HC Deb 18 February 1836 vol 31 cc532-51
Viscount Morpeth

said, he should not think it necessary to trouble the House at any great length upon the subject which he was about to bring under their consideration, because the Bill, for the introduction of which he should move, differed but little from that which he brought forward last Session, and which passed that House without a division, and, he might say, with almost the unanimous assent of every Member. Why that measure did not pass the other branch of the Legislature he had not been able to ascertain, for its leading features were derived from the provisions of Bills introduced by Members of former Administrations. Nor would it answer any good purpose to taunt the other House on the subject, or inquire into the motives by which they were actuated in refusing to pass the measure. One of the assigned reasons was the late period of the Session at which the Bill was sent to that House; and it was to obviate that objection that he now brought the measure forward again so early. He hoped that it would meet with the approbation of all classes—for he could justly say that it had no party tendency—and he trusted, therefore, that it would be now brought forward under happier auspices than its predecessor. The Bill which he proposed to introduce differed from that of last Session mainly in that it repealed the laws by which the constabulary and peace establishment in Ireland were at present formed and regulated; not with any view, however, to suppress those bodies which, with a few drawbacks, had been found to work well for the country, but in order that a sufficient force should be established under one improved and uniform system. The continuance of the present force had been provided for until the new one was organised. The Bill would enable the Lord-Lieutenant, instead of the four Inspectors-general, who now had the chief regulation of the police force in the four provinces of Ireland, to appoint one Inspector-general for the superintendence and management of the police force; and under him there were to be two Deputy-inspectors. It vested in the Inspector-general, subject to the approbation of the Lord-Lieutenant, the power of making rules and regulations for the government of the police force. Without entering into the minutiæ of existing Statutes, it was enough at present to say, that this authority would be accompanied by provisions better suited to the present time than those which at present existed. The Bill would also enable the Lord-Lieutenant to appoint county inspectors, and under them sub-inspectors, as well as a person to act as paymaster and storekeeper; and in the three largest counties, Cork, Galway, and Tipperary, there would be two of those officers. The appointment of all the police constables, whether chief or sub-constables, was placed in the hands of the Government. And this was, perhaps, the most material alteration in the Bill, transferring as it did the power from the local Magistracy to the Lord-Lieutenant. It was a material alteration, but he humbly submitted that it was a most important and judicious one. The Bill proposed that the Lord-Lieutenant should have the power of decreasing, or increasing the police force, according to the circumstances of the case. This would supersede all the cumbrous machinery which it now became necessary to resort to whenever a district was to be proclaimed; and would enable the Lord Lieutenant to diminish the amount of the police force with corresponding rapidity. With respect to transferring the appointment of the police force from the local magistracy to the Government, although that appointment would be nominally in the Crown, it would be practically in the hands of the Inspector-General. He (Lord Morpeth) contended that such an officer as the Inspector-General would be able to exercise a much more careful and a much more unbiassed choice than could be expected from so numerous a body as the local magistracy. Without imputing any improper motives to that body, without ascribing to them any other political feelings than would be found to exist in any equally numerous body of the same station in society, it was clear that the magistrates would in most cases be very desirous to appoint their own friends. Now, as he apprehended, the Inspector-General would be influenced by motives much more unbiassed, and his only object would be to make his force as efficient as possible for the public service. As a proof that the present mode of appointment was not the most advisable, he would mention that there had been instances of magistrates in some counties voluntarily divesting themselves of the power of appointment; and he believed it would be found that they had never repented. A few days ago he heard that five men who had been recently appointed to the constabulary force in Ireland had distinctly admitted that they belonged to a secret political society; and he found that, within the last three months, there had been dismissed upon that single ground, in the province of Ulster sixteen, in the province of Leinster thirty-one, in the province of Monster thirty, and in the province of Connought nineteen; so that in the whole of Ireland, within the short period he had mentioned, no fewer than ninety-six constables and sub-constables had been dismissed for belonging to secret societies. The proposed measure, he trusted, would prevent such a disgrace from again falling on the public service; for it proposed, that besides the oath to which the constables were at present subject, they should take an oath, that they were not members of any secret or political society. Magistrates were to be empowered to fine constables guilty of a neglect of duty in the penalty of 5l. It was also proposed to establish a supernumerary reserved corps, who should be trained at certain periods, and who should be called in on special occasions to the assistance of the permanent force, and out of that body it was proposed to make all appointments for the permanent force. Power was given to the Inspector-General, subject to the approbation of the Lord-Lieutenant, to move the force from one county to another. With respect to the amount of salaries, and other details, it would be better to reserve those matters for consideration when the Bill should go into Committee. By a provision of the Bill, two per cent was to be deducted from the salaries of the force, for the purpose of constituting a superannuation fund; and also 10s. per cent from all salaries for the police reward fund; the object of which was to reward those whose conduct entitled them to particular distinction. Such were the main features of the Bill which he had the honour to propose, and he confidently hoped that it would be found to be an improvement upon the general system, that it would render the constabulary force more effective, and that it would tend to the preservation of the public peace. He, therefore, begged to move for leave to bring in a Bill to amend the Acts relating to the Constabulary of Ireland.

Colonel Conolly

did not rise to oppose the Motion; but he thought there were some parts of it which must necessarily excite the apprehension of the Magistracy in Ireland, considering the course which his Majesty's Ministers had chosen to adopt in that country, where they had made the Executive Government, he might almost say, subservient to the system of agitation which had prevailed in that country for many years. Although he himself did not loot upon it with apprehension, he could not look upon it otherwise than with distrust, seeing that a large and respectable body, against whom no objection had been made for a long series of years, who were now mature in their organization, and imbued with a knowledge of their duty, were to be removed and dispersed, and a new system was to be adopted without any grounds having been stated for the altera- tion, or any sufficient advantage anticipated from it. The noble Lord had terminated his speech by saying, that he hoped the new system would be economical. If it were economical, that alone would not justify so great a change; but he apprehended that the result would be the reverse of economical. He also objected, on constitutional grounds, to making that great force, which ought to be amenable to the Magistracy of the country, altogether independent of them. He had been a Magistrate for many years, and he thought that that course had been too extensively adopted in Ireland already; because he was convinced that the placing of the body in question on a footing which would render them independent of the Magistracy, could not fail to be injurious to the Magistracy, and pernicious to the community. Various parts of the enactments were, in his opinion, objectionable; and he should watch with great jealousy the diversion of power from the hands of those in whom it was legitimately placed, into the hands of those from whom the worst was to be apprehended. As to the superannuation fund, he thought that that was a fair proposition.

Mr. Lucas

rose for the purpose of protesting against the transfer proposed by the noble Lord. He conceived that the local Magistrates were the persons in whom the appointments ought to rest; and he could not agree in the propriety of transferring the appointment of the constables to the Lord-Lieutenant. He believed he spoke the sentiments of his own county, as well as those of the landed proprietors of Ireland generally. The Magistrates of his own county had had two meetings on the subject; and he knew that he was speaking the sentiments of most of the resident gentry and landlords of the county, when he said, that the Magistracy was the constitutional body by which the constabulary was to be appointed. The Magistracy knew the characters of the persons who applied to be appointed, which the Inspector-General could not do. He must protest, therefore, against the transfer of the appointment of the constables from the local Magistracy and resident landlords to Government. It might be said, that the Magistrates would be influenced by a system of favouritism in recommending their own tenantry to the office of constable, but he must protest against such a doctrine. He was old-fashioned enough to think that the Magistrates were the more constitutional authorities. The character of the gentry of Ireland had, in- deed, fallen low, if they were not thought worthy by that House, or by his Majesty's Government, of retaining such a power. He protested against such a doctrine in the name of the Magistracy and gentry of Ireland, and on the behalf of the whole empire; for he was sure that the gentry of Ireland were not inferior in any respect to the gentry of. England, or to the gentry of any country in Europe. Though he did not agree with his Majesty's Government in polities, it was upon other grounds that he opposed the present proposition. He meant no disrespect to his Majesty's Ministers, or to the noble Lord, but he for one could not consent that the appointment of the police force on which depended the tranquillity of Ireland, should be hung (Jangling on the finger of any Secretary of Ireland.

Lord Clements

denied, that taking from the Magistracy of Ireland the power of appointing constables would degrade them in any way. In the province in which he resided, the Magistrates, so far from having any objection to the change, had voluntarily given up the power of appointment to Major Warburton, the Chief of the Police. He was informed that a similar step had been taken in Munster. If, therefore, the measure were at once advantageous to the community, and agreeable to the Magistrates, what more need be urged in its favour? How stood the case in this city? Was the appointment of the police vested in the hands of the Magistrates of Bow-street? No: the power was lodged in the hands of those who were to govern and command the force. He had never, however, heard that Major Warburton had hesitated to take into consideration the recommendation of the local Magistracy; and the Gentlemen opposite, therefore, had no right to suppose their representations would be unattended to. He thought it was a calumny upon Government to say, that they wished to degrade the gentry of Ireland, and he believed the opposition to the measure was the effect of party policy and party tactics.

Sir Robert Bateson

, after the very extraordinary speech of the noble Lord, could not be silent. As an Irish Gentleman, he could not sit still and hear the Irish Magistrates compared to those of Bow-street. Nor could he allow the assertion of the noble Lord, that the opposition to the measure was the result of party policy and feeling, to go uncontradicted. In the very temperate, and able speech of the hon. Member for Monaghan, there was not a syllable that could be construed into party spirit; and he (Sir Robert Bateson) agreed with that hon. Gentleman, that it would be impolitic to place in the hands, not only of the present, but of any Government, the power comprehended in the Bill. He did not wish to see the constabulary force converted into a gendarmerie, without any control on the part of the Magistracy. The Inspectors-General might be men of temper, judgment, and impartiality, but they might be zealous political partisans. They had heard one of them declare, that he knew of no secret society but one—the Orange Society; although in every county in Ireland they were surrounded by Ribbon Societies and other illegal associations; that person was either so ignorant, or so blinded by party feeling, that he was unable to distinguish the fact. As to the benefit of having stipendiary Magistrates, no benefit had been derived from them in the part of Ireland with which he was connected. To show that the system was not one of fair play, and that it was liable to be operated upon by party and political bias, he would state a circumstance which had come within his own knowledge. He made a complaint of a sub-constable to his officer, and required that he should be reported to Sir Frederick Stoven, the Inspector of the province; the officer replied, that the individual in question was a man of bad character, and could not be trusted, but that as he (the sub-constable) was a Roman Catholic, and as he (the officer) could not afford to lose his place, he could not report him as desired [loud cries of "Name, name."] What he had stated was the fact, but he would not give the Gentlemen opposite the gratification of naming the individual of whom he spoke. After such a specimen of the impartiality of the Government, it was not surprising that he should feel disposed to give every possible opposition to the present attempt to extend so injurious a system. He for one should object to place further power in the hands of that faction which ruled the Government of Ireland.

Mr. O'Connell

observed, that the hon. Baronet had taken leave to mention the name of Sir Frederick Stoven, but refused to give the name of the officer with whom the hon. Baronet had been in communication. That was not justice! The hon. Baronet took care to mention the name of the accused, but he carefully concealed the name of the accuser. Now, if the story was true, if it was not a delusion practised on the hon. Baronet, the person so charged ought not to be permitted to retain office for a single hour. But it was an accusation brought forward on anonymous authority. The present Government was assailed, because it was the first Government that had ever acted towards Ireland on the principles of justice. He did not know what effect his support of the Bill might have upon its fate. Perhaps it would be more prudent were he to absent himself, or to take his seat on the other side of the House. In Kerry, where the matter was first considered, the Magistrates had voluntarily surrendered into the hands of Major Millar the power of appointing persons to the police force. Clare, and some other counties in Ireland, had done the same thing; and the greatest advantages were found to result from it. In the first place, it did away with much village favouritism, and every other species of improper influence, in the selection of constables. In the North of Ireland, however, the Magistrates had not adopted this course; and therefore the Government found it necessary to take the matter into their own hands. In such a country as Ireland, power ought never to be left in irresponsible hands. At New Ross two constables were lately broken. One of them had exclaimed to a crowd of persons in a public-house, "Now for a bumper!" and having filled his glass, he gave as a toast, "The Pope in the pillory, the pillory in Hell, and the Devil pelting him with Popish priests," The other gave as a toast, "May the ears of all the Papists be nailed to the chapel-doors, and the chapel transplanted into Hell! These men were dismissed; but what remedy had the public against the Magistrates for having appointed such men? If the appointment lay in the Government, the moment such a charge was brought the censure of the House would fall on the Lord-Lieutenant by whom the appointment had been made. It had not been asserted, that any of the Magistrates of Ireland were Ribbonmen; but was it denied that many among them were Orangemen? Was it not a fact that the principal functionaries of the Orange Lodges in Ireland were supplied from the Magistracy? Would it be contended that the Grand. Orange Lodge was the fittest body in which to vest the appointment of the police? In his opinion, Government had done wisely to seek to have the appointment vested in their own hands, and he was happy that the subject had been taken up by the present Government—the first that had ever shown a disposition to do justice to Ireland.

Mr. Shaw

would not enter upon a general defence of the Magistrates of Ireland on the present occasion, so unjustly treated by the noble Lord's proposition. He was disposed, however, to agree with the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, that it was not proper to place power in irresponsible hands; but he could not agree with the hon. and learned Member that the hon. Member for Londonderry had brought forward his charge on anonymous authority. He had stated that the constable had made a communication to him personally; and he had stated that on his own authority. One of the effects of the Bill would certainly be to vest very considerable additional patronage in the hands of the Irish Government. Upon that point, however, it was not his intention then to dwell. As to the appointment of Roman Catholics, he would merely say that he was one of those who never objected to a man because he was a Roman Catholic; but at the same time he was strongly of opinion that no man ought to be appointed merely because he was a Roman Catholic. He did not mean to give offence to anybody; but he could not help observing a circumstance which had recently taken place in Ireland, namely, that in the appointment of thirty-four new officers—solicitors for conducting prosecutions at quarter sessions—thirty were chosen of the Roman Catholic persuasion. He did not mean to object to any of the gentlemen who had been thus appointed; but looking at the state of society in Ireland, and considering that in the legal profession there was a vast proportion of well-educated Protestants, he would ask any unprejudiced person whether the selection of so many Roman Catholics could be regarded as perfectly fair.

Lord John Russell

wished to say a very few words on this subject; and in doing so, he should endeavour to steer clear of all differences, whether of interest or passion, that might exist between Irish parties, and to state as briefly and concisely as possible what he conceived to be the general reasons on which the Bill proposed by his noble Friend (Lord Morpeth) was founded. There was at present an armed police force in Ireland, very different from any that existed in England, but which was thought necessary to keep the peace in that country. The object of the Bill now proposed by the noble Lord was to remedy the inconvenience which at present resulted from the imperfect organization of that force. In the first place, it appeared that the police of Ireland were at present subject to the direction and control of four inspectors-general;, all four being, as it were, totally independent of each other; therefore, adopting as they thought proper different systems, and each of them corresponding with his own sub-inspectors and thirty constables. By this means there was a want of uniformity throughout the whole system, whilst at the same time there was a great accumulation of business at the seat of the Government in Ireland, which was certainly unnecessary, and which ought properly to be conducted by the head of police. There was another inconvenience arising out of the present system, which it would be the object of the Bill now introduced to remove—namely, that while a great part of the police force was by common consent appointed by the inspectors, another part was appointed by the Magistrates, and by this means became subservient to local interests, to party views, and to the motives and feelings of particular individuals. The object, then, of the present Bill was to place in one inspector-general the direction of the whole police force of Ireland, to give him a complete control over it, to empower him to organize it into one system, and thus to make the police in Leinster and in Connaught act under the same rules and directions. This, he thought, it would be admitted, was an object which belonged not to any particular party, or to one party more than another; it was a national object, an object which all who desired to see the efficiency of the police improved by a proper system of organization, and by that means wished to contribute to the maintenance and preservation of peace in Ireland, would be anxious to see accomplished. In the course of the short discussion which had taken place upon this subject, there had been some insinuations thrown out, most unjustly as he thought, against a distinguished officer, who was now one of the inspectors of police in Ireland, he meant Sir Frederic Stoven, a man of high military reputation and unblemished character. No one in the army would deny the well-merited reputation which Sir Frederick enjoyed as a soldier, and being himself aware of the merits of the gallant officer in other respects, he was sorry to hear anything said within the walls of the House calculated to cast a slur upon his character. But with respect to the command of the police force, which was to be vested in the hands of an inspector-general, it had been the object of the Government, both in this country and in Ireland, to find some person who had been for years unconnected with any party in Ireland; but who, at the same time, should be qualified by habits of command and ability to govern the minds of men, to establish and enforce that discipline so necessary to the efficiency of a general police force in Ireland. For this purpose he had been in communication with an officer who was acknowledged to have been one of the most efficient persons in preserving the peace of this country in difficult times—he meant Colonel Shaw Kennedy. He believed that every gentleman in the House would concur with him, when he said that there was no man whose temper, discretion, judgment, and impartiality, could be more depended upon than those of Colonel Shaw Kennedy. He asked that gallant officer whether he would undertake the government of the police force in Ireland, and he was glad to find that he was not disinclined to do so. Therefore, if the Government should be enabled to pass the present Bill, and to adopt a different system of police in Ireland, his Majesty having approved his recommendation in that respect. Colonel Shaw Kennedy would be appointed to the head of the force. It would, he thought, be necessary for him to observe, that Colonel Shaw Kennedy, connected with no party in Ireland, would perform the duties imposed upon him with the utmost impartiality and exactness, and, at the same time, in such a manner as should give general satisfaction and produce general conciliation.

Sir Robert Bateson

begged distinctly to be understood that he had not intended, in any observation that fell from him, to reflect in the slightest degree upon the conduct of Sir Frederick Stoven.

Sir Robert Peel

rose principally for the purpose of confirming, which he did with the utmost satisfaction, the testimony which was borne by the noble Lord (Russell) to the high character and great military reputation of Colonel Shaw Kennedy. His first communication with Colonel Shaw was at a time when he had no personal acquaintance with him whatever; although he knew that he was distinguished in the highest degree for his gallantry in the field, and remembered that he had superintended the whole of the extensive arrangements which it was necessary to make on the return of the British army of occupation from France. On that occasion, too, he recollected that Colonel Shaw had exhibited so nice a power of arrangement, and so ready a talent of combination, as greatly to add to the military reputation he had previously acquired. Aware of these high qualities, when the police force in the metropolis was constituted, the first person to whom he applied to undertake its direction and control was Colonel Shaw. The regret which he felt at Colonel Shaw's declining the appointment, was greatly mitigated by the acceptance of the same office by the gallant officer who now, in conjunction with Mr. Mayne, superintended the constabulary police force in the metropolis. It was, however, with the utmost satisfaction that he now heard from the noble Lord that Colonel Shaw was likely to accept the command of the police force in Ireland. He would venture to say, that no man could be found who would execute all the duties of that important trust with greater impartiality, or with more complete freedom from all party feeling. He, however, would suggest, that when appointed to the head of the force, Colonel Shaw should have the appointment of all the officers employed under him, and for whose conduct he was responsible. He believed it to be of the highest importance that the police force in Ireland should be kept perfectly free from the influence of party animosity and party excitement. The appointment of police officers, therefore, was a trust which, if honestly administered, he thought had better be intrusted to the hands of the representative of the Crown than to any local authority. But he made that admission on, the assumption that the trust was to be administered with perfect honesty. If it were otherwise—if the power conferred by the trust were perverted to other purposes, and were employed to gratify party animosities, or to confirm political advantages, then he should say the efficiency of the Bill would be totally destroyed. He thought that the noble Lord should adopt the same rule in Ireland as had already been adopted in the metropolis, and that those who were responsible for the good conduct of the men should have the appointment of them; and that the Government ought in no case to interfere in the nomination of officers for the purpose of gratifying any of its political friends. If Colonel Shaw were to be appointed to the head of the force, let him have the nomination of the men; and if he (Sir R. Peel) knew anything of that gallant officer, he would undertake to say, that he would exercise the power thus confided to him with honesty and discretion, and that, in a much less time than could otherwise be hoped for, a well-disciplined and efficient police force would be established in Ireland. And he felt bound to say, with great deference to the opinions of his hon. Friend, who had taken a different view of the subject, that he thought if the police force in Ireland were appointed and directed upon this principle, there would be a much stronger guarantee for its sufficiency, and freedom from all local and party prejudices, than could possibly be the case if the appointment of the men of whom it was to be composed were intrusted to the local authorities. Therefore, he was not unfriendly to the principle of the present Bill, always assuming that the powers to be intrusted to the Lord-lieutenant should be exercised with impartiality, and for no other purpose than that of improving the police force. But the principle of the Bill, good as it was, was of more extensive application than to the mere improvement of the police force. Suppose he (Sir Robert Peel) had been asked, upon the first day of the present Session, to agree to an Address to the Crown, pledging him to apply precisely the same principles to the administration of justice, or to the formation of a constabulary force in Ireland, as were known to exist in England. Supposing that he had said, "Do not ask me on the first day of the Session to give such a pledge; there may be peculiarities in the state of society in Ireland which call for the application of a different system, and which may render it right or necessary to place the whole power of the police in the hands of his Majesty's Government. As a general principle, it may be right not to transfer such a power from the hands of local authorities to those of the King's Secretary of State; but there may be such peculiarities in the state of Ireland, in the state of the population, in the state of property; above all, in the unfortunate state of religious animosities, which make it better to trust the representative of the Crown, than to allow the power to remain in the hands of the local authorities, however respectable." Suppose, having such an argument in his mind, he had said he would not give the pledge required of him—suppose, although most anxious to administer justice in Ire- land on the same principles of impartiality as in England, he had said, that he doubted whether he should effect that object by pledging himself to apply precisely the same principles to a totally different state of things—suppose he had said, with the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, "Beware of local animosities and jealousies—beware of village partialities—do not trust local authorities—do not trust irresponsible bodies. Place these appointments in the hands of the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland. If he abuse them, he is more tangible than any local authority." He admitted the justice of the principle on which the Bill proceeded; but if that principle were good for the police of the country, why was it not equally good for the police of the town? And why, because it might be fitting to intrust the appointment of the Municipal Police to Corporate authorities in England, why might it not follow, or why might they not choose to subscribe at once to the inference, that therefore it should be good to place the same power in the same local and irresponsible bodies in Ireland? He found, therefore, in the speech of the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, and also in that of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, a complete vindication of the justice of the course which he had pursued in the first night of the present Session, and in which he was joined by a powerful minority of the House. The Amendment he then moved to the Address was founded on this principle, that whilst he was prepared to concede to Ireland the absolute right of having impartiality in the administration of justice secured to her, yet he desired that he might not be fettered by a pledge that he would apply the same principles which had been adopted here to another part of the empire, whose society was differently constituted, and whose circumstances were by no means the same.

Mr. Henry Grattan

must bear his testimony in favour of the Government of Lord Mulgrave, and express his conviction that that noble Lord would do his duty in spite of the hon. Gentlemen opposite. If they were now obliged to have recourse to the present measure (and he admitted it to be a strong one), it was on account of the bad measures which had been adopted by the party who had so long misgoverned Ireland. He thanked God that the present Government were disposed to act upon different principles, and as long as they continued to pursue the couse they had so well begun they might rest assured of the support of the great majority of the Irish Members.

Colonel Perceval

would not attempt to make any reply to the speech of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. He really believed the hon. Gentleman had made use of the words without intending to use them, and many sentences, which in his cooler moments he, would not have troubled the House with. He (Colonel Perceval) rose for the purpose of saying that the explanation of the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, relative to the intention of his Majesty's Government of selecting a man so unanimously admired and respected as Colonel Shaw, would undoubtedly remove many of the difficulties and objections which he and his friends were of opinion had existed against the Bill as introduced during the last Session of Parliament. He would, undertake to show, that they were not inconsistent in opposing the measure of the noble Lord, up to the moment that this explanation was made. As the power which the local Magistrates possessed of making appointments was to be taken away by this Bill, and the inspectors-general, in whom all parties placed the most unequivocal confidence, to be removed, their opposition to the measure was grounded, upon, the apprehension, justly, he would say, formed from these circumstances, that this indication on the part of his Majesty's Government in Ireland would have been followed up by the appointment of partisans of its own, for the purpose of carrying this measure into effect. One of the reasons for his so thinking had been adverted to by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, but as he (Colonel Perceval) was anxious to prevent any further pique upon the subject, and was also desirous of allowing the feelings of both parties to be directed to the improvement of the Bill, with a view to render it as beneficial a measure as possible to all portions of the community—he would not now more particularly allude to his reasons of objection than by merely asking the noble Lord, the Secretary for Ireland, whether it was his intention to introduce a Clause authorising his Majesty's Government to grant a retiring allowance to the Inspectors-General for Ireland, commensurate with the services they had rendered. He alluded particularly, to the Inspector-General who had been at the head of the police department for such a number of years, and who, during his time of office, had secured to him the confidence, good opinion, and respect of all parties — he meant Major Warburton. He believed it was in the power of the Government to remunerate by public employment the services of Sir Frederick Stoven, as they might also those of another military officer, Major Miller, of the artillery. He respected Sir Frederick Stoven's character as an officer, though he had no confidence in him as head of the police. Much of the objection which he (Colonel Perceval) urged against the Bill of last Session was founded upon the dread he entertained of a political partisan being placed at the head of the police. The fourth and oldest of the Gentlemen who had filled the offices of Inspectors-General, was now by age rendered unfit for any other occupation, and he was sure it would be a great gratification to all parties in Ireland, if they were now to understand that it was not the intention of his Majesty's Government to allow his long services to go unrewarded.

Mr. Sergeant O'Loghlen

should not have addressed the House upon the subject of this Bill, but for an observation which had fallen from the hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Shaw). That hon. and learned Gentleman stated, that of thirty-four local solicitors recently appointed in Ireland, thirty were Roman Catholics. Now, what was the fact? When he (Mr. O'Loghlen) was appointed to the office he had then the honour to hold, he found four local solicitors, all of whom were certainly Roman Catholics; but instead of thirty four others being added, twenty-four only were appointed, and of these, as he was credibly informed, certainly eight, and he believed nine, were Protestants; and he might add, that many of those who where Roman Catholics had received their appointment from the recommendation of Protestant Magistrates and Protestant Barristers The question of what religion the party was of never entered into the consideration of those by whom, the appointment was made. The office was not one of emolument. It consisted merely in this;—of having a person who had practised at the quarter sessions in Ireland who would undertake to prosecute such cases as might be sent to him by the Crown-solicitor in that particular circuit. And the object o the appointment was this:—to put an end if possible, to those factions and party fights at markets and fairs which were so frequent in the south and west of Ireland, previous to his (Mr. O'Loghlen's) coming into office, he found that these solicitors charged two guineas for every case put into their hands but he had since reduced the fees so much as to render it extremely improbable that the gross amount of the emolument arising to any one of the solicitors would exceed 10l. per annum. In fact, since the last Session of Parliament he hail received letters from several of the gentlemen who had been appointed local solicitors declining to serve any longer, stating that they were better paid by the rioters to defend them than by the Crown to prosecute them.

Mr. Anthony Lefroy

said, that having entertained, in common with his hon. Friends who had spoken against this Bill, a great objection to the changes it proposed, he must admit that he concurred in principle with those who thought that appointments in the police should be made by a responsible authority; but it could not be supposed that the magistrates and gentry of Ireland would be satisfied with a measure which would transfer such power to a Government who, they had good reason for supposing, would be guided, in the disposal of their patronage, by an influence which was both dangerous and irresponsible. He was ready to admit that some of his objections were removed by the character given by the noble Lord of the gentleman who was to be placed over the police, confirmed as it was by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth and in withdrawing his opposition he was glad to prove to the hon. Member for Meath (Mr. H. Grattan) notwithstanding his exaggerated statements, that he did not object to a measure, if a good one, from whatever side of the House it might come. And he trusted, from the great experience and high character of the officer who would have the superintendence of the police, that a confident hope might be entertained that, disregarding all party feeling, he would only desire to have that force as efficient as possible, for the protection of life and property in Ireland.

Colonel Verner

merely rose to notice what fell from the hon. Member for Meath, with regard to an outrage which he stated to have taken place at Ballybay, in the county of Monaghan, on the 14th or 15th of last month, when, as the hon. Member observed, a body of Orangemen attacked the Roman Catholics indiscriminately coming to the market, beat and abused them without provocation, and. drove them into a lake —into which, as fast as they endeavoured to release themselves, they were again pushed. Possessing property in the immediate vicinity of that town, he did not think such an occurrence was likely to take place without its having come to his knowledge; but he could quote better authority than his own for doubting the accuracy of the hon. Member's information—his hon. Friend the Member for Monaghan, authorised him (Colonel Verner) to say, that until this moment he never heard of the transaction alluded to by the hon. Member for Meath, or that any outrage had been committed at Bally-bay, such as had been stated by the hon. Member, He felt that in justice to the Magistrates of the province of Ulster, he ought not to sit down without replying to an observation made by the hon. and learned Member for the city of Dublin, charging them, by the name of Orange Magistrates, with having appointed or nominated improper persons to the constabulary force of that district. One fact which he (Colonel Verner) should state to the House would be a sufficient refutation of this assertion. The province of Ulster was in point of extent and in point of population greater than any other in Ireland, notwithstanding that its constabulary force was less by upwards of 200 men than that of the smallest province in that country. In another province that force was more than double that of Ulster. But what was most remarkable the number of men belonging to the police in one southern county exceeded those of the nine northern counties united. This spoke volumes, not only as to the good conduct and character of the men, but as to the peaceful state of the province. Now, he should only mention one circumstance more upon the part of this body. When it became necessary, in consequence of renewed disturbances in a southern county, that an augmentation should be made to the force in that part, from whom was the draft taken? from Armagh. And what were the instructions issued to the chief constable of police? To send good men. He left to hon. Members acquainted with the character of the police of Ulster to put their own construction upon that order.

Mr. Finn

complained that the system of favouritism to Orangemen in Ireland had gone so far under the old police system as to allow persons who had committed arson and murder to escape.

Mr. Shaw

, in explanation, begged to say, in reference to the number of Roman Catholics amongst the newly-appointed Crown Solicitors, that he had abstained from making a remark on the subject so long as the fact rested on mere report or newspaper authority; but he had spoken on the authority of a letter he then held in his hand, from a Gentleman, a friend of his own, of the highest character and station, who had assured him of the correctness of the statement, and since he had before spoken on the subject that evening, he had written to that Gentleman to request he would furnish him with the particulars of the case.

Mr. Barron

said, that for many years it had been the policy of the Irish Government not to appoint Roman Catholics to any official situation, so that no apology would be due from the present Government, even if every one of the appointments which had been referred [to were of Roman Catholics. But the accusation which had been brought forward against the Government this night appeared to be totally false and unfounded. He rejoiced that the right hon. Baronet opposite had given his support to the principle of this Bill. The testimony borne by the right hon. Gentleman in its favour would go a great way with all men, both in and out of this House, and he hoped it would also go a great way with noble personages in another place, and be the means of the Bill becoming the law of the land. He sincerely trusted that the Government would go on day after day, and session after session, to assimilate the law in the two countries until Ireland, now torn to pieces by contending parties, should become peaceable, prosperous, and happy. He only regretted that the right hon. Baronet, who had been so many years in power, had not seen the necessity of making this great reform until now, when it emanated from other parties. He was sure, however, that the right hon. Baronet's enlightened mind must long since have felt the necessity of such a change; but he was unfortunately trammelled and held in bondage when in that country by the party now sitting beside and around him. He was now out of power, and they had his admission that such a change was absolutely required, and he (Mr. Barron) congratulated the House and the country upon the likelihood of the constabulary law in Ireland at length becoming what it ought always to have been.

Mr. William, Roche

supported the Bill, and said that the recent appointments in Limerick had given general satisfaction.

Sir Robert Peel

wished to say one word in reference to what had fallen from the hon. Member for Waterford, although a move convenient opportunity would be afforded him to enter upon the question fully on the second reading of the Bill. Supposing he (Sir Robert Peel) was taking a different course from what he did in 1814, still if a change of circumstances and subsequent experience led him to think that a different course was desirable, he should, without the least apprehension of any charge of inconsistency, adopt that altered course. The question was not, whether a public man changed his views, but whether there was any interested motive for such a change. If there was, then the change might be censured; but if there was not, then he must say he could not feel the force of that satire which the hon. Gentleman had directed against him, for having (suppose he had), after a lapse of years, more extended experience, and subsequent consideration, changed his opinion as to the policy best to be adopted. That was what he should feel supposing the charge of inconsistency applied to him. But he thought, while the hon. Gentleman was speaking, that he was not subject to that charge. To the best of his recollection, the principle of the Act which he (Sir Robert Feel) introduced on this subject in 1814, expressly gave to the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland the power of these appointments. He was not responsible for the subsequent Acts that were passed; but the principle of the Act which he introduced was precisely the same as that which had been adopted by the noble Lord. He confessed his confidence in the Bill would have been greatly shaken, unless it preserved to the Lord-lieutenant the power of appointing persons to the constabulary force, and also the power of removal. Those powers had been given by the Bill he himself introduced; and he saw by the report that some of the constables went under the designation of "Peelers," which confirmed him in the recollection of the nature of his Bill, showing that they must have owed their appointments to him, and not to the magistrates.

Leave was given to bring in the Bill.