HC Deb 20 September 1841 vol 59 cc671-3

On the vote of 6,232l. for the household of the Lord-lieutenant,

Viscount Clements

objected to the vote, as he looked upon the office of Lord-lieutenant of Ireland quite as an ante-diluvian one, and one which he hoped to see abolished. He was persuaded that, if the question were calmly considered, the country would see the advantage of doing away with the office. In England there is no public demonstration made on a change of Ministry, nor is the public mind disturbed by any parade connected with that change. The new Ministry go down to Downing-street without attracting any attention whatever. This is not the case in Ireland; the Minister sent over there is also the representative of royalty. On his arrival a royal salute is fired, soldiers line the streets, the drums beat, in honour of his arrival, while vast numbers of people are collected together for the purpose of meeting him, or witnessing his entry; this naturally produces much excitement, particularly as it is only the party to which the Lord-Lieutenant belongs who attend him on this occasion. The Lord-Lieutenant's levees partake of the same character, and are only attended by those who belong to his party in politics, the officials of Dublin, and the officers of the garrison. Thus the Lord-Lieutenant is at once made, in spite of himself, no more than the head of a party, and let him be ever so anxious to be impartial, be never is considered so. [Laughter.] Those Gentlemen who laugh at this description would have much more cause of laughter if they would go to Dublin and witness this absurd aping of royalty. Can there be anything more ridiculous than a Gentleman being sent to Ireland to play the part of King for a few months. He should like to see all this altered, and that the time would come when they might have a Lord-lieutenant like a similar functionary in the counties of England, without the appurtenances of Royalty and all this ridiculous household. Having offered these, few observations, he would not give any opposition to the vote.

Vote agreed to.

House resumed. Committee to sit again.