§ April 19, 1829—Rev. Mr. Craig, of Roscommon, fired at.
§ August—Rev. Mr. Minchin, of county Clare; hooted, and his car damaged—the linch-pin taken out, that he and his wife might be injured.
§ August—Rev. Mr. Davoren, of county Clare; property injured—servants beaten—life, with those of all family and servants in danger.
§ October 11—Rev. Mr. Shaw; house broken into, and himself compelled to take many illegal oaths.
§ August 4—Rev. Mr. Armstrong of Tipperary; fired at in the open day by a party with their faces blackened.
§ August 10—Rev. Mr. King, of Fermanagh; house set on fire.
§ October 23—Rev. Mr. Going, of Tipperary; murdered.
§ November 11—Rev. Mr. Day of Roscommon; severely wounded with a pistol shot.62
§ May 22—Rev. Mr. Herbert of Tipperary; church windows demolished, and a Rockite notice left, threatening him with the death of Mr. Shear.
§ August—The church, near Cloughgordan, razed to the ground.
§ May 19, 1830—Rev. Mr. White of Tyrone; a gun fired through his bed-room window, and two balls lodged in the wall over the bed where he lay sleeping.
Several other outrages of a most serious character were committed on clergymen. The great preponderance of such assaults and offences prior to the administration of Lord Norman by, satisfactorily refuted the exclusive nature of the charge to which he referred. The right hon. and learned Gentleman, in the course of his speech, had also alluded to the great increase in the number of Government rewards since the commencement of the administration of the Marquess of Normanby. He admitted at once that there was a great increase; rewards were far more abundantly offered. One motive for it was, that it was felt that the injured parties derive satisfaction from the proclamation of rewards for the discovery of their assailants. The country also would receive the impression that the Government was in earnest in its endeavours to suppress crime. The present Government had resorted to the practice much more frequently than preceding Governments. In the instance of the very last outrage he had referred to, when the Rev. Mr. Craig was fired at, no reward was offered by the then Government. In the case of the Rev. Mr. Minchin no reward was offered, nor was any offered in the case of the demolition of Cloughgordan church When the Rev. Mr. White was shot at in his bedroom a pardon was offered to the accomplice but no reward. It had also been complained of, that so great a difference existed between the amount of the rewards offered and the amount of rewards paid. A great, he did not say an equal, disparity, his noble Friend beside him (Lord J. Russell) informed him existed in England. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had detailed the cases of some particular outrages of a very dreadful nature. If it were necessary he could recite individual cases of outrage still more horrible, still more dismal and harrowing, which had occurred at previous periods, and which would far exceed in all these attributes those which the right hon. and learned Gentleman had detailed, and
for which he had called on the sympathies of the House. He alluded to such cases as the murders of the Farrances, the Sheas, and the Maras, all of which took place during former administrations. The hon. and learned Gentleman had dilated more especially on that one particular outrage which had recently been committed—the murder of the late Lord Norbury. Now, the Government were not in possession of any clue, that is to say, any substantial clue, to the discovery or the persons who committed that dreadful crime. All he would now say would be to express his feeling—a feeling in which every right-minded man must participate—of utter detestation, horror, and, indeed, of alarm, at that atrocious crime. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had strongly urged that in Ireland crime would be found to be connected with political exasperation. But it so happened that in the case of this most dreadful murder, no such feeling, as far as the immediate neighbourhood was concerned, appeared to have existed, for the town adjacent to the property of the late Earl of Norbury had never been the scene of any political agitation—no rent had been collected there, and no Precursor Society had ever been formed. Indeed, after the character which had been drawn of that noble Lord by a neighbouring Roman Catholic priest, he trusted that it might be hoped that the inhabitants of the neighbourhood could not he considered as implicated in so black, so atrocious a transaction. Now, as to the actual statistics of crime in Ireland. He must first, however, premise that the Government never wished to turn the actual or comparative tranquillity of that country into any matter of boasting, or to consider it as any test of merit on their part. Indeed, as a general rule, he should deprecate the making the increase or decrease of crime in a country a sort of gauge or measure of the success of an administration; for he thought it far from a wholesome or desirable state of things that any party in the State should—he did not say designedly, but insensibly, and by the ordinary current of party feeling—conceive they had an interest in magnifying the state of crime in a country at any particular period. He did not mean that there should not be the fullest latitude of censure upon the Government of the day; but there was the danger that parties would never bestir themselves with the
same energy to counteract a state of things which they were long contending to be the state that did actually exist. All had a common interest; it was the common duty, and ought to be the common object, of all to unite and to combine every means within their power to punish crime. He for one should think that it would redound far more to the credit of any Government with which he might be connected, if while they held it to be their paramount duty to remove the causes of disaffection and disturbances, they yet preferred, while the disturbances existed, to exhibit a formidable array of prosecutions, rather than a calendar lightened by the remissness or neglect of the Government. He was not then very anxious as regarded those portions of the right hon. Gentleman's observations which tended to show the positive amount of crime in Ireland. The hon. and learned Gentlemen with whom he had been connected since he had held his present office (it was happier for them than for him that their connexion had been continually interrupted), had been exceedingly active and vigilant in everything connected with the prosecutions on the part of the Crown. He wished, nevertheless, to put the House in possession of what was the real state of Ireland as regarded crime. He had no desire to blink any part of this most important subject. Before entering more at large into this branch of the question, he must observe upon a remark of the right hon. Gentleman as to the discrepancy existing between the returns of the inspectors of prisons and those of the clerks of the peace and of the Crown. Government also lamented that discrepancy; and the subject had already been mentioned by Members of the Government in the other House of Parliament. The causes of this discrepancy he might as well quote from the report of the inspectors-general of prisons. Those gentlemen said—
On transmitting our annual return of crime under the provisions of the Prison Act, made up with as much accuracy as the materials from which it is taken will afford, we think right to submit to you our opinion as to the defects of the present system, and to point out the only manner by which we conceive that the Government will arrive at a complete and accurate return of crime in Ireland. By the Prison Act the clerks of the Crown and peace are required at every assizes and quarter sessions to furnish the inspector of prisons in their respective counties with a schedule of the
several prisoners brought to trial at such assizes or quarter sessions respectively, from which schedules the inspector of prisons in the several counties are required to make a general statement at the end of the year; by this arrangement, the returns of the inspectors could at best be but a duplicate of the annual returns required by Government from those officers of the Crown and county under another Act of Parliament; but in point of fact they are not duplicates, inasmuch as the clerks of the Crown and peace cannot universally be prevailed on by the gaol inspectors to make the returns with regularity, and the deficiency must be made up out of the gaol books. They also vary in the view they take of the classes of prisoners which the returns ought to include. The section limits the returns to persons brought to trial, and while some clerks of the Crown and peace confine themselves to this class of prisoners, others include those who were not brought to trial, and who are in all cases included in their returns to Government; and it will ever be found that there are so many causes of discrepancy that the returns made by these officers of Government, and those made to local inspectors of gaols, and by them to the inspectors-general, will never correspond. There is one cause of discrepancy, namely, the repetition of names in these returns of the Crown and peace which can be and are corrected by the inspectors of gaols; but although this correction removes an inaccuracy, it adds to the difference between the two returns. But supposing no discrepancy to exist, the system would still only supply to Government duplicate returns, coming from the same source, although one return is made to pass through the inspector of the gaol, but without reference to gaol records.
The discrepancy was still further explained in the following letter communicated by the clerk of the peace at Tipperary:—
I have the honour to transmit you herewith a copy of a return which I made for Mr. Slowly, our assistant-barrister, at the commencement of the present sessions of this town (not as yet terminated), which shows the numbers charged with crime at the periods stated in your letter of the 24th instant. With reference to the annual criminal returns, I beg leave to mention that, as clerk of the peace, I have no means of ascertaining the number of committals in the year; I can only give a return of the number of persons included in the different bills of indictment at each sessions, so if one person is indicted for three offences (suppose riot, rescue, and assault), by the annual return he appears as three, and if his trial is postponed, he again appears as three; consequently the annual returns are incorrect as to persons.
These were the causes of the discrepancy. Government were about to turn
their attention to the subject, in order that this portion of the statistics of crime might be made more uniform. Now, as regarded the present state and amount of crime in Ireland. He could assure the right hon. and learned Gentleman that he never meant to put out of the view of the House of Commons or himself the difference made in the mode of making the returns by the regulation established by Colonel Shaw Kennedy at the time the constabulary force in Dublin was consolidated and put into operation. What occurred on that occasion was stated in the following letter of Major Miller, of the 15th March, 1838:—
No reliance could be placed on the returns made of petty or common assaults under the old system. Some officers reported the offences of that nature accurately in their monthly statements; but the majority of the chief constables excluded them. On commencing business in the present constabulary office, it was deemed much more satisfactory to include in our monthly returns those occurrences only of which special reports had been made, during the period, to the inspector-general, as, by such means, we could hold ourselves responsible for the perfect fidelity of our monthly statements. Our returns, therefore, profess to contain merely a statement of occurrences so reported (see heading of accompanying form marked A). With a view, however of ascertaining the amount of offences of a less serious character than those which it has long been the practice of the police to report upon as they occur, a form of return (see accompanying document B) was prepared, which is now filled up by the district officers, and forwarded periodically to head-quarters. We have, therefore, now records, not only of the graver offences committed in the country, but also of those of a less serious nature.
The returns now presented were, therefore, much more authentic than they had previously been, but he was not about to compare these returns with the former ones, for the purpose of showing the diminution, because for the reasons he had stated, such a comparison would be unfair. The new system did not come into operation till 1836, and did not come into full play until 1837, and he should, therefore, confine himself to returns since that period, a comparison between which would be fair. He would quote the report of the outrages returned to the constabulary force, for the purpose of showing that there had not been an aggregate increase of crime in Ireland. The return of outrages reported by the constabulary force was, for the six months from July to
December, 1837, 3,473; from January to June, 1838, 2,622; from July to December, 1838, 2,356; so that from July, 1837, to December, 1838, there had been a decrease of from 3,473 to 2,356. At the same time, however, that there was this decrease upon the report of outrages sent to the constabulary force, he was quite ready to admit to the right hon. Gentleman, that there had been a great increase in the returns of both the clerks of the Crown and the clerks of the peace, and also of the inspectors of prisons. He had in his hand a return of all the convictions before magistrates, including the offences which it had not been thought worth while to include in the reports of the constabulary officers of the districts to the chief office in Dublin. Of convictions for these minor offences, there were from January to June, 1837, 71,297; from July to December, 74,336; from January to June, 1838, 74,539; from July to December, 1838, 86,015—being an increase in these minor offences of from 71,297 to 86,015. De hailed this increase with satisfaction. He attributed it to the superior efficiency of the constabulary force both in the metropolis and throughout every district in Ireland. In the article of road nuisances alone there was an increase from the first six months of 1837, when the number was 12,000, to the last six months of 1838, when the number was 17,000. The convictions of publicans for breaches of the Spirit Licensing Act, during the first six months, he had already mentioned were 992; for the last-mentioned period of six months they had been 1,308. The convictions for intoxication during the first period were 16,000; during the last period they had increased to 23,000. This increase in the convictions for minor offences he looked upon as a convincing evidence of the activity and vigilance of the constabulary. On the other hand, turning to the committals for forcible possession (an offence calculated more than any other to promote disturbance) he found that they were, in the first period of six months, 1,600, but in the last six months, they had decreased to 930. In the article of homicide, the whole number of cases reported to the constabulary force in 1834, was 278; in 1835, 261; in 1836, 231; in 1837, 228; in 1838, 241. Thus there was a reduction in 1838, as compared with 1834, of from 278 to 241. Of
assaults on the police there were, in 1834, 125; in 1835, 118; in 1836, 119; in 1837, 91; and in 1838, 94. The decrease here was from 125 to 94 in the four years. The convictions for cutting and maiming were, in 1835, 1,343; in 1836, 1,422; in 1837, 1,161; in 1838, 944. Of convictions for burglary there were, in 1834, 285; in 1835, 210; in 1836, 193; in 1837, 158; in 1838, 120. Of attacks on houses there were, in 1835, 818; in 1836, 518; in 1837, 637; in 1838, 352. Of illegal notices there were, in 1835, 755; in 1836, 593; in 1837, 684; in 1838, 409. For riots and factious fights the convictions were, in 1835, 884; in 1836, 541; in 1837, 175; in 1838, 134. Thus it appeared that, with very few exceptions, there had been a gradual and constant decrease in all these crimes, from the year 1834 to the year 1838. These returns were exclusive of the cities of Dublin, Cork, and Limerick. Upon the whole, however, it appeared, and it was most satisfactory to see it, that there was a decrease in the graver sorts of crime, and at the same time an increase in the committals for minor offences—a clear evidence that there had been an increased activity on the part of the local authorities and the constabulary force. Look at the number of committals in former years. The noble Viscount read the following table.
|INCREASE OF COMMITTALS.|
|Persons Committed for Trial.|
|1807.—Insurrection Act introduced by the Duke of Wellington; military force, 48,559||3,512|
|(No regular police)|
|1814—Peace preservation force introduced by Sir Robert Peel||5,167|
|1823—Lord Londonderry had stated the year before, in applying for the re-enactment of the Insurrection Act, and suspension of the Habeas Corpus, "it was perfectly compatible with the present state of affairs in Ireland, extraordinary as it might seem, that that country was now in a better situation than at any former period, although a portion of its population was arrayed against the legal authorities." Constabulary Act introduced in consequence||15,363|
|1833—The police force having become more efficient, the military force, 24,031||17,819|
§ Here was an increase from 1807 to 1838 of from 3,512 to 25,443; or to take a more restricted period, that is, from 1825, when they were 15,515, to 1838, when they were 25,443. The increase here was clear; and the result was a most satisfactory indication of the efficiency and activity of those to whom was entrusted the apprehension and conviction of offenders. Then it would also be satisfactory to find, that not only the number of committals had increased in proportion to the number of offences, but also that the number of convictions had increased in proportion to the number of committals.
I may be told, because the steward who attended my friend gave no alarm—that, possessed with terror, deprived of reason by the horrid sight he had seen, he did not tell the people returning from a funeral that his lord was butchered, and, consequently, that they were in ignorance of the fact. Would to God I could plead ignorance for them; but no, my lord, I have it in evidence that, though the steward made no communication to them—though the steward raised no alarm—strange as it may appear, they were informed of the murder. Two persons approached the lodge gate, addressed themselves to the woman there, and asked the astounding question, whether Lord Norbury was not shot? I mention this because it deserves your serious consideration.
Now, of course, the noble Earl fully believed in the truth of this statement, but since that time he had received another version of the proceedings. It was the sworn information of the female at the lodge:—
King's County to wit—
The further information of Elizabeth Chenley, of Durrow, who, being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists, deposed and saith—After Lord Norbury had been brought to the lodge, and whilst his Lordship was in the lodge, I went out on the avenue opposite to the lodge, and at the time the people were returning from the funeral I spoke to some of the people, and told them that Lord Norbury had been shot. They replied they heard the shot; at this moment I heard one man say to another, you are a handy man at stopping blood;' the man who was so addressed then asked me is the wound bleeding?' I replied, I do not know;' he said, if it is bleeding, the best way is to tie a handkerchief straight across the wound, which will prevent it from bleeding;' this man, whom I do not know, seemed anxious to enter the lodge, to render assistance, but I was unwilling to allow him into the presence of Lord Norbury; the men hen went out of the gate, on their way towards Tullatmore, after the rest of the funeral people, as I suppose; at the time I first saw the above two men they were coming from the direction of the church-yard, which is inside of the demesne, and there were some persons belonging to the funeral a few yards before them, and others after them. I told this story before to Thomas Geerahty, the under steward, exactly as I have now related it; I never expressed any suspicion respecting these men, nor did I ever say they did not belong to the funeral; I may have told this story to other persons, but I do not recollect; the men said the report of the shot was very loud. I consi-
dered it loud too, but as shots were constantly fired in the demesne by the gamekeeper, and others belonging to the place, at rabbits, I did not consider it any thing remarkable.
ELIZABETH CHENLEY, her X mark.
Sworn before us, this 16th January, 1839.
(Signed) "H. J. BROWNRIGG,
F. B. HALY.
The above information was taken before the Provincial Inspector and another gentleman in the public service.
Again, in the same speech of the noble Earl, to the magistrates of King's county, it was stated that the following circumstance connected with a murder recently occurred:
A case occurred not long since, when a man was sent into a neighbourhood not far from the spot on which I am standing, to murder a man, whose name I shall not now mention—he acted under orders, and there are many present who know to what I allude. He got his orders, but when the name was mentioned, some cause, some act, perhaps, by which, on a previous occasion, his own life had been spared by that individual, made him feel reluctance to be his butcher, and he turned to the other—for there were two assassins present—and he said, 'Do you meet the object; your hand may be more steady to murder Mr. So-and-So; your hand might be in this case more secure than mine; do you take him, and I will take the woman.' Was there any feeling of private revenge in either? No, they were sent in, ordered and directed to commit murder, and I say the duty of the Government is to fathom that conspiracy of which they have decided information.
He would only say, that it was the duty of the Government to use every exertion to trace out any conspiracy of such a nature as that described in this speech; but in the case quoted above, they had not been able to make out the existence of any foundation for the entire story. He could not help making some allusion to charges of conspiracy that were made in another county, besides the King's county. He found, on this subject, the following extract in an Irish newspaper. In allusion to the denial of the proof of conspiracy, it says:—
Be it so. But what say on this subject the Irish gentry and the Irish journals? Is it no symptom of a conspiracy—a dark, widespread, and deadly conspiracy—to find Protestant gentlemen constrained for the protection of their lives to carry arms, while proceeding to the discharge in open day of their ordinary duties? Is no evidence of conspiracy afforded by the fact, that in the county of Longford Protestant grand jurors cannot ven-
ture to meet the Queen's judges unless in bodies and armed, exactly as if they were traversing a country infested by savage and murderous outlaws. The following communication from a Grand Juror of that county, a gentleman of the highest respectability and unquestionable honour, which has reached us this morning, will prove that what we have alleged on this subject is no idle or imaginary statement. Our correspondent writes thus:—'This county has not been in so alarming a state in the memory of the oldest inhabitant. A feeling of universal gloom and distrust appears to hang over every respectable Protestant and Roman Catholic. The gentry came into Longford, each well armed, and in bodies, as if they were traversing an enemy's country, and in hourly expectation of the assassin's bullet, or the open attacks of the ferocious and blood-stained peasantry. The gaol was never before so crowded with prisoners.
In the very next number of the same newspaper, the following contradiction to this statement was inserted:—
We find, by a letter from Longford, that we were led into an error in our last publication, in stating that the gentry of the country were obliged to come to attend the assizes in bodies, and armed for self-protection. The impression on our correspondent's mind, by the representations made to him on the subject, induced him to form that opinion. As to the state of the county, and the necessity felt by many of the gentlemen to carry arms about their persons, we are fully borne out in the statement, and there is but one opinion as to the insecurity of life and property throughout Longford. We trust the examples now about to be made in that county, amongst others, the conviction of Michael Kenney for the murder of Hugh Moorehead, will be a salutary warning to the misguided peasantry, and teach them not to rely upon the impunity which has been extended, so mischievously of late, to political offences.
He had alluded to the statement made at the meeting of the magistrates in King's County by Lord Charleville; but he should now proceed to allude more directly to other matters that occurred at this meeting as it referred to the conduct pursued by the Government. A resolution was carried at this meeting in King's county to the following effect:—
That it appears to this meeting, that the answer conveyed to the magistrates of Tipperary from Mr. finder-Secretary Drummond has had the unfortunate effect of increasing the animosities entertained against the owners of the soil by the occupants who now constitute themselves the sole arbitrators of the rights, as well as the duties, of property. That far from allaying the bad feelings then existing and so industriously excited by the enemies of
social order and by selfish agitators, it has had the tendency to encourage the disaffected, and to embolden the disturbers of the public peace.
§ As the expressions used by Mr. Drummond in his letter had been so much commented on, he should consider himself unworthy of the satisfaction which he had in acting with that Gentleman if he did not, without the slightest hesitation, openly and fully state his feelings on this subject. It did not appear to him, that the abstract sentiment complained of, that property had its duties as well as its rights, could be readily contravened, nor that it could be considered as of a very antisocial tendency; but he might be told, that the application of such language was improper when they regarded both time and place, and that language which was very proper at one time, might be very improper and ill-advised at another. But could it be supposed, that the lawless and reckless persons who, as we have seen no longer ago than at the late special commission in the county of Tipperary, at the slightest prompting of any of the men with whom they might be headed, either by formal or tacit engagement, or by mere identity of situation and interests, could at once resolve upon the commission of the most deadly crime by which they could outrage their Maker, and injure their fellow, brood over their purpose for weeks and months with unsleeping vigilance, and at last accomplish it with cool and deliberate accuracy; could they suppose, that such persons, or such a brotherhood, would be influenced by the publication of a common truism from the desk of a Government officer—could it be supposed, that persons with such habits, and such passions, could be thus lightly operated on? Whether the announcement was calculated to be of very special service he would not stop to inquire, but he had no hesitation in saying, that when the result of all the inquiries they had been able to make, as well as all the experience past history showed them, that it was a matter of fact that disputes as to the tenure of land was at the bottom of almost all the graver forms of outrage which infest the soil and blight the social system in Ireland. Was there anything so misplaced or culpable that, in answer to a lengthened statement from the magistrates of Tipperary, entering into the courses of crime, the Under Secretary of State 79 should take upon himself to follow them in making something like a similar communication to that which they had made, and above all, in pointing out to those who alone could be addressed with effect upon the subject, the quarter from which all dangers mainly emanated? Was it misplaced in him to caution them, lest, by any abuse of power or privilege, they should give fresh provocation and incentive, he did not, he could not say, palliation, to the prevailing evil? He would beg the attention of the House to a return which he held in his hand.
§ "Gross Number of Ejectments brought in the Superior Courts, Dublin, in the plowing Years, in the Counties named:—
§ Tipperary.—In 1833, 117; in 1834, 195; in 1835, 175; in 1836, 205; in 1837, 100; in 1838, 90—total, 882.
§ Carlow.—In 1833, 33; in 1834, 40; in 1835, 61; in 1836, 17; in 1837, 18; in 1838, 12—total, 191.
§ Longford.—In 1833, 30; in 1834, 23; in 1835, 36; in 1836, 48; in 1837, 24; in 1838, 11—total, 172, besides 330 from quarter sessions court.
§ Queen's County.—In 1833, 45; in 1834, 37; in 1835, 32; in 1836, 42; in 1837, 37; in 1838, 20—total, 213.
§ King's County—In 1833, 28; in 1834, 22; in 1835, 42; in 1836, 31; in 1837, 17; in 1838, 16—total 156.
§ Sligo.—In 1833, 33; in 1834, 36; in 1835, 34; in 1836, 43; in 1837, 21; in 1838, 13—total, 180.
§ Westmeath.—In 1833, 42; in 1834, 37; in 1835, 47; in 1836, 44; in 1837, 18; in 1838, 12—total, 200."
In this return the House might take as the average of families at four in each case, and the average of individuals in each family at five. That was about twenty persons turned out in each case of ejectment. He did not know whether the return of these cases, which he had just read, would prove much; but he had in his possession a number of documents referring to individual cases, and memorials stating facts which, if he read them to the House, would produce a very strong impression, and might cause no pleasant feelings in the public. He would not, however, read these documents; but Government would not do its duty if it confined the voice of warning entirely to one side. Was Mr. Drummond, however, the only person who was to be blamed for using this language? Mr. Leslie Foster stated, before the Committee of the House of Lords, in 1825,—
In point of fact, except in some well-regulated estates, is not the situation of the peasantry of Ireland, generally speaking, extremely miserable?—Extremely so; beyond what any person can believe who has not seen their condition.… …Are you aware, that the Protestant middlemen find greater difficulty in enforcing their claims for rent than the Catholics?—Certainly not; the consideration of religion does not enter at all, I think, into these relations.… … If your Lordships ask me what becomes of this surplus stock of population, it is a matter on which I have, in my late journeys through Ireland, endeavoured to form some opinion, and I conceive, that in many instances, they wander about the country as mere mendicants; but that more frequently they betake themselves to the nearest large towns, and there occupy as lodgers the most wretched hovels, in the most miserable streets, in the vain hope of occasionally getting a day's work Their resort to those towns produces such misery as it is impossible to describe.
To what circumstances do you attribute the frequent recurrence of disturbances in Ireland of late years?—I think the proximate cause is the extreme physical misery of the peasantry, coupled with their liability to be called upon for the payment of different charges, which it is perfectly impossible for them to meet; the immediate cause of disturbance I conceive to be the attempt to ensure these demands by the various processes of the law. I think the remote cause is a radically vicious structure of society which prevails in many parts of Ireland, and which has originated in the events of Irish history.
Again, Mr. Blackburn, who was lately Attorney-general, made the following statement, about the same time, to the Committee of the House of Commons:—
My opinion is, that in Limerick and the adjacent parts of the counties of Cork and Kerry, the spirit of insurrection which has broken out proceeded from local causes and the condition of the lower orders of the people. The population of the parts of the country where insurrections were most prevalent is extremely dense. The property is greatly subdivided, and the condition of the lower orders of the people is more miserable than I can describe it. Land in that county, which is totally destitute of manufactures, appears to me to have become (if I may use the expression), a necessary of life. I think the outrages were in general stimulated by some personal motive, or something which was felt as an aggression by the parties who committed them.
No doubt a feeling existed in the minds of the poorer classes in favour of those who committed crimes under circumstances such as he had just described, and they seemed generally to act under
the apprehension that they might be placed in a similar situation. He was of opinion that no sudden change of measures or men could produce any very material result in effecting a complete cure. He thought that on this point the evidence was very well summed up in a passage in the recent work of Mr. Cornwall Lewis on Ireland, a gentleman who made himself well acquainted with the social condition of that country, where he was engaged as a commissioner of Poor-law inquiry. He said:—
We have traced the Whiteboy disposition to its source, and proved, by unimpeachable evidence, that it springs from the peculiar state of the peasantry, which makes the possession of land a necessary of life. Having shown that the Irish disturbances have this origin, it is needless to say, that there is no prospect of suppressing them by the fear of punishment, so long as the same causes continue in force. All species of legal severity compatible with our form of government and our state of civilization, have been tried, and have failed. Pænarum exhaustum satis est. Upon men who have nothing to hope in their actual state, and little to fear from the consequences of crime, it is vain to attempt to work with the ordinary engines of government. What influence can a ruler exercise on a man who despairs of being better, and yet can scarcely be worse? who has nothing to gain by obeying the law, and nothing to lose by disobeying? 'When the heart is past hope,' says the proverb, 'the face is past shame.'
§ He would again ask whether they could suppose that the opinion uttered by Mr. Drummond could have the effect of conveying to the minds of the peasantry the impression that they would escape punishment for the commission of serious crimes? Nothing could be more unfounded; for at the very moment this opinion was expressed, the Government was actually in possession of a clue for the discovery of the actual murderers in question, and this had since been followed up by the apprehension of the criminals by the police, and their prosecution by the law officers of the Crown, and they had since been condemned and executed. He believed, that at the very moment that the magistrates of the King's County were declaring that the letter of Mr. Drummond was holding out an inducement to the people to commit crime—at that very moment the Government had issued a special commission for the trial of these murderers in Tipperary. He was happy in being able to state, that at 82 that commission, by the fearless discharge of their duty by the juries, and by the witnesses boldly coming forward, the ends of justice were fulfilled, and the criminals were convicted and suffered for the atrocious crimes they had committed. He anticipated the best effects from the results of the special commission in Tipperary; a clue had been also discovered for the detection of the persons concerned in the series of murders which had taken place in Longford. So long as the present Government was entrusted with the administration of the affairs of this country their earnest attention would be directed to every case that occurred. The most unremitting vigilance should be used to detect; the most careful investigation to sift; the most unswerving, though discriminating, severity, to punish every form of crime and outrage. Hon. Gentlemen opposite might question the policy of Government; this was a matter for the decision of that Imperial Assembly. They might libel its motives; that, give him leave to say, was a matter for their perfect indifference; they would not withdraw their deliberate opinion that property had its ditties as well as its rights; nay, more—he felt constrained, from a knowledge of past history, as well as of the present circumstances of Ireland, to impress it more and more, with even a more deliberate warning on all without exception, whether they were the political opponents or the political supporters of Government (for there was no line of political demarcation in this case), that there were proceedings which, while the condition of Ireland continued to be what it long had been, and what he feared it long must be—nay, more, while human nature was what it was—there were proceedings which would beget resistance. There were sufferings which would defy endurance; "The flesh will quiver where the pincers tear." So much he would say in the way of remonstrance, of intreaty—but the course of Government would still be the same. There would be no difference here. The law and the executive recognised no distinction between provocation, and non-provocation; they would with equal vigilance guard, and with equal severity avenge, the landlord whose tenantry, ejected with wantonness and cruelty, pine on the way side, or die in the ditches, as the man whose breast only beats with good will to all around, who only lives for purposes of beneficence, 83 and who is followed to the grave by the tears and regrets of his neighbourhood, like him over the bloody close of whose inoffensive career we have but now been called to mourn. While convinced that the course of the ordinary tribunals had been so far satisfactory, he did not mean to say, but that Government was anxious, wherever it was found that the existing laws were not effective for its purpose, to do what they could to strengthen and amend them. It had already been made the subject of deliberation, and of communication with the law authorities whether some more effective process could not be instituted for searching for unregistered arms, and for recovering even registered arms from the possession of improper persons; but this was a point of very great difficulty in many respects. It was also under consideration, whether it would not be found beneficial to impose a particular assessment on any particular district in which outrage should be found more generally to prevail than in other districts of the respective counties. At present, when the peculiarly disturbed state of any district required the presence of a larger constabulary force than usual, the whole county was assessed to meet the additional charge; but this seemed unjust, and it was, therefore, thought an important point for consideration, whether such district should not be called upon to meet the extra expense itself, a plan which would have the effect of making all the inhabitants of the district additionally interested in putting an end to the disturbances. He was aware, that even under the existing Acts of Parliament, there were powers which had not as yet been carried into effect, but which he should be prepared to employ, should the necessity for so doing become apparent; but he had hitherto refrained from having recourse to those powers, both because there was much of harshness and inconvenience in them towards all the innocent as well as the ill-disposed inhabitants of the proclaimed district, and because they did not appear to him to give any security, against those cases to which the attention of Parliament had been so painfully directed, in which the assassination of an individual was deliberately planned and brooded over, and where the connivance if not the assistance of the neighbouring inhabitants seemed confidently calculated upon. He could not 84 pass over this subject, without paying what he conceived to be a just tribute to a most deserving body of men. He believed that he might say, that the constabulary force was never in a greater state of efficiency, and discipline, and vigour, than at the present moment. He did not say this in disparagement of its condition at any former period; on the contrary, he was fully aware that it had been brought to its present admirable state by the successive efforts of the various distinguished men who had presided over it. The suggestions of the local magistrates with respect to its distribution had been always received with the utmost attention, but the aggregate number of the force could not be increased without a special requisition from the local authorities. It was the full intention of Government to enforce the ordinary provisions of the law in every case; upon an adequate emergency to have recourse to its extraordinary powers, and even to apply to Parliament for fresh powers should they have reason to think that the present provisions of the law were not effective. At the same time, he begged it to be understood, that it was the clear opinion of Government, that any unusual mode of strengthening the law, any departure from the recognised spirit of the constitution, and from its practice, whether as established in this country or in Ireland, ought to be resorted to as seldom, as sparingly, and for as she period as possible. For any permanent improvement in the condition of the country, for any radical alteration in the worst tendencies and habits of its people, he was confident that it was to far other measures, to far other agency, that Parliament must, and, he trusted, would, be disposed to resort. He would not, on this occasion, run the risk of involving the House in a conflict of opinions on any such measure as the recent Poor-law Act or any analogous measures; but, in concluding the observations he had to offer, he could not conceal his deep-seated opinion, strengthened by all his own as all prior experience, that it was by operating in the first instance on the physical condition of the people, that they might ascend afterwards to cope with their moral one, by creating new links between the employers and the employed, and still more by implanting new habits and new hopes in their own bosoms, by opening fresh sources of employment, and 85 deepening the channels of industry and enterprize; by developing all natural resources, and thus, as it might be said, seconding the intentions of Nature's great Constructor—by such means as these it was, that we should most easily, most effectually, and it might be exclusively, attain the great ends of civil government, secure the reign of social order, and give a fatal stab to the waning forms of savage violence and lawless crime.
disclaimed attributing any undue motives to the noble Lord opposite. Their charge was against the policy of Government. They imputed no motives to the noble Lord but those which became the high and responsible station he held. The noble Lord had taunted his right hon. Friend with making no other motion but a simple call for returns. Surely, before proceeding further, it was desirable that they should know the true state of circumstances so much disputed. The question between her Majesty's Government and the Opposition was one of fact, and they ought first to ascertain the facts. The noble Lord had said that his own Government afforded but one more melancholy illustration in which crime had predominated in Ireland. But there was this distinguishing characteristic between the Government of the noble Lord, and that of all his predecessors, that all other Administrations had used their utmost efforts to diminish crime, regardless of party, and without boasting of tranquillity while the present Administration talked of peace and tranquillity with such a state of things as the noble Lord had been forced to acknowledge, existed in Ireland. A noble Lord in another place had talked of the growing tranquillity of Ireland, and in one of the addresses which had been presented to Lord Normanby on retiring from the Lord-lieutenancy he found the following expressions:—"Under the benign rule of your Excellency, justice has prevailed to an extent unknown before, and tranquillity and security have been extended to all parts of the country." These were the terms in which the Irish Government were lauded, even at the time when the noble Lord opposite had been compelled to acknowledge that there was in Ireland a frightful extent of outrage and crime. The noble Lord had stated, that during the Irish administration of the present Government there had been a decrease of crime and an increase of peace, and to prove the truth of that position, to what documents had the noble Lord had recourse? He had taken 86 the returns of the inspectors of prisons, which he had previously admitted were inadequate for that purpose. [Viscount Morpeth: No, no!] The noble Lord had certainly admitted, that there were considerable discrepancies between the returns made by the inspectors of prisons, and those made by the clerks of the Crown and of the peace; and, at all events, his right hon. Friend (Mr. Shaw) had shown the exceeding inaccuracy of those returns. When, therefore, the noble Lord took those returns as a proof of the increasing peace of the country, he was bound to put that proof aside and to deny its adequacy to establish the position which had been assumed by the noble Lord. The noble Lord had then taken the returns from the constabulary officers, and had endeavoured to show, that the number of commitments had increased, and that the number of outrages had diminished. Now, he had not had access to the various documents which the noble Lord possessed, and he was, therefore, obliged to have recourse to those which had been laid on the Table of the House. By one of those returns he found, that during a period of eighteen months, —that was, from July, 1836, to December, 1837—the state of crime at the end of each six months of that period was as follows. The total amount of outrages during the first six months was 843, in the second six months it was 901, and in the last portion of the period he had selected—that was, in December, 1837, it had increased to 1,008. Did that bear out the statement which had been made by the noble Lord? No; the returns which he had alluded to, and which had been laid on the Table by the noble Lord showed clearly that crime was on the increase, and that the number of outrages was not diminishing. But he would take a special case—he would take the case of the county of Longford. What then was the state of crime in Longford? Why, he found, that in that county, crime for a series of years had been gradually increasing. They had the inspectors of prison's returns for the county of Longford from 1828 to 1839, and by those returns he found, that the number of crimes had increased from 323 to 1,136 during that period. The number had gradually increased from 1828 to 1839, and totally disproved the position of the noble Lord, that the amount of crime was decreasing But, passing from those statistics, which were allowed to be most inaccurate and confused, he would proceed to consider the state of Ireland under the administration of 87 the noble Lord. What therefore, had been the state of Ireland under the mild and conciliatory government of the noble Lord? Had there been peace, had there been tranquillity, and had there been security for life and property? Had protection been extended to all, and had there been nothing to defeat the ends of justice? He would proceed to show from the police returns, and from the statements in their own gazette, that, under the Administration of the noble Lord, intimidation had prevailed to such an extent as to defeat, in a great measure, the ends of justice and to secure impunity for crime. The House would recollect, that in a former Session, mention had been made of the case of Murphy, who had been murdered in the county of Tipperary. The case was one of particular atrocity. His murderers had waited for him for many hours in the presence of his wife and children, and in their presence the unfortunate man was murdered. Now, what was the result? Though the murder was thus openly committed, had the murderers been punished? Had evidence been obtained against them, their crime having been so open? No. The wife,—and there was evidence, that she had been an affectionate wife—had said, that she was unable to identify the murderer. She well knew the penalty to which those who gave evidence of crime in Ireland were subjected. She well knew that sort of protection which she would have had, had she been the instrument of punishing these murderers even of her own husband. The children, however, did identify the murderers of their father, and what was the result? They were placed in gaol for protection and to secure their evidence on the trial; but their uncle, the brother of the murdered man, visited them there, and after that visit not one particle of evidence could be obtained from them. What the nature of the conversation between the uncle and the children had been, and what arguments had been used to produce such a result, he would leave the House to imagine. He would next take the case of Slattery, at Emly, for the apprehension of whose murderers he believed a reward had been offered. The murder of that individual had taken place in the presence of his wife and servants, but not one of those who witnessed the crime would undertake to identify those who committed the crime. He would take a case in Clare. A person of the name of Macnamara and sixteen others were indicted for murder, or for outrages on the person. Among the witnesses pro- 88 duced was the widow of the murdered man, who well knew who had committed the crime, but no evidence was adduced sufficient to obtain conviction, and the trial was, in consequence, given up. The case had been tried before Baron Richards, and that learned judge observed, that it afforded a lamentable view of the state of the country where such murders were committed, and where none could be found to bring the offenders to justice. That was the state of Clare; and he would now ask what was the condition of Sligo. In that county a man of the name of Finn was murdered in the year 1837. The crime was committed in the open road and in daylight, but yet no evidence could be obtained to identify the murderers. Another murder, that of Rooney, had been committed in an open street, and in the midst of a crowd, but the people made way for the murderers, and no evidence to identify them had ever been obtained. In Longford there had been ten murders or attacks upon the person, on one estate, and yet only one had been convicted. He would take a single case—the case of Cathcart. That individual had become obnoxious to the people, and in August and December, 1835 he was fired at, and in October, 1837 he was wounded. He saw those who fired the shot, but was unable to bring them to justice, and in the February, 1838, he was again shot at, and killed, but no evidence could be brought forward to identify the murderers. Again, in the case of Brabazon, in Westmeath, although there were five men with him, it was found impossible to identify his murderers and to bring them to justice. The same intimidation, frustrating the ends of justice, prevailed in King's county and in Louth, and indeed throughout the greater part of three provinces of Ireland. In Waterford there was the case of Mr. Keefe, who had been openly attacked while going to mass, but yet not one individual of the crowd who saw the crime could be brought to give evidence to identify the criminals. That those criminals should escape from the penalty attached to their crimes was not to be wondered at. Those who witnessed those crimes, and who were qualified to give evidence against the criminals, well knew the consequence of giving information before a magistrate. They well knew that the intimidation to which they were subjected, in order to defeat the ends of justice, would, should they dare to identify a criminal, be carried a step further, and that they themselves would become victims. 89 There might be a faltering in the law of the land, but in Ireland the law of intimidation was certain, and enforced by blood. The noble Lord had spoken of the cause of crime, and he had attributed its increase to the number of ejectments. Such was the inference to be drawn from the statements of Mr. Drummond and of the hon. Member for Carlow. They were told, that because the landlords ejected some tenants from their property, that that was the reason why crime was so abundant in Ireland. To show the fallacy of that assertion he would read a portion of an analysis of the outrages committed in Tipperary for two periods, one of three months, the other of four months. For three months of the year 1837 there were, by the returns which had been produced, 106 cases of outrage. Of that number sixteen had been outrages committed against landlords; and against labourers and those of the humbler classes, and with what land or ejection could have nothing whatever to do, there had been ninety cases of outrage. For four months of 1838 there had been 155 cases of outrage. Of these only twenty-one had been against gentlemen, and against labourers or farmers there had been 134. But the whole of those outrages on gentlemen were not on account of land. No less than seven out of the twenty-one outrages had been attempted because of refusals to sign petitions or to obtain arms or from other causes of a similar kind with which land had no connexion. But what was the cause of the attacks on the labourers? They were attacked because they presumed to take higher or lower wages than those around them, or for other causes of a like kind. In Thurles a Roman Catholic gentleman had been murdered, but his murder was not caused by a dispute about land. It originated in a dispute about some stolen poultry. He knew other statements were made at the time, but he knew that such was the fact. If they took the case of Meath, or of Westmeath, or of any other county, they would find that ejection was not the cause of outrage, but that the causes of most of those crimes were the robbery of arms; the dismissal of servants, or the giving of information before the magistrates. The noble Lord had thought it his duty to read a lecture to the landlords of Ireland. The noble Lord said the landlords had duties as well as rights, and that they neglected the former; but, had he directed his lectures against those who were the leaders of the people, or those whose duty it was to in- 90 struct, and improve them, his remarks would have been more appropriate. Let the noble Lord remember the statement of Baron Richards, at Castlebar, in March, 1838. That learned judge was a Whig, not a Tory judge, and he had said,I cannot but grieve over the depraved character of the people; and I must say, I am persuaded that those murderers are open to instruction, and that if they were properly prepared by the precepts of religion, they could be restrained from outrage. Certainly the people could be humanized, and a heavy responsibility rests upon those men who are their spiritual instructors, should they neglect their duty. Very many murders have been committed by persons on their return from the house of God, and I cannot believe that there they had been taught the precepts of religion, when so soon after leaving they have been found guilty of such crimes.Now, as a comment on these words of Baron Richards, he would "point the moral of the tale," by narrating a few cases of outrage. The House would remember the case of Allen, which had been mentioned before. That individual had been denounced by the priest. In the case of Coghlan, that individual had been denounced in the chapel, and had, in consequence, suffered death. On the 1st of June, a Mr. Ennis took some land, which had previously been occupied by a priest. He was subsequently denounced by the priest, and had since been murdered. Again, another individual was denounced in Limerick by a priest in 1837, and nearly murdered in 1838. In Leitrim there had been another case of a similar character; and there was also the case of the revenue officer, Reynolds, in the island of Achill. Now, he must say, without casting any general imputation on the Irish Roman Catholic priests, that when the Government was disposed to read a lecture to those who had duties as well as rights, that the observations of the noble Lord ought next to be directed, not to the landlords, but to those to whom the moral and religious instruction of the people was intrusted. The noble Lord had struck out of the returns which were now made, the word "Ribandism;" and he had said, that the utmost vigilance would be used to fathom the Riband conspiracy, as he was persuaded that the longer that conspiracy existed the longer would Ireland be in obtaining tranquillity. If the noble Lord should now pursue that course, he must say that it was a course very different from what had hitherto been pursued. But he had said, the noble Lord had struck "Ribandism" out of the return of crime in Ireland. 91 What! did the noble Lord mean to say, that Ribandism no longer existed? In the year 1834, there was the last appearance of the word "Ribandism," and since that time the existence of a Riband conspiracy had not been acknowledged in the police returns. He knew the Chancellor of the Exchequer would tell him that the word "Ribandism" had been struck out of the returns in 1834. That, however, was no answer; for if there was evidence of the existence of Ribandism, it ought again to have been inserted. Did the noble Lord mean to say, that because he had struck the word out of the return, he had struck out the actual existence of Ribandism from Ireland? In 1834, Ribandism appeared in all its forms; yet in 1835, they were told that Riband conspiracies were not to be found in Ireland. When a charge had been preferred by a noble Friend of his in another place against Lord Normanby, with reference to this subject, what had been the noble Lord's answer? The noble Lord had denied that there was any secret conspiracy, and alleged that there was none of which he had any knowledge. That declaration had been made by Lord Normanby in December, 1837; yet the noble Lord, the Secretary for Ireland, now admitted his full knowledge of the existence of that conspiracy. Would the noble Lord aver, that it had been slumbering from 1835 to 1837, to break out at once in 1838? In the year 1835, according to evidence which was in the noble Lord's own hands, sworn information was laid before the magistrates of the county of Cavan, and was subsequently laid before his Majesty's Government, pointing out not only the existence, but the whole of the organization, of an extensive Riband Society in that county. In 1836, from the county of Sligo, there was full information upon the same subject sent up to the noble Lord. Was that information vague and unsatisfactory? On the contrary, it was perfectly distinct and explicit. From Sligo, it was subsequently proved to have extended to Fermanagh. In the same year, or in the beginning of the next, the existence of a similar society was discovered in Wicklow, and its organization was most formidable. In May, 1838, the Government received from its own police functionaries in Sligo, intelligence that the attacks made on the mill of a Scotchman named Sin were to be traced to Riband combination. In the gaol of Mullingar, in the county of West-meath, full evidence was obtained of the existence of a Riband association in that neighbourhood, and sent to her Majesty's 92 Government. From Louth, similar evidence was sent up by the police authorities. He did not know whether his information was correct; but he believed that the answer sent by Mr. Drummond was, "What is Ribandism?" Was it possible, that the Under-Secretary for Ireland could be so ignorant of the state of Ireland for the last half-century as to plead his ignorance upon such a point? Putting such a question to his inferior, an individual employed in the police, must rather be interpreted as a rebuke than as an incentive. He held in his hand, an authentic copy of the Riband signs, oaths, and pass-words, as they had been found in different counties in Ireland. He would not, however, read them, for the noble Lord opposite knew them perfectly well. He would remark, however, that a most singular coincidence was observable in their oaths, signs, &c., throughout the counties of Sligo, Wicklow, Cavan, Louth, Carlow, Queen's county and Leitrim. There was the same swearing to secrecy—the same swearing never to betray their brethren in a court of justice—the same swearing to levy money for the purpose of buying arms—the same swearing of the deepest hatred against all who declined to join in the secret organization. Was this new? The Committee of 1832 had received the most ample evidence on the subject. The swearing and the objects of the conspiracy were precisely the same. The noble Lord seemed to think, that before the year 1838 his attention ought not to have been directed to the subject. Now, a gentleman whom her Majesty's Government would look upon as a most exceptionable witness, a priest named Walsh, resident in the county of Dublin, stated publicly in 1836, that he knew of the existence of an extensive Riband Society in Kingstown and its vicinity upon the subject of the illegality of which he had frequently, but in vain, addressed his flock. The Government he stated to be aware of their existence; and the members of the society boasted that their organization throughout the country amounted to upwards of 200,000. The hon. Member for Dublin had stated in a speech that he had received information of the existence of Riband societies, and that by a single speech of his at Navan, he had put a stop to the existence of no fewer than forty-three Riband lodges. And yet, during all that period, the existence of Ribandism in Ireland was not acknowledged by the Government. The evidence of Mr. Gore Jones, their own stipendiary magistrate, before the Orange Committee 93 in 1835, should have been amply sufficient to convince them of the existence of an extensive organization of Riband societies. He might multiply proofs upon this subject, but he did not wish to weary the House. The noble Lord's Government had taken credit to itself for its activity in detecting and punishing crime. Now, he would refer to a case or two illustrative of this subject. In the county of Clare, in the month of December, 1836, a man named M'Mahon was prosecuted for a very serious assault by a man named Molony. M'Mahon was convicted and sentenced to transportation for seven years. He was liberated, however, after suffering only a year's imprisonment. Such an impression did this transaction produce upon Mr. Wilson, a Roman Catholic magistrate of the county of Clare, that he threw up his commission. He need not allude to the notorious cases of a similar description which had occurred in the King's County. In Sligo two men, during the spring assizes of 1838, obtained a conviction against one John Conway. This person's sentence was not permitted to be fulfilled, and he was also liberated at the expiration of a year. One of the charges which he brought against her Majesty's Government in Ireland was, that where the most notorious individuals were arrested in their career of crime, to such persons was the clemency of the Government extended. What the effect of this must be with reference to the progress of crime in that country, it was for the House to decide. He considered that the restrictions which were placed upon Roman Catholics in Ireland previously to 1829, were most unwise; but he blamed the Government, that when they chose Roman Catholics to fill the official situations which of late years had been thrown open to them, those who were most distinguished as dangerous agitators were preferred to the lovers of peace, order, and tranquillization, while to those who were most notorious for the commission of serious crimes had the clemency of this Government been habitually extended.
said, that at this stage of the debate he did not feel himself authorized to trespass on the House with any very lengthened remarks; and it certainly was not his intention to enter into a detailed notice of all the observations which had fallen from the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. He thought, however, that he had an undoubted right to complain of the course which that hon. Mem- 94 ber had thought proper to adopt in several portions of his speech (indeed, he might say throughout the whole of it) with reference to the introduction of a very great variety of minute details. He could conceive nothing more inconvenient in a deliberative assembly, nothing that was less consistent with the fair administration of justice, or more wholly incompatible with the advancement of the public service, than upon a motion such as this, for the production of returns, to come forward with long details of individual instances, and call upon those who took the defensive part in the debate for distinct explanations of every one of those cases. When the hon. Gentleman referred to returns which were made by the proper officers—when he founded his statements upon authentic documents—when his calculations were based upon data, the accuracy of which was admitted by the parties whom he chose to impeach, or which were at all events acknowledged to be, to a certain extent, correct—when his observations or his arguments (as the case might be) were founded upon documents of this description, he (Mr. Pigot) knew how to meet him, although, indeed, he might say, that he had been met by anticipation. But when the hon. Gentleman took up a file of documents, framed he knew not from what evidence—founded he knew not upon what information, growing out of details he knew now how acquired; and when he challenged so important a result as the condemnation by that House of the whole system of administration in Ireland, on the ground of such statements, the hon. Gentleman must permit him to say, that his premises hardly warranted his conclusion. He was not prepared, nor was it possible for any individual holding the situation which he (Mr. Pigot) did, even had he held it for a longer period, to meet the hon. Gentleman upon all the cases which he had cited in the course of his statements; but it did so happen, that after having heard the hon. Gentleman go through a list of outrages alleged to have been committed in Ireland, and follow each statement by averring that up to the present moment the authors of the crime were not detected; that up to this hour intimidation had prevented the sole competent witnesses from bringing forward their testimony in a court of justice—it did so happen that his memory furnished him with the appropriate fact, that in one of the in- 95 stances alluded to by the hon. Gentleman there had recently been prepared, and there was now in progress towards trial, a body of evidence which was quite sure to lead to conviction. He would not tell the hon. Gentleman to what case he alluded. He would not imitate his example by naming the individuals charged, and thus putting them on their caution to provide such means as would prevent further evidence from being given. But he believed, from the facts which had come to his knowledge, that the time would shortly arrive when the conviction of the individual whose case the hon. Gentleman had converted into so serious a charge of suspension of the ordinary functions of justice, would take place before the public tribunals of the country. He could say with confidence that the hon. Gentleman's statement was in this respect unfounded, and could falsify the prediction in which he had indulged. The hon. Gentleman had gone a little further, and touched upon other ground, on which it was fortunate that he (Mr. Pigot) could give him some information. The hon. Gentleman, in passing over the various parts of Ireland which he had indulged with this cursory visit, and in which he discovered crime to be so fearfully on the increase, had landed in Thurles, and boldly stated to the House that a series of outrages had occurred in that part of the county of Tipperary, and that not one—for that again was the bold expression of the hon. Gentleman—that not one of those outrages was occasioned by any dispute connected with the letting of land. The hon. Gentleman had referred to the murder of Mr. O'Keefe, and stated, that he believed that murder had no connexion with land. He (Mr. Pigot) would not enter then into the circumstances of that transaction, for reasons which he did not choose to give; but he would ask the hon. Gentleman whether in his multifarious catalogue of crime, he found any record of the murder of a person named Byrne, which had recently formed the subject of repeated investigations. The case to which he now referred was of a very remarkable description, affording a signal illustration of the criminal statistics of the county of Tipperary; and, however culpable the party might be who had committed this crime, this much was abundantly demonstrated—that it arose from a conflict connected with the letting of 96 land, and in transactions of this description, there could be almost universally traced a remarkable similarity in the features by which they were characterized; so far, at least, as regarded the instruments employed to effectuate the horrible crime. It would be useless for him to trespass upon the time and attention of the House with his casual observations on those particular cases (alluded to by the hon. Gentleman opposite), the details of which might chance to suggest themselves to his recollection; and he would permit him to say, that he could not give credence to statements for which he found no foundation in fact. He trusted he would not be considered as presuming too far when he asked the House—he believed, in truth, that he was entitled to ask them—with reference to these statements, to suspend for a little time their judgment until it might be shown whether conviction could or could not be brought home to the offenders. Again, with reference to what the hon. Gentleman had termed the existence and progress of Ribandism in Ireland, it had been the fashion to ascribe all the outrages in Ireland to the existence of those secret associations; it had been the fashion to say, whenever a crime of remarkable atrocity occurred, and great difficulty was found in bringing justice home to the offender, that Ribandism must be the cause. He had remarked in the catalogue of the hon. Gentleman, a catalogue which was evidently prepared with much caution, a catalogue which was the result, no doubt, of many an hour of assiduous labour, he had remarked with amazement, that in this document the name of Tipperary was not to be found. Why did the hon. Gentleman omit Tipperary? Why refer to Tipperary as the favourite spot in which outrage and crime were committed, without referring that outrage and that crime to Ribandism, and yet in the same breath lay to the charge of Ribandism all the crime of the Queen's county? It was known, that the relation between landlord and tenant in Ireland was considered by the people in certain districts to press so heavily upon the latter, that excitement, and exasperation, and secret conspiracies, had been occasionally the consequence. In 1822, for the first time during a series of years, for the last time up to the accession of the present Ministry to power, there was a conviction of eight persons in Dublin for the crime of administering 97 secret oaths. He could tell the hon. Gentleman this, that although very great anxiety had been manifested to reach the members of these secret associations, and although it often happened that justice was brought home to the offenders upon another charge, and for other crimes, a great difficulty was found in establishing a charge of unlawful conspiracy. Perhaps, that was the reason why the hon. Member had not found in any of these police reports any distinct mention of Ribandism; and in whatever hands the Government of the country might be placed, the same difficulty would be found to exist. He would ask the hon. Gentleman, if he would state the number of counties in which he alleged the charge of Ribandism to have been made. The hon. Gentleman had said, that in a number of instances, information had been given to the Government, and without saying more, without specifying any particular case, he now founded upon this a general accusation that the Government had not followed up the information which it had received, and therefore that the Government was answerable for the existence of Ribandism. He would ask the hon. Member, what right he had to say, that in any one of those instances, the Government had not followed up the information which it had received. He would ask him, what right he had to say, that those statements had been proved, and that evidence had been supplied by the magistrates of the country, and that the Government had declined to act upon it. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman might find, that in every instance, an anxious and deliberate investigation had been made, and perhaps he might discover, that the clear and demonstrative proof which was supplied to him by somebody at his elbow was nothing but hearsay. Perhaps it might be found, that the information which had been supplied was not worthy of credit. The hon. Gentleman could not say, that it had not, and he on his own part allowed, that he was not in a condition to prove that it had. If these returns were laid on the Table, he did not think that they would advance the cause of justice, but, on the contrary, would retard its course, as it would prevent the production of testimony and interfere with the course of public justice. The hon. Gentleman, drawing these conclusions from statements thus made, had passed over altogether all that he must 98 have known had been done by the Government of Ireland for the purpose of administering the law. He could not but know, that to the present Government was owing that organization of the police which was admitted on all hands to be so complete and effective. It was to this Government that the system was due, which, as far as could be effected by human agency, brought home conviction to crime, acting as they did upon that central system which it had established, and to which the hon. Gentleman was indebted for the returns which had been made. The hon. Gentleman had said, that, with respect to some of these returns, their inaccuracy was confessed, and, therefore, that these returns ought to be expunged from the consideration of the House. That observation would apply to those returns furnished by the clerks of the peace and clerks of the Crown; but it did not apply to the returns made by the inspectors of prisons, because those returns were checked by the local inspectors of gaols. He would, therefore, tell the hon. Member that to the details stated by the noble Lord, the Secretary for Ireland, no such objection existed; and so far as the system of the Government could exhibit any result as to the state of Ireland, that result was shown by those details.
§ Mr. E. Tennent
, after the speech of the hon. and learned Member who had just sat down, could not avoid offering a few remarks to the House. Whatever difference of sentiment there might exist in the minds of different parties, either in the House or in the country, as to individual details of the policy of the Irish Government for the last three or four years, there could be no second opinion as to one universal and manifest result which had flowed from it, namely, the widening of the breach, and the aggravation of those feelings which had so long prevailed, and by amalgamation and social incorporation of the two parties in that country. For the last fifty years every legislative project which had been conceived or brought forward for the benefit of Ireland had been introduced with this recommendation—that by smoothing political asperities, and softening down religious prejudices, it would tend to unite the Irish people in one social compact as the coequal subjects of one and the same kingdom. It was this consideration that had led to the original relaxation of the penal 99 laws in 1778 and 1793, and it was this consideration that had secured the final emancipation of the Roman Catholics in 1829. Whatever prospect there may have been of that consummation being achieved—whatever incipient success may have followed the experiment under previous Lord-lieutenants, it was a deplorable fact, that at the present moment, when the Marquis of Normanby had just taken his departure from his Government, he had left political animosities in more virulent activity, religious differences more marked and distinctive, and the social breach more wide and apparently more incurable than it had been at any period since the union of the two countries. The great majority of that House were amply qualified, from their own recollection and their own observation, to contrast the aspect and composition of the two parties in Ireland, as they exhibit themselves at the present moment, with what they were as they existed in 1829 on the eve of the passing of the Roman Catholic Relief Bill. At that period, and even whilst the great political question of the day was essentially a religious one, large masses of the Protestants of Ireland were found in close union and active sympathy with the Roman Catholics. He meant not merely that liberal section of Protestants whose political sentiments were in coincidence with theirs, but those, Conservatives upon all other topics, who felt that upon that of Catholic emancipation, they were giving their concurrence to a great act of national and political justice. How many of those Protestants, Conservative or Liberal, were now in co-operation with the Roman Catholic party in Ireland, or in connexion with the Precursor Society, which represented them, and which its founder professed to have been instituted for the support of the Ministry and the assistance of the Irish Government? None, or comparatively none. The county returns, printed by that society attested the fact; and proved, that whilst the Roman Catholic counties supplied all its strength, those districts which were essentially Protestant furnished no quota either to its forces or its funds. In the north of Ireland and Belfast, he could state, from his own knowledge, that the liberal Protestants who, up to a very recent period, had been the coadjutors and co-operators with the Roman Catholics Catholics on all occasions, had drawn off from them, and formed at this moment a 100 party as distinct as the Conservatives themselves, with their own principles, their own objects, and their own peculiar organs of the press. The Liberal Protestants were no longer found as collectors at the Roman Catholic chapels on tribute Sundays, as before, and the branch of the Precursor Society, which had lately been introduced in that town, could boast, so far as he could learn, the name of but one Protestant gentleman, who, a few weeks since, in transmitting his shilling for enrolment, accompanied it by an entreaty that his name should not he mentioned as a member of such an association. That society was essentially a Roman Catholic one, and with it, or the portion of the people whom it represented, no section of the Protestants, Liberal or Conservative, were in concert or union. Socially and politically, as well as religiously, the great body of the Irish population was, in fact, at the present moment, after the passing of the Roman Catholic Relief Bill, and all the subsequent measures of conciliation, more distinct in their feelings, and more exclusive in their objects and pursuits, than they were ten years ago. A fact, so apparent as this, a failure of policy so remarkable, must be referable to some immediate cause; and that cause could only be discovered in the peculiar favour and countenance with which their leaders and their organs, their wishes and their views, had been fostered and encouraged by the Irish Government, to the exclusion of others. It was that which had given them confidence to conceive, and power to effect their purposes; and it was that which, whilst it taught them to aim at objects peculiarly their own, had so far organized and concentrated their strength, as to enable them to slight and dispense with that aid, of which, in less promising times, they were but too happy to avail themselves, from their Protestant fellow-countrymen. But, whilst be condemned this system of favouritism on the part of the Irish Government, as tending to aggravate prejudices, and to perpetuate jealousies between the Roman Catholics and Protestants, he, by no means, meant to impute to the noble Lord opposite (Lord Morpeth), or to the late Lord-lieutenant of Ireland, that they acted flow any personal preference for the abstract doctrines or peculiar views of the Roman Catholics to those of the Protestants; on the contrary, were the circumstances of the 101 two parties reversed, were the Liberal Protestants possessed of the great numerical strength and the preponderating political influence, they would be, he had no doubt, the recipients of courtly favours in return for their services of support, whilst the Roman Catholics, as the unimportant minority, would be excluded as the Protestants now were. But in either case, the error would be equal, and the result the same as that to which we have unhappily arrived—the augmentation of jealousy and suspicion, the fostering of prejudice and party, and the perpetuation of disunion, of irritation, and crime. With regard to the extent and prevalence of crime in Ireland, which was more immediately the object of the motion of his right hon. Friend, it required but little argument to show at once the encouragement and the impunity of offence which must result from this violent "hostility of the two races," in that or any other country in which the institution of trial by jury constituted the people themselves the arbitrators between the injured party and the aggressor. Its least formidable effect in Ireland was to render even substantial justice itself unsatisfactory and suspected, whilst its general result was, to impede the career of justice altogether, and to establish an utter impunity for the worst offences. Such, in fact, were the partialities and sympathies of juries in Ireland at the present moment, that he had recently heard an eminent Irish barrister, of extensive experience, declare, that "human ingenuity could not conceive a more successful device for the security and protection of offenders than trial by jury in the present disorganized condition of society in Ireland." And when, in addition to this infirmity of the system itself, which tended to the prevention of conviction, the House took into account the unwise exertion of the prerogative of mercy by the Lord-lieutenant, which went to annul them, or pardon offenders, when, by chance, convictions were obtained, when the culprits were Roman Catholics, for the House would bear in mind, that it was very rarely indeed, that Protestants were participators in the grace of these enlargements, it would be evident that the administration of justice must now be a mockery in Ireland. Was it then to be wondered at, that the minority in that country felt that the laws and their administrators were not adequate for their protection, or 102 that the majority imagined, that their offences, if not encouraged, were at least winked at, by their rulers. He was far from believing such to be actually the case. He did not bring so heinous a charge against the Irish Government as being the actual suborners of crime, but the charge which he did bring against it was this; the fatal facility with which it yielded to every representation of the Roman Catholic clergy or their followers on behalf of Roman Catholic criminals; thus not only giving a positive impunity to the offenders and depriving the injured party of his remedy and protection, but branding the tribunals of law with needless severity, and writing down the criminal judges of the land as worse than Dracos in the cruelty of their penalties attached to crime. Surely the noble Lord opposite (Lord Morpeth) might discover in the numbers in which these memorials must pour in upon the present Irish Government beyond all precedent in any previous administration, the case with which, on the slightest success or encouragement these documents could be multiplied ad infinitum. He should bear also in mind their ex parte character in every instance, as their preparation was kept a profound secret by those who move in them; the first intimation of their existence received by the public, who might otherwise protest against them, being the intelligence of their effect in the liberation of the criminals. Fortunately for him he lived in a portion of Ireland which afforded, from the loyalty and peaceful habits of the inhabitants, but few opportunities for the exercise of the merciful prerogative of the Crown. He could not, therefore from his own knowledge, give to the House any lengthened catalogue of its abuse by the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland; but one instance which had occurred very recently in Belfast he could not withhold, as illustrative at once of the demoralizing effect of these reversals of judgment upon the criminal, and their injurious and exasperating influence upon the complaining and originally injured party. The case to which he alluded was this:—In Autumn last, a Roman Catholic, named Gubben, in consequence of a political quarrel with a Protestant, pursued him, followed by a mob, into the house of a man named Barnett, in which he had taken refuge. Gubben and his followers insisted on his being given up to them, as they were de- 103 termined to beat him for being an Orangeman. This Barnett refused to comply with, when they commenced an outrageous assault upon his house, which they nearly demolished, destroying and plundering almost every article it contained. For this offence Gubben was tried at the quarter sessions in October last, and Mr. Fogarty, who was then the assistant barrister for the county of Antrim, after hearing the case, sentenced him to six months confinement, expressing, at the same time, his regret, from the atrocious circumstances of the crime, that he could not legally sentence him to transportation. Well, he was committed to the Borough jail on the 27th of October. A memorial was immediately got up by his friends, and within three weeks—namely on the 15th November—an order arrived from Lord Normanby for his unconditional discharge. And now mark the effect. His very first proceeding was to reassemble his mob and return to the house of Barnett, who had given him no other offence than that he (Mr. E. Tennent) had mentioned, where he tauntingly called on him to come out and see him again at liberty, and hoped he would now see the influence enjoyed by his friends in Belfast. From facts such as these it would be superfluous to attempt to draw any inference as to their relative influence upon the minds of the aggressing and the complaining party; but one thing must surely come home to the mind of every individual, that it was utterly vain to look for peace, or tranquillity, or contentment in the midst of a community where matters such as these, were not merely of occasional occurrence, but portions of a system which was in daily and hourly operation. It was the effect of this policy which would render the administration of Lord Normanby long memorable in Ireland, and, above all others, memorable to those who were destined to succeed him in that high office. He had sown the dragon's teeth, and with no niggardly hand: and assuredly those who were to follow him would have to reap the iron harvest. He felt that this was so essentially a question of fact rather than argument, and he saw around him so many of his friends from the south of Ireland more abundantly supplied than, happily, he was with facts, that he should be intruding upon their province were he to do more than express his hearty concurrence in, and his inten- 104 tion to vote for the motion of his right hon. Friend.
Mr. Villiers Stuart
concurred with the hon. Gentleman in his last observation, that this was a question of facts rather than argument; he would, therefore, refer as a fact to an address to Lord Normanby, on the occasion of his quitting Ireland, which was adopted by a large meeting of the magistrates, gentry, and inhabitants of the county of Waterford, over which the high sheriff of the county presided. They declared their conviction that during the time that the Marquess of Normanby had administered the affairs in Ireland, the laws had been enforced with vigour and dispatch—that crimes had been assiduously detected and promptly prosecuted—that he had exercised the prerogative of mercy judiciously, in a reasonable spirit, and with sober discrimination, and that he was a clever ruler and a just judge. Hon. Gentlemen might give what credit they pleased to this testimony; but it was, nevertheless, the opinion of a very large majority of the people of the county of Waterford. Much had been said of the illegal proceedings of the peasantry of Ireland, whenever the law of ejectment was resorted to; but he would ask the House whether there was not something in the present law of ejectment which, however, well it might work in England, required some alteration with regard to Ireland. It was well known that there existed in Ireland a class of people which did not exist in England, he meant the middle-men. Now, a middle-man might be a very bad tenant, and might very justly be turned out of possession; but in the execution of the writ upon the judgment to turn out the middle-man, the practical effect was to eject, perhaps a hundred individuals who were the tenants of the middle-man. Now, this was a great hardship, because it might be, and no doubt in the majority of instances was, the case, that every one of these under-tenants had paid their rents and fulfilled their contracts with their own immediate landlord, the middle-man. He would submit to the House whether some mode might not be devised for getting possession of the land from the middle-man without making it necessary to turn out these under-tenants.
§ Colonel Conolly
was disposed to attribute the unsettled stale of Ireland in a great degree to the Riband conspiracy, 105 which emboldened the people to commit acts of violence, particularly when they saw, that that system was countenanced by the Government. The noble Lord had expressed his sympathy for those poor people who were ejected from their holdings and let loose upon society. He felt that the case was a pitiable one, and that ejected tenants were frequently worthy of sympathy; at the same time he could not at all comprehend how the noble Lord, admitting the legal right of ejectment, could sympathize, as he seemed to do, with persons who resisted the ordinary process of the law. If anything had been wanting in the language of Mr. Drummond upon this subject, it had been most completely supplied by the noble Lord. It had become the custom to attribute all resistance in Ireland to legitimate attempts on the part of landlords to recover their own by the force of the law. Now, he wished to know what the intention of her Majesty's Government was respecting the law of ejectment. Did they intend that it should or should not be put in force? He put that question distinctly, because the language of the noble Lord and others was calculated to produce resistance to the due course of the law. He pitied, as well as the noble Lord, the unfortunate persons who suffered from the operation of the law; but it was for the Government to prevent the evil, not by encouraging resistance, but by punishing severely all persons found to be connected with Ribandism, until they totally eradicated the system. Those feelings of sympathy, of which so much boast was made, and which exhibited themselves in the discharge of prisoners from gaols, and such-like acts, while no sympathy whatever was evinced for those against whom or whose property the crimes had been committed, would doubtless make a strong impression on the minds of the ignorant portion of the Irish people, amounting to at least the belief, that Government had in store a large stock of mercy, or, as he would call it, of an abuse of mercy, for the perpetrators of every crime. It was really surprising that this Riband system should meet with such protection from the Government. [Laughter.] Hon. Members might laugh, but he asserted that all the endeavours which were made in Ireland to divert public attention from the nature of the crimes committed, and from the real perpetrators of those crimes, 106 by characterizing them as mere agrarian disturbances, was nothing more than a gross delusion got up to screen the Government, and conceal the source of crime. There was no question about it. He had been a good deal surprised at the remarks of the Solicitor-General for Ireland in attempting to reply to the speech of his hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock. His hon. Friend had argued ably, forcibly, and legitimately upon well-authenticated facts, which the hon. and learned Gentleman had feebly attempted to controvert by a set of "perhapses." Without adducing a single fact, without telling the House what he did know, and alluding to what he did not know, the hon. and learned Gentleman had resisted by a series of perhapses, the series of facts which the hon. Member for Kilmarnock had exhibited in their true colours, and by which he had shown that the infernal system of Ribandism was the primary cause of all the evils that night complained of; that the great bulk of the Irish people felt, that the Government were favourable to their views; that they heard with compassion of their sufferings, and that they would choose to condemn landlords, magistrates, and every other public functionary in Ireland, rather than quarrel with those from whom they held their places.
§ Mr. Fitzsimon
observed, that if the hon. and learned Member for Kilmarnock had read the address which had been presented to Lord Normanby by the inhabitants of Durrow, he would not have made the charge against him, which he had, of want of sympathy with the suffering people of Ireland.
§ Mr. Litton
hoped the House would favour him with their attention while he addressed a few observations to them, and he pledged himself they should neither be loud nor long. The charge against the Government was, that they encouraged agitation, and that charge had been, in his opinion, fully substantiated that night. The truth was, that the well-disposed, loyal, and peaceable inhabitants of Ireland considered the present Government inimical to them, while the agitators looked upon it as their friend and supporter. It was not necessary to impute motives to any Gentleman, nor was it his wish to do so, but the House had now admitted facts and documents before them sufficiently abundant to support the charge which he preferred against the Government. Before 107 he proceeded further, he must be permitted to offer one or two observations with reference to what had fallen from his hon. and learned Friend opposite, the Solicitor-General for Ireland. He had often met his hon. and learned Friend on a different arena. They had met often as opponents, but never as enemies. He must say, that with all his hon. and learned Friend's boldness of manner, he had given no answer to any one of the allegations put forth by his hon. Friend, the Member for Kilmarnock, or by his right hon. Friend, the Member for the University of Dublin. The hon. and learned Solicitor-General for Ireland had now, for three years, been intimately connected with the Government. He had filled previously to his elevation to the office to which he had been recently appointed, a situation which, above all others, enabled him to obtain accurate information respecting the state of the country, and yet now, when facts had been stated—when names had been mentioned—when places that were attacked had been pointed out—in short, when the identification was perfect—it did appear to him rather extraordinary, that the hon. and learned Gentleman, holding the responsible office which he did, should be so utterly ignorant of what was passing in Ireland as to be unable, out of the thirty or forty cases which had been brought forward by the Opposition, to give any information whatever respecting them. The hon. and learned Gentleman had said, indeed, that it was not his duty to bring forward circumstances respecting cases that might then be in a state of investigation. He could very well understand, that the ends of justice might be defeated by a premature disclosure of what either was doing or had been done, to bring criminals to justice. But was he to be told, that the Solicitor-General for Ireland—when murder was rife in the land—could not, without betraying trust, and frustrating the ends of justice—give the country some satisfaction as to the course which the Government had pursued. Surely the hon. and learned Gentleman might have told the House—not who it was that was under examination, or what evidence had been given—but he might have adduced some instances in which exertion had been made, and pointed out where it had succeeded, where failed, or in what instances there was a probability of success. But the hon. and learned 108 Gentleman had done no such thing—"It may be a great deal had been done," such were his expressions. If a great deal had been clone he ought to have known—he must have known it—and, therefore as he declined to give the House any satisfaction on the subject, he was warranted in assuming, that the case made out by his right hon. Friend, the Member for the University of Dublin, and his hon. Friend, the Member for Kilmarnock, had been fully admitted. He would maintain, that there never was a period, during any former Government in Ireland, characterised by so much crime, with so little of exertion to discover the perpetrators, or where the punishment was so disproportionate to the offences, as occurred during the administration of Lord Normanby in that country. He was not about to enumerate lists of outrages, or to travel over the same ground with his right hon. Friend near him, but he could not pass by that part of the subject, without expressing his conviction as to the deep and lasting injury which Mr. Drummond's ill-advised letter to the Tipperary magistrates had inflicted on the country. He fully admitted, that the Irish landlords had duties to perform as well as rights to maintain, and no man who did not feel the sacredness of those duties was worthy to hold a station in society. But he utterly denied, that the Irish landlords had neglected their duties. From a long residence among them he was enabled to state, that they had not only not forgotten their duties, but had faithfully discharged them. Surely it was most unjust—no matter what rent might be due to a landlord—no matter what annoyance might be given him by his tenant that the moment he exercised the slightest control over his property, he was to be met with allegations of cruelty, injustice, and oppression. If such a course were to be persevered in, he would ask, what was to become of the property of the country. It was too much the habit in that House, and out of it, to stigmatise and denounce the landlords, without in any respect, ascertaining whether or no they were deserving of the censure which had been heaped upon them. He recollected an instance in that House where an hon. Friend of his had been most foully aspersed, and on an investigation it was proved, that, so far from harassing or oppressing his tenants, he had forgiven them thousands. The case made by the noble Lord opposite was, that 109 much of the outrage in Ireland originated in, and appertained to land. It had been said by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, at a public meeting, that Mr. Weyland had been murdered because he dealt unjustly by persons who held land under him. He would read the words of the hon. and learned Member from a paper which was patronised by him, namely, the Freeman's Journal:—"Let the people who taunt unfortunate Tipperary remember the provocation they receive. Weyland took the man's land from him, and would neither give him money nor land. Let it be remembered that the offence was committed on a man who had acted against honesty and the peace of society." The paragraph was extracted from the Freeman, and quoted by the Mail. The noble Lord, the Secretary for Ireland, imputed the crimes in that county to the same cause; and, in reply to a statement from the Tipperary magistrates, arising out of the murder of this same Mr. Weyland, Mr. Drummond informs them "that property has its duties as well as its rights." For whom was this letter really intended, and for whose use was it specially published? Why for that of an excited population. They had been virtually told by the official organ of the Government—for the letter really amounted to this—that there was no law to punish an oppressive landlord. Could any man doubt what the effects of such a communication must have been in a state of society such as unfortunately existed in Ireland? What effect could it have but to incite murder? A brief space only elapsed after the publication of the letter, when two more murders were perpetrated—namely, on Mr. O'Keefe and Lord Norbury. The noble Lord, the Secretary for Ireland, had said he was proud of the friendship of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. He was the last man to pry into the private friendships of any individuals—but he did contend that after such a boast the public would be warranted, after the extract he had read from the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, in believing that the Government agreed in the atrocious sentiments delivered by the hon. and learned Gentleman. Was it, he would ask, becoming of the noble Lord, under such circumstances, to boast of an honoured association with the learned Member? He thought the occasion for 110 putting forward the boast was a bad one and sure he was, that such an association would be viewed with jealousy and distrust by the country. Ireland, by the course which had been adopted by the Government, was a ruined country. It could not be expected that English capital would find its way into it while agitation prevailed there. It had been hoped that the Union would have effected an improvement in that country, and those who now advocated its repeal ought to ask themselves if it were not owing to their own agitation that British capital and British enterprise had been excluded from it. Ireland, owing to that agitation, was without capital and without manufactures; and those who had fortunes in the country had been compelled to become absentees, because neither life nor property were secure. He should conclude by laying down the proposition with which he commenced—namely, that whether willingly or not, he did not wish to impute motives; but would leave the country to judge. But he would repeat that the conduct of the Government was such as to warrant the public in believing that they encouraged agitation—patronised and associated with the agitators—struck terror into the minds of the well affected—excluded British capital, and reduced the country to such a state of demoralization as never was before witnessed in any country having the slightest claim to civilization.
thought that this must be admitted to be a most remarkable debate—remarkable, if for nothing else, for the total inapplicability of the speeches to the motion proposed. Any man who had not heard the motion read would never have conjectured, from any thing that had been said, what the matter was to which the motion referred. There was another feature in the debate which ought to be remembered, though he doubted whether it would. Speeches had been made by four Gentlemen, natives of Ireland, who, it would appear, came there for the sole purpose of vilifying their native land—["Oh, oh!"]—yes, of vilifying their native land, and endeavouring to prove that it was the worst and most criminal country on the face of the earth. ["Oh, oh!"]. "Yes, exclaimed the hon. and learned Member, "you came here to calumniate the country that gave you birth. It is said, that there are some 111 soils which produce venomous and crawling creatures—things odious and disgustful; [cheers] yes, you who cheer—there you are—can you deny it—are you not calumniators? ["Oh, oh!"] Oh! you hiss, but you cannot sting. I rejoice in my native land—I rejoice that I was born in it—I rejoice that I belong to it; your calumnies cannot diminish my regard for it, your malevolence cannot blacken it in my esteem; and although your vices and crimes have driven its people to outrage and murder—["Order"] Yes; I say your vices and crimes [Cries of "Order, order," "Chair, chair"]—well, then, the crimes of men like you have produced these results. ["Oh, oh"]. The hon. and learned Member then proceeded: What was the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for the University of Dublin? How applicable to the motion! How happy in its illustration! What was it that the hon. and learned Gentleman quarrelled with? His quarrel with the Government was nothing more nor less than this—that it had been said in a public document that the landlords had duties to perform as well as rights to enforce. Then he quarrelled with the noble Marquess, the late Lord-lieutenant of Ireland, because he had been weak enough, or as the hon. and learned Gentleman would have it, unjust enough, to evince some sympathy and pity for the wretched multitudes who had been subjected to the horrors of summary ejectment; because he had betrayed some feeling towards the decrepid father, the aged mother, and the helpless children, who, driven from the warmth of their homes, were left to perish in ditches. Yes, the noble Marquess dared to pity them; and the Government dared to say, that the Irish landlords had duties to perform as well as rights to enforce. That was the whole ground of complaint. A matter of this kind marked distinctly the character of the people who complained. They said, "We will not be told that we have duties to perform—we have nothing but rights." Did any man ever hear such a complaint made gravely? Yet it had been made repeatedly. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Litton) made it the chief topic of his speech—he insisted upon it with emphasis—he advanced it with all the powers of his oratory, and claimed the attention of the House to it with many a 112 blow upon the box. He trembled for the box as with uplifted hand and voice the hon. and learned Gentleman exclaimed. "Behold the wrongs of Ireland?—An excited multitude is told by the Government that the landlords have duties to perform, as well as rights to enforce." How did the Government inform the people of Ireland of that fact? How did they seek to inflame their minds upon that point? The hon. Member for Kilkenny (Mr. Hume) moved, as he was often in the habit of doing; for certain returns—for the production of certain papers; and the way in which this inflammatory declaration on the part of an officer of the government was delivered to the people of Ireland was, that it was laid upon the Table of that House. The hon. Member for Belfast (Mr. E. Tennent) had interposed in the course of the debate, and had talked of the evils of change of opinion and the mischief that resulted from the mixture of parties. To be sure, of all men in the world, the hon. Member for Belfast was the one who must be best able to judge of what those evils and mischiefs were, for there was not a political party now in existence to which that hon. Member had not at one time or other belonged. First he was an agitator, then a high Orangeman, than a desperate Reformer.—[Mr. E. Tennent: Never!] Not a sworn one. Then he was a Republican—talking loudly of the folly of an hereditary peerage—The tenth inheritor of a foolish faceThis was the man who talked of the evils of change. Where was the hon. Gentleman pointing now? He knew not at the present moment; but by and by, when the hon. Gentleman was convinced that the speculation upon which he was now engaged was not likely to be successful he had no doubt he would be seen going over to the Liberal party in Ireland, and joining the Precursor Society. To be sure, if anything were necessary to blacken Ireland in the estimation of England, it would be found in the charity and pity of the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Colquhoun). It seemed that that hon. Gentleman had lately been a visitor in Ireland, but instead of directing his admiration to its green hills and verdant valleys, its broad lakes and bold blue mountains, he had employed himself, it would seem, in conversing with the lowest of its inhabitants and picking up a parcel of details to be made the subject of a speech in Parliament. Hence the statement that 113 a village priest had denounced a man before he was murdered—hence also a number of the stories of the same stamp and character. He told the hon. Gentleman that the whole of the details of his speech were false. Could anything be more unfair than the course now pursued? If this were a motion for inquiry, he could understand it. The charges upon which the motion was founded were, if true, charges against the Government. In fairness, then, the Government should have had some notice of them, in order that they might be prepared to meet them. But it was the fashion of the hon. Gentlemen opposite to give only vague and indefinite motions, in order that their antagonists might be taken at a disadvantage. They placed upon the notice book a vague and general motion, then came down with a catalogue of tales, and a list of dates, giving to the whole an appearance of exactness and truth; and then, when the Government, unprepared to go into these details, replied only in general terms, they went away, and complained that they were not met. This was a trick, a party trick, to prejudice England in favour of that faction which had so long oppressed and trampled upon Ireland—foul and malignant murderers—stained by blood, and dishonoured by the breach of treaties—for 300 years making religion the pretext for their crimes, and now again enlisting the sacred name of religion against right and justice. It was said, that the present Government had distinguished none but agitators—had given to none but agitators the emoluments of place—nay, it was said, that they had abused the seat of justice, and placed none but agitators upon the bench. Was Sergeant Ball an agitator. Was Mr. Wolf an agitator. Was Sir Michael O'Loghlen an agitator. These were the last appointments made by the Government, appointments which the hon. and learned Member for Bandon had done everything in his power to prevent. Yet, could the hon. and learned Member for Bandon say that he was not himself an agitator. Had the hon. and learned Gentleman never attended a political meeting? Had he not attended a meeting at Cork upon the subject of the Reform Bill? [Mr. Sergeant Jackson: No.] Then the hon. and learned Gentleman's memory must be very short. At all events that meeting was attended by a Counsellor Jackson, who spoke upon the occasion. 114 The hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin had detailed a long list of horrors in Longford; but had the House heard of the late trials at Longford—had they heard of the trial of a widow named Murphy; an action of ejectment was brought against her; Mr. Courteney, a gentleman of respectability, was introduced as a witness. There was no doubt of the facts that the widow had a lease of the house, of which forty years were unexpired. She was the administratrix of her husband, and was in possession of the house. Of these facts there was no doubt. She was required to give up the lease, but refused to do so. What was to be done? The witness Courteney stated in his evidence that the landlord took a party to tear the house down—that the widow and her daughter were borne screaming and weeping away, and that the son at last signed a paper which he was assured should prevent his widowed mother's house from being levelled with the ground. But the assurance was a false one. The signing the paper did not prevent the perpetration of this piece of iniquity—the house was torn down, and the widow erected a but from its remains. Afterwards, the case went to trial upon the ejectment, and the widow got a verdict. There was the Lord Lorton that they had heard that night lauded to the skies—there was the verdict of the jury—there was the Mrs. Murphy with her house torn down over her head, and there was also the cause of the disturbances in the county of Longford. The learned Recorder had told them of the number of murders which had lately taken place in Ireland, but the number given by the learned Recorder was fourteen since the 16th November; but if the learned gentleman had called their attention to England, he would have found that there had been twenty-five since the 16th November, leaving no less than eleven to the credit of Ireland, and yet no English Member had risen, and said "what an abominable country mine is, what shocking people are the people of England." Besides, these murders, however, there had been two cases of supposed murder, that is, where bodies had been found in a mutilated state; there had been thirteen distinct attempts to commit great personal violence, and there had been twenty incendiary fires, one of which by-the-by was at Shaw, in Berkshire; the learned 115 Recorder, in his list, could not enumerate a single incendiary fire, and notwithstanding this, Ireland was to receive abuse, and above all, the abuse of her own children. He had calculated the number of crimes in England of the greatest enormity—those which had been punished with imprisonment above six months—and he found that the number in Great Britain was 6,259, whilst the total number in Ireland was only 2,577, though the population in Ireland was within a third as much as the population in England. He only asked those hon. Members to apply the same charity to Ireland as they extended to England; and if there were better stimulants to crime in Ireland, if there was in that country no general sympathy between the rich and the poor, if the inhabitants were considered aliens in their own country, by those who abhorred their religion, let no censure be passed on the Government which, for the first time within the recollection of the people, administered the law fairly and impartially with every class. [Cheers.] Hon. Members might cheer; but if the Government had not done so, let hon. Members point out a single crime in which, as to the Government, there had been any defect. Let them trace up the neglect to its source—let the returns be laid on the Table of the House—and then, if the Government were not able to vindicate themselves, they would not be vindicated by him. Why, in another place, a noble Duke had admitted, and so had the Earl of Glengall, that no Government had in this respect been more vigorous in the execution of its duty. Was there any complaint, that, on the trial of a Protestant, the jury had been packed, as it had been complained against hon. Gentlemen opposite, when they had been in power, and as there would be, if they were in power again? The right of challenge gave a frightful power to the Crown; but since the present Government had been in office, they had followed the English practice, and no man was now set aside on a jury pannel on account of his religion, or on account of his political opinions. And what had been the result? Had a single case failed? On the trials at the late special commission there were seven Catholics on the jury—or seven Precursors, if that term pleased the noble Lord better—and there were but five Protestants, and yet there had been convictions. The learned Gentlemen (the Re- 116 corder, had read an extract from a speech said to have been delivered by him (Mr. O'Connell) having relation to Lord Oxmantown: it was a double-distilled extract, for it had gone through the alembic of the Evening Mail, after it had appeared in the Freeman's Journal, and, as it last appeared, it was totally misrepresented. The right hon. Gentleman produced this report, which he called his speech; but what he did speak, he would repeat. What had Lord Oxmantown done? He was the Lord-lieutenant of the county; and he called a meeting, under pretence of discovering the assassin, but for the real purpose of expressing the vilest and the most atrocious calumnies that were ever uttered against his country, and against the Government who had named him as lord-lieutenant, and whose commission he then bore. He was seconded by Lord Charleville—not very ably certainly, which that poor nobleman could not help; but this same Lord Charleville had an admirable method of forgetting matters of fact. He stated, that two men came out of the lodge, saying, that Lord Norbury had been mortally wounded, and was dead, when, on referring to the evidence of the lodge-keeper, it appeared, that she had just told them what had happened, and that one of them, so far from rejoicing at the circumstance, as it had been stated, being an old soldier, offered his services to stop the flow of blood, and to staunch the wound. The noble Lord had treated the whole Irish nation as a nation of assassins. He had treated the Irish Catholic clergy as a body of men fomenting assassination; he did not even except Lord Norbury's own friend, and his (Mr. O'Connell's) friend, the Rev. Mr. Rafferty, and even he was thrown into the base accusation of calumny. He (Mr. O'Connell) had been happy to hear the explanation respecting the hoot-mark the other evening, and he, after inquiry, was now able to confirm the statement, that it was the mark of the shoe of Mr. Fitzgerald. Hon. Gentlemen opposite had stated, that it was the mark of the shoe of Lord Norbury's grandson, but it was his impression that in this they were mistaken. The point did not much signify in their present discussion, but if hon. Gentlemen wished him to go into it, he was perfectly ready to do so. Lord Oxmantown had said, that this was a conspiracy to turn the landlords out of their property, but could 117 any thing be more absurd? Was there not a son of Lord Norbury perfectly ready to step into the property at once—and nothing could be gained by the peasantry. He did, therefore, speak of Lord Oxmantown as he thought he deserved. He was of opinion, that this was an attempt to blacken Ireland by those who had hitherto delivered her over to the dominion of a faction. It was an attack upon the noble Lord, under whose Government, for the first time, pure and impartial justice had been administered. The noble Lord had earned the approbation of Ireland, the universal people applauded his acts, and he came back to this country with all the honours of a civic triumph! [Hear! hear!] What! did hon. Gentlemen think that it was not a civic triumph, without the presence of slaves? He congratulated the country on the character of the successor the noble Lord was about to have; he trusted that his successor would follow the example of the noble Marquess, and work out the cure of Ireland's wrongs. He concluded by moving, that, after the word "Ireland," there be added the words, "also similar returns for England, Wales, and Scotland."
§ Mr. Sergeant Jackson
requested the indulgence of the House only for a short time, whilst he made a few observations in answer to the attack which had been made upon him by the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down. That hon. and learned Member had asked him whether he had not attended a meeting held in the county of Cork in the year 1828, and there made a speech against Catholic emancipation; and he would answer him, that never, in the county of Cork or elsewhere, at a Brunswick or any other meeting, had he made any speech against Catholic emancipation. Had the hon. Gentleman known him, he would have known, as his (Mr. Sergeant Jackson's) friends well knew, that his opinions were favourable to Catholic emancipation in 1828; but with the experience he had had of late years, and a knowledge of the lamentable events which had occurred in certain quarters, were the question now before the Legislature, he should ponder well ere he gave his vote for that measure. But the hon. and learned Member was not very cautious in his allegations as to points of fact, and he would get over this mistake in some way or other, by saying, then 118 if it were not he (Mr. Sergeant Jackson), it was some other counsellor Jackson. There was, however, only one gentleman of that name besides himself at the bench, and that was Mr. Warren Hastings Jackson, who he believed, had never attended any such meeting or made any such speech. But, if he had made such speech, was that any justification of the hon. and learned Member to make such a charge against him for doing so? Nor was this the only instance of the hon. Member's departure from accuracy in the speech which he had made; and although the hon. Member had spoken of wandering speeches having been made on the Opposition side of the House, he would ask whether any one ever heard such a rambling speech as that of the hon. Member himself? Had he not, too, besides the charge against him, imputed to his excellent Friend on his left hand (Mr. Colquhoun) a whole string of assertions, not one of which was true; the hon. Member had also appealed to him whether he had not made some charge against Sir Michael O'Loghlen. Now, unfortunately, he had not had any intimacy with that gentleman since his promotion; but he would agree with the hon. Member that he was as excellent, upright, honourable, and able a judge as ever occupied a seat on the bench, and he would say that he had never made a charge against him. With respect to the present Lord Chief Baron of Ireland, too, he would say that he had never spoken one word against that individual, and he believed him, and always thought him to be an amiable, kind-hearted and excellent man; nor had his hon. Friend said one word in disparagement of him. But let him tell the House that the hon. and learned Gentleman had made a most—he was about to use what might be considered an un parliamentary phrase—a most audacious attack on the noblest and the highest persons in the country. He had attacked Lord Oxmantown, who was as kind and good man as any who ever adorned society; he had professed most liberal principles, and although he had retired from society, yet when his county was in a distracted state, when blood was flowing, and a brother nobleman was slaughtered without cause, when he came forward at a public meeting of his county, as it was his duty to do from his office of Lord-lieutenant, and had drawn down upon him these foul-mouthed and atrocious attacks—which the hon. 119 and learned Gentleman was ever so ready to make on those who happened to be his political opponents. The next person the hon. and learned Gentleman attacked was Lord Charleville; but the character of that nobleman required no defence at his hands, and those who are acquainted with him would know how to estimate those slanders upon him. The hon. and learned Gentleman had spoken of a comparison between the crimes committed in England and those committed in Ireland; but if any atrocious crime took place in England, did not every man turn out to bring the murderer to justice, and render him amenable to the law? Now, what was the case with Ireland? What was the state of crime in that country? Let them compare it with that of Great Britain. The population of Great Britain was 16,500,000, and during that year the crimes of murder or attempts at murder in England, Scotland and Wales were in number 277. In Ireland during the same period, with a population of only 8,000,000, the crimes of murder or attempts at murder were 718. And he would venture to say, that from the beginning to the end of the rambling speech of the hon. and learned Member, there was not one single matter of fact truly stated. The hon. Gentleman had also spoken of packing juries in Ireland under former Governments to the present one, but he would deny the charge; for the instructions given by the late Attorney-General of Ireland (Mr. Blackburn) to all the Crown Solicitors of Ireland, were, not to put aside any man on account of his religion, unless there was reason to suppose, that he would not advance public justice. And this rule the present Government had laid down over and over again as the rule they adopted now. Yet, although this was said to be the case, there were last year in the unfortunate county of Tipperary, 170 cases of homicide tried at the two assizes, and yet there was not one conviction. In one case, the man had offered to plead guilty if they would allow his body to be delivered up to his friends, but this being refused, he was tried, and no verdict was the result. He would ask his hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Pigot), whom he was glad to see in his place, whether, although his hon. Friend was a member of a society which he (Mr. Sergeant Jackson) told him be thought was an illegal society, he had 120 made those observations in any other than a friendly manner? He could assure his hon. Friend, that although he had differed from him, he had not the slightest unkind feeling towards him. And yet this had been a charge against him, and the hon. and learned Member in his usual style, and with his usual accuracy, had attacked the character of an hon. Friend of his, when he was absent and not able to defend himself. He spoke with reference to the packing of juries, and he would ask whether the rule he had mentioned was the rule now? Was it not the same as packing juries when a man was allowed nineteen peremptory challenges? But he thought neither the noble Lord near him, nor his hon. Friend, would now venture to go into Tipperary and try prisoners with such juries. In that county lately a special jury was summoned and they did their duty, but they were all grand jurors. [Mr. Sheil, that was not the case.] If the hon. and learned Gentleman says the fact were not so, he of course bowed to his authority; but he spoke on information which he believed to be true. But what he meant to say was this, that the grand panel was summoned by the sheriff, and the juries were therefore composed of gentlemen eligible to serve on the grand jury. Certain returns had been made to the House, but his charge against them was, that they were grossly defective, deceptive, and delusive, and no safe conclusions could be drawn from them; and because his hon. Friend had wished for them to be made out in extenso, he had been taunted with not moving for an address to the Throne for the dismissal of the Government. On this point probably some steps might be taken as to the executive government of Ireland, for there were serious questions relating to the government of that country for the last four years. He would say, that in the documents before the House the facts were incorrect; that the returns were fallacious, even on the authority of the noble Lord opposite himself. [Lord Morpeth here said, "I admitted they were not correct."] The noble Lord says they were not correct, and was not that the same as incorrect, and that, therefore, they were fallacious? But what was the case against the Irish Government? They said, that they had administered the law in Ireland with vigour and impartiality; but he should like to see any man hold- 121 ing up his head, and stating that in that House; he thought he could satisfy a very large proportion of the other as well as his own side of the House, that that was not the case. The great characteristic of the Government was anything rather than impartiality or vigour, for it appeared to him, that the Government had acted uniformly to depress and lower one party, and to strengthen and reinforce the opposite party, in that country. What he complained of was, that the Irish executive had wielded their patronage so as to depress the one party, and to raise up the cause of the agitating part of the community. Let him look to any class in his own country, to his own profession for instance, and then it was not sufficient to entitle a man to be advanced by the Government, that he was perfectly capable, of high professional attainments, unimpeachable in his private or public character, a perfect neutral in politics; but he must be a partisan, and must lick the dust from the feet of the agitators, in order to be promoted. As an instance of a wish on the part of the Government to propitiate certain parties, he might mention his friend Mr. Sergeant Green, than whom there was not a more eloquent man, or one of higher character at the bar, who took no part in politics; and although he had been sent on the circuit during the absence of the ordinary judges, yet he had not been promoted. His friend, however, had attended the levees of the noble Marquess, although he hardly knew any other person who had done so. They might call that ridiculous, but it was so; for neither the nobility nor gentry of the land, nor the leading men of the bar had attended the levees of the Lord-lieutenant, although, of course, that respect would have been paid to the Government had their conduct entitled them to it. But how had the noble Marquess entered the city of Dublin? At the head of a mob, with green banners, flying, bearing seditious mottoes, and preceded by an Irish harp. With respect to some other situations, whom had they appointed Filacer in the Court of Exchequer? Mr. E. Power, who, as an attorney for the defendant in the tithe action of "Higgins v. Conroy," got up an answer so full of irrelevant, disgraceful, offensive, and contemptuous matter, that the court ordered, by its unanimous judgment, that it should be taken off the file, and that the attorney should 122 pay out of his own pocket all the costs; that Mr. E. Power, who had been guilty of such an outrage on common decency, the Government thought proper, in furtherance of the administration of justice, to appoint their filacer in the Court of Exchequer. Who else had been appointed? A gentleman who had been a Member of that House, Mr. O'Dwyer, had also been appointed another filacer. Mr. P. Costello, a respectable man, no doubt, but a bad politician—an extreme politician—an agitator—a member of the various agitating associations—was appointed clerk of the rules in the court of Queen's Bench. Mr. Pigot a member of an association whose object was to carry on a formidable war against tithes, and to collect money for that purpose, himself a subscriber to that fund, was appointed confidential adviser to the Lord-lieutenant in the most delicate class of cases that could be submitted to the consideration of the Government. Could the clergy have confidence in a Government which acted in such a manner? Then, with respect to the noble Lord who had just been appointed Lord-lieutenant of Ireland, he was ready to admit, that his character stood as high as it was possible to stand, and yet his appointment was one of the most unsuitable that could have taken place, on account of the language he had used in his place, when a Member of that House. Instead of reconciling the people of Ireland to the appointment, the high character of that noble Lord might only tend to render him the more dangerous. For it would be impossible to suppose, that the Roman Catholics, seeing a noble Lord appointed Viceroy in that country, who had declared his anxiety to support a certain bill because it would render the war against tithes more formidable, could feel, that they were doing wrong, in doing their utmost to weaken and curtail the Church Establishment. There had also been great partiality in the conduct of the Government with respect to the constabulary. The House had been led to think, when the bill for remodeling that force was about to pass, that Colonel Shaw Kennedy would be intrusted with its management, and that his recommendation would at least be the medium of advancement in that corps. But what was done when a stipendiary magistrate was to be appointed some time ago in Ireland? There were thirty-two sub-inspectors one in every county; yet an 123 individual named Nangle, who had the good fortune to be a relative of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, not even a sub-inspector, but merely a chief constable, was appointed over the heads of the thirty-two officers, sixteen of whom were magistrates at the time. The effect of this was to show, that the patronage of the Government was exercised for the purpose of propitiating a certain party in that country. Indeed, so extensive was that impression, that the hon. and learned Member for Dublin himself, in a speech recently delivered at a meeting of the trades' union, said there was not a single place under Government which he had not been asked to procure for some of his friends—from the command of a seventy-four, and a seat on the bench—to the office of chimney-sweeper in the castle; so that it would take him ten days to answer all the applications which were made to him in one morning. That impression was general throughout Ireland; it extended even to the learned profession, of which he was a member, and there could not be the slightest doubt of the fact. He gave due credit to the Government for their appointments to the sees of Kilaloe, and Cashel, fitter and better men in every respect could not have been selected; those appointments showed, that when the Government were flee to act, they would select proper men to fill vacant situations; but they dared not trench on the department of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin; if they did, they knew the consequences. He charged the Government with partiality in their mode of dealing with illegal associations. He did not vindicate Orangemen, or Orange processions—how far the Orange association was a necessary defensive association was a much mooted question in a committee upstairs; but if Government found it necessary to put down Orange associations, they should have dealt even-handed justice, and put down other illegal associations also, They marched down armies into the north of Ireland, and provoked collisions with the people, in order to prevent men walking with ribands on the 12th of July, but the Riband association was not checked. No sooner had the Orangemen of Ireland, in obedience to the expressed wish of their Sovereign, disbanded, than it was deemed prudent to allege, that no Riband societies existed in Ireland. Did Riband societies not then exist? Not 124 only did they exist, but they were becoming more rife every year; and at this very moment the country was covered with them. The Government had not exerted themselves to put clown that atrocious and treasonable conspiracy in Ireland. What was the conduct of the Government with respect to other associations? The effect and object of the Catholic, General Volunteer, and Precursor societies were to keep up a perpetual ferment in the country; and if not to lead to ulterior mischief to aggrandize a mean, selfish, and miserable influence, by preying on the misfortunes and wretchedness of a poor and deluded peasantry. The Government allowed such proceedings to take place under their very nose, at the very gates of the castle. Nay, more, the leaders of the Precursor Society were received at the tables of the Lord-lieutenant and the chief Secretary for Ireland. How had they behaved towards the rest of the noblemen and gentry of Ireland? Lord Oxmantown had presided at a meeting in the King's county, assembled for a most legitimate purpose, and honestly expressed his sentiments; his right hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Shaw) had stated their conduct to that nobleman What was the conduct of the Government with regard to another Lord-lieutenant of a county? The Marquess of Headford was still permitted to occupy a place near the person of our Queen, although, as Lord-lieutenant of the county of Meath, he had the hardihood to convene and preside at a meeting for the purpose of agitating for the abolition of tithes, the Imperial Legislature having just passed an act for the purpose of settling the tithe question. Was that impartial conduct? The hon. and learned Sergeant then reverted to the subject of riband associations. They had been told that the evidence was vague and uncertain with respect to the existence of Ribandism in Ireland. He maintained, on the contrary, that it had existed extensively and continuously for a great number of years, and that it never was more rife than at the present moment. The hon. and learned Gentleman then read the forms of a Ribandman's oath and of his ticket, as already given in the speech of Mr. Shaw. This he had got from a Member of a noble family, the magistrate who had taken the deposition of a person who had been a sworn Ribandman. The deponent before that magistrate added, that there was not a Roman Catholic from twenty to fifty 125 years old who was not a member of the society. Of course he spoke of his own part of the country, and of persons of his own class. In a recent trial at Drogheda, of some persons charged with having seditious papers in their possession, it was shown that those papers had the same quotations from Scripture which were on the Ribandman's ticket. Similar documents had been taken from prisoners committed to Mullingar gaol, and recently from others in a remote part of the county of Wicklow. Copies of some of these had been forwarded to Mr. Drummond in Dublin. In the papers found in Wicklow it was asked, "What do you think of the Precursor Society?" and the answer was, "It is a loyal step, it is for the rights of Ireland, and we should join them." It was a curious fact, that all these documents contained allusions to the rebellion in Canada, as if "Justice to Ireland," as it was called, was to be obtained in the same way. In the committee on Fictitious Votes a Roman Catholic priest was examined, who candidly admitted the existence of Ribandism in the county of Longford. The hon. and learned Gentleman went on to show that there had been a republican party in Ireland for a long time; that the Roman Catholic Association had a republican tendency as was proved by the work published by Mr. Wyse on that association, That Gentleman stated that the association would laugh at anything but self-government, and that republicanism and separation were the two head articles of their political creed. The Roman Catholic priests, for the greater part—almost the whole—were members of these associations. They had been members of the Catholic Association, of the General Association, and of the Precursor Society. They held the office of churchwardens under one, of pacificators under another association, but they were actively engaged in support of all. On one occasion by their means 1,500 simultaneous meetings were held through the country, and it was calculated that on an average 1,000 persons attended each of these, so that there was not less than one million and a half of persons brought at once within the influence of the association, and they were taught to be ready at a moment to obey its orders. It was only, it was said, a bit of paper and twenty-four hours, and there could be obtained a simultaneous assemblage of 1,500,000 men through the 126 country. In this sort of agitation the hon. and learned Member for Tipperary (Mr. Sheil) had himself taken no little part. To show how the democratic principle was inculcated, he would read an extract from a speech of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin on the 18th of last month, and he begged the attention of English gentlemen to it. The hon. and learned Member said, in addressing the Precursor Society, that there had been great agitation about the Corn-laws; that he would vote for their repeal, because it would put down the aristocracy, and would tend to establish the democratic principle—that principle which was, that Governments were made for the people, and not the people for the Governments. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin had denounced him (Mr. Jackson), and some of his hon. Friends, as having come over here to vilify their country; whereas they only stated facts, which had not been denied, in order to let this country see what the actual condition of Ireland was. He would next beg the attention of the House to an extract from another speech of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, as reported in the hon. Member's own paper, the Dublin Register: "Ireland," he said, "had been insulted, but Irishmen would not bear the foul indignity, He never laid his head upon his pillow at night without fervently desiring to make another effort for his country. He was then getting into the sear and yellow leaf;' but if he was old his heart was young, and his arm was still sufficiently powerful to be raised, if necessary;" and he added, "I would rather that the rivers of Ireland were red with Irish blood than that Ireland should be again degraded." In another speech, delivered at Carlow, the hon. and learned Member spoke out plainly and talked coolly of the shedding of blood, as a means, no doubt, for it would bear no other meaning, of obtaining what was called justice for Ireland. Yet he (Mr. Jackson) had never heard, that any notice had been taken of that speech by the Government of Ireland, or that Mr. Drummond had been directed to write letters expressing the dissatisfaction of the Lord-lieutenant at such language as the following:—"Men of Carlow, are you ready?" "Aye, Aye." "I am not for the shedding of blood, but when all the other means fail, we have no other resource; when all the other means which I have spoken of 127 fail, I am for the shedding of blood. I say this, because if your enemies get into power they will shed your blood." After adverting to the banishment to a distant and lonely part of Kerry of Mr. Vignolles (who reported this language to Government), and also to the resignation of Colonel Shaw Kennedy, the Inspector General of the constabulary force in Ireland, because he had not been properly supported by the Government, which, in those instances, had been acted upon by some secret influence, the hon. and learned Gentleman went on to say, that though the Member for Dublin might have the priests and a certain portion of the Catholic population with him, he had, by no means, the respectable portion of the Roman Catholics of Ireland at his side. On the contrary, the great majority of the respectable Roman Catholics were decidedly opposed to the hon. Member and to his plans, and when he had the audacity to threaten those opposed to him with his seven millions, he would find himself greatly mistaken, if he calculated on the support of the Roman Catholic gentry of Ireland. As a proof that the hon. Member had not the support or sanction of that class, he might mention one fact. The entire of the contribution to the Precursor Society from the province of Connaught, the most Catholic part of Ireland, was only 551., 10s., while, from a single county of Munster, (that of Tipperary), the contribution was 650l. What was the cause of this difference? It was this, that the principal part of the lands of Connaught were the property of Roman Catholics; the great body of its landowners were of that persuasion, and would not allow their tenants to take a course which they believed to be wrong; but the Protestant landlords were not allowed to exercise that influence over their tenants. The hon. Member for Dublin talked of moral force; but he more than insinuated his reliance on physical efforts. He talked of 8,500,000 souls—"ay, and bodies too"—and, in the same breath, asked, "whether they would be willing slaves: oh, no." Much stress had been laid upon what was said to be the vigorous administration of the law in Ireland. How had that been shown? Would the House believe that not fewer than 1,173 convicted prisoners had been discharged in the course of two years before the expiration of their sentences? Of these, thirty- 128 seven were sentenced to death, thirty-three to be transported for life, and sixty-three for seven years. There were discharged on that tour of popularity, in the latter end of August, 1836, no fewer than 284 prisoners. By the order of the Lord-lieutenant, no fewer than 110 were discharged by his mere oral order. Was not this monstrous? Suppose her Majesty were to make a tour through the country, and were to order the prison-doors to be opened, and to enlarge 110 prisoners without a written order? Why, England would ring from end to end with indignation. He did not hesitate to say, that any Minister, who so advised her Majesty to open the prison-doors, would be impeached. But was not this infinitely worse in Ireland in its distracted state? What was produced on the minds of the people by this? The people imagined they had friends in the Government, and that they should go scathless, if they but opposed those who were inimical to the Government. In six counties in Ireland, in August, 1836, there were no fewer than 179 prisoners so discharged. They had another return, showing the number of rewards offered for the apprehension of offenders in eleven months. The number of rewards offered was 593. Out of that number ninety-three had been claimed; or, out of the sum of 25,000l. offered, 1,0001. had been claimed. [An hon. Member: that is a great deal.] What! only four per cent. in a poor country like Ireland? Did not that fact speak trumpets as to the state of Ireland? It showed the existence of conspiracy, he thought, and of intimidation, and that the people could not be induced, even by enormous rewards, to bring offenders to justice. There were, in 1836, in one county, twenty-five murders, twenty-five persons fired at, and three clergymen's houses fired into. The noble Lord spoke of few turbulences. Here, in his own proclamation, in 1836, there appeared to have been two clergymen fired at, three clergymen's houses fired into, twenty-one houses entered, and twenty-one houses burnt, in one county. In 1837, there were 290 rewards offered for similar offences. The hon. Gentleman had called on him to read: he would read. He had a great many cases. He wanted to detail one case, which he should state as shortly as he could. A married man, about sixty years of age, came to the house of a woman residing within a few miles of Dublin. 129 Finding the woman out, and her daughter in the house, he made an assault on her, and abused her in a most dreadful manner. The capital offence was not proved against him, but he was tried, and convicted of an aggravated assault. This man had been tried in August last. The judge regretted that he could not pass a heavier sentence upon him, and sentenced him to be imprisoned for two years to hard labour. It appeared that this man was employed as a collector at the door of a Catholic chapel, and exertions were made to obtain his pardon, and he was enlarged after this assault without giving bail. ["Name."] His name was Connor. With regard to the state of the clergy of the country parts, he would read just one case, and it was the last case he should trouble the House with. It was the case of a clergyman in the county of Limerick. He wrote that he had just had a visit from some of O'Connell's supporters. The letter was to the effect that his dear Eliza had been obliged to give up nursing her infant, owing to fright, and had been obliged to get a nurse for her child. [Laughter.] They would find it was no laughing matter. The letter went on—they had been obliged to dismiss the nurse they had, who was a Roman Catholic, from intimidation. A large crowd of persons beset his house, and persisted in seeing him. On the door being opened, a large volley of stones was thrown in, which fell near his dear Eliza's head. The windows were broken, and the stones fell in the nursery. On getting his wife and children up stairs, he inquired from a window what they wanted; and they said they came by Captain Rock's directions, and they would have him discharge his Protestant servants. And when he told them that he would not, they warned him to take notice and do it; that this was the first visit of Captain Rock, and he might shortly expect another visit, if he did not send his Protestant servants away. The servants were both Protestants, and one of them was a convert from the Roman Catholic faith. He was determined to keep his servants, and was just going to procure timber to secure his doors and windows. This was the state to which the country was reduced by combinations. What had been the conduct of the Government, then, again, on another subject—what had they done with regard to the sheriffs, in 1836? In eight counties the sheriffs had been passed by; in 1837 130 seven counties had been passed by, and the returns of the judges did not appear. This was an evasion of the statute law of the land: the effect of all these proceedings on the part of the Government—this total want of vigour—this partial conduct which they had pursued. They were, in fact, subservient to the hon. Member for Dublin: they held their places by his sufferance. They were favourable to those who were alike enemies to all; and the notion of that, however erroneous, was very common, and had naturally been followed by disturbances in the country.
§ Debate adjourned.