§ On the Order of the Day being read,
§ Mr. T. Duncombe
said, he was well aware that, according to the strict rules of the House, he could not now move the amendment of which he had given notice; yet, perhaps, it would be for the convenience of the House, that one debate should close the discussion on the different questions on which they must ultimately divide. If 322 such were the pleasure of the House, perhaps he might now be permitted—particularly as one or two tender inquiries had been made alter his amendment—to state, as briefly as possible the reason which had induced him to take the course of which he had given notice. That course he thought absolutely necessary, in order that her Majesty's Ministers might not either deceive themselves or any one else, in believing, that the vote of approbation which they would receive that evening, would be a vote of approbation of the entire of their general policy. As regarded their policy towards Ireland, he (Mr. Duncombe) trusted, that it would receive the sanction of as large a majority as the state of parties in that House would possibly admit of. Their policy in that country he thought entitled them to such approbation. That country, as appeared, and as was amply proved by the various petitions presented during the week, had been governed in strict accordance with the wishes and opinions of her people. He wished he could say the same for England. A different course, he thought, had been pursued here—a course which had not only tended to bring her Majesty's Ministers and their administration into discredit, but was tending daily to alienate the affections and confidence of the people from the Government. He had not yet heard, during the debate, any argument to satisfy him that the present Ministerial motion was absolutely necessary. If it were intended to console the late Lord-lieutenant of Ireland for any attack that had been made upon him for any inquiry that had been instituted in the House of Lords, he really did not see how it could have that effect. He thought that Lord Normanby would have done much better to have left his administration to be judged of by the benefits it had achieved, rather than have brought it under discussion to be made the object of party misrepresentation. Besides, he much feared, that the whole of the present discussion would be a perfect waste of time. After several nights debate, to the exclusion of much more important matters, they would leave the question exactly where they found it. But cabinets, he supposed, like individuals, were the best judges of what was due to their own honour and their own feelings; so he must conclude, that her Majesty's Ministers had taken that course which was 323 best adapted fur the vindication of their own character. But what was the position of parties in that House in reference to this question? The noble Lord, the Ministerial leader, had called on the House for a vote of confidence in one branch of the domestic policy of the Administration. The leader of a formidable opposition—of an almost overwhelming opposition, and thirsty for place and power, had moved an amendment to the resolution of the noble Lord. He had not, to be sure, moved a vote of confidence either in himself or his party; but he meant his amendment as a sort of compliment to the House of Lords—a compliment which, as he thought they did not deserve it, he would not willingly pay them—unless, indeed, that House had returned to what it formerly was a sort of deputy House of Lords. The hon. Baronet, as it seemed, would not have them do any thing which might have even the appearance of questioning any proceeding of that assembly. He did not believe, that any individual in that House would question the undoubted right of the Lords to institute any inquiry they might think proper into crimes, outrages, or other peccadilloes of man, woman, or child, in England, Ireland, or Scotland, if they thought proper to institute such an absurd and factious inquiry. But because they thought proper to institute an inquiry, was the House of Commons to be told that, for fear of offending any one of the fifty-five noble investigators, they were not to express an opinion on the branch of Ministerial policy to which the absurd and factious inquiry related? The right hon. Baronet, the Member for Pembroke, had warned them in his able and eloquent address, that that House ought not to enter into collision with the House of Lords. He would like to know where was the right hon. Baronet's prudence in 1832? The right hon. Gentleman had told them not to interfere with the free opinion and undoubted liberty which the House of Lords were in possession of. It was the undoubted liberty of the House of Lords to reject and mutilate any measure sent up to them; and where, therefore, was the right hon. Baronet's prudence in 1832, when he gave the advice to his Sovereign to deprive the House of Lords of the power which they had to reject the Reform in Bill—the best advice that any Minister ever 324 gave—when it was proposed to infuse a little popular feeling into that assembly? Was not the present House of Commons the offspring of that advice? And yet they were told to do nothing which could have the appearance of calling in question any proceeding of the other House. Although he believed, that they did stand low in the eyes of the country, they had not yet arrived at that point of degradation, What was to be done in the midst of the party scrambles and vexatious proceedings of the factions on this occasion? In the right hon. Baronet's amendment he could find nothing to which he could give his assent. He wished to obtain something for the people. The noble Lord's resolution did not go far enough, and therefore he proposed, if the right hon. Baronet's amendment did not take effect, to move an addition to the noble Lord's resolution in the following words:—And that it is also expedient to effect such further reforms in the representation of the people in Parliament as shall conduce to their contentment, and the security and welfare of the kingdom at large.It was, in effect, very much like what be had the honour of moving upon the Address; but it was now brought forward under much more auspicious circumstances, for no one, not even the most courteous Ministerial Reformer, could now say, that it was uncourteous to the Crown. There were Gentlemen sitting on the benches near him who frequently rejoiced in the title of Whigs—pure old Whigs of the Fox school. He should like to know if Mr. Fox were a finality man? Did Mr. Fox entertain the doctrine now put forth, that there was an end of legislative improvement, and that the constitution was perfect and complete? Mr. Fox was exactly the reverse. He was an advocate for a great extension of the suffrage, and for shortening the duration of Parliament; and when he advocated those opinions, he was met by exactly the same arguments that Reformers were met with now; but how did Mr. Fox treat such absurdities? He would read Mr. Fox's words; when some Gentlemen contended, that all was perfect with the Constitution in general and the constitution of that House, Mr. Fox said:—Now it seems the Constitution is complete —now we are to stand still. We are to elevate ourselves with the constitution in our hands, and to held it forth to a wondering 325 world as a model of human perfection. Away with all further improvement—for it is impossible. Away with all further amelioration of the state of man in society—for it is needless! Let no man touch this work of man: it is, like the works of Heaven, perfect in all its parts; and, unlike every other work of man, it is neither capable of perversions nor subject to decay! Such is the presumptuous language that we hear; and, not content with this haughty tone, they imitate the celebrated anathema of brother Peter, in the 'Tale of a Tub,' and exclaim, 'confound you all eternally, if you offer to believe otherwise.'It might be said, that Mr. Fox did not live to see the Reform Bill carried. But judging by the arguments which Mr. Fox held against those who resisted reform, it was quise clear that his idea of Whig principle was widely different from the idea of Whig principles entertained by those who now professed them. He had heard it stated in that House, from the Treasury bench, that Mr. Fox, on one occasion, said, that he knew of no means governing the people but by pleasing the people; therefore, that he would concede, and if he found he had not conceded sufficiently, he would concede more. He would not do Mr. Fox's memory the injustice to believe that he would have said now, "Stand still; do not touch the Reform Bill." If Mr. Fox saw what now existed—a reform Government scarcely able to command a majority in a Reform Parliament, and, therefore, obliged to shape their measures so as to conciliate the views and wishes of anti reformers—he would not have said that the Reform Bill was perfect and complete. If Mr. Fox saw hundreds and thousands of persons signing petitions in favour of an extension of the suffrage, he would not have said "stand still." If they thought this exaggerated, let them try the state of public feeling at any public meeting in the metropolis on any subject, and depend upon it that no business would be attended to until the paramount necessity of Parliamentary Reform was acknowledged. In Scotland the cry for Parliamentary Reform met them in Edinburgh; and go where they would the same demand would be made for a revision of the Reform Act. When the people carried the Government of Earl Grey through the struggle of 1832, they looked with confidence to that House as a tribunal before which they might come and have their grievances redressed. Look at the conduct of that House upon the Corn-laws. Did they 326 not, when thousand of intelligent petitioners came before them, treat them with contempt?—and did the House not scandalously refuse to listen to their complaints, and tell them that it knew their interests much better than they knew them themselves? Would they have dared to tell them so if they had been more closely identified with the wishes of the people? They were bound to fulfil their promises of reform—they had promised representation instead of nomination—they promised freedom and purity of election, and instead of receiving those, the people were borne down by intimidation, dictation, and corruption. They could not deny this; and why then the doctrine of finality? They noble Lord (Lord John Russell) in his speech the other night had called upon him, before he moved his amendment, to make a statement of the views as to the reform which he would propose. He maintained that it was not the moment then for entering into details. It was of no use for him now to propose remedies unless they admitted that remedies were required. If he wanted an authority for this he would appeal with confidence to the conduct of the noble Lord on the Corn-law question. When his hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton invited the House to take into consideration the duties on the importation of corn, one of the supporters of her Majesty's Ministers, the hon. Member for Somerset (Mr. A. Sanford), called on the noble Lord to state what he meant to propose if the House went into committee? To say that he was in favour of a fixed duty was not sufficient. He would read to the House what passed on that occasion. The hon. Member read a passage to the following effect:—Mr. A. Sanford said, much observation had been made on both sides as to the declaration of the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, and when the noble Lord talked of a fixed duty, he wished to ask him what that duty was intended to be; not that the noble Lord's answer would have any effect upon his (Mr. Sanford's) vote, as he had fully made up his mind to give a decided negative to the motion; but he was induced to ask the question because be had given a firm and, he trusted, independent support to her Majesty's Government, and in consequence of the opinion expressed in another place by the noble Lord at the head of the Government. If the thought that the opinion of the noble Lord entirely coincided with the opinion of the majority of the 327 cabinet, he would not have put the question; but he was inclined to think that a different opinion was entertained by a majority of the cabinet. He had thought it a duty which he owed to his constituents, though a painful one to himself, to ask what the noble Lord intended by a fixed duty, and he entreated the noble Lord to answer the question. Lord J. Russell said, he had stated in his former speech that he was in favour of a moderate fixed duty, and he believed that he was justified in so doing; but having reference to the specific motion of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, which was one for the House resolving itself into a committee of the whole House for the purpose of considering the Act of 9th Geo. 4th, regulating the importation of corn, it was clear that the motion bound neither himself nor any one who voted for it to concur in a total repeal. In stating, then, that he was in favour of a moderate fixed duty, he had not felt that under the terms of the present motion it was competent for him to go further; he could do so, but it would take much time, and require the detail of many calculations; and if he had stated any reasons for the amount of duty he would recommend, he would have entered upon a question differing from the proposition which had been made, and would merely have caused a debate relative to any alteration by a total repeal, and to the substitution of fixed duty. He conceived that the proper place for a discussion of that kind was in a committee of the House; and if he had now argued it, he would only have interposed a new question between those who were in favour of the present law as it stood. and those who wished to alter it.Now that was just his case when he was called upon to go into details upon his amendment. There was no use in his attempting to build when he had no ground whereon to build. Let them give him ground. Let them agree with him that the Reform Bill was inefficacious, and that it required a remedy, and he would give them plenty of remedies. If those remedies went too far, they might be curtailed; if they did not go far enough, it was easy to extend them; and once established on firm principles, Ministers need not be afraid of coming down to that House for a vote of general approbation of their policy. Let them be true to the people and the people would be true to them. The people were not so unreasonable as some persons supposed them. It was said of the Ministers, he knew not whether justly or not, that when the court was against them they had clung to the people, but when the court was with them they had turned 328 their backs on the people. The people of England were grateful for the conduct of Government to their fellow-subjects in Ireland; but with regard to themselves they scarcely looked to it with any hope. He had often heard the Ministers say, that no Government could be strong unless it was founded on the affections of the people. If they were of that opinion, and said so still, they must admit that an extension of popular representation would not weaken but strengthen the stability of the State. It was for this reason that he should propose the amendment of which he had given notice, feeling confident, in doing so, that if her Majesty's Ministers and that House would agree with it, it would accomplish that which it promised to accomplish—narnely, not only the contentment of the people, but the welfare and security of the State.
§ Sir C. Style
said, that if any vote were to pass the House in the slightest degree conveying censure on the measures of the Executive in Ireland, it would at once destroy every prospect of the Irish being able to obtain prosperity for their country. Ireland was now in a far more satisfactory condition than it had ever been at any former period of its history, and the contrast was most striking between the present state of things, and that of a period not very far distant; What was it that created there a degree of destitution dissimilar to any thing that was to be found in any other part of the empire. He did not deny that enormity and crime existed in Ireland to a frightful and lamentable extent, but he at the same time believed, that it was not in a worse state now than at any former period. He thought that the state of crime in Ireland was not imputable to any Government, but rather to the peculiar condition of society in that country, and therefore he was unwilling to vilify either Lord Normanby, Lord Anglesey, Lord Wellesley, or any other Lord-lieutenant. The Lords-lieutenant of Ireland had each in their turn been vilified, but for his own part, he neither attributed the unfortunate state of that country to misgovernment, nor to the conduct of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. The hon. Baronet read an extract from the second report of the railway commissioners, to show that potatoes which had originally been considered "unfit for swine," constituted the food of the peasantry, and said that, if the poor 329 were deprived of their holdings, as had been described in the course of that night, it was not wonderful that crime, the result of misery and wretchedness should exist in the country. Without land they could not produce that which was their only food; and knowing how much the peasantry of Ireland were attached to locality, it was not to be wondered at, that they became exasperated when deprived of the ground which they had reclaimed, perhaps, from a barren waste by the sweat of their brow. In connexion with this point, he might refer to Ulster. In that province the causes which elsewhere led to prædial disturbances, were not in operation. The tenure of land was more secure, leases being granted in the greater numbered of cases. Also, nearly all the occupiers held directly from the head landlord, and so were exempt from the extortions of middlemen. But, above all, the landlords of Ulster were found in general to exercise their rights, with a forbearance, humanity, and judgment, which showed, that their minds were impressed with the consciousness that duties, as well as rights, belonged to the possession of property. But still, if even in that province, the landlord showed a disposition to strain his power, in the smallest degree, beyond what the people deemed right, so dear to them was their possession of the land on which they had been born, that there, as well as in other parts of Ireland, strong measures were occasionally resorted to for the purpose of keeping within due bounds the power of the landlord. He would say a few words with respect to the state of crimes in Ireland at other periods, as compared with the present time. He was not going to trouble the House with long statistical calculations of what had occurred at this or that particular period. He would only refer to a period of twenty years previous to the Government of the present Ministry in Ireland, that was one continued scene of crime and outrage of a most fearful and enormous description. He would begin with the year 1811. He would assure hon. Members he would be as brief as possible, but he must really be permitted to trespass a little on their time. The Irish news papers week after week, and month after month, were then giving details of outrages to which there was no parallel in any other country. They had it in the words of the hon. and learned Gentleman, 330 who was the Solicitor-general at the time, Mr. Bushe, and who was now the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, in a speech delivered by him at a special commission in the country of Tipperary, and in which he had denounced the then existing associations, that, "they did away with the rights of property, they prevented the transfer of property, and prostrated the exertions of industry. Another part of their system had been to denounce as pubic delinquents all the persons amongst the lower orders who contributed in any degree, however humble, to the administration of justice." In 1813 and 1814, they had the testimony of the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth in a speech, delivered on the 8th of July, 1814, that "in those parts of Ireland, where the laws had been administered with the greatest severity, and where the greatest number of convictions had taken place, the terror arising from those convictions, had barely survived the cause, when new combinations of a more extensive and dangerous character, had obtained birth; and these combinations were carried on with a degree of secrecy which defied the operations of the law as it at present existed."* The year 1815 was distinguished in the annals of crime by the murder of Mr. Baker, a magistrate of the country of Tipperary. In 1816, disturbances had prevailed in no less than five counties in Ireland; in the counties of Tipperary, Queen's County, Westmeath, Limerick, and Louth, and those disturbances, according to the Attorney-general, "seemed to be the result of a general confederacy in crime." That year was noted by the barbarous massacre in the county of Louth of a family consisting of nine persons. It was even said, that the mother of the family, with an infant at her breast, had implored for mercy in vain, the babe was thrust back ou the point of a pitchfork, and consumed in the fire. In 1818, there seemed to be a partial clam from further outrage. But in the following year, outrages had again prevailed. In 1821 agrarian outrages extended over the whole of the south-west of Ireland, and had compelled the enactment of the Insurrection Act, and the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act. That year was distinguished in crime by the murder of Mr. Going, a magistrate; and on that occasion*Hansard, vo.xxviii.p.646.331 the surrounding hills were lighted up with bonfires to communicate the glad tidings far and wide. There had also been an atrocious murder in the county of Tipperary of a family of eighteen individuals named Shea, who had all been burnt to death in one room. With all these horrors fresh in their recollection, how could they attribute crime in 1839 to the policy of Lord Normanby? It was said, that that noble Lord bad not administered the law with vigour; he contended that Ireland had improved more during Lord Normanby's Government, than at any other period, and that noble Lord had never shrunk from grappling with crime wherever it had existed. Then they had other grave charges brought against Lord Normanby of an abuse of the prerogative of mercy. The noble Lord, the Member for Bath (Viscount Powers-court) had stated that 1,100 persons had been improperly liberated from the gaols, who had been convicted of heinous offences. Lord Normanby had vindicated the supremacy of the law, and had effectually suppressed disorder, and the result had been, that that mercy had not been abused by the people, for fewer outrages had since been committed. There might have been individual instances of outrages, but he was speaking generally, and outrages generally speaking, had almost entirely ceased in Ireland. Then there was a charge made against Lord Normanby's Government, that he had shown a disposition to screen political offenders. He denied, that this charge could be made against the Government of Lord Normanby with so much justice as it could be made against the Government of Lord Haddington. They must seek to obtain respect for the law amongst the people of Ireland, by admiministering it in such a manner, as to show them, that it was the best and surest protection against oppression of every kind, by continuing to administer the law with that spirit of impartiality and justice, and with that degree of vigour, with which it had been administered by Lord Normanby; but, above all, they must seek to improve the moral character of the people of Ireland, by giving education to the rising generation; they must enter upon that task, not with the limited and Sectarian object, of merely inculcating into their minds, doctrinal points of faith of this or that particular religion or creed, but they must enter upon it with the more high, and in his humble opinion, the 332 more truly christian object of inculcating the feeling amongst them "to love one another."
§ Sir George Sinclair
spoke to the following effect:* If the Members here assembled from the various districts of Great Britain and Ireland were to compare notes, it would be found, that the character of this House, which has long been greatly at a discount, has, even since the commencement of this Session, fallen at least twenty per cent. It is alleged that we display no energy, and despatch no business; that we say little that is worth the saying, and do little that is worth the doing; that country gentlemen were never summoned to so little purpose in the month of February from their families and their firesides; that we are chiefly notorious for the intolerable length of our speeches, and the interminable adjournment of our debates; that, whilst the Ministers have kept back everything important, the Conservatives have brought forward nothing aggressive: in short, the relative position of the two great parties has been compared to that of the French and English guards at one of the battles in the seven years' war, who, on that occasion, treated each other with a somewhat unseasonable ceremoniousness, and began by interchanging bows instead of bullets, until the French exclaimed, in the exuberance of their national politeness, "Gentlemen of the English guards, pray be pleased to take the first fire." There appears to have been, during the early part of this Session, a similar unwillingness to strike the first blow; but this "tirez les premiers" system is at last come to a close. The noble Lord has assumed the initiative; and the scope and import of his present motion constituted, during the recess, a very prominent theme for comment and lucubration. The few surviving stragglers of the expiring Whig faction affected to maintain, that the step which the Government has now taken, is manly and magnanimous; but, according to the general sentiment of acute and impartial observers, it is far more cunning than courageous. The chief object is to achieve an apparent and temporary triumph by extorting or entrapping the suffrages of certain Members of the House, who feel hampered and hemmed in as regards the Irish policy of the Go-*Reprinted from a corrected report.333 vernment, but who are so exasperated and disappointed at having been so long deluded and so often deceived by the Cabinet, that, if we may believe their own voluntary asseverations (which few, except myself, seem disposed to do), they would as soon think of cutting off their right hands as of giving any vote which should indicate or imply a general approbation, on their part, of the past conduct, or present course, pursued by her Majesty's Ministers. But, Sir, nothing has for a long time so much astonished the whole country as to see the noble Lord and his colleagues still grouped, as usual, on the Treasury Bench, and bringing forward the estimates for the year, after the warning given, or rather the menace uttered, by the noble Premier in another place, that, if he were left in a minority on a then impending division, the most important consequences would result—a declaration universally regarded both by friend and foe as equivalent to a pledge, that, if defeated, he would retire from office. I defy the noble Lord to point out any class or section of this great community, a majority of which entertains towards her Majesty's Ministers, as statesmen or politicians, any feeling either of confidence or of respect. I am persuaded, that bells would be rung, and bonfires lighted, in every town and hamlet throughout the kingdom, at the welcome intelligence of their dismissal or resignation. In opposing universal suffrage, they act in strict conformity with the lex talionis; for, with the exception of their own immediate retainers, universal suffrage is opposed to them. If the demise of the Cabinet were announced in the political obituary, and its obsequies about to be solemnised, I am quite at a loss to guess who could be called upon to act as chief mourner. That duty would, perhaps, be most fitly performed by the noble Viscount's successor, whoever he may be; for he would certainly find that he had come into possession of a very deranged, decayed, and dilapidated inheritance; whilst the funeral oration might be pronounced by the Isocrates of the Precursor society to a sad and sympathising congregation ofFriends, Romans, countrymen, and lovers.The honour and interests of this empire have, "of late years" been gradually dwindling away under the auspices of a Government, which no party, either here 334 or elsewhere, can, I think, presume to characterize as consistent, straightforward, or sincere—a Government which, by the crafty and adroit adjustment ofDoctrines fashion'd to the varying hour,has contrived with all the skill of an experienced exhibitor on the slack rope, to maintain its official equilibrium, but which, if we consider its whole conduct since 1835, must, as far as principle is concerned, be looked upon as immersed chin-deep in a mud-bath of political tergiversation. They tell us, with regard to the Corn-laws, that it is their principle to have a fixed duty; but it is difficult to point out any subject, on which they deem it their duty to have a fixed principle. They only maintain themselves in place by dexterously throwing one inconvenient question open the one day, and another overboard the next. I have frequently stated, both in and out of this House, that I never place any reliance on the professions of her Majesty's Ministers; and I should now be very glad to know who can? Their entire conduct has, in my opinion, tended to lower in public estimation the general character of public men. Although they are the Ministers of the Crown, I deny, that they govern the country, They cannot carry any measure, either in whole or in part, however salutary or indispensable they themselves may declare it to be, if their opponents determine to resist it; they could not successfully withstand any scheme, which they denounce as mischievous or revolutionary, if their antagonists should think proper to abstain from coming down for the purpose of helping them against their friends. But when the noble Lord plumes himself upon the Irish policy pursued "of late years;" a term, by the by, almost as vague and indefinite as the phrase "a certain age," when applied to the ladies, I would reply, that the abandonment of the appropriation clause, or rather the leaving it, like Mahomet's coffin, in a state of suspension, avowing that they can neither rescind it with honour, nor assert it with effect, accompanied by the retention of those offices and emoluments which they recovered by tumultuously insisting upon its adoption, affords a melancholy and unprecedented instance of callousness, of pliancy, and of weakness. The very men who, for the sake of this principle, broke up the administration of 335 Earl Grey—the very men who, on the same account, dissolved their political connexion with the Earl of Ripon and my noble and right hon. Friends near me—three of the ablest and most virtuous of their colleagues—the very men who, under the same pretext compelled my right hon. Friend, the Member for Tamworth, to resign, and kept Ireland during upwards of three years in a state of turbulence and agitation—at length volunteered to carry through Parliament exactly such a measure as they declared, when in opposition, could neither be just, tranquillising, nor satisfactory. I perceive that some of their factious retainers have often denounced me as a "renegade." According to their code of political morality, the crime seems rather to consist in not sacrificing principle to party, than in preferring pelf to principle. Now, as every public man, however humble, must possess the right, as well as cherish the desire, to vindicate his character from aspersion, I may observe that, from the moment when the appropriation-clause was first asserted, I at once proclaimed myself as firm and uncompromising in my opposition to that measure, as her Majesty's Ministers then declared, that they were sincere and inflexible in their resolution to maintain it. My language on the 5th of August, 1834, when Lord Melbourne's first administration was in office, and when no one dreamt of its impending dismissal, was as follows:—"The wedge, which we are able to introduce will serve for the accomplishment of that object, which I as strenuously deprecate as the Dissenters imperiously demand,—I mean the severance of the connexion between the Church and the State, or, in other words, the confiscation and embezzlement of all Church-property throughout these realms. His Majesty's Ministers areWilling to wound, and yet afraid to strike.They long to propitiate the Dissenters, and yet are loath to break with the Church. I do believe, that they have many secret misgivings as to the tendency of their present course; and when about to descend the precipitous declivity, they almost involuntarily recoil at the contemplation of the gulf which yawns below. By what means do they expect to arrest the downward course of their own career? Where is the line of demarcation, which is to separate concession from resistance? When 336 are they to say to the Church-destructionists, 'So far shalt thou go, but no further?' I, Sir, at least, shall so express myself as not to be misunderstood. I am certain, that it is equally inconsistent with law, with equity, with justice, and with sound policy, to divert any portion of the ecclesiastical property in Great Britain or Ireland from purposes in the strictest sense ecclesiastical; by which I mean the erection and endowment of places of worship in connexion with the established Church. If, therefore, I am asked at what point we should begin resistance to encroachment, my answer is, commence it now—here let us fight the battle—here let us take our stand. Compliance only serves to engender fresh demands, to stimulate the ardour of our enemies, and to damp the courage of our friends. The opponents of the Church are as insatiable as they are implacable: they think, that they themselves have gained nothing, while the Church has anything to lose." Such, Sir, were my declarations, when this principle was first promulgated; and if the office and emoluments of Home Secretary were tendered for my acceptance, on condition, that I would introduce a tithe-bill, into which the appropriation-clause was inserted, I should spurn the offer with indignation. And now, Sir, what has been the conduct of the noble Lord? I have not made any extract from his speeches in 1834; but so late as in August, 1836, his language was as follows:—"We are prepared to stand on the principle we have professed. We maintained that that principle was essential to a final settlement of the tithe question when we were out of office; and if while we are in office the House of Commons thinks proper to affirm an opposite principle, amounting to a denial of that which we asserted, of course it will be our duty to resign, and to pretend no longer to govern the councils of this country." And yet, Sir, I have lived to find them bespeaking places in the Derby dilly, of which I have the honour to be an original shareholder, and which was only set up in opposition to the appropriation-principle; and I have seen them voting in company with their former colleagues, against their own grand panacea for the evils of Ireland, the withholding of which they declared would be equivalent to the repeal of the Union. The noble Lord once complained, that he was the victim of stratagems and snares on the 337 part of this side of the House; a charge, which we may safely assign to the impartial award of the country. Sir, I assert, on the contrary, that the two great pivots, upon which the whole machinery of Government chiefly turns, are disingenuousness and procrastination. Delays, which the old proverb represents to be dangerous, constitute, as far as her Majesty's Ministers are concerned, the chief sources of permanence and security. The whole country nauseates the very name of "reformed Parliaments," and is loudly complaining of the lamentable and almost laughable inefficiency, with which public business has been transacted in these assemblies. It is with great truth asserted, that we have been more lavish of public money, more indifferent to public opinion, more neglectful of the public interests, than our much-calumniated predecessors; and many an ardent Reformer is compelled to exclaim, in the bitterness of his disappointment,—Obsecro et obtestor, vitæ me redde prior.The general opinion is, that her Majesty's Ministers do nothing, the Radicals help them, and the Conservatives look on. And why this evasive and temporising policy? Merely in order that the Whigs may continue, until the latest possible moment, at all hazards, and at any price, to enjoy the loaves of place, and to distribute the fishes of patronage. The most superficial acquaintance with the political carte du pays must be sufficient to shew, that the Ministers have office, the Conservatives power, and the Radicals neither. Sir, I never was more astonished than when I once heard the Secretary of the Treasury assert, that, in regard to the distribution of patronage, the present advisers of the Crown might safely challenge comparison with any preceding administration. If so, Sir, the public is labouring under an unaccountable and universal hallucination. It is undoubtedly proper that, cœteris paribus (or nearly so), and in a reasonable majority of instances, the supporters of Government should have the preference; but never during any period of British history were services and seniority more frequently overlooked, and more shamelessly set at nought, To each and all of the ministerial appointments we may apply what the poet says concerning mercy— 338It is twice blest; It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.Every place and every honour is bestowed, as a matter of course, to recompense past obsequiousness, or to encourage future servility. Many hon. Members opposite are, in one sense, and in one only, the most vigilant guardians of the public purse that ever existed; they watch with most scrupulous jealousy, lest the minutest drop of the most insignificant streamlet, which flows from the Treasury-spring, should not find its way into the unfathomable abyss of Whig-Radical cupidity. They care not to what extent the measures of her Majesty's Ministers are rejected, mutilated, or abandoned; and the appointment of a Conservative letter-carrier at Brent-ford, Banff, or Belturbet, would excite more general indignation than the relinquishment of the appropriation-clause. Sir, it was not so in the days of those, who have been falsely denominated the office-monopolising Tories. Their conduct was never mercenary, dishonest, or equivocal. They could "spy desert" in the ranks of their rivals and antagonists. Of this, Sir, I can venture to say, that your own experience affords an honourable illustration. When a high judicial appointment became vacant in Scotland, the Duke of Wellington bestowed it upon you—upon you, Sir, one of the most distinguished and consistent of his political opponents; and you continued for some years to discharge the duties of that office with equal ability and acceptance. On the same principle, we are indebted to the wise discrimination and acknowledged impartiality of my right hon. Friend the Member for Tamworth, for the nomination of some of the most enlightened and conscientious lawyers, who ever graced the judicial bench in Scotland, and who are as well known for their liberal politics, as honoured for their legal acquirements. But, Sir, supposing, that all the judges in Scotland were at once to resign, or to be carried off next week by the cholera, would her Majesty's Ministers venture to tread in the steps of their predecessors? It would, of course, be highly proper that ray hon. Friends the Lord-Advocate and Solicitor-general, and other Whig lawyers of equal eminence, should be promoted to the highest offices. But, in the case of twelve gowns having been thus distributed, would the Government think themselves at liberty to give the thirteenth 339 to a Tory? Oh, no! The most eminent and highly-gifted advocate in Scotland would, of course, be passed over, so long as the most ignorant and incapable Whig-Radical remained unpatronised and unprovided for. Her Majesty's Ministers would be sneered and snarled at by all the Liberal journals throughout the kingdom, if it were unhappily to transpire, that, through the chivalrous and misplaced generosity of an incautious maître d'hôtel, the bones and fragments of a Cabinet-dinner had been lavished on any half-famished mastiff, which had not, in right of its owner, the privilege of the entrée at Brookes's. If the patronage of the crossings in the streets were vested in the Lords of the Treasury, no crooked cripple upon crutches need presume to solicit the appointment, unless armed with a certificate under the sign-manual of Mr. Stuart of the Courier, and Mr. Easthope of the Chronicle, attesting, that he is Whig-Radical to the very hunch of the back-bone, and prepared to signalise his zeal for freedom at elections by hurling a brickbat at any Conservative interlopers, who presumed, as candidates, to poach upon the metropolitan manor of Radicalism. And here, Sir, I shall notice a subject which is often discussed out of doors, and which seems to perplex many intelligent and unsophisticated observers of passing events. One hears this question propounded at the corner of almost every street, "Pray, how have her Majesty's Ministers so long contrived to make the two ends of the Session meet, and to keep their heads above water? Whether we listen to Radical or to Conservative orators,—whether we read the Times or the True Sun, the Standard or the Spectator,—our only difficulty is to determine, by which of these two parties they are most opprobriously upbraided with incapacity and vacillation. Does it not then follow, as a matter of course, that the real supporters of the Government must constitute a minority? Whence does it happen, that no Conservative has proposed a vote for their dismissal, or moved for an inquiry into the state of the nation?" Sir, there are in my opinion two causes, which, when taken together, may account for this anomaly. In the first place, there are boisterous and brawling declaimers against the policy of the present Government, who, if the question were brought to a final issue, would screw 340 up their consciences to vote, that they had confidence in the very administration which they are the foremost to ridicule and the loudest to condemn; and secondly, her Majesty's advisers remain in place, by acting, in reference to parliamentary support, upon the celebrated imperial aphorism with regard to lucre, that—"bonus est odor ex re Quâlibet."Abuse us, gentlemen, to your heart's content!—don't be upon any ceremony in showing us up!—drench us ad libitum (you can't do it ad nauseam) with the strongest acid of censure; and don't administer, even in doses of homœpathic minuteness, the neutralising alkali of commendation!—we shall suffer most patiently all your virulence, so long as we can count upon your votes!" This, Sir, was the best defence by which I at all succeeded in parrying the attacks made upon myself and my friends by a respectable elderly Conservative frondeur, with whom I lately had the good fortune to find myself tête-à-tête, on stepping into a Richmond omnibus, near Hyde-park Corner.I wonder, Sir, exclaimed he, in a half angry, half pathetic tone, what all the Conservatives in the House of Commons are about; they seem to me to be sleeping at their posts. The only symptom of vitality they have shewn, was to get up an adjourned debate as to the production of documents, which the Government shewed no disposition to refuse—a sort of abortive attempt to batter down the walls of the Treasury with paper-pellets. There was no use in discussing such a point at all; they should have 'kept their powder dry' until some actual conflict took place, and not have wasted the Congreve-rockets of their eloquence, by firing them into empty space. I begin to think, Sir, that the energy of an opposition is inversely proportioned to its numbers. If I were in the House of Commons, I would never mind being in a minority. I should, of course, always like it to be as large as possible; but, were it ever so small, I should console myself by exclaiming, if the cause were good,The fewer men, the greater share of honour.'It is far more glorious for a powerful and gallant army to suffer a defeat, than seem afraid to hazard an engagement. I day say, Sir, you remember as well as I do, the exploits and the prowess of my eloquent and accomplished friend Croker during the two Reform Bill campaigns. His premature re- 341 tirement from public life is a public misfortune; he is now become 'the recluse of West Moulsey,' and'Armis Herculis ad postem fixis, latet abditus agro.'Though never leader of the Opposition, he might well be called'A thunderbolt of war;'and was, at all events,'Lieutenant-general to the Earl of Mar.' I used to think, Sir, that he would never let the Whigs get through letter A of schedule A. The rottenest borough had its Thermopylæ. The ground was disputed street by street, where there were any streets, and inch by inch, where there were none. I believe even Peters-field had its barricades and its glorious days. Methinks I see Croker now defending the bridge of Appleby with all the ardour of Horatius Codes, against a whole battalion of Reformers, and now leading on the forlorn hope in a fierce and fruitless onslaught upon Gateshead. How different were such feats as these from the dull drills and pacific parades of modern times! If I could only get access at head-quarters, Sir, Fit put them into a way of bringing the Government upon their marrow-bones before the end of April; and I hope there would be found in the Conservative ranks Gentlemen who would be pleased to take their places.' The plan I would follow, and which I think could not fail to succeed, would be this—But here, Sir, to my great chagrin, the cad put his head in at the window, and brought our interesting colloquy to an abrupt termination by announcing our arrival at the suspension-bridge, where the gentleman had signified his intention to alight; and although I have since made it a point to travel on the same road by the same conveyance, I have never been so lucky as to fall in with the same acute and facetious fellow-traveller. But, Sir, in order that the real state of parties may be more fully illustrated, more clearly understood, and more generally pondered over by all classes, I shall now, with the leave of the House, proceed to consider the past condition, the present circumstances, and the future prospects of her Majesty's Ministers. On the first of these points I may confidently appeal to all such independent and impartial Gentlemen as were Members of the former Parliament. They cannot fail to recollect, or hesitate to acknowledge, in how galling and degraded a position her Majesty's Ministers were placed—a position, to the ignominy of which they seemed altogether 342 insensible, but which became continually more apparent to the community at large. They constituted a government by sufferance—they lived from hand to mouth, and from day to day: at every Cabinet-council there was a sword suspended over their heads by a hair, through the severance of which a few English or Irish Radicals might at any moment have put an end to their precarious existence: they were compelled to mendicate eleemosynary aid from politicians, whose designs they deprecate, whose opinions they disavow, and to whom they themselves, in their official capacity, are objects of derision and distrust. Did any government ever submit to such an abject alternation of dependence—on the one day cringing to the Radicals, and crouching on the next to the Conservatives; and even sometimes, on the self-same night, requiring successfully the aid of both. If the proceedings of this House had been announced to the public in the same form as dramatic representations, the parliamentary playbill might have run as follows:—"Theatre Royal, St. Stephen's. Her Majesty's Servants will perform on Monday next, under the distinguished patronage of Sir R. Peel, Lord Stanley, and Sir J. Graham, a grand melodrame, entitled Conservative Justice to Canada.' On Tuesday, by command, and for the benefit of Mr. O'Connell, the farce of Popish-Radical Justice to Ireland.'" The noble Lord often reminded me of a shuttlecock, whisked and whirled across the table without any ceremony, from the one side of the House to the other, the battledores being most adroitly managed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Tamworth, and the then learned Member for Kilkenny. During the last four years her Majesty's Ministers have been frequently, though unconsciously, sitting for their pictures. I am not merely alluding to the inimitable sketches of "H. B.," which combine all the fidelity of the portrait with all the humour of the caricature; or to the chefs-d'œuvre of sundry Conservative artists, whose oratorical canvass and brushes, especially at Glasgow, Exeter, Oldham, and Wolverhampton, have been similarly employed. But, Sir, an accurate delineation of the present Cabinet appears to have been selected as an annual subject for prize-competition by the Radical Royal Academy, and has been treated with singular felicity by the Rembrandts 343 and Rubenses, the Lelys and Lawrences, of that establishment; or, in other words, by the Harveys and Humes, the Wakleys and Wards, the Attwoods, Leaders, Molesworths, Duncombes, Hutts, &c.; and it must be admitted by the most fastidious virtuosos, that, in their admired compositions, they are much more proverbial for faithfulness, than prone to flattery. I shall select, by way of specimen, a gem from the studio of the hon. Member for Finsbury, which some time ago attracted much notice in the Radical exhibition. By the by, I am happy to congratulate him on his triumphant election as coroner for Middlesex. If ever it should become his duty to hold an inquest over the Cabinet, I am sure he would charge the jury to bring in a verdict of felo de se, and find, that they have committed suicide, by constant truckling to their enemies, and frequent treachery to their friends:—With respect," said he, "to the Whigs, there were, he admitted, some men among them who had discharged their duty faithfully, and the Radicals were very glad to avail themselves of their assistance on the road towards thorough reform. The moment the Whigs stopped, the Radicals would bid them good by, and proceed on their own account; and he was satisfied they never would stop until they had obtained full justice to the whole empire. The Whigs could not proceed without them; they were bound hand and foot to the Radicals, for they had the huge body of the Conservatives opposed to them, and staring them in the face, ready to demolish them, should such a crisis occur as the defection of the Radical party. But there were also among the Whigs many whom they could not possibly trust—men who were ready at any moment to shrink away into the ranks of the tyrannical, boroughmongering, and bloodthirsty Tories. Ministers undoubtedly had laid some good measures on the table of the House of Commons; but he feared, when these were carried, the Whig stock in trade would be out. In such a case they must expect the Radicals to cut the concern; for the Radicals would never consent to be mere dummies.This, Sir, I need scarcely say, is an undoubted Wakley, in the most finished style of that eminent master: and if I were to ransack the provincial and metropolitan collections, I might adorn the entire walls of the National Gallery both with groups and individual portraits, as distinguished by the truth of their colouring and the correctness of their outlines, 344 from the pencils of the other most remarkable fellows and popular associates of the genuine Radical school, all demonstrating the degree of estimation and regard, in which her Majesty's Ministers are held, by the very men without whose suffrages, it is admitted on all hands, that they could not exist for a single hour. But, Sir, it may be alleged, they have tot et tanta negotia to sustain, and are so entirely engrossed in devising and executing their multifarious and important schemes for carrying out the principles of the Reform Bill, and promoting the national weal, that they have little leisure and less desire to ascertain the opinions expressed in the public prints or at public meetings, respecting their conduct or their principles.Populus me sibilat; at mihi plaudo Ipso domi.I, Sir, stop here, and leave it to the Westminster reviewers to complete the quotation, if they think proper. But, Sir, I ask whether they fared much better within these walls? I ask what Government ever experienced on the part of its supporters so unceremonious and so unceasing an infliction of most cutting and contumelious castigations? Although the three last sessions constituted the period of all others in our whole Parliamentary history, during which there was most said and least done, an act, I believe, did pass, not long ago, under the auspices of her Majesty's Ministers, for the total abolition of a certain barbarous and revolting punishment; and this philanthropic effort can scarcely be wondered at, for they themselves may be said (of course, I only mean in a metaphorical sense) to have stood in the pillory at least once a-week. Never were any delinquents in that pitiable predicament so belaboured and begrimed with dead cats, turnip-tops, oranges, and mud, as her Majesty's Ministers have been overwhelmed by their own partisans with sarcasms, reproaches, expostulations, and invectives. The former learned Member for Bath used to be the most dexterous, as well as the most unsparing, in the use of these offensive missiles. Even my hon. Friend, the late Member for Middlesex, now for Kilkenny,Once Thane of Glammis, But now of Cawdor,was often so carried away by his involuntary feelings of honest dissatisfaction, that 345 his pattings on the back, by a kind of imperceptible crescendo passed gradually into pummellings; and other patriots, then clustering around him, used to discharge, in the thickest vollies, the rotten eggs of their resentment, with so cruel and unerring an aim, at the devoted heads of her Majesty's Ministers,That, had not Heaven, for some strong purpose, steeledThe hearts of men, they must perforce have melted,And Toryism itself have pitied them.And yet, Sir, in despite of all these affronts, and all these outrages—condescending to beEvery thing by turns, and nothing long,turning their backs upon their supporters the one day, and upon themselves the next; they, a Cabinet of British statesmen—they, who are eulogised by the mercenary hirelings of their press as splendid paragons of magnanimity and disinterestedness—could find it in their hearts to cling to place, notwithstanding the undiminished defiance of their opponents, and the increased defection of their friends. Sir, I venture to affirm, that no other set of public men, whether Radical or Conservative, would have deigned to bold office by so humiliating a tenure. My right hon. Friend, the Member for Tam-worth, may, perhaps, and I admit with some justice, complain, when I venture (even after premising my thorough conviction, that it could not, under any circumstances, be realised) to put such a case as this:—supposing that he was surrounded, as Prime Minister, by a steady, but small knot of respectable partisans, being, however, at the same time, flanked on all sides by an equally indispensable phalanx of jealous and carping auxiliaries, who, when they tossed to him their reluctant suffrages, as a kind of pis-aller, were in the constant habit of annoying him from day to day with reproaches for alleged, or rather proved, simulation and imposture, by fraternizing with his allies in the use of certain general terms, to which he attached a far different and unacknowledged meaning, and that such reproaches were reiterated out of doors by the zealots of the Liberal party, in a quarterly publication of extensive influence, like the "Westminster Review," and in a weekly journal, conducted with unwonted talent, like the "Spectator;—is 346 any man so cruelly unjust towards my right hon. Friend as to imagine that he would stoop to such a state of unexampled indignity? Sir, I entertain no doubt, that he himself, and all the statesmen, who act with him in both Houses, would, in comparison with the misfortune of thus becoming a byword for the tongue of public scorn, embrace the alternative of the treadmill, as being comparatively a post of honour. Having now, Sir, brought to a conclusion my intended commentary on the condition of her Majesty's Ministers during the first years of their official career, I proceed to ask the noble Lord, in connexion with a brief inquiry into their present, and not, I think, essentially altered circumstances, whether he is prepared to maintain, that the results of the last general election at all increased their strength, or improved their condition? I contend, that, since Parliaments existed, no Government ever endured, on any similar occasion, so incredible, or so unlooked-for, an amount of mortification and discomfiture—a mortification proportioned to the confidence, with which an opposite result was predicted—a discomfiture almost as unparalleled, as the means were unwarrantable, which were every where unsparingly resorted to for the purpose of insuring success. Intimidation, importunity, and official influence, were unblushingly called into play, from Caithness to Cornwall. The name of her Majesty was emblazoned on party flags, and bandied about upon hustings, as if a new firm had been established, under the style and title of "The Queen, O'Connell, Melbourne, Russell, and Co.," and that it was at least anact of constructive high treason not to lodge one's money with that concern, or to question, for one moment, it's solvency or its stability. But, Sir, what was the consequence of all these unconstitutional and desperate devices? Her Majesty's Ministers appear in the face of the country galled by their British defeats, and disgraced by their Irish victories—victories which, if we may credit one-tenth part of the statements circulated in the public prints, were, in many instances, achieved by personation, by perjury, by ruffianism in the face of day, and by priestly anathemas at the altar. I am, however, happily exonerated from the necessity of analysing, on my own responsibility, the general results of the last elections; I shall rather refer the House to an extract, which I 347 now take the liberty to read, from a letter published in November 1837, by the hon. Baronet, the Member for Leeds, whom no one can justly suspect of any favourable leanings towards Toryism:— "The last elections were supposed to take place under circumstances singularly favourable to the popular party: a new reign had commenced; a young Queen was on the throne; her youth and inexperience had excited the sympathy of the people in every quarter; the report was industriously circulated and believed, that her Majesty was imbued with the most liberal notions, and placed the most unbounded confidence in her Ministers. Some even of the highest rank, and supposed to be the most liberal in their principles, and the most independent in their expression of them, endeavoured by this and similar means to influence the fancies and prejudices of the people. In short, to vote against the Ministerial candidates was every where denounced as an act of treason. Yet, notwithstanding all this, notwithstanding all the great influence, which Ministry can, and always does, exert in general election, none but the hireling sycophants of a base press, or the feeble-minded persons, who view facts through the distorting medium of their wishes, can deny, that the Liberal party has been defeated; and when the results of this general election are compared with those of the preceding one, then, indeed, is our present defeat a signal one.—With a small majority in their favour in the House of Commons, with a large and determined majority against them in the House of Lords, they were unable to carry any measure of importance, and all their schemes for the good of the people were invariably mutilated and mangled except, therefore, in the disposal of patronage, the Tories in reality governed the country. The demise of the Crown opened a new prospect; and the friends of the present Ministry indulged in the fondest anticipations as to the ensuing election. They boasted the elections would give them such a majority as would overcome all opposition. What has been the result? The majority in favour of Ministers has diminished to the smallest possible number," &c. No officer, who had served in a defeated army, ever sent home a despatch containing a more honest or strait-forward admission of the magnitude of its losses, and the amount of its 348 misfortunes. Instead of weakening by a single observation the effect, which such a document is calculated to produce, I shall at once investigate the future prospects of her Majesty's Ministers, which are, in my opinion, dependent upon three circumstances—first, the forbearance and docility of the English Radicals; secondly the nature and extent of the measures, which the cabinet proposes to introduce, in consonance with the views of the Movement party; and, lastly, the length of time, during which the hon. and learned Member for Dublin may deem it his duty, or account it his interest, to fight under the Whig banner of pseudo-radicalism, and tolerate the continuance in office of those, who, as he well knows, are his tenants at will. The Speech from the Throne, which might well be termed a Speech by courtesy, was intended as a feather thrown up into the air, for the purpose of ascertaining how the wind blew. Her Majesty's Ministers well Know that they have nothing at present to apprehend from the mighty Æolus of Irish agitation, who blusters like Boreas, when he can do them no harm, and is as gentle as a zephyr, when they are in danger. They have appeased his wrath, and insured his favour, by offering at his shrine a whole hecatomb of Irish appointments. I do not mean to say, that, whenever any office is to be filled up, a letter is written from the Castle, concluding, as well it may, in very common, but singularly appropriate terms, "I remain your obedient humble servant," intimating the vacancy, and placing the nomination at his disposal; but I do maintain, that under the present Irish Government, no measure of a party character can be introduced into Parliament without the hon. and learned Member's Le Roi le veut; that no place in Ireland is ever disposed of, unless there be on his part at least a virtual and well-understood Soit fait comme il est désiré; whilst, in return for the receipt of a tribute, collected every year from his admirers, he may be considered as saying Le Roi remercis ses bons sujets de leur bénévolence, et ainsi le veut. His compact with the Cabinet appears to be this—"Give me the lion's share of the Irish patronage—and I'll give you an entire carte blanche as to principle. Never be alarmed at what I say out of doors; you must allow me a decent latitude of declamation as to universal suffrage, more 349 Members for the Emerald Isle, bloodstained tithes, repeal of the union, &c.; but these and such-like clap-traps are mere will-o'-the-wisps for dazzling the weak—mere tubs to the whale for occupying the unruly. Justice to Ireland means justice to me—I am Ireland. Justice to Ireland means allowing me (though I want nothing for myself) to nominate, on every opportunity, chief justices and justices for Ireland. Only do as I bid you, and I'll be answerable for the tranquillity of my beloved country; as long as it suits your purposes, and squares with my interests, that the finest peasantry of hereditary bondsmen should be quiet, or at least asserted to be so." But, Sir, her Majesty's Ministers may not find it quite so easy to keep well with the British brigade of their Radical legion; and I would here proceed to observe, that the genus "Radical" may, with great propriety, be sub-divided into two species, which although nearly allied, are easily distinguishable. I would include in the first and least numerous category the straightforward, single-minded independent "out and outers," who say what they mean, and who mean what they say; and, who, without any respect for parties, persons, or places, pursue with disinterested and impartial assiduity the objects, which they deem essential for the greatest happiness of the greatest number. As choice specimens of this class I may particularise Mr. Roebuck in England (the species is not indigenous in Scotland), and Mr. Sharman Crawford in Ireland—gentlemen, from whom I differ upon almost every topic, ecclesiastical or civil, domestic or colonial; but whose frankness and consistency may be justly admitted and ad mired. The other section comprehends a mole wily class of politicians, who seem to have professions of one sort for the hustings, and practice of a different stamp for the House. Leaving their grand nostrums for national regeneration with their cloaks and umbrellas in the waiting room, they march up the steps the ultra-servile adherents of a Government, which they despise. Within the immediate circle of their respective constituencies they adopt a more imposing attitude—there each may be said toGive his noisy senate laws, And sit attentive to his own applause.There each is a kind of Jupiter Tonans— 350Assumes the god,Affects to nod,And seems to shake the spheres.But as soon as he arrives within the precincts of the bills of mortality, he thrusts all his thunder into one pocket, crams all his lightning into the other, and bottling them carefully up, like so much frothy small beer, with abundance of wire and wax upon the cork, preserves them in a cool cellar of obsequiousness, until he shall again be called upon to exhibit as a "well-graced actor" on the provincial boards.
It is, Sir, on the fiat of this motly and miscellaneous omnium gatherum of politicians, that her Majesty's Advisers must rely for dragging on the dependent career of their humiliation; a single bonâ fide tornado from all the Radical points of the compass would at once rend in pieces the frail and crazy edifice of their tottering administration. And it is no wonder if a few of the Radicals are beginning to lose patience, and to become a little restive. They find, that when a battle is to be fought, or a job to be defended, their attendance is most earnestly and most particularly entreated, with I know not how many imploring dashes under each of these importunate adverbs; but when offices are to be distributed, or measures to be decided on they are invariably kept at arm's length. Her Majesty's Ministers have always maintained an extensive free trade in promises, but have steered very clear of the reciprocity system, in as far as regards fulfilment. Since her Majesty's accession, the noble Lord, having no longer the specious plea of court-hostility to urge as a pretence for delay or disguise, has laid aside even the vain and empty ceremony of profession, giving to one Radical a slap on the face the one day, and throwing another overboard the next; and yet some sanguine enthusiasts still cleave to the "gay deceiver" with fond and unwavering credulity, as the harbinger and the hero of their anticipated millenium. But, Sir, I really believe, that the more sagacious disciples of that sect can scarcely make up their minds to feed any longer on the dry and insipid husks of hope, and are becoming impatiently solicitous to realise something tangible. I remember to have heard of a facetious toll-keeper, who caused to be painted on the highest bar of his turnpike-gates, "Pay me to-day, and I will trust you to-morrow;" but if any simple- 351 ton, who had complied with the former in-junction on Tuesday night, expected to obtain credit on Wednesday morning, the inexorable janitor called his attention to the unvarying inscription, which continued to proclaim as before, "Pay me to-day." Her Majesty's Ministers, after inverting the position of the verbs, act on a principle precisely similar. They have engraved upon their banner the legend, "Trust us to-day, we will pay you to-morrow;" and if the Radicals (good easy men!) at the close—not of a day, or of a month, but of a Session, or even of a Parliament, at length step forward with elongated faces, and say, "Well, Gentlemen, this is all very good, as far as it goes; but pray when are we, or rather when are the people to begin to reap some practical benefit from your professions and from their forbearance?—we think it is high time to be making some arrangements, at least, for an instalment;" the noble Lord coolly points to the unchanging motto on his standard, and still invites, and still expects them to "trust to-day." I scarcely think, however—(although, after all that has passed, I admit that nothing could surprise me)—that such a system of imposition on the one side, and gullibility on the other, can possibly last for ever. It seems to be more than probable, that, ere long, a Committee of Advice, or Convention of Estates, embracing all shades and sections of "true Reformers," must be convened at the Home Office divan. The noble Lord will, in due form, and at the proper hour, ascend the table, having in his pocket eight letters, announcing that two English bishops, two Scotch judges, two Irish commissioners with 2,000l. a-year each, one governor of an important colony, and an admiral commanding a lucrative station, have all paid the debt of nature, and have thus enabled her Majesty's Ministers pro tanto to liquidate their arrears of gratitude towards a corresponding number of the most needy and noisy of their thick-and-thin, whole-hog-going partisans. The noble Lord, concealing his regret at these accumulated national bereavements under the veil of a decent composure, may address his heterogeneous auditors somewhat to the following effect:Gentlemen,—I have thought it right to assemble you on this eventful emergency, in order to enforce the necessity of perseverance and co-operation in our unanimous and disinterested exertions for keeping the selfish and 352 despotic Tories out of place. [Hear.] I need scarcely recapitulate the grave and complicated delinquencies, which render them altogether unworthy to enjoy the confidence of a free and enlightened community, attached to liberal institutions. [Hear, hear.] The Tories are against extending the suffrage—[hear, hear]—the Tories are opposed to the Ballot—[hear, hear]—the Tories will not consent to abridge the duration of Parliaments—[hear, hear]—the Tories are for treating our Canadian fellow-subjects with rigour—the Tories supported Algerine acts for suspending the liberties of Ireland—the Tories are in favour of an enormous civil list—[hear, hear]—the Tories will not agree to the immediate and unconditional abolition of church-rates—[hear, hear]—the Tories are for upholding bloodstained tithes; have sanctioned a tithe-bill without an appropriation-clause, and declaim against the voluntary principle; contend for the finality of the Reform Bill, refuse more Members to the Emerald Isle, and denounce, as treasonable, the very proposition of repealing the Act of Union. [Hear, hear.] And on these grounds, Gentlemen, the people of this country must necessarily feel resolved not to tolerate their domination.This speech, or any other, which the noble Lord may think proper to deliver, will of course be received by the so-called Whig portion of his hearers with loud demonstrations of acquiescence and respect; but as soon as the peroration is concluded, some stern and sturdy Radical will exclaim, from the other end of the room, with stentorian voice, "My Lord John Russell." The Whigs will, doubtless, start with astonishment, and shudder with dismay, at this unwelcome apparition, as if they had seen Banquo's ghost; but our democratic Demosthenes, nothing daunted, will advance to the centre of the room, and express himself somewhat to the following effect:—I have listened, as I always do, with profound attention to your Lordship's most impressive and important admonitions. You have certainly adduced very cogent grounds why we Radicals should strain every nerve to keep the Tories out of office—[hear, hear]; but there is another point of equal interest, upon which, in the hurry of the moment, your Lordship has omitted to touch, namely, the reasons why we should be anxious for keeping in the Whigs. [Oh! oh!] My Lord, I am, as is well known, not much given to mincing matters, or beating about the bush, and shall therefore, without ceremony, at once come to the point. We Radicals are, in a political sense, become older birds than we once were, and are more shy then formerly of being caught with chaff; or, to use a still more apposite metaphor, while the Whig grass is 353 growing, the Radical mare is starving. We see, that your Lordship and your colleagues are as determined to impose a self-denying ordinance upon us, as to exclude the Tories from power; and that—for fear, perhaps, of offending her Majesty—you abominate our measures, and disclaim our doctrines, with much more vehemence and antipathy than theirs. In order, therefore, that there may be 'no mistake,' and no possibility of misunderstanding, I shall bring the sincerity and squeezability of her Majesty's Ministers to the test, by taking the liberty to address two questions to your Lordship, which, I am persuaded, you will answer with your wonted explicitness. ["Oh! oh!" and "Question, question," from the Whig portion of the assembly.] I am glad, Sir, (resumes the imperturbable orator), to hear some Gentlemen crying so loudly for the question. I am obliged to them for shewing how impatient they are, that my question should be put [oh! oh!], and I can assure them, that their wish shall be gratified without one moment's hesitation or delay—[oh! oh!]—(Mr. Edward Ellice rises to order)—I really must put it to the good sense and good taste of the hon. Gentleman himself, whether, at such a crisis as this [hear, hear], when the interests of the great cause of Reform are at stake—[hear, hear]—when all minor differences should, at least, be suspended, if not merged in oblivion—[hear, hear]—and when nothing but unanimity on our parts can avert the triumph of the common enemy—[hear, hear]—he will deem it either prudent or proper to obtrude injudicious queries upon my noble Friend, which, though perhaps seasonable under ordinary circumstances, might now prove embarrassing and inconvenient. [Hear.] My Lord (resumes the querist), I entertain an unfeigned respect fur my right hon. Friend, the Member for Coventry; but I have a character to support [oh! oh!], and constituents to whom I am accountable [oh! oh!]; and although it grieves me to act in opposition to what seems to be the general sense of the meeting, I must insist upon persevering in my questions; for I never should have attended here this day, if there had been any understanding or expectation, that I should act the part of a dummy. [Oh! oh!] I therefore beg leave, with all deference, to ask the noble Lord, whether he has been led to re-consider the opinion which he (perhaps somewhat hastily) expresssed on the first night of the session—and is prepared to concede the removal of those glaring defects in the principles and working of the Reform Bill, which experience has discovered, and of which the whole of the Liberal party is now so loudly complaining, wherever they cannot carry every thing their own way under the provisions of the present act? [Order, order; hear, hear.]The noble Lord, with rueful and lackadaisical solemnity, will then screw out the following reply:— 354In answer to the question of the hon. Gentleman, I must confess, that I have not yet seen any cause to recede from my declaration, that as far as the principles of the Reform Bill are concerned, I, as its author, am bound to regard it as a final measure." "My Lord, I have heard with unaffected sorrow your very ill-starred, but most candid avowal—a sorrow, which will doubtless find an echo in the breast of every sincere Reformer throughout the empire. The noble Lord has, as usual, stolen a leaf out of Sir R. Peel's book, and is trying to force down the throats of the Liberals a bolus, which would be swallowed by a gathering of the Tory clans with simultaneous avidity. I own, that I am quite in the dark as to the precise grounds, on which this most impolitic determination can rest. Your Lordship reminds me of my friend Snip, the tailor, who promised, when my old coat was worn out, that the new one, with which he undertook to supply me, should fit exactly; but when he brought it home, after getting it up in a great hurry, it proved to be too wide at the waist and too narrow at the sleeves. When I pointed out these palpable defects, instead of consenting to make the necessary alterations, he flew into a passion, and exclaimed, 'Sir, when I engaged in this job, I fairly told you, that mine was 'a final measure.' You must make shift as best you can: if your coat is too wide here, remember, that it is too narrow there; and the one must compensate for the other' But, my Lord, I hope I shall be favoured with a more satisfactory reply to my second interrogatory. I can assure your Lordship, that we Radicals should be but too happy to lay hold of any plank, however rotten, or to find out any plea, however flimsy, for continuing to adhere to the Government, which we have not the slightest wish either to abandon or to embarrass. We shall, therefore, be glad to be informed, what are the measures of a decidedly popular character by the introduction and carrying through of which her Majesty's Ministers may insure our support, and retrieve the confidence of the people?" ["Order, order; hear, hear."]The noble Lord, after a short pause, and in the midst of a dead silence, will here pull out his watch, and express his unaffected astonishment and sincere regret at finding, that it is now a quarter past three o'clock, and that, having been summoned to attend a meeting of the Cabinet at Lord Morpeth's at three, he must postpone answering this very comprehensive and important question, until some future, and, he hopes, not distant opportunity. Such, Sir, will, in all probability, be the somewhat abrupt termination of this important meeting, which, without any necessity for reading the Riot Act, will then very quietly disperse, to the infinite relief both of the Ministers and of the Whigs; and the 355 Globe and Courier will triumphantly announce, in a second edition, on the selfsame evening, to the Liberal public, that nothing could have been more harmonious, or more encouraging, than the whole tenour of its proceedings. But what will the Radicals say to all this? I believe, that most of them will soon recover their equanimity; their disappointment, though fierce in its commencement, is never formidable in its duration—Priscus amor redit,Diductosque jugo cogit aheneo.The very man, who, if jostled by a Tory, would call him out, will allow a Whig to knock him down, and thank him into the bargain. A short and hot attack of resentment is soon followed by a long and cold fit of resignation, more especially if the meeting fortunately takes place on a Saturday, on which day the magnates of the Mountain will, I presume, again congregate about half past seven, around the well-replenished board of my hon. Friend, the Cornish Amphitryon, and drown all recollection of national grievances and ministerial delinquencies in "oblivious antidotes" of Johannisberg and Champagne. But, Sir, it cannot be denied, that the future prospects of the Cabinet, as far as permanence is concerned, must, in the second place, be in some degree contingent upon the nature of the measures which they intend to support or to introduce. If they do not bring forward or countenance some Radical, or semi-Radical, or quasi-Radical schemes—in short, if they do not achieve something, which their Conservative antagonists could not attempt, how can their Radical bottle-holders keep up their heads, or look their constituents in the face? And, Sir, it may be worth while to consider, what these propositions are likely to be. The English Church-rate question, if alive at all, seems to be in a state of hibernation—consigned to the tender mercies of a lingering committee, which will probably spin out its labours during the greater part of the Session. The principle, on which they came into office, has been abandoned, although I once heard a supporter of Government very justly remark, "If we are Gentlemen, we must stand or fall by the appropriation-clause." The Irish Municipal Reform Bill, which must be pared down elsewhere in all its provisions So as to suit the Conservative views, will, 356 I dare say, constitute, to use the expressive phraseology of the Member for Finsbury, the whole of the Whig "stock in trade" for all time coming. But if they do intend to satisfy the Radicals, another element of hostility comes into play; and I should like to know how her Majesty's Ministers intend to deal with the overwhelming, insurmountable majority, opposed to them in the House of Lords? And here, Sir, I cannot but congratulate that august assembly upon the glorious triumph, which they have achieved. The Ministers and all their adherents have passed under the Caudine forks; they have struck their colours, and grounded their arms, without stipulating even for the benefit of a capitulation, or being allowed the honours of war. I am persuaded, that the Ministerial opposition to the Ballot arises chiefly from a dread of demonstrating in a fresh instance their complete and irremediable subjection to the House of Lords. Who can believe, that they deem a measure to be so dangerous, so immoral, and so unconstitutional, which formed a part of their original Reform Bill? They know, that if they supported the Ballot in this House, it must inevitably be carried; that then another collision might take place between the two Houses of Parliament; and that the Cabinet would be placed in the painful and awkward alternative of resigning their places, or succumbing to defeat. Has the country forgotten all the vauntings and all the menaces, with which the Peers were assailed in this House, and still more loudly by the press, as long as any hope could be cherished, that their courage could be made to flinch, and their resistance be overcome? I shall refresh Gentlemen's memories, and read, by way of a specimen of these obsolete attempts at intimidation, a part of an ukase on that subject, given, if I mistake not, from our palace at Derrynane about two years ago. By the by, what a pity it is that my publics spirited friend, Mr. Murray, of Albemarle Street, does not favour the world with an O'Connell Annual, so as to embody in a less ephemeral form certain elegant extracts from the epistles and speeches of so eminent a public character! For want of such a popular Anthology and useful Vade Mecum, I shall now have the greater pleasure in submitting this quotation to the House, because it will prove what, perhaps, may excite pleasure in some 357 quarters, and surprise in all—that her Majesty's Ministers and their adherents, and even the hon. Member for Dublin himself, are neither more nor less, neither better nor worse, than arrant downright Tories! "The Lords have scandalously—insultingly—I will add, because it is true, basely, violated their pledge, and broken their contract." He then calls on the British people to insist, "in a voice too distinct to be misunderstood, and too loud to he neglected," upon an organic change in that Assembly.We cannot, and we will not, submit to the execrable tyranny and insulting injustice of the Lords, without using every effort to obtain the complete reform of that Assembly. This reform of the Lords is the only one political necessity. That House, in its present state, is the great obstacle to the good Government of Ireland; in fact, it is, in its present state, an invincible obstacle to good Government. To this, then, should every well-wisher to Ireland tend. To this reform of the House of Lords the attention of every real and sincere Reformer should now be turned. There may be some calling themselves Reformers, but who are Tories in their hearts; and there may be others who designedly play the part of Tories; and both these classes may seek, therefore, to turn the attention of the friends of freedom to other topics from the one thing necessary—i. e., the reform of the House of Lords. There is but one remedy—break up the legion, reform the House of Lords. Till this is done, British liberty is but a mockery and a name. Irish oppression and misery are immovable; and we Irish have but this alternative left—reform of the House of Lords, or Repeal of the Union.Such, Sir, was the language of the hon. and learned Member but two or three short years ago. How altered has his tone been since! It is very true, that he once mustered enough of resolution to insert in the red book on your table a proposition for reforming the House of Lords. But, Sir, notices and motions do not always stand towards each other in the relation of cause and effect. Grandiloquent orators, at the commencement of every Session, appear to be in an advanced stage of political pregnancy, which, after sundry abortive throes, and a protracted period of laborious uterogestation, at length terminates in a convenient miscarriage. But now, Sir, the very attempt to coerce the freedom, or change the constitution, of the House of Lords has been utterly abandoned, as not only hopeless, but unpopular; and the question still re- 358 mains to be answered, how do her Majesty's Ministers intend to deal with the supremacy of the House of Peers? The argumentum ad metum has utterly and for ever failed; and I think, that no expedient now remains for the noble Lord to try, but the argumentum ad misericordiam. I advise him to march up, on some early day, to the bar of the House of Lords, attended by all his colleagues and partisans, and address them nearly to the following effect:—'Most potent, grave, right rev. seniors, My very worthy and approved good masters,' I am afraid, that we can do little with you, and I admit, that we can do nothing without you—'Nec possum tecum vivere, nee sine to:'bat oh! be generous as you are great—be considerate, as you are invincible. Pray don't be too hard upon us—don't push us into a corner—don't pin us against the wall. Although appearances are sometimes rather against us, we entertain the highest respect for your Lordships, both collectively and individually; we are intent upon requiting good for evil; and in return for the provoking pertinacity, with which you reject or mutilate all our measures, we intend to maintain all your privileges inviolate, and allow the amplest limits to your discretion. Pray don't confound us with the Radicals,—though I may observe, en passant, with respect to them, that their bark is worse than their bite, how marked is the difference, both in style and sentiment, between the encyclical letters to their constituents, which they fulminate during the recess, and the raw-head-and-bloody-bones orations which they spout after dinner at the Goose and Gridiron, or the Goat in Boots, when contrasted with the cautious milk and-water shilly-shalliness, which characterises all their speeches, when they stand up in the House of Commons to maintain that black is white, for the purpose of keeping us in place! Now and then, to be sure, a raking fire is opened upon your Lordships from some of the batteries of Fort Ultra behind us, and we then feel just as if our own lives were placed in jeopardy by the explosion of every shell. We move heaven and earth to keep the Radicals in order; and it must be admitted, that, in general, we are tolerably successful; but there are now and then some self-willed, obstreperous customers among them, who insist upon breaking out in spite of us; and we all sit on thorns, and scarcely know which way to look, when they try to scald your Lordships with the vitriol of their wrath, in the shape of coarse and truculent invectives. Oh, my Lords, if you could only witness, when any of them rise to speak, the dumb-show deprecations by which we endeavour to persuade them to sit down; and when they are so cruel as to persevere, we tremble all over, like a nervous invalid, who 359 has just pulled the string on Christmas day, and cowers under the chilling anticipation of a drenching shock from a shower-bath. You might see us writhing and wincing under the infliction of their eloquence. Sir W. Gossett, Mr. Clementson, Mr. Lee, and Mr. Rickman, if examined at your Lordships' bar, could all attest, uná voce, that instead of encouraging any one of them by a faint or solitary cheer, we sit crest-fallen, tongue-tied, conscience-struck, and aghast! Oh, my Lords, how fervently must your benevolent feelings have sympathised with the awkwardness of our predicament! During the last four years, how often have we been compelled to re-solve one of the most ticklish problems in the whole algebra of politics—that of determining the ever-varying relation between two unknown quantities—x representing the amount of concession, which we can make without alarming the Sovereign; and y the quantum of resistance, which we can offer, without incurring the forfeiture of Radical support! How uncomfortably have we floated on the sea of perplexity! how miserably have we floundered in the slough of despond! how ruefully have we hung out the blue lights of distress, and looked across the Table at the Conservative benches with a wistful and anxious eye, as if saying to the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tam-worth,'Help me, Titinius, or I sink!'O send a Conservative life-boat to our aid! Well may we term Sir R. Peel our right hon. 'Friend:'—he is often so indeed, for he is always so in need; and, without his most seasonable succour, the Radicals, if we had fought them single-handed, must long ago have driven us out of the field. What a mercy it would be, if, through your Lordships' kind mediation, we could shake off the yoke of our much more dreaded than desired confederates, and amalgamate our troops in the Conservatives ranks! Only insure to us nine-tenths of the places, and a similar proportion of the patronage, and we are quite prepared to strike the bargain. How gladly should we all take our names out of the Reform Club, and be put up as candidates at the Carlton, proposed by Sir C. Wetherell, and seconded by Mr. Bonham! Why cannot your Lordships meet us one-tenth part of the way? We don't even ask you to sanction any enactment which, by possibility, can save our credit by bearing the name of an appropriation-clause; and as to the Municipal Reform Bill, if you will be pleased to pass it in any shape,'We're all submission; what you'd have it, make it.' The only sine quâ non, for which we should wish to stipulate, is, that you leave a mayor for Clonakilty. The popular patriots of Ireland seem to think, that the very apparition of such a functionary will do more for their country, than any system of Poor-laws, which wisdom can devise, or which benevolence can 360 adopt, The sight of his mace may perhaps prove effectual to scare away the gaunt spectre of crime, poverty, and wretchedness, which now stalks abroad with impunity throughout the length and breadth of the land.Sir, I think the noble Lord will find it as difficult to cajole, as it was impossible to intimidate, the House of Peers, who doubtless sympathise in the indignation, which every true philanthropist must experience, when, in the midst of the soul-harrowing privations, endured by the population of the sister island, we are gravely told, that Church Spoliation Acts and Municipal Reform Bills are the main ingredients of "justice to Ireland!" If you were to introduce universal suffrage in all the municipal bodies throughout Ireland, there would be neither one assassination less, nor one conviction more. The only result would be, a general feeling of exasperation and disappointment. Methinks I see some half-starved and overworked peasant returning at dusk to his unfurnished cabin, and carrying home, by way of consolation, to his children in a state of nudity, and to a wife emaciated by inanition and disease—what?—a loaf of bread?—no; a bowl of milk?—no; but a copy of the Municipal Reform Bill in the one hand, and in the other an appropriation clause. I know not, Sir, by what legerdemain either act can be transmuted into nourishment; but I would advise the poor peasant to make the best of his bargain: for whether he obtains "the whole bill" or not, it appears to be quite certain, that he will get "nothing but the bill;" he must use it as Boniface did his ale—he must eat it, and drink it, and sleep upon it. And this, forsooth, is justice to Ireland! Oh, Sir, was ever any hallowed appellation so prostituted and so profaned? Were ever any dupes so misled and mystified as our unhappy Irish countrymen! The chief temple of that justice, whom they are called upon ignorantly to worship, stands erected on the loftiest eminence in the well-known district of Blarney—a temple, which contains not the Parian marble statue of the genuine goddess, but a coarse plaster-of-Paris cast, all gorgeously bedaubed with gilding, which the uninitiated spectator in his simplicity mistakes for solid gold. Her eyes and ears are most aptly enveloped in a bandage, to denote that she condescends not to look upon the sufferings, or listen to the complaints of her 361 deluded and dying votaries; the scales, which she holds in her hand, are as empty, as her professions of sympathy and her promises of relief; they are intended for any purposes under Heaven, but that of weighing out flour and potatoes, to provide for the necessities of the millions, who are perishing with hunger, whilst her portly and pampered hierophants have luxuries enough and to spare. In speaking of a strenuous opposition to a Poor-bill for relieving Irish indigence, and of a pertinacious struggle in behalf of a Municipal Reform Bill for encouraging Irish agitation, I am naturally led to think of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, the necessity of whose patronage for insuring the stability of the Government constitutes the third element in their future prospects. We read of a popular champion in former times, who insisted upon being viceroy over the king; but the hon. and learned Member is installed as king over the viceroy. It is worth while to notice how completely he is at variance with her Majesty's Government as to the two leading principles, which he has proclaimed as his motives for honouring them with his confidence, although they assert, in an assembly, of which he is not a member, that they withhold theirs from him. The first is, that the system, on which they act, is altogether different from that of Earl Grey, with whom they themselves claim a perfect identity. In this respect, however, he is quite right. The dissimilarity is apparent to the whole world; and this consideration, whilst it justifies him pro tanto in supporting the present Cabinet, exonerates altogether from the vulgar charge of apostacy my noble Friend the Member for South Lancashire, my right hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke, my hon. Friend the Member for North Wiltshire, who occupies so prominent a place in the veneration of his countrymen, and others who, like myself, supported Earl Grey to the very last. The other ground, Sir, is, that, if we may credit the exoteric manifestoes of the learned Member, the Irish measures of her Majesty's Ministers are mere stepping-stones and instalments; whereas the Premier himself most solemnly assures the country, that they constitute the ne plus ultra of concession. Be that, however, as it may, it cannot be denied, that the Ministers owe everything to the hon. Member for Dublin; and that, without 362 his generous and timely intervention, they could neither have emerged from obscurity, nor continued to exist for a single day. What was their situation at the commencement of 1835? They were, if I may borrow a verse from Dr. John-son—Condemned to hope's delusive mine;or I should perhaps be nearer the mark, if I were to allege, that they resembled a gang of workmen, who, in the midst of their subterraneous excavations, have been suddenly enveloped in fire-damp, In this trying emergency, the conduct of the learned Liberator, formerly of Ireland, and then of the Ministry, was prompt, energetic, and magnanimous. He did not stand with a malicious chuckle of triumph at the edge of the yawning abyss, and say to his hon. Friend the Member for Tipperary, "Well, Sheil, there they are, and there let them remain; it is just what I expected, and exactly what the yd eserve. I told them what would result from their own folly, in refusing to listen to your advice and mine; help them who will, I at least shall wash my hands of them for ever, and leave them to their fate. Let the Tories, for once, have a fair trial; I am sure they can't do less for Ireland than the Whigs." Instead of giving vent to such reflections, he at once threw into the waters of Lethe all the base, brutal, and bloody addresses,—all the Algerine coercion acts,—all the outrages and insults, by the frequent enumeration of which he had succeeded in persuading others, though not in convincing himself, that the Whigs were worse enemies to Ireland than the Tories, —all the acrimonious personalities and hostile denunciations, of which he had been alternately the author and the object; and after suffering a rope to be fastened under his arms, was lowered by the Members for Middlesex and Bridport into the pestiferous pit, and brought out successively on his shoulders each of the ex-Ministers, in a state bordering on asphyxia, and laid him gently on the Treasury-bench; where, being restored to theWarm precincts of the quarter-day,and fanned by the soft empyreal breezes, which blow without intermission between the limits of the official tropics, they soon recovered their pristine state of briskness and vitality. Sir, it is but fair to add, that the whole posse comitatus of the Ra- 363 dical yeomanry volunteered their services at that critical period; and so great were the zeal and alacrity manifested by all the officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates, that they were fully entitled to silver medals from the Humane Society for their unremitting and successful exertions. Whether all or any of them were honoured with this well-merited badge of distinction, I shall not pretend to say; but of this I am quite certain, that, to a great majority of their number, no other recompense has ever been awarded. As far as the Whig Cabinet is concerned, scarcely one of them has ever received a single office, or carried a single measure. Does any one imagine, that the Whigs could have exercised a similar forbearance, if, after the overthrow of the Tory Government, his late Majesty had thought proper to form a Radical Administration? Would they, after taking their full share in the perils and difficulties of the conflict, have allowed their allies to claim all the honours and all the advantages, and have remained for four years empty-handed and Unrewarded? No; there neither is, nor ever could have been exhibited, such a selfish ingratitude on the one hand, and such a disinterested infatuation on the other. The only similar instance of unthankfulness, which I can at present call to mind, occurred in the French metropolis, just before the breaking out of the first Revolution. There flourished at that time in Paris a celebrated milliner, who, by dint of unwearied industry, acknowledged taste, and unimpeached integrity, had contrived to secure the patronage of the Court, and almost to monopolise the favour of the great. Her success was gall and wormwood to Madame Thimberigg, whose shop was situate on the opposite side of the street, and who, being conscious of her own inferiority, betook herself to a third party engaged in the same business, and said, "You must be quite aware, that neither of us will be able, if single-handed, to crush our hated competitor; but if we only lay our heads and club our purses together, I think it by no means improbable, that we may succeed in accomplishing her ruin." The proposal was assented to, the agreement concluded, and, in the course of a few months, by dint of smuggling, slander, and every species of chicanery, they achieved their nefarious object; their rival's name appeared in the Gazette, and they purchased all her ef- 364 fects for an old song. But, Sir, what was the result of this victory? A fair division of the spoil? Oh, no, quite the reverse. That partner in the scheme who had contributed the smallest share, both of skill and capital, to the undertaking, immediately installed herself in the spacious premises, laid claim to the whole stock in hand, left her astonished and mortified confederate to take possession of a cold unfurnished tenement immediately contiguous, and even had the effrontery to paste up in the corner pane of her shop windows, "No connexion with the next door." Sir, I contend that, mutatis mutandis, this is precisely a case in point. It is on the very same principle, that the Radicals are cajoled and complimented, when their aid is required, but cast off without scruple or ceremony, when it suits the convenience of her Majesty's Ministers. Is there any talk of concession to the Canadians? no connexion with Mr. Leader—introduction of vote by ballot? no connexion with Mr. Grote—household suffrage? no connexion with Mr. Hume —short Parliaments? no connexion with Mr. Williams—revising an enormous civil list? no connexion with Mr. Harvey—amending the principles of the Reform Bill? no connexion with Mr. Duncombe. Sir, I fear, that I have fatigued the House by the length of these observations; in submitting which, however, I have only discharged a duty which I felt that I owed to my consituents and to my country. I have endeavoured faithfully to portray the character, the position, and the prospects of a Government, well described by the most distinguished of our Statesmen (Sir R. Peel) as weak and inefficient; by the most intrepid of our patriots (Sir F. Burdett) as weak and vacillating; but, perhaps, best characterised by a right hon. Friend of mine (Sir J. Graham), whose return to this House the admirers of British institutions hailed last year with so much satisfaction, who, in one of the most effective speeches ever delivered in a public assembly, first denounced them as a shabby Government. Never was any definition more apposite, or more just, or more speedily sanctioned by universal adoption. They have not gained the confidence of the gentlemen around me by occasionally hoisting anti-Radical colours. The remembrance of their factious and unfair opposition, when my right hon. Friend was in power, as well as the dis- 365 gust inspired by the daily exhibition of trimming subserviency since their own return to place, have for ever deprived them of all title to Conservative respect. On the other hand, whilst they are every day sinking lower in the estimation even of their staunchest and most zealous partisans, they see the thermometer, which indicates their majority, descending gradually to zero. Within the genial meridian of Devonshire, it has lately fallen two degrees; and I question much whether, in the course of next winter, a very severe Frost may not sensibly affect it even at Stroud. The journals in the pay of the Treasury have often taunted me with a sentiment, which I had the honour to express, when attending last year a Conservative festival at Huddersfield. They were quite correct in asserting, that I intimated an intention to move a vote of want of confidence in the Government, if no more competent champion could be found willing to undertake that office. In an earlier part of these remarks, I have already stated the grounds, which rendered it unadvisable or useless, that such a proposition should then have been brought forward, more especially as other trials of strength originated from other quarters in the course of the Session, which sufficiently tested the independence of this House, or, in other words, demonstrated its servility, by proving, that the magniloquent menaces of the Bobadils and Bombardinians, arrayed on the opposite benches, are only shifts and sham-fights for throwing dust into the eyes of their deceived and credulous constituents. But supposing I were now to word a proposition in the following terms, as soon as the motions before the House are disposed of:—"That her Majesty's Ministers do not possess the confidence of this House, or of the country,"—would the most enthusiastic of their supporters be bold enough to move the omission of the words, "do not," so that, if his amendment were carried, the main question might so stand as to try the proposition affirmatively as well as negatively? I am quite persuaded, that not one of them is sufficiently chivalrous to bring the matter to such an issue. Oh the whole, it seems to be just possible, that they may linger on for a short time, as they have "of late years," blundering to day, and blustering tomorrow—bullying the Radicals the one night, and bowing before them the next; 366 abandoning every thing except their places; tripping up the heels of a colleague at a moment's warning, when it suits their purpose to get rid of him; and clinging to a pre-eminence ill acquired and worse maintained,—until expelled by the universal indignation of a people, whose fondest hopes they have disappointed, whose common sense they have insulted, and whose dearest interests they have betrayed.
§ Mr. Ingham
wished to lead back the attention of the House from the entertaining speech of the hon. Baronet who had just sat down to the question which they had been discussing for so many days. Many Members on both sides of the House had, during that discussion, given reasons for their different votes, and he begged to say, that with very many of those arguments, on both sides, he found it impossible to concur. He did not think himself of sufficient importance in that House to enter deeply into its deliberations, and should, therefore, confine himself to the consideration of the resolution of the noble Lord in its literal and express terms. In that resolution he did not read any thing like censure of the House of Lords; he could not see in it any thing like a general support of the Government or approbation of its measures. He thought it necessary to say this, because there had been some measures of the Government now, happily, abandoned which he could not possibly have supported. He alluded particularly to their measure for the appropriation of the revenues of the Irish Church, a measure he could never agree to. But the present resolution of Ministers demanded no approval of the legislative acts of Ministers; it merely asked an expression of the opinion of that House as to the way in which the existing laws had been of late years administered in Ireland. It was his firm belief, that those laws had been administered in a way calculated to benefit the great proportion of the population of that country—and, approving as he did of that policy, he considered he should be promoting its continuance by future statesmen by supporting the resolution now before the House. The principal part of Lord Normanby's Irish Government which had been objected to was his practice of extending patronage, and bestowing high judicial and other offices on gentlemen of the Roman Catholic per- 367 suasion. That practice he considered most just in itself and most happy in its consequences for the people of Ireland. For what had, in former years, been the great grievance of the Irish? It was their dissatisfaction at the manner in which, and the person by whom, the laws were administered—a dissatisfaction which he felt sure arose, in a great degree, from ignorance, as it was his impression that any Gentleman who had the honour of sitting on the bench would divest himself of prejudice, and administer justice to the best of his ability. But it was not only necessary that the laws should be fairly administered—the people should also have confidence in the Administration. Although a Roman Catholic coming before a Protestant Judge might be sure to receive justice, still it was impossible to disabuse his mind of some tinge of jealousy of the tribunal. For these reasons he thought, that the disposal of judicial office to Roman Catholics a most beneficial practice, as he felt confident, that the Roman Catholic offender would feel the sentence of the law with tenfold force when pronounced by a person of his own communion. The other objections advanced against Lord Normanby's Government principally regarded his liberation of prisoners. He did not pretend to say but, that in some cases, the noble Marquess might have liberated without sufficiently careful consideration, but in every instance of which complaint had been made during the course of the present debate, he thought a complete refutation had been made out for the Irish Government. He passed through one of the large towns in Ireland from the gaol of which Lord Normanby at the time liberated many prisoners. He found, that in none of those cases had the noble Lord pardoned without the most minute investigation, and for the most satisfactory reasons. In the suppression of faction fights, the great bane of Irish society, the noble Marquess had been peculiarly successful; his course had been to bring an overwhelming force to the spot where the fight was expected, and thus effectually to prevent it. Seeing, then, so much to approve of in the conduct of Lord Normanby, he felt himself bound, however painful it might be to separate from the Friends with whom he usually acted, to vote on the present occasion for the resolution of the noble Lord.
thought, that the present debate must be extremely gratifying to Government and its supporters, as, during its course, Members usually opposed to them were found giving them cordial support. The hon. Member who had just sat down had come forward with manliness and independence that did him infinite honour. He could not say the same for the hon. Baronet who preceded him, for if ever there was a melancholy exhibition, if ever there was a spectacle calculated to throw discredit on that House, if ever there was a mixing up of buffoonery with one of the most important questions that could agitate a country, if ever there was shown a diseased imagination, combined with a deficient judgment, it was in the speech of the hon. Baronet, the Member for Caithness. The hon. Baronet complained of the protracted debate, but to his astonishment, the hon. Baronet himself occupied the House for a very long period of time with words not worth hearing, and arguments entirely destitute of foundation. The hon. Baronet called the hon. and learned Member for Dublin the Socrates of the Corn Exchange, and said that himself had been, and was still, according to the Whig writers, a renegade. The hon. Baronet would never be called the Socrates of renegades. Some parts of the hon. Baronet's speech had surprised him exceedingly; amongst the rest, that he could venture to speak of intimidation during the late elections. He wondered how the the hon. Baronet dared to charge Government with the exercise of undue influence, seeing that undue influence, bribery, and intimidation had been exercised to such an enormous extent by Gentlemen on the hon. Baronet's side of the House. He represented a town in which Government influence was supposed to exist to a great extent He begged to tell the hon. Baronet, that of all the voters in that town supposed to be under Government influence, only twenty-two had voted for him and his colleague, and thirty-six for the Conservative candidate. What a trumpery charge, then, was this! He should like to know what fact the hon. Baronet could bring forward in support of his allegation. He would not waste the time of the House any longer—he would not waste the time of the House by following the speech of the hon. Baronet, because, by doing so, he should be merely crushing a butterfly on the wheel. 369 One observation only he would make to his Friends around him. It was, that the hon. Baronet, although sitting on the Conservative side of the House, was one of the best of Reformers, and he took upon himself to say, that if they often had such exhibitions, such speeches uttered, such witticisms without point, such alliteration and antithesis, instead of sound arguments and correct statements of facts, they would not be long without triennial parliaments and vote by ballot. If they had in that House 658 Members such as the hon. Baronet, the country would not be long apathetic on the subject of reform. He was anxious now to state the ground on which he gave his sincere and cordial support to the resolution of the noble Lord. Sometimes a man might give a reluctant vote to advance the interests of his party; but he could assure the House, that he never gave a vote in which his heart went so entirely as the one which he was about to give on the present occasion. He believed that a great many of the evils of Ireland arose from misgovernment, but not from the misgovernment of the Marquess of Normanby. He held in his hand returns which 'moved a gradual diminution of crime during the noble Marquess's government. The hon. Member referred to the returns which have already been frequently quoted in the debate. Another act of the Marquess of Normanby deserving approbation was, his putting down the Orange lodges, institutions which had a baneful influence on the liberty of the subject. The miserable state of Ireland was not attributable to the present Government, but its causes might be traced to the oppressive manner in which the Irish people had been treated, ever since England obtained dominion over them, down to the accession to office of the present Administration. This policy had been pursued by the Tories towards Ireland throughout the whole period of her history, except during the French and the American war, when concessions were made to fear, and not to justice. So far back as during the existence of the Irish Parliament, that assembly, acting under English influence, countenanced every attempt to oppress the Roman Catholic part of the population. He held in his hand a petition to the Irish Parliament presented by one Scraggs, complaining that one Darby Ryan, a Papist, exercised the calling of a coal porter, to the injury of 370 the said Scraggs. This complaint, ludicrous as it might seem, was entertained by the House, and referred to the committee of grievances. It had been a charge made against Lord Normanby, that Catholic and Protestant children were mingled together in schools. This, so far from being a fault, was, in his opinion, much to Lord Normanby's credit, as, by thus teaching children of different denominations in the same seminaries, they would be brought up in those feelings of brotherly love and kindness which it was so desirous to see prevail in Ireland. He was aware that this system had commenced under Lord Grey's government, but he claimed credit for Lord Normanby, that he had most efficiently conducted and carried it out. By the returns which had been made, it appeared that education was making great progress in Ireland. A return of the number of schools in Ireland showed a total of 1,384 schools, and 169,548 children, receiving, education. There were besides 195 schools now building, and an expected attendance of 21,000 male, and 16,530 female scholars. [Cries of "Question.") He was speaking to the question. He understood the question as well as hon. Gentlemen opposite. The question of education in Ireland was quite germane to the question of the executive administration of Lord Normanby there. He would not be put down, he knew the intolerance of hon. Gentlemen opposite. He had experienced their repeated interruptions when addressing the House on a late occasion, and he told them he would not be put down by their interruptions, or by their ironical cheers. Whether he regarded the state of crime in Ireland, the administration of justice there, the progress of education, or the employment of patronage, he felt fully justified in agreeing to the vote of confidence in Ministers, for he thought, in the emphatic language of the noble Lord who spoke last night, that they deserved well of the country. Government were perfectly justified in the step they had taken, whether they were to stand or fall. The right hon. Baronet, the Member for Pembroke, in his speech of last night, when endeavouring to answer, for it was but an endeavour to answer, the speech of the right hon Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said, that he could understand the meaning of the noble Lord's motion if the Government could by any means contrive to survive till the end of the Session. But 371 supposing that the Government did not last till the end of the Session, there would then be the greater reason for bringing forward this resolution, in order to leave it as a legacy to succeeding Governments. If they could leave this motion on the records of the House, be would defy the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, to carry on the Government without calling a new Parliament. He must rely on his bigotted friends near him for support, or he must not. If he did not, he would he guilty of great misconduct towards them, and if be did, the country would be disgusted.
§ Mr. Leader
Before offering to the House the observations with which I mean to trouble them, I must make one remark on the commencement of the speech of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. I think the only excuse for the ill-judged attack which he has made on the very clever speech of the hon. Baronet is the excess of fraternal affection which leads him to resent almost as a personal insult the expression of charges against a Cabinet in which his brother holds a place. Though the debate has hitherto turned on the narrow ground of the Irish policy of Ministers, and on the still narrower question of the Administration of Lord Normanby, I am quite certain, that when the Government gets the small majority which they will be sure to have when we come to a vote, they will take credit for having obtained a general vote of confidence. However they may disclaim the intention, I am sure, that this impression will be circulated by them. Now, I am anxious, that that impression should be confined to the Ministers and their organs, and that it should not be sanctioned in this House by the tacit votes on this occasion of those who disagree with them in their general conduct. If they fancy that the majority which they will have in their favour on this vote proves a confidence in their Administration, let me ask, from what party that confidence proceeds? Can they pretend to the confidence of the great party opposite? I know, that on many occasions they have the support of that party; but scarcely a debate takes place in which the right hon. Baronet who leads that powerful party, or some one of those who belong to it, does not express, in very intelligible terms, the dissatisfaction which he feels with the Government, and the contempt in which he holds them. Yes, 372 the contempt in which I think he deservedly holds them. Can the Government pretend to the confidence of the Radicals in this House? Though they have the support of the Radicals against the Conservatives on this question, yet all progressive reforms are put a stop to, because, with regard to them, the Radicals are opposed by the Government. The only party then in the House, to whose support the Government can lay any claim, and the only party which has any confidence in them, is the Irish party—a powerful party I admit, deserving of respect and grave consideration. But, let me ask, has the Government the confidence even of that party as to their legislative measures, as well as with respect to the administration of the executive by Lord Normanby? Why, if the Irish Members have confidence in the legislative measures of the Government, what becomes of the outcry about the appropriation clause? We have been told, that no tithe bill can be acceptable to the Irish people without that clause. What reliance, then, can that people place on a Ministry which has abandoned that principle. Again, if the Irish Members repose confidence in the Ministry, what is the meaning of the Precursor Society. Upon what foundation is that association established except this—that the Ministry have not gone far enough in their legislative measures? The only confidence, then, which any party places in this Government arises from the Irish Members, merely with regard to the administration of the executive in Ireland. There is, to be sure, a small party which supports them in this House, formerly called pure Whigs, but a body at present nearly defunct. And why are these Gentlemen amongst their adherents? Why, because they either enjoy the benefits of the patronage which the Government has it in its power to bestow, or they hope to become officials. But let me ask what class—what great interest in the country has confidence in the Government? Has the landed aristocracy? No, in spite of the attempt on the part of some Members of the Government to curry favour with them, by declaring in opposition to those who claimed an abolition of the Corn-laws, that the landed interest should be maintained in its predominant position, they know well enough they have no ground to hope for support in that quarter. Have the electors of the country confi- 373 dence in the Government? Let the recent elections in North Devon, Carlow, and the bare majority at Wigan answer that question. Let me ask, whether the great and intelligent manufacturing interest have confidence in the Ministry? How is it possible that they should trust a Ministry, the chief of which pronounced the men who called for a repeal of the Corn-laws to be "lunatics." [No! no!] I repeat, Lord Melbourne did so call them, or used language to that effect. Have the working classes any confidence in the Government? Oh, so far from it, that there is not a single town in the kingdom where a public meeting may be held at which ally Minister or supporter of the Ministry would be tolerated if he attempted to defend the general policy of the Government. It is only necessary for me to refer to the recent public meeting at Edinburgh—a city represented by two of the most distinguished Members of the Whig party—a city in which the Whigs were formerly omnipotent, where the people could not actually be persuaded by this party not to vote that the Government was no longer deserving of the confidence of the country. When we find, then, that the Government is abandoned by the country, and by all parties in the House, with the single exception of the Irish, which is favourable to their Irish Administration, how, it may be naturally inquired, do they continue to exist? Because the hon. Gentlemen opposite, are not yet ready for office. Because, perhaps, they do not like the aspect of the political horizon; or, because, for some other reasons, best known to themselves, they don't wish to exercise the power which they unquestionably possess; and lastly, because the Radicals have not yet made up their minds to join in a vote which would restore them to the ministerial benches. What a miserable position for a Government to be in. The noble Secretary for Ireland declared last night, that the Government was determined to exist no longer "on sufferance." I say, they have remained in power these two years on sufferance. I say more, that they exist this moment by the sufferance of ten or twelve men; and that if ten or twelve of those sitting on this side were to join the hon. Gentlemen opposite, they would cease to be a Government. I say, moreover, that if a general vote of want of confidence were proposed, more than ten 374 or twelve on this side would support that vote against the Government. In what position then is the Government placed? Why, the right hon. Member for Tam-worth governs England. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin, governs Ireland. The Whigs govern nothing but Downing-street. The right hon. Member for Tamworth, is contented with power without place or patronage, and the Whigs are contented with place and patronage without power. Let any nourable man say, which is the more honourable position. Well and amply have the Ministers deserved the general dissatisfaction throughout the country, for they have deserted every one of the principles for which the people elevated them to office, and for which they maintained them there. On the ballot, on the exten-tension of the suffrage, on the small improvement of abolishing the rate-paying clauses—on every question of reform, which the country had a right to expect, they joined the Conservatives against the people. Besides, they have not only abandoned the principles and professions of faith, for which the people trusted them, and gave them power, but they have not been true to their own immediate friends and colleagues. They have lost character with the country—in the first place, by the manner in which they deserted the Earl of Durham last year, after having placed him in a most difficult and perilous position, and in the next place, by the sort of juggle or intrigue in the cabinet itself (for such it is described to be, by means of which, in an unceremonious, and unexampled manner, they have lately contrived to dismiss one of their colleagues; that very one of their colleagues, too, who when my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds brought forward a motion impugning his conduct, they declared to be one of the best and ablest of the administration—one by whom they were determined to stand, or, if a vote were given against him, to go with him. I maintain, then, that by this proceeding they have lost character with the country. But, above all that, they have completely abandoned the people, and become to all intents and purposes as Conservative as the hon. Gentlemen opposite. Now, that being the case, I entirely concur in the opinion of the hon. Member for London, that if we are to have a Government conducted on Tory principles, those in autho- 375 rity should be responsible. I say it would be infinitely better if the hon. Gentlemen opposite—who really govern the country—were sitting on the Treasury benches, and responsible for their Acts, than to be dictating to their servants, the Whigs in office, what shall be done. Now, this being my opinion as to the amount of confidence which the Ministers ought to have, and as I confess I am anxious to show by my vote as by my words, that I have no confidence whatever in the Government, it is necessary, that I should say a word or two in justification of the vote which I mean to give this evening. The question before us is nothing more or less than this—whether Lord Normanby should be censured for the manner in which he has administered the Government of Ireland or not. Now, if I were called on to give a vote of confidence as to their manner of legislating for Ireland, I could not do so; but in this instance I am called on to give my vote as to Lord Normanby's administration, and I confess I cannot bring myself to vote a censure of it. I admit this with sincere sorrow, for I am as anxious as any hon. Gentleman opposite to declare by my vote, that I have no confidence in the Government. But when I consider, that the vote of the other House is a censure on Lord Normanby's administration and that the amendment of the right hon. Member for Tam-worth does not put a different construction upon it, when I observe, that the great majority of the Irish people look upon the appointment of the Committee of the House of Lords as a vote of censure on a Lord-lieutenant deservedly popular amongst them, and when I find, that such a course would be construed by that people as an act of hostility, or at least of indifference to their feelings, I cannot bring myself to support the amendment. On this occasion I sacrifice my views and opinions of the Government to the views and opinions of the people of Ireland; and I give my vote with the Government, but not for them, as it is solely in favour of Lord Normanby's administration of Irish affairs.
§ Mr. Sergeant Jackson
said, the hon. Member for South Shields was greatly mistaken in supposing, that in the exercise of the prerogative of mercy by Lord Normanby, only persons convicted of minor crimes had been discharged. Such was by no means the case, and before he sat down he should have occasion to show that the 376 contrary was the fact. But, before he proceeded to the consideration of the manner in which the prerogative of mercy had been exercised, he wished to say a few words in reference to what had fallen from the hon. Gentleman, the Solicitor-general for Ireland, on a former evening, in regard to Justice Perrin. The hon. Gentleman had given the House to understand that Mr. Justice Perrin had been denied that promotion to which it was contended he was entitled, by a Conservative admininistration. Now, no man could have a higher regard for the great abilities of that learned judge than he had, and he had ever spoken of him with the highest respect, They bad been fellow-students; they had practised at the bar together, and they had always lived on terms of friendship; but he must say, that the hon. Gentleman opposite, the Solicitor-general for Ireland, was greatly mistaken in supposing that a Conservative administration had placed Mr. Justice Perrin "under the ban of a political proscription." Mr. Justice Perrin had been called to the bar in the same year as he himself had been called, and they had received their silk gowns on the same day, and on what ground, then, could it be said that that learned individual had been placed under the ban of a political proscription by a Conservative Government? The truth, indeed, was, that during the administration of the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, a rule had been for the first time established, that the office of King's Sergeant in Ireland should not depend on political considerations but upon professional merit, and that in bestowing that office no distinction should be made of a party character. That rule was first laid down by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, and he must therefore say, that in selecting the case of Justice Perrin as an instance of political proscription, the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite had taken most inauspicious ground. Then there was the case of Baron Penne-father, than whom there was not in any country a more able or upright judge; and he would ask whether there was, in his case, any political proscription? But indeed, the statement of the hon. and learned Gentleman was totally without foundation in fact. He now came to the consideration of some of the statements made by the noble Lord, the Secretary for Ireland, in the very able and eloquent speech which he had last night delivered. The noble Lord had fallen into the same mistake as 377 the hon. Member for South Shields, for the noble Lord seemed to think that it was only in trifling cases of crime that Lord Normanby had exercised the prerogative of mercy during the tour his Excellency had made through Ireland in the year 1836. The noble Lord had also said, that the manner in which the prerogative of mercy had been exercised had proved highly beneficial, and he had instanced the county of Sligo in support of that statement. Now he contended that the proceedings of Lord Normanby in the discharge of prisoners was most unprecedented, most injurious, and most unconstitutional; and for the truth of that assertion he would appeal to the official returns which had been laid before the House. The noble Lord had brought forward no case in support of his position, but that of the county of Sligo, and when the noble Lord's attention was called to the county of Westmeath, he had said, that he would return to that county when he had disposed of Sligo. But the noble Lord had forgotten his promise, and during the whole of his speech he had made no allusion to the manner in which the prerogative of mercy had been exercised in Westmeath. He should therefore call the noble Lord's attention for a few moments to Westmeath, and a few other counties. He was unwilling to trespass upon the time of the House, but he trusted he should be permitted to offer a few observations relative to the deliveries of the late Lord-lieutenant of Ireland. In so doing, he hoped the noble Lord, the Secretary for Ireland, and the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Home Department, would give their attention for a few moments, as he was perfectly satisfied that those noble Lords were not aware of the injurious effects of the proceedings of Lord Normanby in discharging prisoners from the gaols of Ireland. He would first take the case of the county of Tipperary. In one day in the county of Tipperary the late Lord-lieutenant of Ireland had discharged from the gaol of Clonmel fifty-seven criminals, and upon, in fact, a mere oral order sent from the town of Waterford. Amongst those discharged from the gaol of Clonmel, there was a person of the name of Adams, who had been confined for a serious breach of the peace, and was detained for want of ball. That person was discharged, and without bail. There was also another person detained for bail, and also discharged. Another person had been convicted of the serious crime of perjury, and sentenced to seven years transporta- 378 tion, and to that person mercy had also been extended. Another individual had been convicted of a serious assault, and had also been discharged from confinement. Such were the cases which had been termed instances of minor offences. He would now call the attention of the House to the letter which had been written from Waterford to the governor of the gaol of Clonmel by the Lord-lieutenant, and which had been the authority for the discharge of those fifty-seven prisoners. His excellency, in his visit to the gaol of Clonmel, had been attended by the gaoler and turnkeys. Such were the persons he had made his companions, and upon whose recommendations he had acted. On leaving Clonmel his excellency proceeded to Waterford, and from that place he had written a letter to the governor of the gaol of Clonmel, of which he held in his hand a copy. It was as follows:—Waterford, August 9, 1836.The list appears larger than I had expected, from the recommendations to which I repeatedly attended during my visit to Clonmel gaol; but of course (with the exception of four) all the other cases were brought before me by the local authorities, and if it can be accurately ascertained whether all the names were taken down at the time by my desire they shall all be included. If so, they must all, in pursuance of my instructions, be discharged; but it might be inconvenient that so large a number should leave the gaol together, and on the same day, therefore I should wish Mr. Bell to call them before him each day by ten or fifteen, either in the order of the expiration of their sentences, or from some other reason, rendering their discharge first expedient, and then repeat to them carefully the special grounds of my clemency, which I myself stated their exemplary conduct, as reported, in confinement, the improved state of the neighbourhood, and the strong promises that they would lead new lives in future—for the gradual discharge of all those addressed thus by me this shall be sufficient authority; and when the revised list of names is sent to the Castle, I have desired that the order in regular form shall be sent down.(Signed) MULGRAVE.To the Governor of the Gaol of Clonmel.Such was the authority on which those fifty-seven prisoners had been discharged. It was dated on the 9th of August, and on the 10th, 11th, and 12th, the whole had been released from confinement. In February, 1837, the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Home Department, in introducing the Municipal Corporations Bill, had taken that opportunity of attacking a meeting 379 which had been held in Dublin, in reference to the state of the country and to the conduct of the Government. In reply to that attack, he had stated the reasons why the gentlemen of Dublin had assembled on that occasion, and, amongst other things, he had informed the noble Lord that the meeting had taken place in consequence of the wholesale gaol delivery to which he had been alluding. On that occasion he had also moved for a return of the number of persons discharged by the Lord-lieutenant, specifying the crimes for which they had been convicted, and the nature and extent of their punishment. On that return being ordered, the noble Lord opposite (Lord Morpeth) had caused a letter to be addressed to the different inspectors of gaols in Ireland, and to that letter he would now call the attention of the House. It was dated, the 10th March, 1837, and was as follows:—Sir, In reference to the cases of the several prisoners submitted to the Lord-lieutenant, upon his late inspection of the gaol of Clonmel, and recommended by you as subjects of his Excellency's clemency, I am instructed to request you will, upon consultation with the governor of the gaol, recal to his Excellency's recollection such particulars respecting the prisoners discharge, either of good character previous to, or good conduct during the confinement, or of the state of their health, as induced you to distinguish them as peculiarly deserving the favourable consideration of his Excellency. You will be so good as to afford the fullest information, and make such observations as you consider necessary, specifying whether any and what representations had been made in their favour by the local magistrates or gentlemen of the county, or any other mitigating circumstances in behalf of the prisoners who were discharged by his Excellency.As this information is required to complete an order to Parliament, I am to request you will lose no time in furnishing it.I am, Sir, yours,T. DRUMMOND.To the local inspector or governor of the gaol of Clonmel.Now, if the House would observe the date of the order, and the date of the letter, they would see that the letter had not been written in consequence of the orders of the House, that it had, in fact, been written for a different purpose—namely, to enable the Government to defend themselves from attacks which had been previously made. But what was the answer which bad been returned from Clonmel relative to the discharge of prisoners at that place? it was as follows:— 380Clonmel, March 11, 1837.Sir, In reply to your letter received this morning, I have to inform you that Mr. Bell, the chaplain of the county gaol, who acted for me during my absence, recommended one female for discharge, she having undergone her sentence, but could not obtain the bail required of her; fifty-five were recommended as being well conducted while in gaol by the governor, master of the works, and first turn-key, to the houses of correction, and one female by his Excellency, the Lord-lieutenant himself, which makes the whole number discharged from this gaol on his Excellency's visit to it last summer. There was no recommendation of any magistrate.I remain, Sir, yours very obediently,WALTER GILES, Local Inspector.To T. Drummond, Esq, Castle.So that this Gentleman told them that he had not recommended one person, and that the whole fifty-seven prisoners, with two exceptions, had been released on the recommendation of the gaoler and the governor of the gaol, and without reference to any magistrate or judge. It was also stated, that the only ground for their discharge had been their good conduct in gaol, and no attention had been given to the crimes of which they had been convicted, or to their previous character. He would next allude to his own country, and he bad taken great pains to ascertain the actual facts relative to the discharge of prisoners from Cork. The Lord-lieutenant went to the prison there, attended by the sheriff, the Protestant clergyman, the Roman Catholic clergyman, and by the jailor and turnkeys. He asked how such a prisoner had behaved himself in gaol, and for what offence he had been committed, and then proceeded to another, in regard to whom the like inquiries were made; and in that manner the list was made out of the prisoners to be discharged. The third name on that list was that of a woman who had been convicted of larceny, and sentenced to twelve months' confinement, with hard labour, and since her discharge she had been again convicted, and now she was known as "Lord Mulgrave's man." The fourth person on the list was another lady, also convicted of larceny, and who since her discharge had also been several times in gaol. There was another lady convicted of embezzlement; and, in short, such characters, to the number of seven, had been discharged merely upon the recommendation of the gaoler. From the gaol of Leitrim twenty-seven persons had been discharged on the 23d August, and upon no better grounds. When he looked at the return from Longford he 381 found that the first person dismissed by an oral order was William Kernagh, who had been convicted of an aggravated assault. He would not go further into these matters. He felt very sensible, that after a lengthened debate of this kind the patience of the House must be considerably exhausted, but at the same time he felt it to be his duty to press these statements on the attention of the House, and he begged to say, that they were not trifles. Ireland was now in a most dreadful state. That dreadful state was attributed to the course pursued by the Executive Government of Ireland, and hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House, even if they did not believe the accusation to be well-founded, ought at least to listen to the arguments and facts which were advanced in support of the charge, and refute them if they could. In Long ford he found that eleven persons had been discharged by an oral order, those persons having committed offences which were very likely to occur again. The noble Lord during his tour of popularity had liberated 284 persons, and out of these 110 by his oral orders. [The hon. and learned Gentleman proceeded to read a statement of the sentences of the several prisoners and other statistics, but, owing to the constant interruptions which took place, they could not be heard.] He would trouble the House with a word or two on other matters. The noble Lord had not dealt quite candidly with the House in dating the returns from November, 1837, because the charges made against Lord Normanby applied t 1836 mainly. The noble Lord, with his usual candour, also had accused Lord Oxmantown of inconsistency, with having stated in 1834 what was contradictory to that which he bad stated in 1829 of the conduct of the people of Ireland. What the noble Lord had stated was, that two or three years before the people of Ireland had got into habits which had since become inveterate, and if the noble Lord had added to 1829 the other years it would have brought up the date to 1832, and have shown that there was no inconsistency in his statements. [The hon. and learned Member's speech was in a great measure lost, owing to the noise and confusion in the House.]
In one opinion expressed by the learned Member for Bandon I entirely concur. It would be difficult, indeed, to dissent from him; when he declared his speech to he "no joke." That speech way be distinguished by ability; but, 382 among its multifarious merits, we should look for originality in vain. I will not say that it was, so far as its topics were concerned, "tedious as a twice-told tale;" but I may venture, without any departure from good breeding, to say, that its principal materials were of a nature to insure, among the Gentlemen behind him, unfired applause for the untiring reiteration of the same charges in nearly the same form of phrase. It is fortunate for the learned Gentleman that he may indulge in such repetitions without the hazard of incurring any expression of weariness from his admirers—"decies repetita placebunt." I pass from the learned Gentleman to the speech of my hon. Friend, the Member for Finsbury, who announced, at the opening of this evening's discussion, that he intended to move an additional amendment connected with the extension of Parliamentary reform. I shall content myself with making two observations on the course which he, and some Gentlemen who act with him, are disposed to take. Let me be permitted to advise them to take care lest they fall into the very signal error which was committed by the Tories in 1830. By the effects of that mistake they are still pursued, for their reconciliation, however strenuous the professions of its sincerity, is not yet complete. Let me be allowed, in the second place, to remark, that when the Member for Finsbury and his associates condemn the conduct of the present Ministers, with the exception of the policy pursued by them in reference to Ireland, they make a very large exception indeed. That exception includes a great segment of the empire—one third of the population of these islands—a country whose Government has been attended with almost incalculable difficulties—which, to preceding Administrations, has been the constant occasion of embarrassment, and has shaken Cabinet after Cabinet to their foundations—which, as it has already exercised a great influence over the councils of England, is likely to exercise an influence at least as great over her future fortunes; which, after having occupied the attention of the Legislature for many years, is, at this moment, of an importance so paramount, as to exclude all other subjects from our thoughts, and to engross the solicitude of every man who takes the slightest concern in the events by which the destinies of this great nation are to be determined. When, therefore, 383 it is observed, that the Whigs deserve no praise except for the government of Ireland,—unconsciously, perhaps, but most certainly, the highest encomium is passed upon the present Administration, and a merit is admitted to belong to them, by which a multitude of errors, in the eyes of true Reformers, should be covered. But I turn to the amendment proposed by the Member for Tamworth. Between that exceedingly temperate amendment, and the declamation by which it has been sustained, there is a good deal of contrast. I do not advert to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman by whom it has been moved. That was a truly previous question speech (the amendment is the "previous question" in a periphrase): it was a speech of a precursor character, in the better sense of that significant expression. But what a discrepancy was exhibited between it and the effusions by which it was succeeded! The right hon. Baronet, who can command their votes, ought to put some check on the insubordinate spirit by which the eloquence of his followers is occasionally distinguished. He ought to silence that piece of Sligo ordnance, which is formidable in its recoil. The recorder for Dublin, himself, exhibits in his oratory some want of discipline. The right hon. Baronet however, may rely on the votes of the learned Gentleman, and the other forensic statesmen with whom he is associated. But there is a class of staunch old Tories, at whose support of the previous question I shall be surprised. I allude to the forty Gentlemen, who, upon the second reading of the Irish Corporation Bill, rose against the Member for Tamworth in a conscientious mutiny, and disclaiming the control of that distinguished person, voted in direct opposition to the pledges given by him and the Duke of Wellington upon that momentous question. Will they, will the men who made themselves so conspicuous by their impracticable honesty, upon an occasion so remarkable and so recent, forego all the praise which they so lately earned from the Orangemen of Ireland, and support an amendment which, instead of negativing the original motion, eludes the question really at issue between us, and upon which the Government have called for the opinion of the House of Commons? I do not think that the Ministers could with propriety have taken any other course. Look at the facts. 384 The amendment commences by referring to a most important one, from which an irresistible argument in favour of the original motion may be deduced. The Recorder for Dublin moved for a return of certain papers connected with the commission of crime in Ireland. He did not venture to move for an inquiry. Why, if an inquiry is, as is alleged, of absolute necessity, was it not demanded in the House of Commons? Why do the Tories move for papers in one House, and for a Committee in the other? The Recorder for Dublin did not dare to make a motion by which the sense of the House of Commons should be taken: he thought it far more prudent to get up a debate, made up of unsupported asseverations against the Irish Government, and with this view, speeches, infinite in length, and infinitesimal in detail, were delivered by himself and the hon. and learned Member for Bandon, who with their auxiliaries failed, however, in imparting any interest to a motion, which was to terminate without a division; many hours were expended in discussions perfectly useless, until some Gentleman had compassion on the Speaker, and, in the midst of the performance of what I may designate by an expression of Swift's, "a Newgate Pastoral," interrupted the proceeding, by taking notice that there were not forty Members present, and then counted out the House. Thus lamely and impotently concluded this grand performance in the House of Commons. Not so in the House of Lords. There Lord Roden moves for censure in the guise of inquiry, for who can doubt that inquiry to be equivalent to censure, which originates with my Lord Roden, and which is to be conducted by Dr. Philpotts,—which has its source in the mercy of his gracious Majesty the King of Hanover, and to the direction of which the inquisitorial genius of the meek and apostolic pontiff, who keeps a small Vatican at Exeter, is to be applied? The character of the parties by whom the motion for a Committee was brought forward and supported, and the constitution of the Committee itself, ought to set at rest all doubt as to its objects and effect; but if any doubt could be entertained upon the subject, the limitation of the inquiry to the four years, during which Lord Normanby was Chief Governor of Ireland, must at once remove it. Why are the Lords' Committee to confine their investigation to the last four years? Last 385 night, the Member for Pembroke told us, that an inquiry was, for many reasons, to be desired; and among others, he informed us, that he conceived that we should consider how it came to pass, that spade husbandry had succeeded in Belgium, and had not succeeded in Ireland. On these grounds he, somewhat fantastically, justifies an inquiry into crime in the House of Lords since 1835. How miserable are the subterfuges by which Gentlemen endeavour to escape from the effect of that specific limitation to the extent of the inquiry which was defined and marked out with so much care in Lord Roden's motion? The right hon. Member for Tamworth cited several examples of inquiry to prove, that inquiry did not imply condemnation; but did he show an instance of one founded on charges against a Minister, and limited to the period during which that Minister was in office? Suppose that, after he left Ireland in 1818, a Member of the House of Commons had stated all the atrocities that were perpetrated when he was secretary to the Lord-lieutenant—had described the system pursued for many years by a Government unequivocally Tory—had expatiated upon the exclusion of all Catholics from the places to which they were admissible—upon the mode in which justice was administered—upon the construction of the jury, under Mr. Saurin's auspices, on Sheridan's trial, and other details of a kindred character, and had then moved for an inquiry into the state of crime since the year 1812 (when his Government commenced),—would the right hon. Baronet have called it a mere inquiry, and designated it, as he now designates that proceeding, in the other House of Parliament? But it has been said, there will be a collision with the House of Lords if the original motion is carried; we have been referred to a precedent so far back as the year 1703; and the right hon. Baronet read a passage from Burnet, which I admit was most effective. —[Lord Stanley: Hear, hear, hear!]—The noble Lord (Lord Stanley) cries "Hear, hear!" Does the noble Lord, who cries "Hear, hear!" when I say that the passage from Burnet was most effective, forget the transaction to which he was himself a party in 1833? The object of Lord Roden's motion is the inculpation of Lord Normanby; just as, in 1833, the object of the Duke of Wellington was the 386 inculpation of the Whig Secretary for Foreign Affairs, when he moved for an Address, praying, that the Crown would enforce our neutrality with Portugal. What did the Whig Cabinet do? It called for a counter vote from this House, and the Ministers acknowledged that a collision with the Lords was implied. Why did not the Member for Tamworth touch on that proceeding? Was it because he remembered how the Cabinet was composed? or did he leave it to the noble Lord opposite, and the right hon. Baronet, to explain the matter as well as the swamping of the House of Lords agreed to by the Cabinet of 1831? But the noble Lord the Member for Stroud did not rely on the precedent as emphatically as he might have done: perhaps he wished to spare the feelings of the Member for Lancashire, his noble and exceedingly inveterate Friend. I perceive that the noble Lord the Member for Lancashire and the Member for Pembroke are exchanging looks and whispers across the Member for Tamworth, who is placed between them, and seem not to recollect the fact to which I am alluding. With the pleasures, of which memory is the source, I shall feel very great gratification in supplying them. On the 3rd of June, 1833, the Duke of Wellington moved and carried an Address, praying the Crown to enforce neutrality with Portugal. On the 6th of June, a motion was made in this House, declaratory of confidence in his Majesty's Ministers in respect to their foreign policy. The Government called on this House for a counter vote, and acknowledged, that a collision with the Lords was implied in the proceeding, to the adoption of which they had invited the House of Commons. All that has been said in reference to collision in this debate was insisted upon with as much strenuousness as is now employed in deprecating a collision with the other House of Parliament. The motion was carried by a very large majority, and was supported by every Member of the Cabinet in the House of Commons. Who were the Members of the Cabinet in 1833? I was, I own, not a little surprised when I saw the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire, immediately before the debate commenced, advance to the Table with some solemnity of deportment, and heard him read with good emphasis, but, by no means, good discretion, a petition from Rocshdale, touching 387 the evils of collision with the House of Lords. The noble Lord was himself a Member of the Cabinet, when, in 1833, this House, at the instance of the Government, pronounced a virtual condemnation of the proceeding suggested by the Duke of Wellington, and adopted by the other House of Parliament. To the censure of one House the confidence of the other was opposed. But I ought not, perhaps, to dwell on this instance of inconsistency on the part of the noble Lord, when I recollect a fact far more important, which was revealed by the Secretary of the Home Department, who ought to write a history Of the Grey Administration. The disclosure is calculated to throw a strong light upon the character of some of the leading public men in this country. Few could have conjectured that such a measure could have been seriously contemplated, when we consider the language now habitually employed by them in reference to the House of Lords. What! the whole Cabinet, in 1831, with one exception, agreed to swamp (that was the phrase)—yes, to swamp the House of Lords. I like the word "swamp." It is nautical. You laugh, because it is associated with Greenwich; you ought to laugh because it is connected with the Admiralty, and revives all the recollections of a celebrated image, derived by one of the right hon. Swampers opposite, from the sinking of the Royal George. Having disposed of the argument grounded on the evils which, it is alleged, are likely to result from a collision between the two Houses of Parliament, I come to the consideration of the substantial merits of the proposition made by the noble Member for Stroud, in which we are called upon to express our distinct approval of the policy upon which Lord Normanby's Government was carried on. How should that question be discussed? How will history hereafter treat it? When the time for impartial adjudication shall have arrived, and the historian shall revert to the events on which we are now about to pronounce a judgment, from which our own feelings, interests, and passions, cannot be wholly excluded, what are the chief incidents in Lord Normanby's Administration, on which the sentence of those by whom we shall be succeeded will be founded? I do not think that, in the opinion expressed by the many Gentlemen upon the other side of the House, history still concur; I am 388 convinced that history will not dwell on the topics which they have selected, for the purpose of vituperative expatiation. Will history—will "the philosophy which teaches by example" consider it to be consistent with the dignity or the usefulness of its lofty purpose to descend to the minute particulars of elaborate investigation, into which the antagonists of my Lord Normanby have not thought it unworthy to enter? The appointment of constables of police, the entrance by a back door effected by the Lord-lieutenant into the Court-house at Sligo, the adventures of Tom Gallagher, or of Nora Creina,—on which the learned Sergeant, who spoke last, has dwelt so pathetically,—will not be deemed fitting matter for commemoration, when the principles on which Lord Normanby carried on the Government of Ireland, and the results to which his policy must inevitably lead, shall be discussed by those who will hereafter have to find upon those momentous subjects their final and unbiassed verdict. Condemn Lord Normanby, if you choose;—but when you condemn him, let your sentence rest upon some nobler ground of imputation than, in this debate, has been urged against him. From such details as they have chosen to establish their case, his worst adversaries should have turned away, and should have disdained, against such a man, in such a cause, and before such a tribunal, to prefer the charges which, of the accusers and of the accused, were equally unworthy. Charge Lord Normanby, if you please, with an abandonment of that policy by which Ireland was ruled so long, by the men who regarded that policy as the only means of preserving what is called British connexion and Protestant interests;—charge him with having preferred the conciliation of an entire people, to the mercenary sustainment of a decayed and impuissant faction;—charge him with having grounded his Administration upon a scheme of Government subversive of that party which was held so long to be the garrison of the country these are accusations worthy of him, and of you:—but you should not stoop to a miserable criticism upon the appointment of subordinate officers in the police and of stipendiary magistrates, whose only offence is to be found in their consanguinity with the Member for Dublin,—upon the alleged liberation of men charged with larcenies and assaults, with- 389 out a strict compliance with technical for malities,—upon the absence from levees of discontented barristers,—upon the invitations of agitators to the viceregal convivialities, and other matters of an analogous character, which the impugners of Lord Normanby's Government ought to have felt it unbecoming of them to have made the subject of their acrimonious but frivolous inculpation. No, Sir; it is not thus that they ought to have sustained their virtual impeachment of the man who, having completely succeeded in Jamaica, and discomfited the planter faction, in preparing the way for the enfranchisement of his fellow-men, undertook the Government of Ireland with a determination to carry the emancipation of his fellow citizens into full effect;—who, by adhering to that noble and salutary determination, secured the confidence and the attachment of the immense majority of the people whom his Sovereign, with a special expression of her just reliance, had recommitted to his care;—who, although the entire suppression of all political excitement was rendered impracticable, by the obstinate adherence of his antagonists to a policy no longer applicable to the condition of the country, succeeded in divesting it of its most formidable characteristics;—who won for the Government with which he was connected the undeviating support of two thirds of the Members who are delegated by Ireland to this House;—and who, after four years of unparalleled popularity, having been transferred to the government of those colonies for whose pacification he has displayed the highest aptitude, carries away with him the noblest of all rewards, in the proud and thrilling consciousness of having most assuredly deserved, as he has, beyond all doubt, obtained, the lasting gratitude of the Irish people.
These, Sir, appear to me to be the most conspicuous incidents in the government of Lord Normanby, and I think them far more worthy of consideration than the details into which the opponents of the motion before the House have thought proper to enter; yet, to such of those details as are of any moment, I deem it right to advert. First, let me refer to the patronage of Crown. With respect to the Church, the right hon. Member for Tamworth confesses that Lord Normanby deserves unqulified praise. But, in this acknowledgment, does he not make a most signal 390 and large admission? Lord Normanby and the Whigs were charged with aiming at the total subversion of the Church. Had they entertained such a purpose, would they not have betrayed it to its enemies, and garrisoned it with traitors to its cause? But what did Lord Normanby do? He selected men of the highest character, and the most unexceptionable conduct, to fill every ecclesiastical dignity at his disposal. It is enough to refer to his last appointment, that of Dr. Tonson, who is his address to his clergy, informs them that it is to Lord Normanby, alone, that he is indebted for his elevation. Hear another fact. Lord Normanby promoted thirty-seven curates: they had no other claim but that which their piety and their poverty gave them to his consideration. But on the use of this branch of Lord Normanby's patronage it is unnecessary that I should say more because they Member for Tamworth, in moving the amendment, distinctly and unequivocally declared that Lord Normanby deserved great praise for the course which he had followed in reference to the Church. What a contrast did the right hon. Member for Pembroke afford to the right hon. Member for Tamworth! The latter, who during his whole life has been opposed to the men now in power, frankly and generously bestowed upon Lord Normanby his warm panegyric in one essential department of his administration; while the Member for Pembroke, who told us, last night, that he had for years been associated with the present Ministers, and bound to them by the ties of personal regard, pronounced upon them one continuous invective, unrelieved by a single sentiment or expressing in which a lingering kindness to his former colleagues were evinced.
But if the right hon. Baronet withheld praise where it was due, his censure ought, at least, to have been fair. Was that censure fair, when, last night he spoke of the appointments in the police? He said much of the resignation of Colonel Shaw Kennedy. But why did he not, at the same time, mention that Colonel Macgregor, who, if he has any politics, is a conservative, was named to succeed him; and why did it not occur to him to state that, out of the four provincial inspectors, three were Protestants, selected for their personal qualifications, 391 without the slighest regard to party objects? I will not waste time by going through the various instances in which Lord Normanby is accused of having misapplied his patronage. The truth is, that the men who call themselves "the Protestants of Ireland," considered an exclusive enjoyment of the patronage of the Crown as a sort of ancient Protestant prerogative; and when they saw an office of any kind given away to an emancipated Catholic, they charged Lord Normanby with a violation of their vested rights. So little sympathy, however, will, I am sure, be felt in this House for the party to whom Lord Normanby did not give the opportunity of being ungrateful, that I pass over every thing that has been said upon this subject, with the exception of what has been urged with regard to the appointment of the present Irish Solicitor-general, when he was promoted, two years ago, to the office of counsel to the Castle. It is objected, that he belonged to a society formed for the advancement of corporate reform. The society was not a secret one,—it was not exclusive—it resorted to no signs of mysterious recognition; no declaration of conditional allegiance to the Sovereign, and of unconditional allegiance to the Grand Master, was imposed upon the initiated; and I do not believe, whatever may have been its other demerits, that by that society, warrants to the army, signed with the name of "Ernest," were ever issued. The Member for Tam-worth read a long extract from a newspaper, called the Sligo Champion, describing Lord Normanby's progress in Sligo, and his entrance, by a postern door, into the Court-house. As he has read a Whig newspaper, I shall read an extract from a Tory one,—not a provincial newspaper, but the gazette of Toryism in Ireland,—the Evening Mail. The Evening Mail of the 31st of December, 1835, contains the following article:—When the new Administration conferred upon Lord Roden the high and distinguished office of Steward of his Majesty's Household, they offered a compliment to private worth, and paid a deference to a public integrity; and it was fitting that from such a Cabinet, and to such a man, the one should be tendered and the other yielded. But, independently of every thing due to the noble individual,—and no one is entitled to higher honour or greater consideration,— there was a party in this 392 country, at whose head Lord Roden had been placed, who had reason to expect, if not a right to claim, that the personage so honoured by them should not be forgotten or neglected by a Ministry which has been placed in its present position through their agency and instrumentality. That party is composed of the Protestants of Ireland. Sir Robert Peel has done his duty. He has recognised the claim by a nomination of our acknowledged leader to the very highest situation in his Majesty's household.Go, after this, and complain of Lord Headfort, and Mr. Pigot! Of the very remarkable appointment to which the paragraph which I have just read refers, I could say much, but that I have no desire to expatiate upon it, in the spirit of acrimonious amplification. I excuse the Member for Tamworth: indeed, I believe that he could not avoid the course which he adopted. He could not help promoting the men who had sustained him, although they were exceedingly obnoxious to the great majority of the Irish people; but if he comes into office to-morrow, will he not have the same painful necessities imposed upon him? He will not be able to escape from the difficulties resulting from the support with which he is encumbered; he must make appointments of a character similar to that to which I have just referred. Let him not, however, blame us, if, in these appointments, we see evidence of the spirit in which his Irish Government must be conducted. He may speak as he will of an impartial administration of justice, and an impartial system of government; but through what instrumentality is it to be carried on? No man has ever more strenuously asserted, that between men and measures no distinction should be made. The fact is, every man is a measure—every appointment is an indication of policy. Who are to he your men? We know who they were before, and we know into what excesses, in their exultation, the Orange party were betrayed? And can you be surprised, that we should look with dismay at the restoration to power of a party, of whose spirit we have had an experience so unhappy? Accordingly, through all Ireland there prevails an excitement almost unparalleled, not because we bear an antipathy to the Member for Tamworth, hut because we know that our country will he the victim of the exigencies to which he will be reduced.
The next charge to which I shall refer, 393 relates to the administration of justice. Sir Michael O'Loghlen, when Irish Attorney-general, made two important changes; he ordered that juries should not be packed, and he appointed local solicitors. Sir Michael O'Loghlen is an admirable judge; all parties concur in his praise; he is not likely to have been guilty of any very reprehensible proceeding as Attorney-general. Do English gentlemen think that juries ought to be packed, and that men should be set aside on account of their politics or their religion? An itinerant Crown solicitor goes down twice a-year to the assizes of a county, in which he does not reside; the panel is called; and is he, from mere whim, or in a freak of authoritative caprice, to order respectable men, who have come, pursuant to a summons, a distance, perhaps, of forty miles, to be put aside? Why, Sir, the Member for Tamworth ought to be the last man in this House to advocate such a practice; for his Juries Bill in this country was introduced, among other purposes, to prevent the packing of juries in criminal cases in this country. Sir Michael O'Loghlen did no more than act in conformity with its spirit in Ireland. With respect to the appointment of local Crown solicitors at sessions, no measure has been more useful; and if Mr. Howley, the assistant barrister of Tipperary, has won from men of all sides the most unqualified encomium—if his talents, his temper, his discrimination, his patience, and every other judicial quality have been the theme of panegyric; and if he has put down, as he has done, the class of crime falling within his jurisdiction in Tipperary; it is right that I should add that he told me and authorised me to state, that he derived the most essential assistance from the local solicitor, Mr. Cahill a gentleman of great abilities and of the highest character, who was appointed under Lord Normanby's government. Sir, the reference to the state of Tipperary leads me to a painful and melancholy topic. I must admit, it is impossible, indeed, to deny, that great crimes have been committed in many parts of Ireland. But are they to be attribated to Lord Normanby's government? Throughout the whole country, at every Tory gathering, at every festival—which, of rancour and bad feeling and anti-Christian hatred are indeed Conservative, but to all kindly sentiment and all charity are fatal indeed—in every 394 Tory newspaper and periodical in the country, it has been studiously and perseveringly insisted, that to Lord Normanby's government every crime in Ireland is to be referred; and although it is notorious that, under Tory governments, when a policy, diametrically the reverse of Lord Normanby's, was adopted, crimes as appalling were perpetrated—witness Wild Goose Lodge—witness the murder of the Sheas—(to a cottage in which eighteen human beings were assembled, fire was applied in the dead of the night, and before the day had dawned, men, women, children—all had perished!)—still, the people of this country have been, to a certain extent, persuaded that to the government of Lord Normanby every atrocity is to be attributed, and to think that there exists a design to murder every Protestant proprietor—nay, that there has been established a sort of "secret tribunal," of which the peasants are the executioners, the priests the judges, and that the representative of his Sovereign presided in that "red land" over the judicature of blood. To the propagation of this belief, men have lent themselves, who should have known better; and the inquiry in the House of Lords, limited to Lord Normanby's government, and founded upon attacks directed against him, is calculated to strengthen an impression which is of all others the most unfounded, and which has party objects, beyond all doubt, in view. Sir, it is the duty of this House to counteract an impression so injurious, and which is likely to lead to consequences the most pernicious. It is not my intention to enter into any inquiry, founded on the numerous authorities which might be cited on the subject, of the causes of the long-continued perpetration of crime in Ireland. I shall content myself with one; and I refer to it solely because it exhibits a singular coincidence of opinion, at the distance of 300 years, between two Englishmen, officially employed in Ireland. Repeated allusion has been made, in the course of this debate, to the letter addressed by Mr. Drummond to the magistrates of the county of Tipperary. I hold in my hand a volume of the State Papers of the year 1535. Brabazon, writing to Cromwell in that year, says, that the crimes of the lower orders arise exclusively from the cruelty and extortion of the proprietors of the soil. He adds, that a just govern- 395 ment would soon raise Ireland to a level in civilization with this country. From that remote time, it would be easy to present to the House a series of authorities reaching down to the present day, in which a singular concurrence in that sentiment would be found; but citations in this House are not calculated to excite much attention; and, indeed upon the causes of our calamitous criminality, such citations are superfluous. Instead of its being wonderful that, in Ireland, disastrous outrage should have prevailed so long, it would be astonishing if it had been otherwise. If any other country had been governed as you have governed us, would not the results have been the same as are presented to you by the island which has been so long subject to your dominion, and for whose guilt, as well as for whose misfortunes, it ought to occur to you that you should be held responsible? Take any country you please—take the country, for example, of the hon. Gentleman opposite, the Member for Kilmarnock, who is taking notes of what I am uttering, with a view, I suppose, to reply to me. I will furnish him with materials for a reply, by inquiring from him, and every other Scotch Gentleman who does me the honour to attend to me, what would have been the fate of their country, if the same policy had been pursued in its regard as was adopted towards the unfortunate island whose condition, social, moral, and political, affords you so much ground for lamentation. If Scotland (which has made a progress so signal in prosperity of all kinds—and which, with so many claims to praise, possesses, in what Burns has nobly called her "virtuous populace," the chief title to admiration)—if Scotland, I say, had been portioned out by the sword of military rapine among merciless adventurers—if, after the work of robbery was done, a code for the debasement of the Presbyterian population had been enacted—if the Presbyterians of Scotland had not only been despoiled of property, but deprived of all power to acquire it—if they bad been shut out of every honourable employment, and debarred from every creditable pursuit—if they had been spoliated of every political franchise, deprived of education, and reduced to a state of vassalage, compared to which feudal serfship would be one of dignity and of honour—and if all these legislative atrocities had 396 been perpetrated under the pretence of maintaining an Episcopal establishment amongst a degraded Calvinistic people, have you a doubt—has any Scotchman a doubt—has the Member for Kilmarnock (he is the only representative of a Scotch burgh who takes part against us)—has even the Member for Kilmarnock a doubt that, even long after that system had been partially abolished, Scotland would present the same spectacle as Ireland now exhibits, and to Tory orators would afford as wide and desolate a field for their mournful expatiation. Inquire, forsooth, into the state of Ireland since 1835! Since 1835!—No, Sir; but from the day on which, to rapacity, to cruelty, to degradation, to the oppression by which the wise are maddened, our wretched island was surrendered. From that day to this hour let your inquiry be extended; and, when that inquiry shall have terminated, you will learn that it is not at the door of Lord Normanby that Irish atrocities are to be laid, but that they should be deposited at your fathers' graves; and that their guilt, in a long inheritance of sin, should descend upon you. It is in the history—in every page of the history—of Ireland, that the causes of her excesses are to be sought; and, whoever shall read that history, with the spirit in which it ought to be perused, will cry, "Shame!" upon the men who avail themselves of the crimes inevitably incidental to the condition of the people, in order to raise a clamour against the Government, to rouse the religious passions of this country, and to turn the old "No Popery" cry to a political account. But that they should resort to it, I should not feel surprise. No! I, when I bear in mind how often the detestation which Englishmen are taught to bear to the religion of England, in some of its best and noblest times, has been converted to a depraved instrumentality how often the wildest fanaticism has been the auxiliary of the foulest faction—that, many and many a year ago, upon the murder of Godfrey, the Popish plot was got up—that, upon the attestation of villains the most worthless of mankind, the people of England were persuaded that the Irish Protestants were to be massacred, and that the Irish Papists were to invade this country, in order to establish Popery in England—that, under the influence of a sanguinary panic, your forefathers 397 were hurried into excesses the most frightful—that the courts of justice were turned into arenas of human butchery, in which jurors and judges vied with each other in their appetite for blood—that wretched priests, to whom the murder of every Protestant was attributed, were dragged from the hiding holes where they cowered for safety, and savagely disembowelled—that the best and noblest of all the land perished with protestations of their innocence, to which posterity has done a tardy justice, quivering upon their dying lips—and that all these atrocities were perpetrated under the excitement created by that base cabal, of which Ashley Cooper, who had been Lord Chancellor (an atheist, affecting to be a bigot), played so prominent a part,—when I bear in mind, that again at a period less remote, when the first repeal of the worst part of the penal code was proposed, the same base cry was raised, and an association called the "Protestant" was formed, which Edmund Burke represents to have been composed of as unprincipled impostors as ever in the degraded name of religion trafficked on the credulity of mankind;—when I remember, that, at a period more proximate, in the memory of most of us, in 1807, when the Whigs proposed that your Catholic fellow countrymen should be eligible to places of honour in the naval and military professions, again, for factious purposes, that same cry was raised,—that, when there was no Lord Normanby—when there was in Ireland no political agitation—when of O'Connell nothing had been heard,—yet, upon Ireland, and the religion of her people, and the ministers of that religion, the same odious calumnies were cast, and we were held up, as a nation of idolators, of blasphemers, and of perjurors, to the execration of the English people,—and that all this was done by the very party who, in eight years afterwards, themselves proposed and carried the very measure which has been made the instrument of all this abominable excitement;—how, when I remember all this, can I feel surprise that, for the same bad purposes, men should be found capable of resorting to the same base expedients; and that, to the same execrable passions, they should address the same infernal invocation? And what was the state of England, when, to recover possession of office, the Tories of 398 1807 raised their "No Popery" cry? You stood upon the verge of a tremendous peril: the great conqueror was in his full career of victory; and, had he landed an army on the Irish shore, little short of miracle could have saved us. But now, we are at profound peace,—now, nothing is to be apprehended,—now, the Orangemen of Ireland can trample on us with impunity, and on the neck of the Irish people the foot of Rodenism may with impunity be planted. Ha! be not too sure of that! And, that you may not be too sure of it, let us, for a moment, consider who are the Irish people. The noble Lord the Member for Stroud, on the first night of this debate, read a passage from Edmund Burke, in which it is stated, that the Irish Catholics had been reduced to a mere populace, without property, education, or power. And, if we were still what we once were, then, indeed, to our old Orange masters we might again with impunity be given up. But a prodigious change has befallen in our condition,—a change greater, perhaps, than any of which in the annals of any people any example can be found. Who, then, are the Irish people? They are those mighty masses, who, gradually recovering and emerging from the effects of conquest, of rapine, and of oppression, brought to bear against a tyranny,—once deemed as irresistible as it was remorseless,—the resources, which nothing but a cause just beyond all others in the sight of Heaven, and the deepest consciousness of the heart of man, could supply—and after a struggle, of which the fame should be as imperishable as the results are everlasting, by dint of indefatigable energy, of indissoluble union, and of undaunted and indomitable determination, won from their antagonists their irrevocable freedom,—who, following up that noble event in a spirit not unworthy of it, became the auxiliaries of their British fellow citizens, in another great achievement, and now demanding equality or its only alternative, and putting in for that equality a justly imperative requisition, stand before you in one vast array in which, with increasing numbers,—increasing wealth, increasing intelligence, and increasing and consolidated power, are associated, and offer to your most solemn thoughts a series of reflections, which should teach you to beware of collision with the Irish people. You 399 talk to us of collision with the Lords;—of collision with millions of your fellow citizens beware,—beware of collision with those millions, to whom a power has been imparted, which in your hearts you know you can never recal. If the Member for Tamworth, on the first night of this debate, cautioned us with any truth to beware of "entrance in a quarrel," with how much more justice should he himself be warned to avoid a contention with those of whose prowess he has already had an experience so instructive! Such a contention would not be wise. What do I say,—wise?—it would not be safe, and its consequences might be disastrous beyond what it may be prudential to point out. It is not to Ireland alone that those consequences would be confined—they would extend far beyond her, and every British interest would be affected by them. "We are at war," exclaims the Duke of Wellington, "in America and in Asia." If we are at war in America, this is not the time to hand Ireland over to the rule of that party, who, between Catholics and Protestants, between Irishmen and Englishmen, would draw "the boundary line." We are indeed at war in Asia, and disclosures have recently been made respecting the views and feelings of Russia in regard to this country, which must convince us that the peace of Europe is more than insecure. With respect to France, is it not manifest that, if the Tories had been in office two months ago, and had acted on the principles which they profess in opposition, we should have been hurried into a war with France by the blockade of Mexico? Algiers remains as a ground of difference; and, independently of these considerations, France itself is in a state so volcanic,—a concussion, and an eruption are so probable,—that upon any permanent alliance with that country it would be rashness to rely.
This, then, is not the time,—this is not the befitting time,—in the heart of the British empire, amidst two-thirds of the population of these islands,—in place of that sentiment of impassioned allegiance which Lord Normanby succeeded in creating, to substitute a feeling of deep, resentful, and perilous discontent;—to convert Ireland into a source of your weakness, from a bulwark of your strength;—to make her an item in the calculations of your antagonists; and to 400 the external risks by which we are encompassed, to superadd this fearful domestic hazard. These are reflections which will not be lightly dismissed by you, if to the modern name, by which your party desires to be designated, you have any claim; and to the real interests of this country, to the integrity of this vast dominion, and to the safety of Ireland, a principle truly Conservative is to be applied: but if it shall be otherwise,—if, blinded by party,—if, of everything, except the gratification of factious passions, and of antipathies national and religious, you shall be regardless, and you shall give no heed to the dangers consequent upon their indulgence,—it only remains for me to pray (and in the deepest sincerity of my heart that prayer is offered up) that you may not live to lament, that to the admonitory intimations given you, by the events which are passing around you, you were insensible, when your regrets will be embittered by the consciousness, that repentance will have become useless, and remorse will be without avail.
hardly knew whether at that late hour of the night he might venture to presume upon the patient indulgence of the House. He certainly was anxious to have heard all that could be said upon the other side of the House, before he offered any observations upon the important question before them, leaving of course to his noble Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department the undoubted and unquestionable right to reply. They were now, it appeared, arrived, very nearly at a conclusion of what he supposed his noble Friend the Secretary for Ireland would call this Alexandrine discussion, and he feared, that when the public, who observed and criticised their proceedings, as they would do, should come to compare the course which had been taken by the House of Lords with that which was recommended by the noble Lord the Secretary of State for the Home Department, and which he concluded would be adopted upon that recommendation, they would not find, except in point of quantity, that any great advantage was to be obtained by the representatives of the people from the discussion on the point of comparison; he thought they would be of opinion, that the House of Lords had acted with moderation; he thought on the one band, they would be 401 of opinion, that the House of Lords, confining itself to the legitimate exercise of its constitutional functions, had abstained from interfering with the right of the other co-ordinate branch of the Legislature; he thought they would be of opinion, that the House of Lords had not, as was rather significantly asserted by the hon. Member for Meath, condemned without inquiry, but had proceeded to inquire before it would condemn; he feared, on the other hand, that they would be of opinion, that the House of Commons, not confining itself within its legitimate functions, had interfered with the exercise of the constitutional rights of the other branch of the Legislature; he feared they would be of opinion, that instead of meeting for the purpose of inquiry, they (the House of Commons) were rushing hastily and determinedly to praise before they investigated; he thought they would feel, that while the House of Lords had carefully respected the rights of that House, and fearlessly exercised their own, (the House of Commons) had exposed themselves to the imputation of having pursued a course at once hasty and weak—unjustifiable in point of argument, and valueless in point of effect. What was the course which had been pursued by the House of Lords on this occasion? The noble Lord who opened the debate had found it fitting and convenient to assume, that the House of Lords had passed a censure upon the conduct of Lord Normanby and the Government generally; and to his (Lord Stanley's) great surprise, as coming from one of such great Parliamentary experience as the noble Lord, he had heard it assumed in aggravation, and as a ground for their taking the present proceeding, not that the House of Lords had come to a particular vote, but that the vote to which they had come had been moved after a particular speech from an individual Member of their Lordships' House. That argument had been repeated by the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down. "What does it signify to us," continued the noble Lord, "by whom the motion was made?" [Oh!] I ask you who cry 'Oh!' what Parliamentary or constitutional knowledge have you if you mean to say, that we ought to take cognizance of that fact? If you mean to set aside all those guards which the constitutional wisdom of the nation has interposed for the prevention of undue collision 402 between the two branches of the Legislature, let it be boldly and frankly avowed; but I say you have no right to know by whom the motion was made. My right hon. Friend near me, has set an example upon that point which you well might follow. My right hon. Friend, knowing better and respecting more than some hon. Members the rights of the two branches of the Legislature, deemed it necessary to proceed according to Parliamentary form, and in a legitimate and constitutional manner, to ascertain what had passed in the other branch of the Legislature. I say, then, that you have no right—that this House has no right, to comment upon the individual speech of an individual Member of the House of Lords, of which speech or of the occasion upon which it was delivered you have no Parliamentary cognizance. But I say that there was no censure passed upon the Government of Ireland. I know my noble Friend opposite will not venture to say, that the terms of the motion itself contain a vote of censure. He has told you, that the speech with which it was introduced, and of which you know nothing, implied a censure. I admit, if allowed to comment upon that of which constitutionally we know nothing, that censure has been implied; but I tell you, that your own precedents and example with regard to the practice of Parliament do not justify such a course. Look back even to last year, to the precedent you then established in the case of the Sheriffs' Appointment Bill. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer said the other evening, in answer to the question of why an amendment had not been moved in the House of Lords—"We knew, that an amendment would not be adopted by that House—we knew, that such was the temper, such the determination of their Lordships, that had an amendment been moved, striking out from the original motion the objectionable words, it would not have been adopted." Now, I ask what grounds you had for saying so? I ask, from what went before, if you had not rather every ground for expecting and for knowing the very contrary? Last year a motion was brought forward by a noble Lord, the political opponent of the present Government, as well as Lord Roden, upon a question directly affecting the exercise of the Executive power, as this motion is assumed to have done—brought forward 403 too in a speech highly criminatory, at least as criminatory as any speech Lord Roden is supposed to have made of the conduct of the Government, the result of which was, that a committee was appointed. Did you resent that inquiry? Did you, when the question came before this House, pass a vote of approbation of the manner in which Lord Normanby appointed sheriffs in Ireland? No: you admitted the right of the house of Lords to investigate the conduct of the executive, and that too upon one of the most delicate branches of its functions. You will say, perhaps, that upon that occasion an amendment was moved, and upon the ground that the motion was limited to the period of Lord Normanby's Government. Why not take the same course now? What reason have you for not doing so now, that did not then exist? The amendment then moved was adopted. Was it adopted upon a division? No, it was adopted at once, and without a division: further than that the Duke of Wellington rose in his place, and stated, that if the question had come to a division, he should have felt himself bound in honour to vote in favour of the amendment. If you desired to avoid—if you did not absolutely seek a pretext for quarrelling with the House of Lords—if you really desired not to shrink from the difficulties of your own creation by which you are surrounded, and which render it almost impracticable for you to continue to discharge the duties of your office. I see no earthly reason why you should not this year have proceeded in the course which you last year pursued, and now, as then, admit the right of the House of Lords to inquire into the exercise of the executive functions of the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. Take the two propositions—that of the House of Lords, and the counter proposition of the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for the Home Department. The House of Lords assert, that life and property are insecure in Ireland. [An Hon. Member—from 1835.] Then, I say, why not ask to strike out the words, "from 1835?" If that had been asked and refused—if you had been told, that a direct censure upon the Government was intended, and that the obnoxious words would not be expunged, then. I admit you would have some ground for coming to the House of Commons and demanding an explicit vote upon the present Motion. The House of Lords have affirmed 404 that life and property are insecure in Ireland, and to such an extent as to render it fitting and necessary for them to appoint a committee of inquiry on the subject. They state, certainly, that the inquiry respecting crime and outrage is to be from the year 1835. I am very sorry to trouble the House, I assure it; I do so, not from any wish of my own, but from a sense of public duty. In the first place, the Lords say, that life and property are insecure in Ireland. Is that denied? Not by the noble Lord, the Secretary for Ireland, for he has admitted it; not by the hon. Baronet, the Member for Drogheda, who expressed such extreme opinions, but who spoke with great candour, fairness, and ability; not even by the hon. Member for Meath, although he said, that life and property were secure in some parts of Ireland. But as a general proposition, will you venture to deny, that they are insecure in that part of the kingdom at this moment? By the speech reported to have been made the other day upon introducing this motion, it was professed to prove before a committee, if such should be granted, that at the present moment animosities in Ireland are more prevalent, that religious distinctions are more marked, that the social bonds are more broken, that the Protestant faith is more assailed, and that life and property are less secure, than at any former period since the passing of the Act of Catholic Emancipation. A Peer of Parliament asks the House of Lords to inquire whether the facts he is able to bring forth will corroborate that statement; and I ask you whether, upon such a statement being made, it is the duty of the House of Lords to refuse an inquiry? But he did not rest upon the statement of the noble Lord in the other House. He would beg the attention of the House to a letter he received a few days ago from a Roman Catholic Gentleman of high respectability and liberal opinions, and with whom his first and only acquaintance arose out of his official connexion with Ireland. That gentleman was then known to entertain opinions of a still more liberal character than those professed by the Government. Since he quitted office he had had no communication with that gentleman until the other day, when he had received this letter; and if he dared read all the facts it contained, which he could not do, he would venture to say, that they would make a 405 fearful impression, upon the English Members at least, as to the state of society in Ireland. This is part of the statement made by that gentleman:—Never at any period was the public mind so disturbed as it is now in Ireland. Doubt, alarm, suspicion, have poisoned and broken up society from one end of the kingdom to the other. Personal freedom of word or of action is nearly extinguished. The rights of property, the exercise of political privileges, are not protected and regulated by the law of the land, but are admitted, modified, or abrogated, by the arbitrary and irresponsible authorities of priests, of clubs, and of ignorant but formidably active ruffians, who in every district have constituted themselves ministers of public opinion. Disobedience to their decrees is punished by insult, by a very stringent species of outlawry, and not unfrequently by death, sudden and barbarous, and unpunished. An idea prevails among the lower orders, that Government secretly sympathizes with the objects of agitation, and that the constituted authorities reluctantly permit the severity of the laws to be enforced against a certain class of offenders.In that idea it was but right to state, the writer did not concur, and he (Lord Stanley) utterly disbelieved it. Now, let it be remembered, that it was a Catholic gentleman who wrote thus. He further told them—The Government of Ireland is not impartial. The position of parties has indeed been reversed, but the country has gained nothing by the change. Revenge has been substituted for fair and equal rights; the worst passions of the worst portion of the population have been sedulously inflamed, and their imagination has been excited by wild visions of revolution under the specious, but significant phrase of justice to Ireland.Would to God that all Gentlemen would take the same sound and temperate views of political prospects that were taken by this Roman Catholic Gentleman, who said,Then, to be sure, there is the talismanic cry, At all risks keep out the Tories; keep them out, as you would shun the renewal of Orange oppression.' As well might we dread for Ireland the return of Elizabeth's days, or of Cornwell's: Moreover, whatever legislation has taken place for Ireland under the present Administration, has been done by the express consent, and with the co-operation, of the Conservatives. If the latter were in office to-morrow, they never could have the means, thank God, even if they had the inclination, which I do not believe they have to revive the obsolete misgovernment of Ireland.406 Now this gentleman, for whose honour he would vouch, with whom he was personally acquainted, and whose opinions were much more liberal than his, stated certain facts which had come within his own knowledge, and which he (Lord Stanley) would read to the House but for the concluding passage of the letter, which was to this effect:—If you should wish to make any use of this communication, I beg you will not mention my name, as you would thereby expose me to an almost inevitable death. As it is, I am barely suffered to exist under that roof which has sheltered my ancestors for centuries past.Now, he might be told, that that was a a letter from an anonymous writer. Well; be prayed their indulgence to another letter, which was not anonymous, which had been before her Majesty's Government, and the writer of which was known to many Gentlemen opposite. He was a gentleman of extremely liberal opinions, of a most humane character, and he believed that the hon. and learned Member for Tipperary would bear him out in saying so, when he informed him that the gentleman to whom he alluded was Mr. Bolton, who had the management of his (Lord Stanley's) estates in that part of the country. His noble Friend opposite had seen the letter, and this was the statement which it contained of the state of society, as between landlord and tenant, and to which he begged the attention and consideration of the House:—The smaller resident landlord cannot attempt the smallest change, can make no new arrangement or improvement; he cannot square off a farm, remove a bad tenant, or promote an industrious one without interfering with the various and involved interests of the classes below him, and creating a feeling of suspicion and dread in the breast of each individual, that each in his turn, may become the victim of some unlooked for improvement or innovation. If he be desirous of bringing up a son or a brother to his own pursuits, though he may have twenty farms out of lease, he is precluded from availing himself of this circumstance, being well assured that any attempt on his part to do so, would most probably endanger his own life, and most certainly that of the party he would place on his land. This was the case with poor Wayland, who now suffers from his father's attempt to place him in his property, where his active and industrious habits, his fondness for farming, and taste for improvements would have rendered him infinitely more useful in promoting the civilization and advancing the best interests of 407 the country than would have been the continued possession of the same ground by twice the number of paupers he dispossessed. There is a change taking place in this country with respect to persons in Wayland's rank of life, which you are, perhaps, not aware of. The class of idle gentlemen is fast disappearing, and their sons, grown up to manhood, and with means considerably diminished, in comparison with what their fathers possessed, find themselves compelled to look chiefly to their own exertions for support. Of course their first object is land, and their inability to exercise their just and legal rights to recover possession of this whenever a lease falls out, adds to and embitters all their other prejudices against the lower classes. Another source of disunion is the growing spirit by agricultural improvement.This letter was a calm and a temperate description of the state of society, and of the impediments to the pacification of the country passing under the eye of a cool and dispassionate observer. He brought it forward for no party purpose; he did not charge it upon the Government, for God knew the evils it deplored were of a much older date; he produced it for the purpose of establishing this, that in such a state of society the rights of property at all events could not be considered settled and secure. The writer went on to say, that,Great improvements have taken place; but the first step in the way of improvement is the consolidation of farms. At the very first step, therefore, the interests of the landlord and the occupier come into collision. I need not go through other points in which their interests conflict; it is sufficient to say, that in almost every ramification the two interests are conflicting. The landlord finds in the tenant an insurmountable barrier to every attempt at improvement, and therefore he looks upon him with jealousy and aversion.He (Lord Stanley) hoped he had never been the advocate of any measures, he was sure he never had practised any measures, of harshness or severity towards his tenantry in Ireland. He believed he might say, that never in his life had he ejected a single tenant without making satisfactory arrangements for him elsewhere, but he would say this, that in the present state of society, it was no little aggravation of all the difficulties with which landlords and tenants had to contend, that by certain weakness—an amiable weakness he admitted, but still a weakness—there was nothing so common as to hear one say, when talk was made of the cruel atrocities and murders perpetrated 408 in Ireland, "Oh, it is only one of the old quarrels arising out of the possession of land." Such a mode of talking on such a subject was the surest mode to encourage such feelings, the encouragement of which formed an insuperable barrier to any real and effectual improvement in the condition of the people. Was this theoretical? He grieved to say he had too good reasons for knowing it was not theoretical. Last summer he had, and he still had on a farm of from forty to fifty acres, a man of irreproachable character and of decent inoffensive demeanour, who occupied and had resided for the whole of his life, now a period of sixty years, on a small farm on the same spot. A near relation of his, not many years ago an agent to Lord Stradbroke, was barbarously murdered; this man had no quarrel with any portion of his neighbours around him, but by an agreement with him (Lord Stanley) it was his intention, and it was notorious throughout that part of the country, that he should be succeeded in his farm by his second son, a young man with most industrious habits and steady character, who had directed himself to study practical improvements in agriculture, and was, therefore, likely to prove a most eligible tenant of the property. The eldest son by mutual agreement took a sum of money, from £.80 to £.100, with which his father had supplied him, with the view of establishing a farm in the neighbourhood. It went abroad that his eldest son was bidding for land at no great distance, some five or six miles off. This was sufficient to rouse the vengeance of the midnight legislators of the country. A visit was paid by armed men to the house of the father. They asked for the eldest son; he was not at home; they seized upon the younger son, against whom there was not a shadow of suspicion of making himself obnoxious to the atrocious charge of laying out his own money in the improvement of his farm—they seized upon him, against whom, even according to their own barbarous code, they had not the shadow of suspicion or blame; they set him on his knees, in presence of his mother and a younger brother, and barbarously murdered him on his own floor. The parties were identified; the younger son, a lad of 18, had the boldness and courage to say he knew and could identify the assassins. One other person besides two servants was in the 409 house—it was the aged mother; she attempted to protect her son; she was barbarously beaten, and three of her ribs were broken in her attempt to defend her unfortunate and inoffensive son. The parties were prosecuted at last Limerick assizes. The evidence was clear and conclusive. There was not the shadow of a contradiction brought out in the cross-examination of the witnesses, but the servant-boy and servant-girl dared not identify the parties whom they had seen commit the murder. The young man swore positively and distinctly to the fact, but the jury thought, though all the circumstances of the murder were perfectly clear, they could not pass a sentence of death on three men on the identification of a single witness. He did not complain of the verdict, but he lamented it deeply, because these persons, of whose moral guilt there could be no doubt, were at this moment at large, exulting in the success of the barbarous crime they had committed; and he knew not yet whether he should be, able to persuade either the father or the youngest son, who ventured to appear as a witness, to resume occupation of the property. Again, he said, he did not charge this crime upon the administration of Lord Normanby; but he asked the House of Commons whether, when circumstances of that kind were stated—whether, when such a condition of society was exhibited to the observation and cognizance of a British House of Parliament, it was an unpardonable offence in the House of Lords to declare that such a state of crime demanded the investigation of a committee? Unhappily for him, he was connected with a county which exhibited no material variation in the state and amount of crime. Was it, then, singular that when Gentlemen like his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Sligo, who up to the last three years, in spite of all political and religious differences of opinion, had dwelt in their neighbourhood respected and beloved, had seen the work of improvement going on around them among their Catholic as well as Protestant fellow-subjects, with whom no difference of religion had created any angry feelings, and who were beginning to rejoice in the successful working of their own kindly labours among their tenantry—was it surprising that when those Gentlemen, for the first time within the last three years, found the demon of 410 discord introduced into their once peaceful country to such an extent, that he who could have traversed the wildest part of it in the night unattended, was now compelled, on receiving an invitation to dinner in the neighbourhood of his residence, to consent to stay with his friend rather than risk the dangers of the night—was it surprising that when those Gentlemen saw political discord and agricultural confusion going hand in hand together—when they saw that from the county of Tipperary, where the hon. and learned Member for Dublin boasted all the gallant population were Precursors to a man—when they saw from the county of Tipperary the immigration of this agricultural confusion and political discord, was it surprising, when they saw that this confusion, this danger to the State, this disruption of all the ties of social intercourse, did arise from political excitement and agitation connected with election matters, as the noble Lord said last night;—was it astonishing that his noble Friend should call on the House of Lords to inquire why, amidst all the election contests before, this political discord, this bitterness, was never infused into the state of society, while within the last three years a new element had been introduced, and from what he saw and knew, the agents who introduced it were the favourites of the present Administration? The House of Lords having affirmed this, what was it the Commons were called on to affirm in answer? In the first place, he turned to the hon. and learned Member for Tipperary; that hon. and learned Gentleman called upon them to look back to the precedent of 1833, and he said, that when the House of Lords passed a vote for an address to the Crown in favour of an alteration of the course of policy which had been pursued by the Government relative to the affairs of Spain and Portugal, the Ministers, of whom he was one, thought it necessary to take the opinion of the House of Commons whether in their judgment the foreign policy of the Government was right and should bepersevered in; he would say again, in answer to the hon. and learned Gentleman, that had the House of Lords passed a resolution, had they voted an address to the Crown praying the removal of the Marquess of Normanby from Ireland, and for a change of the policy he had pursued, without inquiry and without investigation, 411 the present motion might legitimately have followed; his noble Friend would have been perfectly justified in coming down to that House and saying, "I find our Irish policy is utterly disowned in the House of Lords; I want to know if we have the confidence of the Commons." In that case the collision would have been produced by the House of Lords; in the present case the collision was gratuitously threatened by the House of Commons. What, then, was it they were called on to affirm? They were called on to affirm, in vague, ambiguous, and studiously indefinite terms, nevertheless boldly to affirm, that the law was effectually administered in Ireland; that Ireland had generally improved, and that this effectual administration of the law and general improvement of Ireland was attributable to certain principles, in which it was therefore expedient the executive should persevere. In the first place, he begged to ask, was the law effectually administered in Ireland? He doubted it. Whether from the fault of the Government or not he did not know; but this he would say, that where life and property were not secure, as confessedly they were not, as he had shown they were not, in Ireland, it was impossible to assert that the law was effectually administered. Not in Tipperary, not in Sligo, not in King's County, not in Longford, Monaghan, and various other parts of Ireland, could they say the law had been effectually administered. Had any answer been given to the cases mentioned by his hon. and gallant Friend, the Member for Sligo? Had any answer been given to the appeal of the magistrates of King's County? Had any answer been given by his noble Friend to the case of the man Gahagan, or the man Brennan? Only half an answer had been given to the case of Gahagan; but, making the noble Lord a present of the case of Gahagan, had there been an attempt to answer any of the other cases? The law was effectually administered—was it? He would not go, particularly at that late hour, and especially after the slur which had been cast on all returns of crimes, committals, and convictions, by that Government who produced them—he would not go into details in figures of the committals and convictions, for, after all, the number of committals and convictions in any one year as compared with another would afford no real indication of the 412 state of crime or society in each district but this fact remained uncontroverted and incontrovertible, even though it had been taken from the reports of the inspectors of prisons in Ireland, that in eleven counties, exclusive of Tipperary, there were last year 277 committals for the crime of murder, in only three of which had a conviction been obtained. There were 539 committals in twelve counties, exclusive of manslaughter, and of 277, only three had been convicted. Would any body tell him that was an effectual administration of the law? They were called on to assert there had been a general improvement in Ireland. He admitted there had been a general improvement there. He was happy to say, that checked as it had been by various circumstances in different places, slowly and progressively, improvement was going on. But when did it commence? how was it to be attributed to the principles followed by the Executive of late years? Was there no improvement before Lord Normanby went to Ireland? There had been two inquiries before this into the state of Ireland generally; one of them took place in 1826, when a committee of the Lords reported as follows, not upon any vague principles, but on some specific measures of improvement in the social condition of Ireland:—The committee cannot close this report without expressing the pleasure they have received from the concurrent testimony of so many witnesses, who, in speaking of the different measures which have been of late adopted for the improvement of the state of Ireland, have in a greater or less degree agreed in attributing to them a highly favourable effect. The establishment of the police and constabulary force; the revision of the magistracy, as far as it has gone; the meeting of the magistrates in petty sessions; the administration of justice by the assistant-barristers; the change which has taken place of late years in the mode of appointing sheriffs; the public works undertaken by the executive Government; the alteration in the system of the distillery laws, and in the general mode of collecting the revenue; the remission of all direct taxes; the repeal of the Union duties, and the increased facility of commercial intercourse, have all contributed not only to remove grievances, but to improve the situation of the country.He should be glad to know whether such a list of measures brought forward for the improvement of Ireland before 1826, when be supposed it would be 413 admitted, other principles prevailed than those of which they were now called on to vote their approbation, could be adduced by the present Government. He would not weary the House by going into details, which he might very well do from the report which had been drawn up by his right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in 1830, before Lord Grey's Government came into office. The right hon. Gentleman, a most unexceptionable authority, drew up a report on the state of Ireland, which he asserted, on the testimony of witnesses from every part of Ireland quoted in the appendix, but summed up in the report itself, that the improvement was most striking and extraordinary which had taken place in every part of Ireland previous to 1830. But there was rather a remarkable fact connected with that report. His right hon. Friend said it was a matter of peculiar congratulation that a certain class of offences had diminished in a most extraordinary ratio, which were precisely those it was most important to watch, because they indicated more or less an insurrectionary spirit. This was the paragraph:—Those offences which are more peculiarly directed against the state, and which mark an insurrectionary spirit, have also decreased in a most striking manner, as will be perceived from the following table.Then followed a list of commitments for treasonable and seditious practices, for appearing armed at night, for robbery of arms, and other offences of that description. He would, however, only take two cases, comparing the numbers in each case with those for 1838. The Insurrection Act being in force in 1822, 1823, and 1824, there were committals for robbery of arms, in 1825, 21; in 1826, 52; in 1827, 14; in 1828, 27; while in 1838, there were 21—no great falling off certainly. The committals for appearing armed at night, 1822, 122; 1823, 59; 1824, 42; 1825, 29; 1826, 27; 1827, '26; 1828, 19; 1829, 0; 1838, 165, (exclusive of 38, in the county of Tipperary.) So much for the evidence which in 1830 his right hon. Friend, a most unexceptionable witness, pointed out as peculiarly indicative of the improvement or falling off of the tranquillity and good order of the country. He granted the improvement of Ireland; he was far from denying it. He could not grant as 414 a matter of course that the law was effectually administered. But they were called on to affirm that the improvement was owing to certain principles—whose principles? What principles? When first introduced? and how identified with the general improvement of Ireland and the effectual administration of the law? He could not help thinking there was an amiable bashfulness in the conduct of his noble Friend, who framed this motion with considerable skill. The noble Lord called upon them to affirm the "principles which had guided the Executive of late years." Surely when he called on the House of Commons, or any legislative body, to affirm that A. and B. had produced a considerable effect, it was not unnatural to ask who A. and B. were? where they lived? when they died? and how they had contributed to the end in view? But the noble Lord felt all the difficulties of the case; he did not wish to put the present Government in contrast with that of Lord Anglesey, or that of the Marquess Wellesley. It would have been very unpleasant to put the present Government in contrast with the Government of Lord Grey—it would have been extremely unpleasant to contrast Lord Melbourne as Prime Minister with Lord Melbourne as Secretary for the Home Department—and still more embarrassing as Mr. Lamb, Secretary for Ireland. These were the reasons which had induced him to speak of "the principles which had guided the Government of Ireland of late years," as a phrase peculiarly vague and ambiguous. "But," said the noble Lord, "we have boldly met this charge as far as it has been preferred b against us." He told the noble Lord that he had done no such thing. To do that, the noble Lord should have said, "We claim credit for the principles which have guided the executive Government of Ireland since the year 1835, on the very same grounds on which the House of Lords has presumed to censure us," and should have joined issue with his right hon. Friend on that point. But, oh no! Such a course was not convenient, and therefore the noble Lord skilfully passed over that part of the question, leaving it to those who succeeded him, and who had no official responsibility, and also to some of those who had official responsibility, to put whatever gloss they pleased upon his speech, and to claim whatever credit they thought good for the executive 415 Government of Ireland since 1835. The hon. Member for the county of Limerick. distinctly broke ground on that point, and even ventured to compare the conduct of the present Government with that of Earl Grey's administration in Ireland. Humble instrument as he had been in that administration, he was now told that he had narrowly escaped from being impeached for his misconduct, and he did not know whether the hon. Member for Limerick, had not some intention of impeaching him even now. When he first heard that threat, he was a little alarmed, but his alarm was dissipated when he recollected that one of the first complaints which the hon. Member had formerly brought against him, was, that he having come into office in December 1830, had not in April, 1831, acceded to his urgent request to put the Insurrection Act in force in the county of Clare. On first recollection, he could hardly bring himself to believe that the Liberal Member for the county of Limerick had really made such a proposal to him; but, on referring to their records he found that, on the 13th of April, 1831, the hon. Member had brought the disturbed condition of the county of Clare before the House of Commons; that he had said, that he would not then ask for the Insurrection Act to be applied to that county; that he had complained that the application of it then would be too late; and that he had affirmed, over and over again, that he (Lord Stanley), ought to have applied that act to that county, months and months before. Yes, all that had been said over and over again by the hon. Member for Limerick, who now came forward to impeach his want of liberality in the Government of Ireland. But it was said, that with regard to the effectual administration of the law, Lord Normanby had introduced a new principle into Ireland; for he had administered the law by affection, excluding the baser influence of fear! Excluding the base of influence of fear!—That was, indeed, a new principle in criminal legislation. From all that he had ever heard or read, he had been led to infer, that criminal law did act by fear. He had been taught that the fear of punishment was useful in deterring from crime; and it was, indeed, a new principle to him to hear that you were to govern, and administer criminal law by affection, excluding the baser influence of fear. This, he supposed, was the "new 416 principle which had guided the executive Government of Ireland of late years," and it was the only illumination which the House had yet got of that most vague and ambiguous phrase. "But," said the hon. Gentlemen opposite, "we are here to-night to affirm the principle, of not excluding Roman Catholics from office." Affirming that principle! In the times in which they lived, was there any man bold enough to affirm the contrary principle? Did the hon. Gentleman mean to claim credit for Lord Normanby as being the first Lord-lieutenant of Ireland who had abandoned the practice of excluding Catholics from office? Since the year 1829, whatever former opinions might have been—and certainly they were never his—political disqualification on account of religious opinions had become, and must remain, indefensible by any persons who took the reins of office. He supposed, that the hon. Member meant to state, that the Marquess of Anglesey had not acted upon the principle of admitting persons of all religious persuasions freely to office. He knew, that that charge had been preferred against himself in the year 1833; and he had made an answer to it at the time, which he hoped the House would forgive him for quoting now as an explanation of his former conduct. He had then said—We have had the appointment of two sergeants-at-law; one of these two is well known to be a gentleman of liberal principles—I mean Mr. Perrin.The hon. and learned Gentleman had been charging us with overlooking such persons and promoting the Tory party.The other was a Roman Catholic, Mr O'Loghlen. We have promoted two King's Counsel, both of whom are Catholics. One of these is Mr. Woulfe; of the other I will say no more now than that we thought the distinction due to his legal and professional character.That related, said Lord Stanley to the patent of precedence which we had given to the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, not in return for political support rendered to us, but in justice to the professional eminence which he had obtained.We have made two assistant-barristers, one of whom is a Catholic. We have appointed eleven clerks of the Crown; of these four or five were Catholics. We have appointed one Master in Chancery, a very able and liberal 417 gentleman. We have appointed one cursitor, who is a Roman Catholic. With the exception of one Judge of the Court of Admiralty, these are the only legal appointments that have been made since we came into office.Now, this was the manner in which the legal patronage of the Government in Ireland was exercised under the Administration of Earl Grey in conjunction with the Marquess of Anglesey. But great credit was taken by the supporters of the Government of Lord Normanby for the appointments which he had made to the judicial bench. It was said, that he had promoted Mr. Justice Perrin, Mr. O'Loghlen, and Mr. Sergeant Woulfe, and it was asked, "Can you find any preceding Government that would have promoted such men?" Now, he would remind the House, that he (Lord Stanley) had himself made the two first gentlemen King's sergeants, and that he had promoted Mr. Woulfe to a silk gown. And it was too bad to be now told, that the non-exclusion of Catholics from office was a new principle in the Government of Ireland, first adopted by Lord Normanby. What, were Earl Grey and Lord Wellesley in favour of exclusion—those virtuous statesmen who had passed their lives in efforts to do away with all political disqualifications—who through life has chosen to abandon power rather than abandon the advocacy of religious toleration—and one of whom, the Marquess Wellesley, might have been at two periods Prime Minister of England, if he would only have consented to cease his protests against the doctrine of exclusion? Were men of their gigantic intellects to be clubbed together as the advocates of intolerance, in order to swell the tribute of praise for the new principles of their new Lord-lieutenant—these men who had grown old and gray in the cause,—who had wasted—no not wasted, but spent their energy, their youth, and their acquirements in opposition to the principle of religious exclusion, were now to he held up, by a formal resolution of the House of Commons, as advocates of the very doctrines which they had been most instrumental in teaching the present generation to scorn and execrate. One word now as to the approbation which the House was about to give to "those principles which had guided the Executive Government of Ireland of late years." He liked, himself, a straightforward explanation of principles, and though her Majes- 418 ty's Ministers were reluctant to inform the House what they meant by those principles, those who were their main supporters in Ireland had stated broadly and straightforwardly enough what they meant by theirs.First," said they, "we demand a perfect equalization of the elective franchise in both countries, by extending the rights of voting of each country to the other; and we respectfully, also, submit that these rights ought to be enlarged in both. Secondly, we demand art immediate corporate reform, equal in every respect with that which England has obtained, Thirdly, we demand an adequate number of representatives for Ireland.He believed, that the hon. and learned Member deemed that adequate number to be 170.—In the united Parliament, deeming the injustice of the inferiority of Ireland to the other parts of the United Kingdom, in respect of the quantity of its representatives, as one of the greatest grievances imposed by, and as the most unjust part of, the union statute. Fourthly, we demand an equalization of religious freedom with England and Scotland. The people of England are not burdened with the Church of the minority, the people of Scotland are not burdened with the Church of the minority. In order to place the people of Ireland upon a just equality with those of England and Scotland, they ought not to be burthened with the support of the Church of the minority; and our demand is, that they may be disembarrassed of that burden, by the application to public purposes, especially to purposes of education and of charity, of the temporalities of the Protestant Church in Ireland.