§ Mr. Sergeant Jackson
hoped for the indulgence of the House while he addressed it for a few moments, and they should be very few, on a matter which was in some degree personal to himself. It would be in the recollection of the House, that in the course of the debate on the want of confidence in Ministers the hon. and learned Member for Dublin made an attack on the Conservative landlords of Ireland, whom he charged with being harsh and oppressive to their tenants. He took that opportunity of stating that the hon. and learned Member himself was not a good landlord, for that he had acted towards his tenants in a harsh and oppressive manner, and when the hon. and learned Member expressed a denial of that charge, he had asked him, would he deny having distrained on some of his tenants in April for rent due in the previous March, and he said, that he had asked the question on the authority of a gentleman (Mr. Twiss) who had called on him at his residence in Dublin, and told him the circumstance, and added that he might make any use of it, and of his name as his authority, in any way he thought proper. When he (Mr. Sergeant Jackson) had resumed his seat, the hon. and learned Member got up and denied having ever made any such distress, and that if any such had been made it was altogether without his knowledge, and that if he should find that it had been done by his agent from any private motive of his own, he and that gentleman should part. The hon. and learned Member (Mr. Sergeant Jackson) then detailed the particulars of an interview between himself and the hon. Member for Tralee (Mr. Maurice O'Connell) when the latter called on him to ask the Christian name of Mr. Twiss, the gentleman from whom he had his information. He could not then recollect the Christian name or the date of the year when the distraints were made; but he told Mr. M. O'Connell that he had made a memorandum of the circumstance at the time, and as soon as he could find it he would give him the particulars he required. He had since found the memorandum, from which it appeared that the distraints 1353 were said to have been made in April, 1838. Besides this memorandum he had now in his hand a letter which he had that morning received from Mr. Twiss, which he owed it to himself and to the House, which always felt concerned in the honour of its Members with respect to any statements which they might make, to read. The letter bore the postmark of the Castleconnell post, and was dated June 6, 1841. It was as follows:My dear Sir,—I read with great pleasure the speech you made in the House of Commons on the night of the 3d of June inst., in which you truly stated that my celebrated countryman, Daniel O'Connell, in April, 1838, distrained on his tenants for the rent due the month before. This I have reason to know is the strict truth, as I heard it at the time from the distrainers and the distrained parties. I was on a visit at the time with my old friend James Butler, who lives within four miles of Derrynane. I deem it right, in justice to your good intentions of supporting the credit of the Conservative landlords, to put you in possession of this fact, and you are at liberty to make whatever use you may think fit of this communication. With every sentiment of respect,I remain, my dear Sir, yours most sincerely ROBERT TWISS.Castleconnell, June 6.He (Mr. Sergeant Jackson) thought that this letter fully justified him in the statement he had made. Mr. Twiss he had not seen for six years before the time he came to his study. Here, then, were the name and address of the party on whose authority the statement was made. But it might be said also to rest on the authority of Mr. James Butler, a gentleman of the highest respectability and the strictest honour, one who resided within four miles of Derrynane. He believed, also, that he was a relation of the hon. Member for Dublin, at least he had heard the hon. Member boast of the relationship; but whether it was so or not, the hon. and learned Member knew best. He had already said he found the memorandum. It was to this effect:—" Dis. by O'Connell in April, for rent due 25th of March, 1838." Looking at these circumstances, he felt sure the House would consider him fully justified in what he had stated.— [Cheers.]
said, he admired that cheer much. If ever there was an instance stronger than another of the injustice of making a personal charge on any Member without giving him notice, the present 1354 was the one. The hon. and learned Member for Bandon first made this charge against him without any previous intimation, and set it forth without giving the Christian name or the address of his informant, or even the year when those distraints were said to have been made. Was that fair or candid? Would any gentleman opposite have considered himself fairly treated in having a charge so brought against him? It was his (Mr. O'Connell's) case to-day; it might be that of any other Member to-morrow. His friend Mr. James Butler, than whom a more excellent man did not exist, had been now quoted as an indirect testimony in support of the charge against him; but had any one presumed to state that he had mentioned any thing of the sort? There was no man for whom he had a higher respect or regard than for Mr. Butler, though no two men differed more in their religious and political opinions. It was said, also, that the statement was made on the authority of the distrainers and the distrained. He said it was totally false—there was not a word of truth in it. It could not have possibly happened at the time, without his knowing something of it since, and if the hon. and learned Member for Bandon had given him notice of his intention to bring the charge, he would have refuted it on the instant. But who was this Mr. Robert Twiss, on whose authority the charge rested? He had been a magistrate, but was not now in the commission of the peace.
§ Mr. Sergeant Jackson
intimated his belief that Mr. Twiss was still in the commission.
said, it was not so. Mr. Twiss had had many misfortunes in the world. He had been a bankrupt, and had been discharged under the Insolvent Act. But he would not dwell on that. Mr. Twiss's name, however, had been notorious for his want of strict, adherence to truth. In fact, for more than twenty years he had been known in the county of Kerry as "Lying Bobby Twiss." As to the statement of the hon. and learned Member for Bandon, that he had boasted of his relationship to Mr. James Butler, he would say that he should proudly boast of it if it were the fact; but it was not, and it was not true that he had ever boasted of it, so that the statement was doubly untrue. But again let him ask the House, was it fair to get up charges of this nature, and in this manner, against any man? It 1355 would seem as if the hon. and learned Sergeant had kept an office in Dublin for the purpose of registering such, or he would never have made a charge on such authority; but he repeated the whole was false.
§ Mr. Sergeant Jackson
said, with reference to the statement that he kept an office in Dublin for the purpose of registering such charges, nothing could be further from the truth. He could not prevent a gentleman from calling on him in his study and making the statement he did. As to the complaint that he had not given him notice of this charge, he would say, that he could not have anticipated that the hon. and learned Gentleman was about to make an attack on the landlords of Ireland.
§ Subject dropped.