Lord J. Russell rose
, pursuant to notice, to move for a Committee of the whole House, to take into consideration the State of Ireland. The noble Lord spoke to the following effect: 684 I feel deeply how much I stand in need of the indulgence of the House in the performance of the arduous task I have undertaken. I will not trespass further on that indulgence by making any apology for taking that task upon myself; and however I may feel my own inability, adequately to perform it, I can not for a moment, doubt that it is right for the House of Commons of the United Kingdom to make an inquiry into the condition of Ireland. We have before us, notwithstanding the somewhat fallacious returns presented by the right hon. Gentleman, the notorious fact that Ireland is filled with troops; and that the barracks, in which these troops are posted, have been fortified. We have heard, too, only this morning, of a regiment of infantry having been drawn up in the yard of the Castle of Dublin; that preparations have been made as if the Government were in hourly expectation of civil war. We have before us, in short, the fact that Ireland is occupied, and not governed, by those who now hold the reins of power. I say, and say it deliberately, Ireland is occupied, and not governed by the present Administration. In England the Government as it should be, and has been, is a government of opinion; the government of Ireland is notoriously a government of force. A short time ago, his Majesty the King of the French told his Chambers that he trusted Algeria would soon be reduced into a state of peace. Her Majesty's Ministers, at the opening of the Session, were hardly able to give us a similar assurance with reference to Ireland. The troops, there, it is true, are placed in positions which, considering who is the new commander-in-chief, are, no doubt, the best military positions which could be chosen, with every means of relief and communication. Far be it from me to doubt for a moment the military skill with which these troops have been disposed, or that effectual means have been organised for meeting resistance and insurrection, should resistance and insurrection arise. What I wish to ask is, why is it that the country has been so occupied?—why Ireland, which was delivered two years ago into the hands of the present Government, tranquil and undisturbed, should now be in such an alarming condition? We have this morning received intelligence of an event which may have an important influence on the destinies of Ireland—intelligence which, perhaps, will be matter of triumph to those who now 685 administer the destinies of this country, that the man in whom not only the general wishes, but the general affections, of Ireland are placed—the man to whom the people of that country, and, as I think, justly, attribute the chief part in delivering them from the chains in which they groaned until the Emancipation Act of 1839—we have intelligence that this man has been found guilty of conspiracy, and, as I presume, will by the sentence of the judges of the court be condemned to imprisonment. Sir, I can see in this circumstance no guarantee for the future tranquillity of Ireland; I can derive from your present triumph no better hope that you will obtain for yourselves the affections of that people, which have hitherto been fixed upon the man whom they call the Liberator. I can see no hope, unless you take a new and very different course from that you have as yet pursued, you can preserve Ireland as she ought to be preserved—united to you in affection—united to you in war as well as in peace—contributing to and sharing in your prosperity in the period of peace—fighting valiantly at your side, and tendering her strength to increase your strength, when you have to meet a foreign foe. The consideration of this subject has led me, and I will venture to bring the subject before the House in the same order that I have studied it, into a close examination of the whole history of our position with reference to Ireland. I am not about merely to criticise or to ask for an inquiry into the transactions of the last few months; I am about to ask the House to consider what have been our relations with Ireland since the period of the Union. I will take it for granted, as I very fairly may, until some one in this House shall make a motion for the Repeal of the Union, that we all desire and are resolved to maintain that Union; that we all wish to preserve its principal conditions; that we wish to have an Imperial Parliament of the United Kingdom, containing representatives, in both Houses, of Ireland as well as of Great Britain. Assuming this, which is an assumption quite in accordance with my own opinion, I may ask the House to consider whether the engagements made at the time of the Union have been fulfilled? Have the promises which were then made, both with respect to improving existing laws, and to future legislation for the welfare of Ireland, been fulfilled by the Imperial Parliament? If they have not, let me ask you on that ground to go with 686 me into committee, and to consider of the measures which we shall take, in order to preserve our faith, and reconcile the people of Ireland to the connection. In going over the subject, I must advert to the address of both Houses to his Majesty George the 3rd, previous to the Union in 1799, in consequence of which the Union took place. The two Houses, in their joint address, made use of these expressions:—We entertain a firm persuasion that a complete and entire Union between Great Britain and Ireland, founded on equal and liberal principles, on the similarity of laws, constitution, and government, and on a sense of mutual interests and affections, by promoting the security, wealth, and commerce of the respective kingdoms, and by allaying the distractions which have unhappily prevailed in Ireland, must afford fresh means of opposing at all times an effectual resistance to the destructive projects of our foreign and domestic enemies, and must tend to confirm and augment the stability, power, and resources of the empire.The two Houses were not content with this declaration; they went on to say in a subsequent paragraph—And we trust that, after full and mature consideration, such a settlement may be framed and established by the deliberative consent of the Parliaments of both kingdoms, as may be conformable to the sentiments, wishes, and real interests of your Majesty's faithful subjects of Great Britain and Ireland, and may unite them inseparably in the full enjoyment of the blessings of our free and invaluable constitution, in the support of the honour and dignity of your Majesty's Crown, and in the preservation and advancement of the welfare and prosperity of the whole British empire,These were the representations of both Houses of the great advantages which would result particularly to Ireland from the Union. Have they been realised? "Has this complete and entire Union" been founded "on a sense of mutual interests and affections?" May I ask whether we have "allayed the distractions which unhappily prevailed in Ireland," and, whether, since the Union of the two kingdoms, we have given to the people of Ireland an equal and full share in the enjoyment of the blessings of our invaluable constitution? What I have just read was not merely the declaration of the two Houses of Parliament; but it had the sanction of Mr. Pitt, the Prime Minister of the Crown, in his speech upon introducing the measure into this House. In answer to 687 those who spoke of the Union as subjecting Ireland to a foreign yoke, Mr. Pitt, after pointing out that Ireland would be immensely the gainer by the Union, and that England was just the country with which a country like Ireland should wish to unite, said:—Does a Union, under such circumstances, by free consent, and on just and equal terms, deserve to be branded as a proposal for subjecting Ireland to a foreign yoke? Is it not rather the free and voluntary association of two great countries, which join, for their common benefit, in one empire, where each will retain its proportional weight and importance under the security of equal laws, reciprocal affection, and inseparable interests, and which want nothing but that indissoluble connection to render both invincible.And he then made use of the quotation which has been so often repeated—Non ego, nec Teucris halos parere jubebo, Nec nova regna peto; paribus se legibus ambæ Invictægentes æterna in fœdera mittant.Such were the terms upon which Ireland was invited to consent to a Union with England, as declared by both Houses and by the Prime Minister. At the same time, other inducements were held out, not officially indeed, by any positive declaration of the Ministers of the Crown, but by their adherents—by those who were in some way or other acquainted with the sentiments of Mr. Pitt. It was stated that the Roman Catholics would be much more likely to obtain all the rights of British subjects under a Union of the two Legislatures, than if Ireland should continue under a separate legislature. Such was the opinion and feeling of many persons who opposed the admission of Roman Catholics to office, while Ireland continued separate; but the hopes of the Irish, however, well founded on such declarations, were destined for a long time to disappointment. But before I enter upon that subject, I wish to call the attention of the House to another part of the laws and constitution of England, and one of the most important parts; namely, the Administration of Justice. It may be said that the laws are the same for both countries—that Ireland has nominally the same law as England—that the trial by jury is the same in both countries. Is it so, in fact? That it was not so, was perpetual matter of complaint in Ireland, and more than once in England. On one occasion, I recollect that an hon. Member of this House, who in those days was ac- 688 customed to represent with great force and eloquence the grievances of all who were oppressed, whether in Europe or in America, Africa or Asia, whether the complaints were made by white men or black, I mean Mr. Brougham, brought this complaint under the notice of the House in terms of very great strength and effect, in June, 1823, on presenting a petition complaining of the administration of justice in Ireland. Mr. Brougham then said:—The law of England esteemed all men equal. It was sufficient to be born within the King's allegiance to be entitled to all the rights the loftiest subject of the land enjoyed, None were disqualified by it; and the only distinction was between natural-born subjects and aliens. Such, indeed, was the liberality of our system in times which we call barbarous, but from which, in these enlightened days, it might be well to take a hint, that even if a man were an alien born, he was not deprived of the protection of the law. In Ireland, however, the law held a directly opposite doctrine. The sect to which a man belonged—the cast of his religious opinions—the form in which he worshipped his creator—were the grounds on which the law separated him from his fellows, and inured him to the endurance of a system of the most cruel injustice.Such was the statement of Mr. Brougham, in those days when Mr. Brougham was the advocate of the oppressed. Was this the statement of a man ignorant of the condition of Ireland; of a person who was stating that for which he had not sufficient foundation; who had been misinformed by enthusiasts and grievance-mongers? Not at all. Facts of the same description were stated in most positive language by Sir Michael O'Loghlin, in his evidence before the House of Lords, in 1839. He said he had been in the habit for nineteen years of attending the Munster circuit. On that circuit, he said, it was the custom of the Crown to set aside from the jury all Roman Catholics and all liberal Protestants; and he stated it as his belief that this practice was carried to a still greater extent on other circuits. He stated one case of this practice occurring as late as the year 1834, when Lord Wellesley was Lord Lieutenant, and when Mr. Blackburne, the present Master of the Rolls, was the Attorney-general. He stated that in that case, not a political case, forty-three persons had been set aside, and that thirty-six of those were Roman Catholics, and seven Protestants. Amongst them were magistrates and lease-holders, and persons of conside- 689 rable property. He said that the practice was so well known, and constantly followed, that men of liberal opinions, whether Roman Catholics or Protestants, had ceased attending the assizes, that they might not be present when such an insult was offered to them. Now are these the laws of England? Does this at all resemble what takes place in selecting a jury in Kent or Sussex, or Yorkshire, or Lancashire? Are these the laws, the just, and equal laws, which Mr. Pitt promised should be extended to Ireland? Is this the fulfilment of the promises made at the time of the Union? Is it not rather, as Mr. Brougham said, the distinction at once of sect and party—the separation of those who call themselves Protestants—which is, in fact, in Ireland a political denomination, from the rest of the community? Is it not the supremacy of political Protestants corrupting the sources of justice, and defrauding the people of that right of trial by an impartial jury which was declared due to them by the constitution of this country? What was the effect of this? I can state it in the words of the same excellent authority, Sir Michael O'Loghlin. In answer to a question put to him in the committee, of which I have spoken, he replied,I think the system which prevailed had a very injurious effect on the administration of justice.To another question (p. 135) he answered:—In my opinion, in the first place, it gave to the persons who were convicted, or the friends of these persons, an opportunity of saying, that they were not tried by an impartial jury.He was asked (p. 135)—'You consider the practice to have been generally prejudicial to the administration of justice in criminal cases in Ireland?—Answer: Yes, certainly:Now, can we wonder, such being the case, that in Ireland the poorer classes of the people resorted to any way of settling their quarrels among themselves, rather than have recourse to the regular tribunals? Can we wonder that they frequently harboured long revenge—that they did not chuse to apply to the tribunals of the country for justice—that when the poorer Roman Catholics saw all the men of their own religion carefully and systematically excluded, a distrust of the administration 690 of justice generally prevailed? And I beg the House to bear in mind, in reference to what has lately occurred, that it has been notorious to the people of Ireland that this practice of partially and unfairly excluding Roman Catholics from juries has continually prevailed. In the same evidence, before the Lords in 1839, Lord Donoughmore gives an instance of a person harbouring a deep feeling of revenge for upwards of fifteen years. The case was that of a man who murdered another with a spade, in revenge for an assault committed upon him by his victim fifteen years before. It seems very barbarous to nourish a revengful feeling for so long, but how can we tell, that if there had been a fair administration of justice, this very man would not have complained of the assault at the time it was committed to the proper authorities, that he would have obtained redress for it in a court of justice, and that thus the wild feeling of revenge, the fierce passion, so irreconcileable with the due administration of law, would have been stifled, or, at all events, mitigated by this legal satisfaction for the injury, and this horrible crime prevented. I may be told that this is a nation so wild and barbarous in its nature, that it is impossible to restrain them; that they commit these outrages out of pure malignity and a vicious nature, and that the ordinary course of law does not afford the means of satisfying their fierce passions. Those who say this know little of the people of Ireland, nor how gratefully they accept fair treatment; they know little of human nature, who know not the evil consequences of a vicious administration of' justice—in perverting all the good feelings of a people—in provoking them to revenge themselves, rather than resort to tribunals which they consider unjust. I will then by an anecdote, which I have taken from a work of my hon. Friend the Member for Waterford show how wrong are those persons who have formed such an estimate of the Irish character. The circumstance occurred during the great Clare election. A big, brawney fellow came to the committee of the association to complain, that he had been assaulted by a person much his inferior in size and strength. "Why," was the reply, "cannot you take your own part? You are bigger than the man who insulted you?" "Yes," said he, stretching forth his brawney arm, "I could soon have had the satisfaction, if I had chosen to take it, but all violence and quarelling has been forbidden by the Association, and 691 therefore, I could not punish the fellow as he deserved." Now, if a man thus sustained his anger in obedience to the behests of an association—why was it? Because he had confidence in the association—he knew the law which had gone forth had been framed by men who had the same feelings and sympathies as himself, and who did not set up the tyranny of a sect as the measure of justice. This, then, is my first complaint, that, from the period of the Union, up to 1835, there was no impartiality in the administration of justice, that the Irish people had not the same equal justice which the people of this country have. I may be told, that Lord Wellesley was an impartial governor of Ireland—that he wished to do justice to the Roman Catholics of that country; and I most readily admit, that both he and Lord Anglesey, who preceded him, had every wish to administer the affairs of Ireland equitably, but it was the misfortune of both, to have officers under them, who went on the old routine, who frustrated all their efforts, and continued in well-high unabated vigour, the whole system of injustice. Every precedent on the file was a model for partiality; the red tape tied up parcels of bad decisions; the clerks were familiar with nothing but Protestant ascendency and Catholic degradation. Such was the bad system the office which Lords Anglesey and Wellesley, with every desire to govern impartially, strove in vain to suppress. I will now proceed to the question of the franchise of the people of Ireland. I may be told, that in considering the state of Ireland, it is of little consequence, to consider these questions of political franchise; that political power will not put bread into the mouths of the hungry, or give employment to the unemployed; that these are not the remedies which Ireland requires in her distressed condition. I do not admit the wisdom of such opinions. I cannot find any support for them in the history of this country and of its constitution. I have been accustomed to think, that the participation of equal rights, that the benefits of a free constitution are the very first and very best means by which we can impart prosperity to a country. I am justified in this view by the high authority of Mr. Pitt, who, in his celebrated speech in 1792, on the state of the finances, wherein be enlarged upon the principles of Adam Smith, and predicted great future prosperity, to the country, referred at last 692 to the source of this country's prosperity and said, "It was to be found in the free constitution of the land." Mr. Fox, in following Mr. Pitt, differed from some of the sentiments he had expressed, and doubted some of his anticipations, but in one thing he cordially concurred with him; namely, that the prosperity of England was owing to the free constitution which she enjoyed. Did either of these great men suppose, that the mere power of voting at elections, would give a man wealth? That the mere faculty and privilege of being tried by a fair jury would raise him from poverty to riches? Nothing of the kind. But they knew, that when men have the advantage of equal justice, the benefits of a free constitution, when they live, as it were in an atmosphere of liberty, knowing that they may pursue objects of their honest ambition uninterruptedly, that they may exercise their honest industry without fear or impediment, they exert themselves with ardour, they exercise that ho. nest industry with unremitting zeal, looking forward to the chance, open to them in common with others, that they will at length obtain the wealth of the wealthiest, the positions of the most trusted, the honours of the highest among subjects. Such were the principles which induced these statesmen to say, that it was to the English constitution that England owed its prosperity. And let me not be told, that we are now to learn some more speculative and abstract wisdom; let us not be told, that Government can find means to give employment to a people without giving that people the benefit of the constitution; that they can withhold the franchise, and yet confer prosperity; that is not in their power. I tell them, that with respect to Ireland—happily it is unnecessary to say the same with respect to England—the best they can do for the people of that country—no doubt they may do other things, and adopt measures highly necessary—but the best thing they can do for Ireland is to secure every man there in the enjoyment of his clear rights, and enable every man to be sure that he will be represented according to the principles of the constitution. With respect, then, to the franchise in Ireland, in the year 1793, the Irish parliament, which the year before, had rejected the proposition, gave to the 40s. freeholders of Ireland the right of voting for Members of Parliament. That power became in the hands of the landlords, the means of filling their estates with num- 693 bers of miserable men, dependent on them, whom they brought up to vote at elections as they thought proper. Doctor Duigenan, in 1805, or indeed before that time, I think, for I must do him the justice to say, that he, at a very early period, had the sagacity to foresee the results, gave an opinion, that this corrupt mode of carrying elections would eventually turn out unfavourable to those who introduced it. He mentioned at the time, the case of a friend of his, who had gained his election in this way, but he foretold, that ere long the time would come, when the landlords would find it re-act against themselves as a body. And so it turned out; great abuses took place, and people of all classes became very willing to have some remedy applied. In 1829 when the right hon. Gentleman opposite proposed, consistently with the speech from the Throne, "a general settlement of the affairs of Ireland," he proposed an altered and higher franchise. His proposals were approved of by this House, and by Parliament generally, and the right hon. Gentleman gave them the 10l. franchise, that is, gave the franchise to every person deriving 10l. a-year either as freeholders or as leaseholders from leases for life. But it appeared, after the act had been passed, that the intention was not realised, but that persons from the manner in which the law was interpreted, to be entitled to the franchise, must derive not 10l. but 20l. a-year from their holding, inasmuch as they were obliged to show, that they had 10l. clear profit over and above the 10l. which was considered the value of the holding. A noble Lord, who is now one of the Secretaries of State, has taunted me for any defects that may exist, on the ground that I ought to have corrected them in the Reform Bill. Upon that occasion, I trusted much to the opinion of a noble Friend of mine (Lord Duncannon) whom I consulted on the subject, and the noble Lord gave it as his opinion that the object which we desired would be accomplished by that measure; but we have since found from the decision of the majority of the Irish judges, that we were in error in our construction of the act. The right hon. Gentleman, when he proposed his change in the franchise, stated that he proposed great facilities for the attainment of it—that a person claiming it had only to go before the assistant barrister to substantiate it, and if the claim were allowed, there should be no appeal; but if it were rejected, then the claimant might appeal to 694 a judge of assize. This seemed a fair and equitable proposition, and likely to give satisfaction. But some time after, not content with the diminution of the franchise which had taken place by the interpretation put upon it by the judges of Ireland—not content with the diminution in the number of voters which had thereby taken place—a noble Lord opposite, not then in the Government, though now sitting on the Benches opposite, proposed a bill to correct what he called the evils of registration in Ireland. Sir, that bill was so contrived, that by sending the claimant—the poor Irish voter—from one appeal to the other—by transmitting him to a great distance, through intricate passages and by costly doors—it discouraged him from seeking the franchise, and those only who were favoured by the landed proprietors of the country, would be enabled to enjoy it. Such would have been the effect of the noble Lord's bill. At that time, we, who were in the Government, said that, though Ireland was far from enjoying all she ought to have by law, yet as there then existed a period of tranquillity, it was most desirable to allow the wealth of the country to increase during that period, believing that angry passions would be assuaged, and that animosities would be likely to abate, by not introducing any question likely to be the subject of vexatious contest in this House. The noble Lord refused to listen to any such suggestions. He thought it necessary to press his bill at all times, and in all contingencies, in season and out of season. The last House of Commons decided they would entertain that bill, Parliament was then prorogued, and we had to consider the franchise and registration of Ireland. It was the opinion of a noble Friend of mine (Lord Morpeth), and in mentioning his name, I will venture to say, that no man ever held office in Ireland more desirous of improving the condition of the people of that country, it was the opinion of Lord Morpeth, that since the House had determined to entertain the question, it would be necessary in justice to the people of Ireland to propose some clearer definition of the franchise—to relieve it from all the disputes and litigations which were existing on the subject—to make the franchise large and extensive, and to base upon that extended franchise, an improved system of registration. And what was said to this? The answer was, an indignant refusal on the part of our opponents, even to enter upon the subject. The words of a right hon. 695 Gentleman, now the Secretary of State for the Home Department, were these:—I am determined to stand by the Reform Bill. Let its provisions be improved where necessary. Yes, I am perfectly prepared to concur in an attempt to remedy whatever defects may be found to exist—for instance, as to the machinery of registration; but I am resolved, at the same time, to guard the franchise as it stands.Such was the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman; and the noble Lord, the Secretary of the Colonies, went still further, for he said of Lord Morpeth, that my noble Friend had brought forward his bill under false colours and false pretences. Such was the charge made against Lord Morpeth, and made because we said it was impossible to have a new and more stringent and narrowed registration in Ireland, without having at the same time an extended franchise. And had we no grounds for saying this—were we not justified in saying it? I appeal to the silence on this subject, for two years of the present Government. I appeal to their neglect, after they had pushed their bill as a measure of opposition against all remonstrance into committee, and attempted to carry it through the House. But, Sir, have I nothing more than their silence to appeal to? Yes, I have the Queen's Speech as an authority. I have the positive declaration, in the Queen's Speech, advised by the whole of the present Cabinet, that it would not be safe to adopt a new system of registration, without at the same time establishing a more extended franchise. Then, Sir, I look back—with these lights, and with the experience of other measures of the present Ministers—I look back to their objects in 1840 and 1841, and I recur to the noble Lord who said, that Lord Morpeth had brought forward his bill under false colours, and I say then what was your Catholic Relief Bill—what was that relief which you proposed after Ireland had been almost in a flame of insurrection, and when the popular power had become strong and almost overpowering—what was that bill? It was a bill which made Catholics eligible to office, and eligible to seats in this House. Compare with that Act, the Registration Bill of the noble Lord, which, as the right hon. Baronet, the First Lord of the Treasury, in supporting it, said, was to be a test of the confidence reposed in the Ministers of the day. What would have been the consequence? Why, first, if a Ministry like the present had been constituted, 696 scarcely a single Catholic would have been placed in office, judicial or civil; and, in the second place, hardly a Member would have been sent to this House, except at the dictation of a Protestant landlord, and the whole Catholic Relief Act would have been virtually defeated—not in the straightforward and manly manner in which the Duke of Newcastle and others, honestly adverse to the measure, resisted its continuance, and demanded its direct repeal—but invidiously, and covertly, practically and effectually destroying the whole of the benefits which were granted to the tumultuous assemblages of 1828. Well, the noble Lord in the course of the discussions on the bill repeatedly alluded to his advisers, he had been advised to adopt this clause and the other which would produce good effects. My belief is, that that bill was put into his hands by some who were more crafty than the noble Lord, and of different tempers from his, and that it was intended for the purpose of destroying the representation of Ireland by Roman Catholics, granted nominally by the Relief Act. In this conviction, I doubt whether I should wonder most at the magnitude of the injustice or the indirectness of the means by which that injustice was to be perpetrated. Such, then, is my answer to the noble Lord, who accused Lord Morpeth of fighting under false colours. Such, too, is my complain with respect to the state of Ireland, as regards the franchise in that country. And when the Ministers of the Crown now in office shrink from the responsibility of maintaining the doctrines which they maintained when in opposition, and of hazarding the peace of Ireland by a most flagrant violation of parliamentary faith; when they shrink from this, and propose other measures instead, I say I have no confidence to wait until those measures shall be ready to be discussed; but, having seen what they formerly did, I have no belief that they intend to grant a full and fair franchise to the people of Ireland. I ask you then to go into committee to consider that and other subjects—to hear what the representatives of Ireland say as to the manner in which the franchise can be framed, and to beware how you give your assent to any bill—with whatever name of extension of the franchise it may be covered—which would, in fact, give to the Protestant landlords of Ireland increased power, while it deprived the people of that country of all right to elect men who should be 697 really their representatives. Sir, I come now to another subject—I come to the question of the eligibility of Roman Catholics to office. It was justly said by the right hon. Gentleman, that if that privilege were not to be conceded practically as well as by statute, it would not diminish the evil of their exclusion. In arguing upon that point, in 1817, the right hon. Gentleman said, that,If Parliament conferred eligibility upon the Roman Catholics, the Crown ought not to exclude them from a just proportion of power, for in that case their exclusion would be ten times more mortifying than their existing disqualification, because it would then appear to be dictated by caprice, by injurious preference, and unfair suspicion.The present Ministers have had many offices to dispose of, they have had those of Master of the Rolls, of Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench, and the appointment of several of the puisne judges of all kinds, and I ask what judges have been appointed who are Catholics, what men holding high offices have been appointed who are Catholics? In what situation of trust or confidence has any Catholic been placed by them? And yet there is the power which you profess to give by statute, a power which if not given practically the right hon. Gentleman said would imply unjust preference and unfair suspicion. Well, then, Sir, I accuse him of unjust preference and unfair suspicion, in not granting to the Roman Catholics that fair participation in power which their talents, their numbers, their position in the State, and, above all, the law, assented to by King, Lords, and Commons, entitle them to expect. I come, however, to an objection that has been made, and that will only induce another complaint on my part. The objection is this, that all the Roman Catholics, the whole of the Catholic body, are opposed to the politics of the Ministry now in office. Why, if such be so—I ask how comes that to be the case? The Protestant Dissenters I have heard accused of undue partiality to democratic doctrines, and an aversion to those high doctrines of prerogative which the Tories, as they were called, were supposed formerly to hold, I have never heard such suspicions expressed against the Catholics. On the contrary, when the Catholic question was under discussion, it was said, that the Catholics would be too fond of authority—that the Catholic body were by their religion averse to free institutions, and that they 698 would have too great a tendency to arbitrary rule and servile submission. How comes it that these people holding political opinions, of one colour, and not separated, like the people of Manchester or of Kent, into different parties, of Whig, Tory, and Radical; but holding together, are all opposed—as they are said to be—to the present Ministry? I can easily imagine an answer to that question. And here I am certainly entitled, by the authority of the Government opposite, to prefer a charge against some of those who belong to their party. It was announced some time ago, in adverting to the result of the trial which has become known to-day, that Mr. O'Connell and others were to be indicted—were to be placed at the bar of a court of justice—for endeavouring to create feelings of hostility and among the people of Ireland against another portion of Her Majesty's subjects, namely, the people of England. The Crown lawyers in Ireland—no doubt with the authority of the Attorney-general and Solicitor-general in this country—thought that an offence against the law had been committed. Well, you prosecuted the parties, you had a charge in your favour from the Chief-justice—I say nothing of that charge at present—a verdict was delivered by a jury in your favour. I say nothing of that verdict. I am only saying, that in the opinion of the Government, both as a Government and as lawyers—such of them as belong to the law—that was a grave offence for which it was right to bring men—ay, and eminent men—to the bar of a court of justice. But now I ask, why, Sir, are there no other persons who have done the same, just reversing the words Ireland and England? Have there been no persons who have endeavoured to create among the people of England feelings of hostility and ill-will towards the people of Ireland, and who have acted in that sense contrary to the recommendation of the two Houses of Parliament—that the two countries should be bound by reciprocal ties of affection—mind, not bound by affection on the part of Ireland only to be returned by England with feelings of hostility and ill-will to the people of the other country—but by reciprocal ties of affection? Why, is there no person in this country who has endeavoured to excite feelings of hostility and ill-will in the minds of the people of this country, by calling the people of Ireland aliens? by affixing to them that term which belongs properly only to those who are found out of the Queen's 699 allegiance, and which is used for the purpose of depriving them of privileges which are enjoyed by the people of England? I ask, what has been done to that person? Has the Attorney-general prosecuted that person at the bar of the Court of Queen's Bench? Have we had a speech of eleven hours from the Attorney-general showing the enormity of his offence? No, there is an answer to that—because it is supposed that the words were spoken in Parliament, and that the privileges of Parliament protected him from the consequences. But is that person deprived of the confidence of the Crown, and has he been in any way marked as one not deserving to be admitted to that confidence? On the contrary, in the highest places in the Sovereign's councils, at the head of the magistracy and law of England, stands that person to direct a prosecution against Mr. O'Connell for having excited feelings of among the people of Ireland. Was there ever anything so monstrous as this inequality? But I must add, likewise, that I do not believe that that person holds his situation on account of any superiority in his judgments in the court in which he presides; I believe that no duties are inure highly paid, and performed more carelessly—but it is on account of the part he has taken in the politics of his party, hostile as they were to Ireland, that the office was bestowed on him. The noble Lord opposite on one occasion laid great stress and emphasis on the "Protestant Government, the Protestant Constitution, the Protestant Sovereign, of this Protestant country," reiterating the word "Protestant" in every variety and in every way. The noble Lord said—What we mean by Protestant government is, that the members of the Government are not to be, to quote the words of an hon. Member opposite, the 'minions of popery.'These words had been used by an hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodstock; but what is meant by them? What are they but an abusive and calumnious expression? Was it my right hon. Friend Mr. Sheil, was it Mr. Wyse, or Mr. More O'Ferrall, that were the minions of Popery? Who were they? But I have a still further definition on the authority of an hon. Gentleman a supporter of the Government. Two years ago the right hon. Gentleman, now Prime Minister, brought forward a motion for a vote of want of confidence in the existing Ministry. That vote was carried by a majority of one, and in that majority was included a Gen- 700 tleman who used this language, in a speech to his constituents at Canterbury. Speaking of three or four persons—Roman Catholics of the highest character and of great attainments, to whom I hardly do justice by saying that no position could be too high for their merits, the hon. Gentleman said, and I am not going to allude to any other portion of his speech—Look at the appointments these men and women have made. There is not one of them that is not a direct insult to the nation. See the Irish Papists promoted to place, to power, and to patronage.These are the words of Mr. Bradshaw to his constituents at Canterbury, and he was a constant supporter of Her Majesty's present Government, and the Member who gave them the majority of one. Speaking of Lord Melbourne and his Administration, Mr. Bradshaw continued:—His sheet anchor is the body of Irish Papists and Rapparees whom the priests return to the House of Commons. These are the men who represent the bigotted savages, hardly more civilised than the natives of New Zealand, but animated with a fierce, undying hatred of England. I repeat, then, deliberately, that the Papists of Ireland, priest and layman, peer and peasant, are alike our enemies—aliens as they are in blood, language, and religion.And it is the heads of that party who have prosecuted some of the noblest men in Ireland, and prosecuted them to conviction, for endeavouring to excite feelings of hostility and ill-will amongst the people of Ireland against the people of England! My belief is, that those invectives against Ireland were part of the stock in trade of the party now in power, that they were the means by which they worked upon the prejudices—perhaps honest, but ignorant prejudices—of the people of England, and induced them to believe that the Roman Catholics were about to obtain possession of the whole power in the State, and to force on Catholic supremacy; that they availed themselves of these prejudices to promote their party purposes, and excited animosity in one portion of the empire, against another to get possession of office. But I have alluded to this subject because it has been said that the Roman Catholics cannot now be placed in office, because they are not of the political opinions of the party opposite; and, I ask, what men of the smallest spirit would join a party which treats with such contumely, such insult, and such flagrant injustice, the body of the Roman Catholics, professing the ancient 701 religion of Europe, and forming more than 6,000,000 of the people of Ireland? Having thus stated what I think to be unjust, first, with regard to the administration of justice, in the next place with regard to the franchise, and in the third place with regard to the disposal of power and patronage, I will now take the conduct of the different Governments with respect to one or two of those subjects, and shall then proceed forward to the events of 1843. From the year 1836, the Gentlemen who held the offices of Attorney and Solicitor-general in Ireland, determined to give new directions to the officers employed under them in Ireland; and they instructed them to allow Catholics and Protestants impartially to remain on juries, unless there were some special objections, in which case those objections should be considered. The evidence of Sir Michael O'Loghlen, after three years' continuance of this course, showed that the result of it was greatly to increase the confidence of the people of Ireland in the administration of justice. Sir Michael O'Loghlen said:—It has given confidence to the administration of justice, and has taken away from the persons accused, or their friends, a pretext for saying there has not been a fair trial.Sir William Somerville said in the same year, 1839, on oath;—What I remark in Ireland at present, with the greatest satisfaction, is the growing feeling of respect for the law. There is springing up in the minds of the people a confidence in the Executive Government. One particular circumstance which I think has, more than any other, tended to produce this confidence in the law, is the different system which now prevails with regard to the challenging of juries. I look upon that as a circumstance which has, more than any other, created this confidence in the Executive Government. Has the value of property increased or diminished? Increased very much.I will not trouble the House with more evidence on this point. I will only say, that the evidence of the witnesses, and the statistical evidence as to the amount of crime will be found by any Gentleman who takes the trouble to search for them, produced before the Lords' committee in 1839—a committee which was appointed for the purpose of showing that, under Lord Normanby's administration, crime had increased, and the security of life diminished, but which ended in proving by the evidence—for there was no report—that crime had diminished, that security 702 of life had increased, and that the increased security of property was shown by this most conclusive test, that five years' more purchase was given for land in 1839 than had been given for seven years before. In that state, with respect to these subjects, we left the Government of Ireland. With respect to the administration of Ireland, Let me remind you, we obtained the concurrence of the House in a vote of approbation of the Administration of Lord Normanby. With respect to legislation the case was far different. The Lords rejected both the appropriation clause, which we proposed to add to the Tithe Bill, and which would have been a settlement of the question for years, and the bill respecting the Municipal franchise of Ireland, which we asked for on the same principles as those of the law of England, and I think the people of Ireland had good reason to complain. Yet that people seemed to feel it better for Ireland to have a Government favourable to the great majority in the principles of its administration, than a Government which was not favourable, and which would administer the laws accordingly, though it might be powerful in Parliament. But be that as it may, in 1841 the right hon. Gentleman opposite had Ireland delivered over to him in a state of political tranquillity. I do not say—for I have no wish to exaggerate—that the evils which had been accumulating for a century were dispelled by five or six years of a different administration, but the temper of the people was improved. They had greater confidence in the administration of the law, and if that confidence had been fully confirmed, I should have expected a great and sensible increase of material wealth. This appeared from the rise in the price of land. It would have appeared still more, because when there was no longer any danger that persons who felt themselves injured would attempt to redress private wrongs in their own persons, but would appeal to the law for a remedy, men of property would have sent their capital and would have gone themselves to Ireland, as they would go to any country where the law maintains its due authority, where the rights of property are respected, and where those general advantages are shared, which are possessed by this country. But it was not destined to be so. I was alarmed at first at what might be the consequences of putting power into the hands of persons who had been vehement in their denunciations of the Irish, and more especially of 703 the Irish Catholics. I was glad—I was more than glad—of the symptom which appeared in the appointment of a noble Lord (Lord Elliot), who had disagreed from the Gentlemen opposite on some portions of their Irish policy. That appointment seemed to present some gleam of hope that things would not be so ill managed as might have been apprehended. The noble Lord had declared his intentions to be in favour of impartiality—of not showing peculiar favour to one party to the prejudice of the other. That declaration he made to his constituents. For my part, I contributed what I could to the statement of the favourable treatment which the Irish had to expect. I said only a few words at the commencement of the new Ministry, and those were in favour of the appointment which had been made; and it was not until last year that I thought it necessary to interfere in any way with the administration carried on by the Gentlemen opposite. My belief was—and I state it now, after all that has passed—that notwithstanding the monstrous injustice and the flagrant wrongs that had been done, the Irish would have better consulted their own interests if they had remained in tranquillity until, by their gradual increase and strength, they could make such an impression upon the Government and Parliament of this country as would be irresistible in favour of justice. That has not been the case. Those who have more peculiarly the confidence of the Irish—the leaders of the Irish people—were indignant at the treatment their country received. They maintained with great ability with great labour, and with great activity, that the evils and the injustice under which Ireland suffered, were such, that no redress from an Imperial Parliament could be expected, and that no remedy would be effectual but a Repeal of the act of Union and again placing Ireland under a domestic Parliament. It was a matter of consideration for the Government how that cry was to be met. I should have said—I did say—that the way to meet it was to consider at once, either upon their own motion or upon the motion of the hon. Member for Limerick, what were the real evils of Ireland, to remedy those evils as far as possible; and, having done that, to stand with confidence upon the act of Union. The Government, however, did not do that. They stood upon the act of Union alone. They said, "we do not regard the spirit, we know we have the letter of the act of 704 Union in our favour—we have no more to do—we will make no concession "but will take a determined stand upon the ground on which we are now fixed." And what was the consequence? Immense meetings took place in Ireland, attended, according to the indictment which has lately been framed against the leaders, by between three and four millions of people. There may have been more, but not less than between three and four millions are believed to have attended at those meetings, asking for a Repeal of the Union, and coming to resolutions without reference to this House, without making any appeal to this House, that Repeal was a measure necessary for the welfare of Ireland. Was not this an alarming symptom? I say alarming, not with regard to the particular individuals who might be brought to justice, but was it not alarming, that a great portion of the people of Ireland should be discontented, and that more than forty years after the enactment of the Union their situation should appear to them so hopeless, that nothing but a Repeal of that Act could give them any chance of relief? But people made various speculations and formed different opinions as to what the conduct of the Government would be Some said that the meetings were clearly illegal, that they were accompanied with circumstances of illegality, and that the Government should at once issue a proclamation to prevent such meetings; other men said that such would be a very unwise course—that if the meetings were allowed to continue, the mere assemblage of numbers of people would produce no very considerable effect, and that the leaders would, in a short time, be compelled either to desist, or would be driven to some steps which would be clearly illegal, and then, that the Government could proceed against them. Such were the various opinions that prevailed. The Government, however, took neither one course nor the other. They dismissed some twenty or thirty magistrates in a most strange way. The Lord Chancellor of Ireland declared to certain gentlemen who were in the commission of the peace, that they could not continue to hold that commission because they professed Repeal opinions, and had attended Repeal meetings, and that after a declaration made by a Member of the house of Commons—which, as appeared last night, could only be known to the Chancellor by a breach of the privileges of this House—it was incumbent, it seems, on the magistracy to know of proceedings 705 with which they could be acquainted only by a breach of those privileges. The magistracy of Ireland were never informed that the Times, or the Morning Chronicle, or the Morning Herald were the official documents of the Legislature and the Government. They could not have dreamt of such an innovation upon its constitution; but still that was the law declared by the Lord Chancellor; and because the magistrates did not mind what they might find in the newspapers—that not being a formal communication by message, but a declaration by a Member of the House—and because they did not refrain from expressing an opinion contrary to his, he being a Minister of the Crown, they were deprived of the commission of the peace. This was a strange proceeding indeed; and as was to be expected it had not the effect of diminishing the numbers attending at the meetings, or the frequency with which they were held. It had only the effect of making some of them exceedingly angry, and depriving the people of those in whom they had confidence among the magistracy—thus restoring to the magisterial bench the odium and distrust which formerly attached to it. The meetings were allowed to continue from March till October, and suddenly—early one morning—the Lord-lieutenant and the Lord Chancellor landed at Kingstown, and the meetings, which had been till then undisturbed, were suddenly put down by proclamation, and a new course was suddenly resolved upon. Amidst the calm in which the meetings had been held arose an unexpected storm of proclamation. One remarkable circumstance attended the issuing of the proclamation. There had been a meeting held at Donnybrook, near Dublin. There was then to be another meeting held in the neighbourhood of Dublin. It was at a place called Clontarf. The announcement as to the holding of the Clontarf meeting was very general. Great preparations were made for it. There had been even a discussion in the Corporation as to whether persons going through the streets to the proposed meeting might not cause an interruption to Divine Service. All these things were said, were done, in preparation for the meeting; and yet no proclamation was issued, no intimation was given as to the illegality of the proposed meeting. But on a Saturday afternoon—yes, on a Saturday afternoon—the meeting being fixed for the Sunday morning, there appeared this proclama- 706 tion. I say, Sir, that those who issued that proclamation are solemnly responsible for the time at which they issued it. I do not say—I do not believe—I should be sorry to cast the imputation—that those who issued that proclamation did so, in the hope that there would be blood-shed at the Clontarf meeting. But this I do say, that they acted with a negligence and with a carelessness that showed that they did not set a sufficient value on the life and the blood of the people. They stationed troops at all the avenues to this meeting, they had them posted at all the places leading to it, and they had them in all the fields around it—what was to prevent the people coming up in crowds to the place of meeting, and, unaware of this proceeding on the part of the Privy Council of Ireland, from entering into a conflict with the troops—from some haphazard disturbances taking place between large masses of the multitude coming upon some five or ten of the soldiers, who might afterwards be aided by their comrades? What I ask, was there to prevent such an occurrence?—What but the exertions of Mr. O'Connell and his followers? Or what but their exertions in sending to every part of the adjoining country, for the purpose of preventing such a calamity? It was not the care of this protecting Government—it was not the care that the Queen's Lord Lieutenant showed as to the lives and persons of Her Majesty's subjects—it was the care of a few irresponsible individuals in sending round their friends, and proclaiming to the people, that they were not to meet at Clontarf; and it is said, that one of those individuals—one afterwards under prosecution—became a martyr to his exertions in the cause of peace, With regard, then, to these proceedings, it is necessary that this House should inquire. It is necessary to ascertain by inquiry, by a close and searching inquiry, how and why it was, that that which was public to all the world was not known to the Lord Lieutenant and his Privy Council until twenty-four hours before the time appointed for the meeting. I am not one of those who disapprove of prohibiting meetings which may be illegal, or which, by their multitudinous attendance, may end in forcible intimidation. I do not think that, if at the commencement of these proceedings—if, at the time that these large meetings were begun to be held, there had been a proclamation issued, setting forth that the Lord Lieutenant declared that the meet- 707 ing in such immense numbers, was dangerous to the public peace, and calling upon Mr. O'Connell, and the rest to refrain from holding such meetings: I do not think that such a proceeding would have been a wrong course to adopt; and I do not think that it would have been disobeyed by Mr. O'Connell. For, let the Government recollect, much as they may triumph in sending Mr. O'Connell to gaol—much as they may disapprove of the language which he has used of late, let them not forget that, on more than one occasion, Mr. O'Connell was the person to preach peace, and to dissuade others from violent conduct. When I held office, I was anxious about the course which Mr. O'Connell would pursue at the outbreak in Canada. That was an outbreak by Roman Catholics, and I was anxious to see the course that Mr. O'Connell would pursue on that occasion. Mr. O'Connell held up to odium the conduct of the insurgents in Canada, and he told the Roman Catholics, whose confidence he possessed, not to follow the example of the Canadians. I looked, too, with some anxiety to see what would be the course pursued by Mr. O'Connell when the Chartists, whose object was to overthrow the law by physical force, occasioned a necessity for the adoption of measures of precaution. I saw, that on that occasion Mr. O'Connell told the Irish people to abstain from all connection with the Chartists; because they sought to obtain their end by means of physical force. The use of physical force, he said, was not justifiable, and he dissuaded the Irish people from having any alliance or correspondence with the Chartists. There was another question, too, on which Mr. O'Connell took a prominent part, the question with regard to the trades unions. Mr. O'Connell, in oppostion to them, exposed himself, he exposed his popularity, and I believe, he exposed even his life, with a view of discouraging the movement of the trades unions. I say, Sir, these are things which a wise Government would take into its consideration: whether multitudes, over which Mr. O'Connell had an ascendency, whatever might be the language he held to them, yet, that when such a multitude were discontented, when it was obvious that there were so many grievances rankling in the minds of Irishmen—whether there was not some safety for a Government, that a person who headed that movement, should be a person who loved peace, and one who would dissuade the people by the strongest 708 language from having resort to physical force. After the meeting at Clontarf—I should have said, after the proclamation putting down the Clontarf meeting, singular as it was, the Government having taken no step till the last of the meetings—they might then, and with great propriety, have ceased and waited until Mr. O'Connell had proceeded to some step too dangerous to be left unpunished or unreproved. They however, took a different course, and thought it better to resort to a prosecution; and what was the prosecution for? It was instituted for acts done at all those meetings which they had allowed to pass—it was a prosecution for all deeds of which they had taken no notice when they occurred. It was a prosecution for articles in newspapers, which might have been proceeded against as seditious libels on the day they were published. It was a prosecution for acts, some of which dated nine months before the day the prosecution was ordered, and it appears that among the persons prosecuted was one who at a late period, along with others, had joined in meetings to which he might well have supposed, after the conduct of the Government, nothing illegal could have attached, and being a repealer in opinion, he might with safety join a proceeding which had the tacit sanction of Government. And in what way were they prosecuted? It was not for taking part in separate meetings, but it was a prosecution for a conspiracy—a species of prosecution which reminds one of nothing so much—I believe every one is reminded of it—a prosecution which reminds one of nothing so much as the prosecutions against Horne Tooke and Hardy, instituted at the commencement of the war of the French Revolution. The prosecutor brought together various acts, extending over a period of nine months—a course which Lord Erskine, in his celebrated speech, so much objected to—they brought forward a whole series of acts for nine months, to prove that there was a conspiracy to obtain an illegal end, and to reach it by illegal means; yet what were these means? Meetings that had been so long left unreproved and unrebuked. I have read with great attention the able, and, I may say, the temperate, speech of the Attorney-general; and I have read also the able and the temperate speech of the Solicitor-general, and the able, but by no means the temperate charge of the Chief Justice, and I own it appears to me, that one point is not made out from any one of them. Either the meetings 709 were legal and innocent, or the meetings were illegal and criminal. If they were legal and innocent, how can many legal and innocent meetings form a crime? or if they were illegal and criminal, why, for nine months, were they allowed to pass unreproved? Why was not the extreme power of the law put in force? It was not, surely, that you were under the expectation that the meetings would cease. It was not, surely, that Mr. O'Connell, having declared that Repeal was his object, would desist from his exertions to procure it. Some say that the meaning of this apathy was, that you had not force sufficient to enable you to suppress those meetings. It is impossible to believe that such can be the reason. It is impossible to believe that you would seek to entrap men, that you would have the cruelty to let them form the opinion that they were doing what was corrrct, that you would let them thus go on, to answer your own purposes, and at last sweep them all into one net for the sake of a certain criminal conviction, for acts which you yourselves had left so long unnoticed and unpunished. These are, then, grave questions—questions on which we are entitled to examine the conduct of the Government. There is something more than this—the indictment is for a conspiracy; and though I do not profess to have any knowledge of the law, yet it is impossible for me, or for any one who has read the various speeches made on the one side and the other, not to make out something of this law of conspiracy. It seems that the law of conspiracy is not the ancient law of the land. According to the Chief Justice, it appears that it means, not what conspiracy meant according to the ancient law, and that the ancient law has been altered, not by statute, but by decisions of the Courts of Law. It is what Mr. Bentham called judge-made law. According to the statement of the Chief Justice, it is this—but I shall not detain the House by reading the extract. It is in substance, that in Hawkins's Pleas of the Crown, it was stated in the notes to the last edition, that the law of conspiracy is carried much farther than it used to be, by modern decisions, and it was stated by Lord Ellenborough that it had been carried quite far enough. It is therefore not the ancient law of the land. It is not statute law. It depends upon the decision of the Judges, and it seems to me that the greatest caution should be used, lest such a law should be strained for the oppression of the 710 subject. Occasionally it is difficult to distinguish between meetings for the discussion of political subjects, for the fair discussion of any grievances under which the people labour, and those that may be styled conspiracies. According to the doctrine laid down there might be a prosecution against any persons belonging to an association on a charge of conspiracy. Take the Anti-Corn-law League. I would suppose, there being a scarcity, and there being an assembly of the people, which might become riotous, and if the event proved so, I could consider it quite fair that they should be indicted for a riot and seditious language; but then to say that there should be an indictment for a conspiracy brought against Lord Westminster and Mr. Jones Loyd, because they belonged to the League, as partners in the conspiracy! and yet, according to the statement of the law, as laid down in Ireland, I see nothing to prevent the law officers of the Crown, or a Government hostile to the League, instituting such a prosecution; or if the Government happened to be the other way, I do not see why they might not indict the agricultural meetings. But then what is the security against such proceedings being instituted? After what has been laid down so solemnly by the Judges, I will readily admit, with great humility, not only that this which they have laid down is the law, but that it may be necessary for a Government, in certain cases, to indict persons for a conspiracy, as well as to indict them—which the present Government has not done—for being present at illegal meetings. But observe the difference. The presence of a party at an illegal meeting, and the language used there, are merely a single point which may be ascertained by evidence, ay or no, and the jury may come to a clear decision upon it; but in the charge of conspiracy everything is involved and intricate—everything is mixed up—the law and the facts are at such a distance from each other, that it requires the utmost clearness of understanding, and the utmost integrity of heart, to enable a person to arrive at a sound and proper judgment. It is obvious that such a law may be made an instrument of great oppression. There is but one remedy for it—it is that which was found in the case of Hardy and Horne Tooke. The remedy is in the fair and impartial trial by jury. In this country we need not fear such prosecutions. I put the supposed case of a person for a fair exercise of fair discussion being brought to trial 711 here for a conspiracy; why is it that he has no reason to fear any Government, however arbitrary? Because the barrier of a jury stands between him and tyranny. Because that barrier—a jury of fair and impartial men—will protect the subjects of this realm—will protect Englishmen in the exercise of their rights. It will act as their shield—as their protection against an indictment for conspiracy. Is there such a protection in Ireland? I come back to that of which I have already spoken—the statement of Sir Michael O'Loghlin, that it was the practice since the Union to strike off all Catholics, to "put by" Roman Catholics and Liberal Protestants from a jury. I beg to recall to your mind the general distrust to the administration of justice which was engendered by such a partial proceeding, and I now ask the House to see what has just taken place in Ireland. An accident, it seems, occurred in the making out of the list of jurors. According to an affidavit, it occurred in the Recorder's office; and instead of the general list of jurors that ought to have been made out, there was a list from which sixty names had been omitted. [Mr. Shaw: It was not stated on affidavit that sixty names had been omitted.] It is not stated on an affidavit it is true. I see it so stated in the challenge to the array. This is said by one of the traversers:But the said John O'Connell says, that the said Recorder did not, as by said statuteable enactments is directed, cause to be made out from said several last-mentioned lists one general list containing the names of all persons whose qualifications had been so allowed, arranged according to rank and property, nor did the said Recorder thereupon, or at all, deliver such general list containing such names to the clerk of the peace, to be fairly copied by said clerk of the peace in the same order as by the said statuteable enactments is directed, but, on the contrary thereof, neglected so to do; and the said John O'Connell further says that a certain paper writing, purporting to be a general list purporting to be made out from such several lists so corrected, allowed and signed as aforesaid, was illegally and fraudulently made out for the purpose and with intent of prejudicing the said John O'Connell in this cause by some person or persons unknown; and the said John O'Connell says that the said list, purporting to be such general list as aforesaid, did not contain the names of all the persons whose qualification had been allowed upon the correcting, allowing, and signing of said lists as aforesaid, by the said Recorder, but omitted the names of divers, to wit sixty, persons whose qualification respectively to be on said list had been so allowed, 712 as aforesaid, by said Recorder, which said several persons whose names were so omitted are as follows.That was the allegation on the challenge to the array, and the right hon. Gentleman has contradicted me as to a fact, which was technically admitted by the Attorney-general and the law officers, by the demurrer the Attorney-general put in. I shall be glad to find that sixty persons were not omitted. It is stated by this that some sixty persons were omitted, and it is stated by Mr. O'Connell that thirty-five out of those sixty were Roman Catholics, that is a greater proportion than is to be found in the original list, or as it was finally made out. It is stated therein, in the legal manner I suppose, that it was done fraudulently; but I am not aware that any person is charged with fraud. I will suppose that it was done quite innocently, and without any bad intention. But supposing there was that imperfection, then I think it should have been the care of the Government law officers, and of the Government itself, that they should gain no advantage by it. It did so happen, then, that of the forty-eight names that had been chosen, there were only ten of those persons that were Roman Catholics, and it happened that it having been the former custom always to leave out Roman Catholics and liberal Protestants, that those ten Roman Catholics and two Protestants were struck out by the solicitor of the Crown. It does, Sir, appear to me that such a fact of itself deprives the whole of those proceedings of any weight or value. I can understand, if the object had been to obtain a jury to convict—if it had been the practice of some violent partizan adopted for the purpose of sustaining his own views and obtaining a jury to suit his purpose—I could then, and in such a case, understand such a course being taken. It is of such a course that Mr. Kemmis gave this testimony in the year 1832:—In consequence of some of the lists in your district not being properly made, the sheriff selects whom he thinks fit to put upon the jury?—That is so. Is not that packing a jury?—No; I cannot call it packing a jury. Packing a jury is a different thing. It is putting a jury to acquit or convict.If, then, the object here had been to put a jury into the box to acquit or to convict, I could understand the course adopted: the Crown could not so mean to pervert justice; yet where there are ten Roman Catholics out of forty-eight, and the Crown proceeds 713 to try men, the majority of whom, were Roman Catholics, and then the Crown strikes out every Roman Catholic on that list, it will no less follow that the people of Ireland will think that the jury was made and packed for the purpose of a conviction, and that those accused have not had a fair and impartial jury. I could understand the objection that might have been made if those persons, whether Protestants or Roman Catholics, had contributed to the funds of the Association. This might be a proper objection to them. It might be said, "It is not because you are a Roman Catholic you are to be left on a jury: your being so, does not entitle you more than any other man to be there." But, then with regard to two of those persons who have been struck off, there is an affidavit that two of them, and there is the affidavit made by one of them, that he was not a member of the Repeal Association, and never had been a subscriber to its funds. If that, then, be so, I collect that these two were left out because they were Roman Catholics. If, then, these two were left out because they were Roman Catholics, the conclusion is that the other eight, whether subscribers or not to the Repeal funds, would have been equally omitted. The Crown, therefore, having obtained a jury, from which it took care that every gentleman of the Roman Catholic Religion should be excluded, proceeded with the trial. With regard to these proceedings, you must be familiar with them, and I have already stated that I did not mean to enter into a discussion of them. With respect to the conduct of the Attorney-general I have nothing to say, with the exception of the circumstance that has already been alluded to in this House; and I do so, not for the purpose of making an attack on him, but rather with reference to his conduct by others. In a court of justice, when the judges were just about to enter, when the whole majesty of justice surrounded them, he had so far lost his presence of mind and command of temper, as to send a challenge to another, provoking him to a breach of the peace. It was said by one Member of the Government that such conduct was excusable, because he was subjected to imputations; and what were these imputations? It was imputed that he was not to be considered so much as the counsel in the cause, but as a political party—that he felt that the Government, of which he was 714 the servant, was involved upon this occasion, and therefore he felt a peculiar interest in their success, and departed from the candid conduct which should be observed on that occasion. If such attacks afforded a sufficient excuse for the Attorney-general having acted so outrageously, I ask, is there to be no excuse for the Roman Catholics, who for year after year have been subjected to the grossest imputations, upon whom the most violent attacks of every kind have been made as Roman Catholics—whose priests have been called "demons," and who have found themselves denounced as "barbarians" and "New Zealanders?" Can you think the Irish Attorney-general excusable for his extreme loss of temper, and not be persuaded that some allowance should be made for the warmth and zeal of those who use language, going to the extreme of the fair bounds of discussion, if not beyond it, in resentment of such imputations? I have nothing further to remark concerning these trials. The traversers are now convicted. They are to receive the sentence of the law, and—there you stop. Your vigour ends there, and now let me ask you, what is the benefit you gain? How far do you advance in conciliating the affections of the Irish? What do you expect from these proceedings? Mr. O'Connell is a popular orator; he is a man who has forced the Government, and the Parliament of England, into the concession of the Catholic Emancipation Act. He is a man who has always been a triumphant speaker at popular meetings, and in every part of Ireland during the past year he has been an object of admiration to the people; but I doubt if Mr. O'Connell, convicted by a jury made for that purpose, and exclusively composed of Protestants, sent to a prison to suffer for the people of Ireland—possibly he losing his health, and suffering from his advanced age in a prison—I doubt whether his hold on the people of Ireland may not rather be strengthened than weakened; and if the suffering victim may not have still greater sway over the hearts of his countrymen, and be still more an object of love and reverence than even the triumphant leader. Let us, then, consider what is to be done with the future state of Ireland. Let us consider whether there is no measure—whether there is no course by which we may really unite the people of Ireland to the people of England. Let me observe, that how- 715 ever much we have now to do with the case of Ireland, that it is not merely for the sake of the people of Ireland we should do this, or that we should be careful in our proceedings, for the evil of the present state of things must be felt on every side. You ought to consider the present state of the finances, the expenditure in filling Ireland with military and maintaining garrisons there. You ought, too, to consider the effect of the present state of things on your foreign relations—the advantage which my noble Friend enjoyed when he spoke the sense of the United Kingdom, and felt that the Government was supported by the affections of the people, in addressing a foreign minister; and how different it is when the people are divided, and one portion of the population is governed by those who are hired and marshalled to restrain them. It is, therefore, plain that we ought on every account to endeavour to settle the affairs of Ireland. I say, in the first place, that we should take care, if you maintain the Union, that the people shall have all the benefits that were promised to them by the Address of this House, and which were sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Relief Bill of 1829. Let them, I say, in the first place have a pure and impartial administration of justice. Let us inform, by a Resolution of this House, the Minister of the Crown, that there shall be no partial, no sectarian administration of justice. If the House go into committee, the first resolution I shall propose will be on this subject. I next would endeavour to form the franchise agreeably to the wishes of the people of Ireland, and as much conformable to the law as it now prevails as possible. Hitherto there have been no forty shilling freeholders in Ireland. A freehold for life is considered a good freehold in England, why not give this to the people of Ireland? Make the franchise in Ireland as large and extensive as it is in England. Mr. O'Connell, in one of his addresses, says that the whole of the agricultural counties in Ireland have not more electors than the single county of York. There are obvious inequalities which you may correct if you are in earnest, and if you act with good faith. There can be no difficulty in governing Ireland, if you will not pursue a course of fraud and violence. If you do, there will be difficulty in your way. It will be difficult for you to conceal your fraud, it will be difficult for you to continue your violence. If you mean to do as Mr. Pitt promised in 1799, 716 and as other Members have since thought right, there will not be much difficulty on this part of the subject. As to the municipal franchise, I say there ought to be the same municipal franchise in Ireland as in England. These are things made the subject of complaint by Mr. O'Connell in the Repeal Association, in answer to the Address commenting upon the Queen's Speech. They are stated in the declaration of my hon. Friend, the Member for Waterford, and other Members of Parliament, at the close of the last Session; they were stated by the Duke of Leinster and Lord Charlemont—no demagogues, levellers, or agitators—in their petition to be presented to this House. All these authorities are agreed as to these grievances. It is, then, the bounden duty of this House to listen to these complaints. As long as this House professes to be the Grand Inquest of the nation, it is its duty to watch over the interests of the people, and enquire into their grievances, fairly and impartially. The next subject that I mean to touch upon is eligibility to office; and here again, by a Resolution, we ought to declare in the terms of the right hon. Gentleman, in his speech, in 1817, that, "exclusion, contrary to act of Parliament, is more galling to the people of Ireland than exclusion in conformity to act of Parliament." There are two courses to be pursued, by one of which Catholics are excluded, and the other by which they are admitted to office—not the emoluments of office merely, but that power and influence in the country, which are legitimate objects of honest ambition. If you had maintained the law as it formerly stood, you would have had this plea in your favour, that you acted with sincerity on your scruples, and maintained the inviolalibity of the law. But when you altered the law, and admitted the eligibility of Catholics, you did justice to the people of Ireland consistently, as you considered, with the security of the empire. Thus, instead of sincerity and prescription, you had justice and security. But if you do not act in accordance with the spirit of your altered law, you have neither the plea of sincerity, nor of the inviolability of the law, nor of security, nor of justice, in your favour. I come now to a subject very intimately connected with all the grievances of which Ireland complains; it is a subject upon which we have attempted to legislate, but in which we have not succeeded in satisfying the views of the people of Ireland; it 717 is one in which no just principle appears to me to be applied. I allude to the question of the ecclesiastical Establishment in Ireland. Under its present arrangement the Church Establishment in Ireland combines the disadvantages both of a Church Establishment, and of the Voluntary principle. It has been stated by writers who have contended against the principle of a Church Establishment, that it tends to raise one class in the State above others, placing men in invidious positions, thereby necessarily exciting jealousies and ill-will amongst them; whilst the regulations of the Establishment produce laziness amongst its ministers, and a separation of the salary from the duty. With regard to the Voluntary principle, it has been stated by Paley, Hume, and others, that an important evil attendant upon it is, that Ministers of religion depending upon their flocks for their support, are too apt to diverge from the strict and stern duty of ministers of religion, and join in the agitation of political matters, and to corrupt and pervert those religious tenets which do not coincide with the prevailing sentiments of their congregations. Now, in Ireland, the evils of both the systems described by the authorities I have referred to, will be found combined. We find, on the one hand, arising from it, great envy, great jealousies, in consequence of people feeling themselves excluded from advantages which are retained for a privileged class; and, as a necessary consequence of the great majority of the population being Roman Catholics, we find many well paid Protestant ministers with very inconsiderable congregations. These are evils described as attendant upon the principle of a Church Establishment. But if we come to the evils attributable to the Voluntary principle, we find them also in existence under the present law in Ireland. We find that the great body of the people of Ireland have their ministers supported entirely by the Voluntary principle; and the most deserving of them admit, that that position forces them into political discussions, in a way which true friends of religion would wish to avoid. I see it observed in a pamphlet commenting upon an article in a recent number of the Edinburgh Review, that it is highly desirable that the clergy of Ireland should be removed from the hustings and the platform, and from participation in political discussion, which can not but detract from the usefulness of their sacred calling. This is an admission from 718 a writer, who is against a Church Establishment in Ireland. If, therefore, we look at the rankling feeling of the people against the Established Church, which is raised above their heads, and the influence which they must necessarily have over the ministers of their own creed, who are supported by their voluntary contributions, it must be obvious, that the present system in Ireland combines the evils both of the principle of an Establishment, and of the Voluntary principle in one predominant evil. That this subject is one most difficult to deal with I will not deny. Yet I do not consider the Act of Union one of the main difficulties. It is true, the Church Establishment is one of the principal articles in the Act of Union. That Act was agreed to between the two countries, with the concurrence of the Parliament of Ireland, representing by law the people of Ireland. Yet without making any remarks upon the motives of the parties who were concerned in framing that Act, I certainly can see no reason why, if in framing it they introduced any provision which the people of Ireland did not concur in, those provisions might not now be altered to suit their views and circumstances. For my own part, I do not think you can remove the grievances which now press upon Ireland, unless on the one hand, by adopting the Voluntary principle, or on the other, by making an Establishment not for one, but for all religions which exist there. With respect to the Voluntary principle, I think that it is liable to insuperable objections. I do not think, in the first place, that it would promote the great object of establishing peace and harmony between various classes and denominations of people. Although the successors of the present Protestant clergy would lose their stipends by law, I do not think they would lose their zeal for the Protestant religion any more than is the case with the Catholic clergy now. I believe on the contrary, that the clergy of the two religions would contend more fiercely than they do now; and that is one main reason why I object to the Voluntary principle. Also I see no little danger in the proposition lately made by the hon. Member for Montrose. If the Voluntary principle were adopted in regard to Ireland, I do not see how we could long refuse an inquiry into the number of Dissenters in the United Kingdom, and the utility of the Church Establishment altogether. The system, therefore, which I should be disposed to adopt, would be one which would 719 put the Established Church, as regards the Roman Catholics and Protestants, and the Presbyterians of the north of Ireland, on a footing of perfect equality. I know the difficulty in the way of the immediate accomplishment of such a measure. I am aware that, in offering endowments to the Roman Catholic clergy, it might be looked upon in the light of offering them bribes to abandon the interests of their flocks, as regarded their civil rights. But if we begin by giving them these civil rights, and so conciliate the affections of the lay portion of the Roman Catholic population, I do not despair that, with their willing consent, we may be enabled to induce their clergy to form part of a general Church Establishment. For the present, however, the utmost that can be done would be a very remote step to this desirable end. I think, for instance, that an improvement should be made in the Ecclesiastical College of Maynooth. I think that at least double the sum which is at present allotted to that establishment should be bestowed upon it. I have in my hand a return of the salaries of the professors and officers of that College, and I think them miserably inadequate. The salary of the Principal is plainly and meanly insufficient. I think, also, that there ought to be more professors, and more means afforded by which a sound and liberal education could be obtained in the College. When I speak of a liberal education, in connection with the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, I do not mean in this to imply that I am of opinion that the clergy should be taken from a higher class of society, or belong to a different rank. I think there are great defects in the course of education now afforded to the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland; but it has been a maxim of the Roman Catholic Church, and I think it no unwise maxim for any Christian Church to adopt, that men, however lowly born, having sufficient attainments in religious doctrine and other branches of knowledge, are as capable of rising to eminence in the Church, into the highest posts among the bishops and clergy, as any man born in the highest ranks of society. All that can be done, however, in the present inferior state of the establishments for the education of the clergy, would be to give larger sums to promote the utility of these establishments, and to improve the facilities for the foundation of glebes and glebe houses. Such are the only means of improvement available at present; but I look forward to the time 720 when the present circumstances of irritation shall have passed away, and confidence in the Government pervade the minds of the people again, which will enable us to give exactly the same advantages to the Roman Catholics and Presbyterians of Ireland as are now enjoyed by the Protestants. At all events, I think that we ought to take away every thing derogatory to the position and character of the Roman Catholic bishops. You provide by statute that they shall not be allowed to style themselves by the name of the diocese over which they preside. I think that a most foolish prohibition. You declare that Doctor Murray shall not style himself the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin; but he is so, nevertheless, and a man of very high attainments and character, in the eyes of the people of Ireland. If there was any other restriction existing to prevent the participation of equal civil advantages by Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, and Protestants, they ought also at once to be taken away. There remain for consideration the arrangements necessary for extending the utility of the clergy of the Established Church; and upon this point I concur in the plan propounded, as it is said, by Dr. Whateley, the Archbishop of Dublin, for making it a Church of congregations, and not of parishes, as it is under the present system. We heard it stated last year, in tones of boasting, that in every place where there were only two Protestants, there was a Protestant minister endowed with a sufficiency, to attend to their spiritual wants; but surely there is no necessity where there are 3,000 or 5,000 Roman Catholics and only two Protestants for a parochial distribution in such a case. On the other hand, however, we heard also last year of the case of a parish where there were 1,000 Prostestants, over whom Lord de Grey appointed a minister at 100l. a year, at the same time not separating an ecclesiastical union in which the income was much larger and the congregation much less. But in that case, I say, the rule should have been just the reverse. Instead of taking away from the emoluments of the ministers of such a parish, you should increase them. I think the Protestant Church ought to be fully provided for, but at the same time I do not believe that anything like the amount at present allotted to it is necessary for the purpose. If you compare the amount allotted to the Irish Church with that allotted for the Church of Scotland, and in most continental countries, I think 721 you will say, that it is not necessary. In Ireland, about half a million of money will arise from accumulations of the Perpetuity Fund, available at any time for ecclesiastical purposes. There are also the acts passed some years ago, for the abolition of the vestry cess, and for regulating the purchase of church leases; if you add to these the deductions of 25 per cent on tithes, you will find the Church has lost about 300,000l. a-year since 1830. Now, how has this money been applied? Has it been given for the spiritual instruction or general education of the people? No; it has all gone in fact, if not in form, into the pockets of the Protestant landlords. I cannot think, therefore, if we have had no objection to diminish the property of the clergy to such an extent, that when a great religious and spiritual object is to be obtained, Parliament should hesitate to do what is necessary for the purpose. I come now to a subject upon which I need not detain the House long; but which, perhaps, is the most difficult subject connected with the affairs of Ireland which the House and the Government has to deal with: I allude to the disorders arising out of the state of the tenures in Ireland. It is very easy to object that fixity of the tenure would amount to a confiscation of all property of Ireland. Yet who can shut his eyes to the present evils? I hold in my hand a description by Mr. O'Connell of the present state of things in Ireland, resulting from the existing relations between landlords and tenants, and pointing out matters to which I think it behoves the House to look very seriously. Mr. O'Connell said, in one part of this address:The connection between landlord and tenant in Ireland, arranged as it has been by a long course of vicious legislation, wants that mutual confidence which is essential to the benefit of productive industry. The labouring population, unable to obtain employment, live habitually on the verge of extreme destitution. They must obtain land or they die. The issues of life and death are in the hands of the landlords. The massacres of the clearance system consign to a premature and most miserable grave hundreds of thousands of victims. They are wholesale murders, followed by the assassination, in detail, of the instruments of landlord rapacity. These crimes, on both sides, cry to Heaven for vengeance and redress—for a redress capable of giving to the landlord his just right to adequate rent, and to the tenant just protection for the produce of his labour and capital.722 A little further on he writes—The relation between landlord and tenant cannot subsist as it is in Ireland. It is a subject replete with the utmost difficulty. Its solution is filled with dangers. It would require the aid of the honest and feeling portion of Irish landlords to enable the honest and conscientious friends of Ireland to place the relations between landlord and tenant on a satisfactory footing to both.It is impossible to read these passages and not admit the general truth of the picture they present: and when we then recollect that this picture is drawn by Mr. O'Connell, the leader of the people, who seeks to point every argument as to the benefits to be derived from a Repeal of the Union, we cannot but think that the obstacles must be very powerful which force him to admit that the solution of the difficulty is one which must be fraught with great danger. I will not state an opinion as to what that solution ought to be. Her Majesty's Government has appointed a Commission to inquire and collect evidence relating to this subject. I doubt how far this inquiry may be necessary, seeing the abundant evidence which already has been produced before every committee, and in every inquiry and discussion that has been had on the subject of the affairs of Ireland. I see in a pamphlet entitled "A Cry from Ireland," narratives of the most heart-rending description, but as they may not have been ascertained to be true, I will not venture to repeat in this House; but which cannot all be mistaken, and which show that in the name of the law, and by the means which the law gives them, some landlords are exercising a fearful and dreadful power in Ireland. It would tend to the mitigation if not to the removal of these evils, if steps were taken to render the administration of justice more pure, and above all, more separate from the influence of the landlords. Upon this ground, therefore, I should wish to see a great extension, instead of a diminution of the system of stipendiary magistrates. I should wish also to see the law altered in every respect, where statutes passed since the Union have given power which may be perverted to such dangerous purposes as are here described. I should hope by these means, indirect as they are, that many of these acts of rapacity on the one hand, and of vengeance on the other, may be curbed and checked; but I do not say that I know any direct remedy that could now be applied to so great, so extensive, and so long pre- 723 vailing an evil. It is more than half a century since a state of outrage and calamity so general as prevails now in Ireland, existed there. Let no one think by a single Act of Parliament to eradicate all the evil consequences naturally flowing from a long course of mis-government. Having now detained the House at such length, I will not go into further detail as to the various complaints and grievances which, if the House gives me the committee I ask for, it will be necessary to take into consideration, and which it will be necessary for Parliament to legislate upon before it can hope to remove the disorders which are now complained of in that country. I wish, however, to state to you the sentiments of a great statesman, speaking after the Union with Ireland had been carried, as to the spirit in which the government of that country should thereafter be administered, and the warning and advice contained in which remarks are but too applicable to the present state of things. In answer to the allegation that the Irish were disaffected to this country, and that a law was necessary to repress treason, Mr. Fox uttered these words:—If it be true, as they allege, that treason has tainted the people to the bone—if the poison of Jacobinism, as they call it, pervade the whole mind of the multitude—if disloyalty be so rooted and so universal that military despotism can alone make the country habitable, it would be against the experience of the world that such a wide and deadly disaffection could, or ever did, exist in any nation on the globe, except from the faults of its governors. To this country too—to England, what a contradiction in the conduct of these hon. gentlemen to their professions! This nation was to reap marvellous blessings from the Union, but of what benefit is the junction of four or five millions of traitors? Such, the laws proposed by these honourable gentlemen tell you, the Irish are; but such I tell you they are not. A grosser outrage upon truth, a greater libel upon a generous people, never before was uttered or insinuated. They who can find reason for all this, in any supposed depravity of the Irish, totally misunderstand their character. Sir, I love the Irish nation. I know much of Ireland from having seen it; I know more from private friendship with individuals. The Irish may have their faults, like others. They may have a quick feeling of injury, and not be very patient under it; but I do affirm, that, of all their characteristics, there is not one feeling more predominant in every class of the country, from the highest to the lowest order, than gratitude for benefactions, and sensibility to kindness. Change your system towards that country, and you 724 will find them another sort of men. Let impartiality, justice, and clemency take place of prejudice, oppression, and vengeance, and you will not want the aid of martial law, or the aid of military execution.Such were the sentiments of Mr. Fox. Such was his advice to the Commons of this country. Let us hope that this advice may not be lost. He has long been in the grave: he lies interred in that receptacle near us, where the remains of the greatest men of all ages have been consigned—At non in parvâ manes jacuere favillâ, Nec cinis exiguus tantam compescuit umbram,The words of Mr. Fox must remain to all time to animate all those who attempt to speak in this House in behalf of the oppressed of whatever class or nation; but they will serve especially to animate those who speak in behalf of oppressed Irishmen, when they declare that such a man, loving Ireland as he did, knew only of one way to win the affections of its people. The House has now the opportunity—a late one certainly, but still sufficiently in time—when it may realise and carry into effect that which Mr. Fox said was the true policy which this country should adopt in regard to Ireland, after it had been united to us in legislative union. I will refer now to the statement of an author of great genius and celebrity, in respect to another country, in which great disorder and turbulence and unhappiness prevailed for a long period after it had been united by statute with this country. It is an observation made in regard to Scotland, by one of her sons who loved her well—I mean Sir Walter Scott,—it is related by Sir Walter Scott, that when George 3rd came to the Throne, the people of Scotland looked upon their young Sovereign, and expected under him all the harsh and rancorous policy which had occurred in the reigns of his predecessors. An officer having been proposed to him for a commission in His Majesty's army, it was reported to him that this gentleman had fought in behalf of the Pretender, in whose service he had signalised himself by many acts of valour and devotion. The King replied—"Has this gentleman really fought so well against me? Then believe me he will fight as well in my cause." On this speech being reported throughout the Highlands of Scotland, it produced an immediate and wonderful effect. The brave men of these northern regions still thought, as they had declared at every hazard, that the house of Stuart was the rightful claimant to the 725 Throne. Yet from that moment there was not one who would not lay down his life for a Sovereign who had thus opened his arms to receive them. We have now a Queen on the Throne of these realms, in the time of whose grandfather many acts of severity, of partiality, and of injustice were perpetrated; many deplorable scenes of civil conflict enacted in Ireland; martial law was established to repress revolt, and the people were agitated by many impracticable notions in opposition, as they considered, to the policy of their oppressors; and a rebellion burst out by which the whole state of society was thrown into the most lamentable disorganisation. The present Sovereign of these realms is young, as George the 3rd was when he came to the Throne. She is separated from the memory of all those calamities. Why should not the present Queen reign over the hearts of the Irish people? and however they may lean to Repeal of the Union as an abstraction—as the Highlanders entertained an abstract notion of the right of the Stuarts—the real practical benefits of equal rule and impartial justice, and the affection of Her Majesty for all her subjects, would unite them to her in indissoluble allegiance. What is it that prevents such a happy consummation? Not, I will undertake to say, the wishes of the Sovereign; for that Sovereign I have served, and a Sovereign more anxious for the benefit and happiness of all her people, it would be impossible for any Minister to serve. Never did I receive, when I was Secretary of State for the Home Department, any instructions from that Sovereign, but such as bespoke an equal regard for all her Irish subjects—for Protestants, for Catholics, and for Presbyterians. What is it then, again I ask, that stands between Ireland and such a desirable consummation as that which took place in regard to Scotland many years ago, and under the effect of which, that country has become a happy and prosperous brother of England? Will this House stand between Ireland and her happiness? If the House do so decide, it will indeed be taking a serious responsibility upon itself. The effect of that resolution will be to expose the country for many years to the evils of an arbitrary and precarious dominion over Ireland, and of diminished powers and influence as regards foreign nations; but if, on the other hand, rising above such prejudices as have too long had influence in the direction of these matters, you firmly desire to give practical efficacy to the Union between the two 726 countries, and to knit together the hearts of Her Majesty's subjects, and throwing aside the terrors of military array, and all the intricacies and quibbles of prosecutions, relying only on your own hearts and theirs, you will give the people of Ireland the glorious inheritance of English freedom—I will venture to say that in the experience of that policy the hopes of this House will not be disappointed.
§ Mr. Wyse
I rise to second the motion of the noble Lord. Under ordinary circumstances, I should have felt how unequal I was to do justice to the many important bearings of the question now before the House, after the speech of the noble Lord,—at once so wise and so eloquent—so energetic, and so comprehensive—with his usual sagacity, searching the present and the past, and from both, educing the soundest policy for the future—so far from feeling this sense of my incapacity diminished, I regret to find it considerably augmented. But there is enough in the question itself, to make me forget even this consideration; it is a duty to perform—a sacred duty—at a period unexampled in the history of the country. At what period have existed greater necessities for prompt, thorough, conclusive legislation? When have there been mightier parties, greater contrasts, more astounding anomalies in conflict, than in our present position? If a stranger who had witnessed the passing of the Relief Act in 1829, were again to visit in the present year our shores, could he, by any ordinary rule of historic experience, or state policy, explain or comprehend it? I, in common with others of my fellow Catholics, assisted at that great event—for great in every sense it was—both in reference to past and future;—I thought I saw in it—and not unnaturally—atonement late, but still at last, for former wrongs and follies, recognition, forced it might have been, but still ample, of the utter inefficiency and cruel absurdity of the penal code;—I thought I saw in it something even more than this; not recognition only, but repentance—and not repentance only—but amendment;—I looked from the past to the future;—I considered it, far from being a final remedy, but as the first of a series of remedies, for the recovery of one country, and the welfare and security of both;—not indeed, good government established, but an obstacle to the establishment of good government removed; abjuration no doubt of error, but what I valued 727 much more, the firm resolve of all parties to join in removing, one by one, to the very last stone, that bad work of oppression and misrule at the construction of which, they and their predecessors had so long laboured in vain. Was I unwarranted in these expectations? Could any man, at all sensible of the lessons of history, the dictates of common sense, the very scenes passing before him, have judged otherwise? If such were not the convictions and feelings and purposes of the actors what folly it must have been on their parts to have moved at all! I saw a Minister of the Crown in his place in Parliament, in the teeth of his invincible resolves of the preceding year, solemnly admitting that the time had at length most fully come when resistance could no longer be maintained, except at the hazard of civil war, boasting of large sacrifices of personal feelings and friendships to the public good, uttering ardent aspirations to Heaven, that it would "knit together all hearts in the bonds of brotherly love and affection," and pointing with a lofty hope to the future, as to a new era of equality, fraternity, and prosperity, of which he took to himself the glory of having been the founder. I saw the Parliament receiving this recantation and prophecy with approbation, almost with acclamation, and even the most reluctant at length bowing to a necessity they could no longer prevent or control. Out-of-doors, the prospect was still more encouraging. No opposition, no triumph. The Protestants acquiesced; the Catholics received the boon with open hearts and arms. They shewed none of the excesses of the manumitted slave: they resumed their rights without one word of recrimination on those who had so long withheld them. No memorial to commemorate, no banquet to celebrate, no medal, no arch of triumph, no illuminations. I myself joined with my fellow-labourers to dissolve the Association before the act arrived; to prohibit every expression of exultation, lest it might give the slightest offence, even to the bitterest of our opponents. Differences of religion were forgotten, identity of country only remembered. A generous amnesty was proclaimed, and for the first time in our history (1782, was the triumph of a portion, 1793, only a half toleration) was the entire people allowed to join heart and hand for the people's good. Never yet opened on any country, better or brighter hopes of thorough regeneration. Nothing seemed necessary, but to carry out what 728 had been so well begun, and for this, nothing more was requisite than what any Government, who think it worth their while to stir at all, must be supposed to possess—common generosity, and common understanding. We are now in the year 1844, fifteen years have passed away, a period long enough, it might be thought, to have tested both measures and men. Fifteen years have now passed away, and what do we behold around us? Any one of those bright, and natural anticipations, rendered a reality? Any one of those pledges thoroughly redeemed? The Emancipation Act a fact or a falsehood? The Catholic and Protestant completely equal? Concord restored, peace universal, prosperity in steady and continuous advance? Look to the history of the last few months, nay weeks; there shall we find our answer. What does it present? The bonds of society broken: the nation separated into hostile armies: sectarian dissensions, civil contentions, international hates, fears of rulers, indignation of subjects, these are the chief features of that fatal history. By the Act of Union, Ireland was to be made one country with England, "bone of her bone, flesh of her flesh:"—millions of Irishmen have risen up, as one man, to protest against it. By the Emancipation Act, religious equality and peace was to be for ever established: nearly 400 Catholic meetings have just been held to protest against the wrong and insult which have been lately offered to their body (four-fifths of the nation) by the Government, in striking off all the Catholic jurors from a jury destined to try Catholics, and in the issue of whose verdict scarcely a Catholic heart in Ireland but was most deeply interested. Equal laws were to be indifferently administered to all: the law of the rich was to be the law of the poor, the law of the Englishman was to be the law of the Irishman, the law of the Protestant was to be the law of the Catholic: Has this been done? Has the promise been kept? What do we hear on every side? Complaints long and loud, and what is worse, just—of franchises curtailed, justice tampered with, privileges but half given, and those which have been given rendered abortive and ineffectual in operation. Eligibility was to have become election: Catholics were not only to be admissible, but to be admitted to offices of trust and emolument. Where are they to be found? not only are they excluded, but their most marked opponents are promoted in their places. Po- 729 verty was to be exercised with religious dissension from the land: it has returned with seven devils in its train, worse than itself. Every good has been turned to evil, every intention has been distorted or neutralised in execution: names indeed have been somewhat changed, but Ireland is still in great measure the Ireland that she always was. Despite of Union Acts, despite of Emancipation Acts, despite of Reform, Municipal, and Poor Relief Acts,—despite of every legislative remedy yet applied, Ireland is yet to be reclaimed:—not by law, but by force, by the grace of bayonets and artillery, and not by the bond of men's hearts (the only sure and lasting guarantee for the connection) you hold that land. It is to-day, as it has been for centuries, a mere garrison government.—You encamp on the soil, but you do not rule the mind of its people. This is the Ireland of 1844. What is it better than the Ireland of 1829? Has the Emancipation Act yet been passed, or turned out, as has so often been said of the Reform Act (perhaps on similar grounds) a complete failure? It is on your Statute Book, but I do not see it yet in your practice. It is not indeed dead, but if we regard its action, it assuredly sleepeth. If it fails, it is because they who ought to be its zealous executors, will not allow it to succeed. Our condition is an enigma, an anomaly, but the solution is to be found opposite. On those Benches sit the men who first introduced the measure: on those Benches sit the men who were and are entrusted with its administration. If it has failed, they, not Ireland, are accountable for its failure. And yet they seem amazed at effects which they themselves have produced. The act has not been carried, but with reluctance, beyond the Statute Book. Not how much ought to be given, but how much could safely be refused, has been the question. And yet they are astonished. They would govern by contradictions, and wonder that all is complicate: they would repeal in act what they give in words, and wonder that all is not tranquillity: they would degrade Ireland to an inferiority to England and wonder that there is no real union; they would degrade Catholics to an inferiority to Protestants, and yet wonder Catholics should complain that the Emancipation Act has not yet become a reality. But the real wonder is their own fashion of governing. To me, I confess, it is utterly incomprehensible. I know of only two rational modes of governing any country: by fear, or by love,—by 730 force, or by justice. Either of these are quite intelligible their means are different, but so also are their objects; the ends at all events are clear, and the means are adapted to and equal to their accomplishment. But the third mode which is neither of these, and affects to combine both; which is gentle when it should be strong, and strong when it should be gentle; which pretends to command affection, and attempts to terrify into attachment, which imagines, by the cheap artifice of words and promises unaccompanied by acts, to seduce, when it fails to alarm a country into obedience: this forcible-feeble policy appears to me a complete solecism from beginning to end, it has the vices of both and the virtues of neither, and is just that mode of government which is sure to render the governed discontented, and the government sooner or later contemned and ineffectual. A despotism I can understand. I can comprehend a policy like that of Russia, in regard to Poland. It pretends to nothing but annihilation, and adapts its instruments to its purpose. Down comes an Ukase, and sweeps away representation; it is followed by another which extinguishes the press: a third perverts education: a fourth prohibits the national language, and the national religion: and a fifth transports the inhabitants, and seeks to obliterate nationality itself. It does not even affect moderation. It kneads, breaks, crushes together: it is not participation, but subjugation, which it aims at; not union, but absorption. I can understand this, and I can also understand attempts at a similar process, from time to time, in Ireland. I can understand the policy of the Norman invader, attempting to push his English encampment into the heart of the Irishry, granting English law, English customs, English alliance, to those aliens in blood—aliens in language, though not yet aliens in religion, with whom he was surrounded—as a favour. I can understand Elizabeth, adding this instrument of subjugation rather than concession to those which had preceded, and not only insisting on Anglicising Ireland, as we now insist on uniting it, by force, but as the only mode of Anglicising it effectually, on Protestantising it also: I can understand James confiscating by wholesale, that he might plant by wholesale, and reckless of the habits or feelings of the natives, instead of winning Ireland to England by the mild influence of English laws, forcing England on Ireland, by the rude substitution of English proprietors. I can 731 understand Cromwell, disdainful of the slowness of these peace proceedings, revolutionising not by the pen, but by the sword, and hopeless or careless of incorporating, recurring at once to extermination. He deprived the Irish as far as he could of Ireland, by driving the wretched remnant of the nation beyond the Shannon, into the wilds and wastes of Connaught, as his Saxon fathers had driven the Britons into Wales and Britany, thus making, as he hoped, by the extinction of one people, place for a second. All this is obvious, it requires no explanation it is straight marching to a well-defined object. The purpose is seen, and how it was attainable. What followed, was equally creditable to the same savage, plain-spoken policy. William's wars were nothing more than a struggle between the old and new possessors of land, and the power and privileges which land confers, between the ancient proprietors and the new adventurers of James, Cromwell, and William, in which, with England at their back, the latter naturally succeeded. And all after-history is, under different forms, only a repetition of this. Protestant religion, English connexion, British constitution, are but so many various ways of saying the same thing—land and power for us; exclusion, poverty, weakness, for our enemies. Protestant ascendancy was made chief gaoler of the Irish people, and was protected by England, for its anti-national services. For it, and its abettors, the whole Penal code was constructed and maintained. The muscle was to be enervated, the mind was to be extinguished, of the great mass of the Irish people, that these new masters, and their masters over them, might reign in peace, over slaves. For such an end—no very glorious one, certainly, but still, as I said, intelligible—was this atrocious code well adapted. It was to make Ireland the bondsman of an oligarchy, and to make the oligarchy, as price for the privilege of this domestic tyranny, the bondsman (turbulent it is true, but still crouching and subservient) of England. Henceforward a party was substituted for the nation—the governors were everything, the governed nothing. Men spoke of their country, and in every thing their country was left out. This was the government of fear, and force. I said it was intelligible. It had at least that merit, but had it any other? Had it, even in reference to the end which it proposed, the only merit for which such a system was worth anything, the merit of success? 732 I do not ask what was its morality, or its happiness, or its prosperity. These were considerations which never entered into the contemplation of its constructors: I do not ask how far it went to benefit the great body of the people. For them I have already said, it was not intended. But I do ask, what was its soundness, where was its security? where were its conquests, its glories, its rewards, how far did it benefit the governors, even at the expense of the governed? what gained the oppressor, as a last result, beyond the oppressed? This odious, this Tartar policy, by a righteous dispensation of Providence, was a failure—a succession of failures; it was attempt, and defeat, throughout. Had it, in any one stage, been thoroughly carried out, it might have answered its end. If the invasion, conversion, extermination, confiscation,—if any one of these projects had been complete—there would have been, doubtless, much evil; but this evil might have, perhaps, been followed by some good. But everything was done by halves—men and circumstances revolted against it. The Norman instead of conquering, was conquered. In vain, year after year, the Irish enemy (as the records of Irish corporations testify) was solemnly expelled from the towns; they as constantly returned, and finally absorbed their invaders. The English Baron changed his name, and became more Irish than the Irish. Elizabeth established a ritual instead of a faith; an establishment instead of a religion. Her Common Prayer had to be translated into Latin, to win the prejudices of the people, though the Mass had been abolished in England, because amongst other reasons, it was in Latin; and yet the Protestant Church of Ireland remained one vast sinecure;—teachers without scholars—shepherds without flocks. Read Boulter, you will there see the ignorance of the clergy could only be equalled by their indolence and immorality. They were hardly, in their lives, Christians:—the people, as it might have been anticipated, remained Catholics. Cromwell drove the Irish into Connaught,—Connaught restored them after his death back to Ireland. Half the Catholic property of my neighbourhood is held by the surest of all titles, the confiscating patents of Cromwell's soldiers. Even the plantation of James prepared for the wars of Charles, as the wars of Charles by puritanical emigrations, and hostile accessions from the refugees from England, led to the outrages of Cromwell, and all the fatal, and 733 profitless disasters which followed. The conquest of William left nothing but a fortress government, in the midst of an enemy's country. Even the penal code, as a permanent defence, was itself defective. It involved conditions, which must have proved fatal, even to its administrators. With all its bad perfection, it did not go far enough, for the foolish wickedness of its authors. It had flaws. It did not annihilate—it did not incorporate—it did not reconcile—it did not convert. It impoverished the people, but with the people, it impoverished those also who had to live on the people. The Catholic was prohibited from holding leases of land: with what spirit could the serf cultivate it? He could not make money at home, he sought and made it abroad, and returned with it. Excluded from all opportunities of expence, he was like the Jew forced to accumulate—he accumulated. The Protestant master, in the mean time spent; his position forced him to prodigality. He soon wished to sell—he soon was compelled to sell; but there were few purchasers in the market. A relaxation in the strict provisions of the code became necessary—not for the benefit of the Catholic tenant, but of the Protestant landlord; the leasing laws were remodelled;—not for the advantage of the Catholic purchaser, but the Protestant seller (competition raises value) the Catholics were allowed to purchase property. But in the removal of one stone, they rendered certain the removal of the whole. The first acre of land a Catholic was allowed to make his own, virtually secured every other right and privilege which has since followed. On that day was virtually passed the Emancipation Act. With leases came the franchise, again for the advantage of the Protestant landlord and not of the Catholic tenant. The tenant was allowed to vote, but not for himself, but for his landlord: instruments they had been; it was never intended they should be any other than instruments. But with wealth, came education (they smuggled it, they travelled for it)—and with both, power, and with power discontent at oppression, and with discontent, the determination and means, sooner or latter to get rid of it. They were associated with all the burthens, and defrauded of all the benefits of the State; that State a free State; creating the desire contributing in its own despite the means of sooner or latter acquiring them. Not one single law which might not be shewn, equally with those to which I have just alluded to 734 be a source of misery, wretchedness, debasement, and humiliation as well to the oppressor as to the oppressed. Such are the eternal laws of God; no man can exercise tyranny over his fellow man with impunity; at the very time he thinks himself most successful in crushing his slave, he is most the victim of his own tyranny. After all his base truckling to England—after all the large price of national dignity, power, and prosperity, which he had paid for this patent of doing wrong, the Protestant, in the height, as he believed it, of his power, found himself compelled to prepare the destruction of that very edifice, at which he had so long laboured. The concessions of 1776, which raised the Catholic from villainage, were as a matter no longer of choice, followed by those of 1793 which half emancipated him. But who for a moment could suppose, that he, or indeed mankind and events could stop here: they did not. Then as now, in 1776, in 1793, in 1829, there were men who cried out "that concession had reached its utmost limits," then as now, there were men who clamoured "conspiracy," but then as now they created that very necessity which they wished to prevent, then as now they drew tighter that very confederation which they hoped to have for ever scattered. By their sagacious delays, their reluctant concessions, they gave the power, but did not extinguish the desire to obtain ample and complete justice. They forced the people on themselves. The Catholic Association was founded. A fatal precedent was established far more perilous than the largest of the franchises, which had been so pertinaciously refused. They created, by refusing to incorporate the people into the State, a State outside of the State, a law which was not the law, and a constitution which under the most legitimate forms, was destined to break through the Constitution. They raised a power, above and beyond the power of the Government, which wielded souls as well as bodies, and perfected an organization, such as I believe never yet existed in any country and which I am quite sure, never could exist for any long period without crumbling in pieces all its institutions. But this occurred not suddenly or by chance. It required many a long and severe lesson, before the people became fully sensible of their rights or the means by which they were attainable. In 1776, the people could not be induced to join in the simplest, the most humble demands. There exist papers addressed to some of the 735 principal Catholics of that day, by which it appears, that it was with the utmost difficulty even those gentlemen could be induced to petition at all. The great mass of the population lay altogether dead or inert, they hardly seemed to know or feel they had wrongs. A few years after, those four or five leaders met together in a back room in Dublin to apply to Parliament for a redress of grievances, and if afterwards these four or five increased to numbers sufficient to fill a chapel, or cover a mountain's side, not to their own exertions only, but to the unwise policy of their rulers—to the constant stimulant of insult and of oppression—it must be attributed—they were spurned and they confederated; they were prosecuted and they flourished. Waterford broke the yoke of the Beresfords, Clare followed; not a county in the next election, but would have shewn itself a Clare or a Waterford. There was then as now, an Association, there were then as now, Monster Meetings, there was then as now, call it what you may, Conspiracy or Combination, the common sense of wrong, the common resolve to obtain rights, the unanimous action for a legitimate object, of seven eighths of the Irish people. Then as now, there was the same cry of impossibility of not yielding to clamour what had been refused to justice, down to the very eve of Emancipation. The strongest speeches perhaps ever made against it, were those of the preceding year. Yet Emancipation did pass, and pass too at the instance, and by the instrumentality not of its advocates, but of those very men who up to that hour, had been most opposed to it. Unhappily it passed too late, for all the good it was otherwise calculated to produce. It was given under the dread of civil war—avowedly with reluctance: not from conviction, still less from generosity; not given but extorted; a conquest and not a boon. It dissolved indeed the confederation but left behind the secret of how it might be re-combined. Had such a course been adopted with the Reform Act or Reform Agitation, where should we be now? This was the end of the government of force in Ireland or at least ought to have been the end, had the men who undertook to terminate it understood the nature of their task. Had they for a moment looked back or looked forward they would at once have seen, that it was impossible any longer to maintain it, and this once admitted there was no alternative, but to adopt a totally opposite policy in its place. Every page of 736 history taught this; it was a system most evil, even if it were practicable; most impracticable, even if it had conferred the greatest good. What were the gains at the end, of all? Concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few, consequently poverty and weakness for the many, disruption of the orders from each other, great luxury, great corruption, with great misery, great crime side by side; the separation of the nation from its governors; legislation, partizan factious, palliative weakness, and oppression combined; the people existing in want and hostility, anxious for alteration, prone to sedition, ready to rush at every opportunity into riot, if not revolt. Were these blessings? Certainly not. Would any country regardful of its safety have consented to prolong them if it could help it an hour? Certainly not. There are men who think Emancipation ought and could have been delayed. Ask the Duke of Wellington if he thinks so. Others, still more extravagant, think it ought and can be repealed. Repeal the Magna Charta! you can expunge a statute from your Statute Book, but it is the sword only which can hew their liberties from the hearts of a free people. The coercion system stood condemned—condemned by its own ruins—by its inefficiency, not less than by its wickedness. There remained only the course of justice, the course of equality and conciliation. Did you adopt it? During the short time in which the right hon. Baronet Sir Robert Peel, remained in office, from the passing of the Emancipation Act to the passing of the Reform Act, all parties were disposed to give him credit for the fairest intentions to carry out the new principles of Government, which with the new law, it was naturally presumed, he had also introduced. Perhaps the period was too short to justify any opinion one way or other. One thing, however, is tolerably certain, these intentions were unfortunately never developed. The gates of the constitution were thrown open, but as far as office was concerned, there were watchers placed beside them, to forbid the Catholic to pass. The people, indeed, did all they could to make it a reality; in the hands of the Government it remained a phantom. Not only none of the members of the late Association were promoted, but none of those who were opposed to, or unconnected with the Association. How could it be otherwise? The men in power were not the men, truly speaking, who had passed Emancipation, but the men who could not prevent Emancipation from 737 having been passed. Another Government succeeded to that of the right hon. Baronet; the Whigs came in, and with them, other maxims—another spirit—another policy. They ruled, not in opposition to, but in accordance with the intention as well as letter of the Emancipation Act. They sought to make it a truth. They had much to do to expel the bitter recollections of the past; to give the country a future; to win the people to their rulers; to persuade factions to an identity of feelings and interests. They had no magic spell, but that so obvious, and yet so little used—simple justice. They deserved and obtained the confidence of the people, by confiding in the people. The Catholic, admissible by law, was no longer excluded by Government. Crime was subdued by justice, tempered with, but not enfeebled by mercy. Property was taught that it had duties, as well as rights. The unpaid magistracy was checked in its partizanship by the Stipendiary. Great legislative measures were passed, embracing, not sections, but the whole people. The Reform Act, and the Municipal Act, restored to the citizen, whether Catholic or Protestant, his legitimate share in the Government of his country. Education was made national; the several religions, government and people, were associated—were interested—in its joint administration. Ireland, for the first time, looked up to, and relied on its Government. All could not be done—but all was hoped. No nation ever trusted with more patient confidence to intentions. Repeal slumbered, and England saw with astonishment, for the first time, regiments ordered from the Irish shores to quell her own disturbances. If the country was not wholly, or at once pacified, pacification, in its true sense, had at least begun. The right path had been entered on. This was the system of justice, and equality, and love. Compare it with that of wrong, and degradation, and hostility. Which of the two is the better?—which has been the easiest?—which has been followed with most success? But the third—the no-system—the system which hangs between both, with promises in words, and distrust in acts, this system was adopted in all its evil consequences, by their opponents, the Gentlemen who sit opposite. On the Opposition Benches, as on the Ministerial, their whole purpose, when they could no longer refuse, seemed to have been to maim or delay. If a Reform Act was to be passed, the question was not how much, but how 738 little was to be given to Ireland. If a Municipal law was under consideration for Irish boroughs, the point was not whether it would benefit the country, but whether it would alarm the Bishops. National Education was denounced simply because it was national; and the very Catholics whose gratitude was claimed were held to be hardly trustworthy on their oaths. A Registration Bill was hurried on, with the most factious speed, not to extend or improve, as it purported, but to limit the franchise, as the act for the confirmation of the Articles of Limerick, was an act for their violation. My noble Friend (Lord J. Russell) has detailed to you, with equal clearness and justice, the proceedings upon that bill; what do they shew, but that of which we have witnessed a thousand proofs, that the same anti-emancipation spirit which had so long resisted the passing of the Emancipation Act in 1829 still survived, notwithstanding all their professions, in the acts of the same party, in 1840 and 1841—that they would, if possible, extinguish the vitality of that measure, and replace the Irish Catholic virtually in the same position he occupied before it had become law. If any of the measures which the late Government had in view for the amelioration of the condition of the people of Ireland failed;—if any, in passing, had been curtailed in their fair proportions of good—if any in their provisions, had fallen short of what the people had a right to demand, or in execution had not come up to what their authors themselves had anticipated; this curtailment of benefit, this inefficiency of operation, is to be ascribed to the efforts, repeated, indefatigable—to the obstructions openly avowed, and gloried in by the party with whom the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) was surrounded while he sat on this side of the House, and who still continue to support him, I am sorry to say, in the same spirit and with the same views on that. Such was your policy in opposition—what has it been since you have returned to power? You asked for a fair trial. Did you not get it? You asked for patience, and time. Was it refused? For weeks, for months, nay, for a whole year, the entire Catholic people of Ireland waited with crossed arms. There was no resistance, no agitation. They shewed no disposition to take undue advantage of their new position, but a willingness rather to give full opportunity for the development of any plan which the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues 739 might have in contemplation, for the better government of their country, and the better carrying out of the principles of Emancipation. The Irish people hoped and believed that long absence from power would have taught the right hon. Baronet amongst other "sweet uses of adversity" a little more prudence, if not generosity; a somewhat juster sense of what was due to Ireland, than what he had evinced when he last held the Seals of Office. It was not, indeed, quite easy to forget the recent attacks on their creed and country, the attempted abridgement of their rights, the vindictive and unworthy manner in which the appointment of a few Catholic gentlemen to office was visited by various Members of the opposite party, for no other reason but because they were Catholics. I was in Germany at the time, and I well remember reading to my surprise, in the German papers, the measureless indignation which was poured out on the Government, for having dared, in "this Protestant country" to have selected me and other "Papists" (and yet the Emancipation Act was the law of the land) for offices of trust and honour under the Crown. To the Germans, it appeared altogether incomprehensible. I well remember their reflections on reading the account. "Is it possible," said they, "that all this can be true? Can it be, that this people, who set up as teachers in freedom and generosity to all mankind—who rush from north to south, and from east to west, lavish of their labours, and their treasures, to free the slave, to enlighten the ignorant, to preach philanthropy and civilisation to all nations, should thus in their own country, in their own government, use every means in their power to keep inferior those whom their own laws have declared to be equal, to perpetuate prejudices, which they of all other nations, on their own shewing, should have been the first to set aside. We have long since managed these matters better here: Protestant and Catholic have long continued to fill, without any jealousy or injury, the highest offices indiscriminately. We should be ashamed of such folly in the 19th century; these idle quarrels have long been put to rest." Nor, is this liberality confined to Germany. In France, the first Minister of the Crown is a Protestant, and a Protestant, against whom no Catholic will be found to rail. These things sunk deep into the Catholic mind of Ireland: and yet galled and insulted as they were, they were still willing 740 once more, to give as I have said, a fair trial. They clung to every symptom which could give hope. They had heard of a liberal Secretary, of an impartial Lord Lieutenant. Well! they endeavoured to believe these reports true. They thought they saw in the declaration of the noble Lord (Lord Eliot) when returned for Cornwall, evidence of a determination to govern impartially. I thought so too: I looked on that speech as a manifesto of his party. I had a right to suppose that it contained the sentiments, not of the noble Lord only, but of those with whom he acted: of this, at least, I thought I might be quite secure, that the noble Lord would not pronounce so frankly his opinions, unless he were prepared as frankly to carry them out; nor remain an hour with Colleagues, with whom, on such grave matters, he could not thoroughly concur. I extended his views to the Lord Lieutenant: and in common with others of the Liberal party in Ireland, believed for a moment, that though we should not have the government of the Marquess of Normanby, or Lord Fortescue, we should have one which at least would remember that by the Act of Union, Ireland was intended to be incorporated with England, and by the Act of Emancipation, the Catholic was raised to an equality with the Protestant. I was still further encouraged in this presumption by the first intimations on the question of Education. That question, over and over again, I had heard denounced by many of their most zealous supporters—not in Exeter Hall, whose atmosphere is more congenial to such inconsiderate ebullitions, but in the calmer temperature of this House;—denounced not for details, but on principle;—denounced, as opposed to the indispensable obligations of Protestantism, contrary to the word of God, as well as to the interests of the State: denounced as a system which no Protestant, who believed in his religion, could countenance; as a system which any citizen would be justified in resisting with little less than rebellion whenever and wherever he could. That system, so contrary, as it had been termed, to conscience, I found not only was to be sustained by the present Government, but extended and enlarged: new grants were to be given, new schools were to be founded, and the whole placed on so permanent a basis, as to remove all apprehension of future change. Not a voice worth counting amongst the opposite party was raised against this declaration: those conscientious and determined men, 741 who were ready to set "their lives on a pin's fee," to resist it, who summoned the faithful, as one man, to separate from the uncleanly thing—"to your tents, Oh! Israel!"—sat behind the bench of the Minister, mourning, it might have been—but quite mute. Their Protestantism had received some new revelations, their consciences had, by some unknown opiate, been drugged to sleep. Such, however, was the fact, and after so direct a wheel round from former errors, it was not too much, I did think, to anticipate, that the abjuration would be carried farther, and by little and little, we should find them, unknown to themselves, unchided by their followers, converts from all their heresies, and tolerably sound liberals at last.—Favour, of course, we did not expect, but we were sanguine enough, I confess, to look for justice at their hands. These pleasing prepossessions, however, soon passed away. The spirit which had interfered to deprive us of the full efficiency of the Emancipation and Reform Acts—which stunted our Municipal Act of half its advantages—which on every occasion was ready to limit and shorten the franchises of the people, which even in conferring graces, had the perverse ingenuity to convert them into insults—which made measures otherwise healing, principles of new irritation; this mad, this pernicious spirit soon re-appeared. It first shewed itself in the dismissal of the Stipendiary Magistrates. You called it economy, but who could mistake it for your first sacrifice to your old North of Ireland allies? It was not the Treasury which had to do with it, but the Castle. It was inconvenient that the loyal Magistracy of the North, should, in the discharge of their hereditary functions, be under the inspection much less the control of strangers. But, where was your active impartiality all this while? The next proceeding of your Government was to place upon the Bench gentlemen, to whom I am in no-wise personally hostile, but who the Catholic people of Ireland could never forget, were marked by persevering resistance to their rights and by the open avowal of opinions in vehement hostility to those entertained by the entire of their body. These gentlemen were placed on the Bench to administer equal and indifferent justice between man and man—between man and man, in a heated and divided community—divided beyond all recent example; at a period of more than ordinary excitement—and though I am the last man to contend that high legal eminence has not a right to 742 look to the legitimate recompense of former labours, still I must say, that a Government professing to rule Ireland by opinion, and not by force, had no choice between abandonment of the most flagrant of such professions, or seating on the Bench men whose opinions were in some degree in harmony with those of the vast majority of the population. But this step in one direction was perhaps balanced by another in the opposite. When the Orangeman was promoted, the Catholic probably was not forgotten. No such thing. From their accession—the first moment of their accession to power, I look in vain for the admission to any office of importance, of any one of the Catholic body; there does not occur a single Catholic promotion of note. You say, indeed, it is your misfortune, but not your fault. Misfortune indeed! but I should like to know of whose creating? How comes it, that the whole of Catholic Ireland is thus banded against you as one man? For this sole and simple reason, because you are banded against all Catholic Ireland. What renders Catholics averse to receiving office from your hands?—it is not so much your Toryism, as your Anti-Catholicism. Office was not offered; who would solicit it?—Abused, reviled, slandered in the morning by your press and your supporters—by supporters unheeded, unchecked, or for aught I know, approved of by you;—wounded in the most sensitive part of his nature, in his religious creed and conduct,—how could you expect, that he would be so forgiving, so spaniel-like, so crouching as to debase himself by asking to be your servant in the evening? But even this impartiality "d'occasion" soon wore off—another Session passed—the true metal began to appear. In the Arms Bill debate, enough was elicited to show the whole of your future policy for Ireland. Many grounds of complaint, many demands for legislative redress were brought under the notice of the Government. The Church Establishment, the Franchise, the Representation, the Education of the people, were again and again, pressed upon the notice of this House. You affected not to know our grievances—what could be more simple than the discussion on the motion (of the same nature with the present) of my hon. Friend the Member for Limerick, W. Smith O'Brien last year? You complained that we did not explicitly point out our demands. What could be more precise than the Remonstrance addressed by the liberal Irish Members to the English 743 people, at the close of last Session? Well! What answer did we receive? The only answer—at least the only clear answer vouchsafed us by the Government was this—our oaths were doubted, and we were told "concession had reacheded its utmost limits." We were told in a country where every thing is in progress, whose very constitution is one history of change—under laws, whose chief value—is their susceptibility of improvement—that we alone—we forming one-third of the population of that country—we of all others most requiring change—progress and improvement should not only stand still, but remain satisfied with our immobility! This was your impartial conduct in this House; what was it out of it? Magistrates were dismissed—dismissed for having attended meetings, which you either could not, or would not declare illegal,—dismissed without notice—dismissed on no intelligible, or unvarying rule, but by rules changing with the circumstances or feelings of the moment, and by their dismissal rendering the partizanship of those who were retained more violent and effectual. These were the proceedings for months of this Government of liberality—of a Government which gave itself out as intending to rule by opinion, which claimed the support of the Catholics of Ireland, not merely for benefits given, but for benefits to be received. We went home to our constituents with additional wrongs and renewed insults. The sincerity of our oaths questioned, all redress refused, an Arms Act instead of an Act of Grace in our hands; told to remain stationary, told to remain silent, told to bow, told to despair. The Emancipation Act was rendered futile in our regard; and beyond the Emancipation Act we were warned to look no farther. I am not surprised, Sir, that the people of Ireland at such announcement, galled by rejection, stung to the quick by contumely, should have gone to the lengths to which they did proceed, and spoken a language the too natural result of despair at the denial of all interference on the part of the British Legislature. If this House had, in time, entertained those questions, and shewn some sympathy in the wrongs and claims of the people of Ireland, this House would not, this evening, have been called upon to consider both, under the distressing and perilous circumstances under which the country is now placed. It is because this House, the natural and professed guardian of the people's rights, has shewn itself deaf and dead to their com- 744 plaints, that the people have been compelled to look at last to themselves, and themselves alone, for redress. It is because you will not hear them, that they appeal elsewhere—you have no right to complain that they meet on the mountain's side, have you not shut these doors against them? And now, when this House and Government have left no alternative; when you have taught, forced, required from them agitation, you turn round, and with Bills of Indictments in your hands, and surrounded by cannon and bayonets, denounce, with hypocritical zeal for the laws, the agitators. "You are traitors," you exclaim, "Conspirators, a confederation against the peace and unity of the Empire; the question now is, not redress, but punishment." No Sir! not these men, not the men outside of the doors of this House, but those within it, not the people in their meetings, but those who govern the people, those who sit on the benches opposite, they I maintain it, are the true conspirators, the real criminals in this matter. I say this in reference, not to any one act of the Government, but to the animus of their entire Irish policy. The dismissal of magistrates was a natural accompaniment of their Arms Bill, the proclamation and prosecutions were the obvious following up of this dismissal. Meetings might have been dangerous, they might have been illegal, not for what they did, but what they might lead to; magistrates ought not perhaps to have attended them, such might have been the opinion of the Government, but I cannot see why such a proclamation as prevented the Clontarf meeting, might not have prevented others; and why the people should not have been cautioned before the magistrates had been punished. When they had got so far, why did they not stop there? After they had succeeded in preventing the meetings, why proceed to the prosecutions? I take the assertion of the Government at its fullest value; they state that their object was to vindicate the majesty, by inspiring a respect for the law But to inspire this respect, it was surely necessary to impress on the people a confidence in its justice, an unreserved conviction of a thorough impartiality in its administration. Have you effected this? The Trials are over; is this, I ask you, the effect they have produced even in this country, on the public mind? It might have been the misfortune of the Government, or it might have been its fault, but whichever it was, one thing at least is certain, that a 745 large number of names was omitted from the jury panel in the late prosecutions, and of this number not less than thirty-five were names of Roman Catholics. Some of these latter were persons of the highest respectability. I have received a letter from one of the gentlemen so excluded, a gentleman of the most unexceptionable character and conduct; he stated that he was no Repealer, had never been a member of the Repeal Association, or connected with any of its proceedings, but had almost exclusively confined himself for years past, aloof from all politics, to his own industrial pursuits. Previous to that list having been struck, a person, it appears, called on him with an address to Her Majesty, of the most violent tendency, and involving a concurrence with the views of the Repeal Association, to which he was invited to append his name. He refused the application, and has since discovered that the person in question was a Tory, and as he believes a Tory spy, employed to seduce persons similarly situated, into an unguarded expression of Repeal opinions. Whether these circumstances were the result of accident or intention, I will not pretend to say; I prejudge no man; but all must admit this, that a more unfortunate, a more untoward accident, if such it were, could not have occurred, at a period when the feeling of the country was natuturally so excited, and when it was a matter of the greatest moment, that whatever verdict should be pronounced, should be beyond all doubt, as well as all impeachment; not only unquestionable, but unquestioned. The people of Ireland very generally believed, that these names had been omitted on purpose, in consequence of a regularly laid plot against their liberties, and this impression was further confirmed by the striking off from the special jury every Catholic without exception. Other grounds might now be stated—others were alleged, the moment the subject became a matter of general observation; but it is remarkable, that these causes of exception, subsequently urged with so much vehemence, were not even hinted at at the time. Indeed the presumption is, that even an inquiry had not been thought of at first, and that it was not until the public indignation had begun to express itself, that the charge of Repeal opinions, and Repeal connection, was put forth. This explanation or excuse came too late. The people of Ireland judged by the naked fact: ten Catholics (no one questioned this) had been struck off from 746 the special jury list—the whole number be it observed on that list—they naturally supposed there could be no other motive for such sweeping clearance than the circumstance of their Catholicism; and concluded, putting together former conduct and expressions from the same quarter—that this objection to them and their religion, arose from a distrust entertained of their conscientious discharge of the duty about to be imposed on them, in administering the laws of their country. Can the House be surprised, that the Irish people—that every Catholic to a man, from the highest Peer to the lowest peasant, should feel indignant at such an imputation? Is there one amongst you, who, at such a charge against the faith or community to which you severally belong, would not rise at once, to repel even the suspicion of such a stain with indignation? But was this all? The Catholics felt indignant, that Catholics alone should be struck off. They asked and asked truly, were there not other bodies of men in Ireland who might be suspected of maintaining principles equally, if not more hostile to the peace and concord of the empire, than those which had been imputed to their body. I hold in my hand a manifesto published in 1838, by the Orange party, containing as it states, "an authoritative exposition of the objects, and a demonstration of the necessity of Orange institutions." This manifesto, after complaining of the insecurity of the persons and the property of Protestants in Ireland—after stating that they were in the progress of actual extirpation,—that they had no religious or constitutional rights which they could exercise with impunity, and that the Executive was groaning under the despotism of a ferocious majority, goes on to recommend all Orangemen to re-combine again, and unite in one body as an Orange Institution; "as such an institution," so they expressed it, "was eminently calculated to inspire its members with confidence and its enemies with respect, by constantly exhibiting to the public a display of moral force based on the organisation required to make physical force effective." I pray the House to attend to this last declaration; the imputations, the charges sought to be sustained against the Repeal Association and the late meetings, is here not a matter of disguise or doubt, but boldly, nay, insolently proclaimed, as the chief ground for the resumption and renewal of this avowedly Anti-catholic Association. I may be 747 told, that the Repeal Association lives, but that the Orange Association is dead—or at least formally suppressed—in accord with a Resolution of this House, and a Message from the Crown; but my answer is, the animus still survives—the prejudices and animosities, which first gave it birth, still unhappily endure. No inquiry was instituted, whether of these jurors, any belonged either formally or virtually to this Anti-Catholic Society—and yet here was a jury which was to sit in judgment on traversers almost exclusively Catholic—and the counsel for the Crown dares still to boast of their impartiality! Such a prosecution was too one-sided in its management to inspire confidence in the community, for which it is said to have been intended. Are we to form a more sanguine opinion as to its results? Did this House believe, did the country believe, that because Mr. O'Connell and his fellow-traversers were convicted by the verdict of such a jury—there were no others ready—nay anxious, in full reliance on public opinion, to step into their places? I tell them distinctly, that so far from having completed, the Government has hardly yet commenced its task. To-morrow they may have to combat Associations, other than the Repeal Association, which in their exultation, they fondly imagine they have extinguished today. Mr. O'Connell may be imprisoned, they may think that with his imprisonment the trial and all its objects are fully answered—but have they reflected, that this very trial will necessitate a whole series of others; and if they be not determined to go to the utmost limit of the Law and the Constitution, they will find that their gains have indeed been small, their triumphs virtually defeats; instead of water, they have thrown oil on the flame; and far from having recovered, they have still farther estranged the affections of the Irish people? I can tell the right hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Peel) that if he trusts solely to the letter of the law, there are a thousand means by which the Irish people can elude it. They, no doubt, strongly rely on the Association, but not on the Association only: if it were struck down tomorrow, there are other means behind in reserve, for carrying out, for encreasing agitation. They have their county meetings, town meetings; parish meetings, chapel meetings, does the Minister mean to put them all down: or if not, how many of them? Where will he stop? What is the precise number at which such assemblies 748 cease to be dangerous? Where is the scale to regulate the crime or peril of the conspiracy, the tariff to measure their legality? If it were numbers which had alarmed the Government, these numbers are increasing; if it were violence of language and feeling which had given rise to these apprehensions, it was not diminishing. If it were outbreak which was feared, no precaution could prevent it, but if the people really willed it: no precaution was necessary, no such occurrence would take place, for there was organization. The worst result of the policy of the Government, one which I much fear will endure long after other evils shall be healed; the real, though permanent evil of their policy is, the habit which it has given the people to look without the Constitution for a remedy for their grievances, instead of within it. This habit was first produced by the delay which took place in granting concessions which had really become necessary. The delay in granting the Reform Act laid in this country the foundation of the Anti-Corn Law Agitation; the delay in granting the Emancipation Act laid in Ireland the foundation of the Repeal Agitation. By these habits, you ensure a continuation of disturbance. No country, I maintain, can go on with two Constitutions: one the Constitution of the Statute Book, the other of Public opinion. You brought matters to the verge of civil war by inconsiderate rejection: you avoided it by abrupt concession. Are you prepared to run again the evil chances of a similar course? You will not grant, how then do you mean to prevent, Repeal? What are the means you are now taking to appease the agitation which aims at it? You are employing against it measures which you did not, which you would not, use against the agitation for Emancipation and Reform, for well you knew that such measures would be idle and useless, that such weapons would break in a thousand fragments in your hands. I can tell you, that the weapons you now use are not one jot stronger, not one jot more effectual. Strike strongly if you strike justly, but not otherwise. You do neither. The Repeal agitation is not to be put down by a prosecution; it may be by justice; not by your policy, but by the adoption of a course the most opposite you can find to that which you lately have pursued. Nothing is more insufficient, nothing more dangerous than such a policy. It is half justice. Half justice is a most dangerous thing. It gives the people, in whose regard it is adopted, 749 the means of getting more and the desire of getting more: with both operating desire and means, the object cannot be difficult in the long run of attainment. Better, indeed, to give no justice at all than half justice; but there is something better than either—full justice to all men. What did the policy pursued by the late Government accomplish for Ireland. It diminished the amount and nature of crime, in some degree, established a confidence between landlord and tenant, and commenced, for the first time in Ireland, impressing on the people a conviction of impartiality in the administration of justice. From an increase of tranquillity naturally followed an increase of the security of property, and with the security of property, the value of property as its nanatural concomitant. Ireland, under a really fair and impartial government would speedily have increased her resources, and with the increase of her resources given her people a new interest in the pursuit of all the industrious arts. What is her condition at present? I am informed that at an intended sale of Irish property some weeks ago, the price offered was so low, not amounting to more than fifteen or sixteen years purchase, that an application was made to the Lord Chancellor, to allow the sale to stand over for the present. Yet this was not till lately the case. On turning to the evidence given before the Lords' Committee on the State of Crime in Ireland, generally known as Lord Roden's Committee, hon. Members will see the most striking proofs of gradual augmentation of value in landed securities, especially during the last ten years. Several witnesses of extensive experience and unquestionable respectability were examined, amongst them Mr. Simpson, the well known auctioneer, who has disposed of property in Ireland, to the extent of 800,000l. and upwards, Messrs. Guiness & Co., Messrs. Mahoney, Mr. Tandy, &c., they all speak in the same sense, and shew from a large reference to facts, that Irish property had been steadily advancing from sixteen to twenty and from twenty to thirty years purchase, in the more favoured counties, and there was every indication of a still farther increase gradually placing it on a par with English and Scotch investments, had not this salutary tendency been checked by recent political events. Some of the witnesses went still farther, and showed that this increase was in precise proportion to the more or less increase of tranquillity. 750 The most marked contrasts were observable; so much so that a graduated scale of prices might almost be made out, from the state of the calender of offences, and the amount of political agitation in each district. But now comes the material question. Admitting all these results, admitting them to be the effects of the causes just stated, how are these causes to be got rid of, by what means are we to extinguish principles productive of so much discord, misery, and insecurity? I see no means to effect this, but the removal of the causes which have led to these effects, and not of one, but of all, and not slowly but at once, and not partially but thoroughly, dealing not with surface exhibitions of disease, but going at once to the constitution of the patient—in a word re-constituting Ireland on a completely new basis, governing her henceforth in every particular, as a second, a sister England. Redress her grievances, supply her wants, grant her demands—her grievances are real, her wants are real—and who can deny, who admits either of these positions, the justice of her demands? But I am asked, what are they? I am called on to point out not only what we suffer, but what we ask. Some of the more pressing of our demands can be easily stated. They refer to the Franchise, to the Representation, to the relations of Landlord and Tenant, to Education, to the state and claims of the two Churches; these are the great moral questions, now attracting the most attention in Ireland, with which are more or less connected many other social ones, such as railroads, cultivation of waste lands, emigration, Poor-laws, charities, and every other, which have for object or result the useful and permanent employment of the people, but these I must postpone to some future debate, not from undervaluing their importance, but from a conviction that it is almost idle to look for their successful promotion, until the great political measures to which I have just referred to are first settled. And first of the Franchise. The Government has announced in general terms, its intention to place before the House, at an early period of the Session a Registration Bill. I asked the right hon. Secretary for the Home Department (Sir James Graham), whether it is to contain provisions upon which I conceive its character will mainly depend, the right of tenants at will, under certain limitations, to obtain the Franchise;—in the refusal of the right hon. Secretary to grant any information, I am of course precluded from 751 going into any discussion of its merits or defects. Thus far, however, I must be permitted to say, that it is idle to think of alteration at all unless with the object of really benefitting and satisfying, not a party, but the great body of the Irish people. This, I am convinced, cannot, and ought not to be expected unless the Franchise be made both more extensive and more certain. Our diminished and diminishing constituencies speak trumpet-tongued for the first; for the second, we have the experience of ten years to prove, that certainty is utterly impossible without a clearer and simpler definition, or a withdrawal altogether of the "beneficial interest" condition. A Registration Act, which aims at some higher purpose than a mere party measure, ought to look beyond the present. Its ultimate tendency, even more than its actual applicability should be kept in view. We demand an addition to our Representation. The proportions, as this House is now constituted, between the different countries are not fair. We did not think them so at the passing of the Reform Act, we do not think them so now. England was favoured more than Scotland—Scotland was favoured more than Ireland. We were overruled—but that is no reason why we should surrender our right, or not renew on every fitting occasion our claim. I do not call for an addition to the Members of this House, they are perhaps too numerous, but I call for an alteration of the proportions. The House may object to an immediate re-opening of the Reform Bill, but as from time to time circumstances may arise which may make it expedient to disfranchise English boroughs, many of which have given too flagrant proofs that they ought never to have been allowed to retain the privilege, why not transfer their representatives to Ireland? In a word, are you prepared to continue the enormous disproportion now existing between some of our largest counties, Cork and Tipperary for instance, and some of your smallest districts, and at the same time pretend to say that we are treated, I will not say with kindness, but with common matter of fact justice. Such a state of things I fairly tell the House will not be patiently acquiesced in, and it is for it to say, at what period and under what circumstances, it can be most advantageously altered. The relations between Landlord and Tenant, are in some degree at present under the consideration of the Government. A Commission is en- 752 gaged in enquiring into the subject. I have no doubt it will act with proper impartiality: in any case the Commissioners have a right to a fair trial: it would be unjust as well as unwise to throw additional difficulties in their way by premature censure or prophetic warnings of failure. At the same time, I regret that its composition should have subjected it in Ireland to the imputation of being a one-sided or landlords' Commission. The admixture of some organ or representative of the exclusively tenant interest would have been advisable. Its task is as arduous as it is important. The present condition of the Irish peasantry arises from a complication of causes. They have been now for some years in a transition state, and affected by almost all the usual evils of such a state—the middleman is passing into the condition of the simple tenant, the farmer into that of the labourer, the cottier and labourer expelled too often in masses from the counties to the towns. To this, must be added the difficulty of forming any intermediate proprietary class, between the great landlord and the small tenant. The existing number of small fee simple proprietors is exceedingly limited, I believe more so than in almost any other country of Europe not absolutely in a state of despotism and serf-ship. The result is obvious, there can be in such a state of things no yeomanry, no landed middle class. Greater facilities I think might without injury be given to the further transfer of land in small allotments, so as to place the acquisition of these estates within the reach of the humblest, who should have sufficient industry and perseverance to accumulate. This would not only gradually create a most important link between rich and poor, so necessary but so much wanting in Ireland, but act also, in a country where land is so much an object of competition, as a most powerful stimulant to industry and foresight. The expenditure of the tenant, when well directed, no one can doubt, is a benefit conferred, not only on his landlord, but on the country, and deserves every fair protection and encouragement; but this does not imply, that every expenditure which the tenant takes it into his head to make, is necessarily to be included under such a category. Some control is necessary—some guidance—the approbation of the landlord, as the chief interested party, should be obtained. But the evils of the present system are not confined to the tenant; the whole of the 753 relations between landlord and tenant require revision. The landlord is often too rash and too grasping in the selection of his tenants. He should be prevented, as far as statutes can prevent, from injuring both himself and them. A law, depriving him of all right to recovery of rent due beyond one year, would make him much more circumspect in his choice, more attentive to character and solvency than to promises, and would go far to protect the tenant from those exorbitant rents and consequent arrears, which so often are allowed, with a false appearance of humanity, to accumulate and hang over the tenant for no other purpose than to render him the slave of the landlord. But this, or indeed any other enactment, will be of little avail unless accompanied by an improvement in the character of the people, and this improvement I hold to be impossible, unless based on good government, both in administration and legislation on the part of their rulers, and on the part of the people on a sound and generally extended system of education. Much has indeed been done in this respect, but not one third of what ought to have been done. Considerable progress has certainly been made in providing for the education of the lower classes, but the middle classes have been altogether neglected, and the higher have not yet had all the advantages which they have a right to expect. I have more than once in this House ventured to propose measures which I thought would adequately meet both deficiencies, and shall yet, I trust, have opportunities of again urging them on the consideration of Parliament. For the present, I shall confine myself to the improvements which I think might be made in the higher departments. There are two State Establishments of the kind in Ireland, the University of Dublin, and the College of Maynooth. Both are susceptible of great and advantageous changes; the College of Maynooth should be enlarged and elevated not merely by extending its buildings, and augmenting its endowments, but by raising and extending the character of its education, so as to render it, in every particular, worthy of the important object for which it was designed. A reform and enlargement of the system of the University, though in a somewhat different sense, is not less necessary. Let it be remembered, that there is in Ireland a population of not less than 8,000,000, and that of these 8,000,000 7,000,000 are Catholics, and only 1,000,000 Protestants—for these 8,000,000 there is but one University, and that University is 754 Protestant; for although Catholics are admissible to its studies and degrees, they are still excluded from its dignities and emoluments. Under such circumstances, I am clearly of opinion, that we ought to give the Irish people a Catholic University of equal rank and importance with the existing Protestant one, or render this latter really Irish and national, by admitting Catholics as well as Protestants to its other advantages, as well as to its studies and honours. The last question I shall touch on is the Church; but before I enter on the subject itself, I trust I may be pardoned some preliminary observations which circumstances reluctantly force from me. I feel—as every Catholic must feel—pained and indignant at finding, that whatever may be my conduct or convictions, I am at at all times exposed to the imputation, from gentlemen differing from me religiously and politically, of not having a sufficiently delicate perception of the obligations which I undertook in entering this House. The oath I then took, is from time to time paraded, by certain individuals, impressed, certainly, with a due notion of the importance of their own religious views, but with very little consideration for the religion and consciences of others, as a bar to preclude interference in any question having a religious aspect, which may be brought under discussion in this House. I shall not demean myself by entering into, or refuting assertions so rashly ventured, touching the manner in which I or other Roman Catholics have observed obligations so solemnly entered into, before God and man. I need not such defence, neither I nor other Roman Catholics. I recollect that my ancestors perilled their lives, sacrificed their rank, and were deprived of a large portion of their property and of all their rights, for their adherence to their religion and the convictions of their conscience. I trust that I am not in this respect their unworthy descendant. I trust that I remember what they suffered, and for what. They might have entered the House of Commons, and some of them the House of Lords. What kept them out? An Oath. It is not at this hour I or my Catholic fellow Members are likely to depart from such an example. In the midst of wrongs, of calumnies, of insults, they abided by their faith: they were proud to have chosen that nobler part—and had a right to be proud; they left at least that inheritance, conscientious fidelity to our obligations,—it is not now it shall be taken from 755 us. An oath is to be regarded in two senses, in the sense of him who imposes it, and in the sense of him who takes it. Now before we enter into serious debate on the Irish Church, I must say that I think it right we should have, if for no other purpose than to preclude these painful discussions, a distinct and unimpeachable definition of what the Catholic Oath is meant to be. The right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir R. Peel) was, I believe, the person who drew up that Oath, or at least who adopted and introduced it into this House. I therefore ask him here, in their presence, in what sense he meant to impose it on the Roman Catholic Members, what was the precise meaning which he attached to its words?—Did he mean, that in all matters affecting the Church of Ireland, Roman Catholics were to be precluded from taking any other view of its interests than those entertained by the right hon. Baronet, or were they to be allowed to prefer those of the noble Lord, which are the very opposite, though both Protestant, both orthodox, to those of the right hon. Baronet—or did he go so far as to require that they should altogether abstain from all discussion or voting on such subjects.—Does this Oath mean to pledge us to one side only, as the only true and legitimate supporters, and forbid all concurrence with their opponents, as the unquestionable subverters of the Establishment, or in order to avoid all difficulties, does it enjoin total abstinence and prohibit any interference one way or the other, in all such thorny discussions—I wish to know from the right hon. Baronet what is his signification? I have mine. I ask him, for the "animus imponentis;"—the "animus capientis" I am fully qualified to answer myself.—I took that Oath, in its obvious sense; and do not see how I am debarred by its strictest interpretation, without gross inconsistency and injustice, from taking my share, as a legislator, by discussion or vote, in all I judge to be necessary for the complete reform of whatever abuses I believe to exist in the Ecclesiastical Establishments of the country. Can I be supposed to have juster views, or stronger attachments to the Protestant Church, than many of the excellent Protestants I see around me? Why should I consider them subverters of this Church to which they are so devoted, in which they believe? If you are of a contrary opinion, why do you not first attack them, not for violation of their oaths, but for the foulest hypocrisy, the most flagrant desertion of all religious principle whatever?—If you 756 will not call them enemies to Protestantism, why should you call us? What do we do, more than they? For my part, I think them its truest friends. I act in reference to your Church, as in similar circumstances, I should act in reference to my own.—An Establishment, is framed for the use of the Church, and a Church for the advantage of Religion. It is only, in as much as it tends to diffuse and maintain religion amongst the people, that it can be considered of advantage—that it fulfills its purpose. If therefore, I think that religion will not be destroyed, by reducing the emoluments of the Clergy—if on the contrary, I am convinced, that it will be extended and augmented; that by thus diminishing unnecessary luxury, greater activity will be imparted, and its lessons be brought more within the sphere of those classes to whom its ministrations are more peculiarly useful and applicable,—am I not justified in supporting any proposal of the noble Lord near me, for the attainment of such object, and why should I be reminded of the breach of an Oath, with the strictest observance of which, a constitution totally different from the present of the Church Establishment is perfectly compatible? I have so far argued the question in reference to the Representation, but there are other parties still more interested, the Represented. The constituencies, no one doubts, have the fullest right to make their opinions known and felt in this House, for or against the Church Establishment.—Some may be Catholics, others Protestants, others opposed to both, some for, others may be against State Churches;—If Roman Catholic representatives be debarred from legislating on such subjects, it is not the representatives so much you deprive of a privilege, as those large and mixed constituencies, Catholic and non Catholic, who sent them here. Had they chosen a Protestant you could not prevent him from voting for the absolute and entire destruction of the Establishment. Will not such constituencies have a right, under such circumstances to turn round and say, "Our opinions and feelings are opposed to the present state of the Church Establishment,—we think it ought to be reduced—we are determined that our opinions shall be known; as those of our own creed are restricted in their powers of opposition, we must choose a Protestant who coincides with us, who lies under no such limitations, and will give expression and effect to our opinions and will." Here is a preference; here is a disqualification at 757 once established. If constituencies were compelled so to consider the subject, we Catholics would be but half emancipated. I agree with the noble Lord that the Church question is one of the greatest difficulty, but one also of the greatest urgency; it is of the most serious magnitude, and yet one on which we shall soon be compelled to decide. It is not a question whether this clergy or that shall have the revenues, but whether both their flocks shall have the instruction, and advance in the virtues and happiness for the promotion of which all clergies of all communions are designed. It is whether 7,000,000—nay, a whole nation, Protestant as well as Catholic, shall be kept in constant turmoil, to gratify the passions or prejudices—the bigotry or illusions of a few. That the Catholics will not accept a salary for their clergy is beyond question or doubt. You have only to look at what has recently occurred at their annual Synod in Dublin, to see that the Hierarchy has distinctly pronounced against the acceptance of any money. Similar objections, I understand, have been felt, to the acceptance even of glebes. The proposition of the noble Lord, the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston) to relax the law, now impeding private endowments, is no doubt an improvement—a benefit as far as it goes—but it is not absolutely requisite, and as a conciliatory measure insufficient. Money can be left in the hands of Trustees for the benefit of the clergy, just as it is now done with respect to endowments for charitable purposes. I can speak from personal experience: one of my own family endowed an almshouse for resident poor men and women; the endowment is vested in trustees, the administrator is the Catholic bishop. There can be no difficulty, then, apart from such a relaxation, even at present, on the part of individuals, in settling lands, in the nature of glebes, for the benefit of the parish clergy, though such a relaxation would, of course, afford greater facilities, and additional protection. This is quite feasible, but to expect the Catholic people to accept anything in the shape of endowment, much less salary, which would necessarily connect their clergy with the State, is quite another question. Nor is this singular; their reasoning is obvious; their clergy were first the objects of persecution by the law, next of distrust and contempt by the State, and then of invective and slander, by those supposed to be the advisers and confidential supporters of the Government, and the organs or at least expression of the opinions of a large 758 majority of the people of this country. It is natural, it is human, and not merely Irish nature, that they should feel the resentment and indignation of men—men, be it remembered, of flesh and blood like yourselves—at such unmerited, such unjustifiable treatment. They stand necessarily leagued—the result of your own bad laws and worse administration—with those who are in hostile movement against your Government. What consolation would money be to them, if they lost what the Catholic priest values above everything, the religious influence which the faithful pastor ought to possess over those around him? He will, therefore, refuse your offer of a stipend, and continue in opposition to your Government; and if ever he becomes an adherent of the State, he will be an adherent, not bought by money, but by conciliating; by the gradual progress of affection and attachment. That the clergy are not necessarily hostile to the State is shown by their conduct during the government of Lord Normanby, who felt some sympathy for the Clergy and the people. That Clergy cannot but feel that they are the Clergy of 7,000,000 of people, and that those of the Protestant Church are the Clergy but of 1,000,000. It is all well to say that the Protestant Clergy in Ireland are the Clergy of the United Church of England and Ireland. But use what forms you please, you cannot cheat men's senses. The Protestant and Catholic Churches in Ireland bear the proportion to the population which I have mentioned. Let the Protestant Church have such advantages as are consistent with this position: let its ministers have their fair emolument for the inculcation of their faith. No one is more desirous than I am, that every one belonging to that Church should be fully instructed in every point of their religion; but I must vindicate for the Catholic people a similar right to be instructed by theirs. Their Clergy is in every way worthy of respect, and should be placed beyond the reach of contumely and abuse. I quite agree with the noble Lord that it matters little from what rank the Clergy are taken. For some situations (and every Church, but especially the Catholic have many) I should prefer their being taken from a lower rank. They have duties to perform, which must be repugnant to men bred in the lap of comfort and affluence. They have to traverse wild tracts of country at every hour and in all seasons, they are ever in the midst of contagion and death, and this not as a matter of choice, and on the 759 impulse of enthusiasm, but in the bounden ministration of those offices which they have solemnly engaged themselves to perform. There is a deep sympathy between the Clergy and their flocks. They remember the times when their forefathers were expelled from their native soil, when a price was set on the priest's head, and a reward held out to him for the abandonment of his religion; and now, when that day is passed, and persecution is over, it is not wonderful that a sensitive people should feel the liveliest gratitude to men so sorely tried, and so faithful through every trial. I am not for the ascendancy of any religion, and least of all of the Roman Catholic. Seeing that we live under a free government, and not a despotism—looking to the checks of public opinion and the control of this House—I wonder how such an apprehension can be entertained, and particularly with the disposition existing amongst the Roman Catholics themselves. I have no ambition to raise the temporal splendor of my own Church, at the expense of the Protestant, but I wish to see the two Churches engaged in the task of doing mutual good—of forgiving and forgetting, and earnest only in a rivalry of the practice of every Christian virtue. When this is effected and other measures of redress are passed; when you have given up prosecutions and forsaken bayonets, then for the first time, the Irish people will give you more than lip service—you will have the devotion of their hearts. Is it not a disgrace to you, in the eyes of the whole of Europe, that Ireland should be in her present state? It is a just retribution, that states must submit to as well as individuals; they cannot do wrong without drawing it also on themselves. Danger after danger have you had to encounter—revolt after revolt to put down. Such are the fruits of the harvest you have sown. There is Ireland standing by you in the midst of her poverty, oppressed and discontented, but still strong; there is she ever at your side in the midst of your most luxurious banquets, and your greatest prosperity, like the Roman slave in the midst of the triumph, reminding the conqueror of his mortality. England has just claims to stand in the front rank of civilization and humanity; but she wants one thing—which having, she has every thing, which wanting, she wants everything—"domestic peace." She may obtain that essential ingredient to her true and permanent glory; but it is not through vio- 760 lence, nor through dread, nor through menace, but through the talismanic rule—simple, but strong—of "doing to others as she would be done by." This is the inflexible law of human nature. It was not made for Ireland or England—it governs not the past only, but the time to come. To this must the pride of England succumb at last. Before you make it a matter of peace and war, while there is still a neutral party to take advantage of, act justly, act wisely, act worthily of yourselves and us; abjure your errors, as you did in 1829, and set the glorious example of doing right a second time, against your prejudices, and in the teeth of your opinions, cherished it may be, but which for all our interests have lasted too long.
§ Sir James Graham
I by no means complain, Sir, of the length of time consumed by the speeches which commenced our proceedings this evening. The magnitude of the subjects brought under discussion, the importance of the crisis at which we are called on to come to a decision, fully justify the length at which the noble Lord and right hon. Gentleman have addressed us. At the same time the House, I am sure, will feel with me, that the task I have undertaken in following the noble Lord and right hon. Gentleman, difficult as it must be at all times, will be rendered still more difficult by the length of the opening speeches, and the period of the evening at which I am called on to answer them. But as you have heard the accusation against the Government with great patience, I am quite sure you will extend to me the same indulgence, and listen with equal patience, while I attempt to defend it. I can assure you, that I shall not unnecessarily trespass on the time of the House; but the position I occupy will remind the House that I am required to make a statement of the case on the part of the Government. I must express something like a personal feeling at the commencement of what I am about to address to you. I cannot help lamenting that on this fatal Irish field I first parted from the noble Lord (Lord John Russell); that on this field we have often met in hostile array; and that on this field we shall never meet again, except as opponents. I state this with regret; but what has fallen to-night from the noble Lord convinces me that we never can agree in our views as to Irish affairs. But although I must express a wide difference of opinion generally with the noble Lord on this subject, yet there are two points, to 761 which I may allude, on which I cordially agree with him. In the first place, I will advert to a topic, though it trenches on the rules of our debates; referring to which, the noble Lord, speaking from experience of the office I now hold, stated that no Sovereign ever reigned over these realms who was more desirous than Her present Majesty of promoting the happiness and contentment of all classes of Her subjects, without distinction of creed or nation. I have the greatest satisfaction in bearing my humble testimony to the same fact. In all the instructions I have received from Her Majesty, I find proofs that the statement of the noble Lord is correct, and in no degree exaggerated. I hope I shall be excused for thus going beyond the strict limit of debate, and following the example of the noble Lord, considering that on such an occasion the course may be justified. There is one other point on which I cannot disagree with the noble Lord. I allude to the glowing eulogium which he pronounced on the memory of Mr. Fox. The noble Lord read several passages from a speech of that great and distinguished man, in one of which the principle was laid down, that a military Government was not suited to Ireland. I agree in that sentiment. I agree fully in that sentiment. And are these empty words? What has been the conduct of the Government which I am called on to defend? Am I arguing in favour of a Coercion Bill? Am I vindicating the trial of political offences by court-martial? Is this the character of the proceedings which we are called on this night to defend? Far from it. It is not military law—it is not military executions that we have to vindicate. It is the honest attempt in times of great difficulty, to govern Ireland by means of the established law, by her ordinary tribunals, and by trial by jury. We are not seeking any unaccustomed or new powers, it is not a departure from the law of the land in any particular that we have to defend, but it is in defence of the law itself, which I am happy to say has been triumphant, that I stand forward to-night to vindicate the Government. Now, Sir, what said the right hon. Member for Waterford? I am most desirous to imitate the temper and tone of the right hon. Gentleman, who, dealing with the most exciting topics, with those well calculated to inflame the feelings and passions, treated them in a manner the most unobjectionable. But the House will remember that the right hon. Gentleman charged Her Majes- 762 ty's Government with being the "real criminals;" I am not disposed to evade that accusation, and I again appeal to the House whether, when we are so charged as criminals, you are not disposed to hear our defence. In following the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) I wish that I had had an opportunity of immediately addressing the House when the noble Lord sat down, because I might have handled the subjects on which he dwelt with more satisfaction when they were more fresh in my recollection. The noble Lord, I am sure quite unintentionally, mingled the questions of past conduct and future policy, with regard to Ireland, so as to render his accusations somewhat indistinct and confused. I, in following the noble Lord and right hon. Gentleman on the great and extensive subjects which they have handled, am persuaded that it will facilitate the discussion to divide it into two branches: first, the recent conduct of the Government; and, next, the general policy to be hereafter adopted. If time admitted, I should like to go back to the early period to which the noble Lord adverts; but it is my duty more particularly to confine myself to the recent official acts of the Government. I must, in passing, observe that I was somewhat surprised at the facility and readiness with which the noble Lord passed over the Government of Ireland under Lords Wellesley and Anglesey. The noble Lord must remember, that in all the acts of those noblemen, he shared the responsibility. He adopted their policy, and cannot now repudiate what he then approved. I have said, that on Irish affairs I parted from the noble Lord; but let us see how far we went together. The noble Lord said, that the Union yielded no fruits. I say, that while I had the honour of being a colleague of the noble Lord, great and important measures were passed, yielding to Ireland great and important advantages, and communicated in the spirit of a free and liberal Government. When Lord Grey came into power, the Emancipation Act had passed. I shall shortly run over the measures of Lords Anglesey and Wellesley, which the noble Lord has treated so lightly, but which I considered at the time of vital importance, and which I still think worthy of grateful remembrance. I must observe here, that from the time I left the Government the interval was very short—very short indeed—before the respected head of the Government also left it; and I cannot advert to such a subject without saying, that however glowing the eulogium 763 the noble Lord pronounced on Mr. Fox, Lord Grey is as worthy of the noble Lord's panegyric, and deserves in no less a degree the respect of the noble Lord. To omit all notice of the fact that Lord Grey passed many measures in a liberal spirit for Ireland, seems to me extraordinary, when it is remembered that the noble Lord was his colleague; and when we call to mind the sacrifice of office which Lord Grey submitted to for the sake of his principles, it is not too much to say that he would not have remained in office, not three or four years, but three or four months, unless he could have given effect to that policy on which his heart was always set. And how did he illustrate his good faith after taking office? He carried three great and important measures. He enlarged the Franchise in Ireland, he established a system of National Education, he passed the Church Temporalities Bill, a bill, as I think, strengthening the Protestant Church, by extending its basis, and by diminishing the weight of its superstructure. But is this all? Not content with the mere communication of civil privileges, the noble Earl agreeing in the policy for which the noble Lord, the Member for London, has this night contended, demanded for the Roman Catholics a full participation of office and power, and his government of Ireland was marked by justice and strict impartiality. I shall now advert to the first point on which the noble Lord dwelt at some length—the recent administration of affairs. I think the noble Lord said, that when the present Administration came into power the country was in a state of tranquillity, the Repeal agitation comparatively still and insignificant, and that anything formidable on that question dates from the accession of the present Administration. Now, Sir, perhaps I may be excused for very shortly reading to the House an account of the various Repeal meetings which were held in Ireland in the year 1840. I take the enumeration from the Pilot newspaper, generally understood to be the organ of the Repeal Association. So early as July, 1840, a series of repeal meetings commenced. [A Member: How many persons attended them?] I shall give not only the names of the places, but of the number who attended them. On the 26th of July, 1840, there was a Repeal meeting, at which the Roman Catholic clergy were present. On August 6, a meeting of 200 clergy and gentry; on August 13, a meeting of 10,000 persons at Tuam; on Sep- 764 tember 1, a meeting of 30,000 at Navan; on the 12th, one at Skibbereen; on the 20th, at Macroom; in October, one at Limerick; one at Kilkenny of 200,000; at Drogheda, a meeting of 16,000; at Waterford, on the 28th of October, of 60,000; in November one of 6,000, besides several smaller meetings. Early in 1841, there was a meeting at Mullingar, of 60,000; at Belfast, of 1,300; on the Curragh of Kildare of 20,000; and at Drogheda, just previous to the Melbourne administration going out of office, a meeting of 25,000. Now, I have here what I was prepared to read, the several speeches which Mr. O'Connell addressed to those meetings. On reflection the consideration of the present position of the hon. and learned Gentleman, especially as he is not in the House, forbids my reading any one of those speeches, because I do say that if I read them the House would agree with me, that at no peried ever since the accession of the present Government did that hon. and learned Gentleman express himself with greater heat and vehemence than in some of the speeches which I have before me. I will next observe that the noble Lord, in dealing with a most important branch of the subject, the administration of justice, touched on the constitution of common and special juries. I will first touch on the common jury. The noble Lord in strong terms eulogised the rule laid down by Chief Baron Brady. [Lord J. Russell: No, by Sir M. O'Loghlen.] Well, by whomever laid down we found it in operation, and did not alter or vary it in the slightest degree. To say absolutely that the Crown should not order persons to stand by, would amount to a denial of justice. Nothing has been more striking in the course of the present Session than the general approbation (I partake in the feeling, and I rejoice to see it pervades the House) bestowed on my hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-general, no less for his temper than for his ability. I am sure, however, my hon. and learned Friend will be the first to avow, that in the honest discharge of his duty he has found it necessary to set aside jurors to no inconsiderable extent. I cite the case of the recent trials at Cardiff, and, if I am not mistaken, at a trial where the right of the prisoners to challenge was allowed, and when all the jurors were set aside on the part of the Attorney-general, the entire panel consisted of only nine jurors, thirty or forty having been ordered to stand by on the part of the Crown, Therefore, the House will see 765 that, with respect to trials of this description, even where the administration of justice is not tainted with suspicion, this power must exist—to be exercised, I admit, with caution and forbearance, subject always to responsibility; but it is a power which, unless the ends of justice are to be defeated, and trial by jury brought into disrepute, must exist. The noble Lord, who is generally very accurate, fell, as it appeared to me, into some misapprehension on this matter, and did not perceive the difference between ordering common jurors to stand by, and striking from the list of special jurors. Now, I am not aware that the rule in Ireland, with regard to ordering jurors to stand by, is the rule of Sir Michael O'Loghlen, but I am sure that the statute which regulates the striking of special juries is an act of Parliament which was brought into the House by Sir Michael O'Loghlen. Therefore the law in Ireland with regard to the striking of special juries, is a law which the noble Lord cannot impeach. It was brought in under his administration by a very eminent lawyer, who was deeply attached to liberal opinions. I think I heard the hon. Member for Taunton say, that the striking of special juries was a matter of discretion; but so far from being a matter of discretion, it is tied up by the strictest enactment. The special jury in the case in question was taken from a list of 716 special jurors. Although it interrupts that part of the case with which I am now dealing, I will, in passing, observe, that from that list of 716, certain names were omitted. The noble Lord has stated that 60 names were omitted, and he relies upon a statement made in the Court of Queen's Bench in Ireland. I am told, and I believe it, that that statement is a great exaggeration, that nothing like 60 names were omitted—I believe not half that number. But be that matter as it may, it has never been contended out of this House, nor as yet has it been contended within it, that Her Majesty's Government is responsible for that omission. The right hon. Gentleman, the Recorder of Dublin is present. In the course of the debate, I have no doubt he will give a more detailed explanation of what occurred than I can possibly do; but, as I have stated, it is a great exaggeration to say, that 60 names were omitted. I deeply regret the omission, and am sorry to feel, with the noble Lord, that some prejudice has been created by it to the administration of justice. The statement, however, was 766 an exaggeration, and the House will see if the number be only 30, as I believe it to be, or somewhat less, it is hardly possible, considering that that 30 was composed partly of Roman Catholics and partly of Protestants, that in a list of 716, from which 48 names are to be drawn by ballot, any great and important change could be effected in the result, by the omission of a number so small in proportion to the whole. But now, Sir, I proceed to the striking of the jury. The House will observe, under the act of Parliament it is prescribed that the parties shall strike alternately. In passing, I will observe what was remarkable—the officer of the Crown, it is said, struck Roman Catholics, the striking being alternate, it is worthy of observation, the traversers struck off no Roman Catholics, but Protestants exclusively. But the case as first presented to the public was this—that ten Roman Catholics had been struck off by the Crown, not because they were Repealers, but because they were Roman Catholics; and with regret greater than I can describe to the House, I have seen that a body the most respectable among my fellow-subjects, I mean the English Roman Catholics, have resented this striking off Catholics from an Irish jury as an insult offered to themselves, and have given to that which was a matter of politics the graver character of religious strife. I saw this with the deepest regret, because I know the suspicion to be groundless. But now allow me to call the attention of the House to the degree to which this case has been narrowed within the last week. It stood for a long time, that ten Roman Catholics were struck off by the Crown, because they were Roman Catholics, and not because they were Repealers. The noble Lord really stated a part of the case which is decisive on this point. Very early that accusation was taken notice of in the Court of Queen's Bench, and it was urged that it was most desirable that the traversers, who alone had access to the books of the Repeal Association, should verify that these ten Roman Catholics were not members of the Repal Association, and one of the counsel undertook that an affidavit should be filed, negativing the fact of their connection with the Association. If I mistake not, it was not till towards the close of these proceedings, that this affidavit appeared, and most important it was; because that affidavit disclosed the fact, that eight 767 out of the ten Roman Catholics were members of the Repeal Association. I, therefore, now have only to show the motive for striking off the other two. I cannot believe that it will for one moment be contended that the Crown was not justified in keeping any name off the jury list, because they were Roman Catholics, even though they were Repealers. There is no impeachment in striking off persons who are partizans. I will put a most simple case. If, in a fox-hunting country I were to bring an action of trespass against the master of the hounds, and there was a large body of the members of the hunt as special jurors, my solicitor would not act with common sense if he did not strike all those gentlemen from the jury. Or, if I brought an action in resistance to a claim for tithes, he would be wanting in ordinary prudence if he did not strike all the lay impropriators from the jury. It is not a question, therefore, which touches the honour of parties, but it is a simple question, what are their strong pre-conceived opinions?—and in the course of this debate I shall be astonished if any Gentleman has the rashness to contend, that eight Roman Catholic members of the Repeal Association ought in justice and in reason to have been left on the jury. I will now consider the case of the two jurors who were not, according to the statement of the solicitors for the traversers, members of the Association, though Roman Catholics. Their names are Michael Dunn and William Hendrick. I hope the House will bear with me while I state facts intimately connected with this grand question—namely, whether it were the wish of Her Majesty's Government to administer justice with impartiality in Ireland, and without distinction of class. Dunn resided in St. Patrick's ward in Dublin, and I am informed that there are four persons of that name, and three of them had signed the requisition for the Repeal meeting at Tara, and as we then believed, and as we still believe, Michael Dunn, the brazier, who is the person I am now speaking of, signed that requisition. He has himself made an affidavit, in which he has negatived the fact that he is a member of the Repeal Association; but he has not negatived the fact that he signed the requisition for a Repeal meeting, either at Tara or in his own ward. I will now state another fact to the House. I state deliberately that the instructions given by me to the Irish Government with respect to that 768 jury were most explicit. It was in the power of Her Majesty's Government to have tried the question by a common jury. In that case the traversers would not have been entitled to challenge a single name; whilst Her Majesty's servants might have ordered jurors to stand by without stint or limit. By taking that course we might have gained an advantage, but we felt that such a course would be in violation of public opinion, and we thought it would be unseemly that the traversers should be precluded from challenging; we thought on the whole it was a course to be avoided, and we directed the servants of the Crown to apply for a special jury. What was the effect of that? To give to both parties a perfect equality of right. Forty-eight names are selected by lot, and that number is reduced to twenty-four, by alternate strikes, the Crown and the traversers having an equal and the same right, and the number being thus reduced the selection of twelve from the twenty-four then takes place by ballot. And I would beg the House to observe that it is not only that you may strike, but that the act is imperative, that you must strike; and, as I said before, the obvious common sense rule of justice is, that each party should strike those whom they thought had prejudices in their case contrary to their respective interests. Now, I will go further, and I state to the House again, most deliberately, that the instructions of Government were not to strike off Roman Catholics, because they were Roman Catholics—but only to strike off Roman Catholics in circumstances in which the duty of the servant of the Crown would have led him to strike off any other person. These were the instructions that were given by the noble Lord (Lord Eliot), and I do not say that these were instructions only, but I am satisfied that to the best judgment of the persons engaged they were fulfilled. I have now disposed of nine out of the ten. There remains the tenth case—that of Hendrick; and I state that Hendrick was believed at the time of striking the jury, and at some time subsequent to that, to be a Protestant. It would be a dereliction of my duty if I stated to the House the reasons for striking off Hendrick's name; but I do state most positively that he was believed to be a Protestant, and was struck for grounds having no connexion whatever with religion. I will not pursue this question further, but I can conscientiously state that nothing was so opposite to the wish of the Government as the exclusion 769 of Roman Catholics from the jury upon account of their religion. No such instructions were given; on the contrary, instructions were given to avoid such a course; I believe they were faithfully fulfilled, and notwithstanding the prejudice which has been excited on this subject, I am quite satisfied that no accusation was ever more unfounded. I must now advert to one other observation of the noble Lord, with respect to abstaining from prosecuting those meetings earlier, which were held to promote the Repeal of the Union. I will state, on the part of the Government, that throughout the last Session of Parliament there was the greatest disinclination to interfere with the right of petition; but we regarded those meetings with anxiety; we believed that they went to the verge of the law, if they did not trespass beyond it; they were very multitudinous, the language used at them was very violent; and there were certain circumstances connected with them, such as the marching in military array with martial music, and other accompaniments, which I believe brought these meetings within the definition of unlawful assemblies. It is possible that some of those meetings were illegal. But what is that admission made by the noble Lord? When he asks, why did you not prosecute? the moment we are taunted with not prosecuting—that taunt implies an admission that the acts were illegal. But waiving that, I contend that if at first we had prosecuted for attendance at some one of these meetings, for some speech delivered there, or for some article in the newspaper, no moral impression would have been produced, and it is even doubtful whether we should have obtained a conviction; and hence the great object which the Government had in view, viz., the proving the supremacy of the law over the leaders in this course of sedition, would not have been gained. The noble Lord has had experience with me upon this very point. Lord Grey's Government did try to prosecute the editor of a newspaper—one of those very persons now prosecuted—for publishing a letter of Mr. O'Connell's. The Government obtained a conviction. Mr. O'Connell, though his name was to the letter, did not own himself the author, and Mr. Barrett, the editor of the paper, was condemned, and was sent to prison. There may be various opinions as to whether he were properly treated. Mr. O'Connell himself censured the course adopted, and characterised it as mean and shabby in the 770 extreme; and, as far as he was himself concerned, I think, perhaps he was right. The object of the present Government was to procure the punishment of the "very head and front of the offenders," and by pursuing the course Her Majesty's Government have pursued, not by dealing with particular meetings, nor particular speeches, nor particular paragraphs, but allowing the whole scheme to develope itself, by pursuing that course I say we have succeeded in proving the leaders of this scheme of agitation guilty by a jury fairly constituted and under the direction of a unanimous bench. ["Hear."] Yes, not before a single judge sitting at oyer and terminer; but in the most solemn manner, by trial at bar, in the metropolis of Ireland, with the eyes not only of Ireland, but of the whole of Great Britain fixed upon every stage of the proceedings. And at the same time we have the acknowledgement of the Gentlemen opposite, that upon the whole the Attorney-general conducted the case calmly and temperately. [Lord J. Russell was understood to dissent.] Well, if the noble Lord doubts the fact, I will refer him to the speech of Mr. Whiteside, the counsel for one of the traversers, in which he compliments the Attorney-general, saying that he had conducted the case with great fairness. The traversers suggested various delays to which we could not accede; but the moment they pleaded we offered no opposition to any reasonable application for postponement. One such application they did make, grounded upon the imperfect state of the jury list, and Her Majesty's Government did consent to a postponement for the purpose of ascertaining whether or no the list were imperfect; and while I am upon this subject I may state the pleasure with which I have heard from all hands the most complimentary expressions employed towards my right hon. Friend the Recorder of Dublin, for the trouble which he took, and for the impartiality which he displayed in the revision of the list. Now, had we taken the opposite course—and the verdict of the jury, a most discriminating verdict, clearly establishes the fact—I repeat, that had we tried any of those parties, or all of them, for attending an illegal meeting, we should not have convicted them. Look at the verdict. The first count charged that the meetings were illegal and seditious, and went on to state that they were held and assembled for illegal and seditious purposes. Now the jury have negatived the fact that the meetings were in themselves illegal and se- 771 ditious, but have found the parties guilty of attending them for illegal purposes. Nothing can be more intelligible. It is not for me to contend that all those meetings were illegal. My belief is that they were held for particular purposes—to intimidate the Government and to force the Parliament into a breach of national faith; by intimidation to force the Legislature to take a course which the Legislature without such intimidation was not prepared to take. The motive in the case was everything, the means used singly and separately might not have been illegal, but that was no proof of the absence of an illegal motive; and this was exactly the opinion of the jury. They said the meetings separated peaceably day by day; any one of the articles taken separately may not have been illegal, but they do show a combined purpose to effect an object which though not illegal in itself yet by illegal combination renders the parties combining amenable to the law. Now, the noble Lord has expended some argument against the law of conspiracy, and has compared it with constructive treason. I need not remind the House of the difference between the highest capital offences and misdemeanours; but I deny that there is any novelty in the law of conspiracy. Even if there were any novelty, I contend that we have at present to contend with a new state of things. One of the most sagacious of living men drew my attention not long ago to a saying of one of the most profound thinkers that ever lived among women. The duke of Wellington called my attention to the following observations in Madame de Stael's History of the French Revolution:—In these days," says Madame de Stael, "On conspire toujours sur la place publique, où plutôt, on ne conspire pas, on s'excite les uns les autres.In these latter days Leagues meet in theatres. Demagogues spout in the market-places; and conspirators build conciliation halls to disseminate sedition among the multitude. I deny that the law of conspiracy is new; but, even if it were, I say that it would be necessary to frame it, to meet such a state of things as the present. But it has been said, "Why, when you determined upon proclaiming the meetings, did you act as you did in proclaiming the meeting at Clontarf?" I beg your attention to this. The noble Lord said, the proclamation was marked with so much 772 negligence and carelessness that it endangered the lives of the people, and he then passed a glowing eulogium upon the exertion which Mr. O'Connell employed to prevent the meeting. I concur in the eulogium so passed. The noble Lord reminded us of Mr. O'Connell's preaching peace, and gave him great credit for opposing chartists and trades' unions. Now, I do not wish to aggravate the case against Mr. O'Connell, but I would remind the House that this very argument was urged in his defence upon his trial, and that it was met by the Crown, and proved by the Crown to be part and parcel of the means by which that conspiracy was conducted. If any one meeting had been riotous, if the peace had been broken, the effect desired by its leaders would not have been produced—the slightest infraction of the public peace would have been immediately checked by an overwhelming force, and would have been fatal to the design of' conspiracy. Whilst I recollect I will also touch upon another point in the noble Lord's speech. The noble Lord, in more than one paragraph of his speech, with a great deal of forgiveness and a great deal of the most amiable charity, praised Mr. O'Connell very much, whilst he condemned in a like degree Lord Lyndhurst. Lord Lyndhurst may be comforted, when the noble Lord opposite abuses him: censure falls light from the panegyrist of Mr. O'Connell. Now, Sir, I stand here the colleague of Lord Lyndhurst. I am his friend. I am astonished that the noble Lord should have thought it becoming his station to have spoken of the Lord Chancellor of England in the terms which he has thought proper to use. Away with all high aristocratic notions of noble birth and other adventitious circumstances: here is a man who from his first entrance into public life has risen by the exertion of pre-eminent talent: watch his progress at the University—watch him at the Bar. In political life, it is true, he has created some enemies, but not many in this country, where he is best known; but I will undertake to say, Sir, that no man ever adorned the judgment seat with judicial functions of a higher order, his integrity is incorruptible, his talents first-rate; and, Sir, I think it hard that a man who has risen to pre-eminence after a long life, by means not dishonourable, should in his absence be taxed, even in party strife, and by the leader of a party, in a way so severe and so unjust. I am confident Lord Lyndhurst would not have 773 spoken of any political opponent in his absence in any such terms. But is this all that is ungenerous? The noble Lord has not only reminded you of certain expressions imputed to my noble Friend, but was further betrayed into saying what I am sure he cannot mean and must wish unsaid, that Lord Lyndhurst, not for his talent, not for his public virtue, not for his pre-eminence in his profession, but that he had been selected for the Woolsack by the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government on account of his having insulted the Irish people. Perhaps the noble Lord was excited. I am quite sure that upon more calm reflection, these are expressions which the noble Lord would not have used. But to come to the fact of the expression attributed to Lord Lyndhurst; I say that Lord Lyndhurst, in the presence of the House of Lords, who heard the expressions—who knew precisely what fell from him—five or six days afterwards positively denied the use of them in the sense in which they had been misrepresented. I say he positively denied their use in the sense which was applied to them. Lord Lyndhurst himself, in the explanation to which I refer, reminded the noble Viscount then at the head of the Government (Viscount Melbourne) and the President of the Council, that they were both present when the expressions were used, and that they neither commented on nor objected to them, as it was undoubtedly their duty to have done if they had understood them to have the meaning imputed to them. No; it was not till a false gloss had been put upon them elsewhere that any comment or explanation was required or made. Now I will pass from this subject, which I thought it my duty to notice, and I can assure the noble Lord that the pain with which I heard his attack upon Lord Lyndhurst was very great, because I thought it an attack unworthy of a generous adversary. The point to which I was adverting when I was led away by these considerations was the imputation of negligence and carelessness on the part of the Government with regard to the proclamation forbidding the meeting at Clontarf. The requisition for the meeting at Clontarf was sent to me upon Thursday the 27th of September. On Saturday, the 29th, a proclamation was issued by the Committee of a very peculiar character, to which it is my duty shortly to call the attention of the House. At that moment, the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland was absent 774 from Ireland on account of his health. My noble Friend the Secretary for Ireland, sent to me a copy of this proclamation. It is headed, "Repeal cavalry—Clontarf meeting—muster and march of the mounted Repeal volunteers." It would be tedious were I to read the whole proclamation, but all the expressions used in it are studiously of a military nature, and they are intended to give to the whole assemblage a martial character. In former meetings, there had been a display of infantry. Mr. O'Connell had boasted that his infantry was superior to that which the Duke of Wellington commanded at Waterloo, and far more powerful than that which Napoleon led to Moscow. But this was the first occasion on which a summons was issued for the assembling of cavalry. I will not, as I have said, trouble the House with the whole proclamation, but will just read the first paragraph, which will show the nature of the whole.1st. All mounted Repealers from the city or from the south and west sides of the county to muster on the open ground, Harcourt-street-fields, on Sunday, the 8th of October, at 12 o'clock at noon, and form into troops, each troop to consist of 25 horsemen, to be led by one officer in front, followed by six ranks, four abreast, half distance, each bearing a wand and cockade distinguishing the number of his respective troop.It was conceived by my noble Friend that this was a new and peculiar proclamation; and it will now be necessary for me to call the attention of the House to the progress of events in Ireland about that time. Several immense multitudinous meetings had been held in different parts of Ireland, and the violence of the language had increased as the multitudes augmented. There had been the meeting at Tara, and the crowning at Mullaghmast, attended with the peculiar circumstances of banners and martial music which distinguish all the meetings. Large contributions had been received from foreign countries; a tax, amounting in one week, I believe, to 3,000l., had been levied upon the Irish people; there was impending the meeting in Conciliation-hall of 300 representatives, who were to assume the character of an Irish Parliament; and then, at last, came this proclamation of a military character. It is asserted, and I think the noble Lord rather confirmed the statement, that this was to have been the last meeting. Let me negative that assertion. I have the words of Mr. O'Connell, used by him at 775 Mullaghmast on the 1st of October to contradict it. He said:—He would not have met them at Mullaghmast again, but for the purpose of showing the completeness of their position and expectations. He had arranged six or seven meetings more, and by the time they were held, he thought the Ministry would be shown that their do-nothing policy would not remedy the grievances of Ireland.The meeting at Clontarf, therefore, was not to be the last, but in calling that meeting one of an additional series, this proclamation of a military character was issued; and as I have stated to the House, I received it in London on the 1st or 2nd of October. I summoned the Lord-Lieutenant and the Lord Chancellor of Ireland and the law officers of the Crown to a meeting on the day that I received this communication. It was on Sunday, I think, that I received it, and I summoned the meeting for the following day. We met; we deliberated. Now, that proclamation had issued from the Corn Exchange, whether with or without the knowledge of Mr. O'Connell does not appear; but it became the subject of consideration in the Association on the Monday, and then the question was discussed whether or not the military terms should be withdrawn. Alterations were made, though they were not wholly withdrawn, and a second proclamation was issued. For the word "troops" "groups" was substituted. But several military terms were retained, and in substance the proclamation was identically the same. A meeting was to assemble in the heart of Dublin in mid-day, and for the purpose of demonstration to march under the Castle-wall. [Mr. Wallace: "Will the right hon. Gentleman read the second proclamation."] Yes. It is dated, "Sunday, October 8, 1843;" the summons to appear mounted upon Conquer-hill was omitted.The committee for this great national demonstration, being apprised of the intention of many repealers to appear mounted at Clontarf, recommend the following rules to be observed for the regulation of the cavalcade:—1. All mounted Repealers of the city or from the south and west sides of the county to muster on the open ground, Harcourt-street-fields, on Sunday, the 8th of October instant, at 12 o'clock at noon, and form into groups" (not troops) "each group to consist of 25 horsemen, to be kept in order by"—the words "officer" and "half-distance" are omitted—"some one or two in front, followed by six ranks, four a-breast, each bearing a wand.The military character even of this se- 776 cond proclamation is quite transparent. It became necessary for Her Majesty's Government, aided by the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and the law-officers of the Crown, to consider whether this second proclamation had altered the case. We deliberated; and on the Wednesday morning it was considered necessary that the Lord-Lieutenant and the Lord Chancellor should repair forthwith to Dublin. Her Majesty's Government did not give a peremptory order that this meeting should be proclaimed, because circumstances might vary; but the authorities had a discretion to consider the facts on their arrival in Dublin, and to decide according to certain fixed instructions which were laid down. The Lord-Lieutenant and the Lord Chancellor arrived in Dublin on Friday, having left London on Thursday morning. On the Friday, they immediately summoned a Council and deliberated on the facts, and they determined to proclaim the meeting; but they had to weigh well every word of their proclamation, to put it into form, to pass it through the Hanaper-office, and to have the great seal of Ireland affixed. The whole of this was done between Friday at noon and Saturday at noon. The proclamation was instantly made as public as possible, and was posted upwards of thirty miles round Dublin on Saturday evening. It was a meeting, be it remembered, for the districts, and the immediate vicinity and neighbourhood of Dublin, and the proclamation could be known therefore, by four o'clock on the Saturday afternoon in Dublin and its immediate vicinity. Now, admitting the full value of Mr. O'Connell's exertions in preventing the meeting, I am happy to say, that it did not take place, and that nobody was injured, no mischief was done to life or property, and no evil consequence of any kind ensued. I have dwelt as shortly as the justice of the case would admit on all the circumstances connected with this Proclamation, because I feel convinced that a simple narration of the facts is the very surest mode of meeting misrepresentation. Having now trespassed upon the patience of the House for a considerable time, I shall omit some topics, which, if it were earlier in the evening, I should be disposed to discuss. But I am asked—what is the benefit of the course we have adopted? I will tell the noble Lord and the House. Already very important benefits have been gained; for the last three months there has been comparative 777 peace in Ireland. With returning tranquillity there has been a revival of industry and more extensive employment. But is that all? I do conceive an immense object has been effected by proving that without any extraordinary powers, either asked or granted, trial by jury, and the law as administered in Ireland, by an unanimous Court, have been triumphant over a most dangerous conspiracy. That is my short answer to the question what is the benefit of the trial? But the noble Lord said, incidentally, that we occupy Ireland by a military force. Most certainly we do occupy Ireland by a military force. When a demonstration is made, clearly showing an intention to wrest Ireland from Her Majesty by a display of physical force, does the noble Lord himself object to any such proceedings? Am I to understand that to be his opinion, when the Government are convinced, in common with the jury who have now convicted the parties, that there was a design to tamper with the army, to overawe the Government, to assume the functions of the Executive by the appointment of a police, and by the establishment of courts of law and of equity, and that the functions and powers of Government were, one by one, to be assumed by the Repeal Association,—does the noble Lord say, that it was not the bounden duty of the Government, both to the people and to Her Majesty, to take precautions against such proceedings? Until these military demonstrations had taken place, for they might well be called military demonstrations from the manner in which the Repealers were brought together and compared to the finest troops in Europe, and stated to be even superior to them, we were not justified in taking more than ordinary measures of precaution; and until the month of March last, so far from having a large portion of the Queen's army in Ireland, we had a somewhat weaker force compared to that of former years. I have a return which I thought the hon. Member for Coventry had moved for, and which I am ready to produce, if he does call for it, and which has been called for in the other House of Parliament. It shows the total rank and file of all the forces in Ireland on the 1st of January in each year, from 1830 to 1844. Now, Sir, I think it quite right to conceal no facts at the present moment with reference to this point. I believe the force in Ireland is equal to every emergency, and to prevent all delusion on the subject, Her 778 Majesty's Government will produce the return. On the 1st of January, 1844, there were 21,251 men in Ireland. When I had the honour to be the colleague of the noble Lord in 1833 and 1834, the amount for the first of those years, was 23,998, and for 1834, 23,035. Between the 21st of September, 1841, and the 1st of March, 1843—that month in which the monster meetings began, when Her Majesty's Government did think it necessary to act with decision in respect of this matter, two regiments of cavalry had been withdrawn, and one only sent; twelve battalions of infantry were withdrawn, and eight only sent. On the 1st of January, 1841, the total force was 14,687 men; on the 1st of Jan., 1843, 14,476. [Cries of "Marines."] The marines are not included in the return; but they are generally about 600. I readily and most decidedly admit that melancholy indeed would be the prospect of this country if Ireland were permanently to be held by a military force; but when a design is entertained to wrest Ireland from this country by force, that design must be resisted: far be it from me, however, to contend that a military policy is the soundest policy upon which to govern any country. It may be said, these are mere words, and that they prove nothing. Let me then shortly glance at the measures the Government have undertaken and those they are prepared to take with regard to Ireland. I listened attentively to the noble Lord, and to the right hon. Gentleman and I have been unable to discover in what fell from them on the policy which they suggested to be pursued with regard to Ireland, any thing very new, or very useful; but Her Majesty's Government have, as the House knows, issued a Commission with reference to the occupation of land in Ireland, and the terms of that commission are,To inquire into the state of the law and practice in respect to the occupation of land in Ireland, and in respect also to the burthens of the county cess, and other charges which fall respectively upon the landlords and occupants, and to report what alterations may be made, with a due regard to the just rights of property, the cultivation of the soil, the extension of the advantages of agriculture, and the relation between landlords and tenants.These are extensive subjects, and into many of them, I have no doubt, that an inquiry ought to be made, and will bring forth useful information. The right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Kildare, made an observation last Session, which appeared 779 to me to be full of truth and wisdom,—namely,It is no answer to me to say, that the law affecting landlord and tenant, in Ireland, is the same there as in England, for the different circumstances of the two countries, and the different state of society in each, may cause the same law to produce very different effects.I will illustrate what I mean by a reference to the Law of Ejectment. I recollect that some years ago the hon. Member for Cockermouth proposed a measure by which the power of ejecting a tenant under 20l. a year was given to the magistrates. On that occasion my right hon. and learned Friend the present Lord Chancellor of Ireland who was then a Member of the House, objected strongly to the principle, and said that the adoption of such a measure might produce very serious consequences. He added that he thought that that part of the law of England relating to ejectments was better for being somewhat tardy, and that it was desirable that the process for that purpose should be adopted in the Assize court of the county, and before an assembled bar, and an auditory that would carefully attend to the case. By such a course, he said, time would be afforded to allow any warmth of blood to subside, and angry feelings to be allayed. But there are circumstances connected with ejectment in Ireland, where a summary process is given to the Quarter Sessions, which may be attended with practical evils. It therefore is a question whether it would not be advisable carefully to investigate the summary process of Ejectment by Civil Bill in Ireland. Again the question of Compensation for Improvements made by the Tenant, is one of great practical importance. In England, buildings on farms, and under drainings, are generally made at the cost of the landlord; but this is not so generally the case in Ireland. In that country I understand that even for improvements made under lease, no allowance is made to the tenant on his lease expiring; or on his leaving his farm, I think that some arrangement might be made by which the interests of the tenant may be preserved, and that too is a subject deserving careful investigation. Again, with respect to sub-letting, which takes place, to a much greater extent in Ireland than in this country, the effect of which is to produce a deterioration in the condition of the peasantry, and to hold out an inducement to landlords to clear their estates when leases fall in, of large numbers 780 of the population. This state of things is sometimes productive of great misery and hardship to innocent parties entitled to indulgent consideration. But all these circumstances have been brought under the attention of the Commissioners, and I believe that all these, and other topics, have already undergone, or will undergo a careful consideration; and I hope, before the close of the Session that some measure, founded on the report of the Commissioners, may be introduced into the House, and pass into a law. The hon. Member for Waterford joined the noble Lord in condemning the Government for reducing the number of the stipendiary magistrates in Ireland. I might have said that this was the only great improvement connected with the law of landlord and tenant in Ireland, which was suggested by the noble Lord. The only measure which he recommended was, an increase in the number of the stipendiary magistrates. Now, it appears very strange to me, considering how recently the noble Lord was a Minister of the Crown, and for how long a time the noble Lord was in high office, namely, from 1834 to 1841, that the noble Lord did not adopt this course, as well as bring forward and carry into effect many important measures which now seem to fill his imagination. The right hon. Member for Waterford upbraided the Government for reducing the number of stipendiary magistrates by ten. I entreat the House to attend to the facts I am about to state. The number of stipendiary magistrates in 1838, '39, '40, and '41, under the administration of the noble Lord and his colleagues amounted to 59. In the estimates of 1841, the year they left office, they took a vote for 59 stipendiary Magistrates in Ireland. At a very curious period, namely, in the month of June, 1841, the noble Lord and his colleagues bethought themselves that the time had arrived when it was expedient to add to the number of stipendiary magistrates in Ireland. The estimates having passed, there had been for four years only fifty-nine stipendiary magistrates in Ireland—on the 15th of June, an addition was made—they added one to the number of Irish stipendiary magistrates on the 15th of June. They added two on the 28th of July; they added two on the 6th of August; they added one on the 16th of August, and, as if to mark the day when Lord Melbourne resigned the seals of office into the hands of Her Majesty, the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland appointed an additional stipendiary magistrate 781 on that very day. After the Government was a condemned Government, then, and not till then the necessity occurred of adding to the number of stipendiary magistrates in Ireland. In the course of three months they added seven, and, as if it were not only a death-bed repentance, but in the last gasp of an expiring Government, they appointed one on the very day when they left office. Let that course be contrasted with that which has been pursued by the present Government. So far from reducing the number of stipendiary magistrates, ever since we have been in office we have had one stipendiary magistrate more than the late Government had in 1841. We certainly did not think it consistent with our duty to maintain the seven last appointments. But have we acted with harshness towards these gentlemen? I cannot think that any of them had the slightest claim on the consideration of the present Government; but, notwithstanding much obloquy which has been cast upon us, we have appointed four of these gentlemen promoted between June and August, 1841, to vacancies as they occurred, the fifth died, so that there are only two out of the seven unprovided for, and of these one had been appointed on the very day of the late Government's resignation. So much with regard to the measure recommended by the noble Lord as to the number of the stipendiary magistrates in Ireland. It is also remarkable that the attack of the right hon. Member for Waterford, with respect to Ireland, rested mainly on the question of National Education. I have to state to the House that it is the decision of Her Majesty's Government, in the Estimates of the present year, to propose a considerable addition to the vote for National Education. We are quite satisfied that more constant and frequent inspection of the national schools is necessary. We are quite satisfied that training schools for masters and mistresses to manage the approved system of education throughout Ireland are wanting; and, I repeat, it is our intention to propose a considerable addition to the vote for National Education in the Irish Estimates for the present year. The right hon. Member for Waterford suggested another boon that might be conferred on Ireland. We have directed our attention to the state of the law with regard to the power of making grants for charitable and religious uses in Ireland. In the session of 1832, Mr. George Lamb, the lamented brother of Lord Melbourne, brought in an 782 important act, which became law, and which placed Roman Catholics in Great Britain on the same footing, with regard to the enjoyment of gifts for charitable and religious uses, as Protestant Dissenters after the passing of the Toleration Act. The object of Mr. Lamb's act was declared to be this, "to enable to acquire and hold in real estate property necessary for religious worship, education, and charitable purposes." It did not extend to Ireland, and it is our intention to propose to Parliament a measure which will have the effect of placing Roman Catholics in Ireland on the same footing as Roman Catholics in Great Britain, and as the Protestant Dissenters, with reference to Grants of Land for religious and charitable uses. I now pass to a third subject touched on by the noble Lord, namely, the state of the franchise in Ireland. I think the noble Lord must have forgotten that when the Irish Reform Act regulating the franchise in counties was introduced, the leasehold qualification was 10l. clear yearly value in Ireland as well as in England and Scotland. The terms were the same—the interpretation, of course, upon the same words with the same object ought in the two countries to be the same; but for the sake of greater perspicuity the terms "clear yearly value," used in the English and Scotch bills, were, in the progress of the Irish Reform Bill, set aside for the words "beneficial interest," in Ireland. I have no doubt the interpretation put in Scotland and England upon the words "yearly value" and by the majority of the judges in Ireland on the terms "beneficial interest," as equivalent to "clear yearly value," was the right interpretation. But the effect has been greatly to narrow the county franchise, and it is the intention of the Government, in their registration act for Ireland, to propose an extension of the county franchise, as a compensation for the restrictive operation to which I have alluded. I think it also right that I should state to the House, as indicative of the spirit which actuates the Government, since we have successfully resisted the attempts to overawe the Legislature and the Executive, that it is our intention to deal, in a certain particular, with the franchise of the cities and towns. At the time of the passing of the Reform Act no Poor-rate had been carried in Ireland. The borough franchise in England depended on the occupation of a house valued at 10l., coupled with the payment of poor-rate and Queen's 783 taxes for a given antecedent period. No poor-rate existing in Ireland, the condition superadded in Ireland to the 10l. value, was the payment of all local rates and taxes. In Dublin, for instance, I believe I do not overstate the matter when I declare that there are, at least, eighteen or twenty local taxes, the omission to pay any one of which operates as a disqualification, and the most solvent person qualified ten times over by the value of his house, in consequence of the omission to pay any one of these local rates, loses his qualification. This is vexatious. It appears to me to give no additional security, and it is no test of the solvency of the parties; but, in addition to this, since the passing of that enactment, the Poor-law has been introduced into Ireland, and a poor-rate, a most important rate, has been superadded. It is, therefore, the intention of the Government that in lieu of all local rates and taxes there shall be substituted the payment of borough-rate, jurycess, and poor-rate. It is only just to my noble Friend, the Member for North Lancashire, that I should notice an attack which was made upon him with some harshness. The noble Lord was accused of having said of the late Government, that in dealing with the franchise in a registration bill, they fought under false colours. It is true my noble Friend did use that expression, but he used it with reference to the terms of the bill, seeing it was brought in by the then Secretary for Ireland nominally for the single purpose of defining the franchise, whereas it was irrefragably demonstrated by my noble Friend that it was intended, not to define, but materially and essentially to alter it. Another taunt has been cast upon my noble Friend, and my right hon. Friend, and myself, with respect to which I will only say, that we all voted for the proposition suggested by the noble Lord, the Member for Sunderland, to be substituted for that of the Government—that the 5l. qualification should be tested by the surplus of rating over rent; because we considered the refusal of leases as operating as an undue restriction upon the franchise. The noble lord commented also upon the appointments, by the present Government, of a chief justice, a master of the rolls, and two puisne judges. We have fought this battle before; but there is now "confirmation strong as proof of Holy Writ," that the ground we took before was right. It is said we did not go to the foremost ranks in the legal profession, 784 which are filled with our political opponents, to find one qualified to fill these high stations. Who are the counsel chosen by the traversers to defend them? Surely the traversers in the late trial were good judges of the most distinguished talent at the Irish Bar. Whom did they select as counsel for their defence? Every one so selected, with the exception of Mr. Pigott, Attorney-general to the late Government, Mr. Shell, the late Vice-President of the Board of Trade, and Mr. Monaghan, is a Protestant and Conservative. But Mr. Moore is a Protestant, and was certainly Solicitor-General of the late Government. I have a very few words to say upon that which I admit, with respect to the people of Ireland, is the most important of all subjects which can be considered, I mean the Protestant Church by law established in Ireland. I am afraid it lies at the bottom of all our difficulties with respect to the Government of that country—a point which was glanced at, but only glanced at, by the noble Lord, and touched upon with excellent feeling by the hon. Member for Waterford himself, professing the Roman Catholic religion. He asked my right hon. Friends at the head of the Government, to put a construction on the oath to be taken by Roman Catholic Members at the Table of this and the other House of Parliament. I trust my right hon. Friend will not answer that appeal. The oath is not the oath imposed by him, it is the oath imposed by the Legislature; and I conceive there can be no advantage in discussing in this House the import of oaths. The Legislature, when it admitted the Roman Catholics to a full participation in the rights of a free constitution, made that grant fully and freely, on the condition only of the oath being taken; and, making that condition, the Legislature has marked its confidence in Roman Catholics, that they would take that oath in its fair and candid meaning; the interpretation is left to the conscience of each individual. But I must very shortly notice the observations which fell from the noble Lord relative to the Church of Ireland. His object, as I understand it, is, that equality should prevail. In passing I must say, that we should have imagined, that on making a motion of such great importance, which is equivalent—the noble Lord will not dissemble it—to an attempt to take the reins of power from the hands of the present Government—a motion made under 785 such circumstances, and with such an object, almost avowed, should have led to a distinct statement of an intelligible policy supported by an united party. The noble Lord cheered when I used the words "perfect equality." I could not divine from what fell from him, that he was prepared to propose perfect equality. I understood the noble Lord to say, that the life interest of all the clergy should be upheld. But unless you call on the State to make good the amount of income of the present established clergy to the Roman Catholic clergy, the noble Lord's measure must be postponed, until a new generation shall have arisen—a long postponement of peace to Ireland. And how is equality to be obtained? Only in three modes—you may add at once a sum equal to the present endowment of the Protestant clergy to be applied to the endowment of the Roman Catholic clergy. That can only be effected by drawing upon the resources of the United Kingdom, and calling on all persons of whatever persuasion in Great Britain to contribute to that endowment. I think you will find it difficult to persuade the Presbyterians and Protestant Dissenters of England to contribute to taxation for the endowment of the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland, and to this extent. But that is only one of your difficulties. The hon. Member for Waterford said, the Roman Catholic clergy would not accept of an endowment. What would be the object of such an arrangement? Clearly to effect a connection between that clergy and the State, and the value of such a connection depends on the terms. Then again I foresee another difficulty. Suppose the secular clergy in connection with the State; they might be supplanted by mendicant regulars, subject to no control, but men of fervent piety, possessing great influence with the multitude; and the endowed clergy would probably degenerate into mere pensioners of the State. I confess I should upon principle have had no objection to Roman Catholic Endowment, and had I been in my place in this House in 1825, when my noble Friend, the Member for South Lancashire, proposed a resolution to that effect, I should have given it my support. I believe, however, the time is gone by for such an arrangement; and even if it were still possible or practicable, I do not believe, that it would produce either peace or contentment in Ireland. I think, therefore, we must discard that proposition. An hon. Gentle- 786 man on the other side has said, try your measure of equality by the common rules of arithmetic and nothing will be more easy than its settlement. Suppose you proceed upon the principles of subtraction, and overthrow the Established Church in Ireland. To that system the noble Lord has repeatedly declared his inviolable hostility. It was a dangerous measure, he has said, to which he would never consent—one which he repudiated, as contrary to the most sacred principles. If so, how is the result contemplated by the noble Lord to be arrived at? The hon. Member for Sheffield suggests division as the principle, and the noble Lord himself seemed almost inclined towards a division by three—by Church of Ireland, Roman Catholics, and Presbyterians. I don't think the noble Lord would find it very easy to accomplish that division. There might be many who would be very ready to agree to a division by two, who would not adopt a division by three; and with regard to the equal division of the Protestant Church property by Protestants and Roman Catholics, I believe that it would open a scene of more angry contest, and more implacable strife, than any which has hitherto agitated Ireland. Sir, I regret having occupied so long the attention of the House, but with respect to the Protestant Church of Ireland, I say, at once, that I reject all these nostrums. I say, that any proposition which has been suggested as likely to be feasible, is inconsistent with that preference which the Protestant state of England as a fundamental principle, has decided on giving in favour of the Protestant Church Establishment. I stand upon the choice made by this country at the Reformation, confirmed at the Revolution, sealed by the Act of Settlement, and ratified by the Act of Union. I hold that preference to be amongst the firmest foundations of our liberties. I believe it to have been the work of the greatest Statesmen, and I do not believe that it will be overthrown by any Repeal Association, or any body of Conspirators such as we have succeeded in convicting. One word with respect to this motion. I have endeavoured, however imperfectly, to go through all the leading topics glanced at in the course of this debate. I may have touched upon them imperfectly, but I have stated my opinions fairly and frankly. I have dissembled nothing; I have kept back nothing; I have stated everything I thought it my duty to declare. I must say, that I do not think the noble 787 Lord who is seeking to displace the present Government has been equally explicit. It is for the House, however, to judge. If they think upon the whole, that Her Majesty's present advisers, in a great crisis of public affairs, have acted in a manner unworthy of the confidence of the country—unworthy of the confidence of this House, and injurious to the best interests of the State—let them declare it by their vote, and give that vote in favour of the noble Lord. If on the other hand, they think that we have not forfeited the confidence of the House; if they are of opinion, that in the midst of great public difficulties, it is for the public good to strengthen the hands of the Executive Government, and that they think us still entitled to that confidence and favour, for which we are sincerely grateful—then I call upon the House by a decisive and large majority to negative the proposition of the noble Lord.
§ The debate was then adjourned, and the other orders having been disposed of, the House adjourned at a quarter-past twelve o'clock.