said, they were now about to close the session, and the only exhibition of strength the Government had shewn was their determination to press this odious and irksome measure. Early next session he would expect the noble lord would furnish reports shewing the whole of the arms which had been registered, the quantity seized, and what proportion had been returned to their owners, and also an account of those districts which had been proclaimed. Whenever the bill became law he would take care that wherever he had any influence it should be carried into effect; he would counsel all his countrymen to follow the same course; and it would become so irksome and harassing, and it would be but very short lived. He moved that it be read a third time this day six months.
seconded the amendment, and contended that the bill was hateful in principle and contemptible in its provisions. He protested against the principle of the bill, and the period at which it was sought to be enacted. He believed there were now 25,000 troops in Ireland, exclusive of marines and police, 427 The present Government in reference to the conduct of that party who were their chief support in Ireland, said that they had never outraged the law. Now he had received a letter from a Protestant clergyman of Cootehill, in which he stated that his church was on the first of July broken open by an orange party, contrary to his express orders. The church having been broken open, the parties proceeded to the steeple, and had placed thereon a large orange flag. It had been the custom at this place for the clergyman to preach an orange sermon. as it was termed, but this the Rev. Mr. Douglas refused to do; he refused to accede to such a sacrilegious act—he refused to allow his pulpit to be thus desecrated. The consequence of this determination on his part, however, led to this,—that on his first entering upon his duties, the whole of the congregation rose in a body and left the church. The flag remained several days on the steeple; the police dared not interfere, because it was known that 180 men were resolved to keep up the flag. The Emperor Joseph of Austria caused to be written on his tomb, "Here lies Joseph, whose measures were all unsuccessful." He recommended the right hon. baronet to adopt this epitaph, for none could be more fitting or just. The hon. Member complained that hon. Gentlemen on the other side wished to arrogate all loyalty to themselves, and concluded by declaring that, favorable as he was to the union of the two countries, he would never attempt to uphold it by oppression and injustice.
§ Mr. M. Milnes
remarked, the hon. Gentleman was singular in his objection to these precautionary measures which all men must admit to have been imperatively demanded in Ireland. Precaution was the essential concomitant of the moderation of the Government; and, perhaps, the prudence was as much necessary to restrain the enthusiastic loyalty of one party as the excited hostility of the other. At all events, he hoped the latter would be as anxious to merit a compliment for observing the law, as to deprive their opponents of it. But he was as desirous of telling his right hon. Friend at the head of the Government, that the support which the bill had met with was not founded on the conviction that Arms Bills alone were necessary for Ireland. His supporters had entertained the hope, that if not in the 428 present session, in which the noble Lord's party had been so energetically obstructive, at least in the next, some important measures would be brought forward for the amelioration of Ireland. No doubt there was great difficulty in the present peculiar position of that country; but among those measures which would be followed by most advantageous results, he might mention the establishment of some improved system for educating the Catholic clergy; and the expenditure of money on public works. The Rev. Mr. Matthew had emphatically declared that what Ireland required was employment for her people. And with reference to the distinguished individual he had named, he believed sincerely that any compliment which could be paid by a Legislature or a Government was well merited by the apostle of temperance. The right hon. baronet ought not to be distrustful of his ability to meet the difficulties of the crisis. The right hon. baronet had already grappled with one mighty interest in this country, had met and overcome an immense mass of prejudices, and had accomplished more than any other Minister could have ventured. And the country knew well that the right hon. gentleman would not sacrifice any interest for any other motive than a deep conviction of public necessity. The right hon. Baronet could do no more than any other man; in fact, he was the only man in the country who could grapple successfully with existing difficulties. Let him proceed in the course he had hitherto pursued, and, relying on his own power, without having recourse to adventitious aid offered by the Opposition, he would eventually overcome all the difficulties that surrounded him, by carrying on that course of large and effective policy which had been commenced in the preceding session.
§ Mr. Wall
began by saying that he agreed with his hon. Friend, Mr. Milnes, that the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government was better able than any other man to introduce remedial measures for Ireland. The greater, however, his power, the greater his responsibility. His was the strongest Government the youngest member would live to see, and he should take care that the opportunity of settling at least some of the questions was not lost. The great moral of all Irish Debates seemed to him to be, that every 429 measure was encompassed with such difficulties, it was almost impossible to move. But the more difficult it was to do anything for them, the more imperious it was to take care that we had not the appearance of legislating against a country. There was the question of the Church, Landlord and Tenant, Registration, Franchise; the Church, which some were for supporting and others for distroying, some for one Church, some for two, some for paying neither, some for paying both, some for robbing one to endow the other: but while other men were differing and hesitating, his noble Friend (Lord Eliot) had made up his mind, and proposed an Arms Bill as the sovereign remedy. And such an Arms Bill; not contented with one that had been the law of the land, he said, let us put somewhat more ginger in it and make it as effective as we can. As far as he (Mr. Wall) understood the Bill, it was intended to put down agrarian outrage and facilitate the registration of arms. It did neither; he thought the Government had entirely failed in proving any increase in outrage. The returns were against them—in June, 1842, there were 800 serious outrages, in June, 1843, 447. The judges charged against this bill, for every statement as to the tranquillity of the country was an argument against it. But even if there was more agrarian outrage, this bill would not put it down. It had been tried fifty years, and re-enacted fourteen times. But would the bill facilitate registration? The reverse, men were obliged to go thirty miles to register their arms; some provision stating a maximum of distance beyond which men were not obliged to go to register, he thought might have been well introduced at the end of the second clause of the bill. He objected to it, however, on constitutional grounds, as a war measure and a second Alien Bill, as brought in under false pretences, giving a little protection and a little coercion, and being operative for neither. Above all he objected to it as giving increased power to the magistracy, at the time when great discontent and difference of opinion prevailed among that body. There were 3000 of them, and more attornies; to interpret this bill every magistrate should be a lawyer. The 17th clause for instance, which in principle was objecttionable in interfering with hereditary rights, he thought gave an undefined power to the magistrate, to give up the 430 father's arms to the son or sons, as he might think fit, giving all of them to one member or dividing them among the whole family. It was not by such measures as this that Ireland could be governed. Confidence was the principle on which the Administration should be founded, not suspicion and distrust. He was no Repealer; but this measure would make men Repealers. Some might think Ireland would do better connected with other countries than this; but no one in his senses could think that she could long stand alone. He believed the mass of the Irish people who clamored for repeal knew not what they asked for. The Russian mob once clamoured for the constitution, and when asked what it meant, said the constitution was the wife of Constantine. The Russian peasants were philosophers to the Irish, if they believe that the repeal of the union would relieve their distress. On those grounds it was that he opposed the Arms' Bill, and he called on those who had spoken from the other side of the House, and stigmatized the bill as irritating and ineffective, to unite with him in rejecting it on the third reading. It had been warmly, but not fruitlessly, opposed. The noble lord (Lord Eliot) had introduced thirty-five amendments, and been obliged to call in the assistance of the English Attorney-general to explain his Bill. It had been feebly supported only by five Members on the Government side, and by the petitions of five grand juries. The grand jury of Sligo objected to the bill, that it had been frittered away. The grand jury of Firmanagh mixed up with the consideration of the bill, the question of repeal and the Church. He thought the way the bill had been opposed and supported gave little hope of its being useful for the tranquility of Ireland.
said, that, when in opposition, the Ministerial party had been accused of making Ireland their cheval de bataillle, to ride into office upon. It had been made a heinous offence in them, that they had supported the Registration Bill of the noble Lord, now the Secretary for the Colonies. In lending his support to that bill, he would not deny that he had looked upon it as a party question; still he had thought that good cause had been shown for the measure, and in this belief he had been strengthened when he found the bill received the support of persons from whom his own party were 431 little in the habit of receiving support. When he found himself going out in a division with the noble Lord the Member for Sunderland, and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Halifax, he scarcely thought the time would ever come when, for his support of that bill, he should be held to have been guilty of factious opposition to the Government. The House would recollect that, in the course of a protracted opposition, the right hon. Baronet selected two questions, by which he led the country to believe, if he came into power, his system of Government in Ireland might be, in some degree, anticipated. These two measures were, the reform of the municipal institutions, and a measure for the registration of voters. What had been the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman with respect to these two measures since he had been in power? After a struggle of many years, the right hon. Gentleman entered office on the strength of his policy with respect to Ireland, for it was not to be denied that the divisions on the Irish Registration Bill were the thing that really overturned the late Government. The moment the right hon. Gentleman was in office he selected for the office of Secretary for Ireland a noble Lord whom he (Mr, D'Israeli) had long known and always highly esteemed, but the selection of that noble Lord was a virtual admission on the part of the right hon. Gentleman that he had been wrong in the course he had pursued when in opposition with respect to the question of municipal reform. Very shortly after the right hon. Gentleman came into power, he took an opportunity to announce that the subject of registration of voters in Ireland, a question on which so much interest was felt throughout the country, would not be proceeded with; not only that the bill of the noble Lord was not to be resumed, but that no measure of a similar character would be brought forward. The right hon. Gentleman thus admitted that his course, while in opposition, as far as this measure was concerned, was diametrically wrong, and that those to whom he had been opposed had acted correctly. He did not blame the right hon. Gentleman for this conduct. If the right hon. Gentleman thought that the line he had taken in opposition was not one which a Minister of this country could adopt, the right hon. Gentleman had taken a right and prudent course in abandoning it when he came 432 into office. But he drew this inference, which he thought was a most important one, that as regarded Irish policy, they who were the followers and supporters of the right hon. Gentleman were now left to themselves. That was, he thought, the plain, the irresistible conviction which must press itself on the mind of every hon. Gentleman who sat on that side of the House. For a number of years they supported the right hon. Gentleman on these two important subjects. The right hon. Gentleman succeeded to office mainly on account of the line he had taken in opposition on those two subjects, and he had virtually announced to the House and the country that he had been in error. He gave the right hon. Gentleman full credit for the sincerity of his conviction, but having now no guide on the subject of Ireland, no means of forming an opinion—Ireland being in a state which challenged and demanded some opinions—he said they were plainly free from any bonds of party on tha subject, for the right hon. Gentleman himself had broken them, and they had a right, they were, in fact, bound to form their own opinion of what they considered really, in the sincerity of their conviction, was most adapted to the advantage of the two countries. He said this, because it was, in fact, a course that was necessary to prevent gentlemen on that side of the House from being stultified by the position in which they were placed. To many, no doubt, it would have been very convenient that Ireland should have remained in a state of tranquillity, and that they should not have been forced to give an opinion on the subject. He was sure that many who supported the right hon. Gentleman would have felt it much more agreeable to avoid any Irish discussion: but being told by the right hon. Gentlemen that he had unfortunately a blind guide in opposition on the subject of Ireland, that they must not look to him, nor to the views he announced as orthodox. When the House therefore saw Members of his Government come forward and propose a measure which compelled the House to consider the state of Ireland, what remained for them but to form the best opinion they could, without the advantage of any official light, on this the most important subject in the modern policy of this country. At least they must endeavour to form an opinion which, if not absolutely sound, might not be so to- 433 tally devoid of all pretensions to wise policy as that which for a number of years they had adopted, and which they had the misfortune to find, on the announcement of their leader, was in fact perfectly erroneous? An hon. Gentleman on his side of the House had taken a view of what he what he considered the duty of his party on the subject of Ireland, at which some Members seemed to have been surprised, and he defended these views by holding them up as the old Tory doctrines, the legitimate doctrines of the party with which he was connected. He knew that that statement was historically true, and he believed it to be politically just. But there was no anarchy greater, no principle if followed out would be more fatal to the policy of this country, and to the character of public men, than to suppose that the two great parties which had governed the State were mere factions, without distinctive principles, and absolute differences in their policy. He was sure hon. Gentlemen opposite, from whom he differed, were the last men who would attempt to controvert an opinion of that kind. Their leader, who was unfortunately not then present had on more than one occasion given what he might call a pedigree of patriotism, proud of the great measures which, in the course of the last two hundred years, the party with which he was connected had introduced and carried. The noble Lord had given the House his view of the character of those measures, and the consequences to which they had led; and they were, he did not for a moment hesitate to admit great measures, of which a party might well be proud, and which none but great men, so numerous in the political history of this country, could have framed. He contendsd, also, that the party with which he was connected had held great distinctive principles, and carried them out. He said, too, that those principles, at different periods, had been advocated by men as great, and by pens as eloquent as any that had adorned the party on the other side. But he said, when that party was left in the lurch by their own leader, when he threw up the reins, and told them he had made a mistake, and that he could give them no further advice, and that the policy he had pursued was perfectly erroneous, it was their duty to remember the original principles of the party with which they were connected, and he for one could not find 434 in the history of that party any grounds for assuming that hostility to the Irish people was a distinctive ingredient of what was called Tory policy. He found the fact to be exactly reverse. He knew that there had been monarchs as Protestant as any that could exist—as Pro testant as any under whom he for one would wish to live—in the time of that great queen, Elizabeth, to whom they so often appeared, in the time of another monarch of whose Protestantism the Church of England would not doubt, since she canonized him as a saint, and reverenced him as a martyr, that was not the policy pursued, these were not the sentiments encouraged with respect to the Roman Catholic population of Ireland. They had heard another night of the treaty of Limerick; but no one reminded the House when it entered on the subject of the Irish Church, of the secret articles of the famous Glamorgan treaty, one of which contained a scheme for the adjustment of the claims of the rival Churches, which had never been broached in debate in that House. That clause alone showed what was the feeling of those whose amity to the Church of England could not be doubted on the delicate and important subject of the claims of the Irish Church. He could not observe that at any later period of our history, whenever those questions had been discussed, whenever what was called the Tory party had had the preponderance in the state, that any other line of policy had been adopted. It was true that circumstances had occurred to which he merely referred for illustration, because he did not wish to introduce the bitterness of party into this debate. The Whig party for seventy years had the command of the Government, and the course of their policy was hostile to the Roman Catholics of Ireland. That was a historical fact which no one could controvert. But even at the time when the Tory party was overthrown, and proscribed, when it was led by an attainted and exiled leader, principles were always advocated in harmony with those to which he had referred, and on all occasions of political contest, the Roman Catholic population of this country supported the claims of the Tory party. He said this because at a time like this it was necessary to recur to the principles which were the foundation of the party, when those who had been its leaders no longer led it, 435 and they found themselves sinking into a faction, degenerating into the lowest position in which a public man could be placed—when, in fact, they were supporting a Ministry without knowing what principles they were maintaining. He wished to enforce this position on the House, because he thought there was nothing more strange than that the gentlemen of England, those who were the descendants of the Cavaliers, should in fact always be advocates for governing Ireland on the principles of the Roundheads. At present, the state of Ireland forced itself on their attention. He was not going, at this period of the Session, to descant on the grievances of Ireland or the empirical remedies which had been posed to cure them; but he wished to remind the House of the subjects brought before them, and pressed on their attention by the popular voice. There was the tenure of land, a question which had shaken kingdoms to their centres, and occasioned more revolutions than any other cause. There was the maintenance of the poor, electoral rights, the claims of the rival Churches, whether you should maintain one line of ecclesiastical policy, or substitute another. Whether these were genuine grievances, founded on absolute necessity, or merely the fantastical inventions of those who were called agitators, it was a fact that such questions were mooted, that such questions interested millions, and that was enough to show that the state of such a country demanded the most serious attention. What was the consideration which the statesmen of the present day gave to these questions? They had announced to the House, almost in an ostentatious manner, that they intended to do nothing, because to do nothing was in their minds the wisest policy. Now, if one could suppose for a moment that the curtain would fall upon Ireland as it fell in a theatre when a certain number of acts had been performed, one might conceive that those gentlemen who formed the present cabinet had some foundation for the policy which they had stated it was their intention to pursue. They reasoned, they acted, as if the moment that Parliament was prorogued Ireland must be tranquillized; that in fact the present agitation was a sort of divertisement got up to form the material for debates. He heard almost a silent cheer, as if that was a version of the 436 movement now in progress accepted by some one; but to believe that, they must reject all the facts that had come to their knowledge, and throw aside all the evidence on which their information was founded. He had a right to suppose that this immense agitation, which was confessed by Ministers to exist, and the causes of which they said they were not prepared to remove, would still subsist, and would even be aggravated. He knew that it was said this remarkable conduct, this paralysis of policy, which was now fashionable, was, in fact, occasioned by a dissension in the Cabinet. That had been alleged in more than one quarter; it had always been his opinion, and he had his reasons for it. They were not reasons of any confidential nature, and, therefore, he had a right to state them. He had never heard of a Cabinet yet, since the institution of Cabinets, in which there was not a dissension. He defied any man to go through the history of Cabinets, from the time of Sunderland to that of Stanhope, from Stanhope to the Pelhams, and from the Pelhams to the Pitts, and to find one which had gone on for twenty-four months without very serious and even fatal dissensions. In modern times, even the right hon. Gentleman himself entered the Cabinet through a dissension. He was not in the Cabinet, and it was wished he should be, and one morning, without the slightest preparation, the Secretary of State found that he was no longer Secretary, and the right hon. Gentleman became Secretary in his place. Even in the most quiet times, in the Cabinet presided over by the patient and benignant genius of Lord Liverpool, dissensions sprung up in the Cabinet. Lord Castlereagh died, and a series of bickerings took place, which in a moment were hushed. Mr. Canning entered the Cabinet; dissensions soon took place relative to the introduction of Mr. Huskisson; and when Mr. Canning died, in a moment all the suppressed evil passions broke forth, and from that time to the present there never had been twelve months without dissensions in the Cabinet. The right hon. Gentleman's own Cabinet did not exist more than a few months before dissensions took place, and an eminent person who was a Member of the Cabinet left it; and they had a right to believe there were dissensions now. They had the Lord Chancellor of England declaring in the House of Lords that meetings held to pe- 437 tition for the repeal of the legislative union were illegal; and they had it declared to the House of Commons, by order of the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, that those meetings were perfectly legal, provided they were peaceable. The Leader of the Government in another House was chalking no Popery on the walls, while the Leader of the Government in that House told them that he, for himself, cared nothing about Protestant or Papist—Tros Tyriusve—he did not care what a man believed, and meant to be strictly impartial. When they found systems so inconsistent—policy so totally opposed—alike only in one great result, imbecility of the most lamentable nature, he had a right to believe that there were dissensions in the Cabinet. He believed it, and he believed that they would destroy this or any other Cabinet which did not address itself to the question of the government of Ireland in a very different spirit. It was perfectly clear, if you destroyed the Protestant, and established the Roman Catholic Church to-morrow, or chose any isolated remedies, one after the other, you would produce no improvement in the state of Ireland. It had arrived at that pitch which required a great man, to have recourse to great remedial measures. It was not a single remedy, but a simultaneous adoption of all those which had been indicated, and many more might be indicated that would restore Ireland to that state which every man, whether Irish or English, must feel to be desirable. You must re-organize and re-construct the government, and even the social state of Ireland. Nothing could prevent it—they might cry "question," but they would not cry "question" twelve months hence. It was not by having recourse to any of those measures brought forward in a great degree from party feeling, but in some degree, too, from sincere conviction; it was not by more empirical remedies that they could give peace and contentment to Ireland. With respect to the present measure he had little to say. Well, he would give his reason. He did not wish to use a harsh term, and, therefore, he would refrain from saying that the measure considered with reference to the present state of Ireland, was contemptible. The opposition to such a measure, taken also with reference to the present state of Ireland, must naturally, in some degree, be entitled to the same epithet; 438 but there were some measures which to introduce was disgraceful, and which to oppose was degrading. He had given no vote on this bill one way or the other, and he should continue that course, being perfectly persuaded of its futility. Believing that Ireland was governed in a manner which conduced only to the injury of both countries; that the principles declared by Ministers were not capable of relieving us from the difficult position in which we were placed; believing that the old principles of the party with which he was connected were quite competent, if pursued, to do that, he hoped the time would come when a party framed on true principles would do justice to Ireland, not by satisfying agitators—not by adopting in despair, the first quack remedy that was offered from either side of the House, but by really penetrating into the mystery of this great misgovernment, so as to bring about a state of society which would be advantageous both to England and Ireland, and which would put an end to a state of things that was the bane of England and opprobrium of Europe.
§ Colonel Verner
wished that the bill were not restricted to fire-arms only. He was happy to hear the terms of approbation in which the conduct of the Protestants in Ireland had been spoken of by the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government, and by a noble Lord in another place. He was glad that so much justice had been awarded them.
§ Mr. C. Buller
having on a former occasion expressed his opinion upon the general policy of the Government in relation to Ireland, would confine himself to the bill before the House, and to a few remarks upon the effect which, as now framed, it was likely to produce upon the tranquillity of Ireland. In the gallant Colonel who had just sat down the House had a specimen of the spirit in which the bill would be likely to be administered in Ireland by those in whose hands it would be placed for administration. The gallant Colonel, he believed, was not a magistrate, but he was the organ of a large mass of opinion in Ireland. He was the representative of a class who thought that the vigour of the Government had been too long delayed, and who were anxious for the moment to arrive when they were to be let loose to administer the full severity of this or any other law. The vigour which the gallant Colonel wished the Go- 439 vernment to evince was some coercive measure which the party he represented were so anxious to have passed for Ireland. The gallant Colonel's view of an Arms Bill was known—a buck-handled knife might be innocent in itself, but a buck-handled knife in a strong and malicious hand might be death. Parties on both sides of the House had agreed that the reason for introducing the bill had been mis-stated in the original debate; that it was absurd to treat it as a bill for the purpose of preventing agrarian outrages and offences against individuals. No Arms Bill would effect that; the only result would be to strip peaceable cottagers of the arms they had reserved for defence. He could understand the policy of an Arms Bill carried into effect by martial law, and if the yeomanry were to be let loose to search every cottage for arms. He could understand an Arms Bill such as that which Napoleon had in Spain, when the punishment for the possession of arms was death; but what would be the operation of this bill, and its effect upon the tranquillity of Ireland. The peasantry of Ire_ land had ever kept arms in spite of an Arms Bill, and nothing was more easy than for a disaffected peasantry to evade it. He (Mr. C. Buller) had said on a former occasion, that he did not object to the Arms Bill of the late Government, and he repeated, on this ground, that he viewed that Arms Bill as a mere continuation of a law of fifty years standing, and, therefore, certainly in itself nothing formidable—it was a bad law, it was true, but as a renewal was not calculated to excite such opposition as had been presented to the present bill—especially as a renewal by a Government which had the confidence of the Irish people and had kept that people tranquil. True, they had denied that position on the other side, but he said that such a renewed Arms Bill, brought in by such a Government, was not likely to be attended with practical evil consequences; but when brought forward by a Government in which the Irish people had no confidence, and against which the people had arrayed themselves in a sort of peaceable insurrection, what could be augured but that the Government which introduced the bill, and proclaimed it as the only remedial measure relied upon that bill to govern Ireland, and that Ireland was to be governed on the principle and by the policy of Arms Bills, Such a 440 course he thought to be peculiarly dangerous at the present moment. The mind of Ireland was in a state of great preturbation: there was much exasperation among the people, and a spark thrown upon such combustible materials might be productive of the most awful consequences. He gave credit to the right hon. Baronet for a wish to avoid collision, however imperfectly his measures might be carried out by his subordinates; but in the present fearful state of things what was done? A measure was brought in to revive all the irritation which former Arms Bills had ever occasioned, and bring it home to every member of the population by the clauses for registering and marking the arms. He implored the right hon. Baronet to consider the consequences. Parliament would separate without any remedial measure for Ireland; without any measure save one of coercion, and when the Parliament had separated, what was the first act with which Government met the Irish people? A genoral search for and registration of arms Why, if they wished to provoke an insurrection, could they have adopted better means. He professed great respect for the conciliatory spirit and sagacity of the right hon. Baronet, and the noble Lord, the Secretary for Ireland; and he believed that by them the law would be justly and fairly administered? It would come into operation when Parliament was not sitting—when there could be no appeal to the opinions of the people through their representatives; and who was to administer it? Three thousand magistates, scattered over the face of Ireland, from whom all those who were called liberal magistrates, had just been weeded, men connected with one party, and that obnoxious to the people. By those gentlemen this obnoxious and dangerous law was to be administered. He put out of the question the Protestantism of those gentlemen, their Toryism, their Orangeism, or any other "ism;" but the question was, how many great fools might be supposed to be found amongst these three thousand gentlemen? He was not one of those who were in the habit of sneering at the unpaid magistracy, who admistered the law with the best intention, and to the best of their ability, and who—he spoke of England—when in error, were generally found, except when the case before them was one which related to game, to have erred from good feeling, and a desire to 441 save those who came under their jurisdiction from the severities of the law. But among three thousand gentlemen, how many foolish persons might be reasonably expected to be found? The statistics of folly had not, he believed, been accurtely ascertained in any class or number of persons, but even among 658 persons he believed a considerable proportion might be found. Seriously, it should be remembered now much depended on the wisdom and temper of those who administered the law. One hot-headed magistrate might reason a whole district into revolt, and from that district revolt might extend, until it became general in Ireland. The power was one which could not be safely invested in the chance wisdom or folly of any 3,00 persons. He had been in hopes that the measure would in its progress have been reduced to such an Arms Bill as had been passed before. Some had complained of too much laxity, but after all he found that the old system had been pursued of governing Ireland by precedents. They were about to separate, but—suppose their calculations were right, and that the present feeling in Ireland was wearing itself out—suppose an insurrection were not to break out, or suppose it did break out and was suppressed—to what point then did they bring the question? That the old system of mis-government in Ireland was to be continued, which as the hon. Member for Shrewsbury had well said, was the bane of England, and the opprobium of Europe. They admitted the evils of the state of Ireland, the fearful evils of her social position; but they offered nothing. He begged the right hon. Baronet to consider the consequences of his policy. Was it safe to trifle with the feelings of the peace of Ireland? That people had gone on in a course of legal, peaceful opposition, defeating all the proper authorities of the country, and which was gradually taking the power out of the hands of the constituted authorities, and placing it in the hands of those whom the people had chosen. He would ask was the state of England and the feelings of the working classes such, that the Government could afford to palter with Ireland, and bring upon themselves additional difficulties? Was it wise or tolerable as a question of common sense and prudence, to put justice and humanity out of consideration, thus to trifle with Ireland, thereby adding to the danger of 442 England? Upon this question he was appalled when he thought of the blindness of the Government; and he exhorted them to consider that this was not a consideration that would bear trifling with.
§ Mr. Smythe
said, that his chief object in rising was not so much to make a speech upon the worn-out topic of an Arms Bill, as to vindicate the course which he had taken; and he had reason to complain of the mode in which that conduct had been interpreted. On that (the ministerial) side of the House, the right hon. Baronet told them, that they had no right to pursue any course but that which "he" might entertain. The noble Lord, the Member for Lancashire had made use of no such intolerant expression, and he (Mr. Smythe) was sorry he should countenance it by his cheers. When hon. Gentlemen talked of the intolerance of our Roman Catholic fellow subjects, he thought that the intolerance might at least be matched on the benches below. That that was felt to be the fact by some Gentlemen near him on that side, was shown from their cheering him more than they had the right hon. Baronet. But when majorities were counted by units and not by hundreds, such was not the ministerial language used. It had been urged against the course which he had pursued, that he should not make it a question of personality, but he for one did not understand playing with his constituents, nor did he think that this was a time, when, as the hon. Member for Shrewsbury had shown, men were rather prone to substitute persons for principles, that men should forego their convictions and opinions. He should not shrink from saying, that when persons became principles, personality became a duty with those that followed them. He looked upon this do-nothing policy as not Conservative, and not constitutional Conservative? Who so blind as not to see that it was charged with disturbance? Constitutional? Who so blind as not to see that it was charged with revolution. He knew those opinions were not fashionable; he knew the feelings of the right hon. Baronet were those of sanguine expectation; but the House would recollect the remarkable language of Prince Metternich, in July, 1830: "I should be less anxious if Monsieur Polignac were more so." That was the language of Prince Metternich, and he (Mr. Smythe), believed that the people of this empire would 443 be less anxious if the right hon. Baronet were more so; if he did not meet the perils and dangers which exist in Ireland by such a measure as the Arms Bill alone. He looked on it as a measure efficient only to irritate, inefficient to coerce, and he, therefore, felt it scarcely worth while to vote on it; but if he should vote for the bill, he would not thereby affirm the Irish policy of the Government; but on the contrary, he should indorse upon its back a protest against their Irish policy. He would, in reference to this subject, speak not words of his own, but the words of one who was the friend and contemporary of Lord North—one who was a witness to a policy of a similar nature to that which is now in operation—a policy which began in inaction and ended in capitulation—which began in doing nothing and ended at York Town and Saratoga; that individual said, "It is easier to disarm the minds of a nation than to disarm its hands," and he would say, that if they attempted to disarm the hands of that (the Irish) nation, they ought also to attempt to disarm its mind.
§ Mr. Sheil
As I have a far higher opinion of the Prime Minister than the gentlemen who sit immediately behind him, and those on his right wing, who condemn him without hesitation, and vote for him without remorse, I shall commence the observations which I mean to make, by adverting to a remark made by him, many years ago, in opposing the Reform Bill—a remark which appears to me to be peculiarly applicable to an opposition to the measure before the House. He said, in answer to a very eloquent and a very exciting speech made by one of his present Colleagues, that his resistance to Reform would be unavailing, but that it would not be fruitless. That our resistance will be unavailing, is beyond doubt. It is equally, I think, beyond question, that it will not be unproductive of salutary results. The people of this country will be led by the discussions to which this measure has given rise to enquire, why it is the Legislature should be united, and our legislation should be distinct, and how it comes to pass that a bill should have been carried by large majorities, which for England, under circumstances of extreme hazard, no minister was sufficiently adventurous to propound. Nor will the people of this country confine their con- 444 sideration to the provisions of this bill, they will extend it to the entire policy upon which the measure is founded, to the course pursued by the Government in the conduct of the affairs of Ireland, and they will, of necessity, institute a comparison between the results of a Whig and a Tory Administration. The Irish Whig executive was in sympathy with the people: it was supported by the majority of Irish Members, (a circumstance of the utmost materiality) they were sustained by the entire of the Catholic priesthood, and the Catholic episcopacy of Ireland. Good order everywhere prevailed. All fear of public commotion had passed away; property was not panic-struck—Protestantism was out of temper, but it felt itself secure; if political agitation had not entirely subsided, it assumed a more temperate character; the great agitator himself seemed to have lost his indefatigability; the thunder of his eloquence was not hushed, but it did not shake the castle to its foundation, and was only heard in those less frequent and more innocuous mutterings, which indicate that the hurricane is passing away. To the people, to the Parliament, to the Sovereign, Ireland presents a different spectacle. In an answer delivered by Lord de Grey, to an address from the university of Dublin, he stated with peculiar emphasis: that the Queen felt a more than ordinary solicitude for the welfare of her Irish subjects. If her Majesty entertained the hope, as well as the gracious desire that under the new Government Ireland should prove as tranquil and as prosperous as under the previous administration, of that benevolent hope how painful a frustration has been sustained. Twenty, thirty—what do I say?—hundreds of thousands of ardent, enthusiastic, but unenebriated men, meet in disciplined tranquillity, and with flashing eyes, and throbbing hearts, and clenched, but not uplifted hands, listen to that eloquence, to which in the records of popular excitement, scarce a parallel can be found; and while these great gatherings, which even the Duke of Wellington does not consider to be a farce, are convened in those districts, where they are calculated to produce the most signal impression, in the metropolis of Ireland, an association holds its sittings, whose Members have not indeed gone through any ceremonial at the hustings, but they faithfully reflect the feel- 445 ings of the people, under the guidance of that matchless man, by whom Irishmen are adjured to remember that Ireland once was, and to anticipate the time, when Ireland shall be once again a country. Never during the great struggle for Catholic emancipation, not even at the moment when it was won from your necessities, was Ireland more perilously excited. The entire of the Catholic peasantry, the entire of the Catholic middle classes, a portion of the gentry, the whole of the Catholic priesthood, almost the whole of the Catholic Episcopacy have become confederate in a cause, calculated beyond every other, to exalt the imagination, to stir the emotions, to lift up the aspirations of a fervid, enthusiastic, an undaunted and a dauntless people. No wonder that while Ireland is undergoing this great concussion, that you should have felt the shock—no wonder that the tremor has reached to you—no wonder that the solicitude with which you contemplated these events should have gradually grown into alarm—no wonder that the House should take a concern in what is passing in Ireland—no wonder that notwithstanding the Ashburtonian endearments, the sympathy of America should have been transferred from that great and conciliated colony, which the Prime Minister has no reason to consider as the most vulnerable point of your dominions. No wonder at all this; and yet there is matter for wonder, at least, to those who call themselves the Protestants of Ireland, for they are more than amazed at the philosophical composure with which the right hon. Baronet, the man of decision and of action, surveys this tempestuous agitation, as if, like the spectator in Lucretius, he beheld it from the beach, and the "suave mare magno," were among his official recreations, while he is in reality embarked in the boat which can scarcely live in that Irish Sea that threatens to overwhelmn it. But I for one, do not attribute the contemplative inertness, or I should rather call it, the passive resistance of the right hon. Baronet to any false security, but to an honourable repugnance upon his part, to the adoption of any measures of distempered energy. The Arms Bill for a single Session is enough; the people of England might not be disposed to concur in any proceedings which a more audacious minister (and such a man might perhaps be found on the Trea- 446 sury Bench) might extend to themselves: your own people may yet stand in need of the same protection as your creed—besides, if coercive laws are not to remain a dead letter on the statute book, a mere memorial of impotent aggression—the concurrence of the public tribunals must be procured, and for that purpose the sources of justice must perhaps be poisoned at the fountain-head, and expedients must be resorted to, from which the right hon. Baronet, I do verily believe, would instinctively recede. And what after all would be the result! Would the evil be eradicated? It would be hid, not cured;—you would convert discontent into disaffection, you would substitute for the loud clamour for redress, the meditations of a dumb but desperate vengeance, and teach undaunted men to lock in a deep and dark taciturnity, the fell intent, that waits its opportunity, and the more patiently it waits, the more it accumulates revenges. But, while the right hon. Baronet is entitled to high praise for the course which he has pursued, let him not imagine that the Repeal agitation will subside of its own accord. The Repealers boast of a daily accession to their numbers; grand-juries indeed petition against it, but in times of public commotion grand-jurors become mere isolated units, and over the peasantry on their own estates lose all control: and you have reason to apprehend that even that class on whom you rely will be gradually sucked into the whirl, and may think it a more prudential course to side with the organised multitude, by whom they are encompassed, than with a Government of which they despair, and which seems to be stunned by the events which have befallen them. I have told you that the Catholic priesthood, and the Catholic episcopacy were favourable to Repeal;—the measure to which they are favourable is not likely to recede, I very much doubt whether you are fully aware of the political power which is vested in the Catholic Church of Ireland, and I have often thought it an anomaly that you should labour to conciliate a body, which is every day losing all practical influence, while you are alienating the Catholic people of Ireland, to whom political power has lately been irreversibly transferred, and the Catholic priesthood, whose sway over the people, it would be difficult to over-estimate. Who and what is a Catholic priest? He comes from the 447 people, but if he does not associate with patricians, he is at all events exempt from those habits of ignominious complaisance, which result sometimes from the intercourse of the humble with the great. It is as well that the teacher of the apostolic religion, should come from the apostolic order;—his kindred with the people enhances their attachment, without impairing their respect. He receives an imperfect education at that seminary, which you have done your utmost to starve into destitution; but that education, imperfect as it is, is sufficient to develope a mind, of which the robust and athletic frame, in which it is embodied, is the type. Shrewd, sagacious, penetrating, energetic, Celtic in temperament, scholastic in accomplishment, born in some sort an orator, bred a dialectitian, a declamatory disputant, versed in the subtleties of ecclesiastical controversy,—exalted in belief, ardent in patriotism, irreproachable in morality,—devoted with a zeal beyond all praise to his spiritual functions—the companion, the counsellor, the absolver, the friend—always the best, too often the peasant's only—friend, the Catholic priest unites in himself all the attributes which can give him a sway over the affections, and a title to the confidence of those who are committed to his spiritual care. You have made him a Repealer: you have precipitated him into agitation, and when glowing with resentment at the wrongs done to his country, and burning with indignation at the affronts offered to his order and to his religion, from that altar, which you have turned into a rostrum of harangues, he pours among the masses that encompass him, his honest, impassioned invocation, of the effect with which it must be attended, you do not require my aid to form a conjecture. I have drawn the picture from the life; the colouring may be vivid, but the likeness is preserved. Such a man, more or less modified, is to be found in every parochial subdivision of the country; there are three thousand of them; they are connected by the bonds that fasten all churchmen to each other; they think, they feel, they act together, and at their head, at the head of this surpliced phalanx, stand their prelates, men distinguished by their learning, their talents, their piety, the energy of their character, and their knowledge of mankind; this great moral and intellectual corporation 448 cannot be neutral; it must be your auxiliary, or your antagonist; and of its hostility you have made choice. Mr. Pitt did not agree with you; and in 1825, one of yourselves, Lord Francis Leveson Gower proposed to establish the Catholic Church, and to grant 250,000l. a year for the purpose. And here let me be permitted to advert to a statement made by the noble Lord the Secretary for Ireland, regarding what he calls a compact entered into by the Catholic deputies in 1825. I cannot but think that the noble Lord has discharged a missile, which like the weapon of the New Zealanders, returns in the direction from which it was flung, and hits the right hon. Baronet. The noble Lord reminds us of our evidence, but he reminds the right hon. Baronet, that the terms we offered were not accepted, and that the right hon. Baronet allowed the country, just as he allows it now, to be involved in a fearful agitation, of which the very events that are now passing are among the remote results; might not a doctor (if I may be permitted to draw an illustration from that calling to which the right hon. Baronet occasionally resorts for a comparison; he has been at last called in—we all see with what success); but, Sir, might not a doctor justly repudiate all responsibility, if he had prescribed two ingredients at an early stage of a complaint, and one only had been administered, when the patient had been allowed to get into convulsions and brain fever had set in? The noble Lord said there was a compact; his name is so honourably associated with a celebrated convention, that he thinks that without one, nothing can be done. I venture to recommend it to him, to peruse the speech made by the Prime Minister in 1829, for three reasons:—first, because it is a model of eloquence; secondly, because it denounces the Arms Bill; and thirdly, because the right hon. Baronet most explicitly declares, that there was no compact whatsoever entered into with the Catholics of Ireland. But to return to the proposition of 1825: it was made, it was rejected, and it cannot be renewed. It is out of all question; the Catholic Church will not accept rewards from the Castle; but there is another, and a course honourable to both parties open to you. Grant glebe houses, and glebes to the parochial clergy; let these temporal advantages be attached to the office, and not be made dependent on the 449 political compliance of the priest. What will be the result? First, you will ease the people of a portion of those does paid with voluntary promptitude indeed, but sometimes not without privation to themselves; secondly, you will make the people feel that their Church is one of the institutions of the country; thirdly, if you place the Church under the protection, but not in a base demoralising subserviency to the State, the sustainment will be reciprocal. But you can do more than this: you can build the Roman Catholic houses of worship at the public charge. Wherefore should you not? Of the temples dedicated to the national religion, wherefore should the piety of the people be the unassisted architect, while wherever their eyes are turned many a spire ascends in lofty attestation of the splendid inutility of a congregationless Establishment? Look to Maynooth. In 1796 the Maynooth grant was just what it is at present. The Whigs raised it to 12,000l. in 1806; the Whigs reduced the grant to 8,000l. The population was doubled, Catholic Ireland has risen morally, politically, socially: yet the same scandalous pittance—(scandalous to those who grant it)—with all the grievances of a narrow-hearted and narrow-minded intolerance continues to this hour to be doled out. It is most shamefully insufficient, yet you will not, or you dare not augmentit; but does not office lose half its dignity if it is to be held in a bad subserviency to that fanaticism which I fear that you have permitted to exercise over your Irish policy its preposterous domination. I have adverted to the state of the Catholic Church, in order that you may judge of the likelihood of that cause becoming retrograde, to which you have provoked that Church to become devoted. The notion that this great question will die away is most erroneous. Perhaps you conceive that it is so destitute of all sound reasons, that it cannot endure;—you think that, the people of Ireland are chasing a mere "ignis fatuus" from the morasses of Derrynane. Your mistake is most signal. I observe that Englishmen are peculiarly successful in convincing themselves; but you ought to bear in mind, that the arguments, and the motives that weigh with you, have little or no influence with the people of Ireland; on the other hand, do not undervalue the incentives by which Irishmen are prompted to seek the restoration of a domestic legislature. When 450 the great Tribune of the Irish people tells his countrymen that the Union was an infamous surrender of liberty for gold—that it was a breach of the highest of all trusts,—base and void—that the promises made at the Union were not fulfilled—that the Government of Ireland has been almost uniformly carried on, by Insurrection Acts, and Arms Bills, and all that complicated machinery of oppression, to which you appear to have resorted, to prove to Ireland how utterly she was in your power—that even after Catholic emancipation had been wrung from you, to the old system of national and religious discrimination you still pertinaciously adhered: when he tells them that the Repeal of the Union supplies the only means by which the wrongs of Ireland can be repaired—that upon your own acknowledgment there is no other way of repairing the monstrous abuses of your ecclesiastical Establishment;—when he tells them that they are 8,000,000, and that it is by the exercise of moral enforcement only, that any concession was ever extorted from you;—when he tells them that although Ireland has hitherto been only unfortunate, she has all the qualifications for greatness, and breathing with those hyperboles which the enthusiasm of a hundred thousand men divests of exaggeration, he exclaims that it was not in vain that the two islands were set apart, that it was not in vain that the sea was placed between them, that against their junction nature appears to have pronounced a prohibition, and that he hears in the voice of the ocean and in the murmur of the surge, the decree of Providence and the ordinance of God, when, I say, he utters these things or things like these, although upon you they do not and are not intended to produce any impression, don't you think, do you not know that over the feelings of Irishmen they exercise a deep and thrilling influence? And how do you counteract them? How do you prove to Ireland that the charges adduced against you are ill-founded. How do you prove to them, that of a domestic Parliament they do not stand in need, and that to Ireland in this Imperial Parliament, perfect justice has been, is, and will be for ever done? Is it by your Arms Bill? Is it by this measure which you have interspersed with such whimsicalities of oppression, that even your Protestant auxiliaries declare them to be gratuitous and unnecessarily-superfluous fetters put 451 on, not for security, but for clatter; is it by calling together a convocation of police inspectors, a congress of thief catchers, and delegating to them the office of legislating for Ireland, and then producing this pistol-branding, housebreaking result of these constabulary deliberations, is it by never omitting an occasion to institute between Englishmen and Irishmen the most odious and exasperating distinctions, is it (to pass from your Arms Bill to the other examples of your Irish policy), by establishing different parliamentary and different municipal franchises between us, is it by clamor for a registration bill when you were in opposition, and notwithstanding your reiterated intimations, notwithstanding the report of the Longford committee, notwithstanding that you have passed an English Registration Bill, allowing two whole Sessions to pass without giving us even an outline of your measure—is it by proclaiming yourselves the champion of every abuse of the Established Church, and thus arraying the people against the Union, which is used as a pretence for their sustainment, is it by entering with my Lord Roden and his representative in this House, not into a compact alliance, but (to use a phrase familiar in Canada) a "family compact," and having been duly interrogated, telling us that the Queen coincides with her predecessor, and leaving out every conciliatory intimation with which the opinions of William 4th were associated; or is it by following up that omission with a declaration from the Secretary of the Home department, by which that omission was rendered so much more significant that the limit of conciliation has been at last attained, or is it by announcing to the people of Ireland, not that your best endeavours will be used to redress the grievances of the country, not that you will at once apply yourselves to the remedy of its evils, not that you will at once do all that a lofty equity can prescribe, or a wise generosity can suggest to you, but that you are not unprepared to resist their demands at the hazard of that fearful warfare, which is accompanied by every aggravation of atrocity, from which humanity shrinks, and at which religion revolts, from which heroism turns away? But that sentiment was not original. Had you nothing better to borrow from Lord Althorp? For the purposes of severity, but not for the purposes, of conciliation is Lord Althorp to 452 be cited? Of the liberties of Ireland, from motives of magnanimity, was not Lord Althorp all his life the devoted champion? To all odious discrimination national and religious, was not Lord Althorp unremittingly opposed? Was not Lord Althorpthe second man in the Whig Cabinet, and the first man in the Whig House of Commons, when that celebrated church commission issued, which drove the noble Lord, the Secretary of the Colonies and the Secretary for the Home Department into the embraces of that party, to which they had been all their lives opposed; and if Lord Althorp was the Prime Minister of England, and was in possession of the power which is at this moment vested in the right hon. Gentleman, can a doubt be entertained that a measure of complete and perfect justice would be proposed by him? But the right hon. Baronet professes the utmost solicitude to do justice to Ireland. I do not dispute the sincerity of his professions, but I venture to suggest to him, that as for many and many a year he did not think that Emancipation was required by justice to Ireland, and afterwards changed his mind; as, for two years, he did not think that the extension of the Municipal Reform was required by justice to Ireland, and afterwards changed his mind; as he thought, three years ago, that the Registration Bill of the noble Lord was consistent with justice to Ireland, and afterwards changed his mind; he may be still, conscientiously, but most detrimentally, mistaken in the views which he entertains upon a subject of the most paramount importance, and anxious as he is to do Ireland justice, in reference to the measures which are required for its attainment it is more than possible that he should continue to be signally in error. For my own part, I cannot but think that he is not only doing injustice to us, but to himself, to his fame, to his future celebrity, he is doing wrong; and, surely, he is one of those who should look beyond "the ignorant present time," and anticipate the adjudication of history—the final verdict—the great finding of posterity in his regard. When he came into office, he declared that he set no value upon power, excepting as a means of doing service to his country, and securing a high and just renown; that aspiration, that noble aspiration, which exalts ambition into virtue, has not, as yet, been realised; but the opportunity for its reali- 453 zation, although passing, is not past; there is yet tune to seize it, and for any fault which you have committed, it is in your power to make amends. Shall I venture to tell you how? Consider whether it be not practicable, while you adhere to your determination to maintain the Legislative Union, to persuade the people of Ireland (and it is to the people of Ireland that the conviction must be brought home), that they can, through the intervention of an Imperial Parliament, secure some of the chief advantages which they are led to anticipate from a domestic legislature. Upon all imperial questions, questions which are imperial in fact, and not invested with that character by a fiction in an act of Parliament, upon questions which affect our relations with the great European family, on questions of peace and war, or commerce, or colonization, on all questions that affect the weal of the vast realm over which the sceptre of England extends, the Minister must abide by the opinions of the majority of the Members of this House, who must of necessity be returned by this the most powerful, and the most affluent portion of the United Kingdom; but upon questions which relate exclusively to Ireland, which do not affect the greatness and the power of the British empire, the Minister is bound to take the opinions of the majority of Irish Members into the most serious account. If, upon a question which effects the interests of Ireland only, the Minister were to ask himself what course would an Irish Parliament, fairly constituted, adopt, and act accordingly, he would not go wrong; but if, on questions exclusively our own, the Minister, instead of consulting the feelings and opinions of the Irish Members, who furnish the only constitutional test of the feelings and opinions of the Irish people, he consults the prejudices and predilections, both national and religious, of the English majority in this House, if he acts such a part, with the aid of that English majority, that it would be almost as well that not a single Irish Member were returned to this House, if the remonstrances and expostulation of Irish Members are set at nought, and your measures with respect to Ireland are diametrically the reverse of those which an Irish Parliament would adopt, then you create an inevitable, and I will add, a justifiable anxiety on the part of the people of Ireland to extort from you the 454 restoration of their domestic Parliament. You may tell me, there is some truth in these remarks, but that there are many questions which I consider Irish, which you consider Imperial. Do not, as you value the Union, and would yourselves avoid the dismemberment of the empire, involve yourselves in subtle disquisitions, and small and vain refinements. Don't rely upon a clause in an act of Parliament to prove that a question is Imperial look at the truth and fact; determine whether it affects the glory and the greatness of your vast dominion, and if you find that it does not, shape your policy accordingly. But this arrangement of the House of Commons, it this principle be adopted, will be difficult. I answer, the Government of Ireland on any other principle, will be almost impossible, and that it amounts almost to an impracticability the present state of Ireland affords a proof. I cannot but think that, however strong may be their views, and however violent may be the prejudgment of this House, yet that the Minister who has already been able to carry measures so repugnant to the feelings of the great party by whom he is supported, would be able to induce them to sustain him in an adaptation of his policy to the condition of Ireland. I think that if he were to call them together, to show them the rapid growth of the popular power in Ireland—to show them that in measures with the augmented multitudes, the moral prowess of the people had increased—to show them that in property, in intelligence, in union, in organization, in firmness of purpose, Catholic Ireland had made, and is at this moment making a marvellous progress—if he were to show them that the great majority of Irish Members were returned by the vast community to whose development I am referring—if he were to show them the effect which a measure comparatively recent has produced, and to advert to the momentous fact, that almost the entire of the corporations of Ireland are in the hands of the people of Ireland—if he were to point out the results of Catholic Emancipation, Parliamentary Reform, Municipal Reform, and Education Reform combined, and acting simultaneously upon the character of the people—if he were to tell them that it was necessary to adapt her institutions to Ireland, instead of adapting Ireland to her institutions—if he were to tell them, that a change of policy in Ire- 455 land was as necessary as in Canada, and that the change ought to be analogous—that as it must be founded on the same motives, it should reach to the same extent—if he were to tell them these things, I cannot but think that they would yield him, from a sense of its necessity, a wise acquiescence; but if they do not, then it remains for you (I do not hesitate to address myself personally to the right hon. Baronet) to break through those ligaments of party, that tie you down in that fatal resistance, which deprives your existence, as was said of old, of half its value: burst, burst then at once asunder, and as you have given up to party what was meant for a nobler purpose, make a new and a better appropriation of your faculties; restore to your country what you ought not to have alienated from her service, and of your surpassing talents make a restitution to mankind; and if men shall be found sufficiently unjust to tell you, that you have been false to them, tell them that you have been true to your Sovereign and to your country,—tell them that you hold in a lofty reserve every charge of which in your own bosom you bear the reputation, and that for any loss which you may sustain you will find a consolation in the consolatory consciousness that you have done your duty; that you held the public interests paramount to every other consideration; and that, whatever may be the estimate of those whom it may be your solemn obligation to abandon, you will in the tranquillization of Ireland, leave a monument behind which shall endure when bronze shall have decayed, and marble shall have crumbled away.
§ Sir R. Peel
; I am anxious to separate the question of the Arms Bill from the more general considerations affecting the state of Ireland to which the right hon. Gentleman has adverted with an eloquence to which I am not unaccustomed from him, and in a tone and spirit of which, towards myself, personally, I can have no reason to complain. The House is called upon to decide to-night whether it will give its final approval to a measure for the prevention of crime in Ireland, the frequency of which all lament; or should the prevention be found impossible, for the punishment of offenders. The bill, give me leave to say, was framed with no immediate reference to the present state of Ireland; It was framed before the excitement which now unfortunately exists, 456 had been produced by agitation—nay, it was in the last Session of Parliament, that Government prepared the measure which has been submitted in the present. The right hon. Gentleman admits, that in all measures of general policy, Government must conform to the opinions of the majority of the representatives of the people; but he contends, that what is true of general policy, is not true with reference to the local circumstances of Ireland; then he would have a government defer to the opinions of the majority of the Irish representatives. Let us apply this advice to the Irish Arms Bill. Do we not find that when this measure was brought in by the late Administration, the majority of Irish representatives expressed no sentiments strongly repugnant to the measure? The right hon. Gentleman and his Friends from Ireland did not then denounce it as an insult to the people of Ireland, and we have done now only what was done in 1840, when the Irish Arms Bill was renewed. That renewal was proposed by Lord Morpeth with more stringent clauses than some of those contained in the measure upon the Table, and why did not the Irish representatives then raise their voices against it? I exonerate them from the charge of being influenced by undue and inconsiderate subserviency to the ministers of the day; for I say, that they gave their assent to it because there was something special and peculiar in the circumstances of Ireland which justified legislation in respect to that country, which was not required for England. The right hon. Gentleman was himself a Member of that Government. His acquiescence in that measure, nay the general acquiescence of the Irish Members, I admit is no justification for our introduction of a similar measure. But, Sir, I say, that the right hon. Gentleman has this night asked me to conform to the general voice of the representatives of Ireland, and, I ask him, if his doctrine be true, why it is not applicable to the Irish Arms Bill? Not only did the right hon. Gentleman acquiesce, as a Member of the Government, in the introduction of an Arms bill for Ireland, but the right hon. Gentleman has, in the course of the present Session of Parliament, borne his disinterested testimony to the present condition of Ireland, to which I must recal the attention of the House. The right hon. Gentleman, speaking of the condition of Ireland, said, Such are 457 the outrages committed in that country, such is the apprehension caused among the frequently unoffending inhabitants of the districts where they have occurred, that we should not apply to Ireland the principle which is applied to England. The principle applied to England, is to trust to the administration of the law as much as possible to those who are in a condition of life corresponding to the parties accused. The offences being agrarian, the principle of the English law would be, trust the judgment of the prisoner as far as possible to his equals, who might in some measure have sympathy with him. The advice which the right hon. Gentleman gave to the Government was to set aside in Ireland the principle of the English law—to require the sheriff to summon the persons on the jury from the great panel, and to commit the trial of prisoners for agrarian outrages in Ireland to the landed proprietors, who were parties to the transaction. Stern necessity might require such an exception to the administration of justice in the ordinary form, but what must be the condition of that country in which occurred these outrages of an agrarian character?—what must be its condition which could justify the Government to call upon one of the parties to the dispute, and to give up to the landed proprietors the administration of offended justice between themselves and the offenders. Talk of an Arms Bill, indeed! why can any Arms Bill be a greater violation of constitutional principles? And does the right hon. Gentleman stop there? does he consider that such measure alone would be a sufficient security for the repression of crime? Juries must be provided; but what, according to the right hon. Gentleman, was to become of the witnesses—of those who being cognizant of the crime, come forward to assist in the detection of the criminal? The right hon. Gentleman said, that the Government has neglected its duty in not providing for the safety and security of the witnesses, who come forward to aid in the detection and in the punishment of the guilty. "Protect the Crown witnesses," said the right hon. Gentleman. "Let the Government give a guarantee that their lives and property shall be saved from the aggression of those against whom they bear witness, and let the Government find for them, in the distant colonies of the empire, a safe 458 asylum, and that quiet security from torture or from death which they cannot find in their native land. What a picture of society is this!—that a witness already, perhaps, dispossessed of his property by the riotous assault of daring men, cannot assist the administration of justice in detecting the offenders, without being expatriated from his native land, and though he and his family should be altogether unsuited by the circumstances in which they had been placed, by age, by education, to earn a subsistence in a foreign land, the right hon. Gentleman could see no alternative for such persons but torture or expatriation. We have then not only the acquiescence of the right hon. Gentleman in the Arms Bill introduced by his colleagues in office, but we have the testimony which the right hon. Gentleman himself has borne this Session as to the condition of Ireland in respect to agrarian outrages—to the danger to the innocent—the difficulty of administering justice—the necessity of security being afforded to the humble agents by whose instrumentality the law must be put in force, and in all these circumstaces I find conclusive reasons for at least making an attempt to diminish evils of so formidable a character; and, influenced by these considerations, her Majesty's Government—not with reference to the present agitation—but disclaiming every notion of unequal legislation for Ireland, and, above all, disclaiming in the utmost sincerity, the remotest thought of insult to that country, have proposed a measure which they believe will have the effect of giving additional security to life and property, and of diminishing the necessity for those extreme and unconstitutional measures which have been recommended by the right hon. Gentleman himself. And what was the distinct offer made to us by some of the leaders opposite—and repeated, "If you will accept the Bill of 1840, we will assent to it, and then there will be no opposition." We refused to be parties to any such compromise. But, how could it diminish the insult to Ireland to have only the old Arms Bill, which raised the same distinction as the present Bill between the two parts of the country? What I lament is, the necessity for any separate law; and what I wish is, to overcome that difficulty, and then to make a law of perfect equality. Nothing is so absurd as to have a law, making these 459 distinctions, and then to make that an inefficient law. If it be necessary to have an Arms Act, which is not quite consistent with the constitution, it should be efficient; and we should not disgrace the statute book by having upon it a law which is unconstitutional and inefficient. Still the proposition made to us, was, "Take our Bill, and then you will meet with no opposition." We thought it better to inquire whether that Bill was efficient or or not, and we rejected the offer, although, if we had accepted it, we might, as it now appears, have spared ourselves many nights of labour. Now, with respect to the hon. Gentleman, the Member for the City of Canterbury, the hon. Member must have completely mistaken the observations which fell from me in reference to his speech the other night. So far from claiming, from past party considerations, an acquiescence in the measures of the Government, and a support of those measures, I distinctly told the hon. Gentleman, that, in my opinion, the measures of the Government connected with Ireland, were not to be decided by such considerations, and that if the hon. Gentleman thought that the motion of the hon. Gentleman, the Member for Limerick was just, and the want of confidence in the Government, implied in that motion, ought to be favoured; that if the hon. Gentleman thought that the Irish Arms Bill was an inoperative and an inefficacious measure, that it was offending the Irish, without repressing any disorders, so far from wishing the hon. Member to lend his support to the Government, I expressed my earnest wish that his vote should correspond with his speech, and if he thought any other Government could be found which would be able better to administer the affairs of Ireland; or if he believed the Irish Arms Bill was revolting to that country, and inoperative for the suppression of crime there, I ventured to express my earnest and sincere wish, that, having encountered the opposition of his speech, we might encounter also his opposition in his vote. The hon. Gentleman, therefore, as I infer from his speech, has put an entirely opposite construction from the correct one on what I said. So far from complaining that the hon. Member should give his vote for the motion of the hon. Gentleman, the Member for Limerick, I thought it a just and honourable conclusion to his speech; and I repeat now, 460 what I said then, that I think it a more friendly course of the Government that the hon. Gentleman should give his vote, expressing his want of confidence in the Government, than that he should lend to them a hollow and seeming support. And I say so, without abating any of my opinions with respect to party connections. I know that the party connections cannot exist without the occasional sacrifice of opinion, but I agree with the right hon. Gentleman with respect to Ireland—that Irish questions are exceptions—that they are of importance as to extend beyond all party principles—that party considerations ought not to induce men to support an Arms Bill, or a Government if they really believe that a Government better suited to administer public affairs, or the affairs of Ireland can be found, or if they think that an Arms Bill is not necessary. The hon. Gentleman, the Member for Shrewsbury made a speech, but with his strong opinion as to what ought to be the principle which should govern the administration of Irish affairs, I must say that the hon. Gentleman has in past time, made greater sacrifices to party connection than any Member of this House. If he did so cordially disapprove of the course taken with respect to the Municipal Corporations Bill, of the course taken with respect to the franchise, I wish, rather than postpone delivering his opinion as to the comprehensive policy which should be followed with regard to Ireland until the middle of August 1843, he had significantly intimated his dissent from the course which has been pursued, at a somewhat earlier period. Some great man, it seems, is expected to arise with some vast and comprehensive measure, and I was in hopes that the hon. Gentleman was about to explain. I was in hopes that I should find, from the nature of the measure, proposed by the hon. Gentleman, some indication of the coming man by whom such great results are to be achieved; but, considering that the hon. Gentleman has come to no other conclusion with respect even to this Arms Bill, than that on the whole, it is better to give no vote at all, I am afraid that I cannot infer that he is the man who is to realise this vision of a great statesman. Considering, to be sure, that a great part the hon. Member's speech was occupied in a condemnation of those who do nothing, but he was the advocate of an ener- 461 getic policy—of a decisive expression of opinion on Irish affairs, I should have thought that he would have signalized his new-born zeal in favour of Ireland, by being able to make up his mind on the third reading of the Irish Arms Bill, whether he should support it or not. But for an elaborate advocate of a vigorous policy, and such a determined enemy of doing nothing now, on the only occasion on which he has an opportunity of exemplifying his decision and vigour on an Irish measure, namely, the Irish Arms Bill, to come to the conclusion that it is not worth voting either one way or the other, is a practical conclusion so much at variance with his speech, that I am almost afraid that the expectations which some hon. Gentlemen are disposed to form will hardly be realised. The speech of the hon. Gentleman, as well as those made by other hon. Members in the course of these discussions, convince me how difficult it is for any minister, wishing to steer a safe course between contending parties, and to do that which may, on the whole, be the best for the general interests of the empire, to take that course without being liable to objection and condemnation. We had last year to consider the state of the Corn-laws, and the laws affecting the importation of foreign productions. When I proposed those measures which her Majesty's Government were disposed to recommend, which proceeded on a full consideration of existing interests—of the extent to which capital was committed, of the manner in which different parts of the empire would be affected by any sudden change in the Corn-laws, I was met by hon. Members on the opposite side of the House by demands for free-trade—by representations that the measures proposed were perfectly inefficacious, and were further an insult to the country. It was impossible to alter the law without affecting in some degree some part of the empire; and the hon. Member for Shrewsbury now charges me with having alienated the affections of the people of Ireland, and with having injured their best interests, by making some reduction in the amount of that protection which was afforded by previous laws to the agricultural produce of their country. I hope those who contend for the absolute and immediate removal of all protection, will foresee what the consequences may be, and what the bearing may be of such immediate removal of the 462 existing restrictions, when they hear the charges brought against the present Government, for having injured Ireland, and alienated the affections of the people of that country, and of other parts of the empire, by the alteration we have made. They may infer what might be the political consequences, if on their part they were able to carry into effect the sudden and immediate removal of all protection, for which they are the advocates; but I do think that it is rather ungenerous in the hon. Gentleman to charge me with having injured Ireland, and alienated the affections of her people by the laws passed last year, which had for their object to reconcile conflicting interests, and to strike a just balance, so far as it was possible between them. I think, as I have already said, that the right hon. Gentleman opposite, though the proper subject of discussion to-night is the Arms Bill, was perfectly justified, considering the relation in which he stands to Ireland, to express his opinions on the general condition of that country. He says that he is surprised at the apparent apathy, and at the calm composure with which I view the present state of Ireland. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that I view the present state of Ireland with no other feelings than those of the deepest anxiety and pain. I know that I have done all that I could. I had hoped that there was a gradual abatement of all those difficulties and animosities which have existed, and which have sprung from religious feelings. I had hoped that there was a gradual and growing approximation to feelings of unity between the Protestants of the north and the Roman Catholics of the south of Ireland. I thought that I saw, even in the intercourse between hon. Members of this House and the kindly reciprocity of good feeling, an improved state of things, and the gradual influence of those laws which had removed political disabilities from the Roman Catholics, and had established complete civil equality. In these respects I thought I perceived great social improvement to have taken place. The commercial intercourse of Ireland with this country was extended; I thought I saw in the increasing tranquillity of Ireland, and the diminution of crime, the prospects of the capital of this country—the redundant and superfluous capital, hitherto employed in foreign speculations of a most precarious nature—being applied to the much safer, more legiti- 463 mate, and more productive purpose of advancing the improvement of Ireland. We resisted the appeals made to the Government for the advance of money, believing that Ireland itself had suffered from the lavish expenditure of public money on the public works of that country, that that expenditure had tendered to diminish that personal attention to enterprize, on which, after all, success mostly depends. The Government did not refuse to advance capital from any parsimonious motives, but from a belief that the prosperity of Ireland would be founded on a surer and safer basis, when it was established on undertakings which offered a prospect of a productive return, rather than upon plans which depended for success on the pecuniary aid of the Government. From the appointment of Government boards, of Government officers, and from the Government taking on itself to contribute to the completion of great works, Ireland has suffered most materially. The expenditure of a great amount of public money, the adoption of a system tending to the increase of patronage and jobbing; and the interposition of the Government, so far from having been favourable, has been, in my opinion, highly prejudicial to that country. I entertained the anxious hope that returning tranquillity would ensure the application of private capital to the purposes of enterprise in that country; but from the agitation which unfortunately prevails my expectations have not been realized. The right hon. Gentleman holds the Government responsible for this. Does he really believe that the Government is responsible? What are the acts which the right hon. Gentleman charges on us? Where can he find one instance of the prejudicial and unjust administration of affairs? The right hon. Gentleman has spoken of the disciplined phalanx of ecclesiastics superintended by the Roman Catholic hierarchy. Did he foresee this in 1829. If he had told us, that after the removal of all political disabilities, we should see in 1843, this disciplined phalanx of ecclesiastics confederated together against the continuance of the Union with this country; does he think that such a prophecy would have conciliated English and Irish support, for the removal of political disabilities; or if he entertained the opinion, that this would be the result, would he have thought it wise to utter the prophecy. If I had any 464 calm composure in viewing the state of Ireland, and the right hon. Gentleman has given me credit for calm composure, it has arisen from the circumstance that there was nothing then to contemplate in the condition of the country which afforded ground for anticipating what has since occurred. I had then no grounds to anticipate that attempts would be made in the manner in which they had been to lessen the security, and destroy the integrity of the empire. If I and those who act with me have possessed any of that calm composure which the right hon. Gentleman has dwelt on, it has arisen from the confident assurance, that men like the right hon. Gentleman, men of his high station, and possessed of his distinguished talents, having been in the service of the Crown, and holding as he most assuredly does an eminent station in the political service of the country, that the right hon. Gentleman and others similarly circumstanced as himself, would have come forward and expressed more vehement disapprobation than we have hitherto heard of the agitation and excitement which now prevailed in Ireland. It was because we had an entire confidence in the expectation and hope that there would have been an expression on the part of the Roman Catholic gentry, that they entertained the deep conviction, that the repeal of the Legislative Union would be detrimental to the welfare of Ireland, lead to the severance of the empire; and that although there might be a difference of opinion on other subjects, yet, that on the great question of the Union, there would have been an oblivion of differences on other points, and that there would have been a formal declaration by all parties of a firm determination to adhere to it, and thus to uphold and maintain the security and the integrity of the empire. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the meeting of certain persons in France, to express sympathy in the agitation for Repeal in Ireland, and to the anxiety which had been manifested in the United States for the same object. I confess, that I heard that portion of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman with deep concern. I should have hoped, that the right hon. Gentleman would not have been the first to summon for agitation in Ireland any aid which foreign countries could afford. The right hon. Gentleman in the course of his observations on this 465 point, was checked by a cheer. The right hon. Gentleman immediately observed, that he did not approve of this; but would it not have been more consistent with the station, and talents, and influence of the right hon. Gentleman, if he had expressed some more decided disavowal and condemnation, than was conveyed in his mere abnegation of approval? The right hon. Gentleman referred to the position of the Roman Catholic priesthood in Ireland, and to the situation in which they are placed with regard to the people of that country. The right hon. Gentleman, I am aware, has been away from the House on former occasions, when this topic has been adverted to in the course of debate during the present Session, and as I have had various opportunities of speaking on this subject, I will not follow the right hon. Gentleman into his general observations, but will advert only to one or two points. The right hon. Gentleman complained that the Government—or at least those who were Members of the Government of 1825—rejected the proposition of a noble Friend of mine, for the payment of stipends to the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland. I apprehend that at that time the Roman Catholic priesthood did not support the proposition, or express any desire that it should be carried into effect; on the contrary, it is well known, that they were not prepared to assent to any conditions with which it might be accompanied. Again, when the subject was prominently brought forward in the discussion the other night. a right hon. Gentleman, standing deservedly high in the estimation of his fellow-countrymen, distinctly stated, that any proposition that any one might hope to see adopted, involving the principles of a concordat with the Papal see, would not be accepted, but that the Roman Catholic clergy would reject any proposition which involved any spiritual control over them on the part of the Crown. It appears, then, to me, that the Roman Catholic clergy are willing to accept an establishment from the state, but that they will not submit to any pecuniary control from the state. This apparently is the form of grant from the state that the Roman Catholic clergy are willing to accept. But the right hon. Gentleman after having alluded to this opinion of the Roman Catholic clergy, said in a most deliberate manner, that he was not sure that the conclusion at which they had 466 arrived, was not the correct one. He declared that the Roman Catholic priesthood would not accept of any provision as a condition of controul on the part of the Crown; that they would rather remain independent than submit to any interference as other countries exercise over the churches which their respective states contribute to support, and that even if we established a concordat, there was no power which would enable us to exercise such an authority as we might then claim. Sir, if that be true, then I think the right hon. Gentleman should not have been so lavish of his wrath against us for not acceding to the proposal made in 1825. Sir, the right hon. Gentleman suggested that we should take a middle course. He suggested that instead of paying we should provide glebe and glebe-houses for the Roman Catholic clergy. Sir, let me ask the right hon. Gentleman, how did he intend to vote upon the motion brought forward the other night by the hon. Member for Sheffield—a motion containing no such mitigated proposition as his own? The motion of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield—which we understood was to receive the unanimous support of the other side—which was described as a motion to remove those grievances which have formed, for many years, the subject of recorded complaint and remonstrance; and to be such a settlement of church property in Ireland as will remove all just ground of complaint, and give satisfaction to the Irish people. The hon. Member who brought forward the motion described it as the only tangible means of dealing with the subject. The proposition of the hon. Member for Sheffield went to the extent of proposing that all the ecclesiastical property of Ireland should be confiscated to the state, and that the Protestant, the Presbyterian, and the Roman Catholic clergy were to receive proportionate shares, according to the numbers professing those several religions, and the hon. Gentleman proposed to give 75,000l. a year to the Protestant Church, and 430,000l. to the Roman Catholic clergy. [An hon. Member: No, no!] No. This certainly might not be directly specified in the words of the motion, but it was directly stated by the hon. Member for Sheffield when he brought forward his motion, and when he stated his views on the subject to the House. The hon. Gentleman distinctly 467 stated that no appropriation clause would be for the future of any avail. He said, do not vote for my motion if you think that it involves any delusive measures—I will at once tell what my object is. My proposition proceeds on the broad principle that ecclesiastical property belongs to the state, and that it should be devoted to the religious instruction of the people, in due proportion, according to the numbers belonging to the different religious denominations. The hon. Gentleman laid down the principle that the circumstances of the whole ecclesiastical property of Ireland being assigned to the clergy of a small section of the population is not conformable to reason, or to the practice of any Christian country, and he therefore called on the House to pledge itself, after providing for the existing rights, to make a new apportionment of church property. Those, I say, were the hon. Member's opinions; his motion was not so worded, but that was strong enough; and when the right hon. Gentleman opposite, who was to vote for this motion, and by that vote to hold out such magnificent promises, now comes down to talk of glebe and glebe-houses as all that the Catholic priesthood want, I entertain great doubt whether such a proposal would not be regarded as a very shabby and delusive conclusion. The right hon Gentleman advised me to summon those together with whom I am acting, and to tell them that I am determined to adopt a change in policy with regard to Ireland. It is time enough to do this when I contemplate such a change, and when I have considered its probable effects; and I am called upon to do this—when the Roman Catholic population of Ireland is in a state of the greatest excitement by an agitation to promote the attempt to sever the common empire, and which, I believe, can be justified neither in policy nor in principle. Scarcely thirteen years have passed since we removed the disabilities affecting our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects. The right hon. Gentleman tells me to summon my friends around me, and to tell them that the joint operation of the Catholic Emancipation Act, the Reform Bill, and the Corporation Bill, has been to transfer the Parliamentary representations of the counties of Ireland, which were formerly held by the Protestants, to the Roman Catholics—to transfer the representation of the boroughs, which were heretofore held by the Pro- 468 testants to the Roman Catholics—and to transfer the municipal corporations, which were formerly exclusively Protestant, to the Roman Catholics. He tells me that these changes which have taken place in thirteen years, are not solid practical changes which have transferred political power from the Protestants to the Roman Catholics. At the same time with this there has been that remarkable abstinence from all those demonstrations of feeling on the part of the Protestants which formerly prevailed, and which then excited a natural and just feeling of dissatisfaction on the part of the Roman Catholics. In addition to this, close commercial relations have grown up between the two countries, and all those feelings of estrangement are allayed which formerly existed between Protestants and Catholics in consequence of the footing of inequality on which the latter were placed, now stand on an equality, not merely in this House, but all distinctions of every sort and kind have ceased to exist. Why, then, with these facts for the past, with this state of things for the present, with this prospect for the future, am I not justified in entertaining a hope that dissensions will subside, and that all parties will rally round the common interests of their country, and resolve to maintain this united empire? Sir, I will not notice unfounded speculations about dissensions in the Cabinet. All the Members of that Cabinet are actuated by one common desire to further the best interests of the nation; taking any alternative rather than resort to physical force. I do not think her Majesty's Govenment will suffer in public estimation by the adoption of this course. At the same time they are determined—feeling strong in the justise of their cause—feeling confident in the support of the people of this country and of the people of Ireland—to do their duty to their Sovereign, and their duty to their country—their duty to Ireland itself—and leave nothing undone which can be or ought to be done, in order to maintain the integrity of the empire, which is essential to our greatness, our prosperity, and our glory.
§ Mr. Morgan J. O'Connell
alluded to what had been said of the Roman Catholic clergy, and expressed his satisfaction that justice had been done to their character. He had pleasure in acknowledging that, and in saying that the feeling which the 469 Roman Catholic clergy entertained towards the Protestant clergy was reciprocal. He thought hon. Gentlemen had asked with some surprise if the present proceedings had been foreseen in 1829, whether Emancipation would be granted? He admitted the great merit of the right hon. Baronet's conduct on that occasion, which would give him a great name in history; but he would ask, could any person believe that such a great measure would have been followed up is so unfortunate a manner. Allusion had been made to the measures passed since, which had increased the political power of the Catholics, but when were they passed, or how were they opposed? Measures the most trivial, and the more trivial the more galling was the opposition, were opposed, and every advantage withheld from the Catholics on the ground of religious differences. That even seemed to be the ground of justification of the Gentlemen opposite in now passing this act. He had endeavoured before to warn them, but they would make no concession; and saw that it was most important that the measure should be carried. The right hon. Baronet was an excellent hand at hoping: he hoped that distress would pass away; but still distress existed. The right hon. Baronet hoped that discontent would pass away, but discontent existed, and would continue. The right hon. Baronet's hopes would be all in vain unless he adopted some measures to redress the grievances of Ireland. He feared that if redress were denied to the people, the right hon. Baronet would only find all his difficulties heightened; and he believed that the existing agitation, instead of subsiding, would continue and extend. With reference to the bill before the House, it was, as he had said before, a violation of the principle on which Ireland ought to be governed. It was said to be less stringent than Lord Morpeth's bill. But it was no reason why they should now submit to this bill because they had consented to that measure. He hoped that the right hon. Baronet would employ himself during the recess—he would, if he had any regard for his fame, employ his best diligence in preparing measures to be brought forward next Session, better suited than this to the circumstances of the times. If they were not, the right hon. Baronet might pass them with larger majorities—they might be passed with less discussion—they might 470 not, as he feared they would, seal the fate of Ireland, and be dangerous to the interests of the empire: but of this he was sure, that if they were not different measures from this, the administration of the right hon. Baronet would not last long.
§ The House divided—on the question that the word "now" stand part of the question—Ayes, 125; Noes, 59; Majority, 66.
|List of the AYES.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Goulburn, rt. hon. H.|
|A'Court, Capt.||Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.|
|Acton, Col.||Greene, T.|
|Allix, J. P.||Gregory, W. H.|
|Antrobus, E.||Grogan, E.|
|Arbuthnott, hon. H.||Hamilton, G. A.|
|Archdall, Capt. M.||Harcourt, G. G.|
|Astell, W.||Hardinge, rt. hn. Sir H.|
|Bagot, hon. W.||Henley, J. W.|
|Baillie, H. J.||Herbert hon. S.|
|Baldwin, B.||Hope, hon. C.|
|Bateson, R.||Hope, G. W.|
|Beckett, W.||Ingestre, Visct.|
|Blackburne, J. I.||Jones, Capt.|
|Blackstone, W. S.||Kelly, F. R.|
|Bodkin, W. H.||Kemble, H.|
|Boldero, H. G.||Kirk, P.|
|Borthwick, P.||Knatchbull, rt. hn. Sir E.|
|Botfield, B.||Lefroy, A.|
|Boyd, J.||Lincoln, Earl of|
|Broadley, H.||Lockhart, W.|
|Broadwood, H.||Lowther, hon. Col.|
|Brooke, Sir A. B.||Lygon, hon. Gen.|
|Bruce, Lord E.||Mackenzie, T.|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Mackenzie, W. F.|
|Bunbury, T.||Manners, Lord C. S.|
|Burrell, Sir C. M.||Manners, Lord J.|
|Clive, Visct.||Marsham, Visct.|
|Collett, W. R.||Maxwell, hon. J. P.|
|Corry, rt. hon. H.||Meynell, Capt.|
|Cripps, W.||Mildmay, H. St. J.|
|Damer, hon. Col.||Milnes, W.|
|Darby, G.||Neeld, J.|
|Denison, E. B.||Neville, R.|
|Dickinson, F. H.||Newdegate, C. N.|
|Dodd, G.||Newport, Visct.|
|Douglas, Sir H.||Nicholl, rt. hon. J.|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||Northland, Visct.|
|Douglas, J. D. S.||O'Brien, A. S.|
|Duncombe, hon. A.||Oswald, A.|
|Duncombe, hon. O.||Peel, rt. hn. Sir R.|
|East, J. B.||Peel, J.|
|Eliot, Lord||Polhill, F.|
|Escott, B.||Pollington, Visct.|
|Estcourt, T. G. B.||Pollock, Sir F.|
|Filmer, Sir E.||Pringle, A.|
|Flower, Sir J.||Rashleigh, W.|
|Ffolliott, J.||Reid, Sir J. R.|
|Forman, T. S.||Rose, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Fuller, A. E.||Round, J.|
|Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.||Rushbrooke, Col.|
|Gordon, hon. Capt.||Sanderson, R.|
|Gore, M.||Sandon, Visct.|
|Gore, W. R. O.||Scott, hon. F.|
|Sheppard, T.||Trotter, J.|
|Sibthorp, Col.||Verner, Col.|
|Smith, rt. hn. C. B. T.||Vivian, J. E.|
|Somerset, Lord G.||Wellesley, Lord C.|
|Stanley, Lord||Wortley hon. J. S.|
|Stuart, H.||Yorke, H. R.|
|Sutton, hon. H. M.||Young, J.|
|Tennent, J. E.||Fremantle, Sir T.|
|Trench, Sir F. W.||Clerk, Sir G.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Aldam, W.||Morris, D.|
|Archbold, R.||Napier, Sir C.|
|Bannerman, A.||Norreys, Sir D. J.|
|Barnard, E. G.||O'Brien, J.|
|Bernal, Capt.||O'Brien, W. S.|
|Bowring, Dr.||A'Connell, M. J.|
|Bright, J.||O'Connor, Don|
|Brotherton, J.||O'Ferrall, R. M.|
|Buller, C.||Pechell, Capt.|
|Byng, rt. hon. G. S.||Plumridge, Capt.|
|Christie, W. D.||Ponsonby, hon. C. F. A. C.|
|Colebrooke, Sir T. E.||Protheroe, E.|
|Corbally, M. E.||Roche, E. B.|
|Crawford, W. S.||Ross, D. R.|
|Duncan, G.||Russell, Lord E.|
|Duncombe, T.||Scott, R.|
|Dundas, A.||Seymour, Lord|
|Fitzroy, Lord C.||Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.|
|Forster, M.||Smith, B.|
|Fox, C. R.||Smith, rt. hon. R. V.|
|Gore, hon. R.||Somerville, Sir W. M.|
|Hawes, B.||Stewart, P. M.|
|Hill, Lord M.||Wall, C. B.|
|Hindley, C.||Wawn, J. T.|
|Howard, hn. C. W. G.||Williams, W.|
|Howard, P. H.||Wood, B.|
|Hutt, W.||Yorke, H. R.|
|Layard, Capt.||Clements, Visct.|
|Managles, R. D.||Wyse, T.|
§ Main question agreed to.
§ Bill read a third time and passed.
§ House adjourned at a quarter to two o'clock.