HC Deb 06 April 1846 vol 85 cc609-12

moved the Order of the Day for resuming the Adjourned Debate on the Protection of Life (Ireland) Bill.


said, he did not know whether there was any probability of coming to a division to-night on the first reading of this Bill; but, supposing that the House did not come to a division that night, he would make an earnest appeal to those who had notices on the Paper for to-morrow, to allow the debate on the Irish Bill to proceed to-morrow. He had no wish to interfere with the due discussion of the measure; but he believed that the Irish Members, if they permitted the House to proceed with the Corn Bill, by concluding the discussion on the Irish Bill, would be rendering an essential service to their country.


felt deeply the inconvenience which the country suffered from the course taken, not by the Irish Bill to proceed to-morrow. He had no wish to interfere with the due discussion of the measure; but he believed that the Irish Members, but by the right hon. Baronet, who had the conduct of these Bills, and who might, if he had chosen, on Friday last, have moved the adjournment of the debate on the Coercion Bill till after Easter. To-morrow, or on Thursday, he (Mr. O'Brien) would willingly give way to the Corn Bill or any other remedial measure, but he would not facilitate in any way the discussion on the Corercion Bill. He did not wish to have any concealment with the right hon. Baronet as to the course which the Irish Members should pursue. He thought that it was their bounden duty to take care that, pari passu with the discussion of the Coercion Bill, there should be discussions as to the misgovernment of Ireland; that Irish Members should have the opportunity of making an exposition of what they considered the wrongs of their country; and that, in the absence of any proposition of remedial measures on the part of the Government, they should also have the opportunity of suggesting such measures which they thought advisable for removing those evils which they utterly denied that the measure now before the House would remove.


said, that the course mentioned by the hon. Member would be perfectly compatible with allowing the Irish Bill to be read a first time; for on the subsequent stages the hon. Gentleman and others would have a full opportunity of stating their views.


said, that the Government had made a great mistake, and had embarrassed themselves by bringing on this Coercion Bill before their own Corn Bill was passed, which a great number of the Irish Members were equally anxious with the right hon. Baronet to see carried. The Coercion Bill was not only inefficacious for its professed object, but would increase the horrible and execrable outrages it purported to put down, and would preclude all chance of the Irish people feeling any gratitude for the sympathy which he readily acknowledged had been shown for them in that House during the present Session. This Coercion Bill would not only destroy that feeling of gratitude, but would render almost irreconcilable the differences between the two countries; and he looked forward to results of the most disastrous nature to the connexion between England and Ireland. They were now in the seventh century of that connexion; and, during the whole of that time, the Irish people could not point to any period when the connexion had been fraught with anything but mischief and oppression to them. Surely it was time that this should be changed. The Repealers were most attached to the connexion between the two countries, and wished to preserve it, and wished therefore the measures to which the Irish people objected postponed. Let the Government suspend these measures—let them try the powers they already possessed—let them try special commissions, and increase the police and military, and see what would be the effect. After trying this course, if the Government were to come to Parliament and say that this course had failed, he thought that the Government would then find a support on that (the Opposition) side of the House which perhaps they did not expect, supposing that they had employed the interval in introducing remedial measures, and proved that they were really in earnest, not only in bringing them before that House, but also in passing them through another place. The Irish Members would facilitate the passing of the Corn Bill and the other measures of the Government, and for that purpose they would attend every division; but with respect to the Coercion Bill, they felt that they should be committing a crime against Ireland, and against the real interests of the two countries, by allowing it to pass until they had exhausted all the means of resistance which the Constitution gave them.


wished to read one sentence from a letter which he had received from the member of a firm in Yorkshire largely concerned in business. It did not bear specially on the Irish Bill, but upon the mode in which the two measures—the Corn Bill and the Irish Bill—were interlaced together. The letter stated, that owing to the delay in passing the Government commercial measures, the depression of all branches of trade was extreme, and that in consequence the operatives and their families were severely affected, and multitudes of industrious persons were in such a state of destitution that were it not for charity they must perish from famine. The letter added, that Lancashire presented a similar aspect. He did not wish to enter into a debate as to which measure should have priority of consideration; but the statements in that letter induced him to hope, not certainly that ample means should not be allowed for the discussion of the Irish Bill, but that no more time would be expended on a preliminary stage of the measure than was compatible with that object. He wished to know whether the right hon. Baronet was ready to inform the House when he proposed that the House should meet after Easter.


said, that if the Government pressed the reading of this Order of the Day, he should propose as an Amendment, that it be read that day three months. [The SPEAKER intimated that such a Motion would be irregular.] The hon. and gallant Member then moved, that the other Orders of the Day be now read.


did not wish to provoke a recriminatory discussion. This was a day on which the Government might bring on such measures as it thought fit, and the House met on the full understanding that the Irish Bill would be proceeded with; he hoped that would now be allowed to be done.

Amendment withdrawn.