HC Deb 17 April 1839 vol 47 cc166-217

On the Order of the day being read for resuming the adjourned debate—

Mr. Barron

said, that if he had consulted his own personal feelings he should not have said one word on this question, but the duty which he owed his constituents prevented his being silent, and he should be guilty of a breach of duty, if he did not bear his testimony in favour of the policy of Lord Normanby in his government of Ireland. The policy of that noble Marquess had conduced materially to the improvement of Ireland, as he could prove from public documents, and from his own personal knowledge as a magistrate and landed proprietor. The country had progressed in manufactures, it had progressed in trade, it had progressed in commerce; and most undoubtedly the value of landed property had increased very much within the last seven years. He could prove this from documents and facts that defied contradiction. He could clearly prove in the words of the resolution of the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Home Department, that the administration of the law also had considerably improved, and that the general state of the country was one of progressive improvement. These were subjects capable of demonstration. He would ask men differing from him in political opinions, if this were not the case with his part of Ireland, concerning which only he could bear testimony as having come under his own observation? To commence with trade,—the several branches of trade had considerably improved within the last seven years, and were in a progressive state of improvement. In 1829 the declared value of the corn exported from Ireland was 2,300,000l., and in the year 1838 it amounted to 3,400,0001., showing an increase of 1,100,000l. since the year 1829. The imports in tea had increased a fourth since the year 1829, and the imports in coffee had increased threefold within the same period, showing beyond all doubt that there was an improvement in the condition of the people of Ireland; there was likewise double the quantity of coals imported into Ireland now that were imported in 1829. He should not have thought it necessary to have made these comparisons, and to have brought them before the House, if there had not been sweeping declarations made in that House that Ireland was in a progressive state of crime, and that neither life nor property were safe there. As to manufactures, in one branch at least, there had been an enormous increase—in fact it had become a new trade, and raised since 1829—he meant the manufacture of flour. In 1829 there were but few mills in Ireland for the manufacture of that article; now, he believed, there was scarcely one river in that country capable of having a mill erected upon it, and capable of any outlet for commerce, which had not from one to twenty of such mills upon it, in some 20,000l., in others 30,000l., in others 40,000l., being embarked in the manufacture which was daily on the increase. He would ask, were men so blind to their own interest—were they so foolish and so ignorant as to erect those mills, and invest such large properties in them, if they, at the same time, could have the remotest idea that life and property were insecure in Ireland? These were facts that must stamp the character of falsehood on the assertions which had been made in another place. Even English capitalists and Scotch capitalists were at this very moment investing their money in Ireland in the erection and working of these mills, and in other branches of manufacture there. A large addition had been made also to the cotton trade in Ireland, and many new mills had been erected, especially in his own part of the country, for increasing that trade of late, and employment was given in them to large numbers of the working people, and be believed them to be very profitable undertakings. Likewise, in his own part, and he believed in many other parts of Ireland, an entirely new trade had been created in the manufacture of beer and porter, which had become an export trade of great importance. In 1829, he believed there were not more than 100 hogsheads of porter exported from Waterford, whereas now there were upwards of 3,000 hogsheads exported annually, and that export was still increasing. The glass trade and the working of mines had greatly increased since 1829, and they were still very much improving. Other minor branches of trade had sprung up by which capital was circulated, and the poor employed. These were facts affording a triumphant answer to the statement that there was no security in Ireland. He asserted boldly, that life and property were now more secure in Ireland, than they ever had been within the memory of man. And the best proof of that was, that the condition of the people was daily improving, that capital was being circulated more and more in every direction, that trade was flourishing, and that the land brought now better prices, and higher rents than it had done for the last forty years. ["Hear, hear."] The hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Robert Bateson) called "Hear, hear," but he should be able to prove the statement he had made. The Earl of Enniskillen had an estate near the city of Waterford, and he sold a large tract of land there in small lots. It certainly was known, that the leases were granted to the tenants at considerably under their value, because that noble Earl was one of the best landlords Ireland ever had. Those portions of land when sold by the noble Earl fetched twenty years purchase. The same land, in similar lots, was sold in 1831, 1835, and 1836, when it fetched twenty-three years purchase. The average price of estates in the county of Waterford was twenty years' purchase. An estate there was, in 1816, sold to a near relative of his own, for seventeen years' purchase; and in 1837 the same estate was sold, under precisely similar circumstances, for twenty-five years' purchase. A portion of it indeed was sold for thirty years' purchase. An estate belonging to a relative of his, was sold, under a decree of the Courts in Dublin, within the last twelve months, by public auction for upwards of twenty-four years' purchase although the same land was valued in 1819, at twenty 'years' purchase. He had thus shown in four different instances, that the value of property had increased in the county of Waterford of late years to from three to seven years' purchase, and was this not an evident proof that the landed proprietors and capitalists of Ireland were satisfied that life and property were secure in that country? He would now come to the question of the administration of the law, and he thought it right to state that he himself was a witness of a portion of the progress of the Lord-lieutenant when he visited the gaols in Ireland. He accompanied him to the county gaol and city gaol of Waterford. On those occasions the Lord-lieutenant was also accompanied by the high sheriff, by the other magistrates, by the gaol committee, by the gaol chaplains, by the gaolers, and by other persons interested in those institutions; and there was not a single case gone into upon which each of those individuals was not consulted by the Lord-lieutenant. The hon. Baronet opposite (Sir R. Bateson) smiled at this statement; but he could tell that hon. Baronet that that smile would neither be considered as an answer to his statement of facts which he made from his own knowledge, nor one which the country would regard as becoming him. The Lord-lieutenant, likewise, consulted every gentleman whom he thought he could obtain any information from, whether he was Whig or Tory, as to the state of the country, and he knew that all the information which he received, both as regarded the counties of Waterford and Kilkenny, was, that they had considerably improved since he had succeeded to the Government of Ireland, and it was not till that assurance was given to him that a single prisoner was released. Nor was there a single prisoner released who had been guilty of any but some petty offence, or some green-wax process; nor a prisoner who had been guilty of insurrection or homicide had been discharged. Nothing could be more easy than to make sweeping denunciations against the Lord-lieutenant, and to say that he had gone on general gaol delivery tours, but those were the mere workings of the imaginations of his enemies, and of those who were jealous of a Whig Lord-lieutenant, because of his amiable disposition and his strict adherence to the administration of justice. He was not one who thought it necessary for the strict administration of justice to hold that every petty offence should be considered as an aggravated case. The Lord-lieutenant administered justice with a sound discretion, and that had this admirable effect, that it gave the people a confidence in the Government; it gave them a confidence in the administration of the law. They did not see the homicide released—they did not see the assassin released, but they saw some miserable individuals released who had been confined for some petty offences, and sent home to support their families by the sweat of their brow. Well would it have been for Ireland if other Lords-lieutenant had acted on this principle before. From the manner in which the law had been administered before, the Irish people were never made to know it but to fear it, to dread it, to hate it. They were not led to consider that it was made for their good but for their punishment; but when Lord Normanby assumed the office of Lord-lieutenant they were made to feel that the law was equal for the rich and for the poor, and that in the due administration of the law there was clemency and kindness mixed up with justice. It was said that crime had been countenanced, and that it had increased in Ireland. Why, the returns on the table would show that there was more energy and activity on the part of the magistracy and police than at any former period. That was why the committals had increased by one-sixth, and the convictions had increased in nearly a similar proportion. In the two counties with which he was connected, Kilkenny and Waterford, crime had been very considerably diminished. The former county, when Lord Normanby came to Ireland, was in a very disturbed state, but at the present moment there was not in the empire, whether Middlesex, York, or Devonshire, a more peaceable or tranquil county than Kilkenny. Why, neither himself nor any other gentleman resident in it, would think of barring their doors before the regular hour of retiring to rest, at twelve or one o'clock at night, any more than lie would think of barring the door of the House of Commons, when the Members were coming in. Again, with respect to Waterford, with which he was intimately connected, they bad manufactories and mines and mills at work, carried on and worked by English and Irish capital, and the utmost tranquillity prevailed there. He admitted that a murder had taken place in that county about a year and a half ago, but it was connected with what had unfortunately given rise to many outrages in Ireland, a dispute about land. But the Government had nothing to do with that atrocious act. A reward was offered by the Government, and the criminal was apprehended and hanged. That was merely a proof of the efficient manner in which justice was administered in Ire. land under Lord Nornianby's administration. Again, in the county of Tipperary, a gentleman named Cooper was murdered under similar circumstances; but that, any more than the other murder, could not be fairly charged against the Government. The people were reviled, and oppressed, and treated with the utmost cruelty. They were called wretches and maniacs, and their crimes, which originated in the "wild justice of revenge," were brought forward most prominently, while they were treated like slaves, and worse than the blacks in the West Indies. The dispossession of tenants had occasioned much of this evil, and noble Lords and the relatives of hon. Members of that House had taken a prominent part in these proceedings. He knew an instance in which 1,200 individuals were turned out of their homes, and the town almost razed to the ground. If the House required it, or if the facts which he stated were disputed, he could name the parties. If Ireland was in a disturbed state, it was owing to the Government of the Tory faction for a period of 150 years. No people could be ruled more easily than the people of Ireland. Let them be only treated with kindness—let them be only educated and employed. [Hear, hear!] Hon. Members on the other side cried, "Hear, hear," but they voted against the measures which would confer these advantages on the Irish people —they kept the "word of promise to the ear, but broke it to the hope." When the Duke of Richmond was Lord-lieutenant of Ireland, and when the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, was his Secretary, the standing toast at the viceregal table was a standing insult to the Catholics of Ireland. Was it not well-known, that the "glorious, pious, and immortal memory" was the standing toast? Had they, during their long dominion, appointed a single Roman Catholic to any place of trust, or power, or emolument? Not one; and yet they had ventured to assert, that they were ready to do equal justice to all parties in Ireland. How could any party have confidence in men who were not even true to themselves? They had refused to admit the Roman Catholics to seats in the Legislature. They had declared their readiness to resign office rather than consent to such a measure; and yet the same party had brought in a Catholic Relief Bill, greater in extent than any Whig Government had dared to propose. Neither party could place any confidence in them, because they knew that political expediency, and not public principle was the rule of their conduct. As to the question of finality, of which the noble Lord had so often talked, he considered there was nothing so absurd as to speak of finality and the English constitution. What, he would ask, was that House for, or the House of Lords, but for the purpose of remedying abuse. He would not now enter at large into this question, but he thought it his duty to protest against such an absurd doctrine as the finality of reform. He was not for having new constitutions every five or seven years, but when he saw great abuses existing for a series of years, he felt bound to say, it was the duty of every honest man to try to remedy them. He was for moderate, timely, and constitutional reform, such as would tend to the good of the people. He believed, that the House would for ever blight the interests of the people of Ireland if they rejected the resolution proposed by the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, because then they would have Lord Roden and his allies governing Ireland. No doubt that the court of Russia would rejoice if that resolution were rejected. No doubt, if such a course were adopted, the camp of Don Carlos would rejoice with vivas—and every despot in Europe would rejoice, but unhappy Ireland would be led over to anarchy and confusion; property would be destroyed, and all good landlords, like the Duke of Leinster, would leave in disgust, and those who remained would exclaim— Væ victis et væ victoribus.

Lord Ingestre

asked the hon. Member if he had alluded to a noble relative of his, as having ejected his tenantry.

Mr. Barron

said, he certainly had alluded to him. He had alluded distinctly to what had taken place on the property of the Marquess of Waterford. In the county of Waterford, there were on the estate of the Marquess of Waterford, since the election of 1826 up to 1839, and some within the last six months, upwards of 1,200 individuals turned out of their houses.

Lord Ingestre

observed, that as to the numbers he knew nothing; but of this he had knowledge—that the tenants had been ejected with their own concurrence. Perhaps he had used a wrong expression; but this he was right in saying, that they had left their cabins with their own consent. A great proportion of the tenantry were in the immediate neighbourhood of the noble Lord's demesne—the cabins were all outside the demesne; and it was thought right, for the improvement of the estate, that part of the lands should be brought into the demesne. What then was done? The tenants occupied huts—most miserable huts—huts of the most miserable description. They were given up all arrears of rent, and they were fully satisfied in every particular, and he could shew, that they assisted in pulling down their own houses, and in no one instance was there a complaint made of the noble Lord himself, or of his agent. He thought, that if an hon. Member made charges of this description, he ought first to make himself cognizant of the facts. He was perfectly ready to join issue with the hon. Member as to these facts. When he saw the hon. Gentleman get up, he thought it not unlikely he might make some such statement, and therefore he was ready to join issue with him. Again he said he was ready to go into the whole of the facts.

Mr. Barron

believed, that the House would agree with him that he had not mentioned the name of the noble Lord until pressed to do so. He had stated facts which he knew. His property adjoined the property of the noble Lord, and some of the wretched tenantry of the noble Lord were literally dependent upon the charity of some of his own tenants. Some of the tenants, too, who had been ejected were living seven miles from the demesne of the noble Lord. The greater portion of those ejected were distant from the demesne, and were to be found in the town of Kilmacthomas.

Mr. Villiers Stuart

thought it but fair to say, that he was not aware of the circumstances referred to by his hon. Friend. He sincerely hoped that the statement was exaggerated.

Mr. Barron

replied, that there was not the slightest exaggeration in the statement. He had the names of all the parties, and could produce them. His hon. Friend did not know of the circumstances, because when they occurred he was with his regiment.

Sir B. Bateson

denied that the Conservative party hated clemency, as had been stated. The hon. Member (Mr. Barron) had called on them not to hate one another, a sentiment in which he most cordially joined. The hon. Member had begun by alluding to the increase of vested capital in Ireland. There could be no doubt that Ireland had rapidly improved within the last twenty years. But he was astonished to hear the hon. Gentleman quote the high rents as a criterion of the prosperity of the country, when the next moment he said the people were absolutely starving because of the high rents. The hon. Member stated, that the agrarian disturbances were caused by the landlords. Now, he could only speak of those landlords with whom he was acquainted, and of that part of Ireland where he resided. In that part of Ireland, he must, on the part of the landlords generally, deny the accusation. It was a foul calumny on that portion of Ireland with which he was acquainted. He knew the majority of those landlords personally; they were good landlords, and actuated by a wish for the improvement and happiness of those under them as much as any landlords anywhere else. As a proof of that, and of the confidence generally felt in the landlords of the northern counties, whenever a farm was at liberty, there was great competition to obtain possession of it. It was the custom both of the Government and others in that House to charge the landlords of Ireland with being the cause of the disturbances which prevailed there. It was the duty of the noble Lord who had made such charges, and of the hon. Member who had just sat down, to state where those landlords resided; and he called on the noble Lord, and some hon. Members on the other side of the House to state the counties where those landlords resided who conducted themselves in such a shameful manner as had been described—a manner, respecting which the hon. Member had just said that the House could not be surprised at the people resorting to "the wild justice of revenge." The hon. Member had, in an indirect manner, justified murder, and expressed no surprise at that crime being committed. The hon. Member, in his opinion, was bound in justice to himself and to that body whom he had so grossly calumniated, to say where those monsters resided. He recollected a similar phrase being used in those vehicles of public information which they were all in the habit of reading with regard to Lord Oxmantown, "that if he were allowed to live, it was a proof that revenge and murder, were not followed up in Ireland, as was supposed." The hon. Member had also taunted the Members on the Opposition side of the House with being opposed to the spread of education and the establishment of railroads. The plan brought into that House for the construction of railroads in Ireland, was a plan for the employment of only a portion of the people; and with regard to the manner in which it had been brought in, it was, to use an Irish phrase, "a job, and bottomed in jobbing." The Government had not acted with good faith towards the promoters of the Ulster line of railway. Had they given their support to such a spirited plan as that, whether it went to the north, or the east, or the west, it would have been productive of much good to the country. He must, therefore, retaliate on the hon. Member the charge that Members on his side had objected to means of employing the people, when they only objected to what they felt to be a job. As to the charge of being opposed to education of the people, he must strongly deny that there was any ground for it. He mid those hon. Friends with whom he acted, were friendly to the principle of education for all classes, but the real opposition to education was by those who would consent to only one plan, which was now admitted by themselves to be a complete failure, as well with respect to Catholics as to Protestants. That plan Dr. M'Hale had declared that he could not countenance. As to the drinking the toast of "The glorious, pious, and immortal memory, of William 3rd," he was not aware that it was particularly objected to by Catholics—certainly Whigs, if there were any of the old school left, would not object to drink it. He had heard that the toast had been drunk by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin in a glass of the Boyne water. From the arguments of some hon. Members opposite, it would seem as if Protestants and Orangemen were synonymous in Ireland. That, however, was not the case. He had never been an Orangeman or a member of any secret society, and he hoped he never should; but if Government were to pursue the course which it had of late years adopted, if it attended to the suggestions of some hon. Members opposite, it might be that Protestants would be obliged to become Orangemen. Though not himself an Orangeman, he must say, in justice to those who had been so, that they had been unfairly dealt with. They had readily attended to and obeyed the call of their Sovereign, and had dissolved themselves, but the compact on which that dissolution had taken place had been broken with them. It was stated at the time by the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Home Department, that if the Orange Societies should be dissolved, all others of a similar kind should be put down, but since then they had seen Ribandmen, General Asso- ciations, and Precursor societies not only not put down, but tolerated, while the Orangemen were exposed to insult and degradation. Troops were sent down to the north to prevent Orange processions, which were never intended. The Orangemen were sincerely loyal—no man ever disputed that they were so, yet they were treated as if they were rebels or disloyal, while the opposite party were allowed to have processions on Patrick's-day, with green flags and white scarfs, and no force was sent to put them down. In a word, the Orangemen were not treated with evenhanded justice. It was said that Orangemen had kept aloof from the late Lord-lieutenant, and never attended his levees. They had done so because they saw that on his arrival in Ireland he threw himself into the hands of a party. He had seen a procession accompanying the noble Lord with green flags and banners, one of which bore the harp above the crown, and the band playing what were considered party tunes. It was said that Lord Haddington had united himself to the Orange party, and the proof given was, that he had allowed an Orange scarf to be held over the box in which he sat at the theatre, but the noble Lord could not be charged with that act. He had nothing to do with it. Another reason why the Orange party did not go to Lord Normanby's levees was, that those who had set up agitation against tithes and against the Established Church of Ireland had been countenanced by him. He most readily admitted that in private life no man was more estimable than Lord Normanby. His objections to him as Lord-lieutenant were on public grounds. He might say the same as to the estimation in which the private character of Lord Fortes-cue was deservedly held, but from his public professions with regard to the Established Church, he must say, that the appointment of that noble Lord was calculated to do great injury to the Church of England in Ireland, that it was therefore a dangerous appointment, and that it would be looked upon with jealousy and suspicion on the one part, while, of course, it would be regarded with favour by that party who now sought to rule Ireland. Allusion had been made to the care taken in making inquiries by the late Lord-lieutenant before liberating parties under sentence. As that subject bad been fully discussed on a former evening by an hon. and learned Friend of his, he would not go further into it than to say that, however well meant, that mode of liberation from prison was not quite constitutional. The policy which dictated it was what he might call a priestly policy, and he believed that the recommendation of a Roman Catholic bishop or priest for the remission of a sentence would have had more weight with the Irish Government under Lord Normanby than that of a whole grand jury. He would mention one case which occurred early in 1835. Some Protestants and Catholics had been tried in the north, and were sentenced—the Catholics to nine months, and the Protestants to six months' imprisonment. When the Catholics had suffered six months' confinement they were discharged. He had on that occasion inquired the ground of this remission, and he was told by a noble Lord (Morpeth) that the jury who tried the men had sent in a general recommendation of it. On his return to the city of Derry, he was much surprised to learn that nine at least out of the twelve jurymen were ready to declare on oath, if required, that they had joined in no such recommendation; and the judge who had tried the men had told him that no communication had been made to him on the subject. This was in 1835, and it showed that Lord Mulgrave had begun his liberating policy very early, With respect to what bad been said of the personal differences between Protestants and Catholics, he must own that he deeply lamented their existence, and he fully concurred in the wish expressed by an hon. Member last night, that both parties would forget their feuds and unite in common for the general good of their country. It had been said, and he believed it, that this difference had existed most in the southern and western parts of Ireland. If hon. Members would go to the north, they would find a different state of things. They would see Protestant and Catholic living in a state of cordial union and harmony. It was, however, the bane of many parts of Ireland that agitation should be carried on to a vast extent for sordid or worse purposes, by which easy and good-natured feelings were worked upon. Men suffering from great poverty were easily roused to excitement and prevented from returning to habits of industry. The authors of this agitation were responsible for the violence and bloodshed which they had caused. Let him tell them, that if, instead of taking that wicked course, they, without distinction of Catholic or Protestant, Whig or Tory, impressed upon the people the observance of their duties to God and man, they would very soon im- prove their moral feeling, and if to this were added, a lowering of rack-rents by landlords, there would soon be a most desirable change in the social condition of large bodies of the now impoverished peasantry of that country. From what he knew of the north of Ireland, where there was great prosperity, he could say it was owing to the people not being rackrented, and to there being a better feeling between the Protestants and the Roman Catholics. It was the system of agitation that had been pursued which had given rise to the violence, outrage, and murders that had taken place in Ireland. The Roman Catholic clergy, too, had enormous power by means of the confessional and absolution, and until they set their faces against crime, and took a vigorous part in detecting offenders against the laws, be should despair of seeing peace in Ireland, or that the peasantry would be different from what they were now. With respect to the different appointments which had been made by Lord Normanby, the Protestants of Ireland did complain of the noble Lord's having shown great partiality. It had been asked, where during Lord Haddington's, government were the Roman Catholics? but he would say, where during Lord Normanby's administration were the Protestants? Certain persons had been sent by a kind of bargain to different towns, to officiate as revising barristers; and stipendiary magistrates had been chosen from amongst those who professed ultra-political principles; he might name Mr. Duff, Mr. Hancock, and Mr. Gore Jones; whilst on the other hand the Protestants and persons of Conservative principles had been removed from their offices. He cared not what Government they had in Ireland, whether it was Whig or Tory, so long as they acted impartially, and duly administered the laws of the country; and if the Government there were straightforward, and acted with justice and firmness, it would be respected by all classes, and be a source of great happiness to the kingdom.

Mr. Grote

said, Sir, the House has heard, both yesterday and to-day, many speeches from Irish Gentlemen on both sides of the House, who naturally take a warm interest ill the present debate, and who have entered very largely into the detail of Irish administration. I trust the House will not impute it to any want of interest in the welfare of Ireland, if I decline to follow them through those various statements. I will only say, that the narra- tives and the comments which I have heard from Irish Members on both sides of the House, impress me with a deep feeling of the obligation incumbent upon us as legislators to apply our most watchful solicitude to the many causes of misery which contribute to disturb the peace of that country, and also with a painful conviction that our duties in that respect have been most defectively performed. Sir, the question now before the House, if we consider it according to the mere terms of the noble Lord's resolution, appears to be confined exclusively to the administration of the executive government in Ireland. The resolution expresses an opinion as to the course of Irish executive administration during recent years, and as to the propriety of conducting the future administration of that country on the same principles which had been adopted by the Marquess of Normanby during his vice-royalty; it expresses nothing more, nor does it either condemn or approve any other branch of the Ministerial policy. If, Sir, the real issue now about to be decided were strictly circumscribed within the terms of the question, and involved nothing beyond, I should have had no hesitation as to my vote, nor should I have thought it necessary to trouble the House on a subject with the details of which other Gentlemen are much better acquainted than I am. I approve of the principles upon which the Irish executive government, under the Marquess of Normanby, has been conducted; I have expressed that approbation publicly on former occasions, and I am not reluctant to repeat it again at any suitable moment, whenever the matter is put in issue by itself and on its own ground. I believe that the Irish administration under the Marquess of Normanby, has been in its general features equitable and comprehensive towards all parties, and at the same time conciliatory to the feelings of the Catholic majority of the population, in a degree superior to any administration which preceded it. But I cannot conceal from myself, Sir, that the question of Irish executive government is not on this occasion really put in issue by itself and on its own ground. I cannot conceal from myself that there lies wrapped up in the literal and primary sense of this resolution another question, indirect indeed and collateral, but still of serious importance. We are told that the vote of the House of Lords, naming a committee to inquire into the executive government of Lord Normanby in Ireland, was tantamount to a censure of the ministry; the present vote, invoked by the Ministers themselves, is intended as a formal contradiction and counterpoise to the vote of the House of Lords—it is intended as the negation of a vote of censure, and therefore unavoidably as a vote implying more or less of general approbation and confidence. And I do not doubt that, as this motion is made with a view of determining the continuance of the Ministry, so on the morning after the division all their partisans will point to the number of the majority, and cry aloud—"Look what an evidence is hem afforded of the lofty estimation in which the ministry of Lord Melbourne is held by the House of Commons and by the country!" Aware as I am of the construction which will be put upon this vote, it has been with me a matter of much consideration whether I could with propriety take any part in it. On the whole, I have come to the conclusion, that agreeing as I do in the terms and special import of the resolution before us, it is my duty to give my vote in its favour. But I certainly shall not do so without explaining what my vote is intended to imply, and without guarding myself against those collateral inferences which persons might naturally be inclined to deduce from a silent support of this resolution. My vote on the present occasion goes no farther than the express and literal terms of the resolution proposed by the noble Lord. I intend to signify approbation of the principles upon which the executive government in Ireland has been conducted, and I intend nothing more. Others will connect with the expression of this opinion, a feeling of esteem for, and concurrence in, the general policy of the present Government. I entertain no such feeling, nor is my vote meant to denote it. Others may include among the reasons of their vote a desire to maintain Lord Melbourne's government in office: I harbour no such desire—I have no belief that their continuance in office is any benefit to the nation, nor would I concur in a vote for that purpose if it were separately and specifically proposed. I vote in favour of this resolution, just as I should vote in favour of a resolution approving of the policy by which the Catholic Emancipation Act, of 1829, was dictated, without intending thereby either to express or imply any concurrence with the general policy and views of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, by whom that act was passed. What ever Ministry may be destined to hold the reins of government, I desire to see the principles of an Irish executive, which I believe to have been good and liberal, still maintained and persevered in. In the case before us it is that good and liberal Irish executive which has been attacked; and a record of opinion from the House of Commons to vindicate and sustain it can hardly be otherwise than beneficial. But, Sir, the praise of the House of Commons will only be beneficial when it is strictly and scrupulously confined to that which deserves praise. On any other terms it will do more harm than good. I am willing to vote an approval of the Irish executive administration of Lord Normanby; but I will not do so without declaring that I consider that administration as standing out in remarkable contrast to the general course of proceedings of her Majesty's Ministers, and without disclaiming all sympathy with the Conservative spirit which marks their remaining policy. The Irish executive administration is in truth almost the only remnant of Liberalism which now distinguishes them from the Gentlemen opposite; and for this reason it has been most abundantly attacked. It must, indeed, be admitted that the right hon. Member for Tamworth, and the more liberal Members of his party— I would advert especially to the speech of the hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Lascelles)—did not join in the censure on Lord Normanby, except to a certain very qualified extent and on special grounds. But what is the reason that Lord Normanby has been selected for the special object of this as well as of so many attacks from other Tory gentlemen, and that the Fabian tactics imposed by the ascendancy of the right hon. Baronet, right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, upon the ardent spirits of his party, have been on this occasion broken through? What is the reason that the noble Lord, the Home Secretary, has found himself under the necessity of provoking a substantive declaration of opinion from the House in defence of the Irish executive policy—a step so remarkable and so little sanctioned by precedent? Sir, it is precisely because the Irish executive policy of that government be Lord Melbourne or has been really and truly conducted upon equitable, comprehensive, and liberal principles; because Lord Normanby has not sought to conciliate political opponents at the expense of those public hopes arid expectations on the part of the Irish people, which accompanied his first appointment to office. It is this which has drawn upon him so many peculiar and acrimonious attacks; it is this which now induces me to concur in a vote for his defence. Sir, the hon. Member for Waterford has adjured us this evening not to upset the coach; but even he has expressed an opinion not very far removed from mine, as to any expectations to be entertained from the existing Ministry. As to any reforms, administrative or legislative, I am driven to the persuasion that our chance of obtaining efficient measures conceived in the spirit of improvement, is no way greater under the present Government than it would be under the government of the right hon. Baronet opposite; and I believe this persuasion now pervades a very large proportion of those who sincerely desire a steady course of political progression and reform. For, what is the doctrine of finality, the doctrine that no alteration is to be made in any one of the essential principles or features of the Reform Act, which has been so often preached from the Treasury bench, except a negative of all advance—the Conservative principle announced in all its plenitude and in all its rigour? It can be no secret to any man that, under the present state of the representative system, we shall obtain no reforms, either administrative or legislative, except such as it pleases the right bon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, to consent to and sanction. We have the Conservative principle predominant at present, with the full choice and concurrence of Lord Melbourne's government, who unite with the Gentlemen opposite in maintaining the finality of the Reform Act. Assuredly the Conservative principle could not be more predominant than it is now, if the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, were Prime Minister, with all the difficulties and responsibilities of office on his shoulders. For my part, Sir, I am opposed to a Conservative and a finality government by whomsoever it may be carried on; but, if the country is fated to experience the misfortune of having a government conducted on such principles, it is to me a matter of perfect indifference whether the Premier of that government be Lord Melbourne or the right hon. Member for Tamworth. It would, indeed, be gratifying to me to see an efficient Liberal Ministry at the helm; but, if that be forbidden, the next best condition is to have an efficient Liberal opposition. At the present moment, for the first time in modern English history, we have neither a Liberal Ministry nor a Liberal Opposition. We have a Ministry which, having once professed liberal principles, now neither manifest the will nor possess the power to accomplish anything but Conservative purposes; we have a very powerful opposition, which both now is, and always have been, consistently Conservative. The patronage and emoluments of Government are, indeed, distributed among those who are called Liberals, but the real ascendent and influential principle in government is that of the Conservative body, Whig as well as Tory. How long this inglorious and unpromising state of our political world may be destined to last I do not know, but of this I am quite sure, that no new combination of parties, let it be of what character it may, can be more adverse than the present to the success of liberal principles, and to the attainment of progressive reform throughout our institutions. Sir, I could have been well pleased to be spared the necessity of making this explanation, feeling, as I do, that it will not be in unison with the sentiments of either of the two leading parties in this House. But as I shall, on the present occasion, find myself in the same division with many Gentlemen who connect with their vote wishes and inclinations totally different from mine, I have thought it an indispensable obligation to define exactly what my vote is intended to express. I shall vote for the resolution in approbation of Lord Normanby's executive administration in Ireland, believing sincerely, that it deserves esteem and imitation, and that it has worked beneficially for the Irish people. I shall also vote in favour of the addition about to be proposed by the hon. Member for Finsbury, under the equally sincere belief that no government can do its duty to the people at large, English as well as Irish, except through those farther amendments in the representative system to which this additional sentence refers.

Mr. Gibson

said, that the hon. Member had made some allusion in the course of his speech to certain tactics which he supposed to have taken place amongst the Conservative party on the subject of the present discussion. He begged to say, that as far as he was concerned he knew of no such tactics, and that if anything of the kind had been notified to him he should have disregarded it, and acted solely upon his own views and discretion. He could assure the hon. Gentleman that he would never permit himself to be made a mere voting machine. He would beg, therefore, to say a few words in reference to the speech of the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, on the first evening of this debate. With many points in that speech he fully concurred, and particularly in the propriety of the right hon. Baronet's declaration, that if he were again at the head of the Government of Ireland, he would consider religious opinions neither as a qualification or disqualification to office. It had been asserted that if the right hon. Baronet came into office, he would not zealously endeavour to carry out the principle and intention of the Catholic Emancipation Act. He however, believed that the right hon. Baronet would sincerely and conscientiously endeavour to do so. But at the same time, he wished that he had not made the observations which he had done in justification of preferring men of his own party for appointment to offices. He could have wished that the right hon. Baronet had said that he would only be guided in his appointments by the merits and ability of the parties. He knew it would be difficult to adhere strictly to this principle, but he must say, as a general rule, he was decidedly against the doctrine of government by patronage. The right bon. Baronet had also referred to certain associations, which he considered to be entirely unconstitutional, and which he condemned on that account. Now, he thought that this was a delicate question to touch upon, seeing, that whether the object were to pass a beer bill, or to raise the Catholic or the Protestant party to an ascendancy, all was brought about by means of associations. They were a very powerful ingredient in the working of the social community, and it was a question with him how far it would be right to put persons who belonged to such associations, not strictly illegal, under ban or disqualification. He was glad to hear the right hon. Baronet say he should discourage party demonstrations and processions. He entirely concurred in the propriety and necessity of so doing, and all he could say further was, that he hoped all associations and other bodies of whatever denomination or party, would take what had been declared by the right hon. Baronet to themselves. He hoped that the Protestant Association, which had advertised a meeting at Exeter Hall, for the purpose of hearing the reverend Mr. O' Sullivan and the reverend Mr. Magee declaim on the immoralities of the Catholic priesthood, would bear in mind that the Conservative leader in that House had most positively denounced such proceedings. Having said thus much in reference to the speech of the right hon. Baronet, he would now beg to say a few words in explanation of the course which he was about to take in reference to the question before the House. He understood the amendment of the right hon. Baronet to involve, not the at question whether they should approve of the policy exercised of late years in the Government of Ireland, but how far the Government might come forward on an occasion like the present, to ask the House for an expression of approval or disapproval of that policy. Now, as to the right of her Majesty's Ministers to ask for the opinion of the House of Commons on this part of its conduct, a great deal in his mind, would depend upon the question whether or not the vote recently come to by the House of Lords, was a vote of censure or not. If it was a vote of censure, he thought the Ministers had that right, and that it was due to their feeling of self-respect to come to this House immediately, and ask it how far it considered them entitled to its confidence. As to waiting for the result of the judicial inquiry instituted by the House of Lords in this matter, he as a Member of the House of Commons, did not see that he was entitled to be called upon to wait for the opinion of another assembly upon any question whatever. He considered himself, as a Member of the House of Commons, fully competent to give his opinion, and he would do so without reference to the opinion or proceedings of any other body. Then, with respect to the question whether the vote of the House of Lords involved a censure upon the ministry. A great deal of difference of opinion seemed to be entertained upon this point. The right hon. Baronet denied, that it was a vote of censure. The hon. Member for Wakefield said, it went a great way towards it. The hon. Member for Wiltshire said, it was an implied censure; and a noble Lord had said, it was a primâ facie censure. An illustrious Duke in another place had said it was not a vote of censure. The Ministers, however, all said it was a vote of censure; and as for himself, as his experience in Parliamentary proceedings was not sufficient to enable him to say whether or not it was a vote of censure, he should, therefore give no vote at all on the preliminary question. He should adopt this course because he wished not to prejudice the right of the Ministry to appeal to the House if it thought proper. It might be that they had been too sensitive in taking to themselves a vote of censure; but, at the same time, he must say that his own impression was, that they would not have done right, after the vote of the House of Lords, if they had not come down to this House to ask its opinion on the subject.

Sir E. L. Bulmer

thought, looking at the party with whom the vote of the House of Lords had originated, that there could be no doubt that it was intended as a vote of censure; and under such circumstances, he thought the Ministry against whom it was directed, could not do otherwise than come down to the House of Commons for an expression of its approval and confidence. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Peel) had laid down the proposition that it was not proper to submit abstract resolutions, unless on a great emergency, or under peculiar circumstances. That was the right hon. Gentleman's general axiom; but he must say, that he could not conceive any circumstances more peculiar than the appointment of a committee by the House of Lords, which arrogated to itself a constitutional prerogative of the Sovereign; nor any emergency greater than the consideration of the whole policy pursued by her Majesty's Government towards a third part of the empire. The right hon. Gentleman had argued that the Government was not justified in calling for a partial vote of approbation on a particular branch of their policy. The answer to this argument was short and obvious—because one particular branch of their policy only had been called in question. The right hon. Gentleman asserted, too, that there was no ground of difference on legislative measures between the Government and the House of Lords, and that he did not see why the executive policy should be made the subject of a distinct vote of approval. Why, the plain cause of the Government's proceeding was, that though they did not feel themselves called upon to defend those I legislative measures which had been too often curtailed of their best provisions by those opposed to them, the executive government was at all events under their immediate and exclusive control, and that they could not consent to be made tributary to the views of the House of Lords. The right hon. Gentleman was very sarcastic on Lord Glenelg; but the right hon. Gentleman's manner neither suited the gravity of the subject, nor was it in keeping with his high reputation as a statesman; if the conduct of the ministry in Lord Glenelg's case was a fair subject for the right hon. Gentleman's praise, he knew not by what shifting of the cup and ball of rhetorical phraseology he objected to precisely the same course in the case of Lord Normanby, when his colleagues came down and said, "We claim our share in his faults and merits, and by them we are ready to stand and fall." The right hon. Baronet said, in resisting the resolution of his noble Friend the Member for Stroud, "We are not justified in a declaration of opinion without inquiry." This appeared to him a cutting commentary on the proceedings of the House of Lords, where "the uncertainty of life and property" had been assumed without any previous inquiry whatever. A motion had been made on the 14th of March for the production of papers; and on the 21st a committee was appointed, which these papers might show to be altogether uncalled for. The right hon. Gentleman in the second part of his argument maintained, that the Government bad no right to seek a collision with the House of Lords. But had not that House called in question the constitutional prerogative of the Sovereign in exercising mercy, and was the house of Commons not justified in calling in question the grounds on which they had interfered with that constitutional privilege? The right hon. Gentleman's reasoning on this point placed him in a dilemma. The committee of the Lords was either a vote of censure or it was not. If it were a vote of censure the government was justified in repelling it by a vote of approval in the House of Commons. If it were not, there could be no collision. But was not the Government the best judges of what was, or was not a vote of censure? And if they, supposing, that it bore this construction, announced their intention to carry on the Government undisturbed by the acts of the House of Lords, and said, "we don't care a rush for your opinion, we shall go on as we have done hitherto," twenty collisions would not bring about such a systematic mid consummate disregard of the views of the other House of Parliament. He thought, that no case had been made out for a committee of inquiry. So little faith did the right hon. Member for Tamworth, place in the progress of crime and demoralization amongst the Irish people, that his advice was to give them municipal reform, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin could not, with all his talents and influence, induce more than forty Members to listen on a former night to his catalogue of charges against his countrymen. The hon. Member for Belfast had last night repelled with indignation the charge of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, that be was a reviler of his country, and indulged in general protestations of affection for the people of Ireland. He could not help thinking however, that both the hon. Gentleman and some of those who succeeded him took a curious way of testifying their good will by calling on Parliament to treat the Irish as a band of cut-throats and assassins, and by not only drawing up a bill of indictment against a whole people, but pronouncing a verdict against them without inquiry, and impugning the right of exercising any mercy towards them. It was a strange subject of delight to represent those who belonged to the same country as distinguished by atrocious barbarism and unmitigated crime. The case could not be established against Lord Normanby unless it was proved, that crime had increased under his administration, and, that the law had not been effectually put in operation. Now it could be proved by the returns before the House that the offences, which were peculiarly Irish, had diminished under his government, and that the proportion of convictions to the committals had increased. If there was now greater insecurity for life and property, the inevitable effect must be a diminution in the value of land. But he took the testimony of the hon. Member for Waterford, and he knew from his own experience, that landed property had considerably risen in that country. The government of Lord Normanby was, he contended, favourable to the Protestants, though, for party purposes, they so strongly condemned it. Had they not under that administration carried a tithe bill, which they never could have obtained from a government in unison with their own views? It might be a reproach that the Government passed that bill without the appropriation clause, but that was a taunt which should not come from the hon. Gentlemen opposite, for if they had been in office with the Orange lodges in full vigour throughout the country, instead of the mild and conciliatory government of Lord Normanby, the tithe bill would never have been accepted by the people. If the Protestants only showed a little indulgence to the population of their own country they would soon acquire a due share of the sym- pathies of the empire. They had property, station, talents, and they laid claim to an exclusive respectability. They must then attain their proper weight in the community, if they did not rouse the sense of justice by throwing their sword into the balance. He wished to ask the hon. Gentlemen opposite one question—"are you prepared to adopt the policy which you must be conscious will be forced on you by the great mass of your supporters, and take on yourselves the responsibility of office?" When the independency of our Indian possessions was threatened—when an insurrection in the colonies had broken out—and when Russia seemed by no means inclined to abandon her aggressive policy, it was considered imprudent to make any proposition in the House of Commons for an increased military force, and was this the time for the right hon. Baronet to take on himself the responsibility of sending four regiments into Ireland (for that number would be required) to keep down seven millions of our own subjects, by waging a tithe war, and to restore Orange domination? He knew that the right lion. Baronet had more enlightened opinions than to consent to go to that length; but he must abide by the views of the party which he had to deal with. They must govern Ireland through one party or the other. It was quite clear that the right lion. Gentleman had not the Catholic population in his favour, and if he were to come into power he would soon find that there was as much pressure from without on his side as had ever been charged upon her Majesty's Ministers. With regard to the more general question—if this were a proposition for a general vote of confidence he should ask his hon. Friend (Mr. Grote) to show him in the history of the country any administration more closely identified with great and imperishable ameliorations. He called on him, also, as a practical man, to show him the elements of any government which, on the whole, would keep better faith with the gradual development of popular civilisation. He lamented, as much as his hon. Friend, the tone of his noble Friend, the Member for Stroud, on more than one occasion. He did not consider the noble Lord to blame for not having done more in the present position of parties, but he did regret that various expressions had been used by him which had caused, just resentment to a large class of his supporters, and which the noble Lord ought, if he bad the oppor- nity, to explain. He did not think that this country was prepared for any great or radical changes, but it was perfectly impossible to have a stationary government with a progressive people. He was of opinion that the great mass of the middle class was not prepared to demand a new Reform Bill, but they wished that greater vigour and effect should be given to the Reform Bill which they already possessed. He thought they were very desirous to see a removal of the rate-paying clauses in the Reform Act. He conceived he spoke the sentiments of many moderate Reformers when he wished to see a short duration of Parliament, and he was certain he spoke the sentiments of the great majority of those to whom he alluded, when he said that they were desirous to be enabled to give their votes or Members of the Legislature without intimidation, without the harassment of undue influence and the practical sacrifice of loss of trade and comfort. He did not look on these changes as very extravagant. He believed that the people were even prepared to wait for them, but when the Government strongly opposed such reasonable demands they were driven to a state of exasperation and hostility. He could not see on what ground of policy or with what consistency those who cried out against the Government for not having gone far enough, should give their shoulders as a bridge to raise into office those who thought they had gone too far. But whatever might be the opinion of hon. Members on his side as to the general policy of the Government, they could have no hesitation, he thought, in supporting the resolution which was now submitted. On this question, as it appeared to him, rested not alone the fate of a government, but what was a great deal more—the fate of a people. It was impossible that they could refuse to a nation, whose priesthood they had humbled, and whose senate they had silenced, the demand which she made to take her children under the shelter of their laws.

Mr. Litton

said, that in the few observations which he should address to the House in explanation of the vote which he intended to give in favour of the Amendment, he should not trouble them pith any of those wearisome details to which he was aware he could scarcely, on the present occasion, expect their attention. But this he would say, that after the experience of that House and the public of the contradictory and conflicting statements invariably made on all subjects and matters of fact connected with Ireland, the public—the English public especially—had a right to know on which side the truth lay. The statements made were, if true, of the most grave and important character. He did not then stand up to claim for hon. Gentlemen on his side of the House full credence, nor would he admit the contradictions given by hon. Gentlemen on the other side; but this he did say, that the House of Lords were entitled to institute the inquiry—that the British public were deeply interested in its results, and the only motive that he could discover for the resolution of the noble Lord was, that the inquiry should be crippled by the vote to which be asked the House to come. Was it then fair or proper in that House to assent to a resolution which could have no other result? But Ministers said, it was a vote of censure. Certainly nothing but a vote of censure could justify them in coming down to that House, and asking for a vote of confidence on a small and isolated portion of their policy, in order to prop them in their present tottering condition, and for a short time longer delay the fall to which they were hastening. But what right had they to construe it as a vote of censure? Who could state what was intended by it except those who supported it, and the highest authorities in the House of Lords had denied that it was so intended? The real object and effect, then, of the vote of confidence would be to cast an odium upon the inquiry, and to cripple the means of ascertaining the truth. He would appeal to English Members on both sides of the House whether it were not desirable that the accuracy of the various conflicting statements on Irish matters should be tested. He appealed to them whether there was any subject on which so much valuable public time was wasted as on the various party statements relative to Irish transactions, and whether it was not most desirable that this conflict should be terminated by the judicial inquiry and decision of a committee. Now that was one issue. Again there was another. It was asserted by hon. Members on his side of the House, that Lord Normanby, by the manner in which he exercised the prerogative in Ireland, had injured the administration of the law in that country. This was denied by hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side. How, then, could this disputed and im- portant fact be settled otherwise than by the investigations of a committee? It was also stated, and also denied, that Lord Normanby had not only injured and rendered difficult the due administration of the law in Ireland but that he had expressly interfered with its execution, as in the case of Major Miller. Here, then, was another important issue. Why, then, should that House be called on to cripple an inquiry of so grave a nature? He called upon the House to countenance no more squabbles respecting Irish matters, such as had consumed the public time and exhausted the public patience; but, by countenancing the motion of the House of Lords, to give every English Member an opportunity of forming his own judgment on the pending question. He thought that the Government had shown the greatest partiality for persons of certain religious opinions in Ireland—that they had done infinite mischief by the encouragement and promotion of agitation, and individuals connected with societies having that object; that the present insecurity of life and property in that country was entirely owing to the course they had taken; that, in short, their policy had been the ruin of Ireland. Hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side, he presumed, believed the contrary. Both sides, he was free to say, were conscientious in their convictions. But that only furnished another argument for the approval of the resolution of the House of Lords, inasmuch as it pointed out too distinctly to be misunderstood the necessity of some further information than that already adduced on the subject at issue. He felt confident that the result of the inquiry would be disapprobation of the English people, and the disgrace of the Government. Hon. Gentlemen on the other side, he supposed, took a contrary view of the case. Why, then, not join issue on it? Why not wait for the report of that committee, and refuse the resolution of the noble Lord the Member for Stroud? He regretted that the language employed by hon. Members on the other side of the House compelled him to state it as his firm conviction that the policy at present pursued towards Ireland by her Majesty's Government was utterly ruinous to that country. Never was there a period in its history when the people were more violently torn from all the established relations of society—when the ties between landlord and tenant were so thoroughly and completely dissevered. It was not owing to the gentry that such was the case; they were the same now as they had been years ago, when no such state of things had existence; it was entirely owing to the tyranny of those whose trade was agitation, and who, in pursuance of that obnoxious calling, had driven the misguided people to the greatest lengths for their own political purposes. At no period of Irish history were the landlords so entirely expatriated from the country, or British capital so completely prevented from being laid out in the improvement of the condition of the people. Did not all these facts—and he challenged hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House to deny them—did not these facts prove the necessity of inquiry? And was it so light a thing, he would ask, to reject it when its avowed effect was a discovery of the causes which led to that lamentable state of things, and the application of a remedy for them? It had been said, that, if a Conservative Government held the reins of power in Ireland, a rebellion would be inevitable. That threat—for threat it was intended to be—he treated with the utmost contempt. Because he was thoroughly convinced that, even if such a thing was attempted by the agitators of that country, the good sense and right feeling of the people would soon suppress it. Indeed he firmly believed, that the mass of the population in Ireland, especially the peasantry, would rejoice at nothing more than to be released from the grinding tyranny of these agitators—for he was satisfied that it was more felt by them than even by any others. And it was his sincere belief that they would consider themselves far happier under a settled Government, which had both the will and the power to protect them, than they now were under the despotism of those who made their passions and prejudices the steppingstones of their ambition. With respect to the number of petitions from Ireland on the subject of the motion before the House, he would not deny that they were great in number; but he most assuredly would not admit, that they represented the wealth, the station, the character, or the respectability of the country. On the contrary, the vast body of the intelligence of Ireland was opposed to the policy of the Government, and believed that it was the ruin of that country. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin had adverted to one of these petitions, and in presenting it to the House he had stated, that it came from the most numerous and influential meeting ever held in the city which he represented. But what were the facts of the case? He had it under the handwriting of Alderman Archer, once Lord Mayor of Dublin, that he had intended to propose a resolution to the effect that "an Address be presented to her Majesty detailing the evils brought on Ireland by the policy of her Ministers, and praying her to dismiss them from her councils;" that he had presented it to the chairman, the Duke of Leinster, to put, and that it had been prevented from being put by brutal force, only short of blows and violence. He had been told, that if he attempted to bring it forward he would be "kicked out." These were the words.—[Mr. H. Grattan: it was not so. I was at that meeting, and I did not hear it.]—He bad no doubt that the hon. Gentleman was at the meeting, nor, as he had said it, that he did not hear the words; but he did not think that statement at all invalidated the written testimony of Mr. Archer, who was to have proposed that resolution: Mr. White, who was to have seconded it; and Mr. Walker, who was present all through the occurrence. After this fact, he would ask the House whether that petition more than any of the others could be regarded as the free expression of the opinions of the entire meeting? The Duke of Leinster said to Mr. Archer, that he could not put his motion as it was not in favour of the avowed objects of the meeting. Was not that a sufficient proof that it was got up in a House filled with predetermined supporters of the Government, and consequently foes to all free discussion? The hon. Member for Meath alluded the preceding night, in very strong terms, to Orange Societies in Ireland, and proceeded to condemn them in no measured manner. Now, he never belonged to any Orange Society whatever, and, therefore, his testimony in respect to them could be no otherwise than impartial; but he felt it to be his duty to say, that he believed there never existed in any country a more thoroughly loyal body of men than were the Orange Societies, nor men who had proved themselves so entirely devoted to their king and constitution. If any evidence of that fact was required, it would be found in the circumstance of their immediate dissolution the moment the pleasure of his late Majesty was made known respecting their association. It had been urged that there was a division in the Conservative camp; and the circumstance of a late vote on the Irish Municipal Corporations bill was adduced in proof of that allegation. Now, he had voted against the second reading of that bill, in opposition to the course taken by the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth; but what did that prove? Only that he and those who acted under the right hon. Baronet were men of independent opinions, taking different courses to one great object, in which they all concurred without the slightest shade of difference. He (Mr. Litton) bad opposed that measure, not because he wished to withhold municipal rights from his fellow-countrymen, but because he had it distinctly admitted by hon. Members opposite that these corporations would, when formed, become "normal schools of agitation" in the country. The noble Lord (J. Russell) had spoke of the Ministry as a falling Ministry. He (Mr. Litton) firmly believed it to be a falling Ministry. If it fell, it would not fall in the words of the noble Lord, because of its desire to knit together in one bond of union and peace the hearts of all her Majesty's subjects, but because the sense of the country was against it, because the public withheld its confidence from it, and because the voice of the people pronounced it imbecile, feeble, inconsistent, and' wholly unfit to govern a great nation.

Mr. Pigot

It is not my intention to engage in a discussion with reference to what passed at the meetings at the theatre in Dublin, or with reference to any transactions which were intended to take place there, but did not take place. Neither is it my intention to go into some of the topics that have been touched upon by my hon. and learned Friend who has just sat down; and certainly least of all do I intend to trouble the House with any observations upon the subject of Irish municipal corporations. I may, perhaps, be permitted to congratulate my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Litton) upon having shed rather a new light upon the present motion, as well as upon the resolution of the House of Lords; for I think it has for the first time been suggested by him that the object of the inquiry in the Lords is, not to ascertain the extent of crime, or the cause of crime, in Ireland, but to go into a transaction which has over and over again been discussed in both Houses of Parliament, namely, whether upon the subject of writs of rebellion, Government have extended enough or too little assistance to carry into effect legal rights resulting from the decisions of the legal tribunals of the country. My hon. and learned Friend says, that the Government of Ireland have exhibited gross partiality; and be seemed to me to think, that a part of the inquiry connected with the charge of partiality which was to make a portion of the subject of consideration before the Lords' Committee was the association of the Government with certain politicians in Ireland. These are topics upon which I will not touch; but I beg to call the attention of the House to other matters more immediately connected with the real subject now before it, and which were a good deal dwelt upon by an hon. Member who spoke on the opposite side of the House yesterday evening. In the progress of that portion of the debate which has already passed, I certainly watched, with considerable anxiety, for some opinions, some arguments upon matters connected with the administration of the law in Ireland, which in all former discussions have invariably been touched upon. And I certainly heard propositions laid down—propositions containing affirmations of fact—and opinions expressed, with respect to the principles which ought to guide the administration of the law in that country, which I listened to with the utmost astonishment. The manner in which those propositions were put forward, renders it imperatively necessary that, with respect to some of the topics referred to, I should trespass a little upon the attention of the House. The hon. Member for Belfast, in the course of a speech which certainly did not appear to be an ill-considered piece of declamation, which was not only received with sanction and applause by some of those on the opposite benches who heard it, but which I find is likely to be communicated, to be read and considered in other parts of the empire—the hon. Member for Belfast, whose speech is reported with such extraordinary accuracy in one of the morning journals of to-day, has advanced propositions, in the nature of charges against the Irish Government, and against their conduct in the administration of the law in Ireland, which it will be my duty shortly to show to the House are, so far as they are affirmations of fact, utterly unfounded; and so far as they are coupled with the expression of opinions upon the principles which ought to guide the administration of the law in either island, have no sanction from any thing that has ever yet been recognised as sacred in the administration of British law. In the first instance, the hon. Member has referred to the recent special commission in the county of Tipperary, and intending, I presume, to con- trust what happened there with what happened in the same place in former periods, he has represented the selection of juries as having been made by sheriffs, appointed for the very purpose of corrupting justice at its foundation. He refers to the special commission of Tipperary as presenting a striking contrast with all that previously occurred in the administration of the law; and then he goes on to state, for the purpose of making out his proposition, that which I will read from his own words. ["Order."] I beg pardon of the House. The substance of the charge, then, is this —that, encouraged by the system which is thus alleged to have been adopted by the Government of Ireland, the persons who were put upon their trial for murder at the special commission in Tipperary having first endeavoured to impeach the panel, and having been defeated in that attempt and having exhausted all their challenges, were at length compelled to submit to a tribunal differently constituted from any that previously existed in Ireland, and the consequence was a conviction. Why, Sir, with reference to the county of Tipperary, I would ask the hon. Member for Belfast whether he were aware that in former instances the sheriffs of that county were differently constituted; whether, in fact, the mode of appointing the sheriffs had differed in the slightest degree from that in which Mr.—was appointed, who was the sheriff during the period to which the hon. Gentleman referred? For my own part, I am not aware of any such difference in the mode of appointment of that high public officer; I know of no change having taken place in the course adopted in appointing the sheriff of Tipperary; neither am I aware that the Government was ever held responsible for the appointment of former sheriffs. But this I can tell the hon. Member, that so satisfied were the prisoners, on that occasion, with the constitution of the tribunal before which they were brought, that they left several of their challenges unexhausted; and were finally tried by a jury, nine of whom were Roman Catholics and three Protestants. On that jury there were persons not only of every religious creed, but of every shade of political opinion. Again, the hon. Member for Belfast proceeded to charge the Government upon a subject to which allusion had been so frequently already made, I mean the selection of jurors, but concerning which, I think, the House has not as vet been sufficiently informed. It has not hitherto been put in full possession of what has been the course adopted in Ireland with respect to that subject. The hon. Gentleman has arraigned the government in Ireland for having abandoned that right which the Crown formerly exercised in the selection of jurors; of having surrendered the right of putting aside persons not qualified by feelings of impartiality to discharge the solemn duty of jurors. Now, with reference to this charge, I would, in the first instance, beg the House to consider that the practice which has prevailed in Ireland with respect to the right of the Crown to set aside jurors is different from the practice which exists in England. It was a practice founded upon ancient usage, and in part recognised by a law peculiar to that country. It was a right which had been exercised without control, without responsibility, without any limitation whatever, except the mere discretion of the individuals who were invested with the privilege of putting aside jurors in courts of assize, and other places in which criminal prosecutions were conducted. When in 1835 the present judge Perrin was appointed attorney-general for Ireland, he, conceiving that the time was come when a practice nut observed in England ought in Ireland to be placed under new regulations, instructed the different Crown solicitors thus far to alter their practice—in the first place, he directed that no person should be rejected on the ground of politics or of religion. In the next place, he directed that if any well-founded objections existed against any individual on the panel, the Crown solicitor should have the power of setting that party aside; but he, at the same time, required that this should be done by a responsible officer, who should be liable to be called upon by his superiors to account for the exercise of that discretion, and that there should not in future be given to the party, thus invested with this species of discretion, an unbounded power to exercise it. Mr. Perrin further fettered that discretion by requiring those who had to discharge the duty of challenging jurors on the part of the Crown to specify to him the objections made against the party rejected, and the grounds upon which those objections were made. The whole charge then made by the hon. Member for Belfast against the government in Ireland for the course thus adopted—admitting, as I think hon. Gentlemen on the other side have already done, that no man ought to be set aside on the ground of politics or religion—must fall. The purport of the complaint of the hon. Member for Belfast is this—stated affirmatively—that where objections exist, independently of politics and religion, there ought to be no bounds to the discretion of the person by whom the right of objection is exercised; that, in fact, there ought to be, for this purpose, power without responsibility. But when the hon. Member says that the Crown has altogether abandoned the privilege, he states that which is utterly inconsistent with the established practice in Ireland. When he complains that a particular individual invested with power has been called upon to state his reasons for exercising it, he seeks to establish a course of proceeding in Ireland which is utterly inconsistent with every principle recognized in this country, and which I trust no British House of Commons will ever sanction. I cannot conceive anything more likely to produce general dissatisfaction with the administration of the law, than to present to the public a prosecutor in a condition of being empowered to pack the tribunal by which the prisoner he prosecutes is to be tried. I cannot conceive anything more completely at variance with all those principles which have been sanctioned by the Legislature, as well as by all who have thought upon the subject; or anything more alien to those principles which our law from time immemorial has maintained and defended; and which has established this as a rule of policy, adopted and embraced in all legislation—that you are not to make punishment a mere matter of vengeance; that punishment is not for the purpose of wreaking the animosities of the state upon the individual who has transgressed its laws, but for the purpose of holding up an example and a warning to evil doers. What is the principle upon which those amendments of the criminal law, which they who have ceased to belong to this House, who are lost to the Legislature and to their country, urged upon the British public, and, after years of discussion, ultimately carried, not only with that public, but with this House itself? What was the principle of those very measures which were originally suggested by that able and excellent man Sir Samuel Romilly, and afterwards supported and carried out by the right hon. Baronet opposite; and which have since been further amended by the noble Lord, who has introduced the present motion? What is the principle of those changes by which you have mitigated those penalties which at once disfigured and disgraced your statute book? Why, it is this: that you are to carry with you the sense of the community; that you are to guard against enlisting in favour of the culprit, at the very time he is about to take his trial, the sympathies of the public; and above all, that you do not, by the ill-apportionment of the punishment to the crime enlist in his favour the sympathies of that class upon whom his punishment is intended to operate as a salutary warning. I ask the House whether they can conceive a situation more calculated for the violation of this very principle, already incorporated in your law; more calculated to interfere with the due administration of justice, and divert it from its purpose, that of the reformation of the culprit, and of terror to others; or more calculated to enlist in his favour not only the sympathies of those who may belong to his own unhappy class, but of that portion of the community who may be utterly indignant at his crime, than to have the jury who are to decide upon his life or death packed and selected by the prosecutor, and to have that prosecutor exhibited not as wielding the power of the state for the purpose of detecting guilt, and punishing it as an example, but as one to be regarded in the light of an enemy, seeking to beat down the criminal by means of a jury fashioned by himself to that end, he having previously ascertained what their opinions were. Instead, then, of treating this as a charge against the Irish government, it is one of the circumstances connected with the administration of the law in Ireland under the Marquess of Normanby to which he, and those who acted with him, may, in my opinion, hereafter look back with pride. That change, guarded as it has been—and why guarded? —because you cannot all at once introduce into a society, which has been rendered diseased by long misgovernment, those salutary changes which are adapted to a better condition of society—that change—but guarded as it has been, leaving still the opportunity of determining whether in any particular instance it may not be a just course to remove a person from the panel upon the ground of partiality— guarded as it has been, I do contend for it, that the change which has been thus made has removed a foul blot upon the practice formerly pursued in the administration of justice in Ireland, and I trust by whomsoever justice is administered in that country from that change they will never swerve. I was perfectly amazed by another charge brought against the Irish government by the hon. Member for Belfast. He says—and mark, he says it in the presence of individuals belonging to the profession of the law in Ireland, I am not sure, indeed, that he did not himself once belong to it—and of persons who have acted as jurors, both petty and grand—he affirms this broad proposition, that the right of reply on the part of the counsel engaged in prosecution has been abandoned by those to whom the administration of the law has been intrusted, and he was cheered in his statement of that charge. I do not think that either of the two hon. and learned Gentlemen whom I see opposite could have heard that statement and joined in that applause. I can refer the hon. Member for Belfast to an hon. and learned Gentleman on the other side as an authority for one instance, at least, in which that right was exercised. It was in a case in which a Roman Catholic priest, being the party charged, and a Roman Catholic counsel, being the prosecutor for the Crown, that Roman Catholic counsel spoke to the evidence against the culprit, and the result was a conviction. And yet these are charges deliberately made, put together after some long preparation; published word for word as they were delivered; every one of the statements of fact pointing to a distinct charge against those concerned in the administration of the law, for having abandoned it to a set of persons who were conspiring against society. These are the charges which the hon. Member took up a considerable portion of time in stating, and a very large portion of a printed paper in circulating to the public. I am therefore bound, at the hazard of occupying too much of the time of the House, since the hon. Member has resorted to these means for circulating the poison, at least to see if there be not some chance of circulating the antidote. The hon. Member having exhausted his charges with reference to the administration of justice, then proceeded to advert to the dispensation of patronage among the members of the Irish bar. I was equally amazed to hear an Irish Member declare in his place in this House, that during the entire period of Lord Normanby's administration not one single person had obtained the little honour of a silk gown at the Irish bar who did not belong to a particular creed in religion, or to some particular code in politics. Some hon. Friends of mine may have told him that Mr. Collins—a man who stands deservedly high at the Irish bar—belongs to a party different from that which gave its support to Lord Normanby's government. They might have told the hon. Member that Mr. Miller, Mr. Brooke, and others whom I could name, were selected for that species of patronage—not patronage should I call it—but that kind of advancement in their profession which was not merely due to them, but to their clients. As the hon. Member for Belfast was not, in former times, as well acquainted with the policy of other administrations as he appears now to he with the opinions of the party by whom that policy was conducted, I will place in contrast with that which I have just stated—I mean those honourable and just preferments which I have described—something that occurred in former administrations. This House has seen something of the person who is now an ornament of the bench in Ireland; they did, however, not witness the career of that gentleman when he ornamented the bar; but I can tell them, that during the greater part of his long professional life, Mr. Perrin—being at the very head of the common law bar in Ireland—employed in almost every case, trusted by every client, practising in every court, was doomed to see persons, his inferiors in professional station, his juniors in years, his juniors in standing, elevated to that position to which he was entitled, but from which he was debarred, and was placed under the ban of that political proscription which prevailed in Ireland during that long 'series of years in which the party to whom the hon. Gentleman has allied himself held undisputed power. I know that Mr. Perrin received a silk gown from that party: he received it during the latter days of Lord Manners's chancellorship. But I know this, also, that he did not receive it as is generally understood: he did not receive it until the judges of the court in which his practice principally lay remonstrated with the Chancellor upon that gross injustice—an injustice not to him, but to the clients, who were injured by his having been debarred from that advancement to which his abilities long before entitled him, and which was conferred at a period when he hardly required it,—I wil not further speak of this subject. The topic is at least an unfortunate one, for it presents a contrast by no means favourable to the cause which the hon. Gentleman espouses—a contrast, however, which is not, I believe, peculiar to Ireland, for I think I have read something of what has occurred in this House on former occasions, when complaints were made of exactly the same system of exclusion being adopted in Scotland, and most undoubtedly to a large extent in England; but particularly in Scotland was it the subject of the loudest complaints. If I am wrong in my recollection in what I state, why then, what does it come to? Is it not this—that the government in England in its dispensation of that part of its patronage which had reference to the bar, acted with perfect impartiality; that with reference also to its dispensation of patronage to the bar in Scotland it acted with equal impartiality; and that it reserved the whole of its partiality for Ireland, that in Ireland alone those privileges to which the Irish bar were entitled were withheld, and its members were proscribed in consequence of the particular political opinions which they held. Another most singular charge has been made by the hon. Member for Belfast. He says that "not one single person has been elevated to the bench in Ireland who could not pronounce the shibboleth of faction, and would not join in worshipping the dagon of agitation." Why, Sir, I will not enter into a justification of the appointment of Judge Perrin, of the Master of the Rolls, Sir Michael O'Loghlen, of Mr. Wolfe, now chief baron in Ireland. I will not enter into a justification of their appointments. I leave the matter to the recollection of the House—I leave it to their recollections of those honourable judges; believing that to what has fallen from the hon. Member, at least as far as this House is concerned, some antidote will thereby be applied. There is another charge of the hon. Gentleman which would be just as strange and astonishing as either of the former, to any one who had not heard the previous charges. It has reference to a topic which has been the subject of considerable discussion here and elsewhere; I mean the Board of National Education. The hon. Member said, "it is an establishment whose regulations render it inaccessible to one class of the population, whilst they inculcate and confirm the prejudices of the other;" and he declared that that establishment does not at this moment contain one single functionary, commissioner or officer, teacher or trustee, who was not either a member of the favoured religion or a follower of the dominant faction. Need I tell the House that Dr. Sadleir, the Provost of Trinity College, belongs to that class to whom this establishment is said to be unacceptable—that Mr. Holme, the barrister, belongs to that class—that Sergeant Greene, who was once the law adviser of the Crown in Ireland, belongs to that class? Upon that subject, however, I shall not proceed further; but I cannot help adverting to another point upon which the hon. Member has expressed an opinion. Referring to the subject of crime in Ireland, the hon. Member says he will not go into a calculation. It is quite enough for him to state that there were 27,000 criminals in Ireland in one year. Now, if I were asked by what facts I would seek to show that there has been in Ireland an improvement in the administration of the law, I think that I should be inclined to say, first, that I should expect that there would be some diminution in the number of the graver offences; secondly" that I should anticipate a considerable variation in the amount of minor offences, testifying the increased vigilance used for carrying the law into effect; further, that I should anticipate that the proportion of convictions, in reference to committals, would also be increased; and next, that I should suppose that the number of prosecutions which had failed would be diminished under that administration. I will just read to the House what have been the results on all these points, and I trust that they will bear with me for a short time. In the first place, Sir, the hon. Baronet who spoke last but one, in this debate, was quite correct in his assertion, for there has been in the number of the graver offences, a marked diminution. I will tell the House the results from 1834 to 1838, as shown by the police returns. Homicide has diminished 13 per cent.; firing at the person has diminished 55 per cent.; incendiary fires have decreased 17 per cent.; burglaries have decreased 58 per cent.; stealing cattle has diminished 46 per cent.; killing or maiming cattle has diminished 12 per cent.; the administration of unlawful oaths has diminished 66 per cent.; illegal notices have diminished 44 per cent.; attacks upon houses have diminished 63 per cent; illegal meetings have decreased 70 per cent.; and levelling houses has diminished 65 per cent. On the subject of convictions in proportion to committals, comparing the years 1823, 1824, and 1825, with the years 1836, 1837, and 1838, the convictions have increased in proportion to committals from 28 per cent. to 43 per cent.; the non-prosecutions in proportion to the committals have diminished from 34 per cent. to 21 per cent. Comparing the years 1822, 1823, and 1824, with the years 1836, 1837, and 1838, the convictions have increased in proportion to the committals from 36 per cent. to 43 per cent.; and the non-prosecutions have diminished from 37 per cent. to 21 per cent. Comparing the year 1834 with the year 1838, there has been this remarkable result:—It appears that the convictions have increased from forty per cent. to forty-seven per cent. on the committals, whilst the failures by no bills and no prosecutions have diminished from thirty-six per cent. to fifteen per cent., or about five-sevenths. All those results, Sir, I have taken from printed documents: they are not drawn up from the reports of the clerks of the peace and of the Crown, but they are taken from records which are a check upon those returns, and are made by the inspectors of prisons from the gaol books themselves. Hon. Gentlemen do not seem to be aware of the simple machinery used in making those returns. There is, Sir, an act which was passed twelve or thirteen years ago, appointing local inspectors of prisons: they are almost all clergymen, they are all men of respectability connected with the different districts, and they are in constant correspondence with the inspector-general of prisons; and, finding on merely glancing over the returns the errors of the seventy or eighty clerks of the peace and of the Crown, who act without any responsibility in making the returns, and without any salary, these local inspectors looked over the books of the gaol, and discovered a great multiplication of offences in the former returns; and so far from making a careless return themselves, they actually took account of every individual in custody, and transmitted his name to the inspector-general of prisons. The hon. Gentleman opposite shakes his head, as he did last night when a statement was made by an hon. Gentleman near me, and as a contradiction is ventured, I will, with the permission of the House, read a short extract, and as the subject has been much canvassed by hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House, and as it depends entirely upon documents, it will be impossible to do justice to the Government or to the nation over which it presides, unless the attention of the House be called to the real nature of the documents, and of the facts which they disclose. And, Sir, if I wanted any evidence of the faultiness of the one set of the documents, and of the full truth and worthiness of the other, I would refer only to the evidence, which by a fortunate accident I possess, on these returns, as furnished by the clerks of the peace, by the local inspectors of prisons, and of the inspectors-general of prisons; and my assertions will be found confirmed by the testimony of all these parties. First, Sir, I will read an extract from a letter of Mr. Sadleir, the clerk of the peace for the county of Tipperary, as to the mode in which the returns of the clerks of the peace and of the Crown are made. He says:— With reference to the annexed criminal returns, I beg leave to mention that, as clerk of the peace, I have no means of ascertaining the number of committals in the year. I can only give a return of the number of persons included in the different bills of indictment at each session. So if one person is indicted for three offences (suppose riot, rescue, and assault), by the annual return he appears as three. These, Sir, are the returns from which the hon. Member for Belfast took his 27,000 offences, and these are the returns which deluded an illustrious Duke in another place. I am sure, that the noble Duke was the least likely person to make any statement which he did not believe to be founded in fact; but it was from these returns, thus prepared, that the noble Duke took the number of 700 murders. The letter of Mr. Sadleir proceeded:—"And if his trial is postponed, he again appears as three, consequently, the annual returns are incorrect as to persons." I will next refer to a communication from a local inspector of prisons in the north of Ireland—the Rev. Mr. Clark, a local inspector in the county of Donegal; and he says, that the returns of the clerk of the peace for 1838 contains no repetition of the names of the same person indicted at the same sessions; and why? Because the clerk of the peace's office is a few yards from the gaol, and the inspector was often with him when he prepared the returns, and strictly charged him not to return the same man more than once, unless he was charged with a distinct and separate offence. The reverend gentleman thinks, that he gave the same directions with respect to the returns in the year 1837, but if they would examine the returns for the years 1835 and 1836, they would observe, that the same persons for the same offences were often repeated. Even in the returns of 1838, the reverend gentleman says, that he did not prevent the same person being returned for the same offence at different sessions, and that there were, in fact, after all his care, twenty instances of the same persons for the same offences being returned twice, and one instance in which the same person for the same offence was returned three times. He gives, Sir, a list of the persons twice returned, and it seems that ten persons who stood No. 9 in the calendar in April, stood No. 2 in the calendar for June for the same offence; and that four persons who stood No. 26 in the calendar of April, stood No. 1 in the calendar for October for the same offence in the same year: thus ten persons counted for twenty, and four persons counted for eight. The letter containing this statement was written to the inspectors-general of prisons, and it is, Sir, at my request, that I am permitted to refer to it. It is stated by the inspectors-general, that they have adopted a mode for preventing similar errors in their returns: they call for local returns of the number tried at the assizes and at the sessions, and the list is made from the gaol books which contain indiscriminately the number of persons brought before the assizes, the quarter sessions, and those summarily convicted. The information is obtained by the inspectors who are upon the spot, and who are in constant communication with the superior officers; they make the returns from the gaol books themselves; and, with this simple statement, I will leave the House to determine which set of returns is likely to be most correct. The calculations, Sir, which I have exhibited are drawn from those authentic printed documents to which every Gentleman in this House has access. They have been prepared, after a careful examination of the returns, and for their comparative fidelity I will take upon myself to vouch. I believe, that the House is in possession of the change which took place shortly after the accession of the Marquess of Normanby to the administration of the affairs of Ireland in the police force serving in that country. If I were asked for evidence of the establishment of a vigorous administration of the law, I would at once point to this change, and if I found, that adequate means had been taken to produce the results which I have described, I confess that I could not attribute those results to any misconduct on the part of the Administration over which the noble Lord presided. In 1835, when the Marquess of Normanby assumed the vice-royalty, the police force was under the guide of local officers; it was selected by the magistrates; local influence must have prevailed; there was no central management, and there was no uniformity of discipline. One of the first acts of the Marquess of Normanby's Administration was, to bring forward a proposal for a change in the police force in Ireland, for the purpose of giving to it that efficiency, and of imparting to it that unity which, at the present moment, exists. In 1835, the measure was brought forward; difficulties at first prevented its passing, but it was ultimately carried, and it is now the law of the land. And what, Sir, is the nature of hat force? It is under the guidance of one head sitting at a central office, and having correspondence with all parts of the country; he who guides it can see at a glance the operation of all parts of the force, and he has a control also over the selection of the inferior officers, preventing the danger to be apprehended from local influence, and administering the whole arrangements with care and with discretion. Suffer me, Sir, to read a few lines from a valuable public document which within the last few days has been laid upon the Table of this House. Those Gentlemen, Sir, to whom was committed the task of investigating the state of crime in England, and of reporting the nature of the police force which they would recommend for England, say— That it is essential for the efficiency and attainment of all compatible service from a constabulary force, 1st, that the constables should be trained or appointed from a trained force; 2dly, that neither, by appointment nor otherwise, should they be privately connected with the dispute in which they act; 3dly, that they should at periods be changed from district to district; and, 4thly, that whilst they should act under local direction for the performance of various local and administrative duties, for the repression of the practices of migratory depredators, vagrancy, and offences which concern the community at large more than the particular locality, they must act under general rules and principles, and in subordination to general directions from one general and responsible executive authority. That, Sir, is exactly the description of force which was adopted by the Marquess of Normanby in Ireland, in the stead of the force which then existed there; and nothing can show more the efforts of the Government for a vigorous administration of the law, than putting such a force into such active and useful operation, that notice is given within twenty-four hours of every graver offence; and I may be allowed to add, that it may be perhaps of advantage, and do credit to this country if she should yet profit by the example. I will not detain the House longer. I think that have stated enough to satisfy every man who will read the documents, that all the crimes of a graver nature are in a course of actual diminution; that whatever may be the total amount of crime, the proportion of convictions to committals has greatly increased; that the number of failures in prosecutions has been much diminished; and that, if there has been any increase in the number of convictions, it has resulted from the better enforcement of the law. And if, Sir, I point to means taken adequate to produce such a result, will the House say, that the Administration under which this has occurred has not proved useful to the country, or will they affirm, that any other facts contradict these results? For myself I must affirm, that whatever may be the general notions of hon. Gentlemen relative to our policy in Ireland, yet if they are content that our policy should be tested by experience, I have stated enough to entitle us to the support of this House and of the confidence of the country.

Mr. Shaw

said, that many of the topics upon which the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down had dilated—he would not say improperly, since they had been introduced into the debate by speakers on his own side of the House—were altogether foreign to the subject of the present debate. He thought that some of the observations of the hon. Member for Belfast had not been rightly stated by the hon. and learned Member who had just sat down. The hon. Member for Belfast had not, as he understood, objected to the appointment of sheriffs in Tipperary, but particularly in Sligo; as well as generally throughout Ireland; and as to the appointment of sheriffs in general, he (Mr. Shaw) would make one observation. He believed that the committee appointed by the House of Lords last year had produced a very salutary change in the practice with regard to the removal of sheriffs. With respect to what had been said by the hon. and learned Member upon the practice of challenging jurors, he (Mr. Shaw) must say it would lead to the greatest inconvenience if it were necessary always to assign the reasons of such challenges. Then the hon. and learned Member had alluded to Judge Perrin, and had adduced that learned individual as an example of the improper influence which political consideration had exercised in obstructing professional advancement. But what was the fact? He thought he could state from his own personal intercourse with the learned person alluded to, that no counsel junior (at least in business) to Judge Perrin had been put over his head. He believed that Mr. Perrin did, in fact, receive a silk gown as soon as he desired it: Would the hon. and learned Gentleman name one junior who had been put over Judge Perrin's head? Then with reference to the discrepancies between the returns of the town-clerks and the clerks of the peace and those of the inspectors of prisons, he must say, that the explanation of the hon. and learned Gentleman took him rather by surprise, inasmuch as it differed as much from the explanation given upon the same subject by the noble Lord the Secretary for Ireland as these two classes of returns did from one another. The Act of Parliament required the clerks of the peace to return the number of persons, not the number of offences, and if they had returned the number of offences they had acted in violation of the Act. Again, the hon. and learned Gentleman had said that the inspectors of prisons returned the names of none who were not actually in custody, but that would also be a violation of the law, for it was provided that the inspectors should return the names of all persons brought to trial, whether they had been in custody or not. The account of the matter from the inspectors-general of prisons themselves is given in a Note appended to their Report of 1837, was totally at variance with the account which had that night been given in their name, and all he could say was, that with the data at present existing, it was impossible to get at any true result. All his observations had been directed to the inaccuracy of the returns; he maintained that all the returns were inaccurate up to the present moment, and that no dependence could be placed upon documents in which three persons might be returned instead of one. That was the reason why he thought information necessary. But the House, after all, ought not to suffer its attention to be diverted from the main question, which was whether, supposing crime to exist in Ireland even to the degree admitted by the noble Lord, the Secretary for Ireland, it was fitting for that House to call in question the undoubted right of the House of Lords to inquire into the subject, especially after that House had itself directed an inquiry of a similar nature, and before any result had been arrived at in that inquiry. The noble Lord denied, that there was any resemblance between the inquiries directed by the two Houses, and said, that the returns which he had moved for were quite of course; he could not assent to that proposition; those returns were far from being of course; Oolong other subjects which had never before been laid before the House, they would include all papers relating to ribandism, as well as the memorials of the magistrates to the Government and the answers to them. The noble Lord had said in the former debate, that Lord Normanby could not proceed to undertake the administration of the Colonial Department with the expectation of some Parliamentary proceeding respecting his conduct as Lord-lieutenant of Ireland. Then when that was taken, he would ask the Government, of which that noble Marquess formed part, why they had twisted this resolution of the House of Lords for a committee of inquiry into a vote of censure? He could safely say that it was anticipated that it would be received as a vote of that description by those who supported the resolution; and, in fact, that was sufficiently manifest by the smallness of the majority on the motion, which made it perfectly clear that it was not considered as a party question, lf, however, an opinion was to be given by the House upon the noble Lord's (Lord John Russell's) resolution, then he (Mr. Shaw) was bound to state his conviction that the course pursued by Lord Normanby did not tend to the effectual administration of justice nor to the general improvement of Ireland. In making that declaration, he (Mr. Shaw) was as anxious that there should be no misconstruction or misunderstanding of the principles which he would approve, as of those which he deprecated in the executive Government of that country. There was no mistake more common, in speaking of Ireland, than to represent every public man in that country as holding extreme political opinions, and to charge all persons who disapproved of agitation and its accompanying evils with belonging to what was termed the Orange faction. He was, however, surprised to find that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not think it unworthy of him to revive the old and often refuted charge against Lord Haddington about the Orange flag which had been waved above his head by a foolish buy at the theatre, when, in fact, he was himself wholly unconscious of what was taking place, and when informed of the circumstance entirely disapproved of it. There was at present, he firmly believed, a very large number of individuals who did not hold extreme political opinions, but who desired to see the law equally administered, so as not to favour any political party. He was himself opposed to all political associations; he had never belonged to any, nor attended a political meeting, properly so called. But, disapproving as he did of the principle of associating for political purposes, he could not but acknowledge that the Orange associations were characterized by their attachment to the British Crown and constitution. But the Government had given encouragement to political associations of a very opposite character, and it was admitted that the hon. and learned Solicitor General himself had belonged to a society of the latter description. His services were transferred from that society to an important office connected with the administration of justice and with her Majesty's councils. With respect to Catholic Emancipation, he freely confessed that, in common with others, he had been disappointed in its results. But he believed that it must now be accepted as a final and irrevocable settlement between Catholics and Protestants in respect of civil office; the tendency of the conduct of her Majesty's Government, however, had been to impress the minds of the Irish public with a notion that agitation and association were the surest passports to place and patronage. With regard to the prerogative of mercy, he agreed in much of what had been said by the noble Lord on this subject; he admitted that this was one of the most valuable and most delicate prerogatives of the Crown, and he acknowledged that its exercise ought not to be lightly found fault with; but, on the other hand, he maintained, as his right hon. Friend, the Member for Tamworth bad said, that it should be exercised with discretion and not lavished without care or discrimination, in order to grace the progress of a Lord-lieutenant, or to swell his personal popularity. If (as he would not put suppositious cases) the Lord-lieutenant were to exercise the prerogative from day to day, by releasing prisoners on personal solicitation, without reference to the judges who tried them, some before trial, some without the bail required by their sentence, discharging twenty in one county and twenty in another, sometimes more and sometimes less, without investigation, and when a gaoler applies to the Lord-lieutenant to know whether he was warranted by law in discharging prisoners by word of mouth, he is to be told, by direction of the Lord-lieutenant, that the prisoners are to be liberated first, and that a list of them is then to be sent to the Castle of Dublin—the prerogative was in all such cases, he alleged, grossly abused. The hon. Member for Drogheda had said, that the mode in which the Lord-lieutenant discharged prisoners was this:—that a list was drawn up, and the cases were inquired into, that the prisoners were not discharged till regular legal warrants for their discharge were sent. How stood the fact? There was a return before the House which had been moved for by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bandon, and he begged the attention of the House to this return, which furnished a complete answer to the supposition of the hon. Member for Drogheda. In the county of Sligo, twenty-five prisoners were discharged in one day, and in the head or column of the return stating the authority under which they were discharged, the answer to all the twenty-five was, "Oral order, the 24th of August." That was not all. The written orders were stated to have been sent on the 30th of August; so that every one of these twenty-five prisoners was discharged on the 24th of August, six days before the legal order bore date. Of these twenty-five prisoners, he found that there were two who had been sentenced to find security for their good behaviour prior to their discharge—one in 10l., with two sureties in 5l. each. Another of these twenty-five prisoners had been sentenced to six months' imprisonment, and bail was required to be given after the expiration of that period, and in default of bail be was to be imprisoned six months more; so that this person was deemed unfit by the judge who tried him to be liberated at the end of the term of imprisonment to which he had been sentenced, unless he gave bail, or suffered an imprisonment of six months more; and yet this man was discharged with the rest, and under the heading of the return, which required it to be stated whether on bail or not, the answer was, "No bail." Another return he begged to recommend to the attention of the House, and particularly of English gentlemen, who would see the manner in which grace and mercy were dispensed in Ireland. In one case a prisoner had been guilty of the offence of rape, and sentence of death was awarded; this man was discharged, on the 8th of of May, 1836, by the order of the Lord-lieutenant. The written order of the Lord-lieutenant was, "To be discharged on marrying Mary Ryan." Nineteen prisoners had been discharged by orders from the Lord-lieutenant, in the county of Westmeath, some without bail, and the returns for one and all stated, that a regular discharge was not received till days after. One of them had been sentenced to transportation for seven years; another to transportation for life; a third, who had been guilty of a grave assault, was sentenced to be imprisoned for two years and held to bail; a fourth, convicted of appearing with arms by night, was sentenced to imprisonment for eighteen months. Amongst these nineteen cases, seven had been discharged by verbal orders from the Lord-lieutenant, who had thus given verbal directions to the keeper of the gaol to violate the law and subject himself to an indictment for an escape. This was the return, No. 194, ordered to be printed the 16th of February, 1837; and he asked English gentlemen, putting politics and party out of the question—he asked her Majesty's Ministers, could the Sovereign of the country exercise such a power in England? Would the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for the Home Department dare to recommend it? Would the people of England tolerate it? He wondered not that the Government shrank from inquiry into such a subject, and wished to procure a judgment without inquiry; but be hoped the Commons of England would not pronounce without enquiry that such conduct "tended to the effectual administration of the law. If the superior judges of the land had been neglected, and their high office treated with contempt—if, after one of the superior judges had sentenced a prisoner, for a most aggravated offence, such as forgery, to imprisonment for two years, and, without any reference or communication being made to him, the judge should, walking in the streets of Dublin, be confronted by the very man he had sentenced. ["Name."] He could tell the name if the noble Lord wished. ["Name."] He did not wish lightly to produce par- ties who gave information—it was a delicate matter. He would tell the name to the noble Lord out of the House very willingly. He would tell the House the only explanation the judge had. He had heard it reported that the prisoner had a son who was studying at the college of Maynooth, and that it would interfere with the prospects of the son if the father was further incarcerated; and, without any reference to the judge the man was liberated. ["Name."] The name of the man, he believed, was Brenan. Suppose a case of a prisoner convicted of an aggravated assault by an intelligent jury, and the judge resisting all importunity, being of opinion that the prisoner was not deserving of mercy, and receiving a letter from the Secretary to the Lord-lieutenant, stating that his Lordship had determined that the law should take its course; that subsequently a letter was sent to the Lord-lieutenant by a Roman Catholic priest, the brother of the prisoner, in which he asserted the innocence of his brother, adding a libel on the judge who tried the case, and that on this letter the prisoner was discharged. He believed the noble Lord knew the case, did the noble Lord, the Secretary for Ireland, wish to know the name of the person? His name was Gahagan. He believed that, in other places, the Roman Catholic priesthood had suspended the functions of the judges. When the noble Lord opposite insinuated that he had made an unfair use of documents before the House, he disclaimed it; whereas the noble Lord, in laying a return before the House for 1835 and 1836, had (inadvertently he was sure) omitted all reference to an important fact stated by Colonel Shaw Kennedy, that in July, 1836, (between the end of 1835 and 1836,) a change had been made in the mode of making the returns. The noble Lord (Lord John Russell) had referred to a pamphlet for a return of convicts discharged; but he must say that he found the noble Lord's explanation most unsatisfactory. The noble Lord had said that in 188 cases, which were slight and insignificant, out of 631 in all, there had been no reference to the judges. He did not see any good reason why there should not have been a reference; there was not one of these cases which was not tried by a judge or an assistant-barrister; and he did not know why a reference had not been made in all of these cases. Were these grounds for adopting the proposition of the noble Lord without inquiry, and without information—without the returns affording means of forming an opinion? Let the House look at the petitions from the magistracy. A petition had been presented to-night from forty-four magistrates, and the Government knew that there had been various representations from magistrates describing the state of Ireland almost in the words he had used in the House, and yet the noble Lord, without waiting for those returns, called upon the House to pronounce an opinion. He thanked the House for the kindness they had shown to him, and he had only one further observation to make. Ireland, it was true, was in a deplorable state as to crime, and he believed that this demoralization arose partly from the course pursued by Government in the administration of the law; but the House might depend upon it, that there was a large and influential class of the people of Ireland, including a great proportion of the higher and middling ranks of Roman Catholics, who were heartily tired of agitation, and were more solicitous for the security of their lives and property and families than concerned about party contentions. It had been truly said by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, that the petitions from Ireland for the support of the present policy were all "to the same effect," he might have added in the same words, and almost all signed in the same handwriting; he knew well the puffing and exaggeration required for his (Mr. O'Connell's) own purposes. But the society on which he relied would lend only a temporary support to the personal objects of the hon. and learned Member; it was with difficulty he found support, and solely from the Catholic priesthood, and many of them were forced to support him against their will; and he was persuaded that no one circumstance gave greater offence to the Roman Catholic laity of Ireland than the desecration of their altars to political objects. Let the law be only firmly, yet temperately, administered; let justice in its true and highest sense be done to all parties, not seem to be disregarded; let the Government of the country conscientiously and sincerely discountenance, agitation; whether Whig or Tory, do this, and he was convinced that an overwhelming majority of the sober-minded classes of society, including persons of different religions and various shades of politics, would be found, notwithstanding the excitement and the difficulties existing in Ireland, ranged by the side of law and order. As he had said before, the people of Ireland were heartily sick of agitation; they longed for repose; they earnestly desired that security for person and property which might reasonably be expected to lead to the investment of English capital amongst them develope their great national resources, and permanently promote the prosperity and the peace of that portion of the United Kingdom.

Debate again adjourned.