HC Deb 13 December 1847 vol 95 cc974-90

SIR G. GREY moved the Order of the Day for the Third Reading of the Crime and Outrage (Ireland) Bill.


said, that he would not detain the House many minutes; but he found it his duty to correct an error into which many persons had fallen. The House was extremely ready to listen to anything which reflected upon the character of the Catholic clergy. He would read a letter which had been published in some of the papers, from the parish priest of Strokestown, denying in the most emphatic manner the charge which had been laid against him of having instigated to the murder of Major Mahon. The hon. Gentleman then read the following:— TO THE EDITOR OF THE EVENING FREEMAN. Strokestown, December, 1847. If, as is gratuitously asserted, any Catholic clergyman has denounced any one of those obnoxious landlords from his altar previous to the fatal event in which he has fallen a victim to the wild justice of revenge, the legal process of rendering that clergyman amenable to the law, and responsible for his seditious preaching, is neither expensive nor difficult. May I ask why such steps are not taken by the afflicted relatives, or by the inheritor of the property? Oh! the informer will not come forward; his courage oozes through his fingers. He skulks into his lurking hole, and laughs at the credulity of those who employed him after he received the reward of his turpitude. There may be found in a Catholic congregation some hireling serf whose embarrassment tempts him to court the patronage of his landlord, and to offer his services as an officious whisperer, for the purpose of drawing a little grist to his mill. But why, I ask again, does not some such character come forward to substantiate the odious charge against the priests? No, he stands hack, because he knows his perfidy would be detected, and that he should then be held up to public scorn as a liar and calumniator. I have now to assure the public, by the most solemn asseverations a clergyman can utter, that the late Major Mahon was never denounced, nor even his name mentioned, from any chapel altar in Strokestown, or within twenty miles of Strokestown, in any direction, on any Sunday before his death. I can, under the same sacred pledge, declare that a single sentence was never spoken from the altar, which, by mis- construction or otherwise, could tend to stimulate the peasantry to the atrocious murder which has been perpetrated. The cruelties exercised against a tenantry whose feelings were already wound up to woful and vengeful exasperation by the loss of their exiled relatives, as well as by hunger and pestilence, which swept so many victims into an untimely grave—in my opinion, may be assigned as the solo exciting cause of the disastrous event which has occurred. I saw no necessity for the idle display of a large force of military and police surrounding the poor man's cabin, setting fire to the roof, while the half-starved, half-naked children were hastening away from the flames with yells of despair, while the mother lay prostrate on the threshold writhing in agony, and the heartbroken father remained supplicating on his knees. I saw no need for this demonstration of physical force; nor did I see any need for brutal triumph and exultation when returning after these feats were nobly performed. Nor can I conceive that the feelings of humanity should permit any man to send his bailiffs to revisit those scenes of horror and conflagration, with an order, if they found a but built or a fire lighted in the murky ruins, to demolish the one and extinguish the other, thus leaving the wretched outcasts no alternative but to perish in a ditch. In my opinion, these scenes, of which I can only draw a very inefficient portrait, had more to do with the murder of Major Mahon than all the thundering denunciations of the Vatican could effect, had they been rolled on his head. I tell, therefore, the Orange press, that their fabricated charge of denunciation against the Catholic clergy is a monstrous, outrageous, and flagitious calumny. It is not true that the exterminated tenants of the late Major Mahon have been all sent to America. There are hundreds as yet who survived their expulsion, after seeing their crops carried away from their doors and safely deposited within the landlord's haggard, left to subsist on the precarious alms of their neighbours, roving about as houseless wanderers, without a friend to console, or a resting-place whereon to lay their aching bones.—I am, Sir, your obedient and much obliged, MICHAEL M'DERMOTT, P.P., Strokestown. The House ought to remember that the state of parties was such in Ireland, that partisans would make statements that they would not attempt to substantiate. A similar charge had been made against the Rev. Mr. Hughes, P.P. of Sligo. What would the House say, when he could assure them them that the words attributed to that rev. gentleman had never been uttered? The statement had been made in a Castlebar paper, whose interest it was to cast every slander upon the Roman Catholic clergy. Some reflections had been cast upon himself, to which he was not going to give a formal answer. Some Members had not the fairness to recollect that, on the first night of the discussion on the Coercion Bill, he had refused to pledge himself not to give opposition to that measure. He allowed the Bill to be read a first time, under an idea of its mildness, of which when he came to read it he was disabused, and under the impression by his so doing that he would be establishing some claim upon the Government to introduce some remedial measures, to pass pari passu with the Coercion Bill; and by repeated, questions he took care to bring out the fact distinctly that the Government did not intend to introduce these measures. He was quite willing to have given the Government any constitutional assistance in the repression of crime. He had not objected to give protection to life. The Irish Members had declared their willingness to assent to an increase in the police force, in order to support the ordinary law, which they thought quite sufficient to meet the emergency of the case. The Ministers had, however, now got their Coercion Bill. They had got that measure which they declared to be necessary for the prevention of crime in Ireland; they had got it by large majorities; and all he now asked of them was to turn their attention to modes for the relief of the people. The state of Ireland would not brook delay. They would rue it if they delayed. Delay would, only augment the difficulty. If they brought forward remedial measures, they would have the unanimous support of all the Irish Members. He would wish to impress upon them, that they would rely upon a broken reed if they depended upon the poor-law to save the people of Ireland, whose condition was becoming-more aggravating every succeeding day. Human life was being wasted by tens and twenties a day, by hundreds in the week. It was necessary that something should be done. He did implore them to employ the recess in preparing measures, which they should press on the meeting of Parliament with as much alacrity as they had pressed the measure of coercion. He implored them to give relief during the recess. They had stated that they had depots of food; he considered that they should administer relief from them; agitation would not stand in their way. The only way to strike down utterly those who possessed influence in Ireland, was by dealing justly towards the people, by administering measures for relief in an honest, resolute spirit, and not shrinking from a redress of their grievances. Then they would solve the problem of the peaceful and prosperous government of Ireland. He moved that the Bill be read a third time that day three months.


felt bound, even at that late stage of the Bill, to offer it his utmost opposition. He believed that a great portion of the recent outrages in Ireland might be truly attributed to the denunciations of the Irish landlords in that House in the previous Session. But the English Members who had joined in that outcry now found that their policy was a failure. Even the hon. Baronet the Member for Marylebone (Sir B. Hall) did not seem to obtain popularity now-a-days by abusing the Irish landlords. He had now changed his tone, by charging the priests of Ireland, without any proof, of being the agitators of crime in Ireland. The most exaggerated and cruel charges had been brought, without evidence to support them, against the clergy of Ireland, a body of men whose noble conduct during the last year might at all events have secured them against these charges. He was glad that his hon. Friend the Member for the city of Limerick (Mr. Monsell) did not allow the charges which had been brought against Dr. Ryan, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Limerick, by the hon. Member for Bridport, to pass unanswered. He himself knew no clergyman whose character was more estimable than that of the prelate in question—and he felt convinced that had Ireland been deprived of the services of the Roman Catholic clergy during her recent calamities, she would have been in a state of insurrection. If that House wished to make the people of Ireland hate British connexion more than they now did, he was sure that they could not pursue a more effectual course than that which they had pursued since the opening of the Session, viz., abusing and calumniating the Roman Catholic clergy, and thus alienating the hearts of the Irish people from English legislation. He might probably be asked what measures, in his opinion, ought to be brought forward to give peace and prosperity to Ireland? In reply he would say, in the first place, that they should endeavour to provide employment for the people. It was utterly impossible that any country could be peaceable so long as there was an enormous mass of the population suffering the greatest privations, which arose from the want of employment. It was impossible to exaggerate the sufferings which the people of Ireland were at present undergoing for want of employment. It was the bounden duty of the Government to take measures without delay for providing employment for them. He knew that when a proposition of that kind was made by the Irish Members, they were met with some such observation as he heard fall from an English Member last Session, "Oh, you're howling again for English gold! But he contended that it was the duty of that House, so long as they professed to rule the destinies of Ireland, to see to it that her resources were developed, in order that her population might be employed. Let them do that, and, in the time of famine, Ireland would not have to come to this country in the character of a suppliant for relief. Another great means of putting an end to crime and outrage in Ireland was, by immediately settling that long-neglected question of the relation of landlord and tenant. Any one who had looked at the character of the recent outrages in Ireland must know that they were attributable to the disturbed relations between the landlord and his tenants. Indeed, they need never hope to see peace in Ireland until the tenant-right was sanctioned by the Legislature. There was not a man in Ireland who did not at once admit that the present mode of ejecting tenants without compensation for improvements was a grievous injustice. So long back as 1843, a report had been presented to that House, by a Commission whom they had appointed, setting forth the evils of Ireland, and pointing out the remedies; and yet, as Earl Grey had said in his place in the House of Lords in 1846, not a step had been taken to carry into effect the suggestions of that Commission, although, as regarded that great question of the relation of landlord and tenant, the Commission said that not a day, not an hour, should be lost before it was settled. The House now, for the first time, was told that the Government had a Bill on that question under consideration; but the probability was, that, like the Encumbered Estates Bill of last Session, it would be brought forward at an advanced period of the Session, and repeatedly postponed, and finally withdrawn at the close of the Session, because it had been found to be unsatisfactory to both landlords and tenants. Although a comprehensive measure of that nature was the only guarantee for the peace of Ireland, and this Coercion Bill was only a guarantee for increased outrage, yet the Government persisted in pushing it through the House, without giving the slightest intimation of the nature of the Landlord and Tenant Bill, which they professed to have under consideration. A measure should at once be introduced to improve the system of drain- age of land in Ireland. The evils resulting from the absence of such a measure had been fully detailed to them a few nights ago, by the hon. Member for Kinsale. In the next place, it was necessary, for the preservation of order throughout Ireland, that a comprehensive measure for facilitating the sale of encumbered estates should be at once brought forward. The want of such a measure was keeping a large portion of the Irish people unemployed, and they were consequently perishing by starvation. With regard to the recent outrages in Ireland, he believed that there was no class that suffered more than the middle-class-men, who were at all times subjected to the attacks of bands of lawless vagabonds. He believed that an effectual mode of putting an end to that reign of terror which those outlaws maintained, would be by instituting some species of rural guard amongst the small farmers, for the purposes of self-defence and the preservation of order. With respect to that portion of this Bill which related to the possession of firearms, he thought the complaints of the Irish Members were not unreasonable. He, with them, believed that the placing of the licensing right in the hands of a few of the police and military in Ireland, was most objectionable and unjust. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth had said, he would not parley with the assassin. And so said he. He wanted not popularity amongst assassins. He would give his support to any measure calculated to dash the weapon from the hand of the assassin; he would give his support to any measure which would pursue the assassin through the land; but it was because he believed that this measure was utterly futile—because he believed that while it impugned all the principles of constitutional liberty, it, at the same time, gave no security whatever against the perpetration of crime—it was on those grounds that he gave all the opposition which he could give to this measure.


rose to correct a statement which had fallen from the hon. Member for Nottingham (Mr. O'Connor) the other night, with reference to the number of distresses which had been issued at the instance of the National Bank of Ireland. The hon. Member had represented the number to have been 800; now the real number was only fifty-nine, and he did not think that that was by any means a large number, considering the state of affairs in Ireland.


asked for the indulgence of the House for a very few moments, as he felt himself bound, in justice to his own feelings, and to his position as an Irish Member, not to give a silent vote on this occasion. It was true that he voted the other night for an adjournment of the debate on a preliminary question in connexion with this Bill; but his reason for so doing was, not that a factious opposition might prevail against the measure, but that the Irish Members might have a full opportunity of making their statements before the measure was passed into a law. By voting for the Amendment the other night on this Bill, he by no means wished to give the go-by to the measure, nor had he shrunk from being present on this occasion, and he would briefly state the reasons why he differed with many of his friends in giving, as he conceived it to be his duty to give, his support to the third reading of this Bill. As to the charge of inconsistency on this question, he was not at all afraid to meet it. He had not shrunk on former occasions when the Arms Bill was before the House; but when they charged him with inconsistency for giving his support to this Bill, he thought his friends went too far. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth had not failed to bring such a charge against the Irish Members who supported this Bill, and had opposed this measure in 1846. But it should be borne in mind that this Bill was not the Bill of 1846. If it had been, he should have felt it his duty to oppose it, no matter how numerous were the murders committed in Ireland. The Bill of 1846 contained two faults: one was that old, exploded system of Insurrection Acts, which had been tried and found wanting; it proposed in the most blundering fashion to prevent noonday assassination by shutting the people up at night. He really believed that this was such a measure as the hon. Member for Limerick city had himself said he was willing to support. He (Mr. M. J. O'Connell) believed this was a moderate Bill. He believed it to be a Bill which would do what the hon. Member expressed himself ready to do, namely, limit the use of firearms to such districts as were not extremely disturbed. In that respect, therefore, it did not violate the common law, which only sanctioned the use of firearms as long as they were used for the porposes of self-defence, but no longer; and the Bill took away the right of licensing from magistrates, judges, and juries, at quarter-sessions. That was another reason why he gave the Bill his support. With regard to that part of the Bill which proposed to give extraordinary powers to the Executive in Ireland, which, were beyond the limits of the ordinary or constitutional law, he wished his hon. Friends to recollect that such powers had been granted to the Executive in England when the condition of the country required it. He believed that this was the first occasion on which a Bill for Ireland had been fashioned after an English precedent. He hailed the change with some joy, and he hoped that precedent would be followed up. Now, it was said that the powers to be given under this Bill had better be entrusted to the local magistracy than to a central authority like that of the Lord Lieutenant. In that opinion he could not concur. He did not wish to say anything disrespectful of Ireland; but, upon general principles, he thought it was desirable that, in giving unconstitutional operations, they should not give them to constitutional authorities. He believed it was much better to limit the jurisdiction of the magistracy to the exercise of their ordinary duties. He hoped that the magistrates of Ireland would not consider themselves insulted by the passing of this Bill. Duties were entrusted to them upon the performance of which the peace of the country depended. If they joined in the carrying out of this Bill, and worked it not rigorously but firmly, he believed that they would succeed in a great degree in restoring peace to Ireland. He hoped that the grievous evils of Ireland would be diminished by the future legislation of that House; but it was their first duty to put an end to a system of outrage which was bringing disgrace upon the well-disposed portions of Ireland. If it should be found that the juries of the disturbed districts did not co-operate with the Legislature in their attempts to punish the assassin, he, without any fear of being charged with inconsistency, would be quite prepared to support the Government in a more stringent measure than the present. One word more. It was said by some that this Bill would not answer the end for which it was introduced. He knew it did seem somewhat weak to many hon. Gentlemen; but he begged leave to remind them that, if strong repressive measures alone were what a Legislature ought to adopt to restore peace to a country, then Ireland ought to be a model of tranquillity to the world. But the result of former coercive laws was increased tumult. He hoped that a better spirit was springing up in the Legislature with regard to the mode in which Ireland should be governed. In giving his support to this measure, he wished to add one word of warning to the Government. When they had passed this Bill, and restored, as he hoped, some sort of tranquillity to a disturbed country, they should recollect that their duties were, in point of fact, only begun. He admitted that this or some similar measure was necessary; but he felt that it was the duty of the Government, after they had, by an unusual but wise course of treatment, restored some sort of case to their delirious patient, to treat Ireland in such a manner as her condition required. Let them enable the people of Ireland to develop the resources of their country. If they failed to do so, they might depend upon it that, although they might succeed by this measure in making outrage hide its head for a time, yet, so sure as the morning sun followed the darkness of night would outrage again desolate the country.


I feel very much in the position of the hon. Member who has just addressed the House, for I am in some degree compelled to speak before this Bill is read a third time. I have presented a petition against the Bill, signed by more than 20,000 persons, inhabitants of the borough of Manchester, and I am unwilling to vote without briefly giving the reasons which make it impossible for me to oppose this Bill. When I recollect the circumstances attending the rejection of the Bill of 1846, for the protection of life in Ireland, I am convinced that the Government would not have brought forward the present measure if it had not appeared to them absolutely necessary, and that, but for this supposed necessity, it would never have been heard of. The case of the Government, so far as the necessity for this Bill is concerned, seems to me to be as clear and as perfect as it can be. From the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of the Home Department, from the unanimous statements of all the newspapers, and from the evidence of all parties connected with Ireland, it is placed beyond a doubt, that in the disturbed districts of Ireland the ordinary law is utterly powerless. The reason why the law is carried into effect in England is, because the feeling of the people is in favour of it, and every man is willing to become and is in reality a peace officer, in order to further the ends of justice. But in Ireland this state of things does not exist. The public sentiment in certain districts is depraved and thoroughly vitiated. [Mr. J. O'CONNEL! NO!] The hon. Member cries "NO, no;" but I maintain that in the disturbed districts the public or popular feeling is as I have described it. I don't mean to assert that all that the newspapers contain is true, or that they contain all the truth; but I ask the hon. Gentleman if he has not read accounts which are not contradicted, from which we learn that on the occurrence of some recent cases of assassination, whole districts have been in a state of rejoicing and exultation? These assassinations are not looked upon as murders, but rather as executions. Take the case of Mr. Lloyd, a clergyman, who was recently assassinated. There was no show of vindictive feeling on the part of his murderers; there was little of the character of ordinary murders in it. The servant was allowed to depart unharmed; a boy, who was in the carriage, was removed that he might not be injured; and the unhappy gentleman was shot with all the deliberation and the calmness with which a man would be made to suffer the extreme penalty of the law. It is clear, then, that the ordinary law fails, and that the Government have a case for the demand they make for an extension of the present powers of the law. I don't say the present Bill will certainly be effective, but it is the less to be opposed because that it does not greatly exceed or infringe the ordinary law; and it is the duty of the Legislature, when called upon to strengthen the Executive, to do so by the smallest possible infringement of the law and the constitution. But to leave the particular measure now before us, I am bound to say that the case of the Government with respect to their Irish policy in general is not so good as could be wished. The Government has not shown the courage which is necessary to deal effectually with the difficulties of Ireland. They should remember what passed when the poor-law was proposed for that country. They were told it would be a failure—that it could not be worked; but disregarding these statements, they passed the Bill; and I believe, since the Act of 1829, no measure has passed this House of equal benefit to Ireland. The noble Lord at the head of the Government has said that all parties are to be blamed for the misgovernment of Ireland; but the noble Lord should remember the responsibility which is upon him, for he is now in the position of dictator on Irish questions, and whatever he proposes for that country, I verily believe, will find no successful opposition in this House. There is another fact to which I would call attention. The Irish Members complain, and very justly, of the past legislation of this House; but when we call to mind that there are 105 of them here, of whom 60 or 70 are of liberal politics or opinions, and that about 30 of them are repealers, and hold very strong views with regard to the mismanagement of Irish affairs in the Imperial Parliament, I think we have a right to complain that they have not laid on the table of the House any one measure which they believe to be necessary to the prosperity of their country. I have been in this House more than four years, and I have never yet seen the Irish Members bringing forward any proposition of a practical character—nor am I aware that they have supported any measure they deemed necessary for Ireland, with unanimity and earnestness, or with anything like perseverance and resolution. I am sure, that 105, or even 30 English Members, sitting in a Parliament in Dublin, and believing their country had suffered from the effects of bad legislation, would, by their knowledge of the case, their business habits, activity, union, and perseverance, have showed a powerful front, and, uniting together, and working manfully in favour of any proposition they might think necessary to remedy the evils of which they complained, would have forced it on the attention of the House. But the Irish Members have not done this. So far, then, they are and have been as much to blame as any other Member of this House for the absence of good government in Ireland. I will not, like them, complain of bad legislation, and propose no remedy. What is the condition of Ireland? Last year we voted millions to keep its population from starvation; and this year we have been asked for a further sum, but have not granted it. We maintain a large army in Ireland, and an armed police, which is an army in everything but in name, and yet we have in that country a condition of things not to be matched in any other civilised country on the face of the earth, and which is alike disgraceful to Ireland and to us. The great cause of Ireland's calamities is, that Ireland is idle. I be- lieve it would be found, on inquiry, that the population of Ireland, as compared with that of England, do not work more than two days per week. Wherever a people are not industrious and are not employed, there is the greatest danger of crane and outrage. Ireland is idle, and therefore she starves; Ireland starves, and therefore she rebels. We must choose between industry and anarchy: we must have one or the other in Ireland. This proposition I believe to be incontrovertible, and I defy the House to give peace and prosperity to that country until they set a going her industry, create and diffuse capital, and thus establish those gradations of rank and condition by which the whole social fabric can alone be held together. But the idleness of the people of Ireland is not wholly their fault. It is for the most part a forced idleness, for it is notorious that when the Irish come to England or remove to the United States or the Colonies, they are about the hardest working people in the world. We employ them down in Lancashire, and with the prospect of good pay they work about as well, and are as trustworthy, and quiet, and well-disposed to the law as the people of this country. The great secret of their idleness at home is, that there is little or no trade in Ireland; there are few flourishing towns to which the increasing population can resort for employment, so that there is a vast mass of people living on the land; and the land itself is not half so useful for their employment and sustentation as it might be. A great proportion of her skill, her strength, her sinews, and her labour, is useless to Ireland for the support of her population. Every year they have a large emigration, because there are a great number of persons with just enough of means to transport themselves to other countries, who, finding it impossible to live at home in comfort, carry themselves and their capital out of Ireland; so that, year after year, she loses a large portion of those between the very poorest and the more wealthy classes of society, and with them many of the opportunities for the employment of labour. I do not believe that the Bill for regulating the relations of landlord and tenant, as recommended by the hon. Member for the county of Limerick, will restore prosperity to Ireland. Such a measure may be passed with great advantage; but if it be intended by a Bill with this title to vest the ownership of the land in the present occupiers, I believe this House will never pass it, and if it did, it would prove most fatal to the best interests of the country. I think we have a right to blame the Government that as yet we have not seen the Bill for the sale of encumbered estates in Ireland. I wish to ask why such a Bill is not ready before this? [Lord JOHN RUSSELL: The Bill has been ready a long time.] The noble Lord says the Bill has been ready long ago; but that statement only makes the Government open to greater blame, for if the Bill were ready, why has it not been brought forward before this? Last Session the Bill was withdrawn, and the reason given was that landlords and mortgagees did not like it. If the Government wait till the landlords and mortgagees like it, it will never be brought forward at all. Had they waited till the Irish landlords asked for the poor-law, there would have been no poor-law in Ireland now. The Government should disregard the opposition of these parties, and should take their stand above all class interests. They must refuse to listen to the interested suggestions of one class or the other, and they must remember that they are the Executive Government of the country, and bound to act for the public good. There is an unanimous admission now that the misfortunes of Ireland are connected with the question of the management of the land. I have a theory that, in England as well as in Ireland, the proprietors of the soil are chiefly responsible for whatever of bad legislation has been inflicted upon us. The ownership of land confers more political power than the possession of any other description of property. The Irish landowners have been willing parties to the past legislation for Ireland, and they have also had the administration and execution of the laws in that country. The encumbered condition of landed property in Ireland is the question most pressing at this moment. I am informed by a gentleman in Dublin, of the best means of information and of undoubted veracity, that in the province of Connaught there is not five per cent of the land free from settlements of one kind or other, and that probably not one per cent is free from mortgages. I have asked Irish Members of all parties if this be true, and not one of them is disposed to deny it; and if it be true, I say it is idle to seek elsewhere for the source of the evils of Ireland; and every day, nay, every hour we allow to go by without taking instant measures to remedy this crying mis- chief, only adds to the criminality which rests on us for our past legislation. Patchwork legislation will not now succeed; speeches from the Lord Lieutenant—articles in the newspapers, or lending to the landowners at 3½ per cent money raised by taxation from the traders of England, who have recently been paying 8 per cent—all will fail to revive the industry of Ireland. I will now state what, in my opinion, is the remedy, and I beg to ask the attention of the Government to it, because, though now they may think it an extreme one, I am convinced the time will come when they will be compelled to adopt it. In the first place, it is their duty to bring in a Sale of Estates Bill, and make it easy for landowners who wish to dispose of their estates to do so. They should bring in a Bill to simplify the titles to land in Ireland. I understand that now it is almost impossible to transfer an estate, the difficulties in the way of a clear title being almost insurmountable. In the next place, they should diminish temporarily, if not permanently, all stamp duties which hinder the transfer of landed property, and they should pass a law by which the system of entailing estates should for the future be prevented. [Laughter.] I can assure hon. Gentlemen who laugh at this, that at some not distant day this must be done, and not in Ireland only, but in England also. It is an absurd and monstrous system, for it binds, as it were, the living under the power of the dead. The principle on which the law should proceed is this, that the owner of property should leave it to whomsoever he will, provided the individual is living when the will is made; but he should not be suffered, after he is dead, and buried, and forgotten, to speak, and still to direct the channel through which the estate should pass. I shall be told that the law of entail in Ireland is the same as in England, and that in Scotland it is even more strict. I admit it; but the evil is great in England, and in Scotland it has become intolerable, and must soon be relaxed if not abolished. Perhaps I shall be told that the laws of entail and primogeniture are necessary for the maintenance of our aristocratic institutions; but if the evils of Ireland spring from this source, I say, perish your aristocratic institutions rather than that a whole nation should be in this terrible condition. If your aristocratic families would rear up their children in habits of business, and with some notions of duty and prudence, these mischievous arrangements would not be required, and they would retain in their possession estates at least as large as is compatible with the interests of the rest of the community. If the laws of entail and primogeniture are sound and just, why not apply them to personal property as well as to freehold? Imagine them in force in the middle classes of the community, and it will be seen at once that the unnatural system, if universal, would produce confusion; and confusion would necessitate its total abolition. I am thoroughly convinced that everything the Government or Parliament can do for Ireland will be unavailing, unless the foundation of the work be laid well and deep, by clearing away the fetters under which land is now held, so that it may become the possession of real owners, and be made instrumental to the employment and sustentation of the people. Hon. Gentlemen opposite may fancy themselves interested in maintaining the present system; but there is surely no interest they can have in it which they will weigh against the safety and prosperity of Ireland? I speak as a representative coming from a county which suffers extremely from the condition of Ireland. Lancashire is periodically overrun by the pauperism of Ireland, and for a year past it has suffered most seriously from the pestilence imported from Ireland; and many of the evils which in times past have been attributed to the extension of manufactures in that county have arisen from the enormous immigration of a suffering and pauperised people driven for sustenance from their own country. As a Lancashire representative, I protest most solemnly against a system which drives the Irish population to seek work and wages in this country and in other countries, when both might be afforded them at home. Parliament is bound to remedy this state of things. The present Parliament contains a larger number of men of business and Members representing the middle classes than any former Parliament. The present Government is essentially of the middle class—[A laugh]—and its Members have on many occasions shown their sympathy with it. Let the hon. Gentleman laugh; but he will not deny that no Government can long have a majority in this House which does not sympathise with the great middle class of this country. If the Government will manfully and courageously grapple with the question of the condition of land in Ireland, they will, I am convinced, be sup- ported by a majority of the Members of this House, and they will enable the strength and skill of Irishmen to be expended on their own soil, and lay the foundation of her certain prosperity by giving that stimulus and reward to industry which it cannot have in the present circumstances of that country. Sir, I feel it impossible to refuse my vote in favour of the Bill now before us; but I am compelled to say that unless the Government will zealously promote measures in the direction I have indicated, they cannot hope long to retain the confidence of this House or of the country.


wished to know, as the noble Lord had stated that a very important Bill relating to Ireland had been actually prepared, why it could not be introduced before the recess?


replied, that last year a Bill on the same subject had been introduced in the House of Lords; that the same course would be adopted this year; and that the time of that House would be sufficiently occupied prior to the recess with the discussion upon the present Bill.


said, no one was more anxious than he that this Bill should become law; but this was the last opportunity of addressing the House upon the subject. The hon. Member then proceeded, amidst signs of impatience which rendered his remarks nearly inaudible, to contend that it was obvious, from the letter read the other night by the hon. Member for Montrose, that the hon. Member for Limerick had intended orginally, not only not to oppose, but to give his cordial support to the Bill now before the House; and he (Sir B. Hall) read an extract to show that the Council of National Safety and Distress intended also to support it. He was most anxious to state, in reference to a letter recently read by an hon. and learned Member in reference to the murder of Mr. Roe, that he had received a letter from the brother of Mr. Roe, in which he said that the letter read by the hon. and learned Member for Limerick, in palliation of the murder, dated the 17th of October, was contradicted three days afterwards by the brother of Mr. Roe in almost all the papers published in Ireland; and that he, Mr. Roe's brother, had reason to believe that that contradiction was known to the hon. and learned Gentleman. The writer of the letter road by the hon. and learned Member for Limerick was an out agent to attorneys, a discharged steward on the public works, and the brother of the man charged with the murder of Mr. Roe.

The House divided on the question that the word "now" stand part of the question:—Ayes 173; Noes 14: Majority 159.

List of the AYES.
Adair, R. A. S. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Aglionby, H. A. Grogan, E.
Alcock, T. Haggitt, F. R.
Anson, hon. Col. Hall, Sir B.
Archdall, Capt. M. Hamilton, G. A.
Baines, M. T. Hardcastle, J. A.
Baldwin, C. B. Hastie, A.
Barnard, E. G. Hayter, W. G.
Bellew, R. M. Henley, J. W.
Bentinck, Lord G. Herbert, H. A.
Bernal, R. Herries, rt. hon. J. C.
Birch, Sir T. B. Hood, Sir A.
Blackall, S. W. Hotham, Lord
Blake, M. J. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Bourke, R. S. Hume, J.
Bremridge, R. Humphery, Aid.
Bright, J. Jervis, Sir J,
Brisco, M. Jervis, J.
Brockman, E. B. Keogh, W.
Brooke, Sir A. B. Keppel, hon. G. T.
Brotherton, J. Ker, R.
Brown, H. Labouchere, rt. hn. H.
Busfeild, W. Langston, J. H.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Carter, J. B. Lewis, rt. hn. Sir T. F.
Caulfield, J. M. Lewis, G. C.
Cayley, E. S. Lincoln, Earl of
Charteris, hon. F. Lockhart, A. E.
Clay, J. Lockhart, W.
Clements, hon. C. S. Macnamara, Maj.
Corry, rt. hon. H. L. M'Naghten, Sir E.
Courtenay, Lord Mahon, The O'Gorman
Damer, hon. Col. Maitland, T.
Deering, J. Marshall, W.
Drummond, H. Masterman, J.
Duncan, G. Matheson, Col.
Duncuft, J. Melgund, Visct.
Dundas, Adm. Monsell, W.
Dundas, Sir D. Moody, C. A.
Dunne, F. P. Moore, G. H.
Edwards, H. Morgan, O.
Elliott, hon. J. E. Morpeth, Visct.
Evans, J. Morison, Gen.
Evans, W. Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.
Ewart, W. Mulgrare, Earl of
Ffolliott, J. Muntz, G. F.
Fitzpatrick, J. W. Newport, Visct.
Fordyce, A. D. Nugent, Lord
Forster, M. Nugent, Sir P.
Fox, W. J. O'Brien, Sir L.
Freestun, Col. O'Connell, M. J.
French, F. Osborne, R.
Frewen, C. H. Ossulston, Lord
Gaskell, J. M. Oswald, A.
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. Palmer, R,
Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E. Palmerston, Visct.
Gower, hon. F. L. Parker, J.
Grace, O. D. J. Pearson, C.
Granger, T. C. Pilkington, J.
Grattan, H. Plowden, W. H. C.
Greene, T. Raphael, A.
Gregson, S. Rawdon, Col.
Ricardo, O. Tennent, E. J.
Richards, R. Thicknesse, R. A.
Robinson, G. R. Thompson, Col.
Romilly, J. Thornely, T.
Russell, Lord J. Turner, E.
Russell, F. C. H. Verner, Sir W.
Sadleir, J. Verney, Sir H.
Salwey, Col. Villiers, hon. C.
Sandars, G. Vivian, J. H.
Scrope, G. P. Waddington, H. S.
Seeley, C. Walmsley, Sir J.
Seymer, H. K. Watkins, Col. L.
Sidney, T. Wawn, J. T.
Smith, J. B. West, F. R.
Smollett, A. Willcox, B. M.
Somerton, Visct. Williams, J.
Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W. Willoughby, Sir H.
Stafford, A. Wilson, J.
Stanley, E. Wilson, M.
Staunton, Sir G. T. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Strutt, rt. hon. E. Wyld, J.
Stuart, Lord D. Yorke, hon. G. R.
Sutton, J. H. M. Young, J.
Talfourd, Serj. TELLERS.
Tancred, H. W. Tufnell, H.
Tenison, E. K. Craig, W. G.
List of the NOES.
Anstey, T. C. O'Connell, M.
Callaghan, D. O'Connor, F.
Devereux, J. T. O'Flaherty, A.
Fagan, W. Reynolds, J.
Fagan, J. Scully, F.
Fox, R. M.
Greene, J. TELLERS.
Meagher, T. O'Connell, J.
Morgan, H. K. G. O'Brien, W. S.

Bill read a third time and passed.