HC Deb 20 May 1840 vol 54 cc426-60

—At the quarter sessions for this county, which have just closed, there were notices served for upwards of five hundred persons as claimants to register, yet, between Moate and Mullingar, the two divisions where the sessions were held, only about one hundred answered. Of those the numbers registered were—at Moate, fifty-two Liberals, six Conservatives; at Mullingar, eleven Liberals, five Conservatives; and this result affords not an unfair criterion to estimate the relative force of each party in the county. Yet is there a permanent staff of paid witnesses, who attend at every sessions against the liberal claimants, as counsel and agent to oppose them at the Moate sessions. One of these witnesses, William Bell, a frieze-coated countryman, was called to disprove the qualification of Thomas Brennan, of Rosemount (Brenuan being a tenant of Sir Richard Nagle), and Bell having upon his direct examination deposed to the acreable value of the holding, far below the amount stated on the part of Brennan, and who Bell admitted to be a respectable and faith-worthy man, the following facts appeared, upon cross-examination by Mr. Plunkett, counsel;— Pray, Bell, what other source of income or livelihood have you beside the farm you hold? Bell—I have an annuity. Counsel—An annuity! Is it a rent charge —who pays it? Bell—The Conservative gentlemen of the county. Counsel—What amount? Bell—Forty pounds a-year. Counsel—For what? Bell—For this I'm doing — valueiug votes. In the case of another claimant, 'Cormick of Bracknahoile,' Joseph Murdock, who is also one, or, rather, the chief of the permanent staff, swore that he viewed and valued the claimant's farm; and a Mr. William March deposed that he also had viewed and valued it, and that it was not worth 10l. a-year above the rent. Upon cross-examination, and upon confronting Murdock and the claimant, Murdock said—' I viewed what I think to be his farm, but I don't swear positively, because I don't know it.' The Barrister—You led me to think, that you knew it, or what did you mean by valuing and viewing the farm of the claimant, if you did not know it?—Let the claimant be admitted. Joseph Murdock, William Bell, George Dickson, and George Ronaldson (the last a Scotchman), are our franchise valuators. Is this the system you are to encourage? Is this the system that incorporates all the honour, all the intelligence, all the religion of the country—but we will come to that presently. He who valued the man's farm upon oath is contradicted upon oath, and then he admits that he only believes—that he does not know of his own knowledge that the value of the farm is that which he had stated upon oath. I read this to show that there shall not be the shadow of excuse for the passing of this bill. I protest against this disfranchisement, in the name and on behalf of the people of Ireland. I protest with as much solemnity as if I was assured that my protest would be received. If you succeed in this disfranchisement, you repeal the Reform Act for Ireland—you repeal the Catholic Emancipation Act, not as relates to the wealthy part of the Roman Catholic population, but as relates to the middle classes. The Irish people bid me tell you, that they impute this bill to two distinct and separate reasons. The first is, a national antipathy to the Irish people. Yes, they say so. They say also, that it has originated in the virulence of malignant bigotry. Now, I am bound to show you upon what grounds they attribute this bill to these causes. If those grounds be satisfactory, you ought to reject this bill; if they are not, my argument goes for nothing. Have they not a right to say there is a national antipathy? Are there not multitudes of those on the other side, and their supporters, who in their speeches, their election tirades, their after-dinner harangues, have expressed themselves in the most vile way of the Irish people? I have a bundle of them here, but I will not disgust myself or the House by reading them. Yes, I say they have expressed themselves thus of the people of Ireland in their election speeches, and their after-dinner harangues, where—in vino veritas. Then what say you to your press, your favourite press, your pampered press—wealthy because you patronize it—to the vile Times and the rest of that gang. [Laughter.] You laugh when I say the "vile Times" but was it not that print that designated the priesthood of Ireland "surpliced ruffians," and her population "shoeless and shirtless vagabonds?" Think you the Irish people know not that you receive this foul slander with commendation, and that the press which uttered it is under your protection? Oh! they have reason to say there is a national antipathy. But have they any reason to doubt that the bill is founded on motives of religious bigotry? The hon. Member for Londonderry county spoke the other day in high commendation of a meeting, held on the 2nd of May, at Belfast, and in speaking of the wealth and respectability of the numbers that attended it, selected one individual for his particular praise, and that was Dr. Stewart, a Presbyterian clergyman. Now, on the objection to this bill—that its operation would be unequal as between Protestants and Catholics—that rev. Gentleman admitted that such might be the case, but that it did not arise from the principle of the measure, but from other causes, one of which was, that a greater regard existed among Protestants for their oaths than among Catholics. Does the hon. Gentleman, in the presence of the Catholic gentry who surround him—does he, I say, presume, in the presence of some of the first gentry, to tell me, with miserable bigotry, that the Roman Catholics have no regard for their oaths? Have no Catholics lost advantages and power, and honours? Why, there is not one Roman Catholic, except the young gentleman immediately before me, who has not been excluded from power and dignity for years. The rev. Gentleman further said — If a Catholic committed perjury in aid of the Church, it was held to be no perjury: and it was not to be doubted, that when a Catholic was driven by the priest to the registry, or to the hustings, he would act upon the same principle, particularly as he had the priest of the parish to give him absolution at his elbow. The noble Lord may ask, "How do you bring all this home to me?" I will tell him. Who was the principal orator at the late meeting? The hon. Member for Belfast. And what do you find on the back of this bill? That it is brought in by Lord Stanley, Lord Granville Somerset, and Mr. Emerson Tennent (the hon. Member for Belfast). These names were selected by the noble Lord. Am I wrong in attributing the bill to a spirit of malicious bigotry? Then the noble Lord, the Member for Liverpool, made an eulogium upon the respectability of the signatures to the petition he presented. I have looked at those signatures, and among the foremost I find that of the rev. Hugh M'Neile. The noble Lord went out of his way to praise these petitioners, and said the addresses to the signature were properly given. That petition was adopted at a public meeting, at which the principal orator was the rev. Hugh M'Neile, of Jezebel notoriety. Here is an extract from his speech:— Some of us have been giving warning to this country, for the last ten or twelve years; we have been telling plainly and pretty clearly, that the conscientious members of the Roman Catholic Church are not biddable by an oath administered by heretics. We have been making it plain that perjury is not to be considered a crime, committed by a few individuals belonging to the system, in despite of the system, but that it is a part, a deliberately organised part of the system itself. And that is what is said of the Roman Catholic religion. This is what was said, in the presence of some of the most accomplished gentry on the face of the earth. This is the petition brought up from such a meeting. This is the petition which the noble Lord, the Member for Liverpool, went out of his way to give us an abstract of. But that is not all. The rev. Gentleman quotes a story, and from that story states that a multitude of perjuries were suggested by the priests at elections. He gave the story in detail; it was met at first with laughter, and ended with long continued shouts of applause. I am told that the Irish people are blunderers, that they do not understand what you are about. The hon. Member for Caithness, amongst the ludicrous capers he thought proper to cut, was at least candid—he called them assassins, and their priests supporters and prompters of perjury. I appeal to all liberal-minded English gentlemen whether they will give their countenance to these atrocious calumniators of the most numerous religious persuasion in the British empire; or, if it be disputed that they are most numerous, at least a very large proportion of the Queen's subjects. I do believe that there is even yet too much attachment to Ireland left in you, or, at least, too much liberality of feeling to allow you to sanction such calumnies. When Mr. M'Neile said there would be no peace as long as the woman Jezebel lived; I do not mean to impute to him that he meant the Queen [Question!]. I am speaking to the question—let the followers of Jezebel be silent. It was asserted in the Irish, and in some English newspapers, that the expression was so meant, but I saw the disavowal, and what was that disavowal? He said he meant the Roman Catholic religion! Cheer that. That was the explanation given by the rev. Gentleman who is one of your leaders. I appeal to this House, in the sight of the Catholic multitudes of the Continent, and ask, shall it be said that doctrines of this kind are proclaimed by your leaders, your supporters—those whom you boast of as giving numbers to your petitions. Shall it be said that you countenance men of that stamp? If you do, I envy not your feelings; but this I say, that the people of Ireland are right in believing that malignant bigotry is at the bottom of this bill. I ask the noble Lord, will he venture to bring in such a bill as this for England? When he does, I will believe his sincerity. He never would attempt it. He is a bold man I know; but he is not bold enough to make such an attempt at the liberties of England. No, he reserves his kindness for the people of Ireland. Those who believed that in virulence and injustice there was a binding power, and a strength to unite, might vote for the bill if they pleased. England and Ireland had now been united forty years. Did not the union give the people of Ireland rights? Did it not give them a claim to equality of rights with the people of England? For twenty-nine years of the union, the people of Ireland had been compelled to struggle for religious equality. For twenty-three years of the union the constitution was suspended. The people of Ireland assisted the people of England in obtaining the Reform Bill. How were they treated? Did they obtain the same franchise as the people of England? By no means. Their franchise was more limited; and now it was sought to contract it further. The rural population of Ireland amounted to 7,000,000—the registered electors of the whole kingdom amounted only to 60,607. This was of importance—a matter that could not be thrown over lightly. Before the Reform Bill, up to January, 1829, the electors of Ireland numbered 216,871, being in the proportion of one to thirty-five to the whole population, whereas at the present moment the proportion of electors to the whole population was only one to 117. Compare the proportion of electors in Ireland to the proportion of voters in any of the counties in England, and mark the difference. In the whole of Ireland there were only 60,600 electors, whilst in one riding of Yorkshire alone there were 33,000, being five per cent, more than one half of the registered electors of Ireland. How, then, could the noble Lord (Lord Stanley) talk of swamping the constituency of Ireland? He asked was this a union? Were these the rights of a union? Was not this a case calling upon the Legislature to give up every other labour until it had commenced and completed that which should be a labour of love, the placing the people of Ireland on an equal footing with the people of England. What was the principle of this bill? asked the hon. and learned Gentleman. The Legislature might pay no regard to the inferiority of Ireland, it might pay no attention to that which made the iron enter into the souls of Irishmen, though it had not yet ground them down to be slaves; but was it thought that the number of electors in Ireland was too many? He had shown that the number for the whole country did not exceed double the number of a single riding of the county of York. What, then, became of the noble Lord's allegation that the real and sound constituency of Ireland had been swamped by fraudulent and perjured voters? It was said, that much fraud and great perjury was committed under the existing system; and the noble Lord (Lord Stanley) read letters that he had received, describing undue registries. The noble Lord stated this fact about Stephens—that he registered in October, 1832—that, consequently, his registration and his certificate would last till October next—that, notwithstanding that fact, in March last he came in before the assistant barrister with his certificate, and got a renewal of it for eight years, although his title expired that very hour. He did not accuse the noble Lord of suppressing a fact, but he blamed him for not being more cautious of his correspondents. He had looked into the case of Stephens, and found it to be this: Stephens was a tenant of the Marquess of Lansdowne, and a Protestant; he came forward at the sessions to register, and when the barristers told him that his former lease had expired, he showed a letter from Mr. Robert Franks, the agent of the Marquess of Lansdowne, giving him a fresh term at the original rent. Let it be remembered that there was a clause in the Reform Bill expressly providing for cases of this description, a clause in which it was distinctly stated that any renewal or new lease should be considered as a continuation of the same qualification. Who was the assistant barrister who admitted the claim of Stephens to be placed in the register? Mr. Blacker. This then showed what credit was to be placed in letters which came upon a sudden, and were intended to serve a particular purpose. He wished the House not to be led away by statements of this description—statements that were not authenticated, and which, upon investigation, in nine cases out of ten turned out to be without foundation. It was said, that the object of the present bill was to prevent fraud and perjury, and that the object of those who opposed it was to preserve and perpetrate those evils. A committee of the House upon fictitious votes in Ireland sat nearly two years ago, but it gave no report. Why? Because a case of fictitious votes was not made out. Occasional errors might be discovered in every system; but anything like a systematic creation of fictitious votes was never discovered in Ireland. How different was the case in Scotland! There was a committee to enquire into the fictitious votes in that country. That committee made a report, and their report showed fiction and fraud to an extent that was horrifying. Four hundred votes were manufactured upon one small property, without a shilling being paid in the way of rent or annuity. Eight hundred votes were manufactured upon another small property. In short, the system in Scotland appeared to be ge- neral and most extensive. Why did not the noble Lord try his hand upon Scotland? To be sure it was easier to attack Ireland. Scotland had friends, and true friends. Ireland had enemies—hearty and haughty enemies. The hon. baronet, the Member for Caithness (Sir G. Sinclair) talked of fictitious votes in Ireland—why did he not look at Scotland? There was high authority for this recommendation— "Hypocrite, first take the beam out of thine own eye, then mayst thou see clearly to take the mote out of thy brother's eye." Then the noble Lord talked about the frauds committed upon certificates. He admitted that the facility was great and that frauds had been committed. But was not the noble Lord cautioned that it would be so? Had he proposed the certificates? No; he opposed them, and showed the facilities which they would open to fraud and perjury. The noble Lord, however, overruled the whole of his objections to the certificates; and having succeeded in introducing them, the noble Lord now availed himself of the evil which he had originated as an engine to operate against the franchise in Ireland. Was that fair? When the noble Lord was asked to give the same system of registration to Ireland as had been established in England, his answer was brief but distinct: "I cannot consent to introduce the English system of registration into Ireland as long as doubts exist as to whether it will work well in England." The noble Lord had now found out that the system worked badly in England, and thereupon he proposed to introduce it into Ireland. Oh! if it had worked well in England, it would have been long enough before Ireland got it. But it had worked for evil, and therefore Ireland was to have it. When he (Mr. O'Connell) pressed upon the noble Lord his objections to the certificates, the noble Lord gave him an answer which was not distinguished by his ordinary modesty and diffidence. "The subject," said the noble Lord, "has undergone a great deal of discussion out of the House, and I feel perfectly satisfied it is the best plan that can be adopted." That was the whole of the noble Lord's reply, curt, certainly, he would not say contumelious, but brief enough. The noble Lord was "perfectly satisfied." He had never known the noble Lord come forward with any proposition upon which he was not "perfectly satisfied." The noble Lord overruled his objections by an overwhelming majority, and this "best possible plan" was adopted. But now the noble Lord came forward and sought to avail himself of the mischief of his own creation, as an instrument to contract, if not to extinguish the franchise in Ireland. Nobody had suffered more from the abuse of the certificates than he had. He admitted that a remedy was required, but not such a remedy as that proposed by the noble Lord. The way in which he would deal with the evil, would be to pass a short bill to do away with the certificates. That would be one remedy, but there was another. Extend and define the franchise in Ireland as it was extended and defined in England. Give to the people of Ireland the same franchise as was given to the people of England, and let them have the same proportion of voters. With respect to the decision upon the question of "beneficial interest," at the present moment the judges, if divided by political feelings, would be six to six; for there was another Liberal judge who would vote with the five on the former decision. Yes, he would call it voting, for it was putting that to the vote for which the statute gave them no jurisdiction. Why did he go into this argument? Simply to show that it was a question capable of being decided by the judges either way, depending upon the political bias, and certainly upon the individual opinion of individual judges. Therefore, it was idle for hon. Members to talk of this being a settled question. If ever there was a vexata questio, this was one. What he wanted was, that the House of Commons, which was the proper tribunal for judging of the franchise, should settle it. He wanted the noble Lord to give the same franchise as the Reform Bill intended to give. Upon this subject he should move an instruction to the committee to give as full a franchise to the people of Ireland as was given to the people of England. In fine, this was a bill proceeding from the worst motives. He spoke not of persons in that House, but of persons out of it. It would not be Parliamentary to impute motives to hon. Members. It was a bill proceeding from a spirit most hostile to Ireland. It was a bill widening the space that at present separated the Irish from the English people, and enlarging and aggravating the distinction now existing between them. It was a bill that branded upon the Irish nation the name of slave. It was a bill, in short, to transfer power, and to extinguish the liberal representation of the people of Ireland, and lay them bound hand and foot at the mercy of the Tories. The noble Lord called himself a great reformer, and accordingly he brought in this bill, and yet he took care to forget the only great source of fraud on the Irish registry; namely, the freemen. They were preferred in everything, and yet the greatest abuses existed in the nomination of freemen. Every species of deception was practised to get the names of men on the register as freemen. Men, notoriously born of English parents, and in England, had been passed off as the sons of freemen, in Dublin, and registered as entitled to their freedom. There was lately in Dublin, the case of a person who was represented as the relative of a person named Latt, of the city of Dublin, and registered as a freeman by birth, who was born of English parents, in England, and whose real name was Coulson. The noble Lord, however, proposed to retain this wholesale system of manufacturing votes. If it were not too late, he would show the House that this fabrication of votes extended to the amount of thousands in the city of Dublin alone. No man could get his freedom in the city unless the corporation chose it. Before the Reform Bill, they considered birth or service as the two modes entitling persons to their freedom. A title by marriage was never heard of until after the Reform Bill. But then they said that marriage was a new right conferred by the Reform Bill, and accordingly the son-in-law—that was the husband of the daughter of a freeman—was entitled to be admitted to his freedom. Did the noble Lord come forward and require that the freeman should be examined upon oath as to his title, in the same manner as was required from the unfortunate householder. But he would do the noble Lord this justice; he did not believe that the noble Lord had ever heard of this part of the subject before or understood it now. At all events, the bill of the noble Lord provided no remedy for this evil. In the cases proposed to be met by the noble Lord's bill, the utmost fraud that could be committed was an overestimate of the value of the premises claimed by the voter, and the only question would be whether one person had formed too low or too high an estimate of that value, the fraud consisting in giving a higher value than the property was really worth. Now, he would appeal to the hon. and learned Member for Ripon (Sir Edward Sugden), from his professional experience in the courts of equity, whether he ever knew a subject upon which there was more contradictory swearing than upon the subject of value. And yet all this battling was going on upon this question of surveying in order to ascertain the franchise. If the temptation to overestimate the value was considered too great, why did not the noble Lord increase the franchise. In order to take from the people the temptation to be dishonest, let the noble Lord lessen the value of the vote. By this means, he would be accomplishing two things; he would do away with the temptation to perjury, and would be increasing the elective power of the people, which was now too stringently curtailed. This bill was favoured by accidental circumstances. The noble Lord had somebody's luck besides his own. ["Name."] Oh, you know him very well. He could read to the House from the history of Ireland's wrongs, page after page, proofs of the deepest treachery, of the blackest ingratitude, of the grossest violation of treaties that could distress a Government or impoverish and crush a people. But he would once more call on the House—though he might call in vain—to do towards Ireland that which they would do to England. If they wanted assimilation of the laws, let it be so. But he exhorted them, at their peril, not to attempt to do that towards Ireland which they would not dare do towards England.

Sir R. Peel

said, he should occupy the attention of the House for a very short time. He did not intend to enter upon any consideration of the clauses of the bill, for the whole progress of the debate had convinced him that it was a wise rule and practice of the House which reserved the consideration of the separate clauses for Committee. Four-fifths of the present debate had turned on details, and not on the great question really before the House—whether any attempt should be made to improve the system of Irish registration. There were two alternatives before the House—either to attempt to reform the admitted evils of the present Irish registration, or to postpone indefinitely, if not absolutely abandon the attempt, as suggested by her Majesty's Government. He had a strong conviction that the decision of the House to-night, would be in favour of the endeavour to cure admitted evils; and his reliance was not placed on the strength of party connexion, but upon that portion of the House who had proved by their absence on a former occasion their conscientious feeling that this attempt ought to be made, and he did hope that they would have the courage and firmness to resist the appeals which had been made to them to assist in revoking the decision to which the House had already come on this measure. They had the example of a noble Lord and the hon. Member for Halifax—men whose party prepossessions were decidedly in favour of the Government—who had been friendly to every liberal measure, and who, though they declared they did not approve of many of the provisions of the bill, still expressed their readiness to consider the details in Committee. Now, he asked that portion of the House who had the acuteness to see through the fallacy by which it was attempted to pervert their judgment, and who had the courage to maintain what they felt was the truth, to vote for the proposition of his noble Friend, if they were not resolved and content to permit the Government indefinitely to postpone any remedy for the abuses of Irish registration. He knew the motives of his noble Friend in proposing this measure. [Hear.] He knew that his noble Friend had been most unjustly assailed. It was not his belief only, but his perfect assurance and conviction, that his noble Friend did not—[Loud "hears" stopped the right hon. Baronet in the midst of his sentence.] This constant interruption he said does not disturb me, but it is exceedingly inconvenient. It does not disturb me, but it makes it difficult for me to be understood. He was stating when he was interrupted, that it was his perfect and intimate conviction that his noble Friend had been most unjustly assailed in regard to his conduct on this occasion. He knew, that his noble Friend never meditated any unfair restriction of the franchise; he knew that his noble Friend recognized, as he did, the principle that there ought to be every facility given for the establishment of the legitimate franchise, but that there ought also to be every obstruction given to the establishment of the corrupt and illegitimate franchise; and that in giving facilities for the establishment of the legitimate franchise, the only check and control ought to be, that you should not open the door for fraud and deception in the attainment of it. That was the principle on which he was prepared to go into Committee on this bill, and that was the principle on which his noble Friend was prepared to go into Committee upon it. If you can show, said the right hon. Baronet, that restrictions on the franchise are proposed in the bill which can safely be dispensed with, my noble Friend has already intimated his readiness to consider them in detail in the Committee. And is it not evident, that such is the proper course; is it not evident that this is the opinion of the majority of the House? What risk do you run by going into Committee? If you say that you are willing to prevent illegitimate voters enjoying the franchise, but that the objects of my noble Friend are different, do you think, supposing those suspicions to be just, that we have the power to carry out those objects? Then go into Committee, and depend upon it you have the power to place a curb upon any such intention which we may entertain, supposing, for the sake of argument, that your suspicions of our intentions are well-grounded. You object to annual registration and to an appeal to the judges; and the hon. and learned Gentleman, who has just sat down says, that these provisions show such antipathy to his nation, and such religious bigotry, that on that ground alone, he shall refuse to go into Committee. I appeal again to that portion of the House to which I have before referred, whether this is a legitimate argument? I will prove that he who now infers so much of national antipathy and religious bigotry from these provisions so late ago as the year 1835, not only made no such conclusions, but showed no objection to announce his concurrence in those very principles when they happened to be proposed by hon. Gentlemen opposite. In 1835, Sir Michael O'Loghlen brought in a bill to amend the Irish registration. That bill was thus described by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin: — "I think there cannot be a greater error than to throw the appointment of the registering barristers into the hands of the judges. It would certainly be best to make the registration for a year, and not to give the House of Commons the power of opening the registry. That will be put an end to by this bill, which gives a final appeal to the judges, and that removes the possibility of gelling seats in the House by means of the false oaths of friends. What, then, continued the right hon. Baronet, was the complaint in 1835? That committees of the House of Commons did not do justice, that they forgot the sacred obligation of their oaths, and set aside the rights of the electors of Ireland. The hon. and learned Gentleman contended, in 1835, that it would be well to make the registration final, and to give an appeal to the judges. The hon. and learned Gentleman proceeded to say, that the bill would be especially beneficial, as it gave an appeal both ways. That was the hon. and learned Gentleman's opiuion in 1835, and yet now, when his (Sir R. Peel's) noble Friend proposed in three of the leading enactments of his bill to prevent the committees of the House of Commons from opening the registry, to give an appeal to the judges, and to establish an annual revision, the hon. and learned Gentleman thought it decent, not to reject the bill, but to urge the House to refuse lo go into Committee, because, as he said, he considered the measure pregnant with national antipathy and religious bigotry. He knew that a difference was alleged to exist between this bill and that of 1835 with respect to annual registration and revision. Did Sir Michael O'Loghlen reject with indignation that principle? All that he said was, that he wished that the votes should be good votes, but that if the House did come to the conclusion, that sufficient provision was made for securing that result by his bill, he would not stand against the opinion of the House. That was the manner in which Sir Michael O'Loghlen had spoken of the principle, not only of annual revision, but annual registration. With respect to the evils which the bill was intended to remedy, let the House remember, that for years those evils had been in existence and been complained of; for years had the Government been attempting to eradicate them. Every Gentleman who had spoken, had admitted that the present state of things was indefensible. As the debate had advanced, that it was so had become apparent. So strong was the impression which had been made on all the independent Members of the House of the abuses which existed, of the abuses of the qualification, and of the impossibility of removing fictitious votes from the register, that it was impossible for them not to admit that this system was indefensible. But if hon. Gentlemen thought that annual revision and annual adjudication were not the proper remedies for these evils, still why should they not enter into Committee? As to the appeal to the judges, that question was an open one. If they felt that it was impolitic in the present state of things to throw more political functions upon the judges, and that there ought to be a separate court of appeal composed of persons devoted exclusively to adjudications upon the franchise, still why should they not enter into Committee? If they were not satisfied to give the appeal to the judges, they might establish another tribunal; but do not let them, on pretences of this kind, establish this position, that the abuses of the Irish registration shall be permanently confirmed and supported. The alternative, he said, was this—either to attempt now the removal of those abuses or to consent to its indefinite postponement. Her Majesty's Government said, that they were about to bring in a bill. When did they say that? In fact, the intention had been alluded to on the last occasion in rather indistinct and indefinite terms. The noble Lord was threatened with a schism in his party. He (Sir R. Peel) well remembered the day. The noble Lord consequently threw out some general remarks upon the state of the registry, but he did not say, that he would make the registry to last for more than a year. That was what the noble Lord had thrown out last Session. The Government, therefore, had the whole of the recess to consider their bill. Of the correction of those abuses which the noble Lord last year considered so important, not a word was said at the commencement of the present Session. His noble Friend asked leave to bring in his bill; the noble Lord spoke in reply, and gave notice of his intended opposition to the bill, but never said a word as to the intention of the Government to bring in a bill to remedy those abuses. The second reading took place, and so strong was the opinion of the House in favour of amendment in the registration, that the second reading of the bill was carried by a majority of sixteen; carried, too, by the absence of hon. men who could not be brought to sanction the principle that amendment should not take place. Then it was that the noble Lord found it convenient to give notice of a bill for amending the registration generally, and then it was that the learned Gentleman gave his acknowledgments to the noble Lord for having afforded an excuse to Members in that House to vote against the proposition of his noble Friend. If gratitude were due to the noble Lord, not for his intention to reform the registration, but for his desire to afford an excuse for negativing reform, in that case the proposition could not have been an honest one. And now the reformation of the Irish abuses of registration was to be made contingent on the passing of an English bill; they were not to have the assimilation of the Irish practice to England, but Ministers now found it convenient to propose that which would greatly assimilate the English practice to that of Ireland. He would entreat the House to recollect, if they adopted the bill of the noble Lord, and rejected the present bill, that abuses admitted by the hon. Gentleman who spoke last, and by the noble Lord, must be continued for an indefinite period; for the noble Lord did not say that he intended to propose a measure which would pass both Houses, but that his bill should embody the principles of the Government; not that he would propose such a bill as would pass through the House of Lords, but that he would send up such a bill as the Government approved of, perfectly regardless whether it passed the House of Lords, and if it were altered by the House of Lords, he would reject it in the House of Commons. But what became in the mean time of the Irish abuses of registration? They continued indefinitely. The noble Lord said he would introduce an alteration in the franchise by a separate bill. One of the professed and hollow objections to the present bill of his noble Friend was, that he did not deal with the franchise. It was said there was a doubt about the franchise as to the construction of the beneficial interest; whether it was the value of the property to the tenant, or the value that it would let for to a solvent tenant above the existing rent which the occupier gave for it. His noble Friend did not attempt to solve that question; and one of the objections against his bill was that it made no attempt to settle the disputed question of franchise, but only dealt with the registration. The noble Lord contemplated a bill for reforming the registration; but that did not include the question of franchise. The noble Lord told him he meant to reserve the question of the fran- chise for a separate bill. He thought the noble Lord pursued a proper course; but if the noble Lord were right in that course, was it possible for any man to admit that the non-dealing with the question of franchise was a fatal objection to the bill of his noble Friend, when it only professed to improve the registration. But these were hollow objections against the bill of his noble Friend. It was from the conviction that an honest and persevering attempt would be made to reform the abuses in the registration that those recollections of national antipathy were conjured up, and that those hollow and frivolous objections were adduced against the bill of his noble Friend. And when did the hon. and learned Gentleman, the Solicitor-general, expect that this bill would pass into a law?. The hon. and learned Gentleman said: — He would go on year after year sending up bills to the House of Lords, and remain perfectly indifferent as to the registration; "he said" he expected the House of Lords would reject them—that years would pass before the House of Lords was sufficiently enlightened to adopt them; but the time would come when ultimately the House of Lords would accede to the views of the House of Commons, and pass the Registration Bill.'' And when would that be? By the creation of new peers? No; but it would be when the present heirs apparent to the peerage who were now sitting in the House of Commons should have acceded to the peerage in consequence of the extinction of their more bigotted progenitors. He said:— The present heirs apparent having seats in the House of Commons, being deeply imbued with popular impressions, would at some future time get into the House of Lords, and would by the special course of reason intrude new feelings and principles into the House of Lords, and when that happy time should come, then, and not till then, would the noble Lord's Registration Bill pass. Just let them calculate the period when that would take place? And then, from the total number of heirs apparent that would succeed to the peerage, let them deduct all those heirs apparent that would not be imbued with popular impressions, and they would form some calculation as to when that period would be when they might depend on the House of Lords passing the Registration Bill. In the mean time the Solicitor-general would be perfectly happy in his position. He would say,"I have not attempted practical legislation by the attempt to conciliate opposite opinions; I will persevere in my opposition to this bill." The next time it came on for consideration he had no doubt the hon. and learned Gentleman would have read it. But he would be perfectly content in the mean time to establish the independence and integrity of his own character by steadily persevering in his own opinions, perfectly regardless of their adoption. But would the hon. and learned Gentleman just let him ask him what, in the meantime, would become of Irish registration? Just let him ask those hon. Gentlemen who were less encumbered by party recollections—he saw great alarm at that appeal, but still he must make it, and ask them whether they thought it fair and honest, after the universal admission there had been made, and necessarily made, in that House, of the existence of gross abuses in the registration—whether they thought it decent after the House of Commons on the second reading of the bill had, by a considerable majority, so far adopted the principle as to refer it to a Committee—whether they thought it fair and decent that the House of Commons should revoke that decision, and trust the amendment of Irish registration to a Government which had been making attempts to reform it— ineffectual attempts—for the last seven years, and which now avowed, that it was careless whether it could pass a practical measure, and would be perfectly content indefinitely to postpone this until the House of Lords should not only have acceded to measures for the amendment of the registration, but should have adopted those alterations in the franchise to which they might think it desirable to agree. Had they not heard it admitted that there were gross cases of the abuse of the suffrage? That the same individual might take out an almost indefinite number of certificates; that those certificates held out the temptation to the fabrication of the franchise? Did they know the fact, that there were those cases of fabrication? Did they know the fact, that notices almost innumerable were served, not for the purpose of establishing the vote, but for the purpose of confounding inquiry? Were they not aware of the evidence given before the election committees, and of all the evidence, and all the admissions which had been stated? And was it right that they should abandon the attempt now to reform the registration, and leave it in the hands of Government, which, it appeared, had taken possession of the question, not for the purpose of improvement, but of excluding improvement? His firm belief was, from the intention now announced by her Majesty's Government, that another seven years would pass before there was a hope of improving the Irish registration. Now, let them compare the evils—the evil of indefinite postponement, with the risk which they ran by entering into committee. Was it not evident that the sense of the House was in favour of the principle that facilities should be given to the registration of the real voter, but that obstructions should be thrown in the way of him who had no right to vote? If that were the case, what danger were they in if they went into Committee, if they were safe from anything contrary to that principle? What conclusions would be drawn if they revoked the vote they had formerly given? The bill had been moved for after due notice; his noble Friend who introduced, it fully detailed its objects and provisions in his opening speech; the attendance of hon. Members in the House was full, and the consequence was, that there was the decision of a considerable majority—a majority of sixteen in favour of the principle of the bill. An obstacle of an unusual nature had since been interposed, and it had been asked to discuss the principle again. This had been done; the discussion had produced more admissions of the abuses of the existing system —more admission of the necessity of a reform of them, and yet it was said the result ought to be, that the House of Commons must retract its former decision, and repudiate further inquiry into the details of the bill. He (Sir R. Peel) could not consider such a course of proceeding consistent with the honour and character of the House. Before he sat down, he must answer an appeal which had been made to him by the right hon. Gentleman, the Vice-president of the Board of Trade. He did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman was in his place, but the right hon. Gentleman, in the course of the discussion on the second reading of the bill, appealed to him as the author of, or person who had introduced the Roman Catholic Relief Bill in 1829, and the measures connected with it, and had asked whether he did not think there were portions of the present measure which would be a violation of the compact which had been entered into on that occasion. The measure to which the right hon., the Vice-president of the Board of Trade, referred particularly, was the bill which established the 10l. right of voting in Ireland, and annihilated the 40s. franchise. In that bill an appeal was given to the judge in favour of the 10l. elector rejected by the assistant-barrister, but there was not an appeal given against the admission of the voter. This was the compact which the right hon. Gentleman said had been violated. Now, he (Sir R. Peel) must say, that he had then heard, for the first time, that the regulation of the registration in Ireland, in which abuses were admitted to prevail, could be any violation of a sacred compact. The question now was, whether there were abuses—whether there was a tendency to abuses in the existing system. If there be, then he could not think there was any thing so binding in the former obligations of the statute 10 George 4th, as should prevent the application of a remedy for those abuses. But if he (Sir Robert Peel) had violated a compact there made, he had at least done so under very great authority; for he found two gentlemen, each high in the legal profession—each of the Roman Catholic persuasion—each holding high official stations under her Majesty's Government—each specially bound to take care that Roman Catholic interests were not injuriously affected by a breach of the supposed compact—he found these two Gentlemen had in their measures introduced precisely the same clause in this respect as that which his noble Friend had introduced into the present bill. He found Sir Michael O'Loughlin and Mr. Serjeant Woulfe had made the same proposition as his noble Friend. ["Question."] He was surely speaking to the question. An appeal had been made to him, as to whether he thought faith had been kept with the Roman Catholics—that appeal had been made by a Roman Catholic gentleman, the Vice-president of the Board of Trade, and he should be charged with indecorum if he declined to answer it. He said, therefore, that if he had violated any compact with the Roman Catholic voters, he had at least the authority of two Roman Catholic lawyers of great eminence in their profession, and holding high situations under the Government, for that violation, for in each of the bills which had been introduced on the subject by those hon. and learned Gentlemen, the double appeal was admitted, and they both gave an appeal against the rejection, and an appeal against the admission of a voter, and the bill of Sir M. O'Loughlin gave the second appeal in these words:— If the registering banister shall adjudge any claimant to be entitled to be registered, it shall be lawful for any person who had opposed such registration, to appeal from such adjudication. He thought, therefore, he proved the clause to be as much a violation of faith with the Roman Catholic voters as the clause which was contained in the bill of his noble Friend. But, in point of fact, this was a specimen of the frivolous objections to this bill. Could it for one moment be contended, that the regulation of the Irish registration would be a violation of a bill for the removal of the Roman Catholic disabilities? If such objections were to prevail, there would be an end to remedy any abuses, however flagrant. He contended, that if the right hon. Gentleman, the Vice-President of the Board of Trade, held him to that compact, the right hon. Gentleman would admit that he had a right also to bind the right hon. Gentleman by it. He would admit, that the compact was not unilateral— that the obligation was not on one side only. If, therefore, the 10th George 4th, which abolished the 40s. and constituted the 10l. franchise, was a compact of so sacred a nature that it was impossible now to give an appeal against the admission of voters, he thought the right hon. Gentleman would at least admit, that the franchise fixed by that compact ought not to be interfered with. That franchise—the franchise so recognised by ten out of the twelve Irish Judges —was clearly defined to be a franchise which was determined by the sum a solvent tenant would give to an existing tenant over and above the rent such existing tenant paid to his landlord. Consequently if he (Sir R. Peel) was to be bound as to the minor regulations of that statute, the right hon. Gentleman, the Vice-President of the Board of Trade, and those with whom he acted, were equally bound by it as to the franchise. If the right hon. Gentleman held him to the details of the act, he had no right to say there ought to be a new franchise. But he should never have thought of interposing such an objection to a proposition for the extension of the franchise; he should never have thought of contending that Parliament could not alter the franchise established by the statute 10th George 4th, and he only urged this point to show that hon. Members opposite shrank from this bill—that they did not approach it with objections founded upon reason and justice, but with every frivolous objection that acuteness could discover. He set aside entirely the whole argument as to the present limited franchise in Ireland. He should not enter into the comparison of the population with the number of electors in England and Ireland, for such considerations were wholly beside the present question. If hon. Members opposite thought the franchise in Ireland ought to be extended, let them submit a measure for that purpose. The subject was sufficiently important for a separate measure. The noble Lord, the Secretary for the Colonies, had set them the example of separating the question of the franchise from that of registration, and it was no argument to say, because the Irish franchise was too limited, that, therefore, there should be no improvements made in the mode of registration. If the franchise was too limited, let some hon. Member make a distinct proposition for the extension of the suffrage: if it was thought there ought to be a 5l. franchise, let it be proposed in a separate bill; but let it not be urged as an argument against the correction of admitted abuses in registration, that the franchise was too limited. Could any man seriously contend, that the proper way to amend the Irish franchise would be by permitting gross abuses in the registration system to continue? He should not dwell further upon the subject. He had promised the House, that he would not enter into details, and he had kept that promise. He had endeavoured to show, that the House could not justly refuse to enter into the consideration of the bill in Committee. He had attempted to show, that in Committee hon. Members opposite could prevent the adoption of any improper provisions, while on the other hand if they did not go into Committee, they had only the prospect of an indefinite postponement of an opportunity to amend and remedy the evils of the present system. The hon. Gentleman who had moved the adjournment upon the present motion had spoken of the necessity of showing kindness and forbearance towards Ireland. He not did mean to contest the propriety of that suggestion, but this he must say, that it was the reverse of kindness to encourage corruption, that it was not kindness to Ireland to permit the real bonâ fide voter to have his power in the state paralysed by the admission on to the register of fraudulent and fictitious votes—he must say, that it was not true forbearance towards Ireland to forbear from the suppression of forgery and perjury, and that hon. Members opposite would gain no credit in Ireland—no true credit with every sincere well-wisher to that country if they abdicated the proper functions vested in them to encourage the legitimate franchise, and to discourage fraud in the vain hope of conciliating a false popularity. It had been said, that Ireland had been long kept out of political rights, and that she was now in possession of them. Teach her then to estimate the value of those political pri-leges—to set a proper price on the real franchise; but let not the Legislature set her the example of encouraging corruption through an unwillingness to incur the clamour and unpopularity so urgently attemped to be excited against the earnest attempt at reformation. In the present case the abuses were clear and admitted. They were admitted by every man who had spoken upon the question. The House was called upon, not to extirpate those abuses, lest in doing so it might seem to act harshly and unkindly toward Ireland, but in his opinion it would be both unkind and unjust not to endeavour to remedy abuses which were so glaring and obvious. Nothing could be more dishonest than to impute to those who aimed at the reformation of an admitted abuse the desire to curtail the franchise in Ireland, and to denounce the intentions of those who aimed at reformation because such reformation would be injurious to the interests of the opposite party.

Viscount Morpeth

said, that as the right hon. Baronet had begun by assuring the House that he would not trespass long upon their attention—an attention which was always most willingly conceded by the House to the right hon. Baronet—he trusted that he should not so far miscalculate his own position as to trespass upon their time at so late an hour, and at the close of so protracted a debate. He should be less inclined to do so, as he had had abundant opportunities of fully stat- ing his own views upon the subject, and intimating the course which he meant to pursue. He only rose for the purpose of looking at the question in a national and imperial point of view—a point which, in his opinion, had been but feebly and inadequately contemplated by those who spoke upon the opposite side. The hon. Baronet who had just concluded, had come to the discussion late, coy, and reluctant. The right hon. Baronet last night appeared willing to let the debate come to a conclusion without favouring the House with his opinions upon the question, but it would appear to-night that the time had come when he could find no plausible pretext for longer leaving his ally abandoned and deserted by one whose counsels and prudence were needed to support him in the perilous course which he had thought proper to pursue. As the warfare continued, and the Tories were fiercely engaged in the fight, the right hon. Baronet conceived that it was lime for the Ulysses of the opposition benches to come to the relief and rescue of their Ajax. There was little doubt that the right hon. Baronet felt a natural conviction of the impropriety of the cause which had been adopted by his more hot and heady ally in plunging into the flood, and dragging his party after him into the turbulent whirlpool of Irish politics. [Hear and interruption]. He could assure the House that his own feelings co-operated with it in the desire to shorten the discussion, but as one connected with the Irish Government, he felt he had a right to be heard upon this question. That right he would assert, and if it were now denied to him he would claim it for another evening. The noble mover of the bill and—though to a less extent—the right hon. Gentleman who had last addressed the House, had filled their speeches with references to what had been formerly said and done by persons on the Ministerial side of the House, and on those grounds had availed themselves of opportunities for indulging in no few taunts. Now the bill before the House, by the very showing of hon. Gentlemen opposite, and as illustrated by their own speeches, was a selection of all that was arbitrary, coercive, and disfranchising in every previous bill which had been brought in upon this subject. Every thing coercive was selected from old Irish bills here, from new Scotch bills there, and stringent English bills elsewhere. It reminded him of the painter who, wishing to draw a perfect picture of female loveliness, selected some particular beauty from every contemporary perfection, only that the attempt was one of attempting, by the same means, to effect an opposite object, for the noble Lord stripped every contemporary measure of every provision that was restrictive, disfranchising, and coercive, to form one hideous whole. The right hon. Baronet had more than once appealed, in the course of his speech, to those whom he characterised as the independent Members of the House, and had laboured with much assiduity by scattering his chaff liberally, to attract and catch a new species of game. With this view the right hon. Baronet contended that the vote then about to be given should be considered purely as one recorded in favour of the principle of correcting admitted abuses in the registration, and not as in favour of the bill before the House. Now to him (Lord Morpeth) that seemed to be rather a novel way of considering the bills which were laid upon the table. How would the same principle apply to bills for which hon. Gentlemen opposite had not the same predilection which they had for the present bill? No one denied that intimidation was an evil, but would that be admitted by hon. Gentlemen opposite as a sufficient reason for permitting the introduction of a bill by the hon. Member for London, to establish vote by ballot? Would hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side argue that the bill ought to be brought in because the evil of intimidation was admitted? Why it was no later than last week that the hon. Member for Liverpool, in reference to the Ludlow writ, said, "I will not defend the practices which have taken place in Ludlow. I will not deny the abuses which exist there, but at the same time I will not sanction the mode by which you propose to remedy them." The zeal against corruption just now exhibited by the Gentlemen opposite reminded him of the loyal and convivial toast of the Jacobins of former times, who in their hours of festivity were accustomed to give "The King—over the water." The zeal which hon. Gentlemen opposite displayed against corruption was just now equally hot, but the corruption against which they so earnestly set themselves up was "corruption over the water." He had observed, that during the debate, some good humour had been excited when mention was made of the bill which his hon. and learned Friend, the Solicitor-general for Ireland, had announced his intention of introducing, and stress had been laid upon the circumstance that that bill had not yet been produced. Now, if it were not wrong to speak in that House precisely what one thought and felt, and which, if there were less of party spirit, they would all, he conceived, endeavour to do, he would say, however disadvantageous might be the admission, that he joined in lamenting that that bill had not yet been introduced. His hon. and learned Friend, however, had had that bill prepared for some time back, but had felt it so important to insure as much correspondence and analogy as might be attainable with the bills which were to be brought forward for England and Scotland, that he had hitherto refrained from placing it upon the table of the House. Conscious of that delay, and admitting the defect of previous legislation upon the subject, he was averse to making professions, but he would say, that he was unaffectedly anxious, that if a bill calculated to correct abuses of the present system by preventing the fraudulent use of certificates, and removing the names of all persons from the registry who might be disqualified by death or otherwise, should not be carried into a law in the course of the present Session, the fault should lie either with that or the other House of Parliament, but not with the Government, and he could assure the House, that in framing such a bill it should be the study of the Government so to frame it as to prevent as far as possible any unnecessary opposition from any party. But as to the suggestion, that no bill should be intoduced which the Government were not sure would be passed by the House of Lords, he owned, if that were to be the case, it would put an end to the hope of introducing any measure which should provide any liberal addition to the franchise, or any substantial facility to the registration in Ireland. Even if his hon. and learned Friend were not prepared to introduce a bill, he (Lord Morpeth) confessed, that he would not purchase the advantages to be derived from the removal from the registry of a certain proportion of voters who might not be strictly qualified to be there, by the universal and formidable restrictions which the bill of the noble Lord was calculated to raise up against the attainment of the franchise in Ireland. He would not enter into the distinctions, great and manifest as they were, which might be drawn between the bill of the noble Lord and former bills introduced by the Government. The right hon. Baronet had admitted, that the annual investigation of the claims formed a broad distinction. The bill of Sir M. O'Loughlin was confined to a revision of any new circumstances, and in the bill of Chief Baron Woulfe, the Government had seen reason to give up the plan of annual revision. He had, therefore, yet to learn upon what plea of consistency the Government were bound to assent to a proposal in the bill of the noble Lord, which they had seen reason to exclude from bills of their own. The House had seen the universal disgust and reprobation with which the noble Lord's bill had been received through the length and breadth of Ireland, and might, therefore, readily infer, that much risk would be incurred of exciting bad feeling, ill will, ferment, and agitation, amongst the easily excited people of that country, by allowing it to pass into a law. If in the present state of the public mind in Ireland respecting the limited state of the franchise as compared with that of England and Scotland, hon. Gentlemen opposite were prepared to limit it still further, and by encymbering it with new restrictions make it more difficult of access, and if they thought they could do so with safety to the destinies of this country, and to that union upon which they set so just and high a value, without questioning their motives, he must express his misgivings as to their statesmanlike qualities, or their fitness to govern. It was only in the course of last year that the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, when he was about to receive the reins of Government, had admitted in the most emphatic manner, that Ireland would have formed his greatest difficulty, and even with the addition of his more recent allies, that difficulty would not be diminished if he were prepared to avow and abot the policy of the present bill. The great argument in favour of this bill was, that it would disfranchise corrupt and fraudulent voters, but that it would not operate against the honest and bon— fide voter. Now, in his opinion, of all the hollow and vain sophistries he had ever heard, this was the hollowest. If all men were exactly what they should be—if the political parties had no tendency to thwart and embarrass each other—if landlords had no tendency to control and cajole—if their agents, witnesses, and valuators, made it a rigid practice to abstain from what they might think the wish of their employers, and if assistant barristers and judges were absolutely incapable of being influenced by party predilections, then, he felt, that they could not safely leave the Irish constituency in all the meshes and checks which the noble Lord proposed; even then he should misgive, looking at the eleven-headed form of notice, whether a qualification the most unexceptionable, and whether co-operation on the part of all functionaries concerned, the most considerate would convoy the unhappy claimant out of the maze of intricacies in which the skill of the noble Lord had involved him. But he could not but apprehend, that some link in the chain by which the noble Lord proposed to effect his object might be found in some way or other to control and to restrain the exercise of the franchise, and that occasionally agents and valuators, and even assistant-barristers and judge?, might be actuated by party prejudice. If that should happen to be the case, then not merely would the fraudulent and improper voter be disfranchised, but in his stead a host of honest and well-intentioned persons, perfectly qualified for the enjoyment of the franchise, would be effectually deterred from running the gauntlet through all those difficulties, costs, and embarrassments which would be created under the bill of the noble Lord. The right hon. Baronet who had last addressed the House had observed, that numbers had nothing to do with the question before the House, and he admitted, that numbers had no direct bearing upon the subject. But yet when he recollected what had fallen from the hon. Member for Cork—when he considered that in that county, out of a population of 800,000, there would not be in this year more than 2,000 voters, he much questioned whether there had been much encouragement given to fraudulent registration as had been asserted, and whether the difficulties which already existed had not tended to keep off the registry those who were fairly entitled to the franchise. He fully concurred in the principle which had been laid down by his noble Friend the Secretary for the Colonies, that the great object of the Legislature ought to be, to give every possible facility for the attainment of all public and political rights, and that they ought to place no check upon the fair and legitimate exercise of the franchise. If they must choose between two evils, he must say, that for himself, he had rather that some unqualified persons should be placed upon the registry, than that any part of those who were perfectly qualified and entitled to the franchise should be kept off. They had limited the franchise in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and not to the least extent in Ireland, and he was not prepared to take any steps to enlarge it, but he must say at the same time, that he was equally prepared to oppose every attempt to contract it still further, or to render its attainment or its exercise more difficult than it was at present. It was, then, because he considered this bill calculated to fetter, obstruct, and diminish the franchise—because he considered it had a tendency to keep out not the fraudulent and improper person alone, but to discourage also the worthy, well-intentioned, and qualified from claiming the franchise, because he considered its provisions calculated to keep up bitter and abiding agitation, and above all, because he conceived that both in its principle and in its details it had one uniform tendency to obstruct, fetter, and avert the franchise, that he should give to this bill his most unqualified opposition.

The House divided on the question of going into committee:—Ayes 301; Noes 298: Majority 3.

List of the AYES.
Acland, Sir T. D Baring, F. T.
Acland, T. D. Baring, hon. W. B.
A'Court, Captain Barneby, J.
Adare, Lord Barrington, Viscount
Ainsworth, P. Bassett, J.
Alford, Viscount Bateson, Sir R.
Alsager, Captain Bell, M.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Bethell, R.
Archdall, M. Blackburne, I.
Ashley, Lord Blackstone, W. S.
Ashley, hon. H. Blair, J.
Attwood, M. Blakemore, R.
Attwood, W. Blennerhassett, A.
Bagge, W. Boldero, H. O.
Bagot, hon. W. Bolling, W.
Bailey, J. Bradshaw, J.
Bailey, J., jun. Bramston, T. W.
Baillie, H. J. Broadley, H.
Baker, E. Brooke, Sir A. B.
Baldwin, C. B. Brownrigg, S.

House in Committee.

Mr. Hume

I hope it is not intended to go on with this bill to-night.

Lord J. Russell

would not consent to allow a single stage to be taken that night. He should oppose any such step at that late hour.

Lord Stanley

At this late hour I certainly do not think of taking any substantive stage in the bill, but I trust that the noble Lord will not object to my moving that the bill be read paragraph by paragraph, and that the preamble be postponed.

Mr. Hume

I will not allow a single step to be taken, and I now move that the Chairman leave the chair.

Lord J. Russell

I never saw any attempt made to proceed with a bill in Committee on the same night in which a long and protracted debate terminated at a late hour.

Lord Stanley

; I do not wish to do anything unusual. I do not attempt or wish to make any real progress in the bill. I hope, however, that the noble Lord will not support the motion of the hon. Member for Kilkenny, that the Chairman do now leave the chair, for such a motion, if carried would put a stop to the bill altogether. I am ready to let the Chairman report progress, and to ask leave to set again on Friday next, with the understanding that nothing shall be done then, and for the purpose of giving me the opportunity of considering between this day and that what time ought to be fixed for going on with the bill in Committee.

Sir W. Somerville

wished to know whether the noble Lord was serious in attempting to force this bill through the Committee? The noble Lord must be aware, that with his measuring-cast majority he had not the slightest chance of carrying this bill through the House. The noble Lord must be aware of the great excitement which this bill had created amongst the people of Ireland. The noble Lord must be aware that it was not a question in that House, whether that excitement was right or wrong. He believed that it was right, the noble Lord might think it wrong, but even so, what use was there—he put the question distinctly to the noble Lord—in keeping up that excitement on a bill which he must know he could not carry?

Lord J. Russell

I certainly think it better, that the committee should adopt the course proposed by the noble Lord, as he merely wished to report progress pro forma, and was prepared to state on Friday next on what day he intended to proceed further with the bill.

House resumed

Chairman reported progress, Committee to sit again.