HC Deb 07 May 1834 vol 23 cc694-6

Mr. Fitzsimon having presented a Petition from a place in the county of Limerick, in favour of a repeal of the Legislative Union,

Mr. Kennedy

said, as he was the only English Member who voted for the Motion of the member for Dublin, he felt it necessary to take some notice of the comments which a noble and learned Lord was pleased to make upon his conduct in another place. He could not believe, that the observations to which he alluded were meant to intimidate him, or that it was the wish of the learned Lord to control the votes of that House; but still he deemed it only justice to himself, in consequence of those observations, and without further reference to the motives which impelled the noble Lord to make them, briefly to state the reasons which induced him to support the Motion of the hon. member for Dublin. It had been said, that the hon. Member sought for a Repeal of the Union, and that his Motion was directed to the attainment of that object; but was that the fact? He denied, that any such construction could in fairness be put upon the Motion, inasmuch as, instead of asking to have the Union repealed, it only sought the appointment of a Committee to ascertain what were the present effects of the Union with regard to Ireland, and what the probable consequences of the connection were likely to be. In all cases where grievances were complained of, it was, he submitted, the duty of Parliament to institute inquiry; and that being all the Motion called for, he considered he was bound to vote for it as he had done, without, however, being answerable for any of the opinions expressed in the course of the debate. It would, indeed, be a monstrous principle to establish that, because a Member felt it his duty to support this or that proposition, he was, therefore, to be responsible for the opinions of those by whom a question was brought forward; and it was just as reasonable to hold him accountable for the opinions of the noble Lord, the member for Northamptonshire, or say, that he approved of the budget of the hon. Baronet, the member for Lincolnshire, because he had voted in favour of their Motions, as to assume that, because he had voted with the hon. and learned member for Dublin, he must necessarily be the advocate of Repeal. He denied any such doctrine, and begged it to be distinctly understood, that although he had voted for inquiry, he was not therefore pledged to Repeal. On the contrary, so far as he knew of the matter, he firmly believed that a dissolution of the connection between the two countries would not only be highly detrimental to the empire at large, but most disadvantageous to Ireland herself. He thought it right to make this avowal, in order to show, that the noble and learned Lord had attacked him without cause, and misrepresented the motives which had induced him to vote for a Committee, as the means by which alone the question of Repeal could be got rid of. He still entertained the opinion, that a parliamentary investigation would be more efficacious in setting the matter at rest than any discussion, however temperate and deliberate, that might take place in that House. And, with respect to arguments adduced from figures, was not a Committee absolutely necessary to render those arguments intelligible? He therefore contended, that a Committee should have been appointed to sift the matter to the bottom; but, at all events, it was his opinion that a consolidated Grand Jury Board should be established in Ireland, to advise the Imperial Parliament as to the measures that would best contribute to the good Government and happiness of that country. Indeed, he should like to see local legislatures on the same principle in England; but of one thing he was satisfied, and that was, that the question of Repeal would never be stifled effectually until a Committee of that House had reported on the effects which the Union had upon Ireland.

The Petition to lie on the Table.