HC Deb 12 June 1843 vol 69 cc1392-6
Mr. Ewart

moved for a— " Return of the cost of the late expedition of the Rhadamanthus steamer from Dublin to Waterford; with an account of the causes which led to, and the results, if any, which attended the expedition. He said, that he had been led to make the motion from two considerations; one arriving from the mystery which involved the expedition and perplexed the public; the other the expediency and justice of affording the Government an opportunity of explaining and justifying its proceedings. The Government had been accussed of not being sufficiently Irish in its policy; but he must say, that in one sense (and that not a very just sense in which the term was applied) nothing could be more Irish than their conduct on the present occasion. Indeed, it might be said that they were Hibernis ipsis Hiberniores. He must also compliment them for the peculiar felicity with which they had chosen the Rhadamanthus as their organ on the present occasion. They had sent it to coerce a set of people before they knew what they had been guilty of; and this they were told, on high authority, was the peculiar characteristic of Rhadaman thus: "Castigatque auditque dolos." He punished first, and found out whether they were guilty afterwards. On the whole he hoped that the noble Secretary (Lord Eliot) would enlighten the House and the Irish people on the object and results of the expedition.

Sir Robert Peel

said, that he had anticipated the hon. Gentleman in his quotation about the Rhadamanthus, and he hoped that, having made this quotation and another, he would be satisfied, without pressing the motion to a division, however desirous he might be to ascertain what were the objects of the expedition.

Mr. M. J. O'Connell

said, that he should certainly support the motion of the hon. Gentleman. He thought the Government ought to be able to give an account of their motives and their conduct. He would apply to them the remainder of a line which had been quoted already—

"—subigitque fateri"

They ought to be made to confess what they had contemplated and what they had accomplished.

Mr. Wyse

said, that nothing had filled the people of Waterford with greater astonishment than the expedition in question. In fact, they had expressed their opinion in a rhyme which was current in the papers, and among the people:— The Rhadamanthus with a thousand men, Steam'd down to Waterford—and back again. He supported the motion.

Lord Eliot

expressed himself as unable to give the return proposed. Perhaps a return might be made of the expenses of the expedition. But on the whole he trusted the hon. Gentleman would not press his motion.

Mr. Ewart

said, that as the noble Lord promised him no result (and the hour being late), he would abstain from pressing it at present. But he must say that nobody could account for the proceeding of the Government except the Government itself.

Motion withdrawn, House adjourned at half past one o'clock.