorp
said, that to the whole of the first part of the Amendment of the hon. member for the county of Wexford, he did not entertain the slightest objection; he alluded to that part of the proviso which enacted that it should not be lawful for the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland to apply the powers conferred by this Act to any county or district merely in consequence of non-payment of tithes. With respect to the other part of the hon. Member's Amendment, the doubt, he felt, was as to the misinterpretation it might be liable to. He thought that that part of the Amendment of his hon. friend would be liable to be so interpreted as to do away entirely with the 11th clause of the 27th George 3rd. He did not agree with his hon. friend opposite in the construction which he put upon that clause. It appeared to him that it only applied to anything done in the way of forcible resistance or obstruction to the collection or valuation of tithes, and it surely would not be denied, if violence was offered to a person in the performance of a legal Act which he had a right to do, and a forcible obstruction was raised against him, that he should be protected against the effects of violence and outrage. That was the object of the 11th clause of the 27th George 3rd. It referred to a forcible obstruction in the execution of legal rights, and it did not refer to any measures against the payment of tithes, for which a remedy could be obtained by civil bill process. He was ready to say, as he had said before, that if, by any possibility, the Bill could be applied, in the plain common sense of the words, to the enforcement of the collection of tithes, he would be most ready to agree to any provision that would prevent its being so employed. But the Amendment proposed by the hon. Gentleman was entirely unnecessary, for it was intended by Government, as he (Lord Althorp) had already stated, to propose a plan to the House which would render it quite impossible that this Bill could be applied to the collecting of tithes. The plan which would be proposed by Government would be one 759 whereby the arrears of tithes would be got rid of, the only thing to which this Bill, during the time that it was likely to last, could by possibility be applied. He felt this objection to the Amendment proposed by his hon. friend, that the effecting of it would be to do away with all offences resulting from resistance and combination, by force and violence to the collection of tithes—those offences to which the 11th clause of the 27th George 3rd, solely applied—and he was sure that the Committee would agree with him in feeling that it would be, therefore, a dangerous alteration to introduce into the Bill. He had asked his hon. friend, in a private conversation on this subject, whether he could adduce any case where, under this 11th clause of the 27th George 3rd, any individual had been committed for a misdemeanor for refusing the payment of tithes. His hon. friend acknowledged that he was not able to bring forward such a case, but he said, that it was impossible to know what interpretation the Judges of the land might yet put upon this Act of Parliament. Now, when, after the lapse of forty-six years, his hon. friend was unable to point out an instance in which that clause had been applied so as to make it a misdemeanor to refuse the payment of tithes, where that refusal was not accompanied by the fact of the individual in question being engaged in an unlawful conspiracy and combination to resist that payment generally, surely the House might assume that it would not and could not be so applied in future. He was sure that the Committee would agree with him that the measure should be applied to prevent illegal combinations against every species of property, and it was not intended, he repeated, to be applied to the levying of tithes, but it was to be applied to any violence and outrage which might be offered in resisting the levying of tithes. It was proper that the Bill should apply to every description of outrages in any disturbed district whenever it was placed under the operation of the Bill. He begged distinctly to state, that he should have no objection to the Amendment if it merely went to this extent, and was so understood as to prevent the Lord-lieutenant from applying the Bill to any district because tithes were not paid in it; but from fear of the misconstruction and misinterpretation which the introduction of such an amendment as 760 that proposed by the hon. Gentleman into the Act might occasion, he felt it his duty to object to it, for it was obvious that one effect of such an Amendment might be, that riots and misdemeanors committed in opposing and resisting the enforcement of the payment of tithes might be considered as excepted from the operation of this Bill. The object of the Bill was to regard all outrages against property in the same light, and to punish them accordingly. He did not feel any objection, as he had already said, to the first part of his hon. friend's Amendment; but upon the grounds which he had mentioned, he should object to the second portion of it.
§ Mr. O'Connell
said, that it appeared that the noble Lord would not object to the first part of the Amendment, because the first part of it, without the second, would be totally inoperative. He certainly had not known a case where a mere refusal to pay tithes was made a punishable offence under the 27th George 3rd; but suppose a case to occur where a refusal o pay had been given—where a distress had been in consequence issued, and where the answer to the bailiff who came to execute it was, "You shall not take my cow,"—would not the refusal in that case to pay tithes be construed under this Act to be a misdemeanor? He contended that it was absurd to say that this Act would not be applied to the levying of tithes, when they would leave the 27th of George 3rd to be interpreted by such learned sages as the members of a Court-martial.
§ Mr. Lefroy
observed, that no civil remedy was in any respect afforded by the 27th of George 3rd. It was merely intended to apply to criminal offences and outrages against property; and that being the case, he would beg to know whether, as long as tithes existed, their possessors should not enjoy the protection of the law, as well as other individuals. Were the clergy to be outlawed, and was their property to be left exposed to violence and outrage? The effect of the introduction of such a saving clause into the Bill would be to encourage the peasantry of Ireland to resist the payment of tithes by illegal combinations and acts of violence and outrage. They were all aware that an unfortunate misinterpretation had been already put by the people in Ireland upon the words "extinction of tithes" which had been employed in that House, and he 761 would therefore implore the noble Lord to resist the introduction of a proviso that was liable to similar misconstruction.
§ Mr. Cutlar Fergusson
said, it would perhaps be better to postpone the consideration of such an Amendment as that now before the Committee until they had come to the Court-martial clause. It should be remembered that the 27th George 3rd gave, amongst other things, the power of punishing for any conspiracy to defraud the clergy of their tithes. Now, it did appear to him that the members of a Court-martial should not be constituted Judges to try what was a conspiracy to defraud the clergy.
§ Mr. Warburton
would put this simple question to the noble Lord. Would not an agreement to purchase in the lots at a distress sale for tithes be construed and interpreted by the law authorities in Ireland into a conspiracy against the payment of tithes? If that was the case, what became of the allegation of the noble Lord that this Bill would not be applied to the collection of tithes? The fact was, that all Ireland was in a conspiracy to resist the payment of tithes, and if any Irishman should do anything to defraud a clergyman of his tithes, it might be construed into a conspiracy, and might bring him within the provisions of this Act. There should be an express provision, expunging from this Bill the operation of the 11th clause of the 27th George 3rd.
§ Mr. Finch
said, that he perfectly concurred in the distinction which had been drawn by the noble Lord (Lord Althorp). The Bill should not be made use of for the purpose of enforcing the collection of tithes; but then the possessors of tithes should be protected like other individuals, and their lives and properties should be secure against violence and outrage. It would seem from the discussions upon that, as upon former evenings, that though tithes were protected by the law, they were to be considered as contrary to equity and justice. It would seem, from the statement of the hon. member for Wexford, as if the opposition to tithes in Ireland had arisen from the distresses of the poor; but if the hon. Member would refer to the evidence given before a Committee of that House, he would see that Dr. Doyle boasted that he was the first person in Ireland to raise an opposition there to the payment of tithes.
said, that if the clergy were 762 specially excepted from this Act, they would still have all the power which the law afforded them to enforce the payment of their property, and to put down offences against it. They were all aware what different opinions existed, even amongst the best lawyers, as to the interpretation of what was a conspiracy, and yet they were about to commit its interpretation to the Members of a Court-martial. The Committee should either adopt the Amendment proposed by the hon. member for Wexford, or they should omit expressly from the Act the 11th clause of the 27th George 3rd, which would leave the clergy in as good a situation as the landlords, or any other possessors of property, were at present.
§ Mr. Shaw
said, there had been much useless discussion about 27th George 3rd, for independently of it a conspiracy to defraud was a common law misdemeanor—although to omit allusion to it in the 17th clause of the present Act would be to point out the clergy as a proscribed class. He (Mr. Shaw) protested altogether against the Amendment of the hon. member for Wexford, as to inserting in that clause that the Lord-lieutenant could not proclaim a district merely because tithe was not paid—it would be a downright absurdity in legislation, when the preceding words stated that nothing but outrage and insubordination could justify him in proclaiming it; but then it would be more than absurd—for it would serve to cast an insult on the clergy, and to point out their property as less deserving of protection in case of outrage than that of any other portion of the community. The hon. member for Bridport (Mr. Warburton) indeed would, in his tender mercy, allow the lives of the clergy to be protected, provided they would remain in their houses—but was not this a cruel mockery of the sufferings of men to whom on an average nearly three years' income was due, and who, for aught that hon. Member cared, might stay within, the bare walls of their houses, and die there of starvation? He would read one passage from the sworn evidence of Captain Vignolles, given within the last few days before a Coroner's Inquest, to prove the species of attack the clergy would be subject to in the exercise of their legal and just rights, if not protected by the law. Captain Vignolles swore that the most violent assault was made upon the persons engaged in the 763 distress—and when he requested the infuriated people to desist, their answer was—" they had O'Connell's orders; that they had driven better men than ever he and his police were out of the country, and they would drive them too." He asked no favour for the clergy under that Bill, but he demanded their right for them, namely, equal advantage and protection from the laws with every other class of his Majesty's subjects; and he would divide the Committee before he would suffer any words to be introduced into the clause, either casting a slur on that most injured body, or pointing by inference at their property as the legitimate subject of spoliation.
said, that however, the hon. Gentleman who had proposed this Amendment and himself might differ as to the details of the Bill, they were agreed as to the one great object—namely, the necessity of giving security to property, and restoring the peace of the country; and he was sure that the hon. Gentleman would do him (Mr. Stanley) and his colleagues the justice to believe that they were as equally anxious as he was, though perhaps they proposed to travel by somewhat different ways, to arrive at the same result. He should have wished that the hon. Member had postponed the introduction of this Amendment until they came to the consideration of the Court-martial clause, as had been suggested by his hon. friend the member for Kirkcudbright, for the discussion of this Amendment involved the question, merely whether certain offences should be tried by one tribunal or by another. However, as the question had come under discussion, it was proper that the Committee should at once come to an understanding upon it. He entirely agreed with his noble friend beside him, that it was by no means the intention or the wish of the Government to apply this Act to enforce the levying of tithes, any more than the levying; of rents. He felt, at the same time, that it was of the utmost importance that the Act should make no distinction between criminal offences committed against the rights of the clergy, and those committed against the rights of the laity. The 27th George 3rd seemed to be pointed entirely against a particular description of offences, and the 11th clause of that Act was more especially framed against two species of offences—the one a general conspiracy or combination, and 764 the other a forcible resistance to legal rights, coming under the class of violence and outrage, accompanied with conspiracy. Now, one object of the present Bill was to give the protection which the 27th of George 3rd gave to the rights of clergymen against violence and threats; and he would wish to introduce words to show that the enactment was not directed against offences which did not come fairly under the class of violence and outrage. If the hon. member for Wexford would be satisfied with that, probably he would now consent to withdraw his Amendment, or at all events if he would but consent to postpone it he, would, when they came to the 17th clause, propose the introduction of the proviso which he had mentioned, and which he had just drawn up, for the purpose of reading to the Committee. He thought that that was dealing fairly with the Committee, and with the hon. Gentleman; and he was sure that the hon. Gentleman would himself see, that the proviso which he proposed to introduce would do away with the necessity of his Amendment. He wished to give the same protection to clerical as to lay property; and while he desired by this Act to afford the clergy no assistance in the enforcement of their civil rights, he was anxious to protect them against violence and threats, the more especially as he believed that their property was more subject than that of any others to such attacks at the present moment. The following was the provision which he had drawn up, to be inserted at the end of the 17th clause, and he hoped that, it would satisfy the hon. member for Wexford, and induce him to withdraw his Amendment—" Provided always that nothing hereinafter contained shall authorize or enable any such Court-martial to try any persons charged under the aforesaid Act with any conspiracy or combination unaccompanied by violence or threats."
§ Mr. James Grattan
hoped that both Amendments would be withdrawn, for they would be perfectly useless. He was ready to believe that Ministers did not intend to apply this Bill to enforce the collection of the tithes; but it was impossible that it could be otherwise employed. The very disturbances which it was to repress—the disturbances in Kilkenny and Carlow, and other counties—had arisen out of the tithe system. He agreed with the hon. member for Kirkcudbright that the interpretation 765 and administration of the law in reference to the combinations against tithes should be excluded from the jurisdiction of the Courts-martial.
§ Mr. Sheil
asked what the hon. member for Wexford could expect by acceding to the proposal made to him by the right hon. Secretary? He could assure the hon. member for Wexford, that he was about to enter into a compact in which the right hon. Secretary would not be found to agree. It was urged that there ought to be a specific clause on the subject, and the noble Lord the Chancellor of the Exchequer seemed desirous to put the question out of doubt.
thought the hon. and learned Member ought to take care, and be a little more correct in his allusions to what had taken place. What his noble friend near him had stated was, that he had no objection to that part of the amendment which went to prevent the introduction of this Bill by the Lord Lieutenant into any county, merely because of tithes not being paid; but he objected to the latter part of the Amendment, which bore a different construction.
repeated that his only objection was to the latter part of the Amendment, which said, "nor shall it be lawful for the Lord Lieutenant, or other Governor, to enforce the provisions of this Bill for the payment or collection of tithes."
§ Mr. Sheil
was right in the construction he had put upon what had fallen from the noble Lord the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The noble Lord was willing to agree to one-half the Amendment, which would, in fact, render it of no use at all. The noble Lord would agree to that half of it which by itself would be altogether inept. He would submit to the hon. Member opposite, and to the House, that the Amendment proposed b? the right hon. Secretary was by no means conclusive upon the subject. The 11th section of the 27th of George 3rd, would not be excluded from operation by the adoption of a clause to that effect. The present Ministers had acted differently from all the previous introducers of Insurrection Acts. On former occasions it was usual, in passing such an Act, to embody in it all such clauses of previous acts as were 766 meant to be preserved. But the present Ministry had pursued a different course. They said no; all the power of the 27th of George 3rd, must be preserved and given to this Bill. He would call upon the hon. member for Wexford not to be led astray by the recommendations of his Majesty's Ministers. He would caution him not to give way, unless the powers of the 27th of George 3rd, were to be altogether removed from this Bill. The hon. Member for Wexford had spoken three or four times upon this Bill, and all who knew him knew that he was most competent to do so. But on the previous occasions of his speaking upon it, he had been received with acclamation by Ministers, because he happened to be on their side of the question. Did they cheer him now that he was opposed to them? Was it only when he agreed with them that they extended to him the meed of their applause and approbation?
§ Mr. Perrin
said, he felt reluctantly compelled to support the amendment proposed by his hon. friend the member for Wexford, whose only object, he was sure, was to have the sentiments expressed by the noble Lord (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) embodied in the Bill. He was quite sure, and all who knew his hon. friend must feel satisfied, that his hon. friend the member for Wexford, never countenanced or supported violence or outrage. His hon. and learned friend, one of the Representatives for the University of Dublin, had objected to that part of the Amendment which spoke of the resistance to the collection of tithes by force and violence as tending to throw a slur upon the Clergy; but he could assure the hon. and learned Member that his hon. friend near him had no such intention.
§ Mr. Lambert
wished only to say, that he was by no means anxious to put himself forward in making unnecessary alterations in the Bill; and in what he did propose he was actuated by the best intentions.
§ Lord Althorp
said, that he had no objection to the first part of the Amendment, but he trusted that his hon. friend would allow the second part to stand over till they came to the 17th clause of the Bill.
§ Mr. Warburton
said, that there seemed to be a mistake about the 27th of George 3rd. That Act comprehended both confederacies and the combinations respecting tithes, and he did not think that the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman 767 would meet the objections which had been made to the present clause.
§ The Question was put on the first part of the hon. member for Wexford's amendment, and the Gallery was cleared.
§ During the exclusion of strangers, the following debate took place.
§ Sir Robert Peel
called the attention of the Committee to the words of the clause then under consideration; which required a "district to be in a state of disturbance and insubordination" before the Lord Lieutenant could apply to it the provisions of the Act; and then called upon the Committee to say whether it was not a manifest absurdity to add to that clause that the Lord Lieutenant should not proclaim the district merely because tithe was not paid within it. Did it mean that if cess or rent or any other payment was withheld, except that of tithe, that the Lord Lieutenant was to proclaim the district? The right hon. Baronet called upon the Solicitor General to say whether such would not be the natural inference, and whether such an amendment was not ridiculous and absurd.
§ The Solicitor General
certainly considered the Lord Lieutenant could not proclaim a district as the clause originally stood, merely because tithe was not paid, and that the Amendment would certainly encumber the clause, and might give rise to the inference suggested by the right hon. Baronet. Undoubtedly, in his opinion, the clause would stand much better without the Amendment.
urged upon his Majesty's Ministers the absurdity of dividing in favour of a clause which the Solicitor General declared would be injurious to the Bill.
said, that certainly his opinion was that the clause would be better without the Amendment, and that the Government agreed to it merely in de- 768 ference to the opinion of one hon. Gentleman.
§ The Committee divided on Mr. Lambert's Amendment: Ayes 284; Noes 81—Majority 203.
§ On the Question that the clause as amended stand part of the Bill.
§ Mr. O'Connell
expressed an earnest wish, that such an addition should be made to the clause as would give the public the means of ascertaining whether it was wise or expedient that any district proclaimed under the Act should be brought within its operation. He wished that it should be imperative upon the Lord Lieutenant to give public notice in the newspapers on the subject; and further, that the Lord Lieutenant should, with respect to any proclaimed district, be bound to lay before Parliament, if sitting, an account of all felonies within two or three months, at the selection of the Government, committed within such district. To effect this object he moved as a proviso that the Lord Lieutenant be required to lay before Parliament, or to publish in The Dublin Gazette if Parliament be not sitting at the time, an account of all felonies and crimes committed within any proclaimed district.
§ Lord Althorp
objected to the Amendment, because he thought it both invidious and unnecessary—invidious, because it proceeded upon the suspicion that the Lord Lieutenant would improperly exercise the powers intrusted to him by the Bill; and unnecessary, because it would be in the power of any Gentleman, if he thought fit, to move for the production of such a return as the hon. and learned Member described.
§ Sir Robert Peel
observed, that if the hon. and learned Gentleman had drawn this Amendment after the last part of the last clause had been agreed to, he would probably have added a sentence, calling on the Lord Lieutenant to declare that he had not proclaimed a county for non-payment or refusal of payment of rent, county cess, or parochial rates. This was rendered necessary by the construction of the last clause, which declared that the Lord Lieutenant should not proclaim a county "merely for non-payment of tithes." As he was not to make proclamation for such a reason "merely," it followed of course by implication that he might do so for other causes. The hon. and learned Gentleman must certainly mean to impose 769 on the Lord Lieutenant the same restriction with regard to rent and county cess as that now imposed on him with regard to tithes, and the Amendment should be altered accordingly.
§ Mr. O'Connell
said, that if he were in the vein for pleasantry, he should certainly adopt the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman, but he was not—the matter was too serious for him. He had certainly voted for the last amendment, which he must admit was as nonsensical as any he had ever supported. His fear was, that the "tithe non-payment "exemption would be got over by some other pretext being alleged as to the ground of proclamation. It was to guard against such a pretence that he had moved, and would persist in, his Amendment.
§ The Committee divided on the Amendment; Ayes 77; Noes 235—Majority 158.
§ Mr. O'Dwyer
moved the following Amendment to the Clause—: "Provided always that nothing in this Act shall be taken to empower the Lord Lieutenant, or any other authority, to declare the county of the city of Dublin in a state of disturbance or insubordination, or to require the application of the provisions of this Act."—The Committee again divided: Ayes 36; Noes 251.—Majority 215.
§ Clause agreed to and ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ The fifth Clause, declaring that "The Lord Lieutenant's proclamation shall warn the inhabitants to abstain from seditious and other unlawful assemblies, and to continue in their houses between sunset and sunrise," was agreed to.
§ The sixth Clause which enacts "That every county, county of a city, county of a town, or part thereof respectively, so proclaimed, shall be considered to all intents and purposes as a proclaimed district within this Act, from the day on which such proclamation shall be published within such proclaimed district, by affixing a copy thereof on some public place within the same district," was read.
§ Mr. Barron
thought that there was not sufficient time given by this clause to the inhabitants of a proclaimed district to know that it was proclaimed. Two days, at least, ought to be allowed for that purpose.
said, that he had no objection to insert after the words "from the day" the words "after that;" so that the 770 district would not be considered as a proclaimed district till the second day after that proclamation was issued.
§ The Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. O'Connell
was not satisfied with this Amendment, for he recollected, that the county of Cork was one district, and its opposite extremes were 150 miles apart from each other. Again, the county of Tipperary was very extensive; and yet, by this clause, a proclamation made at Carrick-upon-Suir was to be considered as a sufficient notice to the people at Senagh, eighty miles distant, that the county was proclaimed. He contended that the proclamation should be posted upon the doors of every Protestant Church and Catholic Chapel within the district. Anything so monstrous as this clause was never yet fabricated.
§ The Solicitor General
was of opinion that the notice given in this clause was sufficient. When a fact so important as the proclamation of a disturbed district took place in one part of the county, would it not be communicated with all the speed of horses to every other part of the county?
said, that he should have no objection to alter the last paragraph of this clause in the following manner—"by affixing a copy thereof on some public place, in each barony, within the same district."
objected to this alteration as it would increase the difficulty of obtaining a conviction. In some baronies there were nine or ten police stations, and unless it could be proved, that copies had been affixed on the whole number of police stations no conviction could be had under the Act.
§ Mr. O'Connell
said, that that difficulty might be obviated by employing one police officer to affix all the different copies to the different police stations.
Amendment was agreed to, and the Clause as amended directed to stand part of the Bill.
The seventh Clause was read which 771 enacts, that "when any such proclamation shall have been issued, all justices, constables, peace-officers, and others to whom the execution of the process of law may properly belong, and also all commissioned officers commanding his Majesty's forces in Ireland, or any part thereof, and such other persons as such Lord Lieutenant or other chief Governor or Governors of Ireland shall think fit to authorize in that behalf, shall, and each of them is hereby; required and enjoined to take the most vigorous and effectual measures for suppressing insurrectionary and other disturbances and outrages in any part of Ireland, which may be specified in such proclamation respectively, and to search for, arrest, and detain for trial under this Act, every person who shall be charged with any offence which by the provisions of this Act may be cognizable by or before any court hereinafter empowered and authorized to try such offence."
proposed to omit the words "and such other persons as such Lord Lieutenant, or other chief Governor, or Governors, of Ireland, shall think fit to authorize in that behalf." The intention of Government was, to limit the power given by this clause to a particular class of public officers, and not to give to the Lord Lieutenant the power of appointing any persons to execute the Act, save those specifically named here.
§ Mr. O'Connell
thought that, besides the words proposed by the right hon. Secretary to be omitted, the words "and also all commissioned officers commanding his Majesty's forces in Ireland, or any part thereof," should be erased from the clause. The words which he wished to strike out were not strict enough to exclude officers in yeomanry corps. The clause, as it now stood, included yeomanry officers, and those persons were authorized "to Search for, arrest, and detain for trial, under this Act, every person who shall be charged with any offence under it."
An Hon. Member
said, that the hon. and learned member for Dublin's objection might be got rid of by letting the clause run—" officers commanding his Majesty's forces of the line in Ireland."
§ Mr. O'Connell
objected to giving this power to military officers at all. He thought that no man should have power "to search for, arrest, and detain for trial" any person "who should be charged with any offence" under this Act, unless he was 772 a magistrate, or a person acting under the warrant of a magistrate. He wanted to exclude military officers altogether from the clause; for he objected to give any man who, within twenty-four hours afterwards, might, in the ordinary course of his duty, be on his voyage to the most remote settlement in India, the tremendous power of arresting and detaining another, it might be, upon his mere caprice. Against the justice, the constable, and the peace officer, if they grossly misconducted themselves, some redress might be obtained by the sufferer, as they were at home and on the spot; but how was redress to be obtained against an officer who might be thousands of leagues away from Ireland? He moved the omission of the words which he had already mentioned.
§ The Solicitor General
was surprised that the hon. and learned Member should object to give that power to officers of the Army which he was not unwilling to trust to police officers and constables.
§ Mr. O'Connell
was old enough to recollect the time when commissioned officers had the power to arrest in Ireland, and he was sorry to say, that they had used that power too often for the purpose of promoting the most immoral lust and debauchery. He was not sufficiently acquainted with the Army to know whether our officers had greatly improved in morality since that period. If they had not, this power ought not to be granted to them.
, who said, that a short explanation which he was about to make would obviate the objection of the hon. and learned member for Tipperary, and would render his further argument on this point at least unnecessary. In the Courts-martial clause it was the intention of Government, in compliance with the suggestions of some hon. Members, who thought that the Army ought not to be brought unnecessarily into collision with the people, to introduce an amendment incapacitating officers who were in military service in the proclaimed districts from sitting as members on a Court-martial for the trial of offenders. After the alteration should be made in that clause, enacting 773 that no officer under the rank of Captain should sit on these Courts-martial, it was the intention of Government to add these words—" who shall within one month have been in regular military service within the district." It was also the intention of Government to send officers of high rank to serve on these Courts-martial. It might be right to add, that for the sake of giving them information, there would be added to them officers of rank who had served in Ireland.
§ Mr. Sheil
The explanation just made took away the objection which he had been about to urge, and showed the benefit of the protracted resistance which the Irish Members had made to this Bill. The Ministers were coming forward every hour with fresh mitigations and modifications of it, and he hoped to see it mitigated and modified much further than it was at present. The words of the clause were—"Every person who shall be charged with any offence." He thought they should be "who shall be charged on oath with any offence." He thought that all the executive part of this Bill should be performed by the police, and not by the soldiery. That was calculated to prevent the Army from being brought into collision with the people.
said, he had no objection to limit this power to officers of the line, as it was supposed the words would include yeomanry.
§ The Committee divided on the Amendment: Ayes 40; Noes 205:—Majority 165.
§ Mr. O'Connell
said, as the clause was important, he hoped that the Chairman might then report progress.
§ Mr. Divett
objected to the Committee reporting progress at so early an hour. The debate upon this question had commenced on the first reading—it had been followed up on the second reading—it had been continued in the Committee on every clause, to the interruption of all other business—and it ought not to be thus easily adjourned night after night. An effort should be made to make a positive progress with it. In justice to the country—in justice to the suffering people of Ireland—to the other great questions of public interest, on which the minds of the people were anxiously bent—this system of delay should be strenuously resisted. He must suggest, that if greater progress were not made, they could not, in justice 774 to their constituents, claim the usual recess at Easter.
§ Mr. O'Connell
said, the hon. member for Exeter had made a most unfounded attack on the opponents of the Bill. The first part of the opposition of that evening, which had occupied many hours, he had discountenanced as much as any man; and now when he and his countrymen, who were to suffer by that Bill—that Bill which even its supporters termed arbitrary despotic, and cruel—when they were battling to obtain some little modification of its harshness and its tyranny, they were to be reproached in this manner! It was cruel in the extreme to throw out these taunts. If the public time were unnecessarily occupied, who was to blame? Why, nobody but the Ministers who introduced such an atrocious measure. There were two great principles of the Bill—the right of search, and the power of arrest and detention without evidence and without oath—which he felt it his duty to combat to the utmost. They were powers of a monstrous character, and such as ought never to be heard of in that House.
§ Mr. Divett
said, he had not made an unfounded accusation. He did not say that it was unnecessary to discuss the Bill, but that it was not right they should report progress at so early an hour. No one regretted the necessity for the Bill more than he did; but having once made up their minds to that necessity, and that the Bill ought to pass, he thought they should sit there till a later hour, that they might afford time hereafter for the other business of the country.
§ Sir John Sebright
, though he did not wish to make any personal allusions, could not, how-over, help observing that the attention of the House from the commencement of the Session had been almost entirely engrossed by Irish questions. He would second the recommendation of the hon. Member who spoke last, which he advised Ministers to act upon with firmness. Not a day, he continued, passed without his receiving complaints from his constituents and others respecting the want of firmness shown by Ministers in yielding points of the kind then under consideration. By such weakness it was that the public time was wasted.
§ Lord Althorp
said, that he was perfectly convinced that at that hour it was not fitting to order the Chairman to report 775 progress. He should therefore resist the Motion.
Howard said, that he had been in the House the whole of the evening and he must say, that to the best of his observation the hon. and learned member for Dublin had confined himself to the question before the House. He thought, however, it would be better to come to some compromise upon the present occasion. Perhaps the hon. Member, and those who acted with him, would consent to sit for half an hour longer. No good, he was sure, could result from prolonging a discussion which was carried on in such an angry spirit.
§ Mr. Henry Grattan
said, that if the House sat at that hour to discuss that most important clause, it would be a sorry discussion indeed. There were many parts of the clause of a most extraordinary character, and would require the calmest and most serious deliberation.
The Committee went on discussing the seventh clause, which, with verbal amendments was agreed to, as was the eighth clause.
§ House resumed, Committee to sit again.