§ Lord John Russell
spoke to the following effect.* Mr. Speaker: I move, Sir, that so much of the King's Speech be read as relates to the affairs of Ireland.
The following passages were then read by the Clerk:—My Lords and Gentlemen,—His Majesty has more especially commanded us to bring under your notice the state of Ireland, and the wisdom of adopting all such measures as may improve the condition of that part of the United Kingdom. His Majesty recommends to your early consideration the present constitution of the municipal corporations of that country, the collection of tithes, and the difficult but pressing question of establishing some legal provision for the poor, guarded by prudent regulations, and by such precautions against abuse, as your experience and knowledge of the subject enable you to suggest. His Majesty commits these great interests into your hands, in the confidence that you will be able to frame laws in accordance with the wishes of his Majesty and the expectation of his people. His Majesty is persuaded that, should this hope be fulfilled, you will not only contribute to the welfare of Ireland, but strengthen the law and constitution of these realms by securing their benefits to all classes of his Majesty's subjects.
§ Lord John Russell
then said: Although feel no immediate apprehension as to the result of the motion which I am about to make this evening, yet the subject which I am to introduce, is of such importance, and I am so fully aware that the political condition of Ireland is difficult to treat, that I approach it with very great anxiety. United as we are with that country, and although I do not believe that the people of England are either hostile or indifferent to the welfare of the people of Ireland, yet I must confess, that so much misapprehension and misinformation on the subject exist; that misrepresentations are so easily believed, and with so much difficulty dispelled; false impressions are so readily received, and with so much dif-* From a corrected report.207 ficulty effaced; and misstatements are so hastily put forward and laboriously propagated, that I am certainly much afraid, lest I should not be able to make others enter into my sincere convictions upon this subject, while, at the same time, I am confident, that if I were able to state forcibly, as I feel strongly, the considerations which I have to present to the House, they could not fail of meeting approval and concurrence. The Bill which I propose this night to introduce, requires no long defence or explanation from me. It is a Bill to remedy the abuses, and to provide for the reform of the Irish corporations. Those abuses have not been denied. They have even been stated to be greater and more notorious than the abuses which prevailed in the corporations of Scotland or England. Neither is the remedy stated to be an unfit or insufficient remedy. On the contrary, you have admitted—Parliament has admitted—that the remedy which has been proposed, is a remedy fit for the occasion, fit to be applied to the corporations of Scotland and of England. The whole question, therefore, lies in this—whether, the abuses being notorious, and the remedy a sufficient remedy, you will apply to Ireland that which you have applied to Scotland and to England. In fact, the whole statement made in opposition to this Bill is little more than this: that whereas Scotland is inhabited by Scotchmen, and England by Englishmen, yet, because Ireland is inhabited by Irishmen you will refuse them the same measure of relief that you have applied to Scotland and to England. With respect to the particular provisions of the Bill which I propose to introduce, they vary very little indeed from those contained in the Bill which passed this House last year, and that Bill was not different in its principle from the Bill which passed the year before, relating to the English corporations. There were one or two points, as the House knows, in which the English Bill differed from the Bill which had been previously applied to Scotland, and others in which the Irish Bill differed from the English Bill. One of these alterations was with regard to the franchise. Ireland not having the same description of rate-payers which we have in this country, the 10l. and the 5l. franchises were taken, the former for the large towns and the latter for the small. Another difference which was made in the Bill of last year, though not when it was originally introduced, but after it came into 208 the House, was a provision that the appointment of the sheriffs in Ireland should be in the Crown. Upon this subject, I shall state, that it is my opinion generally, that in the appointment to offices connected with the administration of justice, the Crown ought to have a paramount authority. Our legislation has proceeded in this direction. By the Act for Scotland, the selection of the magistrates is in the town-councils; by the English Act, the magistrates are appointed by the Crown. It was proposed in this House, that the council should have a right of recommendation, which, however, was afterwards taken away, and the power is now in the Crown, although the advisers of the Crown have made it a rule to take into consideration the recommendations of the town councils. In the Irish Bill, after it was brought in, we took another step, and we proposed, that in those towns which were towns and counties in themselves, the right of appointment of sheriffs should be in the Crown. Now, I have somewhat altered this provision in the present Bill. The provision which I now propose to introduce, is, that the town-council shall nominate three persons to the Lord-Lieutenant, of whom the Lord-Lieutenant may refuse any one, or reject all three; that upon that rejection the council may propose three others; the Lord-Lieutenant may choose one of these, or he may set aside the second three; that is he may set aside the whole six, and appoint a sheriff solely by his own authority. I think this right, because I consider it will tend to make the administration of justice in Ireland more satisfactory, if there be a recommendation from the council; but I also think, that where the power of the Crown is introduced, and is to be exercised mutually with any other power, it should be the paramount power. For instance, in the year before last, I strongly objected to the powers given to the revising barristers, to set out the boundaries of the wards in the corporate towns, the King in Council having a right to disapprove of their decision; but not to alter or set it aside. I objected to that provision, because I thought it derogatory to the dignity of the Crown. I have since been confirmed in that opinion; the King in Council, conceiving the divisions to be in some cases inconvenient, has disapproved of them; but, on being sent to the revising barristers, what has been the result? They have taken no notice of the disallowance, the authority of the King in Council has 209 been set at naught, and the decision of the revising barristers has been adhered to. I think, therefore, where the authority of the Crown is introduced at all—and I think it should be introduced [in a matter of this importance—that in the event of the town-council not recommending any proper person, the Lord-Lieutenant should have an ultimate power to appoint that person whom he should judge fit. It is not very likely that this power will often be exercised, as it is not probable that six persons recommended by the council will be rejected, unless from some particular circumstance, there should be an obvious unfitness in all those nominated for the appointment, and in that case, I entertain no doubt that the power vested in the Lord-Lieutenant will be properly exercised. These are the main alterations in the Bill I now propose to introduce, from the Bill of last year. They are not of great importance; they are such alterations as might be expected to take place, when we have to adapt a Bill to another part of the empire, after we have had the experience of the working of an Act having the same object, which has been already called into operation, and I do not expect that the Bill will meet with any opposition in this stage, nor shall I enter further into its provisions. But there are considerations connected with this subject, to which I think it necessary now to proceed, and upon which Parliament will have ultimately to decide. We propose this Bill as a remedy for a civil grievance, suffered by the people of Ireland with respect to corporations; which in point of principle meets no objection, and which is only opposed, because, as I have stated before, in spite of the Act of Union, and in spite of the Act of Emancipation, Irishmen and Roman Catholics are still to be treated upon a different footing from their fellow subjects in the two other portions of the empire. I feel it necessary upon this occasion, especially after some statements that have been made, and some resolutions that have been recently entered into at a certain meeting in Ireland, to state the grounds on which the Government of Ireland has proceeded as an executive, and the grounds on which we have proceeded in recommending to the Legislature to act in conformity with the proceedings of that executive authority. I think it right also to state, that I consider this is a vital question to the present Administration. I am fully sensible of the evil of bringing forward bills year after year, and suf- 210 fering them to be defeated and lost without taking any further step upon the subject. His Majesty's Government consider it right, that Parliament and the country should have full time to consider the mode in which Government has been carried on in Ireland, and to consider the measure and propositions that we have to make; but I do not think that we could permanently go on, or that we could be fairly entitled to ask for the confidence of this House, which hitherto has never been withheld from us, if we, continuing an Administration, suffered principles to be applied, with regard to the Government of Ireland, against which we decidedly and positively protest. It seems to me that there can be no question more simple, that there can be no question more direct to bring this argument of English policy towards Ireland to the test, than the Bill which I shall this night propose. It is a question not properly interfering with any religious prejudice, not capable of being twisted or involved by a curious display of figures. It is a plain question of justice, whether the Irish people are fit to enjoy those rights which you have declared are conformable to the constitution of this country, or whether you will proscribe them as unfit to enjoy the same rights as Englishmen, and proclaim them to be an inferior race of beings. Now, before I enter into the question of what the executive of Ireland has done, and the nature of the proposition that we now make, as bearing upon the conduct of that executive. I will take leave to quote the principle of our conduct from the recorded, words of a very great man. I must say, that whenever I have to look for a great authority upon the constitution—whenever I wish to look for enlarged principles with respect to the manner in which the Government of this country should be carried on—I do not refer to the theories of Locke, or to the legal statements of Blackstone; but I refer, whenever I can, to the authority, the precepts, and the maxims of Mr. Fox. Mr. Fox stated in a very eloquent speech which he delivered in 1797, the principles upon which he conceived the Government of Ireland should be conducted. He stated in his usual frank, it might be said incautious, manner, that he conceived that concession should be made to the people of Ireland;—he said, if he found he had not conceded enough he would concede more;—he said that he thought the only way of governing Ireland, was to please the people of Ireland—that 211 he knew no better source of strength to this country—and he declared in one sentence, which I will read to the House, his wish with respect to the Government of Ireland "My wish is" (said Mr. Fox) "that the whole people of Ireland should have the same principles, the same system, the same operation of Government; and, though it may be a subordinate consideration that all classes should have an equal chance of emolument; in other words, I would have the whole Irish Government regulated by Irish notions and Irish prejudices; and I firmly believe, according to another Irish expression, the more she is under the Irish Government, the more will she be bound to English interests." So deeply did Mr. Fox feel the injustice of treating one class of the people of this country different from another, that when in 1805, towards the end of his life, he undertook to bring forward in this House the question of Catholic Emancipation, and when he was told by Mr. Sheridan, that a person of very high station, his late Majesty George the 4th, was anxious that that question should be postponed, he answered at once, not only that he was determined to bring forward the question, but that he had already fixed the day; the words of his letter show his earnestness upon this question, "I did on Thursday consent to be the presenter of the Catholic petition. Now, therefore, any discussion on this part of the subject would be too late; but I will fairly own that if it were not I could not be dissuaded from doing the public act which, of all others, it will give me the greatest satisfaction and pride to perform. No past event in my political life ever did, and no future one ever can, give me such pleasure." This was the way in which Mr. Fox answered when he was entreated to postpone bringing forward the question of Catholic Emancipation; and, by the former extract which I have read, I think you will see that he intended, not that it should be an Act placed on the statute book and left there inoperative, but that it should be a living Act of Parliament—that it should be the rule and guide for the conduct of the Government of this country—that it should be really an union of equality between the two countries, so that by that means, as he said, you might bind the people of Ireland firmly and for ever to English interests. Now, Sir, I maintain that Lord Mulgrave has acted upon these principles laid down by Mr. Fox. He has endeavoured to do that which, I must say, has not been fully 212 done before, in all the details of official and legal business, which is still not done in our legislation, to carry into every part of the Irish Government the spirit of impartial justice. When I say it has not been done before, much as I admire the character of Lord Mulgrave, I am not going to place him, nor place those who sit here, above any Governor or above any Ministers who have governed Ireland before, but I will say, that while Lord Mulgrave has governed Ireland with the most upright, with the most impartial, and with the most generous intentions, he has had this advantage that his Government has been one and united. He has had the advantage of having a Chief Secretary, an Attorney, and Solicitor General, all acting in complete accordance with himself; and I will venture to say, that although the office of Attorney-General has been placed in the hands of three different persons since Lord Mulgrave has assumed the Government of Ireland, if Lord Haddington had at any time succeeded him at the Castle, not one of those Gentlemen would have remained to Act under a Tory Government. This, Sir, is a question of considerable importance, because there is so much in the Government of Ireland which depends upon the detail that is to be carried on in the different offices of Government, that any Lord-Lieutenant, with the best and fairest possible intentions, may not be aware of what the precise evil is, and what is the actual remedy that ought to be applied to it. I will illustrate this with reference to the conduct which was pursued by the present Master of the Rolls, when Attorney-General for Ireland. He found it was then the case, that when juries were appointed, it was the custom to put aside men, not because they had a particular prejudice in the case to be tried, not because they were known to be connected with, or favourable to the accused person, but because they were persons of the Roman Catholic religion, or, being Protestants, were persons of liberal political opinions. But of that practice Mr. O'Loghlen entirely disapproved, and he completely altered it. I have a letter here in which he states the satisfaction which it gave him that it had been found that in consequence of that change no fewer convictions had been obtained, and that a general impression of the administration of impartial justice had begun to prevail throughout the country. I think this is a question of the very greatest importance because when we consider the want of confidence that has existed, I will not say for 213 years, I might say for centuries, in the administration of justice in Ireland, one cannot think that when men attended the courts of justice, and saw persons of respectable character set aside only on account of their religion or their opinions in politics, it was natural for them to infer that they would not be justly treated, and that the verdict would not be the verdict of twelve honest men, but the verdict of twelve selected partisans. Mr. O'Loghlen, therefore, did a very great service to the administration of justice by the rule which he laid down, that such practice was not to be persevered in, and that it was only on account of the person being connected with the case to be tried, or being in some way prejudiced with respect to it, that the right of the Crown should be exercised. There was another innovation introduced by Mr. O'Loghlen, which was of the greatest importance as affecting the police of the country. Every one has heard of the faction fights that have prevailed in Ireland, of the blood spilt at fairs, and the fierce and desperate battles which took place between one faction and the other. It is represented, and I believe with truth, that there was a great indifference with respect to the prosecution of those offences. There were magistrates who, acting upon the old and detestable maxim of divide et impera, thought it was better to allow the people to assuage their bloody dispositions upon those occasions, than to put a stop to them and use the power of the law for their prevention. Sir, I must say that, in my view, nothing is more mistaken. There is nothing more dreadful—setting aside the iniquity of it—than to allow these bloody and murderous deeds to go on. But there is also nothing more likely to lead to the subversion of morality in that country, than to foster habits which encourage the effusion of blood. It was an observation made by Machiavel in the history of the Florentine Republic, with respect to the attempted assassination of Lorenzo de Medici, that the assassination failed because the person who was appointed to do the work was a priest, who had not been used to scenes of that kind, instead of a soldier, one of the persons in the conspiracy, and who for another reason was not employed to commit the assassination. There is, no doubt, a great deal of truth in such a remark. When men are accustomed, without much provocation, and in the prosecution of some hereditary feud, to attack one another murderously, and to assist continually in the shedding of blood, they are 214 much more likely, when they have a person whom they consider their enemy before them, against whom they have some spite, or from whom they think they have suffered some oppression, to commit homicide and murder, than men in whom those habits have been subdued by the timely interference of the law. It was, therefore, Mr. O'Loghlen's care to recommend and to direct that there should be a solicitor employed at every quarter sessions, and who should send to him an account of all the cases of this kind, and institute a prosecution by the Crown in all those in which he thought it likely to obtain a conviction. The effect of that proceeding has, I believe, been most beneficial. It has been seen by the people that crimes of this kind are not suffered to pass with impunity, and there is some hope that the inveterate habits of the people will be subdued. Another measure to which I will direct the attention of the House, though it was taken, not by Mr. O'Loghlen, but by the Government of Ireland, after an Act had passed the Legislature, was to establish uniformity of system in the police force. That force is, no doubt, a very useful one, but it had come to be considered as a force not acting solely in behalf of the law and of order, but as connected rather with one party than with the other. It has been the anxious care of the Irish Government, and I am sure they will be seconded in it by the gallant person who is now at the head of the police force, to endeavour to make that force such as will both strictly and fairly enforce the observance of the law, while at the same time it shall be a force in which the people in general shall have full confidence. In addition to this, it has been Lord Mulgrave's care on every occasion to tell the people it was their duty to refrain from those crimes of outrage and disturbance which have hitherto afflicted the country; and I am happy in being able to say, that such advice has not been without useful and beneficial effect; so much so, that in many parts of the country societies have been established, and more especially in those districts where these crimes most extensively prevailed, for the purpose of preventing these outrages and disturbances, and for securing the peace of the country and the observance of the law; and I am most happy to say, that those lessons have not been without their use towards obtaining a better observance of the law, and the establishment of greater tranquillity. I will now proceed to state to the House some of 215 the results with respect to the amount and state of crime. I know that it has been stated that crime has not in fact diminished; but I conceive that it is necessary we should, in the face of the evidence we possess on the subject, have a little better ground for the assertion, than merely the fact that from time to time a crime of great horror and atrocity has been committed in the country. If we were to rely upon such a statement for the inference I have referred to, I could furnish instances in the counties of Middlesex, Surrey, and of Hertford, of the commission of dreadful crime, and yet it cannot be denied that they occurred amongst a people to whom such crimes are of rare occurrence. I will now proceed to state the testimony of some of the judges, given at the last summer assizes, as to the state of crime in Ireland:—The first case is that of Kilkenny. Its condition, under the dispensation of Lord Mulgrave, we may learn from the mouth of Baron Pennefather—he addressed the Grand Jury briefly, and said, there was "no offence in the calendar requiring particular observation from him." Chief Justice Doherty used similar language to the Grand Jury of the city— "He had nothing more to say, than to congratulate them upon the state of the calendar, which contained only four, he might rather say three and a half, cases for trial." Baron Penne father again, in Wexford, gave this testimony:—"If the calendar faithfully represented the state of the county, it afforded him matter of congratulation, for it was really surprising to see a county of such extent so free from crime." Judge Johnson, at the assizes of Kildare, said,— "The light state of your calendar scarcely requires an observation from me, with the exception of one or two cases, which particularly call for attention and accuracy in the investigation." At Maryborough assizes (Queen's County), the same judge observed —"He had cast his eye over the calendar, and had to congratulate them on its exceeding lightness." Judge Burton said, at Sligo,—"He congratulated the Grand Jury on the tranquil state of the county, as shown by the lightness of the calendar. In amount, the offences were not more than might have been reasonably expected in a county of such extent; and with respect to quality, he was glad to find there was not a single case of murder." Baron Foster, in Clare, observed,—"I am happy to congratulate you upon the great diminution of crime which has taken place in this county, compared with former periods. The total 216 number on the calendar is thirty-seven. The number is inconsiderable; and though there are crimes of some enormity on it, still not one appears to partake of an insurrectionary character. There are some cases of homicide; the other crimes are incidental to every state of society." The same Judge said to the Grand Jury of the city of Limerick—"I am happy to inform you, the calendar is exceedingly light. The crimes for trial are only of such a nature as may be found in every, even the best regulated stages of society, and particularly amid the population of a densely-inhabited city." Judge Perrin congratulated the Grand Jury of the county of Limerick—"on the reduced state of the calendar, which was evidence of the peaceable state of their county. There was no case on the calendar demanding particular remark from him." Baron Sir W. Smith to the Grand Jury of the county of Carlow—"As for the part of the calendar with which you will have to deal, it cannot be called numerous, and I hope will not prove heavy. On the contrary, I congratulate you on the prospect of its being light." At Louth assizes, the Chief Baron said—"It gave him great satisfaction to observe, that the calendar was so very small when compared with former years, the number of indictments being but twenty-three; and, with the exception of two of these, the crimes were not of that lawless character which tended to the disturbance of the peace of the county." At the Down assizes, Chief Justice Bushe—"congratulated the Grand Jury on the extreme lightness of the calendar; which presented a subject of lively congratulation to all lovers of peace and good order." I consider this to be testimony which cannot be contradicted. It is taken from public documents; it is furnished by the several Judges in their charges to the various Grand Juries in the counties in which they judicially presided, and which bodies they had to address relative to the state of crime in the country. Will any one, then, presume to tell me, that the country is in a singular state of disturbance, and that Lord Mulgrave has connived at, and concealed the state of crime, with such evidence before me of the lightness of the calendars. I have said nothing as to any political bias that there may be supposed to exist on the part of the Judges, and I do not suppose that they have any to any great extent; but I rely upon their doing their duty to the country impartially, and I am satisfied that if the facts were otherwise than I find them 217 described, that they would not have been thus mentioned. In addition to this evidence, I have also got returns which have lately been made out as to the state of crime. The return which I hold in my hand, is one which has been completed during the last few days, with as much accuracy as possible. At the same time it is right for me to say, that there is some difference between this and former returns, a new manner of classifying and defining crimes having been adopted since the Police Act of last year came into operation. On this ground it is a somewhat difficult matter to make a comparison with former years. Some crimes, however, are of such a nature, that they show very evidently what is the state of the country. I believe that the totals of these returns may be depended on; and above all, in crimes of a more serious nature, and certainly with respect to those of an insurrectionary character. The total of the principal classes of outrages for the last three months of 1832 was 3,365; but this, I must remind the House, was the year before the Coercion Act was brought forward, when there was, undoubtedly, a great increase of crime. The average of totals for the last three months of the years 1833, 1834, and 1835, was 2,377, while the totals for the last three months of 1836 amounted only to 1,401. With respect to the whole year, the totals of principal classes of outrage were—for 1832, 11,259; for 1833, 1834, and 1835, on the average, 9,919; and for 1836, 7,827, being a diminution of 2,092 from the average of the three preceding years. Again, from October 1832, to March 1833, the totals of principal classes of out rage were 6,894; from July to December, 1836, they were 3,008, being a decrease of 3,886 in the amount of crime committed within six months at those two different periods. I will now proceed to take three or four classes of crimes of great atrocity, which are generally connected with outrage and violence. In the three last months of 1832 the number of burnings was 136—the average of the three last months of 1833, 1834, and 1835, was 124—the number of burnings in the three last months of 1836 was fifty-seven. In the three last months of 1832, the number of burglaries was 142; the average of 1833, 1834, and 1835, was sixty-one; of 1836, forty. In the three last months of 1832, the number of attacks on and firing into houses was 533; the average of 1833, 1834, and 1835 was 226; whilst the number in 1836, was sixty-eight. In the three last months of 218 1832, the number of demands for, or robberies of arms, was 288; the average of 1833,1834, and 1835, was sixty, whilst the number in 1836 was thirty. I will next give the amount of these different classes of outrage for the whole year. In 1832, the number of burnings was 671; the average number for 1833,1834, and 1835 was 535; while the number for 1836 was 565. In 1832, the number of burglaries was 464; the average for the three years 1833,1834, and 1835 was 434; while the number of 1836 was 193. In 1832, the number of attacks on, and firing into houses, was 2,125: the average of the three years 1833, 1834, and 1835 was 1,602; while the number for 1836 was 518. In 1832, the number of robberies of arms was 673. The average of the three years 1833, 1834, and 1835, was 269, while the number for 1836 was 147. I have many other returns of a similar nature, and, more especially, returns showing the state of crime in the counties of Kilkenny and Tipperary. And here it is proper for me to observe, that the restored peace of the latter county is materially owing to the excellent conduct of a most exemplary magistrate, namely, Mr. Howley. With reference to several species of crime in this county, including riots and assaults, the number of persons indicted in 1835 was 795, and, by returns made up to January 1837, I find the number indicted for the same offences in 1836, was 344. I am happy in being able to make a statement of this kind, because it goes far to prove what is the result of a fair and impartial administration of the laws, and the government of the country. I now proceed to another subject, on which I do not intend to dwell at any length. It is a subject that was brought before the House last year, and which occupied much of our attention—I mean the subject of Orange associations in Ireland. It will be in the recollection of the House, that it was agreed to generally by hon. Members, that those secret societies, composed exclusively of persons of one religion, and holding and having secret signs and symbols, should not longer be allowed to exist. It will also be remembered, that the members of the Orange society in this House declared, at once and unanimously, and I sincerely believe, that they have faithfully performed the promise they then made, that they would abstain from attending, and would cease to belong to them. I consider myself bound to observe, that the conduct they pursued did them the highest honour. They felt what 219 was due to the feelings of the House, and knew what course was proper to be pursued when the opinion of the Crown became known, and therefore yielded at once, and abstained from belonging any longer to these societies. They took away one of the chief supports to this society by the manner in which they then acted; they took away from the inferior members of these Orange societies, whom they were in the habit of meeting, the powers of their influence; they withdrew, in a manner, the belief from the inferior members of these societies that they would be protected in their illegal acts by persons of high station and influence, and were authorised to join in processions and other breaches of the law. The Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, upon receiving the address of the House, and the answer of his Majesty thereto, immediately issued a proclamation, and ordered a circular letter to be written to the crown solicitors at the different assizes, directing that there should, at the ensuing assizes, be no prosecutions for persons who had joined in Orange processions; the consequence of which was, that many persons who would otherwise have been prosecuted were discharged. Although the persons holding superior stations, and having high authority in the Orange lodges did their duty, and although the Lord-Lieutenant declared that he was willing to forget the past, it does not appear that the mass of the persons composing the Orange associations refrained from these processions; on the contrary, I am informed, that on the 12th of July, preparations for processions were made much more extensively, and on a larger scale, than had ever been known before. In consequence of communications having been made to him on this subject, the Lord-Lieutenant acted promptly: he issued orders to the magistrates of the districts where these processions were expected to take place, in order to put them down at every point; he then ordered prosecutions to be instituted against the leaders of these proceedings; the consequence was, that sixty-eight persons were convicted for having joined these processions, and 428 were ordered to take their trials. The Lord-Lieutenant thought it necessary, especially after the indulgence he had shown to those who had formerly taken part in them, to show a determination to put down these illegal processions. No one, I think, can censure the conduct of the Lord-Lieutenant on this point, or say, that, in the course he pursued, he did not act rightly. The re- 220 sult, I think, shows, that the steps taken will be effectual, for no attempt has been made to form such processions since these steps were taken by the Government to suppress them. I trust, therefore, that the suppression of the illegal societies to which I allude may be fairly placed among the benefits resulting from the existing Government in Ireland, and that those secret associations, which have been found, by evidence before the House, to be of such an unconstitutional character, and to be so injurious to the peace of the empire, and which are capable of being perverted to such mischievous purposes, will be effectually put down and altogether suppressed. There is another point, with respect to the distribution of patronage, regarding which much observation has been made. The House will observe, that in the opinion of Mr. Fox, which I have already quoted, one of the objects which he wished to see effected in the Government of Ireland was, that there should be a fair distribution of emoluments among all classes of her people. That this took place before the arrival of Lord Mulgrave in Ireland, can hardly be asserted. I hold in my hand the list of the stipendiary magistrates appointed by former Governments previous to Lord Mulgrave's arrival in 1835, which specifies the religion of each; and although the number of such appointments is considerable, yet I find the name of only one person professing the Roman Catholic religion. I have also a list of the stipendiary magistrates appointed since Lord Mulgrave assumed the government of Ireland, and it appears that out of the fifteen appointments that have taken place, six have been conferred upon Roman Catholics, and nine upon Protestants, no very unfair distribution, and certainly showing no wish to promote Roman Catholics in preference to Protestants, but showing that which I think it right to show, that a man because he is a Roman Catholic is not to be excluded from those offices to which by a solemn Act of the Legislature, and which this House has repeatedly sanctioned, he is declared entitled to aspire. I have also here a list of other appointments made by Lord Mulgrave and stating the religion of the different persons so appointed, but I decline going into it, because I think on the whole, that unless the question is raised it is one which it is not desirable to enter upon. The right hon. Gentleman cheers, but I beg him to recollect, that this is one of the charges brought against Lord Mulgrave's 221 Government. It is one of those charges which are put forth before the public, and which are resorted to with the view of poisoning the public mind. At the same time it is one of those charges, and there are many, which are not brought forward on any occasion in either House of Parliament. Now, having stated generally the conduct of Lord Mulgrave's Government— having stated the appointments he has made, the measures he has taken—and having stated also some of the general results with regard to the prevention of crime, I come now to state, as I think that I am bound to state, as no notice up to this time has been given on the subject—I come now to make some observations on some charges made against him in certain resolutions. When Mr. Fox stated what concessions he wished to be made to Ireland—which included equal rights and an equal division and participation of emoluments—he said that these concessions would not give satisfaction to all. "Who, then," he asked, "would be dissatisfied by such concessions? Not the aristocracy; for I will not call it by so respectable a name. And is that miserable monopolising minority to be put in the balance with the preservation of the empire and the happiness of a whole people?" Now, it is this miserable monopolising minority, to which the name was so justly affixed by Mr. Fox—it is the same miserable minority, which has not dared to bring forward any charge in Parliament against the present Administration in Ireland, but which has met, and passed certain resolutions containing charges highly criminatory of Lord Mulgrave—charges which, if true, should ensure that noble Lord's instant dismissal; and although Parliament has been met a week, and although Members of both Houses of Parliament were present at the meeting at which these resolutions were passed, not one of them has ventured to give any notice that he will bring before Parliament these high crimes and misdemeanours. With all strangers carefully excluded, and all opposition rigidly shut out, with Orange flags streaming in the air, they put and carried these resolutions, amid the shouts and applause of the multitude around them. It may be said, although it would be a weak and miserable argument, that no one is willing to bring forward the subject, as he would not venture to encounter the strength of the support which his Majesty's Government had received from the majority in that House. This, I say, is a miserable argument, because 222 those who have conducted an opposition in this country, have known and felt, that when they had a right and a strong cause, though they might have only sixty, or fifty, or forty, or even thirty, yet with such support they felt bound to bring forward their measures; and by how many Members was Mr. Fox supported, when he made that speech from which I have already made more than one quotation? By eighty against 250. This, therefore, is not a valid argument. But is there not another House of Parliament where this subject could be safely brought forward? What is their power in that other House of Parliament? I have got here a pamphlet, which purports to be the twenty-eighth edition of a speech delivered by a noble Lord, in the other House of Parliament, at the close of the last Session—a noble Lord of great ability, and of no less authority in that assembly. I do not know whether the noble and learned Lord actually delivered the speech thus attributed to him; but I find it stated in the pamphlet to which I have just alluded, that "in the House of Lords Ministers were powerless, and could effect nothing." If this were really the case, why did noble Lords at the meeting of Dublin shrink from going with their complaints to that assembly? They have brought forward matters impeaching the conduct, and maligning the character of the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, and yet they dare not bring his conduct before Parliament. It may be, after all, they feel that whatever their majority may be in the other House of Parliament, it is not a majority for such purposes; it may be, that they feel that however much they may gain the applause of such packed meetings as I have alluded to, a majority of the other House of Parliament will not sanction such accusations: but they should, at least, have the frankness and candour to let this be known. I am inclined to think that this is the case from one of their own resolutions. I shall not take the trouble to read many of them, but I will refer to one of them. It alludes to the nomination of high sheriffs, and complains that the Government neglected the recommendation of the Judges; except in the cases of persons who have excused themselves from taking the office, this has been very seldom the case during the present year. Last year, however, several cases of that kind occurred, and I will call the attention of the House to what has happened in consequence. Last year, Lord Mulgrave came over to England: he 223 took his seat in the House of Lords. A question of a very ordinary nature was put to him about his conduct to a Mr. Gore Jones, and to a Mr. Leigh, who had been nominated as high sheriff, but who had been subsequently set aside. Not one of the noble Lords who had since appeared as his accusers in the Protestant assembly at Dublin, then moved any accusation against him on this subject in the House of Lords. Lord Mulgrave rose in his place and gave an answer to the question put to him, and it was not a little singular that, when he rose to speak a second time, he found it necessary to apologise to their Lordships for keeping them away from their dinner, so little interest did the subject excite among their Lordships, and so thin was the attendance of those who now brought forward this as so grave an accusation against the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. What is the course which these noble Lords and hon. Gentlemen now pursue? Nothing else but this:—When Lord Mulgrave was in his place in the House of Lords they shrank from accusing him, because they knew that he would immediately have repelled their accusation; but before a packed meeting of their own partisans in Dublin, where the Lord-Lieutenant could not appear, they resolved, with great courage and magnanimity, that he had been guilty of high crimes and misdemeanours. Sir, however much I disliked many of the political qualities of this miserable monopolising minority, however much my mind revolted against the virulence of its exclusive spirit, however indignant I had always felt at the abuses which attended their former administration, yet I will confess, that in former days I had given them credit for candour and frankness; but I cannot refrain from saying, that, having been a witness to such proceedings as those I have made mention of, having seen what has been the line of conduct pursued by them in reference to Lord Mulgrave—their abstaining from making his alleged misconduct the subject of legitimate attack, on an occasion when he was present in his seat to defend himself, and then having afterwards got up a packed meeting of their partisans as a vehicle for launching out against him the grossest calumnies—I must say, Sir, that my former belief in their candour and frankness has totally disappeared. A more convincing proof of the entire absence of candour than the one I have stated, it is, indeed, impossible to imagine. As to the resolutions, there are three or four of them 224 in the beginning which really seem more calculated to excite derision and utter contempt than to call for any serious consideration. Then come the sixth and seventh resolutions, which make the following statements:—"That, with the exception of two disastrous periods, namely, in 1641, and 1687, the Protestant churches have never been exposed to so fierce a persecution from their enemies, nor so utterly deserted by those who, as ministers of a Protestant King, and the executive officers of a Protestant Government, should be their friends, as they are at the present crisis;" and further, "that for the period of three years, a practical penal code—worse, because more undefined than a penal enactment—has been in operation against the church, the privileges, the lives, and properties of the Protestants of Ireland—abridging their civil and religious liberties, snapping their industry, endangering the security of their possessions, and exposing their persons to persecution and violence." We know what a penal code is; we know how the Irish lost their estates by the effects of a penal code, which subjected them to every description of the severest penalty; we know that as one result of penal codes an Irish Roman Catholic formerly could not keep a good horse without its being subject to be taken from him. by any Protestant who happened to take a fancy to it. We know what a penal code is when it is presented to us in these practical shapes; but as to this undefined and imaginary penal code, I know not what to make of it. It seems to me to resemble nothing so much. as the case of the gentleman, who, in a letter to the "Spectator," gives an account of his having read all the best medical books, and of the sad effect which they had on him; who states, that having read all the accounts of asthma, he became for three weeks decidedly asthmatic; that then having read a good treatise on the gout, he became afflicted with all the symptoms of the gout, except pain. In the same way, Sir, it appears to me that the parties in question have been reading a treatise on the penal code, which, in former times, was inflicted on the Roman Catholics of Ireland, and imagine themselves suffering under all the symptoms except the pain. They have none of the practical sufferings, the practical grievances, which the Roman Catholics formerly had to complain of. And thus, in a country becoming less disturbed by crime, and rapidly improving in condition, did these parties come before the public 225 with their dismal tale of imaginary malady. Nothing can give them consolation—despair is their only joy—evil their only good —tears their only recreation—the loss of exclusive power made them determine, that come what may, they will, for the present, at least, in spite of every recommendation to the contrary, be extremely sad. Their lugubrious complaints remind me of the lines of an illustrious living poet:—Call it madness, call it folly,You shall not chase my grief away;There's such a charm in melancholy,I would not, if I could, be gay.Sir, in some of the resolutions passed at this meeting of melancholy mourners, there are charges made, which, if they proceeded from anything but the malignity of a packed meeting, if they were in the slightest degree founded upon truth, would call for the fullest inquiry on the part of the House. As it is, however, the House will be readily convinced of the justice of my declaration, that there exists not a shadow of foundation for any one of the allegations there made. Following up the utterly unfounded charge against Lord Mulgrave, in reference to the sheriffs, the thirteenth resolution declares, "That the patronage of the Irish Government, and its prerogative of mercy, have been abused in the furtherance of purposes injurious to the peace of the country, the administration of its laws, and the stability of British connexion; that partisans have been placed in office as assistant-barristers, as magistrates, as officers in the constabulary and police, whose recommendation in some instances has been their unscrupulous attachment to a faction; and that appointments made in this spirit have been introductory to the creation of fictitious voters, and have greatly prejudiced, in public opinion, the administration of justice." Sir, I utterly deny this. I deny that the prerogative of mercy has ever been abused. I say that the prerogative of mercy has always been used for the purpose of giving the people of Ireland confidence in the law, and until some proofs are adduced to the contrary, I shall content myself with this general denial. They then made a lamentation about partisans being placed in office, and they protested against giving office to their opponents. Such a charge comes with a very bad grace from these parties. Language so extravagant makes one feel that if Juvenal had lived in these times, instead of the Gracchi complaining of sedition, he would have found a far stronger illustration of his meaning in this monopolising body, com- 226 plaining of the promotion of partisans. It is, indeed, astounding to find such a complaint in the mouths of those who, year after year, and century after century, had considered partisanship as the only ground of qualification for, and promotion to office. It is really more than one could have expected to see or hear; and I cannot but think if the Dublin meeting would have but allowed any one stranger to appear among them, and would have but listened to him while he stated what they had themselves done in respect to partisanship, he must have called a blush into their cheeks, and compelled them to rescind this resolution. They could not by any possibility have gravely asserted that "partisans had been placed in office as assistant-barristers, as magistrates, as officers in the constabulary and police, whose recommendation, in some instances, had been their unscrupulous attachment to a faction, that appointments made in this spirit had been subsidiary to the creation of fictitious voters, and had greatly prejudiced, in public opinion, the administration of justice." But, Sir, this last is a very serious charge against Lord Mulgrave. It is a charge, which, if true, ought to be formally made, it would form ground of impeachment against Lord Mulgrave. If it can be shown that Lord Mulgrave has knowingly appointed to the office of magistrate and assistant-barrister men of such unscrupulous characters, as to be ready to violate their oaths for the purpose of registering votes purposely and designedly fictitious—if it can be shown that my noble Friend has placed individuals in office with the view of promoting such factious and illegal objects, a grave offence has been committed, and a graver charge cannot be preferred against any individual. I deny, however, that there is the slightest ground for such an imputation upon the honour and character of Lord Mulgrave. One charge, brought against an assistant-barrister appointed by Lord Mulgrave, occurs to me, and I know something of that case, from having had a copy of the assistant-barrister's notes submitted to my consideration. An individual claiming a vote swore that his tenement was worth 10l. a-year. The owner swore this himself, and produced another man, who swore that the tenement in question was worth 10l. a-year, and that he had actually offered that sum for it. A gentleman came forward on the other side, and swore that the tenement in question was not worth 10l. a-year. The assistant-barrister asked the gentleman 227 whether he knew the tenement in question. The gentleman replied that he did not. "Did he know the holdings adjoining it?" was the next question put to him. The gentleman acknowledged that he did not, but said that he knew the parish generally, and that there was no tenement in it of that value. The assistant-barrister decided, and, I think, very naturally, in favour of the claim; he set aside this vague evidence against the value of the tenement, which rested on the authority of a gentleman who did not even pretend to know it. The agent of the party against whom the assistant-barrister decided, immediately sent round a circular to the magistrates of the county. They met at a public-house, and there they resolved that they would not ask the assistant-barrister to preside at the next quarter sessions. The ground for this resolution was, that he had believed these men of low condition, these poor men, with tenements not worth more than 10l. or 15l. a-year, and had set aside and neglected the vague assertion of a gentleman moving in a higher rank of society! This is the kind of case, in all probability, on which this grave charge against Lord Mulgrave and his administration rests. The next resolution to which I shall advert, was to this effect—"Resolved, that a humble and dutiful address be presented to his Majesty, praying that these his faithful subjects may not continue to he exposed to the attempts now making to undermine and destroy their religion, that they may be neither depressed nor prosecuted in, nor driven from, that land which they and their ancestors, ever since their first connexion with it, have preserved for his Majesty's royal predecessors, and hitherto for his royal Majesty himself, and this against his foes and theirs." Sir, I repudiate altogether the assumptions advanced by this knot of persons assembled in a room in Dublin. I say that his Majesty may trust to his Parliament. I say he may trust to his Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland—and to his faithful subjects in that country—that their zeal, their affection, and their loyalty, will preserve Ireland for his Majesty and his successors on the throne, even though those Gentlemen, in exclusive meeting assembled, give themselves no further trouble in the matter. There is one thing more in these resolutions to which I shall now come, and it is connected with the state of Ireland as differing from the state of this country and of Scotland. This was the resolution which complains, "That a body, styling itself 228 'The General Association of Ireland,' has for some time held, and now publicly holds its meetings in Dublin, and is actively and seditiously engaged in exciting and organizing the people of this country, for the purpose of resisting the just prerogative of the Crown, for the spoliation of the Established Church, and severing the union between Great Britain and Ireland; and that such proceedings are connived at, and wholly unrestrained, by his Majesty's Government in Ireland." Now, Sir, I must own, that if I were to hear there was a General Association of Scotchmen met in Edinburgh, and that their meetings took place from week, to week, and that they collected sums of money from week to week, and entered into various resolutions from time to time, with respect to the government of that country, I confess that I should hear it with great regret; but I should still ask, what was the cause of that Association? and so I say with respect to Ireland. I very much regret, that in Dublin, as I should, that in Edinburgh, an association should exist of the nature alluded to; but I am obliged to inquire into its causes, and when I ask for those causes, I find, as the forcible phrase of Lord Plunkett expressed it, in speaking of the former Catholic Association, that it is the spawn of your own wrong. Sir, the Government of Ireland has been throughout the whole of its connexion with this country, a painful subject for an English politician to contemplate. The glories of the reign of Elizabeth, the vigorous protectorate of Cromwell, the deliverance of our liberties by William 3rd, are connected with the cruel wars of Elizabeth, the dreadful massacres of Cromwell, with the enactment of penal laws, and the violation of the treaty of Limerick, in the time of King William. Sir, these are painful subjects, but I had hoped that a time was come, when we could look to these things only as matters of history, and when we could say that the spirit which, in other times, had governed English councils, in reference to Ireland, was changed for the benefit of both parties, into a spirit of mutual conciliation, into a spirit of indulgence for each other's religious faith, into a spirit of common determination to defend the rights and liberties of the equal people of this United Kingdom. Sorry am I, Sir, to see that such is not yet the case, and that what Mr. Hume has stated as the spirit animating the English against the Irish in 229 the reign of Elizabeth, is not even yet extinct. Mr. Hume, in speaking of the period in question, says—"The English carried further their ill-judged tyranny. Instead of inviting the Irish to adopt the more civilised customs of their conquerors, they even refused, though earnestly solicited, to communicate to them the privileges of their laws, and everywhere marked them out as aliens, and as enemies." Mr. Hume, with that sound and philosophical spirit which belongs to all he wrote, goes on to say—"Thrown out of the protection of justice, the natives could find no security but in force; and flying the neighbourhood of cities, which they could not approach with safety, they sheltered themselves in their marshes and forests, from the insolence of their inhuman masters. Being treated like wild beasts, they became such, and joining the ardour of revenge to their yet untamed barbarity, they grew every day more intractable, and more dangerous." Centuries elapsed, and I will now give you another instance, taken from a very different period, and which occurred at a time when an ancestor of my own, the Duke of Bedford, was Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. That country had been divided in religion ever since the time of James 2nd.; but about the middle of the last century, it would appear as if the time was come, when those bonds might be relaxed, when religion might cease to be a reason for persecution, and when attachment to a fallen dynasty might be forgotten in the security of the House of Brunswick. Sir, the Duke of Bedford, in 1758, was of opinion, that it might be permitted for Irish Roman Catholic priests to register their names, and then be allowed to perform the rites of their religion, and be placed on a footing, as far as that went, with others of his Majesty's subjects. For that very moderate proposition, and from the knowledge that he wished some other relaxations of this kind to take place, he was thanked by the deputies of the Roman Catholic bodies, and his name was mentioned with honour by the Roman Catholic prelates. But when it came to the council, it was a very different matter. The Duke of Bedford urged, that persecution for religious opinions, only added strength to the persecuted party, that the Crown would be made stronger by some concessions, and the country better enabled to carry on the war then waging with France, by the assistance of the King's Roman Ca- 230 tholic subjects. But the Primate urged, that to consent to any modification, would be repugnant to the British laws. Chief Baron Willis, after repeating the Primate's objection, broadly declared his hostility to it, "because it would prove a toleration of that religion, which it had been the general policy of England and Ireland to persecute and depress." Such was the spirit which prevailed in the council of 1758; such was the spirit which produced —which could not fail to produce—distrust of the rulers, both in England and Ireland; and distrust, if not hatred of the laws which they attempted to enforce. Such was the effect of the severe and persecuting maxims of policy which then prevailed. Well, Sir, at length the time came when even those who had held that it was right to persecute and depress the Roman Catholics, a little relaxed in their policy: but let us inquire, in what way did they proceed; for I want to show the House, not only the effect which has been produced by the policy of Government, when it wished to persecute and depress, but also the effect which has followed, when it appeared that the object was to conciliate. The mode of most of these conciliations was such, as to induce Lord Grenville to say, that it was seldom that justice was conceded to Ireland, without such concession being made in fear. I will pass over other instances, and come to the law which admitted Roman Catholics to the elective franchise in 1793, and the law which admitted them to other privileges in 1829; and I think, from the circumstances attending both these concessions, that you will see, that while the Irish, for a long period, were taught that they were the outcasts, and the outlaws of the British Constitution, they have, in the days of your altered administration been convinced that your concessions have sprang, not from your justice, but from their strength. In 1792, an humble petition from the Roman Catholics was presented to the Irish House of Commons. Was it suffered to he on the table, and to betaken into consideration? By no means; it was scornfully and contemptuously rejected. The very next year, however, when we were in apprehension of a French invasion, and when a French war had actually taken place, it was thought expedient to take some steps towards conciliation, and then the Legislature granted more than that which they had but the 231 year before contumeliously refused. This, consequently, had not even the appearance of saying, "These Roman Catholics are good and loyal subjects;—let us admit them to the privileges they seek;" but it clearly expressed, "We cannot afford to be unjust any longer; we cannot safely keep the Irish people depressed as before, and so we will conciliate them as far as we may find it expedient." And now, Sir, with respect to the concession of 1829, I will read a passage which contains both the sentiments of an eminent person in the other House, and also the declaration made at that time by a Member of this House. In 1828, I find Lord Lyndhurst using the following expressions:—"Out of a number of those published documents, it is sufficient to mention one, wherein the writer, Mr. O'Connell, alluding distinctly to an unqualified, unconditional concession, as the only one worthy of the Irish acceptance, adds—'In our humbler fortunes, and in days happily now gone by, we were on the point of yielding in despair to the principle of securities; and it was the opinion of some of our best friends in and out of Parliament, that we ought to yield it; but a total alteration has since then taken place in the posture of our affairs. To what is this to be attributed? Is it to the tone of moderation we have preserved in our debates and published appeals? Or rather, is not this alteration in our position owing to the threat which has been held out, and the strong language used of late, and which I feel justified in saying, has at length placed us on the vantage ground?' Can they (resumed the Lord Chancellor) more distinctly tell us they feel themselves placed in a situation to extort from the Legislature, by dint of intimidation and threats, that which has so long been withheld? It is true the sword is not drawn openly; but are your Lordships disposed in the face of a power, of this alarming and anomalous nature, to admit the Catholic body, thus marshalled and organised, within the pale of the Constitution?" Such, Sir, was the declaration of this proud and eminent statesman to the House of Lords. He said, "You must not yield to threats; you must not yield to intimidation." Well, the intimidation was made more plain; the threat was made a little louder; and what was then the conduct of those who had said they would not 232 yield to intimidation? Why, that very unqualified, unconditional, submission, which they said the threat of the year before had induced them not to yield. If that Minister had been in the situation of the traveller of the fable, and the wind had not succeeded in taking off his cloak with its first gusts, it would have been found that it had only to increase in its rudeness, and its strength, to deprive him of his cloak; nor would it have been left to the sun to gain the victory, it is fabled to have obtained. Well, Sir, but what is the lesson taught by this fact? What is the lesson which has been taught to the people of Ireland? Are these things without mark? What happened in the course of last year, and the year before? We have heard lately of the formation of the General Association. As long as this Municipal Corporation Bill, which I intend to move to-night, was passing through the House of Commons, the people of Ireland confided in the justice of the Legislature. There was no attempt to intimidate, there were no national associations formed by his Majesty's subjects there. It was after the measure had been lost, it was after their prayers had been rejected, and rejected not only with calm reasoning, but with insult; it was after they had been rejected, I say, with insult, that this Association was formed, and its meetings held. Can we wonder at such things? Can we wonder that that which had been found successful on former occasions was resorted to on this? Your oppression taught them to hate; your concessions to brave you—you exhibited to them how scanty was the stream of your bounty; and how full the tribute of your fear. Such, then, is the creation of your own narrow policy. The Association is before you. And can I suggest a remedy? Would it be, think you, that this Association, composed of several Peers of Parliament; composed of many of the Members of the House of Commons; composed, I have heard, one-fourth, an hon. Gentleman says one-third, of Protestants—would it be that this Association, so composed, should be suppressed? Would that be the remedy? No, Sir, the remedy is to treat Ireland as you treat England, and as you treat Scotland. As you have no association in London, as you have no association in Edinburgh, depend on it that when the fair principle of equality is found to be your rule, the 233 people of Ireland will rely with confidence on the justice of the supreme Legislature, and they will take no other method of redressing their wrongs. While, then, Sir,—while I regret the existence of that Association, I cannot say there has not been a plausible motive for its formation, nor can I say that there is not an easy way for its suppression. It is that easy way which I ask you now to take. I tell you not, I should deceive you if I did, that this Corporation Bill is to be all in all, the panacea, to use an affected word, for the evils of Ireland; many and manifold are those evils, and many and manifold must be the remedies which the Legislature, which the executive, which the magistracy, which persons of property in that country must apply to them; but I tell you this, that if you pass this Bill largely and liberally, it will be taken as an evidence of the spirit in which you are disposed to legislate, and you will have no repugnance to your future legislation. It is a measure of which the principles are known; it would apply a remedy which has been already tried; it would give rights to men whom you have no pretence for distrusting. I think, Sir, it was said of a great character of antiquity, "That which Themistocles has proposed would be very profitable to Athens, but it would be very unjust." Now, I propose to you a measure which will be eminently profitable. It will be profitable in giving to you the hearts and affections of the people of Ireland; it will be profitable to you in promoting the riches and welfare of her towns; it will be profitable to you as tending to produce greater order, a better administration of the law, and a more general confidence in your Government. But, while it has all these advantages of profit, while it has all these motives of expediency, I especially recommend it to the House—I especially recommend it to Parliament—on this ground, that I believe it to be just.
§ Mr. Sergeant Jackson
said, he rose not certainly for the purpose of opposing the motion of the noble Lord, but he felt it to be his duty, as one of the persons who had been particularly alluded to by the noble Lord, to justify the part which he had taken, in common with his brother Protestants in Ireland, on the occasion to which the noble Lord referred. But before he proceeded to that part of the subject which consisted in a justification of that great meeting, he thought it right not to 234 pass by altogether two or three topics which the noble Lord had introduced into his speech. The noble Lord had taken an entirely new ground that night. In the various discussions which the question had undergone, there and elsewhere, he believed it had not occurred to any speaker, in this or the other House of Parliament, to put forward the ground of argument on which the noble Lord insisted that this measure should be adopted by the House. The noble Lord stated, that the withholding of corporate reform was an infraction of the Art of Union, and a breach of Catholic Emancipation. He denied both those positions of the noble Lord; and he thought it could be made plain, that neither the one nor the other could afford the noble Lord the slightest ground of argument. Did the noble Lord mean to say that according to the fundamental principle of the Act of Union there was to be no difference between the two countries in point of law? Had the noble Lord referred to that Act? Had he read the 8th article, and did he not there find a special provision that the laws of Ireland should continue in all respects where they differed from those of England, till Parliament should otherwise decide? Had there not actually been a marked difference between the laws of the two countries? He would take one example; he might adduce many. Let the noble Lord remember the white boy code, which was not repealed till the 1st or 2nd of the reign of his present Majesty. Could it be said to be an infraction of the Act of Union, that there should be a difference between the laws and institutions of the two countries? As little ground was there for the argument on the Catholic Relief Bill. Would the noble Lord put his finger on a single clause in that Act which made it obligatory on the legislature to extend to Ireland the same institutions as were established for England? The noble Lord could not. But perhaps the noble Lord would say it was the spirit of the Emancipation Act, and not the letter of it that was violated. Now with the greatest respect he (Mr. Sergeant Jackson) conceived that the spirit of that measure led directly to the opposite inference. What was the principle of that measure? That all his Majesty's subjects in Ireland should be put on the same footing with respect to civil privileges, whether Protestant or Catholic. What was the noble Lord now about to do? It was the charge against 235 the municipalities of Ireland, that they were as at present constituted exclusively in the hands of the Protestants. The noble Lord now called on the House not to destroy monopolies (which was the effect of the measure as passed last Session by the other House), but to transfer the monopoly from the hands of the Protestants to the Catholics. He submitted, therefore, that the noble Lord could find no solid ground of argument in one or the other of the positions which he had laid down. He would notice, before he proceeded to vindicate the great Protestant meeting of Dublin, one or two more of the topics which the noble Lord had introduced. The noble Lord had dwelt upon the earnest desire of his Excellency Lord Mulgrave to administer impartial justice in Ireland; and he mentioned a variety of "innovations," as he called them, which had been introduced into the administration of the laws in that country. He adverted particularly to the fact that there had been three successive Attorney-Generals for Ire-land since Lord Mulgrave's accession to power, and that not one of them would have remained in office under a Tory government. He did not like to enter into personal observations, but this he would say, that there did not exist in the profession men more eminent or more deserving of every possible respect than his learned Friends Mr. Blackburne and Mr. E. Pennefather.
§ Lord John Russell
explained. He did not mean to say but that those Gentlemen were eminent and respectable. He had merely used the argument that there ought to be unity in an administration—that it ought to be animated by the same views of policy.
§ Mr. Sergeant Jackson
had not at all misapprehended the argument of the noble Lord. He did not suppose—indeed it was impossible that the noble Lord could have meant to say anything disparaging to either of the learned Gentlemen. But what did the noble Lord mean by saying that neither of the three successive Attorney-Generals for Ireland, who had come into office under Lord Mulgrave, would have continued in office under a Tory government? Did the noble Lord think that either Mr. Blackburne or Mr. Pennefather would remain one moment in office under such a government as that of Lord Mulgrave? It was impossible that men animated by their feelings could re- 236 main for one single hour in the service of a government so degraded and disgraced. He would now notice some of the "innovations" in the administration of the law in Ireland, for which the noble Lord took credit to the Government, and he could assure the noble Lord that he would not shrink from the condemnation of any of them. First the noble Lord had alluded to the "innovation" introduced by Baron O'Loghlen, when Attorney-General, in regard to the challenging of jurors by the Crown; the noble Lord panegyrised it. He could tell the noble Lord, that this "innovation" had already produced consequences the most disastrous. He would tell the noble Lord the practical fruits of this innovation, and leave it to the sound sense and judgement of the House to say whether it was an improvement. A privilege or power had long been exercised by the Crown, of challenging, or as it was technically called, "putting by" jurors, without assigning any reason. This privilege the late Attorney-General had magnanimously foregone. Men might be unfit to be put upon juries, against whom, probably, no strictly legal objection could be sustained. Now, he (Mr. Sergeant Jackson) held it to be a gross calumny on any Attorney-General, or any persons connected with the administration of law in Ireland, to say that they had been influenced in putting by jurors merely by difference of religious persuasion. He utterly denied it. Neither could he believe that it had been the practice at any period in Ireland to set a side jurors on account of their political opinions. But he would mention one case to the noble Lord for there was nothing like fact; and let England hear this case, and see the frightful state of things to which Ireland was now brought. It was the case of a Protestant family named Carter, resident in the Queen's County; they were tenants of Lord Maryborough, and, at the time to which he referred, were in possession of a piece of land for which they paid rent and to which they were justly entitled. They proceeded to fence it in. An attack was made upon them; one of these poor men was so severely beaten, that he lost his senses and, he believed, was at present the inmate of a lunatic asylum; and the elder Carter was beaten to death. The parties were indicted for the murder (which was perpetrated at noon-day); they were arrested and put upon their 237 trial. A person who had assisted the prisoners in challenging the jurors, was put on the jury. There was no verdict. Another assizes came round—the parties were again put on their trial. Who was placed in the jury-box?—Strict orders had been issued that the Crown should, in no case, exercise its privilege of challenging. Who was sworn upon the jury?—why, a convict—a man who had been tried, convicted and punished for an atrocious offence. Could any man expect a verdict of guilty? The foreman said that the jury did not agree—the majority were for the conviction (though the majority were Roman Catholics)—the prisoners were discharged, and went in triumph through the town; the judge took the jury to the bounds of the country, and said—"Gentlemen, I am sorry that neither life nor property can be enjoyed in safety." A third time did the case come on; another abortive trial—and at length the prisoners were liberated—some on bail, others on nominal recognizances; justice was completely baffled, his Majesty's subjects unprotected, the laws of the land not vindicated, and one of the prisoners, liberated by the order of Government, afterwards engaged in levelling the fences of the family of this poor man Carter. Here let the noble Lord see the consequences of his innovation. Was not this a terrible, a frightful case? and was such a state of things to be allowed to continue? He could give the noble Lord many other cases of the same kind on different circuits, but would not now trouble the House with them. But let the noble Lord indulge him with a Committee, which he invited the noble Lord to do and he would pledge himself on the part of his Friends and himself not to "shrink," as the noble Lord called it, from the proof. The noble Lord told the House of the wonders, forsooth, wrought by Lord Mulgrave; the Government of that noble Earl had put a total end to feuds—it had established perfect peace and tranquillity in Ireland, a miracle had been wrought, and all this had been done by sending down persons to the different quarter sessions to represent his Majesty's Attorney-General, and to prosecute men guilty of beating one another to death. The noble Lord was mistaken if he supposed the feuds to arise from difference of religious feeling. No such thing. Roman Catholics fought with Roman Catholics, and beat one another's brains out. And he knew 238 not what the noble Lord meant by saying that the policy of those in power in bygone days had been, with reference to the feuds, to act on the maxim divide et impera. The noble Lord had edified the House by reading catalogues of crimes from the judges' calendars for different years. But the most frightful chapter in several of the county calendars of crime, throughout the whole of Ireland, was the chapter including the faction feuds and savage fights resulting from that source, and most of the cases of outrage to which the noble Lord had especially referred were now disposed of at quarter sessions, and not at the assizes, and therefore the argument deduced from the state of the calendars, as pronounced upon by the judges, was destitute of force. Let not the noble Lord suppose that this wonderful change in the state of Ireland was brought about, as he imagined, through the exclusive efforts of a wonder working Lord Lieutenant. Every one knew the influence which was exerted in the sister country by the Roman Catholic hierarchy and priest-hood. Individual laymen could also say a good deal and do a good deal, and exercise a paramount influence over the minds of the people. It was quite enough that it should have been devised, for certain purposes, to produce a temporary calm; the calm would be produced Oh! it was a beautiful argument—it was quite unanswerable. "Look at the calendar!" such was its burden; "Observe how crime has decreased in Ireland. Think what a crime it would be to disturb this invaluable administration." But he would ask the House if they did not believe that the same influences which thus checked, could, at the proper season, let loose the spirit of lawless outrage? Had there not been instances in abundance of the exercise of this power? Had they not heard threats issued that, if certain events did not take place, Ireland, from one end to the other, would be convulsed, and plunged perhaps, in a bloody rebellion? The noble Lord appeared to rejoice exceedingly at the suppression of the Orange society. He was astonished to hear the terms in which the noble Lord had spoken upon that subject. The topic was one at which he should not have even glanced. For what were the facts? If there was one subject which more than another tended to aggravate the conduct of his Majesty's Government in Ireland in relation to the Protestant 239 population of that country, it was that part of their conduct which had reference to the Orange institution. The noble Lord had said that the conduct of the leaders of the Orange society had covered them with honour. This was a sentiment from which no one could dissent. Their conduct had been honourable in the extreme and most useful and beneficial to their country, and the least that they could have expected from the Government—the complaint against them being, not that they were illegal, but that they hampered the Government, and that it was inexpedient that they should exist—the least they could expect from the Government was even-handed justice—that that seditious body, the National Association, that imperium in imperio, should not be suffered to meet publicly, almost immediately after the voluntary dissociation of the Orange body, upon the simple intimation that it was the desire of the Sovereign. Under the very eye of his Majesty's Government in Dublin, that new Roman Catholic Association, he would call it—it was not, to be sure, an exclusively Roman Catholic Association, for there were some Protestants in it, and more shame for them; it was virtually the former Catholic Association resuscitated. Was not the chair of the old Association brought in by the learned Gentleman opposite in triumph? Were not the books and papers which had belonged to the old body brought into the room in which the meetings of the new were held? He distinctly recollected that a resolution had been passed for bringing them in. But would the hon. and learned Gentleman have the hardihood to deny that the chair had been brought in by him to the new Association, and that it remained there to the present moment? He again would say, that looking at the Gentlemen who were taking the most active part in the proceedings of the General Association—looking at their professions, their expressed opinions, and their acts, it was virtually the old Roman Catholic Association. The mere name was nothing. The same body, similarly organised, and having similar purposes, had shifted its name repeatedly. At one period it was a Registry Association; at another it was an Association of Volunteers; but the body of men of whom all those Associations consisted, the tendency of their acts, and the objects which they really proposed to themselves to accom- 240 plish, were all identically the same, and these were essentially Roman Catholic. Could it be denied that the operations of this Roman Catholic Association were calculated at least as much to interrupt good government and social order as had been the operation of the Orange society? Politicians, as well as private individuals, were disposed to look with a jaundiced eye upon the proceedings of others, and with special favour upon their own. They could bring themselves to see with exactitude what injuries the proceedings of others inflicted on themselves, but they could not see with an equal degree of clearness what they did to injure others. What, he would ask, was the nature and tendency of this Association's proceedings? For his part, he did not hesitate, as a lawyer, to pronounce it illegal; and there were many other lawyers of his acquaintance who entertained a similar opinion. Some were strongly disposed to believe that it came within the scope of the Act of 1793, when the old Catholic Association was put down. In the opinion of many distinguished men, that Act was merely an affirmance of the common law, which was hostile to every Association of the description. Mr. Wolfe, an eminent lawyer (afterwards Lord Kilwarden) Sir Michael Smith, another eminent lawyer (afterwards Master of the Rolls), and Mr. Chamberlayne, upon whose opinion an equal value was set by his cotemporaries, all of whom were in Parliament at the time, expressed this opinion. But whether or not the Association came within the law as it stood, he considered that it was the duty of his Majesty's Government to bring in an Act to suppress a nuisance of this description. If they were to judge of it by its acts, they could consider it in no other light than that of a standing and permanent conspiracy, leagued in open hostility to the laws of the land, as well as to the lights of his Majesty's Government, more especially the clergy of Ireland. This was a proposition which he (Mr. Jackson) could, without difficulty, demonstrate. The Association met from day to day, discussed political affairs, prescribed measures, and was in the constant habit of overhauling the Government itself; dictated the appointment of such and such persons; attacked the Chancellor, and, without hesitation, arraigned that high functionary at their bar, because he was not sufficiently accommodating to appoint this 241 magistrate or the other. What more did the Association do? It had the audacity to levy from his Majesty's subjects contributions, which, by their extent, absolutely amounted to taxation. But they were assured that these contributions were all perfectly voluntary. They all knew what voluntary political payments meant in Ireland. And when a levy was resorted to, and its payment recommended to a particular individual, they all knew to what inconvenient results a refusal would lead They were not quite aware of the precise quantum of volition which accompanied those contributions. What were the objects proposed by the Association—what the destination of the contribution? First, a Municipal Corporation Bill for Ireland, such as they prescribe—secondly, a Bill, not with an appropriation clause—not for lopping off those redundancies in the establishment which were alleged to be unnecessary for its legitimate purposes—but a Bill for the total abolition of tithes. The learned Gentleman who had launched this Association into existence on the 4th July last—the father of the Association— the learned Gentleman who might rather be described as the grandfather than as the father of that Association, for he had enrolled his grandchildren among its members—that learned Gentleman had told them in plain terms that he never would remain content so long as the slightest inequality existed between the members of the established and of the other religious persuasions in Ireland. "Ought Ireland," proceeded in substance the learned Gentleman, the Member for Kilkenny, "ought Ireland to remain tranquil whilst tithes continue to be paid? It ought not to do so; and it never shall, while any individual in the shape of a clergyman receives anything from any person who differs from him in religious persuasion—until, in a word, a perfectly voluntary system shall have been established. Until this glorious system is consummated, I never will be tranquil—I never will cease to agitate." What more? They must have an organic change introduced into the constitution of the House of Lords. They must have Parliaments shortened in their duration, and they cannot bring themselves to rest contented without the concession of vote by ballot. And yet, "Oh (said the noble Lord) pass this Corporation Bill, and it will bring peace and tranquillity to Ireland." He (Mr. Sergeant Jackson) 242 wished the noble Lord had given a distinct answer to the question which in a former evening had been put with regard to this Association, by a learned Gentleman on that side of the House (Mr. Sergeant Goulburn). The noble Lord had taken time for preparation of his answer, and it now appeared that he was not altogether disposed to differ from the sentiment to which another noble Lord had given utterance in another place; nor was be altogether disposed to assent to it. To assent to it wholly might not be convenient. The majority by which the noble Lord was sustained in that House might be somewhat endangered if the noble Lord were to express his perfect concurrence. The noble Lord approached the expression of that distinguished Peer with gingerly caution, and took it up as they take up the Bible in Ireland—with the tongs. The noble Lord said, "if such an Association existed in Edinburgh," he "should regret it," he "should feel concern" about it. Why that was just the language of the Premier in the House of Lords with regard to the Association as actually existing in Ireland. That noble Peer had lately said, "it was with great regret and concern that he saw the existence of this Association, and he decidedly did not think there was sufficient ground for its establishment." The noble Lord had favoured the House with a reading from Hume's "History of England," he had passed from the reign of Queen Elizabeth to the viceregal career of the Duke of Bedford, who was an Irish Lord-Lieutenant during the last century. And the noble Lord had then gone on to say, that the formation of this Association in Dublin was a very different thing from the establishment of one of a similar kind in Edinburgh. Granting, for a moment, that all these things afforded a sufficient vindication of the Association existing in Dublin, how would they serve to defend the encouragement, the absolute fostering protection, which had been extended by the Irish Government to this Association? Of this he would presently exhibit abundant proof. Was the noble Lord serious when he spoke in palliation of this body's original formation? Did he really conceive that by-gone events had afforded the slightest grounds for this revival of the Catholic Association? For his part he could not see how any reasoning man 'could come to such a conclusion. Were 243 they not told, upon the concession of Catholic Emancipation in 1829, that there was at once and for ever an end to agitation? Were they not told by the Roman Catholic prelates that they had formed the determination to retire without reservation from the arena of politics? Were they not, moreover, told by the hon. Gentleman himself, that he would withdraw himself from political discussion, and fall back upon the character of a sober special pleader, or of a laborious equity draughter? How, he would ask, had those promises been fulfilled? Was not every Roman Catholic Bishop in Ireland enrolled at the present moment as a member of the Association, and had not the hon. and learned Gentleman (the Member for Kilkenny) but just concluded a career of agitation, which even in his agitating life was unparalleled? He had stated the objects for which a large portion of the Roman Catholic population of Ireland had been laid under contribution. The first of these was the total abolition of tithes. They must be done away with entirely, such was the avowed object of the Association. How did they set about this work? Why, a portion of the funds of the Association had been applied to the purpose of enabling persons litigiously disposed to resist the claims preferred of necessity by the Irish clergy in the courts of law for the establishment of their violated rights. Of those persons who withheld payment of their tithes some held out under process of contempt, until by the operation of Sir Edward Sugden's act they were taken into custody and brought up to Dublin, and there defended at the expense of the funds so set apart, or prompted to come forward in court, and there assert that they were not rich enough to defend themselves. A case occurred to his recollection which would satisfactorily illustrate the system. It was the case of an individual named Curboy, who made this statement of poverty to the court, and had the matter referred So the Chief Remembrancer for investigation. He was accordingly examined by Mr. Acheson Lyle, the second remembrancer, who entered fully into the circumstances of the case. From this investigation it resulted that the man had been regaled during his residence in prison with beef and mutton, in a mode which afforded him the utmost gratification; and, after all, the fact transpired of the 244 man's perfect ability to pay. There was a Gentleman named Terence Dolan, an attorney, and a member of the Association, who had engaged to put in answers to all the bills preferred against tithe recusants. This he had absolutely done in many cases without the knowledge of the defending parties. There was one such case which had come under his immediate observation. An individual was proceeded against for an arrear of tithes claimed by the dean and chapter of St. Finbar's church, in Cork. The matter was brought into the Court of Exchequer. The defendant did not personally appear, but came in with a motion through his attorney, Mr. Coppinger. An appearance, however, had been previously entered by Mr. Dolan, a circumstance of which he had obtained previous knowledge; he, therefore, insisted that the defendant did not possess a right to make any motion through Mr. Coppinger. That gentleman, who was acting from the beginning for the defendant, was quite astounded by this announcement; and the fact was elicited that Mr. Dolan had acted without in the slightest degree obtaining the sanction of the party. The evident object of the practice which was at present pursued was to disable the clergy, to break down their efforts to collect the tithe, by making the proceedings in the Court of Exchequer so onerous to them, that they must be compelled to retire from the field, in which they struggled for their just rights. The system pursued was to enter an appearance, or to put in an answer in each case, which was a mere echo of the bill. A case had occurred within his own knowledge, in which a clergyman could not take out a copy of one of these answers without incurring an expense of nearly 70l. To sustain this mischievously litigious system, it would be necessary for each injured clergyman to expend a large fortune. Such was the system which the lawyers of the Association had put in practice, and for the maintenance of which funds were supplied by this Roman Catholic Association. He said, therefore, that looking at the Association, and judging of it by its acts, it did appear to him to be perfectly illegal, and he thought no lawyer could otherwise decide, when it was manifest it promoted and fostered a conspiracy to deprive another of his just rights. If there were no other test by which to judge of the Association, this 245 alone was sufficient to prove that it was illegal; it was a standing, permanent conspiracy against the law of the land and the rights of the subject. Then what had they done more in that Association? There was an organisation throughout the country. The hon. and learned Member proposed the appointment of "pacificators." The hon. and learned Gentleman had them under the old system; under the old regime they were designated churchwardens, and they had certain functions to perform for the Catholic Association. Those persons were not churchwardens, such as they in that House might understand them to be, persons who had anything to do with churches or chapels: no; but they were to attend to the divers secular objects for which the prime mover appointed them. Now, however, instead of churchwardens, they were, forsooth, designated "pacificators." Now, let him remark, if there were that profound peace in Ireland, if there were so much of that boasted tranquillity, what use was there for "pacificators?" Now, what was the use of these pacificators? They were told it was to bring forward every man who could do so to register. Another thing they had to do was to raise a rent for the Association. And he could now tell some of the fruits of their exertions at registration. He had received a letter since he came to that House (and there was also a Member of Parliament to speak to the facts) as to what was the manner of effecting the registration of voters by these pacificators. He appealed to the hon. Member for Cavan, who could tell them what was the condition of his county. There were now armed parlies going through the country, visiting houses, and examining the leases, to see whether those who held them could register—these persons fired shots, and threatened destruction to those who did not go forward and register. He had other letters describing the same facts, but he felt he should be trespassing to an unwarrantable length upon the House, if he were then to read those documents. But this he told the noble Lord, that if he would only favour him with a Committee of inquiry, he should undertake, in conjunction with his hon. and noble Friends who took part in the meeting referred to, to prove every one of the allegations which were then put forward. But then the noble Lord, forsooth, taunted them by saying, that 246 here they had let a whole week pass over, and they had not yet dared to bring forward one of the charges they had made elsewhere. Why, they were not in so great a hurry as the noble Lord was in bringing forward his Corporation Bill. He could tell the noble Lord it was not because they were afraid—it was not because they were shrinking—it was not because they had the slightest doubt of the accuracy of the charges they had made. He could tell the noble Lord, that there would be laid on the table of that House a petition as respectably and as numerously signed as any petition that had ever been presented to them. There would, too, be laid on the table of the other House a petition as numerously and as respectably signed as any petition ever yet presented to that House; and both these petitions would be found to complain distinctly of his Majesty's Government in Ireland, and they would also be prepared to prove every allegation that they made. The noble Lord knew pretty well the difficulty of getting up petitions respectably signed. This could not be done immediately when petitions were agreed to in Dublin, and signatures were to come from different parts. These signatures would to a very great number be affixed to these petitions. They would have them in a short period of time, and perhaps a little sooner than the noble Lord would be glad to see them. With respect to the Catholic Association, he considered that upon that subject the noble Lord had come to a very "lame and impotent conclusion." It was not in a negative way that his Majesty's Ministers were to be chargeable as encouraging it. He charged them in the most positive manner, he asserted distinctly, in giving to that Association their approbation and support. This appeared by the transferring of an hon. and learned Gentleman to the table of the Viceroy. It appeared to be a matter of course. At the same time the hon. Gentlemen opposite need not cheer—he would undertake to say, that if any noble Lord or hon. Gentleman in office at a former period had invited from an Orange lodge persons to dine, a general outcry would have been raised against them. He would now come to a much more grave matter. He asked the noble Lord opposite was it not the fact, that a learned friend of his, who was a member of the National Association, had, within a few days, received a high legal appointment? The individual 247 to whom he alluded was one he knew well, and of whom he could not personally permit himself for a moment to speak in terms which might be interpreted as derogatory. That individual was a Roman Catholic barrister, eminent in his legal, and highly respected in his private, character—sincere too, he firmly believed, as he was firm in the profession of his religious opinions. The individual to whom he alluded was Mr. Pigott, and Mr. Pigott was a member of the National Association. Would the noble Lord opposite allow him to ask whether or not Mr. Pigott had recently been appointed to the office of legal adviser to the Executive in the Castle of Dublin?
§ Viscount Morpeth
I will give the hon. and learned Sergeant's question an immediate answer. I do not know whether the appointment has yet actually taken place; but it is certainly intended.
§ Mr. Sergeant Jackson
would not hesitate to say, that though he respected the individual in his private character, though he was a gentleman of high station in his profession, he would say, with the very greatest respect towards that individual, that it was utterly unbecoming—he was going to say indecent—but it was an improper, a most improper, proceeding on the part of his Majesty's Government in Ireland to appoint a member of the Roman Catholic Association to an office of this sort. He begged pardon of the House for trespassing on their attention. He would ask what was the nature of this situation to which Mr. Pigott had been appointed? Was it not perfectly well known that it was the most important office connected with the Irish executive government? It was one of the most important offices connected with the administration of the law, and with the peace of the country. It was the department through which the entire correspondence with the magistracy of Ireland passed. It was through the law adviser's office that every question passed that arose in Ireland. He was the individual whose opinion was taken upon the communications of the magistracy of the country, of the constabulary, and the police, as to the various difficulties that might arise in the execution of their duties. If a collision took place in the assertion of a tithe claim—if a call were made for the intervention of the constabulary—if a call were made for the military, he was the person to be consulted as to the pro- 248 priety of the interference of either the police or the military. Yes, they must consult this very individual, and he would ask the noble Lord, particularly when he recollected that there should be a perfect coincidence of opinion between Lord Mulgrave and Lord Morpeth, and the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General, and lastly, the law adviser of the Crown —there should be a perfect coincidence of opinion—did the noble Lord think that Lord Mulgrave was of opinion that it was right and proper to obstruct the King's subjects, even though they were Protestant clergymen, in the recovery of their rights? Did the noble Lord think that Lord Mulgrave was of opinion that it was right and proper to establish a fund for the purpose of rendering litigation vexatious and intolerable to those who maintained their legal claims? Did the noble Lord himself concur in this opinion? He thought he had a right to say that these were the opinions of the learned gentleman who would be found to be the law adviser of the Government in all these cases. That gentleman had subscribed to the fund that went to the relief of Reilly, who was imprisoned for resisting the claims of the clergy. Yes, that learned gentleman had subscribed to the fund which was raised to support expensive proceedings in the courts of law against the just claims of the Protestant clergy; and he would ask was it decent that this person should be selected from the Roman Catholic Association? was it, he would repeat, commonly decent that such a man should be selected? Did the noble Lord think that the Protestants of Ireland were fools, or that they could imagine that they would have justice administered? Did he think they would imagine or expect justice when the very partisan who had combined to resist the legal claims of the church was de facto the most responsible minister of the Crown? And now how was he appointed? Many persons would recollect, when an attack was made on the learned gentleman (Mr. Pigott), the late Member for Dublin coming to the Association primed and loaded with the vindication of the learned gentleman's character, whom he pronounced to be the most useful, laborious, and efficient member of the Association—he was the very person that enabled the Association to carry on successfully their system of warfare against the just rights of the clergy, 249 The Government had selected for this place this very useful character—this very busy and useful Member of the Association. But was the vacancy caused by the ordinary course of proceedings? Did not the Government go out of the ordinary course for the very purpose of appointing this very Gentleman? Let not the noble Lord suppose that he was a candidate for the office. The world and its contents would not bribe him to take part in the administration of the affairs of Ireland under the present Government. He assured the House he had not the least desire that way. But there was a first sergeant—he was only the second—there was the first sergeant, a gentleman who had never been embroiled in politics, who was of the utmost eminence—he meant Mr. Richard Wilson Greene. There was not a better lawyer, or a man of more unexceptionable character—he had kept aloof from politics and had never been in Parliament. This man was passed over. There was then the third sergeant, on whom that rank had been bestowed by the present Government—he meant Mr. Sergeant Ball. He was naturally the person who might expect promotion, and if Mr. Greene were passed over, Mr. Ball, who was appointed sergeant by the present Government, was naturally the person who should be called to fill the office of Solicitor-General. Than Mr. Ball no man was more eminent in his profession; he was of the first rank, and of most unexceptionable character. He had never heard an allegation against him. He was likewise a Roman Catholic, so that there could be no objection to him on that ground. He would say solemnly and sincerely, "God forbid that a Roman Catholic who was fit for the office, and who was of a respectable character, should not be appointed to the office just as soon as a Protestant." But he would again ask what was the ordinary course of promotion? He referred the question to the Solicitor-General; but the fact here was that Mr. Ball was passed over, and Mr. Maziere Brady, a gentleman, he would undertake to say, who had never addressed a jury as a leading counsel, was made Solicitor-General. And why was Mr. Brady passed over the heads of all the bar? It was to make this vacancy for this member of the Roman Catholic Association. Was this all? Did the appointment stop here? He would again ask the noble Lord had he not caused the com- 250 mission of the peace to be issued to members, and prominent members of the Association? They were told last Session what he supposed was now forgotten, that nothing of influence, no political views, should interfere with any appointment; that everything should be perfectly impartial. The impartiality, he was sorry to say, was all on one side; it was a sort of Irish impartiality. No Orangeman was to be appointed; there was a special clause disqualifying any person belonging to an Orange society. Was it no objection to a man that he belonged to this illegal Association? It appeared not, for they had magistrates appointed from the Association. A gentleman of the name of Cassidy had been appointed, and this against the remonstrance of the noble Lord who was the Lord-Lieutenant of the county in which the appointment was made. And why was this? Mr. Cassidy was a leading agitator. Mr. Cassidy had resisted the payment of his dues to the clergy; he had been absolutely convicted of resisting the officers who went to levy those dues. The Lord-Lieutenant of the Queen's County was aware of these facts. A more amiable and excellent man never adorned society than Lord de Vesey—there was not a more honourable, enlightened, and liberal man. Lord de Vesey was called upon to make this appointment; he was applied to by the liberal club of the county, forsooth, but he refused to make the appointment. From other and higher quarters more pressing influence was used to procure the appointment, but the Lord-Lieutenant still declined to recommend Mr. Cassidy; he stated distinctly his reasons for so doing—namely, that he did not consider him a fit and proper person to be appointed; that he was likely to disturb the peace of the country; and that he had been convicted of resistance to the claims of the clergy. He (Mr. Jackson) would ask if this were a man to be put on the bench to administer justice in cases of this description? Yet the opportunity was seized the moment the Lord-Lieutenant left for some temporary object; that moment was seized by the Irish executive, and this man was appointed to the magistracy. He would now ask whether the noble Lord thought that he would be able to support his Bill of indictment against the Government? He would undertake to show, as distinctly as any case was ever proved, the abuse of the patronage and prerogative of the Crown. 251 But what had been the conduct of Mr. Cassidy? In triumph he went to the Roman Catholic Association; this man, who had resisted the payment of his dues—who had attended tithe meetings—who had been convicted of resisting the just claims of the clergy—he went to the Association, put his hand in his pocket, drew forth the whole of his arrears of tithe, and presented them eo nomine to the Association. He would ask the gentlemen of England was this fair?—was it just?—was it impartiality?—was it even-handed justice to Ireland? Justice to Ireland! it was a mere outcry, to swell the power of one individual. Oh! that they could enforce justice to Ireland! They called for the reformation of corporations. He wished they could reform one corporation that existed in Ireland—he meant the Roman Catholic hierarchy. It was not a municipal corporation, but it was to all intents and purposes a perpetual succession, independent, and under self-control, and it would never rest—they would find that it would never rest satisfied—till it had pulled down the English church in Ireland, building their own on its ruins, and abolishing the church altogether on that side of the channel. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. C. Buller)might laugh, but he could tell the House that persons connected with that body entertained notions that the Roman Catholic religion would be the established religion in this country as well as in Ireland. This opinion had been preached by the head of a Jesuit College in Ireland—namely, that ere many years had elapsed the Roman Catholic religion would be established in England. Any man who looked into history would see that it had been the policy, the aim, and the object of that body, from time immemorial, to set up their own church, and to pull down other churches. But he begged leave to ask, did the matter stop there? Was it only the magistrates of the rural districts that were assailed? He would ask, had not a gentleman of the name of Tighe been appointed to the place of assistant barrister? Would the noble Lord do him the favour to answer this question?
§ Viscount Morpeth
No such place has become vacant since I left Ireland, and consequently no such appointment can have taken place.
§ Mr. Sergeant Jackson
would not make a further observation, on this case, Being 252 on this side of the water, he could only avail himself of the same means of communication which were open to the noble Lord; he had no other mode than letters and newspapers; these were the only sources of his information, and from those he learned that Mr. French had retired, and Mr. Tighe had been appointed. He now begged leave to come to another and more important matter. The noble Lord (Lord John Russell) said that a miserable monopolising minority made all these false charges against the Government. They had charged his Majesty's Government with an abuse of the privilege of mercy. He pledged himself to establish the charge. He would not say that he would establish it to the satisfaction of the noble Lord; but he would establish it to the satisfaction of every man there, except his Majesty's Ministers, who were parties interested in the issue. In the first place he begged leave to observe, as a preliminary, that no one thing did Ireland require more at this time, and indeed as long as he remembered, than obedience to the law of the land, and respect for those who administered it. There had been a custom as regarded the judges in Ireland, an old and established usage, which, if departed from, would render the administration of the law uncertain, would take away all confidence, and place in jeopardy the lives, liberties, and properties of the loyal and peaceful subjects of the Crown. First of all, then, he would ask how were the judges of the country treated? He had heard them in that House assailed in a most indecorous, he was going to say indecent, manner. He had heard them arraigned —men of the utmost eminence, and who were entitled to rank with the judges of any law or of any country—he had heard them arraigned because they had done their duty, by giving effect to the process of the courts. They had been called political partisans, and these charges were made by officers of the Crown; and he had heard, and he had seen with astonishment, the Ministers of the Crown seated and hearing patiently, without one of them getting up to vindicate the judges of the land, and to shield them from attack in their absence. Some of them even went so far as to join in the attack. He would ask, could those who heard and read such addresses entertain a proper respect for the administrators of the law, or for the law if self? He would give one or 253 two out of a great number of instances, with all of which it would not be necessary to trouble the House. One of them was the case of a riot of a very formidable description, in which Roman Catholics and Protestants were both engaged, the Roman Catholic party being the aggressors. He did not say of "course." He was stating the facts of the case, and he would prove the facts as he stated them. He had the highest authority for them, and he pledged himself to prove them. The Roman Catholics were the aggressors; an indictment was preferred, and a cross indictment, so that both parties were indicted; they were indicted for riot, for an aggravated assault, and for a common assault. The case went to the jury, and they convicted the Roman Catholics of riot and aggravated assault, and convicted the Protestants of a common assault, and that, too, of a very mitigated nature. The judge, who was the Chief Baron, sentenced the Protestants to three months' imprisonment, and the Roman Catholics to six months' imprisonment. It had been an established rule that in all cases the opinions of the judges should be asked before the executive exercised the prerogative of mercy. There was an established form, which would be found lithographed in the Chief Secretary's office. Was any inquiry made in this case of the Chief Baron? or was he asked to report the nature of the evidence on which they were convicted, or the relative guilt of the parties? No such thing. He thought that an English House of Commons would be astonished when he told them that the first intimation that the learned and eminent Judge had of the sentence being dispensed with, was from the publication of a newspaper. He then saw a letter written by the lady of Lord Mulgrave to the wife of one of the party, stating that "she had conferred with Lord Mulgrave, and that he was of opinion that as the guilt was the same, so ought the punishment to be;" and his Lordship had, therefore, directed that when the Protestants were discharged, the Roman Catholics should be discharged at the same time. Did the noble Lord opposite mean to contradict this statement? Would any Gentleman competent to contradict it do so? Would any Member of the Government say that this was not the fact? If any one did he would join issue, and tell him that he could prove the fact. [Lord Morpeth: 254 It occurred last year.] Last year? What did the noble Lord mean by saying it occurred last year? Was it according to the noble Lord's rule of reasoning that a thing wrong in itself became right because it was done last year? He had another instance which came from another tribunal. It was a matter that took place at an election for Newry, where an elector was kidnapped, and prevented from exercising the elective franchise. He was made drunk, and before he could recover his senses he was conveyed ten miles out of town; he was detained for a week, being conveyed from one barn to another, having a sentry of five men over him by day and three by night. His wife and family were distracted, they looked for him every where, an indictment was preferred against some of the kidnapping party for assault and false imprisonment, the most satisfactory conviction took place, there was not even an attempt to deny the facts, they were admitted by the party, and the Court of Quarter Sessions passed sentence of eight months' imprisonment. What was done then? Was the learned barrister called upon to report the facts of the case? He never heard a word on the subject until he found that the prisoners had been discharged. He could multiply similar instances as long as he pleased, but he would then proceed to another class of cases the most monstrous that he had ever heard in the course of his life. Lord Mulgrave, as was well known, set out on a tour; what the object was he did not know—probably popularity. He knocked open all the prison doors; he went to a great number of the counties of Ireland, and discharged the prisoners according to the extent of the county or the number of the inhabitants. He did this without any references to the judges, and without asking in a single instance what were the circumstances of the case. No; without any such ceremony he opened the prison doors, and discharged their contents on the community. In Sligo he discharged twenty-five prisoners, and in Cavan he discharged fourteen. Amongst these some had been convicted of firing at the revenue officer; this was a trifling thing in Ireland—in these particularly peaceful times it was a mere trifle. There was amongst these also the case of a man of the name of Jones, who had been convicted of an assault with intent to commit violence; he, too, was dis- 255 charged with the rest. He could assure the House that these persons were discharged without the formality of asking the judges whether they were fit and proper objects of mercy. In the county of Donegal ten were discharged; but this was done by the order of the Lord-Lieutenant, as conveyed in a letter from his private secretary. This letter was addressed to the governor of the gaol. [Viscount Morpeth: I believe that is not the case.] He could assure the noble Lord that if he inquired into it he would find it was the case—he would find the letter signed "C. Yorke," and dated "28th August, 1836," amongst the papers in his office. He would ask the noble Lord was this a proper way to administer the justice of the country? Was this the way to ensure the confidence of the country in the administration of the law? Did the noble Lord consider that, in every case of this nature, the people would reflect, and argue thus—"The judges who tried these cases are exceedingly unjust; they inflicted sentences far beyond what they ought to have inflicted, but this most wise and excellent Viceroy is determined to see justice done to the people." Was, he would ask, the solemn adjudication of the country to be treated in this way—was it to be dispensed with and set aside by the ore tenus direction of Lord Mulgrave—was this the way to ensure respect for the judges—was this the way to enforce protection for the lives, and liberties, and properties of the King's loyal and peaceful subjects? He could give the noble Lord a long list of counties where a similar course had been pursued. He himself could prove many of the facts he had stated, and he would beg of his Friends to come forward and state those facts that came within their knowledge, and to aid him in preparing his bill of indictment against the Irish executive Government for their conduct. Was it anything outrageous for the Protestant and loyal portion of the inhabitants of Ireland to meet and respectfully call the attention of his Majesty to proceedings which they considered a breach of the law, and endangering the safety and independence of his Majesty's subjects? Such had the Protestants of Ireland done, and for so doing they were met by a protest signed by certain absentee Peers, denouncing their proceedings. Whether this protest was signed by the parties whose names were 256 attached to it was perhaps a matter of doubt. He did not know whether they had or had not signed it—he was willing to take it either way, he was willing to admit, that this document had been signed as it pretended to be, and then he would say to those noble Peers, with all due respect for their titles and their station in society, that he never knew a more unjustifiable proceeding than that with which they had mixed themselves up. Were not the Protestants of Ireland entitled to make themselves heard by petition, or by any other constitutional manner, as freely as any other class of his Majesty's subjects? The hon. and learned Member opposite (Mr. O'Connell) was very much mistaken if he supposed that he would be deterred by anything the hon. Member could do or say, or any demeanour he might take upon himself to assume, either in that House or elsewhere, from making any statement which he might think proper. Was not the legislative Government of this country one of King and Parliament, consisting of Lords and Commons? And yet these noble Lords who signed this protest stood by and looked on at an Association rearing itself up into authoritative position, asserting this must not be, and we must have that, and sowing the seeds of misrule and rebellion in the country, and never objected to it, never said, "we must not have this; this is going too far." But when the Protestants met to set forth their complaints in a strictly legal and peaceable manner there was a cry set up amongst them all that it was a most dangerous meeting. He could tell these noble Lords that they had better look sharp after their acres in Ireland—he would tell the Duke of Devonshire and Earl Fitzwilliam to take care lest, before two years had gone over their heads, their estates might be proclaimed. If they looked into past history they might find a series of events identically similar with those now passing before us; let them turn to the days of James the Second and they could find an alarming parallel to present times. The only difference was, that in those days it was the vote of a Tyrconnel and a Fitton, and now that of an O'Connell and a Woulfe. It was part of the language held by religious men, by priests, by learned men, at the new Association, that the estates of the Protestants had been purchased by blood, and the terms in which those Protestants themselves were libelled 257 there were of the very lowest description. One noble Lord, than whom no one was more highly or more justly respected, whom it was impossible to look on and not know him to be a nobleman, who had been present at the late meeting, was met in a Strain of the lowest drivelry. He alluded to Lord Abercorn, and this was the language used with regard to him:—"Sacrilege and perjury were the foundation of his Scottish estates, and his Irish ones, like almost all the rest, were the consequence of plunder, robbery, and bloodshed." Perfectly true as the hon. Gentleman says. Pray has the hon. Gentleman himself any estates in Ireland, and are they, like the rest, the consequence of plunder, robbery, and bloodshed? But was this the way a serious subject of this kind should be treated? He repeated, that the events now passing in Ireland should be a solemn warning to all the landowners of Ireland to take heed to their tithes. If things went on as they now did, two years would not be over their heads before they were called in question. Look to the history of the last few years. When the question of the Repeal of the Union was first started, the man who stood up to advocate it would have been called a madman. When the hon. and learned Gentleman (the Member for Kilkenny) started this project for agitating and filling pockets, he did not succeed in getting a second man in Ireland to support him in it. Now the case was changed; look at his goodly host of supporters in the National Association. The noble Lord told them that the only argument against extending the principles of municipal reform to Ireland, as they had been to England and Scotland, was that England was inhabited by Englishmen, Scotland by Scotchmen, and Ireland by Irishmen. He should like to know where the noble Lord had heard that argument used. He was aware that a great stress had been laid upon certain expressions attributed to a noble individual in another place, and distorted for the purpose, in which something about "aliens" was said. It was a great pity, certainly, that they should be deprived of this valuable stock in trade, which had been the subject of so many brilliant harangues. "Torrents of blood should flow," said the hon. and learned Gentleman," to atone for this insult." "He would rather see the rivers of his country stream with blood than that this stain 258 should not be wiped out." Now, who was the hon. and learned Gentleman who spoke thus, and what had he said about Englishmen? What language had he used towards the liberal and enlightened gentry of England? He had called them "Sassenachs," which, being interpreted into the vulgar tongue, meant Englishmen, Saxons, or strangers. He had called them "foreigners, enemies." He would, if it was not trespassing too much upon their patience, edify the House with a few specimens from a letter, one of a series, the whole of which were worth attentive perusal, dated from Derrvnane-abbey. It began with a beautiful piece of poetry; it then went on to say, that the union had done nothing for Ireland; and then the hon. and learned Gentleman addressed himself solemnly to the Protestants of Ireland. [Mr. O'Connell: What is the date of the letter?] The date was, "Derrynane-abbey, September 27,1830." Well, were the English people so changed since 1830? It seemed that these former Sassenachs and strangers were a very good sort of people now; they were all going on the right way. All he could say was, that he hoped they would not go on so long. He would now read the opening passage of this letter. It began to the following effect:—"Now, youths of Ireland, listen. Protestant young gentlemen from the walls of Trinity College, you call yourselves Irishmen. Does the love of your country, does the patriotic fire warm your bosoms—be ye indeed Irishmen, or be your feelings those of the stranger and the foe to liberty? Born during the conflict between prejudice and enlightened freedom, have you recovered from those prejudices?" The hon. and learned Gentleman then addressed himself to the Catholics of Ireland, but in what a different strain, in what a different view had he placed them. "Catholic youths of Ireland," he said, "who view this land as the country of your birth and your inheritance," &c. The Protestant youths were not Irishmen, in the hon. and learned Gentleman's sense of the word; it was not the land of their birth and inheritance, and this, be it remembered, after the passing of that great healing measure which it was promised and expected to lead to the perfect conciliation of that part of the empire. The hon. and learned Gentleman in other passages of his letter proceeded to address the Irish youths in such a strain 259 as the following:—"Survivors of the unionists, base men who sold themselves and their country to the dominion of foreigners." Now what did this amount to, what did all these repeated expressions mean, so distinct from the very term "alien," which had been attributed in a mistaken sense to a noble Lord in another place, who upon being made acquainted with the misconception to which it had given rise, hastened to apologise for it, and to assure the people of Ireland that be did not intend it in the sense attributed to him. In the face of this apology, regardless of explanation, still clinging to the distorted and erroneous view in which the expression had at first been received, a motion was framed at the National Association, by the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, to denounce the noble Lord in question.—[Mr. O'Connell: No: Mr. Boyce.] Oh, the hon. and learned Gentleman was glad to get a scape goat, was he? and in a Protestant Member of the Association? The hon. and learned Gentleman, however, prompted him doubtless in what he was to do—but he did a little more also: he moved the setting aside of a standing order for the purpose of bringing Mr. Boyce's motion forward at a time when it would not otherwise have been introduced. This motion denounced the noble Lord he referred to as "an enemy to the peace of Ireland—to the stability of the empire, and to the throne of England." Could any language be more atrocious, and yet it was actually applauded by Gentlemen opposite. Had anything been done to warrant their thus holding up to execration that illustrious person? What, should he not call him an illustrious person, who, by his own merits and exertions, by his learning: and talents, had raised himself to the highest and most honourable station in this free country—a man of whom England might be justly proud, and of whom Ireland too had a right to be proud? Hon. Gentlemen might laugh, but the noble Lord of whom he was speaking was nearly connected with the Copleys of Limerick, and the Singletons of Clare. Was it not disgraceful that such a man should be thus held up to the knife of the assassin? For what was it but to invoke the knife of the assassin thus to stigmatise him as an enemy to Ireland, thus to hold him out as the author of an insult only to be washed out with blood? it was atrocious, it was de- 260 plorable that such language should be used. And what must be thought when the very man who used it was himself continually in the habit of using infinitely stronger language with respect to Englishmen? The expressions "Stranger," "Foreigner," "Englishmen," were continually in his mouth. How did these epithets differ from that of "alien," even if the noble Lord had used it in its most obnoxious sense which he had repeatedly denied? "I have trespassed long upon the attention of the House (concluded the learned Sergeant,) and I have only to repeat that with which I set out—that as regards the impeachment of the Irish executive, I avow myself to have been a party to the resolutions of that great meeting to which the noble Lord referred. Let him give me a Committee, and I pledge myself to demonstrate before it, that the Irish Government has abused the prerogative of mercy, and most grossly misapplied the powers with which it was intrusted,"
said, Sir, I concur in the pleasure these cheers manifest to be entertained by the hon. Gentlemen at the other side, at the speech we have just heard from the hon. and learned Sergeant. I must say I never heard any speech with more complete delight. As for the personal attack on myself, that is perfectly beneath my dignity to notice. It certainly does not alloy the satisfaction with which I listened to the rest of the discourse. I have not arrived at my present time of life without learning to value the abuse of some whose praise would be censure indeed. All I ask the hon. and learned Sergeant is never to praise me; let him do with me what else he pleases. The satisfaction which T derive from the speech of the hon. and learned Sergeant, is founded upon two grounds; firstly, that if he has any material of political candour about him, he has taken up a course from which he cannot with any dignity retire; and, secondly, that he has avowedly displayed himself as the organ for the opposition of his Majesty's Ministers. There is no disguise now, they have made him their champion; they have bound their cause with his, and it is impossible that the right hon. Baronet himself can be more explicit upon the course they propose to adopt than the hon. and learned Sergeant has been. The coalition sitting on that bench is now undisguised in its features, which announce that there is to be no peace for Ireland but 261 in the extermination of its people. What will Irishmen have to expect when the learned Sergeant is one of the law officers of the Crown, for he deserves it quite as well as the hon. and learned Gentleman sitting at his side, in some points; as in assurance and coolness of assertion he even exceeds him, and in his low jests he beats him hollow. It was a great joke with him that I set him right in a matter of fact; he asserting that I moved the resolution at the Association reflecting upon the conduct of Lord Lyndhurst; whilst I, without meaning any offence to the party, told him who really did do it. I supported the motion to be sure, which I do not pretend to deny. But the hon. and learned Sergeant, who talks so bitterly about assailing persons by name, has himself done so in many instances in the course of his speech to-night. He speaks with contempt of Mr. Tighe, one of the most rising gentlemen at the Irish Bar, and this" person," forsooth, is attacked by the learned Sergeant, who doubtless considers himself one of the aristocracy of the Bar. The learned Sergeant then went on to attack Mr. Pigott, one of the best and most rising men of the day either in Ireland or any where else, whose legal knowledge is of the very highest order, and the ingredients of whose mirth are so mixed up with the milk of human kindness that no one could take offence at it, unless indeed he were possessed of that species of heart close to the leather lungs of the hon. Sergeant.
§ The Speaker
rose to order. He was understood to say, that although the hon. Member doubtless felt that he had received some provocation for what he was saying, he thought he would do well to express himself in more moderate words.
I have been assailed in the coarsest language; however I will not retaliate as far as relates to myself, but I certainly think I am entitled to speak about the contemptuous attack made on Mr. Pigott. Mr. Cassidy has also been alluded to by the learned Sergeant, who makes a great point about his having been refused to be certified as a proper person for a magistrate by a certain noble Lord. Now, I want to know whether Mr. Cassidy ever was a candidate against a son of the noble Lord in question, putting him to the expense of a contested election. If so, that is quite sufficient to account for the refusal of his certificate, Why did not 262 the learned Sergeant make these charges in Dublin? There was a good reason for it. He durst not make them there, because they would have been contradicted as amply and distinctly as they merited. He had not made them in Dublin, but in that House, knowing that the persons who could contradict them were elsewhere. These, however, are specimens of the manner in which the learned Sergeant would administer law to others. Now, let me ask if the learned Sergeant was not satisfied with the proscriptions already made in Ireland, that he must now come forward and proscribe ninety persons in the new Association? He calls it a Catholic and seditious Association. I have no words, no sufficiently strong terms, to reject such an imputation; and can only reply that the charge made by the learned Sergeant is unfounded. When the Irish Corporation Reform Bill was thrown out, it was stated, that one ground for this step was an assertion of mine that the new corporations would form normal schools for peaceful agitation. That was my statement, and it had been commented on in every possible manner, and urged again and again as a ground for rejecting the Bill. And what did I then predict? I predicted that agitation would increase and I have redeemed my pledge to the letter; and I am determined to persevere in the same course, because I know that the Association is constitutional, and because it has already been successful. The learned Sergeant said, the Association was a Catholic Association, and proceeded to demonstrate this in the strangest way. In what way? By exultingly proclaiming that the president's chair belonged to the Catholic Association, and that it was proved by the brass plate on the back of it. I admit the fact, I admit that the chair belonged to the Catholic Association; and yet this is the way in which the learned Sergeant occupies the time of a grave senate for two hours and a half, by exerting all his ingenuity to prove that the Association is Catholic because the chair belonged to the Catholic Association. Why the Association is not a Catholic Association, unless Catholic is understood in the true sense of the word, and means a universal Association—and it is universal, it is composed of men from the north to the south, from east to west, men combined from a sense of wrong, and imbued with the deepest feelings of indignation for the 263 injustice inflicted on them, and taunted at the same time for entertaining such feelings by those men who have lost their power, and who thus show what their conduct would be if they again recovered their dominion. Did not the learned Gentleman calumniate the Catholic clergy? Did we not hear him talk about reforming the Corporation of the Catholic Church? What has he to do with that hierarchy? Why is he put forward to calumniate them? If you support him I accuse you as accomplices. Why in the most outrageous periods of the agitation for Catholic Emancipation, in the angriest times and most violent contests between the parties, Orangemen spared them. Dr. Doyle, to be sure, was pointed out, the remainder were spared as men unimpeachable in their moral conduct. I hear another laugh from one of the party. I am glad of it. It proves that, now there is no concealment. The laugh is echoed and it is a symptom of what they would do if they had to reform the Catholic Church. They have tried that already. Their ancestors had recourse to the gibbet and scaffold, and the axe, by imprisonment and tortures, but they failed in doing it. Why, therefore, is the learned Sergeant put forward as the principal agent in pouring out violent abuse on their sacred and anointed heads? The Irish people will hear this, and they will also hear of the cheers which followed these announcements from the other side. They will learn what abuse has been heaped on the Irish clergy, and know how to estimate the intentions and policy of the party. There is now no disguise. The learned Sergeant has even gone so far as to charge the Catholic hierarchy with a wish to be connected with the State, and have the church property transferred to them. The Catholic Bishops have decided the point. Twenty-four of them met, and they declared by public advertisement that they would consent to no species of connection with the State. But the learned Sergeant must not attempt to get off by talking of a Committee. The party have made a charge against Lord Mulgrave, a charge which had never been brought against Orangemen, namely, that of excessive clemency. Yes! will it be believed, that it is imputed to the Lord-Lieutenant as a crime, that he has opened the prison doors. That is a proof of the way in which Lord Mulgrave is now assailed. 264 Did the party, he would not call them Protestants, for many Protestants were his dear friends, but call them by their old name—did they ever interfere and set at liberty the wretches in gaol? Now, these charges were not made under excitement, for the hon. Gentleman had come over here with his well-tied parcel of papers to enable him to retail those charges. The hon. Member charged the Lord-Lieutenant with having interfered between some Orangemen and some unfortunate wretches who were in gaol, but could he impute any motive to that interference? Why he believed if inquiry were made it would be found that the greater number of persons set at liberty by Lord Mulgrave were Protestants and Orangemen. But the learned Sergeant had assailed a lady and imputed to her a share of the blame. Now, had the learned Gentleman attacked him,—had he coupled his name with that of Lord Mulgrave he should not have complained, on the contrary, he should have been proud to be associated with one whom he called the saviour of his country. He was the first Lord-Lieutenunt who had introduced impartial justice into Ireland, and on that account he called him the saviour of his country. Something of the same kind had been said by the learned Gentleman last night, and on that occasion he had taken the opportunity to make some facetious remarks. This case might be different from that, but if it were the same, it only proved the bad taste of the learned Gentleman in introducing the name of a lady on the same charge. The learned Gentleman proposes a Committee of Inquiry, but he knows it would be just as competent to propose a Committee of Inquiry for a common assault. If the charge was true, then Lord Mulgrave was guilty. The learned Gentleman said, he could prove three charges. If so, why not put himself in a train to prove them, and try the proof, but he durst not try. The learned Sergeant knew this too well; he had mentioned charges only to round sentences, but he did not dare to bring them forward. The learned Sergeant talked of the National Association being constituted for a variety of purposes. He would therefore tell him as he seemed not to know, what were the purposes of the Association. It had two objects; to obtain a proper Tithe Bill, and Municipal Reform, like that granted to England and Scotland. 265 These were the two points; for these it was instituted, and it was expressly declared that when these were obtained, the Association was to be immediately dissolved. It was said, that its object also was, to reform the House of Lords and obtain universal suffrage. Now though he believed these necessary for the salvation of the country, the Association had nothing to do with them. The party talked of improving Ireland, and obtaining their lost rights; but those who really aimed at these just and legitimate objects might judge what they meant by improvement and rights from their late conduct. A charge had been brought against the Association with regard to writs of rebellion issued by the Court of Exchequer. Now of whom was there the greatest reason to complain? The Lay Association had filed many Bills, and when answers were put in it was found that there was nothing to recover. The National Association had nothing to do with that. But something had been said about Mr. Tighe, and a charge had been made against the Association because a man of the name of Corboy, imprisoned in consequence of a rebellion writ, was actually fat, and comfortable, and well—and assisted by counsel and kept by the Association. Was that thought a crime? Did they never hear of James Dwyer, who was dying in gaol, who was mortally ill, and whom the physician of the Association said would certainly die, unless he were set at liberty. Under such circumstances, application was made to the plaintiff's counsel, and the prisoner was set at liberty. Oh, the learned Gentleman was sorry that Corboy had fared so well, but he should have followed up that case with the case of John Riley. Let the House only think of a man seized under a commission of rebellion, and so afflicted with disease that he was discharged by the horror of the court, after having been confined, for 10s. 6d. or 3s. 6d., a year. But what did the charge amount to?—That we were guilty of feeding and clothing a man who perished in gaol, and was carried to his lodging a corpse. The men who did that charged the Association with feeding Corboy in prison. But the learned Sergeant had brought a charge against Mr. O'Loghlen, who was no longer there to defend himself, but was now in a situation to which his talents and his virtue had deservedly raised him. A charge has been made against Mr. O'Loghlen, and the learned 266 Sergeant said he could prove it. He cannot prove it. The case referred to is the trial of a person for assisting a prisoner to escape; but who was the Attorney-General then? Not Mr. O'Loghlen, but Mr. Blackburne, whom the learned Gentleman had eulogised so much. What would Englishmen think of a man being put on his trial a second and a third time? and this was the second time that the learned Sergeant asserted that he had been proved by evidence to be guilty. The individual was still out on bail. Had Englishmen ever heard of anything like this in England? That was the way in which justice was administered in Ireland. A man was pronounced to be guilty, though he had been acquitted by three juries. Good God! what would become of the administration of justice, if such persons were to get power into their hands. These, however, were to be the judges in Ireland in case of the change of administration—men who declared a prisoner guilty though acquitted three times. The very judge said, if such a prisoner escaped neither life nor property would be safe. Why such a judge deserved to be impeached? The learned Gentleman denied that the asperity of religion or politics had been mixed up on such occasions. I protest against such an assertion, and I call on the learned Gentleman to come forward with a motion on which the question can be brought to issue, and I will second it. I can prove, that I have seen in the county fifty times, the Crown solicitor apologising for the course which he pursued, and stating, on being remonstrated with, that the prosecution had been taken out of his hands. I will pledge myself to prove, that such a case occurred in Limerick, when Mr. Barrington was solicitor for the Crown. But another charge made is, that the challenge by the Crown has been taken away by Mr. O'Loghlen. In former times the Crown was allowed to challenge to any extent, and when the number of jurors was exhausted the graver sages of the day allowed the sheriff to enlarge the panel. It has been stated, that Mr. O'Loghlen sent down an order to the assize courts to the effect that no person should be set aside by the Crown. Mr. O'Loghlen gave no such directions. The directions he gave were, that no man should be set aside on account of his religion. That system had been adopted in Queen's County and Carlow. In fact, the learned Gentleman wished to intro- 267 duce the English system; while the learned Sergeant regretted that the practice of packing juries was falling into disuse, and distinctly showed what would be done in Ireland when he and his party came into power. If such be not the case, I shall be ready to apologise; but the learned Gentleman has been put forward, though he was ready enough of his own accord; and if his party do not disavow such sentiments, they must be regarded as their own. I do not ask mercy and compassion for the people of Ireland. If I did I know I should ask in vain. As one of the Representatives of the Irish people I shall demand justice for them. The hon. and learned Sergeant may sneer; it is a commodity he does not deal in. How can any assembly of rational persons taunt the Catholics of Ireland with inferiority to the Protestants? How can the hon. and learned Sergeant venture to abuse the loyal and patriotic Association which has been established in Ireland, to maintain the cause of that country, and to oppose bigotry and intolerance? It is true that that Association advocates the claims of the Catholics, for it advocates the welfare of Ireland. The hon. and learned Sergeant does not say anything in hostility to the Catholics; but he is a political hypocrite; he does that which he abstained from saying. Let him speak up; let him at once declare that the Catholics are not worthy of being placed on a footing with Protestants. Let him say "The law has pronounced them equal to the Protestants, but I pronounce them inferior." They have as good a right as any man now before me to full equality. Does the hon. and learned Member imagine that by abuse, they are likely to be changed from what is called bigotry and intolerance? I demand for the people of Ireland municipal reform, on the same principle that has already given Scotland and England municipal reform. Why did not the learned Sergeant grapple with that argument? I will tell him. Because he is a political hypocrite. Why did he not speak out? The learned Sergeant was quite consistent in not then grappling with the question— was always consistent—from the first moment he became secretary of the Kildare Society, and maintained the necessity of distributing the Bible without note or comment. Would that the learned Sergeant, had followed the same system in speaking of my letters! The learned Sergeant, in his consistency, had never 268 declared himself one day in favour of Catholic Emancipation, and, again, when occasion offered, had professed himself to be against it, and a third time had veered about again, and opposed the measure. It could not be termed inconsistency in the learned Sergeant thus to try the merits and defects of every side of the question. But turning from the hon. and learned Sergeant to more weighty matters, I repeat that, as a Representative of Ireland, I stand here for justice; and I must not forget that the learned Sergeant is opposed to justice being so administered as to involve the notion of a partial exercise of clemency. What will the learned Gentleman say if I inform him that I have heard Mr. O'Loghlen declare that many instances had occurred in former times of a similar exercise of mercy? I suppose that the right hon. Recorder, for the title applicable to the Recorder must give place to that which honoured the privy councillor—could give his testimony on the point in question. The right hon. Gentleman has threatened to read my speeches. I give him leave to do so—full leave—until he is sick, and the House sick of hearing him. I will pledge myself to speak not a syllable in answer to the right hon. Gentleman. But, I must ask why am I inferior, on account of religion, to any Englishman of the Protestant persuasion? The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite has accused the Roman Catholics of endeavouring to subvert the Protestant religion, and raising their own into its place. Just as if the Roman Catholics could, by any possibility, take a single step derogatory or hostile to the Protestant religion without those Gentlemen at his side being the first to take the alarm, and offer a determined opposition. And yet, who will dare to say that the hon. Members around me are not as sincere Protestants, and as much attached to their religion as any hon. Gentleman opposite? They are just as sincere, but not altogether so sanctimonious. Would the people of Ireland tamely suffer any attempt to be made to subvert the Protestant religion? Would Scotland permit it? Would any persecution of Protestants, if such were intended, be for a moment tolerated? It is sheer nonsense to say so. When I see that Catholic constituencies return a majority of Protestants to Parliament I laugh at such wild assertions and those who make them. But I must again return to my often-repeated demand—how are Irishmen in Ireland inferior to Englishmen in England, 269 or Scotchmen in Scotland? I require an answer. I have already trespassed at some length on the House. I do not intend following at length the rigmarole speech of the learned Sergeant. But I once more call on the people of England —on the House—on every Member of Parliament—to remember that one of two things is expected—either a repeal of the Union, or a full measure of justice to Ireland. Oh! what an argument of the learned Sergeant to say, that the two countries are not in the same equal condition, and that the Union ought not to be supposed to imply any such assimilation! Why, what is the Union, if it be not an identification of interests and an amalgation of the two countries? Was not Ireland to become by it, to use the language of Mr. Pitt, to be as much part of England as Yorkshire? There are many Gentlemen from Yorkshire present—I love a Yorkshireman. What would one of those Gentlemen say if an attempt was made to subjugate and keep down Yorkshire? The cases are perfectly similar. I do not mean to threaten; but as from the Union equality of rights and an amalgamation of the two countries were intended, and are now expected, I warn the House that if these expectations are deceived, the people of Ireland will be thrown back upon their rights and will be forced to seek justice for themselves. And as surely as that clock will point to noon to-morrow so surely will the Irish people persevere until they arrive at the full attainment of civil equality.
§ Mr. Shaw
said, the charges made by the learned Member who had just sat down, against the hon. Member for Ban-don, appeared perfectly unfounded. The hon. Member for Kilkenny had sneered at the hon. Sergeant's speech as being unanswerable. Certainly it had not been answered by him. He would first touch on the facts which had been stated, and then on the comments made by the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny. That hon. Gentleman had accused the hon. Member for Bandon of having made gross personal attacks on persons of an unblemished character, and ranking high in their profession. For himself, he could assert that he heard none. All the assertions of the learned Sergeant had been made in a most proper spirit. To take the different cases brought forward, and to commence with that of Mr. Tighe. The 270 learned Sergeant had made no attack on Mr. Tighe; but all he did was to ask whether that Gentleman, who, there was now no doubt, was a member of the Association, had not been appointed to a certain judicial office. In the case of Mr. Pigott, it had been shown that he had been appointed to a high situation under Government, where he was not only to be on occasions an adviser of the Crown, but was to be invested with considerable authority over the constabulary force; his office was, in fact, that of law adviser in the Secretary's office. Yet this Gentleman was known to be a warm partisan, to have been an active member of the National Association. What was complained of was, that every man in Ireland might doubt that a fair administration of justice could take place when the highest officers of the Crown were thus appointed. How could any man look with confidence on the Government when Each appointments were so unheedingly made? The hon. and learned Member had spoken of an attack made on Mr. Cassidy, of James Town. He had not heard any such attack. The complaint was made against the Government for appointing a person to the commission of the peace, in the Queen's County, after the Lord-Lieutenant of the county had refused to forward his name to the Lord Chancellor. But this Gentleman was known as an exciter of agitation, and had been, in fact, convicted of what might be almost called a crime. Yet, notwithstanding this, the Lord-Lieutenant had appointed him as magistrate. If these were not the facts the hon. Member for the Queen's County could declare it; but, if they had been correctly stated, he would ask, was not the complaint against the Irish Government well founded? Then, as to the remarks asserted by the learned Member to have been made with so great a want of delicacy about a distinguished lady. He could only say, that he had not heard the slightest charge made against her. What were the facts? A trial took place against certain persons for riot. They were found guilty, and the presiding Judge sentenced them to different terms of punishment—one class to six months' imprisonment, and the others to a shorter period. Well, what occurred afterwards? Why, without any communication whatever to the learned Judge, the prisoners who had been sentenced to the longer period were, without any inquiry whatever, set at liberty 271 by the Lord-Lieutenant. It was announced in the newspapers that these men were discharged, and the House would perhaps he surprised to hear that the learned Judge who had presided at the trial became acquainted with the fact through the medium above alluded to—he had received no intelligence from the Government. It appeared, then, that the Lord-Lieutenant, without inquiring into the case, or communicating with the Judge who tried it, discharged the prisoners at the request of a lady. The charge against the Lord-Lieutenant was not that he was too merciful, but (and a serious charge it was) that he had, in the exercise of his prerogatives, used them inconsistently with the peace of the country, and the proper administration of justice; and he would ask those Gentlemen who were acquainted with the manner in which judges discharged their duty on the circuits, whether it was consistent with the peace of the country, or the right execution of justice, to open the prison doors and let culprits loose without ceremony. Important as it was that no person should have his liberty infringed, or be committed to prison without going through all the forms which the pure administration of justice required, it was equally important that the dispensations of justice should be respected. God forbid that any objection should be made to the free exercise of the prerogative of mercy! He knew it was a delicate subject to interfere with; but then he was bound to say, from the instances which had been named by his hon. and learned Friend, that the prerogative of mercy had not been properly exercised, and that the proper administration of justice had been interrupted. Another charge was, that violent political partisans had been appointed to offices which enabled them to control the elective franchise. That was the case in reference to the appointment of Mr. Hudson to the office of Assistant Barrister of the County of Carlow. The case was this:—The person who filled the office of Assistant Barrister in the County of Carlow being removed, Lord Mulgrave appointed in his place Mr. Moody, a gentleman of high station in his profession. Before this gentleman were brought the votes which had been struck off by the Committee of the House of Commons, and Mr. Moody refused to register them. This decision caused much dissatisfaction 272 amongst the partisans and supporters of the Liberal candidate, and it was roundly declared that, if such a line of conduct was continued, another Assistant Barrister should be found before next Session. His learned Friend near him assured him that he could prove that this threat had been uttered. The next Session, in pursuance of threat, or from some other cause, the gentleman alluded to was appointed in Mr. Moody's place, and absolutely changed the decisions made by the two preceding Assistant Barristers relative to the disputed votes. He would leave it to the House to draw an inference from these facts. A few days back he had read some remarks on the case in the Freeman's Journal. This paper praised the course which had been adopted by the agent of the Liberal party, of withdrawing the voters from the Court, and asserted that the Revising Barrister already alluded to was neither a judge of agricultural property nor a sound politician. This statement of facts warranted, he thought, the manner in which his learned Friend had spoken. The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite had challenged him to show why Irishmen were inferior to Englishmen and Scotchmen. The debate had taken a wide scope, although the motion of the noble Lord did not seem to lead to the anticipation that the whole of the affairs would necessarily be discussed; but in answer to that challenge he would say, that it was not fair to assume that the Gentlemen on his side of the House refused, or wished to refuse, the rights of any portion of his Majesty's subjects. All that they had said was, that they were willing, on the part of the ancient Corporations of Ireland, to give up all monopolies and exclusive privileges, but not to transfer them to the hands of an opposite party. They had never objected to the amelioration of the condition of the people of Ireland, or to the enjoyment of civil rights by all, or to anything that was necessary and just, but they had objected to the domination of a party. The noble Lord had said the new Corporations would promote good order and peace, while the hon. and learned Gentleman said they would become normal schools of agitation. They were objected to because it was intended to make them part of that system which was now in operation, and all events subsequent to the last Session, tended to strengthen the conviction that it was impossible to grant those popular assemblies 273 without making them have the effect which had been stated, figures of speech were sometimes dangerous things to deal with. The noble Lord had quoted a figure used by another noble Lord which was addressed to the Protestant Gentlemen of Ireland, telling them that the National General Association was the "spawn of their own wrong." Now the manner in which the noble Lord had treated that point seemed to go the length of justifying the whole of the proceedings of the Association. That such an Association was inconsistent with both the spirit and letter of the law his hon. Friend had already stated. Could any man doubt that the raising of contributions throughout the country in the manner it was done was inconsistent with the proper government and peace of the country? The hon. and learned Gentleman had stated that the Association had two objects in view, namely, to procure corporate reform and the abolition of tithes. But did he forget that although those two purposes were originally stated when the Association was first called into existence, yet, almost at the same instant, circulars were issued, and emissaries sent forth, under the name of pacificators, for the purpose of procuring petitions for corporate reform, abolition of tithes, and vote by ballot? The hon Gentleman had challenged him to read his speeches. He would first read an extract from a letter of the hon. Member's, dated the 27th of August, last year, and addressed to the Spectator newspaper. It was headed—JUSTICE TO IRELAND AND TO ENGLAND.No ministry ever had so glorious a career before them. Ireland, after more than six centuries of unmitigated oppression, is ready for conciliation, for union, for identification, with Britain. The first dawn of impartiality is the first exhibition of dutiful tranquillity. The great national question can, nay, must, now be decided—are the Irish people to be fellow-subjects, or are they to be—I will write it—enemies?Lord Melbourne may blot out the enmity forever; he may make the Irish willing and most useful subjects. But for this purpose— and I joy that it should be so—he must satisfy the rational portion of the English people. He must content the English and Scotch Dissenters—they ask only for 'justice.' He must become the advocate of an increased and extended franchise. He must consent to shorten the duration of Parliament. He must not shrink from the ballot. Above all, he must prepare for the conflict with the Lords,274 Did the noble Lord mean to say, that with these avowed views, the getting of corporate reform, or town-councils, or the getting a vote in this House for the appropriation of a non-existing surplus, would really satisfy the hon. and learned Gentleman? Did he mean to put those things forward as the only causes of suffering in Ireland, or the only remedies for the evils of Ireland, when within two nights he would make a statement, founded on the melancholy fact, that more than 2,000,000 of the people of Ireland were in a state of starvation? He would not, however, trench on that subject, but hoped that when it came before the House, it would be attended to properly and without any admixture of party spirit. As to the tranquillity which was said to exist in Ireland, he denied it. Every gazette and newspaper brought reports of numerous murders and outrages. But if it were admitted that, comparatively speaking, Ireland was tranquil to what it had been, was it promoted by the General Association? If so, could that be reckoned tranquillity which depended on the tyranny that dictated it for its existence, and which in a moment might be excited into furious tumult by the same power? Surely the noble Lord could not forget that he had formerly brought forward charges against the hon. and learned Gentleman for disturbing the peace of Ireland, and yet the hon. and learned Gentleman was still pursuing the same course, with all the patronage of the Government at command to boot. But because he had procured that patronage he came forward to assert that Ireland was tranquil, and, as long as the Government would so indulge him, he would praise them in return for their liberality. But was that state of things to continue? Would his Majesty's Ministers suffer themselves to be blinded in this way? Could they, if they looked at the past experience of Ireland, rest satisfied? Orangemen had been induced to part with what they valued very highly, and their leaders put themselves forward to the utmost of their power to put down the institution. But how had they been requited? In the very place of that institution, and on its very ruins, the General Association had sprung up. The hon. and learned Gentleman had expressed his readiness to accept of instalments, and the extinction of Orangeism had been 275 called "a great blow" to the Church, and he believed that the hon. and learned Gentleman would never be content until he saw the entire subversion of the Protestant Church in Ireland. The Gentlemen on that (the Opposition) side of the House were willing to give up an ascendancy of one party, but they were equally unwilling to have it transferred to another party. He would next remind the House that twenty-seven gentlemen who had filled the office of High Sheriff had been superseded by the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland without any reference to the judges. He would give them some specimens of how things were going on in Ireland, and he would ask the House to accompany the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny, on a little tour he had made. The first case was that of Mr. O'Brien of Elm-vale, who presided at a dinner given to the Members for the County of Limerick. That dinner was thus described by the Limerick Paper—"Over the principal table was a beautiful transparency, from which a scroll depended, bearing the inscription 'Repeal of the Union,' 'Aboliton of Tithes,' and 'Vote by Ballot.'" In proposing the toast of "Old Ireland" the Chairman said, amongst other things, that "politics and religion had been alternately the cause and pretext of our national subjugation, and a rapacious oligarchy sustained, by a foreign power, has long oppressed a degraded and impoverished people." At such a banquet of course the Repeal of the Union was not forgotten, and the chairman in introducing the toast said "the Repeal of the Union had now become the war cry of the people, and its recognition, in principle and modification, the criterion of the popular candidate." This was the language of a gentleman who had been selected by the Government for the office of High Sheriff, and who had superseded three other gentlemen who had been duly nominated to fill that important office by the Judges of Assize. But to continue the tour of the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny. The hon. and learned Gentleman had proceeded from one part of the country to the other, denouncing in his progress noblemen and gentlemen to whom he was politically opposed, in language that could not be mistaken. What had been the language he had used with reference to a nobleman whose name had already 276 been mentioned—he meant the Marquess of Abercorn? Speaking of that nobleman, the hon. and learned Gentleman had said—"I tell him, that as a man, he is contemptible; as a human being, he is ludicrous; and as a peer, he derives his title and estates from the commission of the foulest crimes that can by possibility disgrace human nature." Now, he begged to ask the noble Lord opposite (Lord John Russell) if he did not blush for such a description of a connexion of his own? Would the noble Lord attempt to justify such language, applied as it was to a nobleman who resided on his property in Ireland dispensing his charities, and by his residence amongst them and by other means doing all in his power to alleviate the sufferings and relieve the wants of his impoverished fellow-countrymen? The hon. and learned Member next proceeded to Sligo, where again he held up to scorn and derision all the respectable gentry of that county who were his political opponents; and he concluded his tour by a visit to Carlow. As some proof of the state of Ireland and of the justice of the complaints of the Protestants of that country, he (Mr. Shaw) entreated the House to listen to the language to which the hon. and learned Gentleman then gave utterance. He quoted from the Dublin Morning Register, a newspaper possessing the patronage of the hon. and learned Gentleman himself. The report stated the purport of the inscriptions which adorned the room. Amongst them were—"Remember your Souls and Liberties;" "Vote by Ballot;" "Reform of the House of Lords;" "No Savage Representatives." The hon. and learned Gentleman, in the course of his speech on that occasion, said, "My friend, the chairman, alluding to the Conservative festival held in this town yesterday, talked of respectability. What does my valued friend mean by respectability? They (alluding to the Conservatives) may have the respectability of the hogget or the ox that fatten on the land; but they are as stupid as they are malignant, and they are as ugly as they are contemptible. Are they respectable for their virtues or acquirements, their humanity or their patriotism? No, they are cruel, unrelenting and perfidious tyrants; their consolation is the widow's tear, shed amid the ruin of desolated villages, and their music is the scream of the orphan and the groans 277 of the expiring victim. Like the ghoul of the Eastern tale, they live and delight upon sucking out the warm heart's-blood, while life is still in vigour, and reducing their victims to the grave, before the chill of years or the course of natural events carries them away. They love the wail of famishing children and the agony of ruined and agonized parents. Let us get some proper term by which we can describe them. [Some one here cried out "Savages."] Yes, resumed the hon. and learned Gentleman, an appropriate term; but, though, it is somewhat too mild, for savages have more of the natural instincts and sympathies of nature, and know nothing of the refined cruelties of such bloodthirsty blockheads."
§ Mr. Roebuck
rose to order. The question before the House was for leave to bring in a Bill to regulate the Municipal Corporations in Ireland, and he wished to know from the right hon. Gentleman in the chair whether it was in order on that question to discuss any speech that might have been made by a Member of this House at a public dinner on matters not coming in any way within the scope of the question now before it.
Sir G. Clerk
wished to call the attention of the hon. and learned Member for Bath, not to the terms of the motion in the hands of the chair, but to what had fallen from the noble Lord, the representative of his Majesty's Government in that House. The noble Lord staled, that if the motion he proposed was the mere subject of the debate, he could not suppose the discussion would be long, but he rejoiced in this opportunity of discussing the whole course of the present Government in Ireland. The noble Lord, at great length, had justified the whole conduct of the Irish Government, and went into the whole political state of Ireland. Now, when the noble Lord was met on his own ground— when he found that the debate did not turn out so convenient or agreeable as he anticipated—[Order, order.]
§ The Speaker
said, that the question before the House strictly related to the motion of the noble Lord for leave to bring in a Bill on the subject of Municipal Corporations in Ireland, yet that subject had certainly been debated in connexion with the whole state and condition of Ireland, and therefore he (the Speaker) was not prepared, in answer to the question of the hon. and learned Member for Bath, to say that the 278 explanations of the right hon. and learned Gentleman were out of order.
§ Mr. Shaw
rejoiced to learn from the Chair that he was in order. The noble Lord opposite had challenged his side of the House to make out a case or ground of complaint on behalf of the Protestants of Ireland, and it was in answer to that challenge that his observations were directed. The hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny at the Carlow dinner proceeded (after the quotation he had already read) as follows:—"They have an unholy eminence and bad notoriety; but it is like the lurid glow which is said to belong to those demons of hell of a higher order, and marks them out above their satanic compeers. Well, you have all this on one side; you have the 10l. voters on the other. Give me those honest men who remembered their souls and liberty." Let the House remember that the soul and its accountability were awful considerations in connexion with such sentiments; and as to liberty the word might fall desecrated from the lips which uttered it, ut its spirit could not animate the mind that conceived such expressions. Such was the language applied to the living; but the hon. and learned Gentleman was with it not satisfied, and thus spoke of the dead—even on the very day on which the death of Mr. Kavanagh was known in Carlow—[Mr. O'Connell: It was not until the next day.] The words used, showed it to have been the very day. The observations began—"Poor old Kavanagh—alas! poor Kavanagh;" but the spirit in which these words were uttered was shown by the effect they created—they produced merriment and laughter. But the hon. and learned Gentleman then proceeded thus:—" Poor old Kavanagh! alas, poor old Kavanagh! If he had not made the fatal alliances he did, one would be glad that he would sink into his grave in that peaceful obscurity in which, for his own sake, he ought to have remained, and not have the dead cats and dogs of the neighbourhood thrown into it along with him." This was applied to an individual, who, the hon. and learned Member himself had admitted, had been a kind landlord and a generous benefactor to his poor neighbours. Mr. Kavanagh was no Sassenach, but was the descendant of an old line of Irish kings; the language was spoken while he was lying a breathless corpse in the midst of his bereaved family—language applied 279 by one Irishman to another; and yet the House and the Country were to be told that an English nobleman was to be condemned for designating those who uttered such sentiments as aliens in feeling, in language, in sentiments; and that for such an expression of opinion the standard of rebellion was to be unfurled in Ireland, and that country again deluged in blood. But in this case, at least, the unfeeling suggestion with respect to the late Mr. Kavanagh failed, and that honoured old man was followed by his Roman Catholic tenantry and neighbours with all becoming respect and sorrow to his grave. The hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny then proceeded, in the speech in question, to allude to Colonel Bruen. With respect to this, what said the reporter for the hon. and learned Gentleman's own paper. After giving a long tirade the reporter said, "The hon. and learned Gentleman continued to animadvert on the hon. and gallant Colonel in a manner which, as long as truth is libel, it would be unsafe to publish." Now, Colonel Bruen lived in the neighbourhood of the very spot in which this speech was delivered, and he would suppose, for a moment, that the deluded men to whom that speech was addressed, had proceeded to his house, and, goaded by the language so described by the reporter, had attacked the house of Colonel Bruen—who was as brave as he was the object of malignity—and, perhaps, have taken his life. In such a case, he presumed that the people of England would be told that justice was fairly administered in Ireland, because the deluded actors in this outrage were punished, and perhaps executed; but he would appeal to that House and to the country, and ask who, in point of moral guilt, would be the real culprit? The hon. and learned Gentleman next spoke of a dissolution, and proceeded to say, that "he hoped soon to see Carlow rescued from the grinding tyranny which oppressed it. Ireland would avenge herself by constitutional means, and if those means failed, and the base faction had recourse to physical force, he did not dread the result—the result should be wiped out with blood." The hon. and learned Gentleman had questioned the accuracy of this allusion to blood, but he found in the Kilkenny Journal, a paper in which he said, he would correct his own speech, the following words:—"They shall find the people of Ireland are no 280 cowards. Oh! the insult must be wiped off in blood, if they do not make reparation for it by doing us justice." This formed the conclusion of his speech as reported in his own paper, and was not so strong as others which he had seen. What followed this speech? He begged pardon of the noble Lord, the Secretary for Ireland, for naming it. Why, the next toast proposed was the "Health of Lord Morpeth," with three times three. After that the right rev. Dr. Nolan, the Roman Catholic bishop of the diocese, who was present, and had heard the words which he had quoted, addressed the meeting, and here were his words: he said, "Mr. O'Connell, I will venture to say, is a man raised by God to work out the regeneration of his country, and we (that is the Roman Catholic bishops and clergy of Ireland) pray God to direct him and to bless his efforts." He (Mr. Shaw) did not object to these expressions taken by themselves, but his objection to them arose when put in immediate connexion with the speech just before delivered by the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny. That speech had, however, been noticed by some of the leading gentry of the county of Carlow, who called on the Irish Government for an investigation. Did that investigation ever take place? About that time, it was true, a meeting took place between the Attorney-General for Ireland and the Lord-Lieutenant; but at that meeting who was the principal guest? Why, the individual who had made use of the very words complained of. He asked the noble Lord, did the Irish Government investigate the matter: he would further ask him if they dared, even if the language went further, or was twice as bad, did the Irish Government dare to enter upon such an investigation? If the noble Lord answered in the negative, then he (Mr. Shaw) must contend that the Protestants of Ireland had made out their case, and had shown that neither their property, their persons, their lives, nor their liberties, were safe in that country. Now, the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny had thrown dust in the eyes of the Government by leading them to suppose that he had abandoned the question of the repeal of the Union. He would recall to their attention the hon. and learned Member's opinions on that head. He held in his hand the copy of a letter written by the hon. and learned Member, and read by Mr. Dwyer, to the Political 281 Association of Dublin. It was dated the 15th May, 1832, and in it he found the following passages. "It is my solemn, conscientious, unaltered, and unalterable opinion that Ireland cannot prosper without a repeal of the legislative Union." Again, in the same letter, the hon. and learned Gentleman said, "I never did, I never will, I never can, abandon my anxious desire for the repeal of the Union. This is a subject on which I have pledged myself, and I solemnly and deliberately repeat the pledge to the people of Ireland." Again, in a speech delivered by the hon. and learned Gentleman, on his return from Dublin, on the 3rd of January, 1833, he said, "I never submitted to the Union, because, even when agitating for emancipation, I said I only used it as a means to an end, and that end was a repeal of the Union." The hon. and learned Gentleman then alluded to a voluntary oath he had taken never to be conciliated to the Ministry while the Catholics were un-emancipated, and he continued thus: "I kept my oath, though in the lightness of my heart I then took an unnecessary oath, yet I have no hesitation now in saying that I will never enter into any compromise with the Ministry till I see a Parliament in College-green." Again, in a speech delivered by the hon. and learned Gentleman, on the 7th January, 1833, he spok thus,—" They say that I am timid—timid because I do not choose to violate the command of the Almighty, but let me see the Union repealed, and a foreign foe dare to put his foot upon our soil, withOur green flag fluttering o'er us,The friends we've triedThere by my side,And the foes we hate before us.Let me see, I say, a foreign nation attack us, and though I wish to have Ireland connected with England by the golden link of the Crown, yet, if Ireland were invaded, not a heart would beat more strongly, nor an eye more brightly glisten in the contest." Connected by the golden link of the Crown That would be as but a silken thread in the hands of the arbitrary dictator, who professed such respect for it. The people of England might rest assured that if the countries were to be united, it must be by holier bonds, by a sacred chain, the links of which took their strength from above, and received their lustre from that day-spring on high which shone in the true Protestant faith, that had rendered 282 England unrivalled amongst the nations of the earth, and without which Ireland would never continue a portion of the British empire.
§ Lord Clements
said, he would try to bring the House back to the question before it, and from which so great a departure had been made in the course of the debate which had taken place. The question before the House was the present state and condition of Ireland. The hon. and learned Sergeant opposite had urged the existence of the National Association of Dublin, as being dangerous to the peace of the country; he had attributed partiality in judicial appointments, and various other things to the Irish Government as at present constituted, but he had avoided one fact well worthy the consideration of the House and the country, namely,—'that Ireland was now more tranquil and peaceful than she had ever been at any period of our history. If that peace had been brought about by any unfair leaning against the Protestants, he would be the last man to attempt to vindicate the Government. He stood there himself a Protestant of Ireland, and as a Protestant he claimed to be heard, having been expressly excluded from the recent Protestant Meeting in Dublin. The hon. and learned Sergeant had endeavoured to create an alarm among certain Irish Peers, by asking whether the course pursued by the Government was not calculated to weaken the rights of property. He had asked noble Lords if they were not afraid of their acres. The appeal had been answered by the declaration and protest, signed by the great body of Irish Peers and Members of Parliament, in which they stated they were convinced the policy of the present Government was the safeguard of property in Ireland. The thing which provoked hon. Members on the opposite benches was, that Ireland should be tranquil without their assistance. He rested on that point, and would tell them, that since Lord Mulgrave had presided over the destinies of Ireland, that country was more quiet than their Whiteboy regulation ever could have made her. It had been attempted to be shown that a connexion existed between the Government and the Association. He admitted, that the majority of the people of Ireland were desirous of organic changes. Considering their state and condition, that desire was only natural, and so it would seem, 283 thought the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, whose speech at Glasgow he had read with great pleasure. The right hon. Baronet said, that the existing state of affairs in England and Scotland was so very preferable to that of other parts, that he was most anxious to maintain it without organic changes. The right hon. Baronet was, however, silent as to Ireland, and though he called on Scotland to sing a political "and langsyne," he did not invite Ireland to join in it. It was the state of Ireland that induced its population to call for vote by ballot, reform of the House of Lords, or for anything else that they thought would relieve them from the condition in which they were placed. With respect to the National Association, he (Lord Clements) admitted that it combined some individuals whose views with respect to the Irish Church went much further than he would go; but still the question of tithes required settlement. Among them was Mr. Cassidy, whose name had been mentioned in the course of the present discussion. He was not acquainted with that Gentleman, but he knew that besides being a large landed proprietor in fee simple, he was a very extensive grazier; and the evils of the tithe system on the graziers was so great, that he was sure the same class in this country if so burthened would not endure it. Mr. Cassidy's views, then, had reference to this burden, and not to politics. Let the House but compare the Irish with the English tithe composition act, and they would see that Mr. Cassidy and the Irish graziers had been treated unlike the graziers of this country, and with but rough justice. He considered the meetings of the National Association to have been highly beneficial to Ireland, by keeping in view those great points to which it was especially necessary that attention should be directed, and the members of that body had acted in a manner which he was confident many English gentlemen would be proud to imitate in the same circumstances. There was only one point more on which he would trouble the House. A charge had been brought against the Lord-Lieutenant for being too lenient in the exercise of the prerogative of mercy by discharging prisoners. It happened that he (Lord Clements) lived in the adjoining county to that in which this prerogative had been exercised; and all that he could testify to was, that hav- 284 ing been accidentally present on the occasion, that though the cases were not referred to the learned Judges, yet the persons discharged from prison appeared to be individuals confined for the shortest periods, and who had been guilty of the smallest offences. He did not agree in the opinion that the acts of mercy which the Lord-Lieutenant had exercised while going through the country as the representative of Majesty tended at all to diminish the respect which the people had paid to the law since that time. On the contrary, he thought it had had a beneficial effect. It was not a progress of mere useless parade. Great want was prevailing in the north-western counties, and the Lord-Lieutenant went his tour from the most humane and proper motives. It was a tour that would reflect credit on the Lord-Lieutenant, and which he undertook at great personal inconvenience. In conclusion he would assure the House that as a Protestant of Ireland, whose family resided in that country, and as being connected with the Protestant interests, and as representing a large Irish Protestant constituency, it was his firm conviction that he should do wrong if he did not give his honest and cordial support to a Government, whose administration had given a greater degree of peace to his country than that of any other Government that had presided over it.
§ Mr. Roebuck
humbly submitted to those who preceded him, at least to some of them, that there might have been a more useful way of conducting this discussion than that which they had pursued. It seemed to him that the bandying about from one side of the House to the other expressions that would not have been suffered elsewhere, did not conduce to the dignity of the House, or to the respect which the people out of doors ought to feel towards it. It seemed to him that, standing as they did in the high character of the representatives of a great nation, they ought to conduct their deliberations with that calmness, soberness, and decorum that would gain them the respect of all reasonable and respectable men. It appeared to him that the tone and manner—he said it under all correction—that the manner and tone of Gentlemen, particularly belonging to Ireland, had been to-night, and to-night was not a solitary instance of such a nature— judging with the feelings of an Englishman who had not mixed much with Irishmen— 285 were likely to create anything but respect. It could do no service to any body in that House or elsewhere to indulge in a species —he was going to use a term but he would not use it of "improper vituperation." It seemed to him that the object the House had before them was to consider the general conduct of the Irish Government; to know whether that conduct had been such as was conducive to the general interests of both countries—England and Ireland; and he had seen and heard, with some astonishment, that when that was the matter to be discussed—and a more grave and serious one could not be submitted even to that assembly—persons come forward and bring evidence respecting words used, and matters discussed by an individual who had a place in that House, and, he must allow, great power in Ireland; but which words were used upon an occasion not connected with the conduct of the Government which was the subject they were at present called upon to discuss. Those were matters respecting which it was for the hon. and learned Member himself to decide; it was for his own taste and his own understanding to determine what was due to his own character, and the character of those whom he addressed. He was not called upon in that House to give an opinion about those words, if it were true that they were spoken; and, not being called upon to give an opinion about those words, he wanted to know why he had been compelled to hear them. It was time lost, in the first place, and he must at the same time say it was not very agreeable to his feelings. He did not think when he came to take his seat in that House that it was to hear every extraneous thing which Gentlemen might be inclined to utter. He thought he came there to discuss a question respecting the Municipal Corporations of Ireland. He must, however, charge it somewhat (for he would be impartial) upon the noble Lord himself for having introduced this very general discussion. That noble Lord would have consulted the best interests of the Government if he had allowed the attack to come from the other party. Why should the noble Lord have taken notice of any resolutions that might have been passed by any body which were not directly before the House? Why should the House go out of its way to notice Resolutions that a small minority of the people had thought proper to pass? He, 286 thought, therefore, the noble Lord was somewhat to blame in this; at the same time he must acknowledge that there was a temper and tone in the speech of the noble Lord far different from what pervaded the speeches of those who had succeeded him. He did not mean to say, that anything had fallen from noble Lord which could come under the censure that he should wish the House to pass upon what followed. What, he would ask, was the value of all that they had heard to-night? They had had four long mortal hours entirely wasted. [An hon. Member, six.] No; he would not say six, because some particular speeches or parts of speeches that he had heard did not fall under the same category. He, however, wanted to know the value of the argument that had been addressed to the House? He wished to strip it from all extraneous adjuncts—from all rhetorical flourishes—which, however well they might be suited to other audiences, were not proper to be recognized by such an assembly as this. The hon. and learned Sergeant had accused the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny of having used certain expressions, at various times, of a very violent nature, and therefore, that House was to legislate for Ireland in a manner different from what it did for any other part of the empire. The argument of the learned Sergeant was, that because the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny had been violent, rude, coarse in the epithets he had employed, they were therefore to deny to the people of Ireland those municipal rights which they had already given to England and to Scotland. That was the argument of the hon. Gentleman opposite, and he wanted the world to understand the value of this species of declamation, if indeed he might give it even that term. Bad as he considered it, what was the value of that declamation? That this said six millions of people, whose happiness, whose Government, all that was dear to them, was derived from the good administration of their local affairs, were to be dependent upon the taste and judgment of a single individual. That was the whole and sole substance of the four long hours of dull declamation that they had been doomed to listen to. He wanted to know, if he were in the same situation as the people of Ireland, what he should think of any man coming into this House and desiring the whole 287 Commons of England to determine that he should be deprived of his municipal rights—rights that were requisite for his happiness and contentment through life—upon the assertion of the right hon. Recorder and learned Sergeant, that there was a learned Gentleman in this House who had indulged, the greater part of his life, in violent expressions, and given vent at various times to very contradictory opinions? Now, supposing that the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny had done what he (Mr. Roebuck) charged every political man that he had ever heard of, either in Ireland or England, with doing, that of never entirely and completely stating the whole of his intentions; for he made it a charge against political men generally that they were advocates, that they stated only one side of the question, and were constantly saying to-day what they meant to unsay to-morrow. He heard Gentlemen on the other side of the House cheer, as if they were free from the imputation. Good God! He could, if the time were fitting, go through the life of every political man that he saw upon that bench, and show that every one of them had been inconsistent with their own declarations. But supposing all this, and that the same charge was justly made against the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny, was it a valid argument to tell his constituents that he had endeavoured to persuade the Commons of England to deprive them of their political rights? Suppose, by way of illustration, the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, had ever changed his opinions, or that the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Cumberland, had changed his opinions, or that the noble Lord who had sat between these two right hon. Baronets had changed his opinions—suppose all these extraordinary things, would that, he asked, after having passed the Reform Bill, justify him in saying to the House of Commons, "Here are three distinguished men in the Government of the country, who have most distinctly said ay to-day and no tomorrow, and, therefore, I call upon you not to give to the people of England the power of governing themselves or their Municipal Corporations." He wanted to know what the people of England would say to that species of argument? He could not tell what the people of Ireland would think. It had been said to-night, by two learned Gentlemen on the other 288 side of the House, who represented as they declared, a large body of the Irish people, that the people of Ireland were unfit for Municipal Corporations. If they were unfit for Municipal Corporations, he could only say, that it was because they were so much like those two hon. and learned Gentlemen. But he wished to lay it down as a general rule, that the people of Ireland and the people of England, and the people of Scotland, were all equally worthy of the right and of the duty of self-government. And he charged the Gentlemen opposite, notwithstanding that Englishmen were worthy of self-government, Scotchmen were worthy of self-government, but that they knew their own countrymen so well, that, being Irishmen, they knew that the Irish people were not fitted to be intrusted with the rights and duties of citizens. The hon. and learned Sergeant had said, that this was the first time that that argument had been used, and that it was first stated by the noble Lord who opened this debate. Why, so far from that being the case, the very same argument was made the ground, and the only ground, of opposition to the measure of last year. It was most distinctly stated by the noble Lord, the Member for Lancashire. [Lord Stanley: I never stated anything of the kind.] He begged the noble Lord's pardon; he did not wish to impute to the noble Lord anything which he had not said, but, as far as his recollection went, he could assert that he had heard the noble Lord state distinctly in this House, that the people of Ireland were in that condition, that they were separated into parties by their peculiar religious feelings, that they could not be intrusted with municipal corporate rights. That was the whole tenor of the argumentation of the other side of the House. It was on that ground that they sought to cut down, to spoil and ruin, the measure in this House by piecemeal. They took that course in order to persuade his Majesty's Ministers; and in passing, he would state, that he thought his Majesty's Ministers were too easily persuaded by that side of the House to cut down that Bill, on the ground and understanding which was always put forward by them, that there were peculiarities in the Irish people that unfitted them for self-government. That was the fair way of stating the argument. Now he wished to call the attention of both sides of the House, more particularly 289 the attention of the liberal Members, to this fact, that the hon. Members opposite distinctly stated that the people of Ireland were not worthy of self-government. That was their principle. ["No no!" from the Opposition.] Ay, but it was so. He wished to state the naked truth, but even the naked truth of their own opinions was not agreeable to them. So apt were they to dress them up, that when they came in an unadorned shape before them they could not recognise them as their own. Now he would assert that the principle upon which he and those on his side of the House went was, that the people of Ireland were not distinguishable from the people of England or of Scotland, and that they were fitted for self-government. These principles were as light and darkness. As they approached nearer towards the one, so they receded from the other; and he intreated his Majesty's Ministers not to lend too easy an ear to the suggestions that might be brought forward by hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House, to militate against the great principle, which had been to-night recognised by the speech of the noble Lord. He must say, it had given him great pleasure to hear all those principles with which he commenced and ended his speech. But there was a lurking suspicion, a doubt, a hesitation in his mind that those wide and sometimes vague generalities were accompanied with a fatal tendency to listen to the suggestions coming from parties who on this question were wholly irreconcileable opponents, that attempts would be made to conciliate those who could not be conciliated, and that for the purpose of pleasing hon. Gentlemen opposite, the House would be called upon to cut down, alter, mutilate, ruin, and utterly destroy, the value of this Bill. He thought this had been too much the case last year; and he was sorry to hear that the noble Lord had not enlarged his Bill—that he had not embraced within it the whole of the Irish people, and so have gained, by one grand stroke, their hearts, their wishes, and their support, and had trusted to the good sense of England and of Scotland for maintaining him and his colleagues in that position in which they now stood, based as they then would have been upon a great and glorious principle of legislation. What he wanted them to do was, to carry out the great principle of self-government, and not to yield one jot to the Gentlemen 290 opposite, who declared that the people of Ireland were not worthy of self-government. If the Ministers must listen to suggestions, he would just hint that they should listen to the suggestions of their friends, and not of their enemies. He was, however, too well grounded by experience in stating this his hesitation and doubts, which he did openly. He feared there was too great a leaning on their part to listen to the suggestions from the opposite benches, while they turned a deaf ear and a cold shoulder to their friends. He begged to press it on their minds, if they wished to continue Ministers, that this great principle of theirs—namely, that the people were worthy of self-government—was their main stay and support, and that every step they made in carrying out that great and glorious principle of legislation was a step to ensure and strengthen their own power, and that every single inch which they yielded to false and dangerous suggestions, coming from the opposite bench, weakened their dominion, by destroying the confidence of the people in them. He wished them to understand, and he wished the people of England fairly to understand, that the two parties in the State were now at issue with respect to the whole Irish people upon the principle which distinguished that party to which the hon. Gentleman opposite belonged from what he would call the real democracy of England. The opposite party declared, that the people were not worthy of self-government; he as firmly declared that they were. They were at issue upon the question of Ireland—that, however, was but one great instance of the manifestations of the two contending principles. The Irish Municipal Corporations were the subject matter, but the principle of democracy was the thing that was really involved. Every suggestion, therefore, that came from the other side of the House would come only with a motive to destroy the people's political rights; every word of theirs ought to be listened to with caution. He would beg and in treat his Majesty's Ministers, if they were sincere in the many declarations they had made concerning the good government of Ireland, and concerning the good government of England, not in any way to abate one jot or one iota of the Bill now brought in. Let them enlarge it if they would, and make it what it ought to be; send it through that House; send it up to the 291 other; and then, if the noble Lord would [say that his Ministry was dependent upon the fate of that Bill, he was not fearful of the result. He, for one, would be a sanguine combatant in favour of that great principle. He was willing to fight the opponents of it foot to foot before the un- shrinking strength of the prudent, honest, generous people of England. To the people of England he would trust the issue of this grand and high debate; to them he would leave its ultimate determination, and certain he was, that the victory would be with the right—with those who were fighting- in that House for the real, right, clear, and definite rule, that the people of Great Britain and Ireland were worthy to be their own governors. Let no man say, that that was not the principle at issue; it might be covered over for the moment by the astute and learned ingenuity of others —it might be carped and cavilled at, but that was the real principle before them which the representatives of the people must decide.
§ Colonel Conolly
having moved the 13th resolution, at the meeting alluded to by the noble Lord opposite, felt himself bound to state his reasons for so doing. That meeting was assembled for the purpose of seeking redress by appeals to the proper powers, and the noble Lord in animadverting on the meeting, only stated what suited his own purposes. This was not generous in the noble Lord, who ought to have read the entire resolutions. The meeting of Protestants was called forth by the sense of injury, and their object was to petition for redress. That would be seen from the resolutions, and he was prepared to prove every assertion made in them. The meeting was called exclusive, but it was not so exclusive as the conduct of Ministers, who placed every engine of Government at the foot of the man whom they formerly reviled and derided. The abuse of patronage which had taken place could be proved in the case of Mr. Gibson, whose sole object appeared to be, to vitiate votes on one side. On the authority of a magistrate—["Name!"]—he would be prepared to give the name when a committee of investigation was granted; and, after the observations made by the noble Lord, Government were bound to grant a committee. On the authority of a magistrate, he could prove the scandalous partiality of Mr. Gibson, with respect to the patronage which had been complained of; 292 the case of Mr. Fogarty was another instance of the same headlong hurry in registering those who, by no distortion of the Act, would be entitled to a vote. The case of Mr. Reynolds also, was a very flagrant one. He was convicted the year before his second incarceration; and yet, on his liberation, he was found at the head of a mob, haranguing in Coburg Gardens. In defiance of the Judge who tried and sentenced him he was, however, discharged from Kilmainham prison, by the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, in a manner every way offensive to justice and law. With respect to M'Gahan's case, the facts were not dissimilar: indeed, like the last, they were very extraordinary. M'Gahan was tried for exciting tumult and riot, at the head of a mob of people, before a large bench of magistrates, at the quarter-sessions, and convicted. Sentence was passed on him accordingly, and he was committed to prison. But his brother memorialised the Lord-Lieutenant, and he was at once liberated by that nobleman. The course of law in Ireland was rendered ridiculous by such proceedings, which could not fail, in the long run, to be destructive of all order. The constitution of the magistracy was another subject, on which there was much to complain of the Irish Government. There was the case of Mr. Cassidy on record in proof of it. That Gentleman had headed a mob in resistance to the levy of a county cess in the Queen's County; for which he was convicted by the bench of magistrates. Yet he was one of those named by the Government to the magistracy. Lord de Vesey objected to the appointment of such a person so very strongly, that they were obliged to forego their intentions; but still that did not extenuate the charge against them; and when he was out of the way, Mr. Cassidy was placed on the bench. There was another case in the same county, of a similar character. A person named Dunn, who had violated the peace—who had, at the head of a large mob, threatened a Mr. Cooper, a magistrate—was, in despite of the remonstrances of Lord de Vesey, who objected to him on the grounds that he had to Mr. Cassidy, also appointed to the magistracy. These were things not to be lightly passed over. With respect to the great Protestant meeting in Dublin, in which he took part, he was ready to bear the blame, as well as to share the praise of it. It was called for by the situation of the country—it was well-timed 293 —and the power it had was clearly exhibited in the illiberal, intolerant, and ignorant protest entered against its proceedings. Those truly liberal Peers, who took part in it, and by so doing asserted the right of British subjects to petition for the redress of grievances, deserved well of the country, for calling the attention of the Legislature to the circumstances in which it was placed at that juncture-circumstances subversive of the peace, order, property, and stability of that portion of the empire.
§ Mr. O'Conor
deprecated the attacks on private character which had been so unsparingly indulged in during the debate on the question before the House. The hon. and gallant Member, who last spoke, had assailed the character of Mr. Gibson. Mr. Gibson was a private friend of his, and from his own knowledge of him, he should have no hesitation in saying, that the hon. and gallant Member must have been misinformed in what he stated respecting him. The hon. Member had also seemed to doubt the declaration of the noble Lord who spoke last, respecting the impossibility of procuring admission to the Protestant meeting in Dublin: but he had been informed, that no one was permitted to be present, unless he signed a document, purporting to be his adhesion or conformity with the principles to be there promulgated. With regard to the National Association, he felt bound to say, that he regretted its existence—but he regretted more the cause which had created it. That cause was, the denial of their just rights to the people of Ireland. In connexion with the fact of his becoming a member of it, he was free to say, that he did so because he knew the country was excited on the subject of that denial, and because he believed it would afford the only safe vent for the ebullition of the angry feelings of the people. They were charged with being agitators. The Tories were the great agitators. They withheld justice until it was extorted from them; and only yielded their rights to the people when they could no longer retain them. That was the case with Catholic Emancipation. In withholding that, until it was forced from them by the threatening combination of an entire people, they had shown them, that when they required redress, they should not stand on their right to it, but on their power to compel it: and that to obtain it they should appeal, not to their sense 294 of justice, but to their sense of danger. He would ask, now that Catholic Emancipation made all equal, why was an attempt made to impose the brand of degradation on the people of Ireland still? Why was the spirit of the penal code brought into operation, when its letter was effaced from the statute-book? Was it not in the spirit of the penal code to deny corporate reform to them? Was it anything else, indeed, but persecution? It might, he was aware, be said, that these institutions were founded for the extension and support of the Protestant religion, and that, therefore, they should be still maintained for the furtherance of that purpose; but had it extended itself under their influence—had it increased by their support? The returns of the population of both religious denominations proved the direct contrary; for the Catholics had, in many places, in I creased more than tenfold. But it was unjust to suppose that, even if they were for that purpose, that the Catholics would avail themselves of their reform, to the injury of Protestantism. When he saw all over Ireland, but especially in his own most Catholic district in that country, the men the Catholics had elected to serve in Parliament—an almost equal number being Protestants and Catholics—he could not avoid coming to the distinct conclusion that were they in possession of the minor rights of corporate election, they would employ them altogether as unobjectionably. For these reasons, he was of opinion, that corporate reform in Ireland should be granted without delay; and that no obstruction should be thrown in its course in either branch of the Legislature. With respect to the policy of the present Government towards Ireland, he could only join in echoing the testimony borne on his side of the House, to the zeal, firmness, temperance, and vigour with which the Lord-Lieutenant of that country discharged the arduous and important duties of his high office. His personal demeanour, and equitable administration, had contributed more to the tranquillity which Ireland now enjoyed, than could all the Coercion Bills which were ever passed.
§ Debate adjourned.