§ The Order of the Day for the resumption of the debate having been read,
said, however wearied the House might he with this protracted debate, they could not fail to be struck with astonishment at the speeches of the hon. and right hon. Gentlemen connected with the Government. They all admitted the grievances, they all lamented the causes, but they omitted to indicate an intention of bringing forward any measure to redress these grievances. He would pass over the speech of the lion. Member for Belfast (Mr. E. Tennent), because those who were curious in Parliamentary Debates by referring to the year I839 would meet with the very same speech, and it was a singular coincidence that Dr. Goldsmith should be laid under contribution for the identical lines which had already done the state some service. He wished more particularly to refer to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department, and however credulous the House might be, it would scarcely concur in thinking that a vote of want of confidence should be denied after that speech. Nay, the right hon. Baronet who now resisted inquiry himself, said, four years ago, whilst he was labouring under the responsibilities of opposition, of which he now talked so much,I can conceive nothing more interesting than inquiry into the state of Ireland. As a great moral lesson, it demands earnest and immediate inquiry.He would ask the House what were the altered circumstances of I843, which did not make it necessary now to have an "earnest and immediate inquiry." What did the hon. Member for Limerick call upon the House to do? Firstly to inquire whether political and social grievances existed in Ireland; and, secondly, whether all legislative remedies had been tried and been found inadequate. He was perfectly ready to admit with the noble Lord the Secretary for Ireland, that there were social evils in Ireland, but the House should bear in mind the position of the Irish peasantry Every one worked for his own subsistence without aid, every man grew his potatoes on his own patch 832 of ground, and if he lost that he had no chance of procuring employment — he must starve. Now in the second volume of State Papers, in a letter from Brabazon to Secretary Cromwell, so early as the year I535, is this description of the Irish peasantry: —I think the poor commonalty here he very true people, and conformable to all good order; the destruction of this land is wholly by the extortion of the lords and gentlemen of the country.And no one could deny that much of the distress was still owing to the landlords. In the report of the Poor-law Commissoners for 1836, which, give him leave today, contained a better history of modern Ireland than any other, it was said that the average earnings of the peasantry were 4d. a day, and that they paid from 30s.to 2l. a year rent for their cabins, and 2l. more for their peat. During the inquiry two questions of very great importance were asked—one was,Are the landed proprietors absentee, or resident? If absentee, do they reside in any other part of Ireland?To this question the uniform answer returned was "Principally absentee." The other question was,To what extent has the system of throwing small farms into large ones taken place in your parish? What has become of the dispossessed tenants?He had extracted these answers, which would be a sample of all. Speaking of the county of Galway, the Rev. P. Pownder, of Kilelooney, replied:—It is extensive, and the poor outcasts nestle where they can; they suffer great misery and anguish of heart; their feelings are excited, and this system produces all the sullen ferocity of despair, and many of the dreadful inroads upon the peace and order of society.Another clergyman, speaking of Kildare and Rathorgan—the Rev. P. Brennan, P.P., said:—To a great extent; some tenants go to other parishes, some to America; some are living still in the ditches; some have died from hardships.Rev. Nicholas O'Connor, P.P., of Borris Stratre, in the Queen's County, said,About seventy families within these last few years, many of whom have become desperate White Feet.Whilst another gentleman referred to 833 this system as creating the class of White-boys; and in the same report it was said,A large proportion of the crimes committed are connected with the competition for land.He thought, therefore, when hon. Gentleman talked of the miseries of the connection with England, it would be well if they considered that many of the evils which Ireland was now suffering were produced by the landlords. The noble Lord the Secretary for Ireland, deprecates the introduction of any topics connected with history; but was it not necessary, for a right understanding of political grievances, to revert to the fact that all concessions to Ireland were the result of dread, and that in early days the humiliation of Ireland kept pace with the aggrandisement of England? Even the times of Queen Elizabeth, so honourable to England, were days of deep degradation to Ireland. From the first relaxation of the criminal code in 1778, down to the grant of Catholic Emancipation in 1829, all relief had been extorted through fear. The first act of conciliation followed the American reverses of 1777, and the last act followed the turbulence and clamour of the Clare election. What was the language used by Mr. Pitt and Lord Castlereagh when they proposed the union? Mr. Pitt in his speech, said:—What am I now proposing for the sake of Ireland? I am not content that Ireland shall have some benefits as part of the British empire, but I am proposing that Ireland shall be allowed to participate of the blessings which England enjoys.And Lord Castlereagh, on January 22nd, I799, said,By the incorporation of Ireland with Great Britain, it would not only consolidate the strength and glory of the empire, but it would change our internal and local government to a system of strength and calm security, instead of being a garrison in the island.Did Ireland now participate in the benefits which England enjoyed? Was it not still a garrison country? He would not now discuss the Irish Church question, but he must remark, that 7,000,000 Catholics maintained a hierarchy of four archbishops, twenty-five bishops, and many deans and vicars-general, besides upwards of 3,000 parochial. clergy, and yet had to contribute largely to the Protestant Church. Was Ireland fairly treated with reference to representa- 834 tion? Lord Castlereagh (taking exports, imports, and revenue as a criterion) proposed to give her 108 Members, but 8 were struck off; whereas if wealth and population were taken, she would have claimed 150 Members. Nor had she been fairly treated even under the Reform 13111. Wales got an increase of 6 Members upon a population of 800,000; Scotland ditto, on 2,300,000, an increase of 8; Ireland on 8,000,000, an increase of 5 only. Scotland had, therefore, an increase of 1 in 5; Wales, 1 in 6; Ireland 1 in 10. Besides, how many houses were there in such towns as Birmingham and London of 10l. a-year value, and how few in the towns in Ireland. The noble Lord defended his policy much on the same grounds that the historian Hume defended the coercive policy of Queen Elizabeth; if she did not always do what was best, she did what she could. The right hon. Baronet the First Lord of the Treasury, indeed, said that he would rule Ireland with impartiality; but to do this he must do it through his associates. Who, then, were the right hon. Baronet's associates? The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department, taunting the Members of the then Government, in April, 1839, said:—By what means are we to ascertain what are the principles of the Government which we are called upon to approve? In a case of doubt like this, and in the absence of other materials for forming a judgment, the House must resort to the principle noscitur a sociis, and turn from the profession of the Ministry to the character of its supporters.Who are the right hon. Baronet's associates? To find them truly it would be necessary to carry the House back to the year I837. On the 24th of January, in that year, a great Conservative meeting was held in Dublin. The room was decorated with Orange ribbons; the Marquess of Downshire was in the chair; Lord Roden was there also; there was what was very significant in Ireland, "Kentish fire; "many magistrates were present; language of a very violent character was used, but no magistrates were dismissed. The right hon. Baronet claimed credit for his support of national education. At that meeting this resolution was passed:—Resolved, That with respect to civil affairs, we feel we have grievous cause for complaint; First, by reason of a national system of education, which in its working is so diametrically opposed to the first duty and highest 835 privilege of Christianity, that the Protestants of Ireland cannot conscientiously avail themselves of the advantages of the national endowment.That resolution was seconded by Mr. Sergeant Jackson, who then said;—The Roman Catholic hierarchy affected at this period to condemn the advantages of Scripture education,. I am sorry that there are in the community a class of men who do not love the light, for their deeds are evil.Mr. Sergeant Jackson is now a judge. Mr. Smith, then a Queen's counsel, speaking of the Roman Catholic oath, said:—I am sorry circumstances have arisen to induce us to believe that they have very little regard for the sanctity of an oath, or little hesitation to violate their compact. Lord Morpeth, in a speech delivered at Leeds, had called himself a friend to the Protestants of Ireland. May the Lord deliver us from such friends,Mr. Smith also said:—His Government had not yet gone to the full length of the promises held out to the Irish people, but I think they have gone entirely too far, and we are met here to prevent them going farther.Mr. Smith is now Attorney-general. Mr. Litton, on seconding a resolution, said:—If there be a general election, these wretched men are brought forward, not to assert the right of franchise given by the constitution, but brought forward to carry on by bludgeon law, by force, by murder, if necessary, the objects set on foot by the association, and carried out to a man by the Roman Catholic priesthood.Mr. Litton is a Master in Chancery. Among those who took part in the meeting, also, were Mr. Brewster, now counsel to the Castle, and Mr. E. Tennent, now Secretary to the Board of Control. It was very true, he might be told, that these gentlemen had moderated their views. They might have surrendered their opinion, but what trust could the Irish people place in men who have passed the greater part of their political life in advancing such doctrines as these. The noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies was the parent of the system of national education; and it was only natural that he should desire to see his own measure carried into effect. Yet the first person appointed to the Episcopal bench was totally opposed to the system of national education. Dr. O'Brien, also, who was totally opposed to the noble Lord's system, was 836 appointed to the see of Ossory, and that most violent partisan, Dr. Daly, to the bishopric of Cashel. How can the right hon. Baronet call on that House to give him credit for sincerity? He asked how could they, when such appointments were made in Ireland? But had the people of Ireland any greater reason for consolation when they looked to the Government itself? Let them take three of the leading Members of that House. Why, no later than the year 1840, the Vice-president of the Board of Trade voted against the grant to Maynooth. Was that a ground of confidence on the part of the Irish people? Did they feel greater confidence when they turned to the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies, or when they listened to the statement of the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department, declaring that concession had reached its terminus — a sentiment in which, however he might conceal it, he believed the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government fully concurred. He quite agreed with the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Recorder for Dublin, that they had a strong government folding its arms, which would grant no further concessions, hazarding rather a civil war; a government impotent for good and irresolute for evil. It had been stated that out of a population of 8,000,000, there were 2,300,000 depending for their subsistence upon casual charity. Would it not be wise to employ these persons upon railroads, and so pacify Ireland? A small grant or loan had recently been made to the Dublin and Drogheda railroad, and he thought, small though it was, it would do more towards pacifying Ireland than all the courtly phrases of the right hon. Baronet. Again, he would urge upon hon. Gentlemen, who were or might be members of the Government, on both sides of the House, the necessity of abolishing the office of Lord lieutenant. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Recorder for Dublin had told them that in all times of emergency the office was an anomaly. He could say from his experience that in times of quiet it was equally an anomaly. The present Irish establishment was of no use to any party, except to those few of her Majesty's servants who were anxious to avoid the dull routine of regimental duty. He called upon the House, instead of making an objection to the grant to 837 Maynooth, to place that college on the footing of the English universities, for he could tell hon. Gentlemen that they would never have a quiet and peaceful population whilst they oppressed and despised the ministers of their religion. Mr. Grattan had recommended that the Catholic clergy should be incorporated with the state, and that they should have salaries for duties, and not to bribe them for political apostacy, and in that recommendation be heartily coincided. Hon. Gentlemen might say that the time was gone for these remedies, but the time had come when they must make the union a living letter. In reviewing the past history of Ireland, it was clear that great injustice had been perpetrated on the majority; and it could not be continued, whether in the shape of defiance breathed through the lips of a Secretary of State, or the more obnoxious form of military parade. He would not advise the Government to adopt strong measures, but let them rather recollect the advice given to Charles 1st, that the best way to put down rebellion was to remove the causes. Conciliation was the best policy, and he would say in the words of an old divine, that nothing could come of contention but waste to all, whilst the common enemy would dance on the ashes of both.
—Sir, in the course of what I have to say, I shall endeavour to show, in reply to what has fallen from the hon. Member for Wycombe, first wherein consists the difference between the state of Ireland in 1843, and that period to which the hon. Member adverts; why Ireland is "now a garrison?" and I shall prove, that the union has conferred upon Ireland, great, real, and increasing advantages; but which agitation is paralysing, or frustrating. But first, Sir,—I have listened with regret and surprise to many of the speeches made by hon. Gentlemen opposite; and not without apprehension when I observe in what manner the protracted discussions in this House, and the dangerous agitations elsewhere, act and re-act on each other, to the prejudice of the public interests. As I shall have occasion to make some observations on what has fallen from hon. Members on the other side, I beg first to assure those hon. Gentlemen, and the House, that I give them full credit for the best and purest intentions; I mean no offence; I entertain great respect for the hon. Member who 838 has brought forward this motion; and nothing can be further from my wish or intention, than to embitter our deliberations with any breach of that respect and courtesy towards each other, which I always endeavour to observe. I shall deal with the words which hon. Members have used, according to their true meaning, signification, and weight; and relatively with the time and circumstances under which those expressions have been applied. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. S. O'Brien) assures us that he has brought forward his motion, not in behalf of agitation, but of measures. He has detailed a long catalogue of grievances, compiled from the history of Ireland, from a very remote period, and which list embodies the various peculiarities, anomalies, and imperfections, political, spiritual and social, engendered in that country by the operation of long-existing causes, which time only, and good government, can gradually remove; which any attempt to remedy suddenly, by the interference of Parliament, would probably exasperate; and some of which are not within the reach of any remedy, which it is in the power of Parliament to apply. The hon. Member says, his object is to remedy these grievances by remedial measures. What measures? The hon. Gentleman has, I believe, occupied a seat in this House for some years, and supported the Administration which, for ten I years preceding that which now exists, had the power to redress, many or most, or, according to him, all those grievances of which the hon. Gentleman complains by some specific measures. Why did he not propose them to the Government he supported? Why not bring forward himself specific measures for the redress of those grievances, which he now exhibits. Why, having omitted or neglected this, does he now reproach the present Government for doing nothing? I shall pass over the minor, and more remote alleged grievances to which the hon. Member has alluded, and refer to what are called the chief modern grievances of Ireland, and, first, the Union, which is asserted to have conferred no advantages on Ireland; and secondly, Catholic emancipation, which hon. Members assert is a failure, and with which the Irish Catholics are dissatisfied, because it has not produced to Ireland the advantages which they anticipated from that concession. Whoever imagined that those who so long agitated for emancipation, as a mean, would be satisfied without attaining the end— the destruction of the Protestant 839 Church in Ireland; and who doubts that Repeal means the dismemberment of that empire which is regarded as the great bulwark of Protestantism in the Christian world? Br. O'Connell has declared, that the measure of Repeal will be carried, and that without the consent of Lords and Commons, if England does not concede this, it will nevertheless be accomplished, and who are his (Mr. O'Connell's) allies in this agitation? He has, himself, given a reply, for in one of his speeches he says, "Need he tell them that the cause of the oppressed Irish commanded the affectionate sympathy of millions of their Friends on the other side of the Atlantic? That the heart of America was with them." The animus thus evoked as towards this country, by a certain class of politicians in the United States, is shown by an extract, which I beg leave to read, a letter from a certain Thomas Parr, secretary to a repeal association in the United States, addressed to the Irish Association.America has but one feeling towards that nation (England) — a feeling of deadly, irreconcileable hatred. I will say further, that I do not believe there is a single member of our Cabinet at Washington, who entertains the hope, that peace can long be preserved between the two countries. Let Ireland wait with patience her time, let her patriots and her people be firm and united in their resolve, and the martyred Emmett's epitaph will soon be written. I believe with the United States' senator, Benton (a man who bids fair to be President before long), that the man is now alive, with a beard upon his face, who will see au American army in Ireland, and an American general walking the streets of London.The writer also declares for—War with England; that America may avenge the many bitter insults to which she has been so oft, by that haughty power, subjected—that she may burst the hydra folds which, boa-like, her foe is wrapping around her, and the constrictive power of which we feel oppressing and binding us at every point, from the balmy plains of Oregon to the sunny shores that border on the Bahamas, from Madawaska to the Lake of the Woods.It is, however, creditable to the nation from which these productions have been evoked, that the mass of her people regards this country with far different feelings than those of hatred and hostility. I beg permission to read to the House the sentiments of an eminent American, the rev. Dr. Tyng, a Protestant minister, who last year visited this country. That Gentleman says,England's most posperous days have been in the reigns of her Protestant Queens, in two 840 of which the gland has been delivered from the yoke and the detestable, enormities of the Bishop of Rome;' and, I cannot but think, that if Victoria's life shall he preserved, it will be as an instrument of peculiar blessings to her nation. As I thought of the influence of England in maintaining the dominion of Protestant truth, in giving the Gospel to the heathen world, and the apparent dependence of her power upon the life of the Queen; and reflected upon the vast and incalculable evils which must result to mankind from the anarchy and overthrow of the power of England, which would be more than likely to arise under a long regency at the present time, I could not but settle down in the feeling, that the most important life on earth, for the general interest of man, was that of this young woman. It has struck me as an amazing providence of God, and I have often implored the shield of his protection to be around her, as I marked the dangers to which, even from a few infatuated rebels against lawful authority, she might be exposed. She needs to be shielded by universal prayer, and it is a high Christian obligation upon all who are her subjects to unite in the habitual offering. In these remarks I give just the state of my continued feelings in this connexion; and, as an American citizen, I feel myself in a condition to accord without fear the praise of its manifest excellencies to the British constitution and system of society, having no temptation to join in that coarse and Radical cry which can imagine no liberty but in the overturn of order, and no demonstration of the love of liberty, but in the unnecessary abuse of constituted authorities and dignities, and in an affected contempt of superior stations and the rights which belong to them.The hon. Member who brought forward this motion has disclaimed any wish to defend or promote agitation. Why then has the hon. Gentleman referred to so many agitating topics? Why has he endeavoured to establish an analogy between Ireland and Canada— Canada as having attained her ends through rebellion? Br. O'Connell, indeed, has held up Canada as an example to the Irish, by stating that the Canadians revolted and lost their constitution; but that now as a reward for their rebellion, they have got a more liberal constitution, and appear to he more favoured than any other portion of the British empire This from Mr. O'Connell, one can understand; but why did the hon. Member advert to this topic? I have hitherto carefully abstained from saying anything on the subject of recent events in Canada; hut I must now declare, that if I had any doubt as to the disastrous effects resulting from the manner and extent to which certain principles have been carried out in Canada, those 841 concessions, being now held up as an encouragement to Ireland to persevere in agitation, shews distinctly the dangerous tendency of what has been done in Canada.. Then why has the hon. Member referred to the fact that there arc in the British army 40,000 Irish soldiers, when that army may possibly be called upon to act for the preservation of tranquillity in Ireland? And why has the hon. Member spoken of that illustrious man, the Duke of Wellington, as a denationalized Irishman? Such is my opinion of Irish soldiers such my conviction of their fidelity, under all circumstances, whether in their own country, or elsewhere, that I would not hesitate to act with Irish troops, and confide as much confidence in them as with national troops. I am astonished at the term which has been applied to the great warrior and statesman to whom I have before alluded—" a denationalized Irishman!" Hear this, ye spirits of thousands of Irishmen whom he has conducted to victory! Hear this, ye nations who have been defended and protected by his valor! Hear this, a world whose liberties he has redeemed! Oh, shame on this unnatural expatriation and rejection of a man who has raised this country to such a pinnacle of glory. The hon. Member who brought forward this motion states that superficial observers think the agitation that is going on in Ireland is the work of one man. I know not whether I am deemed a superficial observer or not; but I assert that the agitation in Ireland is the work of one 6 man. The noble Lords, the members for London and Tiverton, and other hon. Members opposite, did nothing for Ireland, though ten years in power. The right hon. and learned Gentleman; the Member for Cork, effected nothing for Ireland in the way of redressing those grievances, of which he now complains, notwithstanding his influence with the late Government; and the only real difference between the policy of the late and present administrations with respect to Ireland, appears to be, that the former did, and the present will not, I trust, coax and caress agitators, and grant premiums on agitation. The Union is asserted to be a grievance, because "that English Legislation has gradually deprived Ireland of every branch of manufacture, for the purpose of advancing the fortunes of their own countrymen; that the people of Ireland arc saddled with enormous burthens, and that there should be an impost on all English goods imported into Ireland to enable the 842 Irish manufacturers to compete with their now favoured rivals." A pretty species of free trade this, I recommend it to the special notice and consideration of hon. Members, free traders, opposite. I assert that the Union has produced to Ireland all the advantages that could reasonably have been expected to result from that great and most important measure; and that it is only my continued agitation that the realization of those benefits can be obstructed. I hold abundant proofs in my hand of the great and progressive benefits which the union has conferred upon Ireland, atoll must indefinitely produce if not interrupted by continued agitation. I will not weary the House by adducing more of the figures which prove this, than to read the first and last terms of the continued series contained in these statements, that exhibit a steady improvement in the several branches to which they relate, from the period of the Union, up to the present time. Sir, I contend that the first of all interests is that of agriculture. The first of all objects in the internal improvement of any country, should be to improve the rural economy and condition of a country and! people. And this is particularly needful with respect to Ireland, the agricultural industry and condition of which are so backward, that about two-thirds of its population are employed in agricultural pursuits, or rather settled redundantly and unproductively on the land, there is about one-fourth of the territorial surface of that fertile Island left either in a waste and uncultivated state, though fit for cultivation and susceptible of great improvement. The proportion of the population of Ireland employed in agricultural pursuits, or at least settled on the land, is double what it is in England. It is stated in round numbers to he two-sevenths in England, and four-sevenths in Ireland. But, to state this more correctly, it is computed by the census of I831, that the population of Great Britain consists of 3,414,175 families, of which 961,134 are employed in the production of food, which is in the proportion of 2S5 per 1,000 of population. In Ireland, out of 1,385,066 families, 884,339 are so employed, which is at the rate of 638 per 1,000. The total number of males of twenty years of age and upwards in the United Kingdom, is computed to be 5,812,276, of these there are employed in Great Britain, 1,243,057; in Ireland, 1,227,054. This shows a very backward state of agricultural condition, 843 and is a remarkable and important indication of what is required to improve the internal condition of Ireland. It shows that what Ireland wants above all things is a steady market for those surplus agricultural productions, which she is so capable of multiplying, and which no country would take freely, to an unlimited extent, excepting that with which Ireland is indissolubly, I hope, connected; and this leads me to show to what steady and increasing extent this advantage has been reaped, and is reaping by Ireland. I
|*CORN OF IRISH GROWTH IMPORTED INTO GREAT BRITAIN FROM IRELAND.|
|years.||Wheat and Wheat Flour||Barley, including Beer or Bigg.||Oats and Oatmeal||Rye||Peas||Beans||Malt||Total|
|1842||Returns not made up.|
§ hold in my hand a table of corn, of Irish growth, imported into Great Britain in each year, from 1800 to 1841. The returns for 1842, are not made up. The quantity imported in 1800 was 3,238 of all kinds-namely, wheat and flour, barley, oats, and oatmeal, rye, peas, beans, and malt.* I shall not read the lines onwards; but in 1841, the total quantity of corn imported into Great Britain from Ireland was 2,855,525 quarters. It appears, therefore, that a very considerable portion of the population of Great Britain, are consumers of the pro-845
§ ductions of Irish agricultural industry. I ask what would be the state and prospects of Irish agriculture if British markets were not freely opened to those productions.
§ The following is not an unimportant in-
|Number of Bushels of Malt used for making Beer by Brewers, Licensed Victuallers, &c.1841.|
|By Persons Licensed for the Sale of Beer||3,734,288||3,734,288|
§ Now, with respect to other provisions; and first live animals, "the following is a statement of the number and value of live animals imported into Liverpool alone in the year 1839:—
§ I have no means of ascertaining exactly the extent of importations of live animals into other parts of the United Kingdom, but it must be something immense. With respect to manufactures, the following is the quantity of Irish linen exported from Ireland in 1800 and in 1825 in yards, subsequently to which year no separate returns have been made of the commercial intercourse between the two parts of the kingdom, being perfectly free and assimilated to a coasting trade.
I do not take up the time of the House in reading the intermediate columns. The increase in the linen manufacture of Ireland has since been very great. The House is aware that since the removal of all restrictions on Irish trade in 1825, that trade has been assimilated to a coasting trade, and Ireland admitted freely to all the advantages of intercourse, as an integral part of the empire, since which no separate tables have been kept. I have been obliged, therefore, to pick out the extent of her com-
*See Table (as note) following column,
§ dication of improvement in the branch to which it relates, and in the comparative progress making in Ireland in the consumption of an article which betokens increasing comfort in the scale of living.
§ mercial intercourse and amount of exportation to Great Britain and to foreign ports, by cross as well as direct returns. The exportation of linen goods and linen yarns to France for instance has increased most rapidly since the year 1825, when the commercial tables of Ireland and England were assimilated. In 1825 the amount of linen yarns imported into France was only 161 killograms, (the House is aware that 1 killogram is equal to 2,205 lbs. of avoirdupoise. In 1839 the quantity of linen yarn imported into France from the United Kingdom was 6,167,201 killograms, the whole importation into France from all countries being only 6,817,42I killograms. A very large portion of the linen yarns so ex, ported from England to France must have been Irish yarns. So with respect to linen piece goods, the value and export of these from Ireland, besides the supply of their own market is extensive and increasing.
|Years||To Gt. Britain. yards||To foreign parts Yards||Total Yards|
§ The quantity of Irish linen exported from the United Kingdon in 1833, was 9,651,000 yards. The following is the value of linen goods sold in the Irish market in 1824:—
§ With so much paternal care has this branch of Irish industry been encouraged and fostered, that the bounty upon the exportation of Irish linens did not cease till 1830. So much for Mr. O'Connell's assertion as to the alleged unpaternal disposition and conduct of the United Parliament towards the agriculture and manufactures of Ireland. But what did the Irish Parliament with respect to the woollen manufactures? Why they passed a law prohibiting the exportation of all woollen goods from Ireland except to England, whilst such were the prohibitory duties previously laid on Irish woollen goods imported into England, that they were prohibitory of that intercourse likewise. True, the Irish Parliament did this by and with the assent of the Sovereign; but this shows that there did exist, with a separate Parliament, distinct interests, which are now consolidated, and have become mutual and identical.
§ The manufacture of sail-cloth in Ireland is increasing rapidly. In 1833 the quantity exported had doubled within a very few years. The flax spinning trade has made gigantic progress in Ireland within the last ten years.
§ The extent and steady increase of the Irish foreign trade appears from the produce of the Customs' duties in Ireland, which have steadily increased, even up to the present time, whilst from similar indexes of the state of trade, with respect to Great Britain, it has either been stationary or falling-off. The following is the produce of the Irish Customs' duties from 1837 to 1843, inclusive:—
|1837||1,945,000||Customs of England and Scotland, about stationary.|
|1841||2,216,000||Customs in England and Scotland, greatly fal len off|
§ The following is a table of the value of the exports from Ireland to Great Britain 848 from 1801 to 1825, inclusive, and the value of imports into Ireland from Great Britain during the same period:—
|Exports, Ireland to great Britain||Import into Ireland|
§ I read from a table now in my hands the increase in the exports of live animals and other farm produce, &c., from Ireland to Great Britain, in the year 1835, compared with the year 1825:—
|Exports from Ireland|
|Increase 1825 to 1835||Value exported 1835||increase exported 1825 to 1835.|
|Flour and Meal, cwt.||1,390,3.56|
§ By this it appears that the increase of the value exported in 1835, compared with 1825, was 7,450,4761. In eggs alone the value imported into Liverpool and Bristol is estimated at 100,0001. per annum. Poultry has become a branch of most valuable traffic to Ireland; even in feathers it is estimated at 500,000l. per annum.
§ A great increase of tonnage, inwards and outwards, attends, of course, these improvements of industry, trade, and commerce.*
In 1817, there was only one steam vessel in Ireland, and she of 63 tons; in 1836, there were seventy-one steam vessels, 13,460 tons, running. In Scotland, only ninety-five; in England, about 380. The number of vessels built and registered in Ireland, in the years ending January, 1840, and 1842, show an increase. The total number of vessels, which stood upon the registers of Ireland in December 1839 were 1889; 1841, 2016. There arc 12,005 boats, and
*See Table (as note) p. 857–8,
58,044 men, their crews, employed in the herring and cod fisheries in Ireland, which exceeds considerably those employed in the Scotch Fisheries; and the quantities of fish cured, and I believe those exported, steadily increased up to the last returns viz. 1840. The Newfoundland cod and seal fisheries produce annually about 728,794l. value; the Break bulk of the population are Irish. What would be the effect on Ireland if that outlet, that profitable employment for Irish capital and redundant labour, which she now possesses as an
|SAVINGS BANKS.(No. 13).|
|An Account of the Number of Depositors, and of the Amount invested in the Savings' Banks in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, made up to November 20th, 1839, and 1841.|
|Number of Depositors.||Amount of Investments,||Average Amount invested by each depositor.|
|Not exceeding £20||406,690||2,708,450||7|
|Not exceeding £50||200,202||6,150,537||31|
|Not exceeding £100||82,049||5,637,032||69|
|Not exceeding £150||27,390||3,292,115||120|
|Not exceeding £200||14,705||2,506,094||170|
|Number and amount of Individual Depositors in Savings' Banks||734,089||21,042,838||29|
|Number and Amount of Charitable Institutions||7,402||449,227||61|
|Number and Amount of Friendly Societies.||6,905||933,747||135|
|Of which there were invested in England||622,468||19,246,221|
|Of which there were invested in Scotland||34,739||436,032|
|Of which there were invested in Wales||15,893||525,320|
|Of which there were invested in Ireland||75,296||2,218,239|
|Total in 1839||748,396||22,425,812|
|Total in 1841||841,204||24,474,689|
§ I find in the return of the number of Loan Fund' Societies, and their rapid increase from 1838 to 1842, another very distinct evidence of improvement in the state of Ireland, exclusive of the advantages of these societies in superseding the former pernicious system of money lending at enormous interest, as practised by small usurers*
The balance on the transfer of stock on funded capital, is another important indication which I may notice. In the year 1842, the balance in favour of Ireland on the
*See Table (as note) next column.
§ integral part of the British Empire, were closed by repeal—that is, by separation? Then, as indications of the prosperity of Ireland, with respect to accumulation of capital, and increase of comfort in the scale of well-being,' the number of contributors to savings' banks in Ireland, in 184I, was 75,296. In Scotland, only 34,739. The amount of deposits in Ireland 2,218,2391.; whilst in Scotland, notwithstanding the well known providence and economy of its people, the amount deposited was only 436,0001.
§ transfer of stock was 3,672,000l. The Revenue received for Stamp Duty on legacies,
|Years||Numbers of societies rendering Accounts||Total Circulation||Net Profits applied to Charities|
§ probates, administrations, and testamentary inventories, increases steadily in Ireland,
|REVENUE received in the United Kingdom for Stamp Duty on Legacies, Probates, Administrations, and 'Testamentary Inventories, in each Year, from 5th January, 1823, to 5th January, 1836.|
|YEARS||ENGLAND & WALES||SCOTLAND.||GREAT BRITAIN.||IRELAND.|
§ The monthly average amount of promissory notes, payable to bearer on demand, in circulation, in the United Kingdom, as given in the annexed Table, for the year 1842, show as well with respect to the Bank of Ireland, as to private and Joint Stock Banks there, very satisfactory evidences of prosperity with reference to the852
§ and in a higher ratio, then either in Scotland or England.
§ like transactions in England and Scotland.*
With respect to education, the following is a statement of the number of schools, and the number of scholars educated therein, from the 1st report of the commissioners
*See Table (as note) p. 859–60.
§ dated 31st December, 1833, to the 9th report dated the 3rd of December, 1842.
|Number of Report||Number of schools||Number of scholars|
§ The system, as the report expresses it, is that of the State, admitting and encouraging a union of Protestant and Roman Catholic children in the same school, for such an education as may fit them for those civil duties, which they, in after-life; will have to perform together, separating them only, for instruction in those religious duties which they have to discharge separately; thus inculcating on them, as Members of the same civil community the great principle of Christian charity, which may bind them together by mutual feelings of attachment and good-will. The number of domestic servants, in proportion to population, is another evidence of the comparative well-doing and ease of the middle ranks. In Ireland, the number of female servants
|A Return of the Number of Persons who have Emigrated from the United Kingdom during the Year ended 5th January, 1842.|
|To America||United States||39,066||2,058||3,893||45,017|
|Texas and Central America||152||152|
|N. America Colonies:||Canada||6,090||3,730||16,542||26,362|
|Nova Scotia and Cape Breton||618||1,693||33||2,344|
|Prince Edward's Island||325||885||621||1,831|
|Cape Good Hope||368||368|
|Other West India Islands||759||208||26||993|
|Total Number of Emigrants||72,104||14,060||32,428||118,592|
§ in domestic employment, per thousand of population, is sixty-three. It is but little more, namely, seventy-seven in England. Of male servants, per thousand of population, there are twenty-six in Ireland, and only sixteen in England. Then with respect to the state and movement of population, it appears, that although industry and production in Ireland may be increasing, the population increases in a higher ratio. Notwithstanding Mr. O'Connell's assertion that the population of Ireland has fallen off since the Union, it appears by official returns to have increased from 6,801,827 in 1821, to 7,756,365 in 1831, and to 8,175,238 in 1841 by calculation. For this redundancy, and movement, Ireland, associated with England, possesses unlimited outlets by emigration to British Colonies, and by emigration to Great Britain. It appears by the annexed return, that 32,500 persons emigrated from Ireland, in 1842, out of 118,500, the whole amount of emigration from the British islands, in that year. In proportion as an active state of industry in the colonies may insure steady employment for emigrants, the redundancy of labour in Ireland will find beneficial outlets in those receptacles which, to boundless extents, Great Britain possesses. What would Ireland, do if deprived of those outlets by repeal of the Union, for repeal means dismemberment?855
§ Then with respect to the periodical migration of Irish labourers into England, it appears, that the number resorting to Liverpool alone, has been, on an average, eight thousand annually, previous to the present year; and it is estimated that each man takes back, of the savings of his labour, about 51. The periodical migration to all parts of Great Britain is estimated at 40,000; so that at these rates, Irish labourers take back to Ireland about 40,000l. from Liverpool, and about 200,0001. including the whole of Great Britain. It is very remarkable, that during the present year, there has been a falling-off of at least 40 per cent. in the number of Irish labourers arriving weekly in Liverpool from Dublin alone. This, no doubt, is partly owing to the depressed condition of our manufacturing population, by which they are driven to seek for agricultural labour; but here, too, agitation, has been greatly prejudicial to the Irish labourer, by inducing him to sacrifice this periodical and very beneficial migration from the absurd expectations held out by agitators to the deluded peasantry, that their condition at home is about to be permanently benefitted by Repeal. The statistics of the population of the British empire, afford many curious and instructive figures, as to the extent of the three kingdoms in square miles, the quantities of land cultivated and uncultivated, unfit, or fit for cultivation. the increase of population and the proportion of population employed in agriculture and manufactures, and in other branches of industry.
§ The total number of males of twenty years of age, and upwards, employed in agriculture in Ireland, as occupiers employing labourers, occupiers not employing labourers, and labourers, was, by the last census, 1,227,054, as 1Ihave already shown. The number employed in manufactures, or in making manufacturing machinery, was 404, 319 in Great Britain, and only 25,746 in Ireland. The numbers employed in retail trade, or in handicraft, as masters or workmen, was 1,159,867, in Great Britain; in Ireland, 298,838. Of capitalists, bankers, professional, and other educated men, there were in Great Britain 214,390; in Ireland, only 61,514. Of labourers employed as miners quarriers, fishermen; porters, &c., there were in Great Britain 608,712; in Ireland only 89,876. Of other males, servants excepted, there were in Great Britain 235,499; in Ireland, 110,595. Of male servants in Great Britain, 856 78,669; in Ireland, 54,142. These totals together making 5,812,276, being the total estimated number of males of the age of twenty years and upwards in the United Kingdom, for the year, 1831. These are very important facts, suggesting and indicating what is really required for the internal improvement of Ireland, but I confine myself at present to the agricultural condition of that country to the very backward state of that great industry there, the want of capital, and the unproductive manner in which labour is applied to the land— redundant, dense, distressed, contributing nothing to the revenue, as consumers of dutiable articles, whilst no less than, as it appears by the subjoined table, one-fourth of the soil of Ireland is uncultivated, and of that fourth, one-half fit for production.* Then it is alleged, that Ireland is charged with an undue and unfair proportion of the Public funded Debt, and for payment of the interest. The total of the Capital Debt, of the United Kingdom, is 774,319,91319 of which that charged to Great Britain, is 740,220,6941., and that to Ireland 34,099,2191. The charge for interest due to the Public Creditor in Great Britain is, 27,357,330l., and in Ireland 1,183,845l. which, per head of population, is, for Great Britain, about 30s and from Ireland about 3s. per head. †
The revenue raised in Ireland, per head of population, is about 12s. and in Great Britain about 51s. per head, Then Ireland is exempt from the Income-tax, which according to Sir Robert Peel's estimate would produce 3,771,0001; but which is found to be yielding considerably more; and Ireland is likewise exempt from assessed taxes, which, in England, amount to 4,457,0601., and in Scotland to 258,293l I have here extracts from various reports on the formation of roads in Ireland since the Union; and on the improvement of river, and other inland navigation; and the progress of other public works. I will not take up the time of the House by reading what must be well known to the generality of hon. Members; but I may, in particular, refer to the reports of 1822, showing the desolate and disorderly state of the fertile plains of Limerick, Cork, and Kerry, compared with the improved state of the same district in 1829. The vast improvement in that part of the county of Kerry where—
*See Table p, 861–2. † See Table p, 863–4,
A few years before the date of the report (1824) there was hardly a plough, car, or carriage, butter carried to Cork market on horseback, and the nearest post-office thirty miles distant.
§ I advert too, to the very satisfactory reports of the Commissioners of public works in Ireland, on the great benefits which that country has derived from the construction of roads carried on by the aid of Government contributions through extensive poor uncultivated districts. I have here proofs of the effect of opening new lines of inland navigation, report of the committee of 1830, and the vast advantage to agriculture which such improvements have produced, more particularly, by reducing the enormous cost of conveying agricultural produce to Dublin, by which that city has become one of the first corn ports of Europe, and export port of all descriptions of home produce. I may advert to the improvements that have been made in the navigation of the Shannon by Parliamentary grants of no less than 21,000l. from the year 1818 to 1820. The total amount of Parliamentary grants for public works in Ireland since the Union. But, Sir, the vast advantages which the legislative Union has conferred, is conferring, and, if not disturbed, must confer upon Ire-
|Statement of the Number and Average of Vessels, including their repeated Voyages, that entered the Ports of Great Britain front Ireland, and that left the Ports of Great Brie lain for Ireland, with Cargoes, in each Year, from 1801 to 1837.|
|1807||No Returns found.||1825||8,922||741,182||10,981||922,355|
§ land; gradually correcting and removing, all those ills which have been engendered there, by long existing causes and peculiar circumstances, this steady course of improvement is obstructed, and even thrown back. Agitation, or rather agitators, unmindful of the advantages which Ireland possesses, are proceeding to a frightful extent to frustrate or defeat this course of improvement. Whatever be the grievances which in such a state of prosperity Ireland may yet have to complain of, whether these be real, or unreal, speculative or social, I, for one, will never consent to make any concession or even to take these into consideration with a view to concession, so long as this audacious, if not rebellious agitation continues. I know well enough the effects of conceding any thing to agitation; how vain and dangerous it is to attempt to coax and conciliate agitators, who invariably, when they have gained their ends, must ungratefully assert that what may have been conceded was extorted from fear, and not obtained from favour. I, for one, will never be a party to this or any thing that may deprive concession of the grace, and favour, and dignity in which it should always be clothed, and so convert it into outright capitulation, surrender, and prostration to faction and cabal. Sir, I respect Ireland, and I love the Irish.859
§ I have, throughout life, had intimate intercourse with Irish people of all classes, and in all relations, professional, social, civil, and political. Many of the most valuable friendships I have formed in life, are with Irishmen; I owe my life to an Irishman. There is nothing I would not do for Ireland and for Irishmen, but that of listening to, or appearing to be intimidated by popular menace, agitation and violence. Let this cease, and I shall be one of the first to go in this spirit into the most friendly and anxious consideration of every thing that Ireland or the Irish people may have to complain of. Not only is agitation proceeding to a dangerous length in Ireland, threatening the dismemberment of the empire, but is moreover professedly at work on almost every other important branch, attacking all the great principles by which this great empire has been raised, and by which only can it be maintained in all its integrity. There is agitation for the total repeal of the Corn-laws that would be the ruin of British agriculture. There is agitation for the abolition of all differential duties which practically means the abolition of the colonial system: then for the repeal of all protecting duties that would ruin or still further depress all British industry. Then there is agitation to reform the Reform Bill, by a species of political philosophy, which, instead of increasing the controlling and regulating powers of the constitution, to counter balance the increased popular power which that measure has conceded would still further concede force to popular movement, by the Ballot, Universal Suffrage, and short Parliaments.
|Bank of England.||Private Banks.||Joint Stock Banks||Private and Joint Stock Banks||Bank of Ireland.||Private and Joint Stock Banks||Total.||Bullion in England.|
§ Then there is agitation to dissolve the connection between the Kirk of Scotland and the State; to overthrow the Protestant church in Ireland, which assuredly would lead to the overthrow of this Protestant monarchy. These Sir, are the perils of the empire, therein consist manifestly, the danger to which, if not firmly met, this great country is exposed; namely, that this great empire, after having withstood a world in arms, and defied all shocks from without, is in danger of being ruined from within. If these violent proceedings do not cease, if hon. Members do not take care what they say, the impression that has already been produced, will gain strength abroad, that this country is in a declining and tottering state. But, Sir, as England's most prosperous days were under the reign of Protestant Queens, so may we, under the present illustrious Sovereign, adhering firmly to all the great principles by which this great empire was created and the Protestant monarchy of this country established, not only maintain this great empire, in all its integrity, uniting a long succession of Protestant sovereigns; but further extend and consolidate this great Protestant power. Sir, with a deep sense—a distinct perception of the great and now manifest dangers that may, and, as I think, must ensue, unless this House, negativing this motion, express, moreover, their reprobation of the agitation now proceeding to so fearful an extent in Ireland, I am desirous of recording my opinions with my vote, in rejecting this motion. I should be sorry to put formally or press to a division any amendment em-861
§ bodying those opinions which might prolong a discussion already so protracted, and shall therefore only move pro forma,
§ " That this House, ever ready to take into consideration any real practical grievances of which any portion of the people of this country may complain and represent in an orderly and constitutional manner, but deprecating and condemning the agitation and excitement which now prevailed in Ireland to an extent tending to disturb the public tranquility, to endanger the lives and property of her Ma-
|Territorial Surface of Great Britain and Ireland, exhibiting the Amount of Cultivated Lands in Statute Acres, of Land capable of Cultivation, and Land unfit for production of Grain, Vegetables, Ray, or Grass.|
§ jesty's subjects, and to set all government at defiance, deem it their bounden duty to postpone all further discussion on the question now before the House until all agitation shall have ceased, and perfect order be restored; that this House resolves to support her Majesty's Government in whatever measures may be necessary to effect this by a prompt and vigorous execution of the existing laws, and moreover, to concur in arming her Majesty's Government with such extraordinary powers as may be efficient to put a stop at once to proceedings and movements which can no863
§ longer be permitted with a due regard to the peace of Ireland, to the integrity of the State, and to the safety, honour, and welfare of the country, and the dignity of the Crown."[A cry of "Move, move"
Mr. Villiers Stuart
would tell the hon. and gallant Member that no individual in any way connected with Ireland would accept the offer he had chosen to make. The people of Ireland asked no favour of that House; but they demanded it as their undoubted right that they should be placed on the same footing as the people of Scotland and England, and they never would consent to have any measures for that purpose conceded to them as favours. He would ask the hon. and gallant Member whether he really thought that the course which he had that night pursued, and the language which he had used, was likely to allay the excitement which existed in Ireland. If the hon. Member really thought so, sure he (Mr. Stuart) was that there was no other Member of that House of the same opinion. He had listened to the speeches of the two Members of the Government who had addressed it on that question, and it appeared to him that their object was rather to defend and strengthen the Government, than to refer to the condition of Ireland. Instead of dwelling upon those matters which they conceived would strengthen them as a party and a government, they should rather look to the adoption of such measures as would lead to the allaying of agitation, and to the establishment of the union of the empire. He admitted that there were circumstances existing in the social situation of Ireland which involved considerations and matters of the greatest difficulty.
|The Revenue of the United Kingdom for the year ending 5th January 1842.|
|England and Wales.||Scotland.||Ireland.|
|England and Wales||42,485,984|
|Revenue of Great Britain||47,512,030||United Kingdom.||51,585,471|
§ He confessed that he had heard with regret one part of the speech of his hon. Friend the Member for Limerick—namely, when he seemed to impute most of the evils of the social state of Ireland to the conduct of the landlords. He believed that if there was a repeal of the Union tomorrow, those evils of the social system would not be removed. One of the greatest evils that could afflict a country was such a state of poverty as existed in Ireland, where pauperism affected not merely its thousands but its hundreds of thousands, and he feared that he must say, even millions. When large masses of the people were in this condition, it was, perhaps, not altogether surprising that they seized upon almost any means which they thought could better their condition. Much of the present state of things was attributable to the legislative measures that were passed with respect to Ireland. Acts of Parliament were passed, as was alleged, for the promotion of true religion, which prevented the Catholics from acquiring the possession of property. You did everything in your power to prevent their obtaining wealth, or employing capital in trade and manufactures in a way that would prove a source of profit to them; and by such laws you succeeded in making the bulk of the population little more than serfs engaged in the cultivation of the soil in the worst possible way. When you let a man know that he must consider his condition as being fixed for life when he obtained possession of half an acre of land, it led to much mischief in the social condition of the country. He was very far from saying that there were not instances of mischievous865
§ proceedings on the part of the landlords of Ireland; but he believed that the evils that had resulted from that source were small in comparison with the evils which had arisen from the system of legislation that was pursued with respect to Ireland during the last century. What he would particularly urge upon the attention of the House was the state of the church. The Parliament might legislate as it pleased upon all other matters, but he would tell them that until they removed the crying injustice of the state of the church in Ireland, they never could do anything permanently to establish tranquillity. It was better that England should well understand this state of things than to let this evil go on increasing. He would appeal to those who had watched the state of affairs in Ireland, whether the existence there of a church of great wealth, which belonged to a comparatively small number of persons, and to which the great bulk of the people, who professed another religion, had largely to contribute, was not an anomaly, and contrary to what existed in England or Scotland? He would ask whether this must not strike the minds of every man, and above all that of an Irish Catholic? It was most monstrous that any legislature should force on a people a state religion to which so few of them belonged. This it was, that had given rise to the ill feeling which existed in the minds of the Irish people towards this country, and the House should never expect that this feeling would be allayed until something was done with respect to the church. He had no wish to pull down the church, with the view of handing over the tithes to the landlords, for it appeared to him that the tenth of the produce, which was now applied to the support of the church, did not, and night not, to belong to the landlords, but that it might be applied by the Legislature for the public benefit, and, above all, for the instruction of the people. As the Protestants were far from being the largest portion of the community, he thought that a large portion of the amount should be appropriated to the Roman Catholics. He did not know whether the Roman Catholics would accept this or not; but in making the offer we should only be doing justice. In Scotland they had recently seen large numbers of people, who from conscientious feelings had left the Church, who had raised large sums 866 for the purpose of erecting new places of worship. Now, supposing that a change such as he had alluded to took place, he did not think that this would be necessary. He believed, that the edifices of the churches might still be retained to the Protestant Church; and ah that was requisite was to provide funds for the maintenance of worship. There were different ways of carrying this out, but he would suggest, that first of all the bulk of the tithes should go to the Catholic Church. He was not favourable to the voluntary system, and he therefore would suggest, that there was no reason why the Protestant proprietors should not give another tenth for the support of their own Church. He thought, that they might take a lesson from Canada, where it was determined that the Protestant lands should alone be charged to contribute towards the maintenance of the Protestant Church. He believed, that true religion would be better promoted by the adoption of the course which he had just suggested than by the continuance of the present system. Great advantage would result if they gave greater power to the local boards in Ireland. It would be beneficial also if the grand jury system was altered, and country boards established in their place, to which might be intrusted the expenditure of the large sums now at the disposal of the grand juries, and that matters of local improvement might be left to them. If the suggestions which he had thrown out, and others were acted upon, Ireland, instead of being a thorn in the side of England, would be the means of affording strength and support.
§ Captain Rous
was rather anxious to address the House, for he differed very much from many of his friends around him, and also he believed with the great mass of his constituents. He did not believe that the Arms Bill would at all contribute to the tranquillity of Ireland. The first measure of this kind emanated from the Irish Parliament, it had been continued by successive administrations, and he believed that measures of this kind had several times been brought forward by hon. Gentlemen opposite, and had received general support. When, therefore, he heard the hon. Gentleman oppose this measure in such strong terms, he would tell them the more violent the abuse they lavished on this hill, the greater was the shame to them for not having opposed it on 867 previous occasions. The only exception was the hon. Member for Montrose, who, when her Majesty's late Government had succeeded in giving the Cerberus of agitation a sop, and therefore thought they could press this measure forward, alone came forward to oppose it. In all Legislation with regard to Ireland her Majesty's Government was tied by the leg by the bigotry of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland, and of the Protestant Church in England, and of nearly all the supporters of Government. He believed that the noble Lord the Member for the City of London would have gone much further if he had dared when he brought forward the appropriation clause. He, however, did much, for the noble Lord pacified the great agitator for a time, and the great agitator managed to pacify the country, and, thank God, they had some years of tranquillity. The last Government did what it could for Ireland, and it did not do more because its hands were tied by the bigotry of the churches, and he believed also that the present Government would do even more than the last if its hands were not tied up. He was fully aware, if the Members of the Government gave expression to such opinions as he had now uttered, that they might regard their places as not worth twenty-four hours' purchase. The noble Lord was fully aware of this when he proposed his appropriation clause, and he feared that the present evil state of things must exist as long as opinion continued as it was in England and Scotland. It had always appeared to him to be an extraordinary matter that, when Catholic emancipation was under discussion, men of the greatest eminence and ability should come forward and talk of the measure as if it were the whole extent of the demand of the Catholics of Ireland. A man who could sincerely entertain such an opinion must have been totally ignorant of human nature and the principles that had ever been apparent in the government of a nation. When yon gave Catholic emancipation you acknowledged that you owed much more, and that that was only an instalment of the debt. It was like a case between two private individuals. In the first place, a claim was made for 1,0001.; the justice of this was denied. A payment was, however, made of 500l., and by this the whole amount of the debt was acknowledged. The Legislature persisted in continuing 868 an ecclesiatical establishment the revenue of which was, say 500,0001., applied, not for the religious instruction of seven millions of people, but for the advantage of 350,000. At the same time this enormous revenue was most improperly divided, for instances occurred of livings of 1,5001. a-year where there was little or no duty to perform. This was the common sense of the matter, and the House could not, as men of reason, expect that the people would pay a farthing willingly for the continuance of such a system. He knew that the war cry of many Gentlemen near him was "No Popery," and "Protestant Ascendancy." Now, what had been the effect of this so-called Protestant ascendancy in Ireland? In 1800 the proportion of Protestants to Catholics in that country was as one to three. At the present time they were one to six and a half. Notwithstanding this cry of "Protestant ascendancy, it had not been successful. It had failed entirely, and he was not sorry for it. He knew that there were many most respectable men, of the fairest and most honourable character, who had been induced to indulge in these cries of "No Popery," and "Protestant Ascendancy," and who exclaimed that, rather than give way on any further point to the claims of the great body of the people of Ireland, the Boyne should again run with blood. He could only compare a howling cry of this kind to the screech of a flock of wild geese. When hon. Gentlemen complained of the dissatisfaction of the bulk of the Irish people, he would beg to ask them what would be their feeling if they were called upon to contribute towards a Catholic church. Under such a state of things they would manifest some signs of disaffection to the British Government, and he believed that many who were now red-hot Tories would become Repealers. This was not extraordinary, for human nature was the same all over the world. He begged the House also well to consider, that that which, if now conceded, would be accepted as a boon, might, and would no doubt at some future period, be forced from them. The only safe mode that the House could proceed on in legislating for Ireland, was to make the people understand that their welfare and your welfare were identical, and that your God was their God. This was the only rule that could be safely acted upon in the com- 869 mand of a ship—this was the only regulation that could be enforced in the command of a regiment, and this was the only sound and safe principle to act upon in the Government of a nation. He did not come forward in that House in the character of a demagogue, or with the view of gaining popular applause, all that he was anxious about was to perform what he conscientiously believed to be his duty. He had advocated a cause which he believed to be just towards God and man, and to do all in his power to preserve harmony between two countries whose mutual interests and welfare were so closely mixed up together. If the people of Scotland and of England would only allow her Majesty's present Ministers to act in conformity with the course which he believed they would pursue, towards Ireland, that country would be made an honour, a credit, and a blessing to the nation.
§ Sir W. Somerville
had just returned from Ireland, and could state, that the utmost which had been said with respect to the agitation prevailing in that country, was not in any degree exaggerated. The question of Repeal had sunk deep into the souls of the Irish people, and there was a general conviction among them that the object for which they were now contending was within their grasp. Awful would be the responsibility of the Government, and of Parliament, if they did not, without further delay, step forward in a spirit of decided conciliation and concession. It was lamentable to contemplate the difference which the present state of Ireland presented with its aspect in the time of the late Government. He was willing to admit, indeed, that there were causes of the existing discontent in Ireland which were unconnected with the present or any other Government—which were, to a certain extent, beyond their reach; but he would charge it against the present Government that they had given every obstruction to every attempt of the late Government to do good to that country, and that they had increased its evils by their mischievous legislation. It was expected that from the time of the passing of the Emancipation Act all religious distinctions should cease. He charged it upon the present Government that they had falsified that hope, and thereby forcer the people of Ireland into agitation more vehement than ever. He charged it upon 870 them that they had wrongfully and most mischievously obstructed the appropriation clause, though the sole object of that clause was that, after all the purposes of the Established Church were amply provided for, the surplus of ecclesiastical revenues should be devoted to the purposes of popular education, and other great national purposes. He charged them with having limited the franchise for the people of Ireland, for no other reason than that they were Roman Catholics. He had heard the right hon. Member for the University of Dublin say, there should he some test of property. True, there should be; but why should that test he higher in Ireland than in England, the richer country; and why should difficulties be thrown in the way of the Irish elector exercising his rights? Nor were they satisfied with obstructions; they proceeded to active measures. The noble Lord, now Secretary for the Colonies, came down in a great hurry with his Registration Bill, a measure which he said would not brook an hour's delay, though, since he had been in office, not a word had been heard of it. Then, as to the appointments made by the present Government in Ireland. The moderation of those appointments had been much landed by hon. Gentlemen. He had never been able to understand in what this moderation consisted. The right hon. Baronet, the Secretary for the Home Department, took great credit to himself for upholding the system of national education in Ireland, yet, with the single exception of Mr. Sergeant Green, all the persons they had appointed to offices in that country, whether in the law or in the Church, were decided opponents of that system. With reference to the Poor-law in Ireland, again, at the very moment when, most unfortunately, that measure had become so unpopular in that country, the present Government introduced an enactment increasing to a great extent the number of ex officio guardians at the expense of the public. If Ministers had set to work to devise mischief, they could not have effected their object more efficiently. And what were they doing now? In the midst of all the fearful excitement now agitating Ireland, they were seeking to introduce into the Arms Bill provisions which had never been considered necessary in the worst times of insurrection. Their conduct with reference to the Repeal 871 agitation had been vacillating in the extreme. For some time they did not seem to know what to do—whether to fold their arms, or to attempt something; and when at last they did take some step, what was it? They dismissed magistrates in a manner which, while it added greatly to the dissatisfaction of the public, answered the purpose in view not a whit. They went on no principle whatever; magistrates were dismissed for attending a dinner one day, and the next it was announced that magistrates might attend dinners but they must not attend meetings. Then, as to the troops: soldiers were marched here to day, there to-morrow, countermanded the next; steamers despatched backwards and forwards, up and down, without any apparent object, certainly with no beneficial result, except this, that whereas the present Government had been hitherto neither loved nor respected in Ireland, they were now not even feared; but had made themselves utterly ridiculous, the laughing stock of the country from one end to the other. At the head of the social grievances of Ireland was the relation, in its various bearings, between landlord and tenant, a grievance for which, indeed, Government was held responsible, but towards remedying which it might certainly do something; and he was convinced that the great body of the landlords in that country would readily come in to any measure which appeared just, reasonable, and practically beneficial. The great political grievance of Ireland was the state of the franchise. The Reform Bill required to be thoroughly reformed in many respects, more particularly in reference to the existing evils of the perpetuation of the Dublin freemen, and the enormous fabrication of rent charges. Another great grievance of Ireland, was the fact that the whole of its ecclesiastical revenues were appropriated to the support of the clergy of a small portion of its population. He was prepared upon this point to express his conviction that the Protestants of Ireland, as a body, so far from resisting to the death, as it had been said they would, any more rational distribution of these revenues, would be disposed to concur in any plan which, while it guaranteed an ample provision to the established clergy, appropriated any surplus amount to great national purposes. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin protested 872 against any such appropriation as a direct violation of the union. Surely it was madness at such a time as this to hold up to the people of Ireland the legislative union as the measure which obstructed a great boon to that nation. He had heard the right hon. Baronet say, that the Government was resolved, he believed unanimously, that it would not re-open the question; that it would not reconsider the state of the ecclesiastical revenues. He would ask this question. Did the Gentleman opposite consider that the whole people of Ireland should submit that the entire ecclesiastical revenues should be given to religion to which the great body of the people were opposed? He would ask the gentlemen of England—he would not ask the gentlemen of Scotland, for they still displayed the spirit of their forefathers, who would not submit to religious oppression—he would ask the Conservative and Christian gentlemen of England, whether, if they were in the situation of the Irish would they submit to it? He was sure they would not. Would they not resent it as an affront? They would. Were they prepared, then, to go to war, and force on the people of Ireland a system to which they objected, and to which they would, not submit in their own persons? If they did that, they would be exposed to the reproach of civilized Europe and of the world. He hoped they would not take such a course. He was sure if they attempted it, their consciences would revolt at their own conduct; and if their consciences did not revolt, they would be obliged to retrace their steps with ignominy and shame. All the interests he had in the world were at stake—everything that was dear to him was placed in jeopardy; and he trusted he was guilty of no profanity in praying that Providence might so direct their councils, as to lead to the establishment of peace, the preservation of the Union, and the well-being of all parts of the empire.
Mr. T. C. Smith
(the Attorney-general for Ireland) said, the hon. Member who had just sat down, observed, that everything he possessed was at stake in Ireland. That was also the case with a large body of Conservative members. It was important to ascertain what was the precise object which those who advocated a repeal of the Union had in view, and what would he the consequences if that separation was accomplished. In the debate on the question of 873 the repeal of the Union which took place in I834, both the noble Lord the Member for the city of London and Lord Monteagle most distinctly stated, that a repeal meant a separation between the two countries. The object of the present organization existing in Ireland, was, not merely to repeal an act of Parliament, but its ostensible purpose was, to bring about a separation between Ireland and this country; that must be the consequence of a repeal of the Union. It would be impossible for the two countries to act under the same monarchy should that repeal be carried into effect. The first cause of discontent to which he would refer, was that said to be connected with legal appointments made by the present Government, which the hon. Member defended. Hon. members opposite complained that none but Protestants received appointments from the Government; but these Gentlemen being Protestants was no reason why they should not be appointed. He did not see why a man was to be passed by because of his religion; other things besides a man's religion must be looked at. He admitted that he might be unworthy of his own appointment, but it had been conferred upon bins without any application. He had stated his opinion in favour of the civil rights of Ireland. He was prepared to vote for the grant for the Irish National Education Board, although there was a very strong feeling among the Protestants of Ireland in favour of a separate grant to the Church Education Society. His reason for such a vote would be that at present there were 319,000 children educated at the National Board schools in Ireland, that there were upwards of 2,000 schools and 200 building, and that when these were finished, there would be 345,000 children educated at these schools. With respect to the Irish Municipal Corporations Bill, the objection he had to it was, that it was a transfer of power from one party to another, and that the municipal franchise in Ireland differed altogether from the municipal franchise in England. He would read to the House what was said relative to this bill by Sir Michael O'Loghlen in February, 1836:I know that it has been said that the inevitable effect of this measure would be to take the power out of the hands of one party and give it to another. I am aware that this has repeatedly been said, but, whatever credit may be attached to my assertion, I have no hesitation in saying, that if I thought that this 874 measure would take power from one exclusive and violent party, and give it to another equally so, if such a party could be found, it would not have a more determined opponent than myself.He would ask, whether the bill, even as framed by Sir M. O'Loghlen, did not leave the franchise exactly upon the same principle as in England? What had been the practical working of the measure? In the city of Dublin, the only candidates for the civic chair for the ensuring year were two gentlemen who were obliged to pledge themselves to repeal; and of the officers appointed by the corporation of Dublin; fourteen out of sixteen were pledged supporters of the repeal of the Union. It was quite true, then, that there was a transfer of power from one party to another. The sort of franchise which those who were agitating Ireland wanted was to be found described in the resolutions passed at the meetings of the repeal association only last year—namely, the suffrage for all men not under twenty-one years of age, triennial Parliaments, vote by ballot, no property qualification, and a new distribution of electoral districts. A late minister of the Crown, in the course of the debate last week, had put the case in a manner which showed that the state of Ireland did not arise from the conduct of the present Government; and had observed, with reference to what was said upon fixity of tenure, that if one of the measures proposed were carried into effect the effect would be confiscation, and he would never give his consent to anything of that sort. Such were the sentiments of the right hon. Gentleman the member for Edinburgh; but he did not know whether those views hereafter would be changed. It had been stated by the hon. Gentleman who had made the present motion, that the administration of the Poor-laws had been handed over to a gentleman who had never been in Ireland. That, however, was not a charge to be brought against the present Government, because the Poor-law hill was introduced under the auspices of the late Government. He believed that a measure of Poor-laws was desirable for that country; and, though it was not requisite that he should discuss the subject in this debate, he must say that it was scarcely fair to make it a charge against the existing Government that the organization and "smothered rebellion," as it was called, in Ireland, was attributable to their Poor-law, when that law was brought in by the late Government, One of 875 the mainpoints relied on by the other side was the state of the Irish church. The hon. Member for Sheffield bad cast aside the appropriation clause, and come forward openly to declare that the object in view was the entire uprooting of the established church in Ireland. The alleged grievance was, that a Roman Catholic paid not only his own clergy but the Protestant clergy also; and the hon. Member proposed to transfer the whole of the tithe rent-charge to the Roman Catholic clergy, leaving the Protestants to pay their own. But there was no reason why the Protestant church could not be maintained in Ireland consistently with Catholic emancipation and civil equality. The hon. and learned Member quoted the evidence taken before the Parliamentary committee in 1824, of Mr. Dunn, a Roman Catholic gentleman, of the right rev. Dr. Collins then parish priest, afterwards Roman Catholic Bishop; of the right rev. Dr. Doyle, to shew that the Catholics professed a desire to respect the property of the Protestant church, and repudiated the wish ascribed to them to seize it. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dungarvan, he said, expressed himself to this effect:—Whatever aversion I have to the church arises from its being raised as an obstacle to the liberties of my country. The Attorney-general has justly remarked, that instead of endangering the stability of the established religion, and of the gorgeous institutions by which it is attended, Roman Catholic emancipation would contribute materially to its permanence. It is because it is now opposed as a barrier to concession that we regard it with hostility, but if once it ceased to operate as an obstruction, we should, in all likelihood, submit in apathetic acquiescence to its abuses; we should look upon it as a state engine, and if it ceased to crush us, we should not desire to interfere with its operations, or to diminish the power of the vast machine.Such were the sort of views entertained and professed before the passing of the Emancipation Act, but they were much altered now. Even the noble Lord the Member for the city of London, a Member of the late Government, did not please the hon. and learned Member for Cork, who thus spoke of him:—Lord John Russell pretended to be a statesman, and yet he said that a nuisance should continue in Ireland, not by reason of any advantage arising from the nuisance, but lest it should injure the Episcopal church in England, or the Presbyterian church in Scotland. There was a statesman! There was a high-minded man, fit to govern a nation! Why 876 the very folly of making the avowal stamped him with incapacity to rule the country; for, if he had the discretion of a statesman, he would never make an admission so calculated to rouse the people who were the victims of its impolicy. Yet the Morning Chronicle said that they were calling for the repeal with the view to get the Whigs into office again. Did not Lord Fortescue act worse than Sir E. Sugden—did he not attempt to corrupt the youth of Ireland?—and, for his (Mr. O'Connell's) part, he would rather have the Duke of Welling Lord-lieutenant here, than Lord Fortescue. He would tell Lord J. Russell that he should be prepared to meet the nuisance of the ecclesiastical revenues, for he had no chance of office until he said he would.The noble Lord, then, must see the terms upon which he must accept office and obtain the patronage of that hon. and learned Member. The present state of the country was not to be justified by any existing cause of discontent, but it originated in a desire to have the country arrayed fur the purpose of carrying out one object—the dismemberment of the empire. Another ground of complaint was absenteeism. He would not vindicate absenteeism. He considered that those who possessed large property in Ireland, and never lived there, did not discharge the moral obligations which ought to be considered fixed upon them. A great responsibility attached to those persons, and he believed that he represented the feelings of the whole Conservative party in Ireland when he declared absenteeism to be a great misfortune to Ireland. If those who lived away from their estates could witness the good effects produced by the residence of other proprietors, they would admit the truth of that statement. He knew, indeed, the case of a noble marchioness, a lady distinguished in the fashionable circles of this country, who, with her noble husband, spent a great portion of the year upon their estates in the north of Ireland, and, whilst there, was most constantly to be seen and met with in the humble cottages of the poor. Her example was followed by many others; and he only wished it were impressed on every large landed proprietor in Ireland that he had a moral duty to perform, and that he should not draw his income from his Irish property without paying some regard to his Irish tenantry. But, although this absenteeism was, no doubt, a cause of much discontent, yet, it must be remembered, that it was no novelty. Moreover, in providing measures to remedy this evil, they must bear in mind what was the proposal of those who were the loudest in complain- 877 ing of it. "Forfeit the estates of the absentees?" that was Br. O'Connell's doctrine; and he would simply content himself by asking, were they prepared to take such a step as that? At a time when the country, from one end to the other, was in a state of what was described as "smothered rebellion," the use of exciting topics and the discussion of exciting subjects in that House, were, at least, very deeply to be regretted. Allusions were made to foreign states. America, Belgium, and France, they were told, all sympathised with the repeal cause. Whether that were so or not, he (the Attorney-general) did not pretend to say, but this he did trust—that if sympathy and affection were extended by any foreign people to the inhabitants of Ireland it would not alone be extended to Repealers. There was another party in his country—a party consisting of Roman Catholics as well as Protestants—of men who were determined to sacrifice everything before they consented to a separation; and he did hope, that if foreign sympathy were extended to Ireland at all, the loyal and well-disposed in that kingdom would at least receive a share of it.
§ Viscount Howick
said, that if assenting to the motion of the hon. Member for Limerick implied, that great evil existed in Ireland which called for remedy, he, for one, thought that upon that view the motion was fully entitled to consideration. If any one doubted the existence of these evils, he would refer him, not to the speeches made on this side of the House—not to the speeches of hon. Members connected with Ireland, impressive as they had been—not to the calm, useful, and argumentative speech of the hon. Member for Kildare—not to the touching appeal of the hon. Member for Drogheda, delivered this evening—but to the 'speeches delivered on the other side of the House, and especially to those made by Gentlemen more immediately connected with the administration of Irish affairs; for, if he did not mistake, the right hon. the Secretary of State, the noble Secretary for Ireland, and the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, had admitted as distinctly as any Gentleman on this side of the House the evils which existed in Ireland, but to which they had suggested no remedy. The hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had contented himself with defending, or rather apologising for the Government; quoting speeches long forgotten and arguments to show that the present discontent in Ireland 878 was unreasonable. But they had not heard from any Gentleman on the other side of the House, what the House had a right to expect—an exposition of the views of the Government as to the causes of the existing evils; together with a statement of some well considered line of policy for their correction. For this he had listened most anxiously, but in vain; and he was thus left to the conclusion that beyond a bill to counteract sonic faults in the Poor-law, and that measure so rashly introduced for registering arms in Ireland, her Majesty's Government had nothing to propose. He confidently appealed to Gentlemen on both sides of the House whether the question could he safely left in this position. No Gentleman on either side had spoken who had not expressed a strong opinion that her Majesty's Government must take an active part at the present crisis. The right hon. Member for the University of Dublin said, that the Government could not be allowed to remain any longer with their arms folded; without propounding some system of conduct with regard to the existing position of affairs; and when the House looked at the actual condition of Ireland, could they entertain a doubt that strong grounds of apprehension existed for the very safety, not only of the peace of Ireland, but of the British empire? Was it nothing that the whole population of Ireland, for such was very nearly the case, was organised in favour of the Repeal of the Union, and that the whole physical force of the country was, as it were, at the command of the agitator of that question? He would ask any Gentleman who looked at the history of the world whether this state of things could exist without dangerous consequences to the community at large? The existence of this danger could not be admitted in stronger terms than those used by the right hon. the Secretary for the Home Department; and vet the right hon. Gentleman, though aware of the magnitude of the danger, did not appear to be aware of the true character or real nature of it. It was not that he believed that the persons who now agitated the Repeal of the Union intended any open resistance to the Government, or that if such resistance broke out, and was firmly opposed, it might not he repressed; it was because he saw undoubted proofs in the conduct of the Irish people, that instead of offering a strong manifestation of hostility, the population of that country were daily becoming more and more extensively 879 and hopelessly opposed in feeling to this country. Whilst this feeling existed it was vain to hope for any improvement in the condition of Ireland; for when the hour of danger arrived, when hostilities occurred in other quarters, Ireland, instead of being a tower of strength and greatness, must become a cause of weakness and anxiety. For his own part he was sure that these multitudinous meetings in Ireland were great evils, but only because they were calculated to influence and extend further that state of feeling which all the friends of good order must so deeply deplore; and therefore he thought that if these meetings could be prevented without exasperating the feelings of the people it would be most desirable. He could not disguise from himself that repeal meant separation, and that separation would be necessarily followed by war; and if war were to be incurred, he, for one, thought it had better take place before than after separation. He agreed in most of the censure which had been uttered on the other side of the House upon those who misled the high and generous spirit of the Irish people to demand what was impracticable. He agreed in condemning the conduct of those who took the lead in this agitation; but he could not believe that what was going on in Ireland was altogether attributable to those agitators. It was possible that the grounds of complaint were not accurately stated at those meetings; but he thought it impossible that a whole country could be united in opposition to the authorities by which they were governed, without the existence of sonic good causes for that opposition; and he considered that it was the duty of the Government and of the Parliament of this empire to discover those causes of discontent, and to apply the proper remedy. Not having that personal knowledge of Irish affairs which some lion. Gentlemen had, he had some hesitation in expressing his sentiments upon the present state of Ireland. Something in the way of legislation, however, was obviously necessary; and as her Majesty's Government shrunk-from the task of proposing any such measure, he would venture, with great diffidence and humility, to state his views upon the subject. The hon. and learned Member for Bath, not many evenings ago, declared that the questions of the Church and the occupation of land, were at the bottom of all the evils in Ireland. He considered that the discontent prevailing in 880 Ireland might be traced to two great causes; in the first place, the general distress of the great body of the people, of which the laws relating to landlord and tenant was probably a leading cause; and in the next place, the existence of various circumstances connected in the minds of the people of Ireland, with the laws relating to the Church, which gave occasion to a sense of insult and degradation. He believed that the cause of this degradation would not have produced the effect which it had, if it had not been accompanied with the state of physical distress he had described; nor, on the other hand, did he think that the physical distress he had spoken of would have led to the existing state of political agitation, if it had not been accompanied with other circumstances calculated to wound the feelings of the Irish people. With respect to the distress which existeded in Ireland, there could be little difference of opinion. One great and prevailing cause of distress was the habitual subserviency of labour to land; and the continual struggle which resulted for the possession of land. This was not an accidental condition of the people, but an habitual and permanent condition, occasioning great distress; that was occasionally aggravated by a bad produce of potatoes, and by a low scale of prices for other produce, and occasionally alleviated by temporary circumstances. The habitual condition of the people, however, was such as he had described; and he thought that this circumstance went far-to account for the habitual distress and agitation which prevailed in Ireland. He admitted that no direct interference on the part of Parliament upon this point could put an end to this distress and agitation. Parliament could not, by its mere authority, at once restore industry and contentment to Ireland, by any radical alteration of the institutions which now existed there. All that the Government could do was to remove the obstacles which existed in the way of the employment of industry, and to encourage the application of labour, by insuring to it its reward. He believed if the Government could do this, they would do enough to enable the people of Ireland to become happy and contented. With a soil of unexampled fertility, a climate mild and favourable to production, with great mineral wealth, and great convenience of water conveyance, what possible natural obstacle stood in the way of the profitable employ- 881 ment of the resources of the Irish people? Was it that they were wanting in industry? Look at the labour of the Irish people—look at them across the Atlantic, in America, where the severest works were done by them—look at their labours also in this country, where we could not secure our annual harvest without the assistance of Irish labourers. And what was the character and bearing of these men at their annual visit amongst us. Cheerful and tractable, and at the same time more provident and saving than even our own population, reserving nearly the whole of their earnings to pay their rents when they returned home. Now, being a population thus naturally industrious, and inhabiting a country capable of rewarding their industry—why was it that the great mass of that population were not able to command the means of a comfortable existence? Some people said it was owing to the want of capital. He believed that this view of the case was unfounded. He believed that Ireland could very soon obtain all the capital she required, and he knew that even if she could not, there was always capital in this country seeking a profitable investment, and going out even to Mexico, and Peru, and Chili, in search of it; and he could not believe that it would be long kept away from Ireland if it could there be profitably and securely employed. The unhappy state of Ireland prevented capital and labour from being employed on its rich and fertile soil. Thus, distress was at the bottom of all the agrarian and political outrages which every body so deplored. With respect to agrarian outrages, the subject had been so often discussed, that he could hardly attempt to go over so well-known a subject. It was possibly correct, that the feeling was so prevalent amongst the people, that laud was the only means of subsistence; that they clung to the possession of land with the tenacity of despair; and looking upon occupancy as the test of enjoyment and prosperity, made common cause to prevent anybody from being deprived of his land, not always making a distinction between cases of real imposition, where men were cruelly and tyrannically deprived of their land, and those in which the landlords only sought the fair improvement of their property. The consequence of this state of feeling was, that neither the landlord nor the tenant had a sufficient control over the land with which he was connected; the tenant never being sure that the landlord would not eject him, and, 882 on the other hand, the landlord not having sufficient control to enable him to make those improvements which he might think necessary. It appeared to him that the first inject should be to alter this state of things, and to provide a measure under which both holders of land and landlords should bed more secure in making any improvements which the soil might require. The right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department said, that her Majesty's Government were prepared to give their attention to any suggestions which might be offered for the amelioration of the state of Ireland. But surely the right hon. Gentleman should not wait for this. Why did a Government exist, if it was not to guide Parliament to the adoption of measures which the state of the country demanded. The Government alone possessed the means of information which the occasion required, and which could properly enable them to calculate the result, and direct the House to the proper course. He believed, that no individual Member could, without the means of information do more than goad the Government to the performance of its duty. If he was to suggest a remedy, he should say that some means should be adopted to enable the industrious man to obtain an honest livelihood by his labour, without the occupation of land. With respect to the aged, the sick, and the infirm, the New Poor-law was, perhaps, a sufficient resource; but it was not a sufficient resource for the able-bodied man, who could not get employment. No system of Poor-laws was sufficient which did not provide a means for the employment of the labour of the industrious and well-disposed; and thought that was not the direct object of the Poor-law of 1838, he had always understood it to be held in view by the Government which proposed that measure. It was considered a necessary feature in the working of that measure, that the industrious poor should be put to public works in the first instance, whence they would afterwards be gradually taken into employment by private individuals. Such was the system pursued in England in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when there was extreme difficulty found in employing the labouring classes. The suppression of the monasteries had thrown a large number of poor, who used to beg at their doors, upon the public; and amongst other works undertaken, was that of draining the fens of Lincolnshire, for the purpose of affording employment to 883 those who would otherwise be idle and destitute. By such means of temporary relief, society was enabled to right itself, and the industrial character of the people was kept alive to await the arrival of better times. These were the views by which they had been guided in 1838—at the same time that they brought forward a measure for the relief of the poor in Ireland—in also recommending a great system of railways. And it was his firm conviction that these railways would have been in every respect most advantageous to the country. The increased facility of communication would have been most important as a means of civilizing Ireland by creating a demand for labour, and causing trade and manufactures to spring up where they had been unknown before. But further, if a large sum, the large sum proposed, had been employed in constructing railways in Ireland, it was also his conviction that in a certain number of years a demand would have been created for labour, which would have had the effect of rendering land no longer indispensable to the Irish labourer as a means of existence. But the right hon. Gentleman opposite, without attending to those higher views, condemned the scheme of railways upon two grounds. He condemned them, first, upon the ground of the enormous sum of money proposed to be spent in making them, and in the second place, upon the ground that the scheme interfered with the operations of private enterprise and capital. The right hon. Gentleman made a statement as to the probable expences of these railways so palpably fallacious, that he wondered that even that right hon. Gentleman could have submitted it to the House. What had been the basis of his calculations? Why, the right hon. Gentleman took the average expense of railways in this country as a foundation for these calculations. In this country enormous sums had been wasted upon railways; first, in carrying bills through Parliament, before even a spade had been struck into the ground; and next, great sums had then been laid out in purchasing land. But as respected Ireland, both these sources of expense would have been avoided. The necessary land was to have been freely given, and the bills would have been brought in as public bills, not contested in an expensive manner like private bills. Further, English railways had been constructed at an English rate of wages. Now, in Ireland, a labourer would have been too happy to 884 avail himself of work at rates of wages considerably lower than those paid on this side of the channel. Therefore the right hon. Gentleman's calculation was quite wrong. But admitting that it was not so —admitting that it was correct—admit' ting that the sum proposed to be laid out was ultimately to fall as a dead loss upon the country, he would ask, could they have laid out money to more advantage than even ten millions, if, by expending that sum, they could have brought peace and tranquillity to Ireland? How much would they spend in two months in the event of a civil war. But the right hon. Gentleman said, that their scheme would interfere with private capital and enterprise. As regarded this country, he admitted the principle thus contended for. No man less wished the State to interfere in public works here than he did. But was the case of Ireland the same? So far from it, that the noble Lord the Secretary for Ireland stated, that there was a large sum ready to be invested in Irish railways if security existed in the country. That want of security was a good reason why private capitalists should not invest their money, but it was no reason why the State should not invest its money. As legislators, they had higher interests in view than could be expected in the case of private speculators, and he believed that it was wise and prudent to lay out a portion of the public money for the purposes and with the views to which he had alluded. He knew that a country could only permanently flourish when the demand for labour was created by private enterprise and capital. But so might they say of the human frame, that it could only be preserved in health by fitting and wholesome food. But when a fever was raging, they must administer strong drugs, they must have recourse to medicines, in order that afterwards, when the disease should have been subdued, the food then to be taken should prove of use. Precisely so by an artificial demand for labour, created by undertaking great public works by the State, they would obtain an interval of rest and quiet, which would enable private capital to flow in, and as these public works were completed, to take up the labourer then discharged, and thus permanently to accomplish the object which they had in view. This was one method by which Parliament had it in its power to relieve existing distress. But with this they must also take other means. He 885 looked to the adoption of those measures so ably enforced upon the House on a late discussion by the hon. Member for Liskeard. He looked to systematic colonization, conducted upon a great scale, as one of the most important means which they could put in practice to obtain for Ireland that relief which she so much required. When he looked to the neglected plains of New Brunswick and of Canada, when he knew that they had the means of making use of these fertile lands to remove immediate difficulties, he could not doubt, but that those measures adverted to by his lion. Friend were capable of being immediately applied. They might do much to remove the difficulties which the state of the law as to landed property imposed in the way of carrying on improvements and draining. They might also do much by promoting, not merely mental education, but what he would call the industrial education of the people. There was in Ireland a great degree of ignorance of the useful mechanical arts. The Irish labourer could command strength and perseverance, but in skilled labour he was deficient. He did not know the best modes of applying the strength and energy which he possessed; and much might be done to promote the prosperity of Ireland by coupling with these national systems of education a system of industrial training. But all these measures for relieving the physical wants of the people would be useless if they were not accompanied by measures, the object of which should be to soothe the wounded minds and to soften that irritation of feeling which circumstances had tended to produce in Ireland. This might be unreasonable, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite had asserted; but reasonable or unreasonable, the Irish people did entertain, as one man, the feeling that they had been treated with insult and contumely by the Members of the Imperial Parliament and by the Imperial Government. These feelings they must allay if they wished any measures to succeed, and in considering how this was to be accomplished they must look to the state of the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches. He had heard with the greatest pleasure this fact acknowledged from the other side of the House, by the utterance of opinions in which he most heartily concurred. In the words of the hon. and gallant Member for Westminster, the state of things in Ireland as regarded the Church would not bear an argument. It was not 886 in human nature that the Irish people should feel otherwise than indignant at the state of matters with reference to the two churches, indignant that a large endowment originally granted for the purposes of the Catholic religion should be taken away and applied exclusively to the religious instruction of a small fraction of the people (and that, too, the richer fraction) while the great body of the people were left to pay for their own establishments—indignant, too, that this state of things should be aggravated by finding that the Presbyterian church, which was not an established church, should have an annual grant, while the religion of the vast mass of the people was proscribed by the Government and Parliament of the United Kingdom. And not merely proscribed; if this were a case of mere refusal of a share of endowment, he believed so extraordinary, so unexampled was the patience of the Irish people, that they would have quietly submitted to it. But not only did they establish the principle, that it was the Church which they were to consider, not the nation—that they were to reverse the good old rule, that the Church was an instrument for promoting the welfare of the people, and only look to the people with a view to the benefit of the clergy—it was not enough that they had adopted this principle, but they bad, for a series of years, refused to the Irish people the commonest privileges of freemen—they had not ceased to treat them with the most insulting contumely. [" Hear," from the Ministerial Benches.] Oh, that cheer would not induce him to attempt to prove his words. He thought that hon. Gentlemen who raised that cheer, if they would fully and fairly call to mind all that had passed upon the subject, would feel that the Catholic religion had been treated in a manner which, if the case had been reversed, and the Catholics so treated for professing the Protestant religion, they would consider to have been insulting and contumelious. He said that, if they meant to have peace in Ireland, they must attempt to re! form the Established Church, and he did trust that the people of England, who were beginning to be seriously alarmed at the aspect of affairs upon the other side of the channel, would consider what they were about before they permitted their representatives and the Government to embark in a fratricidal war with Ireland, in order to maintain the existing system. They must correct the present state of things, 887 and they must begin by making concessions to the wounded feelings of the Roman Catholics of Ireland. Repeal altogether those statutes which made every man who took his seat in that House take an oath at the Table which stigmatised the Catholics as professing an idolatrous creed. Repeal the clauses in the act of 1829 which denied a fact palpable to every man, the existence of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. Do not refuse to the Catholic clergy those titles which even the officers of Government were not able to withdraw from them. Let them take the names of their sees. He would go further, and he would repeal the statutes which prevented intercourse with the see of Rome, and on this point he differed with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kildare. The hon. Member had expressed an opinion adverse to this, and he felt that if he were proposing that they should now attempt, by means of negotiation with Rome, to obtain an influence in the appointments in the Catholic Church, that after what had passed upon the subject the jealousy of the Catholic body would be justly aroused. It would, indeed, have been of the utmost advantage if they could gain an influence in these appointments, but unhappily the right hon. Baronet opposite had thrown away the opportunity of obtaining it, and it was now too late to try to regain it. But still to show that they did not treat the Catholics as inferiors—as idolaters—but to show that they regarded them as fellow-Christians, though differing in many important points of faith—for that purpose he did think it would be of very great importance to repeal the statutes which rendered it a penal act for a minister to attempt to enter into negotiations with Rome, or to send a Catholic nobleman as an ambassador to the Roman court. But although all these were necessary concessions, they would not suffice, unless they should also put an end to the gross injustice and inequality which now prevailed between the two churches as to pecuniary matters. They must deal with the question of the property of the Protestant Church in Ireland. This was no new opinion of his. He had warned them when they defeated the appropriation clause, that they had gained a victory very fatal to their own views. He had warned them then that this question would be speedily re-opened. He had said, that he for one consented to give up the appropriation clause, because he felt that it was no longer 888 sufficient for the purposes for which it was demanded. He had warned them that this question would be re-opened, and reopened he thought they would admit it had been. How it was to be dealt with was the question of difficulty. The hon. Member for Kildare had suggested that they should deal with it by applying a provision of their former law in Canada, namely, that when property passed into the hands of Catholics that the tithe rent charge should become payable not for the support of the Protestant, but for the Catholic religion. He believed that in the case to which he had alluded in Canada, the provision was that tithe rent charge should cease, but the hon. Member for Kildare's proposition was, that when property passed into the hands of Catholics, that the tithe rent charge should be devoted as he had described. If an argument which the Gentlemen opposite were fond of advancing, were correct, they could hardly reject this proposition. They could not fail to recollect that in all debates upon the subject, a favourite argument with the Ministerialists was, that it was no hardship to the Catholics that the money should go to the support of the Protestant Church, because the fee-simple of the land was generally in the hands of the Protestants, and as the tithe rent charge fell upon the possessors of the fee-simple, that therefore it should go to the support of the Protestant Church. This was their argument, and if that argument were a good one, he could not understand with what consistency they could reject the proposition of the hon. Member for Kildare. But for his own part he had taken a different view of the subject. He did not conceive that the tithe rent-charge was a tax. upon land—he conceived that it was a national property—a property existing for the benefit of the nation. The holders of these lands, as they argued in questions of church rates here, had agreed to be subject to these burthens, and they had no right to complain of the tithe rent charge being applied to the purposes for which it was granted. He thought that this was the sounder argument. He thought that tithe rent-charges should be applied to national purposes, and when he said national purposes he meant the instruction of the great body of the nation in the truths of religion. He was inclined to think that the whole of the property of the Irish Church should be vested in the hands of commissioners, and that such a propor- 889 tion of their funds should be by them employed to maintain the Protestant Church as far as the real wants of that Church should seem to require; and the other should go in part to the Roman Catholic Church. He believed if, in the course of the struggles upon the subject, if some such plan had been followed, and if they had not frittered away and lost so large a proportion of the property of the Irish establishment, that its funds would have been sufficient for the maintenance of both churches. But unhappily they had lost a great proportion of that property. The funds they - had left would therefore be scanty for the two churches, but such as they were they should be placed in the hands of commissioners and applied to those purposes. He would endeavour, if necessary, to make some additions, either from Crown property in Ireland, or from imposing some tax upon Irish landlords who hail obtained advantages under the present system to which they were not entitled. He admitted that this was a difficult question. It was one for a Government to deal with. All that he contended for was, that if they desired to restore peace to Ireland, they must in some manner correct the grievous inequality, which was felt as a wrong and an outrage by the whole body of the Irish people. But they must carry out this principle of concession still further. They must act towards the Irish in other matters with the same conciliatory views; and, first, of all, with respect to the Parliamentary franchise, it was a mockery to call the present state of things a representation. But upon that point he must say no more, because he was happy to find that her Majesty's Government had much altered their views upon the subject. They were now he believed sensible of the necessity of dealing with this question, and placing the Parliamentary franchise on a'. more satisfactory footing. A change must also take place in the municipal franchise. By the late change they had substituted for the old corporation bodies who sympathised with the great mass of the people; yet they had done it in such a manner as instead of giving contentment, to establish new grievances, for these corporations had been treated with insult and distrust. They must act upon an entirely different system to that which they had pursued, but at the same time he wished to be just to the Government, and admit that they were placed in a very critical position as 890 regarded Ireland. They were now suffering for their past errors. If upon former occasions they had exerted more control over, or were more active in disavowing the sentiments of those who appeared to be of their own party, they would have been relieved from the unhappy necessity of providing in Ireland for men justly unpopular with the Irish. The greatest difficulty they had to encounter might be met in some degree by partially amalgamating the two governments, making them more completely one and the same. He entirely concurred in the opinion already thrown out that a very great advantage' would result from the abolition of the Lord-lieutenancy of Ireland. He thought that the Government was at present based upon a false foundation. Power and responsibility were divided in so inconvenient a manner between the Secretary for the Home Department, the Lord-lieutenant and the Secretary for Ireland, that none' of these functionaries could act with that authority and decision so requisite in Government; and there was this unhappy consequence of this division of power, that those who were interested in doing so were looking out to discover and drag into permanent notice the slightest symptoms of differences of opinion between those who were thus acting in concert. Further, there was this inconvenience, that any Lord-lieutenant had attached to his establisment a certain number of idle officers who had no one occupation except that of carrying and fetching news and stories, and endeavouring by intrigue to serve some party or personal purpose. He meant to, throw no blame upon the persons now holding the situations to which he was alluring. —many friends of his own had held similar appointments under former governments; but he did say that it was a necessary inconvenience, if persons held these offices, interested in maintaining the Government and having no serious employment, that they should be perpetually holding party language, and trying to maintain party views in the city of Dublin, and adding new bitterness to party contests. It was not of individuals, but of the system, which he complained — a system which was equally pernicious, whether the vice-regal court were Whig or Tory. It would be an improvement, if instead of this cumbrous pageantry of a sham court, they should have an Irish Secretary of State sitting in London. There would not be the smallest difficulty in carrying on 891 the government of Ireland by this means. For all practical purposes, Dublin was now nearer to London than York was twenty years ago. There would, therefore, be no practical difficulty in carrying out the proposition, and if hon. Gentlemen should argue that the people of Ireland would be discontented at losing the expenditure of the Lord-lieutenant, it would be a ready answer, to grant assistance in carrying on public works to an equivalent extent. Let the money devoted to the idle parade of a Lord-lieutenant be employed in some useful public works in Ireland. He was aware, that in what he had stated, he had given a most imperfect sketch of the policy which he thought should be adopted, in order to remedy the present evils of Ireland. Perhaps, however, he had even gone too far as a mere independent Member of Parliament, in stating his own views. If he had erred, it was from his earnest desire not to call upon Government to adopt a more vigorous and generous policy, without being prepared to point out that policy, which it was in their power to pursue. I shall indeed be sorry (continued the noble Lord) if, in the present state of Ireland, 1 were to call on the Government for more effective measures, unless I were well satisfied that they had the power to adopt them. I can assure the Ministers that I have not supported this motion in any spirit of hostility to them, and the House will do me the justice to believe, that I have endeavoured to avoid all topics of an exciting nature. Many points on which I think her Majesty's Government wrong, I have avoided to notice expressly on this ground, that in the present state of Ireland I am anxious, much less to look back to past errors than to look forward to what can be advantageously done. I acknowledge none of us have a right to be extremely severe in condemning past errors, because, on calmly and deliberately looking back to the history of Ireland, we must be sensible that there have been errors on all sides. I certainly do not claim for that Government of which I was a Member, an exemption from them; but I now support that motion in so little of a party spirit, that it would give me the greatest satisfaction if her Majesty's Government themselves were to consent to go into a committee of the whole House, and in that committee consent to a resolution pledging the House, at the earliest possible time, to take into its consideration the whole state of Ireland. 892 Sir, I do believe that in the present Session, it is too late to make that attempt. I believe, that any policy to do good, must be of a large and comprehensive character. I believe that the benefits of many good measures already adopted, have been in a great measure neutralized by being introduced one by one, and at too great intervals. I think it necessary that an impression should be made on the minds of the people, and for this purpose I am persuaded, that the measures you propose should be brought forward together, as parts of one large statesmanlike and comprehensive plan. You must deal at once with questions necessary to allay the irritation, and to relieve the physical distress of the people, and measures affecting such questions should be brought together under your consideration. To submit such a plan during the remainder of the Session is manifestly impossible; and if I might presume to offer advice to her Majesty's Government, it would be to adopt the suggestion thrown out by the hon. Member for Kildare, and that is that as soon as Parliament separates, they should apply their minds diligently to the state of Ireland, mature the measures which they intend to submit, and get them into the most perfect shape in which they can be brought under your consideration; and having done so, call the two Houses early in the winter, and for five or six weeks require us to de. vote the whole of our time and attention exclusively to Irish measures, leaving the general business to be reviewed at the ordinary time. In this manner I think we should have a prospect of making some real progress in the consideration of a large plan of amelioration. And if her Majesty's Government were—casting aside all personal and party interests—to apply themselves sedulously to this object; if they propose to us measures which in their deliberate judgment are most likely to re-restore peace and prosperity (breaking through all the difficulties opposed to them, either through popular prejudices, or what present still greater difficulties to high minded men, past professions, and hastily formed opinions) — if they will propose to us a well-considered and comprehensive plan, I think I can promise them, not only in my own name, but in the name of the great body of those who sit on these benches, that such a proposal from them would be met by us in the same spirit, that we should give them the same cordial and sincere co-operation in this 893 great endeavour to restore peace to Ireland, as we did in 1829, when they brought forward the measure of Catholic Emancipation. And let me tell the right hon. Baronet that such a well-considered and statesmanlike plan is what the country expects from him, and has a right to expect. He has great power, and with that power an awful responsibility. It rests with him to determine what, with reference to Ireland, shall be the course adopted by Government and by Parliament. He may rest assured, that without certain ruin it cannot be one of inaction. It will no longer do to trust that the difficulties which beset him will melt away of their own accord, and that Providence, without any exertion on his part, will rescue him from the dangers by which he is now encircled. He must adopt a bolder and a more manly policy, or he will be overwhelmed by the difficulties of his position. I am persuaded, that if with all the energies of his mind, and with singleness of purpose, he devotes himself to the high task to which Providence seems to have called him of re-organising the disjointed frame of society in Ireland, I do believe, if he honestly undertakes this high and noble task, with the blessing of Providence he will succeed, and even if he fail, he will win the respect and admiration of all high minded men. But, Sir, if the right hon. Gentleman be content to be borne passively along the current, down which he is now so rapidly floating, he will be ultimately carried on with a still increasing rapidity; in his fall he will receive not the respect, but the contempt of mankind, accompanied as it will be, by the fall of the United Empire.
Mr. Gaily Knight
said, that no one could have listened attentively, as he had done, to the noble Lord who had just sat down, without being impressed with respect for his abilities and his sincerity, and without appreciating his abstinence from those inflammatory topics in which others had too largely indulged. But he could not equally give his weed of praise to the remedies which the noble Lord had pointed out. He could not think that those remedies were so likely to restore peace to Ireland, as to render it expedient to accede to the motion which was now before the House. The noble Lord's three principal remedies were colonization, railways, and the spoliation of the Protestant Church. With respect to the first of these, he was 894 disposed to concur with the noble Lord. He did believe that much relief might be afforded to Ireland by systematic colonization, and he should be glad to see such an experiment made under the superintendence of Government; but he could not think that the cry for repeal would be silenced by the announcement of railways —nor, in the distressed state in which the late Government had left our finances, would it be easy for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to find the millions which would he requisite to carry such a project into effect, and if it were carried into effect, he feared that (as is generally the case when artificial employment is resorted to,) when the railways were finished, the same redundance of labour would return, and the distress be only greater than it was before. With respect to the spoliation of the Protestant Church, he would not hear of it for a moment; but to that part of the subject he would more particularly address himself by-and-by. He had never entertained any but kindly feelings for the people of Ireland. He admired their courage, their talents, their wit, and their eloquence. He had been in that land of brave men and beautiful women. He had the happiness of numbering Irishmen amongst his best friends—and, whatever turn affairs might take, he should never cease to wish Ireland well. But the question was, in what way the true interests of Ireland could best be promoted; whether those interests were likely to be promoted by adopting the motion which was now before the House. Could any thing, he would ask, be more opposed to the true interests of Ireland than whatever was calculated to increase or prolong the agitation with which that country was at this moment distracted from one end to the other? and what could be more calculated to increase that agitation, than the nightly assertions made in that House that Ireland was harshly treated, and that that House had no sympathy with the Irish people? The avowed object of the agitation was the Repeal of the Union. Not a man rose on either side of the House who did not declare that he would do his utmost to prevent it—and yet gentlemen opposite asserted, over and over again, that the agitation, of which repeal was the only object, was not to be wondered at, and almost justifiable. It was cruel thus to add fuel to the flame; it was cruel thus to mislead a generous and exciteable people. 895 Let it be remembered, on the brink of what a precipice they stood—how little more might induce them to commit acts which would bring upon them what every man in that House would anxiously wish to avert. But then the noble Lord said, begin with measures of conciliation. But what were the measures that would conciliate? Could it be expected that any measures would conciliate except those which were demanded? And what were the measures which the people who attended the meetings in Ireland demanded? The Repeal of the Union, Fixity of Tenure, and the subversion of the Protestant Church. And yet the noble Lord, the Member for Tiverton, who, on a former night, had made what to him appeared the most statesmanlike speech which had been made on that subject, on the other side of the House; that noble Lord had stoutly declared that nothing should induce him to accede to any one of these propositions. He had declared that he would rather incur the last evil of civil war, than agree to a Repeal of the Union, which he considered equivalent with a dismemberment of the empire. He had declared that what was called Fixity of Tenure, was neither more nor less than barefaced robbery—and that the grievances connected with the land in Ireland, were not to be cured by legislation, but by the Irish landlords. The noble Lord had equally declared that he would not be a party to the subversion of the Protestant Church; what, then was the use of saying, begin with measures of conciliation, when the only measures that the Irish people demanded, were declared to be inadmissible? The noble Lord who had just sat down, had not confined himself to such narrow limits. That noble Lord was prepared to be a party to the subversion of the Protestant Church. Now that was a subject which he could approach without difficulty. His opinions on that subject had long been known. He had always declared that on that subject he was ready to concede to the Irish people as much as he could obtain for them. But this was a subject which did not depend upon the opinions of individuals, or even upon the will of a minister. He knew full well, that upon this subject the people of England, and the people of Scotland, had made up their minds; that the people of England and the people of Scotland would never consent to the subversion of the 896 Protestant Church in Ireland; and he was convinced that it would not only cost any minister his place who brought forward such a proposition, but any Sovereign his crown, who sanctioned such an attempt. That was his deliberate opinion; and, as for taking a few more thousands a-year from the income of the Protestant Church in Ireland, and devote the money to that education which was already provided for by the State, he must say that he considered such a proposition as equally weak and wrong,—wrong, because it would be applying ecclesiastical revenues to secular purposes; weak, because it would only whet the appetite of the Catholics, without restoring peace to Ireland. But there was one indulgence which he thought ought to be conceded. He did think that the Catholic Clergy of Ireland, like the Presbyterian Clergy in the North of Ireland, should be provided for by the State. The people of England would not hear of a Repeal of the Union, and, at the same time insisted upon the maintenance of the Protestant Church in Ireland. Insisting upon these things, resolved to have their way in these things, the people of England ought to consent to provide for the clergy of the people of Ireland. This he should be glad to see accomplished. He was aware that such a proposition would not be accomplished in a moment—nor would it, at this moment, be received as a measure of conciliation—but though slow, its effect would be sure, and he was convinced that, in the end, it would he attended with the most beneficial results. It appeared to him that the measures which would most promote the real interests of Ireland, would he any measures that were calculated to promote the security of life and property in that country, any measures that were likely to promote tranquillity, to encourage the regular pursuits of honest industry, and attract capital to Ireland—but no such measures could be carried into effect so long as the present agitation prevailed. Gentlemen opposite had taxed the Government with a want of impartiality. But what was meant by impartiality? Could it be fairly construed to mean anything in Ireland but no distinctions in appointments on account of religious opinions? No Government could be asked to appoint their opponents. The late Government had set no such example—and any Government that withheld its favours from its friends, and bestowed them on its 897 opponents, would deserve to fall. All that could be fairly asked was, that no distinctions should be made in Ireland on account of religious opinions; that the Government should bestow a fair share of its favours upon such Catholics as were willing to support them, and as were not Repealers. It did appear to him that the right hon. Baronet, who was now at the head of her Majesty's Government, was most desirous of governing Ireland in a just and impartial manner. For the first time, yes, for the first time, Ireland had been offered an impartial Government. He had always thought that the way in which England could be most useful to Ireland would be, by fairly and firmly holding the balance between the two great parties into which that country was divided. He knew that any Government, so acting, could not be popular; but he did not give the late Government any credit for their greater popularity in Ireland, because it was obtained by casting all their favours into one scale—in fact, by governing through one party. Let not the present Government he compelled to do the same. What he most apprehended from the conduct of gentlemen opposite was, that it would compel the right hon. Baronet to descend from the impartial position which he had assumed, that it would compel him, against his will, to have recourse to the old story, and make him "to party give up what he meant for mankind." The right hon. Gentleman, the member for Edinburgh, had redeemed half the fire and fury of the speech which he had delivered on a former night by making one grand admission—he had admitted that opposition had its responsibilities. He (Mr. Knight) hoped that that admission would sink deep in the recollection of the right hon. Gentleman's friends. He hoped that they would not incur the tearful responsibility of goading on the Irish people—of goading them on when they were asking for that which not a man in that House meant they should obtain. As for the obstruction of public business by interminable discussions, he (Mr. Knight) would not complain of that, for that would do the right hon. Baronet no harm. The country would see by whom the delays were caused, and would not fail to put the saddle on the right horse. But gentlemen opposite did incur a fearful responsibility by encouraging the agitation which now prevailed in Ireland, Measures of 898 conciliation could not be offered at present; any offers made at present would only be regarded as concessions extorted by violence from fear. The agitation must be arrested in the first instance. Tranquillity must be restored to Ireland, because it was by tranquillity alone that the prosperity of Ireland could be advanced.
§ Sir B. Hall
said, every hon. Gentleman who had spoken on the other side had, he believed, not only admitted the existence of grievances in Ireland, but had expressed a desire that redress should be afforded, and the only question of difference seemed to be as to the time at which that redress should be conceded. He understood the hon. Member for Nottinghamshire (Mr. G. Knight) to say, that any concession which might be made now would be regarded by the Irish people as having been extorted from the Government by agitation. He thought, however, that if any redress was to be afforded for the grievances of which the Irish people complained it ought to be given now. When hon. Gentlemen on that (the Opposition) side of the House sat on the Treasury benches at a time when considerable agitation prevailed in Ireland, they were taunted by the supporters of the present Ministry for neglecting to put down that agitation. He would now ask the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel), "Why do not you take some steps to put down the agitation which at present exists in Ireland? Why do not you come forward with some remedial measures? He would himself supply the answer. In the first place, the Government dared not to oppose their Orange Friends, the ultra-Tories; and, in the second place, they dared not to oppose Mr. O'Connell. One of the great grievances complained of by the people of Ireland was the extravagant Church establishment. He thought the hest course that could be taken was, to pay the Catholic clergy out of the revenues of the Church of Ireland; for he was convinced that while such an extravagant State Church existed the people of this country would not allow such payment to be made out of the consolidated fund or out of the revenues of the empire. The hon. Gentleman who had last spoken had complained of the obstruction offered by hon. Members on that (the Opposition) side of the House to the measures which had been proposed by Government with re- 899 gard to Ireland. The only important measure relating to that country which had been brought forward was the Arms Bill; and if the right hon. Baronet opposite had merely asked for a continuance of the existing Arms Act, he believed the measure might have been passed in a single night. But when her Majesty's Ministers asked for further powers— when they seemed disposed to carry out that spirit of coercion and domination towards Ireland which had characterized the speeches of the Right hon. Secretary for the Home Department, he thought hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition side were entitled to avail themselves of every opportunity to "obstruct"—if they chose the term—the progress of the measure until they knew what were the intentions of the Government with reference to Ireland. He would suggest that, as there could he no intention on the part of Ministers to carry through the Ecclesiastical Courts Bill and some other measures during the present Session, they should be at once postponed, and that the remaining five or six weeks of the Session should be devoted to the consideration of Irish affairs, with a view to redress the grievances complained of, and to enable Ministers to frame such measures as would tend to promote the tranquillity of the country. He regretted that this country should have exhibited so much apathy on this subject; but he believed public feeling was now aroused; and he was glad to find from recent communications with his constituents, that it was the intention of the inhabitants of this metropolis to exhibit some demonstration in favour of Ireland. He well remembered, and he had no doubt hon. Gentlemen opposite also recollected, the agitation which took place in this metropolis in 1831, and which was highly instrumental in leading to the adoption of that important measure which gave representatives to the metropolitan districts; and he was convinced that when agitation was commenced in the metropolis upon just grounds, it exercised a powerful influence upon the provinces. He hoped this would be the case in the present instance, and that such agitation would prevent a system of coercion from being pursued towards Ireland.
§ Viscount Jocelyn
in refusing to give his support to the motion, did so from considering that motion as a mark of censure upon 900 the Government, as having administered the affairs of that kingdom in a spirit of partiality and injustice. From this opinion he entirely disagreed; nor did he think that the accusation had been proved in any part of the debate. He was fully alive, not only to the ability, but especially to the temperate manner in which the hon. Member for Limerick had brought forward his motion. He trusted it would be an example in future discussions, and he would endeavour to follow in the same spirit in the few words which it was his intention to address to the House. If the spirit manifested by the hon. Member for Limerick and by the noble Lord the Member for Sunderland, were more general, that benefit to the country (which they had all equally in view) would be more likely to he obtained, and it would be seen whether or not those grievances which were said to exist, had truth for their foundation. If they had, remedies might be applied, while, if they were the complaints of party or prejudice, a fair and temperate debate was far more likely to remove the film from the eyes of those blinded by passion, than a debate in which personality and acrimony were the chief ingredients. He believed there never was an era in the history of Ireland when it behoved those who were either actuated by interest or affection, or by the far nobler motives of anxiety and regard for their country's welfare, to make use of the language of conciliation and kindness, to endeavour to throw the veil of oblivion over the past, to meet the existing danger boldly in the face, and to endeavour, by correcting those social evils which may exist in their respective circles to stay the revolutionary torrent which threatens to sweep away the institutions and constitution of the country The hon. Gentleman had admitted, that a mischievous and alarming excitement existed in Ireland, marked by a most perfect system of combination and organization. What, however, he wished to allude to, was a grievance stated to be so by the hon. Gentleman, and termed the plague spot of Ireland by the hon. Member for Bath, in which many hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House seemed to concur. To the Church Establishment he was most anxious to call their attention. He acknowledged, as a matter of theory, it might appear difficult to argue in favour of the maintenance of a Protestant Established Church, in a country which consisted of a population of 9,000,000, of which nearly 901 7,000,000 professed the Roman Catholic religion, whilst the remaining portion alone belonged to the Protestant faiths. He acknowledged it might be apparently an anomaly; that the Church of the minority should be the Established Church of the State; but before coming to a conclusion, it seemed but fair to investigate the subject. He would ask, was not the religion of the State Protestant? Could there be two religions acknowledged by the State? each one differing vitally from the other, in doctrine and creed? Could a Protestant Government believing the religion they professed to be true, all others to he erroneous, not only sanction and support, but strenuously endeavour to propagate those others,—could this be expected from any Government? Hon. Gentlemen will then, doubtless say, for they have said so already—abolish, or partially abolish the Established Church and make use of its revenues for the education and moral improvement of the great mass of the Irish people. He would support the Government in any just proposition for educating the people; but he denied in common honesty the right of the House to interfere with those funds which had been dedicated to a certain purpose. It did appear to him that it was the bounden duty of the House to be as jealous collectively as individually of their honour, and be could not but consider that House would be tainted by the spoliation of the Church and the infringement of a solemn compact. He had too high an opinion of his Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen to believe they would be any party to such a deed. They still remembered the compact that was entered into: they had not forgotten that by aid of their Protestant fellow-countrymen they obtained those privileges which had been long withheld, and they scarcely could, fifteen years after obtaining those privileges, turn round to spoil and destroy the Church of their Protestant brethren. Hon. Gentlemen, in endeavouring to show more forcibly the hardship of the Church of the minority being the Established Church, had overlooked a very important fact, namely, the means by which that Church was in reality supported. His noble Friend the Secretary for Ireland stated upon a previous evening, from the evidence of the hon. Member for Cork, that only one-tenth of the property in Ireland was in the hands of the Roman Catholic part of the community. The Church Establishment was supported by a rent-charge upon the property, nine-tenths of which were in the 902 hands of Protestants. If the rent-charge as such was to be abolished, in common honesty it ought to be restored to the contributors to the Church. He wished, however, to guard himself from saying, that he was averse to any proposition which might give the Roman Catholic clergy an interest in the maintenance of tranquillity. He fully admitted and deeply deplored the distress existing at present in Ireland, but he denied that it was peculiar to that country. He considered that it was owing, in a great measure, to the increasing population (an evil which was felt in all civilised Europe), and to the deficiency in capital to give employment to the people. He would ask them to look at England, teeming with wealth, groaning with production, and yet amidst all this, misery and destitution prevailed. Was not every manufacturing district in England witness of millions of acres on one side, and starving operatives on the other? It was a painful question to solve, how it could be, that whilst capital and wealth might increase in the community, misery and destitution might keep pace with equal steps.. He would remind the hon. Gentleman of the increased imports and exports of Ireland; he would likewise beg to refer him to the increased inland communication. He did not at the same time mean to say, that they were at all equal to what they had a right to expect from the natural advantages of the country, but he did believe they tended to show what might be the case if the country was blessed with tranquillity. To remedy some of the agrarian evils, the Government might undertake public works of national advantage, which would give an excitement, and an employment, and tend to promote tranquillity and prosperity. This would also give confidence to capitalists—by giving a promise of security to private speculation. He believed it would turn the people of the country from those idle habits engendered by want of employment to be contented and industrious, for there was nothing in the character of the Irish people to forbid such a hope. Naturally generous and grateful, they would feel and acknowledge the benefit. One cause of the agrarian troubles, which arose from the pecuniary difficulties of many of the landed proprietors, was rapidly curing itself. Those landlords who, from their properties being deeply mortgaged, were unable to improve the condition of their tenantry, had taken advantage of the alterations within the last few years in the laws regarding money, 903 and by the facility of obtaining loans at a fair interest, were rapidly placing themselves and their tenantry in a position which they could scarcely ever have hoped to attain. Nothing was so likely to be beneficial in a civil point of view as the improvements now going on by the landlords of the country, and to see the fair promise blighted, he acknowledged mingled some bitterness with regret against the author of this change. It was painful to think, that one of Ireland's own sons, with no ordinary ability, possessing an absolute power for evil or for good over the minds of his fellow-countrymen, should choose the former rather than the latter, preferring to plunge his country into anarchy, to drive away the capital with which it might be enriched, and to seek for the repeal of a measure which could alone be obtained in bloodshed, and must end in the destruction of the country. What was the object to be attained? to resuscitate rotten Protestant boroughs so that a Protestant House of Lords and Commons may again legislate in College-green? No; it was no Repeal of the Union, but a new constitution which was required to be proposed by the Member for Cork. They had a specimen of what that constitution should be in the resolutions by that Gentleman on the opening of the Loyal Repeal Association in 1842; they were the total abolition of tithes in any shape, the immediate passing of a law enacting the fixity of tenure, a large extension of the suffrage, the vote by ballot, the shortening of the duration of Parliament to three years, an equalization of the electoral districts, and the abolition of the property qualification as regarded Members. In refusing to support the motion of the hon. Member for Limerick, he was strengthened in his determination by that statement of the hon. Member for Cork, who bad de-dared, within the last few days, that "too long had he said, that if England gave justice he would not look for, repeal—he now altered the tenour of his song—repeal before every thing, even though the Established Church might be sacrificed." He trusted that the day was far distant when Ireland would sink from her present proud position, as an integral part of the united empire, having her representation in this united Parliament, where her power had been manifested, to the position of a mere colony or settlement dependent on Great Britain.
§ Debate further adjourned.
§ House adjourned.