§ SIR G. GREY
with reference to the Motion which stood first on the paper, in the name of the hon. Member for Nottingham (Mr. F. O'Connor), begged to remind the hon. Member that it was the opinion of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland—in which opinion Her Majesty's Government entirely concurred—that it was of great importance the decision of the House on the measure for the repression of crime and outrage in Ireland should be obtained as speedily as possible. He wished to ask the hon. Member if he considered his Motion of so urgent and imperative a character that it was necessary to interpose the discussion upon it between the stages of the Bill for the suppression of crime in Ireland? There would be ample opportunity in the course of the Session for bringing the subject forward; and he only wished to put it to the hon. Member if he thought it necessary to interpose it between the second reading of the Bill from the full discussion of which he did not desire to shrink.
§ MR. O'CONNOR
said, the right hon. Gentleman had placed him in a very unfair and disagreeable position, because he was perfectly aware of the popularity of 753 the measure for which he (Sir G. Grey) sought precedence, and of the unpopularity of the measure of the subject of his (Mr. O'Connor's) Motion. But as he considered the discussion upon his Motion ought to precede, and was not inappropriate to the question for which the right hon. Gentleman sought precedence, the right hon. Gentleman would excuse him when he heard his reasons for seeking to bring forward the question at the earliest opportunity. He trusted the right hon. Gentleman would not consider he was actuated by any spirit of factious opposition to the Bill before the House in introducing his Motion at present; and he promised he would delay the House as little as possible. He would proceed with the Motion of which he had given notice, viz.—That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire and report on the means by which the dissolution of the Parliament of Ireland was effected; on the effects of that measure upon Ireland and upon the labourers in husbandry and operatives in manufactures in England; and on the probable consequences of continuing the Legislative Union between both Countries.He was aware of the disagreeable position in which he had been just placed by the request of the right hon. Gentleman opposite; but had witnessed the patience of the House in a very irritating discussion on a very irritating subject, and he trusted their indulgence would likewise be extended to him on the present occasion. It was necessary to bring the topic forward us speedily as possible for this reason, that when an agitation was carried on in the country for a great national purpose, the earliest opportunity should be taken by the advocates of the principle at issue in the agitation to ascertain the opinion of the House of Commons upon it. Moreover, a great many Members had suddenly become converts at the general election to the doctrine of repeal; and he wished to give those Gentlemen the earliest opportunity of redeeming their pledges in the honest manner in which he was sure they would. He had, in order to secure unanimity, adopted, contrary to his own views, the very words of the Gentleman now deceased who brought forward this subject in 1834; and as to any jealousy of him (Mr. O'Connor), he was the first man who ever gave notice of a Motion of this character; he withdrew it in 1833, owing to the appeal of that Gentleman, now no more; but powers of coercion being sought for, there naturally came under consider- 754 ation the whole state of Ireland, the consequence of which was the demand for those powers. He (Mr. O'Connor) should not enter into any discussion of the relative merits of Saxons and Irishmen; he ought to be the last man in the House to cast any reflection upon the English, for, when the Irish were comparatively unergetic and indolent, nearly 3,500,000 of the English people petitioned for a repeal of the Union. If a Committee were now refused, the Irish people must conclude that there was something which would not bear the light. He should leave statistics to others, and place his appeal upon higher ground than the falling off of exports or imports, or of agriculture. If the House should say that their title was by conquest, he should ask what statute of limitation there was against a country redeeming and regaining its right by conquest again when it should be able to do so; and if, on the other hand, it was alleged that it was the wish of the Irish people that the Union should take place, then he would show in Committee that that was not so; or if it should be said that the two countries were so bound up together that it would be dangerous to sever the tie, then he would ask how it happened, that while England hastened on to the goal of perfection, Ireland had been as rapidly retrograding? He should trace, very briefly, the title of the Crown of England to the dominion of Ireland, dividing his address into four parts. The first title that England had attempted to establish to the dominion of Ireland was by the Charter of Edgar, in 964; next he (Mr. O'Connor) should pass to the 33rd of Henry VIII., showing that during that time both nations were Catholic, and that therefore the disturbances or outrages could not have had their origin in religious distinctions; then he should go on to the American revolution in 1776, thence to 1800, and then to the present time; and of the whole period it would be his object to show that every revolution in Ireland was created by the English by blood, or by the English by birth, or by English Protestants ranged against the Catholic Irish people, and that in no single instance was there an entirely Catholic revolution. Those revolutions were fomented by Protestants, who sought to augment their own power by making the Catholic people their dupes, at the same time limiting the power of that very Catholic people. If he should be able to establish this by historical evidence, he should have made out a strong 755 case for investigation; at all events, he should have relieved the Catholic people of Ireland from all those aspersions which had been cast against them by hired historians, who represented them as a people always disaffected towards this country. The first title set up for the dominion of England over Ireland was the Charter of Edgar the First, said to be signed at Gloucester; but Leland, an historian mostly favourable to England, said it was a document of doubtful authority at the best, and that consequently it could not be considered anything like a fair title. The next was that claimed by the supposed conquest of Henry H., A.D. 1169. The king of Leinster asked a letter of licence from Henry to engage his subjects to reconquer that province, which gave rise to the invasion of Strongbow. In 1192, Henry H. went over to Ireland with the bull of Nicholas Breakspeare, an English Pope, reigning under the title of Adrian IV., but he remained there only a short time, and made no conquest of the country. Adrian professed to bestow the sovereignty on him, for the ostensible purpose of bringing the Irish Church more thoroughly within the jurisdiction of Rome, and for the equivalent of the "Peter's pence," which was a penny out of every house in the country. The value of that title it would be idle to discuss in an English House of Commons. The next title was that arising out of the alleged conquest of the country by John, who was sent over at twelve years of age to receive the submission of the lords of Ireland at Waterford. But it was an historical fact that the very next day after the submission the war against the rule of England commenced, which proved that it could not have been real, only feigned. The profligacy and tyranny of the prince and his courtiers had the effect of completely alienating the hearts of the lords and people of the country during the short period of his stay in it. The title of Henry was chiefly, if not altogether, from the donation of the Pope, which in itself was ostensibly for the purpose of making Ireland more Catholic; but it was well known that in the seventh, eighth, and ninth centuries, the clergy and missionaries of Ireland had propagated the light of the Christian faith over every part of Europe with such efficacy as to earn for their country the noble title, Insula sanctorum et doctorum. The falsity of the English titles was too apparent to dwell upon; and he would show that 756 the title of conquest was no better, because it was an historical fact, that from the period of the English invasion to the days of the ruthless Cromwell, and the rebel King William, the English had been obliged to surrender every foot of ground which they had gained through their numerical superiority the moment they withdrew their forces from Ireland. The next title after that derived from John was the submission of all Ireland, as it was termed, to Richard H., A.D. 1395, one curious condition of which, as alleged by Sir John Davis, an historian of no credit, was the entire surrender of all the land in the country to the king. But, happily for the interests of truth, there was a French soldier with the English court—Sir John Froissart—and he told a different story, for he said that not only was there no submission of the lords, and therefore no surrender of the land, but that, on the contrary, the Irish completely harassed the invaders out of their country. In 1399 there was another invasion of Ireland by Richard II.; but he did not go further than Dublin, where he spent a month in every kind of debauchery, and whence he returned to England in all haste on learning that the Duke of Lancaster had landed, and was advancing towards London. The next title to Ireland was the conquest of Henry VIII., up to which it would be borne in mind the religion of both countries was the same, and therefore no revolt or opposition to England could have arisen out of the difference of creed. James I. created forty boroughs to swamp the representation of Ireland; and in his time Poyning's Act was passed, by which the legislative functions of the Irish Parliament were transferred to England. Up to the period of the Union he would show that, in point of fact, Ireland had no legislature; and that, consequently, no act of that body could unite the countries. Cromwell, after the murder of his king, sacked Ireland, and plundered the people of their property, dividing it among his followers. Previous to his time Ireland had been confiscated only by piecemeal, the king, James I., asking only for six counties now, and six counties then, to satisfy the lust of gain, and the ambition of his courtiers. Then there came the glorious Revolution of 1688, so called, in which James II., through his own folly and cowardice, surrendered his claim to the sovereignty of the country. From 1688 to 1768, however, there was not a single step taken to con- 757 quer the country; but in 1763, when Lord Townsend was sent over to Ireland a new attempt was made to effect it—viz., by corruption. It was ascertained that the distribution of patronage among the gentry who composed the Irish Parliament was a surer mode of conquest than the force of arms; and accordingly the House of Commons was immediately corrupted by the representative of the royal power in that country. At the period of Lord Townsend's arrival in Ireland, a seat in the Irish Parliament, which was then for life, was worth only 5001.; but that nobleman having obtained an Octennial Bill, it rose at once to 800l. In 1776 the revolt of the American colonies of England took place. Up to that period the people of Ireland were, in the words of a great writer, "brayed in a mortar," and reduced to the lowest depths of misery and degradation by plague, pestilence, and famine. In fact, there was nothing in the country then but coercion and distress. With the revolt of the colonies came the difficulty of the English Ministers; but still it was not the Irish Catholics that took advantage of them. That advantage was taken by the Irish Protestants—chiefly the landholders. Poyning's Act was procured to be repealed, and Ireland was declared independent of England in her legislative capacity. Then, as if by magic, arose that armed force, known as the Volunteers, under the command of Lord Charlemont: and then, also, as if by magic, the price of a seat in the Irish Parliament rose from 800l. to 2,5001.—for it was clear that nothing but corruption could effect the subjugation of Ireland. The most desolating days of Ireland were those of Lord Charlemont and the Volunteers, because the great body of the people were made instruments to subserve the interests and advancement of the few. The mass of the Volunteers—who were Catholics—were commanded by Protestant officers, who did only what they considered would be beneficial to themselves—among which was to increase the price of boroughs; and it was upon record that Lord Charlemont himself had distinctly declared that he would be no party to any alteration in the existing laws, except they were made on the broad basis of Protestant ascendancy. Was it wonderful, then, that when the French Revolution broke out—shaking society to its very centre—the Irish Catholics should look to the Catholics of France for example and for redress? Again the English Min- 758 ister was frightened; for he had to send all his available force to France; but he had no cause to be frightened, for when the Volunteer gentry attempted a second time to take advantage of the Irish people to obtain further concessions for themselves, the Catholic population refused to stir unless under the guarantee of Parliamentary reform. The Whigs promised all, but performed nothing; for Charles James Fox had, when he got into power, defined Parliamentary reform as the exclusion of Government Commissioners from seats in the House of Commons. Dumourier, the French general, however, sold the liberty of the world; and for the period Parliamentary reform was at an end. The only advantage which the Catholics obtained was in 1776, when they were permitted to purchase land—the land of their fathers, if they had the money to pay for it, and to hold it under certain restrictions. In 1798, the Irish Rebellion broke out. The history of that event remained to be written. Ireland had given this country some of her most celebrated warriors, statesmen, and poets: but she gave her no historian as yet, because her literature had been destroyed with her liberties. After that followed the Union. How was that measure carried? In 1797, Lord Moira said, in the House of Lords, that it would be better to submit to the claims of the Irish people, and suffer them to continue to legislate for themselves. The value of the Union was co-ordinate with the names by which it had been effected. He would not enter into statistical details on the subject, nor attempt to show the House what was known to all who gave the history of the period the slightest attention, how Ireland had increased in prosperity under an independent legislature—how her imports and exports had increased. What he should show was the corruption by which the Union was effected, and the fraud that was practised upon that country. In 1780, Ireland did not owe a fraction, notwithstanding the ages of privation she had previously endured. In 1800, when the Union was effected, she owed 14,000,000l. That was what she got from Lord Charlemont's Volunteers. He (Mr. O'Connell) could quote the opinions of Lords Plunkett, and Grey, the Irish Attorney General, Saurin, and the Irish Chief Justice, Bushe, as well as other high authorities on the subject, to prove the corrupt means employed to effect the Union, and also to show that the results which had ensued from it were pre- 759 dicted at the period as a consequence of that misgovernment which might have been easily anticipated. When the Union was carried, Ireland was not in the position of a fair contracting party; for there was no parity between the burdens borne by her and those borne by the country with which she was united. Ireland was then in a state of duresse, and every article of the treaty had been violated within sixteen years from its occurrence. The exchequers of the two countries, for instance, had been consolidated; and, instead of two-sixteenths of the interest upon the united debt, she was called upon to pay as much as could be extracted from her resources. He would now come to the material point at issue at that period. What was the casus belli—the irritating question between the Irish people and the Irish Parliament? It was Catholic Emancipation. Was it not Catholic Emancipation? The written and implied contract at the time of the Union, was Catholic Emancipation. But Ireland never had a Parliament. The Irish Parliament was, in fact, nothing more than a registration court for English Acts of Parliament. Prom 1780 till the Union, England, by using corruption, by giving places and pensions, enabled the Irish Parliament to ride roughshod over the Irish people. He had shown that Ireland never had a Parliament. The Irish Parliament was corrupt; it was governed through the means of its boroughs, and the owners of those boroughs were bribed by the English Government with places and patronage. Instead of reforming the Irish Parliament, England destroyed it; and the reason was, as he would prove, because the repeal of Poyning's Act had made them independent of England. What did Lord Castlereagh do? He pledged himself to give emancipation. But he violated the Union, and he violated the articles of the Union. The people petitioned against the Union. He would not refer to those who had sold their country for lucre—Plunkett, Saurin, and others. He looked on such men with disdain. They had at first protested against the Union as iniquitous and self-destructive to Ireland, and yet they afterwards were mean enough to accept money and pensions from the enemy. The only thing that the House could do, or ought to do, was to grant a Committee to inquire into the way in which the dissolution of the Irish Parliament was accomplished. If Government refused this, it would go forth to the Irish people 760 that the Irish Members who wished for this Committee had made such a strong case that Government could not answer it. If the Motion for a Committee, were resisted, then Government would stand condemned in Ireland. It was not one and a half million only which were given to bribe the Irish Parliament. It was because England looked with an eye of apprehension on the part Ireland would take in the event of a war that this sum was sacrificed. What were the bribes offered to Irishmen? The price was 15,000l. for a borough or a peerage. All who had political influence were bribed. If a commoner, he was made a peer; if a peer, he received increased patronage and 15,000l. But how did the English Government keep faith with Ireland in respect to the representation at the time of the Union? Instead of giving Ireland 260 Members, or 170, or even 165, the lowest number to which it was shown by comparison of population she was entitled, you only gave her 100 Members. There were 500 Members for England, with nine millions of people; and only 100 for Ireland with six millions. Was this a fair representation, or could the Irish people be otherwise than dissatisfied with the arrangement? Besides that, the parties sent to the House of Commons were only those who would be sure to prove themselves the minions and tools of the English Government. The first act of these Members was to pass a law in favour of absentee landlords and against the Catholics, and thus to lay the foundation of that system which, after so many years had elapsed, you now asked for Coercion Bills to put down. You asked for Coercion Bills to protect the property of Irish Peers from depredation. The Irish Peers were men who had not a single quality to recommend them, except their hostility to Ireland. In 1735 the Irish Protestant Parliament passed the Tithe Agistment Act, by which the Protestant owner of 4,000 acres paid not a penny in tithes; while the poor Catholic widow, who scraped the manure from the roads, which she applied to the potato patch that furnished her with food, was compelled to pay tithe under this Act. When the Act was repealed in 1823, the landlords immediately waged a destructive war against tithes. As soon as they were touched by the repeal of the law, they were the first to take up the cry for the abolition of tithes. They shot or transported all who attempted to shift the burden on their shoulders. He spoke with 761 a due sense of his responsibility. He had been tried in 1832 for resisting the payment of tithes; but he was not an artful, designing demagogue; he did not expect to gain anything by the course he had taken; and he might go farther and say, that in the whole course of his existence he had never travelled a mile or eaten a meal at the expense of any man, though he had conducted more contested elections than any one, without even accepting a fee for his services as a barrister. He was not one who went about the country attempting to create bitter feelings. He was not one who lived only on discord. That was the qualification by which he sought to establish his right to speak in that House. He would now come to another question which had been made a great handle of in that House—he referred to the proposal of increased emigration for Ireland. He contended, if one thing was more disgraceful to a nation or a Government than another, it was the attempt to seduce men to leave the land of their birth to go to a foreign country. And when we saw toiling Irishmen here, taking the lion's share of labour, carrying their hods at your docks and public buildings, while their own country was a barren wilderness, to what could it be attributed but to the want of proper government, and to the neglect of Government in not developing the resources of the country? He laid it down as an axiom, that no danger could result from social improvement—for from social improvement proper government would naturally spring. If social improvement was attained, improvement in the representation would follow; and Government then would find a difficulty in buying off men, as they now bought off political agitators, who merely agitated for their own sordid purposes. He was for extending liberty—not that liberty which degenerated into licentiousness. It seemed, however, to be the rule that those who took the lion's share of glory were also to have the lion's share of punishment. He had been in prison oftener than any hon. Member in that House; and he attributed the respect for the ordinary law which the people showed to that circumstance. No poor man of his party had ever gone before a jury without being provided with the best counsel, paid for with money out of his own pocket. Many hon. Members in that House, barristers, had been employed and paid by him to defend poor men; and he could call on them to confirm 762 what he asserted, that he had never shrunk from his share of responsibility. He would now come to the material question of free trade. He was happy to see the leader of free trade and the learned Doctor present. He held the Doctor in the highest respect; and as to the leader, he believed there did not exist a more able, honourable, or upright man than the hon. Member for the West Riding of Yorkshire. He had met the hon. Member but once, and then he saw beneficence in his face. He flattered himself he was a bit of a physiognomist; he looked at the hon. Member, and he saw humanity, generosity, and beneficence in his countenance. There was one question connected with free trade which free-traders seemed to blink. He alluded to the necessity, owing to the Union, which existed for Irish labourers to come over to this country and to compete with the English labourers for work. This naturally caused the poor-rates to augment, and also took 30,000,000l. away from the labourer of this country by the competitive labour of the Irish. Would it not be better to have these 30,000,000l. secured to the English labourer, with a reduction of the poor-rates? This would be effected by a repeal of the Union, which would allow the Irish labourers to return to their own country. This was a vital question, far more so than any question of Exchequer-bills or Bank charters. Labour was the source of wealth. It was folly to attempt to pass Coercion Bills. All legislative labour would be lost until that system was adopted which secured to the labourer the fruits of his toil. The English people were looking into the question. The influx of Irish paupers caused them to reflect. They wanted to know why this influx of Irish paupers should continue, when these paupers were required at home to cultivate the lands. Honour to the Saxon! though, after the manner in which his country had been attacked by the press here, he might be supposed to entertain no very friendly feeling; yet he said, honour to the Saxon! He had lived among them a long time, and could bear testimony to their amiability and straightforwardness. He would now come to the question of a separate Parliament. Irish Members when they came here had no power; they were too few in number. He laid it down as a truth, that, from 1793 to the present time, all estates in Ireland had been cultivated according to the science of politics, and not according to the science 763 of agriculture. If Ireland had been properly governed, we should not see, after nearly half a century, that one year she came to England for alms, and the next for a Coercion Bill. He had shown that when Ireland was free, no country in the world had ever improved with such rapidity. He had already stated that there never had been a Catholic revolution. The oath of the United Irishmen was to this effect, that all parties and all religions were to combine to effect Parliamentary reform. In the conspiracy of 1798, there were only four Catholics implicated; they were otherwise all Protestants. There was no such thing as a religious outbreak known in Irish history. He would read the names of the list of conspirators of 1798. At the head of this list were the names of his father and his uncle, Lord Castlereagh, Grattan, and others. There was another circumstance which the House, he thought, would see was an enormity—namely, that the whole of the staff in Ireland, not only up to the time of the passing of the Act of Union, but up to the present time, were all Protestants; whether sheriffs or lords-lieutenant, the magistracy were for the most part Protestant. In the barony of East Muskerry, in the county of Cork, there was not a single Roman Catholic magistrate. One of the circumstances which had tended to widen the breach between England and Ireland, was the exchange of the militias. Yes, England had sent a licensed band of plunderers into Ireland, and Ireland had exchanged an Orange force for them. These were facts which irritated the public mind. He contended that it was mere folly to denounce the Roman Catholic priests in Ireland as fomenters of the evils which distracted Ireland. These men were members of some of the first families in the country, who kept in their possession the title-deeds of estates which had been wrested from their families; these were the men who were called upon to visit their flocks, often on the property which had been their own family's. There was not a mountain pass which the priests did not know—there was not a hovel they did not visit. And these were the men who had their armorial bearings over the mantelshelf, and the title-deeds of their family estates still in their possession. If at the battle of Waterloo, instead of Wellington conquering, Napoleon Bonaparte had conquered, and Napoleon had partitioned out this land among his followers, and had brought with him 764 Roman Catholic priests to whom the Bed-fords should pay tribute—he would ask the noble Lord whether he would not, under such circumstances, gladly have availed himself of any opportunity of ridding themselves of an alien priesthood, and to recover their lands, to the possession of which there was no statute of limitation. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dungarvon (Mr. Sheil), whether he, as a member of a persecuted faith, derived any honour from being associated with those who had degraded his country? He would recall the recollection of those honoured men who were hunted into caves, and whose only security lay under the protection of bayonets. But he (Mr. O'Connor) would still hope that the right hon. Gentleman, who was such an ornament to his country, would yet cause gladness throughout Ireland by his abandoning the position which he now occupied, and confessing the error of his present ways. With reference to the Union, Ireland, as a nation, had no voice in it. The country was coerced by the presence of 150,000 military. In the consideration of the subject of his Motion, he would beg to call the attention of the House to the present state of Europe. Let them look to Spain and to Portugal. The present state of Switzerland might be regarded as that of a great boiler in the centre of Europe. Let the House reflect on the sympathy which was evinced by America for the wrongs of Ireland. As soon as America should be free to act, he said in the face of that House and of the country that if ever Ireland should require support, America would come to the relief of her flesh and blood, and that America would rescue Ireland. He believed that by something like reciprocity, with a Parliament sitting in England, and a Parliament sitting in and for Ireland—if agriculture in the latter kingdom were successfully carried out—the Irish would be better customers in the markets for manufactures; and that, instead of looking all over the world for food, we should have a colony at our own door. As he was aware that there were many hon. Gentlemen who would take part in this debate, he would merely observe that he had laid before the House, in the course of his address, the history of his country, divided into four periods—from 964, the date of the charter of Edgar, to 1542, that of Henry's invasion; from 1542 to 1776, the epoch of the revolt of the British American colonies; 765 from 1776 to 1800, the period of the Union; and from 1800 to the present time. He had shown that there had not been a single war of Catholic insurgents—that every war had been waged by Protestant gentlemen making tools of the Catholic people. He had shown that in the year 1780, Ireland did not owe a halfpenny; whereas in a comparatively short period subsequently, she was frightfully involved. He had shown that every article of the Union had been violated, and that Government was carried on upon a corrupt system, resting upon an abuse of patronage. He asked now to have a Committee granted to inquire into these things. He thought he was entitled to the gratitude of those Gentlemen who entered that House pledged to repeal, for giving them an opportunity of redeeming their pledge. For himself, he would never hold a seat if he did not keep every pledge; nor would he give a pledge if it were not in conformity with his feelings and opinions. He knew that he was looked upon as a destructive and revolutionist; but he would assert that he was doing more than any other man to create an improved social state. He had been called an infidel and an anarchist; but he stood there for the altar, the throne, and the cottage. But he wished to see the altar the footstool of God, and not the couch of man; he wished to see the throne based on the affections of the people, instead of the lust of the aristocracy; and for the cottage, he wished to make it the castle of the freeman, instead of the den of the slave. The hon. and learned Member concluded by again reading his Motion.
§ SIR G. GREY
was sorry that the hon. Gentleman (Mr. O'Connor) had felt he had a right to complain of the appeal which he had made to him in the beginning of the evening to postpone his Motion; for that appeal had reference simply to the public interest, and to the advancement of business which was felt to be of public importance. He did not know what the feelings might be of those hon. Gentlemen who came from the sister country, to whom the hon. Member for Nottingham had appealed, to show their gratitude for the opportunity which he had given them of redeeming their pledge; but he could not help thinking that the hon. Member himself must now be convinced that he would have exercised a wise discretion if he had abstained from pressing this Motion. It appeared to him that the conclusion of the hon. Member's speech 766 was the most discreet part of it; for if he had not distinctly read the terms of the Motion with which he was about to terminate his address to the House, there were very few Members in it, he would venture to say, who could have conjectured what the Motion of the hon. Member would be. The hon. Member began with the reign of Edgar, and went through the history of Ireland from that period with great rapidity. The hon. Gentleman had certainly improved the leisure which he had enjoyed since he last made his appearance in that House, and had acquired a large stock of antiquarian lore and historical information, with which the House had not before been favoured. If the hon. Member possessed this knowledge formerly, the hon. Member had not previously displayed to Parliament his stores of knowledge. He was reminded, however, that he was mistaken in this respect. He believed the House was favoured by the hon. Gentleman with information of a similar kind on a former occasion, including the autobiographical notice with a portion of which the House had been indulged that evening; and, on the occasion in question, the hon. Gentleman had commenced from an early period, demonstrating his descent from the ancient kings of Ireland. But he must really ask the hon. Gentleman whether he intended that the Committee for which he had moved should take that wide and discursive range of subjects which the hon. Member's own speech had occupied? At what period of the history of Ireland were their inquiries to commence? The hon. Member had touched, with a very light and rapid hand, upon the various evils which had afflicted Ireland; but he had utterly failed in demonstrating that a repeal of the Union would cure those evils, or that those evils which he had shown had existed in Ireland from an early period could be fairly ascribed to the Union. When he recollected the manner in which this question had been discussed on a former occasion, and the able writings which had issued from the press upon the subject, he was not prepared to say that the question was not one which Parliament should entertain; but he felt it impossible to treat it seriously when brought forward as it had been that evening. If the hon. Gentleman thought that the subject of the repeal of the Union was of such great and pressing importance, why did he not directly and manfully take the opinion of the House on that question; and why 767 not move that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House to discuss it? He really thought that this was a much fairer mode of dealing with the subject than moving for a Select Committee to make inquiries which would occupy, not merely the present Session, but all the Sessions during which the present Parliament could last. [Mr. O'CONNOR: No!] If the Committee did not go hack to a more remote period, they must at least go back to circumstances which occurred nearly half a century ago. He asked the hon. Gentleman whether these events were not well known; whether they were not matter of history; and whether any necessary information on the subject was wanted? The hon. Gentleman seemed to think that' patronage had been largely exercised to bring about the Union, and that since the Union, also, the patronage of the Government had been improperly bestowed, because some Irishmen, who were subjects of the United Kingdom, received their fair share of public employments. Did the hon. Member believe that if the Irish Parliament were established to-morrow, there would be an absence of all patronage exercised by the Government; or that Members of Parliament would be so patriotic as to refuse patronage when offered to them; or that constituents would instantly cease to prefer those requests which were commonly made by constituents to Members of Parliament, and even occasionally by the constituents of Irish Members? He would ask the hon. Member what evil would, in his opinion, be remedied by a repeal of the Union? He did not now deal with the question whether any evils had been really occasioned by the Act of Union or not; he was only dealing with the speech of the hon. Gentleman. The hon. Gentleman had said that the Irish labourers interfered with the rate of wages received by the English labourer; but did the hon. Member mean to accompany his Motion for a repeal of the Union by a measure prohibiting Irish labourers from entering England; or did he mean to say that an Irish Parliament would pass laws which would prohibit their emigration from their own country? There was, no doubt, some pressure upon the industry of this country from competition with Irish labourers; but those labourers benefited themselves by coming here, and frequently proved, by their industry, a valuable class of men. He thought that, instead of aiming at complete severance, we should en- 768 deavour, by fair and considerate legislation, to consolidate and hind together the two countries. He regretted the tone which the hon. Member had adopted in regard to religious differences. He was sure that the spirit of successive Governments had been of late years to avoid the sectarian bigotry which marked the Administrations of former times. The hon. Gentleman had endeavoured to make this a question between Protestant and Catholic; but he (Sir G. Grey) hoped that these differences between Protestant and Catholic were losing much of their bitterness. He thought that the Committee could lead to no beneficial result, and might induce the delusive notion that the House was prepared to entertain the question of the propriety of repealing the Union. He really hoped, therefore, that this Motion might be disposed of without that long debate which the hon. Gentleman seemed to anticipate.
§ MR. O'CONNOR
in explanation, begged to say that he was quite ready to propose a distinct Motion for the repeal of the Union, and expressed a hope that the right hon. Gentleman would second it.
§ MR. H. GRATTAN
said, that the hon. Member for Nottingham had thought proper to say that he (Mr. Grattan) knew nothing of history. In return, he might be allowed to say that the hon. Member himself knew nothing of it. When the hon. Member said, that Mr. Grattan was a rebel, he said what was not the fact. The hon. Member for Nottingham had called Mr. Grattan a rebel, and that statement was false. The statement in the paper read by the hon. Member was a falsehood. He knew Mr. Grattan better than the hon. Member could know him; and Mr. Grattan never was an United Irishman. The hon. Member had done more; he had not only libelled Mr. Grattan, but he had libelled Lord Charlemont; and he (Mr. H. Grattan) would not sit in any assembly where Lord Charlemont was libelled without answering his traducer. Lord Charlemont did not sell the Volunteers, neither did the Volunteers sell their country. The hon. Member had also libelled Mr. Ponsonby. It was not the fact that Mr. Ponsonby was in the list to which the hon. Member had referred. Neither Mr. Ponsonby nor Mr. Grattan ever belonged to the Society of United Irishmen, though they did belong to the Volunteers. [Mr. O'CONNOR made a gesture of assent.] The hon. Member admitted that he was right; then why had he not the civility and courtesy to ask him before- 769 hand whether it were correct that Mr. Grattan and Mr. Ponsonby were United Irishmen? He did not wish to quarrel with the hon. Gentleman; but he would fight him upon this ground to the last drop of his blood. He objected to this setting of party against party—this exciting of jealousy—this reviving of things that were obsolete, and this constant reference in the time of affliction and distress, when they ought to co-operate together, to old grievances. He appealed to the good heart of the hon. Gentleman, for although he wished that House to believe it was as black as it could be, it was not so black as he would make them believe it was. The hon. Gentleman on a memorable occasion in the county of Meath stood by him like a man of courage when he had a bayonet at his breast and a sabre over his head; and he would stand by the hon. Gentleman when he acted rightly, as firmly as he would oppose him when he was acting wrongly. He did not say that this was a claptrap Motion, but it might tend to frustrate the object the hon. Gentleman had in view. If the hon. Gentleman proposed a Motion for the consideration of the Act of Union, he would support him; but not when he came under a mask, libelling Lord Charlemont, the Volunteers, Mr. Grattan, and Mr. Ponsonby, and then thought he could sit down there unanswered. He charged the hon. Gentleman with four libels, and in calling upon that House, as the jury, to convict him, he pronounced the hon. Gentleman "guilty, upon his honour."
§ MR. J. O'CONNELL
said, the hon. Gentleman who brought forward the Motion had thought it necessary to make some species of apology to Irish Members sitting on the Ministerial side of the House; but he assured the hon. Member there was no necessity for any apology, for those Irish Members felt no jealousy at the hon. Gentleman's having brought forward this subject. The right hon. Baronet who followed the hon. Gentleman had asked what could be the utility of considering the subject now; but he thought there should not be an entire oblivion east over the scenes of the year 1800, but that the reprobation of mankind should be attracted to the enormities committed by the Government of that day, in order to carry the measure of the legislative Union. Forty-seven years had passed since Ireland was deprived of her right of making laws for herself; and what had been the consequence? That she had been reduced to a 770 state below which there was none deeper, except that of utter annihilation or total ruin. What was her condition before the Union? Lord Clare, who was one of the artificers of that Act, and who was one of the deadliest enemies to the independence of his native country, declared in the Irish House of Lords that in the history of the world no nation was ever before known to make in so small a space of time the same progress in arts, commerce, manufactures, and all that could upraise the condition of a nation, as Ireland, during the short period of eighteen years that she enjoyed the entire freedom of her own Parliament. Mr. Pitt and Mr. Huskisson had also said that up to 1780 the policy of England had always been to cripple Ireland, and deprive her of her natural resources; and Lord Castlereagh, one of the chief artificers of his country's ruin, in 1803 declared that Ireland had during the same eighteen years he had referred to made a progress that had astonished the world. The consequences of the Union to England had been not loss disastrous than to Ireland. England might prosper in her own material wealth; but so long as, by her neglect, she left Ireland to decline in her condition, she would never derive any advantages from the trick by which the Parliament of the sister country had been annihilated. Every victory which had been won under the English flag was tarnished by her cruelty to Ireland; and whenever the Englishman was heard to boast of his constitution and his country, the foreigner, pointing across the Channel, would always find in Ireland a ready retort. There was an annual external drain of 6,000,000l. upon the resources of Ireland, as a consequence of her connexion with England, which made it a matter of utter impossibility that she could sustain the burdens at present imposed upon her, or advance in the same ratio as either of the other British isles. Recently her misfortunes had been aggravated by a visitation of Providence in the complete destruction of the potato crop. This deficit in her ordinary capital amounted at least to 16,000,000l., and as the potato might be said to have represented the currency of Ireland, the evil so occasioned had been enormous. A short time ago the labourer had been paid with the potato; by the potato the farmer paid his rent; by means of the potato the farmer obtained clothing for his family; by the potato large classes were fed; and now the substitute was money. This being the case, the pre- 771 vailing distress in Ireland was easily to be accounted for; and it would be well if the House now considered if some cheap currency might not be substituted as a substitute for the deficiency created by the loss of the potato. With regard to the money part of this question, he thought he was bound to make out a case in order to justify the words he had used the previous evening. The terms of the Act of Union had expressly stipulated that Ireland should not be subjected to bear any of the burdens of the debts of England contracted before 1800—the incumbrances of the two nations being at the time very disproportionate; and the principle was recognised on all hands that the annexed country ought not to be saddled with any of the debts of the annexing country. The funded and unfounded debts of England were then 420,000,000l., and those of Ireland about 28,000,000,l. Ireland, it was agreed, should contribute two-seventeenths to the imperial expenditure; and even Lord Castlereagh admitted that this proportion was too large. The stipulation was to be maintained so long as there was an absence of certain contingencies; and, in the event of either of these, the erasure of the national debt or the improvement of the circumstances of Ireland, until there was complete equality in wealth between England and Ireland, taxation was to be made equal, and the imperial incumbrances were to be borne in the same proportion. Neither of these contingencies had arisen; on the contrary, the debt of Ireland, by legislative mismanagement and injustice, had increased out of all proportion. In 1800 it was 24,000,000l., and in 1817 it was 120,000,000l.; the increase altogether being 59 per cent for England, and about 300 per cent for Ireland; and yet it was declared that a casus had been made out for a consolidation of the Exchequers, and that the time had come when taxation ought to be made equal. The consolidation of the Exchequers had been accomplished in direct violation of the terms of the Act of Union, and all the subsequent financial measures founded upon that consolidation were, in consequence, as completely illegal as they were grossly unjust. Ireland, it might be, had failed to contribute equally; but no good reason could be shown why she should have done so. England had failed to maintain, by separate taxation, the separate liabilities imposed on her by the Act of Union; and the result of the policy of Parliament had been 772 to make Ireland bankrupt, thus crippling one country while they crushed the other. Whatever happened to increase the expenditure of England, operated in absorbing every available shilling from Ireland. He calculated that since the Union Ireland had paid 60,000,000l. more than her proper share, and, on that ground alone, he claimed for her the consideration of this country in a period of distress, not as a grant of charity, but an act of justice. As to separate taxation, England only paid 10,500,000l., while her proper share, according to the interpretation of the Act of Union, was 15,000,000l., and in that estimate he reckoned the income-tax, which was only laid on four or five years ago; so that the fact was, deducting the income-tax, England only paid about 5,000,000l. of separate taxation. It has been asserted that Ireland had had compensation for all this, in an indirect way, since the Union, being free from certain imposts, as the assessed taxes; but he contended that there was no force in that argument, as Great Britain had relieved herself in far greater proportion from those taxes than she had relieved Ireland. In the aggregate, Great Britain had relieved herself from 47,000,000l., while she had relieved Ireland from only 2,000,000l. of the same taxation. All this time Ireland paid the expenses of her civil and military establishments; for, although defrayed out of the Consolidated Fund, it came out of that part of the fund which was produced by Irish money. The remittances from the British Exchequer to Ireland, since the Union up to January 1, 1845, had only been 7,500,000l., while the total remitted from the Irish Exchequer to the British had been 26,700,000l., being a balance of 19,200,000l. in favour of Ireland, or, adding to the remittances since 1845, a total excess of remittances from Ireland of 19,789,591l. Such were his general views of what England owed to Ireland in regard to money matters; and when the question came before the House in a fairer and more legitimate manner, he should be prepared to develop his argument at greater length. He had, in drawing to a conclusion, to notice the last part of the hon. Gentleman's Motion, viz. the effect of the Union upon the poorer classes in Ireland, a subject which, as the hon. Member had well stated, deserved the attention of the House. In consequence of the poverty of Ireland, and the superior wealth of this country, there was a constant immigration 773 of paupers into England. This was one of the evils which the Union had brought upon them. The poor-rates of this country were enormous, in consequence of this immigration—the people were impoverished by the number of paupers that came among them, and the existing distress in Ireland had greatly aggravated the evil. He would be content to be covered with shame and ridicule if his prediction was not realised—that the consequence of the Irish poor-law—in which many hon. Members gloried as providing a remedy for the pauperism of Ireland—would be that it would stimulate the immigration of paupers into this country. He maintained that the poor would find their way into this country as surely as water found its level. The effect of the poor-law would be to break down the classes upon whom the poor-rate fell, and add them to the general mass of paupers. He did not speak of the present distress; he spoke of what would be found to be the permanent effect of the poor-law, which they thought was to take Ireland off their shoulders. The right hon. Baronet (Sir Gr. Grey), in his brief answer to the speech of the hon. Member for Nottingham, had alluded to the repeal debate in 1834. Since that debate had been alluded to, he (Mr. O'Connell) would take the liberty of reminding the House of the promise then solemnly made by one of the largest majorities on record in rejecting a Motion which was supported by forty Members identified with the Irish people—a promise which obtained the sanction of the House of Lords, and the concurrence of the Sovereign then on the Throne, and which was, therefore, a pledge from the three estates of the realm, viz., that in expressing their resolution to maintain the legislative Union inviolate, they were determined to "persevere in applying their best attention to the removal of all just causes of complaint, and to the promotion of all well-considered measures of improvement." Had that promise been carried out? What grievances had been removed? Were not the people of Ireland at that moment crying out for relief, and could not obtain it? Did not the Government confess that the landlord and tenant question constituted a serious grievance, and did not that grievance still remain unredressed, the Government having put it off from time to time in consequence of the difficulties with which it was surrounded? Thirteen years had elapsed since the promise was made which he had just quoted, and their grievances were still un- 774 redressed. Nay, more, the promise had not merely been unfulfilled, it had been actually violated. They had Coercion Acts imposed upon them in place of obtaining a removal of grievances; they had had a scanty and crippled Municipal Reform Bill thrust upon them; their elective franchise unjustly limited, and which was declining every day, and yet no hand was raised to remedy it. There were a thousand other grievances which had never been touched. He did not mean to taunt the House with this; he merely wished to remind them at the beginning of a new Parliament, when they were starting under fairer auspices than usual, of the solemn pledge and covenant which had been made to Ireland—a pledge which had been ratified by the House of Peers and the Throne, and which, therefore, ought to be as binding as a legislative Act; and he conjured the House to consider the necessity of granting them at last a full, entire, and ample redress of those grievances which they were pledged to remove. For himself, he believed that the repeal of the Union would prove the only real benefit to his country. The great and wasting evil of Ireland was the draining of money out of her; and he saw no means of restoring this vital necessary except by the re-establishment of a domestic legislature. A tax on absenteeism, which some looked to as a remedy, was a forced and unnatural expedient—though he admitted that occasionally it might be necessary to have recourse to artificial remedies for artificial evils; but in this case he would give the means of inducing absentees to return home without any such interference. A native Parliament would bring them back again. It would be their interest to return and watch the progress of legislation and its effects upon life and property. A domestic legislature, therefore, would supply the landlords with a direct self-interest in remaining at home; it would stop the drain of money out of Ireland, and lead to its being spent in that country; it would revive trade and commerce; it would enable the people of Ireland to be better because richer customers to England, and in this way would benefit both countries—for he could not suppose such a solecism in the providence of God as the prosperity of the one country hurting that of the other; it would make the empire prosperous and happy at home, and strong and irresistible in its power abroad.
§ MR. TRELAWNY
was of opinion, notwithstanding all that had fallen from the 775 hon. Member who had just sat down, that Ireland was far too lightly taxed. He saw no reason why the income-tax should not be extended to Ireland, or why assessed taxes should not be imposed. He was sure he spoke the sense of the country when he declared that the burdens of Ireland, instead of being, as the hon. Member had alleged, too heavy, were far too light. He therefore hoped that the Government would not be induced by the constant howl of the Irish Members—by their continual dunning and boring for money—to yield to their unreasonable demands. With respect to the repeal of the Union, he believed that, if agreed to, the result would be that the people of the north of Ireland would not tolerate being domineered over by the people of the south; that a civil war would consequently ensue; and that after a time a military despotism would be established, and we should then be in greater peril than ever from such dangerous neighbours. He had thought that the Chartists of England and the Repealers of Ireland were at variance with each other; he knew they used to be; but it would appear that their feuds were at length healed up, and that they were now overbidding each other for popularity in the same cause. With respect to the Irish landlords, he thought their case exceedingly hard—seeing that if they remained on their estates they were liable to be shot, and that if they were absent it was proposed to make them liable to additional taxation. They were thus placed between two fires. The hon. Member had appealed to the English people to do more for the Irish, and had endeavoured to show that, as regarded the past, Ireland owed nothing to England. That was a good reason why John Bull should not give any more; for if Ireland disallowed the debt which was already owing, what chance was there of getting back that which was now asked? One could hardly help mixing up the Coercion Bill with this debate. He confessed he was one of those who strongly sympatised with the Irish people when the Arms Bill was passed. He was not then convinced that it was a fitting measure under the circumstances; but he now certainly regretted his conduct in voting against it on that occasion. He considered himself in some degree responsible for the outrages which had followed. But, even if he had not changed his opinion upon that point, the present measure was one of a totally different character, and to which the same strong objection could not apply. 776 He was surprised, indeed, to see any opposition offered to a measure which every one must know to be absolutely necessary; and, if the opposition were continued, he thought the Government would be justified in carrying the provisions of the Bill at once into effect on their own responsibility, and then calling for an indemnity. Unless they did something of this kind, all those who had been marked out for assassination would be assassinated in the interval. He would not say that hon. Members delayed the passing of the Bill with that intention; but certainly such would be its effect. Some years ago one of the most unpopular votes a Member could give was in favour of a Coercion Bill; but this was no longer the case. The public felt that the Ministers would be unworthy of their position if they did not propose such a measure. He gave them great credit for the manner in which they had carried out the provisions of the Irish Poor Law. It was essential to the proper working of that law, however, that the landlords should be enabled to improve their estates; and this could only be done by a totally different mode of cultivation from that which generally prevailed. This rendered it necessary that there should be ejectments; because the farms were often in the hands of a great number of persons, and the small farmers were unable to use the proper machinery, and unless those small tenants were dispossessed, and ejectments effected by wholesale, it was utterly impossible that the land could be properly cultivated. This seemed a hard measure—he admitted it sounded harsh—but he was convinced that it was the only thing that could lead to the permanent good of the people themselves. The hon. Member (Mr. O'Connell) had last night attempted to show that the murders had not taken place without some palliating circumstances; but, unless the hon. Member had had a better defence to offer than he had yet produced, the hon. Member should have let the subject alone. What justification had he offered in regard to the case of Mr. Roe? The reason assigned for that murder was, that Mr. Roe had broken faith with a tenant. He had great respect for the Irish tenantry; but if every man who told a lie to them was to be shot, he could not help thinking it was rather hard treatment. He concluded by saying that the proposed Coercion Bill must be passed immediately; otherwise the murders would increase tenfold.
§ MR. O'FLAHERTY
said, the hon. Gentleman who had just down was altogether unacquainted with the state of Ireland. There was no Member in the House who was more anxious to suppress the atrocious crimes which had recently disfigured his unfortunate country than he was, nor one more ready to strengthen the hands of Her Majesty's Government, could it be shown that the ordinary laws of the country were carried out with impartiality and vigour. He should consider it his duty to vote against the Arms Bill in all its stages, because he knew that the ordinary law was not carried out with impartiality. He would mention two instances of this. One of them occurred at the Galway assizes, where a man was tried for seduction and murder. He was convicted, but some points were reserved, which were ably argued before the twelve Judges, who, however, confirmed the sentence. Yet, notwithstanding this, the man, if he was not pardoned, was allowed to die of fever in the jail. The other case was one of bigamy, which was tried at Dublin. Here, too, the man was convicted; but some points were raised, which the twelve Judges again overruled. He was sentenced to seven years' transportation; he was sent to the Penitentiary for a few months; and now he was enjoying the salubrious air of Southern Italy. It was all very well to talk of the poor-law, but as an active administrator of that law, he could tell them that the poor-law was a measure of confiscation, and though eventually it might prove beneficial, yet as a means to meet the necessities of the present times, the poor-law was the most preposterous scheme that ever was devised.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
said, that as a Member of that House who believed that the restoration to Ireland of a separate legislature would improve the condition of the people, both in a social and a moral sense, he had to express his regret that this subject had been introduced at this particular time. He had exerted all the influence which he possessed with the hon. Mover, with the view of inducing him to postpone the consideration of the question for at least one month; and his motives for giving that advice were to afford an opportunity to all those hon. Members who, like himself, were pledged to repeal, to attend there during the discussion of a question of such great national and, he might say, imperial importance. He regretted that he had been unable to prevail on the hon. Member, because he thought that the discus- 778 sion of a question of such magnitude required more notice. Let him not be understood to express regret at the introduction of the subject on any other grounds He trusted he should not be accused of being actuated by any feelings of jealousy; for let it be introduced by any hon. Member, however generally opposed to his own views, he should still have felt bound to support it. As the question had been brought before the House, he felt that he could not shrink from his duty in voting for the Committee, which he believed to be a most rational and reasonable course, inasmuch as a Committee must necessarily be appointed for the purpose of inquiry. As they had just appointed a Committee to inquire into the question of the currency, he trusted they would be induced to follow the example in the present instance. Before expressing his opinions on this subject, he must be permitted to advert to the speech of the hon. Member for Tavistock, which, he confessed, he had heard with considerable surprise. It occurred to him that the speech of the hon. Member had been prepared for the purpose of being delivered on the Coercion Bill; and that probably, as the hon. Member had not succeeded in finding an opportunity of delivering it then, he had thought he might dovetail it into the present discussion. It appeared to him a most unfortunate exhibition on the part of the hon. Member. He certainly was greatly surprised to hear the hon. Member apologise for having voted against coercion on a former occasion, and hoped the House would pause before granting him absolution. He thought Ireland not sufficiently taxed, but wisely abstained from giving reasons for his belief. Ireland, to be sure, was exempt from income-tax; but bearing in mind that the whole property of Ireland, as ascertained under the poor-law valuation, was only 13,187,000l., and that an enormous amount of taxation was imposed exclusively on the land of Ireland, and that this enormous load was now increased by the imposition of a poor-law, he was at a loss to think how the hon. Member could justify his assertion. When he spoke of 13,187,000l., he must be understood as differing altogether from the hon. Member for Galway with regard to the poor-law. He rejoiced at its imposition, and believed that if worked out properly, it was calculated to lay the foundation of substantial prosperity in Ireland. He believed the principle of the law to be sound, although its details might require considerable im- 779 provement. The land in Ireland was enormously mortgaged, and a very great part of the 13,000,000l. made its way into the pockets of mortgagees and annuitants, by whom not one penny of the tax was paid. He knew of an estate worth 8,000l. a year charged with mortgages and annuities to the amount of 6,000l. per annum; and he asked, was it reasonable that the nominal owner and his tenants should pay the entire rate, and the annuitant and the mortgagee escape without paying anything? This was a matter which required alteration. But the hon. Member for Tavistock intimated that there was an alternative; that is, the tenant had an alternative. He presumed the hon. Member alluded to the safety-valve of the poor-law. Now, as he must be more minutely acquainted with the state of Ireland than the hon. Member could pretend to be, he begged to call his attention to the total inability of the property in some parts of Ireland to bear the burden. He begged to direct his attention to a Parliamentary paper, published by order of the Poor Law Commissioners within the last month. That paper contained an account of the number of men employed by the Government last year upon the public roads. It gave, on the 26th of March, the aggregate amount of labourers employed under the Labour-rate Act at 730,000; and let him remind the House of the fact, also, that that Labour-rate Act having ceased, the other Act, which empowered the Government to provide rations for the people in a state of destitution, on the expiration of the first Act came into operation; and let him remind the House, that on the 4th of July, the number of paupers in Ireland receiving rations was 2,606,000. How was it possible to maintain such a mass of poverty? [An Hon. MEMBER: How much is the poor-rate in the pound?] He was asked, how much in the pound the poor-rate was? A very proper question, and one which he was totally unable to answer. He would tell the House why. The poor-rate was not a uniform rate, but varied according to the pressure in particular districts. He knew, that in Dublin there was one rate on one side of the Liffey, and a different rate on the other; in some districts it amounted to 3s. in the pound, and in others to three times that sum. But he must call the attention of the House to the difficulty of carrying out the views of the hon. Member. Mayo contained a population of 400,000. In March last, the num- 780 ber of able-bodied persons employed on the public roads there exceeded 130,000, and when they ceased to be employed, and the Ration Act came into operation, the number of persons receiving rations per day was 300,000–75 per cent of the whole population. How was the poor-law to work there? When the House recollected this fact, that the entire rental of Mayo under' the sworn valuation for the poor-law was in round numbers only 318,000l. per annum, they would see that it would scarcely afford more than 1l. per head per annum for the pauperism of the county. They had, moreover, the testimony both of the Protestant and Roman Catholic clergy of Mayo, that the entire rental of the county would not sustain its pauper population for three months. The poor-law provided that no man in Ireland should be entitled to out-door relief who held more than a quarter of a statute acre of land. He held in his hand a statement of the number of persons holding more than a quarter of an acre, who had received rations in different parts of Ireland. In the province of Leinster he found the number of able-bodied men 26,208, women 15,665, and the number of the families of these able-bodied persons, 87,324; in Munster, 50,204 men, 31,878 women, and their families, 152,412; in Cork, 86,497 men, 43,213 women, their families, 268,192; in Ulster, prosperous Ulster, 25,584 men, 14,404 women, their families, 67,055. All these were to be turned out, in order to carry out the ideas of the hon. Member for Tavistock. To secure that beauty of landscape, and form those splendidly-planted parks which he had so much at heart, these people were to be sent across the Atlantic in crazy vessels, huddled together without sufficient ventilation or medical aid—with less care bestowed on them than the British Government had taken for the blacks shipped from the coast of Africa to be sold on the coast of America. But what matter about them? The landlord and his legitimate, ay, and his illegitimate rights were to be supported. If this were a specimen of imperial legislation, the converts to repeal, he apprehended, would enormously increase. He trusted he had shown to the House that the course advised by the hon. Member was impracticable, and, if practicable, that it would be cruel in the extreme. If the poor-rate should amount to 10s. in the pound on the entire valuation of the island, he should have no objection, but would rather rejoice to see that blister put on the 781 backs of the cruel landlords; and he should also be glad that the people of England should not be called upon to support Irish pauperism. The Act he believed to be right in principle, and as long as he could raise his voice in that House or elsewhere, it should be raised in defence of that principle. He would not farther digress from the subject immediately under consideration. On the subject of the repeal of the Union he had very little to say. The question had been so thoroughly discussed there and elsewhere, that he knew the House would, like himself, regard it as a twice-told tale; the figures had been all properly worked out, and the whole question had been placed before the Imperial Parliament and before the country, by men possessing far more ability to place the subject in a clear light than he could pretend to. It appeared to him, therefore, quite unnecessary to discuss the question; for it was a pounds, shillings, and pence question, after all. He believed that the effect of the Union had been to impoverish Ireland without enriching England. The effect of the Union was, day by day, to lower Ireland in the scale of wealth and social comfort, without conferring any substantial benefit on England. Time was when, in Ireland, to ridicule the curl of a bishop's wig was considered disloyal, and to refuse the payment of tithes was something like high treason; but times were altered, and they could now do the one and the other with impunity. He believed he possessed as extensive an acquaintance as most people with his own country—he knew its position and condition intimately for the last thirty years—and he could assure the House that every class of the community, from the peer to the peasant, felt that they wanted something—felt that they were in want of some improvement. [Laughter.] He had no objection to hon. Members laughing; he liked a laugh, for there was something refreshing it; for they would be all in better temper, and more capable of discussing the question afterwards. In Ireland, even the Protestants began to fold their arms, and ask one another what they had derived from the Union? It had diminished the number of their bishops, abolished a portion of the tithes, by taking away twenty-five per cent; and the Parliament seemed even disposed to meddle with the balance. In the large towns, the old Protestant-ascendancy party were beginning to say that they had been attacked in their strongholds—that 782 the corporations which the other party called the rotten corporations had been destroyed, and their influence annihilated to a certain extent. He rejoiced at this, because it showed that the repeal of the Union was no longer a sectarian question. The Protestants were now beginning to advocate it; and he did not know more uncompromising opponents of repeal than were some of the Roman Catholic Members who had been returned to that House. He believed that a strong feeling was growing up in Ireland that repeal should be no longer regarded as a sectarian question. The city of Dublin was to a man most anxious to have a repeal of the Union. His presence in that House was an evidence of that anxiety on the part of the people; and he had been sent there principally by men who believed that the most urgent necessity existed for the repeal of the Act of Union. They felt that in that House the question had never yet received a fair consideration. They believed that it was likely to receive a favourable consideration then; and although he had heard, before he had entered that House, that a strong party feeling existed, he had experienced none of it. He had heard that there were two sides to the House, and he now found there was only one. Certainly, when the object was to introduce a measure of coercion for Ireland, there was only one side; for all parties appeared to be unanimous in its favour. It appeared to him that it was time the question should be fairly and dispassionately considered. He believed, in his conscience, that the strength and stability of the empire were involved in the repeal of the Act of Union; for every day was adding to the discontent and dissatisfaction of the people of Ireland. He did not think that their opinions ought to be lightly thrown overboard; for they formed one-third of the empire in population and geographical extent. He did not think the British House of Commons had sufficient local knowledge of the wants of the people of Ireland to carry out legislation as it ought to be carried out for that country; at the same time, he believed in his conscience that the majority of that House, whether they were Whigs or Tories, were desirous of doing the best they could for Ireland—they were anxious to ameliorate the condition of the people—but, unfortunately, they did not know how. It happened unfortunately for Ireland, that she had been quacked. She was like a man who, having a slight cold, instead of ap- 783 plying to a regularly qualified physician, had recourse to a quack, and after dismissing one quack, called in another; and Ireland, subjected to this Whig and Tory quackery, was now like a patient in a state of absolute prostration. He would remind the House that in 1800 they had found Ireland happy and prosperous; while every year since, she had been deteriorating, and now, in the year 1847, she was little better than a great mendicity institution. With a population of 8,000,000, she exhibited an amount of pauperism of at least 4,000,000. He really wondered the legislators of that country were not ashamed of such a result. He did not blame the people of England altogether; the fault was not exclusively theirs, for the Irish people were themselves in fault. At all events, pauperism existed in Ireland to an enormous extent; and not only did Ireland suffer, but England suffered also. So extensive was their pauperism, that it visited every nation of the earth. Let them read the accounts from America—let them read the accounts from Canada—and they would find that the unfortunate emigrants who went out to those colonies from Ireland carried pestilence and famine across the Atlantic. An enormous loss of life had taken place not only among those unfortunate people, but also among the people of America. He would ask, was this appalling system to continue any longer? Had they no cure for such a state of things but a Coercion Bill? Since the fatal day when the Act of Union was carried, they had had twenty or thirty Coercion Bills; and now, in 1847, the only remedy they could devise was a repetition of coercion. No man could abhor more than he did the crimes that were perpetrated in Ireland; and he was particularly disgusted with the atrocious perpetrators of those crimes just now, because they had taken the very particular time when the people of Ireland required aid from the people of England, and their conduct had steeled many an English heart against any further consideration of Irish grievances. He trusted, as some difference of opinion existed upon the subject, that the reasonable proposition of the hon. and learned Member for Nottingham would be acceded to. If it was founded upon justice and truth, it would prevail; but if it was founded upon falsehood and deception, the sooner the question was set at rest the better. Whatever the fate of the present Motion might be, he trusted that some hon. Member would take the sense of the 784 House, and ask leave to introduce a Bill to dissolve the Act of Union.
§ DR. BOWRING
had intended to address the House on this subject, not because he thought it a very pressing or important question, but because it was likely to become so from the state of feeling prevalent in the country. He could gather, however, from various indications on the part of the House, that they were anxious to proceed to more practical measures; and he would therefore not trespass further upon their attention.
§ MR. E. B. ROCHE
would not have addressed the House, but that he found it impossible, representing so large and important a constituency as he did, to give a silent vote upon such a question. He would not have suffered himself to be tempted by the hon. Member for Tavistock, who had taken occasion to deliver a coercion speech; but he could not help congratulating that hon. Gentleman on his having got rid of so much ponderous matter. He (Mr. Roche) did not mean to weary the House with a history of Ireland; but upon one point he should say historically, that they had always hitherto misgoverned that country, because they, being Englishmen and foreigners, did not know how to legislate for it. And the particular fact which he should direct himself to prove was, that all attempts upon the part of England to legislate for Ireland had tended to misgovernment. Their legislation had rendered life and property insecure, and had reduced the country to such a condition as was presented by no other in Europe. They had produced discontent on the part of the people during a course of forty-seven years' mismanagement; and they were then listening unwillingly to him because they were anxious to pass a Coercion Bill for Ireland. He could not wonder the people of Ireland had no confidence in them, because he saw no wish or desire on the part of the English Government to legislate in accordance with the wishes of the Irish people. The Established Church in Ireland had been admitted on both sides to be a great grievance; yet for forty-seven years they had not applied themselves to redress it. It was a point on which his constituents felt very deeply, and was one of those practical grievances, the infliction of which the people of Ireland attributed to the mislegislation of this country. They had often also admitted that, with regard to the franchise, the people of Ireland had reason to complain, and that upon this point redress was 785 required. Yet they had never given it, and therefore the Irish people said, that as they refused to give them redress, they were at all events bound to afford them an opportunity of redressing themselves. He did not join the hon. Member for Limerick in condemning the Member for Nottingham (Mr. F. O'Connor) for introducing this Motion. [Mr. JOHN O'CONNELL: I did not condemn him.] At all events, he, for one, felt obliged to the hon. Member for introducing the Motion. He thought the question involved the interests of England as much as it did those of Ireland. It was impossible to carry on the business of England when they had the Irish question continually pressed upon them; and it was impossible for Irish Members to sit quietly by during the discussion of English business, when they were aware of the immediate wants of their own constituents. He said it was impossible for them to do so without feeling the desire of bringing those wants and grievances before the House; the consequence was an Irish debate, and the result was that the business of England was not done as it ought to be. The Member for Middlesex would be interfered with when he wanted to bring on one of those Motions peculiarly his own; and the House was sickened, unwillingly so by hon. Gentlemen, but nevertheless they would continue to be sickened with statements of grievances until they resolved to give Ireland legislative power over her own resources. It therefore devolved upon the people of England as much as it did upon the people of Ireland to unite in repealing the Act of Union between the countries. He was convinced that they would never be able to depend upon the faith and loyalty of the people of Ireland unless they gave her back her own Parliament. They were now in a state of peace—if not exactly in a state of prosperity, they were in a very flourishing condition; but the time might come when they would want their right arm; the time might come when they would want the people of Ireland; and he would tell them that if the people were neglected, if their grievances were left un-redressed, when that time arrived they would not have the people of Ireland. The people would say, "We asked you for redress, but you refused it. We asked you for the alternative, namely, permission to redress ourselves; you also refused that. So now you may fight your own battles." Instead of finding Ireland a friend, they would find her an open and declared enemy. 786 Under these circumstances, he considered the real way to serve England was to consent to allow Ireland free and uncontrolled power over her own resources.
§ MAJOR BLACKALL
said, that although disposed to advocate such a measure as was now proposed, he must in justice to himself explain the reasons for the vote he intended to give. He should not disagree with the Motion itself if it had come before the House free from suspicion, and had emanated from a source in which he had confidence. When, however, he found it brought forward by an Irishman not representing an Irish constituency, without any communication whatever with the Irish Members, he must examine more closely the reasons that must have influenced him in the course he had taken. He must first, then, consider that the hon. Member had not been for many years a resident in Ireland, and that upon his patriotism he could have no confidence. During the hon. Member's residence in England, he thought that there was not much in his general conduct to add luster to the Irish name. Even in the absence of those reasons, he should be disposed to vote against this Motion, in consequence of the refusal of some of the Irish Members to accede to that reasonable and moderate request of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department. In reply to that right hon. Gentleman, as to the manner in which the Irish Members would vote on the present occasion, he would tell him that he might judge them by their conduct on this occasion, which would show whether they had confidence in the measures to be brought forward by Her Majesty's Ministers, or by the hon. Member for Nottingham. He would ask hon. Members opposite whether they really thought that they were pursuing a course that was really beneficial to Ireland? The hon. Gentleman who spoke last said, that the Irish representatives would throw obstructions in the way of English business, by which England would be the great sufferer. He (Major Black-all) would say, that the obstruction that was now given to measures for Ireland, would be a much greater source of misery to that unfortunate country than to England. He had heard much said as to the benefits that were likely to arise from the introduction of a Landlord and Tenant Bill. He did not entertain any sanguine hopes that such a Bill would remedy all the evils of Ireland. He should, how- 787 ever, be disposed to support any measure that would be likely to remedy the evils under which this country suffered. He hoped that the Bill introduced by Government would be pressed forward in the most prompt manner possible. He would give every support possible to that measure. That there was a necessity for coercion in Ireland he thought that the hardiest of the Government opponents would not deny. The opposition that was offered to the measures of the Government was founded upon the mode merely in which it was brought forward. Could any man tell him that the common law was sufficient to put down this state of things, which was bringing their country into a most desperate condition of degradation and crime? He must advert with sorrow to the tone of the debate last night. Allusions had been made to the harsh tone of English Members in this House. He must confess, when he heard the observations of one of those hon. Members for Ireland last night, he thought he was listening to one of those English speeches which they reprobated, rather than to an Irish Member. In the observations that had been recently made in this House, great blame was thrown upon the landlords and the magistrates in Ireland. He must say, he thought that the conduct of the landlords during the last year had been such as to save them from the reprobation of Irish Members at all events. He must remind the House that during the past year they were exposed to the greatest trials and misfortunes. The law for the relief of Irish distress could not be carried out without the assistance of the Irish landlords. They had not only given up their rights, but the little money that they had received in the course of the year was dispensed by them in charity, without which the people would have perished in much greater numbers than had already died. He would ask hon. Members opposite, whether the obstruction they were at present giving to the Government was calculated to benefit Ireland, when they recollected the measures that Her Majesty's Ministers had pledged themselves to introduce for the good of the country? He trusted that the Government would press forward the Bill they had introduced, without which there would be no cessation of crime in that country. He considered that they were pledged to introduce a measure for the settlement of the landlord and tenant question. They were, however, quite right to take the course 788 they were now doing of enforcing the law. The Coercion Bill would be found very light in the hands of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, whose judgment and discretion might be surely depended upon while directing the operations of this measure for the preservation of the lives of Her Majesty's subjects in Ireland.
§ MR. MAURICE O'CONNELL
observed, that the only measure which Her Majesty's Government had proposed was a measure of coercion. He preferred the Motion of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Nottingham (Mr. O'Connor) to the propositions of the Government, and he should vote for that Motion. The Poor Law Act was no remedy for the evils from which Ireland suffered; and, in particular, the mode of rating was highly objectionable. Ought the Irish people to be subject to legislation to which persons so absolutely ignorant of Ireland as the hon. Member for Tavistock (Mr. Trelawny) were parties? The hon. Member for Bolton (Dr. Bowring) was about to address the House, when a momentary pause occurred, and the hon. Gentleman, having been ear wigged by somebody, stated shortly, but not sweetly, that he should abstain from addressing the House, in order not to impede the progress of the measures proposed by Her Majesty's Government. What were the measures to which the hon. Gentleman referred? Measures to be swallowed by the people of Ireland, in which there was more of honey and less of pickle than on former occasions. He remembered when the first Coercion Bill was brought in, and when the first reform Parliament assembled. An extensive reform was obtained by England, and also by Scotland; but what measure of reform was given to Ireland? The most niggardly that could be devised—a measure which the Irish Attorney General stated that he would not have brought forward if he had not considered it a Conservative measure—which, in Irish politics, meant a Tory measure. After the Reform Bill was carried, the first measure brought into that House was a Coercion Bill for Ireland; though he must say for the Whigs that their Coercion Bills had becomeSmall by degrees, and beautifully less,till they were reduced almost to a nonentity. That Bill had weakened the power of the then Government, and was never put into operation in any one county of Ireland. It gave courts-martial the power 789 of trying offences; but not a single trial took place under it. But the Government was so much attached to the system, that, when it expired, it was with the utmost difficulty a less dangerous and more constitutional, but still powerful measure, was obtained from the reformed House of Commons. This was the Act of 1835, which also turned out a dead letter. That Bill broke up the Whig party, for it turned the current of public feeling in Ireland against them. The same party was in power again; but they had commenced their career with a bad omen; they began the first Session of the new Parliament with an act of coercion for Ireland; yet the Irish Members were met by an almost universal request to postpone the consideration of the present Motion, in order to allow the Government to follow up its former bad precedent. He could not consent to that course; he hoped the hon. Member for Nottingham would be supported by a considerable number of Irish Members. He warned the Government against persisting in the course they were pursuing; it would hurl them from power, as it had done their predecessors. The Irish Members were charged with quarrelling among themselves; but as soon as they forgot all private dissensions to protect Ireland from oppression, they were turned on and taunted by the hon. Member for Tavistock for uniting and forgetting former differences. But if they could not get justice, they would prevent oppression; at all events, it should not be their fault if justice was not obtained. They had often been told that the House was sick of hearing the "Irish howl;" let them beware how they changed it into a "war cry." Let them consider in what a position the country stood with regard to its internal defences; they knew on what a slight thread hung the peace of the Continent; and if they wished to be strong let them lay aside Coercion Bills and conciliate Ireland.
having claimed the indulgence and forbearance of the House for himself and the Irish Members, protested against the extent to which the Member for Tavistock had imputed unworthy motives to them for the course they were adopting on the Coercion Bill. If he believed it to be just and necessary—if he thought it would prevent a single crime, or stay the shedding of a single drop of blood in Ireland, he would support it, were it ten times more severe. When the hon. Member for Tavistock taunted them with really 790 believing the Bill to be necessary, although they opposed it, he did not do them justice. As to the question of repeal, when he recollected that 7,000,000 out of 9,000,000 of people were anxious for it—when he recollected the celebrated debates of 1834, and the eminent men who took part in them—when he remembered the solemn promises made on that occasion, and then turned to the state of the House during the greater part of this discussion, and observed the impatience evidently created by it, he almost regretted the subject had been introduced. He would commence the few observations he had to make on it by stating that he was a friend of British connexion; it was for the interests of both countries that they should be united under one Crown. It was also to the advantage of England that Ireland should prosper; she was a great consumer of English exports; and a Manchester manufacturer would tell them that Irish destitution had been a main cause of distress and embarrassment in England. He would lay it down as a position which could not be disturbed, that the prosperity of Ireland was essentially necessary to the well-being of England; and he undertook to show that a repeal of the Union, instead of rendering the connexion between the two countries less certain, would quite re-establish that connexion, and impart to it the best and most effectual security. If he further showed that to put an end to the existing legislative Union would give increased security to Irish property—if he did that, he thought himself fairly entitled to claim approbation for at least the fairness of his argument. To him it appeared that throughout the whole public of Ireland there was no class so much interested in seeing the Union repealed as were the proprietors of Irish land. In the prosperity of Ireland there was no class more interested, or so much interested, as the Irish Protestant proprietary; and he felt entirely persuaded that if they believed property and its rights would not be interfered with, they would at once become repealers. He could show that if Ireland were allowed to manage her own affairs there would not be the least danger of separation. The question of free trade might, perhaps, in times past, have been a source of difference between the two countries; but recent legislation had removed that obstacle to a repeal of the Union. Then, as to such questions as the regency and others, on which the old Parliaments differed, arrangements might 791 easily be made to secure agreement between the legislatures of both countries. In the British Parliament, as at present constituted, Irish interests were wholly neglected, or at least postponed to that period of the Session when many Irish Members had returned to their own country, and when a large proportion of the English Members had left town. Then, the whole expenditure of the country took place in England—the Excise and the Customs departments were consolidated, and England gained all the benefit, while Ireland sustained all the loss. If any one thought Ireland had prospered by the Union, let him observe the consumption of tea, tobacco, sugar, and coffee in that country before and since the Union, and mark how different was the rate of increase of the consumption of the same articles in England in the same period. Let hon. Members refer to the statements of such men as Lord Clare, Lord Plunkett, and Mr. John Foster (the Speaker), on the prosperous and advancing condition of Ireland before the Union, and then turn to the 114 reports that had been made on her condition since, coming down at last to Lord Devon's account of the "badly-fed, badly-housed, badly-clothed" population. Look at her geographical position, her fine harbours, her water-power, her capabilities and resources—had the British Parliament directed its attention to these? The manufactures of Ireland were flourishing before the Union, and if that had never taken place they would have progressed; the Union was the cause of the destruction of the manufactures of Ireland. What promises were made by the statesmen who brought about the Union—by Mr. Pitt, Lord Castlereagh, Lord Clare, and others? Industry was to be encouraged, the resources of the country improved, and order maintained.—The hon. Member, who had been interrupted in almost every sentence by the calls for a division, now became quite unable to make himself heard, owing to the impatience of the House. At length he moved that the debate be adjourned.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member for Cork has moved that the debate be adjourned, and another hon. Member has seconded the Motion.
§ MR. WALTER
As I am a new Mem- 792 ber, I hope the House will listen to me. The observations which have been made by the hon. Members for the county and the city of Cork (Mr. E. B. Roche and Mr. Fagan) have induced me to rise for the purpose of addressing a few words to the House. Those hon. Gentlemen have favoured the House with their opinions as to the capacity of the Irish for self-government. I have always considered that the best proof of the capacity of a people for self-government—
§ MR. E. B. ROCHE
The hon. Member for Cork not having been heard to-night with that attention which he expected, has thought right to move the adjournment of the debate. I understand that the hon. Member for Nottingham does not rise to second the Motion for adjournment.
§ MR. DISRAELI
The Motion for adjourning the debate was moved by the hon. Member for Cork, and was seconded by the hon. Member for Kilkenny. I saw him rise to second the Motion; and I apprehend the hon. Member for Nottingham is speaking to the new question, whether the debate shall now be adjourned.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member who is addressing the House is quite in order, inasmuch as he is addressing himself to the question before the House, that the debate be now adjourned.
§ MR. WALTER
I was about to say that the hon. Members for the city and for the county of Cork have favoured the House with their opinions as to the capacity of the Irish people for self-government. I have always considered that one of the best tests of the capacity of a people for self-government was the possession of business habits; and of those habits one of the most important was that habit of keeping to any question under discussion. Now, if I were to apply that test to the people of Ireland, I should say, after the course which has been pursued by Irish Members during this debate, that they were about as fit for self-legislation as the blacks. The House may not be aware, but it is nevertheless a fact that the blacks have a proverb that "if nigger were not nigger, Irishman would be nigger."
§ MR. J. O'CONNELL
rose and said: I think it is a question whether it is quite in order that this buffoonery should go on.
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member for Kilkenny (Mr. J. O'Connell) is clearly out of order in applying the word "buffoonery" to any observations that have 793 fallen from the hon. Member for Nottingham.
§ MR. J. O'CONNELL
TO anything that you say, Sir, I of course bow at once; and any expression that I have used I entirely retract. I spoke under strong feelings when I heard the expressions of the hon. Member.
§ MR. WALTER
No less a person than Bishop Berkeley, an Irish bishop, gives us the proverb I have just mentioned; and I should not be surprised if, one day or other, such a transformation took place. From some speeches which have been made during this debate, it might almost be thought that Irish distress and Irish grievances were new to the House; that the exactions of the conacre system and the hardships of ejectments had never been heard of before. Why, there can scarcely be a Member of this House who has not heard these questions discussed, out of the House, at least five hundred times; and I maintain that, however important such subjects may be—and weighty and important they are—this is not the proper time to bring them under discussion. We are now met for a different purpose. We are met to protect the lives of our fellow-subjects from murderers and assassins; and are we to be told by hon. Members for Ireland, that we are to place no check upon Irish assassins until we have provided remedies for Irish grievances? If a burglar breaks into my house, am I to inquire into his motives for committing the crime, or into the circumstances of his past life, before I avail myself of those means which my own instinct would prompt me to use, and which the law allows me to use, to prevent his depredations? What would the Irish Members have said, if, at the time when the famine was raging in that country, instead of voting millions for their relief, we had told them we should not give them a farthing till we had inquired into the causes of the potato-rot? If hon. Gentlemen would admit of no delay—no inquiry—when money is the question, let them be for once consistent, and interpose no further obstacles to the measures which this exigency demands. We have been told by my hon. Colleague the other hon. Member for Nottingham (Mr. F. O'Connor), that, for the repression of ordinary crimes, ordinary laws are sufficient; and he read a number of extracts from various writers in support of his position. I agree with my hon. Colleague, that, for the ordinary crimes of murder, 794 theft, and highway robbery, ordinary laws are sufficient; but I maintain that an organised system of midday assassination is no ordinary crime. I think we should deal with those who commit such crimes as Dr. Johnson proposed to deal with madmen—knock them down first, and reason with them afterwards. I would say, in the words of King Richard II.—We must supplant those rough rug-headed kerns,Which live like venom, where no venom else,But only they, hath privilege to live.
§ MR. E. B. ROCHE
rose for the purpose of remarking, that the flippant speech which the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had made about Ireland (and which reminded him of those violent, bitter, and envenomed articles he had read in a certain paper published in that metropolis), however smart it might have been, was not exactly to the point. His hon. Friend the Member for Cork (Mr. Fagan), a man of great practical experience and industry, had introduced and argued this question in a very sound and forcible manner; and he (Mr. Roche) thought that very unfair means had been taken to prevent him from continuing his address. He considered that his hon. Friend would not have done justice to his country or to his constituents if he had not appealed to the generosity of English Gentlemen to listen to his statements. He (Mr. Roche) hoped, therefore, that hon. Members who might have been impatient upon this question, would overcome their inclination to go to a division, and would listen to what his hon. Friend the Member for Cork might have to advance. If the House persisted in interrupting his hon. Friend, or refused to listen to him, he hoped that his hon. Friend would press his Motion for adjournment to a division.
again rose, but the repeated cries of "Order, order!" "Go on!" and "Oh, oh!" rendered it impossible for him to proceed.
The O'GORMAN MAHON
I beg to move as an Amendment, that the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Fagan) be called upon to continue his address. I must say, having had experience of the proceedings of this House some years ago, long prior to the entrance of many of the younger Members, that it was not without astonishment that I witnessed the admirable pa- 795 tience with which hon. Gentlemen have listened to the debate which has taken place. I deem it but right in gratitude to say, that, before this evening, they evinced a disposition to give the greatest attention to any hon. Members who addressed the House. Knowing this to be so, I would say, continue your generosity a few moments more, and perhaps the hon. Member will not trespass on you long. In olden times, I remember, these interruptions did but serve to give a new spring to the energies and revive the powers that were all but exhausted by the previous kind and courteous treatment of the House. I hope, in this instance, the debate will terminate in as calm and kindly a feeling as that in which it originated.
§ SIR G. GREY
The hon. Gentleman has only done justice to the House in saying that it is ready to give a patient and calm hearing to every Gentleman, so long as he confines himself to the subject under discussion. I think the hon. Gentleman would have been warranted in saying that the utmost attention has been given to every Gentleman, from whatever part of the empire he may have come, even up to this evening inclusive. I think if the hon. Gentleman who has addressed the House to-night with somewhat longer pauses than are usually made, and which may be fairly attributed to a want of experience, would take counsel from the hon. Member for Ennis (The O'Gorman Mahon), and confine his remaining observations within a moderate limit, the House will listen to them with every attention.
§ MR. J. O'CONNELL
I do think the right hon. Baronet has not treated my hon. Friend quite fairly, considering that he is a new Member. As to what has fallen from the hon. Member for Ennis, I can only suppose that he has been so long absent from the House as to have forgotten what has been the courtesy usually observed towards Irish Members; but I have myself been sixteen years a Member of this House, and I am bound to say that in no previous Parliament have I witnessed such an inclination to prevent and to crush Irish discussions as has been exhibited this night. The most indecent interruptions have been offered by a number of Members collected on each side of the bar to those who have come here to discharge their duty to their country under the most painful circumstances. Are we to be hunted down because we do not choose to lay our country at your feet, to be trampled on at your 796 will? You think Ireland will be submissive. My decided conviction is, that I have not yet witnessed any Parliament in which there has been such intolerance exhibited. And I hope my hon. Friend will persist in his Motion to adjourn the debate, if it is only to mark our indignant sense of the treatment he has experienced.
said, that if he thought he had used a single expression which could have caused the interruption, he would most willingly apologise; but he was not aware of having used any such remarks. He thought it was due to himself, and it was due to the constituency he represented, to show that he was not to be crushed. He was endeavouring to put in language not certainly exhibiting much talent, or in arguments exhibiting much consistency, but as far as his abilities went, why he thought the repeal of the Union would benefit Ireland, and, benefiting Ireland, would benefit England. In his own idea he was perfectly in order. The Motion this evening had nothing to do with the Coercion Act: it was simply for an inquiry into the Act of Union. It was not his intention to intrude any further remarks on the subject, of which the House was tired. Although it was his opinion that the struggle for the repeal of the Union was to take place on the floor of the House, he greatly feared, from the spirit which had been exhibited this evening, that the people of Ireland would not obtain any of those rights which they claimed from a repeal. He regretted it much, because it would occasion much disappointment and ill-feeling in the country. For himself he feared nothing; he did not mind the manner in which he had been received. He was a stranger, unknown to those Gentlemen who had exhibited such ungentlemanly feeling. He was not anxious to offend any one; he never consciously offended any one, and it was probably because of this feeling that he had been received as he had. He feared nothing for himself, but grieved deeply for the cause of his country. He had no wish to show any angry feeling by persevering in the Motion for adjournment, and therefore most willingly withdrew it.
§ Motion withdrawn.
§ MR. O'CONNOR
replied. The right hon. Baronet had asked him whether he would prevent the Irish people from coming to England in search of labour; to that he answered, that it would be better to confine them to their own country. He 797 would say one single word to the hon. and gallant Member for Longford (Major Black-all), and then have done. It seemed that that hon. and gallant Member had watched him (Mr. O'Connor) in his political career, and was not satisfied with his patriotism. He would give the hon. and gallant Member all the license he required to make strictures upon his (Mr. O'Connor's conduct. Those he should suffer to pass by as the idle wind; but it was rather an extraordinary excuse for not supporting the present measure, that it had been introduced by an Irishman representing an English borough. Now, he saw no difference between an Irishman representing an English borough, and an English gentleman representing an Irish county or borough. He had stated in the outset, that one of his reasons for introducing this Motion early in the Session was to produce the very declaration which the hon. and gallant Member had made; for, if he was rightly informed, that hon. and gallant Gentleman was one of those new-fledged Repealers whose return to that House was upon the understanding that they were to support the repeal of the Union. With regard to his hon. Colleague (Mr. Walter), that hon. Gentleman had told them a negro story. He (Mr. O'Connor) would tell his hon. Colleague a story in return. A captain on board a ship was one day about to flog a negro, but before doing so he began reading the man a long exhortation. "Massa," said the negro, "if you floggee, floggee; if you preachee, preachee; but do not floggee and preachee too." Now his hon. Colleague was about to support the Coercion Bill—let him confine himself to the Coercion Bill—but do not let him preach and flog too. All he asked for now was, not a distinct vote of the House on the question of the repeal of the Union, but merely that a Committee should be appointed to inquire whether or not he had established the case that the Union had been injurious to the people of Ireland. The hon. Member concluded by expressing his intention to divide the House on his Motion.
§ MAJOR BLACKALL, in explanation, begged to say, in reference to the observations of the hon. Member (Mr. P. O'Connor), that he had been sent into that House unfettered on this or any other question.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 23; Noes 255: Majority 232.
|List of the AYES.|
|Blake, M. J.||Callaghan, D.|
|Browne, R. D.||Devereux, J. T.|
|Fagan, W.||O'Connell, M.|
|Fox, R. M.||O'Connell, M. J.|
|Grattan, H.||O'Flaherty, A.|
|Greene, J.||Power, N.|
|Keating, R.||Reynolds, J.|
|Macnamara, Major||Roche, E. B,|
|M'Tavish, C. C.||Scully, F.|
|Meagher, T.||Wakley, T.|
|Mahon, The O'Gorman||TELLERS.|
|O'Brien, J.||O'Connor, F.|
|O'Brien, T.||O'Connell, J.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Abdy, T. N.||Cole, hon. H. A.|
|Acton, Col.||Coles, H. B.|
|Adair, R. A. S.||Coope, O. E.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Craig, W. G.|
|Alexander, N.||Cubitt, W.|
|Anson, hon. Col.||Davie, Sir H. R. F.|
|Arkwright, G.||Dawson, hon. T. V.|
|Baines, M. T.||Deering, J. P.|
|Baldock, E. H.||Disraeli, B.|
|Baring, rt. hon. F. T.||Douglas, Sir C. E.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Drummond, H.|
|Bateson, T.||Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.|
|Bellew, R. M.||Duff, G. S.|
|Benbow, J.||Duff, J.|
|Benett, J.||Duncan, Visct.|
|Bennet, P.||Duncan, G.|
|Beresford, W.||Duncuft, J.|
|Berkeley, hon. Capt.||Dundas, Adm.|
|Berkeley, hon. G. F.||Dundas, Sir D.|
|Bernal, R.||Dundas, G.|
|Bernard, Visct.||Dunne, F. P.|
|Birch, Sir T. B.||Du Pre, C. G.|
|Blackall, S. W.||Ebrington, Visct.|
|Bourke, R. S.||Edwards, H.|
|Bouverie, E. P.||Egerton, W. T.|
|Bowring, Dr.||Elliot, hon. J. E.|
|Boyd, J.||Enfield, Lord|
|Bremridge, R.||Evans, W.|
|Brisco, M.||Ewart, W.|
|Broadley, H.||Farnham, E. B.|
|Broadwood, H.||Farrer, J.|
|Brockman, E. D.||Ferguson, Sir R. A.|
|Brotherton, J.||Ffolliott, J.|
|Brown, H.||Fitzpatrick, J. W.|
|Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W.||Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W.|
|Bunbury, W. M.||Floyer, J.|
|Bunbury, E. H.||Foley, J. H. H.|
|Burghley, Lord||Forbes, W.|
|Burke, Sir T. J.||Fordyce, A. D.|
|Burroughes, H. N.||Forster, M.|
|Busfeild, W.||Fortescue, C.|
|Buxton, Sir E. N.||Fortescue, hon. J. W.|
|Campbell, hon. W. F.||Freestun, Col.|
|Carew, W. H. P.||Frewen, C. H.|
|Carter, J. B.||Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.|
|Caulfield, Col.||Glyn, G. C.|
|Cavendish, hon. C. C.||Grace, O. D. J.|
|Cayley, E. S.||Greene, T.|
|Chaplin, W. J.||Gregson, S.|
|Charteris, hon. F.||Grenfell, C. W.|
|Chichester, Lord J. L.||Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Childers, J. W.||Grey, R. W.|
|Clay, J.||Grogan, E.|
|Clements, hon. C. S.||Guinness, R. S.|
|Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.||Gwyn, H.|
|Clifford, H. M.||Haggitt, F. R.|
|Clive, H. B.||Hale, R. B.|
|Cobden, R.||Hall, Sir B.|
|Cockburn, A. J. E.||Hallyburton, Lord J. F.|
|Cocks, T. S.||Halsey, T. P.|
|Hamilton, G. A.||Renton, J. C.|
|Hamilton, J. H.||Rich, H.|
|Hardcastle, J. A.||Romilly, J.|
|Harris, hon. Capt.||Russell, hon. E. S.|
|Hastie, A.||Russell, F. C. H.|
|Hastie, A.||Sadleir, J.|
|Hayes, Sir E.||St. George, C.|
|Hayter, W. G.||Salwey, Col.|
|Headlam, T. E.||Sandars, G.|
|Heathcoat, J.||Scholefield, W.|
|Henley, J. W.||Scrope, G. P.|
|Heywood, J.||Seeley, C.|
|Hodges, T. T.||Shafto, R. D.|
|Hodgson, W. N.||Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.|
|Hood, Sir A.||Sidney, T.|
|Hope, Sir J.||Simeon, J.|
|Hotham, Lord||Slaney, R. A.|
|Hudson, G.||Smith, rt. hon. R. V.|
|Humphery, Ald.||Smyth, J. G.|
|Hutt, W.||Smythe, hon. G.|
|Inglis, Sir R. H.||Somerton, Visct.|
|Ireland, T. J.||Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W.|
|Jackson, W.||Sotheron, T. H. S.|
|Jervis, Sir J.||Spearman, H. J.|
|Jervis, J.||Stafford, A. O'B.|
|Jocelyn, Visct.||Stanley, hon. E. J.|
|Jones, Sir W.||Staunton, Sir G. T.|
|Jones, Capt.||Strutt, rt. hon. E.|
|Keogh, W.||Stuart, Lord D.|
|Keppel, hon. G. T.||Sutton, J. H. M.|
|Ker, R.||Talfourd, Serj.|
|Knox, Col.||Taylor, T. E.|
|Labouchere, rt. hon. H.||Tenison, E. K.|
|Lennox, Lord A.||Thicknesse, R. A.|
|Lewis, G. C.||Thompson, Col.|
|Littleton, hon. E. R.||Thornely, T.|
|Lowther, H.||Tollemache, J.|
|Lushington, C.||Towneley, J.|
|M'Gregor, J.||Townley, R. G.|
|M'Naghten, Sir E.||Trelawny, J. S.|
|Maitland, T.||Trevor, hon. G. R.|
|Mangles, R. D.||Turner, G. J.|
|Marshall, J, G.||Tyrell, Sir J. T.|
|Martin, J.||Verner, Sir W.|
|Martin, S.||Villiers, hon. C.|
|Matheson, A.||Walmsley, Sir J.|
|Matheson, Col.||Walpole, S. H.|
|Maxwell, hon. J. P.||Walsh, Sir J. B.|
|Morison, Gen.||Walter, J.|
|Mowatt, F.||Ward, H. G.|
|Newdegate, C. N.||Watkins, Col. L.|
|Noel, hon. G. J. b||Wawn, J. T.|
|Norreys, Sir D. J.||Welby, G. E.|
|Ogle, S. C. H.||Westhead, J. P.|
|Ossulston, Lord||Williams, J.|
|Paget, Lord A.||Willoughby, Sir H.|
|Paget, Lord C.||Wilson, J.|
|Paget, Lord G,||Wilson, M.|
|Palmer, R.||Wodehouse, E.|
|Palmerston, Visct.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Parker, J.||Wood, W. P.|
|Patten, J. W.||Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.|
|Perfect, R.||Wrightson, W. B.|
|Pigott, F.||Wyld, J.|
|Pilkington, J.||Wyvill, M.|
|Pinney, W.||Yorke, H. G. R.|
|Plumptre, J. P.||TELLERS.|
|Price, Sir R.||Tufnell, T.|
|Raphael, A.||Hill, Lord M.|
§ House adjourned at Twelve o'clock.