HC Deb 25 February 1841 vol 56 cc1024-126

The Order of the Day having been read,

Mr. Milnes Gaskell

said, that after the length to which the debate on this bill had already been protracted, and after the amount of local and of legal information which had been brought to bear upon its details, it would be most unpardonable in him, who was comparatively but little conversant with the subject, to trespass at any length upon the attention of the House. But there was a question which he heard constantly asked out of doors, and which it was fitting should be asked in that House till it obtained a distinct and definite answer from those to whom it was addressed; viz., how it happened that her Majesty's Ministers—how it happened that the very men who had procured the assent of Parliament to the Reform Bill, on the distinct understanding that the Reform Bill was to be a final measure, should be the very men to come down to that House with a proposition for remodelling the entire constituency of Ireland? how it happened that the right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary at War, who had told them in 1831, that the Reform Bill was to be a final settlement, till large towns sprang up in the wilds of Galway, should tell them in 1841, that a measure for reducing the Irish qualification by one-half, was a matter so unimportant, that it was only fit to be considered as a question of detail. If they had been told, during the course of the last Session of Parliament, that at the commencement of the present Session her Majesty's Ministers would come down with such a proposition, and that not content with refusing to acquiesce in the principle of a bill for the removal of acknowledged abuses, they would seek to embroil that question by the introduction of another bill which they knew they had no power to carry; his (Mr. Gaskell's) belief was, that such an intimation would have found but few Members of that House to credit it. He was confirmed in this impression, when he called to mind that her Majesty's Government had not only opposed a motion of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin for an alteration in the franchise, but that they had resisted a proposition far less objectionable and far less unreasonable than that now before the House; namely, a motion of the hon. Member for Bridport (Mr. Warburton) for reporting progress in committee upon the bill of the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire, with a view to the introduction of a clause for the mere definition of the existing qualification in Ireland. The right hon. and learned Gentleman, the Vice President of the Board of Trade, who had concluded the debate last night, had made, as he invariably did on these occasions, a very eloquent and a very discursive speech; but though he (Mr. Gaskell) had listened with great delight to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, he was bound to say, that he had heard no answer to the charges which had been preferred against her Majesty's Ministers by the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Pembroke. That right hon. Baronet had alleged distinct and specific charges against the Government. He had charged them with misapplying the patronage of the Crown. He had charged them with giving direct encouragement to the cause of discord and agitation. He had charged them with conferring posts of honour and emolument upon the disturbers of the public peace. What was the answer to those charges, and who had been selected to repel them? A right hon. and learned Gentleman, who himself a Minister of the Crown, had voted in his place in Parliament for the dismemberment of the Empire. And how had he repelled them? Had he attempted to deny their truth? No—but he had sought to fasten charges of inconsistency upon two Members of that House—charges that might have had some meaning as evincing soreness at the loss of their services on the other side, but which, if intended as a vindication of the Government, meant absolutely nothing; and he must be permitted to tell the right hon. and learned Gentleman, with all respect for his abilities, and with a just appreciation of his great powers in that House, that the mere fact of his rising across the way as a Minister of the Crown, after the opinions he had advocated, and the course he had pursued in public life, constituted in itself a sufficient justification for the noble Lord (Lord Stanley), and the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham), in having left the party with which he (Mr. Sheil) was now connected. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had concluded his speech with a protestation of his loyalty to the Throne, coupled with a significant, and in his (Mr. Gaskell's) opinion, not a very loyal intimation, that while France was arming, the demands of Ireland, however unreasonable, must be conceded. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had descanted at great length on the benefits of concession, but he had not told them what had been the effect of the concessions which had been made during the last few years at the instance of his friends around him. He had not told them how the assurances of content and gratitude which had been made by himself and others in 1829 had been kept and realised. He had not ventured to remind them How soon Height will recal high thoughts—how soon unsay What feigned submission swore—how case recant Vows made in pain, as violent as void. But he (Mr. Gaskell) rejoiced that the light hon. and learned Gentleman, and the Member for Edinburgh, had spoken out. He rejoiced that under the pressure of their Parliamentary supporters, her Majesty's Ministers had been compelled to abandon their declarations of finality, and to unfurl the standard of democratic change. It enabled them to fight the battle of the constitution upon plain and intelligible grounds—it called on Parliament to pronounce aye or no whether they would consent to tamper with the Reform Act, and at the expiration of ten years to reopen the whole question of Parliamentary Reform. It was also of no small value on another account. It drew a line of demarcation plainly and distinctly between the present Government and the Government of Lord Grey, and if any Gentleman had hitherto been under the delusion, that her Majesty's Government as at present constituted inherited the opinions or the principles of the Government of Lord Grey, that delusion would have been effectually dispelled fey the introduction of the bill that was now lying upon their Table. He was glad they had an opportunity of testing the sincerity of those declarations of finality of which they had heard so much, and of ascertaining whether there were any Gentlemen in that House who had been parties to such declarations, and had heretofore given a doubtful and unwilling support to her Majesty's Government, who would be found prepared to vote for the second reading of this bill. It was said, indeed, by the hon. Baronet, the Member for Drogheda (Sir W. Somerville), that although no such measure had been in contemplation at the time of the passing of the Reform Act, it had since become indispensable from the diminution which had taken place in the numbers of the constituency in Ireland. He (Mr. Gaskell) admitted, that circumstances had changed since then, but he had a strong impression that it was not so much a reduction in the amount of Irish constituencies, as in the amount of Ministerial majorities in that House which formed the history of this bill. What it might be quite safe to refuse to the demands of unscrupulous adherents, when you had a majority of three hundred, it became very dangerous to withhold when you had only a majority of three. But he owned he greatly doubted whether a majority of that House would be found prepared to advance one step with her Majesty's Government on this occasion. He greatly doubted whether, even in this early stage of the bill, a majority of the House of Commons would be found to run counter to the wishes and expectations of the people. Did any man doubt what those wishes and expectations were? Let him look at the late elections—let him look at the returns for Canterbury and Walsall, for Monmouthshire and Surrey—and, making every allowance for the equivocal victories which had been achieved by her Majesty's Ministers at Richmond and St. Albans, a sufficient balance of reverses would be left to show that the tide of public opinion had set in strongly both against them and against their measures. The noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire had been taunted during the progress of these debates because he had confined the operation of his bill to Ireland, and had not chosen to grapple with the question of registration in this country. But surely it might be asked, with at least equal justice, of her Majesty's Ministers, why it was that they had not grappled with the question of an extension of the suffrage in this country as well as in Ireland. The reason, indeed, was sufficiently obvious; it was because, they knew that the people of England would repudiate and disown it, and that Ireland was the only quarter of the empire in which the policy of innovation could hope to prosper. He (Mr. Gaskell) had heard charges of injustice and of tyranny preferred against all those who presumed to differ from the Gentlemen opposite upon questions of Irish policy. He had seen letters in the public newspapers addressed to a person of the name of Ray, in which Members of that House were designated as fools and miscreants for the opposition which they offered to the bill of his noble Friend (Lord Morpeth). He confessed that he viewed the use of this language with which the hon. and learned Member for Dublin was so familiar, and the application of these epithets without the slightest feeling of uneasiness or regret. They convinced him that the great party with whom he acted were rightly discharging their public duty, and that they were found an inconvenient obstacle in the way of those projects of aggrandisement and repeal to which her Majesty's Ministers were enabled to offer but a very tame resistance. But so far was he (Mr. Gaskell) from acknowledging the justice of the imputations which had been cast upon the motives and conduct of those with whom he acted that he utterly denied their truth. He would tell the hon. and learned Gentleman that they, (the Opposition) had every disposition to preserve and to maintain inviolate the settlements of 1829 and 1832. For himself he had been an anxious well-wisher to the cause of Roman Catholic Emancipation before he had the honour of a seat in that House, and before the Catholic Relief Bill had been carried by the right hon. Baronet the Member, for Tamworth. It was perfectly true that in common with many others he regretted the course which had been pursued by a certain party in Ireland since the passing of that act, but they did not confound the great body of the Roman Catholics either in this country or in Ireland, with their prominent and self-elected champion in that House. If they did, they might feel disposed to retrace every step in the way of concession which the legislature had taken, and I enact measures that would invite from the learned Member for Dublin a renewal of the epithets which he had lavished on the coercion bill. He, (Mr. Gaskell) was ready to avow at once that in the present state of Ireland and in the present condition of parties in this country, he was not prepared to support any measure which would strengthen the cause of agitation in one country or increase the influence of democracy in the other—and it was because he believed that this bill tended directly to effect those objects—because he saw in its main provisions another and a fatal step in the course of blind and unreasoning concession to I popular demands, a complete departure from the spirit of the Reform Act, and a vain and fruitless attempt to conciliate the enemies of connection between the two countries, that he gave his hearty opposition to the motion that it be now read a second time.

Mr. Villiers Stuart

said, if any answer was necessary to the charge of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, of undue influence having been exercised, he might refer to the speech of the right hon. Baronet of last night for an answer to that charge. From the best attention he was able to give to the arguments of the hon. Members opposite they seemed to him to ground their opposition to the bill on the plea that it was a subversion of the great principles of the Reform Bill. They appeared to think that the principle of that measure was the establishment of a franchise based upon a certain amount of property. Now, it appeared to him that they took too narrow a view of that measure, and that they were turning details into principles. His view of the Reform Act was, that it was passed for the purpose of remedying great evils that, then existed in the constituency of Ireland—that it was necessary to enlarge that constituency, and the great principle embodied in the measure, was that a certain proportion of population and property should be brought to bear on the elections for Members of Parliament. That he took to be the real principle; but as to the regulation of the amount of the property, that he considered merely a detail. With that view he should en- deavour to show that the details then established had not answered the purpose, and that it. was necessary that a new plan should be substituted. He should endeavour to show the noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire that the plan which he proposed for the registration of 10l. freeholders could not be efficiently carried into effect. He understood that tire noble Lord agreed with the judges that the solvent tenant test was the one to be applied. Now let them suppose a case of a farm of thirty acres let by a good landlord, who, however, wished to get the value of his property; such a farm would let for 30l. a-year, or 1l. per acre. Suppose the tenant had it on a lease of fourteen years—he went to the Registration Court, where he would in all probability be placed on the register as the solvent tenant test could not be applied, but on an appeal being made to the judge, who would apply the solvent tenant test, he could not see how such a name could be retained on the register, for no man could swear that he could give him 10l. a-year beyond the rent, after paying for all his outgoings, without deducting from his own fair profits. But it might be said that the ambition of landlords would induce them so to act as to keep up the constituency, but how was that to be effected? Suppose an estate of 10,000 acres, divided into 300 farms, and let at 1l. an acre. Now, if the landlord of such an estate was actuated by ambition and a wish to see his tenants upon the register, he could only gratify that ambition by lowering their rents 10?. a year on each farm, at a loss of upwards of 3,000l. a year. He could not imagine how the constituency could exist at all with the solvent tenant test. But the noble Lord had said that was the test he had intended under the Reform Bill, and that his present bill was intended to carry the Reform Act into effect. The bill of the noble Secretary for Ireland was, however, the best remedy for the evils of which they all so loudly complained. He was no lover of unnecessary change, more especially in such a bill as the Reform Bill. But if it was found that the object of that bill, which was the extension of the franchise, had not been carried into effect, he thought it was no improper change to bring in a bill for the purpose of carrying out the intentions of its friends. The bill of the noble Secretary for Ireland removed the greatest evils which now existed, namely, fraud and personification, and it gave a fair lest of the value of any claim that was laid to the franchise. There was one evil however, which it did not remove; that was the present objection to give leases to the tenants, but that was an objection which he thought could be well considered in committee. There was one other reason why they ought to consider the bill in committee. It was well known that there was a great demand, and much competition for land in Ireland. It was equally well known (hat there were very many needy landlords—and therefore the latter were anxious not to give leases, in order to make the most they could by the competition. That, however, might be remedied in committee. The committee might strike out such a sum as might obviate the difficulty, for he was not confined to the 5l. clause—nor did it bind them; therefore he was induced to hope that some even of the Gentlemen opposite would give their support to the second reading of the measure.

Colonel Conolly

said, that on rising to resist to the uttermost the bill now before the House, which professed to be a bill to define the franchise, and to amend the registration system in Ireland, but which embraced many furtive objects, he must take the liberty of making a very few observations. He objected to the irreconcileable nature of the measure of the Government with the name given to the bill, which, under the pretence of defining the franchise, annihilated the qualification, and that too in a manner to inflict upon Ireland evils of the most enormous magnitude. He had long been apprehensive of the consequences upon the Government of the recent proceedings in Ireland, and he was sorry to find, that his worst fears had been realized, and to see the noble Lord opposite, who had long and ably contended against the storm, so borne down, as not to be able to hold his ground further, and obliged to yield to his too powerful master. Entertaining the greatest respect for the noble Lord personally, he regretted to see him in his present position. He regretted it on the noble Lord's account, both as a man, and as a Member of Parliament. He could not imagine a human being subjected to a more degrading tyranny than that under which the noble Lord was placed. He said so with pain, but he said so conscientiously, and he should never hesitate to express what he felt, either in that House, or in any other place. The whole policy of the Government relative to Ire-land had been so wretchedly ambiguous, that it was impossible to know whether they were or not hostile to repeal. The newspapers had, day after day, been asking what were their intentions as to the repeal agitation; but no one seemed to be aware what they proposed to do. The bill now before the House, however, answered all the inquiries which had been made upon the subject; for this measure of the Government would inevitably give strength to the repeal party, and the repeal leaders, by creating a constituency of the very worst description—a constituency without any qualification. On that point he would appeal to the hon. and learned Member for Dublin himself, and he would ask him whether the franchise proposed was not, in fact, and strictly speaking, no qualification at all? He objected also to this bill, because it would perpetuate the empire of the hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for Dublin, and increase and render permanent that system of agitation under which the country had already suffered so much. He objected to this bill, because if it passed, it would render a civil war, or a repeal of the union inevitable. He would appeal to the noble Lord, the Secretary for Ireland, and he would ask him whether there could be a doubt that this measure of the Government would fortify the position of the hon., and learned Gentleman, the Member for Dublin, and greatly increase his power So convinced was he that such would be the effect of this bill, that if the forms of the House would permit him, he would deal with it as the bill of the hon. and learned Gentleman, and not as the bill of the Government. The proceedings of the Government had, day by day, brought more strongly the despotism of the hon. and learned Gentleman on their backs, and now, after pretending to denounce repeal, they were doing all that was in their power to increase the influence of their master, to fortify his position, and to add strength to the agitation for the abolition of the union. Could the country, under such circumstances, remain longer under delusion as to the intentions of the Government, or as to the influence to which they were subjected? The hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for Dublin, knew well that he had often derided and laughed at the Government, and it was impossible for any reasonable man to suppose that his present agitation was anything else than an empty stratagem to fill his own pockets. The Government, however, had rewarded those who had been foremost in the agitation which had been going on in Ireland; and when this bill should have been read a second time, there would be another piece of preferment to be disposed of. [Viscount Morpeth—It has been disposed of already.] He said that hon. Members on his side of the House had been charged with wishing to curtail the constituency; but he would deny that such was the case, or that in voting for the bill of the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire, the Conservative party had been influenced by a desire to restrict the number of the electors, or to disfranchise those who were duly qualified. Their object was the reverse. They saw perjury striding over the land, and they wished to provide a remedy for that monstrous evil, and not to restrict the franchise. If the Government were really adverse to the system of false swearing, which all allowed to exist, and if they thought that the measure they had brought forward would put an end to it, why, he would ask, had no bill for the attainment of that object been brought forward during the last five years—why had it been so long delayed, and would such a bill have been on the Table now but for the goading of those whom they called "Tories?" He agreed with the right hon. Baronet the Member for Pembroke, who had said last night, that this 5l. franchise clause was only a repetition of the scheme of the appropriation clause. It could not pass. It was a mere advance towards universal suffrage, but its main object was to prevent the legislation on this important subject of the noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire. There was no necessity for such a measure, and he would deny, in the name of Ulster, that the voice of Ireland had been raised in hostility to the bill of the noble Lord near him. The agitation upon the subject was simply another stratagem to fill the pockets of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dublin, and the cry which had been raised against the bill of his noble Friend had only been deemed ne- cessary in order to get up fresh excitement amongst the people. The objects of the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite were to rob his country and impose upon the people; and the Irish landlords would never consent to give leases when their tenants at the will of strangers were to be paraded against themselves. He knew he should be charged with illiberality for saving so, but he would never conceal his sentiments, and he thanked God he was not yet got within the dominions of the great potentate. In that part of Ireland with which he was connected the people were still in peace, and the best feelings prevailed betwixt landlords and tenants, and he could assure the hon. and learned Gentleman that if he came to his part of the country, he would meet with a similar reception to that which he bad received at Belfast. Nothing had tended more to increase the Conservative feeling in Ulster than the knowledge that the hon. and learned Gentleman came with his agents to dictate his will to the free and enlightened population. The landlords, the gentlemen, and the people of that great province at once determined that they would have no sovereign but the Queen of England, and that they would not place themselves under the influence of strangers and agitators. It was a gross misrepresentation to say that the tenants of Ireland complained of the want of leases. Where there was no agitation, and where the people were at peace, leases were 'not asked for, and it was only in those districts where turbulence and agitation prevailed, and where the tenants were alienated from their landlords, who were their best friends, that complaints of this kind were to be heard. A more monstrous imposition bad never been practised than that of strangers going as they did in Ireland amongst a peaceful people, deluding and drawing them by promises of visionary good, and thus alienating the affections of the tenants from those whose interests it was to see them happy and prosperous. The Irish landlords had been reviled and calumniated, the magistrates had been vilified, and not a few of them had been taught a moral lesson from the castle; but though they had had to encounter agitation and rebuke, they bad ever asserted their own right, and in the end the result would be that they would enable the Whig Government to remove itself from its dependence on Irish representation based on Radicalism. They would he hoped, still be able to restore their country to prosperity and happiness. He was sorry, he said, that so many hon. Gentlemen opposite were so impatient to address the House, for he must tell them that it was necessary for him to occupy the attention of the House some time longer. He had been for a long period living on terms of intimacy with the middle and lower orders of the Irish people, and he could safely say that no man was more conversant with their feelings and sentiments than their humble servant. He had always said that the 40s. constituency had been productive of serious injury to Ireland, and that that constituency, joined with agitation, had been the main causes of all the evils with which the country had been afflicted. He had said so over and over again; and the predecessor of the right hon. Gentleman in the chair (Lord Dunfermline) had told him that Lord Chancellor Ponsonby's view's were exactly in accordance with his own. Now, if this 5l. rating were made the base of the franchise, he could tell them from a long experience that the freeholders under it would not have bread to enable them to go to the county town or to the hustings. He said so distinctly and with a firm conviction of its truth; for he was intimately acquainted with the condition of the people, and had expended not less than 10,000l. in his efforts to enlarge their holdings. They had been told that it was the intention of the Conservative party to abrogate the Catholic Relief Bill. He denied that charge; but might he ask whether the Government were now to release themselves from the obligation which had induced many hon. Members to vote for that measure—a measure which, as it was now passed, he would not repine at? Were the Roman Catholics to have all the benefits of that measure, and to observe none of the conditions on which it was granted? Both on that measure and on the measure which immediately followed it, he meant the Irish Reform Bill, there had been a plus quam Punica fides in the conduct of her Majesty's present Government. He objected to the present bill, because it would give strength to the agitator's party; because it would degrade the future constituencies of Ireland; be- cause it was opposed to his own experience, which taught him, that Ireland had been undergoing a moral regeneration ever since its elevation to a 10l. franchise. If hon. Gentlemen wished to induce the landlords of that country either not to give leases at all or to give leases of the least possible tenure—if they wished to aggravate all the evils and miseries of Ire-lad, moral, social, and political, or if they wished landlords to devastate and depopulate their estates, they would enact this bill. It was a piece of legislation which had emanated from the hon. and learned Member for Dublin; and the object which he had in view, in proposing and supporting it, was to drive first, all that was loyal and constitutional in Ireland, and, afterwards, everything else before him, at his sole will and pleasure. It would enable him to establish his Parliament in College-green, Dublin, and to put down all opposition to the autocracy, which he wished to establish in his own person, over his deluded countrymen. His empire was already ample enough in Ireland, and he (Colonel Conolly) really thought that his stock in the trade of agitation would not be so good as it was at present, if he were to succeed, as this bill would enable him to do, in destroying what he called Orange ascendancy in that country.

Mr. Howard

(Cumberland) was happy to hear from the lips of hon. Gentlemen opposite, an observation which he feared had been very much forgotton of late—he alluded to the memorable lesson of Mr. Drummond, that property had its duties as well as its rights. In addressing the House upon the present occasion, and for, the first time, he did not enter into any matters of detail, but, as an English Member, he wished to state very shortly, but very strongly, the satisfaction he felt at the proposal of the noble Lord near him, and his belief, notwithstanding the assertion of the hon. Member who had first addressed the House that evening, that his noble Friend's bill was popular in the country. During the last Session, when the abuses of the present system were exposed, when the lies and the frauds were brought to view, the measure of the noble Lord opposite, met with a temporary popularity; but now, when the details of that bill were better understood, and when it was known that although the frauds might be remedied, the independent voter would have to undergo great difficulties and to incur great expense, and that while these difficulties were presented, the franchise itself was left undefined, he believed that the noble Lord's measure had lost much of that apparent popularity which it had once enjoyed. Now, it was notorious that in Ireland great difference of opinion existed as to the definition of the franchise, and that these differences were not confined to the voters themselves, but extended to the judges on the bench; and he said that whilst they found these differences, the noble Lord opposite ought to have met the evil, and ought not to have left the matter in that uncertainty, which was the fruitful source of all the evil. He believed that the measure of the noble Lord the Secretary for Ireland would fully and fairly meet this difficulty, and that the valuation of property under the Poor-law Act would remove all necessity for litigation, and would take away every inducement for lying and fraud, and he thought that this benefit should have induced hon. Gentlemen opposite to have consented to the second reading of the bill, leaving any difference as to the amount of the valuation to be settled in committee. Such had been the course which those hon. Gentlemen had adopted with respect to the Municipal Bill, and he was at a loss to conceive what had induced them to alter their course of proceeding now. But since those hon. Gentlemen said that the definition clause was so great an obstacle, he was glad to have that opportunity of saying how much he approved of it. In determining the franchise for Ireland, all the circumstances of that country ought to be taken into consideration. There were not in Ireland those minute subdivisions of society which were met with in England. In the agricultural parts there were but two classes—the landlords and the cultivators of the soil. These classes were unfortunately opposed to each other on many important points—they were frequently opposed as well in politics as in religion. He would not enter into the history of the cause, but as the opposition undoubtedly existed, he did think that, if representation were to exist at all, it was desirable that they should have the lower as well as the higher class represented. He considered the very statistics quoted by the noble Lord opposite, and the admission made by hon. Members that there was a disin- clination on the part of landlords to grant leases, as evidence that some alteration in the franchise was necessary. He knew it was said by hon. Gentlemen opposite, that the voters created by this bill would prove dependent creatures [Colonel Conolley, hear.] The gallant Gentleman cheered, yet that cheer would have come with more force from that (the Ministerial) side of the House, for he did not believe that hon. Gentlemen opposite would very much object to dependent creatures for voters. Still, even if they were dependent, it would at least save the landlords the pain they must feel in expelling the poor tenants from their homes and their holdings on account of their votes. He would not stop to inquire whether the 40s. franchise in England would give a larger constituency than that to be obtained by the proposed bill in Ireland, because he could not consider it a wise course to consider what would be fit for the State of England when they had to legislate for Ireland. It would be like dashing from the lips of a fainting man the cup that would bring nourishment to him, because it might be too strong for his neighbour. He had been glad to hear the sentiments which had fallen from the hon. Member for Cavan, and other hon. Members opposite, in favour of a change in the registration, for it showed that even with them there was a time when finality should cease. But is there no danger in delay? When, in addition to the Members from the North, the Protestant proprietors of the South have returned their Members to this House, will it be easy to retrace the steps they have taken? Is it not more probable that they will introduce in England what they have already established in Ireland? Such are the dangers from within the House—but greater are to be apprehended from without. When the representatives of Ireland, no longer possessing seats in that House, should retire from that assembly, other assemblies should be held on the other side of the water; on them the attention of the people would be fixed. It would be presumptuous to anticipate the event of their proceedings; but be it conquest, or be it concession, it would be an event that would entail great evils on this country. Wishing to avert those evils, and thinking that the measure of the noble Lord was full, fair, and efficient, he would give it his hearty support.

Mr. Lascelles

was anxious to state, that, agreeing in the necessity of defining the franchise in Ireland, feeling that there was a doubt, the evil of which went farther than the mere doubt itself, feeling also, that there must be a new definition of the right to vote, wishing to lean towards the extension of the franchise, not disagreeing to the propriety of taking the poor-law rating as a test, yet, that whilst agreeing in those things which might be thought the principle of the bill, he was anxious to state why he could not support the second reading. The principle of a bill was often to be learnt from the details, and he could not agree in a franchise fixed at the amount of 5l, which he had not heard defended, and which many of the supporters of the bill itself were prepared to vote against. Was it not most improper, in the present state of their information, to fling out a hope of a franchise to which they did not mean to adhere? All the propositions for the alteration of the Reform Bill depended for their principle and their merits entirely upon the amount of the franchise. Hon. Members, therefore, would see that the 5l. proposal was the essential question. With respect to Ireland, he thought that the solvent tenant test would give too great a restriction of the franchise; but if they took the rating so low as 5l., they would, in his opinion, be going too far. He had hoped that, after the end of the last Session, they hid got rid of these party discussions in the House, still he did not think that blame could be cast on his noble Friend for coining down to the House and proposing the very measure which had been introduced in former years by Government itself, although that measure had been since rejected by Ministers, who had no specific plan of their own. If there were evils in the present system in Ireland, and he admitted that there were, let there be a remedy applied, but he could not consent to that remedy being a low franchise, such as was proposed by the noble Lord's bill.

Mr. Gisborne

said, that many of the speeches which had been delivered in the course of that debate had taken a much too high view of the difference that existed between the two sides of the House, because those differences, however important they were in themselves, were still within a very narrow compass. In the first place, under the Irish system of registration, evils existed which impressed the mind with sorrow—under it there were personations and fraud, which were necessarily supported by perjury, and to these evils the bill of the noble Viscount (Viscount Morpeth) applied a remedy. He had not heard any one say that this remedy would not be effectual. The course taken by the noble Lord who introduced the other bill was this. He said, "I do not deny that your remedy will be effectual, but I complain that you have taken my plan, which you rejected when I introduced it to the House." The measures, however, did not agree, because the measure of the noble Viscount was not a measure taken from the bill of the noble Lord. Now another serious evil which existed in the Irish system was the uncertainty of the franchise. Some hon. Gentlemen said, that there was no legal uncertainty; but would any one deny that in one county, and under one judge, a man might be admitted to the franchise, who, under exactly similar circumstances in another county and with another judge, would be rejected? There did here arise a real and essential difference between the two sides of the House. The hon. Gentleman opposite said, that the minority of the judges ought to agree with the majority. The noble Lord said so last year, when the judges were abused as much as they had been this year for not agreeing, but what progress had been since made? All the progress that he had heard of was, that two other judges had joined the dissenters. Hon. Gentlemen might tell him to wait till the judges had agreed, but they had no means of compelling agreement. Yet the noble Lord said, that he would bring in a bill to remedy the abuses of the registration, and would not apply any remedy to the evil of the uncertain franchise. If, therefore, there were no other character distinguishing these bills, they would be enabled to stamp one as a good bill and the other as bad. He came then to the second material difference between the two sides of the House, whether the mode proposed by the noble Lord for the remedy of the evil was good? It had the excellence of great simplicity, yet the question to be decided was, whether, upon the whole, it was so bad that it ought to be rejected. A very large body of the Members of that House was of opinion, that impartial conduct on the part of the electors was to be produced by their impartial representation: he confessed, that he was one of those, and he hailed the bill of the noble Viscount, the Secretary for Ireland, as being likely to produce the most advantageous results. The beneficial interest test, as it was called, he thought was abominable, on account of its vagueness, and of the opportunities which it afforded for the commission of perjury; but the solvent tenant test, putting aside the question of the amount of the franchise, might be as good a test as could be found for the regulation of the franchise. Great stress had been laid upon the finality of the provisions of the Reform Act, but he thought that the argument which had been raised upon that point must now fall to the ground. The noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire, and the right hon. Baronet the Member for Pembroke, had admitted that if the necessity for altering the franchise upon the grounds suggested were shown, they would agree to the adoption of some measure having such an effect, and this, therefore, was a distinct admission on their part of the possibility of some new franchise being adopted. For his own part, he must say that he felt obliged to the noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire for the course which he had taken. He felt that his violence had been the redemption of the cause of Ireland. The noble Lord had done the Ministerial party a service in introducing his bill; it enabled them to meet in this House and out of doors upon a question of the highest importance; and he desired hon. Gentlemen opposite to take this warning, though he knew they would be disinclined to do so, that if they turned the Government out upon this bill, and if they should come in upon it, their duration of power would be short.

Sir Robert Peel

You mean the other bill?

Mr. Gisborne

had already arrived within a few words of the conclusion of his observations, when the right hon. Baronet interrupted him; he felt that that interruption rendered it necessary for him to complete the sentence he had begun.

Mr. Cholmondely

would throw himself upon the indulgence of the House while he offered a few words in opposition to the bill of the noble Viscount the Secretary for Ireland. His opposition to the bill was grounded principally upon the fact, that under the pretence of its being a measure to amend the system of the registration of voters in Ireland, an attempt was made to procure, by some collateral means, some slight addition to the popular franchise there. He agreed that the noble Lord the Member for Lancashire had applied a much more fit name to the bill than that which it bore, when he designated it "a new Reform Bill for Ireland." He asked whether in truth the bill was likely to be pleasing in Ireland, or whether it was not more probable that it would raise up there a harvest of woe such as she had never known? It was lamentable that the people of Ireland should be divided from the landholders in opinions and interests; but he saw no hope that this bill would produce such an improved state of peace as was most desirable. He was sorry that persons in the character and fulfilling the functions of Roman Catholic priests should interfere in political struggles; but it was notorious that they did interfere, and that their authority had great weight with the people with whom it was exercised. He regretted that a system of intimidation such as that which was carried on should exist, and more especially that intimidation should be exercised towards labourers, with regard to their accepting employment under obnoxious masters. But did not the House think that it was likely that in a country like Ireland, rife with political agitation, the intimidation and the influence which were now employed would be practised to a still greater extent if the number of voters were increased? He believed, that if this bill was likely to come into operation, it would create a class of men as voters who, under no circumstances, would be able to exercise their own unbiassed judgment as to the vote which they gave; and that it would go for towards overthrowing the rights of the more enlighted portion of the constituency. He thought that the true principle on which they should act was not to lower the qualification to the standard of the voter, but rather by an attempted improvement of the social condition of Ireland to raise the voter to the standard of the qualification. It had been urgent that the refusal of the House to accede to the bill of the noble Lord opposite would give them just cause to fear the consequences of such an act. He could not understand how fear could influence the British House of Commons in their performance of what they might deem to, be their duty. It had been said that the present position of our affairs, with regard to our foreign relations, should induce the House to assume a conciliatory tone towards Ireland, for that in some events the country might require her aid, which otherwise would be withheld from us. They were told that Ireland was our weakest point, and that it had been so for many years; but although hon. Gentlemen opposite might represent a great portion of that country, it was to be remembered that they did not, at all events, represent the whole of it, and that there was much of its wealth and respectability on that side of the House on which he had the honour to sit. The petition which had been presented the other night by the noble Lord (Lord Stanley), signed by 86,000 individuals, was a triumphant corroboration of his statement. But was it fair for the House to say that they should consent to what was proposed for the purpose of conciliating the people of Ireland? He told hon. Gentlemen who advocated this measure, that it was one which was little likely to dispose the House to adopt a course of conciliation. The bill would be of great importance—it would be either a blessing or a curse; if a blessing, it would heal the wounds of Ireland; if a curse, it would inflame them. He believed, that it would add fuel to the fire which already raged in her bosom, and he trusted, that the House would calmly and dispassionately view the whole question; but that, least of all, they would not allow that stigma to apply to them, that they granted to their fears what their reason refused. Before he sat down, he could not avoid again pressing upon the Government the necessity of answering that question which had been already propounded to them, whether they should be prepared to carry out the same measure with regard to England and Scotland, as they now proposed with reference to Ireland. The noble Viscount opposite had said, that this was not the time for discussing that point; but he must point out to the House, that if the principle were adopted in reference to this bill, it would be too late hereafter to say, that it should undergo discussion with respect to its further application.

Mr. Morgan J. O'Connell

after the great length to which this debate had already been carried, he did not feel it to be his duty to go far into the details of the mea- sure now before the House. Many of the details had been touched upon by some hon. Gentlemen, and he could not but think, that it would have been better if they had reserved their observations until the bill had gone into committee. He wished to take this opportunity of expressing the reasons which governed his conduct in supporting the measure of the noble Viscount, and he should endeavour to confine himself to the subject matter of that which was for their consideration. It appeared to him, that the great value of the bill of the noble Viscount, as distinguished from that of the noble Lord opposite, consisted in two points; the registration on one side, and the franchise on the other. Upon the first point, the great merit of the bill of the noble Viscount consisted in the facilities which it afforded to a voter to prove his title and to obtain his right, and the facilities also which it gave of retaining that right, when it was once established. The bill of the noble Lord opposite, however, presented obstacles in the way of the just and honest claimant, and left him almost entirely at the mercy of vexatious objections. On this point alone, the bill of the noble Viscount was not merely entitled to preference, but to the support of every Member who wished to see the registration of voters placed on a satisfactory and firm footing. But the main question which the House had to decide was, that of the definition and the new arrangement of the franchise in Ireland. He did not think, that hon. Members had a right to complain of the mixing together of the two questions of the franchise and of registration, for it stood admitted, that the bulk of the evils complained of in Ireland had arisen from the uncertainty and doubt as to the proper definition of the elective franchise under the Reform Act. This was a part of the question, by the way upon which the noble author of the Reform Act—for in that light he might look upon the noble Lord opposite—had not thrown any great light, for he (Mr. M. J. O'Connell) had never heard him in any of his speeches tell the House what he meant the franchise to be under the terms of that statute. Whatever were the provisions of the bill of the noble Lord opposite, as to the minor evils of an imperfect registration, such as the continuance of the names of deceased voters on the register; the ambiguity of the franchise, whatever test might be adopted, whether that of Sir Michael O'Loghlen, or that which the hon. and learned Member for Bandon might wish to be taken—the solvent tenant test would in either case exist, and it would be found, that the same uncertainty of determination, affecting as well the interests as the opinion of contending parties, would still exist. It was some satisfaction for him to know, that at least one hon. Gentleman opposite agreed in some of the principles of this bill, but he regretted to find, that the hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Lascelles), though he did not always think with his party, still maintained his usual course of voting with them. Sorry was he to see, that he had gone from such good premises as he had made, to so unjust a conclusion. He thought, that the House would decide, that the test which should be adopted should have the effect of extending rather than narrowing the franchise, and he thought, that that which was proposed was the best calculated to meet the object which they had in view. First, it was of a nature regular and determined, which would give a liberal and extended franchise; but still more than that, it was valuable because it was simple and intelligible, and because there could be no possibility of a mistake upon it. A great deal had been said about the low rate at which it had been proposed to fix the franchise. He begged leave to remind hon. Gentlemen who had made that objection, however, that if they looked to those tables which were given in the returns which had been laid before the House, they would find, that even this rating would exclude a great number of those from the constituency of Ireland, who were already upon the register. He knew it might he said, that they were not entitled to continue on the register as ten-pound voters, if they did not even possess a 5l. qualification; but the test of the property of the tenant had generally been taken in Ireland, and although he would not go into the reasons for this being so, the fact was as he had stated, and had been shown to be so, by Mr. Leslie Foster, in the year 1829, for although his opinion was of a contrary tendency, his arguments were so correct, that he would not attempt to draw a conclusion inconsistent with the truth. He would not himself offer any further observations to the House upon this point; but he would refer the noble Lord opposite to the opinion of a man whom he could not very well oppose, he meant Mr. Solicitor general Crampton, who, on the 18th June, 1832, in reply to some observations of the hon. and. learned Member for Dublin, made use of the following expression:— I do not hesitate to say, that by the parsing of this bill, Ireland will have a constituency far beyond any thing which Scotland could boast, and certainly not much behind that of England. He was at a loss to comprehend how, after that testimony of his intentions in introducing the Reform Bill, the noble Lord opposite could now say, that the constituency was liberal enough in Ireland. With regard to the number of voters, the noble Lord had come forward with an argument which was intended to afford a complete answer to all that had been said as to the existing position of the Irish franchise. The noble Lord had produced a paper. He was at a loss to account for the ignorance of the noble Lord on this question, for he could not suppose that he would have used the argument had he known its fallacy. He had gone through the number of voters in Cork, in Dublin, in Mayo, and in other places, with a view to show the increase which had taken place. The noble Viscount, the Secretary for Ireland had, a short time before, slated, that at the late election for Mayo (which was one of the places named), there had been no contest, by reason of the omission of the voters to register themselves, so that the constituency did not exceed 700. Many hon. Members could have told the noble Lord, that the return contained all the voters of 1832, and many who had been re-registered. Those of the year 1832, however, expired in October and November last. The return bore date of the previous February, and since then the diminution of the number of voters had been very great. The return for Antrim showed the number of voters on the lists to be 5,263, but of these 3,487 votes had expired. In Armagh, the number had been reduced from 5,354, by 3,342; in Cork, the number had been reduced from 5,738, by 3,835, thus leaving a constituency of less than 2,000, for a population of 700,000; in Mayo, the numbers had been reduced from 2,185, by 1,350; and in Tipperary, from 4,143, by 2,369. It was galling to the feelings of the people of Ireland, when they saw so much igno- rance of the state of their country, by those who came forward to legislate for it; but he could well forgive the ignorance, if he saw the exhibition of a spirit of acquiescence. The noble Lord had made use of another argument to which he would refer, and at which he had been much astonished. He said, he would not press upon the House the argument how impossible it was to sanction the application of those principles to Ireland alone, because that was an argument which would readily suggest itself to the mind of every one who heard him, and how impossible it would be to withhold the same extension of the elective franchise to the other parts of the United Kingdom. Now, he did not object to the extension of the franchise in England and Scotland; but did the noble Lord, when he used that argument, think that it was double-handled, and might be used against him? Did he recollect, that if it was good that the privileges of Ireland should be extended to England and Scotland, it would be equally good that the privileges of England and Scotland should be extended to Ireland? In the discussions upon the question of the Irish Municipal Reform Act, did hon. Gentlemen, who so unanimously desired to concede the new law to England and Scotland, with the same eagerness desire to apply its principles to Ireland? No; but they opposed it, and resisted it by every means in their power, and threw every obstacle in the way of granting the provisions which were proposed. Was this the way, he asked, in which either the noble Lord or hon. Gentleman opposite thought to procure the extension to Ireland of British rights and privileges? Was this their notion of the union between the two countries, for which the noble Lord opposite declared himself such a strenuous advocate, that he would resist any alteration being made, even to the death? He did not know whether the noble Lord would speak of Ireland in the same terms as a recent pamphleteer, who called himself "A Conservative Member of Parliament," and showed himself to be a great admirer of the noble Lord, whom he called the head of his party. He talked of England as the "royal mistress," and of Ireland as her "tributary;" not a phrase of equality, certainly, or of even a moderate degree of inferiority. But whether the noble Lord meant to use such words or not, he, at all events, seemed to be inclined to employ such language.—A great deal had been said about repeal of the union. What did they suppose the feeling on the subject in Ireland arose from, but the discontent that existed in the country? Did they think to allay that discontent, by opposing such a measure as this? No; they would, on the contrary, make it assume a more dangerous shape than it had ever yet assumed. He was the last man to use anything like threats, but he could not shut his eyes to the fact, that discomfiture abroad might occur at the same time with discontent at home. It was unfortunately observable, that almost every great concession made to the popular feeling, had been made under circumstances similar to the present in Ireland. But the present measure would raise a feeling of gratitude in Ireland, that would lead to much more glorious results than those of military renown. He hoped, therefore, that the House would agree to the second reading.

Mr. Emerson Tennent

, in the very few observations which he had to offer to the House, would confine himself strictly to the question of the franchise proposed by this bill; and which, in reality, was the bill itself; for all the clauses and provisions contained in it have reference to the new franchise, and it alone; and when the single clause which establishes the 5l. rating shall have been struck out of the bill, the remainder of its provisions will be absolutely useless, inasmuch as they are utterly inapplicable to the existing franchise, as constituted by the Reform Act. And he would beg to impress this important fact upon the attention of hon. Members opposite, some of whom might be disposed to vote for the second reading of the entire bill, although utterly condemning the 5l. franchise clause, under the conviction that it could be expunged in committee, and the remainder left as a remedy for the existing abuses. This course he begged to tell them now was utterly impracticable, for when the franchise clause is extracted, the entire measure being constructed upon it, must of necessity fall to the ground, and the grand object of the opponents of any reform in the present system will have attained their object—we shall have no bill this year. He said it distinctly, that to expunge this clause in committee was tantamount to voting against the further progress of the bill; and to vote for the whole bill now, was to all intents to approve of that clause, because the whole bill was built upon it. And, first, as to the mode of ascertaining this new franchise—one serious objection which he saw, was the absolute and summary power given to the Poor-law officials of determining the extent of the electoral constituencies of Ireland. He had always regarded the valuation under the Poor-law as most important and valuable as an evidence to assist in discriminating the qualified persons in the court of the registering barrister. But the present bill rendered these valuations not merely the evidence, but the judgment in each case. By the 11th clause the poll-book shall be "conclusive" evidence of the net value, and a copy of it, in its absence shall be primâ facie evidence. The opinion of the valuators, therefore, will be not merely testimony to go before the court, but it will be the decision of the court itself, when right. The Poor-law officials and their employées will thus be, to all intents and purposes, apolitical engine; and, looking to the spirit in which these elections and appointments had hitherto been carried in Ireland, he conceived that such a result would be neither prudent, safe, nor satisfactory. In one instance, in the county of Tipperary, the clerk of the guardians had already been detected in making out the lists of rate-payers, as if by anticipation, in divisions of Tories and Liberals; and had been reprimanded, but not dismissed, for his mischievous interference. To confide the absolute and uncontrolled power of making out the lists of voters to officials such as this, would be an aggravation rather than alleviation of the present system. And now, as to the amount of that franchise, he would pass by altogether the considerations of the finality of the Reform Bill as a constitutional settlement, and the danger of annual revolutions as expounded by the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Colonies, and the various other incidental considerations which either had been, or could not fail to be, pressed upon the attention of the House in the course of the debate. He would confine himself exclusively to the probable working of the measure, did there exist the remotest probability of its ever becoming the law of Ireland. In this respect he would declare distinctly that he would infinitely prefer household suffrage to this principle of a 5l franchise, made up compoundedly of house and land. A man with a house of the annual value of 5l. was a more responsible and respectable person than an individual with a roof worth possibly 50s., or perhaps with no house at all, but a lodge, and paying a rack-rent for as much land as could be valued by the Poor-law officer at 5l. Nay, further, a tenantmight be paying for land from fifty to one hundred per cent, more than its value; he might be paying 10l. for land valued at only 5l,; and yet if that man had a fag-end of a fourteen years lease unexpired, he could register as an elector for his county. The noble Lord, the Secretary for Ireland, had announced his intention to define the existing franchise, by which a man is required to have a beneficial interest of at least 10l. above his rent, and he redeems his promise by substituting a definition that would admit the party whose rent might be 10l. above the actual value. But in order to prevent the inundation of the lists by persons of this class, the noble Lord places the utmost reliance upon the check which will be imposed by the rating, and by the party who accepts of the franchise being subjected to the assessment of his property in consequence; and, consequently, that persons falling below the standard, will not submit to be placed fraudently upon the list, from an apprehension of the payments it will entail. This was an argument that might be of avail were the amount to be levied a matter of serious amount; but the rate upon a tenement of the value of 5l., at ten pence in the pound, which was the sum expected to be imposed in Ireland, would not be more than two shillings and a penny upon each elector, as on 5l. tenements the landlord is to be subject to one-half the rate. Two shillings a year would therefore be the hire of a franchise in Ireland; and if the elector objected to its amount, he did not conceive that it would be difficult to find some patriot willing to bear the expense. In constituencies which had been newly contested, a very trifling annual sum would speedily put an end to elections; 500 voters could be kept upon the lists for 50l. a-year; and, as if to suit the law to some such emergency, he observed that in the 10th clause a provision had been quietly slipped in to legalize the payment of rates "on behalf of the elector;" a provision which was utterly at variance with the law in England, and had probably been suggested by the unfortunate failure of a similar attempt to swamp the constituency of Liverpool. The reasons assigned; by the noble Lord for establishing this franchise this year are precisely the same as those adduced by the hon. Member for Dublin, when the noble Lord resisted it last year, namely, some inequality between the relative numbers of the constituency and the population in the various counties and boroughs of England and Ireland, and an inference thence derived that in the latter country the Reform Act has failed to realise its own intentions or promises. Now, he would take just one example in order to show that such was not the fact, as to any failure in the effect of the Reform Act of 1832, and likewise to exhibit in its true colours, the probable effect of this new Reform Bill of 1841. The illustration which he would adduce was, that of the town which he had the honour to represent, and which, as there was nothing peculiar in its circumstances, might be fairly taken as exhibiting the case of similar constituencies in Ireland. On looking to the report of the boundary commissioners, which was the basis of any expectations formed as to the working of the Reform Bill, he found the following passage as to Belfast:— The number of houses within the limits of the borough is about 8,022, of which 316 are of the annual value of 10l. and upwards; making the necessary deductions from these for female occupiers, vacant houses, double occupancies, and disqualified persons, and taking the whole of these at 860, the probable number of qualified occupiers of 10l. houses in Belfast would be 2,300. By this statement it appears that the 10l. constituency was anticipated by the framers of the Reform Bill to amount to 2,300 persons; and of course, when they are told that that qualification is to be superseded, and a lower one by fifty per cent, introduced, they will imagine that the original expectation has utterly failed, and that the actual constituency has fallen far below the estimate of 1832; but what has been the fact? The number of registered occupiers in Belfast amounts to 2,105, within 195 of their original calculation; and the difference unregistered is more than accounted for by the want of a clause to admit the registration of joint-tenants—a provision which, if introduced, still leaving the franchise at the 10l. standard, will more than make up the constituency to the 2,300 represented by the commissioners. And now as to the effect of the proposed alteration in Belfast. He had caused the two existing valuations of Belfast to be strictly examined. One of these is made by the local police, and takes notice of all houses of and above the value of—l: the other is the Poor-law valuation upon the same principle. The Poor-law valuation gives the number of 5l. houses and upwards as 6,365, the police valuation makes them 6,773; deducting from the former of these the number of houses actually registered, namely, 2,105, we shall have in Belfast, an addition to the constituency of no less than 4,260 persons, qualified as 5l. householders under the bill of the noble Lord, 4,260 new electors to be added to 2,105. But this is not the entire question. Population is not the only basis of the franchise; but the theory of the representation goes upon the principle that, in legislation, property should be protected by conferring the franchise only upon those who know its rights by enjoying it. But will this description apply to the multitudes with which the present constituency is to be deluged? They will be men whose whole property is inferred from the possession of a 5l. house. Every voter now upon the lists with property amounting of 10l. and upwards, will be outvoted by the addition of two electors, whose franchise will be 5l. The new constituency will consist of two men of the qualification of 5l. for every one of the qualification of 10l. and above it; and yet property, even the noble Lord will tell us, is to be the basis of qualification. Why, even in introducing the municipal franchise for Ireland, the noble Lord did not venture to reduce it to so low a standard as this. It is to be tantamount to a 10l. qualification, or something near it—that is to say, the man who has a vote for a town councillor or a municipal clerk must be qualified to the extent of 10l., but the elector of a Member for the borough need only be in possession of a shed that can be rated at 5l. Not only the absurdity and inconsistency, but the danger to be apprehended from such a settlement would effectually prevent its ever passing into a law, and he believed that there was too much good sense even amongst Members, who on other points supported the Government, to permit them to give their countenance to such a project of desperation and revolution.

Mr. William Roche

said, he likewise, felt it necessary to commence as so many previous speakers did by stating that verging so near a close as this protracted debate now does, analysed as even its details as well as its principles (which fairly form the only object of the present reading) have been. He was little inclined to long detain the House, or indeed at all, were it not (especially in the feelings of Irish Members) a question, nay a crisis, seriously involving the lights, the liberties, tranquility, and well being, of that country which sent them here to protect and promote its interests. However slightingly or dubiously the honourable, and he believed he should add, the learned Member for Belfast, spoke of adopting the Poor-law valuation as a principle for estimating the elective franchise in Ireland, he (Mr. Roche) deemed it one of the most useful portions of the present bill, affording as it did the most definite and impartial test that could be devised for that purpose, instead of the present uncertain, conflicting, and litigious mode of ascertaining the qualification, embarrassing, as it did, the very highest authorities and tribunals, so that, conformably to the couplet, it maybe said— Who can decide when doctors (or rather judges) disagree, And sounder casuists doubt than you or me. Gentlemen would, of course, entertain their respective opinions on the 5l. value, but in his opinion it was the fairest that could be adopted even in reference to the 10l. qualification now existing under the Irish Reform Act. He was convinced it would not raise the Irish constituency beyond its present aggregate, but at all events not beyond what Ireland was justly entitled to, with reference to the English constituency; the Poor-law valuation being so much inferior to the estimate of value usually taken under present circumstances. To sustain this opinion he would beg leave to read a letter from a most intelligent respectable gentleman. Captain Kane, chairman of the Poor-law guardians in the Limerick Union. Limerick 18 Feb., 1841. My Dear Sir, With regard to your inquiries relative to the valuation of the Limerick Union, I beg to acquaint you that I have been this day employed as chairman of the board of guardians, examining and comparing the rates to enable me to sign the warrants for their collection, and that, by comparing the rates made by the valuator on the several descriptions of property in the Union with what I consider the fair value of that property, if brought into the market, I have no hesitation in saying I am satisfied that, although there may be a few in- stances, where a 5l. rate in this union may not be equal to 10l. beneficial interest under the present system of registration, that generally speaking a 5l. rate under the Poor-law would be found to possess a more certain and substantial freehold interest, than what is termed the beneficial interest of 10l., under the existing laws relative to registration. Believe me &c. Now, a more competent person could not be found, at least in the union where he presided, than the intelligent writer of this letter, peculiarly well informed as he was on the subject. He (Mr. Roche) could not but, consider this bill and its rival one; that of the noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire, as antagonist measures; the one to sustain, the other to ultimately extinguish the popular part of the Irish constituency, the one calculated to secure the spirit of the Irish Reform Act, the other by its tortures and harassing devices and requisites, to paralyse, and in the end annihilate every popular right granted by that act, for what right could be secure unless fortified by the right of franchise. But, this branch of the subject had been so amply argued that he would turn to another which attracted his attention during the debate, and for which purpose he was desirous of rising yesterday, after the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Bandon, in consequence of his having arraingned the Irish Catholic Clergy for their interference in public affairs. He (Mr. Roche) agreed, and so would every reflecting person, that it would be well if things were so settled and adjusted as to take away any reasonable cause for the clergy of either and every persuasion descending from the higher and holier sphere and functions into the angry strife of politics; but, Sir, said the hon. Gentleman, it is not choice, it is necessity, that compels the Catholic pastors to do so in order, as was well explained by the hon. Member for Drogheda, to defend themselves, their creed, and their people from the odious slanders and calumnies heaped so unjustly upon them; slanders and calumnies which they will not nor ought not, to suffer or submit to without repelling, and rescuing their creed, character and flocks, from such malignity and oppression. It cannot be denied, Sir, that the Catholic clergy are most assiduous in their arduous callings leaving them little time or inclination indeed for gratuitously meddling in politics, and let, Sir, this desirable forbearance be but practised by the clergy of other sects, and you will assuredly find the Catholic pastors most willingly and anxiously adopt it. It is, Sir, a defect in human nature not to appreciate sufficiently what we possess until deprived of it: and, Sir, without the untiring admonitions and exertions of the Catholic clergy, often, I fear, would their poor flocks be goaded by want and oppression into the most serious convulsions—and sure I am that if a hostile armament menaced their shores none would be found more prompt than they to repel it; laying aside on such an occasion every personal feeling, and all minor considerations, to testify their loyalty and love of country. But, Sir, the only true way to put a stop to Irish agitation whether clerical or laical is (to use this short but emphatic phrase) "by doing justice to that country," and by raising it politically, and physically to the rank and comforts of its sister people. This, and this alone, is the sound and permanent remedy and until adopted it will be unfair and unjust to complain of Irish agitation. But to turn to another subject, I beg to say, that I was in Ireland when intelligence arrived there of the introduction of the bill, now under discussion, by the noble Lord, the excellent Secretary for Ireland, and I can bear testimony to the great and general satisfaction it diffused, not only by its intrinsic justice and liberality, but likewise by inspiring a hope that the other wants of Ireland, political and physical, would not continue interminably unheeded. Indeed this feeling of satisfaction was further augmented by its contrast with the anxiety and alarm, produced by the previous tortuous measure of the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire, the enactments of which were so burdensome to the honest as well as the dishonest claimant, that an abandonment of looking for the franchise, through such a maze of difficulties, would be the result. On this announcement of the Government measure the people asked each other, "will not the noble Lord suspend at least his bill, and give a fair trial to the Government proceeding," affording as it does so much contentment and satisfaction?—but the reply unfortunately was, "It is not likely," for the more liberal and equitable the Government measure, the more it will be resisted by those who have so long deemed coercion not conciliation, and consideration to be the principle upon which Ireland should be governed. This anticipation, he trusted, would not prove true, and that the good sense and good feeling of Parliament, would pass a measure founded upon justice, upon the spirit of the Reform Bill, calculated to produce so much of contentment in Ireland, and to put an end to that lamentable litigation and difference of opinion now existing on the nature of the franchise, or qualification; the defining of which is one of the most valuable parts of the Government Bill, and the omission of which in such remedial measure, would be like leaving out (to use an illustration often adduced) the part of Hamlet in the play of that name. Under these impressions and feelings the bill before the House shall have my warmest support."

Mr. Shaw

said, that in rising to address the House at that protracted period of the debate, he was relieved, as well by the speech of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, as by the whole tenor of the previous speeches, from the necessity of proving what must, by that time, be plain to hon. Gentlemen, on both sides of the House—that the real question then under discussion was one of the franchise and not of registration—and that their division, to be taken that night, would decide, not whether they would give a second reading to a bill having for its bonâ fide object to amend the law relating to the registration of voters in Ireland, but whether or not they were prepared to sanction the principle of the substitution of a 5l. occupation franchise for the present 10l. property or profit franchise prevailing in the counties, and the present 10l. occupation franchise in the towns of Ireland. That had been ably shown by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Exeter (Sir W. Follett), was admitted in the fervent candour of the right hon. the Secretary-at-War (Mr. Macaulay); and to his (Mr. Shaw's) mind, was no less clearly proved by the entire omission of that, the real question, from the speeches of the two right hon. and learned Gentlemen opposite, the Attorney-general fur Ireland (Mr. Pigot), and the Vice-president of the Board of Trade (Mr. Sheil), who appeared to think it more politic to entangle the attention of the House in the details of his noble Friend's (Lord Stanley's) bill, which was not then before them, than to allow it to dwell upon the real point under consideration, namely, whether that House was prepared to depart from the principles of the Reform Bill That the present system of registration in Ireland was one of fiction, fraud, and perjury, was notorious; the noble Lord (Lord Morpeth) admitted it on the introduction of the present bill; and the documents and evidence adduced by the noble Lord on that occasion abundantly proved a case against the present law of registration, meagre and inadequate as they were for the purpose for which the noble Lord relied upon them. The insincerity of the Government in their professed desire to amend the existing registration laws, appeared from the whole history of their legislation on the subject since the Session of 1835. Bill after bill was reluctantly introduced, slowly proceeded with, and eventually abandoned by the noble Lord and the successive law-officers of the Crown in Ireland, from that time until the last Session of Parliament, when his noble Friend (Lord Stanley) determined that the intolerable and crying evils of the system should no longer continue, without, at least, a sincere effort to redress them, and brought forward the measure which had caused a torrent of personal abuse and invective to be directed against his noble Friend, while they had heard little or no argument against the main provisions of his bill—a bill, which, he was persuaded, his noble Friend had introduced, and which, he unaffectedly declared, he had supported, with no other object than that which he would describe in the words of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War, "to let in good votes, and to shut out bad ones"; but he thought the right hon. Gentleman would have more truly defined it, to speak in Government phrase of the Government measure, had he said that its object was to let in bad votes, and to keep them there. How, then, had the bill of his noble Friend been met by her Majesty's Government during the last Session? By what had been very appropriately termed—not by that side of the House only, the opponents of the bill, but by its Friends and supporters, in the way of compliment and gratitude to the noble Lord who had introduced it, the "embarrassment" bill of the noble Lord; and it had served its purpose, not, however, without much difficulty and danger to the Government; and, in such peril did they feel their measuring last majority would be placed by a repetition of the same tactics in the present Session, that although an early notice had been given by the noble Lord of their renewal, that had been subsequently withdrawn; and, in lieu of the registration bill, of which the noble Lord had placed a formal notice on the paper the first night of the Session, he had presented the House with the bill then under discussion, defended by the noble Lord, in reply to the just denunciation of his noble Friend (Lord Stanley), as a proposition which was at least bold, open, and manly. Bold it undoubtedly was, even to recklessness, as regarded its real purpose; but he (Mr. Shaw) must arraign it as covert, uncandid, and (in parliamentary acceptation) a bill brought forward under fraudulent pretences, as regarded the object which it professed to have in view. He confessed that when the noble Lord announced his plan, it had astonished and startled him, not that he had considered the noble Lord as over-squeamish in matters of party politics; he acknowledged in the noble Lord what the noble Lord had so well professed himself the other night—a promising disciple of the movement. He had suspected that in the Irish department the noble Lord served under no easy taskmaster. Nevertheless, he had not thought it possible that these or any other considerations could have induced the noble Lord to lend himself to a project which, if carried into effect, would be an unsettlement of the great Irish questions—settled, as the House and the country had been led to suppose, in 1829 and 1832. That it would not be carried into a law, the noble Lord and the entire Government were well aware—but that would not prevent the mischief which a moment's calm reflection must convince the noble Lord the mere proposition was fraught with to the growing improvement, the future prosperity, and permanent peace, of Ireland. As the present peculiar condition of Ireland was a ground that had not been much dwelt upon in the debate, perhaps, the House would allow him shortly to advert to it. He believed it would not be denied by Gentlemen acquainted with Ireland, on either side of the House, that for nearly the last half century—since the great accession to the number of 40s. freeholders by the Act of I he Irish Parliament, in 1793—the great bane to the progress and improvement of that country in industry and wealth had been the subdivision of land and the multipli- cation of small holdings. The right hon. Gentleman, the Vice-president of the Board of Trade charged the Irish Tory landlords as the parties who had by their influence abolished the 40s. freeholders; but the Tight hon. Gentleman should have recollected that, so far from that being the case, in 1825, before committees of both Houses of Parliament, it was Mr. Blake and Mr. O'Connell—in language quoted by his (Mr. Shaw's) right hon. Friend and colleague last night—and the whole current of evidence leaning in all other respects to the popular side in politics, established that the depressed condition of the Irish people was principally owing to the 40s. freeholders and low rate of the elective franchise, and recommended that it should be raised at least to its present amount. Mr. Blake, in the strongest manner, stated that, in his opinion, the higher franchise was essential to the peace of Ireland, in respect of the better division of farms, of the establishment of a substantial yeomanry, and of the due weight to be given to property in constituting the basis of political power in Ireland. He would briefly refer, for proofs to the same effect, to reports which had been laid on the Table of the House upon the state of Ireland, and all from an unexceptionable source—coming from his (Mr. Shaw's) side of the House—from authorities appointed by the present Government. The first he would refer to was the Report of the Railway Commissioners, published in 1838, and the first name signed to it was that of the late Mr. Drummond, Undersecretary of Ireland. The report stated the great evil of Ireland to be (p. 114)— The division of the land into small farms, and their subdivision into portions continually decreasing in extent with each succeeding generation of claimants, until on some estates literally every rood of ground maintained, or rather was charged with the maintenance, of its man. The report continued The proprietors themselves were active promoters of that system, and that from two obvious and intelligible motives—a desire to swell the amount of their rent-rolls, which were at first considerably increased by the operation of this principle; and a wish to possess themselves of political influence and power at elections. The local operation of the latter cause is manifest, and admits of distinct proofs in almost every populous district in Ireland; and its general effect may be inferred from the remarkable and accelerated increase of the population which took place from the year 1793, the date of the act for conferring the elective franchise on that class of voters known as the 40s. freeholders. In 1791 the numbers were 4,206,612. In 1821 they were found to have increased to 6,801,827. The misery and destitution which prevail so extensively, together with all the demoralisation incident to the peculiar condition of the Irish peasantry, may be traced to this source. Mr. Cornwall Lewis, in his remarks on the poor-laws, printed by the House in 1837, also observes upon the powerful influence which the 40s. freeholders had in the multiplication of small holdings. Upon the concurrent testimony then of all parties they were abolished, and what had been the consequence? The railway commissioners observe, For some years," speaking of 1838, "the proprietors of land have endeavoured to counteract evils arising from the increase of a pauper and unemployed population, and to prevent its extension. Their eyes have long been opened to the mischief partly created, and in a great measure countenanced, by themselves; and they are quite willing to retrace their steps, and reduce their estates, if possible, to a condition more favourable to a judicious mode of cultivation, and to the regular and profitable occupation of the poor. Already considerable progress has been made towards the establishment of a better system of agriculture, and the altered and much-improved appearance of the country in many places is owing to the success which has attended those endeavours. Speaking, then, of the poverty and distress of the people, the report continues: Such appear to be the inseparable concomitants of that transition which a considerable portion of the Irish peasantry are actually undergoing at present, and through which it is necessary for the general good that they shall all pass—a transition from the state of pauper tenants to that of independent labourers, maintained as the same class are in England by their daily labour. This change cannot be much longer delayed with safety. It is not possible to avoid it by any other alternative than that of permitting a state of society, pregnant with all the elements of disorder and confusion, to go on unchecked, until it forces the whole population down to the lowest depths of misery and degradation. A passage in the first report of Mr. Nicholls on the Irish poor-laws, with reference to the present, transition period in Ireland, was well worthy of attention. It stated (p. 15), A system of poor-laws, however, if established in Ireland, must not be expected to work miracles. It would not immediately give employment or capital; but it would, I think, serve to help the country through what may be called its transition period. Facilities now exist in Ireland for helping forward the transition, and for shortening its duration, as well as securing its benefits. By the term 'transition period,' I moan to indicate that season of change from the system of small holdings, allotments, and subdivision of lands which now prevails in Ireland, to the better practice of day-labour for wages, and to that dependence on daily labour for support which is the present condition of the English peasantry. This transition period is, I believe, generally beset with difficulty and suffering. It was so in England; it is, and for a time will probably continue to be so, in Ireland, and every aid should be afforded to shorten its duration, and lessen its pressure. and yet this is the very period selected by the Government to reintroduce a system from which the land and the population of Ireland are now, with much difficulty and sacrifice and suffering, emerging, which Mr. Drummond declared could no longer last with safety, and, if permitted to continue, must force the whole population down to the lowest depths of misery and degradation. So late as last Thursday a meeting of the most influential landlords and proprietors of Ireland was convened and attended at Dublin, without distinction of parties or politics—for the purpose of forming a national agricultural association in Ireland, in which all might co-operate to correct and alter the very system which the present measure must tend to perpetuate, of small holdings and bad husbandry; and to introduce an improved system of agriculture and land-letting in Ireland. The gentry of Ireland seemed to be actively alive to the necessity of a great and combined effort for the purpose. And here he must complain of the most unfounded, unjust, and unfair attack which had last night been made by the hon. and learned Member for Liskeard (Mr. Buller) on the Irish gentry. They were certainly not so wealthy as the English—they were unhappily comparatively but thinly scattered; but while there could be no class without exception, he maintained that there did not exist a body of men who on the whole were more benevolent, charitable, or kindly disposed towards, and to the utmost of, and often almost beyond, their means, ready to assist their tenants and dependants, than the Irish gentry—[Hear, hear.] If these was one thing more than another of which Ireland had to complain, it was, that English gentlemen in and out of that House would, like the hon. Member for Liskeard, talk of matters connected with Ireland of which they were profoundly ignorant. The hon. Gentleman also said, there were but two parties in Ireland—the extremes on both sides. Now, he never was more mistaken in his life—for there was a very large and influential, and he trusted growing class, of the reflecting people of that country, differing in general politics and religion, who were now beginning to cooperate in measures for the general improvement of the country—if they could be but free from the agitation which the right hon. Gentleman recommended, and such legislative experiments as the present upon the excited feelings of the people. The hon. Gentleman, in calling all who did not agree with him, Orange and ascendancy men, seemed only an apt pupil of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin; just as in the case of Mr. Blacker the other day, the hon. and learned Member circulated a rumour of his (Mr. Blacker) having worn an Orange badge on circuit. When Mr. Blacker gave it the most complete contradiction, as being contrary to all the habits and opinions of his life—the hon. and learned Gentleman never uttered one word of apology or regret. The misstatement had its day—had answered its purpose—and there he left it. So of the hon. Gentleman's (Mr. Buller's) charges against the Irish gentry; his notions of justice to Ireland seemed to be all one sided. He should not speak thus recklessly without feeling for, or regarding the feelings of others, and when he, the hon. Member, described the masses of that country as of great sensibility, he (Mr. Shaw) could assure the hon. Gentleman that the gentry had feelings too. They were high-minded and honourable men, and very sensitive when imputations were cast upon them by those of their own class in this country so unprovoked, and he must say, without meaning any personal offence, so untrue in point of fact. Independently, then, of the political excitement of latter years, and of the extraordinary, and he must consider, unwarrantable interference of the Roman Catholic priesthood and agitators with the due influence and kindly relations which would naturally subsist between the landlords and their tenantry, though he admitted ibis had been partly the cause, yet there were many concurrent causes at present in operation in Ireland to suspend the granting of leases on any extended scale. Many improving and reflecting landlords retained the control over their lands for the purpose of draining and fencing, and the better division of farms. He was that night in the House informed by an hon. Friend of his, connected with the North of Ireland, that the same practice had been adopted by the great London companies, who could not be accused of following it from party, at all events from Conservative politics. The Poor-laws were only in course of introduction. The rent-charge act, and the recent changes in the law were seriously affecting the rights of property, and their results were not yet fully known. On the whole, there never was a period the facts of which constituted more unsatisfactory data for any permanent legislation, or more ill-chosen for tampering with the franchise, or making experiments upon the feelings and interests of the agricultural population in Ireland—and it could not be denied that that measure, if tried by the criterion suggested by Mr. Nicholls, whether it was calculated to shorten the duration, and lessen the pressure of the present transition period, would operate so as infinitely to prolong the one, and one-hundred-fold to aggravate the other. It had already been shown in the debate, and particularly by his hon. and learned Friend (Sir W. Follett), that the class of electors proposed by the bill, would be worse than the old 40s. freeholders. One instance furnished by the report of Messrs. Haig and Deasy, lately placed in the hands of Members, would suffice to prove that allegation, as well as the kind of voter the bill would enfranchise. At page 7 those commissioners stated, The low scale of valuation that has been adopted by the Poor-law valuators, operates more strongly on tenements of small expense, than upon large holdings. Thus, in Fermoy union, where there was an opportunity of ascertaining this with accuracy, small holdings are frequently valued at sums not amounting to one-fourth, or even one-fifth, of their rent. Suppose, then, one of these holdings valued at 5l. a year, but the tenant paying a rent of 20l, that man, if he had a fourteen years' lease, or the remnant of it, would be an elector under this bill; but he could not be a 40s. freeholder; having no profit, he could not be an elector under any franchise requiring any amount of property in the land, however small—he would not even be liable to Poor-rates, for, under the 74th section of the Poor-law Act, if his rent were only double instead of four times the rated value, the landlord must pay all, the tenant could not, under the existing law, have a vote, even in a town, for either a Member or town-councillor, his premises being only of half the requisite value; and yet this miserable rack-renter, or much worse, living probably in a wretched hovel, and bound to pay his landlord four times it value, held under the most complete subjection to his will, was a specimen of the independent constituency that bill was to create. Let him here observe, that being under a lease, without any profit, would only place him more completely in his landlord's power, especially under the civil bill jurisdiction in Ireland, which gave peculiar facilities to the landlord where the holding was by lease. What, then, has caused the change which had come over the minds of the Government, since the last Session of Parliament? The discussion of 1839, when the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. O'Connell) proposed a similar measure, has been already referred to; but he did not think the emphatic terms in which the noble Lord then refused even to listen to its introduction, had been quoted hi the present debate; and the House should not be unaware of them. It appears that on the 28th of February, 1839, the hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for Dublin, asked leave to have his bill read a first time; he observed in his opening speech, "What I propose is, to reduce the franchise in both countries to 5l.," which might mean 5l. profit, and, in that case, would have been a considerably higher franchise than that now proposed, to which the noble Lord (Lord Morpeth) replied, I cannot exclude from my consideration of this case, that the motion of my hon. and learned Friend, if assented to, would be in direct contravention, both of the settlement which accompanied the Emancipation Act of 1829, and of the settlement made by the Reform Act of 1832. Again, he (Lord Morpeth) observed, with reference to the same proposition of the hon. Member for Dublin, "It cannot be asserted that all that has has taken place since the passing of the Emancipation Act has so far re-assured and quieted the minds of those who viewed with great jealousy and distrust the tendency and consequences of that measure, as to bring it within the verge of possibility, that Parliament would give its sanction to the motion of my hon. and learned Friend;" and yet the noble Lord is now himself the proposer of that very measure, in breach of those two great settlements, and which, in 1839, he considered it not within the verge of possibility that the House would even entertain. The question of the relative proportion between the population and the constituency in England and Ireland was then strongly relied on by the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. O'Connell), but had no effect on the noble Lord, and in that he conceived there was a great fallacy, to which the mind of the House had not been sufficiently directed. It appeared from the third report of the commissioners for inquiring into the condition of the poorer classes in Ireland, among whom were the Archbishop of Dublin, the Titular Archbishop, Dr. Murray, Mr. Blake, Mr. Wrightson, an hon. Member on the oilier side of the House, and the present Lord Fingal, That in Great Britain the agricultural families constitute little more than a fourth, while in Ireland they constitute about two-thirds of the whole population; that there were in Great Britain, in 1831, 1,055,982 agricultural labourers; in Ireland, 1,131,715, although the cultivated land of Great Britain amounts to about 34,250,000 acres, and that of Ireland only to about 14,000,000. We thus find that there are in Ireland about five agricultural labourers for every two that there are for the same quantity of land in Great Britain, and that the earnings of the labourers come, on an average of the whole class, to from 2s. to 2s. 6d. a week, or thereabouts, for the year round. In another part of the report it is slated that The number of persons in Ireland out of work, and in distress, during thirty weeks of the year, is not less than 585,000, nor the number of persons depending upon these less than 1,800,000, making in the whole 2,385,000. He regretted that the hon. Member for Kilkenny was not in his place. ["Hear, hear!" from Mr. Hume.] Weil then, he would ask that hon. Gentleman, an advocate as he was for extending the franchise, whether he would confer it upon a class of persons such as these reports described? [[Mr. Hume—I would.] The hon. Member says, he would confer the franchise upon persons who had not food enough to sustain life, or clothing to protect them from the inclemency of the weather, Take, then, the whole population at 8,000,000, apply the commissioners' rule to the 1,100,000 of mere labourers, and you will have above4,000,000, or half the population between them and I heir families, living on from 2s. to 2s. 6d. a week, and, as they state, "a great portion of them insufficiently provided at any time with the commonest necessaries of life, their habitations generally wretched hovels, and their food commonly consisting of dry potatoes. God knew that if he thought the present plan could relieve that destitution, which he as much as any man deplored, he would gladly support it; but in his conscience, instead of being a blessing, he was convinced it would prove a curse to the very class he was describing. Surely it would not be too much to lay aside these 4,000,000 from all consideration of the franchise; we then have 4,000,000 left of men, women, and children, that is, about 1,000,000 of adult males; and, allowing for heads of families and householders, about the quarter of that number would remain. Now, the return lately laid before the House shows a constituency last year of 150,000; which, allowing for the deductions claimed, would at all events leave a bonâ fide constituency, say, of 120,000 persons. If they looked to the present representatives, no reasonable person could contend that an undue preponderance of property over population had been felt in their selection. They came then to the only pretext which had been relied upon with any appearance of reason in the debate, and it was the difference between the Irish judges on the question of the beneficial interest. He lamented that difference as much as any one; he admitted that a continuing difference between the twelve judges on a question of law was a most grievous evil, but he denied that there was any adequate remedy proposed by the bill. True it was that as regarded the mere question of the beneficial interest, the noble Lord took a very simple mode of getting rid of that, by enacting, that as a difficulty had arisen in defining what was the amount of beneficial interest, for the future the county voter should be required to have no interest at all—as if a patient had a pain in his little finger, and the faculty were divided, not knowing exactly how to define the disease, or the appropriate remedy to apply, and some young practitioner, some reckless disciple of the movement—should amputate the entire arm;—no doubt he would have cured the finger-ache; but not much have served the patient, or raised the character of the profession. Upon that point he would beg to read to the House an extract from a judgment of Judge Crampton's, pronounced the other day, and already alluded to by the noble Lord, the more particularly as the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Sheil) had last night read an extract from a judgment on the same point by Chief Baron Brady:— The uniform usage," said Mr. Justice Crampton, "from King John's time down to Frost's case, decided but last year, was, that upon a reserved case the judgment of the majority was binding, The case of Frost was a remarkable one. A special commission bad been issued—the court was an independent one—from its decision a writ of error could not lie—a question was reserved for the decision of all the judges, and although die majority of all the judges below were of a different opinion from the majority of the assembled judges, yet they acted upon the decision adverse to their views. It was true that this was a crown case; but a crown case was not a fortiori stronger, but a fortissimo. If the rule was established in cases of life and death, ought it not also to prevail where less important things were at stake? Another radical error arose from the opinion that a judge adjourning a case for consideration in the exchequer chamber only consulted the other judges as his assessors or advisers; but this was not the fact in the sense the word was used; and with reference to public convenience, it should be a refined mind that could be satisfied with the subtle distinction drawn between the opinions of the twelve judges sitting in the court of error and the opinions of the same judges debating in chamber. It was only by securing a uniformity of decision that all suspicion of partizanship could be removed, and by pursuing a different course the administration of justice must be tarnished. Take the case of twelve judges and thirty-four assistant-barristers, some deciding one way, and others the opposite way; a person's right would depend upon the accident of who happened to go a particular circuit; and what did all this lead to but cost and inconvenience to the public? It was said that the legislature could give a remedy for all this: bat was there reason to suppose that forty-six independent judges would concur in the construction of a new statute, when they could not now agree to settle the existing law? Why appeal to the legislature when there was an ancient common law tribunal to decide, recognised by all the authorities? A judge was bound by his oath and by his conscience; he was bound by a public duty to pronounce the law, of which he was the depository, according as he found it in the recorded decisions of the judges of the land. This was a sufficient answer to almost every argument contained in the two speeches of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-general and the right hon. the Secretary at War—if they had but changed the scene from Ireland to England, and supposed the cases to be those of life and death instead of a political franchise, and that a man's life was to depend upon—say at the Old Bailey or at the Central Criminal Court—upon the accident of whether he was tried by the Recorder, or by Mr. Justice A., or Chief Justice B. The case would be precisely parallel, but never could occur in this country. He desired to speak with every respect of the personal character of the dissentient judges. They had been too much encouraged by observations made from high legal and constitutional authorities in that House—he alluded to the noble Lord (J. Russell) and the Attorney-general. But he was persuaded those judges would not persist in bringing scandal and reproach upon the administration of justice, while he entirely concurred with Judge Crampton, that an act of parliament could not remove the difficulty. Suppose, in Frost's case, if the minority of the judges had decided contrary to the opinion of the majority, would an act of parliament to alter the law of evidence have remedied so great a public evil? It would be but a sanction of the course taken, leaving all other questions to arise in the same tribunal subject to equal uncertainty, and at that moment the civil bill jurisdiction administered by the same persons, and under precisely a similar statutory power was regulated upon the ordinary principles of justice and the constitution by the opinion of the twelve judges. He had now, then, to surmise what was the real cause of the change in the entire policy and conduct of her Majesty's Government, and he believed it was, that in. their present weak and falling condition, they were threatened with the withdrawal of the support of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. O'Connell) and the more radical section of their adherents, and they were content to purchase its continu- ance at the price of the present proposal. He (Mr. Shaw) could not but deprecate the whole tone of the debate, encouraged, as he thought, by some observations which had fallen from the noble Lord (Morpeth) and the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Macaulay), the only two Cabinet Ministers that had yet spoken, which appeared to him to imply a sanction or countenance to the language and threats which the hon. and learned Gentleman was in the habit of using in respect to the repeal of the union, and the connection between these countries. The hon. and learned Gentleman had displayed that sort of gratitude which generally accompanied an unjust and timid concession to unreasonable demands; and in a letter written subsequent to the noble Lord's speech on the introduction of the present bill, and when he had no reason to suppose it would even pass a second reading of the House, the hon. Gentleman (Mr. O'Connell) said, that "the bill, the whole bill, and nothing but the bill," was all he wanted. He told the people of Ireland that they would receive neither sympathy nor assistance in this country. He talked of the "cold-blooded injustice, the unrelenting hate, and bigoted detestation" of England to Ireland he used language which was perfectly intolerable in reference to his noble Friend (Lord Stanley), and which he would not disgust the House by repeating. Was that the language for which the right hon. Gentleman says he could make allowance? And when the noble Lord (Morpeth) insinuated the other night something as to the agitation of the repeal of the union, and replacing feelings of amity for those of alienation and animosity, had he at all in his mind, without expressing his warmest disapprobation of them, the significant hints the hon. and learned Gentleman had recently been throwing out as to the Irish preference of the French to the English system, of France arming herself, and not having yet (in italics) tampered with the Irish nation? But the next Member of the Government who spoke was the right hon. Gentleman the Vice-president of the Board of Trade, encouraged by the noble Lord, a disciple in the new school of agitation, very likely soon to outrun his master. The noble Lord's were but gentle hints. The right hon. Gentleman ventured somewhat further. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. O'Connell) said, "The French are becoming an armed nation; Lord Stanley's bill will make French allies among the people of Ireland; England, beware!" The right hon. Gentleman, under great protestations, no doubt, that he meant no threat," with tones somewhat faltering, and visage a little discomposed," but still in language bearing a remarkable analogy to that of his former, and according to the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Buller) less fortunate co-agitator, said, "France is arming, you are disfranchising; France is raising ramparts, you are pulling down bulwarks." Mr. Barrett, in the Corn-Exchange, and in the midst, as might be read in his own paper, of tremendous cheering and waving of hats, declared, "If Lord Stanley's bill passes, then will 8,000,000 Irishmen exclaim, 'France and the people; not England and the faction.'" There was less of rhetorical artifice in the orator of the Corn Exchange, but the rounded antitheses of the right hon. Gentleman were quite as intelligible, and, perhaps more dangerous. He would, however, tell both Gentlemen that they reckoned without their host, for if any such insane attempt were made as that suggested, he (Mr. Shaw) verily believed that the great mass and majority of both Protestants and Roman Catholics in Ireland would rally round the laws, and be found faithful to the Crown and Government of that country. But circumstances and situation wonderfully varied the language of the right hon. Gentleman. He drew largely from former speeches and acts of his right hon. Friend (Sir J. Graham), but he seemed to forget the old proverb about houses of glass, or the right hon. Gentleman must have thought they had very short memories on that side of the House. Would the right hon. Gentleman like that he should go back to former days, when he (Mr. Sheil) was second only to one in the field of Irish agitation and repeal? Then— A patriot bursting with heroic rage"— Since, A placeman, all tranquillity and smiles"— And now, when danger threatened, when the sweets of office seemed ready to recede from his grasp, again he cast his eye towards the former scenes of his successful agitation, and, conjuring up wars and rumours of wars in Ireland, would fright this isle from her propriety, in the words of the same poet, with All the prettiness of feigned alarm, And anger insignificantly fierce. The right hon. Gentleman quoted parts of speeches of his right hon. Friend (Sir James Graham), and said, "There, now call me a repealer if you like; "but the right hon. Gentleman took very good care not to say whether he were a repealer or not. No, no!—the mask might be wanted again. The right hon. Gentleman then pronounced a glowing eulogium upon his own devoted loyalty. He had no doubt the right hon. the Vice-president of the Board of Trade was passing loyal now; but there was once in Ireland a leading agitator, and a royal prince lay on his death-bed." The suggestion then made was somewhat stronger than the temporary swamping of the House of Lords. The figure of language more pungent than the submersion of the Royal George; but he sincerely believed that the excited feelings of the right hon. Gentleman had overcome his better nature at the moment, and he would forbear to quote the words. There certainly appeared to be some agreement between the views of that Mr. Barrett and the Government, for in the same speech he laid down as a doctrine, certainly with somewhat of Irish licence, but yet greatly in accordance with the practical course of her Majesty's Government, that "there was nothing durable but change." He also denounced Mr. Lawless, because, in refusing to attend one of those agitation meetings, that Gentleman had given as a reason that "all Ireland wanted was peace." Mr. Barrett said that such a sentiment was incompatible with freedom. Be that as it might, he (Mr. Shaw) was persuaded that the sentiment of Mr. Lawless was one in which a large majority of the sober-minded of all classes and creeds in Ireland concurred. They were tired of agitation and sought for repose. He (Mr. Shaw) then would implore the House, if, notwithstanding his declaration in 1839 and last year, the noble Lord the Secretary for Ireland was ready to disturb the great settlement of the Roman Catholic Relief and the Reform Acts—if the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies, notwithstanding his protestations to the contrary, was prepared to stir the cauldron from which might be extracted the charm of a new agitation—that they would not support the noble Lords in such a course, and refuse their sanction to the second reading of a bill which would give a sword instead of peace to Ireland—raise hopes that could not be realised—excite expectations only to disappoint them, and, as had been well said by his hon. Friend the Member for Cavan (Mr. Young), and his hon. Friend the Member for Denbighshire (Mr. Cholmondeley), that was to begin legislation at the wrong end, by degrading the constitutional franchise to the level of the impoverished, though he trusted, improving population of Ireland, instead of endeavouring to elevate them to a fitness for that and every other privilege and blessing enjoyed by the more favoured portions of the empire. He (Mr. Shaw) had theretofore spoken as an Irishman. He would say one word with reference to England and Scotland before he sat down; and that was, to express a hope that before the debate closed, some Minister of the Crown would state, if the 51. occupation franchise was carried for Ireland, upon what principle it could be refused to the people of Great Britain? and if granted, it would confer the right of voting by thousands and tens of thousands upon masses of the people whom the Reform Bill never contemplated as forming any portion of the electoral body in any part of the United Kingdom.

Mr. O'Connell

The solemn duty I have to perform will not allow me to enter into any discursive commentary upon the speech that has just been delivered by the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. I only ask of the House to recollect two allegations of his. He has stated to the House, that about one-half of the population of Ireland, or more than four millions were in a state of poverty approaching to destitution. He stated that as a fact, and he read documents, too, to prove its accuracy. He also indulged in a warm panegyric—nay, even an eloquent eulogium upon the Irish landlords! He said that they were kind, they were good, they were tender, they were most excellent landlords. I join, then, together, these two statements of his. There are four millions, more than one-half of the population, in a state of starvation, with good landlords. Recollect, these two facts have been stated by the right hon. Gentleman, and now, whether the two are consistent with each other, is a point that I refer to English gentlemen. Thus, then, we find both in what we have heard and in what we have seen to-night, fitting specimens of what the Irish landlords are both in politics and in statistics. Before I proceed further, I must, however, for the moment turn to one matter adverted to by the right hon. Gentleman. He introduced the name of Mr. Richard Barrett, as having made a speech in Dublin. I want to know who is there in the House who is responsible for Mr. Richard Barrett? Mr. Richard Barrett is a Protestant gentleman—one, too, possessed of considerable talents; he is a personal friend of mine; he is the brother of a gentleman who wrote the poem "All the Talents," that may not be unknown amongst hon. Gentlemen opposite; and he is himself, too, in possession of great talents. I do not shrink from avowing that he is a personal friend of mine. Let me now, before I proceed, state that there are a couple of petitions that I would wish to have read at the Table of the House. I would require it to be done was I not certain that the surest way of having a petition not heard by the House is to have it read at the Table. Therefore it is that I have brought them with me in my pocket; and I shall now read two or three paragraphs from them, because I think it is most important that English gentlemen and Scotch gentlemen, as many of them as are opposed to us, should understand what is the feeling excited in Ireland by the discussion of this subject. Mr. Barrett may be wrong in having expressed the opinions that have been commented upon, but it is right that you should know that such opinions are entertained. It is more important that you should know of those opinions, either than they should be commented upon, or censured in this House. The first petition to which I wish to call your attention is from the county of Limerick. It is a petition from the inhabitants of Newcastle, and signed by six hundred persons. The petitioners state this:—The hon. Member here read the petition, which gave a detailed history of the government of Ireland, and the many injuries inflicted upon the people, and concluded by declaring that the bill of Lord Stanley would be regarded by Irishmen as an additional injury. I perceive at the foot of this petition the signature of a gentleman who is vicar-general of the diocese. A more exemplary clergyman there does not live—a man of higher intellect, of greater utility, of more spiritual character, or of superior attainments; he is one of ascetic piety; and yet that gen- tleman has felt called upon to prepare a petition of this description. Why is it that I bring it before you—why do I read it to the House? It is to give you some notion of that which is felt in Ireland respecting your conduct. I have now another petition from a different part of Ireland. It is from Clonrush, in the county of Galway, and is signed by a Catholic clergyman. The petition points out the many vexatious and great expenses entailed on them by the present system of registration, all of which they declared would be aggravated by Lord Stanley's bill. There is another paragraph in it, which is equally strong with that of Newcastle, to which I have called your attention. In performing the task that is now assigned to me, I have thought it incumbent upon me to call your attention to these things, in order that you may know that the sentiments which you will hear expressed are not those of a solitary individual, but those that are generally, I may add universally, entertained by the people of Ireland. The people of Ireland, you ought to be aware of it, know perfectly well the nature of the contest that is now going on. They know what that contest is about, and they are not to be deluded by any special pleading upon words, nor chicanery about clauses—nor do they think much of your talk of registration, nor even for the statistical results that have been stated by the right hon. and learned Recorder. I may say of him, that I am glad to see that he can be in such excellent spirits, after his noble vindication of the Irish landlords. But this I tell you, the people of Ireland understand the question perfectly well. They comprehend thoroughly what is the simple and single issue between us. They know well that the question is this—whether you will pass a measure to extinguish the franchise, or pass a measure to extend the franchise. Everything else but this is collateral matter. It is the mere buckram and stay-tape, not the body nor the substance. It cannot be disguised from their common sense, that the measure of the noble Lord on this side of the House is a measure for extending the franchise—not so much as I would wish, nor so greatly as it is apprehended by others—but still the measure of the noble Lord is a measure for the extension of the franchise. The right hon. baronet has said, "well, fight the battle at your registries;" and the noble Lord. the Member for North Lancashire; followed up the hint. And how was it that he wished the battle should be fought—by closing up the registries as against the people. The noble Lord has designedly—of course he has, for no man could with the intentions he has do any such thing but designedly—and when the right hon. Baronet said fight your battles at the registries, the noble Lord has taken care that the battles shall be fought in a field of his own selection, where the forces shall be all on one side, and the opposite party shall be excluded altogether. But then you cannot do this without the Irish people knowing it; and without their feeling that in your thus acting you are trampling upon them, and extinguishing their rights. It is quite true, then, that this is a national contest. The hon. and learned Sergeant (Mr. Jackson) has proved satisfactorily that a majority of English Members are for doing this, and that this is an English act of hostility to Ireland. There is not an Irishman who does not feel this. You have, then, a majority of English Members against Ireland, and you have, too, with them the learned Sergeant, who calls himself an Irishman. There is, too, the right hon. and learned Recorder, who actually called himself (but, without any disrespect, does not prove himself to be) a very good one. There is worse than a national feeling in this; and assuredly you have, without this, injured us often and long enough. It is, I affirm, worse than a national contest, for there is mixed up in it religious bigotry and national prejudice. We are Catholics and you are Protestants. The noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire has of course no Protestant prejudices whatever. He it is who has arrayed Englishmen against Irishmen—Catholics against Protestants—in this contest. Abide by him—abide by this—and you will have done irreparable injury. The world is listening to us. Foreign countries do not pay any regard to your little details or to your paltry quibbles upon the question; but they understand the question itself. They will not enter into your discussion upon your pretences, but they look watchfully to what it is you are about to determine. Why, then, should you not meet the real question openly and manfully, as becomes Englishmen? All the nations of the earth look with deep interest to your proceedings—with a deep interest in your prosperity. Some of them with a deep hatred for this country—many of them. France sees and understands all this, in her present position; Spain, too, comprehends. Russia is also regarding it. America sees and understands the discussion. They all know its object, and the necessity for its termination. You have had hints upon this subject that have been tolerably distinct. It is my part to speak out. I generally do so, and here it is my duty to speak out. I am here the stipendiary of the Irish nation. I am proud of being so; for forty years I have enjoyed the confidence of her people, a confidence that has not been diminished—perhaps it may. The right hon. the Vice-president of the Board of Trade (Mr. Sheil) gave you a sufficiently distinct hint upon this subject. He is an Englishman. He is an Irishman, I beg his pardon. But the right hon. the Secretary at War gave you a distinct hint—almost as distinct as that given by the Vice-president of the Board of Trade—almost as much so as I would wish to give, or could give, without its coming in the nature of a threat. But then is he not the Secretary at War? If he knew that a regiment was about to desert, would it not be his duty to tell the fact? You may sneer at it now, for you are not engaged in war. The Secretary at War is naturally desirous that if you were engaged in war, you should recruit from a nation disposed to be your allies—that you should not make it hostile. He then told you that which was his advice, and which it was consistent with his office to give, and in doing so he performed that which every man in this House owes to the country I, too, mean to speak out, and I care not how I may be calumniated, or what motives may be attributed to 'me for doing so; I am here as sincerely anxious, as truly desirous, to preserve the connection between the two countries as any man who listens to me. I admit to you that I am convinced that connection may be eminently useful, that there cannot be a severance without danger, and that if the severance were to take place through violence and blood, it would be a crime too large for execration. I think, Sir, that this Parliament is not fit to legislate for Ireland; and if I wanted a proof of that, I find it in he spirit of the hon. Member for Wakefield, whom I heard this night with great pleasure and great pain. I heard him make a most powerful speech, and of great distinctness, in favour of the present bill; and he condemned emphatically and violently the bill of the noble Lord opposite, and yet he came to the lame and impotent conclusion of voting against the bill of the noble Lord on this side of the House. Why is it, that a gentleman of his moderation would refuse to Irish Catholics their enfranchisement? He admitted that justice ought to be done—that enfranchisement ought to be given, and yet he substantially refuses both. Did not the hon. and learned Member for Liskeard tell you facts that ought to make a deep impression on your minds—that you should recollect that you were legislating for Ireland, and what you ought to do. How does Ireland regard this? We have heard of men boasting of their allegiance; but if you be true in your allegiance to the Crown, is it not your first duty to preserve that country, which is the right arm of England in battle, and her best friend in peace? Can you do this, if you legislate for Ireland, and yet do not know how the people of Ireland feel with respect to what you are doing? Did not the hon. and learned Member for Liskeard, tell you this truth—that there never yet was any country that suffered so much from another, as Ireland has from you? Is it—can it be denied? No one has ventured to deny it. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Pembroke, avoided it; but the people of Ireland know it. Did you not inflict upon Ireland seven centuries of misrule? for four centuries of these, was it not a point of nonsuit at a trial for murder if a man pleaded that the person killed was an Irishman? If there were an indictment for murder, it was a good plea if it were stated that the deceased—that the man put to death by violence—was an Irishman, by means whereof no prosecution for felony could be maintained. Was there not the same price for the head of a wolf and that of a Catholic priest? And do not Irishmen know this? They may forgive, but it is impossible that they should forget it, until you forget the spirit which actuated these laws, and until, too, you forget to act against us. as if we were aliens and enemies. Will the time never come when you can abandon it? And here let me refer you to an extract from Hobbes of Malmesbury:— In which time (August, 1G49), by the dissensions in Ireland, between the confederate party and the Nuncio's party, and discontents about command, this army, otherwise sufficient, effected nothing and was at last departed, August 2, by a sally out of Dublin, which they were besieging. Within a few days after arrived Cromwell, who, with extraordinary diligence, and homed executions, in less than a twelvemonth that he staid there, subdued in a manner the whole nation, having killed or exterminated a great part of them, and leaving his son-in-law Ireton to subdue the rest. But Ireton died there (before the business was quite done) of the plague. This occurred when the popular party was in power in England, and they were more execrable tyrants, more sanguinary monsters towards the Irish people than any regal government you ever had. We recollect how your government has treated Ireland. I now come down to modern times, and I ask you, do you imagine that Irishmen do not understand the financial robbery committed by the Act of Union? Do you think that they do not understand distinctly that when that union was forced upon them you owed a debt of 446,000,000l., and that the Irish Parliament were not able to protect the country, at least so far that it did not owe more than 20,000,000l. What, then, was your union? It charged upon Ireland the interest of your debt, which, if it had its own Parliament, that debt which she owed previous to the union could not have been more than doubled. What, then, have you done for the Irish people? Mortgaged them for a debt amounting to eight or nine hundred millions. And if there be that poverty of which the right hon. Gentleman has spoken, can you discover none of the causes of it? If Ireland become wealthy, it will not be for herself; it will be for you. Do not, then, tell me, as I hitherto have been told, that the greatest blessings have followed to Ireland from the union. Who does not recollect the six hours' speech of a Chancellor of the Exchequer to prove all this? What has been his reasoning, and how has it been commented upon by the bill of the noble Lord opposite, and the statistics of the right hon. Gentleman who proved that, because we had four million of paupers, we were not qualified for the franchise? Let the hon. Member for Wakefield, remember that we are now told we cannot have the franchise by reason of our poverty; and then let me be allowed to tell you that the union cannot have been such a blessing, when it robs men of the franchise on account of their poverty. There is another subject to which I must advert—the church. It is one that I approach with more reluctance, although I do not know why. Do you think that the people of Ireland can he content to see one-eighth of the inhabitants having a church that was established for the whole people? You have made laws upon this subject. You concurred in striking off one-fourth of its demands, and that law has been followed' by a longer period of tranquillity than any you have enacted. But do you think that reconciles them to the remaining three-fourths? It does not—and I told you at the time it would not. It was only an instalment of the large sum of justice you ought to have paid them; then blame yourself for the results, which, if they be not such as you wish for, are sure to follow. You have boasted of the Ulster requisition in support of the noble Lord's bill. By how many clergymen of the Established Church, think you, it is signed? By no less than 216. There, then, is one of your arguments in support of the Established Church. You find there the names of so many clergymen calling for such a bill as that which the noble Lord opposite would give to us. For what were they requisitionists? If they came forward and asked for rights for themselves, it would be justifiable. If they came forward and sought privileges for Protestants, that were denied to them it would be not only praiseworthy, but deserving of support. But instead of that, they are coming forward to prevent Roman Catholics from having their political rights. Think of the impression that is calculated to make upon the minds of Irishmen. But, forsooth, you are excellent Protestants. Are you rational Protestants? Do you wish to spread Protestantism over Ireland? Do you desire to convert its inhabitants from the "errors of Popery?" If you do, then is it wise in you to make your clergymen the personal enemies of the Irish people? Is it wise for such a purpose as that to present to us the church as the constant obstruction between the Irish people and their liberties? Sir Thomas Buxton warned you in this House of the consequences of what you were doing. He is a pure, a thoroughly convinced Protestant, and he told you that all Protestantism wanted was a clear stage and no favour, whereas you had encumbered it with your patronage, and ruined it by your aid. Does not this prove how truly he spoke? Again, recollect that the Irish people know this. What was your last insult to them? The Corporate Reform Bill. That was, I repeat it, your last insult. England got a Corporate Reform Bill, and again we were told that by reason of the church, Ireland could not have such a Reform Bill as England has. Every man, in every town in England, who is rated for a single sixpence, has his vote as a burgess. Why did not Ireland get that? If an Irish burgess happened to be born in Bristol, he would have the vote; but having been born in Dublin, he has no vote. Why is this?—merely because he is an Irishman? Do you think that Irishmen do not comprehend the distinction? "Lay not the flattering unction to your soul." I thought that the learned Recorder would not assail the bill; because the rating afforded an abundant mode for ascertaining the franchise. He takes up the bill and, I must say, does not show much legal knowledge on the point, in his comments with respect to it, the right hon. Member, in the debate on the Irish Corporation Bill of last year, observed that the Poor-law would afford a sufficient basis for the franchise-And now he opposes a bill which takes as the test of the franchise, being rated under the Poor-law. But what do I next complain of? It is the abolition of the 40s. freeholders. It was said, that this was in consequence of a compact. I utterly and disdainfully deny it. The 40s. freeholders were disfranchised, not because they were dependent, but because they were independent. It was determined to destroy them when they had ceased to be the serfs and slaves. They returned for Lowth, Mr. Dawson against the interests of the Forsters. They returned Mr. Stuart for Waterford, against the entire power of the Beresfords, and, in 1838, I was returned to Parliament by the 40s. freeholders of Clare. Yet the noble Lord ventures to tell me—he is a bold man; he presumes to assert as a fact—these voters were suppressed by reason of their dependency, and not by reason of their religion. Oh, Sir, I am astonished in the station which the noble Lords fills, that he would allow himself to state as a fact what is so far from the truth. When that bill was in progress, sixty-three Irish Members and gentlemen came over to watch the proceedings. The moment the bill was introduced for the disfranchisement of the 40s. freeholders, we held a meeting at the Thatched House Tavern. I drew up a petition, which was unanimously adopted; and what was its purport? It called upon the House, if it had determined to emancipate the Catholics only on the condition of extinguishing the 40s. freeholders; it called upon them, I say, and the petition stands recorded, to reject the Emancipation Bill, rather than commit that great and monstrous injustice. And yet the noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire, ventures to come forward, and tell me that the 40s. freeholders were disfranchised by a compact, and not for their opinions, but because they were dependent. You may call that measure a settlement if you please. You may talk of it as a settlement—I care not at what side of the House. You may be pleased to style it a bargain—but it was the bargain of the man in "Gil Bias," who, after stealing a purse, asks his victim how much he will give to get back part of what was his own. You may varnish over the transaction with what fine names you please, but you cannot blind the people of Ireland to the fact that you committed an unbearable outrage upon them by that proceeding. But an opportunity soon came, when you might have remedied your injustice. You had—the noble Lord had, that opportunity in the Reform Bill. And what did he do? He left—because he did not dare to touch—the existing franchises, narrow and paltry as they were; but at that season, when Parliament was giving so mighty an extension of popular power to England and Scotland, what use did it make of the opportunity for Ireland? When you ought then to have restored the old accustomed 40s. franchise to Ireland, why did you not do it? Because the same spirit prevailed then that prevailed now. Because, for the calamity of Ireland, the noble Lord opposite was Chief Secretary. At that time, I waited, in company with Sir John Newport, on the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies, for the purpose of representing the necessity of giving increased franchises to Ireland. We left him with the impression that he was nearly convinced. I must do him the justice to say, that he did not commit himself. But we were so strongly impressed, from what passed, with the conviction that the noble Lord was with us, that we reported to the conference by whom we were deputed that we had succeeded. However, we were soon undeceived. The noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire, had taken care to secure Lord Althorp. We were sent for to a second interview, at which we found the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies (Lord J. Russell), Lord Althorp, and the noble Lord opposite himself. I will not say we were ill treated, but we were prevented from urging our claims by the perpetual interference of the noble Lord, and we came away from the interview without any doubt that we were utterly discomfited and defeated. In spite of our best efforts they refused to give us a proper Reform Bill. Are you not refusing it to us still? What do we want now but a proper Reform Bill? I heard one of the most learned and pleasing speakers that ever addressed a public assembly—the hon. and learned Member for Exeter—talk of the disfranchisement of all the constituencies of Ireland. It seemed to me most extraordinary to hear him talk of sweeping away the ten-pound franchise. He did not seem to recollect that every man having a ten-pound freehold must have at least the value which would cause him to be rated at five pounds for the poor rate; and, therefore, if his franchise was taken from him in one capacity, it would be sure to be restored to him in another. It has been said that we have made out no case for this bill. The noble Lord, whose manner is certainly excellent, for nobody is a better debater, took out a paper and read from it what he called the state of the franchises in Ireland. The noble Lord said, are not the franchises of Ireland sufficient without further extension? And the learned Recorder this evening rested the same argument on the same paper. The noble Lord said, here are very ample franchises, for there appear to be 17,000 registered in Dublin. Now what does that prove? Before the last election, I found from 12,000 to 14,000 on the register, and how many did I poll? only 3,500, and my opponents polled about 3,400. The whole number polled on both sides was no more than 7,000. That election was as closely contested as it could be. It was carried by a majority of eighty. Every man was polled on each side that could possibly be brought up, and yet only 7,000 voters were to be found out of the nominal constituency of 14,000. And that, be it observed, was the case in Dublin, where the registry has been better watched than anywhere else. What need I proceed to comment on this palpable misrepresentation? The noble Lord founded his argument on a return dated in February, and made up before the old registry had expired; therefore every man that was duly registered appears in it. All the dead have come to life there. Those whose terms were expired; those who had changed their residence, and registered again; those who had changed their residence, and not registered again; those who had lost their qualification in any way, were all there. The dead, the extinguished, the duplicates, everybody was there; and when these manifold mistakes were pointed out, the noble Lord, with a theatrical air, flourished the paper, and asked why the Government should present such a document. I wish he had been in his place to hear the hon. Member for Belfast, who was candid enough—though candour was not his forte—to admit that the paper was a perfect fiction.—"Fictitious" was the word he used, but the learned Recorder still used the paper with as much countenance as he could possibly assume. I cannot be shaken from calling upon the House to see whether we have got the franchises we ought to have. Let me remind you that the limited franchise was not the only injustice of the Reform Bill. There was another most crying injustice; you remodelled the constituencies of England, and you added to the county Members. To every county in England having more than 100,000 inhabitants you gave more than two additional Members. How did it happen that to no one county in Ireland did you add a single representative. Oh! your foreign relations have been talked of,—you may want us to join you in battle; we have joined you in battle before, and I hope we shall join you again. You want us to share in your burdens. As far as that poverty which you have created will enable us we do so. You talk of union, but what is union without identification? If we have union, why should we not have assimilation? Now, when you were giving the additional Members to the English counties, on what principle did you proceed? Did you go upon an estimate of property? Did you investigate the value of estates, and enquire how much land was worth? No; you took population as your basis, and population alone. But when you came to Ireland you rejected it, and refused her franchise because you said her population is poor and wretched. Do you think there is not enough of common sense in Ireland to appreciate the insult contained in that proceeding? Now I would call the attention of the sober and thinking people of England, who are free from the bias of national hate or religious bigotry—I would call the attention of the hon. Member for Wakefield, notwithstanding the miserable conclusion to which he had arrived, to the contrast between the treatment of England and that of Ireland in the distribution of Members by the Reform Bill—I would tell him that Cumberland, containing 126,681 inhabitants, received two additional Members, and has now four Representatives in Parliament, while the county of Cork, with a population of 713,716, having but two Representatives before the Reform Bill, did not receive one additional Member. Yet the additional Members in England were given on the basis of population. Northampton, with a population of 179,276, received two additional Members, and has now four Members, while Down, with a population of 337,871, had but two before, and has only two still. Leicestershire, with a population of 192,276, received two additional Members, and has now four, while Tipperary, with a population of 380,598, did not receive one additional Member. Wiltshire with 239,181 inhabitants, received two additional Members; while Tyrone—Protestant Tyrone—did not get one. The injustice of all this is infinitely more strong and glaring when we recollect that Scotland, with her 2,365,807 and forty-five members, got eight additional Members; while Ireland, with her eight millions, had an addition of only five. Remember, too, that Wales, with one-tenth of the population of Ireland, got an increase of four Members. If you call this Union, I ask is it a Union with which I, as a lover of liberty, and insisting upon a perfect equality with you, ought to be content? The people of Ireland are not, and ought not to be satisfied with it; but you will render it even more and more unendurable if you throw another poisonous ingredient into the cup—if you vote a Registration Bill, framed for the destruction of the remnant of our franchises. Consider what a fact this is—Wales with 800,000 inhabitants, has twenty-eight Members; Cork county and city and boroughs, with nearly a million, have but eight Members. There is but one magic in politics, and that is to be in the right. We have it here, for we have the opinion of all thinking men with us. Well, I come to our difference, compared with the smaller counties. Rutlandshire with 19,815 inhabitants had, after the Reform Bill, 1,296 electors, and in 1840, 1373; Longford with 112,558 inhabitants, or five times the population of Rutland, had 1294 electors after the Reform Bill, and in 1841, it has only 949. It has been reduced one-fourth since the Reform Bill. Indeed, I feel some gratitude to the noble Lord—not for his intentions, but for his not leaving the franchise to extinguish itself'. Small as it was, it was diminishing and dying out, and might have been destroyed, if the people of Ireland had not been roused by the attack of the noble Lord. He has summoned them to the field, and he will nor, find them backward in the contest. I might add to the instances of inequality and injustice which the comparative situations of the English and Irish counties furnish; but why should I detain you longer? I have adduced the most unanswerable proofs of the enormous extent of your franchise, and of the miserable deficiency of ours. But property, forsooth, was the principle of the franchise of the Reform Bill. If it was, on what principle did you disfranchise boroughs? On the principle of population alone. On what principle did you enfranchise the new boroughs? On the same principle of population alone. You used the principle of population for the disfranchisement of the old boroughs, and the enfranchisement of the new ones. You used it when it suited your purposes, and then you turn round to the people of Ireland, and tell them they shall have no advantage from it. We represent our numbers, and your answer is that we are poor. If we are, we are the more in want of Representatives to protect us. Who wants Representatives so much as the man who is least able to help himself? But is this your account of the benefits we have derived from the Union? The Union has lasted forty-one years, and do you tell us we are too miserable to exercise the rights of freemen? Forty-one years of Union with you have left us so wretched, that we are too poor to be entrusted with franchises. It may be said, it has been said, that this bill may be extended to England. I shall be heartily ready to support such extension. I claim no right for myself which I am not ready to extend to others. Having something more to say, I dislike to enter on the question as to how the franchise should be rated, but I shall say a word on the definition of the franchise. The noble Lord opposite, as every one knows, has left us perfectly at sea as to any definition of that which is to be registered. He proposes a bill full of complicated clauses for the registry of the franchise. But he does not dare to tell us what the franchise is. He would have us make a machine without knowing for what. He goes to great trouble for the legislative arrangement of something, but will not tell us what it is. The hon. Member for Exeter, indeed, seemed to think it perfectly clear. I have a great respect for the hon. and learned Gentleman. There is a fascination in his eloquence which could only spring from a union of the most eminent talent, with the kindliest disposition. I say it not in compliment, for why should I compliment him, that he appears to have that combination, so rare amongst lawyers, of the highest qualities of an advocate and a judge, but I cannot assent to the opinion which he has expressed of the meaning of the franchises created by the Reform Act. Let me take this opportunity of correcting a mistake of the noble Lord, the Member for Northumberland, who attributed to me an opinion which I do not hold. In my opinion, the beneficial interest is the worth of holding, after deducting the labour of cultivation and the capital employed in it. Therefore, the produce of man's own labour is no ingredient in the beneficial interest. What was the state of the 10l. freehold franchise, as created by 10 Geo. 4th, and confirmed by the Reform Bill? In seeking the meaning of the Reform Bill, I shall not look to the debates upon it, for it is quite clear that the reporters understood nothing of the subject of the franchise. In a similar clause of the Reform Bill, the franchise is mentioned three times. There is first a sixty years' beneficial interest of the clear yearly value of 10l. It goes then to a term of fourteen years, for in the Reform Bill you will find that term, and there it requires a bene- ficial interest of the clear yearly value of not less than 10l. The 10l. franchise is repeated three times, and could have no other meaning than that I attribute to it. Then next there is trial at the Sessions. The act directs the assistant-barrister to inquire into particulars of title, and also to inquire whether the claimant is also a solvent and responsible tenant, who could afford to pay the sum of 10l. over and above his rent. Here, then, is the solvent test expressly stated. I come then to the section in the Reform Act, and there I find the party must make it appear, that he has property of the value in the act mentioned. If the framers of the act had not meant differently, why not repeat the same words? If they meant differently, they would change the words, and that they have done. I will despatch this part of the subject as fast as I can. Again, a party is required to prove upon oath, and the assistant-barrister would inquire whether a solvent and responsible tenant would become bound to pay 10l. more than the party in possession. That is by the Emancipation Act. The words are rejected in the Reform Act till it came to this, namely, whether the property is of the value and nature hereinbefore described. The same was said of the beneficial interest, whatever meaning may be attached to it. I feel that I could convince any man of legal knowledge—I have not the least doubt if the hon. and learned Member for Exeter was upon the bench, I could convince him that it was impossible that the Legislature could make a change in the words of an act without intending something by it. A man is obliged first to swear that he had a clear profit of 10l. a year in his freehold, and he is bound further to add, upon oath, that a solvent and responsible tenant could pay 10l. a year more. That is the oath in the Emancipation Act. What is the oath in the Reform Act? The first part, and that only is required, namely, that the party should have 10l. a-year. The second part is totally omitted from the oath, and why is it omitted? Will you say that it is a mere repetition in the first oath? Will you say it is because it was thought unnecessary to swear twice the same thing? I say that he does not swear the same thing. He manifestly did not, he swore a very different thing. In the one oath there is an important member of the sentence altogether omitted. I think it but right to vindicate the Irish judges—the minority, and now, I believe, the majority—against the repetition of the accusations brought against them. Is it not manifest that any man who brings in a reform registration bill without reform, and without defining the franchise, leaves the conflicting points to be defined as the judges think right? The opinions of Chief Baron Brady and of Judge Crampton have been read publicly, and they are opposed the one to the other. I ask is that proper? Is it conducive to the due administration of justice? And yet the noble Lord opposite wants to preserve those inducements that prompt men to assail judges of the character of Baron Richards and Chief Baron Brady. Would to Heaven that we had such good judges on the bench as the hon. and learned Member for Exeter; and I call on that hon. and learned Member to attend to this:—The right hon. and learned Recorder for Dublin has read the opinion of Judge Crampton, and in that opinion that learned judge said there was nothing but an air-drawn and ill-defined distinction between a meeting of the judges in the Court of Exchequer Chamber, and a meeting of the judges to consult upon a point upon which a brother judge might wish to consult them. Is there not this distinction, that in the one there is a writ of error from the judgment, and in the other there is no appeal. And yet this Judge Crampton, the Coryphoeus of the party opposite, takes this most extraordinary view of the matter; but I do not wonder at it, for he is at the very bottom of all the disgraceful scenes that have occurred among the Irish judges. Why, otherwise, in opposition to his brother judge, Baron Richards, talk of this important difference as an air-drawn, imaginary distinction: With all respect to the hon. and learned Member for Exeter, it is a mockery to say that the judges should be bound by Judge Crampton's opinion. "Oh, but," it will be said, "this is the opinion given by the majority of the judges." If an appeal is made to a single judge, he is bound to give his opinion upon oath; but in this case there was not even an appeal to the twelve judges. Were they sworn? I would not give the judges such power: and why? I heard the noble Lord the Member for Northumberland say that in his opinion, and he is no small authority on constitutional questions, it is unconstitutional for a mi- nority of the judges to resist the majority. I ask the noble Lord this: Has the Reform Bill given an appeal to the twelve judges? If it had, would it not have gone farther, and would it not have given an appeal to the House of Lords? And what would be the consequence if they had given an appeal to the twelve judges? They could not leave the franchise of this House and of the people at the mercy of the judges without giving an appeal to the House of Lords, and they could not do that in such a case as this, for they could not leave the franchise at the mercy of the other House of Parliament. Thus the ultimate decision can never arise in such a case. But I am told that Frost's case has decided the point. I believe, and I feel bound to state my belief, that the conviction of Frost was contrary to law. I know that he was guilty of a most heinous crime, but I am bound to say, that I was not satisfied with the manner in which his trial terminated. I think that every man who is tried for his life has a right to appeal to the judges who preside at his trial, and the opinions of those judges, if in his favour, just as much as the opinions of the jury, entitle him to an acquittal. In Frost's case the judges who presided at the trial were favourable to the prisoner, and yet the conviction against him was confirmed by the majority of the whole of the judges. Let me not hear, then, of Frost's case, as a case in point. I dispute it altogether. It may as well be said, that every madman ought to be hanged, because Bellingham committed an atrocious crime. I heard with great surprise, the right hon. and learned Member for the university of Dublin, talk of a judge being bound by the decision of the twelve judges in civil bill cases. I know that Judge Jebb held a doctrine directly the reverse—a doctrine which he laid down in the celebrated case of Franklin v. Hewson. That learned judge there, said, that he did not feel himself bound by the majority of the judges, because he came to them merely for advice upon a matter not coming before them judicially. No man is bound by the opinion of the entire twelve judges in this country; he has an appeal to the House of Lords, and if you carry out to its legitimate extent the principle of the minority of the judges binding the majority, you must go farther, and place in the hands of a Tory majority the power of deciding upon the franchise of the Irish people. I laugh to scorn the idea that this species of courtesy of a minority submitting to a majority is to fritter away the rights of the subject, and to take away at the same time the power of appeal to the dernier resort. I would remind the noble Lord, the Member for Northumberland, that one of the atrocities by which a dynasty forfeited its right to the Crown of this country, was a private consultation with the judges. I now respectfully call upon the House to grant the franchise demanded by the Irish people. I say that you will be only fulfilling the intention of the Reform Bill. I have the authority of a gentleman who stated that he intended to vote against the present bill, that the franchise in Ireland ought to be increased. I have the authority of common sense and reason, and of every principle of justice, that the people of the United Kingdom ought to be placed upon a footing of equality. I ask you to do justice. I have shown that you have committed grievous crimes towards Ireland. The hon. Member for Cavan, whom I respect, for he has an excellent private character, and I only regret that he has thrown his own worthiness into an unworthy scale—has told us that the party to which he belongs, and he really seems to be among them, not of them, has been making concessions for the last fifty years. I say they have made no concessions. By the treaty of Limerick, you betrayed your honour; and you betrayed the Catholic people of Ireland, first, by inducing them to disarm, and then by making them slaves. When did you take the first step towards emancipation? Not till 1778. And why did you then commence this tardy act of justice? It was because Burgoyne had surrendered at Saratoga. You refused to conciliate America, and you talked to the Americans as you now talk to the Irish people. But you learned wisdom: you began emancipation. You lost America by refusing to conciliate, you preserved Ireland by conciliation. But I will go back to within the fifty years described by the hon. Member for Cavan; I will go back to 1792, when only one Member of the Irish House of Commons could be found to lay upon the Table of the House a petition from the Irish Catholics, couched though it was in the most temperate language. And was the petition allowed to remain there? No; Mr. Latouche, the Member for Kildare, moved its rejection, and it was actually kicked out of the House. Before the termination of that very year, in November, they passed the act, which allowed Catholic barristers to practise in the courts. In 1793 they went on, and granted a more liberal degree of emancipation. When you talk of the ingratitude of the Irish people, I ask, did you not, when you lost America, preserve Ireland from France, through the gratitude of the Irish people? And let me tell you that the Irish people might have had formidable auxiliaries if they had chosen to attempt a separation of the two countries. One of the greatest blunders ever committed by that splendid roadman, Napoleon, was his disbelief of the power and number of the Irish. The Irish delegates convinced him that the Irish would receive his troops with open arms, but he never would believe that they amounted to more than 2,000,000. Fortunately for Ireland too, more so, perhaps, than for England, the infidelity of the people of France secured the support of the priesthood of Ireland. I agree with the hon. Member for Limerick that those priests, oppressed and insulted though they have been, if there was an invasion of Ireland to-morrow would be the foremost in sending their flocks to battle against the invader. When I say this, do I say it from any progress that has been made in the spirit of conciliation? Far from it. Almost every day furnishes additional insults. Have they not been called a demon priesthood, and surpliced ruffians by the journal which boasts to be the organ and leader of the party opposite? Summon M'Neil of Liverpool, Jezabel M'Neil with his petition containing 27,000 signatures against the rights of the Irish people; he is your leading orator, honest Jezabel M'Neil, and he will tell you, that the priests of Ireland are surpliced ruffians. But I tell you, do not fear. Fear, did I say? When did Englishmen fear? They never did fear. It is not a characteristic of their country. They never flinched. They would persevere in the fight as on other occasions they ever had. Who has not heard of the field of battle where 36,000 men lay dead? but then both parties were English. Therefore, think not, that I threaten, but I advise, and if circumstances of a threatening nature should arise, do not blame me; I only utter facts. How long are you to have peace with France? As the hon. Mem- ber for Pontefract (Mr. Milnes) has observed, we are at present in a state of armed peace. What is that but a state of war without its glory? Are you not, then, in a state of armed peace with France, and is there not in France, at this moment, an army of 500,000 men, with a reserve of 132,000 men, and 300,000 of national guards? Do you think, that such a people as that of France will be contented to bear with these great but useless armaments? No, they are watching you, and remember they think they have suffered humiliation at your hands. There is, then, danger of war. I do not say, that there is danger to this country, but would it not be well to have Ireland on your side? Again, are you at peace with America? There is a quarrel about Mr. M'Leod which I hope is or will be settled, but there is another quarrel about the boundary, and that is in this predicament. Both parties are now bound. You were wrong at first, but you are right now, and, therefore, you cannot concede, and the people of America will not, I am afraid, concede, for they are in the wrong. There is, therefore, a possibility of your being engaged in war. Did you read in the American papers of last week a complaint, that there were 24,000 Irish labourers within a week's journey of New York? It is your business as statesmen to recollect these things. I ask, if you were at war with France or America, would the noble Lord presume to bring in this bill? I call upon you to secure yourselves against the disgrace of having a war forced upon you. With the natural force of the empire properly combined, you may resist the world in arms; I say, then, do not set the Irish people against you. The people of Ireland feel, that this is a contest for their country and their religion. Look at what has taken place in Prussia—look at what has taken place in the Netherlands. The monarchs of those two kingdoms have wisely adopted the principle of equality amongst their subjects of all religious denominations. I want you to take example by Prussia. Let the people of Ireland know and feel that all distinctions are efficiently and really at an end. Show them that neither religion nor poverty shall deprive them of their rights. Identify them with yourselves. Refuse to take the course recommended by the noble Lord opposite, for I prophecy that if you do you are Repealers more than I. I tell you that this additional insult will rally round the banner of repeal not only almost all the middle classes, but the gentry of Ireland. I tell you, it is ridiculous to be sure, that I was very urgently pressed to propose the noble Lord opposite (Lord Stanley) as an honorary Member of the Repeal Association. I felt the noble Lord's claims, I acknowledged his merits; and had I not considered it would be mixing up too much of the ridiculous with a very grave mailer, the noble Lord would by this time be an honorary member of the Repeal Association. You talk of violence: while I live no violent measure can be taken; the Roman Catholic clergy, the best magistracy you have in Ireland—an unpaid magistracy—will second my efforts, and you will have no rebellion in Ireland. Even despite the worst Orange oppression, the people of Ireland will not violate the law; but the universal voice of that people is against the measure of the noble Lord opposite, and I trust that it will be listened to by all the good, just, and generous people of England. The hon. and learned Gentleman proceeded to say that the light hon. Baronet opposite, in quoting an alleged statement of his (Mr. O'Connell's) on the previous evening, had utterly misrepresented what he had said. The right hon. Baronet, as it would appear from the newspaper reports, had made him say that his reason for refusing the office of Chief Baron was, that he did not wish to pollute the administration of justice in Ireland; but what he had really said, so far from intimating a distrust that he should exhibit a partiality towards persons who were of his own opinions, was, that he feared lest his desire to be impartial might lead him to lean rather in favour of those from whom he differed. The noble Lord opposite would have no such refusals if he came into office. Anything bearing upon impartiality came with singular effect from hon. Gentlemen opposite, while the man who differed from their party in politics did not dare to travel along their roads in Ireland, not even in civilized Ulster. If hon. Gentlemen wanted a proof of this, let them take it from this account, from the Newry Examiner, of the outrage which had been offered to him, and for which outrage no man had been punished. He stated the case as a mere matter of fact bearing on the question, and it ran thus:— DROMORE PETTY SESSIONS—WEDNESDAY. Magistrates presiding—Rev. Elgie Boyd, D. Lindsay, and—. Dolling, Esqs. James Marron, an inhabitant of Dromore, charged sixteen persons whom he had duly summoned, with riot and assault, committed on the 18th of January. The circumstances of the case, as they came out in evidence, were as follows;—A large mob, of between 400 and 500 persons had collected in the town of Dromore, early on the 18th of January (the day on which Mr. O'Connell was expected to puss through, on his way to Belfast), many of them armed with lire-arms, [He (Mr. O'Connell) should like to know whether these arms were registered.") There were also posted on the walls placards of an insulting and inflammatory kind. On finding that Mr. O'Connell had passed through on the previous Saturday, the crowd got an effigy made which they carried on a pole to a place called 'The Round Hill,' close to the road on the Newry side of the town; and hung up the effigy there. They then discharged their fire-arms at that, having been disappointed of the man himself. While the Orange mob were so employed, the complainant, a Catholic, who was out in that direction, advanced to the crowd, when he was instantly assailed with cries of 'To hell with the Pope!' and other such language, which was followed up by some of the mob striking him. He then left the field and went into town, followed all the way by the mob, who continued pelting him with stones and sods until he got into a house in the town. One man, named Reynolds, was taken up by the police in the course of the day with a pistol concealed in his pocket. Several other assaults were proved to have been committed, upon such Catholics as were foolish enough to leave their houses on that day. After an investigation of more than three hours duration, the complainant's informations were taken against five of the persons charged, who were accordingly held to bail to take their trial at the ensuing quarter sessions. Their names are John Gowdy, Jeremiah Meany, Samuel Meany, John Meany, and James Dobbin. About six of the others were bound over to keep the peace for two years. These were the civilised Ulster men, the northern petitioners, the supporters of the noble Lord, and whom he must support in return. Then, again, there was the case, where, in the presence of the gallant Member for Armagh, and in spite of all his efforts, within the last three years, the town of Maharagh was wrecked from one end to the other, and the houses and property of the Roman Catholic inhabitants destroyed, themselves being obliged to fly to save their lives. For this outrage how many had been punished? Not one; yet it happened in noon day, and in the presence of the gallant Member, and was committed by the party to whom the hon. and gallant General belonged. These were the flower of Ireland, the civilised men of the north! Were these the only unpunished outrages? Not by very many, i In 1835, five or six Roman Catholic children in the county of Monaghan, at a place called Mollyash, were fired upon, and two of them shot, but not a single individual had been punished, for the outrage. To descend to minor offences, he found the Fermanagh Reporter, itself an Orange journal, lamenting the system of assailing respectable Roman Catholic residents in that neighbourhood, "who were attacked and dreadfully beaten by mobs, merely on account of their religion." We regret to state," said that journal, "that an inoffensive and respectable Roman Catholic inhabitant was set upon by some ruffians on last fair night in Darlington-street, Enniskillen, and, but for the opportune arrival of head constable Nolan and a party of the constabulary, would have suffered great bodily injury. They fled on the approach of the police, and escaped in the dark. Same night, in same street, an aged gentleman, also a Roman Catholic, with a child by the hand, was brutally knocked down, and his ear split in three places from the blow of a bludgeon. Was the House aware that only in four counties in Ireland was there a majority of Protestants? That in the province of Ulster there was a majority of 116,000 Roman Catholics, while in the county of Clare, with 286,000 Roman Catholics, there were only 5,000 Protestants. He might, perhaps, be accused of using high and seditious language, but he trusted that he had spoken as became the representative of Ireland. He stood here to warn the House of events which threatened, and the House could prevent his discourse from having any unhappy results if they pleased; it was their own fault, if any future possible humiliation resulted from this evening's proceedings. But this he would declare, once for all, that he would never allow his countrymen to Lave less rights and privileges than Englishmen. He would persevere, by every means within the law and the constitution, in his struggle for the rights of himself and his fellow-countrymen. Let them grant this bill, and they take away much of his pre-sent influence. He asked the House to disarm him of his power. But if they refused to do so—if they refused to pass this bill, they would be arming him with tenfold power, because they would put the right on his side.

Sir R. Peel

then rose and said: I certainly cannot perceive the justice of the compliment which the hon. and learned Gentleman has just paid to himself, that he spoke in the tone and temper worthy of the representative of the Irish people; for any tone and temper more unworthy of that people I never heard displayed in this House than by the hon. and learned Gentleman in the course of his speech. I do not complain of the high tone taken by the hon. and learned Member, but I do complain of the apparent delight with which he gloated upon the recital of past animosities between the two countries. But (addressing himself to the hon. and learned Member for Dublin) you have met with no sympathy; not because the House is indifferent to the welfare of Ireland—not because it underrates your abilities, or would wish to treat them with disdain or disregard—but because there are not ten men in this House who could bring themselves to respond to the efforts which you have been making to keep alive that past exacerbation of feeling which all must so much deplore. I ask you, what use it is to dwell upon the history of past contests and oppressions, as you call them, of seven centuries' date; what use in referring to times when, as you say, the head of a wolf was worth as much as that of a priest? But the hon. and learned Gentleman says, that the same spirit and the same system of Government and legislation, with regard to Ireland, continue to the present day. I ask the noble Lord opposite, who is the leader of this House, and I ask the noble Lord the Secretary for Ireland, do you believe that this is a correct representation? You threaten us also with the alienation of the Irish people in times of growing difficulties and danger from without. Again, I think that here you hold language unworthy of that people. I believe that you are libelling your countrymen when you insinuate that they would not join us in repelling the attacks either of France or America, if by any misfortune we should be involved in a quarrel with either. Sir, I have heard in the course of this debate a speech more generous, and I think more just, in regard to the feelings of the people of Ireland, from an Irish, from a Roman Catholic representative, who, indignant at the attacks which were last night made upon the character of his fellow-countrymen, attacks which derived additional force from the station of the men by whom they were made, declared his opinion that, whatever might be the present temporary quarrels about registration, or the franchise in general, the Roman Catholic priests themselves would be the first to rally round the standard of England, making common cause with her, in case of foreign aggression. I hope, Sir, that the right hon. the Secretary at War, who last night, as indeed was his duty, touched upon this subject—I hope that the right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President of the Board of Trade—I hope that the hon. and learned Member for Liskeard, who last night attempted by menaces to extort concessions from us against our reasons and convictions, has listened to that speech. I hope that hon. Members opposite have well considered to what purpose this concession, urged upon us by the menaces of the hon. and learned Members for Dublin and Liskeard is to be made, I hope that they will consider after the candid avowal of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, what part it may be necessary for us to take after having put this additional means of power into his hands, by which in the course of the next session he may ask for some new concession as the price of peace. I give credit to the hon. and learned Gentleman for his candour on this point—the only credit I can give him. He tells us, at the conclusion of his speech, that if we give him this concession we shall disarm him of much of his power; but what was the whole tenor of the first part of his speech? Did he not tell you, true, you have made a sacrifice of one-fourth of the revenues of the Church, but you cannot hope for any advantage from this concession till you have given up the other three-fourths also. And whilst he dilated upon the history of the miseries and wrongs of seven past centuries, did he not appear to have imbibed all the rancour of those very times, and with words of peace on his lips did he not give such decisive proofs of an intolerant spirit as, perhaps, was never heard from any one else in this house. The hon. and learned Gentleman complained of it as if it were a crime that the clergymen of the Church of England should have petitioned the House upon this subject; but did not the hon. and learned Gentleman himself begin his speech by referring to the petition of a vicar-general of a Roman Catholic diocese. Surely if a Roman Catholic vicar-general might urge his political views upon this House in matters not immediately affecting his calling, may not the same privilege be extended to ministers of the Established Church, who, having already made a sacrifice of one-fourth of their revenue, and hearing that that sacrifice had done nothing towards the purchase of peace, but that the other three-fourths were now demanded in addition, was anxious to state their opinions on the subject. The hon. and learned Gentleman also complained of the attacks made upon judges who concur with him in his view of a beneficial interest, and five minutes had not elapsed after making this complaint, when the hon. and learned Gentleman himself fell into the same unfortunate mistake with regard to those judges who differed in opinion with him, and went so far as to declare that one of these judges (Mr. Justice Crampton), was at the bottom of the degradation of the Irish bench, but to quit these subjects, and turn to the matter immediately before the House; Sir, if the extension of the franchise be just—if it be consistent with our past engagements, with the circumstances of those great legislative enactments which gave emancipation to the Roman Catholics, and settled the foundations on which that great measure was to rest—if it be really for the special welfare of Ireland, let us forget the inflammatory language of the hon. and learned Member, instead of remembering those declarations which always seem intended rather to discourage than promote conciliation. Let us, I say, forget these, and do that which is just in spite of the advocate. But if, on the contrary, it be proved that the rejection of the measure will be of advantage—if you are satisfied that it will disturb, perhaps overturn, the settlement of the constitution—if you think that it will not contribute to the real independence of Ireland, and to the social welfare of that country—then I say do not pass it, and do not hope that by passing it under such circumstances, you advance the cause of conciliation in Ireland. When I hear that the hon. Member insists that the diminution or other the want of an extended representation is a great injury to that country. The hon. Member used these words: "It is not only an injury, but an insult, to the people of Ireland, to restrict them to 105 Members." What were the expressions of the hon. and learned Gentleman? Why these. "It is natural that you, who have hated and injured us, should continue to hate us." These were the expressions of the hon. and learned Gentleman; but, however true they may be, they do not apply to me, for I had no part in passing the Reform Bill. The noble Lord opposite undertook that measure, and to him those expressions must be considered to be directed. If it be an injury and an insult that Cork should have only two Members whilst Cumberland has four, and that Down should have only two Members whilst Northamptonshire has four—if this be so, would it not be wise that we should consider the whole question, and not attempt to make those partial concessions against our reason and conviction that they will produce peace in Ireland. Let us consider if those concessions are just; and, if they be so, let us consider them together, and not give a partial concession to the hon. Member as an instrument to enable him to obtain the rest of what he demands. I ask the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War, whose duty it is to warn us of those intentions,—suppose that our foreign prospects next year should be more clouded than they are at present, and suppose that the hon. Member for Dublin comes forward with a notice to extend the representation of Ireland—suppose the hon. Member says, "Unless you give me what I ask, then I threaten you with the danger of the repeal of the union," would the right hon. Gentleman then come forward and tell us of the peril that might arise from refusing to conciliate the Irish people as an argument why we should concede the demands of the hon. and learned Member? The hon. Member for Liskeard had alluded to the state of Ireland, and said that, though there was not actual insurrection, yet that by the device of the hon. Member insurrection was always prepared. The hon. Member used an expression which I confess I heard with feelings of disgust. He said, "This was not one of votes but of arms." Will the hon. Member second the demand for an increased representation as a question not of arms, but votes? Will the hon. Member for Dublin promise that if these concessions ate made he will abandon all future schemes of agitation? Will he part with that admirable device by which, according to the Member for Liskeard, he keeps the country in a state of smothered insurrection, and prevents the importation of capital into that country? Or will the hon. Member accept the compliment of the hon. Member for Liskeard, that he has devised an instrument for keeping the country in a state always ready for insurrection? As I said before, if this be a measure of justice,—if it be calculated to promote the welfare of Ireland—let us not be deterred by the menaces used by the hon. Member; but let us consider whether the measure in question be consistent with our past engagements, and whether it be calculated to promote an independent electoral body in Ireland, and to promote the welfare of that country. Let us consider it calmly and deliberately, free from the influence of intimidation. Let us consider what the real nature of the proposition is. Can you deny that your proposal goes to subvert the existing representative system in Ireland, and to place in its stead an entirely new representation? In place of the present franchise in Ireland you propose a franchise to be fixed upon a rating of five pounds. In England the franchise must be above all rents and charges, but in Ireland you do not propose to attach any such condition to the franchise. The mere rating of the freeholder is to be sufficient to give him a right to vote. You propose a leasehold franchise of fourteen years, for which you require nothing more than a rating of five pounds to the poor. Of course residence is not required—all that is required is occupancy. This franchise is much more extensive than household suffrage, or than the old scot and lot franchise which you have abolished on account of the corruption to which it led. It is not necessary under this bill for the freeholder to pay one tax, it is not necessary that his property should be liable to the payment of the poor-rates, for, though he may be chargeable, he is under no obligation to pay anything. The leaseholder is exempt altogether from any obligation to pay rates. You have reduced the franchise arbitrarily from 10l. to 5l., and have you assigned any reason for so doing? My hon. Friend the Member for Belfast has shown you, in a manner not to be disputed, that the effect of your bill would be to raise the constituency of Belfast from 2,000 to upwards of 6,000 just treble what it is at present. It is not my intention now to enter into the details of this question. I do not intend to say one word with respect to the beneficial interest or to the solvent tenant test. I shall reserve that discussion for the occasion when the House will have to consider the bill of my noble Friend, and then I shall be prepared to enter into the details of that bill. On the present occasion I will not permit myself to be diverted from the consideration of the defects of your measure by being turned into the discussion of the clauses of the bill of my noble Friend. On the introduction of this bill, the main argument on which you relied for its vindication was the defects of the bill of my noble Friend. You did not produce one single argument in defence of your own measure—I did not hear anything to convince me that in consenting to pass this measure we should consult the real independence and promote the social welfare of Ireland. Now, that nothing I say may lead to misconstruction, I beg at once to state that I am willing to admit that the present mode of defining the franchise is unsatisfactory, and that I could wish a more satisfactory method were adopted. In the next place, I am willing to admit that I think the evil which is inseparable from a doubtful franchise is greatly aggravated by the unfortunate differences on the subject which now exist among the Irish judges. Sir, with whom the blame of that difference rests I will not now stop to inquire; I will hold the motives of the Bench in respect; but, for my own part, I am thoroughly convinced that the intention of the Irish Reform Bill was to adhere to the franchise prescribed in the Act of Emancipation. There may be just grounds of difference between the two sides of the House on this point; but this I say, that it is particularly unjust to load my noble Friend with calumny, and to object to his bill, because he has not introduced into it any new definition of the franchise. It is not just to say to him, "You shall not cure the admitted evils of Irish registration until Parliament can agree on a definition of the franchise." Still more monstrous and unjust is it in you to say, "We will not allow you to cure the imperfections of Irish registration unless you consent to subvert the principle of the Reform Bill." It is admitted—cannot have a stronger sentence to prove it than that which fell from the hon. Member for the Queen's County—(Mr. Fitzpatrick)—an intelligent Irish gentleman, one interested in the welfare of his country, and, moreover, one knowing the evils of Irish registration—that those evils are of a very aggravated character. What said that hon. Member yesterday evening? That nothing could be more disgusting and demoralising than the present system. Thus, these evils are admitted on all hands, and yet for five years has the Government left us without a remedy. My noble Friend has at last come forward with a remedy. What is the conduct of the Government and their adherents? Do they consent to consider the suggestion made them? Do they evince a disposition to enter upon a course of legislation that should remedy the abuses they admitted to exist? Far from it. In the first place, they take a preliminary objection to the remedy proposed to them—then, they attached to it an impossible condition, and, finally, said, "You shall not cure these evils—you shall not put an end to the frauds that are admitted on all hands, unless you consent to subvert altogether the Irish Reform Bill." I say that this is manifestly unjust. Reserve your objection to my noble Friend's bill if you please, oppose it on the second reading, or in committee, but do not attempt to defeat it by a measure like the present. If you think my noble Friend is attempting to restrict the franchise, resist that attempt. You succeeded in resisting it last year. If you think you can substitute a better tribunal than that which my noble Friend provides for the appeal suggest it, and my noble Friend, who has declared that he is not wedded, to the tribunal mentioned in his bill, will, if you can show it to be more independent and impartial than his, adopt it. But you refuse to consider his bill altogether, and, to defeat it, you bring forward another bill defining the franchise, but defining it in a way which you cannot hope will meet with the approbation of the House. What was the definition of the franchise you offered before this? The beneficial interest. And what is the opinion of the hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. Gisborne) as to the demerits of that definition? He describes it as the most imperfect and unsatisfactory of definitions. That is the description which one of your supporters gives of your imperfect attempt at legislation. Last year a motion was made on your side of the House to have an instruction agreed to before the passing of my noble Friend's bill for the definition of the franchise. Who opposed that motion? The noble Lord opposite, who divided against the instruction, on the ground that the matter required serious consideration, that he had not sufficient evidence on the subject, and consequently, was not in a condition to define. I ask you, in what better condition are you now? What have been the results of subsequent deliberation? Why, the production of evidence that the rate now proposed is insufficient, and cannot be relied on; and yet the noble Lord will not permit my noble Friend to remedy the evils which all acknowledge to exist, unless he consents to pass a bill founded on documents which only tend to prove the test proposed in the bill now before the House are insufficient. Sir, I omitted to state that not only is the test imperfect, but the noble Lord makes a complete revolution in the franchise—a change which, in England, would destroy the freehold franchise altogether. Not only does this bill provide a test that is imperfect, but it abolishes altogether the test of profit derivable from the freehold. It takes no evidence whatever as to whether the man who possesses a freehold derives any profit from it. And that is the nature of the measure to which you require our consent. I could not deny that in Ireland it would amount to a complete subversion of the Reform Act. I ask whether this franchise—worse than the scot and lot franchise, more extensive than the household franchise—be consistent with the public engagement into which the House entered when it consented to relieve the Roman Catholics from the disabilities under which they had previously laboured? It is true that there was no written engagement with the Roman Catholics upon the subject. The Roman Catholic Relief Bill was passed without any communication with the Roman Catholics of Ireland; no compact was made with them to prevent them, if they thought fit, from agitating the question of an extended franchise. But there may be compacts—unwritten, unrecorded, perhaps unmentioned—which had all the force of public engagements. I am sure the noble Lord will not deny that there may be such compacts, although they may not have been reduced to writing. The noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies, will not deny that there are compacts by which public men should be bound, and which Legislatures treat with respect if they wish to obtain confidence in their proceedings. The language which the noble Lord held at the passing of the Reform Bill was this. He quoted the declaration of Lord Althorp and Earl Grey with respect to the English Reform Bill. In November of the year 1837 he said— I do not say, that the people of England are precluded from reconsidering the Reform Bill if they think fit; but I am not myself going to do so. I think that re-entering into the question of registration so soon would destroy the stability of our institutions. It is quite impossible for me, hating been one who brought forward the measure of reform, who feel bound by the directions then made not to take any part in these large measures of reconstruction, or to consent to the repeal of the Reform Act, without being guilty of what I think would be a breach of faith towards those with whom I was then acting. The people of England may place others in my situation, but they must not call upon me to do that which I not only consider unwise, but what I should not feel myself justified in proposing without a breach of faith and honour. I quote these words of the noble Lord for the purpose of demonstrating that, although it may be competent to Parliament to revoke and repeal a solemn act like the Reform Act, although there may be no existing written pledge against such a procedure, yet that there may be circumstances under which public men, having obtained the acquiescence and consent of a large mass of the population—having made concessions on the one side and compromises on the other, and having conciliated support towards the passing of a particular measure—there may be circumstances, such as these, under which public men might feel a positive obligation, not merely from personal motives, but from a sense of what is due to the public interest, to adhere to engagements and promises, not written, not formally recorded, but distinctly given, and confidently received. Now, what were the circumstances under which I brought forward the Catholic Relief Bill? Sir, history is fast asserting her rights, and it is hardly necessary now to observe that delicacy which, under other circumstances, should be observed as to the communications between Ministers and the Sovereign. It is perfectly notorious that in bringing in the Relief Bill, we had to contend with the scruples of the Sovereign under whom we were acting. We brought forward that bill in 1829. In the preceding year the House of Lords, by a majority of forty, had refused to enter into the consideration of it. We brought forward the measure, and it was perfectly understood that one condition of the Relief Bill was, that the constituent body of Ireland should, if possible, be made an independent constituency; that the 40s. freeholds should be abolished and a 10l. franchise substituted. Sir, it was on the faith of that condition that the bill was acceded to, and I have not the smallest doubt that, but for it, the bill never would have passed. It was that condition which induced many to give a reluctant consent. The noble Lord surely will not deny it, because the noble Lord, in 1832, refused to alter the franchise provided by the Reform Bill, on the ground that it was part of the contract entered into at the passing of the Relief Bill. Such were the noble Lord's expressions, and he knows perfectly well that the Relief Bill would not have been passed if the abolition of the 40s. freeholders had not been granted. When the noble Lord, the Secretary for Ireland, acting on impressions different from those he now entertains, refused leave to the hon. and learned Member for Dublin to bring in a bill for the definition of the franchise, he rested his refusal on the grounds that the measure then proposed, which I believe was identical with the present one,—[Viscount Morpeth: No.] Well, whether identical or not, the noble Lord, objected to it as a measure that would subvert the settlement made in 1829 and in 1832. Now, Sir, I said last year, and I said with perfect sincerity, that I was for the complete fulfilment in the spirit in which I brought it forward, of the Catholic Relief Bill. I adhere to that declaration, but I am surely bound then to say, that the spirit in which it was brought forward should be fulfilled on the other side; and, that the conditions attached to it should be faithfully observed. Observe, at the same time, that I am far from wishing to restrict the bonâ fide franchise by any measure of registration. I confess I should see, as would also my noble Friend, with pain, that any social causes beyond the control of law should cause any great reduction of the franchises of Ireland, inconsistent with the spirit of the Relief Bill or the Reform Act. But I will make no declaration on the subject now; I suspend my judgement until I see the evidence, until I know the extent to which the diminution prevails, and the causes which have led to it. I must ascertain whether it is attributable to the reluctance of landlords to grant leases, or to the unwillingness of the unfortunate freeholder to be placed in the constant predicament of offending either his landlord or his priest. I must know all these things before I form my judgment as to whether any remedy at all is necessary, and, above all, before I form my judgment as to the nature of the remedy to be adopted. Supposing that this uncontemplated and unseen restriction of the franchise arise from the unwillingness of the landlord to grant leases, let me tell you that the remedy you now propose is no remedy at all. Your new franchise will depend on the granting of a lease, and may be equally defeated by the refusal of the landlord. How can you (the Government) ask us to decide an important question of this kind, and to devise a remedy for the evils you allege, when not proved, for anything we know, that they exist, and have certainly not proved that the remedy you propose will diminish the evil? Sir, I said, that I made it a condition of the Relief Bill, that the 40s. franchise should be abolished. Our object in doing that was to establish, if possible, an independent constituency, as exempt from the influence of the priest as of the landlord. We did not abolish the 40s. franchise on wanton or arbitrary grounds, nor as a mere sacrifice to the caprice of any one, for there was the most conclusive, the most irrefragable evidence, even from the Roman Catholics themselves, that the 40s. franchise was a curse to Ireland. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin denied in his speech of this evening, that he had given any evidence to that effect, and asked us to quote the page. I am sorry not to see the hon. and learned Member in his place, or I could refer him to pages 163, 165, and and 167 of the Lords' Report. It was not, in fact, us who abolished the 40s. franchise—it was the Roman Catholics themselves, by the evidence they gave before the Lords' Committee in 1825. Here is the evidence of the hon. and learned Member before the committee. But I forgot the hon. and learned Gentleman said, that he made a reservation of the 40s. freeholders in fee simple. It is quite true that he did so. I wonder how many of them are still existing. But I give him all the advantage of his reservation. The hon. and learned Member, when before the committee, gave the following evidence:— Do you think any voter really independent would be disqualified by raising the vote to 10l., or even to 20l.? I have no doubt that many voters really independent would be disqualified by raising it to 20l. I think very few by raising it to 10l. I think the 40s. freeholders in almost all parts increase the Protestant interests, though mostly Catholics. They are so much in the power of the Protestant landlords, that a high ascendancy gentleman in the county of Cork, could march 600 voters to an election, to vote, if he pleased, for the Grand Master of an Orange Lodge, and all under the guidance of a Roman Catholic magistrate. Do you think the raising of the qualification to 10l. would be productive of great benefit to Ireland? I think it would be productive of benefit. It is no small benefit to get rid of any portion of perjury, and it is the commencement of what we so much want in Ireland, a substantial yeomanry.—Would the qualification of 10l. be effectual for that purpose? I think it would, for this reason; there must be a clear profit rent of 10l. a year, and a freehold tenure, an interest in the land for a life. The freeholder should have a clear profit, at which he would be able to let it to a third person the next day after his own lease, and which profit the landlord might himself have got on the letting of it. With respect to the freeholders, who have a derivative interest, there is an immense deal of perjury from the accumulation of oaths, and they are part of the live stock of an estate. Another scheme has been devised by the landlords. They give cottages and an acre, or half an acre of land to the peasant rent-free, letting him, as a tenant from year to year, a tract of land adjacent. He is thus in the power of his landlord, not for the actual freehold, but for the adjacent land. Thus they are in debt for the land held at will, and in some of the counties, the voters are sold as regularly as cattle. And now, after this testimony, the hon. and learned Member asks for the franchise for these men, because they are poor—and says that we insult and degrade Ireland by refusing it. Yet the hon. and learned Member said, in 1829, There are such heart-rending scenes follow elections in Ireland, that, after every allowance for political feeling, it is hard to reconcile ourselves to such misery. There are actually complaints made to clergymen by men who are made to swear to a freehold which they really do not possess. Am I to blame, then, if I adhere to the spirit of the Relief Bill? Am I to be told that I am offering insult to Ireland, because I do not consent to re-establish a system, which was proved, in 1825, to cause "heart-rending scenes," to expose the freeholder to the anger of his landlord if he refused to perjure himself, by swearing to a freehold which in reality he did not possess. Am I to be told that I am insulting Ireland, if I endeavour to establish such an independent yeomanry as Ireland ought to possess? Why, the whole evidence of the Roman Catholics themselves goes to show, that the sacrifice of the 40s. freeholders was no act of ours. Let not the hon. and learned Member for Dublin then turn round on us, and make a motion for re-establishing the 40s. freeholders, and tell us that we were actuated by a Saxon spirit, when we refused such a mockery of a franchise. Has the hon. and learned Member never heard the evidence of Mr. Blake? He was under no undue influence when he gave his evidence. Or take a Roman Catholic priest, the rev. John Kirby. What was his evidence? He said:— I know if the matter were left to my judgment, 7l. would be the lowest qualification.—What distinction would you draw between the future political conduct of the 7l.freeholder, and the40s.? It would establish an order of freeholders, in my opinion, that from their property and intellect would go as moral agents into the Courts to give their votes. Why, Sir, a great majority of this House—the young blood which has of late been infused into it—do not remember the 40s. system. We, who were in Parliament from 1820 to 1830, understand the system. Now, to those who are not practically aware of it, I will give them a detail, which I take from the evidence of an Irish county Member, who has since been made a Peer by the present Government—I mean Mr. Dominick Browne, the Member for Mayo. Here is his account of the system:— I will give an account of this system of making freeholders. Suppose a farm of 100 acres is to be let; it would be subdivided into twenty or twenty-five holdings; it would be let at a greater rent than the grazier could afford to pay. These persons would register a 40s. freehold out of the land, for which they paid a rack rent. I have known upwards of ninety-six persons being in one lease previous to the Joint Tenancy Act, paying a rent under 70l. a year, which I believe was a rack rent, and every man registering a freehold out of that lease. I know a case of sixty-six persons living on bishop's land, which, in Ireland, cannot create a freehold. The object of the landlord was to make those persons freeholders: for this purpose he let them a barren mountain—part of his freehold estate—for 12l. a year in joint tenancy, and every one of those registered a 40s. freehold. I will state another case still more extraordinary. I know of a good number of tenants having taken a lease in 1814 when prices were highest; those persons have, within two years, all registered 40s. freeholds by virtue of their lease. Though they have received from their landlord a temporary abatement of fifty per cent., the landlord is still entitled to enforce the whole rent. There are in the evidence further details of the mode in which landlords secured the allegiance of the voters. One of these was to attach a small piece of land to the freehold, which was held at will; another was to allow the tenant to go into arrear. Another mode pointed out in the evidence was, that the right to cut turf, being a most valuable part of the freehold, the landlord preserved it under his own control, and thus controlled the vote of his tenant. Now, this was the evidence, which established beyond all denial the complete servility of the 40s. freeholders. These are the grounds, and this is the evidence, which justifies us in thinking that we are not only consulting the principle of the Relief Bill, but the social improvement of Ireland, by refusing to give a franchise tantamount to a restoration of the 40s. freehold. Will the noble Lord now permit me to call his attention to a most important part of the subject. Has the noble Lord well considered whether his proposed franchise is not liable to just the same perversion and abuse as the 40s. freehold? Let us put aside for a short time all the influence of party feelings, and consider whether the franchise may not be perverted to the worst purposes, and made to obstruct the advancement of Ireland in the path of social improvement. The noble Lord proposes that every landlord may qualify a leaseholder to vote by giving him a lease of land or tenement, to be rated at 5l. and held for fourteen years. Now, it is admitted, that there is great political excitement in Ireland, and great anxiety to get possession of political influence through the means of the franchise. The objection made to my noble Friend's bill is, that it will restrict the franchise, the advantages claimed for the bill of the noble Lord opposite is, that it will extend the franchise. Can there be a more conclusive proof of the desire in Ireland to acquire political influence by the use of land than the popularity of the latter measure. The means of acquiring influence which was given by the 40s. franchise will be given by the noble Lord's bill. Any man. who chooses to divide his estate may qualify a certain number of voters, and he may secure their dependence by means similar to those used under the old system, as there may be a tenancy at will attached to the lease more valuable than the lease itself, for the lease may be of no value. Now, observe the double temptation that will be brought to bear on the landlord, the influence of gain and of political power. It is clear from the report of the commissioners, that the small holdings are held at the highest rent, and it states a case in which a farm was valued at one-fourth the rent paid. Here is an inducement to the landlord to divide his land into small holdings; but to this, strong as it is, the inducement of political influence is added. Now, was this influence used under the old systems? Hear Judge Day; speaking of the freeholder, he says— He and his brethren are driven by the landlord into the hustings as a salesman drives his flock into the market. The system is a sort of universal suffrage. Thus the beggary of the county elects, and the property of the county is out of the case. A county adventurer multiplies upon a waste or a moss a mob of freeholders, and thus becomes a very considerable gentleman in the county. Mr. Dominick Browne, also, was asked— Is not the common practice for attorneys to take farms for the purpose of manufacturing freeholders, and then to sell their interest, thus manufactured to the best bidder among the candidates?—Very common. Another witness was asked, whether the possession of freeholds did not give great influence on the Grand Jury, and whether it did not tend to lubricate a county job, and the answer was in the affirmative. You see, then, that, under the old system, there was great temptation for abuse; and therefore I want to know from the noble Lord whether his proposed measure will not be liable to the same abuses? Is it just that, if an inferior class of landholders neglect their land, and choose to sacrifice their estates for the purpose of making voters, they should have the power to influence the conduct of the landlord who wished to improve his estate and to pro- mote the welfare of his country? But so it will be. The landholder who makes the freeholders will be found to possess too much influence in the county, and the man who disapproves of the system will be obliged to adopt the plan, in order to preserve the equilibrium of the county. There will, in fact, be constant rivalry for political power. The measure of the noble Lord has evidently a tendency in an evil direction, towards the subdivision of land, and not towards progress and improvement. I speak not now merely of moral influences, of jobs, and of influence with grand juries; I look to effects in another direction. I ask whether the noble Lord thinks he is advancing the social improvement of Ireland by giving a new stimulus to the subdivision of land? I ask him to read the reports of his own commissioners. They advised him against the adoption of the Poor-law, but he sent an intelligent gentleman from this country, one versed in the working of the English law, and such confidence had the noble Lord in this gentleman's judgment that he overlooked the report of the commission, and determined to adopt the Poor-law. Now, what was the evidence Mr. Nicholls gave on the subject of the subdivision of land. He says— Small holdings and minute subdivisions of land prevail in Donegal to a greater extent than I have found in any other part of Ireland; and the subsequent growth of population has been there so great as to press hard upon the productive powers of the soil, and to depress the condition of the people to nearly the lowest point in the social scale—exposing them, under the not unfrequent contingency of an unfavourable season, or a partial failure of the potatoe crop, to the most dreadful privations. To improve the condition of such a people, would immediately increase the productive powers of the country, which is a point well deserving the attention of the great landowners, with whom it will mainly rest. But no material or lasting improvement can be effect so long as the present division of the land into small holdings is permitted. This practice, wherever it prevails, inevitably forces the whole population down to the lowest level of subsistence—to that point, where subdivision is arrested by the dread or by the actual occurrence of starvation. And yet, with, this, evidence, given to you by your own commissioner, as to the evils arising from the subdivision of land, you venture to bring forward a measure adding to these evils, because to the temptation of the gain to be derived by letting the land in a multitude of small holdings, as compared with great ones, you add the further temptation of the gain in county influence. Sir, I have attempted to show that this extensive franchise which is now proposed to be given would be worse than the 40s. freeholds. I have attempted to show that it would not be compatibly with the fair and honourable compact entered into when the bill for repealing the Roman Catholic disabilities was passed. I have attempted to show that its effect would be to retard the social improvement of Ireland, and to encourage the subdivision of land in that country—and I ask you, when you have done all this—when you have established this precedent in favour of Ireland—whether you think it possible to refuse to extend a similar principle of franchise to this country? Have you had no demands backed by physical force, for the extension of the suffrage from this country? Suppose you had found a political party base enough to confederate with them for the purpose of embarrassing the Government, in what condition as to internal peace would this country have now been? Suppose we had said the demands of the Chartists were just—suppose we had said that physical force required concession—suppose we had said the political horizon is clouded—you had better purchase peace by the grant of privileges—in what condition would you have been? Aided by our support you would have been enabled to resist those demands. You used your influence and authority to proclaim that the Reform Bill was a permanent settlement, and that by the Reform Bill you would stand. But when you have, as relates to Ireland, on such evidence, on such a case, from such motives, brought in a bill, the essence and qualification, the essential principle of which, according to the Secretary at War, is the franchise—will you be enabled to resist the demand made for the extension of a similar principle to Ireland and to Scotland? If it be right that a suffrage more extended than household suffrage should exist in Ireland. If it be right that the freehold interests should be abolished—if it be right that without any allegation the franchise in towns in Ireland should be reduced from 10l. to 5l., do you think you will be enabled to resist demands for change here by saying that Lord Grey and Lord Althorp made a declaration in favour of the permanency of the Reform Bill in England—that it is dangerous to disturb that settlement; and, therefore, though you extend the franchise in Ireland, you will grant no further reform in this country? The hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilkenny was indiscreet enough to make too premature a demand for the extension of this suffrage to England. [Mr. Hume: I did not.] The hon. Member seems disposed to recall his words. The hon. Gentleman said, when the English Registration Bill was under consideration, why did you not bring forward this Registration Bill? and a good question too. If the settlement of the franchise be so necessary to a registration bill, why not have introduced it into the English Registration Bill? But no! You would not define the franchise. We asked you to do so. We asked you to settle this question long since, and the noble Lord would not permit us, but said, that in the present state of parties he could not permit us to define the franchise, although he would proceed to rectify the registration. My noble Friend is loaded with every species of calumny, because he does not attempt to define the franchise, and yet the noble Lord opposite proceeds with a mere Registration Bill for England, though with reference to the trusteeship of Dissenters' chapels, and a hundred other disputed questions that have arisen, he also refuses to give any definition of the franchise. The hon. Member for Kilkenny has, however, given us timely notice that a demand will be made on the noble Lord and this House for an extension of a similar franchise to England, and on what principle has the noble Lord placed the finality or permanent settlement of the Irish Reform Bill, so as to enable him to grant in one case and refuse in another? If, as I before said, on such a case as this—on such evidence as this—you are prepared not only not to support, but to subvert, the existing system in Ireland, will it, can it be possible, this alleged boon being once granted to Ireland, to refuse a similar concession to England? At the same time, I do hope the noble Lord will make a public declaration of his intentions to-night. Because nothing will so effectually tend to excite expectations and perilous struggles in the country as establishing a precedent of this kind and avoiding to make any distinct declaration as to whether that precedent is to be ap- plicable to England and Scotland. Sir, I, for one, not from any party considerations, but with a view to the peace and tranquillity of this kingdom, knowing the demand which will soon be made on the noble Lord when this precedent is established, deeply lament the course which he as a Minister of the Crown has thought it right to take. I had understood from the noble Lord that he meant steadily to adhere to the principles of the Reform Act—that as to minor details he was ready to make improvements and to remove restrictions and vexatious accompaniments to the establishment of their right. But I certainly did understand from the noble Lord that a constantly recurring agitation as to the principles of representation was, in his opinion, fraught with peril and evil to the nation. Sir, I recalled to the noble Lord that this was he language which he held in that year 1837, and which he has repeated in the better since addressed by him to his constituents. Sir, the noble Lord may now have reason for holding a different language. The noble Lord may find it necessary for the purpose of conciliating lukewarm supporters, and propping up a falling power, to give the hope of increased concession to those who were dissatisfied with the declarations of 1837, and who demanded from the noble Lord, if not actual performance, at least vague and indefinite promises as to the progress of reform. The noble Lord then steadily refused to encourage such hopes. I hope he may intend to refuse them now. But I am afraid that his power of refusing will be greatly weakened by the precedent which he has established. In 1834 the noble Lord was party to a declaration by which he discountenanced in the most formal manner, the efforts that were then being made to procure a repeal of the union. In 1834 the noble Lord was a party to place in the mouth of the Sovereign his emphatic condemnation of the mischievous agitation for the repeal of the union. The King said, in his Speech to Parliament— I have seen with feelings of deep regret and just indignation the continuance of attempts to excite the people of Ireland to demand the repeal of the legislative union. To the practices which have been used to produce disaffection to the State, and mutual distrust and animosity between the two countries, are chiefly to be attributed the spirit of insubordination which, though for the present controlled by the force of the law, has been but too perceptible in many instances. This was the language addressed in 1834 to the agitators of Ireland. In 1837, a period when the noble Lord addressed his celebrated letter to his constituents at Stroud, this was the language which he used towards the eager advocates of extended franchise:— If, after these declarations, any Member of Lord Grey's Cabinet, were to propose to begin the whole question anew, the obvious remark would be, 'You have either so egregiously deceived us that we cannot trust to your public engagements, or you have so blindly deceived yourselves that we cannot believe in the solidity of your new scheme.' But the excitement of a new change; the passions again raised; the House of Commons again in the furnace to be melted in a new mould; the people again in the temper which burst out in flames at Nottingham and Bristol, would go far to shake the stability of property, and make law the servant of disorder. The happy consummation of a labouring class toiling little and earning much would be further than ever; the security to be enjoyed in Germany or Switzerland would attract capital, and diminish employment at home; the deluded might indeed wake from their dream at length, but too late for their peace. There were many declarations, the very making of which from a place of high authority gave strength to the position of the person from whose lips they fell. The noble Lord may have found now the pressure upon him to be such that he cannot maintain an adherence to these manly declarations. The noble Lord may have observed a significant hint at the commencement of this Session, that the foreign policy of this country did not meet the approbation of some of his supporters. The noble Lord may have found it necessary to use less strong and forcible language in denouncing the efforts to promote repeal of the union by means of agitation. Still I cannot but regret he should adopt this course. I regret it for the interests of the country. The noble Lord may have found in the return for Surry, strong indications that the confidence of this country was leaving him. He may have found it necessary to seek compensation for the loss of that confidence by renewing the alliances with those in this House who appeared ready to withdraw from him their support. He may purchase by concession on those points a temporary support; but I cannot help thinking, when he recalls to mind the declarations of 1834 and 1837, that it will abate something of the feelings of satisfaction with which he may contemplate this temporary triumph—something of the satisfaction with which he may reflect on the small majority which he may call to his aid this night. It will, I think, cast a gloom over those festivities with which he may celebrate this new compact, and new alliance, if the reflection should come across him that he has gained that support, by receding from the position which enabled him to resist the progress of democratic invasion—by obstructing the progress of social improvement in Ireland by exciting hopes which he cannot realise, and by raising passions and expectations which the noble Lord cannot disappoint without becoming the object of indignation, and which he cannot gratify without becoming the fomentor of convulsion.

Lord John Russell

said Sir I am quite ready to meet the accusations and the warnings of the right hon. Gentleman. In order to do so it will be necessary for me to recur to that period to which the right hon. Baronet has alluded—that period of 1829—to show to this House, and to recal to the remembrance of this House, the circumstances under which what the right hon. Gentleman says I called a compact—and which I am ready to call a compact now—was made; and to declare to this House that I come here in fulfilment of that compact. To do this it is not necessary for me to do more than to recal to recollection a public and notorious fact, and to place myself upon this ground, that, if there was an engagement made with those who felt scruples and prejudices—scruples and prejudices which appear to me to have been unfounded—against the admission of the Roman Catholics to political power, it was right that that engagement should be kept—that if there was an engagement with the people of Ireland, it ought not to be wantonly violated, as the noble Lord has attempted. The circumstances were these:—for a long period the Catholic question had been matter of debate; men of high talent had taken part in that debate on the one side or on the other; but with respect to Ireland, owing to that strange conflict of opinion, there was no such thing as a Government. It was but the other day I read a statement made in the House of Lords by the noble Lord then Secretary of State, to the effect, that the important office of chief Secretary for Ireland was given away without his knowledge, and that the appointment was made without consulting him. The person appointed was Lord Glenelg, then Mr. Grant; and it was obvious the appointment was made for the purpose of keeping up that balance of opinion in Ireland that there could be no determined policy one way or the other. That balance was kept up. Any one who will recur to the accounts of that time, will find that there was then a vast association, having a treasury of its own, giving directions to an executive of its own throughout the country—that there were meetings, and processions with banners, and that those meetings and processions excited great alarm. Then we have the declaration of the Duke of Wellington that that state of alarm and insecurity, not positively amounting to illegality, was yet so powerful that it threatened civil war, and that those were the circumstances that induced the Government of the day to propose Catholic Emancipation. Sir, I also thought that measure a just and wise one; but the time for passing it was the most unfortunate that could have been adopted, and I could not but agree with the sentiment expressed by the late Lord Mansfield, whose speeches were always worthy of attention, that the by placing concession on the ground of fear of civil war as the motive of that concession, you would give great encouragement to combination in all future time, and induce disaffected men in Ireland, when they remembered that combination had obtained their former demands, to trust that the same means would always effect a similar object. That was a statement made by a noble Lord differing from me in politics. Sir, with respect to the subserviency of this Government to the hon. and learned Member for Dublin—with respect to the wish of this Government to conciliate agitators—I may refer to that firm Tory Government one of the chief Members of which now reproaches me. At that time, I must do that the Government the credit to say, they yielded frankly and fully. I give the right hon. Gentleman entire credits for all he has said to night with respect to his reasons for disfranchising the forty-shilling freeholders. I was one of those who at first felt a strong repugnance to that measure. I may mention incidentally that my noble Friend the present Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Ebrington, and myself, both came to London for the purpose of opposing that mea- sure if it should be proposed. I, however, afterwards thought there were reasons for its passing. In proposing his measure, the right hon. Gentleman stated in a manner likely to conciliate the friends of popular privileges, the mode in which the increased franchise was to be obtained. The elector was to go before the assistant barrister, there to put in his claim founded upon his 10l. interest, and, if the claim were admitted, he remained possessed of the franchise for eight years without question or annoyance. If, however, the barrister was of opinion that the right was not established, if the party still thought he could make out that right, an appeal was given, and he might go before a jury to ascertain the facts, or before a judge to settle the law upon the point. If it were decided in his favour, he remained for eight years unmolested. What is propossd now? To take away that privilege—to expose the elector to continual harassing and vexation. Instead of obtaining the franchise and keeping it for eight years, he may not be able to keep it for three months. If he appeal, and gains his appeal, next year he may again be opposed. Let the House bear in mind that I am now answering the charge of a breach of faith with regard to the Roman Catholic question. If there be any breach of faith, it is in the proposal of the noble Member for North Lancashire. There may be two modes of effectually depriving a man of his franchise: you may do it by the more plain and direct mode, or you may do it indirectly and circuitously. The Attorney-general told us some time ago, that no man could go into the Court of Chancery where the sum at issue was less than 100l. Suppose you were to say that a man who has a 10l. debt, shall recover it in no other way than through the Court of Chancery, do you not thereby deprive him of his right? That is, in effect, what is proposed by the bill of the noble Lord. It is the bringing in of that bill which makes it necessary for me to go into the whole question. I think we are bound in good faith to the people of Ireland to give them at least as good a franchise as that which was intended for them in 1829. That was a right given to a people disturbed. Will you take it away from a people in tranquillity? This was a franchise offered to a people agitated and threatening: I will not take it from a people loyal and obedient. I am speaking now of the proposal of the noble Lord on the opposite side of the House. I do affirm that when the noble Lord proposed his bill the people of Ireland were in a state of tranquillity. It has been admitted on the other side that they were peacefully making progress in prosperity: it was the introduction of the bill of the noble Lord which the signal for agitation. That is, a bill to take away the franchise—to destroy the franchise, and I am obliged by the conduct of the noble Lord to look at the whole question. We endeavoured last year to accomplish something by a bill affecting registration, and then we were told that we were defending fraud and perjury. Because we did not choose to enter upon the subject in the way the noble Lord approved, we were accused of being abettors of a most nefarious system; and even last night it was repeated that we were the defenders of fraud and perjury. With regard to all questions of this kind on which the Members of the present Government hold opinions different from those of hon. Gentlemen on the other side, we conceived that in many cases we were bound to carry our opinions into effect. Mr. O'Lochlen accordingly in 1835 introduced a bill for the definition of the beneficial interest. As that was not likely to be passed into a law, it was thought better that we should wait some time: it was thought better to proceed with measures upon which party violence was not excited. There were questions of great importance—on the administration of the law relating to the poor—the administration of justice—on commercial relations—and these might be discussed and disposed of without party hostility. More exciting questions might, it was supposed, be left to time, when the people of the empire should have given an impulse to the opinions entertained by Ministers, or to those which were held by their opponents. This mode of proceeding was not advantageous to us as a party; we were reproached with postponing bills relating to popular rights, and it was asserted that by this means we were losing ground. My answer was, that I thought it better for the general interest of the country to proceed with practical measures of certain benefit. To us as a party, as I said, this course was inexpedient; but can we keep that course any longer? Is it at our option? Are we to be accused as we were last year? Is it to be said that we are now favouring and screening perjury, and that we are not to declare our opinions as to what measures we consider best? We were, therefore, obliged to look at the question of the franchise, as well as at the question of registration. Whatever may be the opinion of the hon. Member for Monaghan now, his opinion last year was, that we never could arrive at a satisfactory criterion of the franchise, unless it were sought in something out of the mere averment and oath of the party himself as to the franchise itself. I do not mean, of course, to give any opinion on the law; but taking a mere liberal view, it was obvious that a man having a very small amount of property might produce witnesses who would assist him in putting his claim on the register. But the criterion we take from the poor-rate seems to be the best that we can now adopt. In the course of last summer I consulted Mr. Nicholls, and he told me that, in the present state of the country, he thought the criterion of the poor-law most advisable. I have a letter from him, dated the 24th August last, in which he tells me that, on reflection, his opinion upon this point was more and more confirmed. I did not, of course, ask him the particular amount of rate to qualify a voter for the franchise; but he strongly recommended that rating under the poor-law should be adopted as the criterion. Taking that criterion we proposed that it should be dependent also on a certain tenure by lease. Under the forty-shilling system it was some six or seven years, and we proposed that it should be fourteen years, with a rating to the amount of 5l. We took the fourteen years on account of the general custom, and in accordance also with the reports upon the Table, and we find that under this new system many freeholders now entitled to vote will be disfranchised. In union No. 1, seventeen will be disfranchised; in union No. 3, there will be also seventeen; in union No. 4, six; and in other unions 20, four and four. Each of these persons at present has a vote, and will be disfranchised under the 5l. qualification and a tenure of fourteen years. I maintain, then, that we shall have in the principle of rating under this bill an easy and correct test of the franchise. The noble Lord must admit, that the voter will possess property liable to that burden. The noble Lord, in the course of his speech, at the commencement of this discussion, undertook to show a great many things—and a great many contradictory things too. At one time he showed that the voters were in the most miserable state, and at another that they were solvent persons, possessing four or five acres each, with good food and good cloth- ing. I say, that the amount of the holding, whether it be 5l. or any other sum, as well as the duration of the term, are fit subjects for discussion in committee. I was certainly a good deal surprised at hearing the arguments of the hon. and learned Member for Exeter. I admit, that in some instances persons have got upon the register who have no right to that privilege; but I can inform the House that by the result of an experiment made in one union upon the plan proposed by the noble Lord, only four voters out of one hundred and thirty would have succeeded in getting placed upon the register. Looking at these circumstances, I say that this is an immense political question. And how does the noble Lord propose to solve it? By leaving it to the decision of the judges, that is to say, by leaving it in doubt. But, said the hon. and learned Member for Exeter, it ought not to be doubtful, because the minority of the judges ought to yield to the majority. Was there ever such a mode of establishing a political right? It was a great evil that the judges should be called upon to decide in those matters which are so closely connected with politics, but it is a much greater evil that Members of that House of high professional authority should endeavour to influence the opinion of the judges by reflections cast upon them for the honest and conscientious discharge of their duty upon the judgment-seat. The hon. and learned Member for Exeter expressed himself in no measured language, but what are the comments upon his text? I saw, in a publication issued to-day, the words of the hon. and learned Member quoted, with these remarks:— Nothing can add to the piercing severity of these words of Sir William Follett. We know little in England of partizan judges—of O'Connell judges—of men raised to the bench who had no other claims to that distinction, save only that they have for years been political Papists, and busy partisans, and subaltern agitators to Mr. Daniel O'Connell. But it is unhappily far otherwise in Ireland; and hence—and hence only—has there been witnessed the insurrection of a judicial minority against the law, as declared solemnly by ten judges of the land out of twelve. Such is the manner in which Chief Baron Brady and Baron Richards—men of unsullied character and high professional reputation—were spoken of by those who wished to obtain a decision of the judges which would accord with their views. If hon. Gentlemen opposite are to do as they choose—if they are to take away the franchise from the people of Ireland—if they are to throw false weights into the scale, let them do so; but to effect their purpose let them not abuse the balance of justice. I think that the provisions of the bill which we have introduced are founded in justice, and will relieve us from many, if not all the difficulties which at present surround this question. The noble Lord and the right hon. Gentleman opposite said that if it should turn out that the constituency of Ireland were materially diminished—if it should turn out that the landlords refused to grant leases, they would then consider what ought to be done. Was not the evil sufficiently notorious? The noble Lord opposite read on a former nig t a statement of the number of voters in different counties in Ireland. From that statement it appeared that in the counties of Tipperary, Cork, Waterford, Wicklow, and Longford, there were, in 1832, 15,867 voters. Now, I will read some returns, which will show the extent to which the disfranchisement has already arrived. In Tipperary the constituency has fallen from 4,143 to 2,462, in Cork county from 5,738 to 3,781, in Waterford from 1,675 to 1,082, in Wick-low from 2,340 to 1,580, in Longford from 1,971 to 949, making in all a diminution of 6,385, as the constituency has fallen from 15,867 to 9,482. These numbers are taken from returns made to the Government which will soon be laid before the House. The noble Lord opposite admitted the growing unwillingness on the part of landlords to grant leases. Here in the returns the diminished numbers showed the effect of the cause which the noble Lord has assigned. Are we, in the face of these facts, to be told that we are not to provide a check againt the evil until it has proceeded yet further? I will tell the House what will be the consequence of such waiting. When, disgusted with the difficulties thrown, in the way of their political rights, they will be driven to make an improper use of the political power which might still be in their possession. I do not feel so very much, shocked because some 300 or 400 persons who had only 7l. holdings enrolled upon the registry as 10l. electors. That is not so shocking to me as to have a still greater number, who are yet fully entitled, excluded by difficulties and technicalities from coming to the poll and exercising their legal rights. If they refused to define the franchise, the landlords and the nobles would dig pit-falls for the constitu- ency, the result of which would be, that the people would abandon the constitutional mode of giving expression to their opinions. But would they abandon politics? No. No; you will only drive them into illegal combinations and secret societies, until ultimately you will be compelled to yield to terror, as you did in 1829, what you ought to have conceded to reason and justice. I will not at this late hour of the night go into any other matters with respect to the Irish franchise, of which we have heard so much during the late debate. But the right hon. Gentleman, as well as others, has made an appeal to me with respect to two most important questions. He has made an appeal to me respecting my opinions on the repeal of the union, and with respect generally to the points of the Reform Act. With respect to the repeal of the union, I have nothing to add or to retract from the opinions in relation to that subject as they were read by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Pembroke; they are exactly in conformity with the opinion stated by the noble Lord, the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland, in the name of himself and in the name of the Government, in the month of November last. My noble Friend thought that the repeal of the union must lead to a separation between the two countries. Those are my own opinions with regard to repeal of the union. But while I hold these opinions, the more I dread a repeal of the union, the more I dread that calamity, the more I am of opinion that the just complaints of the people of Ireland should be attended to. If I were indifferent to the repeal of the union—if I thought that it might be repealed without an inconvenience—if I thought that the danger of that repeal; were a mere secondary question, I might not be found to be so great an opposer of the noble Lord's Bill; but it is because I like, because I am attached to, because I wish for the maintenance of the union, that I, as well as a Member of Parliament as a minister of the Crown, seek to see that the people of Ireland are not wronged by you. Then, with regard to the Reform Act: my opinion upon that point, again, is the same as the opinion which I declared to the electors of Stroud, and which I have placed on record. In that letter I pointed out the matters for which I was not prepared to vote if they were proposed to this House. My observation with regard to the Reform Act as a permanent measure, my opinions with respect to inexpedieney, and the danger of reconstructing the representation of this country, remain unchanged. But I cannot, when such a case as has been here made out occurs, and when we have determined to interfere to alter the registration, I cannot, when it is proved that on the one side the franchise is made so loose that almost any claim can be admitted, whilst on the other side the construction is so stringent as to lead almost to the extinguishment of the franchise;—when I find that one doctrine is held by one set of judges, and that another is held by a second set, and that both conceive that they are bound by the Act of Parliament to adhere to their opinions, I cannot conceive that an alteration in such a case will be construed into a precedent for an interference with the franchise in England or in Scotland, or that we propose so wide a franchise that the people of these countries will be willing to give up their franchise to obtain the proposed Irish system. The forty-shilling freeholders in England is, in fact, so large a franchise that they would be willing to exchange. At the same time I admit that there is some danger, and I therefore have been reluctant to interfere with the Reform Act in Ireland until it was made absolutely necessary. Now it is made absolutely necessary not only by the bill of the noble Lord, but by the votes of the House of Commons during the last Session. With regard to the number of electors in this country as compared with those of Ireland, what is the fact? I have already read the number of electors in five counties of Ireland, and I will now read the numbers of freeholders in two counties only in England. In the county of Lancaster, one part of which is represented by the noble Lord, the total number of freeholders is 16,875; the total number of electors on the registry is 27,796. In the county of York the number of freeholders is 26,022; the total number on the registry, 49,529; making together 77,325 persons registered for the two counties, of whom 42,897 are freeholders. Now, when the franchise in England is so extensive, and the franchise in Ireland so restricted, is there not rather a danger that we may make the Irish discontented, by refusing extension, than that by giving them the franchise we should make the people of England dissatisfied? The 40s. freeholder holds by an excellent title; he had a perfect right to the franchise; but it was a very low franchise; a lower franchise he considered than that which her Majesty's Government was now proposing. Sir, with respect to the whole of this question, I can never believe in the notion that the people of Ireland will be so exasperated by the conduct of this House that I should expect their allegiance to be transferred to any foreign or other power. I have no such apprehension, but the matter is nevertheless one of great gravity and importance. With regard to foreign affairs, is it nothing when we have to treat with great powers of Europe or America that we should be able to say, "The communication comes from a Queen reigning over a united kingdom, and over a people united in heart and in feeling," or whether they had to say, "There is discontent and unquiet; one-third of the empire is agitated and subject to discontent and unquiet?" Was there not greater strength in one case than in the other? We all feel, Sir, the value of retaining the people of this country as a united people. But with respect to the people of Ireland, I beg to say that I hope they will not believe the representations of the hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for Dublin, when he says what he himself sincerely believe?, but which he has gathered from misapprehension, that the people of this country, or that any great body of the people of this country, have any hatred to the people of Ireland. There have been, no doubt, animosities arising from a difference of religion and animosities arising from other causes between the two nations. But these belong, I think, to bygone periods, to those old times to which allusion had been made, but into the history of which I will not enter, except to derive from them consolation for the present and the future. O passi graviora; dabit Deus his quoque finem. At the present time, I entirely disbelieve that the people of this country have any disinclination to do justice to the people of Ireland. I believe that the course to be pursued is, to state to the people of this country and to this House, the grounds of any measure for the increase of the franchises of Ireland. It may be met by prejudice in the first place, or by indifference; but my belief is, that if the change be urged strenuously and peaceably—I do not say without vehemence, because I believe that vehemence may be rightly used in a just cause, and without improper imputations—the proposal will be ultimately adopted by this House. I believe that the people pf this country will be anxious, will be gratified, and will be willing to confer benefit on Ireland. I, therefore, say that, although I think that there is already a franchise too much restricted in Ireland, the suffrage will be still more restricted by the bill of the noble Lord opposite. I think that the people of Ireland have already suffered disfranchisement on account of their religion; they have had their corporations made an exclusive monopoly; but all these evils have been by degrees got rid of. And I believe, further, that by the working of our free constitution, I believe by the irresistable benefits to be derived from the operation of that free system, we shall see the English people giving to the Irish nation those franchises which are justly their due; that they will be increasing and improving in the arts of peace, and that Ireland will share all the advantages of the union. Like the right hon. Member for Tamworth, I shall not be swayed by fears or threats. Whatever be the immediate fate of the present measure, justice will make it prevail in the end, and in the security of the conviction that it is a just one, I fearlessly commit the decision of it to the House.

The House divided on the following question:—"That the bill be now read a second time;" Amendment proposed to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the question to add the words "upon this day six months." Question put "That the word 'now,' stand part of the question;"—Ayes 299: Noes 294; Majority 5.

List of the AYES.
Abercomby, hon. G. R. Bowes, J.
Acheson, Viscount Brabazon, Lord
Adam, Admiral Bridgeman, H.
Aglionby, H. A. Briscoe, J. I.
Alston, R. Brocklehurst, J.
Anson, hon. Colonel Brodie, W. B.
Anson, Sir G. Brotherton, J.
Archbold, R. Browne, R. D.
Bainbridge, E. T. Bryan, G.
Baines, E. Buller, C.
Bannerman, A. Buller, E.
Baring, rt. hon. F. T. Bulwer, Sir L.
Barnard, E. G. Busfeild, W.
Barron, H. W. Byng, G.
Barry, G. S. Byng, rt. hon. G. S.
Basset, J. Callaghan, D.
Beamish, F. B. Campbell, Sir J.
Bellew, R. M. Carew, hon. R. S.
Berkeley, hon. H. Cavendish, hon. C.
Berkeley, hon. G. Cavendish, hon. G.H.
Berkeley, hon. C. Cayley, E S.
Bernal, R. Chalmers, P.
Bewes, T. Chapman, Sir M. L.C.
Blake, M. J. Chetwynd, Major
Blake, W. J. Chichester, J. P. B.
Blake, M. Childers, J. W.
Blewitt, R. J. Clay, W.
Bodkin, J. J. Clayton, Sir W. R.
Clements, Viscount Hawkins, J. H.
Clive, E. B. Hayter, W. G.
Collier, J. Heathcoat, J.
Collins, W. Heathcoat, Sir G.
Corbally, M. E. Heathcote, G. J.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Hector, C. J.
Craig, W. G. Heron, Sir R.
Crawford, W. Hill, Lord A. M. C.
Crawley, S. Hindley, C.
Crompton, Sir S. Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J.
Currie, R. Hobhouse, T. B.
Dalmeny, Lord Hodges, T. L.
Dash wood, G. H. Holland, R.
Denison, W. J. Horsman, E.
Dennistoun, J. Hoskins, K.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. T. Howard, hn. E. G. G.
Divett, E. Howard, F. J.
Donkin, Sir R. S. Howard, P. H.
Duff, J. Howard, hn. C. W.G.
Duke, Sir J. Howick, Viscount
Duncan, Viscount Hume, J.
Duncombe, T. Humphrey, J.
Dundas, C. W. D. Hurst, R. H.
Dundas, F. Hutchins, E, J.
Dundas, Sir R. Hutt, W.
Easthope, J Hutton, R.
Elliot, hon. J. E. James, W.
Ellice, Captain A. Jervis, J.
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Johnson, General
Ellice, E. Labouchere, rt. hn. H.
Ellis, W. Langdale, hon. C.
Etwall, R. Langton, W. G.
Euston, Earl of Leader, J. T.
Evans, Sir De L. Lemon, Sir C.
Evans, G. Lennox, Lord G.
Evans, W. Lister, E. C.
Ewart, W. Listowel, Earl of
Fazakerley, J. N. Loch, J.
Fielden, J. Lushington, C.
Fenton, J; Lushington, rt. hn. S.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Lynch, A. H.
Ferguson, Colonel Macaulay, rt. hn. T. B.
Fitzalan, Lord Macnamara, Major
Fitzpatrick, J. W. McTaggart, J.
Filzroy, Lord C. Marshall, W.
Fitzwilliam, hn. G. W. Marsland, H.
Fleetwood, Sir P. H. Martin, J.
Fort, J. Melgund, Viscount
Fortescue, T. Mildmay, P. St. J.
French, F. Milton, Viscount
Gillon, W. D. Molesworth, Sir W.
Gisborne, T. Morpeth, Viscount
Gordon, R. Morris, D.
Grattan, J. Morrison, J.
Grattan, H. Muntz, G. F.
Greenaway, C. Murray, A.
Greg, R. H. Muskett, G. A.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir C. Nagle, Sir R.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Grosvenor, Lord R. O'Brien, W. S.
Grote, G. O'Callaghan, hon. C.
Guest, Sir J. O'Connell, D.
Hall, Sir B. O'Connell, J.
Handley, H. O'Connell, M. J.
Harland, W. C. O'Connell, M.
Hastie, A. O'Conor, Don
Hawes, B. O'Ferrall, R. M.
Ord, W. Stansfield, W. R.
Oswald, J. Staunton, Sir G. T.
Paget, Lord A. Steuart, R.
Paget, F. Stewart, J.
Palmer, C.F Stuart, Lord J.
Palmerston, Viscount Stuart, W. V.
Parker, J. Stock, Mr. Serjeant
Parnell, rt. hon. Sir IT. Strangways, hon. J.
Pattison, J. Strickland, Sir G.
Pease, J. Strutt, E.
Pechell, Captain Style, Sir C.
Pendarves, E. W.W. Surrey, Earl of
Philipps, Sir R. Talbot, C. R. M.
Philips, M. Talfourd, Mr. Serjeant
Philips, G. R. Tancred, H. W.
Philpotts, J. Tavistock, Marq. of
Pigot, rt. hon. D. Thornley, T.
Pinney, W. Townley, R. G.
Ponsonby, C. F. A. C. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Ponsonby, hon. J. Tufnell, H.
Power, J. Turner, E.
Price, Sir R. Turner, W.
Protheroe, E. Verney, Sir H.
Pryme, G. Villiers, hon. C.P.
Ramsbottom, J. Vivian, Major C.
Rawdon, Col. J. D. Vivian, J. H.
Redington, T. N. Vivian, rt. hn. Sir R. H.
Rice, hon. E. R. Wakley, T.
Rich, H. Walker, H.
Rippon, C. Wall, C. B.
Roche, E. B. Wallace, R.
Roche, W. Warburton, H.
Roche, Sir D. Ward, H. G.
Rumbold, C.E. Wemyss, Captain
Rundle, J. Westenra, hon. H. R.
Russell, Lord J. Westenra, hon. J, C.
Russell, Lord C. White, A.
Rutherford, rt. hn. A White, H.
Salwey, Colonel White, S.
Sanford, E. A. Wilbraham, G.
Scholefield, J. Wilde, Sir T.
Scrope, G. P. Williams, W.
Seale, Sir J. H. Wilshire, W.
Seymour, Lord Winnington, Sir T. E.
Sharp, General Winnington, H. J.
Sheil, rt. hon. R. L Wood, C.
Slaney, R. A. Wood, Sir M.
Smith, J. A. Wood, G. W.
Smith, B. Wood, B.
Smith, G. R. Worsley, Lord
Smith, R. V. Wrightson, W. B.
Somers, J. P. Wyse, T.
Someville, Sir W. M Yates, J. A.
Standish, C. TELLERS.
Stanley, M. Stanley, E. J.
Stanley, hon. W. O. Maule, F.
List of the NOES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Ashley, Lord
Acland, T. D. Ashley, hon. H.
A'Court, Captain Attwood, W.
Adare, Viscount Attwood, M.
Ainsworth, P. Bagge, W.
Alford, Viscount Bagot, hon. W.
Antrobus, E. Bailey, J.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Bailey, J., jun.
Archdall, M. Baillie, Colonel
Baillie, H. J. Douglas, Sir C. E.
Baker, E. Douro, Marq. of
Baldwin, C. B. Dowdeswell, W.
Baring, hon. W B. Drummond, H. H.
Barneby, J. Duffield, T.
Barrington, Viscount Dugdale, W. S.
Bateson, Sir R. Dunbar, C.
Bell, M. Duncombe, hon. W,
Benett, J. Duncombe, hon. A.
Bentinck, Lord G. Dungannon, Viscount
Bethell, R. Du Pre, G.
Blackburne, I. East, J. B.
Blackstone, W. S. Eastnor, Viscount
Blair, J. Eaton, R. J
Blakemore, R. Egerton, W. T.
Blennerhasset, A. Egerton, Sir P.
Boldero, H. G. Egerton, Lord F.
Bolling, W. Eliot, Lord
Botfield, B. Estcourt, T.
Bradshaw, J. Farnham, E. B.
Bramston, T. W. Fielden, W.
Broadley, H. Fector, J. M.
Broadwood, H. Fellowes, E.
Brooke, Sir A. B. Filmer, Sir E.
Brownrigg, S. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Bruce, Lord E. Fleming, J.
Bruce, C. L. C. Follet, Sir W.
Bruen, Colonel Forester, hon. G.
Bruges, W. H. L. Fox, S. L.
Buck, L. W. Freshfield, J. W.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Gaskell, J.M.
Burr, H. Gladstone, W. E.
Burrell, Sir C. Gladstone, J. N.
Calcraft, J, H. Glynne, Sir S. R.
Campbell, Sir H. Goddard, A.
Canning, rt. hn. Sir S. Godson, R.
Cantilupe, Viscount Gordon, hon. Captain
Cartwright, W. R. Gore, O. J. R.
Castlereagh, Viscount Gore O. W.
Chapman, A. Goring, H. D.
Cholmondeley, hn. H. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Christopher, R. A. Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.
Chute, W. L. W. Granby, Marquess of
Clements, H. J. Grant, Sir A. C.
Clerk, Sir G. Greene,T.
Clive, hon. R. H. Grimsditch, T.
Cochrane, Sir T. J. Grimston, Viscount
Codrington, C. W. Hale, R. B.
Cole, hon. A. H. Halford, H.
Colquhoun, J. C. Hamilton, C. J. B.
Compton, H. C. Hamilton, Lord C.
Conolly, E. Harcourt, G. G.
Cooper, E, J. Harcourt, G. S.
Coote, Sir C. H. Hardinge, rt. hn. Sir H.
Copeland, Mr. Aid. Hawkes, T.
Corry, hon. H. Heathcote, Sir W.
Courtenay, P. Heneage, G. W.
Creswell, C. Henniker, Lord
Cripps, J. Hepburn, Sir T. B.
Dalrymple, Sir A. Herries, rt. hn. J. C.
Damer, hon. D. Hill, Sir R.
Darby, G. Hillsborough, Earl of
Darlington, Earl of Hinde, J. H.
De Horsey, S. H. Hodgson, F.
Dick, Q. Hodgson, R.
D'Israeli, B. Hogg, J. W.
Dottin, A. R. Holmes, hon. W. A.
Holmes, W. Palmer, R.
Hope, hon. C. Palmer, G.
Hope, H. T. Parker, M.
Hope, G. W. Parker, R. T.
Hotham, Lord Parker, T. A. W.
Houldsworth, T. Patten, J. W.
Houstoun, G. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Hughes, W. B. Peel, J.
Hurt, F. Pemberton, T.
Ingestre, Viscount Perceval, Colonel
Inglis, Sir R. H. Pigot, R.
Irton, S. Planta, rt. hn. J.
Jackson, Mr. Sergeant Plumptre, J. P.
James, Sir W. C. Polhill, F.
Jenkins, Sir R. Pollen, Sir J. W.
Jermyn, Earl Pollock, Sir F.
Johnstone, H. Praed, W.T.
Jones, J. Pringle, A.
Jones, Captain Pusey, P.
Kelly, F. Rae, rt. hn. Sir W.
Kemble, H. Reid, Sir J. R.
Kerrison, Sir E. Richards, R.
Kelburne, Viscount Rickford, W.
Kirk, P. Rose, rt. hon. Sir G.
Knatchbull, right hon. Sir. E. Round, C. G.
Round, J.
Knight, H. G. Rushbrooke, Colonel
Knightley, Sir C. Rushout, G.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. St. Paul, Sir H.
Law, hon. C. E. Sanderson, R.
Lefroy, rt. hon. T. Sandon, Viscount
Lennox, Lord A. Scarlett, hon. J. Y.
Liddell, hon. H. T. Shaw, rt. hn. F.
Lincoln, Earl of Sheppard, T.
Litton, E. Shirley, E. J.
Lockhart, A. M. Sibthorp, Colonel
Long, W. Smith, A.
Lowther, J. H. Smyth, Sir G. H.
Lucas, E. Smythe, hon. G.
Lygon, hon. General Sotheron, T. E.
Mackenzie, T. Spry, Sir S. T.
Mackenzie, W. F. Stanley, E.
Mackinnon, W. A. Stanley, Lord
Maclean, D. Sturt, H.C.
Mahon, Viscount Sudden, rt. hn. Sir E.
Maidstone, Viscount Teignmouth, Lord
Manners, Lord C. S. Tennent, J. E.
Marton, G. Thesiger, F.
Master, T. W. C. Thomas, Colonel H.
Mathew, G. B. Thompson, Mr. Aid.
Maunsell, T. P. Thornhill, G.
Meynell, Captain Tollemanche, F. J.
Miles, W. Trench, Sir F.
Miller, W. H. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Milnes, R. M. Trotter, J.
Monypenny, T. G. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Mordaunt, Sir J. Vere, Sir C. B.
Morgan, C. M. Verner, Colonel
Morgan, O. Villiers, Viscount
Neeld, J. Vivian, J. E.
Neeld, J. Waddington, H. S.
Nicholl, J. Walsh, Sir J.
Norreys, Lord Welby, G. E.
Ossulston, Lord Whitmore, T. C.
Owen, Sir. J. Wilbraham, H. B.
Packe, C. W. Williams, R.
Pakington J, S. Williams, T. P.
Wilmot, Sir J. E. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Wodehouse, E. Young, J.
Wood, Colonel Young, Sir W.
Wood, Colonel T. TELLERS.
Wyndham, W. Fremantle, Sir T.
Wynn, it. hon. C. W. Baring, H.
Paired off.
Andover, Lord Powerscourt, Lord
Blackett, C. Davenport, J.
Butler, hon. P. Crewe, Sir G.
Cave, R. O. Burdett, Sir F.
Colquhoun, Sir J. Sinclair, Sir G.
Davies, Col. Irving, J.
Dundas, D. Marsland, T.
Edwards, Sir J. Price, R.
Erle, W. Ingham, R.
Ferguson, Sir R. Somerset, Lord G.
Greig, D. O'Neil, Gen.
Hallyburton, Lord D. Miles, W. H. N.
Heneage, E. Rolleston, L.
Lambton, H. Stewart, J.
Maher, J. Baring, hon. F.
Martin, T. B. Ellis, John
Noel, hon. C. G. Lowther, Colonel
O'Brien, C. Farrand, R.
Spencer, F. Northland, Lord
Shelburne, Lord Herbert, hon. S.
Talbot, J. H. Foley, E.
Walker, C. A. Jones, W.
White, L. Hayes, Sir E.
Burroughes, R. N. Morton, hon. A.
Campbell, W. F. Jervis, S.
Dundas, J. C. (ill) Powell, Colonel (ill)
Fitzgibbon, R. (abr.) Pryse, P. (ill)
Howard, Sir R. Tomline, G.
Kerr, D. Vernon, G. H. (abr.)
Lowther, Lord (abr.)

The bill read a second time.

Ordered to be committed pro formâ. Adjourned.