§ Mr. Roebuck
, on presenting two Petitions against the Irish Coercion Bill, one from Stockport and the other from Bristol, signed by 4,000 persons, felt called upon to make a few observations, especially as he had not hitherto said anything upon the subject. The Members for Ireland had fought their battle in that House manfully, patiently, and with great calmness and discretion; but that battle, from the votes of last night, was clearly shown to be lost. Having thus noticed what had taken place, he felt called upon to say to those hon. Gentlemen, if they would take his advice, they would leave that House at once, and for ever as it was plain Ireland could not look for justice from an English House of Commons. If the opinions of Parliament were to be judged of by the opinions and votes of its Members last night, justice never could be done to Ireland, and the sooner she was separated from England the better. The people of America, having much less grounds than Ireland had now to complain, had fought nobly for their independence, and had put down till then the indomitable pride of England. Unfortunately Ireland had not followed so glorious an example, and the consequence was, that she had suffered oppressions unequalled by any other country in Europe, with the exception of Poland, The time 877 was now come when it was openly avowed that Ireland was to be no longer under a free Government. Irishmen had become the slaves of the despotism of England; and if they wished to continue so, instead of fighting manfully and boldly by every means in their power for their independence, they would passively give way to the provisions of the most iniquitous measure that had ever been brought forward, and they would deserve the desecration of every honourable man. The measure had been brought forward in cowardice—sup-ported by imbecility—and carried through by the most unworthy means. He had expressed his opinions on this subject strongly; he cared not how far some persons might think he had gone beyond the bounds of discretion, for, in his opinion, when the rights of a nation were disregarded, and its people trampled under foot, discretion was but a poor virtue. The open expression of honest indignation was preferable at all times to that careful weighing of a man's words which was the poor refuge of the cowardly and the base.
§ Mr. Cobbett
rose to express his entire approbation of what bad fallen from the hon. member for Bath; he, however, wished that the hon. Gentleman, instead of stating that the people of England were the oppressors of Ireland, had stated that those oppressors were the grinding aristocracy of England.
An Hon. Member
thought that the language which had been used by the hon. member for Bath was such as ought not to be countenanced by the House. He had himself, with great reluctance, given his support to his Majesty's Ministers in carrying the measure, and he should continue to do so; at the same time he must say that, if such questions as the abolition of the right of petition, and the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act were brought abstractedly before the House, he should enter his earnest and decided protest against them; but when he saw the present state of Ireland, he felt bound to support the measure, which he regarded as one of mercy, as it went to prevent anarchy.
An Hon. Member
likewise deprecated the language which had been used by the hon. member for Bath, language and expressions almost amounting to preaching open rebellion.
§ The Speaker
said, that the hon. Member 878 must permit him to interrupt him in the course he was pursuing. The hon. Member was mistaken, or had misunderstood the intentions and statement of the hon. member for Bath. It was impossible that any hon. Member could be permitted to preach rebellion, and he (the Speaker) had understood the remarks of the hon. member for Bath to be confined merely to this,—that the people of Ireland ought to oppose any measure by which their freedom was assailed by every legal means afforded them by the law of the land. If he (the Speaker) had entertained any such notion as to the statement of the hon. member for Bath as had been expressed by the hon. Member, he should at once have called the hon. member for Bath to order.
§ Mr. Finn
felt called upon to make a few observations upon that part of the hon. member for Bath's speech, in which he recommended the Members for Ireland, who had unsuccessfully opposed the Bill, to withdraw from that House. That was an advice which they could not think of following. They had a duty to perform to the people of Ireland, and to the people of the other parts of the empire, which was, to remain at their posts, and effect all the good they could. The question of taxation would shortly come forward, and it was the duty of every Member to be at his post, to endeavour, if he possibly could, to reduce those taxes that bore so heavily on the people. The question of sinecures and unmerited pensions would also be brought forward, and it behoved Members to be in their places to reduce them—to put down useless expenditure of every description—to extend liberty in every way, and to support Triennial Parliaments and Vote by Ballot. If the recommendation of the hon. member for Bath were followed by the Irish Members, the consequence would be, that the different members of the Government would hold their seats on very easy terms.
§ Mr. Roebuck
observed, that if the hon. Member who had deprecated the strong language he had used, would only take the trouble of looking into the speeches of Mr. Fox, he would find that terms equally strong had been made made use of by that right hon. Gentleman.