§ The Order of the Day for a Committee of Supply read.
§ On the question that the Speaker do now leave the Chair,—
§ Mr. Sheil
I gave notice that I. should move for the correspondence relating toe the restoration of Mr. St. George to the magistracy, and that at the same time I should impugn the general policy of the Isaiah Government, of which the case of Mr. St. George is but an illustration, and charge theta with a departures from those 244 engagements into which, on their accession to office, they had deliberately entered. I thought myself bound to give this notice, because it would have been unfair to criticise their general conduct without a previous declaration of my purpose if I had omitted to do so, it might have been justly said that to a mere motion for papers I had appended a charge of which no warning had been given. Having given notice of my intention, and furnished the noble Lord with a specification of the topics to which I mean to advert, it cannot, at all events, be said that I have taken any illegitimate advantage of him. I believe that some of those with whom I am in the habit of acting do not think that I have taken a judicious course in bringing forward a matter of so much importance at the close of the Session, when my noble Friend the leader of the Opposition is absent, when my right hon. Friend the Member for the county of Cork has been under the necessity of returning to Dublin, to perform the duties of his office, and so many of the Irish Members are away. The period, I admit, is inopportune; but I felt convinced that, if there be goad reason for condemning the Irish Government, the Session ought not to be allowed to pass without directing the public attention to the grounds of imputation, and that, although these benches are comparatively deserted, the country would form its judgment, not by numbers, but by facts, that over majorities facts would at last prevail, and that although there are many who think that little is to be expedited from a Parliament constituted like the present (thank God it is not immortal), yet from the influence of public opinion it was reasonable to expect that redness would be ultimately obtained: If an erroneous notion, founded on reiterated protestations, hags, gone abroad, that Ireland has been impartially governess,, it is right that proof be given that the Irish executive are still pursuing the old Tory track, which wilt inevitably' conduct them toe, the results to which it led before. I make those charges to your faces, and I give you the opportunity of repelling them. The course I have taken may be rash, but it is frank and fair. So far you will give me credit, and in the confidence that although you may not listen to nut with favour, you will hear me with endurance, I proceed to state the pledges which you gave entering into office, 245 and to adduce the evidence by which their violation can be established. It is in the recollection of every one of us, that upon a great historical occasion, when he announced the motives which induced him to relinquish the task assigned to him by hiss Sovereign, the right hon. Baronet, the First Lord of the Treasury, ingenuously acknowledged that Ireland constituted his great difficulty. Ireland always was, Ireland is, and Ireland will always continue to be the chief difficulty of every Minister who continues to adhere to the policy, in reference to the government of Ireland, to which the vast majority of her representatives are opposed. Ireland is tied to you by such ligaments as acts of Parliament can supply; but, in many important regards, Ireland is still separate and apart, and the Minister by whom a policy is pursued in reference to Ireland, repugnant to the feelings of the great majority, in whom power is deposited, and which in an Irish Parliament could not be maintained for an hour, must of necessity meet with difficulties at every step, and whatever may be his ostensible success for a season, must be discomfited at last. To govern England through a majority of Irish Members is impossible; to govern Ireland through a majority of English Members is more than hard. Two years after the right hon. Baronet had made the declaration to which I have referred, he came into office with a vast accession of power, and, reverting to that declaration, announced that he would overcome the chief difficulty by the policy of conciliation and of peace. The noble Lord opposite, an amiable diplomatist, was named Secretary for Ireland. He proceeded to Cornwall, and, having been proposed by the brother of Lord Fortescue, delivered a speech full of noble sentiments, in which he declared, that Ireland should not be governed through a party. The words axe so important, that I cannot refrain from reading them—The Government would pay court to no party in Ireland: it would endeavour to do justice to all. It would not be the Government of a party, but of the entire Irish people.These admirable professions were echoed by Lord de Grey, who, as representative of the Queen, was received with marked respect by the liberal party in Ireland. When I read the speech of the noble Lord, and the answers of Lord de Grey to numinous addresses, I concluded that a 246 new and most fortunate era for Ireland had arrived; that all the great pried pies on which Catholic Emancipation was founded, would be carried at once into effect, that all the odious demarcations of sect and party would be effaced, that the system of exclusion, whether religions or political, would be utterly abandoned; that to the great offices of State, men of all parties and of all creeds would be admissible; that the patronage of the Crown would be equally and indiscriminately diffused; that the Government Gould place itself in sympathy with the nation; and that the affairs of the State would be carried on by men who enjoyed the confidence and the affections of the great majority of the people. I thought, that as the English majority of the right hon. Baronet was so large, he would consider himself independents of Irish Toryism; that he could afford. to act without reference to the passions of that section of his supporters that he would treat the menaces of dictatorial journalism with disregard; and that, by a total abstinence from party, he would not only endeavour to appease the resentment, but to win the confidence and the attachment of the country, for whose interest he professed to entertain a peculiar care. I could not bring myself to conjecture, that after such declarations as those to which I have referred, the old system of ascendancy would be partially restored, that the great officers of the law, the leading functionaries of the country, the judges of the land, would be selected from the hotbed of faction, that Catholics would as formerly be excluded from juries, that justice would be brought again, by a recurrence to the practices with which we were once so fatally familiar, into utter disrepute, that the ancient persecutions of the press would be revived, and that the Attorney-general with all his terrors would be let loose upon us. I remembered, indeed, that before Catholic Emancipation was carried, we were often told that justice should be impartially administered, that in the formation of juries no offensive distinctions should be adapted, and that to all offices to which Catholics were admissible they should be indiscriminately promoted. I recollected, that not with standing all these protestations, yet from the old routine of ascendancy no deviation was ever committed—that the administration of justice was tainted in its sources' that to procure verdicts against men strug- 247 gling for their freedom no expedient, however illegitimate, was omitted—that from every office to which access was given us by the law we were excluded, and that the professions which we had in prospect did but embitter the wrongs which were inflicted upon us. But I conceived that, now that a vast change had taken place—now that the Conservative Government could afford to use their Irish auxiliaries as they ought to be treated—now that they were secure of a majority, whatever course they took in Ireland, professions, for which there could not be any illicit motive, must needs be honest, and that, as the noble Lord had declared, not only the old misdeeds of ascendency would not be perpetrated, but that the great experiment of governing Ireland without reference to party would be tried. I state with pain, but it is fatally true, that in every one of these fond anticipations, I have been deceived. Of the practical application of the principles of Toryism no sort of mitigation has taken place, and as far as the Executive is concerned, they act as if Catholic Emancipation had never been carried. You have been in office for a year. In that period, how many of the professors of the national religion have you promoted? To what office, have you, who told us that you would govern Ireland without party, advanced a single member of that community, which in numbers, in wealth, in intelligence, and in power, is every day making so irresistible a progress? Instead of selecting from the seven millions which you were to govern with so ostentatious an impartiality—men who, placed in high station, would be seen by their country as the conspicuous proofs of your magnanimous sincerity. You have not appointed a single Roman Catholic to any one office of high trust and honour; and, in place of keeping your engagements, you have acted in a spirit of partisanship, so clear and so indisputable, that the difficulty consists, not in stating in what instances you have broken your undertaking, but in what single particular you have adhered to it. You will not call the appointment of Mr. O'Leary, by Sir Edward Sugden, to some small place (I do not remember what) a proof of impartiality—you will not call the employment of a few Catholic barristers in circuit business, worth some twenty pounds a year, a proof of impartiality What cares the country for these miser able and paltry nominations? The country looks to the offices through which a great 248 social and moral influence is exercised, which are connected with the Government of the country, and which impart weight and influence to the whole community—with which the individuals who are the objects of high promotion are connected. You may tell me that you could not be reasonably expected to retain the law officers employed by your antagonists. Did you not, in 1835, retain Mr. Blackborne, who was Attorney-general to the Whigs; and did you not also retain Mr. Serjeant Green as counsel to the Castle? I will not inquire why you removed Mr. Pigot, because he was distinguished by the order of his political feelings; but why did you not press Mr. Monahan, the Catholic counsel to the Castle, to retain his office ! The Evening Mail expressed a belief that the noble Lord opposite would endeavour to effect the retention of Mr. Monahan, but denounced his purpose. Mr. Monahan, who was not in Parliament, who had done nothing to excite animosity, who is most distinguished as a lawyer, was not solicited to retain office, and Mr. Brewste was substituted in his place. Sir, I am not only disposed, but anxious to do justice to a political adversary; and in reference to Mr. Brewster's appointment, which excited a great sensation in Ireland, I think it right to state, that the allegation that Mr. Brewster was a member of Brunswick clubs and Conservative associations was untrue; but he is a vehement politician, for which I do not blame him. He has as much right to his opinions as I have to mine. I do not think myself entitled to find fault with him for his politics; but I consider myself justified in saying that the Government, in substituting a strong Tory for a Catholic council at the Castle, did not adhere to their engagement. If the noble Lord had not told us that Ireland should not be governed through a party, and if Lord De Grey had not also been liberal of protestation, we should not have said a word of all their appointments. We should have considered it quite natural that those who had obtained a victory over the Irish people should act upon it. It is the contrast between their professions and their proceedings that gives us the chief right to complain, and makes us resent the delusion which has been attempted upon us, Your legal appointments were all of the same character—of eminent talents—but of the same character. The hon. Gentle- 249 man opposite was named Solicitor-general, and Mr. Warren sergeant. The former stood as candidate for the University, and was proposed by the latter. Both these gentlemen, with their new honours fresh upon them, denounced at the college hustings the national education system, to which the Government are edged, and which must be regarded as one of the principal of their measures. It is strange to witness two of the leading law officers making the Government by which they had just been promoted the object, in a most important particular, of unqualified condemnation. With regard to Warren, a singular incident occurred. The Tory party thought, that although he and the late lamented Mr. West were of the same politics, yet that the sacrifices of Mr. West gave him a higher claim. Sir Edward Sugden, on account of the eminence of Mr. Warren at the Bar, gave him his support; but the clamour raised by the ultra party was so great, that Lord De Grey did not think it inconsistent with his dignity as viceroy, to express his regret that anything should have occurred to give displeasure to the supporters of that amiable gentleman. Upon the decease of Mr. West, who was regretted by all parties, on account of his personal merits, a vacancy occurred for the city of Dublin. Mr. Gregory started as the Tory candidate, and Lord Morpeth was set up as his antagonist. The gentleman whom I have mentioned attended the Protestant Operative Association, where, having declared himself an opponent of Maynooth and of the education system, the Rev. Mr. Gregg, well known by his invectives against the Catholic religion, moved a resolution in his favour. The Government adopted him as its candidate, and the noble Lord, who holds an office in the Castle, canvassed in his behalf. I do not stop to comment on the noble Secretary's fidelity to his professions in this transaction, but proceed to the statement of an incident connected with the election, to which I attach a good deal of importance, as illustrative of the policy to which the Government were determined practically to adhere. The Irish Municipal Bill was in operation; the sheriffs of the old and profligate corporation were still in office; the Government were entitled to appoint new sheriffs, under the Municipal Bill, and by a special clause in the act of Parliament, the power which was vested in the old corporations had not been transferred to the new, but 250 was deposited in the Government. The old corporation having ceased to exist, there was every reason to have new functionaries, in place of those who derived their authority from a most corrupt, and, at that time, an exhausted source. The sheriffs were accused of having acted a most scandalous part in the preceding election; a memorial was presented to Lord Eliot, in which an application was made to him to cause new sheriffs to be named. If the nomination was to take place through the town-council, there would have been just reason for not complying with that entirely; but the call on the Government to appoint two men of high character, of whom the selection should rest with themselves, was surely a reasonable one; the application was sustained by a statement by Mr. Smith, a gentleman of unimpeachable character, that he had seen a deed by which one of the sheriffs transferred his authority to the other. The noble Lord, in his reply, stated that the Government would not appoint new sheriffs; that the sheriff who was alleged to have transferred his authority by deed, denied that he had executed a deed, and that Lord Eliot was convinced that no improper obstruction would be given. Did the noble Lord now think that no improper obstruction was given at the last election? But do not imagine that the matter rests there. When Lord Eliot's answer was communicated, a document was transmitted to him which set all doubt, as to one of the sheriffs, at rest. Mr. Brown, one of the sheriffs, when the Whigs were in office, was anxious to be made a knight, and wrote the following extraordinary letter to Mr. Eiffe;—My dear Eiffe—I regret I cannot, owing to my official duties, go to London with you this night, but I beg of you to deliver the enclosed letter to my friend Mr. Archbold. In soliciting from the present Government the honour of knighthood, I conceive I have very considerable claims on them. In the first place I am determined, come what may, to act in every way possible according to their wishes; and, were there no other circumstances in my favour, the immense reduction I have been enabled to make (through so happy a selection of a grand jury) in the taxation of the city of Dublin, ought to entitle me to their consideration. The very considerable influence I possess in the county of Dublin, equal to thirty votes in a contested election, shall be at their service, and, although it may not be due to the candidate from them, individual exertion on my behalf shall be exerted 251 provided I get the quid pro quo. Pray let me hear the result of your personal communication with Mr. Archbold, and accept of the assurance of my positive promise to fulfil any pledge made Of my behalf by you, appertaining to the honour solicited; and believe me to remain most sincerely yours, " A. BROWN.C. Eiffe Es, Dame Street.One would imagine that this composition would induce the noble Lord immediately to take steps to substitute another sheriff; but instead of doing so, in order, I suppose, to extricate himself from a difficulty, he thought it better to abscond; and although Parliament was not to meet until February, he set off for England. It is to be presumed that the noble Lord felt abashed at the transaction, and delegated the task which he shrunk from performing to Mr.Lucas, another of them functionaries selected by an impartial Government. On the very same day on which Lord Eliot's letter was dated, Mr. Lucas wrote an intimation that Mr. Eiffe's letter had made no change in the opinion of the Lord-lieutenant. With the results of the last election the House is acquainted. How those results were effected is equally notorious. But it may be said that, where a vote in Parliament was to be secured, allowance for a departure from your professions should be made; that your election sins are venial, and that you should be absolved from them without penance, and that when in the sheriffs of the late corporation you found instruments so accommodating, the temptation to resort to them was irresistible. Let us then pass to what you will consider matter of grave accusation. In his answers to the numerous addresses which were presented to him on his arrival in Ireland, Lord de Grey expatiate again and again upon the impartial administration of justice. The impartial administration of justice was the burden of all his manifestos. Lord de Grey appeared to think that protestations on that head were peculiarly requisite, and that his government was exposed to suspicions which it was necessary to anticipate. He thought, I presume, that when a great transfer of power had taken place in Ireland, and the government for the many had been succeeded by the government for the few, an apprehension would not unnaturally arise amongst the great rums of the people, that the spirit of faction would find, its way back into our courts of justice, and that juries would be selected, and that judges would be nomi- 252 nated, upon a principle repugnant to the pure administration of the law. A judge in Ireland is invested with great and political influence; to that influence, the Registration Bill of the noble Lord opposite (I do not know whether it has been abandoned) would make a most signal augmentation. Looking at the condition of Ireland, in every point of view, I can scarcely imagine a greater calamity than a judicial partisan. Look at him on one of the Irish northern circuits. With what exultation on one side, and with what dismay upon the other, in a court-house crowded with factious hundreds to the roof, must those excited men, who are actuated towards each other by the fiercest antipathies, look upon the man who, attired in his robes of office, and seated high on the bench of justice, presents a memorial in his own person of our civil feuds, and revives by his presence the baneful recollection of the worst contentions by which we have been distracted. " He is one of us," whispers an Orangeman to his confederate. " What, is he sworn?" " No; but his heart is Orange to the core." " What chance is there of justice?" exclaims the father of the murdered Catholic, for whose slaughter he calls for vengeance on the men of blood. These suspicions may be utterly unjust, but they are inevitable, for the people cannot he persuaded that a man who has been taken hot and reeking from the encounter of party can, by a sudden process of refrigeration, cool down at once to the cold judicial temperament—that the moment he puts the ermine on, all his passions will be laid aside. When you talk of the impartial administration of justice, you must mean something: you do not intend to imply a vague and valueless expression, destitute of all practical signification; you must intend to convey to us an assurance that in the administration of the law, men free from all suspicion of political bias, and who have not been prominent as partisans, shall be promoted by you. From these general observations, I turn to the conduct of the Government, and to their realization of those professions of which they were so profuse. Judge Johnson, who had omitted to go circuit several times under the late Government, resigned on the accession of the Tories, and gave them an opportunity of carrying their virtuous declarations in effect. To prove that Ireland was not to be governed through affection, to prove 253 that the administration of justice was to be impartial, to prove that the professions of my Lord de Grey were not mere imposture, to prove chat to vehement partizanship no encouragement was to be given, to prove that to the old resources of Toryism you would disdain to resort, to prove to the Catholics of Ireland that they ought to place the most unqualified confidence in the honesty of your declarations, and the purity of your views, as successor to Judge Johnson—whom did you select If to the peerage, to which his fortune was adequate—if to the House of Lords, where, on Irish appeals, totally unconnected by party, he could by his knowledge and his talents have been eminently serviceable, in reward for his political services, which I do not mean to dispute, you had raised Mr. Lefroy, I should not have complained: his abilities, his acquirements his capacity to do good in a proper place, I freely admit; or even if you had tarried a little, if you had first appointed some man less conspicuous in party, and prepared the way for his elevation by previously reconciling the country to a step so bold, by counteracting the impression which it was likely to produce, by some liberal promotions, the case would have been difference; but that, with your pro still fresh upon your lips, the ink in which Lord de Grey's answers were indited, being scarcely dry, you should, from the entire mass of the Irish bar, have made choice of a gentleman so conspicuous for the part which he had acted on every question by which Ireland has been agitate4, for the last twenty years, was a most extraordinary proceeding. I bear, I protest, no to Baron Lefroy. I cannot injure him by an attack; you cannot hurt him by a defence. He is beyond the reach of both. If I run the risk of doing him the slightest harm, I should abstain from all reference to his name; but it is legitimate and just, where to the individual in question no injury can accrue, to animadvert upon the breach of pledges which is involved by his promotion. I have no right to condemn him, but I have every right to censure you; I doubt not that he has always acted a conscientious part; bat his appoint Dent is not upon that account the less a departure from your engagements, and a violation of those pledges which no one asked you to make, which were perfectly voluntary upon your part, into which you entered without deliberation, 254 and which you have abandoned with discredit. To another of your judicial promotions I shall have occasion to advert, in referring to a trial in which he presided; but first let me direct the attention of the House to the facts out of which it arose, and to the course pursued in the formation of juries under the auspices of the Attorney-general. I am well aware that English gentlemen feel some surprise at the constant complaints which are made by Roman Catholics, that in the north of Leland juries are almost exclusively composed of Protestants, and that we should attach importance to the religion of persons who are to arbitrate upon our lives; but if' you consider the unhappy state of the north of Ireland, you will not be astonished at our thinking that a deep wrong is done us in this regard. Amongst those classes from whom jurors are taken, there exist strong religious and political animosities, and as trials constantly arise from the collision of Protestants and Catholics, it is most unjust that the juries should be taken almost exclusively from one side. The Orange Society is as association ostensibly dissolved; but although it is represented as extinct, its spirit still walks abroad. If this system prevails to any extent to this hour, you should not consider it strange that the Catholics of the north of Ireland should desire that some of their brethren in belief should take part in the administrations of justice, and that they should strongly object to the exclusive colour by which ordinary juries are characterised. Not very long ago, when my hon. Friend, the Member for Gateshead, arraigned the conduct of the right hon. Baronet, the Secretary for the Home Department, in the appointment of municipal justices, the right hon. Baronet insisted, that the pure administration of the law required that men of both parties should be placed together on the bench, and that he had done no more than correct what he considered a great evil, by modifying the exclusive character of the municipal magistracy if there was any justice in these remarks, how much more applicable they are to those tribunals in Ireland, where party trials are of unfortunate recurrence, and where the lives of our fellow-subjects are at stake. I have made these observations, in order that the House may justly appreciate the effect produced in the north of Ireland by the course pursued by Mr. 255 Blackburne, her Majesty's Attorney general for Ireland. I was considering the propriety of bringing the conduct of the Irish Government before the House, in order to obtain accurase information, I applied to Mr. O'Hogan, a gentleman of distinguished ability, who had been counsel for the next of kin in the case of M'Ardle murderers, and for Francis Hughes, in another case, which produced a great sensation in Ireland. Mr. O'Hogan will be admitted to be a gentleman of great consideration, and of most distinguished ability. Sir, the statement sent to me by Mr. O'Elogan is to this effect:—
- "1.The Down Case.—Four men were indicted before Judge Crampton for the murder of Hugh M'Ardle. They were Protestants. The deceased had been a Catholic. The murder was one originating in party strife. The trial was fixed for nine o'clock on a Monday morning, but at that hour a trifling case was called on and a common jury sworn without notice or observation. The persons charged with the murder were then arraigned, and their agent declared that he would not exercise the right of challenging, but was content with the jury in the box. The agent for the next of kin states, that he had got the panel from the Crown-solicitor on the preceding evening of the assizes, to mark the names of persons who ought to be challenged by the Crown—that amongst the names which he did so mark, were those of some of the persons so empanelled—that, in court he urged the necessity of challenging those persons—that, as to one of them, the Crown-solicitor himself strongly stated to the Attorney-general, who conducted the prosecution, the propriety of bidding him stand by, but that the Attorney-general positively refused to allow any challenge whatever to be made. The result was, that the jury in the box was allowed to try the case. It consisted of eleven Protestants and one Catholic, and acquitted the prisoners, although the evidence for the prosecution was certainly of the strongest kind, and the charge of the judge was more calculated to procure a conviction than any I have ever heard delivered in a capital case. The agent for the next of kin has not been able to state to me the names of the persons to whom he objected, or the specific grounds of objection which he urged, but they had regard to the known party feelings and political prejudices of the individuals whom he desired to have excluded from the jury. The defence for the Attorney-general, made in Parliament and by the press rested in a great degree on the ground that the counsel for the next of kin did not object to the jury. Mr. Holmes and I were counsel for the next of kin. Until the last moment the Attorney-general would not allow the agent to retain me, and it was not till the Court was actually sitting that he brought me the brief, and told me the
256 Attorney-general had at last allowed him to do so. I went at once to the Court-house, but when I got into Court, the jury had been sworn, the prisoners given in charge, and the arrangements completed. Mr. Holmes came into Court along with me, so that neither he nor I had any opportunity of objecting to the course adopted, and neither of us can, with any truth, be said to have sanctioned the adoption of it. The only person in a position to object—the agent for the next of kin—did object, as I have stated, but in vain."
- " 2. The Armagh case.—Francis Hughes had been twice tried for the murder of Thomas Powell. Two jurors had disagreed about the case. Hughes was a Catholic. Powell had been a Protestant. The first jury was composed of ten Protestants and two Catholics. One of the Catholics would not find a verdict of guilty. The ten Protestants and the other Catholic (this is material) were understood to have wished to convict. They could not agree and were discharged. The second jury was composed of nine Protestants and three Catholics. It is understood that the Catholics and one of the Protestants were for an acquittal, the rest for a conviction. They also were discharged. Hughes was put upon his trial for the third time at the last spring assizes. The trial was fixed for nine o'clock in the morning, but, as in the Downpatrick case, other prisoners were arraigned at that hour, and a common jury was sworn without challenge or observation. This jury was composed of ten Protestants and two Catholics. When Hughes was put to the bar, his agent said that he would consent to take the jury in the box, without challenge, if the Crown solicitor, as he had done in Downpatrick, would also abstain from challenging. This was peremptorily refused, and the panel was called. The panel was then called. The prisoner's counsel, Whiteside, Napier, and I, proposed to challenge for cause, and to ask the jurors whether they had expressed opinions hostile to the prisoner? We had been allowed to do so at the former trial, and every man who admitted the expression of such opinions had been set aside. Now the Crown counsel objected to the question altogether, and insisted that the expression of such an opinion should not exclude from the jury-box. The matter was argued, and the judge ruled that the question could not be put, and that the expression of such an opinion did not disqualify the jurors. He put us to prove their expression of hostile opinion by extrinsic evidence, which we had not to produce, and many persons, who would have been excluded, had the declaration of adverse feeling been enough to exclude them, and had the Crown and the Court allowed us to inquire into the facts from themselves, were sworn upon the jury. The calling of the panel proceeded, and the Crown challenged every Catholic who was called, until a jury had been sworn. There were ten Catholics called."
proceeds to state that the 257 jury having been thus constructed, the trial proceeded, Hughes was convicted and executed. It is not denied that ten Catholics were set aside by the Crown. Six are alleged to have been publicans; but the rule laid down by Chief Baron Brady was, that ordinary publicans, especially those living in remote situations, should be set aside. One of the Catholics set aside in Hughes's case has a spirit licence indeed, but he is a wealthy man, and keeps a large hotel in Armagh. But these four Catholics challenged who are not spirit venders, I cannot conceive why they were set aside. Sir, as I understood that the defence of the Attorney-general rests in part on his having followed the course which Mr. Pigot had approved, I applied to the noble Lord for the correspondence between Mr. Pigot and the Crown solicitor, Mr. Hamilton, but that correspondence was refused. Mr. Pigot did not consider it to be consistent with his duty to give me the correspondence. I cannot tell exactly what took place between him and Mr. Hamilton; but this I know, that however it came to pass, ten Catholics were struck from the jury under the present Attorney-general; that under Whig Attorneys-general the juries were not exclusively Protestant, and that through the whole of the north of Ireland the course pursued by the legal authorities created a great ferment. It is not wonderful no explanation was given by the law officers of their motives for striking all the Catholics off. If they had a justification they did not give it, and it is not strange that great and, I will add, just indignation should have been produced. To all classes of the Catholic community the feeling which was excited by Hughes's trial rapidly extended, and the Roman Catholic Primate, Dr. Crolly, the head of the Catholic church in Ireland, a man of the most moderate politics, a most determined antagonist of the repeal of the union, a man not likely to be readily under the influence of rash popular emotion, roused and awakened by what he considered a monstrous injustice, addressed a petition to this House, which, whether you consider the nature of the statements, or the character and functions of the eminent man, deserves your most solemn consideration. I recollect that the noble Lord, the Secretary for Ireland, stated in this House, that the Catholic clergy in the south of Ireland had zealously and most efficiently 258 co-operated with the Government in their efforts to put down disturbance. The spirit evinced by that powerful and influential body ought to be an inducement to the noble Lord to give heed to the solemn admonition given him by the man who, although as poor as an apostle, is regarded by the Catholic millions within his sacred supervision with more respect than if he rolled in all the pomp and gorgeousness of your Establishment. The newspapers, naturally, inevitably took up Hughes's case, and at once an occasion was opened to the Attorney-general to indulge in his favourite official propensity. The Attorney-general is, in some instances, the most inert, in others the most formidably active of public functionaries. Take the ease of Mr. Biddulph as an example. Mr. Biddulph, a magistrate of the King's County, prosecuted two men for firing at him three times; at the last trial he admitted, on his oath, that he had advised the men, whose lives he was seeking, and who were out on bail, to abscond. That statement was made by Mr. Biddulph, in the presence of special counsel, sent down by Mr. Blackburn to attend the trial; yet Lord De Grey, who does not, it seems, read the newspapers (he leaves that to the Attorney-general), never heard of it, and it was only when the matter was brought forward in Parliament that Mr. Biddulph was dismissed. But for any vaunt of vigilance as a Tory magistrate, Mr. Blackburne makes up by the keen sagacity with which he peruses the press. From 1835 to 1841 there were six Whig. Attorneys-general, and during that entire time not a single prosecution against the press was instituted, although the Tory journals teemed with the most atrocious vituperation directed against every Member of the Whig Administration. But Mr. Blackburne's views of the freedom of the press are different. His political history is this: He had signed a petition against Catholic Emancipation, and was made Attorney-general when the Whigs lame into office. When the noble Lord opposite and the Secretary for the Home Department resigned on the appropriation question, the right hon. Francis Blackburne (declaring that the office of Attorney-general was not a political one) fel no prick of conscience, and very prudently stuck to his office. When the Tories came in, in 1835, they found Mr. Blackburne Attorney-general, and Mr. O'Logh- 259 len (that most distinguished judge, to whom no praise is equal) Solicitor-general—they got rid of the Catholic Solicitor-general, but they saw in Mr. Blackburne qualifications which reconciled them to him. Never was there in Ireland a more terrific functionary. His prosecutions were almost countless. Although Attorney-general to the Whigs, he had endeared himself to their antagonists, and on the present Government coming into power, he was reinstated in his old employment, and he has already instituted one prosecution for words, and two prosecutions against the press—one against the Newry Examiner, and the other against the Belfast Vindicator. The article in the Belfast Vindicator is strong, but not a great deal more so than Dr. Crolly's petition; and with articles fully as virulent, and a great deal more false, the Tory press in both islands almost daily teems. Mr. Blackburne having instituted a prosecution against Mr. Duffy, the proprietor of the Belfast Vindicator, and the bills having been found, a special jury was impanelled. The course adopted in empanelling a special jury is this— forty-eight names are furnished by the clerk of the Crown, of which the defendant strikes off twelve and the Crown-solicitor twelve. The list of twenty-four, after this process is gone through, is called the reduced list. In the list of forty-eight, there were nine Catholics. The alleged libel related to the exclusion of Catholics from the jury in Hughe's case; it involved a question of Catholic and Protestant. You may have reasons to give for the constitution of the jury in Hughe's case, but for your proceedings in the libel case, I am at a loss to discover a pretence. You struck off eight Catholic jurors out of the nine, and you left only one Catholic on that special jury by which a publication, touching a question in which the feelings of Catholics are most immediately involved, was to be tried. I have here the names of the special jurors whom you struck off, and with the exception of one (the proprietor of a Whig paper), I see no justification for your conduct —I say your conduct, because the act is that of the Attorney-general, and of the Crown-solicitor who are in your employment. The Catholics struck off all men of respectability and of station. Was it not your duty, as you profess to govern Ireland without reference to party, and to be de- 260 voted to the impartial administration of justice, to take care that on this trial, at least, for a libel, there should be a just admixture of Roman Catholics? There are seven millions of Catholics in Ireland, and on a special jury, sworn to try a case between the Crown and the subject, one Catholic is left on. We are seven-eighths of the population, and we are a twelfth of the jury. The trial proceeded, and the Attorney-general, addressing himself to the jury, with one Catholic in the box, stated the alleged libel, and then insisted that whether the libel was true or not, was not the question—declared that he would not prove the falsehood of the libel, and insisted that the defendant could not rely on its truth. Why then prosecute? What effect would the conviction have on the public mind? Could it have the most remote tendency to establish what was really the matter in issue between the country and the Attorney-general, namely, that the Attorney-general had violated his duty. The case for the defendant was most ably stated by Mr. O'Hogan. That gentleman, notwithstanding the intimation given by the Attorney-general, was proceeding to refer to the facts which took place at. Armagh; but when he uttered these words, " but the fact could not be controverted, that while eleven Protestants were on the jury on the trial of a Protestant, when a Roman Catholic came to be tried elsewhere, his jury consisted of Protestants," the Solicitor-general, who went over specially to attend the trial, interposed, and insisted that the truth as a defence could not be even stated. The chief justice informed Mr. O'Hogan, that as the truth was not a defence, he would avoid any statement which he could not prove. Mr. O'Hogan was not even permitted to state the facts: evidence of those facts was excluded, and the chief justice, the publication only having been proved, delivered what certainly was "a charge" to the jury. Chief justice Penne-father was appointed by the present Government to his high office. He, too, had signed petitions against emancipation; and as a proof that Ireland was not to be governed through a party, he was raised to the highest place on the common law bench. It is well known to every Gentleman in this House, that Fox's celebrated act empowers the judge in a libel case to give his opinion "as in other criminal cases;" and in other criminal cases judges 261 are not in the habit of delivering impassioned appeals to the jury, and of resorting to the language of vehement declamation. Chief justice Pennefather was a very distinguished advocate at the bar, and his forensic habits appear to have been associated with his judicial attributes. He said, that it was of no sort of consequence whether the facts stated in the publication were true or not, that the Attorney-general was not subject to the cognizance of the press; and then, in the exercise of his right to give his opinion as in other criminal cases, he said,Was there ever a more diobolicial libel than that? In my opinion never ! I am nut to decide the question, but I am to give you my opinion and that is, that this is a gross and infamous libel, and that is not mincing the matter.Sir, I believe that this language startled the entire of the Irish bar, even the Tory party in Ireland did not approve of it, they saw in it a formidable precedent. I do riot believe, that there is a man on the English bench by whom such language would be uttered. But, Sir, there are suggestions made in the speech of Mr. Blackburne, and in the charge of the Chief Justice, in which there is much truth, and which deserves the consideration of this House. Mr. Blackburne and Chief-Justice Pennefather declare that it is before the House of Commons that charges against an Attorney-general should be preferred. Be it so, and as those charges cannot be investigated without a committee of inquiry, if you desire to ascertain the truth of the allegations which have been made against Mr. Blackburn, you will grant a committee to inquire into them. If the circumstances are complicated; if minute details are required, it is only before a committee that a satisfactory investigation can take place. How prompt were the House of Lords in giving a committee to inquire into the course pursued by Lord Normanby's Government. We shall see the noble Lord produce Mr. Pigot's correspondence with Mr. Hamilton, and we shall hear much of Catholic publicans. I suppose that he will also tell us why eight Catholics were struck off from the special jury, but if he thinks that he has a real case, and that justice is on his side, let him grant an inquiry into the administration of justice, and let us see whether it has been as impartial as we were told so often 262 by my Lord de Grey that it would be; or whether, on the contrary, notwithstanding all your ostentatious professions, you adhere to the old Tory system — govern Ireland, as you never failed to do, through the intervention of party, and act through your subordinates in a spirit diametrically counter to the principles on which Catholic emancipation was founded. Sir, I have gone through most of those charges against the Irish Government of which I have given notice to the noble Lord, with the single exception of that to which I commenced by adverting. There is this distinction between it, that if you have a defence, you can at once establish it by laying the correspondence before the House. I impute to you, in Mr. St. George's case, a compliance with the requisitions of the faction, which you occasionally affect to resist, but to which you almost invariably bow down. In the year 1837, Lord Normanby sent Mr. Crofton, a stipendiary magistrate, to Galway. Certain resolutions were passed by the magistrates, in Mr. St. George's district, condemning the appointment of Mr. Crofton. Mr. St. George was not content with passing resolutions; he addressed a letter to the Secretary for Ireland. For this letter, in the opinion of the Duke of Wellington, he was most properly dismissed. In Member last, four magistrates applied to Lord Clanricarde to effect the restoration of Mr. St. George. Of these four magistrates, three Sad concurred, with Mr. St. George, in passing resolutions against Lord Normandy. Lord Clanricarde recommended the restoration of Mr. St. George. Sir Edward Sugden insisted on an apology being made for his offensive letter. Sir Edward Sugden, although opposed in politics to Lord Normandy, saw in him the representative of his Sovereign; he felt that before Mr. St. George should resume the seat of justice, he should retract the insulting language which he had employed, and repair the wanton insult which he had offered to the representative of the Crown. Lord Clanricarde communicated the conditions on which Sir Edward Sugden insisted to Mr. St. George, and a most positive refusal was given by Mr. St. George to offer any retractation whatsoever. Mr. St. George concluded, that he was not to be restored to the magistracy, and made no kind of application on the subject. But the matter was taken up by the Tory press, 263 and the Chancellor was denounced for having demanded an apology for an insult offered to Lord Normanby Lord Normanby was justly enough the object, of their special antipathy to the faction which he had the courage to defy and encounter, and from whatever could wound his feelings they derived an unworthy exultation. The pressure of the whole Tory press was brought to bear upon Sir Edward Sugden. Lord Clanricarde having heard the conditions required by Sir Edward Sugden, and having ascertained that Mr. St. George would not comply with them, did not interfere any farther. He felt the justice of Sir Edward Sugden demand, and lie saw at once that to restore Mr. St. George, after he had refused an apology, and thus virtually re-asserted all his imputations, would be an affront to Lord Normandy. He heard nothing further on the subject. Sir Edward Sugden made no communication to him. He concluded, of course, that if anything further in the business was to be done, he, as the Lord-lieutenant of the county, would be apprised of it, and would be made the official medium of communication. Who, indeed, could conjecture that, having required an explanation, which was refused, Sir Edward Sugden would so far descend from the high position which he occupies as to give way either to the menaces directed against him by the Tory journals, or to any individual solicitation? But what was the astonishment of those who were aware of what took place, when they were informed that after Sir Edward Sudden had deliberately and officially required that Mr. St. George should make an apology, and after Mr. St. George had as deliberately refused to do so, and after all communication with the Lord-lieutenant of' the county had ceased, and after it had been made matter of vaunt and triumph by the Orange newspapers that Mr. St. George had adhered to his original offence,—yet that the Government had restored Mr. St. George. The noble Lord opposite stated in the House, that Mr. St. George had been restored in consequence of a subsequent application. From whom? We have not heard. The original affront was not a secret—the demand that Mr. St. George should apologize was not a secret —the refusal to apologize is not a secret—but the application in favour of Mr. St. George is a secret; but of its clandestine 264 character it ought to be divested, and brought under the cognizance of the House of Commons. Mr. Shed concluded by moving for the correspondence.
§ Lord Eliot
rejoiced that an opportunity had at length been given him of vindicating the character of the Irish Government, and of showing to the House and the country that the charges which had been brought against them were entirely destitute of foundation. The right hon. and learned Member for Cork (Mr. O'Connell) had, on the 18th of April last, presented a petition to that House, to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite had adverted in the course of his speech, containing certain charges against the Government of Ireland, and upon the assurance then given to bring the subject under the notice of the House that petition had been ordered to be printed. That petition charged the Government of Ireland with having tampered with the administration of justice in that country, and down to this (lay the pledge then given by the right hon. and learned Member for Cork had not been redeemed. The right hon. and learned Member for Cork was not now there to substantiate the charges he had made. But if hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House had preserved for so long a time an unbroken silence in reference to those charges, the organs of the party of which these hon. Gentlemen were the distinguished leaders had not adopted the same course. On the contrary, the whole liberal press in Ireland had repeated those charges from time to time, and had dealt pretty generally in invective against the Government. He contended, that if hon. Gentlemen believed these charges to be well founded they had neglected their duty, and forfeited the trust reposed in them, by suffering the Government so long to escape the condemnation which such conduct as they charged against them merited. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had commenced his speech by a reference to a speech which he (Lord Eliot) had made to his constituents at the last election for East Cornwall—a speech which, he must say, was a mere spontaneous declaration of his feelings, for he had not been called upon by his constituents for any declaration of his opinions, but he had thought it right to state the general views he entertained before he was called upon to fill any office, The right hon. and learned 265 Gentlemen had also referred to the answers made by his noble Friend at the head of the Government of Ireland to the addresses presented to him when he first went to that country. He could assure the right hon. and learned Gentleman and the House, that they adhered to those declarations, both in the letter and in the spirit; but he thought the right hon. and learned Gentleman, on reflection, would see that he had attributed to those declarations a meaning which no one who looked at the question fairly and with an unbiassed mind would place upon them. The hon. and learned Gentleman asked them (the Government) why they had not bestowed the patronage of the Government in Ireland without reference, Dot to religious opinions merely, but to general political views? He would ask, had ever any Government acted, or ought any Govern He meet to act, upon that principle? Why it would be destructive to all the principles of combination on which Governments in this country were constituted. The Government was not the Government of a party, but of the whole empire; they looked to higher considerations than those of party to guide them—they looked to the due administration of justice to all parties, and took care that no one party in the State should domineer over another; and that religious opinions should cease to be the test of fitness for political employment. He could not believe, that any Government meant, by the declaration of those principles, that they should bestow their patronage indiscriminately on political opponents as well as on political friends. The right hon. and learned Gentleman, then, had put a forced construction on the language he had held in the spirit to which he had referred. He contended, that both himself and his noble Friend the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland had acted up to the declarations to which the right hon. Gentleman had called their attention. He would now endeavour to follow the right hon. Gentleman through the various details he had brought forward as to the conduct of the Government, and in defence of the various appointments which they had made. The first case brought forward by the right hon. and learned Gentleman was that of Mr. Monaghan. Now, entertaining a sincere respect for the high legal attainments of that Gentleman, he still thought, that the retention of that Gentleman by the present Govern- 266 ment as the legal adviser of the Crown, would not have been compatible with the principles upon which the Government were anxious to proceed. He believed Mr. Monaghan was an advocate for the repeal of the Union. [Mr. Sheil: " No, no."] At all events, he was a strong political partisan, and had refused, as he had been informed, to drink the Queen's health; and it would, he thought, have been most inconsistent with his duty, and the duty of the Government with which he was connected, to continue that Gentleman in his office. He would now state what had taken place in reference to the appointment of Mr. Brewster. That gentleman had been recommended by his right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-general for Ireland, as a person peculiarly well qualified for the duties of the vacant office. He was aware, that it had been charged against Mr. Brewster, that he was a member of the Brunswick club, and a violent political partisan, and that he was also what was called an exterminator—that was to say that he was a person who ejected many of his poorer tenants for the purpose of gratifying a political feeling. He had thought it right, previous to the appointment of Mr. Brewster, to institute the must rigid inquiry into those charges, and he found, that Mr. Brewster had succeeded to an estate in Carlow on the death of a r elation, who having only a life interest in the property had not been very particular in its management, and had permitted several persons to build up cabins by the roadside. These, Mr. Brewster found, were for the most part people of abandoned character, who were in the habit of committing all sorts of crimes, and had become a nuisance to the whole district. The occupiers of those cabins Br. Brewster served with notice to quit; and although he had never received any rent from them, he distributed between 80l. and 1001. amongst those who were so ejected to enable them to go elsewhere, while those who were of good character he retained upon the estate. In the case of another of his Homan Catholic tenants Mr. Brewster added to his farm. [Mr. Shell had not referred to the conduct of Mr. Brewster in reference to his tenants.] No; the right hon. Gentleman did not; but the statement having been publicly made, he had thought it right to refer to it. In another case, where the tenants had injured the land, and wasted the pro- 267 perty, Mr. Brewster gave to the best of them 351. to settle themselves elsewhere. This gentleman also succeeded to some property in the county of Wicklow, which was occupied by Roman Catholic tenants, and those tenants still continued in their holdings, no attempt having been made by Mr. Brewster, to dispossess them. He was also letting some of his land in Carlow in building lots, but until certain parties, who were connected with the property, attained their majority, he could only grant leases for ten years. He denied, then, the truth of the allegation, that Mr. Brewster was either a violent political partisan, or what was termed an exterminator; and there was no ground whatever, which had come to his knowledge, which should have induced the Government to decline the services of one of the ablest men at the Irish bar in an office for which he was peculiarly well fitted; and he felt it to be his duty here to express the high estimation in which he held Mr. Brewster, arising from the official intercourse he had had with that gentleman since his appointment. He now turned to the case of Baron Lefroy. He had heard that high judicial offices had been offered to gentlemen who had been denounced in speeches from the Throne. He wished to know whether it were just to rake up all the speeches made by those selected to fill offices, whether they were uttered in London or in Dublin, in Kent or in Tipperary? In his judgment they ought to proceed on higher grounds. He was prepared to defend this appointment on its own grounds, and he would venture to say, that so far from the Government not being justified in appointing Barone Lefroy, their conduct would have been wholly unjustifiable had they passed over a man of such distinguished merit; and the right ion. Gentleman had been unable to bring forward any charge against his conduct. [Mr. Sheil said, that he had not made any reference to the conduct of the learned judge.] He could not see, then, on what grounds the objections of the right hon. Gentleman rested. He had certainly understood the objections of the right hon. Gentleman to relate to some transactions which had occurred long ago. He would admit, that there were some opinions entertained by that learned judge in which he could not concur; but he had been appointed Solely in consequence of those acknow- 268 ledged abilities which so eminently fitted him for his high judicial position, and which would cause him to be numbered ' among those who had graced the Irish bench. The right hon. Gentleman had also adverted to an appointment to which he felt some hesitation in alluding, for the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Sergeant Jackson) was present, and he consequently felt himself precluded from dwelling on his public character or private worth; and he could assure the right hon. Gentleman, that although there might, perhaps, be some questions on which he might differ from that hon. and learned Gentleman, yet with respect to the general policy to be pursued towards Ireland a most perfect concord of sentiment existed between them; and he had no hesitation in saying, that he had derived the highest gratification from his official connection with that hon. and learned Gentleman. Another appointment animadverted upon by the right hon. Gentleman was that of Mr. Sergeant Warren. Now, if the Government had sought political influence in making the appointment they would, undoubtedly, have appointed Mr. West. The same would have been the result had they consulted their personal inclinations, because Mr. West was known to the Government, whilst Mr. Warren was a stranger. Professional merit was in this case, as in the former one, the governing principle. He held in his hand papers which would prove that political influence had had no share in these appointments. But he would refrain from troubling the House with unnecessary details. The present Bishop of Ossory, the first appointment made by the present Government, was selected solely from his preeminence above his fellows in knowledge and learning; and the appointment, he believed, had given the greatest satisfaction to the Irish Church. He was first appointed to the deanery of Cork, and on the death of the late Bishop of Ossory was removed to the bishopric, and was succeeded in the deanery of Cork by another eminent clergyman, altogether devoid of any political influence. This appointment also received the approbation of every member of the Irish Protestant Church. He had already spoken of the law appointments, and he was not aware that there were any others referred to by the right hon. Gentleman which had been made since the present Government had been in power. There 269 had been a few situations filled up in the constabulary about seven, he believed—which, without a single exception, had been bestowed either on men whose fathers had died in the constabulary service, or had been long employed in it, or men who had been promoted from inferior grades in that service, notwithstanding the pressure—he would not call it an unreasonable pressure —to which the Government had been subjected for the bestowal of its patronage on those recommended by its supporters. If the right hon. Gentleman was anxious to ascertain this fact, he could put into his hands documents which would prove it to his satisfaction. The right hon. Gentleman had treated with some degree of levity the appointments made by the Attorney general with regard to the Crown prosecutions on circuit; but he would also find in those document to which hem had alluded, that in these appointments would be found men of all shades of political opinion. That right hon. Gentleman had proceeded to discuss the conduct of the Government during the Dublin election, and had commented on the conduct of a noble Lord (Lord Jocelyn), whom he would leave to vindicate himself; but he might be permitted to say, that that noble Lord, being himself an Irishman, from his distinguished character and popularity in that country, would have been fully justified in becoming a candidate for the representation of Dublin. The noble Lord, who held a nominal office in the Lord-lieutenant's household, certainly did canvass the electors, but he defied the right hon. Gentleman to prove that he had in any case used the name of the Lord-lieutenant. The Gentleman who was accustomed to make known the wishes of the Castle did not canvass at all on this occasion. With regard to the interest taken by the Government in the Dublin election, he must say, that although the Government regretted the language used by Mr. Gregory with respect to national education, still there were more points of concurrence between that Gentleman and the Government than between the Government and Lord Morpeth; and it must be evident, that had the Government, under these circumstances, not taken some interest in the election, they would have been wanting in their duty to their numerous supporters. The right hon. Gentleman then proceeded to advert to the refusal of the Government to remove the sheriffs. A more 270 monstrous proposition it had never been his lot to hear made to any Government. Could there be a more gross instance of interference with the right of election? What would have been the outcry had the rule been acted on with regard to Whig officials, if previous to an election Whig sheriffs had been displaced to make room for Conservative successors? The right hon. Gentleman had also animadverted on the character and conduct of the sheriffs; but he begged leave to tell the right hon. Gentleman, that a more respectable man did not exist than Mr. Parker. The right hon. Gentleman had laid some stress on the offer made by Mr. Sheriff Brown to the late Government; but under what Br, instances was that offer made? In March, I 841, three or four months before the general election was even in contemplation, and therefore of course without your reference to it, he wrote;a letter to the Government, in which he said that he had influence which, if they would make him a knight, he would use in their behalf. Was any invective against the Whig Government the consequence? Did the as. beg Government throw back the offer, and stigmatise hint who had made it as a corrupt sheriff? He had begun his speech by baying that the Government had adhered to the pledges given on entering office, and he referred to the measures introduced by that Government in justification. lie called on the House to say whether they were party measures. Those measures had been introduced with a view to benefit the whole community. Many of them, he confessed, had been adopted from their predecessors, who had not succeeded in carrying them out; now, however, he hoped to see them shortly become the law of the Hand. There was the Drainage Bill, which would not only tend to render that productive which had, hitherto, yielded nothing, but would also give employment to the laborious and impoverished population. Another was a measure to consolidate the ancient statutes. There was also a measure which they had thought it their duty to introduce and pass through Parliament with the least possible delay—he alluded to the act which was intended to give effect to the intentions of those who framed the Municipal Corporations Act, whose intentions had been defeated by some technical errors. When he could show that the executive branch of the administration had not 271 stooped to serve party purposes, but had steadily kept in view what they believed to be the general interests of the community, he thought it would be seen that the taunts of the right hon. Gentleman were utterly uncalled for. There was another charge of still greater importance; he alluded to that relating to the trial of the murderers of M'Ardle The right hon. Gentleman had certainly not accused him of having made an unfounded and inaccurate statement, but the right hon. Gentleman had certainly charged him with giving to the House and the public an inaccurate statement of the facts connected with that trial. He begged distinctly to be understood as not retracting the opinion which he had expressed with respect to the verdict of the jury on that trial. It was not without good authority that he had come to that opinion. His authority was that of the Attorney-general, and, with the permission of the House, he would beg leave to read an extract from the letter which he had received from that Gentleman: — The Attorney-general's expressions were—I agree with Sir Thomas Staples that the verdict was not warranted by law. If the evidence were believed, and I see no reason to doubt any part of it, three of the four should have been convicted of murder, for it was impossible (and so the judge directed the jury) that the crime could have been mitigated to manslaughter. I am satisfied that, though the verdict has not been what it ought, beneficial effects will arise from the determination evinced by the Government to put down party disturbances and crime; and, as to the conduct of the trial, I would observe, that the friends of the deceased had counsel of eminence employed, with whom I consulted, and between whom and me there was the most entire concurrence of opinion. The jury that tried the case was one that had been previously empanelled for the trial of other persons, and to whom no objection was stated on either side—in fact, they were agreed on both sides.He had received another letter from the Attorney-general, which he would also beg leave to read to the House:—In this letter, the Attorney-general proceeded to say —With respect to the Downpatrick trial, I cannot see why, if the verdict of a jury be deemed wrong, there should be any reason for suppressing one's opinion of it. I, for my part, do not hesitate to say, that I thought that credible evidence established the guilt of two or three of the prisoners. It is true that that evidence which I believed, may not have been 272 credited by the jury, or been sufficient to satisfy them, without any reasonable doubt, of the guilt of the prisoners, but, with the same means of judging that they possessed, I could not, and never can, concur in their conclusion; and I am impressed with the conviction that they were (whether conscientiously or not I cannot say) influenced by the knowledge that a verdict of guilty would involve the lives of the accused. I am not aware of the expression which, it appears, has given offence. I may not have seen any correct report of your Lordship's speech, but none that I saw conveyed any interpretation of a wilful or corrupt character on the motives of the jury. Having thus detailed my views of the case, I need not say that I have not the slightest objection to their being made public.The objections were not made by the Attorney-general. The only representation which was made, was made by the counsel, or the solicitor, or the next of kin, to the Crown solicitor. He refused to accede to the request, on the ground that he could not do so without violating the instructions on which he was bound to act. As he had already said, the Attorney-general and the counsel employed did not think the verdict warranted by law, but they, at the same time, expressed their confident belief that the jury in question were not influenced by any corrupt motive, but solely by a feeling of reluctance to convict the man of murder. If a verdict of manslaughter could have been emitted, they would have given it. So much, therefore, for the case of M'Ardle. The next case to which the right hon. Gentleman referred was one which he wished to put in strong contrast with that of M'Ardle; for whereas, in his case, a Protestant was acquitted by a Protestant jury, in the case to which he was about to allude, a Catholic had been convicted by a Protestant jury. The right hon. Gentleman had stated, with perfect truth, that Hughes, who was tried for the murder of Mr. Powell, had been twice before tried for the same crime. That was a proof that the officers of the Crown, under the late Government, entertained at least a doubt as to his case, or they would never have put him three times on his trial. It was a remarkable circumstance, that Patrick Wood was convicted, on almost the same evidence, of the same crime, and executed, the jury, on that occasion, being exclusively Protestant. Now he would venture to assert that the right hon. Gentleman, if he would take the trouble to refer to the papers of that 273 day, would not find the same clamour raised against the law officers of the Crown as had been the case in the present an. stance. In the case to which he was now referring the list of petty jurors had been so largely drawn upon in the previous trials, that it was a matter of extreme difficulty to obtain an impartial jury. Hughes challenged twenty, and the Crown set aside twenty-four. Nine of those set aside by the Crown had tried the case before—at least such was his impression, and he had received the information from authority which he could not doubt, that of the Crown solicitor and the Attorney general — [Mr. Sheila: they had tried Wood's case, but not Hughes's.]—Reasons were assigned by the counsel for the prosecution respecting the names which they caused to be set aside, and Mr. Pigot admitted that those reasons were satisfactory. Now, Mr. Macdonnell was a person whose name he should have passed without mention, had it not been for the glowing eulogium pronounced on him by the right hon. and learned Gentleman who had brought forward the present motion. It was with reluctance he referred to the subject, but he was bound to state that the impression on the minds of the Crown solicitors respecting Mr. Macdonnell's character was such that they did not consider him a person to be believed on his oath. He had been employed by a political party as a valuator, and it was believed that his valuations were in many important cases grossly defective. As a proof of the good grounds upon which the parties objected to by the Crown were set aside he should mention this fact, that on the following day two of the number were impannelld with others to try a charge for misdemeanour. The indictment was one for Ribandism; it was a clear case for a conviction; and it was one, too, in which the traverser did not offer any evidence for the defence; notwithstanding those circumstances the individual jurors to whom he referred refused to concur in a verdict of guilty. Could any more complete justification than this fact afforded be produced of the unfitness of such men to sit as jurors on the trial of men charged with political offences? The right hon. and learned Gentleman spoke of Hughes as if he was an innocent man. Now, he begged for a few minutes to call the attention of the House to the circumstances of the case. Immediately after the trial of Hughes, and before his 274 execution, the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland came over to this country, and left the government of Ireland in charge of the Lords Justices, of whom his right hon. Friend the Lord Chancellor of Ireland was one. It was unnecessary for any one to remind the House of the peculiar fitness of that learned and eminent person to form a judgment of the merits of any case which might begs submitted for decision. With that case his right hon. and learned Friend took every possible pains; no one could be better qualified than he was to discharge the duty which devolved upon him, and no one could institute a more rigid and searching inquiry than had been set on foot by the Lord Chancellor of Ireland. He had a personal interview with the Crown-solicitor—he had a personal interview with the counsel employed for the prosecution—he had the judge's notes; and, having the fullest information, bestowing upon the case the most deliberated consideration, and being in the highest degree qualified for the task of forming a judgment, he came to the conclusion that there could be no doubt respecting the guilt of Hughes. He held in his hand a letter from the Lord Chancellor of Ireland detailing the whole circumstances of the case; and, looking at those circumstances, he thought himself fully warranted in saying that there could not be a more unfounded accusation brought against any Government than that which had now been preferred against the Irish Government with respect to the case of Hughes. The following were the terms in which the Lord Chancellor of Ireland wrote upon this subject:—Before I decided I had interviews with the Attorney-General, the counsel (Sir Thomas Staples) who prosecuted for the Crown, and the Crown solicitor, and required reports in writing upon the difficulties which pressed upon me. No case ever received a more attentive consideration. As to the guilt of the prisoner, Miss Powell, one of Powell's daughters, who behaved with an affection and courage which it is impossible not to admire, knew Hughes well. Powell was, in the first instance, called out of his parlour to speak to a man in his hall, and when one of his daughters warned him that he had a gun, he retreated back to his parlour, and there struggled with the man, and then the man being overmatched, called out to his party to break open the door, which they did, and one of the party presented a pistol at Powell, which Miss Powell put aside, and she swore distinctly that the man who presented the pistol was Hughes. 275 In defending her father she was wounded in the forehead, and the wound bled a great deal. The men dragged her father out of the house, one of them stabbing him, when the leader asked whether they could not shoot him. A shot followed, and Powell was killed in front of his parlour window. The daughter had in vain tried to get out of the house, as they held the door fast on the outside until Powell was killed. She then got out, and observed the party moving off; but one man kicking the body she pushed him away, and, with the aid of hit 'sisters, carried the dead body into the Rouse. This is the direct testimony, to which no abjection Dan be raised, unless it be said that Miss Powell mistook the man. The jury thought there was no mistake, and in that view I concurred. Besides this, there was the testimony of an accomplice, who showed no horror at the crime Dot. any desire to screen himself. He swore positively to Hughes being 'here all the time, and accounted for the pistol, tee., and swore that just before the shot was fired Hughes said, I will put you upon planting Tullyard,' which was the cause of the murder; and, after the murder, said to the witness, am the boy that had courage to do it.' If this man was to be believed, being corroborated, no doubt could remain. His testimony was clearly corroborated, so as to show that he was on the spot; for he swore that the party remained in a hollow until the police went by, and that he heard them as they passed, and that a horse passed at a sharp pace, and was checked; and a farmer proved that he did pass on horseback quickly at the time, and checked his horse. This, however, does not prove that Hughes Gas there. A great coat ism of some consequence in this case. Miss Powell swore that Hughes had on such a coat as the one in question. When the police at a subsequent period were pursuing Hughes, he had on a great coat, and having lost sight of Jim for a short time by some obstruction, they Jaw him running without his great coat, He denied that he had one. They searched a house which he had passed, and there found the great coat which he had worn, and upon which there were marks of blood. Now, this lad to a remarkable circumstance. Hughes's Fife, shortly before his execution, presented a memorials for mercy, in which she stated that the greet coat was her husband's, and that the blood stain upon it was Miss Powell's blood, for that she had lent the coat to a man without her husband's knowledge, who was present at the murder.Many hon. Members who heard him Were aware that Armagh was a Protestant country; they were also probably aware that with the formation of the panels the Government had nothing to do; that in the month of October in every year a book wee made up, containing the names of persons qualified to serve On juries; but it was the prerogative of the sheriff to 276 make out the panel, and that was a matter, as he had already observed, with which the Government had nothing to do: the composition of the panel rested exclusively with the sheriff; and let it be recollected, that in all cases the Crown solicitors followed the instructions given by Chief Baron Brady respecting the setting aside of jurors. He would read to the House an extract of a letter from Mr. Brewster on this subject:—The state of the law is this,—A book; called the Jurors' Book, is made out in the month of October in each year. This contains, or ought to contain, the names of all qualified persons. If any be omitted, means are provided to remedy the omission. From this book the sheriff must take his panel; but he may, and it is on all hands admitted he ought, to select a sufficient number of those best qualified to discharge the duty, It is his exclusive prerogative, and it would be in the highest degree unconstitutional to interfere with him; indeed, if the Executive ventured to do so, an outcry, and a well-founded one, would be made. It would therefore appear to me, that it is no part of our business to discuss the constitution of the panel; we must take it for better or worse, as we get it. Religion ought never to enter into the consideration of the officer, whose duty it is to see that none but men against whom no just grounds of objection exist shall compose a Jury.He now came to the next topic referred to by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, namely, the prosecution of newspapers for the publication of libels. In the case of the Newry Examiner there had been no trial; but now he wished to say a word or two with respect to those prosecutions. The libels to which reference had been made, not only charged the Government with acting upon party principles, not only impugned their motives and questioned their impartiality, but actually contained direct allegations that justice was tampered with, the effect of which must necessarily be to produce a want of confidence in the Government. The libel stated that Hughes did not receive a fair or impartial trial, such as it was intended by the law of England every man should receive. He was tried not as a British subject should be tried; he was tried as an Irish Catholic; he was tried (the writer said) as if his guilt were assumed, and his conviction desired. It was said that if they did not thus speak out the Catholics would not be safe. He need scarcely observe, that such a publication as that was in the highest degree calculated to excite 277 and to inflame the minds of the people, and it was not surprising that the jury should have pronounced it a malicious libel. It was a special jury, and balloted for in the usual way; and any one who knew Dublin, must be ready to admit the respectability of that jury, and the fairness with which they were selected, — very nearly half, if not quite half, of that jury voted on what was called the Liberal side at the last election. On that jury there were eight Roman Catholics and four Protestants. He should, with the permission of the House, read Mr. Kemmis's statement on this point:—The juries for the trials of the two northern papers—viz. the Vindicator and Examiner, were special juries, selected according to the Jury Act, by Ballot. Them sheriff returns the names of the jury, containing about 400. Those names are put into a box, and the officer of the court draws out forty-eight mimes; each party then strike off twelve names, and;he remaining twenty-four compose the jury. This is the way special juries are struck, whether the Crown or an individual is concerned. I attended striking both juries, and I left on those the most respectable in wealth and station, without reference to creed, as I considered, to try the cases. Tile attorneys for each newspaper attended, and struck off twelve in each case.He should now come to the case of Mr. Biddulph, and with reference to that he thought himself entitled to say, that it formed no part of the duty of the law officers of the Crown to inquire into and report on the conduct of magistrates. It was believed that the motive which influenced Mr. Biddulph was a wish to save his sister the pain of appearing a third time as a witness, exposed to all the annoyances of cross-examination, naturally so distressing to a woman. But he did not say this in justification of Mr. Biddulph His noble Friend, the Lord-lieutenant, being in London at the time, did not see the paragraphs which appeared in the newspapers, and as no notice was taken of the subject by the law officers of the Crown in Ireland, the first intimation that either he (Lord Eliot) or the Lord-lieutenant received of it was when it was mentioned by the Marques of Normandy in the other House of Parliament. Immediately after the statement of that noble Lord had been made, the cue was referred to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, who called upon Mr. Biddulph to explain. Mr. Biddulph did 278 so, but the explanation not being satisfactory, the Lord Chancellor removed his name from the commission of the peace. Mr. Biddulph was not a supporter of the present Government, but a Whig, and he ventured to say, that had the Lord-lieutenant removed Mr. Biddulph they would have had his case brought forward as one of gross tyranny. So much for the case of Mr. Biddulph With regard to the case of Mr. St. George, he believed it was admitted by all that he was a gentleman of the highest character, but unfortunately, in a moment of excitement, he had addressed a letter to the Lord-lieutenant of the day, which appeared in the public prints, and he was dismissed from the magistracy. During five years no application was made to Government to restore him, but on the accession of the present Government application was made to the Lord-lieutenant to this effect. The Lord Chancellor, jealous of the honour and dignity of the head of the preceding Government, thought that some reparation ought to be made by Mr. St. George for the offence which lie had committed, and felt reluctant to restore Mr. St. George until that reparation was made. Subsequently, however, lie received a communication from the Lord-lieutenant and magistrates of the county, praying for the restoration of Mr. St. George, and this had some influence with the Lord Chancellor. In the first instance, however, he declined acceding to the request; but, finding from all quarters, from newspapers of all colours and parties, that there was a strong feeling in favour of Mr. St. George, and that. Mr. St. George himself felt the matter so strongly that lie had expressed his intention of leaving the country;—finding this to be the case, and feeling that Mr. St. George had expiated his offence, by being suspended from his duties as a magistrate for five years, the Lord Chancellor did certainly at last consent to his being restored. He (Lord Eliot) had to state, that Mr. St. George had denied, in the most decided manner, that he had ever intended any disrespect to the Sovereign, and that having considered the Lord-lieutenant merely as a Minister of the Crown, he did not think himself precluded from expressing an opinion unfavourable to his policy. The right hon. Gentleman said, that Mr. St. George's letter to the Lord-lieutenant was not only disrespectful to his Lordship, but that it was also disre- 279 spectful to the Sovereign. This, in his (Lord Eliot's) opinion, was placing the pretensions of the Lord-lieutenant too high. The Lord-lieutenant did not stand in the place of the Sovereign; and it was not a maxim, that the representative of the Sovereign could do no wrong. He thought therefore, that the Lord Chancellor would have been guilty of great pertinacity if he had insisted on a retractation, which Mr. St. George had declared he could not, as a man of honour, give. He had already stated, that he did not think it expedient to lay the papers on the Table of the House, and he could not, therefore, assent to the motion. In conclusion, he begged to deny, that any clandestine communications had altered the opinion of the Lord Chancellor, or had any effect on his mind. He believed, that his Lordship had acted on his own judgment of what was right; he had resisted the application for a time, but on afterwards taking all the circumstances into consideration, he had come to the conclusion that he was justified in acceding to it. His Lordship did not take this step, however, without consulting the Lord-lieutenant, who, on being consulted, at once declared, that he was satisfied, and with that assurance, the Lord Chancellor restored Mr. St. George.
§ Sir W. Somerville
thought, that an earlier period of the Session ought to have been taken for the discussion of a matter of so much importance as the present question; but when he considered, that the whole Session had been occupied in the discussion of measures of the greatest importance to the country, he thought his hon. and learned Friend, if he had brought forward his motion, would have run little chance of gaining a hearing. He was anxious not to let the present opportunity pass without addressing a few remarks on the charges brought against Government —charges too important not to justify every friend to the due administration of justice in Ireland—stating his opinions, and stating frankly and distinctly what were his views on the subject. He was of opinion that, during the last ten years, more progress had been made in reconciling the people of Ireland to the administration of justice in that country, and in eradicating their—he would not say former prejudices, but their former opinions on this subject than had been made for almost centuries; but he had no hesitation in saying, on the authority of com- 280 munication which he had received, that since the present Government came into power, the opinion of the people of Ireland had changed, and that they now believed, that the administration of justice did not stand, at the present moment, on the same footing, as it did under the late Government. Among the various circumstances which had shaken their confidence in this respect, was the notorious fact that two of the judges of the land had, with political views and political objects, and in spite of ill health, over hold their seats on the bench, in order that two gentlemen agreeing in political opinions with them, should be nominated. He intended during the last Session, to bring this matter before the House, but he had refrained from doing so, lest it should be suspected that he was actuated by political motives. But they all know, that what he complained of had occurred. The fact was notorious; it had lowered the high opinion which the people had of the fair administration of justice, and it was calculated to degrade the dignity of the bench. He did not say that the present Government were to blame for the conduct of these judges; it was beyond their control, but it was their duty to fill up the vacancies in an impartial manner. He had the highest respect for the characters of the judges on the bench; but he must say, that the appointments made, did astonish him. The noble Lord opposite asked if it could be expected that Government should appoint their enemies. Certainly not. He did not expect they would do so; but what, he would ask, became of the assurance given by the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government, that in his Irish appointments he should not be guided by Parliamentary influence? He certainly did expect to see some deviation from the course pursued by former Conservative Governments in this respect. He came now to a point of much greater importance—to what was really the gravamen of the charge—namely, that there had been a partial exercise of the right of challenging juries. The noble Lord alluded to the verdicts that had taken place in Tipperary, and he (Sir W. Somerville) would ask, why should not the same course be followed in other instances? The noble Lord omitted to state, that in the trial referred to by his hon. and learned Friend there was only one Roman Catholic on 281 the jury; and the noble Lord had also omitted any mention of the judge's charge on that occasion. It was monstrous to think that the law should be so different in the two countries, and that the articles which appeared in the Morning Chronicle could not be copied by the Dublin newspapers lest the Attorney-general should institute a prosecution against them. When the law officers acted so differently from the law officers of England, when they considered the liberty which the press enjoyed in this country, and the restrictions placed upon the press of Ireland, could they imagine that the confidence of the Irish people would be conciliated by such a state of things? When the noble Lord said that the juries had acted right in the cases referred to, did he think that the public would be of the same opinion when they saw that in one of those cases they were not allowed to go into the truth of the case? A charge was made that individuals were struck off the jury because they were Roman Catholics, and the Chief Justice denominated this charge as a most abominable reflection, and added, that it was diabolical to make such a charge against the Government officers. But if they looked to the evidence which had been taken on this point, they would find that this was no new charge, and that the practice of challenging juries had existed for centuries. He was glad, however, to hear the noble Lord disclaim proceedings of this nature; and he hoped that in future the noble Lord would give no cause for such charges being brought against him. Now, with regard to the way in which offices had been filled, he begged to remind the House that there were 7,000,000 Catholics in Ireland, and that there was scarcely a situation of any importance but what was filled up from the minority. Such a state of things ought not to exist. All he asked of the noble Lord was, that he should not appoint those persons to situations of trust and power, whose only recommendation was their constant hostility to every measure introduced into that House for the benefit of the Irish people. If the noble Lord did not do this, his Government would not differ from the Tory Governments that had preceded him, and he would fail in not having acted up to the professions which he had made in that House. The noble Lord had shown himself anxious to ameliorate the condition of 282 Ireland, and he would be sorry if the noble Lord should do anything to sully his fame, either by consenting to the system of packing juries or by violent partisanship. If the noble Lord would proceed in a fair and liberal course, he might rely on the support of the people of Ireland.
§ Mr. Sergeant Jackson
said, that the noble Lord who had preceded him in the debate having gone over minutely all the points brought forward by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for Dungarvon he would apply himself to the more prominent topics adverted to by the hon. Member who spoke last; observing, however, in the first place, that he was greatly indebted to the hon. and learned Member for Dungarvon, not only for the tone and manner in which he had brought forward the question, but also for his having undertaken to bring it on even at this late period of the Session. He believed that the right hon. and learned Gentleman was too honourable to throw out charges against the Government of the country-to give notice again and again that he would call the attention of the Government to those charges, and then to let it drop—then to renew it—then to let it drop; and when the subject was about to be brought under consideration, to disappear altogether from the discussion. That is a course which he did not think the hon. and learned Gentleman would take; but not long ago a petition was read to the House, containing grave imputations against the Government for packing juries in Ireland, for the purpose of bringing about a conviction for murder. Now he said that any Government which could be guilty of such conduct would almost be guilty of murder. The petition contained grave charges, which, contrary to his remonstrance, was read to the House, and the name of a Roman Catholic prelate was also read as the first name to the petition, in order to give it some weight with the House. Was that fair dealing with the law officers of the Crown? The hon. and learned Member for the county of Cork was the Member who had given notice that he intended to call the attention of the House to that petition. The hon. and learned Gentleman was not in the House. He would tell the House why; —because, if he was not mistaken, the hon. and learned Gentleman knew that he should fail in substantiating one of his charges, and be- 283 cause the hon. and learned Gentleman had done those things which he charged the law officers of Ireland with having done. Now, with regard to what had been said as to the challenging of jurors, he begged to state that, during twenty years which he went the Munster circuit, he never knew any attempt made to challenge peremptorily, or to put by, as it was called, any person on account of his political or religious opinions. To this, however, he must make one exception. At the trial of a general officer for endeavouring to do his duty in suppressing a riotous affair a challenge of jurors did take place. The hon. and learned Member for the county of Cork was leading counsel on that occasion. He alluded to the trial of Sir George Bingham, who was indicted for a misdemeanour, and on that occasion the hon. and learned Member for the county of Cork, as leading counsel, put by no less than sixty men. Every man who came to the book, and who was a Protestant, was challenged peremptorily by the hon. and learned Gentleman, and yet he now hesitated not to charge the Government with packing juries for the purpose of bringing about a conviction. This was so gross an occurrence, that Justice Moore, who was a Whig, declared that he had never seen such a thing done before; and Mr. Bennett, the leading counsel on the other side, stated that he had never pat by a man for his political or religious opinions. What was the result of this jury being packed? The gallant officer was convicted. He spoke from a recollection of what took place. The judge on that occasion exclaimed that the age of chivalry was gone, and that a highly honourable man had been made a victim, merely because he had endeavoured to preserve the peace of the country. Even the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dungarvon ought to be a little tender when he talks about packing juries. Let him recollect himself. He had before him a report of a case in which the right hon. Gentleman was leading counsel [Mr. Sheil: "You mean Pearce's cafe"] in which he, the right hon. Gentleman, made twenty-nine peremptory challenges. [Mr. Sheil: " Were there not six to six?"] There were seven Roman Catholics and five Protestants; but there were twenty-nine peremptory challenges made on that occasion. The hon. Baronet who had just resumed his seat (Sir 284 W. Somerville), who was remarkable for the propriety of his address to the House, and for the good feeling which almost always actuated him, had, he grieved to say, made some observations of a character calculated to wound the feelings of a high-minded gentleman, and cast a censure and rather a blot upon a highly distinguished and venerable judge of the land, the late Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. He knew not how the hon. Baronet had been able to dive into the breast and ascertain the motives of that honourable judge for remaining on the bench, or for leaving it. It was rather too much to cast upon that venerable man, in the evening of his days, a slur that could not in justice attach to his name. That eminent person was the leader, and a distinguished one, of what was called in his time, the liberal party in Ireland, and no man ever occupied a higher position than he did. Then with regard to Judge Johnson, another venerable man, a similar accusation had been made against him; but upon what grounds, he was equally at a loss to know. During the twenty-two or twenty-four years that Judge Johnson was on the bench, he never absented himself from the circuit more than four times. Was that a ground on which to found a charge against a venerable judge, against whose character he had never before heard one imputation cast. With respect to the question more immediately before the House (for the points he had hitherto touched upon, were merely collateral matters), he must say, that he had never known a weaker case brought before Parliament. As to the trumpery matter replacing to the conduct of Mr. Sergeant Warren at the College election, he considered it to be a mere waste of time to advert to it. Was there any man who knew Ireland, that could name a person standing higher, either professionally, or in private, than Mr. Sergeant Warren? What was it that honourable individual did? He came forward and proposed as a candidate one of the oldest friends he had on earth. They were class fellows at college; they entered King's Inn together; they were called to the bar at the same time; and they went the same circuit. Under these circumstances, Mr. Sergeant Warren came down to the hustings and proposed his friend. Was that a charge to be made against an honourable man, or was it a ground for censuring the 285 Government for giving such a man an appointment? The right hon. Gentleman had next attacked the appointment of Mr. Baron Lefroy. No task was easier than the vindication of that appointment. Baron Lefroy had no superior at the Irish bar. There was not a moan living who possessed so minute and accurate a knowledge of the principles and maxims of the Court of Equity, or of the practice and decisions of equitable law, as Mr. Baron Lefroy, nor was there a more competent, efficient, or useful judge on the Irish bench. He had been offered under successive Administrations promotions in three courts of justice, and he did not accept them. Why? Because he was assured by the Lord-lieutenant of the day that he had so high an opinion of him, that he would be glad to offer him the highest appointment that it was in his power to bestow. And yet this was the man to be branded as being utterly unfit and incompetent to occupy a seat on the bench. Then, with respect to the trial for libel, and as to the striking of the jury. It was well known, that the original list of jurors consisted of forty-eight names; these must be reduced to twenty-four. The agents of the parties struck them off alternately, and it did so happen, that when the jury was reduced, there remained only one Roman Catholic on the panel. The Crown solicitor affirmed, that he knew nothing of the politics of any of the jurors, and that he was actuated by no motive, but that of selecting those whom he thought best qualified by respectability and property to discharge the duty of jurors. The jury were unanimous, and returned their verdict in five minutes But, then, it was alleged, that Chief Justice Pennefather would not allow the truth of the allegations of the libel to be proved. Was it ever heard of in the law of libel that, under a prosecution of that description, the truth of the charges was permitted to be proved? Where would such a trial end? No English lawyer would say that the jury could go into the inquiry as to the truth or falsehood of the charges. Still there was a proper place where that inquiry might be gone into. Why was it not followed up? It was next said that the chief justice had used improper language, and had declared that it was a diabolical libel." Now, what was the libel? It was this:—.You Roman Catholics of Ireland particu- 286 carly take notice that there is no justice for you in this land;—take notice that there is one law for Protestants and another for Catholics in this country; and take notice, that the Crown officers pack them juries; that you will have no justice unless you make a stand and resist. it now; if you do not, prepare yourselves for permanent degradation and slavery in this land.Now, he would say, that such language was a " diabolical libel." If what it alleged were true, it would justify any resistance whatever to the state; and if it were not true, then nothing was more calculated to stir up the blood of the people and urge them on to insurrection. He would ask, then, was not the publication of such an article a diabolical act? The hon. Baronet had stated that the late Government had done wonders for Ireland, but the present Government had done nothing; and that public opinion was retrograding from it. If that was so, why was it? Because there were persons acting with the right hon. and learned Member for Cork, and going with him into King's County, instigating people to oppose their landlords, even to the committing of murder; it was because there were such writers as the editor of the Vindicator, who told the people that there was no justice for them, that there was one law for Protestants and another for Catholics. Hearing these things constantly reiterated, the people at length became persuaded that there must be some truth in them. But was there any foundation for these allegations? Not a particle. In truth, he never heard a weaker case attempted to be established before Parliament. Every allegation was unfounded from beginning to end. He would no longer trespass upon the attention of the House. He had purposely abstained from going fully into the whole question, and had confined himself to a few of the most prominent charges which had been made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, and which he hoped he had shown to be utterly groundless.
Mr. M. J. O'Connell
said, that in the few observations he had to offer he should confine himself to the immediate subject under discussion. He did not rise to defend or apologise for the conduct pursued by his hon. and learned Relative, against whom certain imputations had been cast, He rather doubted whether, if that lion, and learned Gentleman had been present, those imputations would 287 have been made, but he protested against the case of Sir George Bingham being brought forward on this occasion, as it had no reference to the question before the House. The charges now made against the Government in Ireland were that it had interfered with the administration of justice in tampering with the appointment of juries, and had attacked the great palladium of British liberty in attempting to prevent free discussion through the medium of the press. The hon. and learned Solicitor-general for Ireland (Mr. Jackson) had given the House a history of Mr. Baron Lefroy down to the administration of the Marquess Wellesley; but in common fairness the hon. and learned Gentleman ought to have carried it on to the administration of the Duke of Northumberland. During that administration the Government refused to send him as a temporary judge on the circuit, which led to the resignation of his sergeantcy. The hon. and learned Gentleman had not adverted to this; and, therefore, he (Mr. M. J. O'Connell) would supply the omission. In 1839, on a debate upon what were called the outrages in Ireland—or the outrageous debate—a speech was made by Mr. Emerson Tennent, an ex-Reformer, upon the subject of jurors; and in that speech he quoted the words, as he himself described them to beOf an eminent Irish lawyer—' that human ingenuity could not conceive a more successful device for security and protection of an offender than trial by jury in the present disorganised state of society in Ireland;'—and that some eminent lawyer went on to complain of the Government for having given up the wholesome practice of the purification of juries.This was said during the Attorney-generalship of Mr. Brady. The hon. Member concluded by saying that the editor of an Irish newspaper had been convicted of libel for saying that in Ireland there was one law for the rich and another for the poor. Now he (Mr. M. O'Connell) wished to know if Ireland was to be governed by a different law from that of England? He believed that if these matters were in the administrative department of the noble Lord opposite, seeing his anxiety to extend practical equality in legislative measures to the people of Ireland, that he should not have had to complain of the manner in which they were conducted. The noble Lord's liberality, however, had been neutralized on a 288 former occasion by his Colleagues in office. And here, it might be asked, whether open questions were permitted in the present united Government? because there had been some appearance of an open question on the subject of education in Ireland. He (Mr. M. O'Connell) feared that the spirit that might be observed in that House was but the type of what the people of Ireland felt out of it. He trusted those Gentlemen who stood by the connection between England and Ireland would evince the sincerity of their determination by extending the same laws to both countries.
§ Viscount Jocelyn
must acknowledge, that had he not confidence in the rectitude and justice which had distinguished the acts of the present Government towards Ireland ever since their accession to office, he should have felt some degree of fear at the motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman, believing that they must have fallen into some of the same, or errors of equal magnitude, which were so distinguishing a feature in the conduct and counsels of their predecessors unfortunately towards that country. He had listened with attention to the debate, and more particularly to the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, and he acknowledged he should not have felt surprised if in the wide field which he had taken for the attack he might have discovered some fault or some error which his brilliant imagination might have magnified into a crime; but when he found that the chief battery of his eloquence was turned against the Government upon such charges as for the dismissal from his appointment as stipendary magistrate of a man who had proved himself unqualified for the situation; when he found another of the grievances complained of was appointing men to office whose characters were as unimpeachable as their abilities were unquestionable; when he found at last the right hon. and learned Gentleman was driven for a point of attack to call in question what he was pleased to consider the improper interference of the Government at the late election of the city of Dublin, he acknowledged that he felt, as an humble supporter of the Government, grateful to the right hon. Gentleman, who in his opinion deserved the thanks of the Administration for bringing forward his motion, which was more likely to be of benefit to them than any act of 289 their own, and proving to the country generally how groundless was the accusation, and how really fair and straightforward had been the course pursued by the noble Lord at the head of the Irish Government. He should not himself have intruded upon the House this evening had not the learned Gentleman more particularly alluded to the Dublin election, and what he was pleased to term the unjustifiable interference of the Government. As he believed he was generally supposed to be the chief criminal in that interference, he returned thanks to the learned Gentleman for giving him the opportunity of correcting the garbled statements which had gone forth upon the subject.. Personally, he considered no defence necessary, but it was his wish to show that the noble Lord at the head of the administration of affairs in Ireland was no party to any interference whatsoever at that election. It had been stated by the learned Gentleman, that influence was made use of to obtain support for his hon. Friend the present member—such influence, he imagined, as the learned Gentleman supposed an officer of the Lord-lieutenant's household to possess; he could merely regret that it would become his duty to strip the statement of the right hon. Gentleman of its glowing colours, and clothe it in the more sober tint of truth and fact. As he stood at that election in rather a peculiar position, he trusted the House would bear with him for a few moments whilst he stated the case, and he was then ready to be judged by the opinion of the public. Previous to the nomination of the present Member, he had been privately solicited by many of the electors to come forward himself as a candidate for the representation of the city;—from private reasons, and likewise being engaged to that town which he had now the honour of representing, he was unable to take advantage of the proposal; but it was neither likely nor probable that the flattering testimony he had thus received of the confidence many seemed willing to rely in him lessened his anxiety for the success of a candidate whose political principles he believed most likely to be conducive to the prosperity of that important city,—and to meet the wishes of the majority of the electors, he did, he acknowledged, boldly make use of that confidence he felt many of the citizens of Dublin were prepared to rely in him, to forward what he 290 believed to be the right cause—a confidence he was not vain enough to suppose was from any feeling towards himself, but from the high personal and political character of his nearest relation, which he felt proud to acknowledge had obtained for hint the confidence and esteem of a large portion of the constituency of Dublin and of the people of Ireland, who had learned to look to him as a leader and a friend. Upon this ground alone the honour of such a proposal was made, and at all events this influence he had a right to make of use in support of that candidate of whose political principles he approved. He accompanied his Friend, the present Member, and solicited alike the support of those tradesmen a who were appointed to the castle with others; he stated his personal wishes, with what he believed to be the desire of the Government, for the success of his hon. Friend, but he denied that dither by words or act was a single vote influenced by threat of dismissal or promise of reward, and he must likewise add; that he was personally responsible for whatever blame might attach to the interference of the Government,—for he felt it his duty to proclaim publicly, that he acted without the direction, and as far as he knew against the wish, of the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland. But he must acknowledge his astonishment at this attack from the right hon. and learned Gentleman, when he recollected what his recorded opinion was in a majority of a House of Commons relative to the undue influence of a Government at an election. He did not wish to tax the memory of the right hon. Gentleman to any great length, but he could scarcely have forgotten the Dublin election of 1831, when a personal tends of his own and a political partisan stood a contest for that city; the opinions at that period held by the organs of the self-styled Liberals were very different in their character from that which the learned Gentleman had that evening brought forward. He should not trouble the House but with one of the many quotations he held in his hand. He would merely state that their substance consisted in calling upon the Government to force those who held any office, either to vote for the friends of the Bon, and learned Gentleman, or to give them a dismissal. He found the following paragraph in the Morning Register, May 1831:—All the stipendiary magistrates have got 291 formal notice, that they hold their offices on the condition of giving their votes and interest zealously and effectually to the candidates who are pledged to the cause of the King, people, and country; and this was not merely the fabrication of a newspaper, for the stipendiary magistrates were actually sent for by the private Secretary of the Lord-lieutenant to the castle, and there informed that they would be expected to vote contrary to their private opinions, and against their personal friends.This statement did not rest merely upon rumour, it was sworn upon evidence before a select committee of the House of Commons, and the names of the magistrates compelled to vote were Messrs. Tuddart and Tyndall. He would read to the House a line from each of the sworn statements of these gentlemen. The former having been desired to wait upon Bator, Tuyll, the private Secretary, informed the committee as follows:—That he stated to the private Secretary that his intention was to have remained neuter on this election, not to have voted at all, and that he respectfully requested him to lay a statement of his case before the Lord-lieutenant, and he hoped he would be permitted to remain neuter, and not vote at all on the election. He stated that he had been a friend of the Recorder's in other elections; that he was one of his committee; that he took an active part; that at present he did not intend to do so; and that, if permitted, he would remain neuter. Baron Tuyll said he could not make that application, for that if his request were acceded to, gentlemen similarly circumstanced, might expect the same indulgence to be afforded to them.This was the evidence of the former; he would now read what said the latter—viz.,That it was his intention to support the Tory candidates, who were personal friends of his, and that he had done so at the former election; he also said, that he had been elected to the situation he held by the Corporation, and that it would be voting against their interest to support the Reform candidates.Baron Tuyll said—I am aware you are elected by the Corporation, but you should recollect you are paid by the Government.After this the gentlemen went up and voted as they had been directed. A few days previous to the election the papers called for the dismissal of two persons, Mr. Bassaggio and another, holding small appointments under the Government, but who had been guilty of attending a meeting of the friends of the Conservative candi- 292 dates; they both received their dismissal accordingly, and Mr. Long, a coachmaker, holding an appointment to the Lord' lieutenant, was likewise dismissed for voting against Government candidates. He did not wish to weary the House with extracts from the Report, but hon. Gentlemen would find what he stated to be the sworn evidence of the persons themselves in this Report; and, upon the evidence that then came out, the chairman of that committee thought it his duty to bring the subject before the House, and made the following motion, which was met with a direct negative by the Government.August 23,1831.That certain individuals holding official situations in Ireland did at the last election for the city of Dublin, in contravention of the resolution of the House of Commons, use undue influence in favour of and with a view to aid and assist in the election of the sitting Member for the city of Dublin.The Government of that day boldy met the proposition by a decided negative, and on a division the numbers were—Ayes 66; Noes 207. And in that majority, which voted that threatening to dismiss stipendiary magistrates, and dismissing tradesmen, was not improper interference, h found the name of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dungarvon. Strengthened by this opinion expressed by the majority of the House of Commons, and the vote of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, the same system was notoriously pursued at the next election, and the organs of the friends of the right hon. and learned Gentleman expressed their astonishment in these words:Previous to this time it was never pretended that it is not the imperative duty of a servant of the Government to act with his employers.And such, indeed, appeared to have been the opinion of the friends of the learned Gentlemen until now, for he found at the election in 'July, 1841, the following note in the assessor's book, dated July 9, 1841:—Robert Jernan, policeman, examined— Was opposite to booth letter yesterday doing duty. A gentleman said to him—'Go, clear that booth.' He replied, he acted only under the orders of the sheriff or assessor. The gentleman then demanded the policeman's name, end gave his own name as Norman Macdonald, under-Secretary.He had not brought forward these statements from any wish to throw blame 293 upon the acts of the late Government, but from an anxiety that the public should judge between the course pursued by the servants of one Government, which received the recorded approval and sanction of the learned Gentleman, and that line which he thought it his duty to take as one who had been selected to stand, and who, as a countryman of the learned Gentleman, could not fail to take a deep interest in the fate of that election; and he had no hesitation in saying that should the right hon. Gentleman press this motion to a division, he would give them that support, for the sake of consistency, which he gave upon a motion to the same effect in the year 1831.
§ Mr. C. Buller
observed, that the noble Lord had acknowledged canvassing the city of Dublin, but had said he did so in his private capacity, and with no intention of bringing the influence of Government to bear. But the influence of the late grand master of the Orange-lodges in Ireland had been brought to bear, and he had a right to say so when the agents of the present united Government went forth to canvass without the consent of their superiors. It was strange that when the noble Lord who had just spoken had accused his (Mr. C. Buller's) hon. and learned Friend of sanctioning this intimidation, he could not go a little further, and remember that such was the work of the noble Lord opposite. He would leave the two noble Lords to settle that point between them. It, however, really would be as well if noble Lords and right hon. Gentlemen opposite would settle amongst themselves what ought to be the policy of the Government upon Irish questions, instead of presenting the unseemly spectacle of a learned Solicitor-general attacking the Irish Secretary, and now the noble Lord opposite condemning, by implication, the conduct of the noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire. The important part of the subject which had been brought under the consideration of the House was that which related to the administration of justice in Ireland. He regretted, for the sake of the noble Lord opposite, for whom he had a sincere respect, that, under his Government, there had taken place what, without wishing to exaggerate, he must call a perversion of the forms and substance of justice, such as ought to inspire every man in Ireland and this country with the deepest alarm. He did not blame 294 the noble Lord; he believed that he, like other leaders of Government, was actuated by good intentions, but their good intentions and wise policy were frustrated by the odious instruments which a Tory Government must use in Ireland. He had hoped that the noble Lord would not have been forced to tamper with the constitution of juries, in a way unknown to the law and practice in England. It could not have been expected that the Irish Government would have entered upon a crusade against the press. It might have been expedited from the experience of what took place under the last Government that. the most abusive libels would have been allowed to be published with impunity. What a contrast was presented by the two trials which had been referred to! In one ease four Orangemen were accused of the murder of a Catholic, and upon that jury there were eleven Protestants to one Catholic. The prisoners' counsel objected to the jury, but the Crown prosecutor insisted upon retaining every one of them. In the other case, a Catholic, accused of murder, was brought to trial a third time, and in that case the Crown departed from the usual rule, and in order to secure a conviction, excluded from the jury all Catholics but one, so that it might be said that the prisoner was tried by a jury of Protestants. The Solicitor-general for Ireland said, that the Catholics were excluded on personal grounds; but it was absurd to put forward such an excuse. This was a most important question, and, singular enough, it had again been raised in the case of the man who had ventured to denounce the unjust practice. In looking at the alleged libel there certainly appeared two or three rash sentences, which no admirer of an accurate style, and of a calm statement of facts, could possibly defend; but contrasted with the comments which one was accustomed to read in English newspapers on the conduct of Government and the administration of justice the article appeared to be one of comparative temperance and fairness. The sting of the article was not so much in its expressions as in the general fairness of its statements and the overwhelming force of its facts. When the prosecution was determined upon, it might have been supposed that the Irish Government wished for an investigation into the truth of the facts alleged by the newspaper—that they were anxious to prove that its statements 295 were mere unfounded calumnies. With such object, a prosecution of the press would have been fair and justifiable. But what was the course pursued upon the trial? The question at issue being the packing of juries by the exclusion of Catholics, the Crown commenced by packing the jury in precisely the same way. The Solicitor-general for Ireland had stated, upon the authority of the Crown-solicitor, that the exclusion of the Catholics was the result of pure chance. If the Crown-solicitor would seek an interview with M. Laplace, and endeavour to persuade that learned mathematician—[Sir J. Graham: He is dead. He had forgotten that. But though the man was dead, his doctrine lived; the doctrine of chances was not extinct, and it would require more than the declaration of the Crown-solicitor to satisfy any reasonable man that eight out of nine Catholics were excluded by mere chance. The occasion was one upon which the Irish Government ought to have exercised particular caution. They had disclaimed the intention of governing Ireland with reference to party or sectarian feelings. They should have taken care that nothing should have been left to chance, and whatever the proportion of Catholics to Protestants might have been upon the whole panel, they should have determined that upon the jury at least the proportion should have been a fair one. What was the second step in the progress of the cause? Did the Government instruct their counsel to say, that the statements contained in the newspapers were false? Nothing of the kind. The truth or falsehood of the article was a point carefully excluded from the consideration of the jury. The Crown proved that the newspaper was published in Dublin; and upon that fact, the jury was called upon to convict the defendant. The Chief Justice followed up these extraordinary proceedings by a charge quite as extraordinary. It was not usual for judges in England to make use of such language as a "diabolical" and " infamous " libel. Such language did not sound properly when it proceeded from the mouth of a judge. By the aid of a judge's charge, the Government obtained a conviction. This was the conduct of the Government which professed moderation and a desire not to give a triumph to any party. Could the Government suppose that the effect of the trial would be in- 296 creased confidence in the administration of justice, on the part of the people of Ireland? They had given the people of that country the most convincing proof that if a man ventured to state facts which were damning to the character of the Government, they would not attempt to dispute the truth of the statement, but would rely upon those atrocious libel laws which had not been called into activity by any Government since the administration of the Duke of Wellington. He must, however, do the Duke of Wellington's Government the justice to say, that unwise and impolitic as state prosecutions of the press were, on general principles, the individuals selected for prosecution were deserving of no sympathy, because they availed themselves of the most odious prejudices to justify their personal attacks upon particular Members of the Administration. Widely different was the case of Mr. Duffey. Though called a libeller, he had done public service. No greater service could be rendered than by a man who fearlessly came for. ward and disclosed the facts which he had laid before the public. Was it to be endured that even on a trial for murder—in a case of life and death, juries should not be fairly constituted? He would not accuse the Irish government of thirsting for the blood of prisoners, but this he must say that they had followed out rules adopted in the spirit of arbitrary caprice in such a manner as to spurn and trample on the very appearance of fairness in the administration of justice. Was this policy to be brought to bear upon England? If so, the press in this, country must be conducted on different principles from those upon which it had been carried on during the last ten years. It certainly could not be said, that during the period to which he referred, writers or speakers in this country were at all mealy-mouthed when commenting upon the administration of justice or the conduct of the executive government; but, then, to be sure, it was the late Government. In conclusion, he must declare that giving noble Lords and right hon. Gentlemen opposite credit for good intentions, they found in Ireland a spirit which overruled them all, and compelled them to convert even the sword of justice into a weapon of party warfare.
§ Sir J. Graham:
I am most unwilling to prolong this discussion, but considering the relation in which J stand to the Irish Go- 297 vernment I do not think it would be right in me to allow the debate to close without addressing a few observations to the House; and I will do so the more readily, because my reliance is implicit on the honour, impartiality, and singleness of purpose, and the solemn assurances of my noble Friend at the head of that Government, that no object so dear to his heart, no policy in his opinion so indispensable for the safety of that portion of the empire with the government of which he is entrusted, as the most strict and impartial administration of justice. Every thing, therefore, touching this point, is, in my opinion, of vital importance. Much has been said during the debate of the law officers of the Crown in Ireland, and especially of the Attorney-general of that country. But who is the first law officer of the Crown in Ireland? Is he unknown to hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House? I will say nothing of his having been Earl Grey's Attorney-general, but was he not Attorney-general under Lord Melbourne? And, notwithstanding the squeamishness of lion. Gentlemen opposite on the present occasion as to the selection of the law officers of the Crown for political considerations, is it not notorious that the the only offence in the eyes of Lord Melbourne committed by Mr. Blackburne, the Attorney-general for Ireland, was committed in 1835, when he consented to serve the Government of my right hon. Friend. It was on that account that on the return of Lord Melbourne to power, Mr. Blackburne was, from political considerations, and political consideration, only, removed. The Attorney-general for Ireland is a gentleman of high honour and unblemished character—a gentleman who has been trusted by various Administrations, and one whose integrity and capacity as a lawyer has never been impugned. Such is the first law officer of the Crown in Ireland. I do not intend to follow the lion. Gentleman who has just sat down in his vague and general statements, nor shall I enter on all the topics broached by the right hon. Member for Dungarvan I will not, for instance, follow him into the particulars of the appointment of Baron Lefroy to the bench, though that circumstance has been made the most of by the right hon. Gentleman. I believe that Baron Lefroy's learning is undoubted, and that his moral character is unassailable—and I will not, therefore, stop to assert them. It is true that some twelve or fourteen years since, 298 at a trying period to the Government in Ireland, he took a strong part in politics. But is that a bar, in the eyes of the other side of the House, to promotion to the bench? Was it the practice of the late administration to permit political partisanship to act as an obstacle to judicial promotion? I ask them to look at the case of Sergeant O'Loughlin, who was promoted to, if not the highest judicial station in Ireland, certainly the next to it. Yet, Sergeant O'Loughlin is well known to have been a pretty warm politician. It may be said that the learned Sergeant was appointed to an equity Judgeship; but he was previously appointed to the bench as a Barn of the Exchequer, which is a criminal judgeship. I will run through the list of the legal appointments of the late Government in Ireland. There is Judge Perrin, who was their Attorney-general in that country; Chief Baron Wolfe, who had been Attorney-general; Baron Richards, who had been Solicitor and General general; Chief Baron Brady, who had been Attorney-general; and Mr. Justice Ball, who bad been Attorney-general also. These were their appointments, and any one is able to answer thee question whether or not hey were made through political partisanship, or from other more abstract motives. Having enumerated these se oral appointments I will say, that one and all of them had found their way to the judicial bench by means of political partisanship I have shown, then, that in the estimation of the late Government, so far from active political partisanship being a ground of exclusion, it was the most direct course to the judicial bench. Come comment has been made upon the circumstance that my noble Friend (Lord Jocelyn), who holds an office in the Household, and who, being an Irishman, and taking an active part in Irish politics, has avowed that he canvassed in favour of Mr. Gregory, the Conservative Member, at the election for Dublin. But is it generally considered that the accident of holding an honorary situation should present a man taking an active part in political matters, [" Yes"] Does that reply arise from innocence, or is it not rather from forget fulness? The conduct of the party opposite was not marked by any such squeamishness in the case of the hon. Member for Chatham, who, holding a position in the house hold of her Majesty much higher than that which is filled by my noble Friend in the household of the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland, took a most active part in the contested 299 election in favour of the liberal party. I believe that hon. Gentleman discharged the arduous duties of chairman of the Westminster Election Committee, and took an active part in favour of the hon. Gentleman I see opposite (Mr. Leader), though holding at the time the office of Comptroller of her Majesty's Household. Other points of minor importances have been introduced into this discussion, but I admit, at once, that the question of paramount importance is that with regard to the mode in which justice is administered in Ireland. And here I must be permitted to say, that in the unhappy state of party divisions in Ireland, arising principally from religious differences in that country, there is a peculiar difficulty attending trials by jury. This unhappy fact it is impossible to deny. It is of the last importance, not only that the administration of justice in the shape of trial by jury should be carefully guarded against abuse, but that every unfair attack made upon the Government, imputing to them partiality and injustice in reference to this subject, should be viewed with peculiar jealousy. Now, first, with regard to the attack which has been made on the ground of the partiality with which juries have been constituted, so far as the Government of Ireland is concerned. The hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down, in adverting to this point, has alluded to the analogy with regard to juries between Ireland and England. I wish I could admit that that analogy was perfect, but I find from the unfortunate circumstance to which I have just adverted, that it is difficult to maintain that it is so; and I will proceed to illustrate the difference which exists between the two cases by a fact which all will allow. In this country it is a circumstance unknown, to see a prisoner exercise the right of challenge to the extent to which it is carried in Ireland. In the trial of Hughes, to which reference has been made, I believe the prisoner set aside twenty jurymen. From what circumstance does this excessive exercise of the right of challenge arise? From the unhappy and divided state of society in Ireland, resulting in the most bitter jealousy, and the most angry and hostile feelings, and if the law officers of the Crown were to allow the exercise of this right of peremptory challenge to the extent to which it is too frequently pressed on the part of a prisoner, if he be tried singly, and much more so if more prisoners than one be tried sat one time, without exercising a corresponding chal- 300 lenge upon the part of the Crown, you may talk to me of justice, but it would be a prostitution of the term, and would practically amount to impunity for the most heinous crimes. It is absolutely necessary, for the purposes of justice, when the right of challenge is exercised in this manner by the accused, that the corresponding right of the Crown should be maintained and acted upon. My noble Friend has put me in mind that the case of two prisoners being tried together, and exercising their extreme right of challenge, is no ideal one—for it actually occurred at the assizes at Clonmel, where two persons who were indicted together set aside no fewer than forty jurors. I say, therefore, that unless the right of challenge on the part of the prisoner be counteracted by a corresponding exercise of that right on the part of the Crown, we might preserve the semblance of justice, but practically we should establish nothing but impunity for every species of crime under the semblance of trial by jury. Every thing, of course, depends upon the manner in which the right of challenge may be exercised on the part of the Crown, and I contend that in the case which has been referred to, and in all others in which the Government have been concerned, it has been exercised by the law officers of the Crown in conformity with old and established rules. I assert most positively that in the case of Hughes the right was so exercised, when twenty-four persons were ordered to stand by; and in each case in perfect conformity with those rules to which I allude, and which were not established by the present Government, but by former Governments, and in the main, I believe, they were framed by Chief Baron Brady, when he was Attorney-general to the late Government. The right hon. and learned Member for Dungarvort thought fit to pass the fact by altogether; but I assert it on the authority of one whose veracity is above suspicion, and whose integrity as a man, any more than his ability as a lawyer, no one doubts—namely, the present Lord Chancellor of Ireland. As one of the Lords Justices of Ireland, it was the painful duty of my right hon. Friend to pass in review all the circumstances of the case of Hughes. My right hon. Friend, acting under the heaviest responsibility which rests on any individual—having to decide whether the law should take its course in the case of a fellow-creature left for execution—,entered upon the strictest investigation of all the circumstances connected with the case, and 301 his attention was specially directed to the right of peremptory challenge exercised by the Crown on that occasion. He saw the statements of counsel, he examined the Crown-solicitor, be examined all the facts of the case separately; and the result of his investigation was that all the Catholics who were set aside were set asideon the fair interpretation of the standing rules issued by Mr. Brady, and acted on since then. Others of the jury who were set aside were challenged as being publicans. I will not enter into the dispute arising out of the interpretation of the term " ordinary publican;" it is sufficient for me to know, that the Lord Chancellor, after the most mature consideration satisfibed himself that they had been properly set aside. In the case of M'Donell, however, there were doubts, and the Lord Chancellor took great pains to investigate it, and having done so was satisfied that in that case, also, the challenge had been properly made, and the juror justly set aside, according to the rules and practice of the court. The investigation, then, on the part of the Government, has been careful and complete. No new rule has beet] established to meet present purposes, but the Government has acted upon the practice which was instituted by the responsible persons connected with former Governments. The parties who exercised the right on the part of the Crown have been called to account in the strictest manner by the highest law authority in Ireland, who, having carefully examined the whole of the facts, and entering upon his investigation with the English notions of an English lawyer, of the highest eminence, and bringing those English notions to bear upon the administration of justice in Ireland—having to decide whether the conviction was good, and whether the last penalty of the law should be inflicted, had decided in favour of the conviction, and, consequently, the law was allowed to take its course. In the case of the libel in the Newry Examiner, there is a pretty strong presumption that the party felt that he had no vindication, for he pleaded guilty and no trial took place. With respect to the article which was tried, and which reflected on the administration of justice in Ireland, every person who has read the article must be aware that the language employed in it is not that of fair discussion, and could not, in a country circumstanced like Ireland, be passed by unnoticed. The hon. Gentleman opposite has admitted that many of the expressions in the article were 302 not suited to fair discussion. [Mr. C. Buller: stated that the sting of the article was in its temperance and truth.] The temperance of the article the hon. Gentleman himself threw overboard; arid, with respect to its truth, I have proved, on the authority of a disinterested witness, that the exercise of the prerogative of the Crown was necessary four the due administration of justice. The Bon Gentleman talked about fair comments on the executive Government. Now, it is not my duty or misfortune to read all the articles which appear in the Irish newspapers on the present executive Government, but I believe their tone is not more moderate than in former days. With respect to attacks on the conduct of the Government, it is not the policy, nor the wish, nor disposition of the present Government to resent them by prosecution; hut, for the sake of justice, for the sake of peace, for the maintenance of law and order, articles of the description of that which appeared in the Vindicator must be punished. I want certainly of opinion, on the whole, that the conviction of Hughes was consistent with justice and law; and that the remarks made upon that trial were of a dangerous character, and that it was the bounden duty of the Government to notice them
§ Viscount Palmerston
concurred with the right hon. Baronet in doings full justice to the pure and good intentions of the note Lord at the heed of the Irish Government. He had known the noble Lord for many years, and he felt convinced that it was impossible for any man to bring to the performance of the high functions with which he was intrusted, better intentions. He was also ready, in common with all who had taken part in the present debate, to do justice to the intentions of the noble Lord opposite (Lord Eliot); and if he said, that, after all that had passed that evening, he did not think that those who had spoken on the other side had given full and satisfactory answers to the matters brought into question, nobody would suspect that he imputed any intentional default of duty to either of those two noble Lords; but it turned out, as it was predicted before the present Government came into office, and as it had been repeated since, that they laboured, in the administration of the Irish Government, under difficulties with which it was scarcely possible for them successfully to struggle. They had to administer the government of 303 a great nation by means of a minority of the people, which minority held opinions, on many subjects, entirely at variance with the great mass of the people; distrusting, on their side, the majority, and being, on the other side, distrusted by them, so that there could be no confidence between them. He was sorry to say, that there did not exist much good will on either side. This was the difficulty with which the Government had to contend; and it was not surprising that, with the best intentions to do that which was right, they should be obliged to work with the only instruments it was in their power to employ, and fail in accomplishing the end they purposed when they first commenced the administration. The noble Lord had truly stated that the Government could not be expected to confer high appointments on their political adversaries; that it was natural and necessary that they should look for persons to fill appointments among those who were connected with them in general political sentiments, and that there was nothing unreasonable in the mode and extent in which they had appointed their political friends. Now, against the appointment of Mr. O'Loghlen, Mr. Perrin, Mr. Woulfe, and Mr. Ball, he did not think any reasonable objection could be found. But whatever might be the legal eminence of Mr. Lefroy, or the merits of his personal character, he still must say, that his was an unfortunate appointment. For the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Serjeant Jack, son) he felt the highest respect individually—no man's personal character could stand higher; yet he did not think his appointment fortunate. He would not mention appointments of a subordinate grade in Ireland, but he must say, that he concurred entirely in those observations which had been made on the selection, by Government, of persons to fill prominent stations having a material influence on the administration of justice. He did not think any satisfactory reason had been given for the composition of the jury which had been animadverted on. They were told that the exclusion of Catholics from the jury, when Catholics were tried, was the result of a rule established before the present Government came into power, and was acted on by those who preceded them; but, considering the temper of men's minds in Ireland, he thought no rule ought to be allowed to exist, if its operation necessarily led to the constitution of an en- 304 tirely Protestant jury to try a Catholic. He thought that the present debate had been extremely useful in drawing to these matters the attention of those Members of the Government who were not only anxious that justice should be done in Ireland, but that the belief should prevail among the people that justice was done—a matter scarcely less important than doing justice. He could not but think that this debate would have a beneficial effect, because he was persuaded that the two right hon. Baronets, whom he saw opposite, and that the two noble Lords immediately connected with the Government of Ireland, would, as far as lay in their power—and they had the power, if they chose to exert it—in future, take care, first of all, in selecting persons, to fill judicial situations, from among their political friends, not to choose those who would excite distrust in the mass of the people; and, in the next place, would endeavour, in selecting juries, that, somehow or other, they should be so composed as to afford the appearance of fairness and impartiality. He must say that the debate was gratifying and satisfactory in another respect also. Any person who had sat in that House, for any great number of years, must be gratified in comparing the tone and temper of the present debate, with those which some former debates, in antecedent periods, used to have, when Irish subjects were brought under discussion. The tone and temper of the present debate were exceedingly honourable to both sides of the House; and he must say, it was indicative of a great change, and a great mitigation of party feeling in Ireland. If this were the case, the conduct of his two noble Friends, Lords Normanby and Fortescue, had greatly conduced to bring about the change. From the impartiality with which they administered their high functions, their administration did tend, undoubtedly, greatly to assuage the asperity of party feeling in Ireland; and he thought he saw the fruits of their labour and moderation in the present debate. He was convinced that his noble Friends who now had the conduct of Irish affairs, would endeavour to pursue the same course, and he trusted they would overbear that local resistance which he knew they must find among some portions of those by whom they were supported With respect to the particular papers moved for, it did not appear that, those who spoke on the other side had in- 305 timated any intention to oppose their production. He presumed, from the course which the debate had taken, that the Government would grant the papers. He did not think the explanation given on the subject was clear and satisfactory; and it was due to the character of the Government that those papers should be produced. If the Government objected to their production, he should be prepared to divide with his right hon. Friend.
§ Mr. Gregory
said, at that late period he did not intend to trespass on the kindness of the House, but merely to correct an erroneous statement that fell from the hon. Member for Dungarvan in the course of his speech. The right hon. Member stated, that at a certain meeting in Dublin he had made a "solemn pledge "—and, accompanied as his statement was with such elevation of manner and exaggeration of importance that usually precedes important revelations—no doubt hon. Members imagined that he had solemnly pledged himself to some dark and desperate act; but no he had merely given a solemn pledge to oppose the present system of education? But he could assure the hon. Gentleman that his malignity did not proceed even so far as that. He made no promise, and he gave no pledge that he would vote against the grant for education. He merely stated, universally, that he disapproved of that education of which the Scripture did not form the basis, and that he would do everything in his power to endeavour to obtain a system founded on religious principles. Of that language, and of these sentiments, he did not retract one word—one syllable. And now as the subject of education had been mentioned, he must be permitted to observe, as a matter of consolation to the hon. Member for Dungarvan, that the title and appellation of Government candidate, which, as he alleges, bears such undue influence with it, would not be regarded as so essential to the success of any future candidate for Dublin. The unnecessary, he might also say unworthy, taunt of the noble Lord the Secretary for Ireland, against the whole body of the Established Church in Ireland, would not be a matter of indifference to 7,000 Conservative electors of Dublin, who have still some respect and affection for the ministers of their religion. He should like, however, before he concluded, to ask the hon. Gentleman whether this 306 was the time and place to put forward such allegations as to the undue influence exerted by her Majesty's Government in Ireland at the late election for Dublin? Was not the hon. Gentleman aware that, immediately on the close of the election for that city, a petition was lodged against his (Mr. Gregory's) return, and among the various acts of delinquency imputed to him and his supporters, none occupied so prominent a place as the undue influence and intimidation made use of by the Irish court in favour of the Government candidate. Well, then, what was the result of the petition? It was not merely unsuccessful—but not even prosecuted. Surely the electors of Dublin, who framed that petition, were not so obtuse as to abandon it with a fair chance of success, and to leave it to the lynx-eyed acuteness of the hon. Member for Dungarvan to discover the importance of the charges? He could perfectly imagine in his own mind the rapturous exultation of hon. Gentlemen of the Opposition on the bringing up of the report, wherein would be fully substantiated and elicited the various misdeeds and unconstitutional proceedings of the Government. But, as he fully anticipated, the result and upshot of that motion, as far as his particular position was concerned, had been to prove that in no previous election was there ever such strict impartiality pursued as on the present. Not only had it come out, that not even did the officers of the Lord-lieutenant's household refrain from canvassing—but even, as much as possible, avoided being seen in the streets during the election. The noble Lord the Member for Lynn (Viscount Jocelyn) had fully explained his motives in accompanying him in his ' canvass, and had denied even the cognisance of the Lord-lieutenant as to his ' proceeding. With the votes and speeches of 1831, he (Mr. Gregory) had now nothing to do; but had only to congratulate her Majesty's Government that it was such unfounded accusations as those that had proved its complete fairness and impartiality.
§ Sir R. Peel
then rose and said, Sir, the noble Lord, towards the conclusion of his speech, expressed a confident expectation that the Government did not intend to oppose the motion of the right hon. And learned Gentleman the Member for Dungarvan I think I should be far more warranted in expressing a confident ex- 307 pectation that the right hon. Gentleman did not mean to take the sense of the House upon this subject; for those who have heard the speech of the right hon. Gentleman have beard denunciations of the Irish Government, of partiality in the administration of justice, and an impeachment of their conduct in respect to the selection of jurors, and of course they would suppose that his motion had some connection with his charge. But, on the other hand, the whole result of his charge against the Government of Ireland is a motion for the correspondence relative to the case of Mr. St. George. Now observe, at the earliest period of the Session the right hon. and learned Member the Lord Mayor of Dublin gave notice of a motion on the subject of the trial of' Hughes, He presented the very petition to which the right hon. Gentleman referred, and which the right hon. Gentleman expressed his surprise at not having excited the attention of the House. The right hon. and learned Gentleman presented that petition, and gave a notice at an early period of the Session. He Las' withdrawn that notice; he has returned for Ireland. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dungarvan now brings forward certain cases, and all he asks is fur the correspondence relating tot a matter totally different, viz. the restoration of a gentleman who had been removed from the magistracy. Now, with respect to Mr. St. George, I have the honour of a personal acquaintance with that gentleman I have known him from a very early period of my life, and I believe a more truly honourable man does not exist. But at the name time I must say, that think the letter he wrote to Lord Normanby she representative of her Majesty in Ireland, was not warranted, and that it justified his removal from the commission of the peace. Upon the accession of the present Government in Ireland, no step whatever was taken with regard to the restoration of Mr. St. George to the magistracy; but a memorial from several magistrates of the county of Galway, from gentlemen knowing the respectability of his character, his efforts to improve the condition of the people, and the integrity of his purpose, did petition the Government to restore him to the commission of them peace That memorial was forwarded so the Lord Chancellor by the Lord-lieutenant of the county—a Lord-lieutenant 308 opposed in politics to the Government—a political friend of Lord Normanby joined in the recommendation. Why, it may be supposed that the Lord Chancellor of Ireland was anxious to avail himself of the earliest opportunity of restoring a gentleman whose political opinions were in concurrence with his own; but still he took no step, but asked Mr. St. George to make some reparation for his offence to Lord Normanby Mr. St. George hesitated as to terms, but some explanation was offered, which the Lord Chancellor communicated to the present Lord-lieutenant, and asked him whether he considered that that was sufficient, it being accompanied by a disclaimer of having the slightest intention to do anything that was offensive to Lord Normanby. The present Lord-lieutenant said to the Lord Chancellor that if the case were his he should be satisfied with the explanation; and upon that, the recommendation of the Lord-lieutenant of the county was acceded to, and Mr. St. George was restored to the commission of the peace. Now, can there be any public object to be gained by calling for the correspondence: and is it not a miserable conclusion of the speech of the hon. Gentleman, and his impassioned declamation, to call for nothing more than this by-gone correspondence? Surely the hon. Gentleman must feel that the motion he has made has no necessary connect on with his speech, and that he will not ask his right hon. and hon. Friends near him to concur with him in such a motion. I concur with the noble Lord opposite in reference to all countries, and particularly to Ireland, circumstanced as she is, that it is not sufficient that justice should be purely administered, but that it is of the utmost importance to the comfort, and peace, and satisfaction of the people, that there should be confidence on their part in the administrators of that justice, and that the administration of justice has lost the whole of its advantages, unless it be accompanied with a conviction on the minds of those with respect to whom that administration is to take place that justice will be done. And when the noble Lord contrasted the tone of this with the tone of all former debates on Ireland, and considered it an indication of an abated animosity I think it is a proof that my two noble Friends, the Lord-lieutenant and the Chief Secretary for Ireland, have not failed in their effort If so, I think the 309 noble Lord had no right to draw a conclusion that my noble Friends have not succeeded in their great object of restoring peace to Ireland. I was taunted in 1839, when I was out of office, that it was impossible I could advise the Crown to make satisfactory appointments for Ireland, and the language with respect to the higher office was this:—I was told, and justly told, that whatever declarations I made as to my intention to govern Ireland in a conciliatory manner, yet my appointments to the chief offices would be a much better indication of my intentions than any such declarations. What have been the appointments? I take the appointment of the Lord-lieutenant. Depend upon it, he, with that knowledge of the world, and firmness of purpose which he possesses, did not undertake that office without determining to submit to no agent to dictate to him. There was no man who made greater sacrifices than my noble Friend in undertaking the administration of Ireland; I mean sacrifices of a domestic nature. Nothing but a sense of public duty did induce him to undertake the administration of Ireland, and foregoing those pursuits which formed the delight of his life; but he would not retain that office an hour unless he were permitted to follow the dictates of his own good sense. But the noble Lord has spoken in such handsome terms, such deserved terms, of my noble Friend, that I need say nothing more for him. Then as to the office of Chief Secretary for Ireland—one scarcely less important—could a higher indication be given of the spirit in which the administration of Ireland should be conducted than the appointment of my noble Friend? The House will probably recollect that it was said in a discussion upon some domestic matters in Ireland, great difficulties must be opposed to the selection of my noble Friend; but I thought it was my duty, in concurrence with my right hon. Friend the Secretary for the Home Department, to propose my noble Friend as Chief Secretary of Ireland; and I consider those two nominations of the two great posts in Ireland to be a decisive proof of the administration of affairs in that country. And now take the Lord Chancellor of Ireland. Did any man ever complain of his political course in Ireland During the period he was in office in 1835 did he not obtain the good opinion of the bar for the great extent of his professional 310 knowledge, and the goodwill of all parties for his impartiality? I proposed his reappointment as Lord Chancellor, and he is acting in 1842 in the same spirit in which he acted in 1835. There has not been a case that has come before the Government of Ireland to which he has not applied the acuteness of his mind and his professional assistance, to secure the due administration of justice. Was it possible, I ask, that any arrangement could be made, if I had taken the choicer of all parties, and disavowed all party considerations in the three appointments, that could constitute a greater proof of the way in which the affairs of Ireland would be administered? The right hon. Gentleman said that I gave an assurance that the appointments should be made without reference to party considerations. If I had said in such general terms that such considerations should not influence the course of the Government, it could not be supposed that I thereby meant that the selection of persons to fill the chief offices of state should be made from my political opponents. Gentlemen opposite could never have been simple enough to believe that I should have resorted to their ranks for persons to administer the government of Ireland; but having had some experience in Irish affairs, and knowing as to the appointment of officers what inferences were likely to be drawn from my remaining silent, I guarded myself against such inference. I should have thought it would be expected that the Prime Minister in this country would select for offices of trust those who were united to him by political ties; but, fearing that if I remained silent some incorrect inferences might be drawn, I was determined to prevent it, and therefore in the very speech referred to by the right hon. Gentleman, I expressly said:—I think the Crown ought to act on the principles of law (that is, the law which removed the disqualification of Roman Catholics), and not to make religious opinions interfere as a ground for disqualifying persons from the exercise of civil functions (It was quite true I said that, but fearing that it might be misconstrued, I added)' I claim for myself, however, the same right which you my opponents exercise, and which every Government, ought to exercise, that of preferring political supporters to offices of trust and importance, and which could not be usefully or properly filled without concurrence in political opinions.311 With respect now to the judicial offices and legal appointments—it was confidently prophesied, with reference to judicial offices, Parliamentary services would be considered. What was the first act of the Government on the occurrence of a vacancy in the office of Lord Chief Justice? It was to appoint Mr. Pennefather to that office. He was very unwilling to accept the office of Solicitor-general on our reappointment in 1841; however, he did consent to accept, but such was his high professional standing at the bar of Ireland, that the Solicitor-generalship offered but very little inducement for him to accept it. It was no object to him. On the occurrence, then, of a vacancy, the appointment of Lord Chief Justice was offered to him and accepted. But as to Parliamentary or political influence he had none, and there could be no other object in his appointment than to give professional eminence the preference over Parliamentary service. As to his charge to the jury in the case the right hon. Gentleman referred to, what a different construction did the terms which the Lord Chief Justice used receive when my hon. Friend read them from that which they bore when the right hon. Gentleman quoted them. But will any man say that a better appointment could be made to the office of Lord Chief Justice than that of Mr. Pennefather? and will not the unanimous voice of the Irish bar confirm the propriety of the select ion? Then, with respect to Mr. Lefroy, I venture to say that at no bar was there ever a better equity lawyer than Mr. Lefroy? and then as to his violence—hon. Gentlemen must have heard Mr. Lefroy in this House —[Laughter] —why,I cannot even mention "violence" without exciting the laughter of hon. Gentleman on the other side. But did he ever make a speech that unfitted him for a judicial appointment? Never in my hearing. Why, Lord Wellesley offered him a seat on the Bench, I believe twelve or fifteen years since, and such was the eminence of Mr. Lefroy as an equity lawyer in Ireland, that, I believe, that offer of Lord Wellesley was the third Mr. Lefroy had received. There cannot be otherwise than an universal admission of his great professional eminence, and I must say it does savour of the greatest intolerance, that Because in 1829 Mr. Lefroy opposed the removal of the Roman Catholic disabilities, it was to disqualify him from receiving the due reward of his professional eminence; and 312 for the noble Lord to read us these lessons as to the policy of avoiding politics in judicial appointments, when he was a party in offering the appointment of the Chief Barony of the Exchequer to the strenuous advocate of the repeal of the Union, to a Gentleman who has taken, like the hon. and learned Member for Cork, a vehement part in politics—for the noble Lord, having been a party to that transaction, to lavish this indignation upon us who have promoted Mr. Lefroy, one of the most eminent equity lawyers of the bar, to the office of a puisne baron in the same court,—it does savour of that same assurance—that, I think, is a Parliamentary word—that enabled the noble Lord, with a gravity of countenance, to congratulate us on the position he has secured to us in Affghanistan It is a remarkable circumstance that the merits of those who do not happen to be selected for the appointment are urged against us. Unless I am greatly mistaken, on the occasion of a rumour that an English lawyer was to be selected to fill the office of Lord Chancellor of Ireland, that most vehement complaints were made that an Irishman was not selected for the office — and I think it was stated upon that side of the House, and upon high legal authority, that there could be no pretence for a Conservative Government sending an English lawyer to Ireland, when they had so eminent a member of the bar in Ireland as Mr. Lefroy. When Mr. Lefroy was not the object of the choice, and the intention was to disparage our appointment, then Mr. Lefroy was not only discovered to be the most eminent equity lawyer in either country, but he was described as the fittest person to fill that very office which commands the appointment of the whole of the magistracy. The noble Lord spoke of the Master of the Rolls, but observe, that is, like the Lord Chancellor, an equity appointment, but there is a difference in this respect:—the duties of the Master of the Rolls are merely of a judicial character, but the office of the Lord Chancellor is a political, as well as a judicial office. There is probably no criminal judge whose duties are of so delicate and difficult a nature to discharge as the Lord Chancellor of Ireland; and yet the appointment of Mr. Lefroy was urged after the charge of voting against the removal of the Roman Catholic disqualifications in 1829. Considering, then, all the facts I 313 have stated, I do think that the Government would have acted the shabbiest and most miserable part had they said to Mr. Lefroy, " True it is, your professional merit and your high standing deserve the greatest distinctions, but some dozen years ago you opposed a certain measure in Parliament and you have supported her Majesty's Government, and therefore you shall not have the office your abilities and your character undoubtedly deserve." With respect, now, to the Solicitor-general for Ireland, allusion has been made to what passed the other night on the subject of the national system of education, and although on that point I differ from the learned Gentleman, I am bound to say, that his high abilities, his eminent professional reputation, and his unimpeachable moral character—all well entitled him to the office the duties of which he has so irreproachably, so creditably discharged. Sir, I stated when out of office the principles upon which I intended to govern Ireland; those declarations caused some dissatisfaction and disappointment among a section of my supporters; but having deliberately adopted those principles, and being firmly persuaded that it is for the real interests of the country that patronage should be dispensed with a regard rather to professional reputation than party services, and that it is a proper and salutary policy to act in concert with, and not in opposition to the spirit of that legislation which professes to abolish religious disqualifications for public offices—thinking it just that the Executive should thus harmonize with the Legislature, I have endeavoured steadily to carry out those principles; and believe that I have no reason to regard any of the appointments which have been made as at all inconsistent with them.
§ The House divided on the question that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the question:—Ayes 146, Noes 75: Majority 71.
|List of the AYES.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Bankes, G.|
|A'Court, Capt.||Baring, hon. W. B.|
|Allix, J. P.||Barrington, Visct.|
|Antrobus, E.||Bateson, R.|
|Arbuthnott, hon. H.||Beckett, W.|
|Arkwright G.||Beresford, Major|
|Baillie, Col.||Blackburne, J. I.|
|Baird, W.||Blackstone, W. S.|
|Balfour, J. M.||Boldero, H. G.|
|Botfield, B.||Jocelyn, Visct.|
|Bradshaw, J.||Johnstone, Sir J.|
|Bramston T. W.||Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.|
|Broadwood, H.||Jones, Capt.|
|Bruce, Lord E.||Knatchbull, rt. hn. Sir E|
|Buck, L. W.||Lascelles, hon. W. S|
|Buckley, E.||Lefroy, A.|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Legh, G. C.|
|Burroughes, H. N.||Leicester, Earl of|
|Campbell, A.||Lincoln, Earl of|
|Chelsea, Visct.||Litton, E.|
|Clerk, Sir G.||Lockhart, W.|
|Clive, hon. R. H.||Lowther, J. H.|
|Cockburn, rt. hn Sir G.||Lowther, hon. Col.|
|Colvile C. R.||Lyall, G.|
|Corry, rt. hon. H.||Mackenzie, T.|
|Courtenay, Lord||Mackenzie, W. F.|
|Cripps, W.||M'Geachy F. A.|
|Damer, hon. Col.||Manners, Lord C. S.|
|Darby, G.||Masterman, J.|
|Dawnay, hon. W. H.||Meynell, Capt.|
|Denison, E. B.||Morgan, O.|
|D'Israeli, B.||Neville, R.|
|Dodd, G.||Newry, Visct.|
|Douglas, Sir C E.||Nicholl, right hon. J.|
|Douglas, J. D. S.||Norreys, Lord|
|Duncombe, hon. A.||O'Brien, A. S.|
|Egerton, W. T.||Pakington, J. S.|
|Eliot, Lord||Palmer, R.|
|Escott, B.||Patten, J. W.|
|Farnham, E. B.||Peel, rt. hn. Sir R.|
|Fitzroy, Capt.||Peel, J.|
|Fitzroy, hon. H.||Plumptre J. P.|
|Ffolliott, J.||Praed, W. T.|
|Forbes, W.||Rolleston, Col.|
|Fuller, A. E.||Rose, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Gaskell, J. Milnes||Rous, hon. Capt.|
|Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.||Rushbrooke, Col.|
|Gordon, hon. Capt.||Russell, C.|
|Gore, M.||Russell, J. D. W.|
|Goring, C.||Sanderson, R.|
|Goulborn rt. hon. H.||Scarlett, hon. R. C.|
|Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.||Seymour, Sir H. B.|
|Granby, Marq. of||Smyth, Sir H.|
|Greene, T.||Somerset, Lord G.|
|Gregory, W. H.||Sotherton, T. H. S.|
|Grimsditch, T.||Stanley, Lord|
|Grimston Visct.||Stuart, H.|
|Grogan, E.||Sutton, hon. H. M.|
|Hale, R. B.||Taylor, T. E.|
|Hamilton, W. J.||Tollemache, J.|
|Hamilton, Lord C.||Trench, Sir F. W.|
|Harcourt, G. G.||Trevor, hon. G. R.|
|Hardinge rt. Hn. Sir H.||Trollope, Sir J.|
|Hardy, J.||Trotter, J.|
|Hayes, Sir E.||Tyrell, Sir J. T.|
|Heneage. G. H. W.||Verner, Col.|
|Henley, J. W.||Vesey, hon. T.|
|Herbert, hon. S.||Vivian, J. E.|
|Hodgson, R.||Waddington, H. S.|
|Hogg, J. W.||Williams, T. P.|
|Hughes, W. B.||Young, J.|
|Inglis, Sir R. H.||TELLERS.|
|Jackson, J. D.||Baring, H.|
|Jermyn, Earl||Pringle, A.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Aldam, W.||Hothouse, rt. hn Sir J.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Howard, hn. C. W. G.|
|Bernal, R.||Howard, hon. J. K.|
|Blake, M.||Howard, P. H.|
|Bowring, Dr.||Howard, hon. H.|
|Brotherton J.||Howard, Sir R.|
|Browne, hon. W.||Hume, J.|
|Bryan, G.||Hutt, W|
|Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W.||Johnson, Gen.|
|Buller, C.||Langston, J. H.|
|Busfeild, W.||Lemon, Sir C.|
|Byng rt. ban. G. S.||Macnamara, Maj.|
|Carew, hon. R. S.||M'Taggart, Sir J.|
|Cave, hon. R. O.||Marshall, W.|
|Cavendish, hon. C. C.||Morris, D.|
|Childers, J. W.||Napier, Sir C.|
|Cobden, R.||Norreys, Sir D. J|
|Colborne, hn. W. N. R.||O'Brien, J.|
|Colebrooke, Sir T. E.||O'Conor Don|
|Collin, W.||Palmerston, Visct.|
|Corbally M. E.||Pechell, Capt.|
|Crawford, W. S.||Philips, M.|
|Dalmeny Lord||Plumridge, Capt.|
|Duncan, G.||Pulsford R.|
|Duncombe, Sir. T.||Rundle, J.|
|Easthope, Sir J.||Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.|
|Ebrington Visct.||Smith, rt. hon. R. V.|
|Ellis, W.||Somers, J. P.|
|Evans, W.||Somerville, Sir W. M.|
|Ewart, W.||Stewart, P. M.|
|Ferguson, Col.||Strutt, E.|
|Forster, M.||Thornely, T.|
|Gibson, T. M.||Wawn, J. T.|
|Gill, T.||Williams, W.|
|Gore, hon. R.||Wood, B.|
|Greenaway, C.||Wyse, T.|
|Hatton, Capt V.||Tuffnell H.|
|Hill, Cord M.||O'Connell, M. J.|
§ Main question again put that the Speaker do leave the Chair.
§ Sir R. Peel
reminded the hon. Gentleman that there was yet a great deal of public business to get through.
§ After some conversation the motion for the adjournment was withdrawn.
§ House in committee of supply.
§ House resumed. Committee to sit again.
§ Adjourned at a quarter before two.