HC Deb 02 April 1846 vol 85 cc482-5

I shall state only enough to make my Motion distinctly intelligible, and to show that the documents I ask for ought to be produced. A letter appeared lately in the newspapers exceedingly well written, signed "P. D. Ryan," and considered so important that it was referred to the other night in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department. This gentleman signs himself "your faithful friend." Now, I have made some inquiries as to this "friend" of mine, and I find there is nothing about him that would induce me to claim the honour of his acquaintance. He has stated that his house was attacked: and he took special care to announce that this outrage was committed during "family prayers." Now, I am informed, that seven months ago he alleged that a similar attack had been made on him. He then alleged that his house was fired into whilst he was in the midst of his family. The magistrates investigated the matter, and they found the charge a totally unfounded one. I wish to get the report of that transaction, which was furnished to the Government, and also the report of the recent transaction. I understand it will appear that both representations to the Government were fabrications. There is another document which I do not know if I have any right to call on the Government to produce. I understand this gentleman was an insolvent, and I ask for the production of his schedule, as it will prove, I am informed, how faithful and conscientious a tenant he was, and also how sensible of the obligations which a contract imposes. The hon. and learned Member moved for— A Copy of any Report sent to Government by a stipendary, or other magistrate, or by any police authority, of any attack made, or alleged, on the house of Mr. P. B. Ryan, or on himself, in the year 1845:—Also of any attack made, or alleged to have been made, on the house of the said Mr. P. Ryan in the Month of March 1846:—Return of the Discharge of the said Mr. P. B. Ryan by the Insolvent Court, in the county of Tipperary, and a copy of the schedule filed by him on that occasion.


I do not rise for the purpose of offering any opposition to the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman. With regard to the first part of his Motion, the explanation which the hon. and learned Gentleman requires is very natural. As to this gentleman's schedule, it may be true that he was unfortunate, and had taken the benefit of the Insolvent Act; but this misfortune did not at all invalidate the accuracy of any statement made by him. I must observe that I had no personal knowledge whatever of the gentleman. I was struck by his statement, and by the forcible language in which it was conveyed, and also by the circumstance that he was placed, in 1828, in the chair of the Catholic Association, on the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Cork.


A man's insolvency may certainly be a misfortune; but there are cases in which it may not. It is not because this gentleman was a poor man that I ask for his schedule, but because I had the most distinct evidence from the person who suffered from his insolvency that he did not behave quite fairly on that occasion. The hon. Member for Tipperary had the misfortune to have this gentleman as a tenant. He has represented himself as a suffering landlord. I wish to see what was his schedule when he became an insolvent, and what were the debts returned by him. I think this important. It is painful to me to drag up this species of account; but after the publication of that letter I do not think this gentleman entitled to be treated with any great ceremony. I can assure the House I did not see this letter until three days before it was quoted; and when I heard it read, I acknowledged it was infinitely better written than I could have supposed. As to this gentleman filling the chair of the Association, I am utterly unable to say whether he did or not. It might have happened that as a country gentleman he was moved to the chair; but this was no great proof of his station. I do not say it did not happen; and if it did, it is very immaterial. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman it is for no miserable triumph over the man's poverty that I ask for his schedule; but I ask for it because I think I can show, on the evidence of a Member of this House, the character of this man to be such, that the right hon. Gentleman will feel some surprise at hearing what description of a man he is whose aid he summoned to his eloquence.


begged to say a few words on this matter. The gentleman in question was the only bad tenant he had in his life. He thought it important that the schedule should be produced to remove the impression which the letter of this gentleman had produced. It was well written, certainly. He begged, however, to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to the facts which he knew. After becoming insolvent, this gentleman over-held his land, and his agent obtained an order for the payment of rent from the assignees for the surrender of the land. The assignee was a person rejoicing in the name of Rody Fogarty, and who, he supposed, was this gentleman's brother-in-law. His agent served notice on this Rody Fogarty; but when about to obtain an attachment against the brother-in-law of the gentleman, it turned out that the assignee, Rody Fogarty, was a labourer in this gentleman's employment. He thought that fact quite enough to show what credit should be attached to this person's statements as to crime in Ireland. An appeal having been made to him an account of this man's large family, he allowed him to remain on the land. The former outrage, which Mr. Ryan alleged to have been committed, was investigated by Mr. G. Jones and two local magistrates, and declared to be unfounded. His firm belief was, that no such attack as that alleged was recently made on this gentleman's house.

Motion agreed to.