HC Deb 25 June 1846 vol 87 cc966-1027

The Order of the Day for resuming the Adjourned Debate on the Second Reading of the Protection of Life (Ireland) Bill having been read,


would make a few observations upon the speech of the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department. The right hon. Baronet had stated, and stated fairly, that those hon. Members who were opposed to the Coercion Bill need not stay away or vote in favour of the Bill out of gratitude to the Ministry for the free-trade measures it had brought in. Nothing could be more reasonable or fair than such a position. It was stated by hon. Gentlemen on the other side, as a broad rule, that whatever might be the state of society or the necessity for some protection to life, the only means of meeting it would be by remedial measures, and not by any infringement on the constitutional laws of the country. It had been alleged that there were hon. Members on his own side of the House who had always voted for coercion. Now, he had yet to learn that any hon. Member would stand up in that House and express his determination to vote for the present measure, because he had always voted in favour of coercive measures for Ireland, totally irrespective of the condition of the people, and of the credit of the Ministers who brought it in, and their claims upon the confidence of the country. He maintained that the Bill was pre-eminently a question of confidence in the Ministry, as it invested them with extraordinary powers to be used at their discretion. To take an illustration from events familiar to them all: if the Government, instead of having come down with measures of free trade as they had done at the beginning of the Session, had come down to ask for discretionary powers as to the opening of the ports, it must be clear that in so doing they would have asked for larger powers and more confidence than in proposing the enactments they had submitted to the House. He could draw no difference in the questions of confidence in the measures of the Government relating to the quantity of food, and in that which proposed restrictions upon the liberties of the Irish people. As they said they were not prepared to invest the Government with the powers they asked for in the one case, neither were they prepared to invest them with extraordinary powers for the purpose of suspending the constitutional liberties of 7,000,000 of their fellow subjects. He thought that the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham), in attempting to separate this question from one of confidence in the Government, narrowed the view of the question; and those who were prepared to vote for this Bill without reference to the question of confidence, he thought, showed an ignorance of the character of the people whom it concerned, and too little jealousy of constitutional liberty in general. They saw certain hon. Members on the other side of the House cheering every expression of confidence in the Government; and yet they stated that they were not prepared to vote in favour of a measure upon which the existence of the Government notoriously depended. There were also some hon. Gentlemen on his side of the House, who, though they had declared that they had no confidence in the Government, were yet prepared to invest the Government with powers to suspend the liberties of the people of Ireland. At the same time, on to-morrow, they would be ready to join in a special vote of want of confidence in the Government. Those who were impressed with this feeling of want of confidence, seemed to him to be acting most unfairly towards the country to which this Bill solely referred. There was here a strange grouping of parties; and if he were rightly informed, there were reasons shown, not only outside of the House, but also in the Cabinet itself, why the true friends of the Government should not support them on this occasion. Whatever this Bill might be for Ireland, whether a curfew one or not, they could have little doubt that the rejection of it would prove the welcome curfew for the Government. It would extinguish light from a domestic hearth from which confidence was excluded; and, therefore, he believed that in voting against the Bill, he should be relieving Government from a difficult position. They did not see much to embarrass their proceedings in taking this course, for they would be acting the part of Iris— 'Quæ luctantem animam nexosque resolverit artus. When this Bill was first proposed in that House, although he doubted greatly its utility, and believed it to be a measure of a delusive character, although he did not wish, under particular circumstances, to vote against it, he was unable to record his vote in its favour. From all he knew of Ireland it was impossible for him to think that the clauses of this Bill could be made at all applicable as a remedy to the evils which she suffered under. He had never heard any hon. Member in that House assert with confidence either one of two things—first, that this Bill would pass at all; and next, that even if it did pass it would prove of any service to the country. All the speeches that were made in favour of the Bill resolved themselves into this one argument—namely, that if they threw out this Bill, they would give a stimulus to agitation in Ireland. Now, he would ask, if they threw out this measure upon the second reading, did they think life and property would be less secure in that country than before? The hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Colquhoun) said that it ought to be called a Bill for the Protection of Life and Property in Ireland; but this Bill had nothing whatever to do with property. Before he agreed to the propriety of such a measure, he had first to consider whether all other means had been tried to protect life in Ireland. He would, therefore, allude to the five counties to which the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) had referred. Of three out of the five he might say that he had a personal knowledge and much experience. In another, Leitrim, the disturbances existed to a very great degree. It was said that no person in that county dared lend a barn to the police; and that temporary edifices had in fact to be brought and erected there for their occupation. What, then, was the result of their proceedings in Leitrim? Why, the disturbances there had been all effectually put down under the existing law. He referred to the 2nd and 3rd William IV., which was called "An Act for amending the laws in Ireland, for regulating the appointment of special constables, and for the preservation of the public peace." This law was passed in 1832, and was tried in Leitrim with the greatest success. Therefore, out of the five counties referred to by the right hon. Gentleman as being the most disturbed in Ireland, one of them where this law was called into existence was completely pacified. He believed that in neither of the other four had this Act been tried. Therefore, how could he feel justified in giving support to another measure which would suspend the Constitution and the liberties of the people of Ireland, with a knowledge of the effects produced by the Act to which he had just referred, in the only instance in which its powers had been called out? He called upon the Government, then, to try the effect of this law in the other four counties before they asked for a measure of this extraordinary character. He believed that that Act was not as well known as it ought to be, or it would have been applied in all those cases where the ordinary law was found to be ineffectual. The right hon. Baronet had called this a topical measure, inasmuch as it would be only applicable to certain parts of Ireland. When the right hon. Gentleman had thus described it, and asked for their support, he thought it was but fair to ask the opinion of those hon. Members who were intimately acquainted with those particular districts to which the measure was proposed to be made applicable. Surely, the practical experience which these hon. Gentlemen had of the country ought to entitle their opinions to some consideration. When he looked, then, to the hon. Members for Clare, Tipperary, Roscommon, and Limerick, he found that they had all expressed their opinions upon the subject; and he believed that in the coming division their names would be found amongst the votes against this measure. He entirely concurred with them in thinking that it would prove both inoperative and inefficacious. He must admit, with sorrow, that there were a great many crimes committed in certain parts of Ireland; but before he agreed to encounter those evils by a Bill of this kind, he must inquire as to whether it contained any good to counterbalance its unconstitutional powers. As a resident and a magistrate in Ireland, as a gentleman particularly acquainted with the counties of Clare, Tipperary, and Limerick, he must say he should rather see the country without any measure at all than to trust to this Bill for the security of life and property in Ireland. The hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme asked the right hon. Baronet to give a pledge that he would, at all events, maintain in Committee the clauses restraining the people within their own houses after sunset. Now, it was only fair that he should inform the right hon. Baronet as a magistrate, that in the county where he resided, it would be not only difficult, but absolutely impossible, to carry these clauses into operation. Within a few hundred yards from where he resided was the public road connecting Galway, Cork, and Limerick. The poor people in that district, in order to have their produce at market in the morning, must travel by night. Every night that he had been out he had always seen a considerable traffic upon the road. Now, he said it would be totally impossible to stop these people. If they did so, before the time they could clear their character, and obtain evidence in their favour, their little cargoes would be utterly useless, their market would be lost, and their little capital would be exhausted. He believed that no man was more anxious than the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) to be convinced of the fallacy he permitted himself to labour under. He said that he wished most earnestly he could believe that crime had not increased in Ireland. Now, he had never disguised in this House this fact, although in uttering it he knew he differed in opinion with many hon. Members by whom he was surrounded—namely, his belief that much of the crimes that were committed in Ireland were owing to the great difficulties and pressure which the people suffered from the want of provisions. In those same difficulties, he had found many reasons for these disturbances in Ireland, which he trusted would not occur again. Many of these districts were now perfectly quiet, owing to the precautionary measures of the Government. It was only fair to the right hon. Baronet to state that the pains he had taken, and the precautions he had adopted in keeping up a proper supply of food for the population, were, in his opinion, much more effectual in preventing crime in that country than the most stringent Coercion Bill that could be carried. He was very glad to pay this tribute of respect to his exertions as well as to those of the noble Lord the Secretary for Ireland. If it then were asked why, with these opinions, he would not wave his scruples upon the Coercion Bill, for the purpose of keeping the Government in office—if it were asked why he would run the risk of weakening the Executive Government by seeming to lend his aid to a party with whose ulterior views he had not only no sympathy, but on the contrary he was much opposed to, he must say he thought there was a time during the adminstration of the Government when he might have contented him self with merely protesting against this Bill, and not have opposed it as he now intended doing, by recording his vote against it. He could not take this course now; for however imperative he would feel it on other questions to vindicate the ques- tion of party in this House, and to show the necessity of the followers surrendering their own opinions sometimes in support of their party, still, after the miserable exhibitions he had recently seen in that House, he did not regret having stated early in the Session that he felt he owed allegiance, free allegiance, and he trusted unfettered allegiance, to the spirit of party. And although they had been recriminating each other — although many taunts had been uttered from different sides of the House as to the obstruction given to public business in the course of this Session, he must say he believed that when they came calmly to consider the subject, they (the country party) would not be found to blame for the course they had taken; but the whole censure must be attributable to that attempt which, he must say, was a most fatal attempt on the part of the Ministers, to govern without a party. The usages and laws of this House were constructed to meet the principle of two well disciplined parties; and because there were now many other parties in the House, those usages were found to be inapplicable—hence sprang their difficulties and their perplexities. He believed that the recent measures of the Government, so far from diminishing the difficulties of the Government, would much more increase them. How much better would it be to divide the House into two distinct parties in this country, rather than to adopt the eclectic policy upon which so much had been said, and for which their political machinery was so inapplicable. [Sir J. GRAHAM: Hear!] The right hon. Baronet cheered; but he confessed he did not understand why he should then do so; for if there was any hon. Member in that House more capable, from experience, to judge of all parties in that House, it was the right hon. Gentleman himself. If that evil should ever come when he would feel himself called upon to vote for a Coercion Bill for Ireland—and he hoped it never might—he should not at least regret having been able, on that occasion, to advocate his present policy. If he should ever have hereafter to labour with those they were now likely to displace as a Government, for the defence of the institutions of the country, he should not labour more assiduously, or regret the more their want of success now, because he ventured boldly and plainly to tell them that he could not, in duty to the constituency which he represented, refrain on the present occasion from declaring his want of confidence in the Govern- ment, and backing that declaration by a vote against this Bill.


concurred in the praise of the right hon. Baronet for his measures for the relief of Ireland. The present Bill he would consider under two heads, the necessity for it, and its expediency. He argued that it was necessary from this fact, that notwithstanding the time the Bill had been before the House, the prestige and influence which, being before the House, it might be supposed to have had, the season of the year, and the extensive employment of the people, life was still as insecure, and the law was as little respected as ever. The public officers were intimidated, and public prosecutions could with difficulty be proceeded with, from the unwillingness resulting from the fear of witnesses to come forward. He was ready to admit, and he believed no one could deny, that the greater proportion of the evils with which Ireland was afflicted were evils dependent alone upon the social system which was found to have existence there. Those evils had been acknowledged by the Government; and he rejoiced in the hope that the Bills which had recently been brought in would tend greatly to alleviate the sufferings of the poorer agriculturists in Ireland, and to give protection to the occupiers of land from all injustice and every oppression. To such diseases the appropriate remedy had been found: to the removing the insecurity to life there I must be measures of a totally different kind. Great crimes could not be suppressed by light measures; and he was convinced that the commission of the crime now sought to be prevented in Ireland would cease immediately upon their putting in force such a Bill as that now before the House. It had been said that these crimes were committed in almost every instance in the day, and that, therefore, this Bill, which applied only to precautions in the night time, would prove useless; but it was forgotten that, according to the testimony of police-officers and others familiar with the facts, in the disturbed districts, the conspiracies were all formed, the arrangements were all made, at dusk or in the night time. Many persons, it was well known, were compelled, against their will, to become parties in those nefarious associations; but this would no longer be the case if, by vigilance, they made it impossible that the meetings alluded to could be held. Why, asked many hon. Gentlemen, resort to an unconstitu- tional measure? He would say for this reason, that as these five counties were in an unconstitutional state, they could not expect to be governed by constitutional law. There existed in these localities an organized and powerful imperium in imperio, and until that was broken up and destroyed, peace, tranquillity, and safety could never be restored. He, for these reasons, called upon the House to accede to the second reading of the Bill. Their decision, if in support of it, would be received with gratitude by all the well-disposed and orderly inhabitants of Ireland; and if, on the other hand, they rejected it, they would have done much to weaken the confidence which otherwise the well-disposed and orderly might feel in the protection of the Legislature.


had not anticipated that he should speak on this question. He had no doubt whatever that, ere this, the right hon. Baronet would have withdrawn the Bill. The right hon. Baronet must be convinced that it could never pass into law, and that every successive prolongation of the discussion had the effect of aggravating the evils and the mischief which the right hon. Baronet deprecated. He congratulated the House upon the new tone which was now taken towards Ireland. He could remember, at a former period, when a Coercion Bill was introduced, that out of a House of 550 Members, only 89 Members, Scotch and Irish together, could be found to vote against it. Opinion upon these matters was now altered, and altered for the better, and he very sincerely congratulated the House upon the fact. He saw, however, a subject for regret in what he might term the broken pledges of the right hon. Baronet. The right hon. Baronet had, a short time ago, distinctly stated that, as he had found coercion and oppression fail, it was his intention to make a trial of conciliation; yet now, from some unknown cause, the right hon. Baronet insisted upon the necessity of a Bill which no one could doubt was a Bill of coercion. He contended that it was unnecessary, and that, if necessary, it was useless. He would admit all that had been alleged as regarded the character of the outrages, the extent of the insecurity of life and property—all this he would admit; and yet he would deny that such a Bill as this could, by any possibility, restore tranquillity and security. In 1823, when plans similar to the present were proposed for the pacification of Ireland, he said then that which he was ready to repeat now—namely, that if he were an Irishman he would agitate against abuse and tyranny, and never permit such laws to continue in force as were now proposed to Parliament. It was by such laws as these that the people of Ireland had been converted into a nation of slaves; and it was unreasonable in those who had lowered the Irish to the condition of slaves to expect from them a submissive and peaceful demeanour. Had they not for ages been taught the lessons of agitation and disturbance? and though the penal laws which aggrieved the Roman Catholics had been repealed in name, yet in practice the country was nothing the better for the change, because the patronage of the Government was still limited to the Protestant inhabitants of Ireland. He repeated, that Coercion Bills could do no good. In the thirty-one years previous to 1824 the disturbance which prevailed in Ireland knew scarcely any bounds or any intermission; and yet during twenty-six years of those, thirty-one Coercion Bills were in full operation. But such measures never had put down discontent, and were never likely to produce any such result. During the whole of those thirty-one years the people never had a fair chance; and during the time which had elapsed since then they had occasionally been oppressed by measures of this nature, but with no diminution of the tendency to disturbance which the present Bill was intended to suppress. The English and their descendants who resided in Ireland were only a mere colony. They were not above one in seven of the whole population; and was it to be borne that so small a number should domineer over the whole mass of the people? Was it not too much to expect that the Irish should be so dead to all the natural feelings of men as to continue to endure such unfair treatment? Parliament, in considering the position of Ireland, and the legislation which suited that country, ought to look to the condition of Belgium, Germany, and other places where Roman Catholics enjoyed privileges similar to those possessed by their Protestant brethren. In those countries where no distinctions were made between Protestants and Catholics, the Catholics were as good citizens and as loyal subjects as any in the world. Much of the evils of Ireland arose from religious persecution; and he did not hesitate to say that unless the Catholics were treated upon terms of equality, England had no right to expect that the people of Ireland should remain quiet. So long as the present system continued, Ireland would always prove a stumbling-block to the English Government. The viceroyalty was another cause of mischief; the right hon. Baronet must himself laugh at the viceregal Government in Ireland, and if they had his honest opinion, not his political view, he should be certain of the right hon. Baronet's vote in favour of his Motion to get rid of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Again, the noble Lord (Lord G. Bentinck) stood high in the opinion of his Friends as a man of honour, and he was frequently referred to. What gave him this power? The circumstances that he was well acquainted with the subject, and that the parties might depend upon his impartial and honest decision. He would then ask the noble Lord to give upon this subject his impartial and honest decision, and his vote would be against the continuance of the viceroyalty. When Ireland was placed on the same footing as England and Scotland, they might look with confidence to a peaceable and tranquil state; but till they gave perfect equality they had no right to complain of discontent. Although he disapproved of Repeal, and thought that union was what was wanted, yet they ought to alter those institutions which prevented the Union from being complete, and which prevented the promises made by Mr. Pitt from being realized. They could not hope that the Irish would be content if they were deprived of privileges enjoyed by ourselves, and found themselves at the mercy of a few individuals, and subject to the execution of harsh laws, the administration of which was placed in other hands. Under the Government of Earl Grey, indeed, there was the commencement of a belief among the Irish people that they were about to obtain protection, notwithstanding the error in introducing the Coercion Bill; but now that belief had abated. But let hon. Members look back into the pages of history, and they would find that in the early part of the last century the condition of Scotland was worse, and there was more lawlessness than in Ireland at the present time. Scotland had been improved; and why were not the same means tried in Ireland? Out of their own country the Irish were quiet and ready to work: and what made the Irish the wild beasts they were morally supposed to be at home? Why, they were treated like wild beasts and were shut up like them. It was seen that they conducted themselves well abroad; and when murder and other crimes were so abundant in their own country, why did not the Government profit by the example of other countries? Why did they permit these crimes to continue, by keeping the people in poverty and distress? That poverty was the chief cause of those crimes was manifest by the small number of offences in the four better counties of Down, Wexford, Kilkenny, and Monaghan, compared with the four poorer counties of Mayo, Clare, Galway, and Cork. The Sanatory Report enabled him to make the following comparison:—

The four Counties where the average proportion of proportion of mud hovels as habitations is lowest — Down, Wexford, Kilkenny, and Monaghan. The four Counties where the average proportion of mud hovels as habitations is highest — Kerry, Mayo, Clare, and Cork.
Proportion per cent of families occupying habitations which are mud cabins having only one room 20 61
Proportion of deaths from epidemic disease to every 10,000 of the population 35.5 47.8
Average age of all who have died during 10 years ending June 6, 1841 33.4 26.8
Average age of all the living in 1841 24.11 23.5
Proportion of births to population 1 in 33.4 1 in 29.9
Increase per cent of the population since 1831 5.0 8.7
Per cent of the population 15 years and under 38.8 41.9
Above 50 years 11.6 9.5
Proportion per cent of male and female, married 43¼ 39
Population 17 years and upwards, unmarried 47¾ 52
Per cent of the population 5 years old and upwards who can neither read nor write 42.8 69.7

And when they came to the amount of crime in these counties, they found these results:—

The four Counties where the average proportion of mud hovels as habitations is the lowest — Down, Wexford, Kilkenny, and Monaghan. The four Counties where the average proportion of mud hovels as habitations is highest — Kerry, Mayo, Clare, and Cork.
Proportion of crimes of violence or passion to each 10,000 of the population, on an average of 8 years, to 1842:—
Murders and Manslaughters 32 72
Rapes and assaults with intent to commit 17 44
He must say also that another evil which afflicted Ireland was the want of a tenant right; and from Lord Devon's Report, it was abundantly clear this was a fruitful source of discontent and of those agrarian outrages which were a disgrace to the country. In truth, poverty and bad laws were the causes of all the evils that afflicted Ireland; and, whatever the consequences of his vote might be, the time was come when every man who thought as he did ought to vote against any Coercion Bill.


said, that ever since his first perusal of this Bill his opinion had been that it was of an irritating and exasperating nature. He found that the Irish Members on the other side were quite unanimous in their opposition to it. They rightly considered it to be an attempt to govern Ireland on a wrong principle, and not at all calculated to allay and diminish the number of those present outrages which they deplored in common with himself, and they considered it to be an insult to the feelings of the Irish people. The Irish Members on the Government side of the House, he believed, were prepared to vote for the second reading of this Bill; but he thought it was more with a view of doing what the magistrates and their constituents thought would add strength to the laws and rigour to the enforcement and to the administration of justice, than from other motives. It was not that they thought any benefit was to be derived from the Bill, nor was it from a cordial approbation of its principle. All the Irish Members he had ever spoken to had denounced this Bill as unnecessary. It had been said that those hon. Members on his side of the House (the protectionists), who were determined to vote against the Bill, had been influenced by factious motives, but they did not act from any such feeling; they expressed their opposition to the measure because they believed it to be not only unnecessary but unconstitutional. As for himself, he could say he was neither influenced by factious motives nor by party feeling. In giving his vote, the consideration with him was not whether the result of the division would be that the right hon. Baronet should resign office, or that the noble Lord the Member for London should succeed him, being solely actuated by one motive, not to give a vote which he believed would be inconsistent with the interests of Ireland.


as an Irish Member, confessed it gave him great pain to vote in favour of the measure before the House; still, the necessity of the case demanded that in favour of it he should record his vote. Had he in the whole course of the lengthened discussion which had taken place, heard any argument to convince him that he should adopt a different line of conduct, he would have gladly done so; but the statement made by the Government, and the documents which had been laid before the House, were quite sufficient to show that the state of Ireland demanded a measure which would repress crime, which would put a stop to murder and outrage. It had been affirmed that the employment of a large military power, and the patroling of the police, would have the desired effect. He thought otherwise; and he also thought that such a course, such a military display, would be even more unconstitutional than the Bill which had been introduced by Her Majesty's Government. It had been said, that remedial measures should have been first tried; but on that point he could safely say, that the present Administration had done a great deal in the introduction of measures which were calculated greatly to benefit that people. It might be considered unconstitutional, and it was so stated, to allow people out of their houses in proclaimed districts from sunset to sunrise; but was not such a restriction absolutely necessary for the protection of the lives and properties of the peaceable and the Indus- trious? He had no doubt but such a badge of disgrace would have the effect not only to produce the diminution of crime, but to lead to the apprehension of the perpetrators of crime. Self-interest would so act as to cause the people in proclaimed districts to put away from their doors, and from their localities, disturbance and the promoters of disturbance and outrage. An argument was used that the present state of Ireland had arisen from the evils of legislation. Was that House blameable for the evils of Ireland? Could those evils arise from a vicious legislation? If so, then the whole of the kingdom should be equally affected. As the same legislation was for all Ireland, why did not all Ireland present the same aspect? But such was not the case, as there were parts of Ireland as peaceable and loyal as any parts of the Empire. Were those parts which were disturbed, under one species of legislation; and those parts which were peaceable and loyal, under a different kind of legislation? Certainly not; therefore, that argument did not apply. But the hon. and gallant Member for Armagh attributed the evils which prevailed in some parts of Ireland to the want of the "tenant right"—as if there was some sort of mystic influence in the tenant right; which he denied. But what was that tenant right to which such an influence was applied? He would state it to the House. It was neither more nor less than an arrangement between the tenant that was going out and the tenant that was coming in. The incoming tenant paid a certain amount of compensation to the outgoing tenant for his improvements; but it should be remembered, that the outgoing tenant had also paid his compensation when he first entered into possession. How could such a principle be brought into operation in Tipperary? It would be impossible, because there the tenant in possession gave on his entrance into a holding no compensation whatever to his predecessors. That House could never pass an Act which would establish such a tenant right in the county Tipperary. How could outgoing tenants there expect large sums from the incoming tenants which they never paid themselves? A tenant right, properly established, would be a desirable institution; but while he admitted that, yet he must attribute the absence of crime in Ulster to other causes besides the existence of the tenant right—namely, to the moral and religious habits of the people. It was not their inclination either to commit crime or to violate the law. He made the present allusion to the notion of the tenant right, to remove the impression that the people of Ulster were restrained from crime by any such cousideration—the restraint under which they acted was a moral restraint. If the House rejected that measure, they would be giving a bonus for agitation and outrage; as the people would be told that the only way to obtain what they required, would be to commit as many and as glaring crimes as possible.


deprecated the tone of the speech which they had just heard. With all deference to the noble Lord, he adopted a somewhat childish mode of going into the moral state of the people, and into an inquiry into the extent of the moral condition of the country, to see why such crimes were committed, and which did not seem to be against public opinion. It was not to any moral obliquity in the people that they should look—not to something peculiar in their situation, but to legislation, to ascertain what were the causes of this state of things. He rose the other night to address the House, and he was sorry that he had not an opportunity of making an answer to some parts of the speech, and in some respects the sound speech, of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bath. In the year 1833, when he had not been three years a Member of that House, and when he entered for the first time on his political life, he opposed Lord Grey's Government, and the party with whom he usually acted, on the question of the Coercion Bill. Experience since had shown him the wisdom, or rather the correctness, of the course he then pursued. He had hoped that his hon. and learned Friend and himself, when they pursued the same course with respect to that Bill, did so on the same ground; but his hon. Friend, at the end of his speech the other evening, left some doubt on his mind as to the way in which his hon. Friend would vote, for there was something like ambiguity in the terms that he made use of in his argument as to the policy of the course pursued with respect to this Coercion Bill. His hon. and learned Friend said, he was about to take a peculiar view of the question. He thought that his hon. and learned Friend in the course of his speech said, they should legislate for the good feelings and affections of the people of Ireland; but it seemed to him—and he said it with all respect to his hon. and learned—that he most pitiably narrowed the great question, when he brought in his party allusions, and reduced this question of great importance to one as to which of the two parties was most deeply involved in measures of this kind. On one subject, and that an unpleasant one, his feelings went altogether with his hon. and learned Friend, who could not more thoroughly disapprove than himself the coarse and ungenerous attacks made upon the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government. Hon. Gentlemen opposite, by their odious imputations, were only arraying the feelings of the country more strongly on the side of the right hon. Baronet. He thought it odious that these attacks should be made and persevered in, without a shadow of evidence. He was glad to see displayed by Gentlemen below the gangway (the protection benches) many proofs of a sound and generous disposition towards Ireland; and he should be disappointed if good to that country did not follow from the circumstances under which it was brought before the country. He must mention the great pleasure which the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Shropshire had afforded him. He was delighted with it, not more from the promise of talent in it, than from the sound and generous feeling which pervaded it. Even the very prolongation of the discussion on the first reading—although he was strongly opposed to the delay—had done good, by directing the attention of the House to the state of Ireland, and inducing all thinking men to give their consideration to this subject. Out of this state of things there might arise a better feeling and a new system of legislation. He wished to state in a few words his objections to the particular Bill before the House. It seemed to him, as a measure of coercion, this Bill was very faulty, and was a servile imitation of former Bills, and was not adapted to prevent the crimes which it was proposed to prevent. They were told the condition of the country was lamentable in consequence of its insecure state, and that the ordinary law could not be put in force. He could understand a Coercion Bill brought forward to threaten the liberties and abridge the comforts of the inhabitants of a district, and to keep them within their houses from sunset to sunrise, to prevent the assemblage of large bodies of the people to commit lawless acts. But from all the statements of crime in the disturbed districts—and on this point he would take the returns made by the police in the present year, as compared with a similar re- turn made during Lord Normanby's Government—that although there was an increase of crime in some years, there was a steady diminution of more serious crimes—crimes of a tumultuous character, such as the arming and assembling of persons in large bodies, rescuing prisoners, and setting the law at defiance, which might seem to justify a Coercion Act. If there was any crime of this kind that had at all increased, it was undoubtedly the stealing of arms; but for this they had to thank their foolish Arms Bill, the object of which appeared to him to be to give notice to the lawless in what houses they were likely to find arms. As a practical man, looking to the bearings of this Bill, he could not see how its provisions were calculated to repress the disorders which it was intended to remove. The argument had almost become a joke, of how they were to prevent mid-day murders by shutting up the people at night; but though this was now a stale inquiry, yet still no answer had been given to the question. Again, no one had answered the obvious objection, how could they collect the proposed payments from the poorer occupiers, whom they had been already obliged to exempt from the payment of the tithe and the poor rate. It seemed to him, in fact, that the clauses of the present Bill were not shaped to meet the objects for which they were intended, and on these grounds he was prepared to oppose the second reading. He did not mean to say, that if it were necessary, as a part of a system of policy to be adopted towards Ireland, to propose coercive measures, that he should in every case vote against them, if they were proved to him to be necessary and sufficient; but he would not vote for a coercive measure simply because it was harsh towards that country. But his objection against this measure went still farther than the mere faults of the Bill. Experience had taught them a far better way of dealing with the crimes of the Irish people—a far better mode of restoring peace and order to that country than the adoption of any coercive measures whatever. He thought that the Legislature of this country should take a lesson from the liberal policy which had been acted upon during six years of the Normanby Administration, and that with the results of that policy before their eyes they should not be so ready to resort to old barbarous expedients, after experience had shown them to be utterly inefficacious. Hon. Gentlemen on the other side were inclined to sneer at any allusion to the Normanby Administration; but these sneers were never backed by argument, or attempted to be supported by any denial of the results of that policy. When the Marquess of Normanby succeeded to the Government of Ireland, crime was infinitely more enormous and extensive than at present; but what was the plan that Lord Normanby adopted? He endeavoured to win the confidence of the Irish people. He infused the liberal policy of his Government into every department of the State. He entrusted the administration of justice to magistrates and others who had the confidence of the people. He obtained the confidence of the recognised leaders of the Irish, and, above all, he obtained the confidence of their clergy; and what was the result? Why, it was clear as statistics could make it, that whereas Lord Normanby found Ireland in a very disorganized state, during his Administration crime rapidly decreased, until in the last year of the Fortescue Government it had been reduced to one-half of what Lord Normanby found it. When they showed him that such a policy was inefficacious, and that the course which reason and experience pointed out as the best was insufficient to prevent these disorders, then he would say he was prepared to vote for a Coercion Bill, provided it was absolutely necessary and likely to be effective. But he could not pass from this subject without meeting the argument of hon. Gentlemen on the other side. They said, "We admit the effects of the Normanby Government in Ireland, but you are mistaken as to the cause. Lord Normanby and Lord Morpeth did not understand their own Government; it was not by securing the affections of the Irish people, or by giving them confidence in the Administration of the law that tranquillity was ensured;" but hon. Gentlemen ferreted out the fact, that in 1835 there was a Coercion Bill, which remained in force down to the year 1840, and they state that it was entirely to the efficacy of that Bill, which they, however, admit never was brought into operation at all, that the diminution of crime was to be attributed; and, therefore, they say, reasoning logically on these premises, "We intend to return to this policy, for instead of being an argument for your case, it is an additional argument against it." [Colonel CONOLLY: Hear.] He was glad to find from the cheers of the hon. and gallant Member opposite, that he had stated their argument fairly; but it struck him that there was more of moral courage in the use of this argument, than of plausibility in the argument itself. It did not appear to him that the mere existence of the statute, with the practical operation of which no human being had ever been made acquainted, could have such an effect on the Irish people. If such were the case, it would force the House to suppose an amount of wisdom, and of caution, and of public spirit on the part of the Irish assassin and murderer, which would show it to be far wiser on their part to send over some of their wiser Members of Parliament to reason with them, and to talk to them, than to send over a Coercion Bill. He did not think that the cause and effect were so very obvious as some Gentlemen supposed. He believed they were inclined to think that post hoc ergo propter hoc. If that were the effect of the terror produced by their Coercion Bill acting upon the minds of the Irish people, the results would appear most strongly immediately after that Bill was enacted. That Coercion Bill was passed, after much discussion, and in one place, he believed, put in operation; therefore, one would naturally suppose that the diminution of crime would have been greatest immediately after the passing of the Act, and that as the terror lessened, crime would increase. Now, if he were right as to his theory of Lord Normanby's real policy of governing the country by conciliating the Irish people, and giving them confidence in the laws, the effect would be exactly the reverse. The tranquillity of the country would advance with the continuance of that policy, which, though it would have but little effect on crime at first, would have gone on from year to year extending its influence, and would have lasted even beyond the existence of the Government by which it was pursued. Now what was the fact? Immediately after the passing of that Coercion Bill, crime in Ireland continued; but it went on rapidly decreasing from year to year. It did not break out again in 1840, and the Coercion Bill expired; but the tranquillity continued during Earl Fortescue's Government, which he might call a continuation of the Normanby policy in Ireland; and still more, it did not cease for two years after the advent of the present Government. From what cause crime afterwards sprung up it was not necessary that he should now inquire. His object was to show that it was absurd to impute the pacification of Ireland, under the Normanby Administration, to the inoperative Coercion Bill. The cause of that tranquillity was really the good measures which the Marquess of Normanby adopted to inspire confidence among the people in the administration of justice, which had the effect of arraying the population on the side of the law, and in putting an end to the outrages that had previously existed. He must own, however, it did not appear to him that even when they had come to this conclusion, they could flatter themselves with having reached the right mode of dealing with the disorders of Ireland. Admitting the inefficacy of coercion, they had not got to the bottom of the problem which they had to solve. He thought that they must further apply some permanent remedies to prevent these disorders which appeared to originate in permanent causes. It appeared to him a perfect cheat to hold out to the country a hope that any measure connected with the temporary suppression of outrages could have any effect, unless measures were adopted which should reach the cause of those outrages. What was a blunder in the mere adherence to the mistakes of a first view on the part of their ancestors, appeared to him to be, with the experience of the present day, a most culpable neglect. They had repeated inquiries, they had repeated reports of commissions appointed by Her Majesty's Government, for investigating those matters, and all agreed in tracing these outrages in Ireland to what they called agrarian causes; in other words to the entire dependence of the Irish peasant on the cultivation and occupation of the land, to the certain starvation that follows ejectment, and to the tenacity with which the peasant in consequence clings to that spot of ground which, in the wilderness of destitution that surrounds him, is the only resource which he has to look to. This had been followed out in individual cases in all these inquiries; but it was remarkable how thoroughly it was demonstrated by all that they knew of the general history of those particular outbreaks which had taken place in different parts of Ireland at different periods. The disturbances that began in 1761 in Munster, originated in the counties of Limerick and Clare on particular estates, from the misconduct of the agents of those estates. He was not now going into a history of the last events of this kind; but it was of importance that the House should bear in mind that the very outrages with which they had to deal on this occasion, had indisputably originated in individual acts of oppression. He had derived some valuable information on this subject from an author, whom he had in other respects no reason to praise, in consequence of his very loose theory in accounting for all the disorders of Ireland, by ascribing them to certain inherent defects of the Irish race, but who was deserving of credit in some instances from the boldness of his exposures; he meant Mr. Foster, who wrote under the signature of "The Times Commissioner." The "Molly Maguires" in Cavan, Longford, and Leitrim, having broken out into outrage, Mr. Foster distinctly stated that they had their origin in cases of ejectment. He said that in the county of Longford, "Molly Maguireism" was traced to a place called Ballynamuck, a village which was destroyed, and from which the population was ejected. In the county of Leitrim, these outrages burst out in a parish called Clune. He then referred to different parts of Cavan, and gave the instance of the Rev. Mr. Beresford, who, in consequence of some transactions of this kind, was obliged to leave the country. He showed that this could not be owing to religious or political feeling, because in the same county Lord Farnham, the head of the Orange party, walked about in such perfect safety that the farmers said, "If a hair of his head were injured by violence, the whole country-side would rise to revenge it." He next went into Roscommon, which was one of the disturbed counties; but he believed it was perfectly notorious that there probably the greatest number of clearances had taken place. It was there that they had recently that horrible case, where Mr. Gerrard turned out some three or four hundred persons, in order to convert the land held by them into pasturage. [An Hon. MEMBER: That was in Galway.] It was on the border of the two counties of Galway and Roscommon. The House should recollect that this transaction of the Gerrard clearance occurred at the very time when the gentry of Ireland were coming to that House demanding oppressive measures at their hands, to suppress the flames to which they were themselves every day adding fresh fuel. He had heard from some hon. Members reproaches against the noble Lord the Member for London for alluding to the connexion between the poverty of the Irish people and these outrages. But it was not the first time that such an allusion had been made. It was the invariable testimony of speakers of the greatest weight, of travellers of the greatest impartiality and information, and of the Reports of Commissions of that House and of the House of Lords, including that of Lord Devon, that the chief cause of the outrages committed by the poor were the outrages committed on the poor. The poverty of the people, and their total dependence on the land, led to their being oppressed. It was this which made the Irish peasant regard the hardened murderer and criminal as the champion of his cause. It was this which set the peasant against the law, and made him regard that kind of rude law as a protection against the law of the land. It was that which made him shield and protect the families of those who suffered for their crimes, and as had been said, in the touching language of the Report by his hon. Friend the Member for Stroud (Mr. P. Scrope), repeating the words of an Irish peasant, "because, if it was not for them and the like of them, the gentlemen would hunt us off the land like vermin out of a corn-stack." Now, he would admit, for who could deny, that these outrages were a most melancholy instance of depravity; but should they not also look to the root of the evil, and bear in mind the origin of the crimes which they wished to suppress. As long as landlords, to speak in the mildest terms, continued the system of sweeping half a village out of existence, in order to increase a pasture-farm; and as long as this was considered as an undoubted exercise of the right of property, it was useless to expect that the peasantry would be tranquil. The peasant who resisted, and the landlord who abused the rights of property, were both made bad by our bad laws; and it was a duty which they owed to God and to man, not merely to impose temporary remedies, but to go to the root of crime, and to give the peasant that protection by law which he now tried to obtain by the commission of outrage. It was, therefore, that he protested against the palpable cheat of putting forward coercive measures of any kind as remedying enactments for the state of Ireland, the utter absurdity of which was shown to them by fifty years' experience. He felt that the opinions of the Irish people deserved the greatest weight in that House; but he should confess that he did not see how they could put an end to that constant circle of outrages without giving that protection to the people which they had by law in every other Christian country in the world. He did not see how the Irish peasant could love and respect the law which gave him no protection. If they looked around them to other countries, they found that though the condition of the peasantry was different in different nations, still that there was no country in the world except Ireland in which the poor man could be turned out from the soil at the mere caprice of the rich. He would take the large class of population of the Continent, which included France, Switzerland, Belgium, Tuscany, and Prussia, and he found that the peasant was secured in the actual possession of the soil. He might be subject to great poverty, but from absolute destruction he was screened. Again, let them look to England. There the labourer lived by wages; but still he was in truth secured from absolute ruin by the Poor Law, which made the support of the destitute the first charge upon the land. He would take even countries where slavery existed. He would take the United States of America, or the Russian empire, where the peasantry were serfs or slaves; but even here he found that they must be supported by their masters. Again, in the Northern States of America and in our new Colonies, the immense demand for labour, and the scantiness of the population, were in themselves a sufficient guarantee for the existence of the people. Besides, in other countries the rich and the poor were united by kindly associations, and, he might add, by the intercourse of a common religion. But in Ireland they were united, not by law, not by manners, not by circumstances. The agricultural population which swarmed in that country were a body removed from the owners of the soil, from whom they were alienated by sectarian differences and long distrust, and thus, when some Mr. Gerrard thought that his income could be increased by a few hundreds, by the subtitution of bullocks for human beings, he had no hesitation in expelling the people from the land they had tilled, and casting them abroad upon the world. This could not happen, either in Carolina, or in Russia. It could not happen here, because the man so turned out would be supported by the Poor Law. Ever since the old Roman noble possessed the power to starve his slave to death, there had been no country except Ireland, where the rich man could turn out the poor without caring what became of them after- wards. They could not secure tranquillity in Ireland until they gave the poor man protection; and if they once came to that conclusion, the choice of the modes at their disposal was exceedingly limited. No one, he supposed, would propose to reduce the Irish peasantry to a condition of slavery; no one would propose to cut up the estates of the landed proprietors, and divide them among the people. The only other resource left to them, if they had any hope of producing tranquillity and order in Ireland, was by adopting the system which existed in this country. They should give the Irishman the guarantee of an English Poor Law, and of the right of relief, which under all circumstances was the protection of the English peasant. Now, he saw the great difficulty which was in the way of adopting so decisive a remedy for the evils of Ireland, and he would admit that there would be great justice on the side of the Irish proprietors were they to complain that the sudden check which would be produced by our legislation by at once bringing such a law into operation would lead to the confiscation of a large portion of their property. He would, therefore, modify this view by saying that he did not think that the Legislature would be justified in extending the English Poor Law to Ireland without at the same time giving the largest facilities for providing employment for the people. They had heard in the present Session of the great facilities for employment which existed in the reclamation of the vast amount of waste land to be found in that country. This was a subject on which they had very valuable information afforded in the Report of the Commission presided over by the two archbishops, Murray and Whateley, and in which a plan somewhat on the principle of the Bedford Level Commission in this country was recommended. If ever great resources were required in carrying out a measure of this kind, the House should not be unmindful of what had been done to put an end to the evils of slavery in the West Indies, and that if a grant of money was required to put down Irish misery, the House would not hesitate in voting it. They would excuse him for saying that they had a right to make a sacrifice of this kind in repairing their own misdeeds and those of their forefathers, to a nation to whom they had behaved worse than even to the Africans. By restoring tranquillity to Ireland, they would naturally open a field for English capital, and their policy would be facilitated by breaking up the large encumbered estates in that country. To effect that object they should do everything in their power by diminishing the expenses of conveyances, and especially of stamps, and by giving every other possible facility for the division of these large properties into small estates, which would be cultivated by capitalists in Ireland and England. In Ireland there was a great disposition among the people to emigrate, and advantage might be taken of that; and by a combination of all these measures they would produce a very good and very great effect. The root of all this, however, must be the adoption of the English Poor Law and of compulsory relief in Ireland; and, as he had pointed out, they might obtain the cheerful co-operation of the landed proprietors. He looked to this as the direct effect of the introduction of the English Poor Law—the interest which the landlords would have in the improvement of the condition of the people. He had some doubts as to the propriety of a law interfering between landlord ond tenant; and he was convinced that if they introduced the English Poor Law, all these questions between landlord and tenant would be settled to natural satisfaction, and without the necessity of any guidance on the part of the Legislature. Such were the measures from which, if adopted, he could anticipate an improvement in the character and condition of the Irish people. He did not expect that such an improvement as was desired could be effected at once. It was not given to any Parliament by any one legislative measure to repair the evil of centuries of misrule. They had hitherto attempted to govern Ireland in a mode in which no rational people ever did or ever again would govern. They had sought to govern Ireland by means of institutions in which the people had no confidence. They had sought to govern Ireland without asking for, or acquiring the confidence of the leaders of the people; and to those who had won the confidence of the people they applied the term of "agitators." They had sought to govern the people of Ireland by a gentry from whom the people were alienated—by a Church of which they had no knowledge, and in which they had no sympathy—and by a capricious and incomplete delegation of a species of despotic authority, which they (the Government) had found no means of working satisfactorily as a system. They rejected those who possessed the confidence of the people from their counsels, and they had placed the clergy of the people in a state of degradation most injurious to the order and well-being of Ireland. Those were the very influences by which that country could and should be governed; those were the influences which they should have used; those were the influences which they had sought to weaken, but which they had ended only in strengthening and setting in opposition. And now a fitting close to the remarks which he had made upon the general policy by which Ireland had been governed would be a few words upon the course pursued, in this respect, by the present Government. No one could accuse him of being a very strenuous opponent as regarded the Irish policy of the present Government; the contrary accusation had been brought against him by his friends; and he must be permitted to say, on this point, that the greater part of their legislation for Ireland had been conducted on the worst possible principle, and he regretted to think that some of the measures, good in themselves, which they had brought forward, had lost half their efficacy from the mode in which they had been introduced.

[The hon. Member was here interrupted by Messengers from the Lords returning with the Corn Bill, agreed to.]

He could only express his gratification. He thought, too, that it would now be ungracious if, after this occurrence, he said a word more against Her Majesty's Ministers so far as their Irish measures were concerned. He could only deeply regret that the Bill now under discussion should have been an exception to the policy by which, during the present Session, they had so much and so wisely consulted the goodwill of the country. He further deeply regretted that it should have been his fortune, and that of hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House, to be compelled to give, on this occasion, a vote which might be fatal to the existence of the Government. He said this sincerely, from the bottom of his heart, and he did regret that such should be the effect of his vote. Without affecting any adherence to those Gentlemen, he might say he felt acutely the ungraciousness of appearing to select the moment when they had conferred so signal a service upon the nation, at the same time at a sacrifice on their own part—to join in a vote of which such might be the effect, concurrently with those Gentlemen who desired to punish the Government for the good they had done to the country. But he could not help it. It was no fault of his party that this Coercion Bill was introduced. Were the matter other than it was, he would be willing to abstain from opposition to the Government; but any measure marking their policy towards Ireland was of far too serious a nature, and too important in its consequences, to be made the occasion of a compliment to the Ministers. He knew that the right hon. Baronet had looked all this fairly in the face, and that when he came forward with a great measure which would hand him down to posterity, and which at present endeared him to the hearts of the people of this country, he had properly estimated the personal sacrifice at which his object was to be accomplished, the penalty which was to be paid in the loss of power. He had in 1833, when a measure very similar to this was introduced, and when his assent was asked to it by a Minister who had established the most solemn claim to the gratitude of the English people—he alluded to Earl Grey, who, immediately after the passing of the Reform Bill, submitted such a measure to the Reformed Parliament—he had voted against it and against Earl Grey. He now would vote against this measure and against the right hon. Baronet. It somewhat diminished the pain with which he should give this vote to think that, by rejecting this Bill, they would mark an important and a new era in their legislation for Ireland. It would be the first instance on record of the demands of the English Government for coercive power in Ireland being rejected by that House. Let him fervently trust that such a rejection would effectually prevent a similar demand being ever again made from the Imperial Parliament.

[THE LORDS' ASSENT TO THE CORN IMPORTATION BILL. — Messengers from the Lords were here introduced, bringing several Bills from the Upper House, among which were the Corn Importation and Customs Duties Bills. Mr. SPEAKER, amidst profound silence, announced that the House of Lords had agreed to the Corn Importation Bill and the Customs Duties Bills without any Amendment. The announcement was followed by loud cheers from both sides of the House.]


said, the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down observed that if the present measure were rejected it would be the first time that a demand for coercion to Ireland had ever been refused; but he (Mr. Bankes) could, with equal truth, say it was the first time the demand had been made under circumstances of such a nature. An intimation of the necessity for coercive measures was mentioned in Her Majesty's Speech from the Throne, and yet they were called upon, between five and six months after, to vote upon the second reading, when it might be said the opinion of Members as to the principle of the Bill was first tested. By voting for the first reading they had not sanctioned the Bill, for it was the custom to allow Bills coming from the other House to be read a first time; and, besides, it was a stage of the Bill upon which discussion seldom occurred. There was, in short, no express sanction of the measure in voting for the first reading; but, on the contrary, it was consistent with the usages of the House to allow the Bill to be advanced that stage without opposition. It was altogether a new proceeding on the part of a Government to bring forward a Bill for a second reading five months after the Royal Speech announced its necessity—to bring it forward to receive for the first time the sanction of the House of Commons as regarded the principle it embodied. The hon. Member for Montrose had expressed his surprise that the Government should persevere in the measure. He (Mr. Bankes) joined in that surprise; and the more so because he believed the Government had not the slightest idea of carrying this measure into a law, even if they they succeeded in carrying it one step further than it had been carried. It is perfectly idle to use any kind of circumlocution (said the hon. Gentleman); we all believe that the Government is on the eve of dissolution. We all know, we all feel, that the Cabinet is perishing by the slow process of self-combustion—that, in fact, it has not more than three days to live; and, under such circumstances, with such knowledge and with such belief, can we honestly give our support to the second reading of a measure of so important a nature as the present? But suppose the Government succeed in obtaining a majority upon the second reading to-night, what will be the use of it? The public know full well that the Government cannot last many days; and the Government which will probably succeed them are pledged to a precisely opposite line of poli- cy as regards the government of Ireland. If they were sincere in saying that the moral effect produced by the defeat of this Bill would be injurious, how can they possibly urge us to take this step? If a defeat of the Bill will prove disastrous as regards our policy towards Ireland, would not a defeat now be more disastrous and fatal? How can it be made more hurtful, than, as regards moral effect upon the people of Ireland, for one Government to force it to a second reading, with no hope or belief of carrying it further, and the succeeding Government to repudiate it altogether? What must the people of Ireland think of such policy as that?—and into what condition are the Protestant representatives of Ireland put, who have, up to this time, supported the Bill, from a conscious belief in its necessity? It must be evident to every one they were placed in a most unpleasant position. He could not conceive how any Government could justify themselves in placing Parliament and the Irish people in such a position. He (Mr. Bankes) had determined to give the measure his sincere support when introduced by the right hon. Gentleman, for he believed the Government were perfectly sincere in putting it forward, and he would still continue to support it, had he continued in the same belief. But what were the real facts of the case? A Bill had been introduced into the Upper House five months ago, and one of the strongest grounds for urging it, was the immediate exigency there existed for its adoption. He was always unwilling to refuse to the Executive Government of the country such powers as it deemed expedient to repress outrage and to restore tranquillity. Therefore, he repeated, when first the measure was announced, he and those who acted with him were willing to give it their cordial support, whatever might be their differences upon other points with the Government. And here he might relate a circumstance which, although of a private nature, yet, as it was connected with important effects as regarded himself and his party, he might perhaps take the liberty of mentioning it to the House. Very early in the spring, he happened to meet Mr. Brewster, Solicitor General for Ireland; they entered into conversation, and Mr. Brewster expressed an opinion that he, and those with whom he acted, would vote against the Coercion Bill. He told Mr. Brewster that he was entirely mistaken; that if the Government proved themselves sincere in carrying out the measure, they would feel themselves bound to support Government. He added, that although there were many points upon which he and his party disagreed with the Government, as they had no chance of removing the Government from power, they would not refuse to strengthen the hands of the Executive. That conversation he mentioned on the following day to the noble Lord (Lord George Bentinck) who, on the same evening made a statement to the House calculated to remove the impression under which the Government seemed to labour, and called a meeting of those friends of his who acted together in order to ascertain their opinions. At that meeting the same impression prevailed as that which he had before remarked—namely, that as there was no chance of removing the Government from power, they would not refuse to grant the Executive those powers which it deemed necessary to restore tranquillity to Ireland, provided the Government proved themselves sincere in carrying out the measure. The right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department said that nothing would have induced him to bring forward a measure granting such unconstitutional measures, but necessity — but its imminent exigency. The noble Lord the Secretary for Ireland (the Earl of Lincoln) used observations to the same effect. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir J. Graham) said it was a case to be tried by evidence. He agreed that it was so. Who were the witnesses? He would select them from the Treasury benches. If the Members of Government really believed, as they at first stated, that the safety of a portion of the Empire was in peril, and that the present measure was calculated to restore order, would they have delayed five months before they brought on its second reading in the House of Commons? Well, then, what other evidence was there? He would call upon the Members of the five counties to which the Bill was to be applied, and they would to a man declare their belief in its insufficiency, and in short, they would vote against it. As to the details of crime, and returns of outrages, presented by the Government, he did not think, after the calculations which had been made upon the "Irish famine," that they could be called upon to place much reliance on them. He said again, that he and his party were perfectly sincere, and determined to act by the determination which the noble Lord the Member for Lynn had been authorized to make, and in which his noble Friend correctly represented their feelings upon that occasion; and, whatever unpopularity it might have entailed, they would have acted in strict accordance with it. His party was not disposed to be trifled with, however, and when they saw the manner in which the Bill had been delayed and postponed, they felt that the main argument for its adoption, "its immediate exigency," had passed away, and they could not bring themselves to confer powers so strong, so arbitrary, and so foreign to the British Constitution, upon a falling Government. The right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham), in his speech the other night, said that they ought to separate the vote of censure upon the Government from the vote upon this Bill. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Spooner) appeared to concur in this opinion. Now, he would place the hon. Member in this dilemma. If he were to propose a vote of censure to-night, would the hon. Member be prepared to vote for it? If he said he would, then he would ask, why should they intrust into the hands of men with such vacillating principles such dangerous and unconstitutional powers as were contained in this measure? If they were prepared to vote for an Address to Her Majesty, praying Her Majesty to remove the present Ministers from Her Councils, should they consent to place in their hands powers that were acknowledged to be unknown to the British Constitution? Such powers should only be intrusted to the hands of men who enjoyed their unbounded confidence. He would wish to ask the Government this question, whether there had been any period between the time they introduced the Bill and the present moment, that if they had the Bill in operation they would have carried it into effect? Would they, in any month between the opening of the Session of Parliament and the present period, have called the provisions of the Bill into effect? If they would have done so, where was the excuse for delay? If they would not have done so, there could not have been any pressing emergency. They were told, moreover, that the Bill was in itself of an irritating and offensive nature to the Irish people, and that any benefit that could result from its enactment would be more than counterbalanced by the evil that it would most assuredly engender. Since there was no direct necessity for the measure, he asked them to pause, and consider whether something might not be devised less irritating and less offensive, but still powerful to meet the evil, and he trusted to permanently subdue it. He was sure that, whatever Government might succeed the present, they would consider it to be their duty to keep a watchful eye upon the state of Ireland; and if, in the autumn of this year, Ireland should unhappily become the subject of anxiety, he was convinced the succeeding Government would do what the last Government ought to have done, namely, call Parliament together in the autumn, and seek at once advice how to act, and efficient powers to carry out whatever measures might be considered most conducive towards the restoration of tranquillity. The noble Lord the Secretary for Ireland (Lord Lincoln) had told them that it had not been newly discovered such measures were required, but that some time since the Government felt they required to be entrusted with the powers they now sought to attain. Now, he said that if the Government did feel such want of power in the autumn of last year, such fact proved that they ought to have called Parliament together, and sought for power to tranquillise the country. It had been said by the hon. and learned Member for Bath, that those who belonged to the party with whom he (Mr. Bankes) acted would desert their principles if they voted against the further progress of this Bill. ["No!"] He did not presume to quote the actual words of the hon. and learned Gentleman, but the hon. and learned Gentleman had said something to that effect. [Mr. ROEBUCK: He had never made any such statement.] The hon. Member said, he never made such an observation; but he understood the hon. and learned Member to have done so. But what were the facts? Now it did so happen that he had never in the whole course of his life voted for an Irish Coercion Bill. He felt that a measure of this nature ought to be weighed with the utmost anxiety, and calmly and considerately deliberated upon, and that when Government called for greater powers than the Constitution at present provided, a great responsibility was incurred on the part of those who refused them. If those powers had been asked for in the way that he thought they ought to have been demanded, if they were required, he would not have undertaken the responsibility of refusing them. But when he heard from almost every quarter, that the apprehended danger was not as imminent as it was represented to be, and when the Govern- ment were on the eve of the disruption of their power, he confessed that he could not consent to give them such power as they now demanded at his hands.


said, as the hon. Member had made an appeal to him, he could assure him he felt no difficuity whatever in answering it. The hon. Gentleman thought he had placed him in a dilemma. He did not consider that he was placed in any such dilemma. He asked him whether he was prepared to vote in favour of a want of confidence against the Government, and afterwards to intrust the same Ministers with these unconstitutional powers? He did not rest his support of the present measure on the statements of Ministers. If his hon. Friend the Member for Dorsetshire appealed to the want of energy or zeal displayed by the Government, or their delay in carrying this measure, as his evidence of its non-necessity, he would appeal to the documents on the Table of the House as proofs that this measure was essentially necessary for the preservation of life and property in Ireland. His hon. Friend said that the Irish Members had declared this measure not to be necessary. But there were Irish Members on the Conservative side of the House who said that it was necessary, and who told them that the effect of refusing that measure would be most disastrous; that it would be an encouragement to crime; and that, in fact, they dreaded much the consequences of such a refusal. An hon. Member representing a place in Ireland had lately told him that the consternation felt amongst the well-disposed and orderly portion of the population of that country in the event of the rejection of that Bill could not be described. They believed it would afford a triumph to one party in Ireland, at the same time that it would strike another with dismay, and that the consequences would be such as they could not anticipate. The Irish Conservative Members who had supported them in their struggles for the protection of native industry, and who had a just claim to their consideration, were struck with amazement when they heard the noble Lord the Member for London announce his intention of voting against this measure. For his own part, he had given to the present measure his calm and deliberate consideration; he had seen the attention of Parliament called to it in the Speech from the Throne; he had seen it introduced into the House of Lords, and come down to them sanctioned by the unanimous consent of the upper branch of the Legislature, with the consent of many noble Lords of that House who usually acted in concert with the noble Lord the Member for London. He agreed generally with the principle laid down by his hon. Friend the Member for Dorsetshire, that the fact of voting for the first reading of a Bill did not necessarily oblige one to vote for its subsequent stages. But the first reading had been affirmed after a debate of four or five nights. That first reading having taken place, and having voted for it under such circumstances, he felt himself bound to examine whether anything had since occurred which would justify him in changing the vote which he had then given. ["Hear, hear!"] He understood that cheer from an hon. Member near him, and it meant that the delay of the Ministry in passing that measure was a sufficient justification for not voting for the second reading. But he thought the five nights' debate which took place before the first reading furnished sufficient proof that the measure was necessary for the preservation of the peace and the protection of life and property in Ireland. The noble Lord the Member for Lynn had said that the blood of all the murdered persons in Ireland would rest on the head of the Minister who delayed this measure. Might it not also rest on the heads of those who caused that delay? He did not give his vote on that occasion with a party view. When he could not vote for the Minister to keep him in power on another question, he would not vote for that to turn him out. He would never consent to make Ireland the battle-field of party. He voted for the present measure only because he believed it to be necessary and called for. But he would ask his hon. Friend the Member for Dorsetshire one question, and it was this: Supposing he did not vote now in favour of this measure, because of his want of confidence in the present Administration, was he prepared to give a vote of confidence to the noble Lord opposite, the Member for London? Or had he forgotten that noble Lord's propositions with respect to the Irish Church, and the Appropriation Clause? Had he forgotten that the noble Lord's policy in Ireland had been concessions to a party every grant to which had only furnished inducements for fresh demands? The moral effect of the present measure's passing the Lords, and having been read a first time with a majority in that House, had been the means of stopping the progress of crime in Ireland, if it had stopped. But they were bound to look forward to the approaching winter and the season when want of employment might again make such a measure necessary. Therefore, it became Parliament not to separate without considering the case of Ireland. An hon. and learned Member opposite had a Motion on the Paper, as an Amendment upon the question of the second reading, for a Committee to be appointed to consider the condition of Ireland, with a view to the adoption of some remedial measures. Now, if the hon. Member brought that Motion forward as a substantive one, and not as a Motion for delay, he would give him his hearty support; nay, if it had been found advisable to give a grant of money for the employment of the people, the reclaiming of the waste lands, or any other useful measure of improvement of Ireland, he would support any Minister who would recommend the same. But they should take the case of that country into their consideration; and he was sure that whatever they did for the good of Ireland would be appreciated by a brave, a generous, and a grateful people.


Sir, necessity is sometimes the best plea of a good Government—of a bad Government it is very frequently the very worst pretence; and that it is in the present instance a pretence, and not an argument, I have risen for the purpose of proving; for it is my thorough persuasion that the criminalities of Ireland ought to be attributed to that moral distemper of which a Government utterly destitute of the confidence and support of the people, never fails to be productive. I shall have occasion, in following up this view of the question, to animadvert upon the policy pursued by the present Prime Minister in reference to Ireland. It has often been my misfortune to have thought it my duty to do so; but, in doing so, I have never forgotten that it is to the right hon. Gentleman himself that I am indebted for the privilege of pronouncing his condemnation to his face; and that, from this lofty level, where the Irish Catholic and the English Protestant are placed in an imperial parity together; and as, in his highest and most palmy state, when he stood at the head of that great Conservative party which it cost him so many years to construct, and which, in a few months, he has reduced to such utter dilapidation, I have always endeavoured to avoid, and I hope I have suc- ceeded in avoiding, the use of any phrase which could be justly considered as wantonly offensive; and now that the right hon. Gentleman has undergone some apparent and temporary change of fortune—now that, in his descent from his meridian, a cloud, tinged perhaps with light, but still a cloud, is passing over him—it shall be my peculiar care that the language of strong animadversion shall be dissociated from disrespect. I do not despair of the right hon. Gentleman—I entertain a hope that he who has had the virtue and the courage to dash to pieces that sliding-scale which it cost him so much fruitless ingenuity to elaborate, will recant his Irish heresies at last, and to his celebrated inconsistencies will give a glorious consummation. But, perhaps, I have used an infelicitous expression; true consistency does not depend upon a servile subserviency to your own fallacies, or to the passions of your party. The truly consistent statesman does not so much consider what it has been his mistake to have done, as what it has become his high duty to do. He does not look back at his own yesterdays, but looks forward to his country's glorious morrow. The welfare of that country is not his chief object only because it is his only one: fixing his eyes on that solitary point, bright, eternal, and unsetting—however the wind may blow, and however the current may set, by that immutable light he steers his apparently irregular, but, in truth, undeviating course. Having performed the pleasurable office of hypothetical panegyric, I come to the discharge of a distasteful task—that of finding grievous fault with the Irish policy of the right hon. Gentleman. When the Catholic question was adjusted, I do not doubt that the right hon. Gentleman was fully resolved to carry out the principle on which the enfranchisement of millions of his fellow citizens rested; and that, provided he had remained in power, he would not have tried to stunt the growth of that principle, or to impede its development into those obvious results into which it must at last inevitably expand. The speech pronounced by the right hon. Baronet on that great historical occasion was a wise one, and deserves to be referred to for purposes far higher and more germane to this question than those for which it has been cited. The right hon. Baronet, in a passage of which the authenticity will not be disputed, entered into an enumeration of the various instances in which coercive measures have been resort- ed to since the Union, and expressed the honest hope that the time for measures of that character had passed away for ever. Driven from office, however, in the succeeding year, he united himself with the most unmitigable antagonists of Ireland, with the men who had said of him, in Virgilian citation, what in English more than ordinarily downright has been said of him, not only here, but in a place technically called "nether," by a noble and very peculiar Friend. The phrase borrowed from that noble person's familiarity with the practices at the Derby, is feeble when compared to that recently applied to him by the right hon. Gentleman. A reconciliation—(how amiable is the desire expressed by the noble and accomplished Lord the Member for South Lancashire that a second amnesty should be negotiated!)—but a reconciliation having been effected, the right hon. Baronet conceived it to be consistent with his sense of public duty to accommodate himself to the sublimated Protestantism of his Parliamentary associates on the Speaker's sinister side, and to adopt the policy which was prescribed to him from the cloisters of Oxford, and the heaths, the exceedingly barren and desolate heaths, of Kent. He accordingly did his utmost (shall I say his worst?) to "obstruct"—a word once pronounced so emphatically in this House, and which still rings in my ears—to "obstruct" the Whig Government in their endeavours to carry out the principle of emancipation, and to enlarge the political rights of the Irish people. On Monday last my right hon. Friend the Member for Taunton—provoked by an exceedingly unprovoked aggression — preferred that charge, and that charge can be most readily established. It will be sufficient to refer to two examples—the Irish Municipal and the Irish Parliamentary Registration Bills. You have recently announced it to be your intention to assimilate the municipal laws of England and of Ireland. For this intimation, however tardy, you deserve praise; but what a satire is your present upon your former conduct? The Irish Registration Bill is a still greater discredit to you. Lord Stanley and the Secretary for the Home Department having left their party, and gone over to Conservatism, with all the emotions by which conversion is proverbially distinguished, the right hon. Baronet was induced to associate himself in a project for the annihilation of the constituencies of Ireland. Perhaps the purpose of that project was the disturbance of your political antagonists, for as soon as you came into power you flung Lord Stanley's Registration Bill aside. Session after Session the Secretary for the Home Department has promised a Registration Bill. The law is in a state of most injurious ambiguity. The Longford Committee, of which Lord Ashley was the chairman, made a unanimous report that the settlement of the question was indispensable. We are on the eve of a general election, and now, in the sixth Session of the present Parliament, instead of a Bill to adjust a subject by which Ireland continues to be agitated—a measure, admitted to be one of the most rigorous and unconstitutional character, even by its originators and abettors, is brought forward by the Government. But to return to my rapid narrative of the events which have brought about the present state of things in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman having been placed at the head of Her Majesty's Councils, found himself surrounded with difficulties of his own creation. He became entangled in the web in which he had caught the Whigs; but he was perplexed in the inextricable maze "which he had spun out for himself. He was forced to select as Colleagues men who were objects of peculiar disrelish to the Irish people. One of them has, it is said, repented of a very unhappy phrase, and Lord Chancellor Lyndhurst has relapsed into Mr. Serjeant Copley; but the phrase that escaped him is not forgotten. The bow is unbent, and the string relaxed; but the deadly shaft adheres. The right hon. Baronet was under great obligations to the Irish Members of Parliament; and while they were hot and reeking from the encounters of faction, he promoted them to place in which calmness and impartiality are especially required. He endeavoured to countervail his doings by his sayings; but although we are told by Shakspeare that "it is a kind of good deed to say well," between his doings and sayings there was an antithesis so marked that his professions excited the alarm of one party, without creating the confidence of the other. Seven millions went into opposition. Two-thirds of the Irish Members, every, man in Ireland belonging to the liberal party who could write with exciting force, or speak with contagious fervour, the whole of the liberal press, the whole of the Catholic hierarchy, the Catholic priesthood to a man, were arranged against his Government. It was impossible that, under such circumstances, he could succeed. Agitation burst out with unprecedented violence. The Repeal magistrates—miserable expedient!—were dismissed. A bad measure was rendered still worse by the forensic subtleties and Lincoln's-inn sophistications with which it was defended. Then came the monster meetings, which lasted for nine months, followed by the monster prosecutions, insidiously conceived and conducted in a spirit of oppression. The world beheld the leader and the liberator of a Catholic nation tried by the Protestant grocers and the Protestants tanners whom you had the presumption to call his peers, and that under the auspices of a Prime Minister by whom Catholic emancipation had been carried, and the English Special Jury Act had been reformed. At last the long series of ignominious proceedings terminated in a discomfiture of the Government, of which there is no former example—terminated with a denunciation pronounced by the Chief Justice of England, from the highest seat of judicature in the world; and in the conversion of the porch of a prison-house into an arch of triumph, through which the most remarkable man in Europe, whom you had the temerity to call a convicted conspirator, was given back to the embraces of an enthusiastic and devoted people. Yes, the liberator of his country, whom you called "a convicted conspirator"—and you have reason to lament the phrase—was brought back to the embraces of a grateful country; and no man who rightly values freedom will blame me for standing up before you to say that. Such is the sketch of your Government up to the year 1844. From that time to this the Government has existed but by name in Ireland. How was it possible, when justice had committed suicide, when authority had perpetrated a felony upon itself, when those who were entrusted with the enforcement of the law had brought it into scorn—how, I say, was it possible, when these events affected all other classes—that their influences should not reach to the lowest class of the community; that when the moral atmosphere was thus charged with contagion, the poor peasant should remain unaffected; and that in the midst of the general turbulence, the hurly-burly into which the country was cast by the Government, they who have the greatest grievances to complain of—they who groan beneath the wrongs which we are told by the highest of all authorities make the wise man mad, should not break out into those excesses for which an incarceration after sunset is prescribed, with all the pertinacity of baffled empiricism, as a sovereign and unfailing cure? I have shown you that your Government (if Government it can indeed be called) has produced disorder. I will show you that a Government constructed on different principles has been fertile of peace. Compare the results of your Government in Ireland with those of Lord Normanby's Administration. How was that Administration constituted? Lord Normanby, beloved by the Irish people, was the Lord Lieutenant—the Chief Secretary, an object to all that knew him, of affectionate respect, was Lord Morpeth. You, Mr. Speaker, will pardon a breach of order, when, for the purpose of panegyric it is almost sufficient to give utterance to a name. The Under Secretary was Mr. Drummond, who, not born in Ireland, was more than an Irishman in his love of Ireland, and who, at his own and last request, lies buried in the land for which he died of intellectual toil. The office of Attorney General was held by the two great ornaments of the Catholic bar, Sir Michael O'Loghlen and Chief Baron Woulfe; they, too, loved, lost, lamented, have departed from us. Such was the Government of Ireland under Lord Normanby's Administration. That Government was in sympathy with the people. It was trusted, obeyed, beloved by the people. Between the Government and the people there were innumerable conductors, through which there was a constant effluence of the most kindly feelings. The Government was sustained by the vast majority of the representatives of Ireland, by every man of name in the Catholic body, by the whole of the Catholic press, by every Catholic bishop, by the entire Catholic church in Ireland: every priest was an unpaid constable of police — for they are the true conservators of the peace, without whose aid the Government of Ireland never can be carried on with success—and the result was social and political tranquillity. But lest you should conceive that I am speaking of Lord Normanby's Government in the language of exaggerated praise, I shall produce an English witness by whom all that I have been telling you was calmly surveyed, and who has borne the same attestation, though given less fervidly than by myself. The book that I hold in my hand is one of singular ability. It is entitled "The Past and Present Policy of Eng- land towards Ireland." It is written by a man who appears not only not to have any prejudice against the right hon. Baronet, but who speaks of him in the language of high panegyric, founded upon his anticipations of what in his final conversion he may do for Ireland. The writer says (page 220)— Lord Normanby was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; and, notwithstanding the abuse and attempts at ridicule which have been so unsparingly heaped upon his Administration, I believe that Ireland never saw one more fearless, honest, and useful. It may suit party purposes to accuse him of hunting after popularity, or of making undue concessions to O'Connell and the Catholics; but he has the undeniable fact to plead in reply to all charges and sneers, that Ireland never made more rapid improvement than during the four years of his vice-royalty. He went there determined to govern in a spirit of justice, impartiality, and firmness; and the confidence he inspired did more than any coercive measures had ever been able to effect towards reducing the country to a state of order and peace. For the first time the Irish Catholics began to feel that the Government really cared for their interests, and was disposed to make the welfare and prosperity of Ireland the principal object of its solicitude. Under his Administration the amount of crime largely decreased, prædial outrages became less frequent, the fierce feuds of the peasantry were discontinued, and the mass of the people grew more civilized and humane. Catholics and Protestants were employed without distinction of religion, and between 1835 and 1839 the repeal of the Union seemed to be almost entirely forgotten or discarded. After speaking thus, the writer states, in a note, a fact which is far more valuable than the highest wrought and most elaborate encomiums:— A very remarkable address was presented to Lord Normanby from the town of Mallow. 'We stand before you,' they said, 'in number amounting to above one hundred thousand—the greater part of us own ourselves to have belonged to that party who advocate the repeal of the Union. We thought the only remedy for Irish evils was a recurrence to a domestic Legislature; but the experience we have had of your Excellency's wise, just, and paternal Government has taught us otherwise, and we tender to your Excellency our solemn abjuration of the question of the repeal of the legislative Union, and of any other question calculated to produce an alienation of feeling between the inhabitants of Great Britain and Ireland.' I will not spoil the effect of this speaking fact by any expatiation upon it; but having shown you that it is to the state of the Government that the state of the country is to be mainly attributed, I proceed to investigate, in another point of view, the necessity of this measure. No sort of answer has been given to the charge, that your own retardations of this Bill afford a proof that you do not consider this measure to be required. If you considered this Bill to be indispensable to the repression of atrocity; and that murder, except by some such measure, could not be stayed in its career; wherefore did you not, with such impressions—and this question has been asked before—call the Parliament in November? Was it that you are so partial to country gentlemen that you did not wish to interrupt the hunting season here, even in order to stop the Nimrods of Tipperary in the pursuit of their favourite game? But after the Parliament had assembled, why allow one month to elapse before your Bill was introduced into the House of Lords? It was surely ready. It only consists of three pages, and a Coercion Bill would be produced as an impromptu in the law-office of the castle; they are improvisatores in oppression there. But when the Bill had been read a first time in this House, why did you not proceed with it? The Secretary of State for the Home Department had declared it to be of the most imperative necessity and of the most immediate and instantaneous need. You ought surely to have imposed a protection for life, before you took off a protection for corn. Indian maize had been admitted into Irish ports, and a precedence to what has been called the Irish Assassination Bill ought to have been given. Thus your own procrastinations refute your protestations: you are silenced by the almanack; and by the dates of your proceedings on this measure, the necessity for it is demonstratively disproved. But, independently of the strong argument derived from your having so often come to a dead halt in your march of coercion, it is sufficient to look into the Speech composed by all the Ministers for the Queen, and into the statement delivered by one of the Ministers for himself, in order to see that the allegation of necessity is utterly untenable. It is stated in the Speech from the Throne, that the crime of deliberate assassination had been of late (mark the pregnant words "of late") frequently committed in Ireland; and the Secretary of State for the Home Department stated when he introduced the measure, that disturbances existed in five counties; but still—mark this—that the great mass of the peasantry were untainted, and that the outrages were the work of a few ruffians banded together. That is the statement of the right hon. Baronet himself, and he cannot now recede from it. This is your case, and it is sufficient to state it in order to destroy it. Because murders have been committed of late in five counties by a few organized ruffians, without sympathy on the part of the peasantry, you propose to incarcerate the entire population—mark—not only of a disturbed but of an adjoining district, free from all disturbance, and to mulct the whole mass of the occupiers of the soil with the costs which the working of the iron apparatus of this measure will involve. The measure has been called temporary; but I ask has a case been made out for it, even if to last only for a year? Above all, has a case been made out for its original construction? For when the Bill was first introduced in the House of Lords, it was made perpetual; it was intended to impose it as an everlasting fetter upon the Irish people; it was to be incorporated with the institutions of the country; moulded, interwoven with her consitutional system. True, the Government were forced to abandon that scheme; but although they were forced to abandon it, the animus was disclosed; the spirit was made manifest, and the sin of the volition is as great as the guilt of perpetration. I pass from the Secretary for the Home Department to the noble Lord the Secretary for Ireland. I listened attentively to his speech; it consisted of little more than a catalogue of Irish offences. I am not disposed to dispute the accuracy of his statements; but the great and cardinal defect of his speech, as well as of the speech of every other Minister, was, that while he expatiated upon the malady, he did not point out the efficacy of the remedy. Have you attempted to show how this measure will repress crime in Ireland? How can nocturnal coercion prevent diurnal atrocity? If you lock up the owls, what will you do with the falcons? Your Irish Coercion Bill will be as great a failure as your Irish Arms Bill. The noble Lord made a candid confession—he said that the Irish Arms Bill had utterly failed. The Secretary for the Home Department smiled at the simplicity of the noble Lord in making a confession so incautious. He seemed to think that the noble Lord had just come in a state of nature from "the woods and forests;" and that he stood greatly in need of one of those deep and finely-wrought integuments of the mind with which the wardrobe of the Home Office is so abundantly and so usefully supplied. But how important is the admission that the Irish Arms Bill has failed? We all recollect how strenuously that Bill was pressed by the Government, who seemed to think that in a branded blunderbuss a panacea for the evils of Ireland had been discovered; and how vehemently it was resisted by the Irish Members. The debates engrossed half the Session; two or three volumes of Hansard are occupied by them; and the progress of all useful measures was most detrimentally interrupted. Well; the Bill was carried—it has been in force nearly three years, and now it is confessed by the Irish Secretary that the Bill is not worth the parchment on which it was engrossed. You conceived we were influenced by factious motives in our opposition to that Bill; but now we rest our present predictions upon the fulfilment of our former vaticinations, and we tell you that this Bill too will fail. And surely you ought to give credit to the Irish Members for knowing something about their country; and should it not occur to him that he should attend to the forewarnings of those whose former predictions have been fulfilled? The very fact of the majority of Irish Members being opposed to this Bill, ought to be conclusive against it. That just view was taken by my hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract, who in a very able speech, that does honour to his intelligence and to his feelings, insisted that on questions exclusively relating to Ireland, the Minister ought to attend almost exclusively to the wishes of those whom Ireland has deputed to assert her interests and vindicate her rights. Else, where is the use of our being here if by English majorities we are to be for ever overwhelmed? Who are the Irish Members who support, and who are they who resist this measure? The Recorder of Dublin, to be sure, has been ancillary to the Prime Minister; and he has promised to vote for the Bill, saying at the same time that it would be utterly useless; but I hope that from his dialectics you do not form a judgment of the school of logic in the University of Dublin. To him I oppose the hon. Member for Dundalk, one of the gentlemen selected as a Commissioner on the Landlord and Tenant Commission, possessed of considerable property, with great opportunities of knowing Ireland. In a speech of great ability and moderation, he pronounced the condemnation of this measure. I believe that my hon. Friend the Member for Londonderry, also a Commissioner selected by yourselves, takes exactly the same view. It will be strange if the considerations suggested by these facts will not weigh with those English Members who are really anxious to arrive at a just conclusion with respect to the merits of this measure. If I am asked what remedy I would suggest for the evil, my answer is this—a better administration of the law. I will take as an instance the county of Tipperary. The Crown Solicitor does not reside in the county—he visits it twice a year, and gets up his cases extempore. Of the defendants, of the witnesses, of the localities, of the means of obtaining information, he knows nothing. The briefs are handed to lawyers, generally appointed from party motives, and opposed by counsel for the accused of far greater talent. The result is, that for these and other reasons, of which the specification would be inappropriate, the administration of the law is most miserably conducted. The noble Lord is not, perhaps, aware that at the sessions where an excellent assistant barrister (Serjeant Howby) presides, assisted by a most skilful local solicitor, the innocent are never prosecuted, and the guilty never escape. The consequence has been that the crimes within the jurisdiction of the assistant barrister have been in a great measure suppressed. You have again and again appealed to the evidence of Mr. Cahill. But you have not cited, and, I believe, have not read, the most material part of it. Hear the following extract from the witness quoted so often by yourselves:— What were the circumstances which put an end to the riots? The circumstances which put an end to the riots were the superior administration of justice in regard to those affairs, and also the disposition which was created among the people, in consequence of a feeling to co-operate with the Government then in power, and not to embarrass it by continuing those disturbances. There lies the whole case. But suppose that you could succeed in the infliction of temporary peace; and that, by the means which you propose to adopt, you could put back the local and external symptoms of a deep and pervading disease, are there no political considerations to be taken by you into account? Are you to dismiss from your thoughts the extent to which stimulants will be applied by you to the agitation which you so vehemently reprobate, but which you have taken such imperfect means to assuage? There never was a moment when it more behoved the Parliament to consider the political effect with which any measure proposed for Ireland will be attended. Never was more caution required. The repeal of the Corn Laws ought to make you pause before you administer to the popular excitement. Let me explain myself in this. There are in Ireland two powerful classes—the proprietors of the soil, who hold in fee under a series of military subjugations, and the mass of the people, of whose intelligence, whose energy, and whose power the development has been so rapid. You have contrived in the course of this Session to alarm the interests of the one, and to awaken the passion of the other. I am of opinion that the repeal of the Corn Laws will be ultimately conducive to the good of Ireland, because the prosperity of England must contribute to that of the sister island. The overflowings of your opulence must ultimately extend to us. The Irish Protestant gentry, however, take a different view; they conceive that you are doing them wrong—that you are breaking the word of Mr. Pitt—that by depriving them of their exclusive market, and putting Belgium and Holland upon a level with Ireland, you are loosening, if not cutting, one of the ligaments by which the two countries are fastened togegether. It must be confessed that there are many amongst them whom the repeal of the Corn Laws will materially affect—the fall of rents will be a death-blow to mortgagors, and many a Cromwellian gentleman who now totters beneath the load of incumbrances, after staggering on a little, will fall under the burden of which the repeal of the Corn Laws will not fail to produce an aggravation. In this state of things, while you are thus alienating the Irish Protestants, on whom the present Government have most injudiciously relied for their sustainment, how impolitic it is to enact, as a companion to the repeal of the Corn Laws, a Coercion Bill, by which you will exasperate the great body of the people! The Secretary at War, in the course of his speech in one of these discussions, employed the words, "dismemberment of the Empire." My hon. Friend the Member for Kilkenny, whom a spark is sufficient to ignite, took fire at the phrase. He has no more notion of dismembering the Empire than you have. The Secretary at War explained; and stated that he did not mean to insinuate that the advocates of repeal intended to assert the dismemberment of the Empire; but that he conceived that the separation of the two countries would be the result. If this be your opinion—if you think that the re- peal of the Union would break the Empire into fragments—that both countries would be engulphed in a common ruin, surely it behoves you to avoid with the most solicitous care everything that can afford a justification to those who have devoted all their energies to the achievement of that measure. The Prime Minister has declared that he could not put down agitation by force. That declaration was most important, and was considered by many to be most strange. But if agitation is not to to be put down by force, wherefore excite and invigorate it by this most offensive proceeding? Why furnish to the champions of Repeal the opportunity of saying that you are the violators of the compact between the two countries, when you enact for Ireland a measure which no Minister would be sufficiently venturesome to propose for the suppression of disturbances in this country? The noble Lord the Member for South Lancashire, a man of great talents and most amiable disposition, told us, that in England such a measure could be adopted. I assert the direct reverse, and I rest my conjecture of what you would not do by what you have never done. In 1819 the county which the noble Lord represents was in a condition far more formidable than Tipperary. A Secret Committee, of which the present Earl of Derby was the Chairman, was nominated to investigate the condition of Lancashire. Evidence was adduced to prove not that crimes were committed by a few ruffians, but that in the dead of the night large bodies of men were drilled and disciplined with a view to an insurrection, which would have ended in an universal carnage; yet, when England stood on the brink of ruin, no curfew law was attempted. The Six Acts were passed, and the Habeas Corpus Act was suspended; but Lord Castlereagh, notwithstanding his Irish apprenticeship, did not venture on such a proposition as this. The suspension of the Habeas Corpus, if the law as it stands were not sufficient (and I contend that it is sufficient), would be far more efficacious and far less oppressive; but the noble Lord will, in all probability, suggest that the disturbances of Lancashire were not agrarian. What does the noble Lord think of the disturbances of Kent and five other counties in 1830, when he was himself a Member of the Administration? Did the noble Lord think nothing of the conflagrations that then filled the country, to use the words of the Annual Register, with "horror and dismay?" Had not the Tory Cabinet of that year as good a case for a Coercion Bill as they now have; and would it not have been in an eminent degree convenient to have locked up the incendiaries by whom such frightful desolation was extended through some of the finest portions of this country? If the Cabinet had determined on a Coercion Bill, what a noble opportunity would have been afforded to the right hon. Baronet, then Mr. Secretary Peel, of delivering a master-piece of eloquence in enforcing—what shall I call it—an English Conflagration Bill? How does it come to pass that you are reckless of our rights, though secured by that which should be accounted an inviolable compact, and that you deal with us in a different fashion from that which you adopt with men of your own race? Are we less entitled to the privileges of Englishmen? Have we to the prerogatives of British citizenship a less irrefragable claim? I fear that the spirit of eminence and masterdom is so fixedly settled in you, that you can never bring yourselves to regard us as your equals: you maintain a kind of English pale upon the Statute-book, and cannot acquire a desuetude of domination. And yet you ought to so—you ought most assuredly to got rid of these addictions to despotism, for you may rest assured that we have divested ourselves of all the habitudes of subserviency. The propensity to debasement has been put aside by us—not a trace of the fetter remains; the iron that used to eat into our souls has not left a mark, and the "merus Hibernicus" has disappeared for ever. One of the greatest faults which an English statesman can commit is the omission to observe the vast mental change which has taken place in Ireland. You see what is obvious enough: you see that a great transfer of power has taken place—that the community which was once destitute of all real influence is politically predominant; but you do not mark the alteration in the national character, the metamorphosis of the mind—of all changes the most deserving of your most solicitous consideration. It may be attributed to many causes, but among the rest, to one which you should be prompt to recognise—the education of the people. There are hundreds of thousands of readers in Ireland—those hundreds of thousands will grow to millions—and for a nation of readers this Bill is not fit. You, perhaps, think that the education of the people is of such a character that it will not be attended with any important political effect. You are mistaken; the books put into circulation by the Education Commissioners are of an order greatly superior in all regards to the wretched writings which were once considered to be adapted to the populace: you will not only find books of grammar and arithmetic, but volumes containing extracts from history, in which great and heart-stirring events are told, containing passages of lofty morality, the ethics of patriotism, the catechism of freedom—verses, immortal ones, in which the adoration of liberty is magnificently taught. I repeat to you, for a nation of readers this Bill is not fitted. And because there is no evidence whatever of the necessity for this Bill — because there is no proof whatever that it will attain the objects it professes to aim at—because there is no sort of testimony to show that it will be more successful than your Arms Bill—because it is a violation of the principles of the Union—and because you avail yourselves of the existence of the Act of Union to inflict upon the Irish people a measure which two-thirds of the Irish representatives have denounced, I shall vote against the second reading of this Bill.


(who was inaudible during the greater portion of his speech) said he would appeal to the House, if he could show that many portions of the population of Ireland, the peaceable, the loyal, and the well-disposed, were destitute of that protection to which the subject was entitled, to record their decision in favour of this Bill. Was the law, as it now stood, adequate to redress crimes of the peculiar character of those which now unhappily disturbed the peace of Ireland? The history of the measures taken in former years for the purpose of repressing crime, fully showed the necessity of having recourse to the present Bill. In 1833 crimes of an agrarian character were very prevalent, and the peaceable part of the population throughout the country called loudly for protection. A Bill was then passed by the Legislature of a more rigorous character than the present, and powers almost unbounded were committed to the Government. Crime at that time prevailed to a fearful and alarming extent throughout the greater part of Ireland, to such an extent as to show that the existing law was utterly inadequate to check it. The effect produced by the passing of the new Act was immediate; and though it existed for only sixteen months all crimes of the greatest magnitude and of an insurrectionary character had entirely ceased by the end of 1834. During the short period of his right hon. Friend's Administration in 1835 no Coercion Act existed; but after the Act of 1833 had expired, the noble Lord the Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire (Viscount Morpeth) brought forward a Bill of a similar character. In 1835 all insurrectionary crimes had ceased; but agrarian crimes of the character now prevailing then existed, and had recently increased. The noble Lord then thought that the Bill of 1835 was necessary for affording protection to the community; and he now asked the noble Lord, who had introduced and advocated that Bill, why were the peaceable, hopeless, and unoffending part of the community, endangered by the crimes now prevailing in Ireland, to be deprived of the protection to which they were entitled? While the operation of the Coercion Act was suspended, crime attained a greatly higher amount. In 1835, the year during which no Coercion Act was in existence, the number of outrages committed was 10,229; in the following year, 1836, the first after the Bill had passed, the number of crimes diminished to 8,067; and in 1837 it further decreased to 6,760. In the course of that year, when the Act had been in operation for two years, the House was called upon to repeal it; but only three or four Members were found to support the proposition. In 1838, the number of outrages was 4,945; in 1830 it was 4,626; in 1840, when the Act of 1835 expired, it was 4,069. In 1841, the number of outrages increased to 5,361; in 1842 it was 6,535; in 1843 it was 5,870; in 1844 it was 6,327; and in 1845 it was 8,095. If he were told that it was impossible a Bill of this character could have the effect of repressing the fearful crimes which disfigured society in Ireland, he answered by showing that when a Bill of similar character was in force, crime progressively diminished; while from the year in which that Bill ceased to be in operation, crime had progressively and sensibly increased. When it was proved that in Ireland neither life nor property possessed that degree of security to which the subject was entitled in every well-governed country, he asked would it have been legitimate for the Executive Government to sit down in silent despair without any attempt to afford a remedy? Was not some attempt to be made to correct so fearful a state of things; and if a remedy was to be devised, what better one could there be than that which the experience of the past suggested? He felt it his duty to call the attention of the House to the nature of the offences now committed in Ireland, and then to ask whether it was possible for any Executive Government, consistently with its duty, to allow the present state of things to continue? The present Government had hitherto continued to maintain tranquillity in Ireland by the administration of the existing law, without calling for any new powers. In 1839, though large bodies of men were almost in open rebellion, no demand was made for a Coercion Bill; and Government persevered in the same line of conduct in 1842, when there were extensive disturbances, and tranquillity was maintained by the aid of the ordinary powers of the law. The most alarming feature connected with the state of crime in Ireland, was the striking and fearful disparity which existed between the number of offences committed, and that of offenders convicted. In five counties in Ireland, the number of indictable offences committed was 1,188; while 54 offenders only were convicted. It was the perpetrators of the outrages in Ireland, and not their victims, who would regard this Bill as an insult. If a special commission were now sitting in the county of Roscommon, what remedy would it afford for the existing evils? In that county alone, within five months, 383 indictable offences had been committed, and only eight or nine offenders brought to justice. What then was the use of judges and jury, if, whatever the number of offences, the offenders were not apprehended? Again, when they considered the nature of the crimes committed in Ireland, they could not help feeling that no ordinary state of the law was adequate to meet them. He would not weary the House with details, but would refer only to the case mentioned by his noble Friend the Secretary for Ireland; and he ventured to say that there was no well-governed country in the civilized world in which offences of that sort would be allowed. That was the case of a person yielding obedience to the law, dwelling on his own property; and, because he had threatened to remove tenants who had never paid him any rent, having his house broken into, his life endangered, and his family injured and ill-treated; and yet stating that though he knew some of the offenders, he dared not name them until he had sold his property. There were not less than 1,000 or 1,100 families in those five counties, that were in constant danger of having outrages committed against their persons or property; and he would ask, could that Bill be considered by them as an insult? They were every hour liable to those outrages that were of such frequent occurrence; and it was the duty of the Legislature to afford them protection. The hon. and learned Gentleman entered into a comparison of the crimes committed during the first five months of the years 1845 and 1846, which showed a considerable increase in the present year—which he considered a sufficient reason for the passing of the measure. The hon. and learned Gentleman read a report which he had received from certain gentlemen resident in Tipperary, showing the difficulty there was to obtain evidence even where the guilty persons were known to those who had been injured. He maintained that in consequence of the indisposition to bring offenders to justice, the ordinary powers were not sufficient. When such was the state of things throughout the five counties, it was necessary that some extraordinary law should be enacted for the protection of such of the inhabitants as were peacable, loyal, and well-disposed. The learned Member also entered into a defence of the measure, more particularly as regarded those parts of it that differed from the Coercion Bill of 1835, and stated that the peaceable and well-disposed portion of the community resident in Ireland, looked forward to the passing of the measure with considerable anxiety. The Executive Government would be neglecting its duty if it hesitated to bring forward a measure of this kind. Though he trusted that there might arise no occasion for carrying this Bill into execution, yet could there be a doubt, if these powers beyond the ordinary law were given to the Government to use when necessary, that the same beneficial result would ensue as had followed the Act of 1835? The objection to the power of inflicting the punishment of transportation, given in certain cases under this Bill, was a matter for consideration in Committee, rather than in a discussion on the principle of the measure. He called upon the House to give its assent to this Bill, in order that the peaceable inhabitants of the five counties of Ireland to which it was intended more particularly to apply, as well as of other districts of that country, might receive the protection to which every subject of this realm was entitled, and might not be exposed to daily and nightly outrage. During the whole course of his public life he had advocated an amelioration of the criminal code of the country; and though this was a Bill involving pains and penalties, yet being of opinion that by it the social condition of Ireland would be improved, his vote should be registered in its favour.


amidst cries of "Divide," stated his intention of recording his vote in favour of the measure. Whether he did or did not vote with a portion of that party sitting on the same side of the House with himself, he should be sorry that it should be thought he concurred in the language which had been directed by that party towards the Government, and particularly towards the right hon. Baronet at the head of it. With regard to the reasons on which he had supported the measure, he might offer ample grounds to the House why he should do so. He had heard the statements of the right hon. Baronet, upon the introduction of the Bill, and he had found those statements borne out by the large amount of crime committed in Ireland. No doubt existed in his mind that the existing law was inadequate for the protection of life and property in the sister kingdom. Could it be otherwise, when he found a thousand offences committed—a thousand offences not inclusive either of murder or homicide. Indeed, the very arguments adduced on the other side of the House had convinced him that a new measure was imperative. He had heard that night that the present law was systematically violated, and yet those who admitted this fact affected to say that no new law was necessary. A noble Lord on the other side of the House had asked for the rejection of the Bill on the ground that two-thirds of the people of Ireland were opposed to it. He should be willing, of course, to yield to this opinion were it founded upon a proper basis; but it was too shallow to be followed, and it ought not to weigh with any man who had the faculty of judging between necessity and non-necessity. But he had been told that if he voted against the Bill, he should be voting against the present Government, which, it was also said by some, was to be desired. Was it supposed, then, that the Government would abuse the powers placed in their hands? He thought not. Had they shown any inclination to act in a tyrannical, arbitrary, and despotic manner, he, perhaps, should hesitate in his vote. He had noticed no inclination of this character—nor did he think that the question involved a vote of want of confidence in the Ministry; and, even were the question involved, he would freely say he was prepared to oppose it. He might certainly wish that some alteration should be made in the details of the Bill; but, as regarded its principle, his mind was fully convinced. Whatever the result of the division, he should have the satisfaction of knowing that his vote would be registered freely and fairly on the merits of the question, and that he should not be actuated by any prejudice or factious opposition.


said, that the noble Lord who had just addressed the House, had argued that the law in Ireland had been frequently violated, He had argued that the existing law was not sufficiently powerful to enforce its object; but the noble Lord had not proved the second part of the proposition, namely, that this Bill would be efficient to gain the object which he had in view. The hon. Member for Birmingham had argued in the same way; but he had left the argument where he began it, and had not proved that the Bill would be effective or advantageous in any respect. A far abler debater, however, than either the noble Lord or the Member for Birmingham, Her Majesty's Prime Minister, had argued much in the same way, in favour of affording protection for life and security for property in Ireland. He agreed in many of the excellent arguments used by the right hon. Baronet on the subject; but the right hon. Gentleman stopped short where he ought to have pushed forward his argument: he did not enter into any proof to show the Bill would be effective for the objects for which it had been brought forward. The right hon. Baronet had said, that one of the greatest difficulties they had to encounter in Ireland, was the utter inability to procure evidence to convict offenders. Would confining the population in certain districts to their houses at night, assist in procuring such evidence? The right hon. Baronet further had stated, that frequent murders were committed; but no trace or clue could be had of those who committed them. Would the chief feature of the Bill, the curfew clause, hunt out and bring to justice these flagrant offenders? If he believed that that Bill would put an end to assassination and outrage, and would bring the people of Ireland into calm obe- dience to the law, he (Major Beresford) for one should support the measure; and he felt sure that no one Irish Member opposite, be his shade of opinion or politics what it might, if he considered it would have that effect, would oppose the Bill. Those representatives who were sent there by the Irish people, desired to put a stop to assassination and to outrage; but at the same time they knew their own country well; and they were aware that this species of legislation would not have that effect, but, on the contrary, would excite irritation in the minds of an excitable people, which would be the certain forerunner of increased outrage. He boldly asserted that no Government would venture to propose such a law under similar circumstances for England. Why, during the existence of the present Administration, they had heard of the commission of similar outrages in this kingdom. In South Wales they had heard of Rebecca riding through the country on dark nights, and on moonlight nights, terrifying the peaceful portion of the population; outrages were committed, and murders also perpetrated, and the weaker sex even was not spared or respected. Did the Government, he asked, propose a curfew law for South Wales? No, they did not venture; and now the Irish representatives appealed to the English Members to grant to their Irish fellow citizens the same degree of freedom which they demanded for themselves. He regretted that on this occasion his vote and opinion should so materially differ from those of so many of his fellow countrymen (Conservatives) with whom he had acted so cordially for the last four months; and he regretted it the more, because there were English representatives, who seeing that the Irish Conservatives were in favour of the Bill, felt great alarm at rejecting it; but so convinced was he of the futility of that alarm, that he should certainly oppose the Bill. He had held conversations with of these Conservatives: they had admitted that the Bill was a bad one, but they added "that it must be passed;" and why? Because that the rejection of it would be an awful triumph to a particular party in Ireland. He denied that it would be so. It might indeed be a triumph and a just triumph too, to the whole people of Ireland, to find the legislation of the country framed to do them full equal justice. Granting, however, for argument sake, that it would afford a triumph to that party to reject the Bill, he asked, was that a suffi- cient reason to induce the British Parliament to pass a bad and oppressive law for Ireland? He thought the day was gone by when the object aimed at in legislation, was to depress one party, or to exalt another. He had hoped that this House was now determined to act towards Ireland in a better spirit, in a temper more congenial to the times, and for the general well-being and benefit of the country at large; and he therefore trusted that it would reject the measure as inadequate to the object proposed in it, and unworthy of being placed on the Statute-book of the Empire; and he hoped yet to see his native land peaceable and happy, without the imposition of unconstitutional and tyrannical measures.


observed, that this measure would afford some Members an opportunity of giving a party vote in retaliation. But it should afford no opportunity of this character if the House did not think it unsafe to entrust large powers in the hands of the Government. In the votes given it should be shown that all were interested by a due sense of the importance of the question as it stood, and that only.


said, that the hon. Member for Dungarvon had alluded to the cloud which had fallen upon the prospects of the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government; and he (Mr. Newdegate) could not help fearing that the darkness of that cloud had fallen upon the intellect of some hon. Members with whom he had had the honour of acting for some time past, and that it precluded their perception of the effect of the vote they were about to give in support of the present unconstitutional measure. He feared that the light which the right hon. Member for Dungarvon said tinged that cloud, had not reached the hon. Members to whom he alluded, when they impugned the motives of the hon. Members around him, who now opposed the measure; that light was derived from the anticipations the right hon. Member entertained that the right hon. Baronet would pursue a policy towards Ireland which was that very policy which many hon. Members feared, as tending to give a triumph to the Repealers. Was it not that the right hon. Member for Dungarvon hoped—and he was supported in that hope by the opinion of the hon. Member for Cork—that the right hon. Baronet would pursue such a line of policy, was it not this confident expectation that made him eulogize the inconsistency of the right hon. Baronet? The hon. Member for Cork had said, in 1844, at a large meeting in Conciliation Hall, that "the right hon. Baronet was in a wheeling humour; that no one could tell upon what letter the teetotum would fall; but that he saw nothing to prevent the right hon. Baronet from being the very man to propose the repeal of the Union; and that he thought he must come into a line with him." Had not the hon. Member for Cork been as good as his word, by coming into a line with the right hon. Baronet in support of that measure for the repeal of the Corn Laws, which had just been returned from the House of Lords to the Table of that House? And could the hon. Member have already forgotten the words of the right hon. Member for Dungarvon, who had just told them that by passing that measure the right hon. Baronet had severed one ligament which bound Ireland and England. Scarcely any hon. Member—not one of the Irish Members—had expressed an opinion in favour of this coercive measure on its own merits. If they voted for it, their votes must be taken as votes of confidence in the authors of that measure, in whose hands it would place wide, ill-defined, and unconstitutional powers—powers which he believed would prove ineffectual for the purposes intended. For one he could only say, that nothing should induce him to vote for a bad measure, which was to place unconstitutional powers in the hands of a Government in whom he had no confidence. Such were the grounds of his opinion; and on these grounds he was prepared to justify the vote he was about to give against the measure; and he would ask those who might differ from him in their votes, but who agreed with him in their want of confidence in the Government, whether there was one of them who believed that, if the measure passed its present stage, it would ever pass into a law? He did not believe that any of them entertained so empty an anticipation. But be their votes what they might, he must be permitted to say that he thought that those who were so nice about the strong language used by the noble Lord the Member for Lynn—which the occasion justified—should themselves have refrained from casting imputations upon the motives of those with whom they had for some time acted, and who, to say the least of it, were as little liable to imputation of corrupt motives as they were themselves.


defended the noble Lord the Member for Lynn from the charge of inconsistency with regard to this measure. He confessed the evidence of outrage committed with impunity was so strong when it had first been laid before them, that, believing some measure was required for the suppression of crime, he voted for the first reading. But he would ask any Member in this House whether this measure was not wholly inefficient and impracticable? Few of them, by the way, had the Bill in their hands: he did not believe that the noble Lord who lately spoke (the Marquess of Chandos) had ever read the Bill; he talked of protection to property, while the fact was, that there was not a word about property in the Bill. The most stringent clause in the Bill was one that was directed against the well-disposed; it shut them up in their houses at night, thus leaving a clear field for those who were bent on mischief. It put him in mind of a schoolmaster, who, when a boy was riotous in his room at night, gave him a black dose the next morning; but when he could not ascertain the offender amongst several boys in the same room, he proclaimed the district and dosed them all round. He confessed he had not much knowledge of Ireland; but he did not think that Coercion Bills formed the best mode of governing that or any other country. With regard to the question of confidence in the Government, which had been mooted, he must say that he had no confidence in Her Majesty's Ministers. He believed that if the right hon. Baronet remained in office, other measures of a dangerous tendency would be more likely to be carried than by the noble Lord opposite, as he thought that many Members would support the right hon. Baronet, who would vote against the same measures if brought forward by the noble Lord the Member for London. With respect to the right hon. Baronet, who in his own person represented the Government, he thought that he had committed an enormous mistake—that he had mistaken the character and genius of his countrymen. The right hon. Baronet endeavoured by stratagem and surprise to carry a measure of vital importance to the country. He thought that success would justify the means, but he was now undeceived; and he would tell the right hon. Baronet that his political reputation, as well as the confidence which the best and most independent men in the coun- try had placed in him, was shivered to atoms.


amidst much uproar, defended the measure, as being similar to that which the Whigs passed, with the approbation of Mr. O'Connell, in 1835.


thought that life and property were insecure in Ireland, and he had been inclined to support this measure as a remedy for the evil; but when he saw this measure sacrificed, and put behind another measure which was admitted to be of less importance, he felt that he could not conscientiously vote in its favour; and, therefore, he should abstain from voting at all. He was the more inclined to take that course, because rumours were rife that there were divisions in the Government itself with respect to certain measures of a fiscal nature; and he, therefore, did not think the Government was in that state to be entrusted with powers of such an unconstitutional character.


amidst much uproar said, he would content himself with remarking that, as the division list to-morrow would show how each Member voted, all he should say was, that the vote he meant to give would be given exclusively on the merits of the Bill, and on no other consideration.


said: I am not going to argue the question; but I wish to say one or two words as to the spirit of the votes we are going to give. I shall find myself in the lobby to-night—and probably in a majority—with three classes of voters. The first class are those Gentlemen who with myself voted against the first reading, because they were opposed to the principles of legislation for Ireland which the measure involves; the next are those hon. Members on this side of the House who voted for the first reading; and the third, to my great surprise, are a large number of Gentlemen below the gangway who also voted for the first reading. Now, I don't intend to offer one word in the way of putting a construction upon the motives of hon. Gentlemen who are to vote differently upon this occasion; but as such a combination may seem rather odd, and may be looked upon by the country with some suspicion, I wish to clear myself at all events—and probably in doing so, I may also render some service to other hon. Members—by showing that the construction which may be put upon the vote about to be given by the noble Lord the Member for Lynn, at all events does not apply to us. The noble Lord has told us very frankly what he considers the object of the majority to be—that we are joining together to do justice to the right hon. Baronet for his policy during the present Session. I think he said that it must be the object of every honest man to inflict summary punishment upon the traitor, although some of us may like the treachery. It is a vote of censure upon the right hon. Baronet in the estimation of the noble Lord. Now I beg to repudiate for myself and for many hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House, such an unjust and unfair construction upon the votes we mean to give. We should be acting very inconsistently indeed with popular opinion—and we especially affect to represent popular opinion—if we were to give such a vote as this; because I apprehend there will be no dispute on this point, that the right hon. Baronet has been the means of passing this Session one of the most popular measures that any Minister could possibly undertake. We should be outraging public opinion if we allowed such a construction to be put upon our vote at this moment, on the very day that this great measure has been brought down to this House from another place. Yes, I can imagine the noble Lord feeling that there is a sort of poetical justice in carrying a vote of censure at the very moment of the passing of the Corn Bill; but I beg to say that he must not put this construction at all events upon my vote. I do not mean to say one word on the merits of the Bill. But it seems the right hon. Baronet attaches so much importance to the Bill, that, according to general report, he has determined to stand or fall by it. With that I have nothing to do; for I have resolved that I shall not imitate the noble Lord, and stultify myself by voting that black is white, merely to serve another purpose. I said two months ago that I believed it possible that before the Corn Bill passed the House of Lords, the right hon. Baronet would be put in a minority by a cross vote, for I said then, as I say now, that the hon. Gentlemen below the gangway were prepared to give any vote consistent with their personal honour, which we must not question in this House, for the purpose of throwing out the right hon. Baronet. I therefore feel that it would be quite hopeless for any man to seek to keep the present Government in power by giving a single vote against his convictions, because we should then be soon again put to the test by the hon. Gentleman opposite, and we should go on voting black was white to no purpose. Now, I beg to assure hon. Gentlemen opposite that this state of parties will ere long receive a solution out of doors. We cannot continue with three parties in this House, neither party being able to carry on the Government. There must be a fusion of two parties. I see no immediate prospect of an amalgamation between the Gentlemen below the gangway and their late friends on the other side; and I must say that I am very glad it is so. There is nothing which I should regret more than to see the right hon. Baronet forced into an alliance with that rearward party. But there is another reliance which I imagine, in some shape or other, must take place here, and which has already taken place in the country. There is no distinction in the country, so far as I am aware, between those who follow the noble Lord the Member for London and those who give in their adhesion to the policy of the right hon. Baronet. ["Hear!"] I don't understand the logical inference to be drawn from that cheer. I don't think it holds out a cheering prospect to the hon. Gentlemen below the gangway. But I augur that if this fusion has taken place out of doors, and the rank and file of those who follow these two distinguished leaders are found mingling in their ranks and fraternizing with each other throughout the country, there cannot long be a separation between the two chiefs themselves, and the result will be an abandonment of their strife, and a fusion between the two parties in this House. Well, I apprehend that this will give us a Government and a majority—which will not be a protection Government, at all events. Now I have only to say, in contradiction to the noble Lord (Lord George Bentinck), that if the right hon. Baronet chooses to retire from office in consequence of this vote, he carries with him the esteem and gratitude of a larger number of the population of this Empire than ever followed any Minister that was ever hurled from power. [Mr. RASHLEIGH: Not of the working classes.] The hon. Member for Cornwall says, "not of the working classes." [Mr. RASHLEIGH: And I repeat it.] I am sorry the hon. Member is so excited in making the declaration; but has he the same expression of opinion to give with regard to the voting classes? I think the right hon. Gentleman has shown great forbearance to hon. Members below the gangway, in not having availed himself of the strength he has with the country, and, taking them at their words, before he abandons office, appealing to the country. But should he not do so, I am not misinterpreting the opinion of the people, not only of the electors, but especially of the working classes, when I tender the right hon. Baronet, in my own name, as I might do in theirs, my heartfelt thanks for the unwearied perseverance, the unswerving firmness, and the great ability with which he has during the last six months conducted one of the most magnificent reforms ever carried in any country, through this House of Commons.

The House divided on the Question, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question:"—Ayes 219; Noes 292: Majority 73.

List of the AYES.
Ackers, J. Cockburn, rt. hn. Sir G.
Acland, Sir T. D. Cole, hon. H. A.
Acland, T. D. Collett, W. R.
A'Court, Capt. Compton, H. C.
Adare, Visct. Connolly, Col.
Adderley, C. B. Coote, Sir C. H.
Ainsworth, P. Corry, rt. hon. H.
Alexander, N. Courtenay, Lord
Alford, Visct. Cripps, W.
Antrobus, E. Damer, hon. Col.
Arbuthnot, hon. H. Davis, D. A. S.
Astell, W. Deedes, W.
Austen, Col. Denison, E. B.
Bagot, hon. W. Dickinson, F. H.
Baillie, Col. Dodd, G.
Baillie, H. J. Douglas, Sir H.
Baldwin, B. Douglas, Sir C. E.
Barkly, H. Douglas, J. D. S.
Baring, T. Douro, Marq. of
Baring, rt. hon. W. B. Dowdeswell, W.
Bateson, T. Drummond, H. H.
Beckett, W. Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.
Bell, M. Dugdale, W. S.
Benbow, J. Du Pre, C. G.
Bernard, Visct. East, J. B.
Blackburne, J. I. Eastnor, Visct.
Bodkin, W. H. Egerton, W. T.
Botfield, B. Egerton, Sir P.
Bowles, Adm. Emlyn, Visct.
Boyd, J. Entwisle, W.
Bramston, T. W. Estcourt, T. G. B.
Briscoe, M. Feilden, W.
Broadley, H. Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Brooke, Sir A. B. Filmer, Sir E.
Bruce, Lord E. Fitzmaurice, hon. W.
Bruges, W. H. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Buckley, E. Flower, Sir J.
Burroughes, H. N. Forbes, W.
Campbell, Sir H. Forester, hon. G. C. W.
Cardwell, E. Forman, T. S.
Carew, W. H. P. Fox, S. L.
Carnegie, hon. Capt. Gardner, J. D.
Chandos, Marq. of Glynne, Sir S. R.
Chelsea, Visct. Godson, R.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Gordon, hon. Capt.
Cholmondeley, hon. H. Gore, M.
Chute, W. L. W. Gore, W. O.
Clements, Visct. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Clive, Visct. Greene, T.
Clive, hon. R. H. Gregory, W. H.
Grimsditch, T. Nicholl, rt. hon. J.
Grogan, E. Northland, Visct.
Hale, R. B. Oswald, A.
Hall, Col. Owen, Sir J.
Hamilton, J. H. Paget, Lord W.
Hamilton, G. A. Palmer, R.
Hamilton, W. J. Patten, J. W.
Hamilton, Lord C. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Hampden, R. Peel, J.
Hanmer, Sir J. Pennant, hon. Col.
Hayes, Sir E. Polhill, F.
Heneage, G. H. W. Powell, Col.
Herbert, rt. hon. S. Reid, Col.
Hervey, Lord A. Richards, R.
Hodgson, F. Round, C. G.
Hogg, J. W. Round, J.
Holmes, hon. W. A'C. Rumbold, C. E.
Hope, A. Russell, C.
Hope, G. W. Russell, J. D. W.
Hornby, J. Ryder, hon. G. D.
Hotham, Lord Sanderson, R.
Hughes, W. B. Sandon, Visct.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Seymer, H. K.
James, Sir W. C. Seymour, Sir H. B.
Jermyn, Earl Shaw, rt. hon. F.
Jocelyn, Visct. Sheppard, T.
Johnstone, Sir J. Shirley, E. J.
Johnstone, H. Shirley, E. P.
Jones, Capt. Smith, A.
Kelly, Sir F. Smythe, hon. G.
Kemble, H. Smollett, A.
Ker, D. S. Somerset, Lord G.
Kirk, P. Somerton, Visct.
Lascelles, hon. E. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Spooner, R.
Lefroy, A. Stewart, J.
Legh, G. C. Stuart, H.
Lemon, Sir C. Sutton, hon. H. M.
Leslie, C. P. Thesiger, Sir F.
Lincoln, Earl of Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Lindsay, hon. Capt. Tollemache, J.
Lockhart, A. E. Tomline, G.
Lockhart, W. Tower, C.
Lyall, G. Trench, Sir F. W.
Lygon, hon. Gen. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Mackenzie, T. Trotter, J.
Mackenzie, W. F. Verner, Col.
Mackinnon, W. A. Vernon, G. H.
M'Neill, D. Vesey, hon. T.
Mahon, Visct. Villiers, Visct.
Mainwaring, T. Vivian, J. E.
Manners, Lord C. S. Welby, G. E.
Masterman, J. Wellesley, Lord C.
Maunsell, T. P. Wood, Col.
Meynell, Capt. Wood, Col. T.
Mildmay, H. St. J. Wortley, hn. J. S.
Morgan, O. Wynn, rt. hon. C. W. W.
Mundy, E. M. TELLERS.
Neville, R. Young, J.
Newry, Visct. Baring, H.
Dist of the NOES.
Aglionby, H. A. Bankes, G.
Aldam, W. Bannerman, A.
Allix, J. P. Baring, rt. hon. F. T.
Anson, hon. Col. Barnard, E. G.
Archbold, R. Barron, Sir H. W.
Armstrong, Sir A. Bellew, R. M.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Benett, J.
Bennet, P.
Bagge, W. Bentinck, Lord G.
Baillie, W. Bentinck, Lord H.
Baine, W. Beresford, Major
Berkeley, hon. C. Evans, W.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Evans, Sir De L.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Ewart, W.
Berkeley, hon. G. F. Fellowes, E.
Bernal, R. Ferguson, Col.
Blackstone, W. S. Finch, G.
Blake, M. J. Fitzgerald, R. A.
Bodkin, J. J. Fitzroy, Lord C.
Borthwick, P. Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Fleetwood, Sir P. H.
Bowes, J. Forster, M.
Bowring, Dr. French, F.
Bradshaw, J. Fuller, A. E.
Bridgeman, H. Gibson, T. M.
Bright, J. Gill, T.
Broadwood, H. Gisborne, T.
Brocklehurst, J. Gooch, E. S.
Brotherton, J. Gore, hon. R.
Browne, R. D. Goring, C.
Buck, L. W. Granby, Marq. of
Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W. Granger, T. C.
Buller, C. Grattan, H.
Buller, E. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Guest, Sir J.
Busfeild, W. Hall, Sir B.
Byng, G. Hallyburton, Ld. J. F. G.
Byng, rt. hon. G. S. Halsey, T. P.
Callaghan, D. Harcourt, G. G.
Carew, hon. R. S. Harris, hon. Capt.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Hastie, A.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Hatton, Capt. V.
Chapman, B. Hawes, B.
Christie, W. D. Hayter, W. G.
Christopher, R. A. Heathcoat, J.
Churchill, Lord A. S. Heathcote, G. J.
Clay, Sir W. Heneage, E.
Cobden, R. Henley, J. W.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Heron, Sir R.
Collett, J. Hinde, J. H.
Collins, W. Hindley, C.
Corbally, M. E. Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Hollond, R.
Craig, W. G. Horsman, E.
Crawford, W. S. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Curteis, H. B. Howard, hon. E. G. G.
Dalmeny, Lord Hudson, G.
Dalrymple, Capt. Hume, J.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Humphery, Ald.
Denison, W. J. Hurst, R. H.
Denison, J. E. Hussey, T.
Dennistoun, J. Hutt, W.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. T. Irton, S.
Dick, Q. Jervis, J.
Disraeli, B. Johnson, Gen.
Duff, J. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Duke, Sir J. Kelly, J.
Duncan, Visct. Knight, F. W.
Duncan, G. Knightley, Sir C.
Duncannon, Visct. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Duncombe, T. Lambton, H.
Duncombe, hon. O. Langston, J. H.
Dundas, Adm. Layard, Capt.
Dundas, F. Lennox, Lord G. H. G.
Dundas, D. Liddell, hon. H. T.
Easthope, Sir J. Loch, J.
Ebrington, Visct. Long, W.
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Lowther, hon. Col.
Ellice, E. Macaulay, rt. hon. T. B.
Elphinstone, Sir H. Macnamara, Major
Escott, B. M'Carthy, A.
Esmonde, Sir T. M'Donnell, J. M.
Etwall, R. M'Taggart, Sir J.
Maher, N. Rolleston, Col.
Maitland, T. Romilly, J.
Mangles, R. D. Ross, D. R.
Manners, Lord J. Russell, Lord J.
March, Earl of Russell, Lord E.
Marjoribanks, S. Rutherfurd, A.
Marshall, W. Scott, R.
Marsland, H. Scrope, G. P.
Martin, J. Seymour, Lord
Matheson, J. Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Shelburne, Earl of
Miles, W. Sheridan, R. B.
Milnes, R. M. Sibthorp, Col.
Milton, Visct. Smith, J. A.
Mitcalfe, H. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Mitchell, T. A. Somers, J. P.
Moffatt, G. Stanley, E.
Molesworth, Sir W. Stanley, hon. W. O.
Morpeth, Visct. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Morris, D. Staunton, Sir G. T.
Mostyn, hn. E. M. L. Stuart, Lord J.
Muntz, G. F. Stuart, W. V.
Napier, Sir C. Stuart, J.
Neeld, J. Strickland, Sir G.
Newdegate, C. N. Strutt, E.
Newport, Visct. Tancred, H. W.
Norreys, Lord Taylor, J. A.
Norreys, Sir D. J. Thompson, Ald.
O'Brien, A. S. Thornely, T.
O'Brien, W. S. Towneley, J.
O'Brien, T. Traill, G.
O'Connell, D. Trelawny, J. S.
O'Connell, M. Trollope, Sir J.
O'Connell, M. J. Tuite, H. M.
O'Connell, J. Turner, E.
O'Conor Don Tyrrell, Sir J. T.
O'Ferrall, R. M. Vane, Lord H.
Ogle, S. C. H. Villiers, hon. C.
Ord, W. Vivian, hon. Capt.
Osborne, R. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Oswald, J. Vyvyan, Sir R. R.
Packe, C. W. Waddington, H. S.
Paget, Col. Wakley, T.
Palmerston, Visct. Wall, C. B.
Parker, J. Warburton, H.
Pattison, J. Ward, H. G.
Pechell, Capt. Watson, W, H.
Pendarves, E. W. W. Wawn, J. T.
Philipps, Sir R. B. P. White, S.
Pigot, rt. hon. D. Wilde, Sir T.
Plumridge, Capt. Williams, W.
Pollington, Visct. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Ponsonby, hn. C. F. A. C. Wodehouse, E.
Powell, C. Wood, C.
Power, J. Worcester, Marq. of
Price, Sir R. Worsley, Lord
Protheroe, E. Wrightson, W. B.
Pulsford, R. Wyndham, J. H. C.
Rashleigh, W. Wyse, T.
Redington, T. N. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Rendlesham, Lord Yorke, H. R.
Ricardo, J. L. TELLERS.
Rich, H. Hill, Lord M.
Roebuck, J. A. Somerville, Sir W.
Paired off
Acheson, Lord Copeland, Ald.
Bell, J. Blakemore, R.
Blake, Sir V. Praed, W. T.
Butler, P. S. Maxwell, hon. J.
Bailey, J. jun. Bruen, Col.
Colville, C. R. Egerton, Lord F.
Howard, hon. J. K. Gladstone, Capt
Howard, hon. H. Hope, Sir J.
Cayley, E. S. Pakington, J. S.
Langton, G. Reid, Sir J.
Listowel, Lord Lindsay, H.
Maclean, D. Ashley, hon. H.
O'Brien, C. Attwood, J.
O'Brien, J. Hepburn, Sir T.
Pigot, Sir R. Whitmore, T. C.
Rawdon, Col. Acton, Col.
Rice, E. R. Barrington, Lord
Troubridge, Sir T. Gore, W. O.
Tufnell, H. M'Geachy, F. A.
White, H. Cresswell, B.
Philips, M. Grimsditch, T.
Attwood, F. I. Smyth, Sir H.
Leader, J. T. Martin, C. W.
Hildyard, T. B. Frewen, C. H.
Archdall, Capt. Hussey, A.
Arkwright, G. Ingestre, Lord
Bailey, J. James, W.
Balfour, J. M. Kerrison, Sir E.
Barclay, D. Law, hon. C. E.
Barneby, J. Lawson, A.
Baskerville, T. Lopes, Sir R.
Blewitt, R. J. Lowther, Sir J.
Boldero, H. G. Martin, T. B.
Brooke, Lord Marton, G.
Browne, hon. W. Miles, P. W. S.
Brownrigg, S. Morgan, C.
Bruce, C. Morison, Gen.
Castlereagh, Visct. Morrison, J.
Chapman, A. Neeld, J.
Clayton, R. R. Ossulston, Lord
Clifton, J. T. Paget, Lord A.
Codrington, Sir W. Palmer, G.
Colquhoun, J. C. Philips, G. R.
Currie, R. Phillpotts, J.
Dashwood, G. H. Plumptre, J.
Divett, E. Price, R.
Drax, J. S. W. Pryse, P.
Duncombe, hon. A. Pusey, P.
Dundas, T. Repton, G.
Eaton, R. J. Roche, D.
Ellis, W. Scott, hon. F.
Farnham, E. B. Smith, B.
Ferrand, W. B. Spry, Sir S. T.
Ffolliott, J. Standish, C.
Fielden, J. Stanton, W. H.
Floyer, J. Talbot, C. R. M.
Fox, C. R. Taylor, Capt.
Gaskell, J. M. Thornhill, J.
Halford, Sir H. Turnor, C.
Hamilton, C. B. Vivian, J.
Hardy, J. Walker, R.
Hay, Sir A. L. Walpole, S.
Heathcote, Sir W. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Heron, Sir R. Wemyss, J.
Hill, Lord E. Westenra, Col.
Hodgson, R. Williams, T. P.
Hoskins, K. Wilshere, W.
Houldsworth, T. Wyndham, Col.
Howard, P. H. Wynn, Sir W.
Counties 56 Counties 58
Boroughs 97 Boroughs 154
Universities 3 Universities 0
Total 156 Total 212

VACANT.—Sudbury, 2; Carlow County, 1; Kilkenny County, 1: Total 4. Speaker 1. Grand total, 658.

Main Question as amended agreed to. Bill put off for six months.

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