HC Deb 15 July 1839 vol 49 cc343-7

Lord J. Russell moved the third reading of the Municipal Corporations (Ireland) Bill.

Sir R. Inglis

rose to object to the measure, to which he felt bound to offer his most strenuous resistance. His opposition to it was not produced, either in its extent or character, by the resistance which had been shown to the several amendments which had been proposed for the improve- ment of this bill. He would not hesitate to say that, even if those amendments had been passed, his hostility to the bill would still remain unchanged. The only argument which had been used in favour of this measure with any plausibility was that derived from the fact that similar measures had been passed for Scotland and England. But that was no argument in his mind, for the working of that measure in England showed how dangerous it would be to extend a similar measure to Ireland. He believed that in England the measure had produced no good. The passing of this bill would be neither more nor less than the annihilation of all the existing Irish corporations. The present corporation of Dublin could not exist within six months after the passing of this bill. He believed, that her Majesty's Government had brought forward this bill, not in obedience to any principle of consistency, but to gratify the wishes of a certain number of their supporters—men who were not ashamed to be considered anti-Protestant in their views, but who, on the contrary, considered it to be a distinction that they were so. The expectations formed from this measure would prove delusive, for he believed that the measure would turn out to be nothing more than a hollow truce. He had witnessed the mischief that had been produced by former concessions. He had, consistently, opposed those concessions, and the result convinced him that he was right in doing so. Therefore, seeing the mischief that this bill was likely to produce, he should now move that the bill be read a third time that day three months.

Mr. Plumptre

seconded the amendment.

Mr. O'Connell

would detain the House only a very few minutes. If the bill had been an extension, as it should have been, the people of Ireland would have been reproached with receiving a boon, and yet remaining unsatisfied. He wished those who were inclined to make that statement would recollect the fact, that none of the measures of reform given to Ireland had been placed on an equal footing with those for England and Scotland. What the Irish demanded, was equality; and why should they be content without it? No measure of relief short of English franchise and privileges would satisfy them. They would always continue their efforts to raise their position to the Eng- lish standard. Nothing could be so absurd as this species of legislation, which conceded a part, and withheld the rest of their rights. What the Parliament gave conferred on the people the power of obtaining the rest, and compelled them by agitation to keep up the public excitement until they accomplished their object. If the House wished to put an end to that state of things, let it at once concede the same measure of liberty the people of England possessed. With the bill, as it now stood, he was discontented. It should have been founded and carried into effect at once on the principle of the English franchise, whereas for the first three years they were restricted to a different and higher qualification. Under the Irish Reform Bill, only one-fourth per cent. of the full grown males possessed the franchise, while in England the proportion was 20 per cent. Could the Irish people be content with such a state of things? They could not, and ought not. Without equality of representation and privileges, the union was a fraud and a deception. Profitable it might be to one party, but not binding on the other. He protested against the bill as it stood; but if it came down to that House from another place, with a franchise still more restricted in one iota, he would appeal to both countries against the bill—to the Reformers of England when they should have recovered their senses and given up the Chartists, and to the people of Ireland, where agitation was always consistent with perfect obedience to the law.

Mr. Darby

said, when he first sat in that House, the principle of municipal corporations for Ireland was conceded by the Conservatives both of that and the other House of Parliament; and the only anxiety was, that the qualification should be a bonâ fide one. This bill, however, was unamended for any substantial purpose, and he should vote against it.

Colonel Perceval

had voted for the second reading of the bill, in the hope that the Government would adopt a 10l. rating; but in that respect it was even less regardful of the interests of the Protestants of Ireland than the measure of last year; in fact, at the end of three years, there would be no rating at all. He should have preferred, that corporations should have been abolished altogether, and he should vote against the bill.

The House divided on the original question: Ayes 97; Noes 21: Majority 76.

List of the AYES.
Adam, Admiral O'Brien, W. S.
Aglionby, H. A. O'Connell, D.
Baines, E. Palmerston, Ld. Visc.
Baring, F. T. Parker, J.
Barnard, E. G. Parnell, rt. hn. Sir H.
Barry, G. S. Pechell, Captain
Bernal, R. Pendarves, E. W. W.
Bowes, J. Philips, M.
Bridgeman, H. Pigot, D. R.
Briscoe, J. I. Power, J.
Brotherton, J. Price, Sir R.
Bryan, G. Pryme, G.
Callaghan, D. Pryse, P.
Cave, R. O. Redington, T. N.
Cavendish, hon. C. Rice, E. R.
Clive, E. B. Rice, rt. hon. T. S.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Roche, W.
D'Eyncourt, right hon. C. T. Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Russell, Lord John
Divett, E. Russell, Lord
Donkin, Sir R. S. Rutherfurd, rt. hn. A.
Duke, Sir J. Salwey, Colonel
Evans, W. Scholefield, J.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Sheil, R. L.
Finch, F. Smith, B.
Fleetwood, Sir P. H. Smith, R. V.
Gisborne, T. Somerville, Sir W. M.
Greenaway, C. Stanley, hon. W. O.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir C. Stewart, J.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Stock, Dr.
Hall, Sir B. Strutt, E.
Hawes, B. Surrey, Earl of
Heathcoat, J. Thomson, rt. hn. C. P.
Hindley, C. Thornely, T.
Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Hobhouse, T. B. Turner, E.
Hodges, T. L. Vigors, N. A.
Hoskins, K. Wakley, T.
Howard, F. J. Walker, R.
Howick, Lord Visct. Ward, H. G.
Hume, J. White, H.
Hutton, R. Williams, W.
Lemon, Sir C. Williams, W. A.
Lushington, rt. hn. S. Wood, C.
Macleod, R. Wood, Sir M.
Marshall, W. Worsley, Lord
Maule, hon. F. Yates, J. A.
Morpeth, Lord Visct.
Morris, D. TELLERS.
Muskett, G. A. Stanley, E. J,
Nagle, Sir R. Steuart, R.
List of the NOES.
Alsager, Captain Fector, J. M.
Archdall, M. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Bagge, W. Grimsditch, T.
Blackstone, W. S. Henniker, Lord
Burroughes, H. N. Jones, Captain
Cole, Lord Viscount Kemble, H.
Cooper, E. J. Palmer, G.
Egerton, Sir P. Parker, R. T.
Ellis, J. Perceval, Colonel
Perceval, hon. G. J. TELLERS.
Plumptre, J. P. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Polhill, F. Darby, G.

Bill read a third time and passed.