HC Deb 15 May 1835 vol 27 cc1129-34
Mr. Shaw

begged to be indulged for a few moments on a matter personal to himself, which also, in some degree, involved the character of the House. He saw the hon. and learned Member for Dublin in his place, and would take this opportunity of alluding to a contradiction given by the hon. Member to a statement which he (Mr. Shaw) had made. It would be in the recollection of the House, that in a discussion, before the recess, the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had challenged him (Mr. Shaw) to adduce a single instance—

Mr. O'Connell

interposed: I speak to order. If the hon. and learned Gentleman means to make a Motion, that is one thing; if he means to put a question that is another; but if it be a question, then he has no right to make a speech. Which is he going to do.

Mr. Shaw:

I am not about to make a motion, to ask a question, or to make a speech; but I have already begged, and I hope I shall receive, the indulgence of the House for a few moments to make an explanation in a matter personal to myself. It will be in the recollection of the House, that on the occasion to which I refer the hon. and learned Gentleman challenged me to adduce a single instance of violence or breach of the law having occurred in the county of Kerry in connexion with the recent election there; that in reply I said that I had heard on good authority and believed, that shortly before the election the hon. and learned Gentleman had gone to a person of the name of Murphy, a Roman Catholic trader in the town of Killarney, and asked him whether he intended to vote for the Knight of Kerry, that Murphy said he did, and that the hon. and learned Member answered, "If you do, I'll have across or mark put upon your door," and threatened him with the consequences; and that shortly after Murphy's house was violently attacked, and his person assaulted; upon which the House cannot forget the solemn manner in which the hon. Gentleman stepped forward and called God to witness that from beginning to end the whole story was false. The Mirror of Parliament thus reports the hon. and learned Gentleman:—"Mr. O'Connell rose, and advancing towards the centre of the floor, said—'I declare most solemnly, in the presence of that God who is to judge me, the whole story is totally false." The authority upon which I made the statement was that of the Earl of Kenmare, the Lieutenant of the county, a distinguished nobleman, differing from me in politics and religion, and with whom I have no other connexion than joining in that just esteem with which he his universally regarded in Ireland. Immediately after what had occurred in this House, thinking it possible that Lord Kenmare or myself might have been mis- taken or misled, I felt it my duty to communicate with his Lordship, in order that I might either withdraw or corroborate the statement I had made, and the result of that communication has been, that I am furnished by Lord Kenmare with the fullest corroboration of what I had previously stated. Lord Kenmare has sent me a statement of it, written by Mr. Murphy himself, bearing testimony at the same time to the high character of Mr. Murphy, who is a Roman Catholic, and the most eminent and extensive trader in the town of Killarney, offers to verify his written account by affidavit, or in any other manner that may be required of him, and I will shortly read it to the House. The letter is signed "David William Murphy," and addressed to the "Earl of Kenmare;" it commences by stating the unwillingness of Mr. Murphy to have his name brought before the public, but that in compliance with the wish of Lord Kenmare, he proceeds to detail what occurred between himself and Mr. O'Connell, on the 6th of January last, in the following words;—"Having been told by Mr. Charles O'Connell, Mr. O'Connell's son-in-law, that Mr. O'Connell would be glad to see me at Finn's hotel, I went, and found with him several of his friends and near relatives. He spoke for some time on the election politics of the county, and after some remarks on the Knight of Kerry, asked me if it was possible I intended (as he heard) to vole for him (the Knight.) I answered that I did. He said—'What, you? I will have a black streak put on your door, and none shall dare to enter it, and if that has no effect, your car shan't pass through Milltown or Killerglin, and in Cahirciveen you shan't have as much room as you could let it down in.' This conversation occurred in presence of his own very near relatives, and was publicly spoken of by some of them that same night. On the evening of the clay on which the election for the borough of Tralee closed (Saturday, January 10,) an infuriated mob made a violent attack on my house, and broke my windows, assaulted myself, and were it not for the timely interference of a Magistrate, with some soldiers who happened to have been stationed here at the time, would have gone to extremities which it would have been impossible to check. I may further add, that amongst the persons attacking my house was one with ignited straw. These facts, my Lord, can be substantiated by several others than myself and are in this county quite notorious." If this written statement, investigated and verified by Lord Kenmare, wanted further proof, I have seen since a Gentleman who was on the spot at the time; I have received various letters on the subject; some have been handed me by hon. Members in this House, English and Irish, all corroborating to the utmost Mr. Murphy's account, and also that the circumstances are perfectly notorious in the neighbourhood. It is not my desire, as the hon. and learned Gentleman has attributed to me, to make any speech on this occasion, nor any attack on him, beyond a simple statement of the facts. I will abstain from making a single observation on the case, further than to express a hope that I have completely justified my original statement, and I leave it to the hon. and learned Member to justify, if he can, his unqualified and solemn asseveration that the whole story from beginning to end was false. [Cheers.]

Mr. O'Connell

said, it was easy to see from that cheer—that party cheer—what was the object of the right hon. and learned Member. When the right hon. and learned Gentleman made a charge of this nature before against him, he had gone across the House, and asked him what was the name of this Murphy, and he (Mr. Shaw) told him he did not know. It was found afterwards, and David was inserted in the Mirror of Parliament, although David had never been used in that House. The learned Recorder had spoken only of a man named Murphy, without using his Christian name. He did not know at the time what Murphy could have been meant. But by the insertion of the name "David" in the report, the right hon. and learned Gentleman had quite changed the venue of his story. It was quite a different thing. Before it was stated that he (Mr. O'Connell) went to the House of a man, and on his saying he would vote for the Knight of Kerry, that he (Mr. O'Connell) had declared that he would mark his door with a white cross, and threatened him with the consequences. Now it appeared, on the contrary, that a man came to him about something else, and that then he said something to him about a white cross or a black streak. At the time he spoke he knew nothing about this matter; he had no recollection of the conversation, and if he had known that it related to David Murphy, he should have laughed at it. He was not in Kerry for ten days before the attack on David Murphy's house was made. Why, David Murphy was a tenant of his; he had the standing for his carts at Cahirciveen from him. Murphy's brother was an agent for the election of his nephew at the time. He remembered, in a conversation, that he had with David Murphy in the drawing-room of the inn, Murphy said to him that Mullins had better look to himself, for his father had died without assets, and owed him money, and that Mr. Mullens must now pay him or he would not vote for him. He then jokingly observed to Murphy, that if Mullins paid the debt, and Murphy voted for him afterwards, he would be bribed. He did not know what he might have said about the Knight of Kerry; he was then canvassing against him with all his might, and he had done it successfully. But it was an idle jocular conversation, from which he anticipated no consequences, and from which none did result. He should not have remembered even so much of this conversation if after the trial which had taken place on account of the attack on Murphy's house, which he saw in the newspaper, he had not written to Kerry to inquire about the matter. He was in Dublin engaged about his own election when the attack on Murphy's house was made. There was nothing serious in it, as had been stated: a couple of windows were broken, and the assault on himself was so trifling that it could hardly be proved. It was only taking him by the collar, or something of that kind It originated in his striking a little girl who was going past his shop-door, crying, "No Knight;" he gave her a slap on the cheek, which nearly knocked her down, and her friends it was that broke the glass. He saw, too, in the Tralee paper, that David Murphy, on his cross-examination, was asked why he voted against Morgan John O'Connell, the nephew of his old friend, to which he replied, that the contest was not with Morgan John, or he would have plumped for him. As to Lord Kenmare, there was no man under such a compliment to him. He had done the noble Lord a service equivalent to giving him 40,000l., and his Lordship had certainly treated him with unqualified ingratitude. In violation of his promise he had given his support to the Knight of Kerry, and, disappointed in his electioneering projects, he had entered into an holy alliance with the learned Recorder to annoy and accuse him. The question, however, was, now altogether different, even as reported by the right hon. and learned Gentleman in the Mirror of Parliament. The transaction first alluded to was totally different from the present, and if the question was now put to him as it was formerly, he should meet it with as solemn a contradiction. He apologized to the House for trespassing so long on them, and wished the right hon. and learned Gentleman joy of his occupation.

Mr. Shaw,

in explanation, stated, that as to the name of David, he immediately discovered it by reference to a letter, and mentioned it to at least twenty persons, that the parties to the assault on Murphy had pleaded guilty, and now were under sentence of some months' imprisonment; and with respect to the hon. Gentleman's statement, that Lord Kenmare had promised not to take any part against his nephew, he (Mr. Shaw) was authorized to state, that Lord Kenmare had never made a promise to that effect. He also observed, that there could be no cross-examination, as the accused pleaded guilty, and were sentenced to some months' imprisonment. He also denied that he had reported either his own or the hon. and learned Gentleman's speech.

Mr. O'Connell

positively denied the truth of Lord Kenmare's disclaimer, and said he could prove it. He stated also that there was a cross-examination, Murphy and two others having given evidence before the prisoners pleaded guilty.

Mr. Morgan J. O'Connell

stated he had in his possession a letter from Lord Kenmare, dated the 27th of December, in which he stated, "It is not my intention to take any part in the election." He added, in reference to the charge of intimidation, that the majority of the electors in Killarney voted for the Knight of Kerry.

Subject dropped.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer moved the order of the day for the House to resolve itself into a Committee of Supply.

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