HC Deb 18 February 1834 vol 21 cc453-67
Mr. Feargus O'Connor

presented a petition from the inhabitants of the town of Cove, in the county of Cork, for the repeal of the Legislative Union; and, in doing so, he was almost inclined to agree with the hon. member for Kent, that they should have very little hope from the presentation of all these petitions, when they were obliged to go on presenting them day after day without any of his Majesty's Ministers being present, who had stated that they would resist this question to the death. He was almost at a loss to know what course he should pursue, more especially at a time when the cry for the Repeal of the Union was become so prevalent. The petition which he held in his hand was from the town of Cove; and he conceived that the inhabitants had a good right to complain of the Union, for their town had been formerly flourishing and prosperous, and now it had been deprived of all its resources, for the little that had been left had lately been taken from them. What had that House done for Ireland, that Irishmen should not expect something from a domestic Legislature? What measure had been passed in the Reformed Parliament, either of grace, or justice, which could give satisfaction to the Irish people? He was happy to see the noble Lord (Lord Althorp) in his place and he would say, in his presence,—that no Ministry had done more to destroy the confidence existing between Catholics and Protestants, than the Ministry of which the noble Lord formed a part. It had been said, that they looked for other measures besides the Repeal of the Union; but he begged to assure the House that, the Irish Members had no such intention. One of the greatest checks upon the conduct of Members of that House was to be obliged to return to their constituents; but what availed it for the 105 Irish Members to come down to that House, where there was no disposition to accede to any proposition, be it ever so good, which emanated from them? He had been, however, told that the Irish Members had lately enjoyed some triumph, because it had been agreed that Baron Smith should pay a visit to this country. The House had been told, that the Repeal of the Union was to be resisted even to the death, and that his Majesty's Ministers were determined not to pass a law for the dissolution of that Union. What then became of the right of petition—that inestimable right of Englishmen, and Irishmen too? He would tell the House and the noble Lord opposite, that even with the threat of resistance to the death before him, the measure would most surely pass, or the total separation of the two countries would ensue. He had lately attended nearly twenty public meetings, at some of which there were more than 40,000 persons present, and all unanimous in asking for a Repeal of the Union. The inhabitants of Ireland knew their own interests too well to submit any longer to the domination under which they had hitherto so severely suffered. The farmers knew that their retail markets were gone in consequence of the Union, and that they were dependant for their wholesale market upon the caprice of England. Which of the two markets was of most advantage to the seller or the buyer it was not difficult to decide. It was quite true that a family could live cheaper in Ireland than in England, the larger the more cheaply; but he (Mr. O'Connor), as a private individual, could live more cheaply in the heart of London, than in Ireland. The reason was, that the retail markets of Ireland were gone. If a steak was wanted there, an ox must be bought. The noble Lord opposite, would, no doubt, understand the peculiar advantage of that; and if a pound of butter were required, it could not be had unless a firkin were purchased. The mass of the produce of the country was sent to England, and sold at an enormous advance on the price paid for it to the Irish farmer, thus giving all the profits to the people of England. The farmers of Ireland knew this perfectly well; and it formed an incontrovertible argument with them for repeal. Hon. Gentlemen were too much in the habit of thinking that Ireland was governed by some established and unchangeable law, but it was no such thing; it was governed by the will of the Lord Lieutenant. The petitioners were perfectly alive to the situation in which they were placed by the Union, and their language was, that the Legislative Union had not produced them those advantages which the advocates of that measure promised would result from it." No, nor had any of those promises been carried into effect by his Majesty's Ministers. The Coercion Bill was introduced, and was said (and on that ground, obtained the support of the Gentlemen on that, the Opposition side of the House) in order to prepare Ireland for healing measures. What was the first Act of the Government? They allowed those who had not received tithes for many years, and among them, the Duke of Devonshire, to come in and exact them. That noble lay-impropriator and English Duke, came into the parish, where he resided and claimed 2,000l. from a pauperized population, not because he wanted the money, but because Government had given him the opportunity. He might be told that the noble Duke was not a Minister, but he was a member of the royal household. He would not, however, further trespass on the House, but conclude by asking the opposers of the Repeal of the Union what single Act had Ireland a right to thank them for since the passing of the Coercion Bill?

Mr. Dominick Browne

did not wish to enter into the merits of the speech of the hon. Member who had just addressed the House, but he wished to convey to the House the real sentiments of the people of Ireland upon the question. He had reason to believe that they were acted upon by individual influence, and priestcraft, and that half the petitions would never have found their way to that House but for such influence. If the real sentiments of the people were known, they would be found to be heartily and sincerely attached to England. They had been deluded by the declarations of individuals, by their own ignorance, and by a latent power in that country to make them think that Eng- land was their bitter enemy. He would pledge himself to the House that half the petitions flowed from this source. In respect to the county he represented (Mayo) he knew that they were the fruit of a system of terror, and an influence totally unconstitutional. Those petitions were not the constitutional voice of the people, nor was the question one raised by the people, but by the hon. member for Dublin. He did not wish to say anything offensive; but he felt it his positive duty to state to the House, decidedly and unequivocally, and without fear, the exact state of the feelings of the people of Ireland upon this question.

Mr. Finn

begged to say, that the motives for getting up so many petitions in favour of the Repeal of the Union, were not caused by terror. Perhaps the hon. member for Mayo, might be displeased to find that petitions from that county were intrusted to him. But it was not wonderful when the hon. Member's constituents, on such a question, differed from him, toto cœlo, that they preferred a stranger to bring their wishes before the House. It was an error to suppose, that the question of the Repeal of the Union was one raised by the member for Dublin. No, it was the question of the people; and when Mr. O'Connell was supposed to hesitate in bringing it forward, the national will propelled him. If to-morrow that hon. Gentleman wished to set the question at rest, his popularity would not last one hour. What did this prove? Why, that it was impressed on the hearts and understandings of the people, because they felt convinced it was the only measure which could administer a remedy to their wants. There were many of the people in Ireland old enough to recollect the condition of the country before the Union; and when they contrasted it with the present state of things, they found that the only benefit the Union did the country was to increase taxes, and establish despotism; so much so, that scarcely a single constitutional privilege was left the Irish. In England no prosecutions were entered into against those who got up the agitation of any public question; but in Ireland it was not so. Such a deprivation of privileges was enough to convince the people, that a Repeal of the Union was the essential measure for restoring constitutional rights, and, therefore, they would persevere until they obtained it. There was no attraction in Ireland for men of capital and opulence to reside in it; it was all in England, and therefore Irish property was transferred here. In the county of Kilkenny the rental property was estimated at 400,000l. per annum, and 200,000l. of that was given to absentees.

Sir Harry Verney

was sure that the people of Ireland, must know that the Repeal of the Union would greatly impoverish that country, by preventing the sale of the produce of the land. There was one class of persons in this country who suffered severely from the connexion of this country with Ireland—he meant the English farmers and landlords. If the produce of Ireland were not imported into this country, his own land would be worth a third more than it was at present. He, however, was content to suffer this diminution of his property, but he feared it would be an argument of the hon. member for Dublin to the farmers and people of England, that the importation of Irish produce materially affected their interests; and this he felt was an argument with which it would be difficult to deal.

Mr. O'Dwyer

would merely protest against the strange accusation which the hon. member for Cork had made against the Chief Secretary for Ireland, that of being too courteous and conciliatory. He felt it his duty to say, and especially he felt it a duty, differing as he did most widely from the policy of the Government towards Ireland, to say, that the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman in his office, was such as to give satisfaction to all parties, as far as he could understand the public opinion in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman had been, unfortunately for the Government, if not for himself, involved in one or two collisions with the people of the country; but these were legacies left him most injudiciously by his predecessors; and although the right hon. Gentleman should never have taken office subject to such an incumbrance, yet it might probably be judging him too severely to say, that he was to be considered entirely responsible for their acts. The hon. member for Mayo most egregiously deluded the Government and himself, when he stated, that the agitation of Repeal was founded on delusion. He would assert, in contradiction to the speech of the hon. Member, that the feeling in favour of a Repeal of the Union was nearly universal—that the whole democracy was in favour of it, and a large proportion of those of a higher rank. He could not understand the object of those who professed to be the friends of Government, in thus deluding them. With respect to what had been said by some hon. Members, that a British Legislature would effect all the good that could be expected from an Irish parliament, he would merely say, that he doubted much the correctness of that assertion; but he asked the noble Lord (Lord Althorp), how the progress of the question could be arrested? The noble Lord could not hesitate to reply that he hoped it could be effected by good Legislation, by equal and just laws, and by removing all abuses, and, in a word, treating Ireland as if it were part of the soil of England. Well, then, here was the locus pœnitentiœ—had the Government availed themselves of it? Where were the measures of relief?—where was the participation in British privileges?—where the identity of treatment which the word Union implied? Were they to be found in that gift of Pandora, the Coercion Bill? He could not promise for the successful result of the experiment, but he most sincerely wished that the noble Lord would make an essay, in justice towards Ireland, and if anything could arrest the progress of Repeal, that would. The hon. member for Mayo had said, that the petitions in favour of Repeal were influenced by terror; and he challenged the hon. Member to point to one instance in support of that statement. The hon. Member had made another assertion, that they were the work of priestcraft. He would take leave to tell the hon. Member, that he was not warranted in making that assertion, and he would venture to tell him, in addition, that it was not very becoming in a Gentleman who now at least represented a Catholic constituency, to use such language. He would only add, that there was not in Europe a country in which the influence of the priesthood—except that influence which was legitimate and just, and which for the good of society ought to exist—prevailed so little as in Ireland.

Mr. Henry Grattan

said, that his Majesty's Ministers had called those persons who supported the Repeal of the Union, disloyal subjects; but such was not a true description, and the employment of such language could only gall every one with- out answering any good purpose. If it were meant that the old system of remedies should be pursued, he could tell the Government that it would not do. By the papers which arrived this very morning, it would be seen that the Tithe Bill had completely failed, and that the police and the military were now again called out to collect tithes. It was impossible that some parts of Ireland could be in a worse condition than they were; and they might expect all kinds of disorders unless the aristocracy returned to the country. There ought to be an Address to the Crown, praying for the return of the aristocracy, for Ireland could only be governed by an army, or the aristocracy. At no time could it be governed by abuse and vituperation. Some individuals might, and he believed, had erred in their conduct, but they were not to be corrected by ill language. The people of Ireland, he repeated, did not seek for separation. They sought for a Repeal of the Union, because they felt that it would be beneficial to their country. They might be wrong, but they were open to conviction.

Mr. Pryme

agreed with the observations which had fallen from the hon. Member who had just sat down, relative to the expectations of the people not having been realised. When the present Administration had come into office, one great measure had absorbed all their attention, and as soon as that measure was passed, and that the Parliament had met, they found Ireland in a state of agitation from one end to the other, so that it was not safe for the resident gentry to reside there. Under these circumstances, what could they do, but press that coercive measure, for which, he must say, he was a reluctant voter. Many other hon. Members of that House, who had been originally averse to that measure, had been reluctantly converted to it from a consideration of the unfortunate position in which that country was placed. What Ireland required, in the first place, to insure her tranquillity, was a resident gentry; and, what was still more important, manufacturers, who would give employment to her labourers, and contribute to establish that retail trade which the hon. Member opposite had asserted was almost extinct. Were not the exports of that country many times greater than they were previous to the Union? and if the hon. and learned Member succeeded in getting the Union repealed, what would the consequences be? They would have a Legislature sitting in that House and in Dublin, and they would have the English people looking for protection from the Irish landed proprietors, and they would be continually imposing additional duties upon the butter, the cattle, the corn, and every thing exported from Ireland. That the Union had been accomplished by fraud, by violence, and by corruption, he was not disposed to deny. But the question now was, would it be expedient to repeal it? The Union with Scotland had also been effected by means that were not very creditable; but in Scotland they had had peace and industry since the passing of the Union; and was there a single Member of that House, or any rational man outside the House, who would say, that the Union with Scotland should be repealed? It would perhaps be exceedingly beneficial to two or three large towns if separate Legislatures were established. York might be benefited, and he would say the same of Norwich; and in fact they might revert to the Saxon Heptarchy; but it would be only in so much as the expenditure of the nobility and gentry would amount to. In his opinion the Repeal of the Union would be a most impolitic and unwise measure.

The Earl of Ormelie

trusted that when the question was brought before the House it would be discussed calmly and satisfactorily. He would ask the hon. Member (Mr. O'Connor) how had these petitions been got up? Were they not procured by a system of intimidation? Had not associations been formed for the purpose of obtaining signatures?—was not the country agitated from one end to the other? He would merely ask the hon. Member to state under what circumstances these petitions had been got up.

Mr. Feargus O'Connor

begged to assure the noble Lord, that he was not aware of any system of intimidation or terror further than this, that Catholic tenants had been ejected from their farms by Protestant landlords for attending Repeal meetings. He had never heard of any associations having been formed for such a purpose, nor did he believe that any such existed. One word, with regard to what had fallen from the hon. and learned member for Drogheda, who had taken upon himself the office of apologist for the right hon. Secretary for Ireland. He wished the hon. and learned Gentleman had told them what the right hon. Secretary had actually done for that country. Ireland was so circumstanced, that let a Reformed Parliament give the wisest and best institutions that could be devised for the government of that country, the moment they were sent over, the furious aristocracy there would pervert and turn them to their own purposes, and according to the whim of a faction. The hon. Baronet behind him had reminded him (Mr. O'Connor) of the story of Rip Van Wrinkle, who had slept for forty years. He stated what the circumstances of Ireland were when he was last there; but if the hon. Baronet went now to Ireland he would find that he had been asleep for the last forty years, and that his reception would be a very different one. It had been alleged, that the exports of Ireland had increased; but it was because the consumption had been diminished, and it was no sign of the prosperity of a country that it exported all its food, while the people were starving at home. He should not have said so much but for the question put to him by the noble Lord; and he could assure the noble Lord, that he knew of no associations existing in Ireland for the purpose of making the people repealers.

Mr. O'Connell

said, that he could not allow the observations of the noble Lord opposite, and those of the hon. Members on that side of the House, to pass without some remark. He could assure the noble Lord and those hon. Members, that the question of Repeal would be brought forward in a mode which would convince the House and this country of the necessity there was for its speedy discussion, and for its consequent success. In Ireland, the question was brought forward in a mode which must ensure its success. The whole people of Ireland, Protestant and Catholic, would in a short time be repealers—he might almost say are repealers. He would mention two instances of the rapid progress of the question in that part of Ireland, where it had, until very lately, but few advocates, and many and powerful opponents. In Armagh, where a candidate would not dare offer himself at the last election as a repealer, a meeting was lately held, and a petition for Repeal was adopted, signed by 1,500 persons, of whom 400 were Protestants. There was subsequently a dinner to commemorate the change of opinion on the subject in that county, and the question had now for advocates those who once were its firmest opponents. It was well known, that the Catholic Bishops of Ireland seldom interfered in politics, or took part in discussions irrelevant to their sacred calling. But upon this question he (Mr. O'Connell) had the recent opinion of a Bishop, who never before interfered in politics. He alluded to the present Bishop of Galway, who was many years parish priest in Athlone, and who was well acquainted with the opinions and feelings of the people of that country. This venerable Bishop now stated, that he was a repealer, in consequence of the King's speech, which he justly observed was as unconstitutional as it was uncalled for. The Bishop also stated, that it had the effect of making repealers of those who were formerly opposed to the question, or lukewarm upon it. Would the noble Lord deem this immaterial? He assured the noble Lord and the hon. Gentleman opposite, that they were mistaken in supposing that intimidation was resorted to to procure signatures to those petitions. [The Earl of Ormelie: Agitation.] There was a great deal of agitation upon the question he admitted; but that agitation showed the anxiety of the people. [The Earl of Ormelie: Associations.] The Coercion Bill had put an end to all Associations. There had been a Repeat Association, but it was suppressed by the Lord Lieutenant's proclamation, under the Coercion Bill. Indeed all existing Associations were put down by proclamation, except one—the Conservative Club; but he would do the Lord Lieutenant the justice to acknowledge, that the reason why that was not proclaimed was that its members had discontinued their sittings. The agitation of the Repeal question was attributed to one individual. It would be quite absurd for him to pre-tend that he did not know that he was the individual alluded to. But the agitation was at its height in Dublin, when he was in the mountains of Kerry, thinking of something else. The people of Ireland were quietly and soberly resolved upon the Repeal. If the noble Lord would canvass the whole population, he would not find one man in ten whose mind was not made up on the necessity of that measure; or, if he found one man in ten who was not quite so determined upon the subject, that man would still be not so much opposed to the measure as ap- prehensive of the struggle which he supposed necessary to effect it; and a very proper and prudent apprehension that was. But it was absurd to make this a Catholic question. There was not a man in Ireland who did not think that the Repeal would be a very good measure, if it could be procured without force; and for his part, he would say, with all the solemnity with which he could speak in that House, that if he thought cither that the Repeal must be effected by force, or that, if effected, it would lead to a civil war, or separation from England, no man would be more opposed to it than he. The Coercion Bill had made more converts to Repeal than any agitation could make—and certainly he was bound to say, that he never saw the interests of any country so neglected, or any domination so shameful, as in the passing of that most unnecessary and unjustifiable measure. The King's speech had also contributed a good deal to the desire for Repeal. Every man must admit that the House of Commons was the place in which the question was to be finally discussed; and he wished that they should not have the discussion by instalments. It was hopeless, however, to prevent its being so discussed. For his part he could only say, that when he came to make his speech upon it, he would give the House credit for all the statements which he might have been induced to make in the meantime; and he hoped that they would come to the discussion with the good temper, sobriety of deliberation, and attention to facts, which the consideration of so important a subject would require. He hoped, that when the financial and commercial part of the question came to be considered, that neither side of the House would press the question to a division upon their mere statements; but that the House would send the matter to a Committee, to inquire into the subject fully and fairly. It was urged that, owing to the Union, Ireland had prospered much. The advocates of the Repeal of the Union say the contrary. It was admitted that the imports and exports of Ireland had increased. The question was this—were these imports and exports of a healthful character? The advocates of Repeal say, that the exports from Ireland, instead of being as they ought to be, beneficial to the country, are, in fact, only a means of benefiting the absentees connected with that country. It was also said, that the imports into Ireland had greatly increased since the Union; but if these imports, had the effect of destroying the manufactures of Ireland, then were these imports instead of being beneficial, greatly prejudicial to Ireland. If, for instance, the importation of blankets into Ireland, caused the destruction of no less than twenty-four blanket manufactories in the city of Dublin, could, he asked, an increasing importation of these articles into Ireland be a proof that Ireland was benefited by the importation? Again, with respect to sugar-refining, previous to the Union there were eleven sugar-refining houses in Dublin—now there was not one. In Cork there was seven or eight—at present there was not one. Could, then, he asked, the importation of refined sugar into Ireland, under such circumstances, be considered a benefit to Ireland? He had taken the liberty of addressing the House at greater length on this subject than he at first intended. He wished to press upon the House, that as the question of Repeal of the Union was not to be elevated by clamour on the one hand, so it was not to be put down by force or violence on the other. It was only by fair discussion, that the question was to be met. They must argue the matter calmly and dispassionately. This was the way in which he wished to argue the question; and it was only by doing so it could be fairly discussed. Before sitting down he would only add, as the conduct of the right hon. Secretary for Ireland had been alluded to, that no Secretary had yet been in office so long without drawing down upon himself popular odium; but he believed that not one word of censure of the right hon. Secretary had yet proceeded from the independent part of the press. Neutrality was certainly, in his mind, the most desirable quality in an Irish Secretary.

Lord Althorp

could bear testimony to the courteous manners and kind feelings for which the right hon. Secretary for Ireland was peculiarly distinguished. He had known his right hon. friend for a long time, and part of that time intimately; and he could say, that it did not surprise him that the right hon. Gentleman had gained the popularity he had, for he knew of no person who was better calculated to attract and deserve it. He was very glad to find that the question of the Repeal of the Union was to be debated in a manner that became a question of such import- ance. That the Repeal of the Union would be injurious to the British empire at large, he was certain, but most so to Ireland; and it was with satisfaction he had heard from the hon. member for Dublin, that the tendency of this measure was to be submitted to a calm discussion. It appeared extraordinary to him how the connexion of an opulent and poor country could be injurious to the latter.

Mr. O'Connell

The leech swells with the blood it sucks.

Mr. Shaw

did not wish to say one word against the gentlemanly conduct of the right hon. Secretary for Ireland, for he had always found him most courteous and obliging; but he could easily see why the popular Press had not opened upon him; those connected with that part of the Press believing that he was under the patronage and protection of the hon. member for Dublin. He would not say that he countenanced his views, but he did not oppose them with that spirit which might have been expected. He was sure that the right hon. Secretary countenanced no party, nor ever would; for himself, he would say, that he had always avoided being liable to be denominated a political partizan. It was true, that circumstances had occurred that caused him to take a part that would give colour for such an accusation; but he would appeal to any gentleman in Ireland or the House, whether he had ever been considered a violent party man? He was willing to give the right hon. Secretary for Ireland credit for being of no party, but he could not give him credit for much firmness. He did not believe that any Government had done so much as the present to forward the views, and give force to the measures, of the hon. member for Dublin. The decision of the House, in the case of Baron Smith, he believed, would spread dismay throughout Ireland, and fill the minds of the people of that country with disgust and amazement. For his own part, he believed that Baron Smith had never done more than adopt the course which he conscientiously believed, as a man, the circumstances of the country required; and he felt confident that every man, from the highest to the lowest, would lose all confidence in the Irish Government if the consequences of that decision were visited upon Baron Smith. If such a course were adopted, the people would think the Government acceded to the views of the hon. member for Dublin, the head of agitation—he did not mean the term offensively—the hon. and learned Member avowed he was an agitator, and he honoured him for that avowal; but the people, if what he had adverted to took place, would consider that infinite injury would be done to Ireland.

Mr. Ruthven

bore testimony to the courtesy and good disposition of the right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary for Ireland. He believed that the right hon. Gentleman would be willing to do more than he did, were he not prevented by others. He must complain that the Government had lately refused the small sum of 300l., to defray the expenses of a survey necessary towards commencing the formation of one of the finest artificial harbours in the empire. He thought such indisposition to assist in useful works most injurious to the Government, The present Lord Lieutenant and the present Secretary for Ireland, had made themselves acceptable enough as men, but as statesmen they were nothing; and he believed they would be nothing so long as they remained under the trammels of the present Government.

Mr. Poulett Scrope

was persuaded that the people of Ireland were not anxious for the Repeal of the Union, but their miserable condition had brought them into that state of mind that they would be better for a change of any kind. He thought the opinion was growing very fast in the House, and gaining ground out of it, that until the measure alluded to by an hon. Gentleman opposite, namely, the performance of full and unlimited justice to Ireland, and affording the people full opportunity of earning their livelihood honestly—until some such measure was carried into effect—tranquillity could not be restored to Ireland. There were hundreds and thousands of individuals dependent for their very subsistence upon the caprice of a single landlord. An hon. Member had mentioned the other day an instance of a landlord who ejected at once more than 300 families, consisting of upwards of 1,000 individuals, from their homes, and from their only means of subsistence. No wonder, then, that such a people, so distracted and distressed, should be ready for the Repeal of the Union, or the dismemberment of the empire, or any other mad project which promised them relief. If, therefore, the Government wished to reduce the agitation, and to disarm the hon. member for Dublin of his most extraordinary, unprecedented, and dangerous power, let them give the people some relief, and take them out of the power of the landholders, and also take measures to secure them against that state of famine to which they were exposed. It was not necessary for him to say much on the question of Repeal, as it was doubtful whether it would obtain the least support in that House. He regretted, however, that Government did not contemplate the introduction of a system of Poor-laws for Ireland during the present Session. He regretted this on account of the Ministers as well as the people, because a strong suspicion existed that the Commission lately appointed was intended merely to give the "go by" to the question, or to delay it from time to time, and from Session to Session, until some event should arise to prevent its further procrastination. It was stifled last Session by a promise, and six or seven months elapsed before the commission was appointed; since then another half-year had expired. The House had been informed by the Government that they did not expect the Report of the Commissioners to be made during the present Session. He confidently hoped the Government would determine to bring forward some measure of the kind alluded to, as he was sure it would give satisfaction to the English population, who felt the rivalry of the Irish labourers; and it would also be the means of restoring tranquillity, and with tranquillity prosperity to Ireland.

Lord Althorp

assured the hon. Gentleman, that the Commission was not issued with the slightest intention on the part of the Government to give the question the "go by." He confessed that during a former discussion he said, that he was, indeed, very far from having made up his mind on the subject. The information possessed by Government, and that possessed by the hon. Member himself, fell very far short of being sufficient to establish the fact, that Poor-laws would be beneficial to Ireland. It would not be prudent for any Government to make such a change without full inquiry and the completest information that could be obtained. It was from want of that information that Government thought they would be unable to introduce the question this Session.

The Petition to lie on the Table.

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