HC Deb 08 March 1836 vol 32 cc1-119

The Order of the Day for resuming the Adjourned Debate on the Municipal Corporations (Ireland) was read; and the debate resumed on the Amendment moved by Lord Francis Egerton as an instruction to the Committee.

Mr. Smith O'Brien

said, it might be some apology for his rising so early to address the House, that though this was not. a question, the decision upon which was to effect the triumph of a political party, or to displace a Ministry from office, yet it was known and felt by all Members for Ireland to be a question upon which hinged the tranquillity and domestic peace of Ireland. He was opposed strongly to the Amendment proposed last night by the noble Lord opposite, and he was now prepared to show that the adoption of it would produce the most fatal consequences, as respected the peace of that country. The able and eloquent exposition of the state of the corporate bodies in Ireland, and their mal-administration would obtain ample corroboration from the local experience of most gentlemen connected, like himself, with that country. He, then, as one Member of that House acquainted with some towns in the south of Ireland, would state in a few words what he knew of the Corporations of Limerick and of Ennis, with which he was more immediately connected, closely bearing as that knowledge did upon the question which Parliament had then to dispose of. The city of Limerick, as the House was probably aware, contained a population of 60,000. Its municipal government consisted of a Mayor, Aldermen, and common-council, and if the representative system had originally been applied to that Corporation, there would, perhaps, at the present moment, be little fault to find. But so far from the representative principle ever having been in force, that of strict nomination had always prevailed, that nomination having been completely at the disposal of a noble Lord not resident in the town, and possessing but moderate property in it. The patronage of that borough, as possessed by him, was a thing quite complete in every respect—so complete, that no one of his nominations to any office, great or small, in the Corporation was ever rejected, for it was an honourable understanding with the members of the council, that so long as they held office they held it but in trust for the patron. He had, therefore, the appointment of the Mayor, the Sheriffs, and even the bailiffs. The income of this Corporation amounted to 5,000l. a-year, the greater part of which had, of late years, been applied and used for the purpose of defeating the just claims of the citizens to inferior branches of the freedom. This Corporation, the House, would not be surprised to learn, had at all times been an exclusive body, and at present did not contain any Roman Catholics. Limerick was a considerable port, and possessed rather an extensive trade, but not one of the merchants were of right admitted into the Corporation. The sheriffs of the county of the city of Limerick were appointed by the patron, and those officers appointed the Grand Jury, a body which, he need not remind the House, had very important functions to discharge, and he put it to hon. members whether it was fitting that such a city should, in that manner, and to such an extent, be placed at the disposal of a single individual. There did, however, exist in the city a Board of Commissioners chosen by the inhabitants, upon the principle of representation, who had the disposal of a revenue of 2,000l. a-year. This Board consisted of Protestants and Catholics, without distinction of faith, and they discharged their duties to the entire satisfaction of the inhabitants by whom they were chosen. With regard to Ennis, his own family was interested in that borough. It consisted of 10,000 inhabitants, and the municipal government was intrusted to a provost and twelve burgesses, who had as little relation to the town of Ennis as they had to the city of London. The patronage before the Reform Bill was divided between two families; but he believed he spoke from authority when he said, that they were no longer desirous of this species of influence. There existed no municipal authority in the place, and it was neither paved, lighted, cleansed, nor watched. These might be taken as specimens of two Corporations; and with respect to such small boroughs as were below 6,000 in point of population, perhaps the best thing that could happen would be that they should be extinguished. He would now look at the reasons urged for adopting the Amendment; and, first of all he would remark, that if it were carried, it would be as little acceptable to the friends as to the enemies of the noble mover. It arose out of nothing but jealousy and distrust of the Roman Catholics; and what motive more miserable or contemptible for depriving a great nation of its rights and franchises could be stated, than to admit that it arose out of terror of the power of an individual who owed that power only to the wrongs of his country? The way to lessen that power was to redress those wrongs. He must say, that he never heard more miserable or contemptible reasoning than that of last night by hon. Members opposite in support of that presumed necessity for excluding the Roman Catholics from all participation in civil power in those boroughs. Would those hon. Members never learn that the excessive power and influence which they lamented so to see exercised in the affairs of Ireland, by an hon. and learned individual in the House, was founded upon his strenuous advocacy of their rights, and the sense they entertained of their wrongs? Did not they tell the Catholics of Ireland by this Amendment that they considered them unfit to govern the affairs of a Corporation or of a parish? and would not the Catholics, of course, in such a state of things, fly to him as their adviser and advocate, who came before the united legislature of both countries backed by the voices of six millions and a-half of Irish Catholics? The principle he was always advocating was due to every Catholic—to every Protestant—namely, that every man in Ireland should have an equal participation with Englishmen in all the rights and privileges of the British constitution. The pretext for discovering that a division should take place on this occasion he condemned as flimsy, because the question might, with more convenience, be raised in the Committee. With respect to the details of the Bill, and the reasons advanced against them, the more they were examined the more flimsy seemed the pretext for dividing upon it in the present stage. No change was, in fact, involved, that might not be made in the Committee, and the supporters of the amendment were not prepared to deny that Municipal Corporations were necessary for the purposes contained in the Statute of 9 Geo. 4th, c. 82. Had those supporters never heard it stated that the great mass of the population of Ireland were little disposed at this moment to place confidence in county or city Magistrates nominated by the Crown? If the proposed change were made, the Crown must necessarily appoint many Roman Catholics, so that to carry the Amendment would create the very evil from which its advocates were so anxious to fly. The argument founded upon the police had no weight with him, and he frankly confessed to the noble Lord, the Chief Secretary, that as the peace of Ireland had never been preserved by an armed force, so he believed it never would. Those who wished to preserve good order, must place confidence in those respectable persons who had the power to maintain it. There had been something last night thrown out ad captandum with respect to the question of the right to levy tolls in the boroughs. Now, though in many cases, a change in this respect might be desirable; yet, in general, he was far from thinking that it would be desirable in all cases to insist on depriving the borough government of the right of levying such tolls, provided they were applied bona fide to purposes of trade and commerce in the borough. This would apply even to the question of fair tolls. Arguing even by analogy from the case of a merchant who paid port dues without complaint, because he procured in return equivalent advantages, he arrived, in respect to fair and market tolls in boroughs, at the same inference. He professed, that, considering the causes that existed in Ireland for disaffection and violence, he only wondered that affrays and political excitement were so seldom witnessed there. Under good municipal regulations, he was satisfied that these tolls might be made a source of the greatest benefit to the community. He would not follow an hon. Gentleman who had spoken last night through his instances of indiscretion in particular parts of Ireland: in the present state of society there, they were not to be avoided, and he was only surprised that they were not more frequent; but he wished to show what would be the result of the amendment if it were adopted. He was confident that it would arm every advocate for a repeal of the Union with an argument that would be responded from one end of Ireland to the other. The Irish Members who supported the Bill, might be said to represent seven-eighths of the people. In this country, public opinion was all-powerful—no government dared to resist it; but in Ireland, let that opinion be ever so generally pronounced, the Government could afford to treat it with contempt. He asked every English gentleman to put it to himself, how he would feel, if he were told, that Englishmen were not qualified to enjoy rights possessed by any nation of the globe? Were they told so, the answer would be, "Then your Government is not for us." Here, it was not sufficient to counteract the wishes of the people of Ireland, but they were also to be insulted by remarks upon the balance of votes. His conviction was, and always had been, that provided the two countries were governed as one—provided rights and franchises were equally enjoyed—provided no terms of contumely were used, and Ireland were incorporated like Middlesex or Yorkshire—on those terms, and on no other, would the Union be beneficial. The spirit which gave such fearful importance to the question of the repeal of the Union was not extinct; it slumbered in the confidence which the people of Ireland reposed in the House, and in the present Government; but if their hopes were disappointeda—their confidence betrayed—if unhappily the House listened to the suggestions of the noble Lord, the same fearful spirit would be revived with irresistible force. At the present moment, and with present prospects, there was no danger of the kind. If this measure were thrown out in another place, a different cry would be substituted for the repeal of the Union: the indignation of the Irish people would then be turned towards a quarter to which, for one, he was not desirous to see it directed. Hereditary legislation could only maintain its prerogative by the most cautious forbearance and prudence, by persuading the people that the interests of one order were not supported by the sacrifice of the interests of the mass of the community. If the resentment of Ireland were roused, it might be found that such a course could not be pursued with impunity. But he forbore to use arguments of expediency: those who were resolved to do wrong were right to begin early; and those who were determined to do right might safely disregard ulterior consequences, and rely with confidence upon the national gratitude of a generous people.

Mr. Randal Plunkett

felt convinced, that after the speech the House had heard, it would have no objection to have the same subject differently treated. He remembered to have read in an Irish provincial paper, that on a certain day, in a certain month, a spinster, of an age he felt it his duty to forget, had "renounced the errors of the Roman Catholic persuasion, to embrace those of the Protestant." It appeared to him that the question was, shall we abandon the corruptions of the Protestant Corporations, to embrace those of the Roman Catholic? He had not the good fortune to know much of the motives of reformers; but if he was to judge from what he had read of the statements of those who supported the Reform Bill, as of real Reformers, then was he justified in considering that the excision of all those excrescences which had by time grown up on our venerable institutions, to cut away root and branch, those noxious plants which cumber the ground, was their principle. But when we come to proceed on these their own principles— Turn vero manifesto fides, Danaumque patescunt Insidiæ— —Victorque Sinon incendia miscet Insultans.— Then did their fidelity to their ancient maxims become manifest—then did the wiles of the enemy appear evident, and soon would the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, when he returns to his country again, shorn, indeed, of some of those honours with which he approached us here, cause to be ignited those bonfires he had ordered in the last speech he made, ere he bade his native shores adieu, from the Causeway to the Cove of Cork, and from Limerick to the Liffey, upon the event of the Ministerial measure passing. Let the House imagine, what must be the feelings of his Majesty's loyal Protestant subjects when they beheld around these blazing pyres, and probably considerably exhilarated by mountain dew, some thousands of those called Ribbonmen, of which association the noble Lord opposite, the Secretary for the Home Department, had stated, he was sure in ignorance, that no persons of the station of Members of Parliament were members. He could tell the noble Lord, that there had been, and he would not say that there were not still members of the association called Ribbonmen, in Parliament.

Mr. Hume

rose to order. The hon. Gentleman charged a Member of that House with belonging to a Ribbon Society. He submitted, that the hon. Gentleman was not entitled to make an accusation, disgraceful in itself, against another hon. Member, without naming the party to whom he alluded.

Mr. Randall Plunkett

"The words I used were, that there had been, and that I would not say, that there were not still Members of Parliament who belonged to that society, which we, the uninitiated, call Ribbonism, but which is, in fact, not the name, I believe, which the parties take, as they call themselves Sons of the Shamrock, and other designations. Is the hon. Member for Middlesex satisfied? [The hon. Member nodded assent.] I arose principally to announce the sentiments of my clients, who are, in this case, the Corporation of Drogheda, and I do so from the highest authority in such a case, being armed first, with a petition from the Mayor, Sheriffs, &c. &c, and Common Council of the town of Drogheda, agreed to on the 19th of last February; showing thereby, that it was not in consequence of any communications from this side of the House, as to the line proposed by them. The petitioners state in conclusion, (the hon. Member read part of the petition) that they consider that it would be infinitely preferable to abolish that Corporation altogether, than substitute a new one, on the principles proposed by the provisions of the Bill before the House. Petitioners, in an earlier part of the Petition, had endeavoured to guard the House against the reception, as conclusive evidence of the Report of the Commissioners. It is to this subject that I wish to direct the attention of the House of Commons and the country. I arraign the whole Report of the Corporate Commissioners. In the first place, Sir, they were altogether a different sort of persons from those selected, when the Commission of Public Instruction issued; it was composed of as many English as Irishmen, so that the integrity of the Englishmen, although they might be party men, countervailed the prejudices inseparable from Irishmen. I can speak from ray own knowledge of the Englishmen, especially whatever I may think of their Commission, that they were men of high talents and attainments—men well qualified to fill a high position creditably. When the Poor-law Commissioners were appointed, they were all men of very different calibre from the Corporate Commissioners. In the outset of their labours, these Commissioners chaunt a dirge over a Mr. Colhoun; but the important circumstance therewith connected is this, that by the demise of Mr. Colhoun, a Mr. Henry Baldwin was left to make the whole inquiry into a large district allotted as his share, comprising many towns, three of them returning Members to Parliament, and others possessing much corporate property, as Trim and the much calumniated town of Naas. The Report on all these towns, rests alone on the authority of Mr. Baldwin. I do not know whether this be the gentleman I see opposite to me, the hon. Member erst famous for blarney, and the four gun-brigs, or any other gentleman of the same name. We have another rejoicing in the Euphonious name of Philip Fogarty—of this gentleman, I shall only say, read his decisions, when sent down twice as registering barrister to Belfast; the facts are before the public, and I leave those who are juris consults to say, whether his decisions were according to law and the Reform Bill, or not. Now, Sir, come we to my friends of the Drogheda Report, and the House will not be surprised if it should prove inaccurate, when I said, I have some grounds for thinking that the returns on which the Report was founded, were actually made and complete, before the Commissioners went down to Drogheda. The specific charge made by the right hon. the Attorney-General is twofold:—First, that in Drogheda, not as elsewhere, the public property and funds derivable from tolls, &c. &c. were applied to the private purposes, and particular persons of the Corporation; and secondly, its exclusive and sectarian character. As to the first—will the House believe, that in the statement made by the Attorney-General, it is made to appear as if the property in land, with the houses built at the expense of the occupying tenant thereupon, were the property of the Corporation? For instance, suppose the ground-rent of a house is 47. an acre, and that the tenant, for the premises he builds could get 40l. if he set them, is the Corporation to receive 40l. per annum, the tenant's only remuneration for the buildings he has raised? The whole corporate property of Drogheda is 1,620 acres, in town and country; and 3l. without fine, all round, would be a high valuation for them. Now, as to the tolls, what do even these Corporate Commissioners say? They say, page 881, Report on Drogheda—"And the surplus of these funds has been uniformly expended, in conjunction with the funds derivable from the Corporation estates,"(after the deduction therefrom, &c.) "in the erection of public works, the general improvement of the town, assisting county charges, which a limited district could not sustain without severe pressure, and also in support of police institutions, with which the inhabitants must otherwise be chargeable." Now, as to their sectarian feelings—in 1833, Mr. St. George Smith proves, that when any corporate property is out of lease, it is let to the highest bidder, without such distinction. But, Sir, it is not long that they have had the power of doing this, that is, if they acted up to the spirit and letter of their only tenure of property, privileges, and power. Sir, I will read to the House what I consider the most extraordinary assertion ever made—The Commissioners state (Report, Drogheda, p. 387), that "previously to the accession of James 2nd the Corporation of Drogheda appears to have been constituted without any sectarian distinction. "Why, is there any one who pretends to know anything of Irish history, who does not know that most of James 1st's charters were to Protestants exclusively? James 2nd tore them away most unjustly, as stated in a letter of William 3rd to certain Protestant aldermen, to whom he restored their rights thereby, of which letter I will read an extract. It is dated from the camp at Kilcullenbridge, 12th July, 1690. [The hon. Member here read the extract.] To these same people, in the 10th year of his reign, the same monarch, by a new charter given to Drogheda, ratified their rights and possessions. I have stated, that I am authorised by the Corporation of Drogheda to concur in the plan proposed from this side of the House; but I should not be doing justice to my own feelings, if I did not say that I should part with deep regret from those Corporations which everywhere have been amongst the best bulwarks of Protestant- ism, and British interests in Ireland. We are all, as I have heard the hon. and learned Member for Dublin state, entitled to our own opinion; he to his, and I to mine; and as I happen to entertain from conscientious conviction the following sentiments, I should think it unmanly to shrink from openly avowing them, viz.: that I do believe, that the moderate ascendancy of Protestant principles is necessary to the glory and greatness of Great Britain and Ireland, and the safety of the United Empire; and I think it may be most dangerous in a statesman to abandon important muniments of the Protestant Constitution in Church and State. Connected as I am intimately with Roman Catholics, I have yet always lived on terms of as much amity by not withholding our opinions as by concealment. I conclude by again pressing upon this House and the country, the duty of avoiding implicit credit to the Report on any towns of the Corporate Commissioners, at least unless we see the evidence whereon they have grounded it.

Mr. Villiers Stuart

said, that as this was his first time of addressing the House, he had much need of its indulgence, while he ventured to make a few observations upon the important measure now under consideration. He owed a double debt of gratitude and thanks to his Majesty's Ministers for the course they had pursued on the present occasion. First, for having introduced the Bill now before the House, calculated, as it was, to give satisfaction to the Irish people, and next, for their uncompromising opposition to the amendment of the noble Lord opposite. Could any hon. Member fail to see that the amendment of the noble Lord was nothing else than a direct stigma on the Catholics of Ireland? He could tell the noble Lord, that if he felt for Ireland and the Irish people that interest which he had professed the night before in his speech, he would have done a much better service to that country, and earned for himself more of the gratitude of that people; had he, when he was Secretary for that part of the empire, introduced a similar measure to the present Bill, rather than have lent the aid of his name, and character, and station to the upholding of Protestant ascendancy. But, no; so long as Protestant ascendancy was to be maintained, and so long as oppression and injustice was to be the governing rule for Ireland, so long was the political interest of the noble Lord, and those with whom he acted, to preserve the old system, and not only not to abolish Corporations, as he now proposed, but to leave their abuses unredressed. He had given to all the arguments that had been brought forward in opposition to the present Bill the closest attention, and the best consideration that he could command, and he saw in them nothing that affected, in the slightest degree, the principle of the measure. The objections that had been urged were in his mind applicable only to the details, and, he thought, had much better have been reserved for the Committee than advanced at the present stage of the proceeding. The hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Lefroy) had said that he did not know what the principle of the present Bill was, but that, as far as his own views went upon that part of the subject, he was decidedly hostile to the system of self-election. Now, if the hon. and learned Member was hostile to the principle of self-election, he ought to support this Bill, for one of the most prominent provisions was to destroy that principle, and if the hon. and learned Member did not know what the Bill contained, as be professed, was it not possible that he might find its other provisions equally worthy of his support as its destruction of the principle of self-election? As to the power which it was said the present Bill was calculated to throw into the hands of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin and the Catholic clergy, he was not prepared, he confessed, to ground any argument on a bare assertion like this; but, supposing the assertions to be true, would not that, he confidently asked, be an additional argument in favour of the measure? Could it be doubted by any person who had attended to the modern history of Ireland, that any stigma or insult offered at the present moment to the Irish nation would give great additional and increased power to the hon. and learned Gentleman alluded to? Was not the amendment of the noble Lord, then, directed to convey the one and to increase the other? Did it not stigmatize the Roman Catholic population of Ireland as unworthy of being intrusted with power; and did it not by that very denunciation give a vast increase to the influence and power of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin? But what, on the other hand, was the Bill of his Majesty's Ministers calculated to accomplish? Why, it was designed and calculated, above all other measures, to conciliate the people of Ireland, and thus disarm the hon. and learned Member for Dublin of the alarming power he now possessed. He said alarming;, because it could not be otherwise than fearful to see a state of things existing in any country as could give such powers as that hon. and learned Member possessed into the hands of any private individual. As to the Catholic clergy, he could not see any power which the present Bill gave to them which they did not possess already. He thought, on the contrary, that the Bill would deprive them of their present influence in a political sense; it would allay that fever and irritation upon political subjects which now prevailed amongst all classes, clergy as well as laity; and he felt justified in predicting that this measure would have the effect of taking the sting out of all disposition to evil in either class. Before he sat down he would entreat the House not to be scared from its propriety by gloomy predictions and frightful images that had been foreboded and conjured up by the hon. Members on the other side of the House. Those hon. Gentlemen were like the sailors in pursuit of the phantom ship, who thought of nothing but following their betrayer until they struck upon a rock. He hoped those hon. Gentlemen might escape the rocks towards which they were heedlessly steering their course; but, should it be otherwise decreed, he hoped at least that they alone would be the victims of their false pride, and that, should they sink, those on his side of the House might not accompany them into the abyss.

Mr. Gaily Knight

, having listened attentively to what had been advanced in the debate, was obliged to confess that no explanation had been offered which had succeeded in relieving the plan proposed by his Majesty's Ministers from its great and radical defect—namely, that it perpetuated the principle of exclusion. On this account, entirely concurring in the propriety of carrying the sentence into effect, which had been pronounced against the Irish Corporations, he felt it an absolute duty to support the amendment of the noble Lord, the Member for South Lancashire. He thought its adoption would be most conducive to the peace and welfare of Ireland. "What," it was said, "will you not give to Ireland the same measure which you have already given to Scotland and England?" He had seen how the English Bill worked, and it appeared to him to fail exactly in that way which would make a measure, on precisely similar principles, anything but a blessing to Ireland. Not because it had worked for the Radicals, and against the Tories, but because it had not verified the predictions which came from the opposite side of the House. They were told that the system of exclusion would be extinguished. Had it not been carried into effect more rigidly than ever? They were told that political party motives were not to be mixed up with the new municipal elections. Had they been governed by anything else? Would the happiness of the corporate towns of England be increased should such motives continue to operate? Would the happiness of the corporate towns in Ireland be increased, should such motives be constantly in action there? Would they consult the happiness of the sister island by making her a present of 120 exclusive societies—of 120 political furnaces—darkening the air with their oppressive smoke, from one end to the other of that unfortunate country? But, had their endeavours been crowned with success in England, the argument would not have been conclusive on the present occasion. Would to God, that there were no difference between England and Ireland; then, indeed, would the same laws be equal laws in both countries. But, alas! this was not the case; and however the difference might have arisen, there was not a greater or more fatal mistake, than to believe that the desired assimilation would be accelerated by the immediate communication of identical laws. Ireland was divided into, and distracted by, two great parties, generally called Catholic and Protestant, but which he desired to consider solely in a political point of view. He meant no insult—no injustice; but under such peculiar circumstances they would not promote the peace and welfare of Ireland, were they, generally or locally, to place exclusive power in the hands of either of the two parties. He would no more permit the heel of the Catholic to be placed on the neck of the Protestant, than he would permit the heel of the Protestant to be placed on the neck of the Catholic. He could not see the consistency of one week abolishing Orange Lodges, and the next, creating Catholic Corporations. Was it not rather their duty to compel both parties to respect the supremacy of the law, and to administer justice to each with the most rigid impartiality? It' any man had a right to claim exemption from a culpable indifference to the welfare of Ireland, he possessed that right; for he had used his utmost exertions to persuade his countrymen to concede the great been of Catholic Emancipation. In doing so, he was much encouraged by solemn and repeated assurances that the consequences of that measure would be the tranquillity of Ireland, and a deep and lasting tribute of gratitude from that country to this. In what manner had those assurances been fulfilled? He was mortified beyond measure at the complete disappointment of the hopes which he had entertained, and had pressed upon his countrymen as a strong argument for concession; and perceiving at last that what those, who, he must say, mislead the people of Ireland, now call justice, would, in fact, be nothing short of ascendancy,—that what they called equality, would, in fact, be a complete transfer of political power;—he could not lend himself to anything, the tendency of which would be to increase and strengthen an influence that had not been exercised for the welfare and happiness of Ireland. If the people of Ireland would be benefitted by the Bill before the House, he should consider it in a very different point of view. But in what way would it relieve the beggary and destitution which were the real grievances of Ireland, which necessarily kept the people restless, and made them the easy prey of any and every insidious demagogue; a grievance which did not proceed from Orange Corporations, or a Protestant Establishment, but which proceeded from those who should have kinder hearts? There was another Bill in prospect, which he trusted would do something to relieve the destitution of the people of Ireland, and which, therefore, should have his support; but the present Bill must chiefly be considered with reference to political power. The opposition were called Destructives, but what was the truth? Both sides of the House united, on this occasion, in destruction to exactly the same amount; the difference was in the method of re-construction. The supporters of the amendment proposed to provide for the necessities of the towns of Ireland in a manner which appeared the most conducive to their permanent welfare. The Bill before the House, after abating the old nuisances, would not be satisfied without calling them into existence again. They were told to dread the consequences of substituting any proposition for that contained in the Bill. He hoped this was an argument which would never have any influence on the decisions of the House. He trusted that the House would always know how to meet the language of intimidation. He trusted that the House would always know how to meet the menace of physical force; certainly not with contempt—but as certainly with not a jot more of concession than would have been freely given had no menace been employed. He dreaded the adoption of this Bill, much more than its rejection, because its effect would obviously be to place exclusive power in the hands of one of the two great parties into which Ireland was divided. It was the fear of such measures as these—it was the fear of dangerous concessions that sent him where he was sitting. He never for a moment believed that his right hon. Friends opposite would be capable of entering into any bargain, or contract, with any man, or set of men; but it was impossible for them to force their way to office without placing themselves under such obligations to those who entertained extreme opinions, as would make it impossible for them afterwards not to be conducive to dangerous transfers of power. Impressed with this conviction, and impressed also with the conviction that all that was valuable was at stake, he considered it to be one of those great occasions on which men of character might rise superior to the trammels of party, and must think of nothing but their country. He would not say that, it did not cost him a struggle. No man of any feeling could separate himself, even politically, from those whom he respected and esteemed without a severe pang. But at this moment he should have enjoyed no peace of mind had he pursued a contrary course.

Mr. William Ord

did not intend to follow any of the speakers who had that evening preceded him through the details into which they had entered, but should at once come to deal with some of the arguments advanced last night by the hon. and gallant Member for Launceston (Sir H. Hardinge.) That hon. and gallant Member had introduced into his speech a long extract from the Intimidation Committee which sat last year, and of which he (Mr. Ord) had occasionally had the honour to act as chairman, and the hon. and gallant Member had said, that his experience in that Committee had led him, in reference to what had been said by the hon. and learned Sergeant who preceded him in the debate, to show from the evidence taken before the Committee in question, that the employment of sectarian influence for political purposes was so general as to disqualify the Irish people for the enjoyment of that which they conceived to be their right, and would equally interfere with the proper management of their own municipal concerns. He had attended the Committee at the time the evidence quoted was delivered, and he had reperused it since its publication, and he must say, that the hon. and gallant Member, in the speech delivered last night, had selected certain parts of the evidence as to some transactions, but wholly omitted other portions which, in his judgment, the hon. and gallant Officer was bound to have mentioned. And first, with regard to the speech of Father Kehoe, reported by a gentleman who had for some time been connected with the press. The right hon. and gallant Member ought, however, to have stated that the speech or sermon, or whatever it was called, had been disavowed by Father Kehoe. Now he would take another instance in order to show the species of extracts by which the right hon. and gallant Member supported his arguments. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman had alluded to a late election at Clonmel, and stated, that it appeared from the evidence that a most respectable gentleman, a Quaker, for the sole offence of having voted for Mr. Bagwell, had been attacked in a most shameful manner, and obliged to conceal himself in his own house from the mob. This, said the right hon. and gallant gentleman, was but one instance out of many he might adduce. He would turn to the evidence upon which this statement was made, and he found the evidence of Dr. Fitzgerald, the stipendiary Magistrate, in respect to the treatment of this gentleman to be as follows:—"At the same election, a highly respectable merchant, a Quaker, after having voted for Mr. Bagwell, and wishing to avoid notoriety, retired from the Court-house; he was followed by the mob, who pelted him with mud from the Mayor's house up to the Globe Inn; he is a most inoffensive gentleman, who gives employment in his different mills and stores to upwards of a thousand persons daily. So that, not-withstanding the good which this individual does, he still became an object of popular vengeance, because he gave his vote in the manner he thought proper?—Certainly, and was called a mad dog for doing so. So that the good which this man does did not preserve him from the insult and the violence of the mob on this occasion?—It did not. On the same day his son was riding through the streets, and was attacked by the mob, pelted with stones, and two bull dogs set at his horse?"

Sir James Graham

reminded the hon. Member that he had omitted to read a paragraph of the evidence referring to the employment by this individual of a great majority of Roman Catholics.

Mr. William Ord

thanked the right hon. Baronet for the suggestion, and congratulated him upon the spirit in which it was made. He would not forget it when next they met upon the border. The part of the evidence which he had read was merely for the purpose of showing that upon which the argument of the right hon. and gallant Member for Launceston was founded, and he had not conceived it necessary to read the remainder, inasmuch as the whole of it had last night been read by the right hon. and gallant Member himself. Without, therefore, again reading it, he would now state that part of the evidence which referred to the cause which had evidently led to this (he admitted) disgraceful outrage. The hon. Baronet, the Member for Oxford (Sir R. Inglis), would remember that this evidence referred to a Mr. Malcomson, whose man, a miller, of the name of Looby, was called before the Committee, and gave evidence to the effect that he had been dismissed from Mr. Malcomson's service for no other offence than having voted according to his conscience. He would not read his testimony, because, on the present occasion, the statement was sufficient that the man told Mr. Ronayne "that voting for him would be fatal to him;"that the man was not pressed to vote until late in the election; that he did vote on the last day, and was dismissed in consequence. It was lamentable, but not wonderful, under such circumstances, that this should have occcasioned the attack: and he must say, it would have been as well if the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had read against the story of Dr. Fitzgerald the story of the miller of Clonmel. That narrative was corroborated by Dr. Fitzgerald, however, in his cross-examination. Dr. Fitzgerald was asked, "Might not the misconduct of this mob to this gentleman," alluding to Mr. Malcomson, "employing so many persons, and the apparent ingratitude of Looby's voting against him, have tended to cause the dismissal of Looby for the vote he gave?" To this Dr. Fitzgerald answers:—"I have no doubt that Mr. Malcomson was very angry at the treatment he received, and which his son had received." The evidence then went on as follows:—"Do you consider the dismissal of Looby, on the part of his employer, was merely because he had voted against his wishes, or that he was exasperated against, him for the illtreatment which he and his son had received at this election?—I think I have heard Mr. Malcomson express an opinion to this effect, that Looby had adopted the party that had illtreated him (Mr. Malcomson). Have you any reason to believe that Looby was at all concerned in this pelting of Mr. Malcomson?—No. Have you any reason to believe that he did any thing to offend Mr. Malcomson, except voting as you have stated?—No."Such was the evidence of the cause of this outrage, and if such were the conduct of Mr. Malcomson, though on other occasions a most amiable man, the treatment he met with was scarcely to be wondered at. The hon. and gallant Member for Launceston had also quoted a speech of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, in which the expression was used, that "the voter who would not vote for his religion was worse than a demon from hell." These words were quoted as a further confirmation of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's views of the mixture, in Ireland, of religious and political feelings. But the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had forgotten the period at which those words were spoken. If he had remembered it, he could not have thought it wonderful that amidst a Catholic population, at a time when the interests of their religion, the interests of religious liberty, were in danger—when there was ruling over the destinies of Ireland a Government who, in despite of the remonstrances of a Con- servative and Protestant Lord-Lieutenant, appointed Orangemen to the Magistracy of a county—strong language should have been used. Was it wonderful, he repeated, that it should have been used at a time when, the Catholics knowing that the Government of that day had not discouraged the crusade which had been made into this country in order to raise up a "No Popery" cry, had every reason to suppose the Government concurred in it? He should not be justified in applying this concurrence to all the hon. Gentlemen who sat on the other side of the House, but he must say, that they stood by and, with one honourable exception, that of the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire, never disclaimed the attempt until it signally and totally failed, when they disavowed their bolder and more daring associates. Under such circumstances, then, was it surprising that, at this period, some mixture of religious and political feelings should have taken place; and was it for this that a large body of electors should now be deprived of their rights, or of the franchise which they believed to be their right? If such an argument was to be pushed to the extreme, it would be found that even in England popular intimidation had been exercised to a degree which might lead to the repeal of the English Corporation Act, and even of the Reform Bill itself. The plan proposed from the other side of the House went to overthrow the whole Corporations of Ireland, and to vest the management elsewhere. This was an indirect attack on the prerogative of the Crown, because if this plan were adopted, and the Corporations destroyed, the Crown could immediately grant charters to those same places without the interference of Parliament, conveying all those powers which the Government proposed. He must say, that hon. Members opposite were the last persons from whom he should have expected any attempt to trench on the prerogatives of the Crown.

Mr. Morgan John O'Connell

would trespass on the indulgence of the House for a very few moments, on a question of vital importance to the empire, particularly to that portion of it with the representation of which he had the honour of being connected. He was struck with a peculiarity which had distinguished the progress of the debate from its commencement: that, with the exception of the speech of the right hon. the Member for the Univer- sity of Dublin, none of those hon. Members who were opposed to the Bill of his right hon. Friend, the Attorney-General for Ireland, had condescended to touch upon the real question before the House. The House had heard many and bitter invectives against the people of Ireland, against their religion, and the ministers of that religion. Abundance of unsupported allegations too, had been brought forward, but the principle of the measure before the House, and its comparative merits with the proposition of the noble Lord (Lord Francis Egerton), had been scarcely adverted to. After the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Cashel (Sergeant Woulfe), it was not his (Mr. O'Connell's intention) to follow the hon. and learned Member for Bandon (Sergeant Jackson) through the statements he had submitted to the House; but he might be permitted to advert to the arguments of the right hon. and gallant Member (Sir H. Hardinge) by whom he was followed, particularly as they in some measure referred to himself personally, as one of the representatives for the county of Kerry. He would put it to the House, if that right hon. and gallant Member had made out the case upon which he relied—that the prevalence of sectarian feeling in political questions in Ireland disqualified the people from exercising a municipal franchise Did not the very letter which he had read from Lord Kenmare, himself a Roman Catholic, disprove the position he assumed, that sectarian feeling had influenced the election for the county of Kerry. But even if the right hon. and gallant Officer were correct in saying, that politics in Ireland were under the influence of sectarian feeling, would that afford any reason for refusing to grant to Ireland the advantage of a Bill for the reform of her Municipal Corporations? But the right hon. and gallant Officer had assumed another position quite as untenable; and he was the more surprised at the ignorance which he betrayed, as that gallant Member had been for some time Secretary for Ireland. Indeed, on the bench beside him, he saw no less than five Secretaries for Ireland "all in a row," and therefore felt himself at a loss to say how it was that he could have erred so egregiously on a matter of fact. The right hon. and gallant Officer had referred to a murder which had been committed in the county of Kerry, and combining the account in the newspapers, and Mr. Inglis's book of the same transaction, he had contrived to make two cases out of one. But did the right hon. and gallant officer ever consider the comparative amount of crime in the county of Kerry and other counties in Ireland? Surely, the hon. Sergeant (Sergeant Jackson), who went that circuit, could have afforded some information on that subject—could have told him that no county in Ireland was more exempt from crime than that county. Some recent instances (we understood the hon. Member to say two) of outrage and crime could certainly be pointed out; but he returned his thanks on the part of the county, to the Irish Government, and particularly to his right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General, for the course they were adopting, calculated as it was to put an end to crime by removing its cause. The right hon. the Member for the University of Dublin—it was really difficult to distinguish between the Members for Universities, they were both right honorable, but he alluded to the learned Doctor—had gone into some details of this measure; and in doing so had betrayed an equal ignorance of Irish statistics and the English Corporation Act. He (Mr. O'Connell) had had the curiosity to look to the English Bill, and he found that the towns in the schedule corresponding to the Irish schedule C, contained on an average 300 persons less. The average in the English schedule was 5,361, and in the Irish it was 5,643. The population of Lymington, the largest town in the English schedule, was 5,361. The hon. and learned Sergeant opposite (Sergeant Jackson) could not understand upon what principle such "miserable places" as Middleton and Belturbet, with populations exceeding 2,000, were to have Corporations. But the hon. and learned Member forgot that there were in the English Bill such places as Tenby, with a population of 1,942, and Southwold, with a population of 1,875. And for a further proof of the analogy between the two measures he would refer him to Romford, to Malmsbury, Llanelly, and Sutton Coldfield. Much had been said by the hon. Member for Nottinghamshire upon the impolicy of adopting the Bill of his right hon. Friend the Attorney General for Ireland. But there was a time when that hon. Member entertained very different opinions. The hon. Member for Nottinghamshire (Mr. G. Knight) had, in a debate on the 5th of July, 1832, used these words: "justice demands that out of the church property in Ireland, the ministers of the national religion should receive a provision, as well as the Protestant clergymen. There is not in Europe such a monster as the Protestant establishment in Ireland."—He (Mr. O'Connell) believed that the existing Corporate system was almost as great a monster—"and l can never believe, "continued the hon. Member for Nottinghamshire, "that whatever strength the government may derive from the assistance of such an instrument, it can be compared with the facilities which may be afforded by a more equitable system." The hon. Member, after some other observations, went on to say—" In expressing these sentiments, Sir, I am aware that I have said that which many will dislike to hear; but let me entreat any such hon. Gentleman to believe that to give any man pain is, and ever would be, to me a subject of deep regret. The opinions which I entertain result from no indifference to the feelings of others—no indifference to the Protestant religion; but I remember that there are six millions of Catholics in Ireland—I see that unhappy country lacerated by the conflict of two angry parties, and I am convinced that no end will be put to these worse than Theban hostilities, so long as either party has a real grievance to prolong the irritation. Other countries have gone through the same process. In Germany, the animosities between the Protestant and Roman Catholic parties were, heretofore, to the full as violent as they are at present in Ireland; but in Germany the conflict is past—in Ireland, the moment of transition is the present. Transition is never repose; struggles will probably take place; disaffection, resistance, disorder, may have their course, but in the end, if strict justice be administered to all, and all be treated with the most inflexible impartiality, I am persuaded that common sense and true patriotism will prevail over craft and passion, and that, as in Germany, the two parties, wearied of strife, will ultimately lay down their animosities and think it better to be friends."* He did not quote this for the mere purpose of obtaining a cheer at the expense of the hon. Gentleman, but to refer to the passage as illustrative of the ill-ruled condition of the * Hansard (Third Series) Vol. xiv, p. 131. people of Ireland. He was satisfied that as long as there were real grievances in Ireland, they would find that party feeling existed, and exercised a powerful sway. It had been said, that the people of Ireland were not fit to receive reform; but he recollected this argument had very constantly been urged by the other side in reference to other matters; and he remembered that the noble Lord, the Member for South Lancashire, then Secretary for the Colonies, when this was put forward with respect to the negroes in the Colonies being unfit to be raised from a state of slavery to a state of freedom, said, that "that was always the argument of bigotry against the concession of justice." He trusted that the House, by a triumphant majority, would show that it was determined to do justice to every part of the empire without distinction. And whatever might be the fate of the Bill elsewhere, he felt assured that the House of Commons would do the same justice to Ireland as to England and Scotland, and that the Corporations in the former part of the empire would be placed on the same sound system of administration as in the latter.

Mr. Emerson Tennent

had observed, that whilst all the speakers who had taken a part in the debate on either side of the House had been unanimous in their condemnation of the abuses incident to the present Corporations in Ireland, and anxious for their abolition, not a single individual had as yet undertaken to show that the system by which it was proposed to replace them was the best that could be adopted for that purpose, and the one best suited to the wants and necessities of the cities and towns of Ireland. All parties had concurred in their condemnation of the old system; but he had not as yet heard any arguments on the absolute necessity or expediency of adopting the new one. The measure of the right hon. Gentleman, the Attorney-General for Ireland, was unquestionably calculated to effect a vast alteration in the existing system—nay, further, were it indispensable to continue Corporations at all, it was, in his opinion, in many particulars, a material improvement upon them. But the question which now agitated the country was not confined to so narrow a compass; it was not restricted to a mere inquiry into what extent of improvement the old Corporations were susceptible of; the broad important question was this, are the Corporations worth repairing at all? Were they institutions worth preserving—which, under any modification, are suited to the present state of society in Ireland? Was the Legislature, after having pulled down the ancient edifices of the Edwards and Henrys, to rebuild them on the same foundation, or to adopt the new constitutions to the peculiar demands and convenience of more modern times? Gentlemen who had preceded him in the discussion had taken a much more talented and, perhaps, more statesmanlike view of the question than it was his intention to enter upon, by regarding it in connexion with its general influence on the political aspect of Ireland, and the effects which it might be likely to produce upon the religious and social relation of parties in that country. He concurred, too, fully with what had fallen from the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, and the noble Lord who had moved this amendment, to render it at all necessary for him to go again over that ground which they had so ably pre-occupied. He was only anxious, if the House would grant him its attention for a few minutes, to take up that portion of the subject which referred to the machinery of the Bill itself, and to express his reasons for thinking that a corporate system such as the right hon. Gentleman, the Attorney-General for Ireland, proposed to introduce, was unsuited to the purposes for which it was intended—that it would be useless and cumbrous as regarded the smaller towns of Ireland, and hurtful and injurious as regarded the interests and prosperity of the large ones. In his opinion the inquiry which the House should apply itself to was, whether it would not be wiser to deliver the towns of Ireland from the antiquated systems of Corporations altogether, and to leave them for their municipal government to the adoption of such measures as their local necessities and the more enlightened policy of modern times might recommend. There did not seem to him to be anything rash or unwarrantable in such an investigation; the results of experience in every town and city in the empire, and the different circumstances of places in which Corporations had or had not existed, justified in every way the propriety of entertaining such an inquiry. Throughout the whole contents of the elaborate and voluminous Reports of the Commissioners of Corporation Inquiry, he had been unable to discover one instance in which the prosperity and the increased wealth and resources of any one town were attributed to the existence or influence of the corporate system, however modified—whilst not only in England, but in Ireland, there was an abundance of examples of cities rising to the utmost pitch of prosperity and importance without ever having possessed, either in name or in substance, a trace of corporate government. Manchester, and Birmingham, and Westminster, were overwhelming instances in England, and in Ireland no more irresistible example could be adduced of a town rising into eminence and wealth without the slightest aid from a corporation, than the town which he had the honour to represent—the borough of Belfast. If, in the course of the few observations he had to make to the House, he should refer very frequently to the affairs of that town, he trusted the House would attribute it, not to that exaggerated importance which young Members were apt to attach to the local affairs of their constituents, but to a firm conviction that there was no observation connected with the local administration of that town which did not equally apply to other similar towns in Ireland; that for every purpose of municipal government a tested and practical precedent might be found in the system adopted in that town—a system which the House would observe was totally and entirely unconnected with the Corporation, which involved neither patronage, nor privilege, which had nothing exclusive in its operation, and which, being dependant on popular election, and open to popular control, could admit of no private corruption or abuses ["hear! hear.!"]. Although a Corporation still exists in name in Belfast, no corporate functions of any description can be possibly said to have been discharged by it for nearly half a century; and yet, during that same period, it must be well known to the House that no town in the empire has advanced with more rapid strides to importance and affluence. In fact, so far back as the time he had named the inhabitants of Belfast, began to discover that their municipal affairs could be much better attended to, and more efficiently administered by other means than through the intervention of their corporate officers, and accordingly, by degrees, they superseded them in each department of their local government, till at length every function usually performed by a Corporation was taken out of their hands, and transferred either to the county authorities or to Local Boards elected by themselves, and responsible to public control for the efficient and equitable discharge of the duties. The Corporation, thus gradually denuded of all importance judicial or fiscal, continued, however, to be kept up, till within the last three or four years, for the sole purpose of returning the representative of the borough to Parliament, which right it possessed to the total exclusion of the inhabitants; and this privilege being at length abrogated by the Reform Bill, the Corporation of Belfast presents at the present moment the anomaly of a municipal executive literally without either functions or funds, jurisdiction or privilege, patronage or powers; and when its shadowy existence shall have been terminated by this Bill, it will not leave a single hiatus, or entail the remotest embarrassment on the affairs of the town. He (Mr. E. Tennent) had thought it necessary to mention these facts with regard to the Corporation of Belfast, as well in order to show that such institutions were not by any means essential to the prosperity of towns, as because that, as well in the discussions which bad taken place in this House on this question, as in its agitation out of doors, the instance of Belfast had always been dragged in as a pitiable example of a fine town oppressed and harassed by the operation of corporate abuses. In the Report of the Commissioners it is adduced in three or four several places, as an illustration of exclusive monopoly as to privileges, and of the evils of self-election as to officers. The late Attorney-General for Ireland, in the speech in which he introduced his Bill for Corporation Reform last year, had feelingly alluded to the fact of there being, out of the whole population of fifty or sixty thousand, but six freemen to be discovered in Belfast. Whether even so many as six were to be found there, he (Mr. E. Tennent) could not, really, tell, for he had never heard of one; but this he could attest, that he never in his life had heard the remotest complaint from any individual of his being excluded from that honour. What, in fact, in such a state of things as he, (Mr. E. Tennent) had described, was an individual to gain by being admitted to his freedom? Nothing in the world. There were neither privileges nor immunities to enjoy—nei- ther patronage nor property to share; and the inhabitants, with all their rights, on a perfect equality; and all their interests in their own guardianship, allowed the old Corporations to expire without a regret or a murmur. And now, as to the system of municipal government by which it was superseded, and which so amply attests in action the practicability of a large community governing themselves and managing their own affairs, without any Corporation, either on the antiquated or the modern model. With the management of corporate property the town had no concern, having no corporate property to manage. The only public property of any kind which they had ever possessed, were some charitable bequests in money, which being left in trust to the Corporation, had disappeared about twenty years ago, and a suit was at present pending in Chancery, with a view to discover the mode of their appropriation. With the administration of justice the Corporation had no exclusive concerns, the chief magistrate for the time being, generally holding the Commission of the Peace, for the adjacent counties of Down and Antrim, and acting at quarterly and petty sessions in conjunction with the other county Magistrates resident in the town. But as head and representative of the Corporation, he exercised no exclusive jurisdiction beyond the superintendence of the markets and the licensing of public amusements, duties which would equally well devolve on the officers of police. The administration of justice, therefore, was altogether in the hands of the usual authorities, the magistrates appointed by the Crown. Complaints, the Commissioners state in their Report had reached them of partiality in its dispensation, but these, they say, were probably exaggerated by party feelings; at all events, if any cause for them ever existed, he (Mr. Emerson Tennent) hoped it was now removed; at least, if it was not, the fault did not rest with the Irish Government, who had lately taken the matter into their own hands, and appointed four Magistrates of their own exclusive selection, two of these without the approbation of the Lord-Lieutenant of the county, and two others, he believed, with out complying with the exploded ceremony of asking it. They were, however, all gentlemen of property and high respectability, and would, he (Mr. Emerson Tennent.) doubted not, discharge their duties honourably and well. If examples in matters of this kind are of any importance, this instance of the powers of the Crown to apply an instant remedy for a complaint in the administration of justice in a municipal community, must surely be sufficient to justify the amendment which he perceived had been introduced into the Bill, giving to the Lord-Lieutenant the nomination of Magistrates in towns, instead of to the town-council, as was proposed in the Bill of last year. If the appointment of persons to such offices were to rest with a council chosen exclusively by one party, it was a matter of impossibility that charges of partisanship should not be brought against them by another, and what disastrous results might ensue if an appeal and a remedy were not vested in that quarter, which is constitutionally the fountain and the organ of impartial justice—the representative of the Crown. If this principle hold good in one case it was equally convincing in all analogous ones. If it applied with force to the whole Bench of Magistrates it was equally applicable to one of them, and from the conviction he could not conceive anything more mischievous than to leave this appointment of any one functionary of justice in the hands of those whose selection might be liable to a subsequent charge of partiality or prejudice. For this reason, although he approved of the amendment of this one clause, with respect to the Magistracy in general, he would never consent to the insertion of any provision in an Act which would give any popular body the election of a partisan Mayor, a partisan Sheriff, or a partisan stipendiary Magistrate, for each and all of which, there was a distinct license in the several clauses of the Bill now before the House. Nothing in the present Bill seemed to him half so objectionable as the carelessness and laxity with which it seemed to provide for the administration of justice—the dignity of a Magistrate was actually less anxiously provided for than that of the lowest citizen on the burgess poll. In order to entitle an inhabitant of one of the towns in Ireland to that distinction, he must be possessed of a residence in the borough of an annual value of at least 5l. Ridiculous as such a sum might seem as a test of respectability for a burgess, even that paltry qualification was dispensed with for a Magistrate, nay, more, he was not required to be ever resident in the town, so that literally, under this Bill, a mendicant, without a house or a shilling is eligible to take his seat upon the Bench as a guardian of the public peace. A Grand Juror under another clause is admissible on the panel with no other qualification than the possession of a 5l. house. Nothing could, in his mind, tend more directly to bring the administration of justice into contempt than provisions such as these, since they not only opened the door for the admission of persons unfitted by education or by influence for the office, but they likewise served, by degrading the dignity of the Bench to deter those from undertaking the duty, who, by their attainments and their character, were best qualified to discharge it efficiently. "And now as to the mode in which the other municipal functions of the town are discharged in Belfast, independently of a Corporation. These consist there, as elsewhere, of duties connected with the health of the inhabitants; such as paving, lighting, cleansing; of the supplying the town with water; of looking after the preservation and improvement of the harbour. For these several purposes the town had three local Acts of Parliament, which enabled all the inhabitants paying a certain rate of police tax, to elect, annually, from themselves three Boards of Commissioners to conduct their affairs. The police committee was chosen under one of these, by householders paying twenty pounds annual rent; the water commissioners by a still lower assessment; the Ballast Board by those most interested, the ship-owners, the importing merchants, and shopkeepers. As the duties of all these Boards involve no patronage, and entail no emolument, the appointments are either made without opposition, or if a contest does occur, it is conducted without heat or animosity, and at the present moment men of every party in politics officiate, and cordially co-operate on each committee These three bodies, thus popularly chosen from the mass of theinhabit-ants, have, in every instance, the assessment, the collection, and the expenditure of the funds raised for municipal purposes, amounting to about 17,000l. per annum, being thus, themselves, participators in the burthens they impose, interested in the duties they discharge, and amenable to popular scrutiny and opinion for their administration; their several departments are conducted with a care, an economy, and an efficiency which cannot be questioned, and which can never be surpassed by any corpoate system, however elaborate or ingenious. The commissioners, in their printed Report, whilst they recommend a less complex machinery, in one department, have in no one case discovered or recorded any instance of inordinate expense, of improper expenditure, or imperfect operation. And all this, the House will observe, is performed without the slightest connexion with the Corporation, in certainly the most prosperous, peaceful, improving town in Ireland." The Commissioners, in the conclusion of their Report on the situation of Belfast, had given, in a very few sentences, a summary of what he (Mr. Emerson Tennent) had here stated in detail; and as the facts and sentiments which the Report contained, were valuable in proving the system of Corporations to be equally unsuitable to Other rising towns, as well as to Belfast, he would take the liberty of reading the paragraph to the House:— Whilst the town of Belfast was in its infancy, and in a great measure dependent upon the protection of the 'Lords of the Castle,' the Corporation appears to have exercised the municipal power conferred upon them by Charter, efficiently, and with a view to the general welfare of the inhabitants or commonalty, represented, as the latter then were, by their Grand Jury in the Corporate assemblies. When the town and its commerce first became of sufficient importance to make them the object of legislative enactment, the Corporation was selected by the Legislature as the guardian of the interests of the wealth and population, and it continued for many years to exercise the uncontrolled management over its police and commercial regulations; but as the town increased, we find the Legislature apparently treating the Corporation as a body unsuited, from its constitution, to discharge, with efficiency and satisfaction, the important trust which had been confided to its care; and that, accordingly Local Statutes have been enacted at different periods, by which the management and control over municipal interests, have in a great measure been withdrawn from the Corporation, and vested in Local Boards, the majority of whose members are elected by the inhabitants, under the various regulations of these Statutes. Under these circumstances, we found that the Corporation had ceased to be an object of interest to the inhabitants; its natural functions had been superseded by the establishment of the Local Boards, and its monopoly of the election franchise by the Reform Act. It was not to be wondered at, then, that the town of Belfast, thus efficiently governed by a system of its own adoption, the offspring of its own wants, and the result of its own experience, should feel a just alarm at the prospect of having its municipal regulations, the growth of half a century, wrested from it, for the purpose of forcing back upon it the old corporate system, which it had repudiated and rejected fifty years before. Besides, in such a proceeding, the operation of the measure would absolutely falsify the very principle on which it professed to be founded—that principle was declared to be the placing- of the Corporations on a more ample basis, and the extension of popular influence and popular control in the management of their affairs. By the schedule appended to the Bill, it appeared that Belfast was to be provided with thirty common councilmen, who were to have intrusted to them the management of its police, paving, lighting, and watching—of its charitable trusts, and, in short, of all its internal and local interests. Now, these interests were at present watched over by a variety of Boards, elected as he had already mentioned, and comprising, one with another, between 140 and 150 persons. The functions of the entire of these individuals were forthwith to be superseded, for the purpose of consolidating their labours in the thirty common councilmen to be elected under this Bill, and yet this, we were told, was to be regarded as widening the basis of political privileges and popular control. And then followed another consideration—if at the present moment these various duties were sufficient to occupy the time and attention of 150 individuals, how could we presume that they could possibly be adequately and efficiently attended to by one-fifth or one-sixth that number of officers? To discharge these trusts satisfactorily and faithfully, would not merely require the leisure, but would actually engross the whole time of the councillors, and none but either men of independent fortune and no employment, or salaried officers, would be found competent or willing to undertake the duty. How could a Councillor possessing the requisite qualification for his office. 500l., and therefore, it was to be presumed, not so independent as to be able to retire from business—how could he possibly give to public charities or to the regulations of the police, that time which justice to his family would require him to devote sedulously to his counter or his loom? Nor does the mischief and absurdity end even here; it extends wider and wider as we proceed. The persons at present attached to public functions in the town of Belfast have, as he had already stated, their duties so accurately defined, and their labours so minutely subdivided, that no one Board or one individual could be said to possess anything deserving the name of patronage or influence, or profit, from his office. But the case would be widely different when there should be concentrated in thirty individuals, not only the whole functions, authorities, and powers which are at present vested in so many persons, but likewise the new patronage created by this Bill, the appointment of mayors, treasurers, clerks, and corporate officers, the choice of sheriffs, coroners, and salaried police magistrates, the election of commissioners, and committees, and constables, as well as the granting of licences and fixing the amount of annual taxation for the whole community. Offices endowed with such powerful influence would no longer be regarded as matters of indifference, not merely from their political importance, but from their actual and substantial value. Elections would no longer be, as at present, matters of careless nomination, or of indifference, the contests for office would be set about in right earnest; labour, and time, and entreaty would be devoted to the canvass, proportioned to the importance of the appointment, and the elections for common-councilmen in every borough will be even scenes of bitterer conflicts than those for Parliamentary representatives, inasmuch as the spirit of self interest will be added to the ambition of party triumph. What, he would ask, in the midst or these tumults and strifes, was to become of the peace, and tranquillity, and union of society? And in trading and commercial towns how would the time, and attention, and passions, of the people be engrossed by such exhibitions? It was scarcely possible that Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House, who represented mercantile constituencies, who were disposed to vote for this Bill, could have examined its provisions, or understood thoroughly what it was that they were about to inflict upon the trading towns in Ireland. Why, the whole of the most busy and valuable portion of the year, if this Bill were to pass into a law, would be taken up, literally and absolutely engrossed with elections of municipal officers. From the 5th of September to the 1st of January in every year was to be one continued succession of canvassing, and contests, and elections. First, on the 5th of September the burgesses' roll, containing the list of all persons qualified to be burgesses, was to be deposited by the churchwarden in the hands of the town-clerk for public examination. This list was to be then canvassed and investigated by all concerned, between the 5th and the 15th of September, and all claims of persons omitted, or objections to parties included, and within that time to be lodged with the town-clerk. Between the 15th of September and the 1st of October, these lists of claimants and of persons objected are again to be exposed in public, for fresh scrutiny and examination. Between the 1st and the 15th of October the final roll is to be made out, each person preferring his claim or urging his objection in open court, as at a registering sessions, for the Parliamentary franchise. Between the 15th and 22nd of October the final list is to be copied into books alphabetically, and again opened for public inspection. On the 25th of October the burgesses are now to elect the common-councillors and aldermen, and this with all the paraphernalia of a county election, with booths, polling places, assessors, and returning officers, and, of course, with all the rioting and tumults attendant on such appendages. On the 1st of November two assessors for wards are to be chosen by their respective burgesses, and on the same day the mayor is to be chosen by the common-council. On the 10th of November the burgesses are again to assemble, in order to choose two auditors and two assessors for the borough. On the 1st of January Justices are to be chosen, for executing the trusts of Local Acts. in addition to all these are to be the elections in the case of casualties, such as the death, or bankruptcy, or sudden departure of the mayor, or aldermen, and common-councillors, all of which are to take place within ten days after the vacancy occurs. Then come the elections for Sheriffs on days not fixed, and for coroners, town-clerks, treasurer, and other officers, so often as vacancies occur. Thus the one-third of the entire year would be occupied from day to day with elections and preparations for elections, and over the remaining two-thirds will be spread all those which in a large constituency must inevitably arise from the deaths or casualties occurring to the corporate officers; and all this, the House would hear in mind, was to take place in the bustling streets of leading towns, amidst the hum of commerce and the peaceful pursuits of sedulous industry. Party might well, indeed, be said to be the madness of many for the gain of a few, should the population of well-ordered towns ever be induced to enter with full spirit into the endless proceedings which such a measure would institute. The consequences in any case must inevitably be, either that men would abandon their private business, and ruin themselves, by their attendance upon local politics, or else that people would shortly grow weary of such incessant and profitless broils, and then the municipal elections would fall altogether into the hands of the idle and restless, who would have no other occupation, and would desire no higher amusement. He knew that in arguing these general objections to the measure, and, above all, in resisting the establishment of a municipal Corporation in Belfast, those who were friendly to the Bill would give him little credit for sincerity, and imagine that he only concealed, under general objections, some secret apprehensions for his own individual interest in the borough. Such considerations might weigh with those amongst whose constituents a 5l. qualification was to be introduced, but they could not, in any degree, influence him, since in Belfast the 10l. franchise was not to be lowered; and if with that franchise the party of the inhabitants with which he was connected could, at present, carry the election of both representatives, it was not likely that their influence would be less in the choice of the municipal officers. The right hon. Baronet who had, on a previous evening stated his objections to this measure, had so thoroughly exhausted the subject, that it was difficult for any one following him to glean even a few stray arguments from a field he had so ably swept. He should not attempt to follow the right hon. Baronet into the question, either of the political consequences of this measure, or of its effects upon the social or moral condition of Ireland. In the observations he had made, he, (Mr. E. Tennent) had endeavoured to confine himself to that view of the question in which his own constituents, and the inhabitants of towns similarly situated were most nearly concerned, and he should conclude by repeating his entire conviction, that the carrying of such a Bill for Ireland would be pregnant with the most serious injury to the kingdom at large, and would entail destruction on the peace and prosperity of every commercial and manufacturing community in the country.

Mr. Barron

thought, that the hon. Member, who had just sat down, had made a most excellent speech in favour of the principle of the present Bill, which, according to the hon. Member's statement, appeared to be already in operation in his own town of Belfast. But after the hon. Member had made his speech in favour of the Bill, he ended by declaring that he should vote against it. The hon. Member could not have read the Bill very attentively, or he would not have indulged in more than one misstatement. The hon. Member had allowed it to be inferred that under this Bill the Magistrates would be appointed by the town-councils. He (Mr. Barron) begged to inform the House that this was not the case, but that the appointment of Magistrates was taken by it from the close Corporations, and given to the Crown. In this respect the Irish differed from the English Bill as originally passed last year. The hon. Gentleman had also said, that the control of the Courts of justice would be vested in the new Corporations. This was also in contradiction to the provisions of the Bill. The hon. Gentleman found fault with the Bill because, forsooth, the Corporations were to continue to be called by the same name. But if he had such a hatred, a hatred be it remembered, that was new-born in the hon. Gentleman and his friends on the opposite side of the House, to these civic monopolies, why not substitute for Corporation some other word which would be more congenial to his and their notions of propriety? So shocking did the very name "Corporation" appear to be to the hon. Gentlemen opposite, that they could not even bear the sound. For his part he would, with all his heart, say do away with it altogether; but he could not at the same time help exclaiming, with respect to their conduct on the present occasion, "Oh, the offence is rank." Why, was it not evident that the hon. Gentleman argued more against the use of the word "Corporation" than against this Bill. Now, if it so pleased the hon. Gentleman, he (Mr. Barron) had no objection whatever to let the word be abolished altogether; for they all knew that "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." If they did not wish the civic body to be called "Corporations" they might, if they liked, give them a new name. Let them be called Commissioners, or anything else they pleased. He supposed, that it was not the intention of the right hon. Baronet opposite to limit the power of the authorities which he proposed to constitute for the good government of the towns, to such trifles as lighting, paving, and cleansing. Did the right hon. Baronet forget, that improvements were constantly required to be made in towns, or was it his intention to place all such local matters in the hands of Commissioners, appointed by the Crown? What, would the right hon. Baronet, who paid such reverence to every thing that was ancient—the great vindicator of the institutions of the country in Church and State—would he allow Corporations to be swept away thus unceremoniously? Oh! hear it not. He would die rather; but the thing was impossible, for the right hon. Baronet would never do anything of the kind. Surely, the assertor of the inchoate rights of freemen would never tolerate the abolition of Mayors, Aldermen, Common-Councilmen, and all the other paraphernalia of Corporations, and place the power which they exercised at the disposal of the Crown. This, indeed, would be unconstitutional doctrine, with a vengeance. There must, however, be some civil bodies appointed for the government of towns under popular control, and, if so, why should not Ireland have Corporations as well as England? Oh! but it was said that Ireland should be deprived of the advantage of Municipal Governments, because party spirit ran so high at elections in that country. What ! had party spirit never run high in any other place? Had nothing like party spirit been evinced in either England, Scotland, or even in Wales, on a recent occasion? Did the right hon. Baronet forget that he himself had been pelted with mud in the City of London; and was it not a notorious fact that cabbage-leaves and other missiles had been seen flying about the hustings in Covent-garden as plentifully as at any Irish election that had ever taken place? These assertions about party spirit, therefore, were nothing more nor less than bugbears, used for the purpose of deluding the people of England. It had, he knew, been stated by the Morning Post, that the Irish Members, who sat on that side of the House owed their seats to brickbats and bludgeons. They had been called "the brickbat and bludgeon Members;" and every conflict, great or small, that had taken place at any election in Ireland was blazoned forth not only in the newspapers, but in the reports which had been placed upon the table of that House, for no other purpose but to create alarm in England, and by that means prevent justice being done to Ireland. Discussion had been stigmatised as agitation; but he cared not for that, because he knew that it was discussion—agitation, if they pleased—which had wrung from unwilling hands Catholic Emancipation, Reform, and the emancipation of the slaves in the Colonies, and which had still to drag from the opponents of this Bill the same measure of justice for the towns of Ireland which had been dealt out to the English and Scotch towns. If Corporations were an object of desire to English towns, why should they not be to the towns of Ireland? It was well known that many of the large towns in this country had long anxiously wished for the advantages of such institutions, and, that being the case, could it be for a moment doubted that the privileges which Corporations conferred were highly beneficial? i He would ask hon. Members opposite, not in passion, but in justice and common sense, would they refuse to the Irish people the privileges and immunities they had so long desired? Would they tell him that they could, or would, have dared refuse them to England? And would they grant to that country what they refused to Ireland? If they did, it would go forth to the Irish people, that there was one measure for the people of England, whose Ministers did not dare to thwart it, and another measure for Ireland. He would tell the House that there were men in that country who, if they should not obtain this and other measures of real reform, were most anxious to rush to extremities, who had been so long withheld that they could now hardly be restrained. He knew, that many Members of that House had been blamed by their constituents for attempting to preach moderation to them. If reform were not granted, how could they go back to their constituents in Ireland, and tell them that it had been conceded to Britain, but withheld from them? They must be mute to such an appeal—they could not answer it. They had no argument against it, and their only course would be to retire from the country, and leave it a prey to wretchedness and revolution, for to that it would come if the House went, on from day to day refusing every little measure of amelioration. This was not the way to deal with the noble and generous people of Ireland. That people was as ready as the most loyal of hon. Members opposite to fight for their king and country, the laws and the constitution, if they obtained equal laws and equal justice. He was surprised that the noble Lord opposite should so strenuously support this new plan of the right hon. Baronet for the appropriation of corporate property in Ireland, and vesting it in a commission appointed by the Crown. He thought that the noble Lord had viewed the principle of appropriation with horror and alarm. He had imagined that the noble Lord would rather have had his head severed from his body than appear to countenance it. What had been the language held by the noble Lord on a former occasion, when he had introduced the Irish Parliamentary Reform Bill, and when he had so warmly contended for the necessity of acting on the same principle both in England and Ireland? His words were—"It will, I hope, be found that while, on the one hand, we have not departed from the principle of the English Bill, we have, on the other, not unsuccessfully laboured to do that justice to Ireland which we have strenuously endeavoured to do to England. We have not considered the interests of the one country as different in any degree from the interests of the other. Nothing, in my opinion, could be more mischievous and fallacious than such an idea; and I am perfectly convinced that if we wish to convert into a warm, honest, and sincere union of the heart that union which has been effected by the Legislature, that object can only be achieved by acting towards one country on exactly the same principles as those which are adopted towards the other."* With reference to the * Hansard, (Third Series) vol. ix. p. 606. opposition to the Irish Reform Bill, on religious grounds, the noble Lord had said, "You have admitted the general proposition of an equal share of civil rights. You have affirmed that there is no distinction between the rights of the Members of the Church of England and the Dissenters—between the Protestant and the Catholic. Upon what ground, then, do you say we will not grant an equality of rights in these Corporations, but we will continue to exclude the Catholic and the Protestant Dissenter from having a share with ourselves? We will extend privileges to that individual or class, because he or they is, or are, Protestant; and we will exclude all Catholics. I say, if this is done, the Catholic question is still left behind to be settled; for in fact, this dictum is founded on religious difference. If, then, the Parliament is to act upon the principle of exclusion, there will still remain a Catholic question to be settled." And again, "If we allow the present system of close Corporations to continue, under the pretence that it is unsafe to intrust the Catholic inhabitants of the towns with the franchise, we may justly be told, that so far from making a settlement of that great question in Ireland, we have continued the grievance, and added to the insult."* He was at a loss to know how the noble Lord could reconcile this language with the course he now followed. He deeply regretted that the right hon. Baronet opposite, with his great talents, his noble independence of spirit, and statesmanlike abilities, should think it necessary to pursue the line he had taken with respect to the Bill before the House. He wished that that right hon. Gentleman had separated himself from his party after he had granted to Ireland the great, the inestimable been of Catholic Emancipation. He wished to see the right hon. Baronet on his side of the House. He could assure hon. Gentlemen that he did not mean to be ironical. If the right hon. Baronet had taken the manly step of uniting himself to the ranks of the Liberals, he might have been the leader of the first people in the world, and the pigmy faction now around him would have been crushed by a single glance of his eye. Why should the House refuse this measure of Municipal Reform to Ireland, when they had granted to the * Hansard, (Third Series) vol. ix. p. 606. Roman Catholics of that country real power and influence by the Parliamentary Reform Act? The Catholics, forsooth, were eminently fitted to vote for Members to represent them in the Imperial Legislature, but not at all qualified to vote for some petty mayor, or some petty bailiff, in an insignificant Irish borough of 5,000 or 6,000 inhabitants! With what shadow of consistency, after having granted them reform of the Constitution, could the House now refuse to grant them the management of their own petty concerns? He could easily understand why the hon. and learned Member for Bandon had followed that course, but he could not comprehend why it was adopted, by any one statesman in the House, much less by the right hon. Baronet. He had only to thank the House for its indulgence, and declare that he meant to join with those who resisted the amendment of the noble Lord.

Mr. Clay

said, the noble Lord who had opened the debate had, in a moderate and temperate speech, fairly addressed the merits of the question, and had carefully avoided all irritating topics, and all personal allusions, which could only waste the time of the House, and prevent its arriving at sound conclusions in legislating with respect to Ireland. The same course had unhappily not been followed by the right hon. and gallant Officer (Sir H. Hardinge), who had endeavoured to turn a debate upon such an important subject into a discussion upon the character of the hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for Dublin. He (Mr. Clay) should have thought the gallant Officer would have been ashamed to condescend to such a course. These attacks upon the character of that hon. and learned Gentleman were so frequent, that it was very clear that in the cases of a certain number these attacks in no respect injured the hon. and learned Member, and as to persons out of the House, the attacks were even more futile, as had been clearly evidenced in the high respect and consideration with which the hon. and learned Member had been everywhere received throughout the country, and most triumphantly so by a very large meeting held in the heart of London only the preceding day. He could imagine nothing more discreditable to that House than the eternal references in every Irish question to the hon. and learned Member for Dub- lin. In the name of common sense, why not legislate as if that hon. and learned Gentleman were not in existence? Give the Irish people justice—give them equal rights—and they would remove the only foundation upon which that hon. and learned Gentleman's importance was built. For they would render him of no use to the Irish people, by taking away the necessity for resorting to his powerful assistance to obtain that to which they were justly entitled. With respect to the proposed Bill, every person seemed to admit that the present Corporations should be done away with; the only points in dispute were, whether they should be reconstructed at all, and if so, in what form. He doubted whether, by any scheme of centralisation, it was possible to manage the local concerns of the people as well as they would manage them for themselves. In France they had an instance of how imperfectly a centralisation system worked, and in America they saw how the people's energies increased by being intrusted with their own government. He doubted, then, whether the plan of the right hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Peel) was good as a scheme of municipal government for the protection of the interests of the people. The noble Lord who opened this debate, admitted that there was a great necessity for Parliamentary Reform, but he contended that there was no necessary for Municipal Reform. He disagreed with the noble Lord entirely. He thought if it was important to give great privileges to the people, it was of at least equal importance to teach them to use those privileges wisely. The people of Ireland must be admitted to a full participation in the rights enjoyed by the people of England; and there was no better security against their not abusing the power conceded to them, than was derived from educating them in their moral and social duties, by intrusting to them local self-government. They talked of party, and of the heat and acrimony which it occasioned, as evils; but even that state of things was useful; it tended to the education of the people, by the additional interest which it imparted to public affairs. It astonished him that any one who pretended to the character of an English statesman, should have dared to propose a scheme for one-third of the subjects of this great empire, in which that elementary truth—the utility of the habits of self government—was not fully admitted. He contended that it was absurd to talk of our Protestant brethren in Ireland being oppressed by the Roman Catholics, especially when they were told that the great bulk of the property and intelligence of the country was possessed by the Protestants. If the tables—as it had been said would be the case—were turned, and there were one year of oppression; if there were a single case of the oppression of a Protestant by the Roman Catholics, it would arouse that spirit in England which the antiquated howl of "No Popery," and the mission of the apostles of religious agitation had failed to excite. As to the election of the Sheriff, he agreed with the noble Lord (Lord Howick) that it was liable to objection, and that it would be better to vest the appointment in the Crown. He had troubled the House with these observations, thinking it the duty of English Members, and Members independent of the Government, to come forward and declare their opinions on such questions as that now under consideration.

Sir James Graham

said, that the present was a question on which he could not reconcile it to his conscience to give a silent vote. He therefore rose at the present hour to take a share in the debate, as he was afraid that he could not entitle himself to a hearing if he were to defer his observations to a later period of the evening. He considered the subject matter of this debate as one of great importance; for, though it appeared to be greatly narrowed since it was first introduced to the notice of the House, though several points of no inconsiderable moment had been conceded on the other side, he could not help suspecting that, when they came frankly and honestly to declare their opinions, it would turn out that under the surface there lurked a principle connected with the present state and future government of Ireland which constituted the chief barrier between the two great parties into which this country was now divided. It was on that ground that he was particularly anxious to express the opinions which he had formed on mature and deliberate reflection. Before he proceeded to express those opinions, he would take the liberty of adverting to the observations with which the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets had commenced his speech. The hon. Member had commented on something which had fallen last night from his right hon. and gallant Friend, the Member for Launceston, and which, he said, looked like an offensive personal attack upon the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. He was satisfied that he was speaking the sentiments of his right hon. and gallant Friend—he was sure that he was speaking his own—when he said that that hon. and learned Member was, without any exception, the last man in the House on whom either his right hon. and gallant Friend or himself would intentionally make either a personal or an offensive attack. But, at the same time, it was impossible, considering that the hon. and learned Gentleman occupied a very large space in the eye of the country, and that he was closely connected with every discussion beating on the present state of Ireland and on its future government—it was impossible, he said, for Members of Parliament delivering their sentiments frankly and plainly, and in no other manner was it consistent with the honour of a Member of Parliament to speak, to meet discussions on Irish questions without adverting in the course of them to the position in which the hon. and learned Member stood in Ireland, and to the line of conduct which he deemed it consistent with his duty to adopt. He was convinced that the hon. and learned Member was so well acquainted with the rights which grew out of the freedom of discussion as to be the last man—so long as the mention of his name and the comments on his conduct were confined within the limits within which all Gentlemen in that House were compelled to confine their observations—to complain either of the mention of his name or of the discussion of his conduct. He should now proceed with his arguments; and in doing so, he would claim for himself, once for all, the privilege of using the indulgence of the House—which he would not intentionally abuse, in discussing this great question—in alluding not only to the position which the hon. and learned Member occupied in Ireland, but also to what he had said, and to what he had done there. Before he proceeded further, however, he would disembarrass himself of some points of no mean importance. When his right hon. Friend, the Member for Tamworth, opened the discussion on this subject, he had divided it into three great heads, to which his noble Friend, the Secretary for Ireland, had last night adverted. The first related to the administration of justice; the second to the control and direction of the police; and the third to the administration of the corporate property. His noble Friend, the Secretary-at-War, had intimated last night, if he heard him correctly, that so far as regarded the first head—he meant the administration of justice—there was no real difference now left between the two sides of the House; for the objection which his right hon. Friend, the Member for Tamworth, had taken to the proposition for appointing Sheriffs by popular election, had been virtually, if not entirely, conceded by the noble Secretary-at-War. The hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets had that very evening told them, that he had himself very great objection, to Sheriffs popularly elected. If he were inclined to press authority into the support of his argument on this point, he could find it in the Report of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the state of Municipal Corporations in Ireland. In that Report, to which the first name subscribed was that of Mr. Justice Perrin, the late Attorney-General for Ireland, he found the objections against the election of the Sheriffs of cities by a popular constituency urged as strongly as words could express them. He would read a short extract from that Report:— The great importance of the duties intrusted to Sheriffs, in relation to the administration of justice, and the extent of interests involved in their due exercise, especially in the metropolis, almost demonstrate that such corporate bodies as we have described, limited in numbers, sectarian, exclusive, and often intolerant in opinions, ought not to have the appointment of officers intrusted with these duties. Confidence and faith in the impartiality of the officers and ministers of the laws are necessary, as well to insure due respect for the tribunals by which they are administered, as to protect the laws themselves from suspicion and contempt. That such confidence is not generally placed in the conduct of Corporate Sheriffs in Ireland, in reference to the selection of Juries on political occasions, is matter of notoriety. The Report then contained a recommendation almost identical with that made by his right hon. Friend, the Member for Tamworth, namely, that henceforth the appointment of Sheriffs should be placed under the increased control of the Crown; for the Report proceeded:— Whether a better system may not be adopted by the removal of the prominent defects of the corporate institutions, and placing this branch of the general administration of the law in hands more directly responsible for its faithful exercise, we humbly submit to your Majesty's gracious consideration. He could not desire words more stringent or more conclusive upon this subject than those which he had just quoted from the Report of the Commissioners, But he was disposed to think, that this point was settled, and that the Sheriffs in the corporate towns were not to be elective. There remained, then, another question as to the Magistrates who, according to the Bill, were to be annually elected, He thought that his noble Friend, the Secretary-at-War, had said last night, that that point was open to discussion in the Committee, and had intimated, that he was rather favourably disposed to the opinion that the Magistrates of these new Corporations ought not to be Justices of the Peace. With regard to the number of them, it had been said, that there were only fifty-four towns in which there were to be Corporate Magistrates; but by the 139th clause of this Bill, it was provided, that on the petition of the inhabitant householders of any town in Ireland, without reference to their number or respectability, it should be lawful to his Majesty to grant a Charter of Incorporation to that town without reference to its size or population. In all such cases there must be a Mayor of such town, and under a subsequent clause, a Magistrate. The hon. and learned Sergeant, who had spoken for the first time last night, seemed to think that the power of a single Magistrate could do but little. He could only fine—he could only imprison—and the hon. and learned Sergeant had then added, "if he is not responsible directly to the Crown, he can be made responsible to those whom he injures, by a criminal information in the Court of King's-Bench." Now, let it be recollected that this Corporation Magistrate only held his authority for the period of twelve months, and that if he misconducted himself, the remedy was the filing of a criminal information in the Court of King's-Bench. He could not tell exactly how great the rapidity of the law was in Ireland, but unless it was much greater than it was in England, he was afraid that this filing of a criminal information would afford a very tardy remedy. Before it arrived, another Magistrate, chosen by the same constituency, influ- enced by the same feelings, and acting under the same prejudices, would be seated in the chair of justice, and in his brief authority might play off fantastic tricks before high Heaven. The filing of a criminal information would, therefore, be a mere empty remedy—a telum imbelle sine ictu. As then with the Sheriffs, so with the Magistrates, the power of election should, in his opinion, be vested in the Crown. He would suppose for a moment that Ministers were prepared to give way on this point. Then, if they were so confident that the state of Ireland was perfectly identical with that of England, and that they might establish the same principles of government in both, why did they flinch from giving full effect to their own principles? In passing, let him observe that hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House talked of some new-born distrust on this side of the House of the existing Corporations in Ireland. In consequence of that taunt, he would ask, whether there was not the same new-born distrust as to the efficacy of the elective Magistracy on the part of hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House? Was it possible that he could forget—was it possible that the House could forget, the numerous divisions which had taken place during the passing of the English Municipal Reform Bill, as to the expediency of letting the town-councils nominate the Magistracy? Was it the intention of Ministers that the Sheriffs of counties of cities should be nominated and elected by the town-councils in Ireland, or was it not? If it was their intention, then the arguments of his right hon. Friend, the Member for Tamworth, must prevail, and the House must consider the administration of justice in Ireland to be tainted in its very source, and that all the arguments held to be valid against the appointment of Sheriffs, must, á fortiori, be conclusive against the election of Magistrates. If, however, such were not their intention, then they were abandoning an important part of their measure, and they were met with the recoil of the argument, that there was some lurking conviction in their minds that it was not safe to legislate for both countries on the same principles, and that elective bodies in Ireland were not to be trusted in the same degree in which they could be trusted with safety in England. He would also remark, in passing, on some of the minor details of the Bill:—First of all the alteration in the qualifica- tion, as compared with the qualification fixed in the English and Scotch Municipal Reform Bill, was a very important feature in this Bill. Reference had been made in the course of the debate to the very able work of M. de Tocqueville on America, which had brought vividly to his recollection a passage in that ingenious publication on the effects of lowering the franchise, which he considered to be very important, and of which he would state from memory the substance to the House. M. de Tocqueville observed, that in a state where democratic feeling prevailed, if the Legislature once began to lower the franchise, there was no stopping; it must move on in the same direction. All the arguments which reason and experience might advance were as nothing against the descending scale, and after you had once commenced to descend, you must go on until you reached universal suffrage. With that observation fresh in his mind, he looked with no inconsiderable anxiety to this alteration in the municipal franchise. The principle of the measure introduced by Ministers was, that it was necessary in legislation to proceed identically with all the three nations which formed the British empire. Now, what was the municipal franchise in England? The municipal qualification in England was a residence in the town for the uninterrupted duration of two years and a-half, accompanied by the payment of all rates and taxes which became due during that period. [The hon. Member for Dublin here yawned aloud.] He begged the hon. and learned Member's pardon, but he hoped, that if he could prevent it, he would not again subject him to so unseemly an interruption. He contended that the qualification so restricted in England was equal to the qualification of a 10l. house. In the smallest boroughs of Scotland the political and municipal qualification was the same. In the whole of Scotland there was no such thing as a 5l. qualification. He was sure that hon. Gentlemen would recollect that it was matter of discussion in that House whether they should make the tenure of a 5l. house the qualification in Scotland.—Whatwastheobjection urged against that proposition? Nothing else but this—that if you once let in a lower qualification for your municipal elections, you will soon be compelled to let in a lower qualification for your Parliamentary elections. Now this Bill reduced, by one-half, the municipal qualification which Parliament had fixed for Scotland. Where then was the identity of legislation for the two countries? There was another consideration of the same nature, which bore directly on the administration of justice in Ireland, and the concession which Ministers appeared inclined to make on the subject of the Magistrates and Sheriffs in the corporate towns did not bear at all on the consideration to which he was about to allude. Here was an important reduction of the qualification of a juror in all corporate towns and cities throughout Ireland, for by the Act for consolidating and amending the laws relative to jurors and juries in Ireland, passed in the 3d and 4th of William 4th., the qualification of a juror was the occupation of a house and tenement of the clear yearly value of 15l., or the enjoyment of a personal estate of 100l. Now, as every burgess on the roll of municipal electors would be entitled to serve as a juror in that corporate town, it was clear that where the municipal qualification was a 10l. house, there a municipal elector would be entitled to act as a juror, who had not the 15l. qualification, and so, too, where the municipal qualification was only a 5l. house. Now, there could be no doubt that this bore directly on the administration of justice, and lowered throughout every corporate town in Ireland the qualification on which jurors were elected. He would not weary the House by dwelling further on the details of this Bill; for he admitted that he was not so competent to grapple with it in details as many hon. Members who had addressed, and who, in all probability, would address them.—But he could not fail to ask himself this question—"Am I not now called upon to legislate on an important matter for a country whose condition is altogether anomalous, where the great mass of property belongs to one religion, and where the great mass of the population belongs to another?" On the one side there was great landed property, hereditary wealth, refinement, education, luxury, the daughter of long and uninterrupted enjoyment. On the other side there was an overwhelming mass of the population rising in intelligence and wealth, but still, in its lower grades, oppressed by ignorance and poverty and want, and stimulated by an ardent desire to acquire, which is more powerful than the resistance to retain. On the part of the property of the country there was the Protestant religion, adopted from rational conviction or from hereditary pre possession; on the part of the population was the Roman Catholic religion exercising its wonted influence over the heart, the conscience, and the judgment of its millions of adherents. Such a state of things existed in no other country in the world. History and experience afforded no light by which to steer; the case must, therefore, be dealt with specially, and in reference to the peculiar circumstances of the times. The hon. Member who spoke last but one said that Municipal Reform had worked well in England, and that it must work equally well in Ireland—that no deliberation was requisite on such a point, for what had been granted in one case must be conceded in the other. Now he contended that such a proposition was most degrading to the science of government. What were the qualities that ennobled that science? Prudence, foresight, quick perception, sound judgment, discretion in choosing between conflicting difficulties, courage in adhering to the right choice when made; and in answer to the taunting cheer, he would add, magnanimity in abandoning a course which experienced proved to be erroneous. Those were the qualities which in his humble estimation dignified and adorned the science of government; but, on the other hand, they dwindled into insignificance, and must be discarded as useless, if once the position were admitted, that because a rule had in one case proved useful, it was necessary in all; and if any system of measures, found salutary in one set of circumstances, must therefore, of necessity, be adopted as applicable to another case, which, though similar in some respects, was essentially different in other most important particulars. He could not better illustrate this than by referring to a subject on which they had lately legislated in England with very great success. He spoke with confidence on the point, because he had the satisfaction of hearing from all parts of England testimony completely demonstrative of the great advantage which had already been produced by the measure to which he alluded. They legislated, two Sessions ago, on the subject of the Poor-laws for England, and, as he had said, successfully; but did it follow necessarily that the same system of Poor-laws was applicable to Ireland? The right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, would no doubt answer that the machinery by which that Bill was so effectually worked—the guardians appointed by the rate-payers—the overseer habituated to the management of the poor—the active control over the distribution of the fund on the part of those, who contributed to it,—all these were wanting in Ireland. Talk of advantage derived in England from such a state of things; that did not convince him that because successful here it was therefore applicable to Ireland. That was an exact illustration of what he contended for. He called, therefore, on Ministers to be consistent. The doctrine that what was good in one case must of necessity be good in another, without reference to circumstances, was in medicine the doctrine of empyrics; in politics the doctrine of pedants and impostors. He said this without hesitation, because such had not been the principle or practice of the Legislature, much less was it characteristic of the counsels of the noble and right hon. Gentlemen who were now the responsible advisers of his Majesty. He would appeal on this occasion to his noble Friend, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, and he would ask why, having introduced the great measure of salutary Reform, which had been extended to Ireland, his noble Friend had not carried to that country the principle of annual registration of voters? Had he not some misgivings that it would have been productive of disturbance in Ireland? Why had not the principle been introduced of taking the poll in different places throughout the country, in order that it might be finished in two days? Was it not distinctly and avowedly for this reason, that, in the unfortunate state of Ireland, it was necessary constantly to secure free access to the poll by the military force? It was not prudent to disseminate places of polling throughout the country, because it was not prudent to scatter our military force; and upon the whole, it was decided to be more convenient that the election should be prolonged, rather than that the poll at such hazard should be concluded in two days. Reference had been made in the course of the debate to another point, on which there was a variance most marked between the legislation of right hon. Gentlemen opposite on the Treasury Bench with respect to England and Ireland. The Civil Process Bill had been mentioned, and it was stated very correctly by a learned Sergeant, who addressed the House last evening from that (the Opposition) side, that there was in Ireland this great anomaly on a point where of all others the intervention of a Jury was of the greatest importance to the weaker party, that in an action of ejectment between landlord and tenant the barrister had a power of awarding damages against the tenant without the intervention of a Jury to the extent of 50l. ["No, no,"] Why, had not an Act passed to enable the assistant-barristers to award damages against the tenant to the amount of 20l.? and had it not subsequently been extended to 50l.? He might be wrong as to the amount of damages, but he was not mistaken as to the substantial fact. Whatever circumstances might have led to such a state of things, whatever mistrust had occasioned it, true it was, that the assistant barrister was invested in actions for ejectment without trial by jury with that extraordinary power. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin in 1825 had been asked, before a Committee of the House of Commons on the state of Ireland, what his opinion was with respect to the Civil Process Bill, and his evidence was to this effect—"I am in my conscience convinced, that if a statute were enacted to discourage virtue and encourage vice it would have been ingenious indeed to discover a better system for that purpose than the assistant-barrister's court. When questions are tried by a Jury a bonus is held out to men of good character, they obtain credit on it, and trial by Jury stamps character; the Civil Process Bill takes away trial by Jury—it takes away from the value of character, and encourages a flippancy of swearing." The hon. and learned Gentleman still retained his opinion—trial by Jury was an invaluable right; yet there were some particular circumstances with respect to Ireland which had led the Legislature of this country to consider the Civil Process Bill as on the whole advantageous there, although it had not been introduced here, and leave had actually been given in this very Session to the hon. Member for Galway to carry the principle of that Bill still further. He did not know any point on which the Magistrates were more fastidious and jealous than as to the right they had of choosing their own chairman at Quarter Sessions, yet there was a sharp altercation the other day between, the Secretary for Ireland and the Magistrates in the King's County, with respect to the exercise of that every-day privilege in this country; it had been contended there that the assistant barrister ought, as a matter of course, to have been appointed. He would not touch on the question of the choice of Sheriffs independently of the opinion of the Judges, and the remission of sentences, not only without their sanction, but in opposition to the Judges such as had recently taken place under the Government of Lord Mulgrave. He spoke in the presence of Secretaries of State, and he believed in regard to the latter point there had never before been any example of such a proceeding. He would not dwell on the point so ably taken up by his right hon. Friend, the Member for Tamworth, with regard to the Government Police Bill, which was utterly inconsistent with the whole course of legislation, as to the constabulary force in England. It was not by the Crown but by the Magistracy that the constabulary was appointed in England; and now the Ministers laid upon the Table of this House a Bill which took from the Irish Magistrates those appointments, and vested them in the Crown. That Bill dealt with the police force in quite another character. It was however, to be remarked, that although in the English Bill the control of the police was in the municipal body, yet that in this metropolis the police were at the disposal of his noble Friend the Secretary of State. He now came to another part of this question, in referring to which he should have to allude to the history of the Coercion Bill. In 1834 it was admitted that prædial agitation existed in Ireland, that agitation prevailed in that country on the subject of the payment of tithes, and it was also suggested that considerable agitation prevailed on the subject of repeal. Now what was the case at the present moment? The agitation had changed its name; it was then prædial agitation, and now it was termed by his noble Friend, the Secretary for Ireland, agrarian outrage. Agrarian outrage prevailed still in Ireland. But he must be allowed to call the attention of the House to what the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, in April, 1834, wrote on this point, for it was impossible to conceive words more emphatic, more just, or more applicable, whether to prædial agitation or agrarian outrage, coupled with agitation on the subject of tithes and the repeal of the Union, whether suspended or in active operation. "Those disturbances," said Lord Wellesley. "have been, in every instance, excited and inflamed by the agitation of the combined projects for the abolition of tithes, and the destruction of the Union with Great Britain. I cannot employ words of sufficient strength to express my solicitude that his Majesty's Government should fix the deepest attention on the intimate connexion marked by the strongest characters, in all these transactions between the system of agitation and its inevitable consequences, the system of combination leading to violence and outrage; they are inseparably cause and effect. Nor, can I (after the most attentive consideration of the dreadful scenes passing under my view), by any effort of my understanding, separate one from the other in that unbroken chain of indissoluble connexion." Such was the opinion of the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. What was the opinion of Lord Grey, the head of the Government—not of the Government of which his noble Friend (Lord Stanley) and himself had been Members, but the head of that Government purged and purified of its dross by our secession; yet, notwithstanding the sinister influence which such humble individuals as his noble Friend and himself could be supposed to exercise over so eminent a statesman as Lord Grey, what was the opinion he stated in the House of Lords after we had ceased to be his colleagues? Could any man dissent from this paragraph? "It was not the part of a wise legislature, or a just and humane man to legislate against the victims of delusion, but let those escape scot-free who of late years have pursued a course of agitation in Ireland? He would not have proposed the bill against public meetings, but that he felt cause and effect in such matters, should not be to enact severe laws against such crimes as had unfortunately been witnessed in Ireland, and to neglect taking measures which might in a great degree meet the cause which had produced them."* That was the opinion of Lord Grey on the 1st of July, and entertaining that opinion, the noble Lord retained the clause of the Coercion Act, which affected public meetings. By a remarkable disclosure made in that House by Lord Althorp, they were let into the secret of the divisions which took place in the Cabinet, and there was no doubt the list of those divisions as given by the noble * Hansard, vol. xxiv. (New Series) 10 to 24. Lord was much more accurate than some lists of the divisions in this House under the new system which had recently been adopted. What was the language of the noble Lord? He said, on the 9th of July—"When the renewal of the Coercion Bill was first brought under the consideration of the Cabinet, I felt it my duty to concur in the renewal of it, with the omission only of those clauses of it relating to Courts-martial. I hope I need not say, that I did so with the greatest reluctance, and that nothing would have induced me to do so, but my conviction of the absolute necessity of the case." He was sure the House would give his noble Friend the fullest credit for that assertion; and deep indeed must have been the conviction of the necessity which could have induced his noble Friend to give his consent to a measure involving so great a violation of all the principles of constitutional Government. Afterwards," continued his noble Friend, "private and condential communications, however, from the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland to individual Members of the Government, brought the subject again under the consideration of the Cabinet in the week before last. From the nature of these communications, I was led to believe that the three first clauses of the Act—those, I mean, which refer to meetings in the parts of Ireland not proclaimed—were not essentially necessary, and that they might be omitted from the new Bill without endangering the peace of Ireland. Under this impression, I objected to the renewal of those clauses. My right hon. Friends, the Members for Inverness, for Cambridge, for Edinburgh, and for Coventry, coincided with me in taking that course, and in making that objection. I need not state, to the House that we were in a minority in the Cabinet. The Cabinet decided against us, and we had to consider whether we would acquiesce in this decision, or whether we would break up the Government. We decided that it was our duty to acquiesce*." In a few days, however, they thought differently, and broke up the Cabinet—the fall of Lord Grey was the inevitable consequence. The present First Lord of the Treasury, the present President of the Council, the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, the present Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and * Hansard (New Series) vol. xxiv. P. 1337. the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, were, in July, 1834, of opinion, that with a view to the safely and tranquillity of Ireland, it was necessary, not only that a Coercion Bill should be introduced, but that it should contain certain clauses prohibiting public meetings for petitioning against grievances. It was for them now to show the great difference in the position of affairs in that country, which would explain or vindicate to the House and the country the altered course of conduct which they had now determined to pursue. No doubt it might be said, after all, they had abandoned the intention, and that when Lord Grey seceded from office, another Bill was introduced, into which the anti-meeting clauses had not been introduced; but still it was undeniable that an Act of an extraordinary character remained on the Statute-book, and would continue in force four years to come, which had been introduced by Lord Melbourne, and almost the whole of his present colleagues, imposing most material and essential restrictions on the constitutional rights of a free people. What was the purport of that Bill? It gave the Lord-Lieutenant the power of proclaiming any district under certain forms. What was the effect? That no man should be absent from his house between an hour after sunset and an hour before sunrise without being subject to domiciliary visits, and if found absent, he should be convicted of a misdemeanour, and subjected to punishment. That measure had passed by acclamation; the hon. Member for Dublin even had not objected to it. Of this he was at least certain, that the opposition of the hon. and learned Member was of so qualified a nature, that it entirely escaped his observation. Now, it should be remembered, that in the King's Speech in 1833, the following passage was contained in reference to tithes:—"For the further reforms that may be necessary you will probably find, that although the Established Church of Ireland is, by law, permanently united with that of England, the peculiarity of these respective circumstances will require a peculiar consideration." Now, how did the Ministers deal with that? They introduced the Appropriation Clause. And when the Opposition contended against it, they did so on the ground that it contained a principle which was applicable to England. How were they met? By the denial that what was fit and suitable legislation for Ireland, could comprehend or be considered applicable to any state of affairs likely to occur in England. They would not now involve themselves in an absurdity—they would not now argue, that it would be dangerous to refuse to Ireland what had been granted to England—they would stand upon the distinction which they themselves had made. At least, for his part, he would argue, that if what was done for Ireland was not to be applicable to England, then, what was considered advantageous for England, he should contend was not an argument for what they were bound to do for Ireland. If the Ministers were not bound by their own arguments—if they did not believe that legislation for Ireland was not to be a precedent for England, nor legislation for England made it imperative upon them to pursue the same course for Ireland—even if they would not be true to their own doctrines—then he would tell them to look at the remarkable state of things admitted by themselves to exist in Ireland. He had been greatly struck, in the discussion upon the Exchequer process a few nights since, when the right hon. Member, the Attorney-General of Ireland, in speaking of Exchequer processes, said, that in Ireland there was nothing peculiar in the resistance given to the service of tithe processes, as it would be the same thing with rent—that it was, in fact, usual in that country to resist law processes generally. Now, could what was admitted thus for Ireland, be said of England? A man serving a legal process in this country would not be resisted. It had been said, and said truly, that "in England the staff of the constable has more power than the bayonet of the military." The Attorney-General admitted that the service of process for rent and tithes was equally dangerous to the party executing it in Ireland; and as a comment upon the statement of the Attorney-General, he had read, within a day or two, that a man serving processes for rent had been actually shot dead in Ireland in the noon-day. His right hon. Friend, the Member for Launceston, had touched on a point, to which he was about to allude, in a manner so congenial to that which he would wish to adopt, that he was almost afraid to follow him; he could not, however, refrain from referring to the letter of the hon. and learned Member for Tipperary. Of that letter, he felt bound to say, that there could not be one more honourable to the writer—there could not be one which displayed more strongly the terms of good neighbourhood upon which the hon. Member lived with a clergyman of an opposite persuasion; but still that letter contained within itself an alarming truth. It said to the clergyman thus:—"I am your friend, your neighbour; I admit that this is a legal debt, but such is the state of public affairs, that I appeal to your better feelings, to the kindness of your nature. You know I cannot comply with the law, I cannot pay my debts and your dues, without losing my seat." This is the painful truth which the hon. and learned Member for Tipperary discloses. They had been told that it arose from the diseased state of society in Ireland. He might venture, by the introduction of one topic, the Carlow election to show to what they were to attribute that diseased state of society; and he should do so, but that it was connected with a judicial inquiry still pending. [Mr. O'Connell: It is closed.] He considered that he would be guilty of a gross violation of duty and justice if he touched upon that point before the presentation of the Report of the Committee. It could not be denied that there was a diseased state of society, and there was danger in such a state of society, if the Legislature ventured to permit the democratic tendencies to extend further. With regard to this point, it had been said, that evils were to be remedied by further concessions. Concession was declared to be the panacea for such evils. Now, he did not wish to speak in an offensive manner to gentlemen of the Roman Catholic persuasion, with regard to their priesthood, but it must be remembered that, before Emancipation had been granted, great anxiety prevailed upon this subject. In the course of the inquiry in 1825, before a Committee of the House of Commons, over which the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs presided, the hon. and learned Member for Dublin was examined, and he was asked this question:— Do you conceive that this influence of the Catholic priesthood in election matters, would continue in its present state if the question of emancipation were carried? Now, mark his answer:— I am convinced it would be totally at an end, by carrying the question of Emancipation; the causes which gave it efficacy at this mo- ment, would thereby totally cease, and the effects would follow. There is not anything like a blind submission of the Catholics to their clergy, not at all. Does your mind suggest any other cause which could survive the carrying the Catholic question, that could give to the Catholic priesthood the power of influencing the electors?—No. Then the hon. Member entered into a statement, which, unless the House desired it, he should not read—but he was most willing to read it—lest he should be charged with garbling the evidence. The hon. and learned Member for Tipperary was examined the same year, by the same Committee. This is his statement before that Committee:— Have not cases occurred recently, in elections for counties, in which the influence of the priest has been very greatly exerted?—No doubt about it; but the influence of the priest in elections arises from the question of Roman Catholic Emancipation and none other. It is in reference to that question that it is exclusively exercised. If a priest came forward at an election, and directed the people not to vote for any man who would not support Parliamentary Reform, the people would not listen to him; but when he tells them not to vote for any man but who will support the Catholic claims, he makes an appeal which, in my opinion, is justified by reason and sound sense; he could not, I think, produce any impression on the lower orders, except on some subject immediately involving a religious question, and not collaterally connected with it. These, it was to be observed, were the opinions of the hon. and learned Members for Dublin and Tipperary before Catholic Emancipation was granted. Now he should call the attention of the House to what had been the conduct of the Catholic priesthood almost immediately after the passing of Catholic Emancipation. He would not upon this point give evidence that was tendered before the Intimidation Committee. This was the evidence before the Committee in 1832, and of which the Treasurer of the Navy was the Chairman. The gentleman called before them was favourable to the Catholic claims; he was possessed of an independent fortune, and resided in the county of Meath, his name was Mr. Napper. This is what he states of the Catholic clergy:— Upon the whole, has their conduct, according to your view, tended more to promote or lead to the disturbance of the peace of the county, upon a fair view of their conduct?—I think their conduct generally has tended to promote a very great degree of excitement and agitation. How long since you have observed that in your neighbourhood?—It existed to some degree when I first came into the country. Has it increased very much of late?—Very much. Within what time?—I should say since Catholic Emancipation was granted. Do you think that since then the priests have taken a more active part in politics than they had done before?—Decidedly. Do you think that has led to the increase of the excitement you have observed?—Certainly. It was not his intention to go through the sermons of the priest, to which their attention had been already directed; but there was one fact which was very remarkable, and that had been stated before the Committee in 1832. It was the language addressed to a portion of his Majesty's army, and in the hearing of a British officer. He read this the more readily, because the priest, who was stated to have used this language, had been called before the Committee and confronted with the officer; and with the slight exception of the word "boys," he did not deny the address which he had then made. It should be remembered that it was said that the Catholic priests would not interfere with politics after Emancipation had been carried, and also that they bore no hostility to the Protestant Establishment. At Castlepollard chapel, Ensign Matson, of the 59th regiment, stated that he heard these words addressed to the congregation by the parish priest from the altar:— I will tell you what it is, boys, the tottering fabrics of the heretics are falling about their ears, whilst the Catholic religion is rising in glory every day. Ireland was once Catholic Ireland, boys; it will, and it shall, be Catholic Ireland. Was it possible to conceive words stronger than these?—[Mr. Henry Grattan: the army was not present.]—He was most willing to refer to the testimony given before the Committee. He wished to state nothing but what was the fact, and he certainly should not desire to rely upon mere hearsay evidence, but the ensign, who heard those words, and the priest, who uttered them, were both examined by the Committee, and their evidence is on record. He should read a short passage from the evidence given before the Intimidation Committee. The right hon. Baro- net then read the following passages from the evidence of Mr. Carroll:— Did you see also the priests at the Assizes coming into the courts, and making themselves there very active, and at Petty Sessions equally so?—I have seen them at every assize and at every Quarter Sessions, and every Petty Sessions, and always attending when there is any trial of a political nature going on. So that the interference of the priests is shown not only in canvassing, not only in making speeches on the hustings, not only at the altar, not only at the registry, but also in courts of justice, where they are equally busy?—They are equally busy in all the ramifications of society, so far as I have seen myself, and I have witnessed as much as any man in the county of Carlow; even the professional is not sacred from invasion when it suits their purposes. Something had been said about the power of taxation being vested in irresponsible hands; he would now read the account of a very remarkable instance of taxation, certainly not in responsible hands; it was given in the same gentleman's evidence as follows:— Are you aware whether many of the Catholic clergy are in the habit of raising contributions for the purpose of elections, or for paying the expenses of individuals, who, in consequence of their acts at the elections, are liable to penalties for infringing the law?—I am aware of that, and I will state what I know on the subject. I have been told by several farmers who complained to me of the great grievance of being obliged to pay rent, and all taxations, direct and indirect, that they 6hould have another tax to pay for contested elections; and they complained to me bitterly that the clergy used to read their names out from the altar, attaching sometimes 2d. an acre, 3d. an acre, or 4d. an acre, on each man, which he should pay. On one occasion, Cummins refused paying that lax so affixed to him; and for daring to refuse compliance with the priest's mandate, his name was read out from the altar. Some hon. Gentlemen opposite might perhaps be inclined to object to the evidence given by Mr. Carroll; he would, therefore, now refer to the evidence of Mr. Singleton, a stipendiary Magistrate still employed and trusted by his Majesty's present Ministers, whose evidence could not be called hearsay evidence—the circumstances being those which he saw himself, and in which, in fact, he was a party. He was questioned upon the subject of the late election for Queen's County, and his evidence was as follows:— Could the voters have been brought up unless they were escorted by military?—No, they would not go; and such was their terror, that they requested they might be conveyed by night. So that in general they were escorted by night?—Yes; previous to the first day's polling a number of voters assembled at the house of Mr.—, of—, a Magistrate of the county, for protection; and from his house I myself removed them under the escort of the military by night. From what you have seen of England and the north of Ireland, and have read of other countries, do you conceive that such a state of society exists in any other part of the world?—No, nor would it be there, except for the deep organization and confederacy of the people. He might multiply quotations to show the difference which existed between the two countries, but he would abstain and return to the vital question at present immediately before the House. The noble Lord, the Secretary at War, who addressed the House last night, said—"We find so and so to be the state of affairs in Ireland at present; are you prepared under such circumstances to withdraw the concessions you have already given?" To this question he (Sir James Graham) would answer frankly, that the days of miracles had ceased; that the sun could not go back upon the dial; and that popular concessions once given could not be retracted; he should be one of the last persons to propose any such attempt. Sir William Temple somewhere in a spleenful mood had said, "Providence gives us many things, but to take them away; she takes nothing away to give it to us again." The converse of this is true in political affairs; what we give we cannot take away; when we attempt to take away, we are compelled to give back an hundred fold. It was not, therefore, a question of wish, not a question of inclination; and he would answer frankly, that if it were he was not prepared to take away that which had been already given. He rejoiced to see Catholic Gentlemen sitting in that House, because he thought it the safest place in which their influence and their opinions could be used. But this was not all. The noble Lord asked further, "If you can't go back, what do you mean to do? you must make further concessions, and he added, was there any danger in so doing?" The noble Lord further remarked, that the Government had been tauntingly asked whether they were prepared to make the corporate towns so many "normal schools of peaceful agitation," referring to an expression reported to have fallen from the hon. and learned Member for Dublin; and the noble Lord replied to this question, that he denied that these towns would become "normal schools for agitation;" but he believed that they might become normal schools, not of agitation, but for teaching the people of Ireland the lights and powers of self-government; "normal schools for the cultivation of sound and enlightened political opinions." Now was the noble Lord serious, was he sincere when he made that declaration? Serious the noble Lord undoubtedly was, for as a Minister of the Crown the noble Lord would not trifle with public opinion, or lightly jest upon such a momentous subject; sincere he was convinced the noble Lord must be, for the noble Lord never entertained an opinion which he did not manfully and candidly avow. Then what, he would ask, was the real cause of this remarkable declaration? Was it that his Majesty's Ministers did not see through the mist, which hung around the Cabinet, what all the world besides saw most clearly, or, seeing, did they not apprehend what wise men could not fail to regard with fear and trembling? The House would allow him just to give one glimpse at what he was satisfied would be the first and immediate effect of passing this Bill. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin had already told his constituents that when this Bill was passed they would have "a roaring mayoralty," and that he, the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, would condescend to be their first mayor. Let them imagine the first meeting of the council under this mayoralty, the mace lying on the table, and the hon. and learned Member arrayed in all the robes and dignity of office. He would suppose that the mock solemnity of debate was begun, that the subject of debate was a petition to Parliament praying for the abolition of tithe; the object of invective would probably be the House of Lords, and their opposition to the grand principle of the appropriation of the surplus revenues of the Church to secular purposes, a principle to which, according to the hon. and learned Member for Tipperary's assertion, the Whig Government were irrevocably pledged. And was this to be their "normal school for sound political opinions?" It was nothing else than the realization of the darling dream of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. It was neither more nor less than a Parliament assembled in College-green, without the "nuisance," as he termed it, of a second Hereditary Chamber. Call them what they pleased, "normal schools for peaceful agitation," or "normal schools for sound political opinion," they could but end, in his opinion, by becoming schools for treason and rebellion, the last fatal symptoms preceding the dissolution of the Legislative Union between the two countries. But that was not all, the last resource, the ultima ratio force was already threatened. The hon. and learned Member for Tipperary, on a former evening, concluded a speech of much power and splendour of eloquence, by exclaiming, "Remember, we are seven millions, and this measure we must and will have." Now, he must confess that this observation grated somewhat harshly on his ear, like a prelude to the mischief he most dreaded. He should be sorry to meet menace by menace, or give vent to feelings of indignation, which would only provoke a corresponding repetition of such sentiments. It should be remembered, that the Protestants of England and Ireland had recently strengthened their position, that in compliance with the opinion of that House and of their King, they had laid aside all their signs and symbols by which they were bound together a secret, organised society, and they now stood firmly united in the face of day. The Protestants of the two countries were now resolved, as one man, to maintain and support their religion, the Protestant establishment, by every constitutional means in their power, an establishment still favoured by the law, and blessed, as he believed, by a higher sanction. But, as he said before, he would not repel threat by threat, nor look into the probabilities of the future; he would content himself by referring to the history of the past. Could it be forgotten by them that at the first dawn of the Reformation, under the wise Government of Elizabeth, we rescued even Protestant strangers in the Low Countries from the tyranny of Alva, the persecutions of John of Austria, and the yoke of the Spanish Monarch—that we assisted in laying the foundation of that small but illustrious commonwealth, the offspring of liberty and industry and the first trophy of the house of Nassau over Catholic bigotry and oppression? Could it be forgotten that, defying the anger of their King, we defended the French Hugonots in their struggle for religious freedom? All this we had done when we were a small and divided people; we are now a great, a powerful and united nation; and shall it be said that England, whom France could not vanquish, whom Spain could not overawe, that this England should quail before Catholic intimidation, and give up our Protestant brethren of Ireland an easy prey to the fury of the demagogue, the vengeance of the priest, or the madness of the people? It behoved them to act a bolder and a nobler part. He said, what he (Sir J. Graham) wished to do was, to secure to all classes of his Majesty's subjects, without reference to sect or creed, perfect freedom, and the full enjoyment of their lives and property, under equal laws, firmly and impartially administered. Let them submit to anything rather than the lawless spirit of Catholic domination. And he must say, by way of conclusion, that, in his conscience, he believed the Bill now introduced by his Majesty's Government was nothing less than an unconditional surrender, whilst the proposal of his noble Friend was, in his opinion, calculated to insure good government to Ireland upon just and equitable grounds; he should, therefore, give to the latter proposal his most cordial support.

The Speaker retired for a few minutes; on his resuming the Chair,

Mr. O'Connell

said, I am glad, Sir, you have enabled me to recover for a few seconds from the blaze of religious eloquence with which the right hon. Baronet has just thought proper to overwhelm us. I shall not, on the present occasion, follow the right hon. Baronet through the matter of his speech; a great deal, perhaps, I shall have occasion to make use of at another opportunity. If the House shall refuse to do justice to Ireland, I can assure the right hon. Baronet, that he has this night furnished me with an additional number of powerful arguments for the Repeal of the Union. As to that part of the right hon. Baronet's speech, in which he entered upon the task of reading the evidence of those two most disinterested and impartial witnesses, Mr. Carroll and Mr. Singleton, I shall pay very little attention to that at present. But I must take occasion to call the attention of the House and of the right, hon. Baronet particularly to a mistake which he has fallen into as to my personal friend Mr. Burke. Mr. Burke, he says, was confronted with Mr. Matson. ["No, no."] I admit that that is not the fact; they were not so confronted; what I say is, that the hon. Baronet stated, that they had been so confronted. ["He did."] Now, in point of fact, Mr. Burke was examined by the Committee twice, namely, on the 29th of June, and again on the 2nd of July; he was not examined again after that; Mr. Matson was examined on the 19th of July, and two days after that the Committee closed its sittings, so that Mr. Matson could not have been there to be confronted with Mr. Burke. There is one word attributed to Mr. Burke which I am quite sure no Catholic clergyman ever used, namely, the word "heretic;"—a word which I defy Mr. Matson or any one else to have heard coming out of the mouth of a Catholic clergyman. I am sure the right hon. Baronet did not intend to mislead the House upon these points, and therefore he will be obliged to me for setting him right. Before I enter upon the discussion of the important question which is this night to be decided by us, the House will perhaps allow me to make a few observations in reference to what fell from the hon. and learned Member for Bandon, and from the hon. and gallant Officer (Sir Henry Hardinge) last night. The learned Sergeant, the Member for Bandon, commenced his speech by reading some of the clauses of this Bill, and comparing them with the enactments of the English Corporation Act. Now that being a matter which we can better discuss when we get into Committee on the Bill, I shall not proceed to answer the learned Sergeant's objections upon these points at present. Having gone through these objections, the learned Sergeant then proceeded to attack the character of the clergyman, who he alleged had said, that he would refuse to prepare for death any man who voted for the Knight of Kerry. This was given on the evidence of a gentleman who heard it from some one, who is not himself named, and I ask, is this evidence on which to convict a gentleman and a clergyman of such an unchristian declaration? Besides, Mr. O'Sullivan wrote letters both to the papers in Ireland and to The Morning Chronicle, in which he utterly denied having used the words attributed to him. The statement was made in the first instance without the name of the party implicated being mentioned; Mr. Croley conceiving himself to be referred to in it, first came forward and denied that he had said what was stated, and then he was told, that he was not the person alluded to; and after that Mr. O'Sullivan came forward and denied the charge also. And yet this is a charge which the learned Sergeant opposite, in the mere hope of raising a shout from the side of the House at which he sits, comes forward to repeat again, but the learned Sergeant never thought to mention that the charge had been utterly and publicly denied. Then the learned Sergeant referred to the address said to have been delivered by the reverend Mr. Keogh to his congregation at Leighlin-bridge; but, in like manner, the learned Sergeant never added, that that reverend Gentleman had complained bitterly of having such unchristian sentiments attributed to him, and had gone down to the newspaper office for the purpose of publishing a denial of having used that language—a denial to which no answer was published. Under those circumstances, and with those omissions, I submit that the learned Sergeant ought not to have mentioned those two cases at all. With respect to the course taken by the hon. and gallant Officer opposite (Sir Henry Hardinge), I must say, I think he acted rather unfairly in quoting the evidence of Mr. Carter Hall, who was examined on the last day of the Committee's sitting, and when Mr. Keogh was not in town to hear and meet what he said. [An Hon. Member: Mr. Keogh was in town, he was in the next room.] Well, whether he was there or not, has very little to do with it—the fact is, Mr. Keogh denied the charge most positively in The Carlow Centinel, and that denial was held back. Besides, there are some remarkable passages in Hall's cross-examination which it would have been well to have mentioned also. Hall was asked, in what dress the clergyman was who spoke what he alleged; he replied, "I hardly know how to describe the dress of a Roman Catholic priest; he had on a surplice, and over that a large cross." Now there is nobody who knows anything about the dress of a Catholic priest but will see how inaccurate this is. He was then asked further on the same point, and he replied, "We took off the large cross that he had on his back, but underneath that he wore a surplice over a coarse black gown." Now after this, is there any one who ever saw a Catholic priest who will not at once see how impossible it is Mr. Hall can have been where he describes? But after all, in any case, Mr. Keogh denied the whole statement, and that should have been enough. The next thing the gallant Officer proceeded to do was to accuse me of raising an anti-Protestant spirit in Ireland; and how did he prove that? The gallant Officer referred to a letter of Lord Kenmare's, in which his Lordship expressed his dissent from my politics; so, forsooth, because I happen to differ in opinions with a Catholic, that is in itself sufficient argument to show that I am opposed to Protestantism. Then, in addition to this, the learned Member for Bandon read some garbled passages from some electioneering placards, which I am accused of having circulated. In the case of Limerick I am accused of having published an address in favour of two gentlemen, one a Protestant and the other a Catholic, and with having declared, that whoever would vote against them was an enemy to his country. I will just trouble the House with a few words from an election address which I hold in my hand, which will show that in Carlow at least I am not to be held responsible for all placards of the kind. This placard runs thus:—"Mr. O'Connell has no objection to Bruen. He says, he is a good fellow and a good landlord. He has no notion of supporting Vigors; so hurrah for Henry Bruen, Daniel O'Connell, and freedom of election." Another assertion of the hon. and gallant Member, to which I must allude, is one which he said he made upon the authority of Lord Hatherton; namely, that the clause disfranchising the 40s. freeholders was written in my own handwriting. Now I declare, that Lord Hatherton said no such thing. What then was my conduct at the time of passing the Emancipation Act? why I it was who, with other Gentlemen of the same views, prepared and signed a petition, praying the House not to pass the Bill at all if it were to be given upon the terms of destroying the 40s. freeholders. It was at a subsequent period to this, that when the clause relating to the 40s. freeholders was submitted to me, I recommended an alteration by which the franchise should be taken away in cases where it was assigned for life only, and not where it was in fee or perpetual in- heritance. I am sure the gallant Officer will be glad to be set right upon this fact. I am sorry, however, to trespass so long upon the attention of the House on subjects so unimportant as must be a few calumnies against the Catholic clergy and misrepresentations of myself. What I wish to do—dismissing further notice of these minor topics—is to call the attention of the House to the real state of the question now before it, what the principle involved in it is, and what the result of it may probably be. Now this is a question which I will reply to negatively. The question then is. not whether we shall put an end to the Irish Corporations; that is a point upon which every one is agreed, everybody has given them up entirely; and declared them to be corrupt and profligate to the last degree, influencing, and at the same time polluting the sources of public justice. Of all the Members who have addressed the House upon the subject, they are all so honourable, there is not one to defend these Corporations, not one to stand up for them! There is the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire, and the noble Lord for South Lancashire, two noble Lords North and South, then there is the hon. and gallant Officer, and the hon. and learned Sergeant, the Member for Bandon, and the hon. and learned Recorder—whose face is just brightened up by a smile, but who wore a countenance not two minutes ago very fit for an undertaker; even the hon. and learned Recorder had not a word to say for the poor corporators. They all agreed to throw them quietly overboard. Amongst so many speeches, one hardly knows how to select one above another, but upon the whole I think I must give the preference to the speech of the noble Lord for North Lancashire; there is a cordiality about all he said which is quite delightful. But as to blaming the Corporations, all I want to know is, when did these noble Lords and hon. and learned Gentlemen first find out that these Corporations were so very bad? When did this new light shine upon this galaxy of talented rulers on Irish affairs? All I can say is, that I think it very cruel of the hon. Gentlemen to find it out at this precise time, and consent to abolish all at once these venerable Corporations— Abandon'd in their utmost need, By those their former bounty fed. Now here is, first, one specimen of the wisdom of our ancestors, the beauty of these Corporations. There was a document of the year 1816, "Resolved unanimously that Robert Peel, Esq., deserves our warmest thanks, and those of all loyal subjects, for his true Protestant principles, and particularly for his heroic opposition to that public nuisance who designated our constitutional body a beggarly Corporation; and that the Orange Peel with the orange lily shall henceforward be the combined emblem of true loyalty." Oh I little did the poor Dublin corporators think how blighting would the contact eventually prove of what they considered substances of a congenial nature. [Sir H. Hardinge: When was that Resolution passed?] In the year 1816, shortly before the picture was voted to the right hon. Baronet, which he got leave to pay for himself; but what can you think of the situation of those persons who are subject to the government of such a body as this corrupt Corporation, by which justice is poisoned to the source, by which partisanship is practised by sheriffs and sub-sheriffs, by grand juries and petty juries—all admitted abuses now, but all existing when the right hon. Gentlemen and the noble Lords who at various times filled the office of Secretary to Ireland were in power. I hurl these abuses, which they never even attempted to remove when they were, from the nature of their office, called upon to do so—in the name of my country I hurl these abuses at them now. How can they account for having suffered these nuisances—not to remain undisturbed—but to become still more offensive? What reason can they give for allowing the pure waters of justice to be made a mephitic pool, which, instead of their diffusing gladness, and health, and vigour, spreads pestilence and death around them? Why, Sir, these are the bodies that the independent and pure gentlemen on the opposite side of the House felt proud in countenancing and encouraging. Did not the right hon. Gentlemen and the noble Lords, to whom I have before alluded, and who filled the office of Secretary of Ireland, remain during the tenure of their office in ignorance of the evils of this corrupt and abominable system? There was one of them, the noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire, to whom I will do the justice of expressing my belief that he was not blind to the grievances which these burdens imposed on those whom they governed. But with that exception, was there one of these noble and right hon. Secretaries, during the time they remained in office, who did not glory in being the subjects of the toasts and speeches of these very corrupt jurors, these partisan sheriffs, and these infamous corporate bodies,—nay, were not their own addresses, made to assemblies composed of such individuals, received with the long-continued and oft-repeated "hurrahs" of these corruptionists, whom, with the strangest gratitude, it must be admitted, they now with one voice unite in condemning-. Now I am told that the state of Ireland is diseased. Need I, after the topic to which I have just adverted, and which can't be questioned—need I ask you who has made it so? You (pointing to the Opposition side) have committed the crime, and with singular consistency you desire to inflict on us the punishment. The noble Lord (Stanley) is, I see, dipping pen in ink: he may dip it in congenial gall if he chooses, but he cannot weaken the position which I have laid down. As I said already, I believe the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire, was well aware of the abuses of the Irish Corporations. Perhaps the other noble and right hon. Secretaries did not take much pains to see them. But why did they not? Is there any excuse for their neglect of what should have been one of their chief duties? They ought to have known them well, for they were often reminded of them; and I remember that I myself, even so far back as the trial of Magee, in Dublin, said, in the presence of the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, at least he was in Court during the trial, that a man brought for trial by a jury appointed by such sheriffs as the Irish Corporations nominated, stood in a situation closely resembling that of a man taken to a gaming-house to play with men who, he knew, used loaded dice. And did I not incessantly dwell upon the abuses of Corporations, as one of the most crying evils by which Ireland was afflicted? And yet, when a measure is brought forward for the cure of the diseased and poisoned state of society, which these bodies engendered, we are turned round upon by those who fostered and fomented the evils, and told that we shall not even now drink the healing waters of justice and equal laws, but that we must, continue in the degraded and unhappy state to which their misrule has reduced us. Now let the House consider the question before it. The noble Lord (Lord Francis Egerton) who made the motion, considering the kind of job that was put upon him, spoke with as much moderation as possible, and dipped his fingers as little as the matter which he had to deal with would permit, in the bitter sources from which the topics of his speech were supplied. But still his speech conveyed a gross insult to the people of Ireland, for which he is, perhaps, to be excused, as he could not avoid, in the position which he took up, offering it. But let me again remind the House, that after centuries of suffering on the part of the people—after the grossest bigotry and partisanship being displayed by the bodies who had the appointment of those who were constituted the arbiters of property and life, we have at last arrived at the unanimous conclusion that this corporate system is to be abolished; and having resolved on that, the second question is, what system is to be substituted in the place of that which must be extinguished?' Tis agreed on all hands that clear off must go sheriffs and sub-sheriffs, town-clerks and recorders—all at "one fell swoop" must be cut off. Who are to be put in their places? I ask—I demand, Sir, in the name of my constituency, the substitution of a body identical, not in its details, but identical in its principle, with that which has been given to Scotland and England. That is my demand—nothing short of that will satisfy me. The right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, says my plan is to make all the inhabitants of Ireland equal, and that is what the Catholics themselves desired. Sir, it is true that all the Catholics ever asked, though it was insinuated they desired more, was equality, and equality they shall have. How? By destroying institutions whose natural foundations are the principles of freedom, and because Protestants can no longer monopolise privileges and rights intended for the whole of the people—by suffering no civil rights to appertain to any portion of the inhabitants of that country? I deny, Sir, that that is an equality which can be beneficial to any people having the least pretence to the enjoyment of freedom. It is an equality which may be boasted of by the most despotic monarch and enslaved people on the earth; but it is an equality which the people of Ireland have no desire to share in common with them. Sir, I have always said, that my principle of equality, as applied to Ireland, was not to pull down the Protestants to my level, but to raise the Catholic to the level of the Protestant. It is no base compromise, in order to subvert the institutions from which Catholics are excluded, and to make all equally slaves. I will never consent to that. [Hear, hear, from Mr. Emerson Tennent.] I hear the voice calling itself the representative of Belfast. Now, why should that hon. Member, in a speech (which might, perhaps, have been written before it was spoken) which he delivered on introducing to the notice of the House the petition from Belfast, attempt to place the question, with reference to that, city, at least, on religious grounds, when it was notorious that there were 22,000 of the inhabitants who were Roman Catholics, they belonging, too, to the poorer classes, and 58,000 of the richer classes, who were Protestants. Now on what religious ground could he rest the question, or upon what principle could it be refused to the 22,000 that they should be suffered to share the privileges of the 58,000 Protestants? This is a fact which shows the disposition of those opposed to giving the Irish people a just participation in equal rights; it is a family feature, which enables one to discover the true principles of his party, that the hon. and learned Member for Belfast should come down here, and in a well-arranged speech, rest upon this difference in religious opinion in favour of Protestantism, not as a reason for making Belfast free, but for the purpose of preventing that town from enjoying the benefits of Municipal Reform. Having alluded to the Corporation of Belfast, I may as well slate that the corporators there belonged to the genuine sort. There were thirteen of them—they had control over charitable funds to the amount of 5,000l. There is 3,000l. now forthcoming; the other 2,000l. has disappeared. It was charity money, and the Belfast corporators, in order to demonstrate how anxious they were to comply with the adage "charity ought to begin at home," retained amongst five or six of themselves 2,000l. of the money left to them in trust for the benefit of others. Well, to come back to the question before us. Well, we are to get rid of the Corporations. That is admitted on all hands. And again, I repeat my demand, respectfully, but firmly, for the same measure of Municipal Reform in Ireland as you have granted to Scotland and England. The Scotch Corporations were in the same situation with the Irish; they were self-elected—they were corrupt: there was no identity of feeling between them and the population of the towns. No man stood up to defend the old Corporations of Scotland, every one threw them overboard; but did any man dare to raise his voice in that House for the purpose of proposing the extinction of the Scotch Corporations. If any one had the temerity to do so how would the proposition be received here, or how would it be treated by the inhabitants of Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Paisley? I tell you that it would not be submitted to, and the Scotch would be, what they have never been, cowards and traitors to their native land if they consented to such a degradation. The old corporate system of Scotland, in. which religious bigotry was not added to the other vices, only because the vast majority of the people, who were of one religion, has been swept away, and the new system introduced, giving the Scotch the benefit of the principles of vigilant popular control and publicity of proceedings. Well, Scotland has profited by the change, and much good may it do her. No man in Scotland rejoices more heartily than I do at the use which she has made of it. Next came England, when your Corporations were corrupt, and profligate, and bigotted; where Dissenters were excluded first by law, and next by unjust trammels. You destroyed the whole system, but was it proposed to annihilate the Corporations altogether? No man dreamed of such a proposal. Scotland got a new system—England has got one, not of the same value as that which has been conferred on Scotland, but that is not the fault of the House of Commons. England has, at all events, acquired the principles of popular control and publicity of proceedings. As I said before, Scotland has got it—England has got it; will you tell me that Ireland is not to get it? What! talk to my Friend, Mr. Sheil, of having threatened that Ireland would right herself, if ultimately wronged, without hope and prospect of redress. God forbid, Sir, that I should ever be guilty of the sin of despairing with respect to my country. I never despaired of my country when her prospects appeared much more dark and dismal than they are at present; and. hope then smiled upon the scene, and to a certain extent I succeeded, in the opinions of others, of improving her condition. There were some, at least, who thought me right then, and I am convinced that every honest man thinks me right now. Talk not to me of compromise. I'll enter into no compromise with you. I will have the principles of vigilant popular control and publicity of proceedings carried into operation with regard to the Corporations of Ireland. I am willing, if you grant these, to argue the details in the Committee. I will vote for the right hon. Baronet if he can there show, as he says he can, that the details of the proposed measure are inconsistent with its principle. And why should we not get a measure of corporate reform such as those you have already granted. The right hon. Baronet proposes a different plan for us—a royal commission forsooth! The people of Ireland have not sense enough to manage their own affairs, and a commission of lunacy must be issued against them. That is your mode of governing the country; that is the right hon. Baronet's splendid plan. What! govern Ireland by refusing her common civil rights with other portions of the empire—by denying to her the privilege of managing her own affairs, and abolishing the proper organ for making known their grievances in every town and city in that country. How, Sir, can the interests of commerce, of manufactures, and of trade, in fact, all the interests of the great towns be properly and effectually promoted, but through such organs as these corporate bodies, duly and locally chosen? But, then, it is said, there is a question of religious supremacy mixed up with this question of municipal reform. And here I must do the noble Lord (Lord Francis Egerton) the justice to admit, that he abstained as much as possible from any bigoted views of the measure before us. The credit of legislating on principles of bigotry must be given to the noble Lord (Lord Stanley) and the right hon. Baronet (Sir James Graham), his fellow rider in the Dilly, who show extreme purity of Conscience in doing injustice to a nation, and prove their zeal in the cause of piety, by sanctioning the continuance of religious persecution. They have placed this question on religious grounds, and are terrified at the idea of the reform in Irish Corporations, lest the Protestants should be converted to Catholicity. Why these bodies have been preaching and practising piety and Protestantism these 300 years, and how is it that they never could manage to convert even a solitary Catholic during that period. The consciences of the noble Lord and right hon. Baronet are troubled with the most harassing apprehensions of the growth of Popery, as the inevitable consequence of the proposed change. But these Corporations which must be considered such admirable instruments for converting a nation that they ought to be adopted by the Missionary Societies, have been engaged for centuries in the holy office of preaching Protestantism and pursuing iniquity, and not one Papist has as yet been brought over to their way of thinking. I fancy I can see the hon. Member for Sligo falling on his knees, uplifting his eyes, and giving way to a burst of solemn supplication against the horrors of Popery, at the contemplation of those bodies, as soon as they are converted into a propaganda for the promotion of the Catholic religion. But Sligo Corporation is gone; and this I am afraid is the real ground of this pretence, not argument, for persevering in a system of injustice. Are you not tired of continuing this mode of governing the country? Does the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire, imagine that he has made an invention in opposition to the principles on which the other 25, or it may be 250, Secretaries of Ireland have acted in the government of Ireland? Sir, the scene which is now enacted in this House—the scene which Ireland now presents, is the same that it has exhibited for 700 years. Sir John Davies, 220 years ago, published a Tract, discussing the reason why Ireland never was conquered. He has been in his grave 200 years, from his tomb he shall address a speech to those who would exclude the Irish from the benefit of good government. In the year 1614, Sir John Davies says, "This, then, I note as a great defect in the civil policy of this kingdom, in that for a space of 350 years after the conquest of Ireland has been attempted, English laws have not been communicated to the Irish for their benefit and protection, though they have earnestly desired and sought the same." Is not that applicable to our present condition? Here am I now desiring the protection and benefit of the English laws. Sir John proceeds, "in a word, if the English could govern Ireland by the sword, or root not the population out of the soil, they must remain as brambles in their eye and thorns in their side, and see their conquest never come." If the laws of England had been established, and impartially administered; if in the reigns of Henry, John, and Richard, the country had been divided into counties; justices sent half-yearly to punish malefactors; if their fairs and markets had been assimilated to the English; and corporate towns originated, assuredly Ireland would have been reduced by the salutary effects of equal laws and good government. There would have been a perfect union between the nations, and consequently a perfect conquest of Ireland; for the conquest never could be perfected, nor the two countries enter into concord, until they are subjected to one king, one allegiance, and one law." That was written 221 years ago; and here am I now, a descendant of that people thus described, debating the same question which this historian dwelt upon, and telling you not to dare to insult us any longer, by admitting, that Scotland and England have obtained municipal franchises, and yet, under a paltry pretext, calling upon us to bow down in obedience to your will, while we are denied the privilege which you have gained. I tell you that, as we are "subjected to one King, and one allegiance," there shall and there must be but "one law." The union, indeed! Is there a union between the countries? There is a parchment union. But I ask you now if the Government of this country was carried on in Ireland, and that a measure for Irish Corporate Reform was passed by a Parliament sitting there, and yet that a similar measure of relief was denied to the English, what in that case would you do with the parchment union? Tear it in pieces, of course. Or, what is much more likely, break with your good broad swords the head of the man who presumed to offer such an affront to your country. So England, so Scotland, in accordance with her brave conduct at Bannockburn, would act under such circumstances. And do you mean to say that what you would not dare to tell England or Scotland, you are at liberty to call on Ireland to submit to. The men of Ireland are men who may shrink from peril and love not liberty? I deny it. I, as one of them, may seem to shrink from danger in order to avoid a violation of conscience, which, rather than commit, I am ready to bear with any taunt; but I mistake much those who sent me here, and the whole of the Irish nation, if the noble Lord and the right hon. Baronet, or any other of the pious and pure protectors of corporate abuses, can, if equal civic privileges and rights are denied to the Irish people, prevent the Repeal of the Union, if not the ultimate separation of the two countries; for while we live and move we will never despair of achieving for ourselves the liberty which you deny us. But we are told again and again, that the concession of just claims will end in the triumph of Catholics over Protestants. Now, let me remind the noble Lord, who ought to have read the history of the country over which he was appointed to legislate, that, since the Reformation, the Catholics have obtained power three times, and never in the slightest degree abused it. I can show him that while murders were committed, and victims burned at the stakes in this country by Protestant, and Catholic monarchs in this country, that no violation of the law was committed by the Catholics over the Protestants at the periods to which I have adverted. Now, I defy him to controvert that. But I do not speak on my own authority. I appeal to a Protestant historian, Mr. Taylor, the brother, I believe, of Mr. Sydney Taylor, the editor of The Morning Herald. [The hon. and learned Gentlemen took a rapid review of the achievement of freedom by the Irish Catholics in the year 1648 and 1688, with the view of showing that, notwithstanding the calumnies of Hume and Clarendon, they persecuted no man, and punished no man of those who differed from them in religion.] Do I state this, continued the hon. Member, on my own authority? No, I appeal to a Protestant historian, Mr. W. C. Taylor, the brother of Mr. Sydney Taylor, I believe, for the confirmation of my words. In his history of Ireland, there occurred a passage to this effect: "The restoration of the old religion of the people was effected without violence. No persecution was attempted by them; and several English families flying from the scenes of murder enacted in England, found a safe retreat amongst the Catholics of Ireland. It is but justice to the Catholics of Ireland to say, that upon the three occasions when the Catholics obtained power, they never injured, in life or limb, any of those opposed to their religion." But it is mere trifling with the question to suppose that the Catholics would use their power in a bigotted manner. Why, I have a return to prove that the efficient control over the Corporations will be vested, for the greater part, in the hands of Protestants. In Belfast, the Protestants far exceed the Catholics; in Dublin, the Catholics are in the proportion of two to one, and in the other towns of three to one; but let this be recollected, that almost every Protestant will be a voter, from their being the most wealthy class, while there will be proportion ably few Catholic electors. There are thirty Catholic Members in this House for Ireland; but as the Catholics, who are seven-eighths of the population, return no more than one-third, of the representatives of the same persuasion as themselves, can anything be more illustrative of the fallacy that Catholics would unjustly predominate over Protestants in these municipal bodies? And, after this, do you still persevere in making us, as Sir J. Davies said, two nations? And after having made large concessions halt at the last step of your progress to good government, and insult us by delaying that measure of justice which you must know that you cannot eventually withhold? The voice of England declares that we must have justice. Scotland reiterates the sentiment, and the people of Ireland will, I trust, soon be in a position unanimously to demand it. After the expression of opinion which those of the Irish party most strongly opposed to me have very recently obeyed, I cannot help thinking, that after their feelings of wounded pride and vanity have subsided, they will yield to the generous impulse of love of country, and affectionate esteem for their fellow-subjects. They breathe the same kindly air; they are children of the same soil; and though the Irish hand may for a time revolt, the Irish heart cannot long withstand the natural bent of its feelings, and Irishmen, unless you contrive to excite and embitter their minds by maintaining a difference of interest between them, will inevitably be led to a cordial union, by accustoming them to the social intercourse of business in their corporate capacity. This is the view which you should take: this is the question you should agitate. I thank the right hon. Baronet for alluding to my phrase about "peaceful agitation." I never was anxious to know where he got the extract; and I saw that neither in The Mirror of Parliament or The Times was this phrase reported at all. But in The Morning Post, which, with the exception of The Morning Chronicle, gives, in my opinion, the most accurate reports, as well as in The Morning Herald, I was correctly reported. In The Morning Chronicle my words are that these bodies "would be normal schools for peaceful agitation." That is what I said. But in my mind the great value of these Corporations is, that they afford a vent for peaceable agitation. The waters of political life are like those we consume—if they are not agitated properly, and at proper intervals, they become stagnant, and spread a noisome vapour over the scene they might otherwise enliven and enrich. I maintain that in every free country, peaceable political agitation, so far from injuring, is absolutely necessary to the continuance of that freedom. Peaceable agitation is, in fact, the price which wise men pay for liberty. But, Sir, the right hon. Baronet asks, "Will you, the British House of Commons, encourage this political agitator?'' I ask the same question. I ask you, the Commons of England, will you encourage this political agitator by giving him the most excellent arguments and the most cogent motives for the continuance of his agitation. The right hon. Baronet asks again, will you give to Ireland a measure of Corporate Reform similar to that granted to England, after having so lately been obliged to bind down that country by a Coercion Bill? What! because a Whig Government in a moment of delusion and under misconception of the real state of our country gave us a Coercion Bill, are we not to have the abuses which have crept into our Corporations remedied? Why, what were the circumstances under which that Coercion Bill was enacted? The right hon. Baronet was a member of the Government when the first Coercion Bill was introduced, and sure am I, that had he and the noble Lord near him been then sitting on the side of the House from which they now speak, that disgraceful measure would never have been thought of. But what, I ask, was the principal argument used by the introducers of that Bill to gain over to it the assent of the House? Was it not the promise that the just grievances of the Irish people—and none more especially than those arising from the existing abuse of corporate affairs—should be considered, and with all possible dispatch removed? The Government, upon introducing the Bill, made terms with the House, and through the House with the Irish people, and one of those being a Reform of their Corporation, it was to be now seen whether those terms would be kept. Again, upon the Debate on my Motion for a Repeal of the Union, what was the compromise proposed by the right hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment upon that occasion. Did he did not distinctly promise that this very question of Corporate Reform should form the subject of immediate and satisfactory legislation. If, then, you disappointed the Irish people in the hopes you yourself held out to them—if, after inducing them to abandon those questions which they deemed the best and speediest remedies for their grievances, but which to your feelings were displeasing, upon the distinct understanding that the great defects in their system of government should be amended or removed, you now turn round upon them and say, we will not keep faith with you, and we will not fulfil the engagements we contracted with you—what, I ask, do you expect from them? Do you hope that with "bated breath and whispering humbleness" they will turn to you and say, "True, you spit in my face on Saturday, and on Sunday you called me a maniac and a bigot—you have broken every promise with me, and held me at bay as you would an enemy and an assassin;—notwithstanding all this, however, you shall have my good love, my counsel, and my services, whenever and wherever you may desire them." Do you look for this patience, this tame-ness, from the people of Ireland? If you do you will be deceived. We are ready-to forget as we have forgiven the cruelty of your Coercion Bill, and the tardiness with which you have set about remedying our grievances; but in doing so we require that you remind us not of our want of a separate legislature by doing us further injustice. But while I am upon this general question of agitation, let me ask the it. hon. hon. Baronet opposite one question. He seems to think that the plan contemplated by the noble Lord who originated this discussion is to withdraw all occasion for agitation upon corporate matters. What! Does he think that the visits of the proposed commissions will not give rise to agitation? Does he wrap himself up in the delusion that the people will tamely and quietly submit to the arbitration of these commissions, and that there will, upon their appointment, be an immediate cessation of public meetings and political societies. Why, the enactment of such a measure as that proposed by the noble Lord, and the consequent rejection of that introduced by the Government, will, on the moment, start up political, and revive Orange and Green associations without number. Agitation shops would then become necessary, and Ireland, feeling that its voice is but faintly heard in the council of the nation, will take means, such as it has not hitherto contemplated, to have its claims heard. Depend upon it, by the rejection or alteration of the Bill, as it stands, you will not diminish agitation in Ireland. Far from it, you will encourage agitation by increasing the occasion for it; and though it may not present itself to your eyes in the same shape it now assumes, rely upon it it will do so in another and a worse one. Come, then, I entreat you to your only alternative. Come, then, to the peaceable agitation of these normal schools. Come, then, and joining in harmony and unity of purpose with his Majesty's Ministers, at least do an act of common justice towards neglected and injured Ireland. I have trespassed now a good deal upon the patience of the House, and my excuse must be, that I have been called upon to do so by my country. I will, however, have so much respect for the indulgence with which you have treated me, as not to refer to many of the topics introduced by hon. Members opposite, but which have, in reality, little or no reference to the question at issue. I will not refer to the notable discoveries, so trumpeted from the other side, of Lord Grey's doing this, and Lord Grey's doing that, or Lord Grey's deprecating such and such conduct. What, I ask, have these matters to do with the question at issue? Oh, are ye statesmen who introduce such topics as these upon a discussion, as to whether Ireland shall have such a measure of Corporate Reform as justice and good faith entitles her to? The real question at issue is, shall Ireland be tranquillized, and by having dealt out equal justice and similar laws with England, consider herself a portion of the British Empire? This is the question, and, for God's sake, seek not to swamp it, by reference to matters and statements, and discussions which are not incidental to it, and must tend to impede its deliberate and becoming decision. I stand here before you the authorised representative of three provinces of Ireland, and in that capacity I tell you that I fling aside for ever the question of repeal, and that I will join with you, heart and hand, if you will join with me in pacifying Ireland in the only way you will—you can—you ought, to attempt her pacification. These are my terms? Will you or not assent to them? Perpetual Union—perpetual combination, and the perpetual bond of equal privileges and equal right. Deny us these terms, and let me tell you, your Union with Ireland will, with one effort, be rent asunder for ever.

Lord Stanley

said, that although he was well acquainted with the power and influence which were exercised by the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down, in that part of the empire with which he had most immediate connexion, he could not but hesitate on the simple assurance now given, authorised, though it was stated to be, by the people of Ireland, to enter into a compact with him as their plenipotentiary, before some security was given for the due performance of the conditions, and before even it was shown that the hon. and learned Member was, as he represented himself, really invested with the full power to make it. "Authorised by the people of Ireland, I come here," exclaimed the hon. and learned Gentleman in his most grandiloquent, but certainly not very argumentative speech, "I come here, authorised by the people of Ireland, to tell you, the British House of Commons, that we are willing to forget past injuries, and to concert with you the conditions of future unity; but if our conditions are not acceded to, I am then instructed to tell you that again the banner of Repeal shall float upon the breeze until victory shall crown it with the laurels of triumph." Such in terms had been the threat of Ireland's authorised plenipotentiary—such in terms was the alternative which, in his capacity of authorised representative of Irish agitation, the hon. and learned Member proposed. And where, he begged to ask, was this boasted authorisation given? At a dinner in Tuam—a supper in the King's County—or at a meeting held in a room in Dublin? And was the House of Commons to be gravely told that on these specific occasions the people of Ireland had given their plenipotentiary such an authority to act for them as they could, with either dignity or propriety entertain. Why, even if the hon. and learned Gentleman needed an authority to act for a large portion of the people of Ireland, no authority could be communicated to him in such a manner. He (Lord Stanley) doubted not that the hon. and learned Member was a high authority with reference to the sentiments of a large portion of the Irish people—he doubted not that he had great influence with them, and that it was most probable whatever course he might recommend to their adoption upon any question connected with their interests, they would be likely to follow up; but notwithstanding this, before he came to terms with him, he must know distinctly what those terms were likely to be, and what was the nature of the security he was prepared to offer for due performance. This information the hon. and learned Gentleman had not, in his opinion, as yet communicated to the House. It seemed to him, indeed, that the hon. and learned Member had cautiously avoided going very deeply into this question. Numerous, without doubt, were the topics to which he had adverted, and powerful had been the language which upon this occasion, as upon all others, he employed in discussing those topics, but with an extreme of caution he had confined himself to a simple declaration of the resolution to which he and those he represented had come—that resolution being expressed in the words "we must have equal justice, or we will have nothing at all." There was to be no "base compromise." No single point was to be flinched from, and no matter how or by what means brought about, there was to be a perfect, entire, uniform equalisation of condition and laws between the two countries, without even a reference to their totally dissimilar positions and entirely varied circumstances. "Equal justice we will have," mildly exclaimed the hon. and learned Member, "or else repeal." Now he begged to ask who was to define for that House what in Ireland was meant by the words "equal justice?" Were they, upon any question—no matter what its nature—to take the word of the hon. and learned Member on this point? Were they, he asked, to apply to the term "equal justice" such meaning as, in the spirit of the moment, or on the impulse of the moment, or for the political purpose the hon. and learned Gentleman might choose to attach to it. It was not so many years since Catholic Emancipation was designated by the party which the hon. and learned Member so peculiarly represented as the all in all of equal justice. Upon the passing of that measure it was stated that no more demands were to be made, that a perfect equality was then obtained, and that Ireland had no further ground for complaint. Had such proved the case? Alas! far from it. They were now told that Ireland was labouring under a stigma, and that it would even consider itself under disgrace, unless the same laws which were passed for England were passed for Ireland. The same laws?—did the words "equal justice" mean the same laws, or did they not mean the same laws? In the course of the discussion several hon. Members had stated that they would not be satisfied until they obtained full justice for Ireland. The people of Ireland said so, and the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, the authorized representative of that people, or a majority of them, said so, and therefore it must be done. To this he replied, "So should the House of Commons say, so would he say." He (Lord Stanley), as a Member of that House, now proclaimed that he would never be satisfied until equal justice was established in Ireland. He would not be satisfied until he saw every man of every sect, of every profession, of every station in life, however humble or exalted, brought under the control and domination, but at the same time under the protection, of one and the same law. He would not be satisfied until he saw in Ireland life secured against vindictiveness, barbarities restrained, and the laws carried into effect for the protection of the people at large. This was his demand of equal justice for Ireland; and in asking it, allowing that he was bound to look carefully into whatever act tended to procure it, he should consider it his duty to take into consideration how far the peculiar condition of that country, and the circumstances in which he then found it, rendered the specific measures to be introduced expedient and desirable. If they were not to be guided in their decisions by considerations of the peculiar condition in which that country was found, why, he asked, were they to spend their time, day after day, and week after week, in idle discussions upon the several Irish measures brought before them. If they were, is the legislation for that country to be guided solely by the principle that a law which was good for England was equally so for Ireland? If, considering no circumstances, looking to no political experience, regarding no result of observation, putting out of view all the promptings of sagacity for the divination of the future, and shutting their eyes upon all knowledge of the present, they were blindly to legislate for Ireland solely because they had legislated for England? What, he asked, was the object of having different Bills for the two countries—and why was it not so arranged that by a single clause each Bill passed for the one country might be extended to the other? The hon. and learned Gentleman who spoke last seemed to be much disappointed that no one had stood up to defend the exclusive system of the old Corporations of Ireland. He for one had never defended them, and he. was not then about to do so-He admitted that they were bad in principle—that they were not adapted to the spirit of the day—and that they were altogether inconsistent with the present state of society. He admitted this—nay more, he claimed that they were so, because upon the admission of that fact was entirely founded the measure of which he was the advocate. While, however, making this admission, he contended, that while about to pull down that which was unsuited to the present state of the country, they were bound to look to the substitute which it was proposed to call into existence, and that they should consider more whether the measure proposed was expedient and necessary for Ireland, and not merely the fact that it had been enacted for England. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin had contended that the most advisable plan would be to sweep away Corporations at once and for ever. Why so it was contemplated by the proposition which he supported; while by that proposed by Government, mayors, recorders, sheriffs, town-clerks, mace-bearers, purse-bearers, and the whole paraphernalia of Corporations were continued, and even extended; and that in a manner which, he was ready to prove, would be a curse to the several boroughs, and at the same time most dangerous to the peace of the empire at large. In the observations he was about to offer to the House, he should endeavour to establish these two facts—first, that for all the main points to which the Bill extends, Corporations were in all towns in Ireland unnecessary; and secondly, that as regard- ed a majority of these points, they were not only unnecessary, but mischievous. Before proceeding, however, to the consideration of these topics, he desired to say one word with reference to the argument of those Gentlemen who did not ask that a Bill precisely the same as that passed for England should be extended to Ireland, but who, nevertheless, contended for the adoption of one and the same principle in the two measures. In the first place he had to observe, that the expression "adoption of one and the same principle," was a somewhat vague one, especially when addressed to the House by those who were the advocates for an identity of interests between the two countries. What was meant by this principle alluded to? Was it that of popular control? The right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer cheered him—might he ask what that right hon. Gentleman meant by the principle of popular control? Did he mean the giving to a certain class the power of making the laws, or the power of appointing those who should be qualified to make the laws, or the power of executing the laws, or the power of control over their administration through the medium of publicity? All these four attributes, namely, of absolute legislation, the appointment of legislators, the power of superintendence, and veto and publicity to all, were but the modifications of that which was designated popular control. Now, supposing they omitted one of these attributes in the Irish Bill, and another in the English, could they say they were acting strictly upon the same principle in both the Bills? Would they not be still leaving an opening for those who contended that the same laws ought to be passed for the two countries. He would endeavour to explain himself more clearly. Again he asked, what was meant by popular control? Those who contended for a similarity of measures for the two countries, told him that they wanted the principle of popular control introduced into the Irish Corporations. Now what did they mean by the term? Popular control might be the control of 50l. householders, or of 20l. householders, or of 10l. householders, or of 5l. householders—in short, the control of any set of individuals in the kingdom. The control of any of those classes would, strictly speaking, be popular control; and yet upon their difference depended not merely a detail, but the very principle of the measure to be adopted,— Why could it be contended that the 10l. franchise was a mere detail of the Reform Bill? Was it not the very base and essence of the measure? Well then, it being admitted that the differences of the qualification over which the term popular control might be made to extend were several, was it not necessary, in order to bring England and Ireland under a similarity of circumstances, that they should adopt an identity of qualification—["No, no"] He almost despaired of making his argument intelligible to the hon. Gentlemen who cried "No;" but, nevertheless, he would try. When the English Municipal Reform Bill was under consideration, would it not have been considered to make a material alteration in the whole character of the measure, if, instead of fixing the amount of qualification at 10l. a year, it had been fixed at 50l. or 20l.? Certainly, it would have been so considered. When, therefore, they were told that they were to apply the same principle to the Irish as they had adopted in the English Bill, was it not evident they failed in doing so, unless they named the qualification of 10l. householders. Again, what were the qualifications as to residence, &c. in the English Bill. Permanence of residence, and a permanent payment of rates for three years, were made essential. Were these qualifications required in the Irish Bill? Neither one or the other of them, but a six months' residence, with a 5l. qualification, and without any payment of rates, was all that was required; and that, they were told, was, as regarded Ireland, an identity of legislation with the 10l. qualification, with permanent residence and payment of rates, of the English Bill. The hon. and learned Member who in the last Session introduced the Ministerial plan of Irish Municipal Reform to the House, had endeavoured in his statement to apologise for this discrepancy; his argument being, that in the vast majority of the towns of Ireland, it would be impossible to find a 10l. constituency for the new Corporations. Now if that was the case, his argument in reply was, that where a 10l. constituency could not be had, there was no claim, no need, or indeed use for a corporation. Surely it could not be said that the wealthy town of Londonderry, containing a population of 19,900 souls, could not find a most numerous 10l. constituency. Then, he maintained, it was not necessary to go so low as a 5l. franchise. It would be said, doubtless, that if there was anything in his argument for withholding Corporations altogether, it only applied to the small towns, and could not apply to such places as Belfast, Dublin, or Cork. But he (Lord Stanley) would inquire, in reply, how was it that Westminster, Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester, and many other great towns in England were not alone without a Corporation from their foundation to the present day, but had actually never expressed a wish to have one? He was yet to learn, and he should hear it with surprise, that these important towns, or the metropolitan boroughs, had petitioned Parliament for the blessings of a municipal Corporation. In depriving the large towns of Ireland of councils the House would not be depriving them of a governing body. The hon. Member for Belfast—whose speech, notwithstanding the attack and observations of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, was such that he had no occasion to be ashamed of its matter or manner—the hon. Member for Belfast had shown in the latter part of that speech, by an extract from the report of the Irish Municipal Corporation Commissioners, that in the article of local government these towns could never be at a loss; inasmuch as it was carried on in the principal points under discussion without any reference to the existing Corporations. What were the principal objects for which Corporations were required? Paving and lighting were among the foremost. In regard to these the statute of the 9th of King George 4th was in operation in Ireland ever since its enactment; and it was optional with any towns which felt so inclined to adopt it, and apply its provisions? How many towns had done so? Youghal, Derry, Dundalk, Longford, Armagh, and three others. About eight towns in all, in Ireland, had adopted the Act. In seven others of equal size and population the question was put to the 5l. householders, whether they would have the benefits of it, and they all refused, on the plea that it would saddle them with too great expenses, and impose Corporations upon them. Was the Bill before the House likely to be a been to those towns? Cork, Limerick, Londonderry, Belfast, and Waterford, had local Acts of their own for lighting and paving, with which the provisions of the Bill would not interfere? and in each of these cities the Corporations were excluded from all participation in them. There were also in Dublin, Cork, Londonderry, Limerick, and Drogheda, Ballast Boards and Boards of Harbour Commissioners to attend to the subjects comprised in their respective names; and the members of these Boards being selected from individuals having no interest in the matters which they were constituted to take charge of, generally gave great satisfaction to the inhabitants. In Londonderry, it was true, the Harbour Commissioners had been complained of, as men having no interest in the shipping of the port? but would the Bill before the House supply any thing to remedy the defect? Was there any part of its machinery which could be converted to that purpose? Hon. Gentlemen on the other side were anxious for an identity of the Bill before the House with the Bill for the reform of Municipal Corporations in England. He would beg to call their attention to a striking dissimilarity in it as it stood. In the English Bill the Boards constituted under the 9th of George 4th. had the power of resigning or transferring their functions to the town-council and the town-councils had a power of receiving and exercising them. In the Bill before the House there were some clauses (51, 52, 66, 67, and 82) to a like effect; but there was also a discrepancy to which he begged to direct the views of hon. Members opposite. Clause 51 required the accounts of the Harbour, Ballast, and Wide Street Commissioners to be laid open to the inspection of the town-council. Clause 52 compelled the officers to account to the council, and give the latter a summary remedy in case of non-compliance. Clause 66 empowered the councils to act as visitors and trustees. He would not weary the House with an enumeration of the contents of the several clauses, but he would come at once to the important one. By Clause 66 the council might assume the power of the Commissioners under the 9th of Geo. 4th., cap. 82. The English Bill gave the same power, in the same terms, but there was an addition to the Bill before the House which that measure had not. In the marginal note the words et cetera were added, thus giving the councils to be created by it full and exclusive power over all Boards and other bodies connected with the local administration of the borough, or any part of it. In England it was optional with these Boards to surrender their power and transfer their functions to the town-councils: in the Irish Bill they were to be compelled to surrender them without reservation. With respect to many other matters, he (Lord Stanley) admitted that the ground of debate had been much narrowed; and that the question had not now such an extensive bearing as it presented before, in consequence of the superintendence of justice—the appointment of Sheriff's and other important matters being taken away from it. These reductions had brought the question to this—whether the Legislature should provide, by means of the expensive and cumbrous machinery of town-councils and corporations, for the exercise of the small functions of the towns of Ireland, or permit them to stay as they were, as it appeared they wished to be. The watching, paving, and lighting were in the hands of Commissioners: the only points which remained were the appropriation of corporate property and the administration of justice; with respect to the former of these items, he should beg to call the attention of the House to the actual state of corporate property in Ireland. The total amount of corporate property in all the incorporated boroughs in that kingdom, according to the Report of the Commissioners, was 61,397l. per annum. Of this sum the revenue of the corporation of Dublin was 28,000l., a great portion of which was administered by their local Boards. The residue was 33,000l. between the remaining boroughs. Five of these towns had an income of 21,800l. between them which was administered partly by the Corporations and partly by the local Boards; and thus only 11,200l. was left between forty-four Corporations, being an average of about 200l. per annum to each. Was it worth while to introduce the expensive machinery of a Corporation for that small sum? Out of the corporate property in Ireland, amounting to 11,520l., there was 6,400l. consisted of tolls. Of the corporate property of Limerick, amounting to 4,500l., there was an amount of tolls of 3,700l. In Kilkenny, out of 2,200l. there was not much of that sum which was formed by tolls, but there was 968l. collected from tithes. Of course he could not be supposed to wish to abolish tithes, but he did think that one of the greatest boons that could be bestowed on Ireland would be the abolition of tolls. The hon. Gentleman, the Member for Waterford, (Mr. Wyse) in a speech that was facetious but not convincing, had done him the honour of addressing a remark to him when, in speaking of this system of separating tolls from other corporate burthens, he compared it to a man with his head cut off. Now he had never seen a man in that condition, but he believed that there was nothing in the separation of the head from the body at all like the separation proposed in the plan of his noble Friend. He was also asked, did he desire the abolition of corporate property altogether? No such thing. He would have the expenses ascertained of collection, and would have tolls altogether remitted. He was not only ready and anxious to get rid of tolls, but was convinced that if the people were left free to choose, they would rather obtain the remission of them, than by moans of self-government, realize many of those prospects held out to them by agitation, and instead of the new Corporations that were talked of as being necessary to establish the proposition advocated by that side of the House, they would desire a Commission appointed by the Crown—not for the purpose of confiscating property—but to ascertain the amount of all necessary expenses of collection, and of learning the amount of debt; which things should be ascertained, and if any surplus remained, he would hand it over to the people. If the people could speak for themselves he did not doubt that they would so wish it to be arranged. He had no jealousy whatever of intrusting the people of Ireland with the administration of their local affairs. These funds might be applied to the purposes of watching and paving under the same regulations as laid down in the 9th Geo. 4th. He had no jealousy of Catholic or Protestant, but felt bound to say that, looking at the relative position of Protestants and Catholics in Ireland, he could not lose sight of the distinction. Mixing up their religion with the exercise of their municipal functions, no one could deny that they would not be liable to turn them to the political purposes of agitation. But let those funds be applied to the simple purposes of paving and lighting, and any further corporate system would be unnecessary. Nay, more; he thought it would be mischievous and dangerous, and he could not conceal from himself the belief that it would have a tendency to keep up and excite the worst feelings of religious animosity. He did not wish to go over the same ground so ably traversed by his hon. Friend, the Member for Belfast (Mr. E. Tennent), but he could not but remind the House that, in every page of the evidence that had been submitted to it, as well as in the columns of every daily newspaper, there were abundant proofs of the influence of the Catholic clergy, and that they exercised that influence for the furtherance of political designs peculiar to the Catholics. His hon. Friend had said that their funds might be applied as they were under the 9th of George 4th., for paving and lighting. This was objected to, and why? Because it gave no political power—no emolument, and he was sorry to say it—sorry it should be so—but he could not close his eyes to the fact, that the Protestants of Ireland required protection, because it increased the political power of the Catholics. He did not wish to advert to these subjects, but he was compelled to do so. He was sorry to say anything in the absence of the hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for Dublin, which referred to his statements; but he had no alternative, as that hon. and learned Gentleman had thought proper to leave the House on the moment of his rising. It would have been pleasanter to say anything in refutation of those statements in the presence of the hon. and learned Gentleman; but, as it was, he must refer to those statements in his absence. The hon. and learned Member had distinctly stated that Ensign Matson was never confronted with a Catholic clergyman. He was sorry to detain the House on what might appear to be an unimportant point; but the point was not unimportant, when it was observed the authority that attached to the statements of the hon. and learned Gentleman. That hon. and learned Gentleman, to use his own expression, met statements with all that "flippancy of denial," which he unjustly charged upon others. That hon. and learned Gentleman, in answer to some observations made by his right hon. Friend, the Member for Cumberland, with respect to the disrespectful conduct of the rev. John Burke to Ensign Matson, of the 59th, who had attended the Roman Catholic chapel, in command of a detachment of Roman Catholic soldiers, said that he was quite sure no Roman Catholic clergyman would use the word "heretics," in the manner imputed. The noble Lord then proceeded to quote some passages which had been taken in evidence before Committees of the House, in which the harangues of Mr. John Burke were quoted, predicting the downfall of the tottering fabric of the heretics—[Mr. Sheil: it was the tottering fabric of heresy.]—Oh, heresy! Where was the difference? not heretic, but heresy. And this, he was to be told, was the denial. There was no grappling with arguments such as these. If those were the terms on which the question was to be discussed, he must despair of anything like impartiality. He must say, however, that he had turned to the Minutes of Evidence given before the Committee of 1832, on the state of Ireland, and he found Ensign Matson stating that Mr. Burke had said from the chapel, "I will tell you what it is, boys, the tottering fabrics of the heretics are falling about their ears, whilst the Catholic religion is rising in glory every day. Ireland was once Catholic Ireland, boys—it will and shall be Catholic Ireland." "On being asked if he had used those expressions, Mr. Burke replied, "the word 'boys' I did not use. I said, 'the tottering fabric of heresy was falling around us, while the Catholic religion was rising in glory, undoubtedly." And yet the hon. and learned Gentleman contended that no Roman Catholic clergyman would bring himself to use so offensive a term as heretic!. There was also the case of Lieutenant Brown; in which words were used by the Catholic priest at the altar, of so offensive a nature, that the officer was compelled to march his troops out of the chapel. Another case was that of Father Kehoe. What he had said had been taken down in short-hand, and yet it had been argued that it was not a fair evidence. At the time it was taken it was not contradicted, and although the contradiction might have been made the same day, and the evidence was given in a neighbouring Committee-room, in which the rev. Gentleman was at the time, it was left to be contradicted in the columns of the Carlow Sentinel. He was aware that these facts were not necessarily connected with the subject before them, yet he had felt bound to advert to these statements to show what dependence was to be placed upon the flat denial of those who contradicted the facts relating to the agitation of the Catholic priests in Ireland. At fair, and at market, at the altar of the chapel, at Quarter Sessions and Petty Sessions this system of political agitation was carried on. It was not from any distrust of the Catholic as such, but from the conviction of his moral unfitness, produced by this system of political agitation that he felt bound to adopt the proposition of the noble Lord. Besides, the system proposed by his noble Friend was infinitely less expensive and cumbrous than that proposed by his Majesty's Ministers, while theirs was free from the benefit that this plan offered by transferring the power to a Commission. Hon. and learned Gentlemen opposite might think lightly of that portion of the question; but he considered that any consideration sunk into insignificance and obscurity compared with the necessity that existed for preventing political power being in the hands of an unreflecting multitude. They had been told that let but this measure be conceded and agitation would cease. The hon. and learned Gentleman told his Majesty's Ministers so, and his Majesty's Ministers told the House. Who, exclaimed the noble Lord, with great emphasis—who believes it? They were told that after this last step they would halt. Why how had every step been followed but by a demand for a fresh instalment; The hon. and learned Member for Dublin said that he was aware he had too much influence in Ireland, and that he wished that influence were diminished. Good easy man! He did not desire popularity and power, no; he sighed for obscurity; and recommended that the influence which he possessed should be diminished. The hon. and learned Gentleman had told his Majesty's Ministers so; and his Majesty's Ministers believed him. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin said that this was the last step. Who knew that it would be the last step? Who believed that it would be the last step? The hon. and learned Gentleman said, that the Protestant religion was the established religion in England, because Protestants formed the majority of the population; and that the Presbyterian religion was the established religion in Scotland, because Presbyterians formed the majority of the population. The hon. and learned Gentleman proceeded to declare that equal justice ought to be done to Ireland. What could that mean, but that the religion of the great majority of the population of Ireland should prevail, and that that should become of the established religion? And why was it that the hon. Gentleman said, the population of Scotland obtained their existing religious estalishment? Because they had broadswords, sharp and long. Would the House of Commons listen to such arguments? Would they believe that this was the last step? No; the hon. and learned Member for Dublin avowed the existence of ulterior objects. He had ulterior objects (and his Majesty's Government knew it) far beyond any which had hitherto been disclosed. And yet an attempt was made to persuade the House that, by throwing into the hands of a large majority of the people of Ireland political authority, under the guise of a control over their domestic concerns, the power of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin would be diminished. The object of the hon. and learned Gentleman was evident, and he went straight forward to it. He (Lord Stanley) did not blame the hon. and learned Gentleman; but if he might do so without offence, he would apply to his noble and hon. Friends opposite the word, severe and earnest in their meaning, which the greatest of our writers had put into the mouth of one of the most finely drawn of his characters, when addressing those who had raised Bolingbroke to the throne of England:— —"I cannot blame his cousin king. That wish'd him on the barren mountains starv'd. But shall it be, that you,—that set the Crown Upon the head of this forgetful man, And, for his sake, wear the detested blot Of murd'rous subornation,—shall it be, That you a world of curses undergo. Being the agents, or base second means, The cords, the ladder, or the hangman rather?— O, pardon roe, that I descend so low, To show the line, and the predicament. Wherein you range under this subtle king— Shall it, for shame, be spoken in these days. Or fill up chronicles in times to come, That men of your nobility and power, Did' gage them both in an unjust behalf,— As both of you, God pardon it! have done,— To put down Richard, that sweet lovely rose. And plant this thorn, this canker, Bolingbroke? And shall it, in more shame, be further spoken. That you are fool'd, discarded, and shook off By him, for whom these shames ye underwent? No; yet time serves, wherein you may redeem Your banish'd honours, and restore yourselves Into the good thoughts of the world again: Revenge the jeering, and disdain'd contempt, Of this proud king, who studies, day and night, To answer all the debt he owes to you, Even with the bloody payment of your deaths. He called on his Majesty's Ministers—he entreated them—he implored them—were it only for their own sakes, to dare to fill the stations which they appeared to oc- cupy: to do equal and impartial justice to all classes and denominations of his Majesty's subjects; to support, maintain, and uphold, an equal administration of the law; and with respect to Ireland, especially, to be the faithful protectors and friends of every party, without making themselves the slaves of any.

Lord John Russell

said, that although he was bound to believe that the opinions expressed by the other side of the House were consistent with those which they formerly entertained, he nevertheless found himself in a very singular position. In former times, the doctrine maintained by those who now sat on the other side of the House was, that it was incumbent to reform, not to destroy; to repair, not to pull down; and that every endeavour should be studiously made to bring back our institutions to their original state.—Those were doctrines which he himself entertained. Wonderful to say, however, he now found that the opinions which had prevailed in the reform of Parliament, in the reform of the Church of Ireland, in the reform of the Municipal Corporations of England and Scotland, were opposed by those who styled themselves "Conservatives." They were the persons who now came forward to declare that the existing institutions should be destroyed; for that there was no term of opprobrium too powerful, no sentence of extinction too severe, to inflict upon them. Now, he must say, that those who thus maintained a position so different from that which they had hitherto always upheld, had no right to call on those whom they opposed to prove the course they had adopted was the right course. It was for them to show that there was something so peculiarly evil in the Municipal Corporations of Ireland, that those ancient institutions ought to be wholly abandoned. He would quote to the House the sentiments of Mr. Burke, who, in speaking of the French Revolution, had emphatically warned statesmen against the evils of wantonly sweeping away the forms of ancient institutions, were it not. so late; but, as it was, he must content himself with adverting to a few principal points. He would compare, as shortly as he was able, the plan proposed by his Majesty's Ministers, and the plan which it was proposed to substitute. In doing so, he did not feel called upon to defend the general principle of the Bill, which was the same as that of last year. That principle was the propriety of preserving the Corporations, but at the same time of subjecting them to popular control. In the first place, with respect to the administration of justice, the Bill provided, that whenever the council of a borough should be desirous that a separate Court of Quarter Sessions of the Peace, or a Court of Record for the trial of civil actions, should be held in the said borough, it should be lawful for his Majesty to appoint a Recorder for the purpose. Now there did not appear to him to be any reason to believe that the plan proposed by the noble Lord was superior to this. With respect to the property of Corporations, the noble Lord's proposition would place that property in the hands of Commissioners; but in a manner involving an invasion of property greater, perhaps, than had ever before been attempted. He was at a loss to conjecture how this violation of property could be justified. Then came the question of paving, lighting, and watching. These, said the noble Lord (Stanley), were fair municipal questions, and were so provided for by the 9th Geo. 4th. But was that really the case I Even if they were fairly and properly provided for by that statute, did it follow that they would be less fairly or less properly provided for, if the parties who had the control over them were popularly elected. Let not the assumption of the noble Lord (Stanley) upon that point be taken as fact until the matter had been duly considered. Let the House go into Committee upon the Bill now proposed, and see whether the provisions it contained upon the subject of paving, lighting, and watching, were not an improvement upon the provisions which at present existed under the Act 9th Geo. 4th. Upon the subject of tolls he must certainly admit that he should have no objection to have a great part of the existing tolls in Ireland inquired into, and, if necessary, abolished. At the same time there were a few facts connected with the importance of tolls, to which he should beg shortly to refer. First, it appeared by the Corporation Report, that in the town of Galway much discontent had arisen from the imposition of tolls which had not fairly been applied to Corporation purposes; but no sooner had the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, (Sir Anthony Hart) pronounced a decree for the proper application of those tolls, than they were paid with cheerfulness, and without the slightest expression of dissatisfaction. In another case, a noble Lord—he would mention his name—the Earl of Egremont, had a property in toils in the town of Ennis, which tolls, according to the charter by which the noble Earl hold them, were only to be collected on a Tuesday. By the 9th Geo. 4th, the noble Earl was deprived of the power of collecting them on that day. What was done? In the month of February, 1835, when the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) opposite was Prime Minister, and when the right hon. and gallant Officer was Secretary for Ireland, there was a new grant made to the Earl of Egremont, by which he was enabled to collect the tolls on every day in the week. If, therefore, so strong a feeling now existed amongst the right hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition side of the House for the application of tolls in Ireland, he certainly could not help remarking that it must be a feeling of recent growth, seeing that it could have had no existence in February, 1835. Comparing the two measures, therefore—the measure proposed by his right hon. Friend (the Attorney-General for Ireland), and the measure proposed by the noble Lord opposite (Lord F. Egerton)—he begged to ask the House what possible ground there was for preferring the rash and rapid measure of total destruction recommended by the latter? With regard to the administration of justice, there was scarcely a difference between the plan proposed by the noble Lord, and that proposed by the Government; but upon other points he conceived there were very material differences. With regard to corporate property, he conceived the proposal made by the noble Lord to be of a highly dangerous description. With respect to the paving and watching, he thought it better to allow it to continue a municipal charge, to be left at the discretion of the inhabitants, to be acted on according to their several wants and local interests. When he looked back to the professions of hon. Gentlemen opposite last year, in accordance with the declarations made in another place during the conference on the English Corporation Bill, "That it was advisable to have Municipal Corporations for the preservation of peace and good order in communities and towns," he could not help thinking that the amendment before them was a clumsy and common expedient for effecting the purpose of their party. Its character, rash, revo- lutionary, and destructive, presented a strange anomaly with those usually proposed by them, and afforded no proper clue to the real principle contained in it. They had had but a faint outline of that principle afforded them in the speech of the Noble Lord who introduced the measure; but it was laid down fully and broadly in that of the noble Lord who spoke last, that the reason why we might establish municipal corporations in England yet not in Ireland was, that here the majority of the people are Protestants and that there they are Roman Catholics. He would ask for what other purpose than to illustrate this exclusive principle more fully did the right hon. Baronet the Member for Cumberland read the quotation bearing on the question of Protestant privileges? He recollected, that when the Roman Catholic Relief Bill was going through the Upper House, some noble Lord inquired, whether it was meant to admit Catholics to the high and honourable offices of Prime Minister, Secretary of State, and President of the Board of Control; and that the Duke of Wellington replied, that, it was not intended any longer to make any invidious distinctions between the two religions, but to leave every legal, civil, and military office and emolument under the Constitution open to Catholic as well as to Protestant. And now it was said, notwithstanding the Duke of Wellington's liberal construction of their capability to attain the highest dignities, that they are not fit to become aldermen, sheriffs, and common-councilmen. But it was alleged against the Catholics of Ireland, that Father Kehoe had declared that "the Catholic religion would triumph at last, and the Protestant ultimately fall." Now, supposing this true of Father Kehoe—although the reports of his speech varied very much—what did it amount to against the other Catholics of Ireland? It was undoubtedly harsh language, but nothing new to claim the attention of the House. Mr. O'Connell, Dr. Drumgoole, and the orators of the Catholic Association, had used much the same while the Relief Bill was in agitation; and it was then said, as now, "O, will you grant Emancipation to these men?" Yet did such considerations ever-stop Lord Grey or Fox—he begged pardon. Fox was before that time—or any of the great promoters of the Catholic Relief Bill? No. They urged the question on its merits, independent of inci- dental considerations, well knowing that when a people are excited inflammatory expressions will break from them, and that the best way of stopping it is by cutting away the just grounds of complaint, when the bad language would cease, as a matter of course. And he would ask, why not adopt the same liberal and consistent course of legislation now? We had adopted it in the one case, and why not in the other? Would it be seriously said, that Catholics ought to be excluded from all participation in Municipal Corporations as tainted with treason and rebellion? Would they offer such a justification to the wealthy and respectable Catholic inhabitants of Cork, Kilkenny, Limerick, and that stronghold of Protestantism, Londonderry? Would they oblige the Catholics of Ireland to feel and to exclaim—"You do not confide in us as good subjects notwithstanding you have passed the Relief Bill?" Then, indeed, that Act would become a dead letter, as the right hon. Baronet had formerly predicted in a similar position of the argument. He was for carrying; the principle of equality without regard to sectarian differences in all esses as they arose. In this spirit he was glad to hear the rebuke which his noble Friend gave to the hon. Member who had questioned him on the religion of the individual who had received legal appointments in Ireland lately. It was the business of Government to make no distinction of the kind, and they would persevere in the exercise of impartial justice in all such cases, unmoved by the advice or "the instruction" they had received—in the poetical language in which they were reminded that they were the slaves and tools of he knew not what, besides a particular party in Ireland. He knew, indeed, that the quotation of his noble Friend had no relation to the conduct of Ministers on the measure before the House. With respect to their policy on the subject of the present Catholic claims, he thought it still the best policy to conciliate. It had been said, by way of taunt and provocation to retrace his steps, that Mr. O'Connell exercised the governing power in Ireland; but what was that to him so long as he approved the exercise? He would be but a bad politician if he allowed himself to be turned from a good course by the imputation of having received powerful assistance by the way. He cared little for obloquy as long as he believed the mea- sures he adopted were good, and he would be ready to bear all the abuse and vituperation that could be heaped on him if he could effectively do away with the evils and anomalies that embarrassed the condition of the municipalities of Ireland. He believed much that was uttered by the hon. Member for Dublin was perfectly true, and especially, that if just and equal laws were instituted for the people of Ireland, there never would be any occasion to dread a separation between the two countries, but that both would remain firmly united in the cause of liberty, and might hope to enjoy a degree of prosperity uninterrupted by rankling feelings of jealousy or a sectarian spirit of discord. In conclusion, he would conjure them to trust to the principles of liberality and justice in their dealings with their Catholic fellow-subjects, and not to distrust the ability of their own professors to maintain the principles they taught, without the aid of social injustice. If, on the contrary, they neglected his counsels, and sought to perpetuate an ungenerous mastery by force and violence, he warned them that they would only arrive through a long and painful course of enmity and strife at a separation—a national calamity of the greatest magnitude to both countries, which, by the adoption of a course of wise and generous policy in the present seasonable opportunity, they might for ever avert.

Sir Robert Peel

rose and said—Before I address myself to the speech of the noble Lord who has just sat down, I beg to be permitted to offer some remarks in reply to the observations of the hon. and learned Member for the city of Dublin, who left the House on the conclusion of his speech, and has just now returned. And I would beg leave to assure the House that I have no wish to provoke a contest with the hon. and learned Gentleman in the course I shall pursue. I can promise the House that I shall not be tempted to indulge in any of that offensive vituperation which in his attacks upon me (even while absent) the hon. Member has so liberally meted out. I never felt annoyed at these displays, and, therefore, have really no sufficient provocation to retaliate. He has said to-night that I misrepresented a speech of his (on the last night I had an opportunity of addressing the House on this subject) in my quotation of a particular passage which I then read, and which he said I had copied from a newspaper unfriendly to him. I explained that I had taken it from the Mirror of Parliament. The hon. and learned Gentleman denied it, and insisted that it was taken from a hostile newspaper. In that respect, however, he was wrong, and I shall prove it by reading to the House the exact words (the ipsissima verba) from the copy of the Mirror now before me. I had mislaid the extract I had made at the time, and, having found it, will now trouble the House to permit me to read it again. The right hon. Baronet read as follows from the Mirror:—"England has received an instalment of Corporate Reform, and well she has availed herself of it already. The sword is fastened in your vitals, and you feel it festering there. You regret the triumphs the Reformers have gained in the municipal councils. You know that there is not one of these councils that will not be converted into a normal school for teaching the science of political agitation." The hon. Gentleman has charged me [the right hon. Baronet continued] and others, including my right hon. Colleague, the late Secretary for Ireland, with having been guilty of the commission of a deliberate insult to Ireland. I, Sir, feel this taunt the less, and have this for my consolation, that there has not been a single man of any party connected with the affairs of Ireland since the period when the hon. Gentleman first took an active part in the politics of that country who has not earned for himself similar vituperation, and been called the enemy of Ireland. We have one and all been called the enemies of Ireland. The hon. and learned Member has charged me, in common with every other individual who has ever filled the office of Chief Secretary for Ireland, with having offered an intentional insult to his country. Against such a charge I do not deem it necessary to say one word, as the same accusation from the same quarter, has been levelled at every man who has rendered himself obnoxious to the political views of the hon. and learned Member. In all this, there is nothing new; but I must observe that it was somewhat new to me to hear such a charge absolutely cheered by the Ministers of the Crown. And you, the Ministers of the Crown—who echoed the chorus of applause with which the hon. and learned Gentleman's accusation was received by his friends— how long have you escaped from a similar charge preferred against you and your connexions? Why, Sir, what—when speaking of Earl Grey's Government, from the first moment of the noble Lord's accession to power to his ultimate retirement from it—speaking of that Government and of its disposition towards Ireland—what did the hon. and learned Gentleman say? He said—"I now come to complaints and grievances of the popular party in Ireland. The Irish complain. Why? Because of the misconduct of the reforming Administration, called, for shortness, 'Whigs,' towards their country. They allege—and they allege truly—that since Lord Grey came into office, to the present moment"—which, the House will observe, was after Lord Grey's retirement from office; so that the hon. and learned Gentleman's observations embraced the whole period of his Government—"nothing has been done for Ireland—no one advantage has been gained by the Irish people. Their enemies have been promoted and rewarded—their friends calumniated and persecuted. Never was there known a more uncongenial or more hostile Administration in Ireland, than that which has subsisted since Lord Grey came into office, and still subsists. All the power—all the authority—all the influence of State has been placed in Orange hands; and the exclusion of the popular party has been nearly as complete, and much more insulting than it was in the worst days of Goulburn and Peel. Their enemies and yours have been the exclusive subjects selected for everything valuable in the country; and we are more insulted by the Orange instruments of power, than ever we were in the times of the most rank and dogged Tories." I hope, therefore, after reading these passages to the House, that the hon. and learned Gentleman's charge against me, of a desire to insult Ireland, will not be taken for granted, unless it be supported by more substantial facts than any he has yet brought forward. The hon. and learned Gentleman says, "Ireland ought to be contented with nothing but equal laws." Sir, we admit that proposition; we say that Ireland ought to have justice done to her; we say, that without equal laws she never can, and never ought to be content. Yes, Ireland ought to have equal laws, which should practically secure every British subject from oppression; which should entitle every man, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, to the same freedom of opinion, and the same freedom of action. But at the same time we say, that if, under the pretence of establishing a perfect analogy and identity of law between the two countries (between the circumstances and the state of society respectively existing, and in which there is no identity or analogy;) if the Government introduce measures which cannot practically contribute to the administration of equal justice and the security of equal privileges, then we say you will fall into the very error against which Roman Catholics have protested: and whatever may be your theories of equal government, and your speculative enactments, you will only produce, practically, those unjust and unequal laws against which the noble Lord has protested. Let us have, then, some definition of what it is in which that justice consists. The right hon. and learned Gentleman, the Attorney General for Ireland, has said, that identity of corporate institutions constitutes justice to Ireland. But has not he expressly avowed an opinion with respect to future claims, equally founded, as he insists, upon the plea of justice—and the grant of which, having gained this step, he will hereafter seek to obtain—using the present concession as a means for extorting what remains? I admit that the fear of ultimate consequences—the fear of having other things extorted upon the strength of it—furnishes no conclusive reason against granting this specific concession, if it be founded in justice. If this be a just demand—if the refusal of it would bestow unequal privileges, or work out an unequal distribution of justice—then, I say, it would be better to run the risk of any ultimate consequences than, by a refusal, to give ground to a well-founded feeling of dissatisfaction. I avow that I believe the principle of our rule in Ireland must be the equality of civil privileges, and a perfect and impartial administration of justice; I say that there is a prima facie case for establishing an identity of institutions between the two countries. We must wish that the institutions of the two countries should be assimilated; but this wish should be subordinate to the consideration of whether or not the proposed measure, which is only a means to an end—the end contemplated being the impartial administration of justice, would attain the end? Let us, then, throw away abstract matter of discussion and argument; and if, upon cool deliberation and inquiry, we find that this concession would be productive of consequences incompatible with the administration of justice and the security and tranquillity of Ireland, and the empire at large, let us pause before we agree to it, when the grant might be followed by a declaration of an intention to extort other desired measures by force—measures as revolting to the feelings of the Legislature as the threatened repeal of the Union? Different opinions seem to prevail as to what justice really is amongst hon. Members at the other side of the House. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin is continually changing his ideas on the subject. He now says, that justice to Ireland consists in identity of municipal institutions. Not long since, the hon. and learned Gentleman declared that there could be no justice unless there was an alteration in the present constitution of the House of Lords. At another time, he said that justice never could be had until the household suffrage was made universal. On other occasions the hon. and learned Gentleman has held it to be inconsistent with justice that the proprietor of an estate in England should be allowed to hold an estate in Ireland. Why, if—when upon the pretence of doing justice to Ireland, I am to be called upon to make concessions of this kind,—I see before me only a shadowy phantom, which the hon. and learned Member calls justice; but which constantly eludes my grasp, and which is the more formidable, because it is undefinable—and it assumes no shape but the one which the hon. and learned gentleman claims the exclusive privilege, year after year of giving it—if I have, constantly flitting across me, a phantom of this description; is it not fit that I should pause and consider well the step I am about to take, before I plunge into the depths in which it may precipitate me?—Much has been said about analogy; but I say that analogy is no rule, in such a case as this. If you are convinced that the concession to Ireland of institutions analogous to those of this country, will not produce an analogous enjoyment of rights under them; that the power intended to be made subservient to the administration of justice will be rendered, on the contrary, dangerous to the tranquillity of that coun- try, then I say, we are bound to resist the motion; and I say, at once, with that conviction on my mind, I would rather resist it at once, and take the consequences which are menaced by the hon. and learned Gentleman, than, by advancing the first step in awarding this dangerous concession, which is miscalled justice, place in his hands an instrument which he would only wield to extort still further demands. I now come to the speech of the noble Lord, and I inquire whether his plan or ours be more consistent with the principles of justice. I shall proceed to analyze the speech of the noble Lord. The single argument upon which it rests is this,—that having given corporate reform to England and Scotland, he asks, "why dare you refuse it to Ireland?" He seems to say to the House, "You shall not be at liberty to consider the relative circumstances of the two countries;" he contends that Ireland ought to have the institutions which the Government by this Bill recommend, and that the point is, therefore, concluded. Sir, the noble Lord commenced his speech by repeating his pious horror at those "Destructives" who contemplate the destruction of the Constitution, and by expressing his reverence and respect for existing institutions. The noble Lord appeared so anxious to pursue such a consistent course of uniformity respecting the institutions of the country, not only as concerned the institutions now existing, but even, those which are extinct, that I at first was rather disposed to imagine that he was about to lend me his powerful aid towards re-establishing and re-enriching the monastic institutions of the land; for he quoted a passage from that great political character, Mr. Burke, directed, as I at first thought, against the sudden and violent extinction of monastic institutions at the period of the Reformation, but which was really directed against the extinction of the monastic institutions of France; and the noble Lord argued that, because we are willing to vote for the extinction of corporate authorities in Ireland, we are acting in direct violation of the precepts of Mr. Burke. I am surprised that there is not more uniformity of sentiment on the part of the Members of his Majesty's Government with regard to the precise operation of their own Bill, for the Noble Lord, the Secretary-at-War (Lord Howick), said, that the two measures—that proposed by us, and their own—were as nearly as possible identical. The noble Lord, the more enamoured of his own measure (I suppose), on account of its resemblance to ours, observed, that however the features of the one might differ from those of the other, they evidently came from the same parent stock. They appeared so much alike that none could mistake their common parental lineage:— —"Facics non" duabus "una Nee diversa tamen, qualem decet esse sororum. "But," said the noble Lord, "the chief feature of resemblance between these illustrious sisters is this,—that they do both provide for the complete and entire extinction and annihilation of the old corporate system in Ireland. The noble Lord finds that he is not a destructive; but, on the contrary, having raised the ancient fortresses, he is about to erect—though not out of the old materials, but out of materials of his own creating, or collecting—new fortresses, which I believe, will be the sanctuaries of equal injustice with the old ones. The noble Lord has abandoned every argument which he at first advanced. He first said, that he would administer equal privileges to Ireland and to England. But before the noble Lord had concluded that one part of his speech, it was apparent that he was afraid to establish an analogous principle in his dealings with both countries. I will first lake the subject of the administration of justice. The objection which I suggested to the proposal of the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite upon that head was, that to subject judicial officers to popular control, by popular election, would inevitably pervert and warp the due administration of justice. And so strongly did the noble Lords and hon. Gentlemen opposite feel the force of this observation, and so greatly did they distrust the plan they had themselves proposed, that it appeared they were unanimously ready to abandon that part of their plan; and they now think it would be better for the Crown than for town-councils to appoint those judicial officers. But they allow the town-councils in England, when the towns are counties of themselves, to elect the Sheriffs. Having established one rule in England, why—unless there really be a material variety—an essential difference, between the respective circumstances of the two countries, justifying the adoption of a different course of legislation towards each,—why does the noble Lord and his Friends permit the Lord-Lieutenant to assume that power in Ireland? And here the House must allow me to refer to the speech made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. O'Loghlen) on the first night of the debate. The right hon. Gentleman then charged me with a misconstruction of the Bill. The charge of the right hon. Gentleman was this:—that I led the House to believe that it was intended to have all the sheriffs and clerks of the peace appointed by the corporate town-councils, instead of their being nominated, as the Bill enacted, by the Crown. If such was naturally the construction which the House applied to my speech, I must confess that, as a body, the House must be much more ignorant of the provisions of the Bill than I supposed it to be; for I took it for granted that every Gentleman knows that, in towns corporate—not being counties of cities or towns—there is no such officer as a Sheriff. The right hon. Gentleman himself has said that there are only eleven towns and cities in Ireland where there are sheriff's. Now, there are fifty-four Corporations provided for in this Bill; there are only eleven towns, being counties of cities, in which there could, by any possibility, be either sheriff or clerk of the peace elected by the town-council. My objection is to their being elective officers, who, particularly after a contested election, shall have functions connected with the adminstration of justice. But, when the right hon. Gentlemen states that there are only eleven towns having Sheriffs, and charges me with a breach of candour in not explaining that fact, I beg to remind the right hon. Gentleman that he has also forgotten, in the heat of argument, to state the population of those towns. In those towns there are comprehended no less than 638,000 inhabitants; and this fact is, I think, a strong argument to shew the very important nature of the jurisdiction in question. I apprehend that the danger of Corporations appointing justices does not consist in the number of towns wherein that power may be exercised, but in the sphere in which those towns exercise an influence. The right hon. Gentleman also charged me with stating that the functions of the Chambers of Commerce would be usurped by these municipal bodies. I had quoted a passage from the Report, stating that if the functions of Chambers of Commerce in large towns were to be transferred from merchants to municipal bodies, great injury would be inflicted on their commerce. It is true that no paragraph conceived, in precise terms, to that extent, is in the Bill; but I believe, nevertheless, that the Bill will give to the municipal authorities a control over commercial affairs which will be very injurious, and which is not allowed them in England; for, the Bill before you provides that the body corporate shall be visitors of all Boards within, and connected with, the borough. The Corporation will have a power of interfering with the erection even of a bridge, and can inspect the accounts in such a case, for, I believe, a period of three months. Such an authority to call upon a Chamber of Commerce for its accounts, would be most injurious to commerce in England, and it would be equally so in Ireland. I was, therefore, not fairly liable to any attack for referring to this point. But I will resume the argument with respect to the administration of justice. The noble Lord, the Secretary-at-War, has admitted that there ought to be some distinction between the provisions of the Municipal Bill for Ireland and the provisions in the Bill for England—with respect to the administration of justice. It is admitted that this will form a fair subject for consideration in Committee. You have consented that in Ireland the Sheriff shall be appointed by the Crown, whereas in England, he is appointed by the town-council. [Lord John Russell: the appointment must be approved by the Crown.]—It must; but I contended, on a former occasion—and I think successfully—that it would be better to vest the nomination directly in the Crown. Upon that head it is impossible to disguise the truth. Let hon. Members read the evidence taken on the subject in 1825. In the Report of the Commissioners you will find a body of convincing testimony, shewing that popular election will give no control—I will not say against the perversion of justice—but it will not give any security or confidence that that justice will be properly administered. The same argument applies to the clerks of the peace in the towns in Ireland: and why should not the same argument equally apply to the mayor? Mr. Barrington before the Committee in 1825, was asked—"Have you been able to observe any distinction between the character of Magistrates acting under charters in towns, and Magistrates acting in counties at large?—He answered, I have, certainly. The magistrates acting under charters are not under the control of the Lord-Lieutenant, and therefore there is no responsibility."—That was Mr. Barrington's opinion in 1825. Mr. Barrington did not say that the election of a mayor, by the popular voice of a predominant party, would be a security for the due administration of justice. He said that, because the Magistrates of counties were under the immediate control of the Lord Chancellor, therefore justice was better administered. Why, then, should the mayor be a popular justice, chosen annually? Why should the mayor, after a severe contest, be invested with judicial power uncontrolled? Upon this point, also, hon. Gentlemen opposite must give way; for they cannot resist the force of argument, and the evidence of practical authority, which will be brought against them, on this head, from their own reports. The fact is fully established, that town-councils in Ireland can not be safely intrusted with the administration of justice. Then, Sir, with respect to the police, which is the next most important topic. I have shown, on a former occasion, that the Government themselves distrusted the local authorities with respect to the control of the police. It has transferred the nomination of the police from the Magistrates to the Crown. Now, this is what I complain of. When Gentlemen opposite were reminded of the principle of centralization, they said it was much to be deprecated; and they asked, "Will not you trust the people with the administration of their own affairs? They use that argument with regard to a body popularly elected, and probably elected by those whose political opinions are in conformity with their own; but with regard to those whose political opinions are not in conformity with their own, they adopt a different mode of reasoning. Centralization is good with respect to the nomination of constables; but as to town-councils, centralization is to be deprecated, and local knowledge and experience are to be preferably trusted. But you do not apply that principle to the Irish Magistrates. So it is, again, with respect to the mode of legislation. The difference of the situation of the Church in Ireland, from its situation in England, was allowed by this House to be a circumstance justifying a difference in the legislation to be pursued upon their respective affairs. But when I end my friends say, "Might not a similar difference of circumstances call for some different mode of legislation with respect to municipal Corporations in Ireland, from that we have pursued with respect to such Corporations in this country?"—then the argument which was heretofore used by the hon. Gentlemen opposite with regard to the Church is abandoned; and they reply that "Any intention to refuse to Ireland equal and analogous institutions with those of England, would justify the Irish people in attempting to repeal the Union." What principle of reciprocity, or of fairness is there in such reasoning? The Chancellor of the Exchequer has attempted to shew that the municipal police of Ireland are mere Dogberries, like the old watchmen of the metropolis, having no power, no efficiency. If so, why does the right hon. Gentleman wish for their continuance? Is this one of the institutions of England, which ought to be extended to Ireland? Is there no danger to be apprehended from allowing a political body to have, at its command, a constabulary force unlimited in its extent. I ask the noble Lord to read the section of his own Bill, and he will there find that the proposed corporate system is neither more nor less than this, that an indefinite number of towns (for though the Bill says fifty-four, the number is still indefinite) shall have salaried officers, and a watch committee, having under it a separate armed force, paid by the municipal authorities, and authorized to patrol the towns and their neighbourhoods. Why, then, do you destroy the unity of your system by depriving the Magistrates of the power of recommending these constables? There might be two neighbouring towns having councils differing in political opinions, each possessing the power of appointing an indefinite number of constables, and each having different bylaws. Let us suppose Protestant principles to prevail in one town, and principles of an opposite character in the other: do hon. Gentlemen think that it would conduce to the peace of Ireland, that they should have these separate functionaries enforcing their separate bye-laws? Will it be for the good of the country to have a Magistrate, popularly elected, trying offences in each town? The argument against this part of the measure is as conclusive as that with respect to the appointment of justices. It is condemned by the fact of its being equally at variance with your own principles and with common sense. Then comes the administration of property. The main and prominent argument in support of the Bill has been, that we must first, and without delay, apply civil institutions to Ireland analogous to those which have been established in England; and my objection to the appointment of Commissioners for the management of corporate property, is one on which the noble Lord, if I rightly understood him, mainly relied. I should, therefore, be sorry to evade the argument which has been most relied upon, and which has made the most impression. The noble Lord has asked whether the Commissioners are to be permanent or temporary? Sir, I apprehend that the appointment of Commissioners is rendered necessary upon these grounds. We admit that the towns, where the Corporations possess any surplus property, have the right to apply that property to some local purpose, and that every facility should be given them to recover such property. But in many towns there are no local authorities to whom the charge of that property could be given. In the towns where the provisions of 9 Geo. 4th. have been enforced, there are such authorities; but in those towns where they have not been enforced, it becomes necessary to provide a temporary and ad interim arrangement, for taking charge of the surplus property; but it should be a provisional arrangement only. It has this advantage; it would enable you to obtain a short delay, in order that you might take a more general and comprehensive view of the future application of corporate property in Ireland. But what does the Bill propose? To vest all the property in the town-councils permanently, without reserving to the Crown any control over them. Your Bill, also, would vest in the new town-councils, the right of tolls. Now, we say that it would be an improvement to suspend this privilege in the councils, until the extent of their just or expedient control over them could be defined. There is no matter more important than the regulation of tolls in Ireland. I am of opinion that a provision should be made for their total extinction. Let us see what was said by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, in 1825, before a Committee on the State of Ireland. Being asked whether he could refer to any additional instances of corporation abuses, he answered—"That the Corporations of Ireland continued to exact the tolls, although they had no longer a title to them. The tolls were formerly granted, and confirmed by succeeding Kings, for the purposes of repairing bridges, keeping up fortifications, and other local establishments, civil and military. The former have gone to decay, and the latter are supported by presentment—still they levy the tolls. Is it possible to resume the amounts which the tolls now bring in, under the different Corporations?—Yes, so far as the leases define them, I believe it is, but not to an extent equal to what the lessees now receive." Yet, as tolls may continue—but not to their present amount—which, I ask, would be the better course—to wait, before you appropriate the tolls, and see what kind of engagements for their management can be entered into—or at once to allow the town-councils to succeed to the right of collecting them? Now, I say, unhesitatingly, it would be more prudent to appoint Commissioners for the temporary administration of them. There cannot be a doubt, apart from party contests, that the plan we recommend would be more conducive to the satisfaction and welfare of the people of Ireland. So much for the tolls. The noble Lord seems shocked at the mention of Commissioners—he seems absolutely astounded at the name of them, though I think his government should be less so than any other;—and that the noble Lord should pretend that there is danger in the Crown appointing Commissioners, when his government has been conducted, throughout, by the intervention of Commissioners—is to me extraordinary indeed. Who was it that appointed Commissioners to take charge of the poor-laws? Who was it that proposed to take from the local Magistracy the whole of the turnpike trusts, by the very Bill now passing through the House, and to vest the trusts in Commissioners appointed by the Crown? For the Noble Lord who has swallowed the windmill of the poor-laws, and is about to swallow the windmill of the turnpike trusts, to be choked by a pound of this fresh Irish butter,—for him, after consolidating turnpike trusts under the superintendence of a Commission—to be horrified at a Commission for administering the management of tolls—is indeed straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. But it has been said, that it would be an insult to the people of Ireland not to give them corporate power. Why, Sir, is there any man among us who, on going home to-night, would feel conscious of civil or political degradation and inferiority, because he is living in the borough of Marylebone, or the city of Westminster, and cannot be sainted to-morrow morning by the sight of the Lord Mayor and town-council? The hon. and learned Member for Cashel has gone so far as to argue that the government by municipal bodies is a natural right. If he had applied his argument to trial by jury, or any other of the great palladia of British liberty, there might be some foundation for it; but can he say that it is a natural right for communities to have municipal bodies,—from which the people of Westminster, and Marylebone, and Birmingham, are at this moment excluded? If it be a natural right, it is a right which every great town in the empire which has hitherto flourished without Corporations ought to enjoy. The Crown has the power to grant charters; and yet since the English Municipal Bill, giving that power, has been passed, it has not been in any single instance exercised. Have these towns been wise enough to wait and see the result of the experiment of the new Corporations? Has the Crown been wise enough to do so? If we have so acted in England, why do we rush with such precipitation to establish Corporations in Ireland? If England can wait, why is it an insult and "degradation" to Ireland to ask her to wait also? The object of this Bill is stated to be "the good regulation and quiet government of these towns in Ireland." Do you believe that, in the present state of that country, to have annual elections of town-councillors precisely on the same principle that political elections are conducted, will produce the "good regulation and quiet government" of those towns? The struggle of political parties will be constantly kept up; and the corporate bodies will be so constituted as to be capable of being influenced by individuals representing their sentiments, and of being perverted to party purposes, whenever occasion may arise for those individuals to exert the influence so acquired for the promotion of their own objects. Is this mere conjecture? Why, this day's post brings an account of the institution of a club in Dublin, established for the express pur- pose of controlling the new system of municipal government which is about to be introduced. This is a specimen of the probable working of that system, to the control of which Protestant property and Protestant privileges are about to be consigned. Truly, indeed, has it been said that "coming events cast their shadows before them,"—and it is a shadow under the chilling influence of which impartial justice, and the enjoyment of civil rights, must wither from the laud. I hold in my hand the evidence I speak of, to the effect already produced by the anticipation of the introduction of this Bill into Ireland. It is an account of the establishment of what has been termed—"The Central Independent Club of the City of Dublin," which originated in a meeting held in the Royal Exchange, Dublin, on the 13th of February, 1836. The object of the club is explained in a circular which I hold in my hand, and which says that its institution is imperatively demanded by the efforts which the old corporators are making to perpetuate their rule. ["Hear, hear"]—Well, if that cheer from the hon. Members is called for by "the efforts of the old corporators," strip "the old Corporations" of their authority. When hon. Members opposite give such unequivocal proof of their apprehensions of the danger that may arise from the continued existence of the old corporators, the cheer by which they express it is but a noisy argument in favour of the proposition of my noble Friend. That cheer is an admission of the inconvenience that must inevitably arise from these Corporations becoming the arena for those contentions of faction, in which the dispute will be for victory at the sacrifice of justice. That cheer establishes that fact: and I can assure hon. Gentlemen that the only way to prevent such a result, is to extinguish Corporations, and intrust to the Lord-Lieutenant those powers which are necessary to secure the impartial administration of justice. I shall again refer to the circular from Dublin, to which I have just adverted. It goes on to say, that to the want of organization may be attributed the fact of their not having already obtained the advantages of corporate reform. A house has been taken where offices shall be established, and a legal staff stationed, to afford every facility to the citizens to obtain the municipal franchise, the very moment the Bill of the Attorney-General shall become the law of the land. By this means it is foretold, by the same authority, that the club will be able to secure "all offices of dignity and influence." So then it appears that the new offices about to be created are to be subjected not to the choice of the citizens but to the dictation of this club! It appears, further, that this club is to be guided by certain rules. The seventh rule directs the collection of subscriptions (not the least important function of such a body). The fifth rule directs the formation of sub-committees and parochial clubs; the sixth relates to the receiving of notices. The thirteenth general rule is, that two gentlemen from each parish shall be elected by ballot, and that those so elected shall constitute a general committee. So that the prospect of "quiet government" held out under the Bill is the succession of these annual parish elections. Do his Majesty's Ministers mean to tell me, in the face of this intimation of the manner in which the municipal body is to be appointed, that the effect (though it may be the object) of their Bill, will be to provide for the good and quiet government of the enfranchised town? I insist upon it that the establishment of this club dominion, under the delusive pretext of applying analogous institutions to the two countries, will subject Ireland to innumerable evils; to the operation of the most pernicious species of exclusive influence; to an undue and partial administration of justice, which is the principal alleged grievance under the old system. I am ready to contend with his Majesty's Ministers for the administration of equal and impartial justice. I am most ready to admit that I do not believe that Ireland can be safely governed on any other principle. But while I admit this, I shall repeat, that it is of far more importance that the really equal and impartial administration of justice should be established in that country, than that the shadow should be introduced without the substance, in a plausible attempt to imitate the example of English institutions. Allusions have been made to my former conduct, and we have been told if we do not grant this measure we should go back and repeal the Act of Catholic Emancipation. I do not see that connexion. I am very far from regretting the course which I have taken in assisting to effect the removal of Catholic disabilities. Not- withstanding the experience I have since acquired, and the disappointment I have since sustained, yet I am still of opinion that in 1829 the time had arrived when it was no longer safe to withhold the claims of his Majesty's Catholic subjects in Ireland. I stated at that time, that though by no means so sanguine as many others were of the effect that would be produced by the Emancipation Bill, yet, considering all the circumstances by which the question was then surrounded, the close divisions in the House of Commons, the growing feeling amongst the people of England in favour of Emancipation, and the divisions in the opinions of those in Ireland who had been opposed to it,—considering all these things, I felt it my duty to recommend the complete removal of the Roman Catholic disabilities. The course I am now adopting in recommending the abolition of the Corporations is quite consistent with the principle upon which I then acted. Its effect will be, to remove a great source of exclusiveness, which all agree in regarding as highly prejudicial to the interests and the happiness of Ireland. As the Roman Catholics then complained of exclusion from offices, so, I contend, will the Protestants complain of their exclusion from what they are entitled to—not from their numbers, but from their wealth, their influence, and their intelligence. As in the case of Emancipation, my willingness was publicly avowed to encounter any risk that might be inclined, rather than perpetuate the danger I saw existing—,by longer withholding the claims of the Catholics, so at present, when the question is not one of civil equality, but one which involves the predominance of one sect over another—I am quite ready, in accordance with the same principle, to come forward and resist any measure, however plausible, which is likely to diminish the security of the Protestant Establishment, and exclude Protestants from the Corporations altogether. I know not whether the Protestant mind of this country will be satisfied with a measure for the abolition of the Corporations of Ireland; but this I know, and supported by the conscientiousness of the motives by which I am actuated, I say it fearlessly,—that the measure which I advocate is conformable to justice and reason, and calculated to promote good and quiet government, to soften down religious acerbity, and to secure an im- partial administration of the laws. Rather, therefore, than consent, to a measure of an opposite tendency, which would introduce those corporate institutions into towns—where they must give rise to partiality and exclusiveness, weaken the just and salutary effect of the civil power, and form so many nuclei of assemblies more dangerous than themselves,—I shall prefer the lesser evil, and incur the lesser hazard, of rejecting it altogether.

The House divided on the Amendment of Lord Francis Egerton—Ayes 243; Noes 307—Majority 64.

The House went into Committee pro forma, and resumed. The Committee to sit again.

List of the AYES.
Agnew, Sir A., Bart. Codrington, Chris. W.
Alsager, Captain Cole, Hon. Arthur
Arbuthnott, Gen. H. Compton, Henry C.
Archdall, Mervyn Conolly, Colonel
Ashley, Lord Cooper, Hon. A.
Attwood, Matthias Corbett, T.
Bagot, Hon. William Corry, Rt. Hon. H.
Bailey, Joseph Crewe, Sir Geo., Bt.
Baillie, H. Cripps, Joseph
Balfour, Thomas Dalbiac, Sir Chas.
Barclay, Charles Damer, Hon. G. D.
Baring, Henry B. Darlington, Earl of
Baring, Francis Dick, Quintin
Baring, Wm. B. Dottin, Abel R.
Baring, Thomas Dowdeswell, William
Barneby, John Duffield, Thomas
Becket, Rt. Hn. Sir J. Dugdale, William S.
Bell, Matthew Dunbar, George
Bentinck, Lord G. Duncombe, Hon. W.
Beresford, Sir. J. P., Bt. Duncombe, Hon. A.
Bethell, Richard East, James B.
Blackburne, J. J. Eastnor, Viscount
Blackstone, W. S. Eaton, Richard J.
Boldero, Captain Egerton, William T.
Boiling, William Egerton, Sir P., Bart.
Bonham, Francis R. Egerton, Lord F.
Borthwick, Peter Elley, Sir John
Bradshaw, James Elves, John Payne
Bramston, Thos. W. Estcourt, Thos. G. B.
Brownrigg, John S. Estcourt, Thos. S. B.
Bruce, Lord Ernest Fancourt, Major
Bruce, Charles L. C. Fector, John M.
Brudenell, Lord Ferguson, Capt. G.
Bruen, Colonel Feilden, W.
Bruen, Francis Finch, George
Buller, Sir John, Bt. Fleming, John
Burrell, Sir C, Bt. Foley, Edward T.
Calcraft, John Hales Forbes, William
Canning, Rt. Hn. Sir S. Forester, Hon. C.
Castlereagh, Visct. Freshfield, Jas. W.
Chandos, Marq. of Gaskell, J. Milnes
Chaplin, Col. T. Geary, Sir Wm., Bt.
Chapman, Aaron Gladstone, Thomas
Chichester, Arthur Gladstone, Wm. E.
Chisholm, Alex. W. Glynne, Sir Steph., Bt.
Clive, Hon. Robt. H. Goodricke, Sir F., Bt.
Gordon, Hon. Capt. Miller, W. H.
Gore, Wm. Ormsby Mordaunt, Sir J. Bt.
Goulburn, Rt. Hon. H. Morgan, C
Graham, Rt. Hn. Sir J. Neeld, Joseph
Grant, Hon. Colonel Neeld, John
Greene, Thomas G. Nicholl, J.
Greisley, Sir R. Bart. Noel, Sir G.
Greville, Hon. Sir C. Norreys, Lord
Grimston, Viscount O'Neill, Hon. Gen.
Grimston, Hon. E. Ossulston, Lord
Hale, Robert B. Owen, Hugh O.
Halford, Henry Packe, C. W.
Halse, James Palmer, Robert
Hanmer, Sir J., Bart. Parker, Montague E.
Harcourt, George V. Patten, John Wilson
Hardinge, Sir H. Peel, Rt. Hon. Sir R.
Hardy, J. Peel, J.
Hawkes, Thomas Peel, Edmund
Hay, Sir John, Bart. Peel. Rt. Hon. Wm. Y.
Henniker, Lord Pemberton, Thomas
Herries, Rt. Hon. J. C. Perceval, Lieut. Col.
Hill, Lord Arthur Pigot, Robert
Hill, Sir Row., Bt. Plumptre, John P.
Hogg, James W. Plunkett, Hon. R.
Hope, Hon. James Polhill, Captain
Hope, Henry Thomas Pollen, Sir J., Bart.
Hotham, Lord Pollington, Viscount
Houldsworth, Thos. Pollock, Sir F.
Hoy, James B. Powel, Col. W. E.
Hughes, W. Hughes Praed, James B.
Inglis, Sir R. H, Bt. Praed, Winthrop M.
Irton, Samuel Price, S. Grove
Jackson, Joseph D. Price, Richard
Jermyn, Earl Pringle, Alexander
Johnson, John J. H. Pusey, Philip
Jones, Captain Rae, Sir W.
Jones, Wilson Reid, Sir J. R., Bart.
Kearsley, John H. Richards, John
Kerrison, Sir E., Bt. Rickford, William
Knatchbull. Sir E., Bt: Ridley, Sir M. W.
Knight, H. Gally Ross, Charles
Knightly, Sir C, Bt. Rushbrook, Lt.-Col.
Law, Hon. C. E. Russell, Charles
Lawson, Andrew Sanderson, Richard
Lees, John Fred. Sandon, Viscount
Lefroy, Anthony Scarlett, Hon. Robt.
Lefroy, Rt. Hon. T. Shaw, Rt. Hon. F.
Lewis, David Sheppard, Thomas
Lewis, Wyndham Sibthorp, Colonel
Lincoln, Earl of Sinclair, Sir G. Bart.
Longfield, J. Smith, Abel
Lopes, Sir Ralph, Bt. Smyth, Sir H., Bart.
Lowther, H. Somerset, Lord E.
Lowther, Viscount Somerset, Lord G.
Lowther, J. Stanley, Lord
Lucas, Edward Stanley, Edward
Lygon, Hon. Col. H. Stormont, Viscount
Mackinnon, T. Sturt, Henry C. S.
Maclean, Donald Tennent, James E.
Mahon, Viscount Thomas, Colonel
Manners, Lord C. Thompson, Wm.
Marsland, Thomas Tollemache, Hn. G. G.
Maunsell, Thomas P. Trench, Sir Fred.
Maxwell, Henry Trevor, Hon. A.
Meynell, Captain Trevor, Hon. G. R.
Miles, William Twiss, Horace
Miles, Philip J. Tyrell, Sir J. T., Bt.
Vere, Sir C. B. Williams, T.
Vernon, G. H. Wodehouse, E.
Vesey, Hon. Thomas Wyndham, W.
Vivian, J. E. Wynn, Sir W., Bart.
Wall, Charles Baring Yorke, E. T.
Walpole, Lord Young, J.
Walter, John Young, Sir W., Bart.
Weyland, Major TELLERS.
Whitmore, T. C. Clerk, Sir G.
Williams, R. Fremantle, Sir T.
List of the NOES.
Acheson, Lord Campbell, W.
Adam, Sir C. Cave, Otway R.
Aglionby, H. A. Cavendish, Hon. C.
Ainsworth, P, Cavendish, Hon. G.
Alston, Rowland Cayley, E. S.
Andover, Lord Chalmers, P.
Angerstein, J. Chetwynd, Captain
Anson, Sir G. Chichester, John B.
Anson, G. Childers,—
Ashley, Sir J. Churchill, Lord
Attwood, Thomas Clay, William
Bagshaw, John Clayton, Sir William
Bainbridge, E. Clive, E. B.
Baines, Edward Cockerell, Sir C.
Baldwin, Dr. Codrington, Sir E.
Ball, N. Colburn. N. R.
Bannerman, A. Collier, J.
Barclay, D. Conyngham, Lord A
Baring, Francis Cowper, Hon. W.
Barnard, E. G. Crawford, William S.
Barren, H. W. Crawford, William
Barry, G. S. Crawley, Samuel
Beauclerk, Major Crompton, S.
Bellew, R. M. Curteis, H.
Bellew, Sir P. Curteis, Major
Berkeley, Hon. F. Dalmeny, Lord
Berkeley, Hon. C. Dennison, W.
Bernal, Ralph Dennison, John E.
Bewes, T. D'Eyncourt, C. T.
Biddulph, R. Dillwyn, L. W.
Bish, Thomas Divett, Edward
Blake, M. Donkin, Sir R.
Blamire, W. Duncombe, T. S.
Blunt, Sir C. Dundas, John
Bodkin, J. Dundas, T.
Bowes, John Dundas, D.
Bowring, Dr. Dunlop, C.
Brabazon, Sir W. Ebrington, Lord
Brady, Denis Ellice, Rt. Hon. Edw.
Bridgeman, H. Elphinstone, Howard
Brocklehurst, John Etwall, R.
Brodie, William Euston, Earl of
Brotherton, Joseph Evans, George
Browne, Rt. Hon. D. Ewart, William
Buckingham, Jas. S. Fazakerley, John
Buller, C. Fellowes, Hon. N.
Buller, E,. Fergus, John
Bulwer, E. Ferguson, Sir R.
Burton, H. Ferguson, Robert
Butler, Colonel Fergusson, C.
Buxton, T. F. Fielden, John
Byng, Hon. G. S. Finn, W. F.
Byng, George Fitzgibbon, Hon. B.
Callaghan, D. Fitzroy, Lord C.
Campbell, Sir John Fitzsimon, R. C,
Folkes, Sir William Martin, J.
Fort, John Martin, T. B.
French, F. Maule, Hon. F.
Gaskell, Daniel Methuen, P.
Gillon, W. D. Molesworth, Sir W.
Gisborne, T. Moreton, Hon. A.
Gordon, Robert Morpeth Viscount
Goring, H. Morrison, James
Grattan, J. Mostyn, Hon. E.
Grattan, H. Mullins, F. W.
Grey, Sir George Murray, John A.
Grosvenor, Lord R. Musgrave, Sir R.
Grote, G. North, Frederick
Guest, Josiah O'Brien, W. S.
Gully, J. O'Connell, D.
Hall, B. O'Connell, Morgan J.
Hallyburton, Hon. D. O'Connell, Maurice
Handley, H. O'Connell, Morgan
Harland, W. C. O'Connell, John
Harvey, D. W. O'Connor, Don
Hawes, B. O'Ferrall, R. M.
Hawkins, J. H. Oliphant, L.
Hay, Sir Andrew L. O'Loghlin, M.
Heathcote, John Ord, W. H.
Hector, C. Ord, W.
Heneage, Edward Oswald, James
Hindley, C. Paget, Frederick
Hobhouse, Sir J. Palmer, General
Hodges, T. Palmerston, Viscount
Hodges, T. L. Parnell, Rt. Hn. Sir H.
Holland, Edward Parrott, Jasper
Horsman, E. Parry, L. P. J.
Hoskins, K. Pattison, J.
Howard, Ralph Pease, Joseph
Howard, Hon. E. Pechell, Capt. R.
Howard, P. Pelham, Hon. C.
Howick, Viscount Pendarves, E. W.
Hume, Joseph Philips, Mark
Humphery, J. Philips, G. R.
Hurst, R. Phillipps, C. M.
Hutt, W. Potter, R.
Jephson, C. D. Poulter, J. S.
Johnstone, Andrew Poyntz, W. S.
Kemp, T. R. Price, Sir J.
King, Edward B. Pryme, George
Labouchere, H. Pryce, Pryce
Lambton, Hedworth Ramsbottom, J.
Langton, W. G. Rice, Rt. Hon. T. S.
Leader, J. T. Rippon, C.
Lefevre, S. Robarts, A. W.
Lemon, Sir C. Robinson, G. R.
Lennard, T. B. Roche, W.
Lister, E. C. Roebuck, J. A.
Loch, James Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Long, Walter Rooper, J. B.
Lushington, Dr. Rundle, John
Lushington, Charles Russell, Lord
Lynch, Andrew Russell, Lord John
Mackenzie, J. S. Russell, Lord C.
M'Leod, R. Ruthven, Edward S,
Macnamara, Major Ruthven, E.
M'Taggart, John Sanford, E. A.
Maher, John Scholefield, J.
Mangles, James Scott, Sir E. D.
Marjoribanks, S. Scourfield, W. H.
Marshall, William Scrope, G. P.
Marsland, H. Seymour, Lord
Sharpe, Gen. Vivian, Major
Sheldon, R. Vivian, John H.
Sheil, R. L. Wakley, Thomas
Simeon, Sir R. Walker, C,
Smith, Benjamin Walker, R.
Smith, J. A. Wallace, Robert
Smith, Vernon Warburton, H.
Smith, Hon. R. Ward, H. G.
Stanley, H. Wason, R.
Steuart, R. Wemyss, Captain J.
Stewart, Sir M. Westenra, Hon. Col.
Stewart, P. M. Whalley, Sir Samuel
Strickland, Sir George White, Samuel
Strutt, Edward Wigney, Isaac
Stuart, Lord D. Wilbraham, G.
Stuart, Lord James Wilde, Sergeant
Stuart, V. Wilkins, W.
Surrey, Earl of Wilks, John
Talbot, J. H. Williams, William
Tancred, H. Williams, Sir James
Thomson, Rt. Hon. C. P. Williams, W. A.
Williamson, Sir H.
Thompson, B. Wilson, H.
Thornely, Thomas Winnington, Sir T.
Tooke, William Winnington, Captain
Townley, R. G. Wood, Matthew
Trelawney, Sir W. Woulfe, Sergeant
Troubridge, Sir Thos. Wrottesley, Sir John
Tulk, C. A. Wyse, Thomas
Turner, W. Young, G. F.
Tynte, C. J. K. TELLERS.
Verney, Sir H. E. J. Stanley
Villiers, C. P. C. Wood
(Not Official.)
Alford, Lord Mandeville, Viscount
Campbell, Sir H. Owen, Sir J.
Cartwright, W. R. Ryle, J.
Charlton, E. L. Scott, Lord John
Clive, Viscount Smith, T. A.
Cole, Lord Townshend, Lord J.
Cooper, E. J. Verner, W.
Coote, Sir C. Wilbraham, R. B.
Follett, Sir W. W. Wilmot, Sir E.
Goulburn, Mr. Serg. Wood, Colonel T.
Hamilton, Lord C. Wortley, J. S.
Hayes, Sir E. Wynn, Sir W. W.
Lushington, S. R.
Barham, J. Parker, J.
Beaumont, T. W. Pinney, W.
Benett, John Ponsonby, Hon. W,
Berkeley, Hon. G. C. Power, James
Chapman, M. L. Roche, D.
Clements, Lord Scott, J. W.
Edwards, Colonel Seale, Colonel
Fitzsimon, N. Speirs, Captain
Grey, Colonel Sullivan, R.
Heron, Sir R. Wemyss, Capt.
Kerry, Earl of Wrightson, W. B.
Moseley, Sir O. Talfourd, T. Noon
Nagle, Sir R.
*Bateson, Sir R. Copeland, W.
*Dare, R. W. H. Kavanagh, T.
*Davenport, J. Kerr, D.
Entwistle, John Kirt, P.
Ferguson, Sir R. Mathew, Captain
Fleetwood, H. Pelham, John C.
*Forbes, Lord *Penruddock, J. H.
Forster, C. Spry, S. T.
*Hanmer, H. Stewart, John
Heathcote, G. J. Tapps, G. W.
Herbert, Hon. S. Vaughan, S. R.
Ingham, Robert Vyvyan, Sir R.
Johnstone, Sir J. V. Welby, G. E.
Belfast, Earl of Jervis, J.
Bentinck, Lord W. Knox, Hon. J.
Blackburne, J. Lee, J. L.
Bulkeley, Sir R. W. Lennox, Lord G.
Bulwer, H. L. Lennox, Lord A.
Burdett, Sir F. Maxwell, J.
Burdon, W. W. O'Brien, C.
*Carter, J. B. Ponsonby, J. G. B.
Cookes, T. H. *Ramsden, J. C.
Dennistoun, Alex. Talbot, C. R. M.
Dobbin, Leonard *Tracey, C. H.
Evans, G. Tynte, C. J. K,
Heathcote, Sir G. J.
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