§ Mr. Hardy
said, it was not then necessary to advert to the considerations which led him to bring forward the subject of the Carlow election on a former occasion; that they fully justified his doing so, it was not requisite for him to show; neither did he feel the least occa- 23 sion for troubling the House at any great length in excusing himself for again bringing it under their consideration. He was told, that the present step on his part was an attempt to try the hon. and learned Member for Dublin twice. He denied the truth of that assertion altogether; it was no such thing. When the hon. Member for Ipswich said he should be afforded an opportunity of bringing the subject forward, he rather imagined that, in giving the intimation, the hon. Member did not altogether wish the question to be raised. He could hardly receive that advice with much confidence in its sincerity, for he did not expect the support of that hon. Member, and when he heard him holding such language he could not refrain from saying,—timeo Danaos et dona ferentes.He repeated, that he was not going to try the question twice. Before the subject had ever been brought under the notice of Parliament, when the discussion of it went on merely out of doors, when as it then was the subject of conversation in almost every circle, he said, that if nobody else did, he should direct to it the attention of the House of Commons. He made a motion accordingly, a Committee was appointed, and, as the House must recollect, they entered upon the inquiry and made their Report. Now, if he understood that Report—and it was couched in very plain language—he should say, that it called the attention of the House to certain points in the inquiry which would form a sufficient justification for his adopting the present proceeding, and an abundant foundation upon which to rest the first of his resolutions. The third paragraph of that report is in these words:—It appears that Mr. O'Connell addressed a letter, bearing date the 1st of June, 1835, to Mr. Raphael, in which an agreement for Mr. Raphael's return for the county of Carlow for 2,000l. was concluded. Your Committee cannot help observing that the whole tone and tenour of this letter were calculated to excite much suspicion and grave animadversion; but they must add, that upon a very careful investigation it appeared that previous conferences and communications had taken place between Mr. Raphael, Mr. Vigors, and other persons connected with the county of Carlow, and that Mr. O'Connell was acting on this occasion at the expressed desire of Mr. Raphael, and was only the medium between Mr. Raphael and Mr. Vigors and the Political Club at Carlow.24 If the House, then, adopted the same view of this part of the subject as the Committee, they must agree with him in thinking that he had laid a sufficient ground for his first resolution. From the Report it most distinctly appeared that the traffic alleged to have taken place, had actually, by the finding of the Committee, been carried on between the parties. The Committee set it down as a matter proved, that there had been an agreement entered into and concluded between Mr. Raphael and the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. The House had now before them evidence of the payment and receipt of 2,000l. ["No, no.!" It was a fact which could not be disproved, and if the circumstances under which that payment and receipt were made did not render it a breach of privilege, he had yet to learn in what that offence consisted. It was impossible that the House should stop there, with the Report of its own Committee before it, in which there was the distinct finding, that the sale of a seat had been concluded between Mr. Raphael and a Member of that House. Any man who entertained the shadow of a doubt upon the subject might be fairly called on to answer this question—whether Mr. Raphael ever would have had a seat in that House but for the traffic and agreement between him and the hon. and learned Member for Dublin? He should now proceed to call attention to such parts of the evidence as bore out the paragraph of the Report he had read to the House, as well as those other parts which might be necessary for establishing the positions for which he contended. In the first place, he should refer hon. Members to page 82 of the report, question 1,557, in which Mr. Vigors says, "I acquiesced in the justice of his choice, and I said, that Mr. O'Connell was exactly the man to whom I should wish the whole matter to be submitted. I left him then under the impression that he was to leave the whole matter to Mr. O'Connell, and it depended entirely on following up this negotiation with Mr. O'Connell whether he was to be our candidate or not." Here, then, the House must see distinctly that Mr. Raphael was not to be admitted as the candidate for the county of Carlow unless he succeeded in bringing to a satisfactory result the proposed negotiation with the all-powerful person to whose conduct the whole matter was intrusted—till Mr. Ra- 25 phael should have concluded with the hon. and learned Member for Dublin no other step was to be taken; Mr. Raphael was to be no candidate. He believed that there was not an unprejudiced and intelligent man in this country who would not regard that as a corrupt agreement, and as one calling for the immediate attention of the House, because it was vain to talk of purity of election so long as agreements of that nature were entered upon, concluded, and confirmed by the agency of Members of that House. In bringing forward the present motion, he wished it to be distinctly understood, that he did not propose to call in question the main features of the Report. No doubt, the motion he should make, as well as the original proceeding, went to affect the character of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin; and, certainly, nothing could be more evident than that it was a most unpleasant and invidious task to take any step affecting private or individual character. Those who were called on to make investigations of that nature found them at all times most unpleasant, and even painful; but of course those who entered upon them voluntarily could not be supposed to suffer similarly; but there was no Member of the Committee who must not have found it a most disagreeable thing to inquire into the proceedings and canvass the personal conduct of any one so well known and possessing a weight so considerable in that House as the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. To return, however, to the Report of the Committee; they stated, that after the agreement was concluded there still remained, and he could not help calling the attention of the House particularly to this remark—there still was that upon which the Committee "could not help observing, that the whole tone and tenour of the letter were calculated to excite much suspicion and grave animadversion. Such was the opinion of the Committee, and it did appear to him that the House would be disposed to think so too. He would ask, had the suspicion there referred to been removed? Did there not still remain on the character of that hon. Member traces as foul and corrupt as before? It might be disagreeable to proceed with such a duty as that in which he was then engaged, but he did not wish to aggravate the really unpleasant nature of that duty by allowing it to be supposed that he meant to impute to the 26 hon. and learned Member for Dublin his having put into his own pocket any portion of the money in question. But was not character a matter of the very highest importance to the House and the country, when it had reference to an individual possessing the power to negociate for the purchase and sale of seats in that House, who could carry county elections, and place or displace Members at his good pleasure? The hon. and learned Member did not put any money into his own pocket, but that was not the question. It was of no importance to the public into whose pocket the money went; the real question was this—had or had not a certain Member of that House been the agent through whose hands a certain amount of money passed, which had been paid in consideration of the person who paid it being returned to sit in that House for the county of Carlow? The Committee in their Report stated, that there were grounds to "excite much suspicion and grave animadversion;" and then they came in with that exceptive conjunction "but," and they spoke of previous conferences, in which Mr. Raphael, Mr. Vigors, and others took part, who were connected with the county of Carlow, and that Mr. O'Connell was acting upon this occasion, at the expressed desire of Mr. Raphael. He would beg to put the case thus:—If A. B. received a bribe paid by C. D., and he handed over the bribe to a third party, knowing at the time the object for which the bribe was given and received, did any portion of such a proceeding alter the original nature of the transaction, or purify the individual through whom the bribe was conveyed from the corrupt character which, of necessity, attached to every part of the transaction? Could the circumstance of being a mere agent alter the nature of any such negotiation? He would be glad to know if there were any one who would argue that the agent of a transaction, in itself corrupt, was free from culpability when he knew the character of the business in which he was engaged, and acted with a full knowledge of all the circumstances. As to the Committee and the conduct of the inquiry, he held, that there was one thing perfectly obvious— namely, that the utmost care was taken on the part of those composing that Committee, to apply themselves to the charge of pecuniary turpitude as applicable to the character of the hon. and learned Mem- 27 ber for Dublin; but, in fact, that was not the question really submitted to that Committee, and most especially was it not the question with which the House had then to deal? He would repeat over and over and over again, that the question was not whether the money went into the pocket of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin or not, but whether the money was obtained to be used in bribing the electors of Carlow. It made very little difference, or none, whether the party accused acted as agent or as the original party; whether he proceeded in the matter spontaneously, or whether he was invited to engage in the undertaking. In his judgment, there was nothing in any one of these mere incidents which in the least degree affected the decision of that question which it was his purpose to submit to the consideration of the House, Nor should he, in estimating the real nature of the transaction, look to mere fugitive declarations of parties whose memory was not much to be trusted; he should refer to authentic documents—to letters written by the parties with perfect deliberation, and with every appearance of having been advisedly written. The first of these letters to which he should refer was that produced by Mr. Vigors before the Committee. Hon. Members would find it at page seventy-six of the evidence, where the witness was asked—" Did you also about the same time, November, 1834, receive a letter from Mr. O'Connell, and is that the letter? I received this letter from Mr. O'Connell two days after its date." A letter, dated 26th of November, 1834, was delivered in and read as follows:—My dear Vigors,—We are all bustle, preparing to fight the Tories in all the counties and boroughs. Carlow county interests you more immediately. Wallace and Blakeney know they will not answer. The honest men then suggest Mr. Ponsonby, Lord Duncannon's son, and Mr. Raphael, the London sheriff. Will you call on Lord Duncannon on the business? I wrote to him to say I would ask you to do so. First, to-morrow you should see Mr. Raphael, and ascertain whether or not he would stand. We could secure him the county at an inconsiderable expense—say, for the very utmost, 3,000l. You can tell him that I will be one of the guarantees of his success if he will thus come forward as the colleague of Mr. Ponsonby. Let me know, without delay, whether there will be any chance of effecting this plan.Believe me always, my dear Vigors, yours most faithfully,DANIEL O'CONNELL.28 By this letter full authority was given by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin to Mr. Vigors to call on Mr. Raphael, and so far from being ignorant of what he was about, and so far from acting as the instrument of Mr. Vigors, he was the actual director of that gentleman. Then it further appeared from the evidence, that Mr. Charles Pearson, a respectable solicitor in the city, who was under-sheriff when Mr. Raphael filled the office of Sheriff of London—that gentleman suggested that the application respecting the county of Carlow should at once be made to the fountain head—the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, who in consequence, it was to be presumed, of some such application, addressed a letter to Mr. Pearson, dated Merrionsquare, Dublin, December 2, 1834, and which hon. Members would find at page sixty-nine of the Report.
The letter proceeds as follows;—My dear Sir,—I agree with you entirely, in thinking that it would be extremely desirable to have Mr. Raphael in Parliament. I had already been apprised that he intimated recently a desire to be so; and indeed I believe it the more readily because he some two or three years ago told me as much. Fortunately, as I hope, there is now quite a suitable opportunity: Carlow County is likely to be deserted by its present Members, and we are threatened by two powerful Conservatives. You will be glad to hear that, even before I got your letter, I wrote to Mr. Vigors, suggesting Mr. Raphael as a likely person to coalesce with young Ponsonby, Lord Duncannon's son, and by that means secure the return of both, for both must embark, if at all, on the same bottom. My present impression is, that with Ponsonby's popularity and our recommendation of Mr. Raphael, success is to the last degree probable. I wish you would see Mr. Vigors on this subject. He lives near the Botanic Gardens; you will find his address in the Directory. I will write again by this post to Carlow, and get an exact return of the constituency, divided into good, bad, and doubtful; and if I find that the good exceed the other two, then we will proceed. But money is necessary. About 3,000l,—say 3,000l. at the utmost, would cover all expenses. I will not have Mr. Raphael stand unless I can ensure two things for him: first, that the expenses shall not exceed that sum; and secondly, that he will certainly be returned. You may, of course, rely on it, that there shall be no speculation. At present, I believe that the return can be made certain, but I will not pledge myself without further information. Let me know how Mr. Raphael relishes my proposal to join Mr. Ponsonby, who has considerable local interest, and to go as far as 3,000l. to 29 carry the election. The principal expense will be to indemnify tenants who vote against their landlord's wishes. They may want from one year to half a-year's rent. The greater part will only be a loan, and will be repaid. It will not also be required till after the election, and will be unconnected with any previous stipulation. The tenants who vote for us thus will expect that the gentlemen who compose the local Committee, should prevent their landlords from ruining them by sudden demands, at periods when the Irish farmer has nothing to sell. But the entire of these advances and all other expenses not to exceed 3,000l. I have mentioned in reply to your answer to this, I will give you precise and positive terms, and even then you shall be at liberty to retract. Believe me to be, my dear Sir, very faithfully yours,DANIEL O'CONNELL.C. Pearson, Esq.He begged the House to observe that the writer, in the first paragraph of his letter, speaks of having had communications with Mr. Raphael two or three years before—namely in 1832 or 1833, on the subject of getting into Parliament, a statement utterly at variance with representations made by the hon. and learned Member on other occasions, a proof that his memory was not very accurate as to remote periods of time, and that when he said he never had had any communications with Mr. Raphael till the summer of 1835, his letters were more to be relied upon than any fugitive declarations which he might make in any of his species. Did he (Mr. Hardy) mean to impute to the hon. and learned Member that knowingly he misstated the fact? No, his object merely was to show, that in all cases his memory was not to be relied upon; it proved too that people in giving their testimony even were not as fully to be believed, as when cool, deliberate and collected, they sat down in their closets to state accurately, if they ever did so at all, the facts which they wished to communicate. Now, to return to the terms of this letter, according to it, provision was to be made for liquidating the arrears of certain tenants who might incur the displeasure of their landlords by voting against their wishes. Did any hon. Member suppose that there was the least intention of proceeding to the election without its being made well known to those tenantry that there existed a fund out of which, so soon as the election was over, they would be supplied with the means of discharging their arrears? And the fact of that know- 30 ledge being communicated, and the hon. and learned Member being privy to the whole, constituted in his opinion a gross breach of the privileges of that House. At page 120 of the Report they would find in question 2,167 that Mr. Vigors was asked "Was any part of it (the money) to be applied to the expenses of the petition by which Messrs. Bruen and Kavanagh had been unseated, their election having been declared void?—At the period in which I went to Ireland, during the election, I had not the slightest idea that any portion of that money was to be applied to a subsequent petition. In that point I found that Mr. O'Connell had exceeded my instructions, and it was at a subsequent period, at the period which I now refer to, at that meeting in which Mr. O'Connell read to me those conditions for the first time, was I aware that the petition was mentioned. I immediately acquiesced in it. I mentioned that it had exceeded what I thought was the understanding between us, but I had no objection to it in the world, particularly as the petition was then actually pending; but previously to this, in my communication to the electors of Carlow, I had mentioned that the second 1,000l. was to go to the county purposes, which in my understanding was the object of it." If the House would be at the trouble of comparing the statements contained in the foregoing answer with the acts of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, they would see, that so far from abiding by the instructions of Mr. Vigors he threw his principal completely overboard, assumed all the responsibility and authority himself, and, in fact, ceased to be an agent, not that that was necessary to implicating him in a breach of privilege. Then it could not be forgotten that on other occasions the hon. and learned Member took the whole matter upon himself, saying "Refer all to me." Again he says, "I will make all the pecuniary arrangements." He begged attention to another part of the hon. and learned Member's correspondence, where he tells Mr. Raphael that if any one was to be returned, he was to be that fortunate individual, which was completely dismissing the claims of poor Mr. Vigors, and disposing of the people of Carlow, as though he had the most undoubted right to deal with their feelings and privileges as he might think proper. He declared that there could be no fitter man than 31 Mr. Raphael, and he must be returned at all events. Was that treating Mr. Vigors as his principal? Could any man in his senses doubt that such a proceeding was in effect a bargain, and that the two parties to it were the Member for Dublin and Mr. Raphael? On this the Committee saw just ground for suspicion and animadversion, and then they qualify with the word "but," as Shakespeare said—But yet is as a gaoler to bring forthSome monstrous malefactor.He thought he had now fully established the fact, that the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had acted as a principal, even against Mr. Vigors, who amongst his tenantry could reckon on seventy votes of his own, and who was intimately connected with the county; he thought, too, that whether as agent or principal, he had fully established the truth of his first assertion, that the act as respected all the parties concerned, was a flagrant breach of the privileges of that House. One of the parties to that breach of privilege was the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, who said, in his letter to Mr. Raphael, "If only one Liberal can be returned for Carlow, you will be the man." But it made little difference whether the hon. and learned Gentleman was, the agent or the principal in the transaction; the question was, whether such a bargain had been made? Mr. Vigors admitted in his evidence, that his understanding was, that a portion of the first 1,000l. was to be applied to the payment of the expenses incurred in unseating Messrs. Bruen and Kavanagh. Further, from the evidence of Mr. Vigors, it appeared that there was an understanding that the whole of the second l,000l. should be placed at the disposal of the Carlow club; but of what importance was that to the hon. and learned Member for Dublin? he was not responsible to Mr. Vigors or the Carlow club; he cared not for them, for the simple reason that they were his instruments, and that he was the prime mover in the whole transaction. He begged permission again to call the attention of the House to the real nature of this monstrous affair. From the evidence now in the hands of Members respecting the Carlow club, and the application of a certain sum of 1,000l. to county purposes, nothing could be clearer than this—that any tenant who from want of prudence, or want of honesty, got into arrear, might go before the club and say, 32 "I shall be turned out if I vote against my landlord, you must be prepared to pay a year's rent, or a year and a-half for me, or you cannot reckon on my vote." What a system was that? If such statements were good for anything, they went the full length of establishing bribery; and if that deposit of 1,000l. or 2,000l. went without reprobation, see what it would lead to; why to nothing less than the establishment of Conservative clubs, who would say to those shopkeepers, whom the priests threatened, that grass should grow before their doors. "We will indemnify you." Let the House only reflect for a moment upon the practices which such a state of things must introduce. The passing of the Reform Act would then most justly be viewed as a subject of the deepest regret; not that he meant for a moment to insinuate that any such transactions were a legitimate consequence of that act, quite the contrary, but better be without it than lawfully, or unlawfully, such consequences should ensue. Formerly they had to complain that boroughs were bought and sold, now they had to complain of nothing less than the purchase and sale of whole counties. Here was a county sold to a Gentleman, who never would have had a seat in that House were it not for such bargain and sale. He therefore hesitated not to affirm, that the whole matter demanded the most careful and attentive consideration from the House. The Committee, which had already sat upon the question, appeared to think they had nothing to do but to clear the character of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin from the charge of pecuniary turpitude. That was evident from the observation of the hon. Member for Bridport who talked of trying a man twice; supposing that he was about to bring such a charge against the hon. and learned Member. He did not intend to do so; that point was settled by the Report of the Committee. He admitted that the hon. and learned Member had not actually retained any of the money; or, he should rather say, kept any of it to him- self; because, that he had retained some of the money, and had the accommodation of the use of it, was as palpable as the light of day. [Oh, Oh.] What, did any one doubt that fact? Then let them look to the Report. He was not about to allude to evidence which was produced on the part of the prosecution—if it might be so called—but to that which was brought 33 forward in support of the defence. One of the witnesses produced for the defence stated, that when he applied to the hon. and learned Member for the balance, he told him, that his money was in Ireland, and, therefore, he must pay him in long bills. Now only a few days before this the money had been paid into the hon. and learned Member's own hands, in cash. It was proved that he paid it into his bankers' on his own private account. When the banker's clerk was asked to state the balance of the hon. and learned Member's private account, he was not permitted to answer, an objection being taken by the Counsel who conducted the case for the hon. and learned Member, which was assented to. The hon. and learned Member then said, that he would put his private account into Sir Frederick Pollock's hands; and he did so. But what was it? It commenced in the month of June, 1835, and came down to the day before that on which the hon. and learned Member produced it. [Mr. O'Connell.— "No, no!"] Was that denied? Then he would turn to the evidence to show that his statement was correct. In page 51 of the Report the following evidence given by Mr. Little, the banker's clerk, appeared:—When does the copy of the account begin that you have to-day?—It begins with the month of June, 1835. What date in June?— The 3rd, I believe— And down to what time does it continue?—Till yesterday.This was the account which the hon. and learned Member made a sort of parade of when he put it into the hands of the hon. and learned Member for Huntingdon. That hon. and learned Gentleman examined it with great delicacy, and then informed the Committee, that he thought they ought to look at it; but they did not do so. Now it was very important that the account should have been examined. It would be recollected that it was the amendment proposed by the hon. Member for Bridport, and not the motion which he (Mr. Hardy) made, that directed the Committee to inquire into the application of the money, and the circumstances under which it had been received. It appeared that a person who represented himself to be an agent, received 2,000l., and appropriated it to his private account, he being in arrears, and by that means saved his credit with his banker. Was not that a most important consideration? The hon. and learned Mem- 34 ber had accused him of not having, when on a former occasion he brought this subject under the consideration of the House, referred to his defence, which was contained in a letter dated the 6th of November last. He did not refer to that letter, for this reason, that it contained matter extraneous to the question to which he thought the attention of the House ought to be directed—namely, the bargain for the sale of a seat. If, however, he had referred to the letter in question, he should have been unable to find anything which would serve the hon. and learned Member. In that letter the hon. and learned Member acknowledged that he had eulogised Mr. Raphael in the most glowing terms, and recommended him to the electors of Car-low as the most fit and proper person to represent them, at the moment when his ears were yet tingling with the admonition that he was a "faithless creature, who never observed any contract." The hon. and learned Member upon that occasion, also asked him why he had not referred to Mr. Vigors? He abstained from doing so, because it did not bear upon the case before the House at the time. In that letter, however, Mr. Vigors stated that the whole of the money given by Mr. Raphael to the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, was transmitted to Ireland, whereas it now appeared that the principal part of it was expended in England in supporting the petition, and in other election expenses. In the hon. and learned Gentleman's letter of the 6th of November, is the following passage:—This is my apology for having recommended to you so base a man as he now shows himself:—indeed, at present he is a creature so paltry, as to be below reproach. Let me give you just this specimen of this man's mendacity:—There is in his publication (Mr. Raphael's) this passage—mark the hypocritical candour!—'That I should not do him an injustice, it is fair that I should, in conclusion, observe, that the second sum of 1,000l. has been accounted for, by his paying in cash 350l. to Mr. Baker, towards the law charges, and after repeated applications made for the balance, by giving him a bill for it at a long date, drawn by Mr. O'Connell himself, on the self-same brewers as the 800l. before alluded to was drawn for.' Perhaps there never were so many falsehoods stuffed into so small a space. It may amuse to analyse them—1st. It is false that the second 1,000l. was accounted for in the way stated. This is a pure invention—a simple falsehood.If hon. Gentlemen, however, would take 35 the trouble to turn to the evidence of Mr. Baker, they would find, that the money was accounted for precisely in the way stated by Mr. Raphael. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin's letter continued:—2d. 'Paying in cash 350l. to Mr. Baker, towards law charges.' I never paid 350l., or one shilling, to Mr. Baker towards law charges, or for any purpose. This is a complicated falsehood.It was true, however, that the hon. and learned Member did not actually pay the money into the hands of Mr. Baker, but he knew that he gave Mr. Vigors a check for 300l. in the lobby of the House, which was immediately handed over to Mr. Baker. The other 50l. was afterwards given to Mr. Baker by Mr. Vigors.3d. 'And after repeated applications made to him for the balance.' Mr. Baker never made to me any such application—no person even applied to me, or had any occasion to apply to me, for any balance. This is a multitudinous falsehood.Notwithstanding this denial of the hon. and learned Member, Mr. Fitzgerald stated in his evidence that, by Mr. Vigors' desire, he repeatedly called upon the hon. and learned Member for the balance, and at last received it from him; on which occasion it was, that the mistake respecting the 15l. occurred. Whole pages of evidence were occupied with that single point, and the witness was almost, as it were, put to the rack to prove, that the sum which the hon. and learned Member overpaid was exactly 15l. If the House looked attentively to the evidence, it would not fail to discover that, even if part of the money went to the liberal Committee at Carlow, some of them must have gotten some of it. Mr. Fitzgerald, secretary, when examined, said he had got somewhere about 700l. out of the first 1,000l. and that would nearly cover the expenses he knew of as incurred at Car-low. When Mr. Vigors was asked, was any of the second 1,000l. to go to pay the expenses of unseating the then Members? he had replied—.I calculated that 600l. of it would be so applied. I had mentioned that a second 1,000l. was to go to the county purposes, which in my understanding was the object of itWas any part of it to be applied to the expences that had been incurred in unseating Messrs. Bruen and Kavanagh?—Not of that second 1,000l.36Was any part of the first 1,000l to be applied to that purpose?—Certainly; that was my understanding.To what extent?—The election expenses were to have been defrayed in the first instance, and then the surplus of the 1,000l. would have gone to the expenses of the petition that had unseated the Members; that was the understanding. I did not state any particular sum, because I did not know what the election expenses would amount to.You have stated, that the election expenses would be about 600l.—I calculated that the election expenses would be about 600l.; and if I had the management of the same election, the expenses would not have been above 600l.Then there would have been a surplus of 400l. to defray in part the expenses of the petition inquiry?—Yes, and if I mistake not, I mentioned that the election expenses would not exceed 600l. At the same time I found them exceed considerably that sum, for Mr. Raphael's reputation for generosity was such that our bills were twice as much for it. If I had to fight my own battle I dare say I could have fought it for 400l., but Mr. Raphael's generosity made the demands double to what they would otherwise have been.Therefore according to Mr. Vigors's own showing, he had the power to bring the expenses of the election within 400l., and he asked hon. Members what there was to prevent that gentleman from doing so? He was unshackled by Mr. Raphael, who had nothing to do with the expenditure of the money, and who had always said that he never would have any thing to do with it. But it seemed that the reputation of Mr. Raphael's generosity had penetrated to Carlow; and as omne ignotum pro magnifico, so "Mr. Raphael's generosity made the demands double what they would otherwise have been." He was sorry to press the case against Mr. Vigors; but if hon. Members looked to what had been stated by that gentleman in answer to the questions put to him, they would find that he was not that unimpeached and unimpeachable witness which the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had described him to be. With respect to the persons who carried on the petition against Messrs. Bruen and Kavanagh, he was asked the following question by the Carlow election Committee, before which Mr. Vigors gave his evidence on oath. The House would find the following passage at page 121 of the evidence. The hon. Member read the following extract:—You were examined upon your oath as a witness before that Carlow Committee; do 37 you remember that; were you examined, and upon oath?—I was examined certainly.And upon oath?—Upon oath.Will you tell me whether you did not give the following answer to the following question: 'We have understood that all the petitioners are shopkeepers, and men of that description?' that is the question; was this your answer: 'Yes, the petitioners are men of respectability as shopkeepers and tradesmen in Carlow?'—Yes, I should make the same answer now.Then there is this question: 'Do they pay the expenses of this discussion, or are they indemnified against it?' This is the answer: 'I really do not exactly know that; I believe one of them has entered into a recognisance; if I mistake not, I saw his name.' Do you remember giving that answer?—I do not remember the answer, but I suppose it is the answer that I gave.Now I beg particularly to call your attention to this third question and answer: 'Can you tell me whether they are to pay, or whether they are indemnified by anybody?' and did not you give this answer, 'I know nothing about it?' It is probable that I gave that answer; not only probable, but I take it for granted that I did, as it is in the minutes.Now I ask you this question, did you not before that Carlow Committee represent that you had nothing to do with the expenses, you were then a witness?—Not that I know of; I do not think that I was asked the question; I only know, that I had made myself responsible to Mr. Baker, the agent, for the expenses, and if I was asked the question I should have answered it directly; the sureties are merely matter of form, and entering into recognisance I know nothing about, I was not aware of what the terms were; but J was perfectly cognisant at the time that those individuals would not have been called upon, or if they were, pro forma, called upon, that the expense would ultimately fall upon myself.Then how came you to state in answer to the question, 'Can you tell me whether they were to pay or whether they are indemnified by any body? I know nothing about it.'— Because I know nothing about their being called upon, pro forma, to pay, or having indemnities for them; I knew not the mode in which they were bound, and that they would not have been called upon to pay; whether they would be called upon to make this petition perfect or not I was unaware; that those were matters of mere form in prosecuting the petition, the particular mode of which I do not understand; but I knew the fact to be, that they would not have to pay, and that I should have to pay, though they might be, called upon by their recognisances, or whatever were the terms in which they had entered.
knew the fact to be, that these parties would not have to pay, and that he should have to pay; and yet, when 38 giving his evidence on oath before the Car-low election committee, he said, "He did not know whether they would have to pay. Let the House then observe, that Mr. Vigors was a party engaged in the transaction o trafficking for a seat in Parliament. He was one of the participes criminis; and having an opportunity afforded them of giving what colouring they pleased to the transaction, they must be bunglers indeed, as bunglers they had shown themselves, if they could not make it out that the money had been expended in a manner to justify the Committee to report that it had been spent in what might be called legal expenses. This was the charge which he had to bring before the House, and he was not now imputing to the hon. and learned Member any act of pecuniary turpitude. Nor did he from the first conceive that the hon. and learned Member was so base as to put any of the money into his pocket. The hon. and learned Member had, indeed, done him the honour of congratulating him for acquitting the hon. and learned Member of such an offence. He did, however, observe that the hon. and learned Gentleman might have personal and political objects to be served by the transaction; and he now begged to call the particular attention of the House to the circumstances preceding the Carlow election in June. Previous to the month of January, the hon. and learned Member invited Mr. Raphael, through Mr. Pearson and Mr. Vigors, to become a candidate for the county of Carlow. It appeared that Mr. Raphael was otherwise engaged then, and did not accept the invitation. The eldest son of the hon. and learned Member, and a gentleman of the name of Cahill, then came forward as candidates; and the hon. and learned Gentleman stated in a speech, that, in consequence of the delay practised by their opponents, they were not elected. Now, he (Mr. Hardy) wished to draw the attention of the House to a letter written by the hon. and learned Member on the 4th of January, 1835, to Mr. Fitzgerald, for the purpose of showing what kind of personal and political interest the hon. and learned Member had in getting two Members returned for the county of Carlow. The hon. Member read the following extract from the letter alluded to:—My dear Fitzgerald,—I wish I could get to Carlow. I am most anxious to be in Car-low. Will you see his Lordship the Bishop, 39 and submit to him my plan? If you cannot get anybody else, I will lodge 500l. or if necessary 1,000l., for my eldest son Maurice, and set him up for the county. Maurice can and will be elected for Tralee; but he could afterwards elect to sit for Carlow county, and leave Tralee for a second choice. I say this only, on the understanding that nobody else can be got; in that case, I will make the sacrifice I mention, to prevent a Tory getting in for the county. You will, however, recollect that I do this merely to prevent a Tory from being your member, and for no other purpose, though, to be perfectly candid, I would rather have Maurice represent a county than a borough, but beyond that preference there is nothing else. I am, however, ready to make a personal sacrifice of from 500l. to 1,000l., for that purpose.The hon. and learned Member, therefore, by the success of his scheme, would have got a Member to his mind, and would have saved his 500l. It therefore appeared to be a matter of interest to the hon. and learned Member to get somebody to represent the county of Carlow. However, Mr. M. O'Connell and Mr. Cahill were not successful; and a petition was presented against the successful candidates. Mr. Vigors, in his account, said that he expended 700l. Why should Mr. Vigors expend that sum? He was not one of the unsuccessful candidates. What interest, then, had Mr. Vigors in fighting that battle, except it was, that by spending that 700l. he was purchasing the votes of the liberal members of the Carlow Club? And in order to reimburse himself, he came to London and made a bargain with Mr. Raphael, and got back his money; and also another 1,000l. for the Carlow Club. There could not well be a case more gross, in his (Mr. Hardy's) opinion, than the one he had detailed; and in that case the unimpeached and unimpeachable Mr. Vigors was deeply concerned. The charge which he made was this—that there had been a corrupt contract—that a seat in Parliament had been sold to Mr. Raphael for 2,000l., which money was to be appropriated in a way corrupt in every respect. Even if it were asserted that, by possibility, corruption might not be the result, the answer was, that neither in law nor in morals was it justifiable to enter into a certainly corrupt contract, because it might be attended with contingent purity. That was the charge he made. The statement against the hon. and learned Member for Dublin was not what the Committee chose to 40 make it throughout the whole of the proceedings—a matter of pecuniary turpitude. The real statement against him was, that he had from beginning to end been a party to a corrupt transaction. Whether the hon. and learned Member intended to put any of the money in his own pocket, or not had nothing whatever to do with the charge which he brought against him. The hon. Member for Newark wished, in the Committee, that before witnesses were examined, the Parliamentary agents should be called upon to specify the misconduct of which the hon. and learned Member was charged. He (Mr. Hardy) felt much surprise at such a motion being made by any Member of the Committee, but made as it was by the hon. Member for Bridport, whom, since he had had the honour of a seat in that House, he had always regarded as a sort of sentinel over the purity of election, it excited in his mind a degree of astonishment which he confessed he was utterly unable to express, especially when the hon. Member for Bridport must have seen, that the question which he mooted was not whether there had been any pecuniary turpitude in the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, but whether a corrupt bargain had been made for the return of a Representative of the county of Carlow, and whether the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had anything to do with that corrupt bargain. That was the question, and the only question, which he intended to bring under the consideration of the House or of the Committee. Then, in the course of the examination, the hon. Member for Bridport had complained of the delay which had taken place, and of the long interval which he (Mr. Hardy) had allowed to elapse before he came forward with the motion of which he had given notice for to-night. The hon. Member for Bridport, when he made that complaint, would please to recollect that the vacation had necessarily intervened between the time at which the notice was given and the period at which the motion was now brought forward. He did not think that hon. Gentlemen would spend the vacation in reading the Report of the Committee; and, therefore, instead of appointing a day immediately after the recess, he thought it better to allow some short time to elapse, in order that Gentlemen, when the motion was brought forward, might be prepared to discuss it with such a knowledge of the 41 facts as the importance of the case required. He trusted that the House would receive this as a sufficient explanation of the delay of which the hon. Member for Bridport complained. Certainly the Re port required to be read with attention, though he was quite sure, that it would be impossible for any one to read the Report with attention without coming to the same conclusion as he had come upon it. The witnesses contradicted each other in an extraordinary manner. Mr. Baker and Mr. Vigors stated that a bill of 2751. was paid to a Rev. Mr. Maher, who would be able to account for the manner in which money to that amount had been expended in procuring the election of Mr. Raphael. Now he begged to refer the House to the evidence of this Mr. Maher, which would be found in page 153 of the report. Mr. Maher was asked, "Did you, out of the money furnished by Mr. Vigors, make payments to those witnesses to the amount of 306l.?" The reply was, "I know nothing about the payments which Mr. Vigors has made; I received from Mr. Vigors, I believe at Mr. Baker's house, a bill of 275l., and this I handed over as soon as it was cashed to Mr. Fitzgerald; I believe he has the account of that." Then, again, in page] 54, speaking of the 130l., Mr. Maher was asked, "That 130l. was independent of the 2751., or the pro duce of the bill?" The reply was, "Yes; I received this 130l. in Ireland." "You got that bill discounted, and handed the pro duce to Mr. Fitzgerald?"—"I did." "Did you retain any part of that bill, or hand the whole proceeds to Mr. Fitzgerald?"—"I handed him 268l." "And 2l. afterwards?"—" Yes." It was impossible to reconcile these statements. It was not to be forgotten that the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had the advantage of hearing the whole of the evidence adduced, for he was allowed by the Committee to remain present during the whole of the investigation. At the close of the proceedings the hon. and learned Gentleman, it was true, placed himself in the witness chair, for the purpose of being asked any questions that the Committee might deem necessary. The hon. and learned Member for Newark (Mr. Sergeant Wilde) did not choose to ask him any questions, and the hon. and learned Member for Huntingdon (Sir F. Pollock) abstained from doing so. But were there no matters that the hon. and learned 42 Member for Dublin might like to have explained? When one of his own witnesses had stated, in the course of his examination, that he had applied to the hon. and learned Gentleman for the balance of his account, but was told that it could not be paid because the money was in Ireland, one would have thought that the hon. and learned Member would have been anxious to satisfy the Committee how it was that this came to pass, especially as it appeared to be inconsistent with some other portions of the evidence. There was also another point upon which one would not have thought it unnatural that the hon. and learned Member should have evinced some anxiety to offer an explanation to the Committee. It appeared by the evidence, that he had made an offer of a Baronetcy to Mr. Raphael. Surely, the hon. and learned Gentleman might have explained to the Committee what that offer was made for. The hon. and learned Gentleman might, at all events, have explained whether he was authorised to make that offer. What was the merit of Mr. Raphael, that called for a Baronetcy? The only merit explained. was, that he was ready to advance 1,000l. to the political club of Carlow. If Mr. Raphael merited the dignity, and if the hon. and learned Member for Dublin thought he might be allowed to dip his hands in the fountain of honour, and to grant a title to whom he pleased, surely he ought to have informed the Committee whether he had authority to do so or not. If he had not authority to make the offer, what became of his own character for making it? and if he had authority for making it, what character did the Government deserve which gave him that authority? He begged leave, in conclusion, to move the first of the following resolutions:—That it appears, in the evidence reported by the Committee appointed to inquire into the circumstances under which Alexander Raphael Esq., was returned a Member for the county of Carlow, at the election in June last, that an agreement in writing was concluded between Daniel O'Connell, Esq., a Member of this House, and the said Alexander Raphael, as follows:—Clarges-street, June 1, 1835.MY DEAR SIR,—YOU have acceded to the terms proposed to you for the election of the county of Carlow, vis.—you are to pay before 43 nomination l,000l., say one thousand pounds, and a like sum after being returned; the first to be paid absolutely and entirely for being nominated; the second to be paid only in the event of your having been returned. I hereby undertake to guarantee and save you harmless from any and every other expense whatsoever, whether of agents, carriages, counsel, petition against the return, or of any other description and I make this guarantee in the fullest sense of the honourable engagement that you should not possibly be required to pay one shilling more in any event, or upon any contingency whatsoever.I am, my dear Sir, your very faithfulDANIEL O'CONNELL.Alexander Raphael, Esq.That it appears that Nicholas Aylward Vigors, Esq., was cognizant of, and consenting to the said agreement, and that in pursuance thereof, the said Daniel O'Connell and the said Nicholas Aylward Vigors did endeavour to procure the return of the said Alexander Raphael as a Member to serve in Parliament for the said county of Carlow, and who was returned accordingly.That to enter into, or consent to, such an agreement, was a high breach of the privileges of this House.That such agreement, as aforesaid, is in violation of the Statute passed in the 49th year of King George 3rd, for preventing the giving or receiving of money on any contract or agreement to procure, or endeavour to procure, the return of any person to serve in Parliament.
said, it was with regret that he intruded himself upon the House at that moment; but as he intended not to be present at any more of the discussion, he felt it right to address the few words he had to offer before the matter proceeded further. He rose the more readily upon the occasion, because he had an exceedingly pleasing duty to perform in the first place, and that was to offer the meed of his most respectful, most humble, but most sincere thanks, to the Gentlemen of all parties who composed the Committee before which the charge of the hon. and learned Member for Bradford had been heard and determined. He had never seen Gentlemen attending with more care, keeping their attention more perfectly alive, or displaying more of the air of complete impartiality than those Members of the Committee did, who differed from him in general political opinions, 44 If, indeed, he were called upon to make a choice between the attendance of either one party or the other—which he could not—he should feel bound to express his thanks for what appeared to be the more delicate superiority of attention on the part of those who differed from him in politics. He doubly felt the obligation under which he was placed towards those Gentlemen, after the speech he had heard from the hon. and learned Member for Bradford that evening. He did not know whether the tone and temper of that speech corresponded with the feelings of English Gentlemen generally; but after what he had witnessed of the conduct of English Gentlemen on this Committee, he could not believe it did. He certainty did not think that there were many Gentlemen in the House who would coincide in the unhappy quibblings and unfortunate and manifold contradictions of himself, into which the hon. and learned Gentleman fell in the course of his address. It was quite true that he (Mr. O'Connell) did say on a former occasion, that the hon. and learned Member for Bradford had acquitted him of the charge of pecuniary corruption. He said so on the first occasion on which the subject was brought forward; and what did the hon. and learned Member for Bradford do? He said now that he (Mr. O'Connell) had been guilty of pecuniary corruption; but what did he say then? He denied it. "He (exclaimed Mr. O'Connell)—he — the Member for Bradford, talk about my character! He understands bribery, and I told him so, and he did not deny it. He has never denied it, although he has since had a fine opportunity of doing so; and if he denies it now—if he denies now that he demoralized Pontefract, by spending upwards of 5,000l. for his election there, I will move for a Committee to inquire into the matter, and then let him, and let the hon. Member for Carlow, who talks so disinterestedly about character, come forward to support me—let the hon. and learned Member for Bradford, if his conscience be clear, challenge, in the case of Pontefract, that inquiry from which I did not shrink in the case of Carlow. I have been lately in the neighbourhood of Pontefract, and I have now no doubt that it would be fully in my power to prove the facts I alleged against the hon. Member on a former occasion, and which he did not then 45 contradict. I will not trouble the House at any length. It is not my purpose to follow the hon. and learned Gentleman through the rhodomontade of a speech which I have heard from him, misquoting, mistaking, misrepresenting, everything that appeared before him. A tissue of more complicated misrepresentations could not, indeed, have been delivered, for the edification of my libellers; some of whom I may say, perhaps, the prime mover of all, wishing to earn the wages allowed by his party, has employed himself in cooking up the speech which this evening we have heard so impressively delivered. The hon. and learned Member for Bradford has spoken of contradictions in the evidence; he says that Mr. Baker's evidence contradicts one of my letters. How does he show the contradiction? I stated in my letter that I never settled an account with Mr. Baker, and then he finds that some of my money found its way into the hands of that gentleman. This is one of the mighty contradictions which he has so solemnly been endeavouring to impress upon the House. Do I complain of the preposterous view which the learned Gentleman has taken of the evidence? No, I solemnly declare that I think it is owing to the sort of intellect he possesses. There is about the learned Gentleman just that extent of mind which renders him incapable of seeing or understanding the question before him. The hon. and learned Member had before him every document and every species of evidence that could elucidate or explain the nature of the transactions I had had with my bankers. The Committee decided that the account should not be looked into; but the moment that the hon. and learned Gentleman found that the account was a partial one, he came forward and stated that I had furnished a partial account. Although the Committee decided that my banker's account should not be looked into, I furnished it, and I appeal to every Member of the Committee whether I did not furnish the whole of it. I handed it over to the hon. and learned Member for Huntingdon (Sir F. Pollock) as the nominee of the opposite party, and he, with great delicacy, took it home with him, and, as he afterwards assured me, looked only to those parts of it which bore immediately upon the subject under 46 investigation; but he will tell the House that I placed the whole of the account in his hands, and with my full consent he might have examined it from beginning to end. There is no ground or pretence, therefore, for the miserable species of special pleading which the learned Member has attempted to set up upon the pecuniary part of the transaction. Then he says I was called upon for a balance. I never was called upon for a balance. I was called upon from time to time for moneys, and I paid moneys when I was called upon to pay them. What dp the Committee say? "It appears that the money was placed to Mr. O'Connell's general account, at his banker's in London. It was, however, advanced the moment it was called for, to Mr. Vigors; and though some of it was paid in bills, the discount was allowed; the amount, therefore, was available whenever wanted, and no charge of pecuniary interest can be attached to Mr. O'Connell." I enter into this not as a defence. The Report of the Committee is my defence. The unanimous opinion of twelve hon. Gentlemen of this House is my defence. The hon. and learned Member's speech is an appeal from the Report of the Committee. It is not a question between him and me at all. It is a question between him and the Committee. I have already expressed my thanks to that Committee, for the attention which they paid to my case, and to every Member—whether I had the honour of knowing him before or not—I shall certainly, for the future, pay the courtesy of taking off my hat whenever I meet him; because I am proud, notwithstanding the strong party zeal and some bad ingredients which exist in this House, the country does still contain gentlemen who, whatever their party feelings may be, feel as gentlemen and men of honour, that they were bound to do their duty impartially, when they were called upon to act as judges. But the hon. and learned Gentleman says, I was not examined myself. Oh, if I had come forward to prove any part of my own case, how he would taunt me with having been my own witness. He would then have said, "Oh, Mr. O'Connell himself supplied every deficiency of the evidence; when other witnesses could not speak to particular facts, Mr. O'Connell placed himself in the 47 witness's chair and spoke to them himself." If on the other hand I had shrunk from examination, what would he then have said? Why, that I dared not to face the Committee. Feeling that this might be said, I went into the witness chair, in order that the Committee might have the opportunity of putting questions to me if it thought proper so to do. The hon. and learned Gentleman who acted as nominee on the opposite side, and who is well known to be one of the ablest practitioners at the English bar, did not deem it necessary to examine me, upon a single point. He might, if he had thought proper, have examined me on the subject of the Baronetcy, upon which the learned Member for Bradford has laid so much stress. He did not do so; neither did the hon. Gentleman himself put any question to me upon that subject. Not asking me, then, is it right that it should go abroad to-morrow as a part of his speech, amidst the ribaldry of The Times and The Morning Post—the managers of which two veritable publications are now, no doubt, present—is it right that an attack should now be made against me, in the words of the hon. and learned Member for Bradford? It is true, that I cannot much respect the words that fall from him, after the course he has taken; but I appeal to the House, whether it is right, after the fair opportunities of explanation which have been previously afforded, that he should now, by raking up the charge afresh, be giving a sort of impunity to those who, at all times, are ready enough to vilify and to condemn my conduct? Was there ever so paltry an excuse as that made by the learned Member to-night, for the delay which had taken place in bringing this motion forward? Was ever a charge against a Member of this House postponed for a month or six weeks, on so frivolous a plea as that advanced by the learned Member to-night? The plea was one of that feeble, or rather desperate character, which one occasionally heard at Quarter Sessions. It had no substance —it was mere pettifogging. The hon. and learned Member gave notice, upwards of a month ago, that he should call the attention of the House to the evidence taken before the Carlow Election Committee. Why did he not then specify what the nature of his motion was to be? Why did he suffer the House—why did 48 he suffer me, against whom the charge was to be brought—to remain in total ignorance of what his motion was to be, till three days ago. Has his conduct to me been fair? It never happened to anybody else in this House to be treated as I have been by the hon. and learned Member for Bradford. What is the learned Member's excuse for treating me in this way? Why, that hon. Members would not read the Report of the Committee during the vacation; therefore he postponed his motion till after the vacation. Because hon. Gentlemen would not read the Report during the vacation, he gave them the whole of the vacation not to read it in. That was the real English of it. I repeat, that I do not now stand up here to defend myself;—I rely on the Report of the Committee. The hon. and learned Member has not called for the appointment of another Committee; if he had, I would have seconded his motion, because I never would shrink from inquiry. I confess, however, I should have been sorry to have been compelled to do so, out of respect to the Gentlemen who composed the former Committee. I have political animosities, the hon. and learned Member says, I have political purposes. To be sure I have. Is it a crime in a Member of Parliament to entertain a political purpose? In this case, the hon. and learned Gentleman accuses me of political corruption, and to support his accusation, he reads a letter of mine, in which, having a son of my own already returned for a borough, I offer to sacrifice 1,000l. to procure his return for a county. And the intellect of the hon. and learned Gentleman is such, that he reads this letter as a matter of charge against me. This puts me in mind of a counsellor at the Irish bar, who was counsel on one side and of use to the other. The hon. and learned Gentleman reads that letter to prove my political corruption. The original charge against me was that of pecuniary corruption. It was so stated in The Times. The Times no doubt made a great deal of money by me. It was so stated in The Morning Post, and I suppose I was a small matter of gain to The Post too. The original charge was a charge of pecuniary corruption. But the hon. and learned Member for Bradford feeling, that facts were too strong against him, the moment I claimed an acquittal from that charge on his own assertion, he instantly withdrew it. Now 49 he puts it forward again. But I will not trespass on the House. If I have been a little more warm than I ought to be, hon. Gentlemen will perhaps find an excuse for me in their own bosoms. I stand on the Report of the Committee—until that is set aside I can afford to despise the little cavillings of little minds. I beg pardon of the House. I have done.
§ Mr. Ridley Colborne
assured the House, that he should gladly abstain from troubling it with a single observation upon this subject, but having been compelled most reluctantly to sit upon the Committee, before which the inquiry into the hon. and learned Member for Dublin's conduct took place, he felt, that if he remained wholly silent on this occasion, it might be supposed, that he acquiesced in the observations which had been made by the hon. and learned Member for Bradford. When the subject was first discussed, he felt, that there were too many on both sides of the House, who looked rather for triumph than for justice, and kept their eyes rather upon the individual accused than upon the case to be adjudged. He now felt, that when he called upon the House to affirm the resolutions of the Committee, the Committee in point of fact had but very imperfectly performed its duty. Nay, he should say, that it had grossly neglected its duty; for what should it have done? It should have made a special report, more strongly expressive of its opinion of the matter which had been under its consideration. How was the Committee formed? He thought it impossible, that one could have been more fairly constituted; and two Gentlemen of the highest legal attainments were appointed as nominees. His opinion might not be worth much on this occasion; but he had served upon many Committees, and he could confidently say, that he never saw one more determined to act fairly, more determined to lay aside all party bias, more determined to come to a decision right and just, than that which was appointed to investigate the alleged misconduct of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. As to the two Gentlemen who were appointed nominees, the best eulogy that he could pass upon them was, that they had on this occasion fully acted up to the high and honourable character which they had previously obtained. The Committee decided, that they would leave the conducting of the case entirely in the hands of the nominees—that they would refrain 50 from examining any of the witnesses themselves—and this resolution, throughout the whole of their proceedings, was strictly adhered to. It could not be doubted, that they did right in adopting that course, because they all felt, that in the situation in which they were placed, if they began to examine witnesses themselves, they would be apt to degenerate into partisans, and insensibly to sacrifice that feeling of strict impartiality which each was anxious to retain. Their Report was now before the House, and he believed it to be an honest and a just one. All he would say of it was, that he adhered to every word of it. He was satisfied, that it must have been a just one, because if it had not it would have been impossible that it could have received the unanimous acquiescence of a Committee so formed as the Committee was. He had trusted, that the Report of a Committee so formed, would have prevented any further discussion upon the subject. The Report completely acquitted the hon. and learned Member for Bradford from any party or factious motive in bringing forward the question in the first place. He had no doubt, that the hon. and learned Gentleman now felt, that it was only his duty to repeat the experiment; but he (Mr. Ridley Colborne) confessed, that his mind did not suggest the justification. When he stated that, it must be understood, that he (Mr. Ridley Colborne) did not stand up there to defend the letter of Mr. O'Connell, which had been so often referred to. Upon that point he concurred completely in the words of the Committee. Nay, he did not hesitate to avow, that the whole tone and tenor of that letter were calculated to excite much suspicion, and to lead to much grave animadversion. He knew very well, that the effect of a communication of that kind depended very much upon the character of the mind to which it was addressed. But he must be allowed to say, that after a full investigation of the circumstances under which that letter was written—in the total absence of anything like a pecuniary taint being cast by the evidence upon Mr. O'Connell's conduct—with the evidence of Mr. Vigors, corroborated as that evidence was by the testimony of Mr. Fitzgerald and Mr. Buller—he said with that evidence before them, and in the absence of any pecuniary taint on the. character of Mr. O'Connell, was it possible for the Committee to come to any 51 other conclusion than it did? He wished briefly to call the attention of the House to a few points of the evidence. He assured the House he would not go much into details. But in the first place he begged to ask whether, on the first day, that the hon. and learned Member for Bradford mooted the question, the House did not expect a very different case to that which was brought forward in the evidence. Did they not expect to find, that Mr. O'Connell had made the first advances in the matter—that he had made the first offer to Mr. Raphael? And when they heard of money transactions and long-winded Bills, did they not think that some pecuniary taint would attach to Mr. O'Connell? He owned, that he did; and he thought it would be very difficult for the hon. and learned Gentleman to refute the charges which were to be brought against him. Let the House now see whether there was any ground for these charges; and perhaps the hon. and learned Member for Bradford would allow him to say, that he thought there were parts of the evidence which would have thrown the real facts of the case out much more strongly than he succeeded in doing in the observations he thought it proper to make. In page eighty-two of the evidence the following information was derived from Mr. Vigors:—Had Mr. O'Connell's name been mentioned or suggested by you before Mr. Raphael, in answer to your question of who the friend was, that he wished to consult, named Mr. O'Connell?— Mr. O'Connell's name had been mentioned, but not as the friend or negotiator; we had mentioned his name, for in fact, I had been speaking of other candidates, to whom we should most likely apply, in case of his refusing us, and in order to urge him to an immediate decision, I mentioned that there were other names, and in the course of that conversation Mr. O'Connell's name was incidentally introduced; but the proposition of leaving the settlement and completion of the treaty to Mr. O'Connell originated entirely with Mr. Raphael.Was Mr. O'Connell mentioned in any way except as you have stated, as the person who would be in communication with others likely to become candidates, or in any other way except as referee, as you have now mentioned?—In no other way except as referee.Did you endeavour to see Mr. O'Connell after that?—I made it a point to see him as soon as possible afterwards.And how soon did you see him?—The same evening.What communication did you make to Mr. O'Connell?—I mentioned the conver- 52 sation that I had had with Mr. Raphael, and I told him that I wished he would follow it up, and I mentioned the particular terms on which I authorised him to conclude the arrangement with Mr. Raphael.Will you be so good as to state what the terms were?—The terms were those which I proposed to Mr. Raphael—1,000l. to be paid immediately, and 1,000l. to be paid on his return.Then again, in page 83, Mr. Vigors was asked—When Mr. O'Connell was referred to, was there anything said or understood, as far as you could collect from what passed, that Mr. O'Connell was to have anything to do with the distribution of the money?—Certainly not.To whom was Mr. O'Connell to account for the money?—He was to account to me on behalf of the liberal committee; Mr. O'Connell was but the banker in whose hands it was deposited, and to whom we were to apply as we wanted the money.Again, in Page 87, Mr. Vigors was asked—Had Mr. O'Connell anything to do with the distribution or application of that money? What was the reply?—Nothing upon earth.Further on, Mr. Vigors was asked—Is the Committee to understand that Mr. O'Connell, in every part of this transaction was merely your agent?—I considered him, throughout the transaction, as my agent— that is, as the agent of the chairman of the committee; but as the agent of the committee, I should say more correctly—my agent merely as the chairman and organ to that committee.He now came to a part of the evidence to which he was particularly anxious to direct the attention of the House, because it referred to those bill transactions upon which the hon. and learned Member for Bradford had laid so much stress. In page 117, Mr. Vigors was asked—Did you accept the bills for the balance for your own convenience or for Mr. O'Connell's accommodation, or for what other reason?—I received them with as much ease and satisfaction as I should have done the cash. Mr. Fitzgerald, at the same time, mentioning to me, that Mr. O'Connell had particularly desired him to say, that if I wished for cash, he would send me cash instead; I said that it was of no consequence.Now, that was one point which he (Mr. R. Colborne) thought should not be forgotten. He was unwilling to detain the House on points of evidence upon which he thought there could have been but one opinion; but after the course which the hon. and learned Member for 53 Bradford had taken that evening, it was necessary that he should refer to one or two more passages, even at the risk of fatiguing the House. But before he proceeded further, he could not help expressing the deep regret he felt at the motion which the hon. and learned Member had now brought forward. He confessed it appeared to him to be most injudicious. He saw no practical good that could possibly arise from it. The only effect of it could be to excite a great deal of personal feeling, which had much better be repressed. In another part of the evidence there occurred this passage: —Are the Committee now distinctly to understand from you, that the 2,000l. paid by Mr. Raphael was expended in the legal expences of the election, and in the defence of the petition?—Every shilling of it was expended in what I consider legal and necessary expenses, and what I am advised are legal and necessary expenses.Was the 2,000l. always forthcoming when you applied for it to Mr. O'Connell, and when paid in bills at long dates, was there any loss or delay attending them?—The money was forthcoming the very instant it was wanted and called for, and the transaction respecting bills did not cause us to lose one shilling of the money; nor was there loss to any individual in consequence of those bills.Now he hoped it was unnecessary for him to assure the House that if the least doubt had remained upon the mind of the Committee upon these points, they would not have screened Mr. O'Connell more than the least able man in the House. He respected and admired the ability and talent of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin as much as any man; but at the same time, he had never been in the least degree averse to express the regret which he felt at the use which the hon. and learned Gentleman sometimes made of his talents. But notwithstanding the use which the hon. and learned Gentleman might sometimes make of his talents, should not strict justice be done to him? In the same way he admitted the power—the dangerous power—if the House pleased, which the hon. and learned Gentleman possessed in Ireland—a power which the hon. and learned Gentleman himself confessed no man ought to possess, and a power which he must be permitted to observe no man could possess without sometimes exercising it prejudicially for his country. But what was the source of the hon. and, learned Gentleman's power? 54 The intemperate conduct of his opponents. Still he thought they attributed to that hon. and learned Member a sort of imaginary influence, which their fears induced them to suppose he had it in his power to use to the detriment of his country; and he (Mr. Colborne) was not sorry at having the opportunity of expressing his total disbelief of any such thing. There was one point to which the hon. Member for Bradford alluded at the close of his speech, to which he (Mr. Colborne) was anxious to call the attention of the House, inasmuch as it might appear that the Committee had neglected a portion of their duty, be meant the question of the baronetcy. In the first place, he very much doubted whether the Committee were either bound, or even had the power, to enter into that matter. Was it a Parliamentary offence? If there had been any proof at all that Mr. O'Connell was playing with the feelings of Mr. Raphael, by pretending to have an authority which he did not possess, or, if it had appeared in any way that the Government had lent themselves to any such exercise of the Royal Prerogative, he would then say, that it would have been, in the one instance, a most unjustifiable proceeding, and in the other instance, a base prostitution of patronage. But he knew nothing of the matter beyond what common report gave of it; and certainly it seemed to him, that no sooner was the charge put forth, than it was laughed at by everybody. For what was it, after all, beyond this—that one gentleman was weak enough to expect that he might get a baronetcy, and the other was vain enough to think he could get him one. He, therefore, thought, under such circumstances, that the Committee was fully excused from entering into that question. He should regret exceedingly if this House were to come to any vote indicative of an opinion that the Committee had neglected their duty, that they had avoided any part of the inquiry, or had shrunk from any portion of the investigation. Even if a respectable minority were to come to that conclusion, he should certainly lament it, and might doubt the accuracy of the judgment to which the Committee had arrived; but if the whole House did come to such a vote, he would not repent the decision of that Committee, because he felt that that decision was grounded conscientiously, fairly, and without favour or affection, upon the conviction of their own minds, and with- 55 out party bias; and he was quite certain, that neither he nor any other Member of the Committee would ever blush at having put their names to that Report. It was impossible then, for him to assent to the Resolutions of the noble and learned Member for Bradford. He thought it would be throwing a slur upon the Committee. The hon. and learned Member might, indeed, say, that he did not mean that. But what was the Committee appointed for. He imagined it was their business to look fully into the case, and he thought they would have done exceedingly wrong, and have inadequately performed their duty, if they had omitted to investigate any point that could bear upon it. He would not trouble the House any farther; but would conclude by moving the previous question. Lord John Russell and several hon. Members [No! No!]. Then he would leave the Question in the hands of the House.
§ Lord Francis Egerton
said, that the same reason which had induced his hon. Friend opposite to take an early opportunity to address the House, also induced him to come forward at the present time. He for himself felt that in the course of this discussion something like censure was unavoidably implied, though not expressed in the terms, upon the conduct of an inquiry, on which he need not say (because it was what every Gentleman had of himself said, or would say) that he was a most reluctant Member. Indeed, not to have been reluctant would have implied the same kind of inclination to come before the observation of the public which had distinguished some individuals who had figured in the inquiry. But having stood in a judicial situation, and attended that investigation, he must say that it was not with a view of influencing the opinion of the House upon the question before them that he now addressed them. The House would take its own view of that question; but it was with a view of explaining the course which he took upon that occasion, and of calling upon the House to judge whether, after the explanation of himself and of his hon. Friend, it should think proper to pursue this subject further or not. Great as was the respect he felt for the decisions of that House, and anxious as he must be to earn and deserve its esteem upon any and every occasion, he must say, that that decision was one of comparative indifference, while he could feel satisfied with 56 himself as to the course which he pursued upon a judicial inquiry involving considerations of conscience, justice, and honour. Feeling that satisfaction, it was a matter of indifference what the opinion of that House might be, or what the opinion of the public at large might be. The subject of that inquiry came before the Committee in something like a twofold shape. There was a great question connected with that inquiry, affecting, as it did, no less than the character of an hon. Member of this House, on a question of a pecuniary transaction. Certainly he did think at the beginning, coming to that inquiry as he did, not prepared or instructed by a careful perusal of those documents, from the publication of which the inquiry had originated, but only from a cursory perusal of them, that the great and germane part of the charge was that which involved the character of the hon. and learned Member with regard to a pecuniary transaction. He confessed, that when he heard his hon. Friend, the Member for Bradford, on the first occasion on which this question was introduced to the House, say, that he acquitted the hon. and learned Member for Dublin from all pecuniary corruption, he did feel some surprise; for looking at the letters that had been published, although he was not inclined to believe, that the charge would be made out in evidence, yet he did feel that those letters contained the substance of an allegation to that effect, and he felt from the beginning, that the hon. and learned Gentleman was, in fact, on his trial upon that first question. Undoubtedly, whether that question being disposed of, others remained behind on which it might be the duty of the Committee to have reported further and more at length than they had done might be a question for the House to consider. But speaking for himself, and of his own motives, it was the pecuniary question to which he had principally addressed himself in Committee. Some hon. Gentlemen might imagine that it was the duty of Gentlemen serving on the Committee to look, in the first place, at the particular situation and station in the country of the hon. and learned Gentleman who was the principal subject of inquiry; and it might also have been the opinion of others that there were precedents of no very long date which might have justified Gentlemen, who occupied stations on the opposition side of the House, in exercising any 57 stretch of political ingenuity in bringing any subject connected with election transactions within the grasp of a resolution of that House. But for himself he did not feel that it was his duty on that occasion to divest the hon. and learned Gentleman from all the circumstances which might have connected him with any party in the country, and to look neither at his station, position in the country, his talents, or his influence, or at what he, in accordance with the opinions he entertained, might call the faults, errors, and delinquencies of his political conduct. With regard to the second question involved in the inquiry, he would say, that taking his own view (which might be erroneous) of some proceedings that had taken place in that House with regard to election transactions, and of the spirit in which those proceedings were carried on, they were, some of them at least, the very last which he in any capacity would condescend to imitate. Well, the inquiry proceeded, and in his judgment, and he believed in the judgment of every gentleman of the Committee, those charges were removed and disproved by the course of the evidence taken before them. The hon. and learned Gentleman then himself stood before the Committee, having gone through the ordeal of seven days' inquiry on charges of so grave a nature. "During the course of that inquiry (said the noble Lord) I am bound to say, that the conduct of the hon. and learned Member was such as a man of sense, talent, and understanding, who felt himself innocent of those particular imputations under which he laboured, would naturally have displayed on such an occasion; I mean with regard to those imputations of a pecuniary nature. I believe I am correct in saying, that the hon. and learned Gentleman went rather farther than was necessary in affording to the Committee materials required for pursuing the investigation." With regard to the general transaction (the noble Lord proceeded to say) which placed Mr. Alexander Raphael for a brief period in possession of a seat in that House, as Member for the county of Car-low, he thought it might be pretty well inferred from the general opinions already expressed by him, that that transaction was not one which in every respect could meet with his approbation. He looked upon it at the beginning, and he looked upon it still, as a proof of that extensive system of dictation which prevailed at the 58 last general election in Ireland, which he entirely deprecated and disapproved. But it was a different question from the one to which his attention had been directed in the Committee; and it became with him a matter of consideration, whether it was one which it was necessary, useful, expedient, or just, to endeavour, by making additions to that Report which the Committee had presented to the House, and which he thought was unexceptionable in terms as far as it went, to bring the conduct of the hon. and learned Gentleman, and the other parties concerned in that transaction, within the grasp of the resolution, or the penal proceedings of that House. It had come to his knowledge, not personal knowledge, but he was informed on unquestionable authority, that in the course of the last session that hon. and learned Gentleman had attended on a Committee of Inquiry into charges made against an individual—he attending as a member of the inquiry, and not as the subject of it—and that upon that occasion, when the grounds of the imputations against the individual in question had been disposed of, the hon. and learned Gentleman had come forward and stated to the Committee, that, as those charges had been cleared away, he would advise the Committee not to drag that individual through a further inquiry into minor points; but give him the benefit of that ordeal through which his character and reputation had already gone. He mentioned this, because, having that information in his possession, he did not, after the evidence respecting the allegation of pecuniary corruption had been taken, and that allegation disproved, bring this circumstance forward before the Committee, because he felt that in doing so he might have appeared to be taking credit to himself in complimenting the delicacy of the hon. and learned Gentleman on a point upon which he (Lord F. Egerton) conceived that justice was due to him. But it did happen, that the task of communicating that information devolved upon a member of that Committee by no means open to any suspicion of bias in favour of the hon. and learned Gentleman. But he must fairly say, that if, when the Committee met to prepare their Report, the discussion that took place had required it, he should have given that information to the Committee. He confessed he was not one of those who felt any strong inclination to bring forward in that House any 59 question which came under that wide name of "a breach of privilege." Speaking for himself alone, he might, he believed, say that his hands were as clean as most men's in that House; but if every action of a man's life were to be made the subject of charge, and if every circumstance which the privileges of private society sanctioned were to be brought forward as matter of accusation and investigation, he would say that there was not a subject upon which King's evidence would not, on some occasion or other, be found. He scarcely knew whether he might not himself, on former occasions, have been brought, or might not on some future occasion be brought, within the grasp of a resolution of that House—a tribunal, by the bye (and he said it with all possible respect to the House), which was extremely ill adapted to come to a just judgment upon the conduct of any of its Members, and before which he should be very unwilling to appear, so long as there existed other tribunals which could take the charge under their cognizance, and upon which it was peculiarly their province to decide. He felt that the charges against Mr. O'Connell were precisely of that nature which brought him under the judgment of a tribunal influenced by a difference of political opinion, and therefore any decision of the Committee, which might have been pronounced as just, by 200 Gentlemen of his own side of the House, might very possibly have been called persecution by 250 Gentlemen on the other side of the House. It was upon these grounds that his own conduct was governed in not endeavouring to place upon the Report of that Committee words that embodied any opinions of his own with regard to that transaction. Not having taken that opportunity to state in the Report his opinion on that transaction, he might be justly told, that he was now too late if he went at length into any criticism or observation upon it. But he must say, that speaking on that (the Opposition) side of the House as he did, he had been surprised to hear that the motives and conduct of himself and the other Gentlemen who had formed as strong an opinion on the subject as himself, and who had been more active than he had, considered it his duty to be in bringing forward this question, had been accused of conduct ill becoming them as Members of this House, and in language which, if 60 truly reported, he confessed filled him with astonishment. Whatever might have been his conduct on that Committee, he did think, that the circumstances which led to that inquiry were not such as to induce any man to take the matter up with that warmth and ardour which it appeared had been done; and he confessed he was astonished to find that it had been designated as a "foul conspiracy." If he stated any expression of any Gentleman from the Reports to which they all had access, namely, those of the daily newspapers, he trusted he should be heard by those who furnished it. According to those Reports, the conduct of the Gentlemen who had interested themselves in this subject had been called "the foul conspiracy of a dying faction." He should be glad to know, if he could obtain that knowledge, who were the persons who came under the denomination of that faction. He should be still more happy to know, even if that faction existed, how that "foul conspiracy" was to be applied to a charge which originated in the letters of Mr. Raphael. The House knew well how those letters were obtained. It was not ignorant of their source—the questionable source he admitted—and he had no great regard for its stream, or for its purity; but they knew whence it flowed. His hon. Friend who brought forward this motion did not find these letters in the street. He did not steal them. But if the epithet of a "dying faction" alluded to that party in the country which was not inconsiderable in number, and he believed not usually reputed very low either in character or in intellect, call it by what name they pleased, for he did not shrink from the name of Tory, or the milder appellation of Conservative; if that were the party to which the epithet of a "dying faction" was applied, he would only say that, whether about to die or live, it was a faction of which he should, as long as he lived, be always ready to avow himself a humble but sincere Member. But where was the proof of that conspiracy? He confessed he did not know where to look for it. He did think that the hon. and gallant Member opposite (Sir Ronald Fergusson)—for undoubtedly he must have recognised himself as being the supposed source from which these expressions came—was bound to point out to the House the proof of that conspiracy. For the age, station, and public services 61 of that hon. and gallant Gentleman he entertained the highest respect; but this he must say, that if those expressions were correctly reported, he did think that if the hon. and gallant Officer had not kept his reason more clear, and his judgment more unclouded, in the smoke of Vimiera than in the atmosphere of the town of Nottingham, the pages of Colonel Napier, instead of setting forth his name and fame in brilliant characters might probably have told another tale. It had been stated of himself in the papers of this metropolis, that he said in the Committee, that if it was necessary for him to deal with the character of a certain individual concerned in that inquiry, he should find it difficult to measure his expressions. That expression he would neither endeavour to palliate or retract. But he did complain, that it was neither fair towards that individual, nor perhaps to himself, that any casual expression he might have made use of in a Select, and at the same time, Secret Committee, should have been so circulated without his authority. Some such expression—the words he did not precisely remember—he did apply to that hon. Gentleman. It was, with reference to some resolution proposed to be passed by the Committee, and added to the Report, affecting that Gentleman's conduct. On that occasion he did say, that they could not pay a worse compliment to the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, than by adopting any resolution which should contain the information that the individual alluded to had ever been selected by him as a Member for an Irish county: Having used those expressions, and as they had been put before the public, he did not wish that they should be construed in a more severe sense than he intended to use them. He might find it difficult to measure his expressions of Mr. Raphael; but certainly he found it more difficult, having mentioned the name of that gentleman at all, to apply language to him in a place where he had no immediate opportunity of reply. What he (Lord Francis Egerton) meant to imply by that expression was, that Mr. Raphael appeared to be influenced by that passion for a spurious notoriety which led to conduct marked with much folly—more particularly at an age to which he had arrived —which was generally allied to some pride, and which very frequently, until events, or the influence of time, changed its cha- 62 racter, passed current under the stamp of patriotism. Engendered as such a character was by personal vanity, it was naturally attended with an acute sensibility to the various mortifications and disappointments which in the world we lived in formed a just punishment for the follies and vanities of our conduct. It was that feeling of mortification which induced Mr. Raphael, perhaps unconsciously so, to place Mr. O'Connell in such a light before the country as he had attempted; but, with his knowledge of the facts, he clearly had no right to bring that hon. and learned Gentleman either before that House or the public. He (Lord F. Egerton) knew not what the effect of Mr. Raphael's letter might have been on others, but he confessed the effect on his mind was, that Mr. O'Connell could hardly have done other than feel obliged to the hon. Gentleman who brought forward this question, which had afforded him an opportunity of disproving the charges elsewhere, which it would have been scarcely possible for him to have done satisfactorily in the body of that House. This was his first impression in the beginning; though he must say, that if anything could have induced him to give a more ready credence to the charges against the hon. and learned. Gentleman, it would have been the angry, and not very dignified, tone of recrimination upon others, in which the hon. and learned Gentleman indulged, when the subject first came forward. It would be for the House to consider whether it was to renew the inquiry, by entering further into the matter, or to let the matter rest as it was. For his own part he should consider it perfectly inconsistent with the course he had already pursued, and an act of injustice towards the hon. and learned Gentleman, to do other than give his assent to the proposition of the hon. Gentleman opposite, and to vote for the previous question.
§ Sir Ronald Fergusson, having been personally alluded to by the noble Lord, hoped the House would allow him to trespass on their attention for a few moments. In the first place, he could assure the noble Lord, that in any expression he might have used in the speech quoted by the Noble Lord, it was most remote from his intention to make allusion to the noble Lord, or to any of the friends who now surrounded him. He did say that there was a faction in this country, but which 63 he trusted was almost extinct. He did not know whether his words were correctly reported or not, for he seldom read the reports of his speeches, but what he stated on the occasion referred to was, that let any administration whatever be brought into power—and he was then speaking of the party who acted conscientiously—he meant the high Tories— they must not only promise to act liberally, but must fulfil that promise. He thought he had stated his own words correctly, and he now begged to repeat them before the House. But, if he did throw any sort of slur upon certain persons, it was not, certainly, upon the Members of the Committee, nor the great mass of Gentlemen whom he had then the honour to see on the opposite side of the House; but, in his conscience, he believed, that those letters that were brought before the public, were brought to light by a conspiracy. He called it a conspiracy when a body of men, who, being very little, or hardly known to Mr. Raphael, held constant communications with him, and never left his house (which he supposed they had never seen before or since) till they got possession of certain letters, in order that they might use them to the injury of a third party. If there was any truth in that conjecture, and which he believed in his conscience to be true, it would be found out. He was convinced that, upon investigation, the names of the persons who got those papers might be discovered. With respect to the Committee, he begged to state, that as far as he could judge, as an old Member of that House, there never was a Committee of the House of Commons, composed as it was of men of all parties, where there prevailed such a determination to do justice. From beginning to end, strong as their political opinions might be, he did believe that not one single political opinion was ever advanced in that Committee. Referring again to the remarks of the noble Lord, he begged to say, that he adhered to the words he had used. What connection his military career had with the matter, the noble Lord was the best judge. He did not know whether, if he had been a Conservative, the service of the country would have been the better for it. But he again assured the noble Lord, that it was not to him, or to his friends, that he referred, when he spoke of a "foul conspiracy." He alluded to a 64 lower class of men, and he most sincerely believed that the words he used with reference to that class of men, were most strictly justifiable.
said, that as a Member of the Committee, he had prepared a Report, but the hon. Chairman having also done the same thing, his Report was withdrawn. The hon. Member then read his Report, which stated that Mr. Raphael agreed to pay a sum of money to Mr. O'Connell and Mr. Vigors, upon condition that they procured him to be returned a Member; that the money was not agreed to be paid for any illegal purpose; that the money had been received; and since paid to defray the expenses of the election of Vigors and Raphael, and of opposing the petition against their return. Such he believed were the facts.
§ Mr. Warburton
quite concurred in the several statements which had been made respecting the perfect unanimity of the Committee in the Report to which they had come. The first point involved in the Report, to which he wished to allude, was that which laid some stress on the general tone and tenor of the transaction between Mr. O'Connell and Mr. Raphael; and he was desirous of stating in what sense he gave his concurrence to it. He did consider that Mr. O'Connell had acted with a singular want of caution in agreeing to terms so capable of misrepresentation as the terms of the agreement were. He considered it a singular want of caution in a Gentleman of the legal profession; and in no other sense whatever did he mean to convey any censure of his conduct. So far from wishing to imply that he entertained an unfavourable opinion of it, he drew from this very fact the most signal proof of the perfect fairness and equity of the whole transaction. Would a person who intended to be guilty of any criminal or unworthy proceedings, when engaged with a person against whom he had been cautioned, and of whom he knew so little— would he, if he had intended any guile, have exposed his whole conduct to investigation and remark, by entering into a written agreement, which must have convicted him, had he contemplated any sinister intention? By all that had fallen from the hon. Member for Bradford and other hon. Members, Mr. O'Connell was completely acquitted of any improper pecuniary motive in any part of the proceeding. He did not think himself called upon, therefore, 65 to say one word upon the point. The hon. and learned Member for Bradford, however, in one remark which he had made upon the Report of the Committee., appeared to think that they had only acquitted Mr. O'Connell of pecuniary misconduct, and that they had altogether overlooked his infringement of the Act, to which he adverted in his third resolution. In short, the hon. Gentleman appeared to think that the Committee had no intention to acquit Mr. O'Connell of having made a corrupt bargain. Now he must beg to refer the hon. and learned Gentleman to the last clause of the Report of the Committee. It stated, that it appeared to the Committee that this money "has been expended by Mr. Vigors and others connected with the county of Carlow." He begged the attention of hon. Members to the words that followed, "in what may be called legal expenses, or expenses so unavoidable, that your Committee see no reason to question their legality." Now the third resolution which the hon. and learned gentleman had moved was to this effect: — "That such agreement as aforesaid is in violation of the statute passed in the 4gth year of George 3rd., for preventing the giving or receiving of moneys, or any contract or agreement to procure, or endeavour to procure, the return of any person to serve in Parliament." How could it possibly enter into the conception of any man that it was possible for the House to pronounce Mr. O'Connell guilty of a violation of this Act, after the Committee had pronounced a decided and distinct opinion that the money was expended in legal expenses only? He would now read the proviso of the statute. It was to the following effect:—"Provided also, and be it further enacted, that nothing in this Act contained shall extend, or be construed to extend, to any money paid, or agreed to be paid, to or by any person for any legal expenses bonâ fide incurred at or concerning such election." He conceived, therefore, that when the Committee pronounced that the money had been expended in legal expenses, or in expenses so nearly legal, that they saw no reason to question their legality, Mr. O'Connell was acquitted by them of any charge that was, or could be made, or founded, on the Act of the 49th Geo. 3rd., on which the hon. and learned Gentleman relied in his resolution. He would not trouble the House any further. He had thought it unnecessary to advert 66 to this point, because it had struck him as a most extraordinary circumstance, that when the hon. and learned Gentleman referred to the statute, he should have so completely overlooked this very important passage in the Report of the Committee.
§ Lord John Russell:
Sir, I feel it incumbent upon me to state to the House, an accusation having been brought forward by one hon. Member of this House against another hon. Member, professing at the same time to set aside, by the resolutions of this House, the decision of a Select Committee. I say, Sir, I feel it incumbent upon me to state to the House my strong sense of the duty which now devolves upon it, to decide between that accuser and that Committee, and to declare, whether the resolutions of grave censure, which the former has proposed, shall be adopted, or whether the House is prepared to agree with, and to confirm, the decision of its Committee. It was for this reason that I interrupted my hon. Friend, who acted as Chairman of the Committee (Mr. Ridley Colborne) when he was about to propose the previous question, because I thought to agree to the previous question upon so grave a matter— leaving, in fact, the substance and the propriety of the course adopted by the hon. Member for Bradford, leaving the character and conduct of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, and leaving, I must say likewise, the judgment and integrity of the Committee itself at once and together in doubt and uncertainty—would be to pursue a course which it is not fitting for this House, consistently with its character, to adopt. I must say, that in the few observations which I shall feel it my duty to offer, I shall enter but little into the case, scarcely at all into the evidence given before the Committee. I shall place myself upon the ground on which I think we ought to stand—that we have appointed a Committee, of the fairness of which, at the time of its appointment, no man expressed, or could express, a doubt, that that Committee conducted its proceedings as we have heard from its Members, and from the accused party himself, with the greatest attention and deliberation, and that that Committee—as appears as well I think from the opinions recorded in their Report, as from the speeches we have heard from its Members to-night—arrived at their decision, after a very grave and anxious consideration, 67 uninfluenced by all party feelings, and guided only by their conscientious obligations. Then, Sir, I should say, such, having been the course of the House, and we having before us the decision of the Committee, that unless some very cogent and strong reasons are shown to us for distrusting their opinions, or casting discredit on their integrity, the best course for us to adopt will be, not to re-sift and re-examine the evidence, but to trust to those who heard it given before the Committee, and to rest satisfied with the opinion which was the unanimous opinion of the various parties appointed upon it, and which was given as their deliberate decision to this House. Let me go back, Sir, to the appointment of the Committee, because I wish to show in what sense I was a party to its appointment, and to explain, as I trust I shall be enabled to do, the grounds upon which I ask the House to agree with me on the present occasion. In the first place, T will say now, although I never declared the opinion before, that it appeared to me, when I first read these charges, when I first read the letters, and compared them with the act of 49 Geo. 3rd, on which the charge in the public prints was attempted to be established, that I considered the whole accusations as of a very trumpery nature, founded, perhaps, upon blameable expressions, and founded upon conduct which, although not strictly conformable to that which ought to be observed, with reference to Parliamentary proceedings, is still totally free from suspicion, and which is pursued, again and again, on the occasion of every general election, by a number of persons who have no notion, no conception, that, by adopting that conduct, they are violating any of the orders of this House. Although I entertain this opinion at the outset, it appeared to me, that the best course to take was, not to bring this question into angry discussion in this House. I did not feel sure, that this House, which, by its own decision, had declared itself incapable, as a body, of deciding fairly and justly upon election matters, affecting the seats of individuals, might not have come, I will not say to an unjust vote, but to a decision without a proper consideration of the case, and thus have affixed to it a character which did not, in fact and in justice, belong to it. In saying this, I am imputing nothing to the party I now see opposite—nothing 68 more, at all events, than the Grenville Act has imputed to all the Members of this House. I felt sure, that if we selected from this House a body of individuals—select them almost how we might —that they, Gentlemen of known honour, integrity, acting as individuals upon their individual pledges of responsibility, and with the honour and integrity of English Gentlemen, would decide according to the facts and the evidence, whether that decision might be advantageous to their own party views or no. Such was my expectation—on this point I was most anxious: and happy am I to say, that the event coincided with my anticipations. I was most anxious, that before the Select Committee was appointed, there should be no declaration of opinion, and no immediate discussion which could by possibility have the effect of influencing the feelings of its Members. The Committee was named, and, as I have already said, was universally allowed to be a fair one. I will not now allude—because I did not mean to lay any weight upon the circumstance—to the opinions of some of its Members; such as the noble Lord for instance who has just spoken. I rely upon the fact, that its Members were men to whom the House of Commons might safely confide the keeping of its Parliamentary reputation, and the preservation of its Parliamentary honour. After a deliberate and patient investigation, this Committee arrives at an unanimous decision. We have scarcely heard to-night, that there was any substantial difference of opinion on the subject matter of their report. Shades of opinion there might be. Different individuals might entertain different views of the proper mode of expressing their opinions in writing, but real and substantial difference there was none; the Committee were unanimous. We are then asked by the hon. and learned Member for Bradford wholly to set aside this decision, and not only to go back to the accusation which he stated to the House, when the question was first under consideration, but to sanction an abrogation of that opinion, and a declaration contained in his speech, and I think in his resolutions, amounting to a charge of pecuniary corruption, and other accusations which he formerly abandoned, but now, when the Committee have investigated the whole subject, again introduces. It is said, that the House is the fit and 69 proper tribunal to decide between the hon. and learned Member for Bradford, and Mr. O'Connell. I totally differ from the hon. and learned Member. I give the hon. and learned Gentleman full credit for the motives which have induced him to bring the question forward, but I think he has totally misapprehended the evidence he has read. In all he has stated I could see nothing to bear out the grave charges he has made; on the contrary, the quotations made from the evidence by my hon. Friend, the Member for Wells, the Chairman of the Committee, appeared to me to be decisive of the facts—the simple facts—of the case. These facts are, that Mr. Vigors proposed to Mr. Raphael that he should become a candidate for the county of Carlow, that Mr. Raphael showed a great inclination to become a candidate for the county, but that Mr. Vigors intimated, that he would be expected to pay the expenses of the contest, he said he should be glad to have some certain amount of expense stated; and that then, as I think, Mr. Raphael states, if I have not mistaken his evidence, in consequence of his (that is, Mr. Raphael's) being anxious that the exact sum should be stated, Mr. Vigors mentioned the sum of 2,000l. Well, in consequence of Mr. Raphael's wish, Mr. Vigors names this sum of 2,000l., and afterwards leaves the case to the decision of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. That hon. and learned Member involves himself in the matter, as I think very rashly; and in terms which I think deserve the kind of intimated censure which has been passed upon them, for they are liable to much suspicion, pledges himself, in fact, to finish this sort of treaty with Mr. Raphael. Mr. Vigors then says, "I will take the 2,000l. for this election at Carlow." He does take the 2,000l., and he does pay the election expenses. Such, denuded of the various circumstances with which they are involved, are the facts on which so much has been said. Now I ask, is it possible to found a charge against the hon. and learned Member for Dublin on such grounds as these? How is it possible for us to fix a charge of criminality upon that Gentleman for conduct which we all well know takes place at every election, when Mr. O'Connell neither received any money for himself, nor was a consenting party to expending it in corrupting the electors, and, there- 70 fore, is not guilty on both the counts which a noble Friend of mine said were involved in the charges—either of pecuniary corruption on his own account, or in being a party to corrupting the purity of the electors of Carlow? Such being the state of the case, I, for one, call upon the House to confirm the Report of their own Committee, and to agree to an amendment.
§ Mr. Williams Wynn
I rise to order, Sir. I understood the hon. Gentleman, the Chairman of the Committee, to move the previous question.
§ The Speaker
understood that the hon. Member, the Chairman of the Committee, was about to move the previous question when the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) interposed, and that he then concluded his speech without doing so.
§ Mr. Williams Wynn
regretted that he had interrupted the noble Lord. After what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman in the Chair, he had no doubt he-was mistaken.
§ Lord John Russell
I have no doubt the right hon. Gentleman was mistaken. Directly my hon. Friend intimated his intention of moving the previous question, I interposed and objected to his doing so. No previous question was moved by my hon. Friend, nor has any such motion been put from the Chair.
§ The Speaker
If I am in error upon the point, I very much regret it; but I certainly understood the fact to be as I have already stated it to the House. The hon. Member, the Chairman of the Committee, intimated his intention of moving the previous question. In consequence of his having done so, I regarded the conclusion of his speech attentively; but I certainly did not understand that he concluded with, any motion. If I misunderstood the hon. Gentleman I am extremely sorry for it; but this was my impression. If it be correct, the hon. Gentleman will confirm it; if incorrect, the hon. Gentleman will set me right.
§ Mr. Ridley Colborne
I beg to state distinctly, Sir, that your understanding of what occurred is perfectly correct. I stated at the commencement of my speech, that I decidedly objected to the resolu- 71 tions of the hon. and learned Member for Bradford: and that it was my intention to move the previous question. As I was proceeding to do so, I was interrupted by the noble Lord and other hon. Members, and I concluded by saying, that I left the question in the hands of the House.
§ Lord John Russell
again presented himself, but the confusion on the Opposition side of the House was so great that the noble Lord was quite unable to proceed. After a short time,
§ Mr. Methuen
said, Sir, I rise to order. Hon. Members opposite are interrupting the noble Lord, without having any claim whatever upon the House. I submit to you, Sir, that this proceeding is highly irregular.
§ Lord Francis Egerton
merely wished to say, that if the Speaker had misapprehended what actually occurred, he had also the bad fortune of not having a right conception of it. He certainly had been, from the beginning to the end of his speech, under the impression that the hon. Member had signified his intention of moving the previous question; and he had said—not that he seconded the motion, but that he would support it.
§ Mr. Law
Sir, I rise to order. I apprehend it is open to any hon. Member to take upon himself the burthen of speaking to order. I rise to order. I distinctly heard the hon. Gentleman, who has addressed the Chair (Mr. R. Colborne), state that he intended to move the previous question. I as distinctly heard the noble Lord who has just sat down, say at the conclusion of his speech, that he intended to second it. I submit, Sir, that as one hon. Member has signified his intention of moving the previous question, and another hon. Member has spoken in support of the motion, it cannot be withdrawn without the permission of the House, and should be put from the Chair.
§ Lord John Russell
The misconception was a very natural one, Sir, no doubt; but I hope it is now cleared up, and that it is distinctly understood that, in point of fact, no amendment has been put. No question having been put from the Chair, I have reserved to myself the right, and that right I mean to claim, of moving an amendment myself. I was about to state; that this Report having been drawn up as a continuous Report, and not in the form of resolutions, I cannot move that it be read as a series of resolutions, and 72 that the House agree to the said resolutions. I can, however, move a series of resolutions, which are drawn up in conformity with, and are in the exact terms of, the Report of the Select Committee; and this, Sir, is the course which, before I sit down, I mean to pursue. There is one other point, however, upon which the hon. and learned Member for Bradford touched, to which I must first advert, and his allusion to which renders it, in my mind, still more necessary that the House should pronounce some more decisive opinion upon the subject than they would by agreeing to the previous question. The hon. and learned Member for Bradford has brought down several resolutions; but if the House adopt one upon the point to which I am about to advert, it will, in effect, criminate Mr. O'Connell to a very great extent. The hon. and learned Gentleman says, that Mr. O'Connell, having in his hands the sum of l,000l. belonging to Mr. Raphael, did at that time apply to the Government to have Mr. Raphael made a Baronet. This I understand to be the statement of the hon. and learned Member for Bradford, and which, although he did not so put it—
§ Mr. Hardy
It may save the noble Lord some trouble if I state what I did really say—namely, that Mr. O'Connell had, on the 3rd of August, to his account, in his banker's hands, money, to the amount of 900l. or 1,000l., belonging to Mr. Raphael, and that at that time he made the offer of a baronetcy to him.
§ Lord John Russell
I will endeavour to repeat the words of the hon. and learned Gentleman, and if I am again wrong he will correct me. What the hon. and learned Gentleman has now stated is, that Mr. O'Connell, having in his banker's hands 900l. or 1,000l. belonging to Mr. Raphael, did, at that time, make an offer of a baronetcy to him. I understood that statement to mean—the hon. and learned Member will correct me if I am wrong in this—that Mr. O'Connell, having in his possession, money of Mr. Raphael's which he had not accounted for, did endeavour to prevail upon Mr. Raphael to accept an honour, which he represented it to be in his power to offer, as a compensation or equivalent for the settlement of that account. [Loud cheers, and a cry of "No!"] No! The hon. and learned Member for Bradford did not exactly say this, in terms, but with what motive did the hon. and 73 learned Gentleman couple the two facts together—for what possible reason he put this account in his banker's hands, on the one side, with the offer to make Mr. Raphael a Baronet, on the other, I cannot understand, unless it was with the intention of imputing some criminality of this kind to Mr. O'Connell. Sir, I say that it is most unfair and most unjust to make an accusation of this nature, and not to put it in the shape of a direct charge. I say, that it is most unfair and most unjust to bring forward a variety of resolutions embodying the acts of Mr. O'Connell, declaring that he has been guilty of a breach of privilege, and a violation of the Act of Parliament; and yet to make this an insinuation instead of a prominent charge. What is there after all in this proposal which has been made the subject of so much discussion, to get Mr. Raphael made a Baronet? What is there, but that Mr. O'Connell suspected Mr. Raphael had suffered very much from the transaction, and that his vanity would be gratified by the offer of a baronetcy? I think it was exceedingly improper in Mr. O'Connell to write any such offer, or make any such offer, but to found on this circumstance a charge of criminality is the very utmost height of extravagance. Nobody has ever proved, nobody has ever attempted to prove, that Mr. O'Connell ever, in connexion with this transaction, asked any Member of the Government to make that compensation to Mr. Raphael, still less has any hon. Member attempted to prove that any Member of the Government ever listened to such a proposition; and not now finding Mr. Raphael to be any other than he was, what a failure is this on the part of Mr. O'Connell. Here is a man who, it is said, every day, every morning, every noon, every night, in both Houses of Parliament, is the man who directs the whole Government—the man who can do everything he wishes—the man who reigns paramount in Ireland—under whose supremacy the Lord-Lieutenant does nothing but obey his dictates and fulfil his directions—and yet, after all, this all-powerful man is totally unable to prevail on any Member of the Government to make the Sheriff of London a Baronet. All the charges are trumpery; but this, after all, is the most trumpery, the most frivolous, the most contemptible of the whole. I really wonder that the hon. and learned Gentleman who has studied the subject so 74 much, should have thought it worth while to say anything about it. I will conclude by stating my opinion of the whole transaction, and the manner in which it has been brought forward. I do not believe that my hon. and gallant Friend whose speech has been referred to to-night (Sir Ronald Fergusson), meant any such thing as that the party I see opposite were engaged in any plot or conspiracy to ruin. Mr. O'Connell on a false accusation; but this I do say, and I do believe—that the minds of many have been warped and perverted on this subject, by the grossest misrepresentations, got up by dirty and base creatures; who, seeing the cause of liberal Government going onward in England, and the cause of religious liberty flourishing in all parts of the United Kingdom, have thought that, if they could not withstand the mighty and irresistible arguments by which the great and holy cause is supported—that if they could not overthrow the reasons and arguments in which the best and brightest men who have lived during the last century in England, have concurred, they might at least be able to fix upon an individual of great influence in Ireland, to endeavour to fasten upon him the stain of criminality; and through him to injure and subvert the cause with which he is intimately connected. I have said, already, that I did entertain some fears, that if this question had been brought forward at an earlier period, a great portion of the Tory —or, as the noble Lord has said, to use a milder term, "Conservative"—party, might have been induced to take a part in these false, unfounded, and gross accusations. But I am glad to see that, by the course this House has pursued, in appointing a Committee of men who were to act in their individual capacity, that great party is saved from this great disgrace. They have had nothing to do with this disgrace; on-the contrary, they have proved on the Committee, that whatever their objections to the individual, whatever their dislike of his political conduct, whatever their dread of his political influence, they were ready to do him the fullest and most impartial justice, when he was brought before them as a judicial tribunal. I ask the House of Commons to ratify the honour of those Members and of that party, and to agree with me in sanctioning the proceedings of that Committee. And sure am I that we shall all have reason to rejoice, if, upon a subject so peculiarly calculated to excite 75 party animosities, we are able to say, that an accusation having been brought forward against a popular leader, which a large party in the House of Commons might have made their own, they shrunk from that which they thought was an injustice, and all concurred with those who were the most opposed to them in politics, in saying, that, whatever might be their political differences to an individual, injustice should not be done by the British House of Commons. The noble Lord concluded by moving a series of Resolutions which were read as follows: —1st. That it is the opinion of this House, that Mr. O'Connell addressed a letter bearing date the 1st of June, 1835, to Mr. Raphael, in which an agreement for Mr. Raphael's return for the county of Carlow, for 2,000l. was concluded.2nd. That it is the opinion of this House, that the whole tone and tenor of this letter were calculated to excite much suspicion and grave animadversion; but they must add, that upon a very careful investigation, it appeared that previous conferences and communications had taken place between Mr. Raphael, Mr. Vigors, and other persons connected with the county of Carlow, and that Mr. O'Connell was acting on this occasion at the expressed desire of Mr. Raphael and was the only medium between Mr. Raphael, and Mr. Vigors, and the political club at Carlow.3rd. That it is the opinion of this House, that the money was paid to Mr. O'Connell's general account at his bankers in London; it was, however, advanced, the moment it was called for, to Mr. Vigors; and, though some of it was paid in bills, the discount was allowed; the amount, therefore, was available whenever wanted, and no charge of a pecuniary character can be attached to Mr. O'Connell.4th. That it is the opinion of this House, that this money has been expended under the immediate direction of Mr. Vigors and others connected with the county of Carlow, on what may be called legal expenses, or so unavoidable that this House see no reason to question their legality, and that the balance was absorbed in defending the return of Mr. Raphael and Mr. Vigors before the Committee appointed to investigate it on the 28th of July, 1835.
stated, that if he came down to the House with considerable difficulty and doubt as to the course which he should feel it to be his duty to pursue on the motion which had been brought forward on this subject—which had not received his acquiescence, nor, indeed, had he expressed an opinion one way or other on the subject, for nothing had been submitted to him—that difficulty and doubt had been considerably increased by the 76 statement made by the hon. Member for Wells, and subsequently by the noble Member for South Lancashire. It was, certainly, not improper that the hon. Member for Wells should have given his opinion as Chairman of the Committee, that it was expedient that no further inquiry should be pursued by the House. Certainly it was not his intention to throw any imputation on the Report which had been made with the authority of the Committee, but the question appeared to be, as to the mode of escaping from the consideration of the motion of his hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Bradford. If, then, there was difficulty before, it had been increased by the course pursued by his noble Friend (Lord J. Russell). He thought that, instead of proposing the amendment, that it would have been better to let the House pursue the course that had been previously suggested, and to have let the matter be closed with the observations that had fallen from his noble Friend. He regretted the course that had been taken, and under the great difficulties of the subject, and with the strong feelings which he entertained, he felt it very difficult, if not impossible, for the reasons which he would state to the House to agree in the amendment of his noble Friend. He confessed, from the tenor of the early part of the speech of his noble Friend, he thought that he had been prepared to vote for the previous question, for the argument of his noble Friend was precisely that which he should have used had he been urging hon. Gentlemen to support the previous question, namely, that the House having delegated the inquiry to another tribunal, namely, to a Select Committee of that House, and had left it to the Members of that Committee to form their judgment on the evidence to be taken before them, that it did not wish to push the inquiry further. The object of his noble Friend, however, went further, although he had stated certain grounds for pressing the previous question, for he stated that it would appear, if they did not adopt the amendment, that they cast a slur on the Committee which they had appointed, which certainly was very different from what had been stated by the hon. Member for Wells, the Chairman of the Committee. He begged the House to recollect the course that had been taken on this question. Before, however, reminding them of this, he felt bound to say, that he con- 77 fessed, that he had heard with some degree of surprise an expression from his noble Friend, as well as from the hon. and learned Member for Dublin—namely, that the charge was a trumpery charge. He thought, and he took the liberty of expressing his opinion on a former occasion, that, under the circumstances under which the charge was submitted to the House, and upon the face of the case, and under the allegations brought forward, that they ought not to let the matter drop until the time had arrived when they had disproved or confirmed it. He confessed, that in his opinion, the charge brought against the hon. and learned Member for Dublin was not one which under any circumstances he could consider as a trumpery charge, or one which should be so designated by his noble Friend, the first Minister of the Crown in that House, and who had constantly prided himself as being the first champion of purity of election throughout the whole of his career, and the most constant and unwearied opponent of anything calculated to throw suspicion on the character of the constituency of a borough or county, or on the conduct of an individual Member of that House. When this case was stated, he was surprised to hear such expressions as he had alluded to fall from the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, and he (Lord Stanley) spoke of that hon. Gentleman in his absence as openly and as fully, and not more so, than in his presence—he repeated, that he was surprised to hear that hon. and learned Gentleman say, that that charge was of so light and trivial a nature, that it was a matter of no importance whether it was decided sooner or later by a Committee; and he (Lord Stanley) then stated plainly and clearly, but not too strongly, that if he had had the same charge hanging over his own head, and under the circumstances of the transaction, that he would not only express a wish for investigation, but that he would demand a full and explicit inquiry. His hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Bradford, stated that he thought, that during the recess he did not believe that hon. Gentlemen would turn their attention to the Report; for his part, he had, during the recess, turned his attention to this as well as other Reports of Committees. He went carefully and deliberately through the evidence and Report, and he felt it to be his bounden 78 duty to do so. He felt bound to direct his attention to it as a legislator, and also in consequence of the opinion he had expressed when the subject was formerly brought forward, and when he acquiesced with his hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Bradford, in supporting inquiry. After this he felt bound to state, on perusal of the evidence, that he was bound to acquit the hon. and learned Member, as to the charge against him. He stated this fairly, fully, and unequivocally, and that in all charges of a pecuniary nature—that in all charge in the transaction involving personal integrity, and that with regard to anything that could throw on the hon. and learned Gentleman anything like a stain of moral turpitude, the evidence fully and entirely acquitted him. He had repeatedly said that he did not wish, in this matter, to throw out any charge of personal corruption—he repeated it; but he said that a sum of money had been paid to the hon. and learned Gentleman, in this transaction, of which he had the whole and entire control. And it made no difference as to the distribution of it, or whether he put it into his pocket or devoted it in any other way. He said that it made no difference, when the hon. and learned Gentleman had the distribution of the money, without being responsible to any one; but he now felt himself bound to say, that from the evidence taken before the Committee, the hon. and learned Gentleman had no such power over it as had been supposed. He had no hesitation in saying that, although there might be some contradictory evidence on the subject, that it was impossible, in his mind, from the perusal and consideration of the evidence, to arrive at any other conclusion than that the hon. and learned Gentleman did not act as the principal, but as the agent, throughout the whole case. He did not believe that the hon. and learned Gentleman could have retained or turned away to other purposes, any portion of the sum in question; and when he said this, he threw over the whole case of a personal nature, and paid no attention to a part of the case which certainly, in the first instance, appeared suspicious, namely, the payment of the money or cash in bills of three months' date; because it appeared that the whole sum was accounted for, even to the difference of the discount, and the whole sum was paid as if it were cash. It might appear that it was for the 79 accommodation of the hon. and learned Gentleman, that the money should be in the hands of his Irish instead of his English bankers, but it was shown that the whole, or any part of it, could be drawn out at any time when it was called for; and that it was not in the least degree for the accommodation or advantage of the hon. and learned Gentleman. Therefore in dealing with the case as far as affected the hon. and learned Gentleman, he (Lord Stanley) distinctly acquitted him of being more than the agent in the transaction of the parties, and that he had become so at the request of Mr. Raphael. It had pleased the House to refer this question to a Committee of Inquiry, and that Committee had dealt with it as a question affecting the character of an hon. and learned Gentleman, and a Report had been presented to the House. If it had pleased the House to say that it was not called upon to go further into the case he should have been satisfied; but, if the House was called upon to pass a judgment upon all the circumstances connected with the Carlow Club and Mr. Vigors— with all the circumstances of the traffic which had taken place for a seat in that House between Mr. O'Connell and Mr. Raphael and other parties—he was not prepared to agree to the proposal. He was not prepared to pass a judgment on the whole transaction, nor resolutions in conformity with the Report of the Committee, expressive of the opinion of the House on the general case. He did not doubt the ability, the fairness, or the judgment of the Committee on the point which they had to decide, but he could not help feeling that they had left the question short of a full determination of the proceedings of the whole case. He did not dispute the opinion of the Committee, for there was hardly the difference of a single word made use of by them from those in which he might have couched his judgment. He therefore repeated, that he did not dispute the judgment of the Committee; but if the House was called upon to look at the whole transaction, the resolutions proposed by his noble Friend were not the resolutions which he thought the House ought to feel justified in agreeing to. He begged to call the attention of the House to the case, as it appeared in evidence before the Committee. It appeared that previous to the general election which took place in January, 1835, that four candi- 80 dates started for the Representation of the county of Carlow—the two hon. Members who now represented it in Parliament, and the hon. Member for Tralee, and a gentleman of the name of Cahill. The two latter gentlemen were supported by a body called the Carlow Liberal Club, who had at its command a certain fund; but that body felt difficulty in getting candidates to come forward. With reference to this part of the case, considerable stress had been laid on both sides of the House—indeed much more than it probably deserved —on a letter of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, in which he stated that he was prepared to advance 500l. towards the expense of the election to bring in Mr. Maurice O'Connell for the county of Car-low. On the election, the two gentlemen supported by the Carlow Liberal Club failed, and a petition was presented to the House against the return, which was also supported by the Carlow Liberal Club. He believed that he was stating the facts of the case correctly, and if he said any thing wrong, he hoped that he should be corrected, and he would then ask the House, after reviewing the whole of the facts, whether it was prepared to support the view of the case taken by his noble Friend? The petitioners on the election were so far successful as to unseat the Members, but the other candidates were not put in their places.
said, that he believed that the Gentlemen who were the candidates, were not the petitioners in the case. The petition, however, so far succeeded, that the Members were unseated. But who found the funds? Who found the necessary funds for the promotion of the petition? It appeared from the evidence, that the two freeholders who had been put forward as petitioners, were fictitious promoters of the case. They were mere men of straw. Mr. Vigors admitted candidly, that it never was intended that they should bear the expense of the petition. Who, then, paid the expenses? Why, the Carlow Liberal Club. After they had succeeded in unseating the Members, this club found some difficulty in getting funds to defray the expense of a future election, in consequence of the charge of the election when the hon. Member for Tralee was the candidate, and the subsequent petition. They then looked abroad for a 81 candidate, and they found one rich enough to satisfy the members of the Carlow Liberal Club. He might say generous enough. [Oh, oh!] He repeated the expression, that they found one, who, according to the evidence of Mr. Vigors, was generous enough to pay for the Representation of the county of Carlow more than double the expenses of the election —when their expenditure was most lavish —they found one weak enough to be the tool, whom any one could employ for his purpose, but who, he (Lord Stanley) trusted, would serve as an instructive lesson to others. And what was to pay for his seat for Carlow? The Carlow Liberal Club sold the Representation of their county for 2,0001. [No, no!] That was the fact, let it be disguised how they pleased. The Liberal Club of Carlow put the Representation of their county in Parliament up to auction, and sold it for 2,000l. Mr. Vigors stated in his evidence, that the ordinary expenses of the election, when proper care was taken, was about 400l.; that when the expenditure was generous, the expense was about 600l.; and when it was extremely magnificent, about 800l.; but here was a bargain of l,000l. for the nomination, and another 1,000l. for the return. He did not intend to canvass the terms of the agreement, nor did he intend to question whether those terms had been faithfully kept or not. He cared not for the terms of the agreement, but spoke of the bargain, and the proposed application of the surplus. If he disputed other parts of the evidence, he did not dispute that of Mr. Vigors. He said, then, that there was a corrupt anticipation of this money with a contingency. The question was, whether it was not such a corrupt proceeding as the House of Commons should express its feelings on, and not remain satisfied with the short view taken of the subject by the Committee. With respect to the motion of his hon. and learned Friend, he believed that nobody would dispute the facts of the first and second resolutions. The third resolution stated, that the agreement was a breach of the privileges of the House. The fourth resolution stated, that the agreement came within the terms of 49th of George 3rd. With reference to the fourth resolution, he had his doubts whether the argument came within the provisions of the Act. The impression on his mind was, that the hon. and learned Member for Dublin was not an agent 82 within the meaning of that Act. He did not see how he came within the terms of the Act, and had subjected himself to the penalties of it. It was competent, on a former occasion, for the hon. and learned Member for Bradford to move, that the Attorney-General should be instructed to prosecute the learned Member for Dublin, or it was competent for any individual to sue the hon. and learned Gentleman for penalties under that Act. He (Lord Stanley) might not have objected to the adoption of one or other of these courses on the occasion to which he alluded; but when the question had been referred to a Committee to report on the conduct of the hon. and learned Gentleman, it would be—and he said so not from any personal feeling to the hon. and learned Gentleman —it would be a most unjust and ungenerous course to pursue, to adopt the resolution; and he was sure that his hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Bradford, would not do so if he thought so. A gross breach, however, of the privileges of the House had been committed; he meant in the bargain with Mr. Maher, Mr. Fitzgerald, and he did not care who else, who was mixed up in the case. Looking, then, to the principles the House had laid down for the maintenance of freedom of election, and he was called in the proceedings of this case to give a vote, aye or no, as to whether there had been a breach of the privileges of the House, he should feel himself bound to say aye. If he was not allowed to go into the whole case, he would decline giving an opinion of it by a vote, as he could not rest the simple case on the narrow view taken by the Committee of Inquiry. He wished to call the attention of hon. Gentlemen opposite to one point, and he was sure they were anxious to preserve the purity of election, and to condemn that which was considered the disgrace of former times—the sale of seats in Parliament—and which had so recently been got rid of; but he would ask them what would be the effect, if the House of Commons tacitly agreed in a transaction such as had been brought before them—and which, indeed, had been forced upon their attention—and if they were called upon to say aye or no, whether they would condemn or acquit all the parties in the case? He could understand a case which, indeed, was of almost every-day occurrence, in which a gentle- 83 man anxious to represent a particular borough or county, was brought into contact with a person able to collect the suffrages of the electors, and told him, that he was anxious to be the Member for such or such a place; and if the expenses were not above 2,000l., or any like sum, he would become a candidate; but that if the legal expenses of the election were likely to be more than that, he would not come forward. He could understand such a transaction; and he believed it would be perfectly legal, as he saw nothing in it which did not pass every day. At any rate it was an ordinary occurrence; it was not censured by the House, and therefore, he presumed it was perfectly legal, provided the expenses to be incurred were legal. But what an important difference there was between the case he had just alluded to and that which was under the consideration of the House. In the former case there was the payment of a certain sum for expenses as far as they went; but in this instance, on the contrary, there was the payment of a certain sum down, and not if there was more than sufficient that it should be returned, but that the surplus was to go to other and distinct purposes. This was buying influence and votes by wholesale. In the case of the proprietor of a borough under the old system, who sold a seat for 3,000l. he might expend 500l. for the payment of the smaller members of the constituency. Was this the system in this case, which his noble Friend (Lord John Russell) would stand up and defend in that House? Now, for the individual proprietor, substitute the Carlow Liberal Club, and he challenged his noble Friend to point out what distinction or difference there was between the individual sale of votes and the sale of the collective votes of the county of Carlow by the Carlow Club. The Committee reported, "that this money had been expended under the immediate direction of Mr. Vigors and others connected with the county of Car-low on what might be called legal expenses so unavoidable, that your Committee see no reason to question their legality." Now what, according to Mr. Vigors, was to have been done with the surplus, if there had been any? Why it was proposed that it should be directed towards defraying the expenses of the previous election and petition. To be directed to pay the expenses, not of the candidates who then stood, but 84 of those who had done so on a former occasion. [Mr. Warburton: not one shilling was so directed.] He was aware of that. There was a corrupt contract and there was a contingency. When a former case was before the House and it was argued that there was no improper act, it did not save the parties from punishment. Was it then to be argued, that there was nothing censurable because the whole or no part of the money did not go to the Carlow Club? It appeared that body received the money, but they were compelled to refund it, and he called Mr. Vigors as a witness to this. That gentleman stated, Mr. O'Connell had no right to promise that the expense of the petition was to be defrayed out of the money paid. This was the evidence of Mr. Vigors, which in point of fact admitted that the Carlow Club had sold the county. They made an agreement with them to gull and dupe Mr. Raphael to sell their county to him for 2,000l.; and it appeared, that after paying all the expenses of the election, they might put 1,600l. in their pockets. Such was the evidence brought forward in defence of Mr. O'Connell. The evidence might exonerate the hon. and learned Gentleman, but in what light did it place the Carlow Club? He would not express his opinion as to the mode in which that body had dealt with the independence of the county. He had often expressed his opinions on former occasions fully and publicly as to the effect of these bodies, and by doing so he knew that he had offended many Members on both sides of the House. He felt satisfied that all bodies of this kind were dangerous institutions, and could only be justified in cases of extreme necessity, as he thought they tended to increase and promote evils of great magnitude. If such proceedings as had taken place in the present case should occur in connexion with similar bodies in the country, how dangerous and how fatal would it be to anything like purity of election. How dangerous would it be if a body could come forward and say, "we are in debt in consequence of the proceedings in former elections, we want a certain sum to return Members, if that is given, the expense of the election will be paid, and the remainder will be devoted to make up an amount sufficient to defray what had been expended on former occasions." He hoped that the House of Commons would not affirm the resolutions proposed by his 85 noble Friend. He hoped if the question was to be put, that the House would pass judgment on it, but that it would pass its judgment on a much higher question than that involved in the personal character of the hon. and learned Member— that it would lay down a principle which would influence future elections, and in such a manner as would be becoming a House of Commons, which boasts to be a reformed Parliament, prepared to vindicate the purity of election. He could have wished that hon. Members opposite had consented to these previous resolutions, which stated matters of fact, and had been satisfied to leave the evidence and Report of the Committee to give the personal acquittal, which it so amply did give to the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, without bringing other points before the House, or calling upon them to give an expression of opinion upon all the circumstances connected with the Carlow election. But if he were compelled to make a selection of what course of proceeding he should pursue, when he was called upon to decide either in favour of the question of fact moved by the hon. Gentleman behind him, or to support the amendment of his noble Friend opposite, that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the question, he must certainly select to vote for that which was the expression of a matter of fact. He had already stated the grounds upon which he considered it would be difficult, if not impossible, to accede to the last resolution of his hon. Friend, which went to fix a legal crimination upon the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. Upon questions of alleged breach of the privileges of the House, it was essential that before they came to any determination, they should well consider what would be the effect of such a determination—what the steps were which it would be prudent, which it would be feasible for them to adopt, by way of following up such a resolution. Hon. Members could hardly ask the House to come to such a vote, without at the same time asking them to take ulterior steps, in conformity with that vote. He should wish all such points to be carefully considered before the House came to any decision upon them. At the same time this difficulty might have been avoided, by the acquiescence of the House in the previous question. These delicate and difficult questions should not be raised, and nothing 86 of the kind would have been raised by those who were desirous to vote on the previous question. As, however, the noble Lord opposite called for a decision, he should give one according to the dictates of his conscience, and upon a full consideration of all the circumstances of the case. How far the proceedings of the Carlow Club interfered with the purity of elections and the independence of Parliament, it would be for the House to state their opinion upon. He would repeat, that he should have been glad if the House had acquiesced in the previous question; as it was, he must give his support to the first resolution of the hon. Member behind him.
§ Lord John Russell
begged to explain, with respect to the expression, "trumpery affair," which he had made use of, and which had been alluded to by the noble Lord, that he referred to the case as it had appeared to him, after the letter of Mr. Vigors, of Nov. 3d, 1835, which had appeared in all the newspapers.
§ Mr. Sergeant Wilde
said, that the House having thought fit to place him in the situation of nominee, on the part of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, during the prosecution of the inquiry before the Committee, it had created some uncertainty in his mind as to the course most proper for him to pursue upon the present occasion; whether he was under any peculiar obligation to take part in the debate, or to forbear doing so on account of the circumstance to which he had referred; but upon the best consideration he had been able to give the subject, he had concluded that the House would expect him to offer some observations upon the result of the minute and laborious inquiry into the transaction now again brought under the consideration of the House; at the same time he should think it right to forbear from voting either upon the proposition or the amendment which had been submitted, and in the propriety of that course, he knew his hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Huntingdon, concurred. With the impression he had stated, as to the conduct proper for him to adopt, he begged leave to occupy the attention of the House for a short time, while he endeavoured to state the real nature of that transaction, as it appeared from the evidence produced before the Committee—remarking, by the way, that the subject had been so grossly mis- 87 apprehended and misrepresented, both in the House and by the public Press, as to have rendered it almost impossible for anyone to have formed a correct opinion of the conduct of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. He did not mean, however, to weary the House by going into the details of the evidence, but he should state the general effect of it, holding himself responsible to the House for the correctness of the statement, and with the knowledge that his hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Huntingdon, whose accuracy was one of his peculiar characteristics, would correct him and set the matter right before the House should he unintentionally err in stating the result of the evidence. Before he referred, however, to that, he could not omit to notice the course which had been taken during the debate, to which he had paid great attention—and especially to what had fallen from the noble Lord, the Member for South Lancashire, who last addressed the House; and his surprise had certainly been great, that any hon. Member, possessing that noble Lord's character in the country, should state that, in his deliberate opinion, formed from the evidence now before the House, the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had been guilty of pursuing conduct having a direct tendency to destroy the freedom and purity of election—that wholesale corruption had been practised—that the Representation of the county of Carlow had been put up to sale by public auction—that it was sold to Mr. Raphael as the best bidder—that a gross breach of the privileges of the House had been committed—that the Sessional Resolution had been scandalously violated, which pledged the House to proceed with the utmost severity against all persons concerned in bribery or corrupt practices; and yet, although the noble Lord was perfectly convinced that all this dangerous wickedness had been committed, (he the noble Lord) thought the House ought to for-bear to express any opinion upon such conduct, and to content itself with voting the previous question; and the noble Lord actually expressed censure upon the Government, because it called upon the House to pronounce a direct decision upon the fact—whether any such serious charges had or had not been proved. The noble Lord seemed to shrink from confirming his speech by his vote. Was it consistent with the noble Lord's character and station, or with the tone of his speech, that he should assert that the Constitution had 88 been violated, the House insulted, and an example set in the highest degree injurious to the public safety and interest, and yet seek to dissuade the House from coming to a judgment upon such charges? What was the value of the Sessional Resolution, or what importance did the noble Lord attach to it, if, when such a case was established by evidence, as the noble Lord contended in regard to Carlow, the House should content itself with evading a decision through voting the previous question? The county of Carlow had a right to expect a very different course of conduct; and the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had also a strong claim upon the House that it should take a different course. The conduct of that Gentleman having been impeached, and an inquiry moved for, that motion was seconded by him, and his conduct had been subjected to a minute and searching investigation. The Committee, who acted judicially upon that investigation, had acquitted the hon. and learned Member; and the noble Lord (the Secretary of State for the Home Department) now called upon the House, under whose authority the inquiry took place, to give judgment upon the verdict which had been pronounced, and to confirm the acquittal, or to pronounce a sentence of condemnation. The House could not forbear meeting the question in a direct manner. Surely it could not be wished to keep the hon. and learned Member exposed to a loose, vague suspicion, that some undefined misconduct had been committed by him— and to evade doing him justice by bringing that suspicion to the test of examination and decision. However much he dissented from the conclusions adopted by the hon. and learned Member for Bradford, his mode of proceeding was far more direct and consistent than that pursued by the noble Lord opposite; that hon. Member asked for condemnation where acquittal was due; but he gave the hon. and learned Member for Dublin the benefit of a direct decision upon the question. Much care was taken to secure in the Committee a just and impartial tribunal. The inquiry was prosecuted with great patience and deliberation, and the whole proceeding was directed to the object of enabling the House to pronounce a judgment upon the whole transaction. After all this had occurred, the course of moving the previous question could not be justified, and least of all, after the observations of the noble Lord. He therefore rejoiced that the Government 89 called upon the House to determine whether or not the Committee had so conducted the inquiry as to entitle it to confidence; and whether, upon a review of the whole evidence, the Report of the Committee ought or ought not to receive the support and confirmation of the House. He was satisfied that the Report would be found entitled to that confirmation, and that an attentive perusal of the evidence would make it manifest to hon. Members, that nothing had been intended or done which could justly be made the ground for censure. He had no hesitation in declaring, that any conduct by which the freedom and purity of Parliamentary election was violated, demanded, at all times, the most serious attention of the House; but he did not conceive that declaration inconsistent with the opinion, that the charge attempted to be extracted from this evidence was of the most contemptible and trumpery description; and the plausible appearance which it was supposed to bear was the result of a most unfair and distorted statement of the facts, and a perversion of the order of the dates of the several parts of the transaction, by which the character of them had been most materially altered. The statement made by the hon. Member upon the opposite side of the House would lead to the inference, that Mr. Raphael had been sought by Mr. O'Connell, and invited by him to become a candidate to represent the county of Carlow upon a pecuniary arrangement, directed to the advancement of some personal interest of the hon. and learned Member, or that of some person connected with him; whereas the fact, beyond all controversy, was, that Mr. Raphael's connexion with Carlow, and his negotiation with the freeholders upon the subject of his becoming a candidate to represent the county, and the expenses which he would incur in the contest, had commenced long before Mr. O'Connell's interference, which, in fact, was occasioned by that person's negotiation, and was particularly induced by an application to Mr. O'Connell on Mr. Raphael's behalf. The matter of the Carlow election, with reference to Mr. Raphael, was first submitted to the notice of Mr. O'Connell in the month of November, 1834; whereas Mr. Raphael's negotiation with the freeholders of Carlow began in 1833, and had been followed by many interviews and letters between Mr. Raphael and other parties, before the first interference upon the part of Mr. O'Connell. Mr. Raphael's con- 90 nexion with Carlow arose out of the circumstance of that Gentleman's attending the same chapel as a Mr. Tyrrell, who was of the same religious persuasion as himself; and to him Mr. Raphael imparted an ardent and long cherished wish on his part to become a Member of Parliament. Mr. Tyrrell had a brother resident at Carlow, who had taken considerable interest in the Representation of the county, and was in communication with most of the gentlemen there professing liberal politics; and, through Mr. Tyrrel's means, the wish of Mr. Raphael to represent the county of Carlow had become generally known. Mr. Tyrrel's brother afterwards became a member of the Carlow club. Of this club, and its members, and their objects, he would wish to say a few words, just remarking, that it was rather extraordinary that the Conservatives should express so great a dislike to political clubs. The Carlow club had been represented as having corruptly sold the Representation of the county, and as having acted in a manner inconsistent with the freedom of election. The club was composed of freeholders of the county in the Liberal interest, and who united to resist the Tory party, which it was said had long usurped the Representation of the county, to secure the due registration of the votes of the poorer freeholders, and to protect such voters in the exercise and enjoyment of their elective franchise, without the slightest desire of personal advantage to any individual or body of men whatever. Mr. Fitzgerald was the Secretary to the Carlow club, and in consequence of Mr. Tyrrel's communications respecting Mr. Raphael and his political principles, and his wish to get into Parliament, he wrote to Mr. Vigors, then in London, who was also a freeholder of the county and a member of the club, and who had taken an active part in the previous elections, requesting him to communicate with Mr. Raphael upon the subject; and accordingly several interviews took place through the introduction of Mr. Tyrrell, of London. In these interviews particular inquiries were made by Mr. Vigors into the political principles of Mr. Raphael, and his Parliamentary views. He was before known to be of the Catholic religion, which was naturally a great recommendation of him to the electors of Carlow; he professed to be an ardent Reformer—to entertain great regard for Ireland—to adopt Mr. O'Connell's views in respect of the treatment that country had received—to sympathize 91 strongly in all her wants and woes—and declared, that if he should be acceptable to the electors of Carlow, he would become the owner of considerable property in the county, and would greatly exert himself in finding employment for the poor, and would reside there a great deal. These professions presented Mr. Raphael, who was known to be a man of almost unbounded wealth, as a very eligible person to be supported as a candidate against the powerful and influential Conservatives, and the subject of the expenses to which he would become subject was discussed. He was informed, that in order to maintain an interest in the county it would be necessary that he should subscribe to some of the charities, and to the fund then about to be created by the Carlow club, for the purpose of effecting the objects already referred to. Mr. Raphael desired some information as to the probable amount of those expenses, and was told the election might cost about 3,000l., but he was solicited to attend to, and superintend the disbursements himself, and no suggestion or application was ever made to him for the smallest amount to be applied to the individual or personal benefit of any human being. Mr. Raphael treated the amount as of no consequence, and indeed below what he should be willing to incur provided he could be made certain of securing the seat. He expressed the greatest anxiety on the behalf of Ireland, and frequently promised Mr. Tyrrell that he would accompany him in one of his visits to his native country. These promises, however, Mr. Raphael, was from some reason or other, always deterred from performing. Negotiations continued between Mr. Vigors on behalf of the freeholders of Carlow and Mr. Raphael, during the year 1834, and terminated at the latter end of that year, not by any direct communication on the part of Mr. Raphael, but by his becoming a candidate for the borough of Pontefract. During these negotiations, Mr. O'Connell was informed, by the directions of the Car-low Club, of Mr. Raphael having offered himself to the electors of Carlow, and of his professions; but it was never intended that Mr. O'Connell should become the negociator with Mr. Raphael, much less a principal. It appears, by a letter, dated the 3rd of November, 1834, written by the secretary of the Club to Mr. Vigors, that that gentleman was alone to act on behalf of the freeholders, and he was requested 92 to communicate with Mr. Raphael, rather than to allow Mr. O'Connell (as the Catholic Bishop said) to dispose of the county. Mr. O'Connell had nothing to do with Mr. Raphael respecting Carlow, until some time after these negotiations had been carried on, and not until after the receipt of a letter from Mr. Pearson, a gentleman who had acted as Mr. Raphael's under-sheriff, and who, by his wish, in November, 1834, addressed the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, soliciting his assistance in procuring a seat in Parliament for Mr. Raphael. The hon. and learned Member answered that letter, and that answer is indeed well deserving the attention of hon. Members. A second letter was received from Mr. Pearson, informing Mr. O'Connell that Mr. Raphael had become a candidate for Pontefract, and declining, therefore, all further interference in respect of Carlow on Mr. Raphael's behalf. No other communication took place between the hon. and learned Member for Dublin and Mr. Raphael, until the important interview on the 30th of May, 1835. He had stated, that the communication between Mr. Vigors and Raphael broke off in the latter end of 1834. The House would recollect, that the general election, after the dismissal of Lord Melbourne, took place in January, 1835. The Liberals at Carlow had been disappointed in their expectations that Mr. Raphael would become a candidate, and therefore they had sought candidates elsewhere, and two gentlemen had agreed to stand; but on the very morning of the nomination these gentlemen unexpectedly retired, and left the Liberal party totally unfriended at the last moment. This led to a resolution, formed at the moment, that the hon. Member for Tralee, and a gentleman of the name of Cahill, should be put in nomination; and there seems to be little doubt but that, if the election had been properly conducted, those gentlemen would have been returned; but the opponent party resorted to every unfair means that could be put in practice to prevent the voters from polling, and among other devices, for the purpose of delay, they insisted that what are termed the bribery oaths should be put to the voters; and by these indirect means the Liberals were defeated, and Colonel Bruen and Mr. Kavanagh were returned upon the Conservative interests. The Liberals resolved to petition against the return of those gentlemen, if if they could procure candidates of their 93 own politics, who, in the event of the petition being successful, and the election being vacated, would contest the county; and as Mr. Raphael had failed in his contest at Pontefract, the electors requested Mr. Vigors to renew the application to that gentleman, and urge him to prosecute a petition against the then sitting Members, and to become a candidate in the event of the petition being successful. Mr. Raphael received the communication, and still professed an ardent desire to represent Carlow, and perfect readiness to incur the expenses of the petition and the contest, if he could be made certain of eventual success; and, in discussing the probable expenditure, Mr. Raphael treated the amount suggested as of no consequence whatever, but that he did not like to hazard even a small sum on speculation; that he could not rely upon the success of the petition or the certainty of his return, otherwise he would willingly incur the expense. This language was in strict conformity with what Mr. Raphael had used throughout his previous communications with Mr. Vigors, and he then repeated to Mr. Vigors, that if the electors would prosecute the petition, and should succeed in avoiding the previous election, and be able to secure his (Mr. Raphael's) return, he would come forward as a candidate, and would be content to incur even a larger expense, if necessary, than the amount originally suggested. After this communication between Mr. Vigors and Mr. Raphael, the former determined to prosecute the petition; and took upon himself the responsibility of the whole expense of carrying it on, upon the understanding with Mr. Raphael, that in the event of success, and of his becoming a candidate, he would reimburse the expenses of that petition. The result of the petition was, that Colonel Bruen and Mr. Kavanagh were declared not duly elected. The Committee came to that determination on the 27th of May, 1835; and the fact was communicated to Mr. Vigors at a meeting of the members of the Zoological Society, where Mr. Raphael was also in attendance. Mr. Vigors immediately entered into conversation with him upon the subject of his then coming forward, as before proposed. Mr. Raphael renewed his former professions, and expressed himself anxious to become a Member for Carlow; but, as usual, he yet hesitated. The situation of the county, and of the state of parties 94 there, was again fully discussed, and the probable amount of the expense; and Mr. Vigors again urged Mr. Raphael to examine into those expenses, and pay them himself. Mr. Raphael reiterated his wish to be at a certainty as to the amount which he could be called upon to pay—-declined disbursing the money himself, stating, that his mind was so peculiarly constituted that it gave him much more pain to be paying many small sums at different times than to pay a considerable sum at once; and, therefore, he desired that some amount might be named, upon the payment of which he might be guaranteed against any further expense; and in consequence of the often-repeated request of Mr. Raphael, Mr. Vigors stated the outside amount of all the expense to which he could be put, to be 2,000l., and offered, upon payment of that sum, that the committee should guarantee him from any further expense. Mr. Raphael, stated he was quite willing to pay that sum, which he thought small, if he could be made certain, but insisted upon his objection to incur any expense, however small, at an uncertainty. Mr. Vigors, on the other hand, stated that the freeholders could not embark in a contest unless the expenses were ensured; and, after some further discussion, as a middle course, it was suggested that one-half of the 2,000l., should be paid on the nomination, the other half upon Mr. Raphael's being returned; the first 1,000l. to be applied to the legal expenses of the election, and if any surplus remained, that that surplus should be appropriated to the part payment of the expenses of the then lately determined petition, by which the new election had been obtained; the second 1,000l. to be applied generally in payment of the election expenses, and the surplus to the subscription fund to defray the expenses of the registration of the voters, and to the relief of poor voters who might be distrained upon by their landlords in consequence of voting in opposition to their wishes. Mr. Raphael readily acquiesced in the amount and the application of the money, but still wished to delay, and expressed an anxiety to advise with a friend. Mr. Vigors stated that he himself was under an absolute necessity for leaving London for Ireland immediately, that he might prepare for the election, and, therefore, strongly urged Mr. Raphael to determine. He inquired who the 95 Friend was, that Mr. Raphael wished to consult, when the latter named Mr. O'Connell; upon which Mr. Vigors immediately proposed to leave the adjustment of the terms of the arrangement entirely to Mr. O'Connell. To this proposition Mr. Raphael consented; and thus it was in consequence of Mr. Raphael having named Mr. O'Connell that he became the referee. After a few days' delay, a meeting took place between Mr. Raphael and Mr. O'Connell, on the 31st of May, when the arrangement was concluded, and the terms embodied in the letter, dated the 1st of June, which had been the subject of so much animadversion. It appeared by the letter that Mr. O'Connell had misconceived the intention of Mr. Vigors, or had been misled by Mr. Raphael as to part of the arrangement. It had been suggested by Mr. Vigors, that supposing the first 1,000l. should not be exhausted in the election expenses before the nomination, a part of the surplus should be applied to the payment of the expenses of the previous petition; and no suggestion had been made regarding any subsequent petition, or the cost which might be occasioned by any such proceedings; but in Mr. O'Connell's arrangement, it was provided, that the surplus of the second 1,000l. should be applied, if necessary, to the payment of the costs of any future petition which might he presented. Although Mr. Vigors had not contemplated any such appropriation, he did not hesitate in adopting the arrangement so made by Mr. O'Connell, as soon as he was aware of it. Under this arrangement, Mr. Raphael paid 2,000l., a part of which sum was applied in the payment of expenses connected with the election—strictly legal and proper expenses —and the whole of the residue was applied to the payment of the costs of the petition afterwards presented against the return of Mr. Raphael and Mr. Vigors. He begged the House to attend to the fact, that formal and distinct evidence was produced before the Committee to establish the fact that the whole of the 2,000l. paid by Mr. Raphael was applied to the payment of the legal expenses connected with Mr. Raphael's election; and he feared very few gentlemen who have been returned after a contest, could give so satisfactory an account of the application of the money. Such was the transaction under consideration. When it was first brought under the notice of the House a charge of per- 96 sonal corruption was founded upon It, and it was imputed to the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, that he had sold his political influence at Carlow for 2,000l. Upon some occasions, it was insinuated that the bargain had been made with a view to the pecuniary benefit of the hon. and learned Member; at other times it was hinted that it had been applied to the corrupt purpose of bribing the electors. The matter had been fully investigated, and it was now admitted, that all candid persons must fully, fairly, and unequivocally, acquit the hon. and learned Member of all charges of a pecuniary nature. He was entitled to a full and unequivocal acquittal of everything involving personal integrity, every thing like a stain of moral turpitude. It was clear, that the hon. and learned Member had nothing like a control over the money; that the hon. and learned Member acted throughout merely as an agent in the transaction; and that the whole money had been properly accounted for. When he first heard, that a renewed and further attack was to be made upon the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, he felt some satisfaction that the attack was to be led by the hon. and learned Member for Bradford; because, as that hon. Member belonged to the profession of which he also was a member, he thought there might be something sagacious in his view of the matter. He anticipated, from the professional habits of the hon. and learned Member that the charge would be presented in a distinct and tangible shape, and that the evidence making out that charge would be distinctly brought forward; but he had been most grievously disappointed. He had heard only vague generality in the charge, and want of precision in referring to the evidence. With such an acquittal as he had adverted to, and with distinct evidence of the application of every shilling of the whole 2,000l. to legal and proper purposes, the hon. Member for Bradford now proposed to the House to resolve that a corrupt agreement was made, and thereby agross breach of the privileges of the House committed; whilst the noble Lord opposite insisted that the Carlow Club sold the county, put the representation up to auction; that the transaction was in no wise different from a proprietor selling the seat for a borough; that the whole was a bargain by which the Carlow Club might put 2,000l. in their pockets; and that the transaction was, in 97 the highest degree, corrupt and subversive of the freedom and purity of election. He appealed to the House, whether or not there were the slightest foundation for those strong and rash assertions—they were one and all utterly destitute of foundation. The slender ground upon which the whole of these charges were built, was, that Mr. Vigors suggested, in the course of the treaty, that if the first 1,000l. were more than sufficient to pay the election expenses, some portion of the surplus should be applied to pay the costs of the then recently-determined petition, and that any surplus of the second l,000l., after paying the election expenses, should be paid to the fund to promote the due registration of the votes, and relieve the poor voters who might be persecuted for voting against the wishes of their landlord. As to the first, the petition had relation to the immediate election for which Mr. Raphael was a candidate; the vacancy he wished to supply had been made by the decision upon that petition. The petition had been presented in relation to Mr. Raphael; Mr. Vigors, a freeholder, had been induced to render himself liable to the expenses of prosecuting that petition, after communication with Mr. Raphael upon the subject, and upon the understanding with him that, in the event of the petition being successful, he would become a candidate to fill the vacancy, and would contribute to the payment of its expenses.—[No! Yes!] "Yes," the fact was so. [Read! Read!] He would not detain the House to read the passage. [Hear! Hear!] If he had the honour of being known to those hon. Members who complimented him with that cheer, they would not be so ready to utter it; they would know that he should not hazard a statement which he was not in a condition fully to establish. [Lord Stanley: Hear!] If the noble Lord meant by his cheer to express a doubt that it existed, he would arrest the course of his observations, and produce the passage. The noble Lord had been employing the holidays in studying this evidence, and had overlooked the fact he had stated. The noble Lord had certainly made holiday-work of his labours. He repeated, Mr. Vigors rendered himself liable to pay these expenses, upon an understanding with Mr. Raphael that, in the event of the petition being successful, and his becoming a candidate, he would contribute to pay 98 the costs of the petition—an understanding Mr. Raphael distinctly recognized by his subsequent conduct. The object of the petition was to procure for Mr. Raphael the representation of the county; he proposed to avail himself of the petition by becoming a candidate: why should he not pay the costs of that petition — prosecuted with his knowledge and concurrence, and for his advantage? The electors were too poor to bear the expense— what candidate would have refused to pay such costs, and have permitted Mr. Vigors to have become personally liable for them? And when Mr. Raphael consented to become a candidate, he was bound, in honour, to permit any surplus of the sum to which he had limited the amount of his advance, to be applied to the reimburse-mentor indemnity of Mr. Vigors, in regard to those expenses. It was not the case of a gentleman first making his appearance as a candidate at some subsequent election, and who was required to pay the costs of a petition relating to a previous election in which he had had no concern or interest —from which he derived no benefit—upon which he had never been consulted, nor had held out any expectation of his seeking to fill the vacancy which might be occasioned by the successful termination of it, or of which he had never heard until called upon to pay the expense which had attended its prosecution. No hon. Member could fail to perceive the utter want of analogy between Mr. Raphael's case and that which he had supposed; and he was at a loss to understand how it could be contended that the freedom of election had been violated in this case, or its purity stained. Mr. Raphael was not adopted as a candidate for the first time after the costs of the petition had been incurred; and because he consented to pay such costs, his political principles had been ascertained, and he had been approved and accepted as a proper person to be supported as a candidate to represent the county, before the petition was presented. The petition was prosecuted for the express purpose of obtaining him for a representative—and no single argument had been adduced, tending to the establishment of the proposition for which the hon. Gentleman opposite contended. But upon this part of the subject hon. Gentlemen opposite had argued as if the stipulation that the costs of the petitioner should be paid, had formed a part 99 of the bargain under which Mr. Raphael became a candidate—which was not the fact. Those hon. Members entirely overlooked a circumstance of importance in every view of the case, but decisive, so far as the hon. and learned Member for Dublin was concerned—namely, that in the arrangement made by him, no such stipulation, nor any thing relating to it, was contained, nor did it appear that he ever understood it had even been matter of treaty or negotiation; if he did so understand, he certainly never acted upon it;—and the letters of the 1st of June, which there is no doubt contained the whole bargain, were entirely free from any such condition. It had been, beyond all doubt, mentioned by Mr. Vigors in the treaty, and assented to by Mr. Raphael; but the only contract, agreement, or understanding, upon which Mr. Raphael became a candidate, and upon which it was agreed by Mr. Vigors, or the Carlow Club to support Mr. Raphael, was that which Mr. O'Connell made and embodied in the letter of the 1st of June. The argument, therefore, was destitute of the fact, upon the false assumption of which it is built; and what the effect of any such agreement might have been, had it been made, ought not to form any ground for the decision of this night, as, in fact, no such agreement ever did exist. The hon. and learned Member for Bradford generally referred to the Sessional Order and the Statute—he had not read the words of either; but it was necessary, to a right judgment being formed, that both should be referred to. The Statute, as its preamble proved, was passed to supply an omission in the previous law. Before that Statute, unless the party bribed was a voter, bribery was no offence. That Statute made it an offence for any one, whether voter or not, to take a bribe or money to procure a return to Parliament. The act, which was described in the Statute as constituting the offence, was the endeavouring to procure the return of an individual to Parliament for money. The Sessional Order treated of bribery and corrupt practices. What were the facts, in the transaction in question, which were supposed to amount to bribery and corrupt practices? Was it the contemplation of the appropriation of a part of the first l,000l. to the payment of a part of the costs of the petition; or was it the agreement that any possible surplus of the second l,000l. should be, 100 paid to the Subscription-fund, under the management of the Carlow Club? As to the first, it was sufficient to say, no agreement was ever made upon the subject—that, although talked about in the course of the treaty, it never formed part of the contract, as he had explained, and therefore no offence was committed; but he had presumed to offer some remarks to the House to show, that even if the contract had contained such a stipulation, and if that stipulation had been actually performed, still no offence would have been committed. It was neither bribery nor a corrupt practice. Who was bribed? It could only be Mr. Vigors, because no benefit was contemplated to any one but himself. Looking to the previous circumstances, could it for a moment be contended, that after the petition had been successful, the reference to the terms of the previous negotiation, applicable to those costs, could be considered as a bribing of Mr. Vigors; or that the reimbursement of him was a corrupt practising, within the meaning of the Sessional Resolution —or could it be deemed an agreement between Mr. Raphael and Mr. Vigors, to procure the return of Mr. Raphael for money? Does not this mean money given without reasonable claim or ground, and as the corrupt inducement to procure the return. ["Read the proviso."] Certainly, he would read the proviso; because the effect of the proviso was to strengthen the argument he was Submitting to the House. The proviso declared, that the Statute should not be construed to extend to any money paid for any legal expense, bonâ fide incurred at or concerning any election. Now, first, were the costs of the petition against Colonel Bruen and Mr. Kavanagh legal expenses? There was none so weak as to controvert that. Then did it concern any election? The word was, "any election." Who could deny that the costs of that petition concerned any election? It concerned both the previous election, which it rendered void, and the subsequent election, which it occasioned. The Statute did not mean to create an offence out of the payment of real expenses incurred for bonâ fide objects, but corrupt payments for expenses illegally incurred, or property by way of corrupt inducement. But, before they examined the proviso, the Act must be looked at to see what was the offence, It was the office of the enactment to say what acts should constitute the offence. 101 The effect of the proviso was to include certain acts which might, contrary to the intention of the framer of the Statute, be brought within the words of the enactment, but which were not within the meaning of the author. The proviso created no offence, but excluded. The preamble of the Statute showed, that the acts intended to be punished were acts of bribery; and the enactment made it criminal for any one to agree to procure the return to Parliament of an individual for money, which clearly meant money given as a bribe, or corrupt inducement in the nature of a bribe. This case, therefore, does not require the protection and aid of the proviso, because it did not fall within the enactment. There was no colour for assimilating it to a bribe; but if there were, it would be saved by the proviso, for it was the payment of a legal expense concerning an election. He therefore contended, that if it had been finally agreed, as it was originally proposed, that the costs of the first petition should be paid out of Mr. Raphael's money, such an agreement, or the performance of it, would not have been a breach either of the special Order or of the Statute. The only other ground upon which it was argued that the bargain was corrupt was, that it contained a stipulation that if the election expenses did not exhaust the whole amount of the 2,000l., then the surplus should be paid over to the subscription fund, instead of being returned to Mr. Raphael; and it was argued—as far as he could comprehend the course of reasoning presented to the House upon the part of the case—that the requiring Mr. Raphael to contribute to the fund in the event of the expenses not exhausting the amount advanced, was an agreement on the part of Mr. O'Conneli, Mr. Vigors, or the Carlow Club, to procure—for money—the return of Mr. Raphael for Carlow;—or that the providing a fund for the relief of those voters who might be distrained by their landlords by reason of that course of voting, constituted bribery or a corrupt practice, contrary to the Sessional Resolution and to the Act of Parliament. He hoped that he had correctly conceived and stated the effect of the argument of the other side; if he had not, it was not to be ascribed to any want of attention, or the absence of a sincere desire correctly to understand and faithfully to present it. The noble Lord opposite had certainly not been sparing, of 102 very broad, bold, and general assertions; but he had not condescended to support them by even the appearance of argument or proof. In the face of evidence which showed that no one of the parties who engaged in the treaty ever stipulated for, or ever expected or sought to obtain, the slightest pecuniary benefit from any amount which Mr. Raphael might advance; but that the only application ever contemplated by Mr. Raphael or Mr. Vigors, or any member of the Carlow Club, was to secure a due registration of the votes, and to deter the Tory landlords from terrifying the electors from voting according to their principles, by threats or distress,—and to embolden such electors to vote independently of all fear by showing to both landlords and voters, that a fund was created for the relief of those who might become the victims of the landlord's political resentment, and thus to secure the freedom of election; and with the knowledge that the evidence, while it established, in the most undeniable manner, the absence of all intention that pecuniary advantage should be derived by any of the parties to the treaty, and proved in an equally satisfactory manner, that, in point of fact, not a shilling had been applied to any improper purpose; yet the noble Lord ventured in the face of that evidence to declare that the Carlow Club sold the representation of the county, by auction, to the best bidder,—that the transaction on the part of the Club had been grossly and scandalously corrupt,—that the seat was corruptly sold to Mr. Raphael, in order, by means of the purchase money, to put 2,000l. into the pockets of its members, —and that the transaction was in no respect different from those which were formerly so much practised and condemned, but that it exactly resembles the case of a patron selling the seat for his borough for 2,000l. or 3,000l., and putting the money into his pocket. Surely any one who read the evidence would be marvellously astonished at such assertions. How had the Committee of the House discharged its duty? Had it been asleep, that the Report should be silent upon all these enormities. There were not wanting Members upon the Committee holding, with considerable tenacity and strength, opinions so adverse to the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, as to preclude all suspicion of any wish, on their part, to screen him. The Report, however, was unanimously agreed to, 103 How, then, had it happened that the Committee, so constituted, should not have hinted, or suggested, or surmised in their Report, any one of these charges now advanced by the noble Lord, the Member for South Lancashire, which he treated as clearly proved, condemning all the parties as if found guilty upon the clearest evidence? There was no foundation for any one of these strong assertions. The facts, as stated in the evidence, were, that after the elections that had taken place since the Reform Bill, great oppression had been practised by the landlords against their tenants who had voted in a manner inconsistent with their wishes. It was said, that the lands having been let at the old high rents, upon leases not yet run out, that the landlords, for several years since, had found it necessary to remit a considerable portion of the rent; that the reduced rents had always been received as the actual rent payable; and that no attempts had ever been made until lately, when, for election purposes, it had been sought to enforce the payment of the higher rent, which it was well known to be impossible for the tenant to pay—that it had also been the practice of first landlords to permit a quarter's rent even of the reduced amount to be in arrear, and that a tenant had never been considered as behind, who paid one quarter under another; but it was said that latterly, where the voter had polled in opposition to his landlord, advantage had been taken of the tenant, at the dead season of the year, to distrain upon him suddenly, and when he had had little beyond his household food, not only for the quarter usually allowed to be held back, but for all the old high rent never called for before, and which had in truth been considered as entirely remitted. From this cause, misery and wretchedness had been occasioned to such an extent, as to excite public sympathy, and subscriptions had been occasionally raised for the relief of such persons. This conduct had materially affected the freedom of elections, by many tenants being deterred from voting according to their principles, through fear of ruin being thereby brought upon them. Some of the freeholders of the county, professing liberal opinions, had associated with the view of endeavouring to put an end to this system of intimidation by raising a subscription to afford temporary relief to the sufferers. The only other object of this Club was, to secure the due registration of the votes of those professing 104 liberal principles, against whom objections were vexatiously urged. It was alleged that it had been the practice of the Tories in Carlow to object to all the votes of their opponents, without regard to their validity; because, in order to support the vote, it was necessary to incur such loss of time and such expense as few of the voters could sustain; that many electors were by these means most unjustly and improperly deprived of their votes. To resist these most unjust practices, and to sustain their good votes, a subscription was raised, and in aid of that fund it was proposed that any surplus of the second 1,000l. should be applied. Was that application of the fund subversive of the freedom of election, or was it directed to the end of enabling; the voter to exercise his franchise honestly and independently? Could any man entertain a serious doubt upon the question? It was, therefore, of great importance to consider for what purpose this fund was raised. [Hear! hear!] Did hon. Members mean to contend that a subscription to be applied to the purpose she had mentioned was illegal, and that this House ought, or was disposed, to treat the persons who might contribute to it as violating the freedom of election? Then, indeed, it was a serious question. Had the House no means to protect the voter from persecution when he freely exercised his franchise, or to punish the persecutor, who was the real invader, of the freedom of election?—and was the House prepared to punish those who provided the only means which could be discovered to afford even a very limited protection to the voter? He had always felt very serious difficulties upon the question of the ballot,—he had considered that its adoption would be but a preference given to one evil over a greater; but if the House were prepared to say, that the voter might be persecuted by the rich on the one hand, for the purpose of destroying all freedom of election,— and at the same time were prepared to punish those who should in any degree, by pecuniary aid, protect the voter;—then, indeed, whenever the House should indicate such an intention, he should become the unhesitating, zealous, and determined supporter of the ballot; nothing would remain for the people's protection but the ballot, and that only protection he hoped the people would demand, and the House would feel itself in justice bound to grant. In order correctly to estimate the effect of this subscription, it must be remem- 105 bered that, previous to the election, it could not be known what landlord would resort to the unprincipled measure of distraining upon his tenant from political resentment, and that no promise or expectation was held out to any. individual; and it could not be supposed that, after the election, a tenant who had voted in opposition to his landlord, would induce that landlord to distrain upon him for the purpose of his obtaining the scanty and partial relief which a small loan from this fund would afford. And who were the subscribers to the fund?—the freeholders themselves—the electors; those who, as a body, were most interested in the freedom and purity of election,—who could have no possible motive to promote or protect abuse. Who had the administration of the fund? The voters themselves,—the neighbours of the individuals claiming protection by means of the fund, —possessing the best possible means of the knowledge of the real situation of the voter and his claims to the protection which he sought, and which, after all, must be necessarily too limited to invite cupidity. So far as regarded the electors who were not members of the Club, there was no ground to impute bribery? and as concerned those who were members, the charges and assertions of the noble Lord could only be met by referring to the evidence, which utterly negatives all idea, expectation, or possibility of pecuniary benefit to them. Not a line was to be found consistent with the idea that any member of the Club was to have any participation in, or benefit from the fund directly or indirectly; and most extraordinary would it be, that the freeholders should subscribe to a fund to bribe themselves;—the fund had a specific and definite application, inconsistent with the object of members appropriating any portion to themselves. Mr. Raphael distinctly stated, that he understood the whole money was to be applied to the election purposes, and it was proved, that it was so applied. What then, was meant by the members of the Club putting l,000l. into their pockets; and where was the ground for the assertion, that the seat was put up to sale by auction, and sold to the best bidder? Who bid beside Mr. Raphael, if he was to be called a bidder; and where was the analogy between a patron selling his borough, and the conduct of the parties at present un- 106 der discussion? There was not the shadow of a resemblance between the two cases. The patron of the borough, in the case referred to with so much effect by the noble Lord opposite, transferred his interest in the borough for his personal and private pecuniary benefit, and the whole price paid was put into his pocket; —he was guilty of a great political misdemeanor;—his motives and his conduct were alike—unequivocally corrupt. Look at this case. What was the object of the Carlow Club? To secure a Member who would correctly represent their principles and opinions,—who was finally selected for no other reason. What were the means to be employed? None but the endeavouring to leave every voter free top vote according to his principles, uninfluenced by fear, and therefore seeking to exclude, if possible, the cause for fear. No offer, no promise, no expectation held out to any one of the gain of the smallest amount for his vote,—and as to the members of the Club, it was really idle to talk of corruption. Were the members to corrupt themselves with their own money? Not a line in the whole evidence was consistent with the fact of any one member ever receiving a shilling for his personal, benefit. No hon. Member could suggest a passage which in the remotest degree pointed at it. When the law, or when any one spoke of corruption, in relation to this subject, it meant some pecuniary benefit for an individual or body of men; here no such thing existed; the talk of the members of the Club seeking to put 1,000l. into their pockets was a fairy tale—a perfect delusion on the part of the noble Lord. Instead of the pockets of the members of the Carlow Club, the possible surplus was to go to the subscription fund, of which not even a single farthing was to be applied for the benefit of the Club or its members, but singly and only for the election purposes, to which he had referred. There was no contemplation or intention, nor even the possibility of the Club appropriating the least imaginable portion of that fund to which they were contributors, to the personal benefit of any one of the members. There was an. entire absence of all corruption, because it was never intended that any one specific individual should ever receive one farthing of pecuniary advantage, and he asked the House, whether they ever heard a greater misrepresentation than that of designating 107 the transaction, in this respect, as either corrupt, or as an invasion of the freedom of election, or within the spirit or the terms of the Sessional Resolution of the Statute? The evidence distinctly negatived the existence of any corrupt intention. That Mr. O'Connell entertained no such intention, the Report decided. That Mr. Raphael intended no such thing is clear, from his distinct statement, that he expected the whole sum was to be applied to legal election expenses. That the Carlow Club was innocent of any such design is manifest, from their having devoted the whole fund to other and general public objects utterly inconsistent with the personal benefit of any individual member of the Club. Previous illegal or corrupt intention, therefore, was distinctly negatived, and the subsequent undoubted legal application of the whole fund, to the last shilling, was fully proved by the evidence. Where, then, was the offence either against the Sessional Resolution or against the Statute? There was none. It was obviously taken up as a party question. See how hon. Members had ranged themselves! — see the wonderful uniformity of opinion that existed among them, considering their divisions of political party. If the detail of the evidence had failed to establish the innocency of the transaction, and had left a doubt upon the purity of intention, it would be manifested by the mode in which the transaction was conducted. Hon. Members, of course, had no personal knowledge or experience how corrupt election contracts were made and conducted; but they might have heard of such things, and might have seen the circuitous and circumstantial evidence by which such a charge, when judicially investigated, was sought to be proved. No one ever heard of professional men and principals openly treating and discussing the terms of a corrupt contract without disguise or restraint; with no secret terms or private stipulations—nothing left to be collected and understood from vague expressions—but all stated in open, plain, intelligent terms. Was the hon. and learned Member for Dublin so inexperienced, and weak, or incautious, that if he could be induced to enter into a criminal transaction of that nature, he would permit a score of witnesses to be in a condition to prove it? Nay, that he should state the whole of the real transaction in writing, 108 and put it into the hands of the opposite party, himself not retaining even a copy, —that he should put himself completely in the power of that opponent's solicitor, by communicating with him, by receiving the corrupt payments through him, and that he should afterwards correspond with the parties, guaranteeing to each his part of the contract? Such conduct proved that the hon. and learned Member did not intend to make any contract, the disclosure of which would subject him either to punishment or censure—every part of the transaction, and almost every act was recorded in writing, and the entire absence of all reserve and concealment manifests, at least, the purity of election of that hon. and learned person. It seemed, however, that the opponents of the hon. and learned Member, while disclaiming all imputations of pecuniary taint, yet, at the same moment, seem to fix a stain upon Mr. O'Connell, by insinuating that he must have had some powerful exciting motive, and that not a pure one, for recommending such a man as Mr. Raphael to the electors of Carlow as their representative, and particularly when he had described him in terms extremely offensive and degrading. Nothing could be more fallacious and unjust than this charge, and the manner in which it had been urged had tended greatly to mislead a part of the public. It assumed, most unjustly, and contrary to the fact, that Mr. O'Connell, at the time he stimulated the electors to support Mr. Raphael, entertained the same opinion of that gentleman which his subsequent conduct had excited; but if the real facts be looked at impartially, he would venture to assert, that the conduct of the hon. and learned Member will be found as free from impropriety upon this point as it was upon the pecuniary part of the business. The hon. and learned Member derived his knowledge of Mr. Raphael through Mr. Fitzgerald, the Secretary of the Carlow Club, and Mr. Vigors; from them he learned that Mr. Raphael was a wealthy gentleman, professing the Catholic religion, and entertaining very liberal political principles; much attached to Ireland—a great admirer of him (Mr. O'Connell), and generally adopting his opinions—that he had been approved of by the Carlow Liberal Club as a proper person to represent them. Mr. Raphael was afterwards introduced to the Corporation of London by Mr. Pearson, a gentleman extremely 109 well known as an able and intelligent individual, and one entertaining very liberal opinions, as fit to fill the office of Sheriff to the city of London. Mr. Raphael was unanimously elected to that high office—he had announced himself as a candidate to represent the city of Westminster, and had circulated a public address to the electors of that city, announcing his political sentiments. Mr. O'Connell was afterwards addressed by Mr. Pearson, distinctly recommending Mr. Raphael as a proper person to be supported by the hon. and learned Member; that letter also gave a minute and particular statement of Mr. Raphael's principles. Mr. Raphael's character stood unimpeached up to the moment when he became the denouncer of Mr. O'Connell — unimpeached in every particular, except in the caution given by Mr. Tyrrell to the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, as to how he dealt with Mr. Raphael in pecuniary matters. That Mr. O'Connell should have felt a strong interest in the representation of Carlow, and should have been extremely solicitous that the Members for that county should coincide with him in political opinion, will surprise no one. The same feeling had extended to every part of Ireland; it was not limited to Carlow, where it was well known that the hon. Member's influence was less than in many other places. In a recent contest in that county, a near connexion of Mr. O'Connell's had been unsuccessful, although supported by that hon. and learned Gentleman; but whether his interest was greater or less, it was most natural and consistent with all that appertains to that hon. Gentleman, that it should be exerted to the utmost in behalf of a Liberal candidate engaged in a struggle against a party so hostile to the hon. and learned Gentleman; and Mr. Raphael, from the public position he then occupied, and from his professions, well justified his being then recommended to the electors of Carlow. What his conduct since had been, was foreign to the question of the propriety of Mr. O'Connell acting as he did, at a time when no human being could anticipate, in any degree, what had subsequently occurred. The hon. and learned Member was entitled to credit for the manly and direct manner in which he had met this charge throughout; he had courted inquiry, and given every possible facility to the investigation. It was a common saying, that professional men did not generally 110 make prudent clients; others trust the management of their case to those in whose hands they place it; but professional men always sought to act in some measure for themselves, and when his right hon. and learned Friend desired to see Mr. O'Connell's banking account—
§ Sir Frederick Pollock
did not desire to see the banking account; he only desired to know the state of the balance at a particular time.
§ Mr. Sergeant Wilde, true; his hon. and learned Friend desired to see the banking account of Mr. O'Connell at a certain time. He could assure the House, that he was entirely unacquainted with the state of that account; whether it would favour or repel the inference sought to be established, he knew not; but as no circumstances had occurred in the evidence, which, in his judgment, rendered it relevant or material, he objected to the account being produced at that time, expressly stating, that if, in the course of the inquiry, any matter should transpire, by which the banking account could be rendered material, he should, in that case, feel it his duty to withdraw his objection. The Committee were of opinion that, in the then stage of the inquiry, the banking account could not be required. Mr. O'Connell, however, notwithstanding the decision of the Committee, declared, that if the hon. and learned Member for Huntingdon thought it could in any manner assist his case, it should not be withheld. The account was immediately handed over to his hon. and learned Friend, inviting the most minute examination of it; and the same spirit was manifested throughout the investigation. The hon. and learned Member was desirous of being examined upon every part of the transaction, and thought it better that his case should rest rather upon the testimony of others than upon his own, in order that no doubt might exist. The case was distinctly established, which consisted in rebutting all inference of corruption and misconduct. There wanted nothing from him, therefore, to establish his innocence; but if it were supposed that, by his personal examination, any criminatory matter could be extracted from him, he subjected him to that examination—he presented him for that purpose; but the other hon. and learned Nominee declined to examine him, and after the hon. Member thus tendered himself, he had strong grounds to complain of 111 the course which had been pursued tonight. When the Committee sat, he requested that his hon. and learned Friend, to whom it was intrusted to conduct the charge, would give him some intimation of the nature of that charge, that he might be aware of the tendency of the evidence produced to sustain it, and might know the inferences to be repelled; that, however, was not done. After the evidence was gone through, and when, therefore, it was reasonable that he should be informed whether it was supposed any charge had been established or misconduct proved, that he might have answered it, he had repeated his request, stating, that he conceived that everything which could be considered as having a tendency to reflect upon the hon. and learned Member, had been fully explained or answered, and soliciting to be informed whether it was meant to be contended, that the evidence, in any part of it, called upon the Committee to report adversely to the hon. and learned Member, that he might be heard before the Committee upon that subject. His hon. and learned Friend said, he was not the accuser of Mr. O'Connell, and had no charge to make. He was thus anxious to learn whether any charge was intended to be proved, lest he should have passed over any portion of the evidence, or any matter, supposing it immaterial, and that it should afterwards be brought forward as containing matter criminating the hon. Member. He, therefore, requested to be protected from any charge being afterwards brought forward by surprise; and offered the hon. Member for examination, that at least no excuse might be found for such conduct in any alleged want of the means of investigation. He noticed that a letter was produced by Mr. Raphael, in which the hon. and learned Member asked Mr. Raphael whether he were desirous of being made a Baronet? He could not mistake the motive which had induced the production of the letter, but it appeared to him irrelevant to the inquiry before the Committee, and he, therefore, did not prosecute the examination of the subject; but as he was satisfied that investigation could only tend to repel and negative any just imputation of misconduct, anywhere, in respect of that subject, he was the more desirous to subject the hon. and learned Member to interrogation, well knowing, that if any one should be desirous of travelling out of the proper subject of in- 112 quiry before the Committee, and should seek to extract matter of crimination in regard to the Baronetcy from the hon. and learned Member, they would, in the attempt, fall into a trap, and find that the most perfect and satisfactory explanation existed. He did not expect that his hon. and learned Friend who acted as nominee, would, in the exercise of his own judgment, make any inquiry into the matter; because he was satisfied that his hon. and learned Friend would entertain the opinion that he had expressed, that it was irrelevant to the subject into which the Committee were investigating. His anticipation was correct; his hon. and learned Friend did not put any question upon it, nor did any other person. He submitted, therefore, to the House, that it was most unfair and uncandid, after the Committee had terminated its labours and made its Report, without any one suggesting the propriety of calling for any explanation, or insinuating, however remotely, any matter of charge upon the subject, that the hon. and learned Member for Bradford should now make observations imputing misconduct to Mr. O'Connell, in that respect. The hon. and learned Gentleman had offered himself to the most unlimited examination, and now that his defence had closed, the hon. and learned Member for Bradford insinuated new charges against him. The signal failure of the hon. and learned Member, in regard to his first charges, ought to have induced something like caution, if not forbearance, in casting new imputations. Indeed, he must say that, considering the manner in which, for party purposes, the transactions respecting the Carlow election were presented by the press, to the public, and the gross misrepresentations that were made, the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had cause, if not to be grateful, at least to rejoice, that the hon. and learned Member for Bradford had caused the subject to be fully investigated. Those only could now entertain any impression hostile to the propriety of conduct of the hon. and learned Member, who either would not take the trouble to read the evidence, or who were misled by inveterate prepossession. The evidence was so perfect that it must have satisfied any court of justice. Looking to the terms of the reference of the House to the Committee, he asked what illegality, what breach of privilege was there not comprised in that reference? 113 Yet the hon. Member now came with nothing more than the letter itself, which the House had already before it when it sent the matter for inquiry before the Committee; and upon that letter the House was asked to re-agitate this question. The letter began by stating a fact, namely, that an agreement in the following terms had been entered into. Under that agreement there had been an attempt made to return the two Members; and now the House was called on to say, that that was a breach of the privileges of the House, and an infraction of the Act of Parliament. All the facts were before the House before the case was sent to the Committee. He should be glad to know whether, if the hon. Member succeeded in getting his resolutions passed, he really expected that the House would send Mr. Vigors and Mr. O'Connell to Newgate? He should like, also, to know which of Mr. Raphael's estimable qualities it was which was to except him from the same proceeding? Mr. Raphael and his attorney, Mr. Hamilton, were parties to this contract, and for aught he knew he might be one of the most guilty. He was the person returned; but this resolution led to an unavoidable suspicion that party feelings were not wholly excluded from the motives of those who had brought it forward, and that Mr. Raphael, whose conduct had created a strong sensation in some quarters, had not been thought a fit victim for punishment. The Committee, therefore, had inquired into the circumstances, and they had not felt it their duty, (which they would have done if there had been any grounds for suspecting that the county had been put up to auction by the Carlow Club, or any other persons,) they had not felt it their duty to report to that effect to the House; on the contrary, they came to the House saying, that they had no reason to doubt the legality of the expenses incurred; and they reported the absence of all criminality on the part of Mr. O'Connell, or any endeavour to interfere with the freedom of election. Taking these circumstances together, and being satisfied that there was no illegal application or intention entertained by the parties, to apply the money to any corrupt purposes, or to purposes inconsistent with the freedom of election,—what grounds, he begged to ask, were there for the attack now made? He (submitted that, having sent the subject to 114 a Committee, and the subject having been inquired into with more than ordinary attention and care, and the Committee having made its Report, the House would, in effect, be casting a strong censure upon the Committee, if they committed this question to a second inquiry. The letter of the hon. and learned Gentleman, which it was proposed to make the ground of the present proceeding, might have been written incautiously; but there was nothing corrupt and nothing censurable in the whole transaction. It was not, therefore, a proper subject for the animadversion of the House. The whole proceeding was one which exhibited the hon. and learned Member's consciousness that he was doing that which he should not be afraid to make known to the whole country. The hon. and learned Sergeant apologized to the House for the length of time he had occupied by his observations, and thanked it for its kind attention.
§ Debate adjourned.