§ Mr. Maurice O'Connell
would promise the right hon. Gentleman, and the House, that he would 24 not detain them long. He proposed to confine himself to meeting certain statements which had been made on the preceding evening by the right hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland. That right hon. and learned Gentleman, in the beginning of his speech, had thought proper to taunt the traversers as to their conduct in reference to the reporter, Mr. Bond Hughes. He (Mr. M. O'Connell) could not but think that when the right hon. and learned Gentleman made his statement with reference to Mr. Bond Hughes, he had but a very limited recollection of the facts of the matter. The case as regarded that person stood just thus. Mr. Bond Hughes laid an information, that at a certain meeting at Mullaghmast, he saw Mr. Barrett present, and that Mr. Barrett addressed the meeting. Let this be admitted. He further swore, that on a subsequent occasion he saw Mr. Barrett at a meeting in Abbey-street, and immediately after the Proclamation which prevented the Clontarf meeting, also at a dinner held at the Rotunda, at which, he believed it was further said by Mr. Bond Hughes, that Mr. Barrett spoke. Now, when at a later day, the traversers attended at the chambers of Mr. Justice Burton, amongst those there present, on the part of the Crown, was Mr. Bond Hughes, who attended for the purpose of correcting an error he had made as to the Christian name of one of the traversers. He there saw Mr. Barrett for the second time, and after seeing him, as he stated in his evidence two months afterwards, which was the first the traversers heard of the correction, he became aware that he had made a mistake in stating Mr. Barrett to have been present at the Abbey-street meeting, and at the Rotunda meeting. This, he stated at the time to Mr. Kernmis's head clerk, in the presence of Mr. Kemmis; but nothing was done in consequence. When a summons was served on Mr. Bond Hughes to answer the complaint of wilful and corrupt perjury, Mr. Kemmis appeared for him to oppose the informations, but he never made any allusion on that occasion to the statement which Mr. Hughes had made, namely, that he had made a mistake, and Mr. Kemmis thus allowed Mr. Hughes to remain under the imputation of wilful and corrupt perjury. On the fourth or fifth day of term, a mandamus was applied for at the Court of Queen's Bench, to compel the Police Ma- 25 gistrates to take informations for perjury against Mr. Hughes, and although that motion was opposed, yet no allusion was made to the mistake that Mr. Hughes admitted he had made. Now, he thought one could not entirely acquit Mr. Bond Hughes for allowing so grave a charge as perjury to hang over him, when it was obviously his duty to take the first opportunity of meeting it. But he was a Crown witness, and it must be supposed, that he was in the hands of the Officers of the Crown. Those Crown Officers contented themselves with resisting the application for the mandamus moved for on the part of the traversers, and they allowed the charge to hang over Mr. Bond Hughes from the 16th of October until he was examined as a witness on the trial, when, in the course of cross-examination, it was elicited from him that he had committed a mistake. He thought the only blame that could be attached to Mr. Bond Hughes was, that he allowed the matter to rest in the hands of the Crown Solicitor, instead of taking it up himself, and placing it in its proper light before the public. The moment it was placed in its proper light before the public, that moment the obloquy which had been cast upon Mr. Hughes ceased. With that peculiar disposition which characterises the Irish people, every thing as regarded Mr. Bond Hughes, was dropped and forgiven, and Mr. Hughes instead of being held up as an object of obloquy, was set right before the public in the papers, the Editor of one of those papers, through the agency of which Mr. Hughes was set right, having been one of the very persons who was the subject of one of the mistakes. He thought, therefore, that it would have been wiser of the Attorney General if he had stated what the facts were as regarded the course that was adopted towards Mr. Bond Hughes, instead of stating merely that he had been an object of vituperation. If he had been for a time exposed to obloquy, it was the fault of Mr. Kemmis, that he had been exposed to it so long, and the blame, instead of being thrown on the public, ought to have rested upon the officers of the Crown. Why did not the officers of the Crown, instead of contenting themselves with opposing the informations against Mr. Hughes, and the application for a mandamus to oblige the Magistrates to take these informations—why did they not, instead 26 of contenting themselves with that, state at once, that Mr. Bond Hughes had fallen into a mistake. The right hon. the Attorney General for Ireland said a good deal last night with respect to the applications which had been made for copies of the Jurors' Lists, but he did not state why the application for a copy of the caption of the indictment had been opposed. A different course had been pursued in Ireland from that which prevails in England; the application for a copy of the caption had been opposed, but it would not have been opposed in England; it would be furnished to the Solicitor for the traversers as a matter of right. In fact, Justice Perrin stated, that he believed it to be the right of the traversers, and that although it had not been customary to furnish it in Ireland, the fact of the right having slumbered, did not deprive the parties of that which they were entitled to. The traversers were to be called on to plead to the indictment in which the caption was, and if there was a material error in the caption, it would quash the indictment. They were called on to plead to that, which, according to the Attorney General, they had no right to get. But was that the only case in which the traversers were opposed in the proceedings which they felt it necessary to take? They put in a plea of abatement, which they were entitled to do under the statute, and the Attorney General demurred to the plea—they applied again, and it was decided by the Court, that they had a right to a four-day rule, and accordingly they obtained that rule, as the Chief Justice stated that he found it was consistent with the practice of the Court to grant that rule; and what was the conduct of the right hon. the Attorney General on that occasion? The Attorney General expressed his opposition to it, and said:—I insist that as the Chief Officer of the Crown, and representing the Sovereign in this case, I am at liberty to form my opinion, and I say again, that I considered these pleas to have been put in for delay. If this is not so, why should they not be ready to argue them to-morrow. I call on them, if their object be not delay, to join in demurrer instanter, and whatever rules of practice may exist on this point, I insist and claim it as my right, that they should not be adhered to strictly. It was well observed by Lord Plunket, that the rules of the Court are the servants of the Court, and where a plea in abatement is put in, as I 27 assert, in order to create delay, and where I sustain that view by demurring as rapidly as could. I say, that considering these circumstances, I trust your Lordships will, notwithstanding any rule of practice to the contrary, require them to join in demurrer forthwith, as I require them.Now he would ask the Attorney General for England whether, with such an indictment hanging over the traversers, with so much at stake, with the country so much excited, would he exercise any prerogative he might possess, as the chief Law Officer of the Crown, against persons in the position which the traversers at that time occupied? The Attorney General for Ireland in his speech last night, insisted, as he had previously done in Dublin, that everything on the part of the traversers had been done for the purpose of causing delay. Now he (Mr. M. O'Connell) could not say whether or not the trials were attempted to be brought on at an early period in order that the Jury should be selected from the Jury List of 1843, but this much he could say, that if the trials were brought on at that early period, they must necessarily have been proceeded with before a Jury formed from the List of 1843, a List that was made out without any of that strict revision which had taken place before the Recorder. If the trials had been forced on, it was beyond a doubt that the Jury should necessarily be selected from that List. The right hon. the Attorney General had complained that the traversers only sought delay by their pleas, but he had not attempted to show to the House that the traversers made use of any means that were not permitted by the law, that they made any endeavour to produce a frivolous or vexatious delay. They had a perfect right to apply for the rule which the Court granted; they had a right to apply for a copy of the caption of the indictment; and no one had a right to say that they did so for the purpose of causing delay, and in order to frustrate the objects of the Crown. They acted properly in seeking for the chance of a better Jury than one selected from the Jury List of 1843, from which the Jury would have been selected if the trials had been forced on. He believed that a very different course would have been taken in England, where, he understood, every possible facility was afforded to the traverser for his defence, and where it was, he believed, the practice to give a copy of the caption 28 and a list of the witnesses on the back of the indictment. The Attorney General for Ireland, in his speech last night, had alluded to the statement made by the hon. and learned Member for Worcester, in reference to the impossibility of setting aside, without cause, as many as they pleased of those persons who might be called on to serve on a common Jury. Now, what the hon. and learned Member for Worcester stated was, that the Crown might, it was true, have the right, but public opinion beat them down, and they could not do so with a common Jury. He had asked the Attorney General for England if he would have been inclined, under the circumstances, to exercise all his prerogatives, as they had been exercised in Ireland, against persons in the condition of the traversers; and he should now show to the House that the right hon. Attorney General for Ireland was capable of exercising his prerogative in a very extraordinary manner; and the instance which he was about to mention, was one that would, in his opinion, excite some surprise in the House. At an early period of the proceedings an application was made to correct an error in one of the names in the Bill before the Grand Jury; the name was that of one of the Clergymen, he believed the Rev. Mr. Tierney; Mr. M'Donogh, who is Queen's Counsel, and was counsel for Mr. Tierney, opposed the application to correct the error, and what reply did the Attorney General make? He did not attempt to meet the argument of Mr. M'Donogh, and to show that there existed a legal right to correct the error and amend the bill. No, but he proceeded in the manner of a gamekeeper, who meets a stranger in his master's preserves, and suspects him to be a poacher—instead of replying to the arguments of Mr. M'Donogh, he turns round like a gamekeeper, and asks for his licence. The Attorney General for Ireland demanded the licence of Mr. M'Donogh for acting as Counsel for the traversers, he being Queen's Counsel. The Attorney General had been so lately dealing with the Arms Bill, that perhaps, he forgot himself, and thus was led into asking for the licence of another counsel, as of a man suspected of poaching. It fortunately happened, however, that Mr. M'Donogh was able to show that he had procured a licence to act for the traversers. The Attorney General had alluded last night to the conduct of 29 Mr. Mahoney, the Solicitor for the traversers, in sending notes of different colours to persons who were qualified to be on the Jury List. Any person whose name was not on the Cess Collectors' book as qualified to be a Juror, had no right to have it put on the List, unless he, or some one on his part, served a notice to that effect within a certain number of days, and it required a similar notice in case a person who was not qualified wished his name to be struck off. These notices, to which the Attorney General alluded, were, therefore, necessary; but in remarking on the fact of Mr. Mahoney having caused them to be served, the Attorney General omitted to mention that when the lists were before the Recorder for revision there appeared, not only the Counsel and Solicitors for the traversers, whose duty it was to attend, but there were also counsel and agents to oppose the admission of names which the traversers' Counsel applied to have put on the List, and to support the claims of those which the Counsel for the traversers objected to. Those Counsel and Solicitors discharged the duty assigned to them with great ability and industry; and up to this time it was not known publicly in Ireland by whom they were sent to perform that duty. When the Attorney General, last night, denounced the conduct of Mr. Mahoney in serving notices on persons who were qualified to be placed on the List, he omitted to state to the House that similar notices, and perhaps on different coloured paper, had been served on other persons by Counsel and Agents in opposition to those of the traversers. By whom were those Counsel and Agents employed, he would ask? The Attorney General last night, cast an imputation upon a Gentleman, Mr. M'Grath, the clerk of the peace, against whose character he never before had heard the slightest charge. The Attorney-General imputed to Mr. M'Grath that he had been corruptly influenced by Mr. Mahoney, the Solicitor for the traversers, or that some religious feeling (he being a Roman Catholic) had induced him to deal more favourabiy with the traversers than with the Crown. Now, what were the facts as regarded the conduct of Mr. M'Grath? The Act directs that the parochial lists should remain three weeks in the office of the Clerk of the Peace, and both sides were entitled to a perusal of them. They had the means in Court of taking down these lists, and 30 the Solicitor for the traversers applied for permission to compare the lists which were laid before Mr. M'Grath, with the books as revised by the Recorder, in order to ascertain if the copies were correct; and he was informed that Mr. M'Grath afforded the very same information to the Crown which he furnished to the traversers. They obtained leave to compare four of the parochial lists, and on applying for leave to compare the fifth, they were refused, on the ground that the papers were sent to the Recorder, to London. They were thus refused permission, it was stated, to examine any further, and up to this time no charge of corruption had been brought against Mr. M'Grath. The right hon. the Attorney General said that frequent applications were made on the part of the Crown, and that they had all been refused, but there had been no evidence offered of that, although Mr. Mahoney stated in full, in an affidavit before the Court, the manner in which he obtained a copy of the lists. Now, if this imputation of corrupt influence against Mr. M'Grath could be supported, would it not have been better to have stated that on affidavit before the Court? For at the time that Mr. Mahoney's affidavit was made, it would have been very important to have put in an affidavit, if they could, that advantages had been given to the traversers which were not extended to the Crown. If the Crown could maintain such a statement, they ought to have put it forward on the trial, but they did not. On the 29th of December, the lists which the Recorder had brought with him to London, arrived in Dublin, and on the 30th the Juror's Book was sent to the Sheriff. On the return of the Recorder an application was made to him, on the part of the traversers, for a copy of the list, but he said that the application ought to have been made to the Sheriff, The application was made to the Sheriff, and he refused to agree to the application without the consent of both parties, and that consent the Crown refused to give. So anxious were the officers of the Crown to get copies of the Lists, according to their own statement, that they applied almost every day at the office of the Clerk of the Peace for those copies, and were refused, and now, when they could get them by joining with the traversers in consenting to have them furnished, they refused to give that consent. Now, if the desire on the part 31 of the Crown to get those Lists did not arise last night for the first time, why did not the Attorney General consent to have the copies furnished, when by doing so he could get a copy of the List? The Sheriff was allowed ten clear days from the 30th of December, when he got the Jurors' Book, to arrange the Special Jury List, but he only took till the 3rd of January. The Jury was struck under protest, and on the 13th the traversers' counsel applied to quash the panel, but the application was refused. The array was then challenged on the ground that there were twenty-seven Catholics and thirty Protestants whose names ought to have been on the Special Jury Panel, and who were omitted. Fraud was directly imputed by the traversers in the challenge to the array, and the Attorney General could have joined issue and have triers appointed in Court to ascertain if any fraud had been practised; he did not join issue, however, but he demurred to the challenge, and, legally speaking, admitted the fact, thus permitting the imputation to go uncontradicted, when they might have joined issue, and have had the matter tried in Court. The trial at length proceeded with the panel that had been objected to, and a verdict had been obtained. He would say nothing of the conduct of the Judges and Counsel on that occasion. Those matters had been already much discussed, and considerable light would yet, perhaps, be thrown on the subject. The Attorney General had succeeded in getting a verdict of a very questionable character, according to his impression. He admitted the right to appeal by a writ of error against that verdict, to the House of Lords, and assuredly that should be done. But of what value was the verdict to them now they had got it? Amongst the six millions of people who had been charged with being present at these monster meetings, was there one individual who had been deterred—was there one individual who would be deterred from seeking the Repeal of the Union by these legal proceedings? The National Association was still in existence—the Repeal Rent still flowed in. The amount collected for the last week was 500l., for the week before that 600l., for each week in the fortnight previous to that 500l., and for the week before that period it was over 900l. He had promised the House not to detain it, and he would keep his promise. His only object had been to 32 expose some of the fallacies in the ingenious, but not very candid, speech of the right hon. and learned Attorney General. He had only to add, before sitting down, that let the consequences of the verdict which the Crown had gained be what they might to the traversers—amongst whom, he supposed by accident, he had not been included,—the Government had not succeeded, nor would they succeed by means of that trial, in raising one single argument why the Repeal of the Union should not be sought for; nor had they delayed the period when that object would be gained one single moment; but they had established a disagreeable precedent in Ireland, which might before long be carried across the Channel to be applied to other cases in this country—a precedent which, by-the-by, had already so frightened some gentlemen who were desirous of raising an association in opposition to the Anti-Corn Law League, that before attempting it they had felt obliged to take the opinion of Counsel as to its legality. The Government had gained nothing for themselves in Ireland by the course they had pursued, but they had established a precedent which whilst it might sometimes be useful against their enemies, might likewise be applied against their friends.
§ Mr. Serjeant Murphy
begged to explain. Having heard that in his absence from the House last evening the right hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland had made allusion to certain observations which had fallen from him with respect to requiring the constant attendance of the traversers in Court during the trial, he could only say, that no one could rejoice more sincerely than he did that he should have been mistaken in what he then stated. He had taken his information from the public papers; he believed it, and upon their authority he had spoken. He could only add, though the right hon. the Attorney General might have been grieved at the time, that he had good cause for congratulation that those accusations had been made, for they enabled him to prove himself a most able and accomplished debater in that House.
§ Mr. Gregory
It was not my intention at the commencement of this debate to have obtruded myself on the attention of the House, and I should even now be unwilling to do so, should I not by remaining silent he under the imputation either of 33 being lukewarm in my approbation of the course pursued by Her Majesty's Ministers, or indifferent to the feeling and opinions of that large and important constituency that has returned me to Parliament. I have no intention, at this protracted period of the debate, to enter into historical disquisitions—to endeavour to analyse the State policy of Ollam Fodlah or King Dathy with the Repeal Association—to discuss the merits of Oliver Cromwell's system of colonisation with the hon. Member for Edinburgh, or to speculate on the intentions of Mr. Pitt, with some of my hon. Friends behind me. My intention is to take things as I find them—to regard the present and not the past—the nineteenth and not the seventeenth century—to advert briefly and simply to some remarks that have been made during this discussion. I have been unable to follow the speech of the hon. Member for Tralee, who has just sat down, for two reasons; first of all, I am no lawyer, and secondly, if I were, I should have been equally at a loss to understand his arguments. Sir, the hon. Member for Edinburgh said very truly last night, Ireland is always combustible but not always on fire. Sir, I wish that observation which came so eloquently from the mouth of that hon. Gentleman had sunk a little deeper into his consideration. Had he reflected upon the truth of the sentiment he was pronouncing—on the importance of that sentiment—he would not have delivered that speech, which, with all its brilliancy and ability, I conceive more adapted to work upon that tendency to combustion which is so alarming, than any that has been delivered on the other side of the House, even by the very advocates of Repeal. What was it but a most elegant and spirited resuscitation of old and bitter wrongs of the extirpating policy of Oliver Cromwell—of the pains and penalties of William III.—of the treatment of the Roman Catholics for a long period of time—when the brave were forced to leave their shores, and proffer their services to foreign Kings, and the wise and learned to hire their abilities to foreign ministers—when their priests were treated as mountebanks, and themselves as Gibeonites—hewers of wood and drawers of water. Are these, Sir, topics fit for the present time? Is this the legitimate object of that historic research for which that right hon. Gentleman is so justly famous? All these things have passed away. If the memory still remains it may be attributed to speeches 34 such as these—hatchments, if I may so term them, over the memory of departed grievances, with the word Resurgam ostentatiously inscribed in most conspicuous characters. But, Sir, the hon. Gentleman seems to be unwilling that any one should refer to history but himself. He quarrels with the noble Lord the Member for Lancashire (Lord Stanley), for referring to the petitions and statements of Roman Catholics many years ago, for showing that they flew at much less high game than they do at present. Why, Sir, what was the object of the noble Lord, but to show the impossibility of ever satisfying these demands—that as fast as one was granted, another was insisted on—to convince the House that were the Protestant Church swept away to-morrow, something new would be required, as little contemplated at present, as the right of Catholics to sit in that House was expected by the Petitioners for the free exercise of their religious worship. It is hardly fair for the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Macaulay) not to allow the noble Lord to inform the House what were the prayers, hopes, and wishes of the Catholics at that period—what were the expectations of those who listened to those prayers, and fulfilled those wishes, when be details to the House oppression and wrongs under which they who clung to that religion laboured. Sir, the proceedings at the late State Trials in Dublin, have been strongly commented on by the hon. Gentlemen opposite. So much has already been said on the jury case that I am unwilling to enter further into the subject, The explanation of the right hon. Baronet, the Secretary for the Home Department, was, I think, most explicit, and ought to have left no doubt upon that subject. Indeed, I cannot understand how so able and experienced a tactician as the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) could have been found hardy enough to rest any portion of his ease upon that ground—when be must have been aware that it was in the power of the Government to meet his allegations with the greatest certainty of success. The hon. Baronet, the Member for Devonport (Sir G. Grey) did not fall into this error; he at once confessed that the Government could not have acted otherwise, that they must have struck these jurors off the panel—that they were, under existing circumstances, justified in doing so. The right hon. Baronet said clearly that this was not the field on which the battle was to be fought—that no position could be taken up 35 on a foundation so insecure. He therefore dismissed the subject, firing off his gun as he retreats, at the right hon. Secretary, for endeavouring to illustrate the case by a jury of fox-hunters or lay impropriators. This is a mere pettifogging view of the case, says the right hon. Gentleman, to compare a great and important State Prosecution to some miserable trial of fox-hunting squires on a case of trespass, or lay impropriators on a case of tithes—I acknowledge the justness of your remarks, but I criticise the aptness of your illustration. What would the right hon. Gentleman have said if the Protestants of the North of Ireland, instead of acting with that temperance and moderation which I trust will always characterise their actions, had determined to take the law into their own hands—had met in enormous masses, had held monster meetings, and proceeded to demonstrations, which the law advisers of the Crown consider hostile to the law, and subversive of the Constitution. The ringleaders are brought to trial—a Special Jury is struck—the Crown Solicitor leaves on the Panel men notoriously connected with this movement, who had signed requisitions for these meetings—who had contributed their money to the promotion of that conspiracy—who were in short universally considered to be heart and head, body and soul, identified with, and sympathising with, the operations of these very men thus brought to trial? I know well with what a song of triumph, with what an to Paean such a course of conduct would have been greeted. The noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) would have come to the House with his Jurors' List in his hand—he would have cited their names, description, and disposition. See here, he would have said, look at the constitution of that Jury—men born in Down, begotten in a hot-bed of Orangeism, nursed in Monaghan imbibing prejudice from the breast—educated in Fermanagh—blackmouthed and bigotted no doubt, and the noble Lord would have indignantly cast these valuable statistics on the Table of the House of Commons, and protested, in the name of common justice, against this solemn mockery of her courts, against this truckling and self-abasement on the part of Ministers to Protestants and Orangemen. And yet would not this be a parallel case to the one under your consideration—of a Panel of forty-eight men, of which ten were struck off by the Crown Solicitor, according to Act of Parliament—struck 36 off, because on his oath he believed them to be not unbiassed or indifferent? Now, I appeal to any man, not utterly jaundiced by party spirit, whether the Law Officers of the Crown could have done otherwise? Would they not have been fools to have supposed they could have conducted their prosecution with success, had these men been left upon the Jury? Would they not have been worse than fools if, foreseeing the result that must inevitably have followed, they had allowed themselves to be deterred from the execution of their duty by a momentary and inconsiderate clamour? Why, Sir, a clamour was raised up from the very earliest stage of these proceedings—a clamour even more inconsiderate than this: not a town in Ireland, not a dead wall in Dublin but was covered with placards breathing vengeance on the informers—the perjuror, Bond Hughes An action for perjury was to be instantly commenced—not a moment to be lost—the pillory stood in the back-ground—and what was the result? Mr. Hughes, as my right hon. Friend, the Attorney General, stated last night, was openly complimented in Court by Mr. O'Connell for the impartiality and fairness of his testimony. These compliments were repeated by Mr. Steele, another of the traversers, and the very person from whom all these charges originated, the day Mr. Hughes left Ireland for England. And now, Sir, we come to another and graver charge—not once, but perpetually insinuated, that the suppression of one sheet of the Jurors' List was not the result of accident, but connived at and instigated by those whose object it was to obtain a successful termination of those trials. By successful, I mean in accordance with the wishes of the Government. The hon. Member who has just sat down has reiterated this charge, and has quoted the words of Judge Perrin—"That he was not prepared to say that the omission was the result of accident." My hon. and learned Friend, the Recorder for Dublin, has acquitted Mr. M'Grath of all culpability in these proceedings; I am bound, therefore, to coincide with his opinion. But this I will say, that great partiality was evinced by Mr. M'Grath in the facility he afforded to the agents of Mr. Mahony, one of the solicitors for the traversers, in every inquiry and reference they were desirous of making—and in the difficulties and impediments he opposed to every effort made by the other party to obtain access to these same documents. It 37 is the opinion in Dublin—it was the opinion, and will remain the opinion in the minds of a large proportion of the inhabitants of that city, "that this omission was not the result of accident," hut of design—a design, I will aver, that would never have entered the thoughts of the Law Advisers of the Government. Sir, I fear I have entered into the subject of the State Trials rather more fully than I was warranted in doing: I shall endeavour to make amends by compressing the few remarks I have yet to make into as short a space as possible. With regard to the Franchise—the next evil complained of—I have only to say, that I do not think hon. Gentlemen have attributed to the real causes the restriction they find such fault with. I attribute the real restriction of the Franchise, not to the reluctance of landlords to grant leases, but to the constant expectation that has been entertained for the last few years that a change in the nature of the Franchise was to take place; which opinion has deterred many from registering till these contemplated alterations should have passed into law. But far more do I attribute the restriction of the Franchise to the extreme unwillingness of the peasantry themselves to be registered, knowing full well the difficulties that the exercise of their rights will entail upon them. Naturally inclined to rally round his landlord, proud of his success, and grieving in his failure, perhaps occasionally influenced by other and less elevated motives, the Irish peasant finds himself brought, in the exercise of his Franchise, into collision with a tremendous power, whose menaces he fears, and at whose denunciations the bravest of them tremble—the Roman Catholic priesthood is this power. In this unhappy state of things, when he must either offend the landlord, at whose hands be has received kindness, or on whose will all his future is dependant, or must endure to be branded as a betrayer of his country, and an apostate from his faith—can you imagine but that it is with considerable reluctance, except when the politics of the priest and landlord are identical, that the Irish peasant allows himself to exercise so dangerous a privilege? The noble Lord the Member for London (Lord John Russell) complains too of the great restriction of the Franchise in Ireland as compared with that of England, and stated on the authority of Mr. O'Connell, that the county of Yorkshire had more registered electors than all the counties of Ireland. Is the 38 noble Lord however prepared to lay down the broad principle that population alone is to be the basis of the Franchise? I thought it was his opinion that a line should be struck between property and population, by which the Franchise should be regulated. Is not the same complaint applicable to the English constituencies, end is the noble Lord prepared to make it? Why does he not bravely assail the state of the English constituencies at once? Is it not a hardship in his eyes that Thetford, with its 160 electors, should balance Birmingham with its 5,000; or that Tamworth, with its 300, should have equal weight as Manchester with its 12,000? If an argument of this description is pleasing to hon. Gentlemen, why not at once for the sake of uniformity, adopt the Chartist scheme, and divide the electors of England into constituencies of 20,000, returning in all 300 delegates to Parliament? I shall now dismiss this subject, merely reminding the right hon. Secretary for the Home Department of the warning given to him by the noble Lord the Member for Sunderland. "You may enlarge the Irish constituencies if you please. I approve of the plan—it will be placing additional arms in the hands of us who are the friends of Ireland." I trust the hon. Baronet will recollect in these, his alterations, that he is not legislating for England but for Ireland. In England he may extend the elective Franchise in the counties if he will; property there, I rejoice to say, possesses still its legitimate influence. In Ireland, however, the case is different. The more extensive the augmentation of these constituencies, the greater powers are you lodging, not in the friends of Ireland, but in the hands of those who are the determined enemies of British connexion, and of the re-establishment of tranquillity in that country. Now, Sir, I have but little to say with regard to the Established Church, the so-called monster grievance of Ireland. We have received assurances of a very different nature, which convinces me that that Establishment is not yet destined to be overthrown. We have received on this side of the House the assurances of the right hon. Baronet and the noble Lord, the two Secretaries of State, declaring their unalterable determination not to abandon that institution. That declaration on their part was loudly cheered by their supporters on this side of the House, and will, I am satisfied, be responded to by the country. But, Sir, the strongest assurance of all comes not 39 from us, but from the Opposition Benches. The noble Lord the Member for Sunderland (Lord Howick), on entering upon this subject, stated that he was aware of the difficulties he had to encounter in bringing it forward. That he was aware what he had to say would be unpalatable to some of his Friends sitting by him, and would net be in accordance with the general opinion of the country. His speech, nevertheless, had one advantage, it was clear, candid, and explicit—a proclamation of no quarter to the Established Church. It differed much from that of the noble Lord, the Member for London, who, after entering widely into the insult and injury (that is the proper phraseology I hear of the Established Church), concluded by saying he was not prepared to do anything, or to make any statement as to what should be done—but strongly urged on the Government the important measure of at once relieving the Roman Catholic Hierarchy from the galling affront of not having their titles recognised by the State. In fact the noble Lord on this subject was prepared to say little and do less, and in this course of conduct he was ably seconded by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Devonport (Sir G. Grey). But, Sir, supposing hon. Members on this side of the House were to retire from the contest, and allow the Opposition to settle it among themselves, I do not even then foresee the exact result. The greater number would then, no doubt, be inclined to vote with the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Ward), and make the perfect equality he recommends, by despoiling the Church, and converting its revenues to other purposes; but the greater influence would, I conceive, be joined with the noble Lord the Member for London (Lord J. Russell), who would not acquiesce in the proceeding. He and others would, I dare say, produce the equality desired by paying the Roman Catholic priesthood, and thus raising them to the level of the Establishment. But the Roman Catholic Clergy have no desire—they refuse to be paid, and your difficulties remain as great as ever. In short, I cannot conceive a question less likely to be settled than this identical one, even if it were left to your own tender mercies and exclusive legislation. Sir, I shall not, as I said before, enter into the question of the right of the Established Church in Ireland to its property and position. A separate discussion is to be taken on this subject by the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Ward). But, Sir, as I am upon this subject, I must 40 complain of the line taken by hon. Members opposite—of the language they have held—of the endeavours they have made to impress on the minds of the Roman Catholic population of Ireland, that an inveterate hostility against themselves and their religion is entertained by the present Government of the country, and by those who support this Government. What possible motive could the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) have had in raking up the speech of the hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Bradshaw), delivered years ago, in the most exciting times, and in all the heat of an election; and in endeavouring to affix the responsibility of that speech on Her Majesty's Government? Was this fair or was it generous? Was it a sign of the strength or weakness of his cause to descend to matters of this kind so long forgotten? If the noble Lord loves to call to remembrance by-gone speeches, why not in that instance; as he has quoted one, why not refer to the speech of the Colleague of that hon. Gentleman (Mr. Smythe)—not made years ago—not delivered in the heat and ardour of election, but calmly and deliberately in this House, not many months since, and which breathed nothing but the kindest sentiments and deepest sympathy with his Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen of Ireland? What right has the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Ward) to come down here and read from an anonymous pamphlet a series of paltry trash, in shape of letters, supposed to be written to Roman Catholic priests on different occasions, by Protestant landlords—referred to, I regret to say, by the hon. Member for Edinburgh—and when the hon. Gentleman is asked for the authenticity of these precious concoctions, "Oh," says he, "I have no doubt they are quite as true as many of the statements I hear coming from that side of the House." Why did the noble Lord the Member for Sunderland, persist in attributing the words "false" and "idolatrous" to my right hon. Friend the Recorder of Dublin, with reference to the Roman Catholic religion? My right hon. Friend totally disclaims the use of such expressions, and I listened to every word of his speech, and can attest the truth of that disclaimer. The hon. Member for Wycombe (Captain Bernal) complained greatly of an address to Lord de Grey from the Dublin Operative Society, which was graciously received. He says, the word idolatry was applied to the Roman Catholic religion in that Address. I can scarcely believe, that the hon. Gentleman is cor- 41 rect; but I am unable to find the Address alluded to. [Captain Bernal: It is true.] But even if it be so, to show the House and the country that such sentiments are deprecated and disavowed by Her Majesty's Government, I have only to state, that an Address to Her Majesty, from the same body in Dublin, was committed to my charge, which contained some allusions to the effect the Roman Catholic religion produced on Ireland. This Address I forwarded, as was my duty, to the Home Secretary; it was returned to me by him, with a communication to the effect that he could not reconcile it with his duty to present an Address to Her Majesty containing sentiments disrespectful to the religion of a large proportion of Her Majesty's subjects. I am sure the hon. Baronet can recal this circumstance. I make no comment on the truth or falsehood of the Address. I relate simply what occurred. Sir, the present Government is said to maintain its power in Ireland by an army of occupation. Sir I am no advocate for a Government of the sword. If this Government and state of things has been imposed on Ireland, let the accusation fall on those who are the causes. What does the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Sharman Crawford) say about this—the assertor of popular rights—the wrong-headed, but the honest and intrepid champion of popular grievances? How does he stigmatize that system of agitation, which has forced that Government of the sword upon us? He calls it "a system abounding in the most offensive and exaggerated imputations, bombastic threatenings, violent declarations, and extending demands, ending in disgraceful compromises." When such proceedings as these are sanctioned by a nation, I ask, are not grounds laid for the imputation that such a nation is not in a condition to acquire or to maintain the rights of freemen. When you act in this way, you encourage England to treat you as slaves; and I address you in the language of Grattan—"if England is a tyrant, it is you who made her so; it is the slave that makes the tyrant, and then murmurs at the tyrant whom he himself has constituted." Sir, I trust this mode of Government will be no longer needed; I trust that measures will be introduced for Ireland's benefit—liberal and generous measures. Let not a country such as Ireland, an anomaly among civilised states, be treated by the niggardly and exact rules of political economy. She wants assistance 42 for the creation of commerce, the revival of trade, the employment of her poor. Let not that application be met by a quotation from Adam Smith, or a reference to M'Culloch. The idea of Repeal—the light in which that great question is regarded by the Irish people—is not as you suppose. It is no absolute love of a Parliament in College-green. No vague speculation on the part of a band of visionary enthusiasts in behalf of a federal connexion—it is not a single and individual abstraction; but it is the great focus to which determine all the complaints, murmurs, and grievances of Ireland. It is the murmurs of the Irish Priesthood against the existence of a Church which they deem alien and heretical, and which they are banded together to overthrow; but which we deem true, and, under God's blessings, are determined to maintain. It is the murmurs of the restless and turbulent, whose existence is faction, and whose occupation, in time of tranquillity, is gone. To this you should give no heed. It is the murmur of the ruined tradesman, ruined by that agitation whose handmaidens, depression of trade and insecurity, he purblind and infatuated fool mistook for confidence and revival. But, Sir, it is also the complaint of poor men against a law, in vindicating which your troops are employed. It is their complaint, as their last shilling is taken from them, 3d. of which is devoted to the support of paupers not one whit worse off than themselves, while the remaining 9d. is applied to the maintenance of that prim Elizabethan establishment, which surveys the adjacent squalor and misery, like self-satisfied virtue contemplating vice. It is the cry of the unfortunate father, who sees his children in the last extremity of fever, dying in a ditch, as I have seen only a few months since. It is his cry, Sir, as he protests against that system of medical relief which our squabbles render so inefficient. It is the indignant appeal to justice and to Heaven of that poor wretch who, because he can minister no longer to the political ambition of his master, or the extortion of the middleman, is driven out roofless and homeless on the wide world, to swell the lists of those to whom any change must be a God-send. But Her Majesty's Ministers have devoted their attention to these subjects—they are anxious, I am convinced, to do everything that can be done to remedy some of those evils. I trust the greatest of all, the Poor-law will not escape their con- 43 sideration. I will not allow to hon. Members opposite, free traders as you are, the monopoly of good wishes towards Ireland—the time is gone by for this delusion. The keys to the true Government of Ireland is "firmness" and "impartiality." The one maintains confidence, the other will command respect. But it is you who, now that agitation is put down on one side of the Channel, are reviving it on the other.—are creating fresh irritation—are ripping up old sores—while you bellow lustily for amity and conciliation—and is this what you have the effrontery to call the responsibility of Opposition? Why, even in some petty parish, if men fall out, and a feeling of animosity is engendered prejudicial to that small community, how would you endeavour to reconcile—would it be by dinning into the ears of one that the other had traduced the reputation of his mother, or reflected on the memory of his father, and that nothing but insults are to be expected—and vet is not this the way that you have throughout this debate stirred up Ireland against England, and dignified this unworthy conduct by the sonorous title of the responsibility of Opposition When the time comes, as you evidently expect it will come, when this responsibility of Opposition shall be exchanged for the responsibility of Office, you will have reason to regret the course that party spirit has induced you to pursue—you will have raised hopes and expectations in these your biddings for place, which your pledges will prompt you to fulfil, but which your conscience will tell you to resist, which the Priest and the Agitator in Ireland will demand, but which the Protestant and Dissenter of England, will indignantly reject.
§ Mr. Bellew
said, the recent Trials were not only unsatisfactory to the Catholic population of Ireland, but to a very large portion of the hon. Gentlemen opposite. The state of the Franchise in Ireland was also unsatisfactory to the people. With regard to the Administration of Justice, he did Her Majesty's Government the credit of conducting it as well as their predecessors. He looked upon the Stipendiary Magistrates as one of the greatest blessings which Ireland enjoyed, and preferred them greatly to unpaid Magistrates. He did not care whether they were appointed by Whigs or by Tories, because they were under the immediate supervision of the Executive, and he must say that the Executive had discharged this duty most 44 properly. With respect to the Church question, the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies had, he thought, very unnecessarily referred to the Catholic oath. As a Catholic Member he hoped he should he believed when he said he should be as far as any man in that House from intentionally doing anything incompatible with the oath he had taken; but he really thought some indulgence ought on this subject to be extended to the Catholics by Protestant Members, when they recollected the oath they themselves took at that Table. 630 Members of that House took an oath at the Table not only that the religion of the Catholics in that House, but that of two-thirds of Christendom, was damnable and idolatrous. ["That is altered."] He was very happy to find such was the case. Still he thought, under the circumstances, there should be great indulgence shown to Catholic Members with reference to this subject. The Catholics did not say there should be no Protestant Church in Ireland, they only objected to the Establishment as it at present existed there. The Church was pre-eminently the question on which the whole Government of Ireland for good or evil must turn, and till that was satisfactorily arranged it was impossible that peace or contentment could prevail. He did not mean to discuss the several propositions which had been made on either side of the House; but it was most encouraging to observe that even Gentlemen opposite on the Ministerial Benches were ready to admit that some alterations must take place in the position of the Catholic Church, while the various suggestions which had been offered indicated an improved tone and temper, from which good results might be expected. He thought the State should protect and patronize the three great denominations in Ireland equally, and he believed that a large number of the most respectable Presbyterians and Dissenters in Ireland were prepared to see that question fairly arranged. He was also inclined to think that the proposal with respect to glebes and land for chapels might be most advantageously adopted. With respect to the Landlord and Tenant Commission, he could by no means agree in the attack which had been made on the noble Earl at its head. That noble Lord possessed extensive estates in Ireland; he had done much to improve them, and he had always conducted himself in the most benevolent and kind manner to his tenantry. He believed the Commission had been issued by the 45 right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government in good faith, and in the idea that in some degree it might tend to improve the relation between Landlord and Tenant in Ireland. Of this he was quite certain—that by those who, residing in that country, were conversant with the wretched condition of the relations between Landlord and Tenant, and the fearful moral evils consequent thereupon, any attempt to improve the present state of things, whether efficient or not, must be hailed with gratitude. It was the fashion to throw all the blame upon the landlords. No doubt there was in Ireland a large class of landlords who did not, he was sorry to say, discharge their duties in the manner they ought; but with respect to many he might say, this was more their misfortune than their fault. It was not only the tenantry that were poor and embarrassed—the landlord was too often poor and embarrassed himself, and could not spend so much money in improvements as would be desirable. There were others who had both means and will, and especially in Ulster and Leinster great improvements had been made, not because the population was Protestant or Catholic, but because there was a large resident gentry, who spent money on their estates and gave good leases to their tenants. He was glad to find that both the Church question and the Landlord and Tenant question were now attracting so much public attention, and from this circumstance he augured the most important and happy results.
§ Mr. Liddell
had no intention of taking any part in this debate, nor would he at all have trespassed on the House, but for some expressions which had fallen from his hon. Friend the Member for Northamptonshire (Mr. A. S. O'Brien), reflecting upon a noble Friend and relative of his, for whom he entertained privately the greatest esteem. It was not to be expected that he should compromise his political opinions by any defence of the public character and conduct of the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Normanby) to whom he alluded. The expressions to which he alluded referred fully as much to the private demeanour of the noble Marquess as to his public conduct; and if he was wrong in the interpretation he put on them, he was sure his hon. Friend who used the expressions would be the first to thank him for the opportunity of explaining them. He was almost sorry to remind his hon. Friend of the words he 46 had used. His hon. Friend talked of "the theatrical and ostentatious display of the noble Marquess." If by those words his hon. Friend referred merely to Lord Normanby's progress through the country, and when a sort of gaol delivery took place without the intervention of Judge or Jury, he was ready to admit there was some indiscretion in such conduct; it wore an unseemly appearance, and might be resorted to as a precedent by individuals standing in the same highly responsible situation, and anxious to create a species of spurious popularity. In that point of view, undoubtedly, such a proceeding was not exempt from criticism. But if his hon. Friend alluded to his noble Friend's general conduct in exercising the functions of his high office, he begged to say, that he had heard from all quarters, and not only from Gentlemen of his own political opinions, that the duties of that high office were never exercised with more becoming dignity, with more courteous affability, with more consideration and generosity towards all parties who attended his levees, and towards the Irish people generally. He might say it was dignity without ostentation, affability without affectation. He knew that the private charities of the noble Marquess and his lady were only limited by the opportunities afforded for his exhibition. He might say this feeling of kindness and charity belonged to the nature both of the noble Marquess and his Lady. In the far distant West, many an unfortunate individual of the negro population, whom he found in slavery and left in freedom, could attest the kindness and charity of his noble Friend during his residence in Jamaica, and the same sympathy and attachment had been exemplified in Ireland, With regard to the Church question, the appointments made by the noble Marquess in Ireland during his Vice-Royalty, were most carefully considered, and were all marked by great discrimination and propriety. He had never heard the slightest censure pronounced on the conduct of his noble Friend on this subject by Members on either side of the House. He was aware that expressions were often allowed to escape the lips of Members in the heat of debate which those using them were the first to regret. Upon this occasion, he was unwilling to leave the defence of his noble Friend entirely to hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House, and he 47 gladly embraced this opportunity of paying a trifling, but a very sincere tribute, to one whom he regarded with much esteem and affection. He also remembered that noble sentiment:——Absentem qui rodit amicum, "Qui non defendit, alio culpante, "—Hic niger est.Although he could have wished to offer some remarks on the speeches of the hon. Member for Worcester, and the noble Lord the Member for Sunderland, yet he would not protract the debate by so doing. He could not, however refrain from expressing his satisfaction at the speech of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. Though he differed from the hon. Gentleman both in politics and religion, he felt that the sentiments which he had expressed did him honour, and showed that there were among the Roman Catholics of Ireland men who were disposed to deal with public questions in that spirit of sincerity and candour which was so much honoured in this country. Upon the whole, he thought the Government had reason to congratulate themselves upon the progress of the debate. From the convincing speech of the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary, at the commencement, to the speech of the Irish Attorney General last night, the defence of the Government had been in all respects full and complete. He congratulated them that they had been as triumphant in argument as they would be in the division; and he trusted that they would persevere in the same course of moderation, justice, and clemency, and long continue to preserve what they had now attained to—the support of their Friends, and the respect of their enemies.
Mr. A. S. O'Brien,
in explanation, disclaimed all intention of using disrespectful language respecting the noble Lord alluded to by the last speaker. In using the word "theatrical" his only intention was to characterize the noble Marquess as having done that noisily and ostentatiously which might have been done quietly and plainly. He certainly thought the noble Marquess in releasing the prisoners had done it in a theatrical way, and for the purpose of producing effect. At the same time, he had no intention of saying anything personally disrespectful of that noble Lord.
§ Mr. Hume
must say, with regard to the 48 noble Marquess alluded to, that whatever his manner might have been, his conduct had been highly to his honour. It was most gratifying to the friends of the noble Marquess that he should have conducted the Irish Government so much to the satisfaction of the Irish people. He wished he could say as much for those who had preceded and followed the noble Marquess in that Government. With regard to the present motion, he thought that too much of the debate had turned upon the late trial, which he himself believed to be of little comparative importance. Whatever attempts might be made to justify the proceedings on that trial, he believed that the people of Ireland and of England would pay but little attention to the decision come to at that trial. With respect to the error in the Jury List, he felt quite sure that the right hon. Recorder had had no control over it. But why were not the proceedings quashed as soon as the error was discovered? It was no answer to say, that such a proceeding would have an injurious effect on others. Why should one man be sacrificed in order to prevent injury to others? The traversers had not had a fair trial—the proceedings were unjust to them: and that was the opinion with respect to them entertained by the people of Ireland. The hon. Gentleman opposite called on the Irish to bury all past grievances in oblivion; but what was to become of existing grievances? Ireland ought really to become what she was now only in name—a portion of the Empire. She ought to be deriving from the Union those advantages which a poor country always derived from an Union with a rich one; which Scotland had derived from the Union with England, and which many foreign countries had derived in a similar way. That Ireland should enjoy these benefits was the desire of those who passed the Act of Union, and the avowed object by which that measure was recommended. In the Speech from the Throne at the commencement of the Session of 1800, His Majesty expressed his conviction that an Union of Ireland with England, founded upon an equality of rights and a reciprocity of advantages, would be for the benefit of both countries; and Mr. Pitt soon after said, that such must be the foundation of a Measure for effecting the Union. Thus Ireland was promised a full participation in all the benefits which she ought 49 to enjoy from an Union with England. Had this promise been fulfilled? No. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin had told them that, even if the Irish Church were destroyed, there would still be some other grievances. Of course there would, and there would continue to be grievances until all were removed—until Ireland, in the words of the passage he had quoted, should become really incorporated with England, and be a participator in all the advantages enjoyed by this country. With regard to the Church, how was it possible for the people of Ireland to be satisfied with the Church as it was? Scotland had her own Church, England had her own Church; how could Ireland be expected to be satisfied with a Protestant Church, while the vast majority of the inhabitants of that country were Roman Catholics? An hon. Gentleman opposite had attempted to deny the truth of the statement of the comparative numbers made on that (the Opposition) side of the House; but, according to the census of 1833, there were (out of a total population of 7,943,000) of Roman Catholics 6,427,000, of Protestant Episcopalians 752,000, of Presbyterians 642,000, and of other Protestant Dissenters 121,000. The sum paid to the Protestant Church was 806,000l. per annum, and to the Presbyterians 35,000l., but the whole sum paid to the Roman Catholics was 8,928l. for the maintenance of Maynooth, and even that was grudged them by some Gentlemen opposite, who were only restrained from moving that the annual grant should be rescinded because the Premier was really ashamed of such a proposition and forbade the attempt. Was it likely that the Irish people could feel otherwise than aggrieved at the existence of a Church under circumstances of such injustice? He had never been a party man as regarded Irish questions. His only partizanship on those subjects had been on behalf of the whole people of Ireland. In 1833, when the Whigs proposed their Coercion Bill, although he had generally voted with them, he denounced the Measure, and predicted that it would be the cause of their downfall. He called on the people of England to fulfil the bond signed with the people of Ireland at the time of the Union, and thus act an honourable part by their fellow-countrymen. The real Agitators were the Orangemen and those who denied justice to Ireland; and 50 the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government, who sympathized with them and supported them, was the Arch-agitator. He was by no means opposed to agitation, whichever party might be in power. No Government would consent to changes till they were made uneasy by the pressure from without. He had himself been in one sense a great Agitator during his political life—for he had denounced all abuses in public institutions, wherever they were to be found. He had, however, consistently and firmly opposed the use of physical force. The first thing that should be done for Ireland was the removal of the Lord Lieutenant (as the Commissioners of Scotland had been displaced), and governing the Sister Island by a Secretary of State. Repealers, of course, would be against the proposition; but he who was for preserving the Union, would wish to see Ireland relieved from the evils that ever attended delegated Government. The same men would act differently in Dublin and in London. There was, happily, a high spirit of honour among public men in England, which preserved them from petty intrigues or jobbing, which had been too much displayed in Ireland. The Repeal Agitation was not novel; it had been carried on since 1833. As to its causes, he considered the Irish Church the chief of them, and did not care for former pledges in its behalf if its preservation prevented peace in Ireland. [Sir R. Peel entered the House.] Here comes the principal cause of Irish Agitation, for he perpetuated institutions which excited it, and was therefore responsible for it. He had entertained great confidence in the sincerity of the right hon. Gentleman's intentions, but he had been sadly disappointed. All his fond hopes had been blighted. There had been promises of reductions, but they had not been fulfilled; perhaps they would be seen in the Estimates. Well, they would find it out by and by he supposed. He could not too strongly impress upon the Government, that any state of things which kept up excitement in the public mind produced a sense of insecurity inconsistent with prosperity. There had been praise claimed by the Government for resorting to trial by jury, but would the right hon. Baronet admit that troops had been at the same time brought into Ireland? If they did justice to Ireland they might withdraw the troops from that country tomorrow. He wished 51 the noble Lord who had introduced the present Motion, had made it a direct censure against the Government. Nevertheless, he looked upon the Motion as a censure of the Government, and should vote for it as such. He had been almost tempted, in order to remove all doubts, to move, by way of amendment, a direct censure on the conduct of the Government. [Sir R. Peel.—It is not too late.] He was too old a bird to be taken in that way. He, indeed, wished that they were more unanimous with respect to Ireland. The hon. Member concluded by stating, that he should give his vote in favour of the Motion.
§ Mr. George Hamilton
stated he had some hesitation in obtruding himself upon the House at so late a period of so protracted a debate. But there were some matters which had been adverted to by most hon. Members opposite, who had spoken in the debate, respecting which be felt it to be his duty to make a few observations. The first of these topics was the Landlord and Tenant Commission, of which he was a Member. He fully agreed with those hon. Members who intimated an opinion that it was desirable that the Commissioners should make a report with as little delay as possible; and he could assure the House there was no want of diligence on the part of the Commissioners, and no want of disposition to discharge their duty within as short a time as it was possible for them to do so—But the House should consider the peculiar nature of the inquiry, and the difficulties attending it. When he informed the House that it appears from the Census of 1841 that nearly one-half the farms in Ireland are under five acres in extent—that five out of six farms are under fifteen acres—that the Census Commissioners state that in the rural districts one-half the population live in the lowest state—possessed of accommodation equivalent to a cabin of a single room, and that sixty-eight per cent., heads of families in Ireland, are without capital in money, land, or knowledge, being labourers or farmers under five acres, the House would understand the extreme difficulty as well as importance of an inquiry involving remedial suggestions for such a state of things. It involved in fact that most difficult of all problems, the social condition of Ireland—Whatever suggestions the Commissioners might be able to offer as regarded direct legislation, it was quite obvious that the 52 greatest advantage which could be expected to arise from their labours, would be the operation upon public opinion of the report they might make, and the evidence they might receive. In order to that, it was equally obvious that evidence must be received very fully, and the report most carefully and deliberately considered. Whatever might be the result, he would assure the House the Commissioners were determined to do their duty by probing the matter to the very bottom, according to the instructions they had received, and to make known to Her Majesty fully and fairly the real state of things as regards the occupation of land in Ireland. Some hon. Member had intimated that the Commission was too much of a Landlord Commission. He could assure him, however, that the Commissioners were anxious to receive as largely as possible evidence from the class of Tenants. They had already examined several of that class, and with the view of rendering the examination as convenient as possible to that class, it was their intention to visit different localities, for the purpose of receiving evidence on the spot, and seeing and judging for themselves on the evidence they should receive. Other hon. Gentlemen. and among them his hon. Friend the Member for Roscommon county, had adverted to the excitement which the Commission had caused, and to the probability that public expectation would be disappointed. If excitement had been caused, he could only say it had not been through the Commissioners. They, on the contrary, had taken every means of making known what the objects of Commission were, and they took every opportunity of apprising parties that they were not invested with any authority to settle differences between individuals, or power to make any adjudication as to the rights or claims of individuals. Adverting next to the general question before the House—namely, the Irish policy of Her Majesty's Government, as an independent Member, and as the representative of many of those in Ireland who, last year, were of opinion that too great a degree of forbearance, or inertness, had been exhibited as regards the Repeal Agitation, he felt bound to state that the speeches of the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Home Department, and the other Members of Government, had afforded him in that respect very great satisfaction. The right hon. Baronet had explained, and in his opinion most conclusively, the reasons on account of which 53 that apparent supineness had existed. His right hon. Friend the Attorney-General for Ireland had last night explained—and in a manner which he felt confident must have been convincing to the mind of every Member of the House—the several matters in reference to the late trials which appeared to require explanation; and he had no hesitation in stating that, in his opinion, the course which Government had pursued with regard to the Repeal Agitation, was marked by great moderation, great wisdom, and great firmness. The noble Lord opposite, in his speech on opening the debate, had stated that Government in these countries is now in a great degree, a Government of opinion. This was a very obvious truth, but he (Mr. Hamilton) could assure the House it was a mistake to suppose that that should rightly be considered public opinion in Ireland which was represented or indicated by the Repeal agitators, or by the Repeal meetings, however multitudinous they may have been. He was far from undervaluing the opinion of the lower classes; neither, under existing circumstances, did he mean to say anything harsh of the agitators themselves; but when the noble Lord spoke of Government being a Government of opinion, and being influenced by opinion in Ireland, he felt bound to say that the public opinion upon which Government rests in these countries, in the sober, sound, and reasonable judgment of the community at large, exercised upon an intelligible and definite subject, and after sufficient and correct information. But who could say that this was the case with regard to these multitudinous meetings in Ireland? These meetings were convened—in some cases exclusively, in almost all—principally by the Roman Catholic Clergy in each locality —at their instance the people attended, naturally attended, in large masses. There was little to prevent them from doing so; unlike the labouring classes in England, their time was of little value to them, and they are fond, naturally fond, of meeting together and hearing popular eloquence. At these meetings, and by the circulation of such newspapers as The Nation, they learned to indulge in glowing but delusive visions of wealth, prosperity, and comfort, and were taught to expect them from Repeal. Considering the condition of the great mass of the people of Ireland—their ardent and imaginative temperament, and the means that had been used to excite them—it was no wonder they had been intoxicated with those deceptive represent- 54 ations, and raised up to a degree of frenzied excitement which endangered the peace of the country; but this was not public opinion in Ireland. Theirs, under such circumstances, was not that sober, sound, and justly-formed public opinion in Ireland, upon which any Government could rest, or by which any Government ought to be influenced. To say nothing of the Protestants of Ireland, whose opinion certainly, considering their intelligence and property, was entitled to some consideration, but who were quite kept out of view by hon. Gentlemen opposite, as if no such body of people existed—he was prepared to say, that of the Roman Catholics those entitled to most consideration were either unwilling Repealers, or were opposed altogether to Repeal Agitation. He had stated last year that, admitting the great danger in which Ireland had been placed, and the excitement which prevailed, it was his opinion that it was a forced excitement, an unnatural excitement, rather than a deep-rooted discontent, arising out of the pressure of political grievances. He had watched, narrowly watched the progress of events since then, and he had seen nothing to alter his opinion. Certainly he was not one of those who entertained those gloomy apprehensions with regard to Ireland which some hon. Members had expressed. He was not one of those who would entertain any very great apprehensions even in the event of a foreign war. He could not, and would not, believe that his countrymen were really disloyal. It was one thing to agitate, even in the most objectionable manner, for measures, regarding which differences of opinion might exist, and in reference to which allowances are to be made for enthusiastic feelings—for pre-conceived notions which may operate to blind the judgment even of the leaders of that agitation; but it is another thing to take up arms in support of a foreign foe. He did not believe, that in such an event the leaders of the agitation would adopt such a course. Even if they did, he did not believe the mass of the people would follow them; but even if that should be the case, and he would not allow himself to contemplate it, he felt sure there would be enough of loyalty and spirit remaining among Her Majesty's Roman Catholic and Protestant subjects in Ireland, to hold that country for Her Majesty either against foreign or domestic foes. In reference to the recent agitation, it had been, in his opinion, manifestly the duty of the Government to repress it; but he rejoiced 55 that the common law of the land and the existing principles of the Constitution had been resorted to, rather than any extraordinary powers sought for. He sincerely hoped Government would act steadily on the policy of repressing agitation. If they did so, and at the same time took means to improve the condition of the people, it was his firm conviction that the representations they had heard made by hon. Members opposite, would turn out perfectly unfounded, that the excitement would soon subside, and Ireland soon cease to afford a political battle-ground for the noble Lord and his party. He would not have been inclined to have troubled the House with any further remarks on the present occasion, if it had not been for the reference which had been made by almost every speaker on the opposite side of the House to the Established Church in Ireland, and to a provision for the Roman Catholic Clergy. The plan of a separate State provision for the Roman Catholic Clergy appears to be abandoned for the present by hon. Gentlemen opposite, but they seem agreed in opinion that the property of the Established Church should be confiscated, with a view to what they call the establishment of a perfect equality in religion. The noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies, in his speech, for which, on the part of the Protestants of Ireland, he thanked him, had expressed in the strongest manner the determination of Her Majesty's Government to resist any such confiscation, and he had pointed out also the reasons which operated against any State endowment of the Roman Catholic religion. But in his opinion, there were other grounds upon which both the overthrow of the Established Church, and the endowment of the Roman Catholic Church, ought to be resisted, and which he felt it to be his duty to state to the House. He was well aware of the opinions entertained by hon. Gentlemen opposite, and expressed so repeatedly in the course of the debate, with regard to Church Establishments. But, notwithstanding those opinions, he was not afraid to avow, and he thought it the highest and best grounds upon which the Church of England in Ireland, or any Church, could be maintained in its connection with any State—that, in his opinion, it is the paramount duty of a Christian State, for the sake of truth in religion, to recognise and acknowledge one definite system of religion, as the depository and teacher of religious truth. He never for one moment could admit what those hon. 56 Members maintained, that religion is to be regarded as a matter merely between man and his Creator—that there is no responsibility, in respect of religion, beyond the responsibility which attaches to us as individuals—that there is no obligation upon us, in our collective capacity, as Members of a State, to uphold honestly, and sustain fearlessly what we conscientiously believe to be truth—that religion is a thing that is to be left to take care of itself, and that the State, as such, has no cognizance of religious truth. On the contrary, it has always been held by the ablest Constitutional writers, by the soundest Constitutional lawyers, and by the greatest Statesmen that England had ever seen, that by a fundamental law of the British Constitution, religion is made a part of the State—that the great end of all Government is to promote man's highest interest—that man's highest interest is essentially involved in his religious condition, and that, therefore, the State must necessarily he cognizant of religious truth, and responsible for sustaining and promoting it. He thought it was impossible not to feel that this must be so. It was impossible not to feel that if other interests—subordinate interests—the interests of Commerce, the interests of Manufactures, the interests of Agriculture, the varied and complicated interests in a great Empire—are admittedly within the cognizance of the State, and the subject matter of State policy, notwithstanding differences of opinion which exist as to the degree of truth or error which may be involved in the principles upon which those interests rest; and if the State, notwithstanding such differences, does not hesitate to pronounce with authority, and to maintain steadily, and act upon fearlessly, what it believes to be true, in reference to those subordinate interests—it cannot be that, when religion comes to be dealt with, involving, as it does, truth of the most exalted character, and interests—the only interests of real and permanent importance—it can cease to be the duty of the State to declare boldly, and sustain steadily, and promote anxiously, what it acknowledges to be truth in reference to those paramount interests. The Roman Catholics in these countries acted themselves on this principle—it is manifest that they feel that as a body they are responsible for the maintenance of what they consider truth in religion, and that in their opinion, religion is not a matter to be left to take care of itself. Devoted to their 57 own religion as sincerely as he was to his, they saw, as he did, the inconsistency and danger of a connection between their religion and a Protestant State, and in his (Mr. Hamilton's) humble judgment, they acted rightly and consistently in abjuring such a connection. It was unnecessary for him to state, and he should, therefore, refrain from doing so, for what reasons the Protestant religion has rightly been selected as the religion of the State. It was sufficient for his argument that it has been so selected; but, being so selected, he thought it followed necessarily, that the State is responsible for offering to the whole of the population the great truths which that system of religion contains. He could not admit that there was any hardship or grievance in this, or insult to those who differ from the Established Religion. States, as well as individuals, may differ, and will differ with regard to what truth in religion is; but States, as well as individuals, appeared to him in that respect to act under the most solemn of all responsibilities. States, like individuals, were bound to make a selection, and he thought a total indifference on the subject of religion, whether in States or individuals, was a greater insult to religion than a conscientious selection of what some persons might consider erroneous. He believed there was no people on the face of the earth who entertained stronger feelings with regard to the importance of religion than the Roman Catholic population of Ireland. He thought they were in that respect an example to the lower classes in England; and he would go further, and say, that there was no people who appreciate and estimate more fairly, sincerity and piety in those who differ from them in religious belief, and, however indisposed they may be to receive the ministrations of any clergy but their own, he (Mr. Hamilton) did not believe, now that the pressure of tithes was removed from them, that they felt it any hardship or grievance, that the form of religion which the State acknowledged, should be upheld and supported as such. If the principles which he thus laid down were sound, the question of an Established Church could not be argued merely on grounds of numbers or proportions of the population. Truth is not less the truth, because in some parts of a great Empire such as this, it is held by few, and the duty of taking reasonable means for promulgating it, is not diminished, but rather increased by the prevalence of what we believe to be error. 58 He was quite ready to admit that this principle, like all great principles, is to be confined in its application within reasonable limits. A State might he bound to maintain an existing Church by treaty or compact, though differing from the Established Church, as was the case with the Church of Scotland, and some of the Colonies; and he thought further, that it would be an abuse of the principle if it was to be adduced in support of a system of excessive wealth, or of sinecures or pluralities in a Church. This, however, he would be prepared to show on a proper occasion was not the case in the Established Church in Ireland. Lord Althorp in 1833 had stated that greater exaggeration existed with regard to the wealth of the Established Church in Ireland, than upon any other political topic which had ever come under his observation; that noble Lord confessed that, until he looked into the subject himself, he had exaggerated, even to himself, the amount of the Revenues of the Irish Church Establishment. He regretted that the Return, moved for last Session, by his right hon. Friend and Colleague, had not as yet been made. When that Return should be made, it would be found—and he was persuaded he should be able to convince even the most sceptical—that the average income of the Parochial Clergy in Ireland does not exceed 170l. a year; that the average income of the Beneficed Clergy does not exceed 216l. a year; and that when the Church Temporalities Act shall be fully in operation, there will be in the whole of Ireland only forty-four Benefices above 1000l. a year, twenty-nine of which will be in the province of Armagh; that more than one-half the Benefices in Ireland will be under 300l. a year, and 1,156 out of 1,400 under 600l. a year. The noble Lord had spoken of a plan for making a congregational rather than a parochial division for the Church in Ireland, with a view to the reduction of its revenues, and ultimately the endowment of the Roman Catholic Church. He believed he was correct in the noble Lord's meaning—but let the House just consider how it was possible for that plan to be made available for the purposes of the noble Lord. By the Report of the Commissioners of Public Instruction, and it was considerably under the truth, the members of the Established Church in Ireland were 852,000, besides 660,000 Dissenters, many of whom attended the Established Churches: the number of Beneficed Clergy was about 59 1,400. Supposing, then, the whole population of members of the Established Church divided amongst the Beneficed Clergy, there would be a congregation of more than 600 to each; but the average income of the Beneficed Clergy was little more than 200l. a year. Now he would put it to the noble Lord himself whether, considering the manner in which the Protestant population was scattered in Ireland, or indeed under any circumstances, 200l. a year could be considered more than a sufficient provision for an educated gentleman; and if that were so, what would become of the fund out of which to make provision for another and hostile Church? He had to apologise for having trespassed so much upon the indulgence of the House. He did feel that in the subject to which he referred there were higher considerations than those of temporary expediency involved, and higher principles than those of civil government, and higher interests than the transient ones of party or of country. He felt that States, like individuals, were but instruments in the accomplishment of the great ends of Providence—that they, like individuals, had a talent committed to them, for the use or abuse of which they would be held deeply responsible. Looking upon England, a little island, raised up by Providence to so wonderful a degree of power and importance regarding her as the head of a great Empire—greater in point of influence—higher in point of character—more extended in commerce—bolder in her achievements, and heretofore more successful than any of the great Empires which pass across our vision in the retrospect of man's eventful history—he had always felt that she had been raised up by Providence for some purpose more important than the transient interests of mankind, however important those transient interests might be. He had always regarded England as the depository of right principles—as raised into power for the purpose of maintaining and extending those principles, for the permanent benefit of mankind, and for the promotion of man's highest interests. He could not believe that England, having sustained those principles in the protracted struggle for her existence in which she had been engaged at the close of the last and the beginning of the present century, and which conflict she had engaged in principally from her devotion to those very principles, would now abandon them. If she should, he (Mr. Hamilton) would only say, 60 it was his firm conviction that her course would thenceforth be a downward one, and that in future ages England, too, would be reckoned amongst the other nations of the world, which, in the day of their power and greatness, had forgotten the purposes for which that power and greatness were entrusted, and being left to follow their own imaginations, had sunk back to that state of weakness and insignificance from which they had been originally taken.
§ Mr. Caleb Powell
bore testimony to the decent, decorous, and orderly conduct of the masses who attended the Repeal meetings. More orderly assemblages he never witnessed. He could hardly hope that such meetings would be as peaceable in future. How could any one hope it after what had occurred? The trials had been productive of the greatest indignation and of the most utter disgust throughout the length and breadth of the land. The people were disgusted, not only with the manner in which they were instigated, but with the way in which they were conducted. First of all let him, as a Protestant, remark in what a position the Attorney General had placed the Protestant population of Ireland. They were unpopular enough before,—how much would not their unpopularity be increased, now that the right hon. Gentleman had selected Members of that class to be his instruments in inflicting a punishment upon the most popular man in Ireland? Then there was the Jury List business. The Recorder of Dublin had attempted to escape from all the censure connected with that matter; but how was it, let him ask the right hon. Gentleman, that he, an exceedingly well paid officer, and, though not an old man, a very aged placeholder, should have permitted the administration of justice to be impeded for so long a time by the inadequate machinery of the office over which he presided? How was it, that the right hon. and learned Gentleman had abandoned his post on such an important occasion, coming to England for his private recreation, and leaving his duty to be performed by an incompetent underling? Then, as to the Chief Justice—what should he say, or rather, what should he not say, of his summing up? His words the House had heard he wished they could have seen his gesticulations. It might be said of him as it was said of Lady Teazle, that he could do 61 more to injure his own reputation by a look, than others could do by the most elaborate slanders. Altogether, the Court presented just such a spectacle as Byron had described:——Judges in formidable ermine, With brows that did not very much invite The accused to think their Lordships would determine His cause by leaning much from might to right. An Attorney General, awful to the sight, As hinting more, unless our judgments warp us, Of Arms Bills, pistols, balls, than Habeas Corpus.With regard to the effect of such a prosecution, so commenced and so conducted, it was his belief—indeed, the belief of every reasonable person—that, instead of putting down O'Connell and the Agitation for Repeal, its effect would be to make the vast political influence of the Liberator hereditary in his family, and his cause a sacred one with the people, who held his name so greatly in veneration.
§ Sir H. Douglas
said, if he had seen any representative of an Irish constituency rise to address the House, he would not have risen, nor indeed he (Sir H. Douglas) would not presume to offer himself to the attention of the House on the present occasion, but for the purpose of explaining what he had stated with reference to this subject on a former occasion. In the part which he took in the debate on the Motion of the hon. Member for Limerick, in July last, he had stated, that Ireland had made a steady progress in every branch of her industry since the period of the Union down to the present time. He had founded that statement on figures and documents which he had compiled with great care, from public documents. These statements had been questioned by—amongst others—the hon. Members for Kilkenny and Waterford, who, seeing the importance which such statements carried with them, had impugned their accuracy; but he (Sir H. Douglas) was fully prepared to attest and vindicate the accuracy of those compilations, and which, if necessary, he was ready to read to the House. It appeared from those documents that, since the Union, Ireland had steadily increased in population—her manufactures of linen and flax had increased—her tonnage inwards and outwards had increased—and her exports of bread-stuffs, and of cattle, had increased enormously; all her provident and charita- 62 ble institutions, loan funds, &c. &c. testify improvement. Education is making great progress; and, with the additional stimulus, resulting from increased pecuniary provision, will proceed in a corresponding and much higher ratio. Notwithstanding what is said by the hon. Member for Waterford, that the taxation of Ireland is one-fifth that of England, and what the hon. Member for Kilkenny says, that it is as three to four; the fact is, that the taxation of Ireland is not one-tenth of that of England and Wales, and about four-fifths of that of Scotland. Thus, Ireland, with a population of about 8,200,000 is taxed to the amount of 4,000,000l., whilst England and Wales with a population of 16,000,000 are taxed to the amount of 42,485,000l.; and Scotland with a population of 4,600,000 is taxed to the amount of 5,000,000l. At the time of the Union, the Irish debt was 23,000,000l., he spoke in round numbers; that of Great Britain was 451,000,000l. The Irish debt has only increased from 23,000,000l. to 34,000,000l., whilst the debt charged to Great Britain has increased from 451,000,000l., to 740,000,000l. The charge for interest is, for Ireland, 1,183,845l.; and for Great Britain, 27,357,330l. It was settled, at the Union, that, for the space of twenty years, the contributions of Great Britain and Ireland, respectively, towards the expenditure of the United Kingdom should he in the proportion of fifteen-seventeenths, and two-seventeenths; and that after that period, the expenditure, other than the charges for interest of debt to which either is liable, should be in such proportion as to the united Parliament may seem fit. According to this, the budget of 1801 was, for the expenditure of the United Kingdom 42,197,000l., of which 4,324,000l. was for Ireland. It thus appeared that, in all these respects, Ireland has been treated with the greatest liberality, and that all the financial stipulations and engagements made at the time of the Union, have been most faithfully carried out. With respect to the remission of taxation, it is asserted by Gentlemen opposite, that Ireland has not been fairly treated, and that whilst there was an immense remission of taxation in favour of England, there was a very small remission with respect to Ireland. The repeal of taxation in Great Britain and Ireland, respectively, from 1814 to 1842 inclusive, was computed upon the average produce of each tax, during the five years next preceding its partial or total Repeal. Now, take the year 1816, for instance; the amount of 63 taxes repealed for Great Britain was 17,033,169l., and for Ireland 163,155l. But of this 17,000,000l. for Great Britain, no less than 14,942,000l. was the Repeal of the Income Tax. How much of that burthen did Ireland bear? How much of such a burthen does it bear now? Why, at this moment Ireland is exempt from two taxes, namely, the Income Tax and the assessed taxes, which together amount to about 10,000,000l., or very nearly, one-fourth of the taxation of the United Kingdom. He defied any hon. Member opposite to impugn the correctness of these statements, or the accuracy of the conclusions drawn from them, that Ireland had been treated, in all these respects, with the greatest generosity and liberality. Seeing, at the time that the Motion of the hon. Member for Limerick was brought forward in the last Session of Parliament, that agitation and excitement were proceeding to an extent tending to disturb the public tranquillity, to endanger the lives and property of Her Majesty's subjects, and to set all Government at defiance, he recorded his opinion with his vote, that it appeared to be necessary to put a stop, at once, to proceedings and movements which could no longer be tolerated, with due regard to the public safety, the integrity of the State, and the honour of the Crown; and he, for one, declined to go into the consideration of any Irish grievances, real or unreal, until that agitation should cease, or be put down. He expressed this with kindly feelings towards Ireland and Irishmen, and that there was nothing he would not do for Ireland, but that of being supposed to be goaded by fear, instead of being guided by favour. He had been inclined to think the Government had delayed too long in putting an end to that agitation, but he now believed that they acted right. They had calculated their own means, and when the time came at which they thought fit to act, he congratulated them that they did so effectually, firmly, and at the same time mercifully. He had heard such assertions made use of with respect to the Proclamation for putting down the meeting at Clontarf, as "a fiendish and murderous proceeding." Now, he thought, that whatever may have been the cause of the delay in the appearance of the Proclamation, it was in effect most merciful, because irresistible; every combination was defeated; it was too late to make any other arrangements. With some knowledge of such tactics, he did not hesitate to express his conviction, that if the Proclamation had 64 appeared at an earlier period, other appointments would have been made, other arrangements formed, other positions taken, and that well-timed act, was merciful, because it precluded and defeated all combinations. Now, with respect to the Motion of the noble Lord the Member for London; that noble Lord, after admitting that outrages had existed in Ireland for upwards of a century; that a few pages of parchment cannot eradicate the pressing evils under which Ireland is now suffering; and that for his part, he knows of no direct remedy for these, proceeds to say, it has been objected that neither political franchise nor political power, would put bread into the mouths of the hungry, nor give employment to the unemployed. He agreed with the noble Lord, that the great and pressing evil of Ireland was to be found in the physical and social condition of the people of that country, and he thought that the effect of political agitation was only to inflame them still more. A people must first be reclaimed from that wretched and very backward physical and social condition, in which a great portion of the people of Ireland unfortunately are, before they can either participate in political rights, or discharge properly the arduous duties they impose. The noble Lord then went on to observe, that the participation of political rights and political privileges, are the very first and best means by which you can impart prosperity to a nation. To this he would reply, that not only the history of this country, but the rise and progress of society all over the world proves, that political rights cannot be brought to any degree of practical perfection in any state of society, until the human condition shall have been elevated and cultivated by industry, education, and social order. These are the parents, rather than the offspring of political improvement. The great ameliorating principles are industry, rural industry, improvement in the social condition, domestic habits and economy of every description, leading and extending to manufacturing, trading, and commercial industry. Political privileges and constitutional freedom invigorate and promote the moral and political improvement of a people, when these foundations are properly laid; but if the order be reversed, political agitation and the speculative assertion of political privileges and grievances, far from curing, embitter, rankle, and inflame those evils which wretched social and physical conditions engender. He agreed with the noble Lord the Member for Leitrim, that a constant 65 and watchful anxiety is required on the part of the Government, to improve the condition, and employ the industry of the people; that it is only from these, that real relief can be afforded, and that he regards works for the internal improvement of the country as a step in the right direction. He (Sir H. Douglas) agreed also with that noble Lord—that what Ireland most requires is, an extension and improvement of the middle classes. These comprehend merchants, manufacturers, mechanics, traders, professional men, and capitalists. Well! how are these to be formed? Political theories will not create them. Why by industry, the mechanic arts, education, manufactures and commerce. Thus were those middle classes formed and raised and extended, in England, by our Elizabeth, who has been justly denominated, not only the Queen of the seas, but the founder of the manufactures and commerce of this country. In this way was raised that great portion of the body politic, which forms the main constituent foundation by which we are sent to this House. The hon. Member for Belfast denies that the evils of Ireland are attributable to poverty; but that on the contrary, it is the state of the Franchise, the contraction of the constituency, insufficient representation, and above all, the domination of a corrupt State Church, that are the real woes and grievances of Ireland; and that nothing but removing all these, can be of any use to Ireland. The hon. Member in support of this assertion quoted a very well known and clever periodical, The Spectator, an ably conducted journal. He (Sir H. Douglas) read that paper very differently. That Journal asserts, that, though Ireland be rich in natural resources, and may be justly called the flower of the earth, and the gem of the sea, yet those resources require to be called forth by industry,—the flowers cultivated—the habits of the masses raised—the gem polished—before anything effectual can be done, to improve the general condition of Ireland; that were gold spread over the whole surface of Ireland, were the most extended political privileges granted, these would do nothing for Ireland until the physical, social, and moral condition of the people shall have been raised. To do this, a fusion of interests, and not a dissolution of the Union of the two countries is required. He (Sir Howard Douglas) asserted, that this fusion was, and is proceeding, if agitation would only cease its disturbing and destruc- 66 tive operations. The noble Lord the Member for Sunderland, works up his speech to a fearful issue. Well might the noble Lord feel, that he was about to say that which would obtain little sympathy in that House, and still less in the country. The noble Lord says, that the question now at issue, admits not of compromise; that we, on the one hand, stand upon our Acts of Parliament, and maintain our exclusive rights backed by the prejudices of the people of England; while he is persuaded the people of Ireland will yield nothing—that the time for compromise is gone by, and that nothing but the destruction of the Protestant Church in Ireland would now do; that the Irish people ought not to yield, and he (Sir Howard Douglas) feared, that the whole tone and tenour of the noble Lord's speech would be considered, out of doors, the parent of a wish that they the Irish Catholics should not yield; and the noble Lord adds that the struggle will be a permanent one, and may lead to a catastrophe that can only be quenched in blood! Why Sir! what should we stand upon but our Acts of Parliament? And he hoped that the people of England, and the Protestants of Ireland, would not fail to observe the terms in which the noble Lord denominates their principles, prejudices. But Sir, if this indeed be so, that we are at the issue, the fearful issue, to which the noble Lord has brought us, then is it time for the friends of the Constitution, in Church and State, to prepare to stand by the Protestant Monarchy of this Realm. But no; there will be no such struggle;—the struggle out of doors, is over, thanks to the wisdom and firmness of Her Majesty's Government for having stopped those audacious proceedings, and for having brought the leaders to condign punishment. The only struggle now going on, is here, in this House; not for the good of Ireland, but for restoration to power of a party that never did anything for Ireland, and were incapable of doing anything for Ireland, inasmuch as they did not dare, they had not strength, to grapple with, and put down the great monster evil of Ireland, agitation. He would not go back like some hon. Members to periods so remote as the discovery of Ireland, or the introduction of Christianity into Ireland, or what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh calls the annexation of Ireland to England, which, in other words, means a grant made of Ireland to England, by Pope Adrian 67 III., and its consequent subjugation by England. Whatever may have been the conflicts and exasperations of races, in the course of those contests, the two races would have been fused together, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh has truly remarked, had it not been for the Reformation. Well! is the Reformation to be regretted? Are we to lament that Protestantism, which spread over the whole of the north of Europe, should have been accepted by Great Britain, and that we should thus have effected our religious and civil liberties, which always go hand in hand; or are we to regret that a small portion of the Irish people should have rejected the blessings and benefits which a vast majority of the people of the British Isles secured to themselves and their descendants to all posterity? He was prepared to do everything for Ireland, consistent with the safety of the Protestant Church; but when he saw the safety of that Church threatened, there he took his stand; and he trusted, that there also the Protestant people of this country would take their stand, in defence of the Protestant Church and Monarchy. There was no doubt that all the Roman Catholics of the world were looking with anxiety at the pretensions and movements of the Roman Catholics of Ireland; but the Protestants of this Empire know and feel that the eyes of the whole Protestant world were fixed upon them; for to this country they look, as the great bulwark of Protestantism in the Christian world; and he trusted they would firmly stand by their principles, and that their motto would ever be, "No surrender." With respect to the future measures to be pursued towards Ireland, he thought they ought to be measures calculated to promote the agricultural, industrial, and social condition of the people. He did not object to the Registration Bill, nor to extend the Franchise; but will hon. Members opposite be satisfied with extending the foundation, by enlarging the constituency, without increasing the number of Irish representatives in this House? If this be done, an addition must be made to British representatives, in like proportion, to preserve the present equilibrium, as settled by the Reform Bill; but this, without giving more relative power to Irish representation, would only make this House still more unwieldy. The Irish nation has far more power over Imperial legislation, by having a strong and powerful 68 party in this House, than with any number or description of Members in a Local Parliament, as if the Legislative Union were repealed, subject, of course, as the enactment of laws must be, to the Royal Veto, on the advice of the Ministry of the day. Seeing the difficulties in which the late Government was placed, by having against them, a majority of British representation, and that they could not stand without propitiating the aid of Irish representation and Irish agitators, and, in the end, were driven from power, in spite of their support, he always hoped never to see the Conservative party restored to power, until they should have a majority of British representation, so strong, as to defy Irish agitation, and to grapple, at once, with that greatest of all evils. For, when British representation was nearly balanced in this House, the leader of Irish Agitation, speaking of him with all respect, and with due regard to his present position,—that formidable person stood, as it were, upon the beam of the balance, and by a mere shift of his weighty person, and a switch of his tail, could cant the beam as he chose. And thus he did, most unmercifully, override, and effectually control, the late Government. He trusted now that agitation had been put down, the Government would do all in their power for the improvement of Ireland, and he highly approved of the Landlord and Tenant Commission, as calculated to effect much good, by improving the agricultural and social condition of the people of that country. As an old soldier he might perhaps be allowed to say a few words on the meaning of the words "military occupation." Military occupation, he believed, meant the state of a country in which the laws and constitution were for the time suspended, and superseded by military power, and courts-martial assembled to try, condemn, and execute. But was this the state of Ireland? There was, indeed, a large military force there; but a force in perfect discipline, and by which not a single breach of the peace had been committed—a force sent over at the request of the Civil Power, not to suspend, but to secure the supremacy of the laws. And this force was tinder the command of his gallant Friend, the Lieutenant General, stationed in that country, than whom a more humane man did not breathe. True there was also a large police force, but not so large as in the time of the late Government, by which that force was established. Complaints had been made that this force was too large 69 to be placed under one individual. But was there any individual to whom more safely, than to Colonel M'Gregor, that power and command, could be entrusted? In testimony of that Gentleman's merit, they need but look to his admirable conduct, when the Kent was destroyed by fire in the middle of the ocean. The noble Lord, the Member for Leitrim, had made use of a mode of expression which is said to be peculiar to that noble Lord's country—the noble Lord talked about defending or fortifying indefensible barracks. Defensible barracks was a principle; it formed a regular part of the military system of the Duke of Wellington, as he himself could testify from the instructions sent out to him some years ago when he was commanding a foreign station. But coming to another question brought forward in the present debate; a great deal had been said about the danger that would accrue to the country, from the state of Ireland, in the event of war breaking out with a foreign country. The hon. and learned Member for Liskeard told them likewise to look at Canada. He would only say to the hon. and learned Member, "wait." The distinguished person at the head of the Government in Canada, by an act of firmness and determination of which he (Sir H. Douglas) warmly approved, and on which he congratulated the country, had emancipated himself from the trammels of what had been very generally described a rebel faction. They would now see how far the redoubtable and vaunted principle of responsible Government would go. But he (Sir H. Douglas) would tell some hon. Members opposite, that such a degree of responsibility as that which they appeared to advocate, was inconsistent with the allegiance and obedience of Canada to the Crown of this Realm. Another hon. Member had made, last night, some menacing allusions to the possibility of what might happen in case of war with France. Another hon. Member said let them take care that a forcible dismemberment of the Empire do not take place like that by which the United States were separated from England. He (Sir H. Douglas) might say that that was a case of successful treason;—Treason never prospers, what's the reason, When it prospers, none dare call it treason.But in the name of the soldiers and the gentry of Ireland, he protested against the supposition that, under any circumstances 70 whatever, they would join in rebellion. He had heard with admiration the sentiment of an hon. Gentleman who said, "whatever may be our difference at home, if an enemy dare invade us, it would he the most certain means of uniting us as one man." Indeed he could oppose historical proof against any aspersion that foreign invasion would be seconded or supported in Ireland. He was old enough to remember the cases of Bantry Bay and Killala. A French force of ten ships of the line and seven frigates, after suffering something from stress of weather, arrived in that Bay, with 20,000 troops on board, in expectation of assistance and cooperation from the people. But the very French Officers who first went on shore to reconnoitre, and prepare for landing the troops, were made prisoners by the peasantry, and the fleet returned to France without striking a blow. At Killala a force landed, invited by certain rebel agents. But they were not supported by the people; they were joined by only a few hundred unarmed peasantry—they were met by a force consisting chiefly of Irish militia, and taken prisoners, execrating those who had deluded them to come over, by representations of the great support they would receive. He had listened with unbounded admiration to one Speech, in particular, delivered on the other side—he did not mean the speech of the right hon. Member for Edinburgh, who though he made a learned, literary excursion over seven centuries, had yet delivered a very unstatesmanlike address—not the ill-timed speech of the noble Lord the Member for London—nor that most mischievous of all speeches, the speech delivered by the noble Lord, the Member for Sunderland.—It was a passage from the speech of the hon. Member for Roscommon. He hoped the House would permit him, in conclusion, to read the minute he had made of the concluding part of that most beautiful speech, and he trusted he should hear from the hon. Gentleman that he had not incorrectly taken down what the hon. Member had so well expressed. The hon. Gentleman said, he wished the Members of the three Kingdoms, in a discuss in this question, to look on each other as discussing subjects of the same Queen, as fellow citizens, and as brothers in charity, and in every civil right, and as rivals only in the noble and generous emulation of endeavouring to promote the common good of the three parts of die United Empire. Most cordially did he participate in all these sentiments and aspi- 71 rations; and the Motion of the noble Lord, whatever might be its tendencies in other respects, had at least produced the great redeeming effect, of affording opportunities of embodying, and vehicles for circulating, such sentiments as these from both sides of the House; sentiments which could not fail to be received with the greatest satisfaction, by the people of Ireland, and to promote the real interests of that important part of the Empire.
§ Mr. Sheil
; I did not rise last night at the conclusion of the speech of the Attorney General for Ireland, for two reasons. The first was, that that speech did not terminate until nearly twelve, and I despaired of engaging the attention of the House at so late an hour; in the next place, I was anxious that the right hon. and learned Gentleman should afford me an opportunity of looking at the report of the case in which I was engaged fifteen years ago to which he has thought it judicious to advert. I wished to look at that report for the purpose of vindicating myself from what I regard as a very serious charge. I applied to the right hon. Gentleman for the report, and he had the goodness at once to give it me. This House must have been under the impression that I packed a jury, and that it was exclusively Roman Catholic. The House must have thought, that I exercised the prerogative vested in me by the Crown, with the sanction of the Law Officers, for the purpose of placing in the jury-box twelve men, my own co-religionists, and the co-religionists of the person for whose death the prosecution was instituted. The right hon. Gentleman said that he was present on that occasion; I think he will admit the truth of my assertion, that of my conduct in the course of that prosecution the Attorney and Counsel for the prisoner did not complain, and the regular Counsel for the Crown did not intimate that any fault was to be found with my conduct. In order to obtain a mixed jury, I was under the necessity, as the prisoner challenged every Catholic, to set aside Protestants, until I could obtain the religious combination which I desired to effect. It may be said, that I gave the Catholics a majority of one on the Jury; but when you recollect that unanimity was required for a conviction, you will at once perceive that a preponderance of one was of no consequence. If the Irish Attorney General had followed my example in the State Prosecu- 72 tions, and out of a Common Panel had allowed five Catholics to remain on the Jury, we should have not impeached his verdict, The Attorney General has brought against me a very serious charge—he said that where a man was on his trial for his life, I acted a most censurable part. His book refutes him. I find in it a report of my speech, and in order to prove that I did not hunt down the defendant with a bloodhound sagacity, I hope I shall be forgiven if I read one or two passages, which will show the House the spirit in which the prosecution was conducted. I hope the House will listen to this self-vindication, if not with interest at least with indulgence; and I must say, that I never saw an occasion on which that feeling of the House of Commons was more strongly manifested than it had been last night, in listening to a speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman distinguished for ability, and let me add, for moral courage. The following is the commencement of the speech made by me in the case to which the Attorney General refers:—I am counsel in a case which the Gentlemen to whom the Attorney General habitually confides the enforcement of the law have permitted me, at the instance of the persons interested in the prosecution, to conduct. I trust that I shall not abuse the licence which has been afforded me. I feel that I am invested with a triple trust. The first is that which I owe my client, for whom I do not ask for vengeance, but for that retribution for which the instincts of nature make in the bosom of a parent their strong and almost sacred call. My client is the mother of the boy for whose death the prisoner at the bar stands arraigned. I owe the next duty to Mr. Pearse himself. If I am asked in what particular I am bound to him, I answer that I cannot avoid entertaining for him that sentiment of commiseration which every well-minded man will extend to one who may be really innocent of a crime, the imputation of which is itself a misfortune; and I do assure you (he will permit me I hope, to extend the assurance to himself), that it is with melancholy that I raise my eyes, and see him occupying the place where guilt and misery are accustomed to stand. To him I owe it as an obligation that I should not abuse the advantage of delivering a statement to which his counsel cannot reply. The scriptural injunction inscribed above that seat of justice, admonishes me that I ought not to make any appeal to your passions against a man whose mouth is closed, and to whose counsel the right of speaking, by an equally cruel and fantastic anomaly, is refused by the law 'Operi os meum muto'—is written 73 there in golden characters, not only to suggest to your Lordship the duty of judicial interposition on behalf of the silent, but also to warn the advocate not to avail himself in any merciless spirit of his forensic prerogative against the man whom the law has stricken dumb. I shall make it superfluous on the part of his counsel to produce evidence in favour of his character—he is a man of worth and honour and until the fatal event for which he stands indicted, has borne a reputation for peculiar kindness of heart.After stating the facts I concluded thus:—At the outset of my statement I expressed myself in praise of the defendant and I advance to a conclusion I pause for an instant to reiterate my panegyric. He has been I repeat it up to the time of this incident, a humane and well-conducted man. Let him have the full benefit of this commendation. If it shall appear that under circumstances which constituted a necessity, and in obedience to the instinct of self-preservation he exclaimed 'fire' then I am the very first to call on you to acquit himThis is not the language of a man actuated by the fierce zeal of a relentless prosecutor; I think it far less vehement than the charges of Judges which we occasionally hear in Ireland. At the conclusion of the evidence, I told the Judge that I thought that no case for charging the defendant with murder had been made out. I do think that the Attorney General, in reverting to a trial which took place fifteen years ago has not acted with ingenuousness, and I am convinced that in the opinion of the House I have freed myself from the imputation that I did not exercise the prerogative of the Crown with the intent attributed to me; and if the right hon. Gentleman had followed the example which I gave him on that occasion—if in the constitution of the Jury in Dublin, he had taken care that there should be five Roman Catholics and seven Protestants upon it—nay, if he had allowed even two, or one Roman Catholic upon that Jury, I think he would have taken not only a more merciful but a more judicious course than that which he did adopt. The Jury that sat in Dublin on the late trial was composed of twelve Protestants, and the House has not yet been apprised of some circumstances connected with their selection. Eight of those Jurors voted against Mr. O'Connell at the several elections at which that hon. Gentleman was candidate for the city of Dublin. I do not mean to say that they had 74 not a most perfect right to do so, or that because they had voted against him they ought of necessity to have been set aside by the Crown, or that they were unfit to exercise the duties of Jurors in his case; but we have first the fact of every Roman Catholic on the Jury List being set aside, and then we have a Jury of persons admittedly hostile to him selected. There was a controversy the other night respecting Mr. Thompson. A doubt was entertained as to the fact whether he had seconded a resolution at a corporation meeting. I believe the fact is now beyond all doubt. The resolution was to this effect: "That this meeting will support and maintain, by every means in its power, the Legislative Union between Great Britain and Ireland." There was another gentleman of more marked politics—Mr. Faulkner. It w ill be found in Saunders's News of the 14th of February, 1840, that at a meeting of Protestants, convened by the Lord Mayor in pursuance of a resolution of the Common Council, and held in the King's Room at the Mansion House, a Mr. Jones is reported to have said—"I call on the meeting by every consideration to stand by their principles, and, above all, to maintain the Protestant Ascendancy in Church and State," and then followed loud and long-continued cheering, with shouts of "No surrender," and "One cheer more." Mr. Faulkner, who was one of the Jury, proposed the third resolution, and that resolution was this—"That this meeting views with deep alarm the Bill introduced into Parliament which proposes to interfere with the municipal corporations in Ireland, and which transfers the rights of Protestants to the Roman Catholic party in Ireland." And on another occasion, in a speech of his, reported in Saunders's News of the 13th of April, and also in the Evening Mail, Mr. Faulkner called on the meeting to uphold the Protestant Ascendancy in Church and State, and gave the charter toast. Some friend asked what was the charter toast? and Mr. Faulkner said, "I mean the glorious and immortal memory of the great and good King William." That Gentleman ought to have been struck off. I think the House, when it considers the facts of the case, when it looks to the variety of the circumstances connected with the case, will consider these facts to be material in determining whether the Jury were legitimately selected? Mr. O'Connell might 75 have begun his speech to the Jury with the words of the unfortunate Lewis, "I look for judges, but I behold none but accusers here." I turn to the circumstances connected with the prosecution, the Attorney General has overlooked many incidents which he ought to have stated and which he ought to have known would not be kept back. You have obtained what you regard as a victory over the leader of the Catholic people. That victory has been obtained by you through the instrumentality of a Protestant Jury. If it was fairly won, I am free to acknowledge that it is not unnaturally followed by that Ministerial ovation in which the Secretary for the Colonies and the Secretary for the Home Department have not thought it indecorous to indulge; but if that Victory has been unfairly won—if, while you adhere to the forms of law, you have violated the principles of justice; if a plot was concocted at the Home Office, and executed in the Queen's Bench; if by an ostensible acquiescence in monster meetings for nine months, you have decoyed your antagonists into your toils; if foully or fortuitously (and whether fortuitously or foully, the result is the same) a considerable fraction of the Jury List has been suppressed; if you have tried the Liberator of the Irish Catholics with a Jury of exasperated Protestants; if justice is not only suspected, but comes tainted and contaminated from her impure contact with authority—then, not only have you not a just cause for exultation, but your successes are of that sinister kind which are as fatal to the victors as to the vanquished—which will tarnish you with an ineffaceable discredit, and will be followed at last by a retribution, slow indeed, but however tardy, inevitably sure. I have presented a double hypothesis to the House. Let us see to which of the alternatives the facts ought to be applied. I shall be permitted in the first instance, to refer to an observation made by the Secretary for Ireland in reference to myself. The noble Lord said:—He must now advert to something which had fallen from a Member of that House out of doors regarding Chief Baron Brady, and Mr. Anthony Blake. It had been observed by Mr. Shed, that an insult had been offered to the Catholics of Ireland, because those Gentlemen had not been summoned to a meeting of the Council. He believed Chief Baron Brady was a Protestant. But let that pass. 76 He took on himself the responsibility of not summoning those Gentlemen to the Council. He thought that the measure determined on was the deliberate act of Government, and he did not, therefore, think it proper to ask the opinion of political opponents.What I said was this: "A circumstance occurred connected with the Proclamation which is not undeserving of note. It has always been the usage in this country (Ireland) to summon every Member of the Privy Council. Upon this occasion the Chief Baron, although living in the neighbourhood of Dublin, was not summoned, and Mr. Blake, a Roman Catholic, who lives in Dublin, was not summoned. He was appointed to the office of Chief Remembrancer by a Tory Government: He had been the intimate friend of Lord Wellesley, a great Conservative statesman. He had never taken any part in any violent proceedings, but he was not summoned upon this occasion, although summoned upon every other to the Privy Council; while the Recorder of the city of Dublin, by whom the Jury List was to be revised, and in whose department an accident of a most untoward kind had happened, was summoned to the Council whence the Proclamation went forth." That was what I said, and I take advantage of this opportunity to add, that if Mr. Blake had been at the Privy Council on Friday, he would have urged his associates not to delay the posting of the Proclamation until Saturday, but would have told them, that, without any long recitals, immediate notice should be given to the people of the determination of the Government. Notice of the Clontarf Meeting was given for three weeks. It was to have been held upon Sunday. On the preceding Friday the Council assembled. On that day the Proclamation ought to have been prepared and posted. I did not appear until Saturday afternoon, and the country is indebted to Mr. O'Connell, if upon an unarmed multitude an excited soldiery was not let loose. The Proclamation was obeyed. With that obedience you ought to have been contented. The monster meetings were at an end; but you had previously determined to prosecute for a conspiracy, and for that purpose you lay in wait for nine months, and that you did the Proclamation itself affords a proof. The Proclamation recites—Whereas Meetings of large numbers of persons have been already held in different 77 parts of Ireland, under the like pretence, at several of which Meetings, language of a seditious and inflammatory nature has been addressed to the persons there assembled, calculated and intended to excite disaffection in the minds of tier Majesty's subjects, and to bring into hatred and contempt, the Government and Constitution of the country, as by law established; And whereas, at some of the said Meetings, such seditious and inflammatory language has been used by persons, &c.If this statement be true, why did you not long before indict the individuals by whom those seditious speeches were delivered? Why did you not prosecute the newspapers by which inflammatory paragraphs had been almost daily published, for a period of nine months? The motive was obvious. It was your purpose—your deliberate and long meditated purpose, to make Mr. O'Connell responsible for harangues which he had never spoken, and for publications which he had never read. I content myself with giving a single instance, which will afford, however, a perfect exemplification of the whole character of your proceedings. A Catholic Priest published an article in the Pilot newspaper, upon "The Duty of a Soldier." He signed his name, James Power, to that article. He was never prosecuted—he was never threatened; he has escaped with perfect impunity: but that article was given in evidence against Daniel O'Connell, by whom it does not appear that it was even ever seen. Such a proceeding never was instituted in this country—such a proceeding, I trust in God, never will be instituted in this country—for Englishmen would not endure it; and this very discussion will tend to awaken them to a sense of the peril to which they are themselves exposed. Does not the question at once present itself to everybody, if that seditious language was employed for so long a period as nine months, why did you not prosecute it before? Why did you not prosecute such an article as this which I hold in my hand, and which was published so far back as the 1st of April, 1843. You might have proceeded by criminal information or indictment, for the publication of a poem in the Nation newspaper, on which Her Majesty's Attorney General entered into a somewhat lengthened expatiation in addre sing the Jury, and declared it to be a poem of a most inflammatory character. I allude to verses entitled, "The Memory of the Dead." 78Who fears to speak of Ninety-eight? Who blushes at the name? When cowards mock the patriot's fate, Who hangs his head for shame? He's all a knave, or half a slave, Who slights his country thus; But a true man, like you, man, Will fill your glass with us. "We drink the memory of the brave, The faithful and the few— Some lie far off beyond the wave, Some sleep in Ireland too; All—all are gone—but still lives on The fame of those who died; All true men, like you, men, Remember them with pride. "Some of the shores of distant lands Their weary hearts have laid, And by the stranger's heedless hands Their lonely graves were made. But though their clay be far away Beyond the Atlantic foam— In true men, like you, men, Their spirit's still at home. "The dust of some is Irish earth; Among their own they rest; And the same land that gave them birth Has caught them to her breast; And we will pray that from their clay Full many a race may start Of true men, like you, men, To act as brave a part. "They rose in dark and evil days To right their native land; They kindled here a living blaze That nothing shall withstand. Alas! that Might can vanquish Right— They fell and passed away; But true men, like you, men, Are plenty here to-day. "Then here's to their memory—may it be For us a guiding light, To cheer our strife for liberty, And teach us to unite, Through good and ill he Ireland's still, Though sad as their's your fate, And true men, be you, men, Like those of Ninety-eight.No man in the Court, who heard this poem recited by the right hon. Gentleman in the most emphatic manner will deny, that it produced a great effect on the Jury. The Attorney General stated, that this was but a single specimen of the entire volume, and that it very much exceeded in violence the productions of the same character in the year 1797. If the description is true, this poem having been published on the 1st of April, and a series of compositions, in prose and verse, of the same kind having appeared for several successive months, does not every man who hears me ask, why it was that proceedings were 79 not taken for the punishment of the persons by whom such articles were published, and for the prevention of offences to which such evil effects were attributed. My answer is this—you had determined to prosecute for a conspiracy, and you connived at meetings and publications of this class. You allowed these papers to proceed in their career, to run a race in sedition, and to establish a complete system for the excitement of the public. You did not prosecute the authors of the articles, or their publishers, at the time they were published. You afterwards joined in the defence the editors of three newspapers, and you gave in evidence against Mr. O'Connell every article published in 1843. Was that a legitimate proceeding? Has there been a precedent in this country of such a proceeding? Has there been an instance of a man indicted for a conspiracy, being joined with these editors of newspapers, and of the articles of those newspapers being given in evidence against him? You might tell me that the mode of proceeding was legitimate, if there were no other mode of punishing the editors of those newspapers. But was there no other mode? Could not those publications have been stopped? Could not the channels by which sedition was circulated through the country have been closed up? Therefore, we charge you with having stood by—(I adopt the expression of the Attorney General) with having stood by, and with having, if not encouraged, at least permitted very strong proceedings to be adopted by the popular party, when you thought your purpose had been obtained, you then fell on the man whom you had inclosed within your toils. I come now to the observations of the Attorney General regarding Mr. Bond Hughes, and I confess myself to be not a little surprised at them. He said that Mr. Bond Hughes had been denounced as a perjurer, and spoke of us as if we had painted him in colours as black as those in which Roman Catholic Members of Parliament are occasionally held up to the public detestation; but he kept back the fact that Mr. Bond Hughes did make two signal mistakes in his information, and which he himself acknowledged to be mistakes, which before Mr. Bond Hughes was examined did produce no ordinary excitement. Not one word did the Attorney General say in reference to a most remarkable incident in these trials. The facts stand thus:—Mr. Bond Hughes 80 had sworn in his information that he had seen Mr. Barrett at two meetings in Dublin. It was of the utmost importance to the Crown to fix Barrett, in order to implicate him with Mr. O'Connell. Mr. Bond Hughes sees Mr. Barrett at Judge Burton's chambers, and turning to Mr. Ray, the chief clerk of the Crown solicitor, informs Mr. Ray that he was mistaken with respect to Mr. Barrett, and that he had not seen him at the Dublin meetings. He suggests to Mr. Ray that something should be done to correct his misapprehension. Ray says nothing. Bond Hughes then applies to the Crown Solicitor himself, to Mr. Kemmis, and represents to him the painful predicament in which he is placed; Mr. Kemmis says nothing. Bond Hughes accompanies Mr. Kemmis to his house, and no rectification of that signal mistake is made. Mr. Bond Hughes stated all this at the trial, which the Attorney General, although he went into exceedingly minute details, entirely forgot to mention. It is quite true that Mr. O'Connell at the trial acquitted Mr. Bond Hughes, but I leave it to the House to determine bow far Mr. Kemmis should be relieved from blame. But lest you should think I am varnishing, or impeaching wantonly, the character of this immaculate Crown Solicitor—you who charge us with tampering with Mr. Magrath, a man at this moment in the employment of the Recorder—I will read to you the statement of Mr. Bond Hughes, of which the Attorney General said not a word, because, I suppose, he thought it not at all relevant. Probably he supposed it to be a work of supererogation to set the public right with respect to any unfortunate misapprehension of Mr. Bond Hughes. The following is the evidence he gave:—Turn to Monday, the 9th of October—I mean the meeting in Abbey-street. Can you enumerate the persons present of the traversers?—There were present Mr. John O'Connell, Mr. Daniel O'Connell, Mr. Steele, the Rev. Mr: Tyrrell, Dr. Gray, Mr. Duffy, and Mr. Ray. "Then Mr. Barrett was not amongst them?—He was not. "Then I presume you did not see at that meeting Mr. Barrett?—No. I made a mistake in saying he was there. "You made that mistake on a previous day, not this day?—No. I made the mistake on the occasion I refer to, and I corrected it as soon as I possibly could. "Then Mr. Barrett was not present? He 81 did not deliver a speech upon the occasion?—He did not. "The Solicitor General has not asked you about a dinner at the Rotunda. Were you there in your capacity as a reporter? I was. "I believe then I may assume as a fact that Mr. Barrett was not at that dinner?—No, he was not there. "Of course he made no speech at the dinner?—No, he did not. Somebody else made a speech for him. I was misinformed. "You mistook some one else for Mr. Barrett on the second occasion?—I did, and I corrected the error as soon as I possibly could. "I think you stated, in answer to a question, that in justice to yourself, you felt it your duty to correct the mistake at the earliest period you could?—Yes. "Were you at the house of Judge Burton when the informations were to be sworn was. "Did you see Mr. Barrett there?—I did. "Did you, on that occasion, depose to the informations?—No; I did that on a prior occasion. I had sworn to the affidavits, and I made an amended affidavit on the second occasion. "Did I understand you to say that you corrected that mistake about Mr. Barrett on a subsequent occasion?—I did not. "Were you present at the occasion when Mr. Barrett was held to bail upon the informations previously sworn against him?—I was. "And you saw him subscribe the recognizances?—I did. "Did you then and there correct the mistake?—I did, on the instant. "Oh, I mean as to the name of Barrett?— Yes; I told Mr. Ray and Mr. Kemmis. "Were they there attending on the part of the Crown?—Yes; they were. "Did you speak to Mr. Kemmis on the subject—No; he was engaged taking the informations, but immediately after we got out of the room I communicated it to Mr. Ray. "Let us have no mistake here. I suppose you don't mean Mr. Ray, one of the traversers?—No; I mean Mr. Ray, the managing clerk of Mr. Kemmis. "And did you, before you left the house of the Judge, apprize these two persons of the mistake?—I did, as we were leaving the house. I said I had a doubt about Mr. Barrett. "When did you say that?—I said it when we were leaving the Judge's chamber. "What did Mr. Kemmis say?—I spoke chiefly to Mr. Ray. "What did Mr. Kemmis say?—I don't recollect. "How far was it from the Judge's house?—As we were going through Kildare-street. "Before you came to Mr. Kemmis's house?—Yes. "Cannot you recollect what Mr. Kemmis said on that occasion?—I cannot. 82 "Did he say it was too late to correct the mistake?—He did not. "Did he make no observation?—I don't remember. "And there it was left?—There it was left. "Now you mentioned the matter to Mr. Ray. Was it in Judge Burton's chamber?—It was in the passage, as we were leaving the room. "Mr. Barrett was then in the house?—He was: we all left about the same time. "What did you say?—That I had been mistaken with regard to Mr. Barrett, and I doubted whether he had been at the Rotunda or Calvert's Theatre; that I had heard his name mentioned, but was mistaken as to his identity. "What did Mr. Ray say?—I don't remember what he said. "Very extraordinary that you should not recollect what was said on so important an occasion. Did not Mr. Ray return?—No. "And no further steps were taken by you?—I thought when I had put them in possession of the mistake, that I had done all that was necessary. I did not think the question of identity would have been left to me. "You had no doubt about the mistake?—I was satisfied as soon as I saw him, that he was not the person. "How long was it after the mistake about Mr. Tierney that the mistake was corrected.—In about three days afterwards. "That was merely a mistake about the christian name?—Yes. "The other mistake remained uncorrected. Did you apprize Mr. Barrett of it?—No; I thought I had done all that was necessary when I had apprised the Officers of the Crown of it.Great stress is laid by the Attorney General on the sworn and unsworn statements of Mr. Kemmis. He told the Attorney General this, and he told the Attorney General that, but he did not rectify the errors in Mr. Bond Hughes' affidavit. Now, I think the House must wonder that a person like the Crown Solicitor should have been guilty of a sin of omission such as I have described; and in the next place, what is more extraordinary, I think the House must be not merely surprised, but astonished, that when the Attorney General made it a matter of accusation against Mr. O'Connell that Bond Hughes was the subject of imputation, and had been calumniated, he did not state that Bond Hughes had been mistaken, and had actually supplicated the Crown Solicitor to rescue him from his difficulty. I wonder if Mr. Kemmis mentioned it to the Attorney General himself? Did he so, or did he not? Oh, last night you thought 83 that the Attorney General had made out a triumphant case. [Loud cheers from the Opposition, met by counter cheers from the other side.] Do you consider this a fitting matter for exultation. [Conservative cheers renewed.] I must say, I cannot enter into your peculiar views, or appreciate the excellence of Tory ethics. [Loud Opposition cheering?] If these things be to you "tidings of great joy," I should be loath to disturb your self-complacency. I pass from a topic upon which I have said enough. No further comments are required; but let it be remembered, that those Gentlemen who charge us with the corruption of Mr. Magrath, who sought—to use a rather vulgar phrase—to turn the tables upon us by a somewhat clumsy expedient—have themselves in the transaction I have mentioned, adopted the course I have described, and respecting which it is unnecessary for me to say one word more. But, to proceed to the other facts of the case:—The Bills are found. The names of the witnesses on the back of the Indictment are demanded by the Defendant, that was a reasonable demand. In this country, united with Ireland—and I hope you will extend to Ireland the same principles and habits of liberty by which you are governed—in this country the practice has uniformly been to furnish the names of the witnesses on the back of the indictment. Am I not right? The hon. and learned Attorney General for England will do me the favour to correct me if I am mistaken. The hon. and learned Gentleman intimates by gesture, that is the practice in this country. We applied for the names of the witnesses; we received a peremptory refusal. You asked for a trial at bar, you wished to have four Judges. One of those Judges was Mr. Justice Perrin. When it was convenient, the right hon. and learned Attorney General relied upon the unanimity of the Court, but when they disagreed he barely glanced at it.
The Attorney General
(for Ireland) was understood to say that he had stated the Judges were unanimous in their judgment.
§ Mr. Sheil
They allowed the Chief Justice to charge the Jury; they concurred with the Chief Justice in his view of the law. But do you not think any attention is to be paid to their dissent? If from their harmony you deduce consequences so 84 valuable, From their discord are not some inferences also to be drawn? It is the practice to give the names of the witnesses in England. Judge Perrin declared that he thought that in Ireland also it was a matter of right to give those names. That was a solemn decision upon the point. Judge Burton, an Englishman, with some remnant left of the feeling for which his countrymen are distinguished, said, he thought that although it was not a matter of right, it would be judicious on the part of the Crown to give the names. Mr. Whiteside, the eloquent Counsel for Mr. O'Connell, at the conclusion of the case made a most reasonable suggestion. The Attorney General resisted it, on the ground that it would introduce a new practice. I think that the right hon. and learned Attorney General, when he went into all those minute details of that part of the case yesterday, would have done right had he mentioned the opinion of Mr. Justice Burton, the decision of Mr. Justice Perrin, and the offer made by Mr. Whiteside on behalf of the defendant. Let the House bear in mind, and let the country bear in mind, that an application never resisted in this country—admitted by the hon. and learned Attorney General for England to be always granted as a matter of right—was by Her Majesty's Attorney General for Ireland, God knows for what reason, peremptorily rejected. I admit that the right hon. and learned Attorney General agreed to the postponement of the trial upon two grounds—the first, that time was required to prepare a proper defence, as it obviously was when it was remembered evidence had to be given regarding forty-one meetings on behalf of the Crown; and on the second ground, that there were but twenty-five Catholics upon the Panel for 1843, while it was perfectly manifest that a much larger number of Catholic Jurors ought to have been upon the Special Jury List. But I deny that the Court refused the application. My impression, on the contrary, was, that the Court determined to grant the application. It was obvious that one of the Judges at least was so disposed. But let me not be mistaken. I do not mean to say that that was distinctly stated by the Court, what I say is this—Judge Burton expressed his astonishment that there were only twenty five Catholics on the Jury List, and when that surprise was expressed, the Attorney General, having against him an irrisistable 85 case, agreed to the postponement of the trial, with the view to give the parties time to prepare their defence, a course he could not avoid, and also in order that the case should not be tried before a most erroneous panel. I do not wish to deny the merit of the right hon. and learned Attorney General, but had he insisted upon going at once to trial with a Panel admitted to be utterly imperfect, and denounced by the right hon. and learned Recorder himself as most imperfect; surely an imputation would then have rested upon him far stronger than that which at this moment attaches to him, and, in my opinion, not without reason. I come to the suppression of a portion of the Jury List. It is right that the House should be apprised that counsel were employed on behalf of the Repeal party and on behalf of the Conservative party, when the Recorder was going through the parochial lists, and that every name was a subject of as much contention as a vote at an election. The Recorder's Court became the arena of the fiercest political contention. But I will begin by declaring that in the adjudication of the parochial lists the Recorder acted with the most perfect fairness, and I have no hesitation in saying that I believe he would rather that his right hand should wither than use it in an infamous mutilation of the Jury List. I entirely acquit him of impurity of motive. But, having made this statement, he will forgive me for saying that I do think it was his duty to have personally superintended the ultimate formation of the Jury List, and if he had superintended it the mutilation of the Jury List would not have taken place. He complained that he had been made the object of the vulgar abuse of hired Counsel. He once belonged to the band of mercenaries himself, and might have spared the observation. But I do not think it either vulgar or vituperative to state that it would have been better if he had remained in Dublin after his judicial duty had terminated, and when his ministerial duty had commenced. I admit as an excuse, almost as a justification, that he had great inducement to proceed to England; for the Evening Mail, the recorder of great public events, did not omit to watch the movements of the right hon. Gentleman, and stated, under the head of "Fashionable Intelligence," that the right hon. Gentleman, having left Ingestre, proceeded to the residence of that distin- 86 guished Statesman, who in all likelihood was anxious to consult the Recorder on the proposed augmentation of the grant to the Education Board. And, may I be permitted to add, parenthetically, that upon the subject of Education in Ireland a judicious taciturnity has been observed by the right hon. Gentleman. No one will suspect that the right hon. Gentleman connived at, or had the slightest cognizance of any misdeeds which may have taken place in the transcription of the Jury List. I entirely and cheerfully acquit the Attorney General of every sort of moral imputation, but circumstances did take place in reference to this List, upon which Mr. Justice Perrin remarked in open Court, that there were grounds for apprehending that something had occurred which was worse than accident. Mr. Kemmis made an affidavit in reply, but he did not contradict the fact. There never was an affidavit in reply to that of Mr. Mahoney respecting the fact, although other affidavits were subsequently made, and ample opportunity for contradiction was afforded. What is the case made out against us by the other side? But the Attorney General more than insinuates, because Mr. Magrath is a Catholic, the traversers, or some underlings connected with them, tampered with him. That is the charge made, without a possibility of sustaining it. Does the Recorder assent to this assault on the character of a person still in his employment? How frontless and how preposterous is the imputation! Does any one believe, or can any one, by the utmost stretch of credulity, bring himself to believe, that the defendants would substract a list of one parish, containing fifteen Catholic names in order that not one of them might be called on the Jury? Yet that is the insinuation made by Her Majesty's Attorney General for Ireland. Is this a fair mode of proceeding? When the Attorney General makes a charge of this kind he ought to invest it with plausibility; but the Attorney General forgot that the defendants put the very charge in issue in their challenge; why did he not venture to controvert it? We are charged with corrupting a public officer whose livelihood depended upon good faith in the performance of his duties—for what? For the purpose of removing Roman Catholics from a panel to try Roman Catholics? Is that plausible? Could such 87 assertions be received by acclamation except by Gentlemen who had been affected by the eloquence of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. The speech itself, indeed, of the right hon. and learned Gentleman I was disposed to cheer, but when I found that cheers were raised for a man who was blasting the character of another, I was astonished both at the want of just feeling on the part of the Attorney General, and that such an accusation, destitute of proof, without plausibility, should be received with acclamations by a British assembly. What took place when the discovery was made of these missing names—I do not care whether they were sixty, or twenty-four, or twenty-seven? The noble Lord opposite very justly says they were balloted for, and selected by chance. That may be a good or a bad principle, but the chances should be equal on both sides. The Judge in Rabelais had a dice-box, and threw for the plaintiff and defendant; but he did not load the dice. You remember the old practice in the House of Commons of ballotting, when the names of Members were put in glasses. Suppose in such a case, the names of twenty-seven Tories were left out. Of course, hon. Members, bound by their oaths, would be as incapable of doing anything unjust or improper as a Protestant Jury, but what would the Tories say in such a case? Would they not say, give us a new Ballot? Put the twenty-seven names back. But whether the Jury List was lost, or whether it was stolen, there are two facts connected with it of no ordinary moment. When the Jurors' List was applied for to the Recorder by the traversers, he expressed his anxiety to give it if the Crown would consent to his doing so. He told us that he sent the Clerk of the Peace to the Crown solicitor to ascertain whether the Crown would consent to that which the Recorder himself thought most reasonable and just. The Crown refused. The second fact is of the same character. An application was made to the Sheriff for the List, and the Crown refused to consent. What was the result? That till the very last moment, the traversers' attornies had no knowledge of the state of the Jurors' book. A motion is made to quash the Panel. An affidavit is sworn stating that twenty-seven Catholics were omitted. The Solicitor General makes an affidavit, and does not deny the 88 fact. Judge Perrin declares that in his opinion, there is ground for strong suspicion that foul dealing had been practised. An offer is made by the traversers to have the names restored to the Panel. The Crown refused to agree. An offer is then made, and it clearly might have been done by consent, to have a new Ballot, to put the omitted names into the Ballot box, and that offer is also refused. The consent would have bound both parties, and that which the law contemplated would have been accomplished. The Attorney General, notwithstanding that he professed to detail everything that had happened with the most scrupulous exactness, did not say a syllable about the challenge to the array. He talked of Pearse's case, and Lord Hawarden's case, and fifty other cases, but not a word about the challenge; and for a very good reason, that Judge Perrin declared the challenge to be good, and the Panel to be void. A challenge to the array takes place, and it is alleged in the challenge, and put in issue, that sixty names had been omitted from the Jury List, and that the omission was fraudulent and corrupt. That fact the Crown refused to try. The following are the words of part of the challenge:—And the said defendant further says, that a certain paper writing, purporting to be a general list, made out from such several lists so corrected, allowed and signed as aforesaid, was illegally and fraudulently made out, for the purpose and with the intent of prejudicing the said defendant in this cause.What reason has the Attorney General given for not joining issue on that important allegation—an allegation sustained by Judge Perrin's previous unequivocal expression of his opinion? It might have been tried at once by the officer of the Court, but a demurrer was preferred. Now mark what happens. We put at issue two facts—the loss of the names, most material—the fraud, still more. Was it not the duty of the Crown, under these circumstances, to have joined issue with us? If they had joined issue, there would have been an end to our objection; and if the point had been decided against them, then, of course, the Panel must have been altered, or some steps adopted. How did the Court decide? Was the Court unanimous? Mr. Justice Perrin, who introduced the act into Ireland, which belonged to the Reform code of the right hon. Baronet opposite—Mr. Justice Perrin, who knew 89 the object of the Act—who was familiar with all its details—by whom its machinery, so to speak, had been in part altered and adapted—Mr. Justice Perrin decided that the challenge was good. But Government went to trial, one of the Judges having declared that the source from which justice flowed had been corrupted. A learned Friend suggests to me that a demurrer always admits the fact but I will be candid on that subject. A demurrer admits the fact, for the purpose of argument only. I did not dwell upon that point because it was in some sort a legal fiction. I went to what was much more substantial. The Crown had the opnity of ascertaining a fact of the utmost materiality; the Crown shrunk from that investigation. You then went on with the case with the Protest of one of the Judges against you, and a verdict you have obtained, by the intervention of a Jury condemned by one of the Judges who sat in that Court. If all of the Judges were unanimous as to the abstract law, as stated by the Lord Chief Justice, they were not unanimous as to the verdict, because one of the Judges condemned the Panel which was the foundation of the verdict, and if the Panel be shaken, the entire superstructure raised upon it must, of course, fall to. I come now to another portion of this case—the striking-off of Roman Catholics from the Jury. But I see I am occupying the attention of the House at too great a length; but it is a case of paramount importance. It is a case in which I was Counsel, and, of course, took a very warm interest in it—it would be strange if I did not—and I believe I am, to a certain extent, better acquainted with the facts than others can be, and I conscientiously believe I have not stated anything that departs in the slightest degree from the facts. With respect to the striking-off of the Roman Catholics, it is said by Mr. Kemmis that there were ten on the list of forty-eight Jurors. Now, eight of those ten I at once admit were properly struck off. I cannot for a moment pretend that eight members of the Repeal Association, or persons who were subscribers to its funds, ought to have been retained on the Jury. I could no more contend for it than that you should contend that Mr. Sheriff Faulkener should have been upon the Jury. But there were two names struck off who were Roman Catholics, but 90 who were neither Members of the Repeal Association, nor subscribers to the Repeal Fund. Mark the affidavit of Mr. Kemmis, put it in the disjunctive—he believes that the ten persons struck off the list were either members of the Repeal Association, or had subscribed to its funds. Henrick is a Roman Catholic; what course has been taken about Henrick? The noble Lord the Secretary of State for the Colonies, who appears to know more about this part of the case than the Irish Attorney General, told us that Henrick was considered to be a Protestant, and a Conservative. Who told him so? [Lord Elliot: Mr. Kemmis.] Mr. Kemmis did not swear it. It never was mentioned until this debate had commenced. You start a new case or new pretext every moment, and that new pretext is grounded on nothing better than an asseveration of his belief by the Crown Solicitor regarding a fact, in reference to which he was most egregiously mistaken. Henrick was not a member of the Repeal Association. He never subscribed to the Repeal Rent. He is a Roman Catholic. It is sworn that he is. I requested my hon. Friend, the Member for the county of Wexford, when this matter was in agitation, and who was acquainted with Henrick, to ask him two questions; first, whether he was a Roman Catholic; and next, whether he was a member of the Repeal Association, or a subscriber to the Repeal Fund? The answer was that he was a Roman Catholic—that he was not a member of the Repeal Association, and that he had never subscribed to its Fund. But you now make a new case, and say that you thought he was a Protestant, and a Conservative. Come to the case of Michael Dunne. You do not pretend that Dunne was either a member of the Repeal Association, or a subscriber to its funds. But you believed that he might have signed a requisition for a Repeal meeting, though even that allegation is not positively made. But is there no distinction between being a Repealer and being a member of the Association? Is there no distinction between being an advocate of Free-trade and a member of the Anti-Corn law League? If Mr. Cobden, and Mr. Bright, and Mr. Villiers, and the Globe newspaper, and the Morning Chronicle, were indicted tomorrow for a conspiracy, would the Crown be justified in setting aside, as a juror, every man who had signed 91 a requisition in favour of Free-trade, or had signed a requisition in favour of the repeal of the Corn-laws? Or suppose that in 1831 the Tories had come into office, and had indicted the Whigs for conspiring to carry Reform by intimidation, for corresponding with the Birmingham Union, and for "swamping the House of Lords," would there be no distinction made, in empanelling a jury to try those revolutionary delinquents, between an advocate of Reform, and a member of that seditious association commonly called Brooks's Club, in which I had once the good fortune of hearing a most eloquent speech delivered against the Duke of Wellington by a great orator, who, mounted upon a table through whose planks he almost stamped, poured out an incendiary harangue, amidst enthusiastic acclamation and rapturous applause. But let us go back to the Jury. The Panel was bad, and was so declared by the Judges. You adopted the course requiring that every Roman Catholic should be struck off the List. Would it not have been wise if the Crown had given its consent that some Roman Catholic should be left on the List. I deny that if the Crown had consented to the formation of a new Panel there would have been any objection on the part of the traversers; and in that case, if the traversers afterwards attempted to controvert the verdict, they would clearly have been stopped by their own proceedings. But suppose no consent had been given, was there not another expedient that might have been adopted? Could not the rule for the Special Jury have been discharged? The Sheriff for the city of Dublin is a gentleman of the highest respectability—Mr. Latouche. When the Municipal Bill was passing you took the appointment of the Sheriffs from the corporation. You left that appointment to the corporations in England. You did not take the appointment from cities here; but when you came to deal with us, you took the appointment of the Sheriff from cities, and vested it in the Crown; because you said that if the new corporations appointed the Sheriffs, they would be just as bad as the old. I do not say whether the course you took was right or wrong, but when the Crown assumed the right of appointing the Sheriff, they might most safely and wisely have left to the Sheriff the appointment of the Jury in this case. You use the 92 words Common Jury, an expression, generally speaking, which means men selected from the inferior classes. Now, the Jury that tried this case, were comparatively speaking, taken from the inferior classes. There were on it Protestant grocers, Protestant piano-forte tuners, and Protestant tanners. Perhaps it would have been better if persons of a higher class had been selected; but I must admit, that there is one advantage in making the middle classes the depositaries of political power, and that the middle classes are animated with as high a sense of honour and of duty as the first patricians in the land. I should never quarrel with the Jury if they had not been composed of political antagonists. An expression was used by my right hon. Friend the Member for the City of Edinburgh, which has strongly excited the ire of the Attorney General for Ireland. My right hon. Friend had said that if there had been a Common Jury the Attorney General for Ireland would not have dared to set by the Roman Catholics, whose names might be on the List. To this the Attorney General for Ireland has replied, "I would have dared!" and certainly no one can deny his intrepidity. But what my right hon. Friend meant was this—that the Crown, controlled by public opinion—controlled, if not in Ireland, at least in this country by public opinion, acting under the coercion of British sentiment, would not have ventured upon an act at once so culpable, and so imprudent, as to strike off names of the highest respectability because they were Roman Catholics. Therefore, if you were sincere in the manifestation of your desire that the Roman Catholics should be capable of acting on that Jury, you had a very obvious mode of carrying your purpose into effect and of realising that desire; for when you found the mistake on the Panel by all the Roman Catholics being excluded, you might have got a Common Jury, and in that case the verdict would have been unimpeachable, and all the controversy which has taken place, and all its consequences, and all the natural and inevitable irritation, might have been avoided. Under these circumstances, is it wonderful, that in Ireland great excitement should have taken place? Is it astonishing, that the Roman Catholics of Ireland should have felt indignant to a man on the subject? Is it wonderful that great public meetings should have 93 taken place in every district of the country to take the subject into consideration? Were these Meetings called by factious men? At the head of them stood Lord Kenmore, one of the advocates of the Union—a man of large possessions, of very ancient birth, and a man highly allied in this country. That Nobleman felt that these proceedings were an insult offered to him; he, therefore, not for the purposes of partizanship, not to gratify any political passion, not from any predilection in favour of Mr. O'Connell, signs a requisition to call a public meeting to complain of the course pursued by the Crown. There was another circumstance which gave an additional poignancy to the feelings of the Roman Catholics; that circumstance was this, and as the Attorney General for Ireland thought it judicious on his part to advert to the course I pursued on a trial at Carrick-on-Suir,—he will excuse me if I refer to something which concerns himself, and to an occasion on which he made himself most conspicuous in Ireland. I do not mention this for the purpose of malevolence—I bear no to the right hon. Gentleman—I have no motive for ill-will—he never did me wrong; and that that right hon. Gentleman should have imagined that a conspiracy was formed against him at the Bar, for the purpose of wounding his feelings, and injuring his prospects, was a most unfortunate hallucination on his part. I beg, on my honour, to assure him that no such intention was ever entertained. But he is a public man, and considering that, and in the management of the important duties it has imposed upon him, he did not exhibit any great delicacy towards others, he must expect, that when his political antagonists scrutinize his motives and his conduct, they will ask what manner of man this must have been, and what course has he pursued? He last night alluded to my conduct at a trial which took place many years ago; and he said, also, that he was sorry for what he had said at the meeting which he attended in 1837. As being contrite, he is to be forgiven. But when the Roman Catholics of Ireland come to compare the course pursued by the Attorney General, at the late Trial in Dublin, with the opinions he had previously expressed—it was impossible that their suspicion should not be confirmed, that unfair dealings were practised in their regard. 94 The House is already aware of the course pursued by the right hon. Gentleman upon the Education question—a question upon which the Recorder of Dublin took care to spear his right hon. Friend, when he endeavoured to escape from it. But the right hon. Gentleman had distinguished himself still more upon another question. In the year 1837, a great Protestant Meeting was held in Dublin—speeches and resolutions of the most violent character were made and passed at that Meeting. One of the Barristers who took part in those proceedings has been made a Master in Chancery; two of them have been made Judges, Lefroy and Jackson; and the right hon. Gentleman himself has been made Attorney General by a Government which professes to govern Ireland without reference to party. At that Meeting a resolution was passed declaring that the Protestants of Ireland were in as perilous a condition now, as they were in 1641, when the most frightful massacres of Protestants are said to have taken place. But what did the right hon. Gentleman say at that meeting? He said that Roman Catholics in Parliament had no regard to their oaths. That declaration, censurable as it was, was more manly than if he had dealt in insidious hints and despicable insinuations. But, surely, when the public functionary by whom that language was uttered caused ten Roman Catholics to be struck off from the Special Jury, it was impossible not to connect that proceeding with his former conduct—it was impossible not to attribute it to the most offensive motives. Meetings took place in almost every district in Ireland, and even the Roman Catholics of England were stirred into resentment. They are, to a man, opposed to the Repeal of the Union. But this outrage to the feelings of every Roman Catholic in the Empire they could not endure. When the First Lord of the Treasury came into office, Lord Shrewsbury addressed a letter to Mr. O'Connell, calling on him to support the present Administration. But the blood of the Talbots has caught fire—the first Earl in England denounces the gross affront offered to the religion of that community of which he is an ornament. The following letter was written by Lord Shrewsbury to Lord Camoys, on the occasion of the latter noble Lord presiding at a meeting of English Catholics in the Metropolis:— 95Alton Towers, Feb. 6, 1844.My dear Lord—I regret extremely that circumstances will not allow me to attend the meeting over which you are to preside tomorrow, as I was anxious for an opportunity of expressing my indignation, in common with yourself and many others, at the fresh insult offered to the whole Catholic population of these kingdoms, by the conduct of the Law Officers of the Crown in the preliminary proceedings on the interesting and important Trials now taking place in Dublin. The Catholics appear to have been struck off the panel en masse, upon the ground that they were all Repealers; but while this fact is asserted on the one side, it is as stoutly denied upon the other. In the absence of any positive evidence on the point, we are, I think, fully justified in the inference that, whether Repealers or not, no Catholic would have been allowed to sit upon that Jury, seeing that such determination would have been in perfect keeping with what has hitherto been the fixed policy of the present Government in Ireland, to exclude Catholics from all share in the Administration of Public Affairs, and while professing to do equal justice to all, refusing them every grace and right enjoyed by their Protestant fellow-subjects. The exceptions are too trifling even to form the shadow of an argument.But even presuming that the facts are upon their side, does it evince a spirit of justice in the Government to discard every man who was known to be favourable to Repeal, and at the same time to leave upon the Panel many who were notoriously Anti-repealers, and who are now actually sitting in judgment upon the traversers? In either case, then, the first principles of justice have been violated, and a gross insult offered to the people of Ireland; and I am sorry that I have only been able to mark my reprobation of such conduct by signing the requisition for a meeting to express our common feelings upon the subject.I remain, my dear Lord, "Very truly and faithfully yours, "To the Lord Camoys." SHREWSBURY,Is not the fact itself a monstrous one, that in a great Catholic country, in the greatest State prosecution that has ever been instituted in that country, the Liberator of that country should be tried by an exclusive Jury, marshalled in antagonism against him? Strip the case of all those details upon which there has been so much controversy, look at that bare naked fact, and say whether it can be reconciled with the great principles of Catholic Emancipation? As far as Trial by Jury is concerned, Catholic Emancipation is repealed, and repealed in a spirit as preposterous as it is unjust. We are admitted to the Bench of Justice—that 96 Bench of Justice which was adorned by a Catholic Chief Baron and a Catholic Master of the Rolls,—we are admitted to the Imperial Senate, which I have at this moment the honour of addressing; we are admitted to the Treasury Board, to the Board of Admiralty, to the Board of Trade; we are admitted to the Privy Council; but admitted to the Bench, and admitted to the Parliament, and admitted to the Treasury, to the Admiralty, to the Board of Trade, and to the Privy Council, we are driven from the Jury—we are ignominiously driven from the Jury Box, where a refuge has been supplied to that Protestant Ascendancy which you have re-invested with all the most odious attributes of its most detestable domination. And yet the noble Lord the Secretary for Ireland tells us that he is anxious for the impartial administration of justice! At the last London Election Mr. Baring was asked, by a formidable interrogator, whether he was favourable to Free Trade? He answered that he was favourable to Free Trade in the abstract. But when he was asked whether he would vote for the Repeal of the Sliding Scale, he said that was quite another question. And so it is with the noble Lord. He is favourable to impartial justice in the abstract. Ask him to admit a Roman Catholic as a Juror upon a State Prosecution, and he exclaims, "Oh, that is quite another thing" I must, however, admit, that I believe the noble Lord to have erred from a certain infirmity of purpose, which although lamentable, is not so reprehensible as the Yorkshire Yeomanry authoritativeness, and the Fermanagh fanaticism of my Lord de Grey. There is in Dublin a society called the Protestant Operative Association. It exhibits in its characters the results of Conservative policy in Ireland. That Association presented an address to Lord de Grey immediately after the Proclamation had been issued. In that address it stated that "the sacrifice of the mass is a blasphemous fable, and that a system of idolatry unhappily prevails in our country." It submits to the Lord Lieutenant that "we want in Ireland laws which shall have the effect of abolishing Popery." It calls for the suppression of the College of Maynooth, the address, in short, is in keeping with another address from the same society in which the Catholic religion is designated as a "God-dishonouring, Christ-blaspheming, and a Bible-denying super- 97 stition, whose climax is gross idolatry." Popery is called "the masterpiece of Satan." It states, there are idolators upon the Bench—idolators on the Judgment Seat." They conclude with a panegyric on the hon. Member for Knaresborough, whose arrival in Dublin they announce as an event to be gladly anticipated by all Irish Protestants. The other day he read a speech attributed to me; I acquit him of all blame, but that speech was not made by me, but by a person of the same name, resident in Thomas-street Dublin. In the Annual Register the speech is given to me by mistake. This Protestant Operative Association, this natural product of your sacerdotal institutions, having addressed the Lord Lieutenant in reference to the Proclamation, what answer did he give? Did he denounce—did he reprove contumely so wanton and so unprovoked? Did he, as the Representative of his Sovereign, who charged him when he went to Ireland to govern the country with impartiality, and expressed to him her tender solicitude for the welfare of her Irish people, express the slightest condemnation of the atrocious language which had been employed in reference to the religion of seven-eighths of the inhabitants of Ireland? No Sir.—But in his answer to the congratulations of these conspirators against the first principles of Christian charity, he expresses his "warm acknowledgments for the honours which they have conferred upon him, in the expression of their thanks for his conduct on a late occasion." Does the First Lord of the Treasury approve of this proceeding on the part of his "Lord Deputy of Ireland?" The Secretary for the Home Department considers it as indiscreet, but as to the Secretary for the Colonies, as he, in all likelihood, sympathises with the Protestant Operative Association, I beg to hand him their address to Lord de Grey, as it will furnish admirable materials for his next "No Popery" speech. The moral effect of the verdict will not be enhanced by the conduct of Lord de Grey, or by the speeches of the Secretary for the Colonies, or the Secretary for the Home Department. That right hon. Gentleman spoke of "convicted conspirators" not being able to upset the Established Church. Even if your verdict had been legitimately obtained, you should abstain from such expressions. You should not 98 give way to this inglorious exultation. You are an Englishman, and you ought not to hit a man when he is down. As to the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies, he never fails to apply a provocative to our resentments, and to verify what my friend Mr. Fonblanque says of his orations—"Every one of them is a blister of shining flies." I am surprised that the First Lord of the Treasury, knowing, as he must know, that so hot a horse is likely to bolt, allowed him to be entered for the race. He ought, at all events, if the noble Lord was determined to speak, to have suggested to him, that as his Government of Ireland had not been peculiarly successful, to avoid the topics which are most likely to add to the national irritation; he ought to have admonished him not to make such a speech as in Canada would be likely to produce great irritation amongst the large Catholic community of that important colony. Perhaps the Prime Minister did give him some such warning and probably, like the Irish Attorney General, he promised to put a restraint on himself, and to extend his Conservative habits to his temper. But once on his legs, all his good resolutions were forgotten, and he could not deny himself the luxury of offering every Catholic in the House an affront in the pharisaical homily which he delivered on the oath taken by Catholics in Parliament. He read the oath—read it in italics—he read it almost as well as the Chief Justice read the speech of Daniel O'Connell. He begged of us to examine our consciences, and to consider the awful obligation which was imposed upon us. In giving us a lecture on perjury, he does not mean to offend us. Be it so; hut suppose that in the spirit of retaliatory gratitude, I were to give him a lecture on an offence of far inferior culpability, on political apostacy, and were to say—"My Lord I do not mean to offend you, but I entreat you not to give way to the acrimonious feelings by which tergiversation is habitually characterized; don't play the fierce and vindictive renegade, for the sake of men with whom the partner of your conversion declared that it would be in the last degree discreditable to consort, and remember that 'sans changer' is the motto attached to your illustrious name." I very much question whether the noble Lord would consider these amiable suggestions as giving me any very peculiar title to his thanks. But 99 there was something even more remarkable than his advice in reference to the Catholic Oath in the speech of the noble Lord. He was exceedingly indignant at the reflections on the Chief Justice in reference to whom delicacy forbids my saying anything, as he was "counsel on the other side," and insisted that a Judge of the land ought not to be made the subject of criticism in this House; yet when he was a Whig Cabinet Minister he did not exhibit this virtuous squeamishness, but thought Baron Smith, the father of the Irish Attorney General would give capital sport in a Committee of the House of Commons. He proposed an inquiry into the conduct of Baron Smith—an inquiry into the accuracy of the charge of Mr. Baron Smith. [Lord Stanley.—No, I did'nt.] Did'nt you? [Lord Stanley.—No, I did'nt.] What! No vote of censure? [Lord Stanley.—No.] No Motion for a Committee? [Lord Stanley.—No.] Then, what was it? There was a Motion I know made in this House for a Committee to inquire into the conduct of Mr. Baron Smith in charging the Grand Jury. [Lord Stanley.—No.] Yes, but there was. The Secretary for the Home Department perhaps can tell me, because he voted against the noble Lord. The Secretary for the Home Department was shocked at such a proceeding, and my Lord Monteagle, whose nerves are better now, was shocked too. Upon that occasion the noble Lord (Lord Stanley), and the Secretary for the Home Department were divided; there was then only one star in Gemini. But let me turn from the noble Lord, whose conduct and whose advice we hold in the estimate which they deserve, to the country to which he once said that he would give a lesson—and inquire how it is that you intend that the Government of Ireland, for the future, shall be carried on. Ireland is not to be ruled by force. Indeed! It is to be ruled through Protestant jurors, and Protestant charges, and Protestant goalers: but Protestant jurors, and Protestant charges, and Protestant gaolers require that Protestant bayonets should sustain them, and that, with the discretion of the Home Office, the energy of the Horse Guards must be combined. But let me come to your specific measures. You have issued a Landlord and Tenant Commission, composed exclusively of proprietors. You did not place upon it a Catholic Bishop, or any other eminent Ec- 100 clesiastic, having an intimate acquaintance with the sufferings of the poor. These Commissioners are to fill up three or four folios of evidence, to prove to us, what every one of us already knows. The Home Secretary tells us, that he is inclined to render the landlord's remedy more compendious; but he ought to remember that Mr. Lynch, the Master in Chancery, who is thoroughly acquainted with Ireland, a first-rate lawyer, and an excellent man, who has managed his own property with the most humane concern for his tenants, thought the remedy of the Quarter Sessions preferable to an ejectment in the Superior Courts, because the costs in the Superior Courts are overwhelming, and the tenant purchases a little delay at a price utterly ruinous, and which deprives him of all chance of redeeming his land. The right hon. Gentleman also informed us that he had a Registration Bill in his thought; I admit that the Government are entitled to large praise for having thrown the Secretary of the Colonies overboard; but why does not the right hon. Gentleman inform us of his plan? He will cut down the Franchise with one hand, and extend it with the other; but how will he extend it? By the Chandos' Clause; that is, he will discourage the granting of long leases, and he will create a mass of vassalage in times of tranquillity, and in seasons of political excitement he will create an open revolt, by which the whole country will be distracted. But what does he mean shall be done with regard to the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church—with regard to the Church with a congregation and without a revenue, and the Church with a revenue and without a congregation? Will he grant glebe leases to the Catholic Clergy, will he build Catholic houses of worship, will he augment Maynooth? On these subjects the Government are silent, but it is intimated that with the revenues of the Establishment no sacrilegious innovation shall be permitted to interfere, and that the Established Church shall be maintained in the plenitude of its possessions, in a country in which two-thirds of the Irish Members are returned by Roman Catholics, in which Roman Catholics are masters of all the Corporations in the south of Ireland, in which every day the Catholic millions are making a wonderful progress in wealth, in industry, in intelligence, in personal self-respect, and in in- 101 dividual determination. And why is the Church to be maintained in its superfluous temporalities? Because we are told that it is founded in Christian Protestant truth. Be it so; but permit me to inquire on which side of the Tweed in Great Britain Protestant truth is to be found? On the northern bank it is impersonated in the Member for Perth—in the Member for Oxford on the south. It is Calvinistic in the north, Armenian in the south; it is dressed in a black gown and a white band in the north; in the south it is episcopally enthroned, mitred and crosiered, and arrayed in all the pomp of pontifical attire. On the north it betrays its affinity to Geneva; on the south it exhibits a strong family resemblance to that Babylonian lady, toward whom, under the auspices of Doctor Pusey, its filial affection is beginning to return. If I shall ever be disposed to recant the errors which have now continued for 1800 years, in order that, being permitted to assail the Irish Church from without, I may, as a Protestant, undermine it from within, perhaps the Secretary for the Home Department, who is a borderer, will tell me on which bank of the Tweed the truth is to be discovered. But where-ever it is to be found, it must be admitted that the Irish Church has not been very instrumental in its propagation. You have made no way in two centuries in Ireland, while Popery is every day, and in every way, upon the advance. The Catholic religion, indigenous to the mind of Ireland, has struck its roots profoundly and widely in the belief and the affections of the people—it has grown beneath the axe, and risen in the blast—while Protestant truth, although preserved in a magnificent conservatory, at prodigious cost, pines like a sickly exotic, to which no natural vitality can be imparted, which by every diversity of expedient you have striven to force into freshness, and warm into bloom, in vain. But you may resolve, per fas aut nefas, to maintain the abuses of the Church, but it is right that you should know, that among the Catholics of Ireland there exists but one opinion on the subject. You heard my hon. Friend the Member for Kildare—he is a Gentleman of fortune and of birth, highly connected, and who has again and again refused to take the Repeal pledge. He tells you that he is thoroughly convinced that an alteration in your Establishment is required. A vast body of the 102 Protestant Irish Aristocracy entertain the same sentiment; and even here, the supporters of a Conservative Government cannot refrain from telling you that a revision of the Church cannot be long avoided. The hon. Member for Wakefield, who was one of the Vice-presidents, if I remember right, at the dinner given in 1838 to the First Lord of the Treasury, at the Merchant Tailors'-hall, bore his important, although reluctant, testimony to the necessity of a change. That change is said to he against principle. But what an incongruity between your theory and your practice: take, as an instance, the Canada Clergy and reserves. The Clergy reserves were appropriated by Act of Parliament, by one of the fundamental laws of the Colony, to the maintenance of the propagation of the Protestant religion. Before the revolt in Canada (that painful instrument of political amelioration) we were told that the Clergy reserves were set apart for sacred and inviolable purposes. But the Canadian insurrection produced one good result; the Archbishop of Canterbury did no more than stipulate for a change of phraseology in an Act of Parliament, and the Protestant Clergy reserves are at this moment applied, in part, to the sustainment and the diffusion of the Catholic religion. The present Prime Minister, the Secretary for the Colonies, the Secretary for the Home Department, the Bishop of London, all agreed to this momentous alienation. The Bishop of Exeter alone stood by his colours—he implored, he adjured the House of Lords in vain—he called on the Bishops to remember their oaths, he pointed out the disastrous precedent which you were about to make. He was right—the inference is irresistible, the whole appropriation question is involved in the Clergy reserves. But consider whether, even in your dealings with the Irish Church, you have not acted in such a way as to render your position utterly untenable. By the Church Temporalities Act you abolished Irish Church rates. You thereby subtracted so much from the property of the Church—you suppressed a certain number of Bishopries, why should you not suppress a corresponding number of Benefices? You do not want so many Bishops—how can so many parsons he required by you? But the Tithe Bill is a still stronger case. In 1831 the Catholic Members asked nothing more than that you should apply the surplus of 103 Church property to charity and education. They never proposed to confiscate a fourth and give it to the Irish Landlords. In 1835 that proposition was made by the present Secretary-at-War, then Secretary for Ireland. To the Tories the entire merit of originating that wild and Wellingtonian measure exclusively belongs. But the gallant Officer, when Secretary for Ireland, proposed a Bill by which one-fourth of the tithe was confiscated and put into the pockets of the Landlords—not you; you would not alienate Church property—not you; but with one blow you take away one-fourth of their tithes from the Church, and surrender the precious fragment into the pockets of the Protestant landlords of Ireland. Your own conduct in reference to the Education question is the strongest illustration of your own sense of the incompetence of the Irish Church to fulfil the duties of an Establishment. In England, where you have an Established Church which teaches the religion of the people, you gave up your Factory Bill; you have perpetuated ignorance, and all the vices which it engenders, rather than infringe on the sacerdotal prerogatives of your Establishment, which claims the tutelage of the Nation's mind; while in Ireland you have stripped the Church of all its privileges, and declared it to be unfit for one of its most important functions—the direction of the public mind; nay, more, the Secretary for Ireland, who now thinks it politic to offer his homage to the Clergy of the Established Church with a sincerity of panegyric commensurate, I hope, with its exaggeration, denounced that clergy for their factious opposition to the Education Board. You have thus, by your own acts pronounced a virtual condemnation of your Establishment—that monster anomaly to which nothing in Europe is to be compared. Yes; there is one analogy to be found to your sacerdotal institutions—there is one country in Europe in which your Irish policy has been faithfully copied. In a series of remarkable Ukases the Emperor of all the Russias proclaims the eternal union between Poland and Russia, declares it to be the means of developing the great national advantages of Poland, expresses his surprise that the Poles should be so utterly insensible to his benevolence, reprobates the malcontents by whom fanciful grievances are got up, and establishes the Greek Church as an excellent bond of 104 connection between the two countries. Is there a single argument that can be urged in favour of the English Church in Ireland which does not apply to the Establishment of the Greek Church in Poland? The fee-simple of Poland is now Russian. Property in Poland has been Tartarised, by very much the same process by which it has been Protestantised in Ireland. A Greek hierarchy will compensate for the absence of the nobility in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and it will be eminently conducive to public usefulness, that a respectable Greek clergyman should be located, as a resident, in every parochial subdivision of Poland, with a living, in the inverse ratio of a congregation. Almost every year we have a debate in this House touching the wrongs of Poland, and an assurance is given by the right hon. Baronet that he will use his best endeavours to procure a mitigation of the sufferings of Poland. I have sometimes thought, that in case Lord Aberdeen should venture on any vehement expostulation, which is not, however, very likely, Count Nesselrode might ask, whether Russia had not adopted the example of England towards Ireland; whether, in Ireland, torrents of blood had not been poured out by your forefathers; whether Ireland had not been put through a process of repeated confiscation; whether the laws of Russia were more detestable than your barbarous penal code; and whether, to this day, you do not persevere in maintaining an ecclesiastical institution repugnant to the interests, utterly at variance with the creed, and abhorrent to the feelings of the vast majority of the people? Such, I think, would be the just reply of a Russian statesman to my Lord Aberdeen; and, since I have named my Lord Aberdeen, I gladly avail myself of the opportunity to express my unqualified approbation of his foreign policy. When the Home Office plays, in reference to Ireland, so belligerent a part, and when the Secretary of the Colonies, in speaking of Ireland, "stiffens the sinews" and "summons up the blood," and, I may venture to add, imitates the action of the tiger, nothing will become my Lord Aberdeen so much as "mild behaviour and humility." Rightly did my Lord Ashburton, under his auspices, concede to America far more than America could plausibly claim. Rightly will he relinquish the Oregon territory; Greek Church as an excellent bond of rightly has he endured the intrigues of the 105 French Cabinet in Spain; rightly did be speak of Algiers as a "fait accompli." Rightly will he abandon the Treaties of 1831 and 1833, for the suppression of the Slave Trade; but, after all, this prudential complaisance may be ultimately of little avail; for who can rely upon the sincerity of that international friendship, which rests on no better basis than the interchange of Royal civilities? Who can rely upon the stability of that Throne of the Barricades, which has neither legitimacy for its foundation, nor freedom for its prop. And if it falls, how fearful the consequences that may grow out of its ruins! The First Lord of the Treasury will then have cause to revert to his speech of 1829, to which my hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Worcester so emphatically and so impressively adverted. The admonitions of the noble Lord, the Member for Sunderland, will then be deserving of regard. These topics are perilous, but I do not fear to touch them. It is my thorough conviction, that England would be able to put down any insurrectionary movement, with her gigantic force, even although maddened and frantic Ireland might be aided by calculating France. But at what a terrible cost of treasure and of life would treason be subdued. Well might the Duke of Wellington, although familiar with fields of death, express his horror at the contemplation of civil war. War in Ireland would be worse than civil. A demon would take possession of the nation's heart—every feeling of humanity would be extinguished—neither to sex nor to age would mercy be given. The country would be deluged with blood, and when that deluge had subsided, it would be a sorry consolation to a British Statesman, when he gazed upon the spectacle of desolation which Ireland would then present to him, that he beheld the spires of your Established Church still standing secure amidst the desert with which they would be encompassed. You have adjured us, in the name of the oath which we have sworn on the Gospel of God—I adjure you, in the name of every precept contained in that holy book—in the name of that religion which is the perfection of humanity—in the name of every obligation, divine and human, as you are men and Christians, to save my country from those evils to which I point, but to avert them, and to remember, that if you shall be the means of precipitating 106 that country into perdition, posterity will deliver its great finding against you, and that you will not only be answerable to posterity, but responsible to that Judge, in whose presence, clothed with the blood of civil warfare, it will be more than dreadful to appear. But God forbid that these evils should ever have any other existence, except in my own affrighted imaginings, and that those visions of disaster should be embodied in reality. God grant that the men to whom the destinies of England are confided by their Sovereign, may have the virtue and the wisdom to save her from those fearful ills that so darkly and so densely lower upon her. For my own part, I do not despair of my country; I do not despair of witnessing the time when Ireland will cease to be the battle-field of faction; when our mutual acrimonies will be laid aside; when our fatal antipathies will be sacrificed to the good genius of our country. Within the few days that have elapsed since my return to England, I have seen enough to convince me, that there exists amidst a large portion of the great British community, a sentiment of kindliness and of good feeling towards Ireland. I have seen proofs that Englishmen have, with a generous promptitude, if they have felt themselves wronged, forgiven the man who may have done them wrong. That if Englishmen, noble and high-minded Englishmen, do but conjecture that injustice has been done to a political antagonist, swayed by their passion for fair play, they will fly to his succour, and, with an instinct of magnanimity, enthusiastically take his part. I do trust that this exalted sentiment will be appreciated by my countrymen as it ought to be; and that it may be so appreciated, and that it may lead to a perfect national reconciliation, and that both countries, instead of being bound by a mere parchment Union—a mere legal ligament, which an event may snap—shall be morally, politically, and socially identified, is the ardent desire of one who has many faults, who is conscious of numerous imperfections, but who, whatever those imperfections may be, is not reckless of the interests of his country—is devotedly attached to his Sovereign; and, so far from wishing for a dismemberment of this majestic Empire, offers up a prayer, as fervent as ever passed from the heart to the lips of any one of you, that the greatness of that Empire may be imperishable, 107 and that the power, and that the affluence, and that the glory, and that above all, the liberties of England may endure for ever.
§ Debate again adjourned.
§ House adjourned.