§ Mr. Hardy
I rise, Sir, to call the attention of the House to a case which involves a breach of its privileges; and as my Motion is of such a nature, I am entitled, by the usages of the House, to claim precedence of all those who have other Motions on the paper. I am induced to avail myself of this privilege on the present occasion, because the case 273 which I have to submit contains very serious imputations against the character of a Member of this House, imputing to him a certain traffic for the return of Members to this House from the county of Carlow, which, if true—and I by no means say that they are—would certainly involve the House in considerable difficulty as to how they should act in such an event. I only now ask for leave to bring on this case before the House, thinking it, as I do, most consistent with the dignity of the House to make an inquiry of this nature before any other business.
§ Lord John Russell
; I am only anxious to be informed as to the proper mode of proceeding on this question. In order to show that I have no other wish, I tell the hon. Member who has brought forward this Motion, at once, that so far from interposing any Motion of mine, it is my intention to postpone the two Motions of which I have given notice until to-morrow; therefore, so far as I am concerned, I offer no opposition whatever to bringing this case before the House. I only wish to ascertain from the hon. Member for Bradford whether he thinks he is proceeding in this case consistently with the usages of the House observed in cases of Breach of Privilege relating to bribery, and questions of that nature. [An Hon. Member: No petition has been presented.] I understood from the hon. Member's observations that a petition had been presented. If the petition has been presented on which the Motion of the hon. Member for Bradford is founded, and I gave up my Motions for the sake of allowing the hon. Member to bring it forward, I only wish to be understoood as taking that course from a sense of the superior importance of such a Motion as that of which the hon. Member has given notice to all other subjects.
§ Mr. Hume
I apprehend, Sir, if this House is called on to form an opinion on any statement or speech founded on the allegations of a petition, that petition ought, according to the visual course, to be presented, printed, and then a day should be fixed for taking it into consideration. It is, I think, rather unfair to call upon the House to discuss the statements made in a petition without knowing its contents. All I can say is, that such a mode of proceeding is not usual, and that it has never been at tempted before to act in such a manner; therefore, I beg to suggest to the hon. Member for Bradford that he does not serve his own case, whatever it may be, by 274 not having the petition on which he grounds his charge first presented, and then fixing an early day for taking it into consideration.
§ Mr. Williams Wynn
I apprehend, Sir, that nothing can be so regular, according to the practice of this House, as when any Member brings under the consideration of the House a breach of its privileges, for the House to hear it—nay, to hear it with or without notice—whether any question is, or is not, before it; and even in the midst of another discussion if a Member should rise to complain of a breach of the privileges of the House, they have always instantly heard him. The practice of the House in this respect may be easily accounted for by this plain reason, that it may be essential that an immediate remedy should be applied and steps taken in the matter without any delay whatever. But when the House is in the possession of the complaint they are to deal with it as they may think fie, either to decide on it immediately, or adjourn the consideration of it to another day. What is the proper course to pursue the House cannot judge until they hear the subject matter of the complaint; when they have heard that, they can decide whether it is best to consider it at once or to adjourn, the question, or to refer it to a Committee of privileges, or a select Committee. Over all these modes of disposing of it the House has a complete jurisdiction, but it is most essential that any hon. Member shall, at at any time, have the right, whatever other business is before the House, immediately to inform the House of any act which in any degree affects the rights of Parliament.
After the usages of Parliament have been so clearly laid down by the hon. Member who spoke last, I feel no hesitation in rising to present the petition which has been intrusted to me from certain freeholders of the county of Carlow; but, in doing so, it is not my intention to trespass at any length upon the patience of the House in calling the attention of hon. Members to the transactions to which it refers. I shall at once, therefore, read an abstract of the facts of the case, because by so doing I shall save time and trouble. The hon. Member read an abstract of the following Petition which we give entire on account of the importance attached to it.
§ "To the Hon. the Commons of the United Kingdom in Parliament assembled.
§ "Showeth,—That from various statements and letters lately published, hearing respectively the signatures of ' Alexander Raphael,' Esq., late sitting Member for the said county of Carlow, and 'Daniel O'Connell,' Esq., now sitting Member for the city of Dublin, it appears that, shortly before the last election for the said county of Carlow, a certain agreement or traffic was set on foot between the said Daniel O'Connell and Alexander Raphael, whereby the said Daniel O'Conrsell contracted that he would procure, or endeavour to procure, the return of the said Alexander Raphael to serve in Parliament for the said county of Carlow, in consideration of a concurrent engagement by the said Alexander Raphael to pay two sums of 1,000l. each, the first of which sums was, by the terms of the said agreement or traffic, to be paid absolutely and entirely for being nominated as candidate, and the second of which sums was to be paid, only in the event of the said Alexander Raphael being returned as Member.
§ "That the said traffic or agreement was represented by the said Daniel O'Connell to the said Alexander Raphael as a 'safe speculation,' and was concluded upon and carried into effect by both parties accordingly.
§ "That in pursuance thereof, and before the said election, the said first sum of l,000l. was placed by the said Alexander Raphael, for the use of the said Daniel O'Connell, in the hands of the said Alexander Raphael's solicitor, from whom the said Daniel O'Connell, before the said election, received the said first sum of 1,000l. by his son, John O'Connell, Esq., acting on the behalf, and with the authority, of him the said Daniel O'Connell.
§ "That in further pursuance and fulfilment of the said agreement, traffic, or speculation, a printed address was extensively circulated among the electors of the said county, immediately before the said last election, bearing the signature of the said Daniel O'Connell, and introducing and recommending to the said electors the said Alexander Raphael, who was then a total stranger to the said county, as a candidate for the representation thereof, together with Nicholas Aylward Vigors, Esq.
§ "That at the said election then ensuing, the said Alexander Raphael and Nicholas A. Vigors were relumed for the said county against the two opposing candidates, Colonel Henry Bruen and Thomas Kavanah, Esq.
§ "That after the said return of the said Alexander Raphael, the said second sum of l,000l. was, in further pursuance and fulfilment of the said agreement, traffic, or speculation, placed by the said Alexander Raphael for the use of the said Daniel O'ConneH, in the hands of the said Alexander Raphael's solicitor, from whom the said Daniel O'Connell received the said second sum of 1,000l. by his son the said John Q'Connell, Esq. acting on the behalf, and 276 with the authority of him the said Daniel O'Connell.
§ "That a petition was presented to your hon. House against the said return of the said Alexander Raphael and Nicholas A. Vigors, and that the ballot for a Committee of your hon. House to try the validity of the said return, took place on the same afternoon on which the said second sum of 1,000l. had been so received, in respect of such return, by the said John O'Connell, for the use of his father the said Daniel O'Connell; and that the said second 1,000l. having been so received in respect of such return, the said John O'Connell and Daniel O'Connell both attended the ballot for the Committee of your hon. House, by which the validity of the said return was to be tried, and the said John O'Connell was in fact balloted as a Member to serve on the said Committee, and suffered to remain on the list of the said Committee as finally reduced, and was sworn at the table of your hon. House, 'well and truly to try the matter of the petition referred to the said Committee, and a true judgment to give according to the evidence.'
§ "Your petitioners submit to your hon. House that the said transactions were in plain violation of the rights of your petitioners, as electors of the county of Carlow, no less than of the privileges of your hon. House and they humbly pray that your hon. House will be pleased to inquire into the circumstances thereof, and if the same shall be proved, to take such proceedings against the offender or offenders as your hon. House in its discretion shall seem meet."
§ [Here follow 231 signatures of Gentlemen and Yeomen of the largest property and respectability in the county.]
§ Having now (continued the hon. Member) discharged my duty to my constituents, I feel that the best mode by which I can continue to do so, is by abstaining from a single remark on the assertions contained in the petition. Well knowing the sensitiveness of many Radical Reformers in this House at the bare idea of such monstrous proceedings, and how naturally inclined and deeply pledged they are to eradicate all such abuses, I with great confidence commit the whole matter to their hands.
§ Petition read.
rose at the same time, and upon its being suggested to him by an hon. Member near him that he ought to give way, he replied, "No, I will not," and proceeded to address the House: Sir, the reason for my interfering between the presentation of these petitions must be obvious to the House. Let me in the first place say, that I hope there is not a single man in the House who 277 will not agree with me, that there are grounds for inquiry in that petition. It is certainly my opinion that there are. I have undoubtedly always voted for inquiry, when Parliamentary grounds have been stated for it; and whether the case be my own, or that of any body else, when grounds are alleged for it, I trust I always shall vote for inquiry. For the present, so far as I am concerned myself, I shall not complain of the unusual—I will not call it monstrous —proceeding, that a petition of this kind should be in the hands of any Member, without giving a copy of it, or even an intimation of its contents, to the parties against whom it is presented. But as I have said, for myself I scorn to complain. There is another, however, in whose behalf I appeal to every man of good feeling—I appeal to every father in this House, whether it be right to introduce the name of Mr. John O'Connell on this occasion? I don't say that it was wrong to introduce his name into the petition, but I do say that it was unfair and unjust to bring his conduct before the House in the manner in which it has been referred to, without giving any notice of the intention of the hon. Member for Carlow. How could the hon. Member —is he a father?—consent to lend his authority to an allegation against the integrity on oath of Mr. John O'Connell, without giving him intimation that such a charge was to be brought against him? Party spirit is bad under any circumstances, but it is infernal, when it tears up by the roots every kind and generous and honourable feeling of our nature. And it is through the influence of this party spirit that I am to be now harassed by the imputation of— what? Perjury—before God, applied to as pure a creature as ever breathed, the Member for Youghal. Why, Sir, if the hon. Member had in his composition any thing of humanity—if he were not a person whose desolated villages have marked out him—if the scream of the widow, and the cry of the orphan against his tyranny were not yet crying in his ears—if he were not of such a nature, he never would have made this attack on the hon. Member for Youghal, without giving him that notice which would enable him to throw back into their foul den the calumnies—
§ The Speaker
said, I am sure the hon. and learned Member will see, on the least reflection, the propriety of explaining the expressions which he has used.
Perhaps, Sir, I may be excused if, with the provocation, I received, 278 I was carried away by my feelings. I must be permitted, however, to say, that when I spoke of casting the calumnies referred to in the petition back into their foul den, I meant the expression to apply to the petitioners. [oh, oh!] It appears then, that by some I have been understood otherwise. Be it so. ["The Orange Den!"] And suppose I had used that expression, and applied it, as some would infer, let me ask whether I should not be justified in doing so? Is there no Orange Den—is there no conspiracy there (pointing to the Opposition)? Well, I was carried away by my feelings. Be it so; but I don't think that in appealing on his behalf to the House—in whose behalf alone I do appeal—that any man would condemn me of any great error in being a little more violent, if you please, than I should be on any other subject. But I will go on. I will speak on behalf of the Member for Youghal, who has been thus assailed. I will appeal, in the first place, to this fact—was it not perfectly well known that I addressed the electors of Carlow in favour of Raphael and Vigors, the men petitioned against? And was not this perfectly well known to the petitioners; and when they chose to leave oil the Committee Mr. John O'Connell, did they not know that I was a strong partisan of Raphael and Vigors? Have they a right then, I say, to impeach for attending the ballot of the Committee, him whose duty it was to be present? Had they not a full and perfect knowledge of the part which I had taken in the election? Why, then, did they suffer the name of John O'Connell to remain on the list of the Committee? Oh! every body who understands anything of the Committees of this House, understands why they did so. They were secure of their Committee. Even though it is I who say it, I call upon—nay, I taunt any man on that Committee to deny, if he can, that John O'Connell has conscientiously and fairly exercised his duty as any other Member upon that Committee. Why do I say this? Because the very Chairman of the Committee in answer to something more than an insinuation which I felt it my duty to throw out against their conduct, expressed his regret that I had not followed the example set me by the conduct of Mr. John O'Connell. The very Chairman, I repeat, bore testimony upon that occasion, to the integrity of his conduct, and referred to it as being worthy of my imitation. But what, after all, is the accusation against him? That he was his father's messenger on the 279 subject of 1,000l. when it was known that the it father was an open partisan of Raphael and Vigors. So that his name has now been introduced, not to give weight to this charge, but for the purpose of influencing those feelings which are endeavoured to be roused by means of public meetings abroad, and in order to halloo on the cry of the Tory Press, to which, as a stock in trade, I am worth nine-tenths of all their wealth. It is for these purposes that the feelings of affection, of love, are to be grossly outraged. But when I can express a sincere belief that there is not a not a more dutiful and respectful son than the Member for Youghal—when I am conscious of that —I do not envy the Orange triumph, which amounts to aiming a dagger at my heart, that falls blunted from the shield of the honour and integrity of my upright,' loved, pure, and (except through falsehood) my unimpeachable son.
With respect to what the hon. and learned Gentleman has stated as to my not giving him notice of an intention to present the petition which was intrusted to me on this subject, I really did not think that any other notice than what I put on the votes was necessary of a petition, which contained charges with which the hon. and learned Member must have been familiar. With respect to the charge made against me of having desolated villages, all I shall say in reference to it is, that it is just as true as the generality of the accusations which fall from the him. and learned Gentleman's lips. I have no doubt that it will be received by the House with that degree of credit which they generally attach to the hon. and learned Gentleman's assertions. With regard to may private character as a landlord, I do not dread a comparison with the hon. and learned Member, or any other landlord in or out of Parliament in that capacity; and I am happy to say, that the great majority of the freeholders of Carlow, if they were allowed to vote as they themselves pleased, would prove, to the satisfaction of the public and the country, that the character which I bore as a landlord before reform lessons, as they have been called, were taught the electors, still remains the same. But the fact is, that three-fourths of those who voted for the Hon. Gentleman petitioned against, did so against their inclination, and under fear of losing their lives. Hon. Members who belong to this country may be astonished at what I have said but I state what are undoubted and 280 incontrovertible facts. Some intimation of the sort was given to the Committee which sat upon the election, last year, and I hope and trust that such information will be brought before the Committee, which I take it will be appointed on this Motion, as will undeceive the Gentlemen of this country, as to the transactions which take place in Ireland; for I venture to assert that at present English Gentlemen are totally and altogether ignorant of them.
§ Mr. John O'Connell
said, it can hardly be expected that I should be able to command my feelings after the expressions which have been uttered with reference to me by the hon. Member who has spoken last but one in this discussion. There are ties and relations between that hon. Member and myself which I shall not farther refer to than to say, that I find it extremely difficult to repress my feelings, after what has taken place to night, and after the observations which he has addressed to the House. I will, however, at once address myself to the matter under discussion, and say, that although I believe the present attack upon me is made for the sole purpose of injuring him, yet I care as little for it as I am sure he does. I, just as he, court inquiry, and am most anxious to have a Committee appointed. The hon. Member who spoke last called on me, as one of the Members of this House, to vote for a Committee, which he says will prove most useful in supplying information to the inhabitants of this country as to the practices at elections in Ireland. I am quite willing, Sir, to vote for such a Committee. I call upon him to do the same, find let an impartial inquiry be instituted into the conduct of both parties. I do not know what infernal machine may be in store for us; so I shall intrude no longer on the patience of the House, than to say that I am, and always have been, and ever shall be, ready to answer, either here or elsewhere, for any conduct of mine which may be considered objectionable or unjustifiable. ["oh!"] Well, then, I shall only say that I am prepared to answer any charge that may be brought against me.
§ Mr. Hardy
I have a Petition to present on this subject, signed by several inhabitants of Bath, who are entitled "the Friends of Purity of Election and the Enemies of Corruption." I would prefer to my reading the petition that it should be read by the Clerk of the House. As to the charge of not having presented a copy of this petition to the hon. and learned 281 Member for Dublin, I can only say, that on the very day that the petition was delivered to me, I saw a printed copy (several of which had been sent up from Bath) in the hands of one of the hon. and learned Gentleman's friends. For this reason, therefore, and because the subject matter of the petition had already gained sufficient publicity—at all events to render it impossible for the hon. and learned Gentleman not to be aware of the nature of the accusations preferred against him—I abstained from making to him what could not have been a very gratifying communication. If I have been guilty of any want of courtesy to the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, I am sorry for it, and I assure him that I had no intention that such should be the case. But I considered it least of all necessary to present the petition, or a copy of it, to the hon. and learned Gentleman's son, because I can attach no blame to him. I am a father myself—yes, I repeat, I am a father; and I can appreciate the feelings of one who hears his son attacked as he conceives unjustly. But I do not regard the conduct of that young gentleman in any other light than as one who acted under the influence of his father. And if he had done anything wrong in acting in obedience to his father's dictation, I cannot impute any blame to him. I do not think that that young gentleman is at all implicated in the transaction, because I see that he has done nothing which he was not directed to do by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, It now only remains for me to present the petition, which will be read by the Clerk at the Table, and all I shall say in reference to it is, that the House can judge whether the circumstances which it discloses are not a fit subject for inquiry. [Lord J. Russell: Perhaps the hon. Member would read the substance of the petition.] The petition began:—"From disclosures lately made by Alexander Raphael, Esq., of Great Stanhope-street, it appears that shortly before the last election" [hon. Members—"Read the prayer."] The hon. Member accordingly read the prayer of the petition:—: "And your petitioners pray that the principles of Reform may be fully and fairly carried into effect." I am glad (said the hon. Member) to see the hon. Members opposite display such merriment on this occasion. I do not know whether that merriment may be diminished when I tell them that I believe this petition emanated from the Committee and supporters of the hon. Member for Bath. The prayer of the 282 petition concluded in these words:— "Your petitioners are anxious to see the principles of Reform carried into effect in all cases, and against all offenders alike, and pray your honourable House to inquire into this strange transaction, including the contents of the said unpublished letter (mentioned in the petition), and take such measures as they deem fit for protecting the rights of Parliamentary election, and bringing punishment on all persons of whatever political party they may be who deserve it. I shall again repeat that if I have been guilty of any discourtesy in not giving the hon. and learned Member for Dublin a copy of this petition, I trust I may be excused on this ground, that it was not a pleasant thing for me to communicate what I was sure was supplied to him from another quarter. I must, however, at the same time, say, that my regret for any neglect of complying with usage in this case is considerably diminished when I reflect that no man is better able than the hon. and learned Member to dispense with mere forms, and to grapple with the substance of things. The hon. and learned Gentleman is certainly capable of defending himself, and of dissipating any clouds of suspicion which may be raised against him with an ability which few Members of this House can command.
§ The petition was read by the Clerk.
was understood to express his surprise and regret, that such a petition as that which had been just read, had not been intrusted to him for presentation, because he had never since he entered that House refused to present any petition which he was called on to bring under its notice, no matter what might be the feelings of parties by whom it was agreed to.
§ Mr. Roebuck
felt himself called upon to say something respecting the petition from Bath; and first in answer to the assertion of the hon. Member opposite, who bad said that it emanated from his supporters. He was happy to be able to say in their name, that he repudiated the petition wholly as proceeding from his supporters—repudiated it both as to its spirit and in the way of carrying it on. To prove that the petition did not emanate from his supporters, he would state, that it proceeded from a society of persons calling themselves the "Liberal Association," who had taken that name lately, because they knew that none other would be popular, and under that name, to which they had no true claim, 283 had made a scurrilous attack upon him when he was 100 miles distant. They were persons, who, on a personal matter, had canvassed Members of that House under the name of a Liberal Association when every one, who knew anything about Bath well knew, that they were among the most rabid Tories in the kingdom. Those were the persons who now stood up for purity of election, having taken a very extraordinary mode of showing their own purity of purpose. They wrote to his hon. Friend, as had been stated, requesting his support, under the name of the "Liberal Association," and his hon. Friend called upon him and inquired if he knew who they were, "for" said his hon. Friend, "when I saw the name at the bottom of the letter, I thought it a Tory name, though at the top of the communication, professed to come from a Liberal Association." He supposed, that his hon. Friend, knowing the changes which sometimes took place in people's politics, and aware that persons, who to-day called themselves Radicals and Liberals, might next day he found sitting on the Tory benches, did not know but a counterpart to this might occasionally be seen, and that a single Tory might come over to the Ministerial side. He had stated the exact truth as regarded this petition, which had emanated from a set of Tories, who chose to associate for party purposes under the guise of a Liberal Association. There was one name attached to the petition, which, by the writing he was very much inclined to believe a forgery. In this case there was nothing but the mere name, and the greater proportion of the signatures were without any addresses. He would ascertain by the next post whether the name referred to was actually a forgery; and he pledged himself to state to the House, whether he found himself mistaken or not in his supposition. It so happened, that this person, whose name appeared attached to the petition, not three days ago wrote him a letter, inclosing the scurrilous attack made against himself by the "Liberal Association," disclaiming it wholly, and using very strong terms against that association. He therefore believed the name to be a forgery, and he knew, that the petition emanated from the Tories of Bath.
§ Mr. O'Connell, as far as he was himself concerned, had but one word to say about the petition, in answer to the hon. Member for Bradford. The hon. Member, by 284 way of excuse for not sending him a copy of the petition, wished to insinuate that he had omitted it in order to spare his feelings. That was the oddest way of sparing a man's feelings that he ever heard of; the hon. Gentleman would not hurt him by giving him the petition in private, which, at the time, he intended to publish to the whole British empire. He was really surprised to hear an hon. Gentleman state such a thing with gravity. This was the tenderness of the butcher to the calf; he would not show his victim the knife for the world! The hon. Gentleman appeared to suppose, that some exceedingly good natured friend would furnish him with a copy of the petition—the hon. Gentleman might himself he a good-natured friend of that description, but he assured the House, that all he knew of the petition from Bath was this, — the hon. Member for Ipswich showed him a short letter, signed in the name of "the Liberal Association/' which contained no particulars, however, and in which there was only one sentence relating to the matter, to this effect,—"Will you, who have always been an enemy to corruption, allow any man, of whatever party, to put money into his pocket by corrupt Parliamentary influence?" Undoubtedly this was a very proper question to put to his hon. friend; and the only answer that he, or any other man of like principles, could give, must he in the negative. He now asked the hon. Member for Bradford, what he meant to insinuate against the Member for Youghal, when he said, that he held that Gentleman excused, because he had acted under his (Mr. O'Connell's) directions? The hon. Gentleman had given that as an excuse for the conduct of the Member for Youghal, He hoped the hon. Member for Youghal would take his advice, which he offered in the strongest shape,—he said advice, because during all his life, command had been unnecessary, —to leave this matter to be adjusted entirely between the Member for Bradford and himself. He denied that there was any part of the conduct of the Member for Youghal, which rendered an. apology necessary for him. He had attended here at the time of choosing the Carlow Committee in the discharge of his duty; it was well known that he could have been committed if he did not attend. Every one knew the relationship subsisting between him and the Member for Youghal, yet the latter was allowed to remain on the Committee, Then there 285 must have been eleven Members more unfavourable to the petitioners than his son named in the original list, as they did not strike him off, or else the opposite party left him on the Committee to parade him. In either case, there was nothing in his conduct requiring an apology. His character was stainless as the driven snow, and would ever remain so. He defied the hon. Member for Bradford, or any other man, to cast a stain upon his son's conduct. If no attack could be made openly, let not covert insinuations be resorted to. Let any Member of the Carlow Committee be asked how the Member for Youghal had conducted himself in the course of the inquiry, but let not the affectation of an apology be offered where it was not required. Having said thus much on that subject, as he did not intend to speak again, he would now state to the House what he thought fair, just, and reasonable, to be done in the matter. He suggested that both the petitions he printed and placed in the hands of every Member. This was a question of privilege, and no matter ought to interpose to postpone it, whenever the House thought itself in a situation to proceed. He had not the slightest wish, the least anxiety, to throw the inquiry back; on the contrary he felt anxious that there should be a full and fair inquiry, in order to show how absurd was the notion, which every reasonable man must know to be false, that a single farthing, or the thousandth part of a farthing, remained, or could have remained in his pocket, or that he had the slightest pecuniary interest in the transaction. He was willing to refer the matter to a fair and impartial Committee. He had been all his life battling against packed juries, and would not now submit to anything but a fair and impartial tribunal. Let the petitions be printed; let the hon. Member opposite give notice of a day for taking them into consideration, when he and the Member for Youghal might have a fair opportunity o making their defence before the House meanwhile, he wished the hon. Member for Bradford to state what charge he had to make against the Member for Youghal; but he would give no answer to the charge at present. The hon. Gentleman had implied a charge, if he did not make one directly for he said that "he held the Member for Youghal excused, because be was acting under his father's influence," Let the hon. Gentleman tell the House what act of his son's life required an excuse. He demanded to have it now stated what accusation then 286 was against the Member for Youghal. If the hon. Gentleman brought forward any charge, let the Member for Youghal be heard, and if his conduct appeared to have been pure and honourable, let the fact be distinctly admitted. He proposed that the petitions be printed, and the day after they were in the hands of Members, let the hon. Gentleman give notice of a Motion on the subject. If the hon. Gentleman moved for a Select Committee to inquire into the business —and he admitted that he saw distinctly enough on the face of the petitions, parliamentary grounds for a Committee—he would support the motion for inquiry. But, meanwhile, let him be permitted to make such a statement in reply to the charge as would go forth to the people of England, who, by the by, were not misled by all the calumnies that had been uttered against him. He heard 600 independent men last night answer that question, and express with one voice their disbelief of the charge. All he required was a clear stage, and no favour. He admitted that if he had done wrong in this matter, he was doubly wrong, for he avowed he was a Radical Reformer, a thorough Radical Reformer, and if he had done an act against the great principle of purity of election, no censure could be too bad for him; but he defied any man to show a single act of his life inconsistent with the principles he had ever advocated. He would not taunt Gentlemen opposite with their new-born love of purity—let those who had given 20l. a-head for votes accuse him of violating purity of election if they pleased—even they had a right to condemn him if he had acted wrong. Even, if there were a profligate purchaser of perjury in the House, still he had a right to condemn him. Give him a fair Committee an honest and impartial inquiry, conducted by men who would not allow party feelings to bias them—he did not shrink from such an investigation; on the contrary, here, in the face of the House, he demanded it on these terms. In the petitions, it was stated that he had attended the ballot when the Committee on the Carlow election was struck he was in the House on the occasion, but if his name had been called, it would have been his duty to have answered "petitioned against," his own return for Dublin being contested at the time. Arising out of the petition against him 11,000, folios of evidence had been sent over, and the 29th of the month was appointed by the Committee for renewing the inquiry into the Dublin election. His intention was, 287 the moment the Committee met, to make an application to it to send back to the Dublin Commission a particular inquiry, which he thought had been stifled on the other side. If he succeeded in that application, he would be ready for this inquiry on the first of March. He did not wish to postpone the inquiry at all—why should he? Did any man think he could have any motive in delaying it? Well; he had done a great deal of complicated business already in his life, and if the House wished, he was willing to undertake both affairs together. On the contrary, if the House thought he had business enough on his hands already, let it appoint' a Committee in the way he had proposed, which could adjourn over for a week or a fortnight, and then meet to proceed with the inquiry from day to day; let the hon. Member have the petitions printed, and appoint Tuesday next for bringing on his Motion for a Committee. This was a question of privilege, and, according to the principle laid down by the right hon. Member for Montgomery shire, it ought to be speedily disposed of. He was quite content that it should he. Let the hon. Gentleman make his statement, and he would make his defence. On the appointment of the Committee, he would state his views as to how the inquiry ought to be conducted, and take objections, if objections he had, to the course that might be proposed, or the persons who should be nominated on the Committee. Then let the inquiry take place. He was desirous of such an inquiry, and wanted to have it as large as possible; he wanted to know whether those who denied their participation in acts of cruelty in Ireland could fix the slightest stain on his character, or show that he had abandoned the principles of a Radical Reformer. If they succeeded in this, he was ready to submit to any penalty that could be imposed on him; but he had a consciousness that no imputations could be cast upon his character—that he had nothing to vindicate himself from, and that he should stand as unimpeachable in point of fact, as he certainly was in point of feeling.
§ Mr. John O'Connell
said, he was a very young Member—perhaps the youngest in the House; however, he begged to be allowed to mate his own defence, and required no person to make a defence for him. Young as he was, he had sufficient sense to know what business he was sent about, and when he went with the papers he was fully aware of what he was doing, and felt 288 that he was doing that to which no blame attached; and, if there was any blame, he claimed his full share of it. He begged a full inquiry.
§ Mr. Hardy
said, that when he made the observations referring to the conduct of the hon. Member who had just sat down, he trusted they would have been taken in the same spirit as they were made in. He had stated that on the face of the proceeding he saw nothing to impute in the way of blame to the hon. Member, because, whatever of secrecy there was in paying the money, he might know nothing whatever of the circumstances under which it was given. The hon. Member might go to a party, and receive the money without being cognizant of the circumstances of the transaction. With respect to this proceeding, if the House would allow him, he would state, in two or three moments, how he happened to appear in his present situation. He was a member of the Bribery and Intimidation Committee, which had sat for so long a time last Session, and he had previously belonged to a Select Committee on the subject of bribery to which a Bill brought forward by him was referred. In that Committee they had the honour of the assistance of the Speaker as a Member. It was his intention to bring his Bill forward again, and he had given notice of it early last Session, but before the day appointed for its introduction, a Motion was made by the present Under Secretary for the Colonies; to appoint a Select Committee on Bribery and Intimidation. Immediately, upon that Motion being made, he proposed that his Bill should be presented to the Committee, in order that having gone through the ordeal of two Committees, it might come before the House in a shape best adapted to effect its object. When the Bill was under consideration before the Committee, there was a Clause in it supplying a defect in Curwen's Act, and fixing a penalty on persons receiving money to procure the return of Members to Parliament; but it was thought that such a Clause would not be necessary now, as there could be no nomination in boroughs under the Reform Bill, and he never knew of nomination in. counties before. He agreed that the Clause should be struck out, and accordingly it was. Some time after the close of the Session, however, in the month of October, there appeared a correspondence in the public papers between Mr. Raphael and the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, and then it seemed to him that the provision which had been struck out of his Bill was not al- 289 together so inapplicable as had been supposed, and he therefore, stated to some of his private friends, not members of that House, that to justify the reinsertion of the Clause in the Bill, he would make a point of bringing the present case before the House, and proposing an inquiry, if that course should be thought proper. On the first day of the Session, he watched till the last moment to see if any Member of more weight and influence than himself would bring the matter forward, and that not being the case, he had given his notice on the subject. In pursuance of that notice here he was. He would not shrink from his duty. He did think this was a case demanding inquiry, and it appeared to him that the country thought so too. Imputations were cast upon the Member for Dublin, which he should have thought would have made the hon. and learned Gentleman himself, the first to call for an inquiry, and not wait till it was proposed by another Member. Here were imputations which clearly amounted to a breach of privilege, and he had seen Members have persons called to the bar for publishing in the newspapers imputations of a much higher nature than these. When such severe imputations were cast upon an hon. Member, it became him, or some other individual, to call for an inquiry; and therefore it was, that he had made the present Motion, in order that the hon. Gentleman might vindicate himself from suspicion. He was quite ready and anxious to give the hon. and learned Gentleman every opportunity of vindication which the House might think he ought to have. All he wished for was a full, fair, and free inquiry into circumstances which appeared, at the first blush, to attach discredit to a Member of the House, and to reflect on the character of the House itself. When he looked at the correspondence published by the late Member for Carlow, and examined the facts contained in it, he did not draw the inference that the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had put any. money in his pocket, though he saw it imputed to the hon. Member in the newspapers, and observed that something like it was alleged by the person with whom the bargain was made. He did not wish to insinuate that, but it was not necessary, in order to imply corruption, and an improper traffic, that a man should put money into his own pocket, if it appeared that he had secured the return of partisans bound to maintain his own principles in the House, and indeed tied down by written statements.
§ The Speaker
called the hon. Member to order, the limits of which he was now transgressing. The only question was, that the petition do lie on the Table, and when that was decided, it would be for the hon. Member to state what course he meant to take.
§ Colonel Parry
observed, in reference to a complaint made by an hon. Member, as to the Bath petition not having been intrusted to him, that he was sure no reflection was intended upon the venerable character of that individual. He hoped the inquiry would be fairly conducted, and wherever blame was found to rest there it might fall. He must hold up both his hands against the doctrine of the hon. Member for Bradford, that the hon. and learned Member for Dublin was to be responsible for the conduct of his son. The hon. and learned Member must have anxiety enough without this consideration being added to it. In conclusion, he had only to add, that he should vote for an inquiry.
§ Mr. O'Connell
said, that the hon. Member for Carnarvon had mistaken him if he supposed that he declined to be responsible for the Member for Youghal. What he said was, that there was nothing in the conduct of the Member for Youghal, that required defence, or called upon him to interpose the shield of his authority over his son; that was what he said, and he defied the hon. Member to contradict, him.
§ Colonel Parry
The hon. Member for Dublin spoke in defiance of him, but that must be owing to the hon. Member's misapprehension of what he said. What he said, or meant to say, was, that he held up both his hands against the doctrine of the Member for Bradford, because it wens to annoy the feelings of the hon. and learned Member, already sufficiently excited, by making him responsible for the hon. Member for Youghal.
§ Mr. Williams Wynn
thought that there should be as little delay as possible. He would suggest Monday as the best day for the discussion, unless that would be inconvenient to the hon. and learned Member for Dublin.
§ Lord John Russell
thought it would be more convenient to postpone the discussion 291 till Tuesday, inasmuch as the hon. Member for Bath had given notice of a Motion relative to the state of the Mauritius, which had already been fixed, for Monday.
§ Mr. Hume
hoped there was no wish to show any want of courtesy in the present case, and, as the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had already named Tuesday, he put it to the gentlemanly feelings of the House not to press the matter any further. Twenty-four hours would really make very little difference; and, as another very important subject had been fixed for Monday, Tuesday would be quite time enough to proceed with the inquiry.
§ Mr. O'Connell
said, the reason he preferred Tuesday was, that he regarded the whole charge as a mock solemnity. The noble Lord (Stanley) might differ from him. He considered the charge a ridiculous one, instigated, not in that House, but out of it, by the grossest party spirit; and repeated in that House by men who had employed all their lives in bribing and corrupting. He wished for Tuesday, because there were two important questions fixed for Monday, in the discussion of which he wished to take a part. Tuesday would be quite time enough, and he could assure the House he should repose with the utmost nonchalance under all the anxieties of this mighty and weighty accusation, in regard to which he had already been acquitted of all pecuniary turpitude by the hon. Member for Bradford. ["No, no.] He did not mean the noble Lord (Stanley); he did not say the noble Lord had acquitted him; —oh, no! he knew too well the delicacy of his enmity;—he had experienced it too often already; but he understood the hon. Member for Bradford to acquit him of any pecuniary turpitude in the matter. If the House would fix Tuesday, there he should be, he trusted, in perfect health, certainly in good spirits, and ready, at all events, to meet and refute the charge,—refute, did he say?—Oh, no! it could not be necessary for him; but to convince every impartial man in that House that there was not one particle of ground for the imputation. He was entitled to that assertion, and all he required for the present was, that the House should suspend its judgment till Tuesday, when the hon. Member for Bradford might speak at any length he pleased, and with all his accustomed power, and the hon. Member for Carlow would be at liberty to talk as disparagingly as he had ventured, most untruly, to speak of him. ["Order,
§ The Speaker
was sure the hon. and learned Member would see at once that the expression he had used was very strong, and altogether unparliamentary.
Mr. O' Connell
was sorry if he had made use of unparliamentary language. If he had done so, he begged leave to retract it; but he did not think that to say he had been untruly accused was very unparliamentarily language. If it were so considered by the House, he had no feelings of resentment to gratify, and therefore he repudiated the expression. Having said thus much, he would not enter into the subject more at length, beyond again expressing the hope that the House would postpone till Tuesday further discussion.
§ Mr. Roebuck
said, it would be a serious inconvenience to postpone the inquiry which, had been fixed for Monday; and as the noble Lord opposite (Stanley) would have on that evening to meet a very important charge, which would be brought against himself, he had no doubt he would be anxious that it should take precedence of the discussion in which the hon. and learned Member for Dublin was personally implicated.
could assure the House that, as he had never shrunk from the discharging of any part of his public duty, so he never would shrink from meeting any charge made against him by the hon. Member, or any one else. It was a matter of perfect indifference to him whether the Motion of the hon. Member for Bath came on upon Monday or on any other day; and it was equally indifferent to him, as far as he was personally concerned, whether the Motion relative to the conduct of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin was fixed for Tuesday or not. Whatever that hon. and learned Member might be pleased to think of the delicacy by which his enmity towards him was characterized in that House or elsewhere, he trusted it would never lead him to take any step which would be disgraceful to his feelings as a Gentleman and as a Member of that House. He considered the hon. and learned Member's political character and political position fraught with danger to the empire at large. Politically he had always opposed him, and he thanked his candour when he declared it was a high gratification to hear the expression of his belief, that during the Administration of Lord Grey he (Lord Stanley) had essentially served to thwart that hon. and learned Member's political schemes. But political grounds of hostility 293 he would never suffer to degenerate into personal vindictiveness. He never would sit on such a Committee as that to be moved for by the hon. Member for Bradford, because he should distrust his own judgment in a case where he sat on the character of the hon. and learned Member. If, therefore, he were nominated on the Committee he should at once decline serving on it He never had made an attack on the hon. and learned Member—he never would do so—in his absence, when it was impossible for the hon. and learned Member to answer for himself; but he was bound to say, when the hon. and learned Member appealed to him, whether he were already exempted from any charge of personal corruption, whatever might be his own opinion as to the justice of the charge, he was bound to say that the charge did hang over the hon. Member's head, and answer it he must in that House and before this country. Whatever application the hon. and learned Member was prepared to make of that money which it was alleged he had received, the allegation that he did receive it, and that for such a sum he contracted that a Member should have a seat in that House, fixed him distinctly and substantially with the charge; whether he meant to apply it personally to his private advantage, or politically as a means of public corruption, it was equally discreditable to him as a charge of personal or pecuniary corruption. He had not intended to say one word on this subject. He declared on his honour as a Gentleman he had no such intention, but the learned Member provoked him to speak. He denied that he considered the hon. and learned Member exempted from the charge of corruption. He pronounced no opinion as to whether he was guilty or not, but this he would say, that the hon. and learned Member was not justified in representing — and much had he been astonished in seeing his right hon. Friend opposite (Sir J. C. Hobhouse) intimating his assent to the statement by a loud and vociferous cheer—as if so grave an imputation on the character and conduct of any hon. Member of that House should rather be laughed away and treated as a thing too ridiculous to demand the serious and deliberate investigation of that Parliament, which had already proved itself determined to do away with the corruptions which subsisted under a former system, and which, most of all, was bound consistently to ascertain and punish the delinquency of those who had been the foremost in de- 294 nouncing and the readiest in determining and in inflicting the punishment of others. He hoped he had misunderstood his right hon. Friend, and yet his manner was so marked that he could not persuade himself that he had been mistaken; he heard him so loudly cheer the assertion which fell from the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, that this was a charge so utterly ridiculous that it should be treated altogether with contempt—that it was one which that House was taking up as a matter of mock solemnity, and for that reason it was a matter of indifference to him on which day it should be brought forward. He thought is could be no matter of mock solemnity to that House, which had already instituted so many proceedings into cases of corruption in various towns and boroughs, such as York, Ipswich, Yarmouth, and even the alleged case of Chatham. It must be a matter of deep importance to the Members of that House, whether there was or not an individual in. it capable of exercising such influence, as to introduce into a county of Ireland a person utterly unknown to the constituency, of whom he expressed the lowest and the meanest opinion, and who, possessing that influence, was prepared for its exercise to receive, on whatever pretence, the sum of 2,000l. If there was anything in reform, if there was any desire to support the purity of election, if there was any desire really to maintain those principles to which he ever had been, and now was, sincerely attached, the last thing that should be urged on such an occasion as the present would be, that this was a mere matter of mock solemnity, and on that account it was quite indifferent whether brought forward on one day or another. As he said before, he cared not on what day it was brought forward; if the hon. and learned Member preferred Tuesday, Tuesday let it be. He knew not why it should not be proceeded with at once. The hon. and learned Member confessed that he thought it fitting for inquiry before a Committee— the hon. Member for Bradford only moved for a Committee— nothing more; yet, said the hon. and learned Member, give us three days between the time of giving notice and the moving for that Committee. It was not for him to say how that time was to be employed. It was not for him to say whether a delay of three days was necessary or desirable for the hon. and learned Member; he freely confessed he could not enter into the hon. and learned Member's 295 feelings; he did not understand them—he never participated in them; but this he knew, that if he sat in. that House under such a charge—a charge repeated over and over again—a charge supported by documents, detailing facts, some denied, much admitted on both sides—a charge that he had obtained money corruptly to procure for an individual a seat in that House, twenty four hours should not have elapsed from the meeting of Parliament without he himself moving for the appointment of a Committee. He remembered one occasion on which the hon. and learned Gentleman found it convenient to take some days to answer a charge which had been made against him; he never quarrelled with the hon. and learned Member for taking as much time as he considered necessary to enable him to answer any of his observations; he did not complain of the hon. Member's requesting till Tuesday on the present occasion; but were it his own case, rather than move for the postponement of one single hour, if the matter had not been investigated sooner, he would call on the House at once to express its judgment.
§ Mr. O'Connell
said, that the noble Lord had totally misstated him. He never said that the noble Lord had acquitted him; he had not even insinuated it; all he said was, that he understood the hon. Member for Bradford to exonerate him completely from pecuniary corruption. The noble Lord put it unfairly; but he ought to have listened to what had been said before he rose to make his speech. The noble Lord had also said that he could not see why any postponement should be required. Where was the noble Lord when the petitions—the first tangible ground laid before the House for inquiry—were ordered to be printed? Did the noble Lord mean to say that it was not a fair and legitimate course to require that they should be printed? For what purpose? That in the reply to them, deliberately made, that calumny against him so industriously circulated—that calumny which the noble Lord had repeated tonight, in defiance of the facts, should be repelled from that House, and every one of those insinuations which the noble Lord threw out, shown to be as unfounded as were ever dictated by malevolence, and countenanced by party spirit. That was his object. Not one word had fallen from the noble Lord of charge against him. but he should be able to prove it wholly destitute of the slightest shadow of truth. When the noble Lord talked of having thwarted him 296 in his exertions in Ireland, he could only say that no man ever made greater advances in that or any other country under such supposed unfavourable circumstances. So far from having thwarted his plans, the noble Lord had materially advanced them. There was about the noble Lord something he could not describe, that the Irish did not fall in love with—whether it was in matter or in manner, or in the combination of both — whether it was the want of impartiality, of judgment, and bias.
rose to order. He was sure the House would feel, that the hon. and learned Gentleman having been already heard on this question, it was not desirable he should again persist in addressing it. He certainly was not surprised that the hon. and learned Gentleman should at that moment still wish to be heard; for he confessed that he listened with feelings of the very deepest regret to the speech made by the noble Lord who immediately preceded him. But, without following the example of his noble Friend, without pronouncing a strong opinion on either side of a question which by common consent had been put off till another day—without entering at that moment, when they could not be fairly discussed, into charges of a nature which must be deeply felt by the hon. and learned Member—keeping his mind perfectly free and unbiassed on either side—not being either personally or politically the friend of the hon. and learned Gentleman, he did hope, having agreed that the discussion should fully and fairly be taken on Tuesday, it should for the present be allowed to drop. He was sure his noble Friend himself, whose generous feelings he knew so well— ["Hear, hear" from Mr. Sheil]—he repeated, in spite of that cheer, the generous feelings of his noble Friend would lead him the first to regret that he had allowed himself, in the momentary warmth of debate, to enter into the statements he had just made. Having thus cautiously abstained from saying one word, or expressing the slightest opinion, on either side of the subject in dispute, he did hope the House would not now hear the hon. and learned Member speak again on this occasion, and in refusing to hear him allow the matter to rest, in common justice, where it did for the present.
Mr. O' Connell
did not desire, being in the hands of the House, to persevere. He was ready to submit to their opinion, whatever it might be. It having been insinuated that there was an impropriety in postponing 297 this matter, he was entitled, he thought, to show that the charge was substantially groundless. Calumny could be insinuated in various ways—it might be insinuated out of that House, and in that House— even under the affectation of fair play and justice there might be the most malignant construction put on a charge, which the charge itself did not bear—["Spoke, Spoke, Chair, Chair."] He did not wish to persevere.—[" Spoke, Spoke."] Well, he would finish in a single sentence. — ["Chair, Chair."]
§ The Speaker
said, the hon. and learned Member had taken a somewhat irregular course. Either a question of this sort should be thoroughly discussed, or altogether postponed. It was not, perhaps, unnatural for the hon. Member to wish to be heard, but, having already spoken more than once on the subject, and as it was now agreed on all hands that it should be postponed till Tuesday next, the more convenient course would be, not to pursue it further at present.
§ Mr. Hume
thought his hon. and learned Friend had been treated unfairly. The noble Lord had, by implication, advanced what appeared to him to be the most unfair charge conceivable against his hon. and learned Friend, namely, that his hon. and learned Friend wished to postpone the consideration of the question. The noble Lord said this, not knowing the rules of the House, and not doing his hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Dublin, the justice to recollect what the right hon. Member for Montgomery had said. The right hon. Member for Montgomery said, that to-morrow would be too early to proceed with the inquiry, and suggested that the proper time would be Monday. All that could be alleged against his hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Dublin was, that he wished the subject to be brought forward on Tuesday instead of Monday. But what did the noble Lord (Stanley) say? "I know not what may be done in the course of three or four days." Did the noble Lord think that they were all so stupid as not to understand his insinuation? He had no hesitation in declaring what he thought the noble Lord meant to insinuate. The noble Lord intended to imply, that the hon. and learned Member for Dublin asked for the postponement of the further consideration of the subject until Tuesday, in order that improper means might be used in the interval to prevent justice being done. No! 298 What, then, did the noble Lord mean by saying that he knew not what might be done in three or four days? If the noble Lord did not intend to make such an insinuation, let him state it fairly to the House, otherwise he would tell the noble Lord that he had made a most unfair and unparliamentary attack. Besides, the noble Lord forgot, or did not choose to remember, that the hon. Member for Bradford himself proposed Tuesday. He certainly had understood the hon. Member for Bradford to propose that day; at all events, he assented to it as soon as it was named by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. Therefore, in every point of view, the noble Lord appeared to be in fault; and he thought the House was not acting with impartiality towards his hon. and learned Friend, when it listened to insinuations against him of so abominable a nature, without allowing him the privilege of a reply. When he heard the noble Lord (Stanley) say, that during his official career he had done every thing in his power to thwart the views of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, he thanked God that the noble Lord was no longer in office. Much had Ireland to rue the influence which the noble Lord once exercised there. Hundreds of families in Ireland had to bewail the loss of life arising from the noble Lord's infernal policy. If ever any country was treated—["Order."] He was not aware that he was out of order—. ["Question."] He was speaking on the subject of the noble Lord's speech, and in doing so, he conceived he was perfectly in order. In fact, it was scarcely possible that he could be more in order than he was at that moment, although, perhaps, the hon. Gentlemen opposite might not he very anxious to hear what he had to say. The noble Lord now admitted, for the first time that ever he had heard him, that he was the individual who did every thing in his power to ruin the influence of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin by increasing the grievances of Ireland. Some hon. Gentlemen might flatter themselves that that that was not the case; but what had a noble Lord in another, place said?—that the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had more power than any other individual in Ireland. Why? What had given him that power?—["Question."] He did not know why he was to be subjected to such interruptions. He was speaking as much to the point as the noble Lord opposite, whose speech had been received with 299 tumultuous shouts of applause from, those who were now seeking to put him down. If assertions which he maintained to be false were cheered, it might perhaps be some reason why those which were true should not be listened to. He pronounced it to be unfair to prevent his hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Dublin, from replying to the assertions and to the insinuations which the noble Lord had thrown out. He had stated why he considered it to be unfair; and he was sure the noble Lord (Stanley) himself, if he for a moment considered what he had said, would feel that he had thrown out insinuations against the hon. and learned Member for Dublin which were not justified by any thing which had occurred in the course of the debate. He protested against the injustice which had been done towards his hon. and learned Friend; but it was not the first act of injustice his hon. and learned Friend had suffered, nor would it be the last He would have to bear many more, but out of them he would come with increased power and influence, to confound those who might plot or conspire against him.
§ Mr. Sheil
said, that it was really of little consequence whether the debate should take place on Monday or Tuesday next, the only effect would be that the noble Lord, the Member for Lancashire; would be under the necessity of postponing, for a few hours longer, that display of generous feeling for which his noble Friend on the Treasury Bench had given him so much credit, but of which he could not help observing, that the noble Friend of the Secretary of War had given a somewhat peculiar specimen. The noble Lord, the Secretary of War, had interposed and stopped the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, who was replying to an assault made on his character, and insinuations worse than any direct imputation. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin certainly was out of order in speaking twice, but he was a party involved, and the Secretary of War might, perhaps, as well have indulged him in a slight departure from the ordinary rules of the House, as have indulged the noble Lord in giving expression to those generous feelings of which his friends on the Treasury Bench were so much better competent to judge than those who, judging merely from the noble Lord's conduct in the House, had arrived at a somewhat different conclusion. The noble Lord, the Member for Lancashire, had 300 stated that it was not for him to conjecture how the interval between this night and Tuesday was to be employed. Generous insinuation! How characteristic of the instinctive magnanimity of the noble Lord, who adopted this mode of dealing with a political rival to whom he acknowledged that he bore no very kindly sentiments. But the noble Lord deserved not only credit for generous feelings but for perfect frankness. He told the House, that he so far distrusted his own biases and prejudices, that he would not consent to serve on the Committee. But, if he were disqualified as a Judge, what weight ought to be attached to him as a witness; and what impression ought his impassioned advocacy to produce on the House? Why did he rise at all? Could he not have waited for a more becoming opportunity, and was he hurried to-night into a premature disclosure of his motives in. order to correct the learned Member for Bradford, who declared that he acquitted the hon. Member for Dublin of all corrupt dealings—["No, no?"] He would repeat, that the hon. Member for Bradford had acquitted the hon. and learned Member for Dublin of all corrupt pecuniary dealing for his own personal advantage. This was, on the part of the gentlemen to whom the Tories—he liked to designate them by a title to which they had an unimpaired and indisputable title—had committed this great enterprise, a most important admission, and the noble Lord had vainly endeavoured to do away with the effect of this hon. acknowledgment on the part of the distinguished, but ever honest leader, to whom this effort to ruin the character of a political antagonist had been confided. One word more on an observation of the noble Lord. He had said that, as a member of Lord Grey's Government, he had done all in his power to thwart the hon. Member for Dublin. He had: and what was the result as it had affected Ireland and himself? The consequences of his unfortunate policy with respect to Ireland were known to all the world; and, as to the noble Lord himself, he (Mr. Sheil) would only bid the House look there! Behold him sitting in. direct and ostentatious opposition to his old colleagues, whom he still designates as his noble friends. Let the House (said Mr. Sheil, pointing to the Opposition Bench on which Lord Stanley was sitting)—let the House behold that juxta position— honourable to the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, and to 301 the noble Lord the Member for Lancashire—the great sustainer of the Reform Bill, which annihilated the party on his present side of the House—I hope not entirely ignominious and suicidal.
The petitions to be printed—Motion for the appointment of a Select Committee deferred till Tuesday.