HC Deb 03 March 1835 vol 26 cc523-4
Mr. Feargus O'Connor

rose to move for a Copy of the Evidence taken before the Coroner on an Inquest held at Rathcormac, in the County of Cork, upon the bodies of nine Persons who lost their Lives at Gurtroe on the 18th of December last: also a Copy of the finding of the Jury, and a Copy of the Correspondence which took place between the Government and the Military Secretary, and the Magistrates of the County of Cork, relative to the granting of Troops for the collection of Tithes and arrears of Tithes in the Parish of Gurtroe. His present object was not to inculpate the Magistracy, and he should therefore confine the few remarks he should make to the conduct of the military upon that occasion. The hon. Member for Meath had said, that there were nine men killed upon that occasion, and nine wounded. The hon. Member was entirely mistaken as to the numbers. There were nine men killed on whom an inquest was held, and there were two more carried away by their friends, and on whom no inquest was held; seven were mortally wounded, and thirty-five were more or less wounded. In all there were more than seventy shots fired, of which forty-five or forty-six took effect. It was said that the military had endeavoured to intimidate the people before they fired; but if he could get a Court-martial upon the military, which was his object, he should be able to establish a case of gross ignorance of discipline on the part of the Commanding Officer, and of gross and extraordinary brutality on that of the soldiers—

Sir Henry Hardinge,

interrupting the hon. Member, begged to put it to him whether it would not be proper to refrain from all exciting topics, and to postpone the present discussion until after the trial of those individuals, against whom charges connected with the affair alluded to had been made.

Sir John Campbell

entertained the same opinion, and entreated the hon. and learned Gentleman not to raise a discussion on the Question, in its present state.

Mr. Feargus O'Connor

replied, that having the honour to represent the county of Cork, where the unfortunate transaction took place, and having been counsel for the friends of the victims at the inquest, he conceived that he had a perfect right to bring the subject before the House.

Mr. Shaw

begged to remind the hon. and learned Gentleman, that soldiers were amenable to the criminal law of their country, as well as other individuals.

Mr. Hume

hoped the hon. and learned Gentleman would consent to withdraw the Motion.

Mr. Feargus O'Connor

considered that the only mode of punishing soldiers for misconduct, was by bringing them to a Court Martial. ["No, no!"] He had no wish to interfere with the ends of justice; and he would, therefore, defer it to the general sense of the House, and withdraw his Motion.

Sir Henry Hardinge

thought it right, as an imputation had been cast on a gallant officer, to declare that it was his firm belief, that that gallant officer would be found, whenever any investigation into his conduct was made, to have acted in a perfectly correct and proper manner.

The Motion was withdrawn.

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