§ LORD G. BENTINCK
moved the Order of the Day for the Second Reading of the Railways (Ireland) Bill.
§ The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said: Before I go into the question which is to be the subject of discussion this evening, I wish to say a word or two with reference to what passed yesterday, because it is impossible to overstate the importance of the absence of party feeling in speaking of Ireland at the present moment. Every person who has listened to a debate on the subject of Ireland, must be aware that there are ingredients in it which occasionally lead to some bitterness of feeling; but I am quite sure that the noble Lord opposite, and every Member of this House, must feel the exceeding importance of avoiding, as far as possible, in the present state of that country, anything of this kind. There were, I am sorry to say, some symptoms of party feeling in the observations of one or two Gentlemen on the other side of the House last night; but nevertheless I am ready to believe that the noble Lord opposite is as anxious as myself to abstain from any expression which would give the slightest appearance of a party object to the present question. I can assure the noble Lord that such are the feelings of Her Majesty's Government. My noble Friend did think it necessary to say, and I am sure that the noble Lord opposite will not say he was not right in declaring, that if this measure was carried, he would not be responsible for carrying it out. There are, no doubt, some questions on which it is quite right that the Government should be guided by the 1234 decisions of the House of Commons; but on a question of this importance, it is perfectly impossible to do otherwise than either to give a decided opposition to it, to adopt it at once. The noble Lord opposite stated that it was a measure of a comprehensive character for rescuing Ireland from her present distress. He stated that he brought it forward as a plan which he hoped the Government would adopt, and by which, for the purpose of executing railroads in Ireland, advances were to be made from the public funds to the extent of not less than 16,000,000l. [Lord G. BENTINCK: Not more than 16,000,000l.] Well, of not more than 16,000,000l. Now, whatever may be done in smaller matters, I think that even the noble Lord himself will not say that in a measure of this description the Government could do otherwise than either adopt it, or resist it altogether. There were some observations made last night tending to show that the whole question of to-night was merely a question of the principle of assisting, in some degree, some of the railroads in Ireland. When pared down in this way, the proposal necessarily loses a great deal of the value which the noble Lord attaches to it as a comprehensive measure; and it is with the measure in its entire character, and in this shape alone, that it is for me to deal. Now, taking it as a measure of this importance, if my noble Friend (Lord J. Russell) had allowed the debate to go on, saying nothing of the course he intended to take, should the decision go against him, I think he would not have acted fairly by this House. I consider, therefore, that he took the most straightforward, honest, and manly course, in having stated at once what his intention was, and allowing the discussion to be conducted with a full knowledge of the view which Government took of the question, and the course which they should feel it their duty to pursue. I must also state, that after the plan of the noble Lord opposite was once before the public, it became of importance that the question should be speedily settled one way or the other. I have had representations made to me within the last two or three days from many quarters, to the effect—not for the sake of the Government—not for the sake of the noble Lord opposite — but that it was indispensable for the interest of the railway companies in Ireland, for the sake of the railway companies in this country, and for the sake of the moneyed interest in both coun- 1235 tries, that the matter should be brought to an immediate and final issue. Whatever objections may have been made to the Bill being introduced at all, yet I confess I have great satisfaction in seeing the measure in the shape of a Bill, because, however clear the statement of the noble Lord was, nevertheless it is infinitely easier and more satisfactory to judge of a measure when it has assumed the shape of a Bill, than when it is merely stated to the House; and whilst I confess that I did feel a little appalled even with the first proposal of a loan of 16,000,000l., that feeling has in no degree been removed, but rather increased, by seeing the provisions of the Bill. I think in many respects they are calculated rather more to favour the shareholders of the railways, than to assist the distressed people of Ireland. I have no doubt that the noble Lord himself intends it, and thinks it calculated to relieve the distress of the people of Ireland; but I confess, when I see on the back of the Bill the name of the hon. Member the Lord Mayor of York (Mr. Hudson), who is so deeply interested in railroads; and when I see there the name of another hon. Gentleman, the Member for Westmoreland (Alderman Thompson), who is largely concerned in furnishing the materials of which railroads are made; I should have been surprised if the interest of railroad proprietors and shareholders had not been adequately considered. This, of course, affords no reason why the measure should not be fairly and fully discussed; but this I must say, that it justifies me in looking with a more critical eye to the provisions of the Bill, than I should have been disposed to if I had been considering this only as a measure to supply relief to the people of Ireland. I will concede to the noble Lord, if a concession it may be called, that the extension of railroads would be beneficial to that country. I will concede, if a concession it may be called, that in some degree, although not to the extent stated by the noble Lord, labour would be provided, under the provisions of this Bill, for destitute persons. I will concede these points to the noble Lord; but, having conceded them, I know not that much advance has been made to establish other points which I think ought to be clearly established to the satisfaction of this House—at least, they must be made out to my satisfaction, before I should feel myself justified in proposing its acceptance by the House, or, as an 1236 individual, in voting for it. I have heard nothing in the arguments which have been urged in support of this Bill to convince me that it is advantageous for the State to become a great money lender. I have heard nothing to convince me that the securities which the railroads offer are adequate and sufficient. I have heard nothing to convince me that the benefit to be derived by the destitute persons in Ireland from the provisions of this Bill, are at all commensurate with the expenditure which is proposed. Still less have I heard anything to convince me, that, in the present state of the finances of the country, and with the distress which prevails here too, as well as in Ireland, to an extent far greater than is generally apprehended—I say, I have heard nothing to convince me that I should be justified in imposing burdens on the people of this country for such a purpose. For the purpose of relieving the distress of the people of Ireland, and of preserving them from starvation and death, I would not hesitate to ask the people of this country, burdened as they are, to provide means of alleviating that dreadful calamity; but before I ask the people of this country, suffering as they themselves are under great pressure, to submit to any further burdens of this kind, at least I must be assured that the money so raised would go directly and effectually for that purpose. Now, with respect to the first point, I confess I am not of opinion that the State should become a great money lender. On the contrary, I think it would be exceedingly wrong and mischievous, except in cases of an extraordinary character, that the State should become a lender of money in competition with private capitalists. I know that the measure has made a great impression on the minds of certain Gentlemen in this House; but it appears to me that Irish distress and Irish notions on money matters, have in this case subverted all sound principles on the subject—I do not merely mean the principles of that science which has been called by some hon. Gentlemen "new and fantastical," but I doubt whether, even in those happy times to which Gentlemen opposite are so fond of alluding—in the times of feudal intercourse between landlords and peasants—such things as large loans from the public purse were so common as has been supposed. I doubt whether the feudal lords advanced money to their peasants and tenants, and whether two words, well known in the discussions which preceded the re- 1237 volution in a neighbouring country, taille and corvée, were not much more familiar to the people, than loans of Exchequer-bills, or advances from the Consolidated Fund. But hon. Gentlemen have also complained that in the cases of former loans advanced from the public Exchequer, a higher rate of interest has been charged, than that at which the money was borrowed. I have said that I consider the advance of loans by the State at all, except in extreme cases, to be a positive evil; and I know not of any impartial check which can be imposed upon the system, except by imposing a higher rate of interest. If the parties have good security to offer, and if the speculation is a fair speculation, I have never known any difficulty in the way of obtaining loans from private individuals. It is only where sufficient security is not offered, or where there is some inherent weakness in the scheme, that there is usually any difficulty experienced in obtaining private loans; and it is only in extraordinary times, and under an extraordinary pressure, and for a limited time, that there is ever any necessity for having recourse to loans advanced by Government. I believe the greatest departure made from this principle was in the Bill which was passed last year authorizing the advance of loans to gentlemen for the purpose of draining their estates; and it was fortunate, so far as Scotland at least was concerned, that that measure was in existence, because in that country the proprietors, with a zeal which does them infinite credit, have availed themselves of the measure as a means of affording employment to their destitute tenantry. But that measure was an exception to the general rule; and I know not that it can be defended, except as a means of facilitating the arrangements of the landowners which were necessary after the passing of the corn law. The noble Lord has said that the Irish railroads would afford ample security. I do not wish to say anything which would depreciate the value of those undertakings in the market, or to express any decided opinion of the value of the security which they offer to the public. But when I refer to past transactions in Ireland—when I refer to the advances which have been made to public works in various districts in Ireland, I confess I am not sanguine as to the value or adequacy of the security which they offer. I believe that canals, as a means of internal communication, were at one time in the same position that railroads now are; yet when I 1238 refer to the advances which were made to various canal companies, I find that hardly one of them has paid the advances which were taken from the public treasury, or the money which was borrowed from other sources. I hardly need refer to the case of the Lagan Navigation, the affairs of which are not in such a state as to afford much prospect of the liquidation of its debt. There was another case. Very soon after I was appointed to my present office, a deputation from the Ulster Canal Company waited upon me, and represented that unless the whole debt due to Government was remitted, it would be impossible to go on. The whole estimated cost of these works was 160,000l., and of this there has been 130,000l. advanced by the public, of which there has been no payment whatever, either of principal or interest. There is another canal—the Grand Canal, which one should say was as favourably circumstanced as any public work in Ireland. Well, it is not yet three years since an Act was passed by the House, which granted, for one purpose, 40,000l.; for another, 38,000l.; and for another, 20,000l.; the whole sum amounting to 98,000l.; the Act reciting that, whereas the undertaking was utterly unable to pay either principal or interest, be it enacted that on the receipt of 10,000l. &c., the 98,000l. should be given up. I have thus shown that before the existence of railroads, when the promoters of these schemes were unable to obtain money from individuals, they applied to Government; and the result has too often been, that both principal and interest were altogether sacrificed. There were other advances made, not to the poor and impoverished districts and parts of Ireland, but to some of the largest towns and richest cities in that country. Have they been repaid? No such thing. There is now due from the city of Dublin the sum of 245,000l. advanced to it, and interest upon it, that is now considered quite irrecoverable. Advances were made to widen the streets of Cork, 13,000l. principal and 10,000l. interest, but no repayments have been made. The sum of 55,000l. has been advanced to the city of Limerick, upon which there is now due 34,000l. of interest, but no payments of any kind have been made on account of either principal or interest. These were advances made, not to poor and impoverished districts, but the very reverse. So that if you take advances 1239 made either to public companies for internal communication, or to the three richest towns and cities in Ireland, the same result will be found—no repayment of either principal or interest; and all the advances and the interest have been sacrificed. There is a distinction to be made in regard to advances in Ireland, and it is this. Advances to individuals and to grand juries for the purposes of road-making, &c., have been repaid; but advances to private companies for undertakings of this description, have unfortunately been sacrificed. [Lord G. BENTINCK: The Dublin and Kingstown Railway.] Speaking generally, I say such advances have never been repaid. The advances to the Dublin and Kingstown Railway Company, however, have all been repaid. [Cheers.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite cheer loudly; but I do not think they will be able to discover any parallel between the Dublin and Kingstown Railway, a short line between the capital of Ireland and the packet station, and the lines which stretch over every part of the country. If these facts, then, are true (and I believe them to be indisputable), I think I am justified in saying that it is by no means so clear as the noble Lord supposes, that the security to be afforded by these railroads is altogether unexceptionable. But there is another objection to the proposal of the noble Lord; namely, that if it is to be considered "a great and comprehensive scheme," embracing all the railways in Ireland, it would then put the good and bad railways upon nearly the same footing. If the examination by the Railway Board which the noble Lord proposes, is to be good for anything; if they reject those schemes which they consider do not offer adequate security, I know not that the noble Lord's proposition amounts to much in the way of affording extensive employment; but if the board should pass all the schemes, then it would do a grievous injustice to solid and good concerns. I have been informed that one of the best of the lines now in the course of construction, having advanced money enough to enable them to borrow under the terms of their Act, have been for some time borrowing money at 4½ and 5 per cent. Upon the announcement of the plan of the noble Lord, by which the other railways would be able to obtain advances at 3½ per cent, the value of the shares immediately fell 1 per cent. [Lord G. BENTINCK: What line was that?] The Great Southern and 1240 Western, I believe it is called. I will now state to the House what is the opinion of a gentleman I shall not name; but I will state to the House that I believe he is a very wealthy man, residing in Dublin, and in all respects as trustworthy a person and as capable of forming an opinion on the subject as any one. This gentleman says—If Government were to give money at 3½ per cent to railway projects, the effect would be to render the most bankrupt concerns rich, and put them on a level with the best lines. If Government should be insane enough to yield to the cry for assistance to railways in Ireland, without stringent conditions and the most satisfactory explanations as to the proprietary and the paid-up capital, railways in Ireland will be sinks of peculation, improvidence, and abuse. A departure from the wholesome regulation which requires half the capital to be paid up before a company can borrow, would place all the ill-conceived rotten projects of this country in a flourishing condition.As I mentioned before, when I look at this Bill, I confess that some of its provivisions seem to me to look very much as if they had been introduced expressly for the purpose of meeting cases like these, in which gentlemen had been induced to advance money on speculations which had turned out bad securities for the money. If I understand the provisions of the Bill, it seems to be provided by the 29th clause, that all parties holding securities upon loans, may give notice and require the company to pay off all such securities, and that for that purpose the company may appropriate the money advanced by the State. Now, I must say, that such a course does not appear to me calculated to insure much employment to the destitute people in Ireland. Then there is the 31st clause, which provides that in the event of a company abandoning their works, they should be taken up by the State, who should be liable for all the debts and undertakings of the company. If I understand the effect of this clause, it is this: that any company which finds itself in a bankrupt and hopeless state, have nothing to do, but to throw off their connexion with the railway, and place it in the hands of the State; but if it is in a flourishing and thriving state, they may go on and receive the profits. I do not think that these are provisions peculiarly calculated to afford employment to labourers. They are, however, remarkably beneficial to railroad proprietors; and I confess, that in my opinion the measure might more properly be entitled, "A Bill for the relief of destitute 1241 shareholders," than one for the relief of destitute labourers. Why, my Colleagues and myself have had a much more tempting project than this under our consideration. Before the noble Lord's Bill was announced, a meeting of railroad shareholders was held in Dublin, from which a memorial emanated, praying that the Government would advance them a sum of money much smaller in amount than that asked for by the noble Lord; and proposing also that it should be lent upon more reasonable conditions than he stipulated for. The memorial proposed that no money should be advanced to any railway company which had not already expended 20 per cent in furtherance of their undertaking; and it was stipulated, that if the Government would advance 30 per cent to companies which had already expended 20 per cent, those companies should expend 30 per cent more—thus providing for an expenditure of 50 per cent by the shareholders, for 30 per cent advanced by the Government. That was a more reasonable proposition, and an infinitely fairer one, than that of the noble Lord. Doubtless the Irish railway shareholders were very well pleased when they saw the noble Lord come forward with a proposition that the Government should advance 16,000,000l., and that the money lent to the railways should constitute two-thirds of the whole expenditure, instead of less than one-third, which was all the shareholders had ventured to ask for. We declined to entertain the proposal of the Irish railroad shareholders, and to place ourselves in the position of becoming guarantees for the advance of a considerable sum of money. We knew that we must transmit from this country to Ireland large sums of money in order to prevent actual starvation. To that extent we scrupled not to call upon the country to advance its funds; but I must hesitate—nay, I, for one, distinctly refuse—to impose any burden, or to incur the risk of imposing any burden, on the people of this country, for the mere benefit of railroad speculators in Ireland. I have said, that for the purpose of affording relief, where it can be properly given, we do not scruple to advance money; and that brings me to the consideration of the question as to the amount of relief likely to be afforded by the adoption of the noble Lord's scheme. I cannot help thinking, that there is some great error in the noble Lord's calculations upon this point. The sum which the Irish railroad share- 1242 holders wished the Government to advance was 5,000,000l.; that which the noble Lord proposes to advance is 16,000,000l.; and yet the number of labourers calculated to be employed is, as nearly as may be, the same. The noble Lord says that the 16,000,000l. will find employment for 110,000 men; and the railroad shareholders alleged that the 5,000,000l. they required would put in employment 100,000 men. Which calculation is nearest the truth, it is not for me to say; but it is extraordinary, that the noble Lord, with the command of 16,000,000l., should propose to employ only a few thousand more labourers than the railroad shareholders undertook to do with 5,000,000l. I cannot help thinking that the noble Lord must have included in his calculation some railroads already constructed. The railroad shareholders stated, in their memorial, that the capital of the companies in whose behalf the application was made, amounted to about 16,000,000l. That is considerably under the amount which the noble Lord calculated. If, therefore, the noble Lord has included in his calculation the capital of railroads which are already constructed, a proportionate deduction must be made from his estimate of the number of persons to whom his scheme would give employment. The noble Lord says, that there are 1,500 miles of railroad yet to be constructed in Ireland, and that the expenditure which he proposes would furnish employment upon them for 110,000 men. I doubt whether there are as many as 1,500 miles of railroad yet to be constructed in Ireland. I do not presume, upon such a question as this, to enter into competition with the right hon. Member for Sunderland, whose knowledge of the subject probably exceeds that of any man in the House; but I have made some inquiry relative to the number of persons employed on a railway in the course of construction. I applied to a person of very considerable experience on the subject; and he informed me, that, speaking to the best of his belief, founded on considerable experience, about 25 per cent of the whole capital was the very outside of what was spent in the construction of the line. The noble Lord calculated that four years would be occupied in the completion of the Irish railways; it follows, therefore, that 25 per cent of the 16,000,000l. which he required, must be distributed over four years, which would give an expenditure of 1,000,000l. for each of the four years. Taking the wages 1243 round at 10s. per week, that sum would give employment to between 40,000 and 45,000 labourers, and no more. The same person from whom I obtained the information which I have just communicated to the House, also stated, that, from a number of results, it has been ascertained that the number of men employed per mile for two or three years, is from 20 to 30; I will take the number at 30, and that will give 45,000 men as the number who would be employed in the construction of 1,500 miles of railroad. It therefore appears that, subjecting the noble Lord's calculation to either of the tests which have been supplied by a person of very great practical knowledge in the construction of railroads, the number of persons who would be employed at the rate of expenditure proposed by the noble Lord, instead of 110,000, would at most be only 45,000. I think, then, that I am justified in maintaining, that the adoption of the noble Lord's scheme would by no means cause the absorption of so large an amount of labour as he anticipates. The noble Lord calculates that each labourer's family consists of five persons; and that, consequently, his measure would provide for the support of 550,000 individuals. I have shown that the number of labourers likely to be employed cannot amount to the number the noble Lord estimates. I will make a fair allowance for the information supplied to me being under the mark; but between 45,000 and 110,000 there is a large margin; and, I think, I am borne out in the assertion, that nothing like the number of labourers the noble Lord calculates upon would obtain employment. The noble Lord supposes that each labourer is the head of a family of four persons, or has four persons dependent upon him. I do not believe that any Gentleman in this House will say that that is the case with railroad labourers in general. Any one who has lived in the neighbourhood of railroads in the course of construction must know, that, generally speaking, persons employed in the construction of railroads are not family men, and do not support any persons but themselves. I believe that a considerable portion of their earnings is expended on themselves, in the good living which the noble Lord told us contributed so much to the excise revenue, and that only a small portion is appropriated to the support of families. I have no reason to suppose that the case is otherwise in Ireland. There is another con- 1244 sideration of still greater importance, to which I will now refer. I think I may venture to state, that persons fit to be employed as railroad labourers, are seldom to be found amongst the class who are at present in a state of destitution in Ireland. The right hon. Member for the University of Dublin told us the other day that he had been exceedingly anxious to carry out a presentment for the earthworks of a railroad under the Treasury Minute, but that he found the railroad company objected to employing the unskilled destitute labourers. The same thing has happened in other parts of the country. An hon. Gentleman now sitting behind me distinctly stated the other day, that not a single destitute person from the immediate neighbourhood was employed upon a railroad which passed near his residence in the south of Ireland. The railroad is the Waterford and Kilkenny. It appears that the contractors upon that line brought their labourers from Waterford, and other distant places; and refused to employ one of the destitute poor of the country through which the line passed. The House must remember that we have already endeavoured, unsuccessfully, to connect railroad employment with destitution. Early in October a Treasury Minute was passed, authorizing advances to be made on presentments for the earthworks of railroads. Under this Minute, advances were made to baronies from the Treasury, and the baronies proceeded to enter into arrangements with the railroad companies; but difficulties which prevented the execution of the scheme, were raised by parties on the spot. I was informed by a deputation which waited upon me, that, in the first place, but few railroad companies were in a situation to obtain possession of the land; and, in the next place, that where they had possession of the land, and the baronies were willing to present, they expected from the railroad companies repayment of the entire sum to be advanced. The railroad companies, on the other hand, alleged, that if they were to execute the works by skilled labourers, it would be done at less cost than by unskilled labourers; and that, therefore, it was unfair to call upon them to repay the entire sum which might be advanced, though they were willing to pay what it would cost them to have the work done by skilled labourers, leaving the baronies to pay the difference, in consideration of the relief which they would obtain from the employ- 1245 ment of their distressed population. The baronies were at that moment complaining of unproductive works, in which, according to their own showing, they lost half of the whole sum expended—the Treasury losing the other half—and yet they rejected the proposition of the railroad companies, and refused to submit to the loss of paying the difference in the expense to which the companies would be put, by the employment of unskilled, as compared with skilled labourers. Now, when those parties complain that they have lost their money in unproductive works, I beg to tell them that it was their own fault. What has been done with respect to the Waterford and Limerick Railroad, furnishes another proof of the impracticability of rendering the construction of railroads in Ireland subservient to the employment of destitute labourers. In four baronies through which the Waterford and Limerick Railroad passes, presentments have been made to the amount of 78,000l.; arrangements were being made for the employment of destitute labourers on the works, when a letter was received from the secretary to the company, stating that they could not employ the destitute persons recommended by the Board of Works, and that it was indispensable they should be at liberty to employ such persons as they chose. Thus, the only object which it was hoped to effect by making advances of money to railroads, was unattainable. The circumstances which I have stated, show that there is great reason to doubt that the noble Lord's measure would afford employment to the destitute poor in Ireland. It may be a good measure for promoting the construction of railroads in Ireland; but I believe that it would prove utterly unavailing as a means of affording relief to the destitute. Railroad companies would consult their interest by bringing skilled labourers to their works from all parts of the country in which they could find them; whilst it was the object of the House and the Government to afford relief to destitute and unskilled labourers who were starving. I repeat, therefore, that, in my opinion, it is next to impossible to unite railroad employment with the relief of the destitute. There is another circumstance well worthy of the consideration of the House. Any person who will look at the map of Ireland, must see that the great mass of railroads in that country lie upon the east coast, running in different directions from Dublin to Cork, and from Dublin to Londonderry. Now, the 1246 danger of starvation is not so imminent on the east coast. The most wretched and helpless part of Ireland at the present moment is the west, where the cottier peasantry had been induced to plant themselves in great numbers, tempted by the opportunity of getting seaweed to aid them in the cultivation of their land. It is in that part of Ireland that distress presses with the greatest severity; and I lament to say, that there famine and death are making frightful ravages. It is obvious that the distressed population of the west would not be benefited by the adoption of a measure applicable to the opposite side of the island. It is impossible to believe that railroad companies would find it worth their while to bring unskilled labourers from a distance of 150 miles, when they could get others on the spot. But suppose that railroad companies, actuated by a feeling of humanity—to which, however, beyond a certain point they would not sacrifice the interests of the shareholders—should attempt to bring large bodies of labourers from a distance, leaving the destitute in the immediate locality unemployed, might we not expect such a proceeding to produce the fatal results which have recently flowed from a similar cause? Might we not anticipate immediate riots and attacks upon the intruding labourers, as well as on the overseers of the works? Disputes have unfortunately taken place in many parts of England, between the English and the Irish labourers; but in Ireland the disputes would assume the character of faction fights, and the labourers brought from a distance would ultimately be driven off the ground. I think I have succeeded in showing that the noble Lord's measure would not afford relief to the really destitute, even in those parts of the country through which the railroads pass, whilst on that part of the country in which relief is most needed, it could exercise no sensible influence. We are prepared to abandon the system of giving relief through employment on public works, because we believe that it causes a considerable waste in expenditure, and think that, by the new system we are about to adopt, the same amount of expenditure will go much further in affording relief. Whilst we are eschewing one system on that account, would it become us to adopt another plan, which, as I have shown from the data I have stated to the House, could furnish employment to only 45,000 men, and those not of the class we are most anxious to provide for? I know 1247 that the noble Lord's scheme charms many persons, because it seems to hold out the prospect of employment to the people. If there were no other scheme before the House, that consideration might have some weight; but when it is known that there are measures before us involving the expenditure of large sums of money for the purpose of affording employment to the people, and otherwise relieving their distresses, that argument falls to the ground. There is no reason for adopting the noble Lord's scheme in preference to fifty other schemes which might be proposed, founded simply on the advance of a large sum of money to Ireland. When we are dealing with the taxes paid by the people of this country, it becomes us to be just before we are generous, and at least to take care that the money we advance shall be beneficially employed. I say we ought to make every effort in our power to afford relief to the really destitute in Ireland. Not a day passes without our receiving accounts of the extent to which destitution has extended, and, in many instances, I have received favourable accounts of the efforts which are made to mitigate its horrors. I stated to the House, a few days since, that in Kilmoe, out of a population of 7,250, no less than 7,000 persons were reduced to a state of pauperism, and yet had been for a very considerable time supported by the voluntary exertions of the district. A few days since we received a report of the proceedings of a relief committee of a barony in the Queen's county; the subscriptions were raised by persons themselves but little removed from poverty, and with little or no assistance from the resident proprietors. The most beneficial results were produced; the whole sum raised was 176l.; of this, 136l. were subscribed by the farmers, the policemen, and the priest, and only 40l. were contributed by the proprietors of the soil. I have never perused a document with greater pleasure and satisfaction, for it gives strong hopes of what may be done if all classes unite their efforts, giving money if they have it, and their personal exertions if they have no money, on behalf of their distressed countrymen. By this means alone can relief be extended to the starving population. And I confess it was with pain I can scarcely describe, that I received, by the same post that brought me the above report, an account of very different proceedings in the county of Mayo. There I find, so far from subscriptions having been entered 1248 into to maintain their people, that the landlords or their agents are pursuing a system of ejectment, under processes for rent, to an extent beyond what had ever been known in the county. The number of processes entered at the quarter-sessions exceed very considerably anything they have been before. At the quarter-sessions of the barony of Ballina 6,400 processes have been entered, of which 4,000 are at the suit of the landlords for rent. The same letter further states, that—These proceedings have almost depopulated the country, the people having fled with all they possessed, to prevent their property from being seized, or themselves thrown into prison, under decrees. There are districts in this barony where the townlands hitherto occupied by 400 or 500 persons are now uninhabited.This may, account, perhaps, for some of the thousands landed on the quays of Liverpool from the Irish steamers; and if this course were to be generally pursued, I should despair of the country ever being relieved. But if the contrary course is adopted—if, as in the instance I have quoted, the example given by the poorer residents, is followed by their richer neighbours, though much suffering will be unavoidably felt, yet to a great extent it may be mitigated, and the lives of thousands may be preserved. The hon. and learned Member for Bath asked me a question the other evening, to which he and the country have a right to receive an answer. That question was as to the sum of money which would be required for the measures of relief in Ireland. To that question the hon. Member had a right to expect a reply, and before many days it will be my duty to give the answer. But I confess I was a little surprised to hear the hon. Member for Limerick call the outlay under one of those measures a profligate waste; he wished to know when this profligate expenditure would cease. Sir, as long as it preserves the destitute from perishing, I do not call that expenditure profligate; and, though many predictions have been made of failure in what we are doing, yet neither the hon. Member for Limerick, nor the hon. Member for Wycombe, who also finds fault with our measures, has hitherto pointed out any other means by which the pressure of the distress can be met. If I thought this plan of the noble Lord's, or any other that might be proposed, was a better one than ours—if I thought it would bring food to the starving people of the west of Ireland—I should not be ashamed to adopt it, 1249 from whomsoever it might come. But, believing as I do that it will not answer the purpose intended, and seeing that no other suggestion has been offered by those best acquainted with Ireland, and who have a practical knowledge of the country, I must adhere to the measures which we have proposed. I am perfectly aware that these measures of relief only will not be enough; there must be measures that will go beyond the present period of suffering. I am as perfectly convinced as any Irish Gentleman in the House, that we are on the eve of a great change, almost a revolution, in the social condition of Ireland. I entertained that opinion and expressed it as long ago as September last. I said, then, that besides measures of relief for the present distress, some of a much more enduring character would be necessary. I believe that, notwithstanding the severe suffering of the present time, much good may arise out of it, if it is properly dealt with; even the failure of the cultivation of the potato may turn out to be a blessing. Should the potato cease to be depended on as the food of the people, of course the plot of ground now so essential to the peasant, will cease to bear so great a value; land will no longer be so fiercely competed for, or held with such tenacity. Agrarian outrages will probably cease, when land will no longer be indispensable to a man's subsistence. Even the labourers who come over to England and Scotland, to work at the hay and corn harvest, did so in the confidence that their families could subsist at home on potatoes; this will be no longer the case; they can no longer subsist on food of their own raising. If advantage is properly taken of this—not according to the system practised in Mayo—we may yet transform the peasant into the peaceable, industrious labourer, working for and paid by the wages of an employer, which will be a change at once essential and beneficial to the country. But this is an exceedingly different thing from collecting the labour of Ireland into gangs working on a railroad. Numbers of Irish labourers come over periodically to Scotland and England; but what they have yet to learn is the practice of steady labour, at wages from day to day, upon the land and farms of Ireland. That is a kind of employment far more healthy, and more conducive to the establishment of a sound connexion between landlord and tenant, and farmer and labourer, than any employment on railroads; our best efforts 1250 ought to be directed to the establishment of a system of daily work and daily wages in Ireland, not upon railroads, but upon the land. For this purpose a Bill has been introduced, carrying still further the measure of last Session, advancing sums of money for the purpose of draining in Ireland; loans will be made to proprietors wishing to improve their estates. Much has been said, and very unjustly, against that Bill. I think it will be the means of inducing many persons in Ireland who have not heretofore paid sufficient attention to the improvement of their estates, to commence operations with that object. Ample security is taken for the repayment of the advances; and I believe such repayments have seldom failed in Ireland. If the landlords do avail themselves of this Bill, it will be the beginning of a better system in that country. For a short time, perhaps, labour will be employed in draining, fencing, and other operations of that kind necessary for the improvement of the estate; but, by and by, it will be employed in cultivating the soil, a larger quantity of land will be brought into tillage, a greater quantity of waste land—and by that I do not mean bogs and moors, but land now in a half-wild state—will be rendered arable, affording employment to a greater number of persons in the ordinary processes of agriculture. I do not think the State should be for ever the lender for these purposes; but if, by making these advances, the proprietors are enabled to commence operations of this description, they will afterwards be able to raise sufficient funds from private sources. But even should it be necessary to extend the advances under this Act, I believe it would be far better to do so, than to furnish money for railroads. Applied to the land, the funds would be employed in reproductive labour, increasing the produce of the soil, on which the people of Ireland subsist. That is an object of primary importance; if that is done then the country may prosper, and, ultimately, there may be a necessity for railroads; but at present I think the noble Lord is providing the means of conveyance for that which does not exist. Our first duty and our first care should be to increase the productiveness of the soil, and to foster the custom of daily employment at wages upon the land. There are other Bills of a similar description into which it is unnecessary for me to go; one of them, the Bill for the Improvement of Waste Lands, has met with some ridicule in the 1251 House; but all of them have been framed with one ohject—the improvement of the land, increasing its productiveness, and adding to the quantity of human food grown upon it. To this all our efforts ought to be directed; for these purposes mainly ought advances to be made. And if I felt disposed to add to the advances for Ireland, it should be for these purposes rather than for the construction of railroads. For such purposes, and for other measures that may be necessary to carry Ireland through the crisis now hanging over her, I am prepared to call upon the people of this country to contribute, and to relieve their starving Irish brethren. I am sure the poorest man in the country will not object to contribute his share of the burden. But when I receive, day after day, accounts of distress existing in this country—even in this great metropolis—which it is most painful to hear; when I know that in many large manufacturing towns mills are stopped, and employment has ceased, and even that starvation is pressing upon thousands, we must take care not to weigh unduly on the resources of this country in order to relieve our suffering brethren in Ireland. We are prepared to propose to this House, and to call upon the people of this country, to contribute what we consider really necessary for relieving distress in Ireland. But I should be ashamed to call them to bear more burdens for an object which, though it may confer some slight benefit on the labouring class of Ireland, will not go directly or efficiently to the relief of that distress. For these reasons I feel it is impossible to accede to the Motion of the noble Lord; and I move that the Bill be read a second time this day six months.
MR. H. J. BAILLIE
rose, not for the purpose of entering into the general discussion of the Bill before the House, but in his capacity as one of the representatives of Scotland, to enter his protest against the appropriation of sixteen millions of the public money to the construction of railways in Ireland, unless the House was prepared to vote a sum for the construction of railways in Scotland also. The people of Scotland were at this moment labouring under a similar calamity to that with which the people of Ireland were afflicted; there was a starving population in many parts of that country to maintain; but because the landed proprietors of Scotland nobly performed their duty in the emergency, making unheard-of efforts to meet the evil— 1252 that country was to be left to its own resources, and no grants were to be made for the execution of public works in aid of the distress that existed. Was it fair, he would ask, to call upon those who were making great pecuniary sacrifices, in order to maintain the population, to contribute also to the construction of Irish railroads? With the permission of the House, he should shortly state the course which had been taken by the landed proprietors of Scotland, and how they had met the difficulties with which they were surrounded; because there existed no reason why the proprietors of land in Ireland should not adopt similar measures for the relief of their starving poor. And he would take the example of two landed proprietors in the county which he represented, not because all the other landlords of Scotland did not do the same as they were doing, but because he had a better opportunity of knowing the course taken by these individuals. These were the two chief proprietors of the island of Skye, Lord Macdonald and the Macleod of Macleod. The island of Skye contained 26,000 inhabitants, and the whole rental of the land was only 25,000l. a year. It was manifest, therefore, that at the rate at which provisions were sold at present, the rental of the island would not sustain its population for two months; and indeed, had it not been for the measures adopted by these landlords, to which he was about to refer, there was no doubt that at this moment the inhabitants of the island would be in a state of starvation. The people lived on their potato crop for about nine months in the year, and for the other three months they subsisted on their oats. Both, however, were long since consumed; and he should be glad to know any part of Ireland that was in a worse situation. Well, what was the course adopted by the landed proprietors in that emergency? In August last, they were made aware of the fact of the total failure of the potato crop; and what did they then do? They did not sit with their arms folded, but they immediately applied to Her Majesty's Government for a loan of money to set the people at work, offering their estates as a security for its repayment. The Government referred them to the Drainage Act of last Session; but they told the Government that it would not answer the exigencies of the case, because they sought to bring new land into cultivation. Then he should state that it was impossible that any Govern- 1253 ment could come forward in a better spirit than did the Government of the noble Lord upon that occasion. The Government promised to amend the Act in that respect, and the people of Skye were accordingly all set to work at once, and were now employed in draining and trenching the land of the island. Of course there were many persons in that population of six and twenty thousand who were not able to work; these had hitherto been gratuitously supported by the landlords, and up to the present time he understood little or no relief had been afforded to them by the committee in Edinburgh. He did not know whether this kind of work could be carried on until the harvest; but at all events the landlords had the signal honour of doing everything that lay within their power to meet the difficulty and avert the danger with which their tenantry were menaced. With respect to the measure of the noble Lord the Member for Lynn, he could very well understand how the right hon. the Lord Mayor of York could convince himself that railroads were a panacea for every earthly evil, social and political, because no doubt they were a fixed idea in his mind. But he confessed he felt astonished that the noble Lord should think that the people of Ireland could be fed, not by the exertions of the landlords in the cultivation of the land of that country, but by the introduction of railways. If the people of Ireland were to be fed on a better description of food than that to which they had hitherto been accustomed—and God grant they might!—it could only be by turning all their energies to the improved cultivation of the land. When there was good cultivation, there could be no doubt that railroads would be made in due time. As he said, he had only risen to protest, as a representative of Scotland, against any outlay of the public money upon railways in Ireland. If the Legislature wished to benefit Ireland, they should grant every facility to the proprietors of land for the purpose of improving their estates, taking due care that it should be all laid out upon the land, but leaving to them its distribution, as no doubt they would apply it more economically, and were the best judges of its application. By these means the expense of public works would be avoided; and, above all, there would be an avoidance of that system of jobbing which unfortunately pervaded every department in Ireland.
agreed with the hon. 1254 Member for Inverness in the deserved compliments which he had paid to the landlords of Scotland; and he also agreed with the exhortation of the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that in the discussion of the question at issue all party considerations should be avoided as much as possible. He thought, on a question which related to internal improvements which were calculated to ensure permanent benefits, that personality, or anything calculated to excite animosity, ought to be carefully avoided. He quite agreed with the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his exhortation to avoid discussing the question in an acrimonious tone, and he also agreed that the course pointed out by the right hon. Gentleman was the proper course for the discussion of the question. But so far from avoiding personal topics, and keeping to the tone he had advised, the right hon. Gentleman chose to impute motives to those hon. Members who proposed, and those whose names appeared on the back of the Bill, which ought not to actuate them—motives which, indeed, ought not to actuate any public man. On the back of the Bill would be found names which he thought, if viewed in connexion with this measure, or in connexion with any measure that had for its object the improvement of the internal communication of the country, or related to matters connected with finance and the fluctuations in the money market, would carry the greatest weight and authority. There was the name of the hon. Member for Sunderland, a gentleman directly interested in promoting improved internal communication, and well versed in the construction of railways. That hon. Member, he thought, was entitled to the consideration of the House on the subject of railway communication. Then if the House wished to be advised of the effect of this particular measure on the money market and on the finances, there was the hon. Member for Westmoreland, an alderman of the city of London, and a Bank of England director. These were Gentlemen of the highest character and reputation, whose opinions ought to be treated with respect, and ought not to be exposed, to those insinuations which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, forgetting his own exhortations, had chosen to indulge in. But there were not only these names, but there were also the names on the Bill of the noble Lord the Member for Lynn, and the honoured name 1255 of the Member for Stamford, the Marquess of Granby; and was it right, he would ask, to insinuate anything against the motives and objects of a Bill on which the names of those hon. Members appeared? He considered that the high character and standing of those hon. Members should exempt them from such an insinuation as that this measure had been introduced, not to relieve the destitute poor of Ireland, but to relieve destitute shareholders. He denied that the character of the measure had been properly described by the right hon. Gentleman. He denied that the measure could be considered by any man who had given a moment's consideration to the objects and character of the Bill, as a measure either to relieve shareholders in railways, or to take money from the taxpayers of England to benefit the landlords of Ireland. He begged the House to bear with him for a few minutes while he made some remarks on the question under discussion. He would ask if it were possible, after looking to the object of the Bill, to attribute to its framers such objects as those which had been attributed to them by the right hon. Gentleman? The avowed purpose of the Bill was to stimulate the employment of labour in Ireland in the production of works likely to be of permanent benefit. They had, however, been told that Government, except in cases of great emergency, ought not to act the part of money lenders, or to advance loans to construct public works. Why, in the very business on which the House had been now engaged for some nights, the proposals of Government had been that the Government should be a money lender. The noble Lord at the head of the Government, in one of his Bills, asked for a loan to benefit private individuals. Therefore to object to the present measure on the ground that Government ought not to be a money lender, was, in fact, to make objections to the measures of Government itself. Along with the Bill introduced by the noble Lord the Member for Lynn, he held in his hand another Bill—a Government Bill—on which were the names of the First Lord of the Treasury, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Chief Secretary for Ireland. That Bill was to facilitate improvements in landed property by advances to owners, and thereby to afford employment to destitute persons. The object of the Bill now under discussion was not to lend money by Government at all, not even on adequate security. The object 1256 of the noble Lord the Member for Lynn's Bill was to enable Government to interpose its credit, so as to enable works of great public utility to be constructed. But the right hon. Gentleman said, that this plan of employing the credit and capital of Government on public works, had been tried in Ireland, and had failed. An instance of this was given in the case of the Ulster Canal. It was stated that loans of money were made to enable the promoters of that canal to carry out their undertaking—that these loans were liberally made, and entirely lost. Now, he begged the attention of the House as to what was the actual result of this expenditure of public money in making the Ulster Canal; as the case had been brought before the House by the right hon. Gentleman as an instance of public money lent and lost without any benefit to the country. He would refer to a work on the subject that might be relied on by the right hon. Gentleman, as it was written, not by a protectionist, but by a free-trader, Mr. Porter. Mr. Porter had applied his attention to the subject of the money advanced by Government expended on the Ulster Canal, and the result. The question to be considered was, whether the interposition of the credit of the Government would be likely to benefit the people of Ireland, if directed to the completion of important public works. If hon. Gentlemen would turn to Mr. Porter's book, at that place where he referred to the experiment of lending money to complete the Ulster Canal, they would find Mr. Porter state, that during the progress of the works, they proved a great blessing to the districts through which they passed. This case was just such a case as that propounded by the right hon. Gentleman, as an example. In the case of the Ulster Canal, Mr. Porter stated, as to the expenditure of money during the progress of the work,—"that it proved a great blessing to the district through which it passed; it gave constant employment and fair wages to a great number of labouring men, and proved the means of reclaiming many from habits of reckless indifference and devotion to ardent spirits. It further gave these labourers the power and the habit of saving out of their wages.Here, then, were the results of an experiment as to the expenditure of public money, which it was stated by the right hon. Gentleman had entirely failed. He appealed to that experiment, although, in that instance, the public money had been improvidently advanced, because not advanced 1257 on that sure ground which warranted an expectation of the advance being repaid. The money appeared to have been advanced without due inquiry as to the means of repayment; but had it proved a loss to this country? Had it not proved a blessing to Ireland; and had it not shown that even the case of the expenditure on public works of an improvident loan, was a blessing to the people? Mr. Porter went on further to describe the results. He said, whether the works stopped or were abandoned, this good had already taken place, that many of the workmen had laid by sufficient money to emigrate to Canada, where some had become proprietors. There was another considerable public work in Ireland referred to by the right hon. Gentleman, by way of warning to the House not to sanction the interposition of the credit of Government for works in Ireland calculated to give employment to the population. The right hon. Gentleman referred to a loan to the Dublin and Kingstown Railway; could any one doubt, that, during the progress of that work, the expenditure of money was beneficial? Every sixpence of that loan had been repaid. There was sufficient evidence to show at what rate railroads could be constructed; and of all the extravagant rates, the Dublin and Kingstown Railway and Harbour was the most extravagant. The expense was 60,000l. a mile, and yet the result was beneficial. Although the railway was so extravagantly constructed, every sixpence of the loan was repaid, and the shareholders enjoyed a profit of nine per cent for their outlay. After these facts, he was astonished to hear the right hon. Gentleman attempt to depreciate and deny the great benefit which must arise, not only during their progress, but after their completion, from the construction of works relating to internal communication. Mr. Porter's work was a collection of facts to illustrate national progress; and part of it was devoted to showing the benefit that flowed from works of internal improvement. The hon. Member who had last spoken, had referred to the state of Scotland, in this season of distress, as a proof that the people of a country might be supported without any such measure as that recommended by the noble Lord. Why, of all the men in the world, a Scotsman should have recollected, that if Lord Macdonald and Macleod of Macleod were enabled to maintain the starving by their own exertions in providing the poor with employment on their own 1258 estates, their prosperity as landowners enabling them to make such great and laudable exertions, was in consequence of the liberality of a former wise Government in advancing money for the construction, even in the wildest parts of Scotland, where there could be little prospect of a return upon the loan, of great public roads. It was a matter of notoriety that such was the fact, and that by thus opening up an internal communication, the condition of Scotland had been immeasurably improved. Great part of Mr. Porter's work was devoted to explaining the benefits to be derived from these communications; and there was hardly a page in the work which did not afford a powerful argument in favour of the measure now under the consideration of the House. It was matter of notoriety, that not only had the condition of Scotland been improved by an expenditure commenced by wise statesmen more than a century ago, without any contract or promise of payment of the sum advanced; but he found, with respect to works of this kind more immediately conducted by private enterprise, that the description given in that work of the benefits that had accrued from them, must strike any man with very great force who considered that they were now discussing, not only what was for the present benefit of Ireland, but what was likely permanently to augment the wealth and social prosperity of that country. Mr. Porter thus spoke of the expenditure in the Highlands of Scotland, and gave the opinion of a great authority in questions of this kind, the late Mr. Telford—a gentleman, not only himself engaged in the construction of these works, but who had lived long enough to see and estimate the benefit conferred on the country by wise expenditure for that purpose:—Since its formation, the Board of Works in Scotland has caused the construction of 874 miles of road, and more than a thousand bridges. By these means, according to the opinion of the late Mr. Telford, whose opportunities of forming a correct judgment on the subject few persons will question, we have advanced civilization in the districts principally affected by at least an hundred years.Mr. Porter stated, that a like effect had been experienced, in at least an equal degree, in Ireland; and he might refer to the authorities quoted in that work to show the benefits expected to accrue from extending the means of internal communication in the most barren districts of Ireland. Mr. Griffith, whose report was quoted by Mr. 1259 Porter, speaking upon the subject in 1822, thus expressed himself in his report:—The fertile plains of Limerick, Cork, and Kerry, are separated from each other by a deserted country, hitherto nearly an impassable barrier. This large district comprehends upwards of 900 square miles; in many places it is very populous. As might be expected, under such circumstances, the people are turbulent; and their houses being inaccessible for want of roads, it is not surprising that during the disturbances of 1821 and 1822 this district was the asylum for whiteboys, smugglers, and robbers, and that stolen cattle were drawn into it as to a safe and impenetrable retreat. Notwithstanding its present desolate state, this country contains within itself the seeds of future improvement and industry.The seeds of improvement were cultivated; and he would read the result produced in the course of seven years by the construction of turnpike roads. In reporting on the state of this same district in 1829, the intelligent gentleman already mentioned, said—A very considerable improvement has already taken place in the vicinity of the roads, both in the industry of the inhabitants and the appearance of the country; upwards of sixty new lime-kilns have been built; carts, ploughs, harrows, and improved implements, have become common; new houses of a better class have been built, new inclosures made, and the country has become perfectly tranquil, and exhibits a scene of industry and exertion at once pleasing and remarkable. A large portion of the money received for labour has been husbanded with care, laid out in building substantial houses, and in the purchase of stock and agricultural implements; and numerous examples might be shown of poor labourers possessing neither money, houses, nor land, when first employed, who in the past year have been enabled to take farms, build houses, and stock their lands.He begged hon. Gentlemen to bear in mind the latter part of the passage; for the question was, how the wages of labour expended in constructing public works were employed and operated on the population? All this had been the result of seven years of roads constructed through this most sterile and most unpromising district. Another gentleman, of great authority in matters relating to the condition of Ireland, he meant Mr. Nimmo, stated, in a report made in the year 1824, that in a part of the county of Kerry—A few years ago there was hardly a plough, car, or carriage of any kind; butter, the only produce, was carried to Cork on horseback; there was not one decent public-house, and only one house slated and plastered in the village; the nearest post-office thirty miles distant. Since the new road was made, there were built in three years upwards of twenty respectable two-story houses; a shop with cloth, hardware, and groceries; a comfortable inn, a post-office, bridewell, new chapel, a quay covered with limestone for 1260 manure, a salt-work, two stores for oats, and a considerable traffic in linen and yarn.This gratifying statement described only the first beginning of improvement. When seven more years had passed, the population amounted to more than 1,100; they now exceed 1,300 souls. The twenty houses spoken of by Mr. Nimmo have increased to more than 250, forming the flourishing town of Cahirciveen, which was the centre of a considerable import and export trade. Now, he asked hon. Members to consider what, in a financial point of view, was the result of all these improvements, and whether all those enormous and marvellous results of the construction of works of internal communication had not greatly contributed to benefit the revenue of the country and the social condition of the people? They were now considering whether this measure of the noble Lord, which had been called a measure to encourage gambling and speculation, and put the money of the English taxpayer into the pockets of Irish landlords, had not been most inaccurately and untruly so described, both in its immediate effects and ultimate results? He undertook to demonstrate to any man who would attend to the principle of the measure, that when they were accused of calling on the people of England to pay, whether they would or not, out of their taxes, large sums of money to go to the construction of those works, there never was a misrepresentation more grossly unfounded. The hon. and learned Member for Bath had spoken in strong — he must say, too strong — terms on this subject; but if the hon. Gentleman would look at the machinery of the measure, he would see that the taxpayer was not called upon to put his hand into his pocket for sixpence. On the country, if the pockets of the taxpayers were the especial care of the hon. Member, there were very serious reasons why he ought to give the measure his most cordial support. What did this Bill propose to do? To take from the pockets of the taxpayer de anno in annum 4,000,000l. of money? There was no such proposal. What the advocates of the Bill maintained was, that if good security could be given, money should be raised on the credit of the Government. The first part of the Bill provided that there should be no advance made except on a scrutiny of the purpose for which it was asked; and on the credit and responsibility of a Government officer, there was a sufficient security for the repayment. A safe and profitable advance had been made by Government 1261 in the construction of the Dublin and Kingstown Railway. This was not made improvidently, by casting a sum of money among greedy speculators, that it might get into the hands of the most grasping; he took it for granted, that it was advanced after full consideration and inquiry, and on a reasonable prospect that it would be repaid. The functionary to whom this inquiry had been entrusted, had exercised his judgment wisely and well—the work had been constructed, Ireland had been benefited, and the money repaid. In the present case, how was the money proposed to be advanced? Were they to take from England 4,000,000l. a year to lend to Irish railways? That was not the proposal of the noble Lord; it was of an entirely different kind. The proposal was, that if skilful Government functionaries, worthy of being entrusted with so important a duty, should state that the railway for the completion of which it was proposed to procure money, was a work likely to succeed — likely to afford immediate employment in Ireland to the people, and to produce ultimate benefit to the country, as well as to be profitable in the end; then, and not till they were so satisfied, was the Government credit to be interposed. Now, he would ask any man, who seriously considered the subject in a financial point of view, to say whether the result of all those improvements—those most marvellous consequences of increased internal communication—would not be, besides the blessing of present employment to a starving population, an increase to the revenue of the empire, as well as lead to the permanent prosperity and social happiness of Ireland? He would ask hon. Members who fairly considered the subject, whether it was right to denounce this Bill as a measure to promote the interest of gambling speculators, or a measure to put the money of the English taxpayer into the pockets of the Irish landlords? He would undertake to demonstrate to any man that would take the trouble of going into the details of this measure, or rather without going into any minute details, that when they were accused of calling upon the people of England to say whether they would consent to put their hard-earned money into the pockets of the Irish landowners, they never were more grossly misrepresented. He ventured to say, that if the hon. and learned Member for Bath (Mr. Roebuck), who had expressed himself in strong, and he was sure much too strong 1262 terms on this subject, would but do them the favour of applying his understanding to this measure, he would find that his tax-paying fellow-countrymen were not called upon to put their hands into their pockets and give the Irish landlords one single sixpence. On the contrary, if the hon. and learned Member, as well as the other hon. Members, would but attend to the way in which the sum asked for was proposed to be raised and to be used, they would find the pocket of the English taxpayer was most especially cared for; and that there were serious reasons why, out of their regard to that pocket, and to the increase of the revenue of this country, the noble Lord (Lord G. Bentinck) should be entitled to expect their most cordial support. He would now ask what it was proposed by this Bill that they should do—that they should take out of the taxes of the empire de anno in annum, 4,000,000l. to carry on the proposed works? There was no such proposal. What then was proposed? That if good security could be given, money should be advanced upon the credit of the Government. Now, the first distinguishing feature of this measure was, that it provided that the public credit should not be pledged for the repayment of loans until a sifting scrutiny was made by an officer of the Government into the nature of the proposed security, and his certificate was given to the effect that the advance would be safe. Had not the advance made by the Government to the Dublin and Kingstown Railway Company been a safe and profitable advance? That advance was made, not suddenly or improvidently; the money that was advanced in that case by the Government did not go into the hands of a set of greedy speculators. He took it for granted (for he heard nothing of the particulars), that no money was advanced to that company until a full inquiry had been made into the nature of the undertaking, and the proposed guarantees for repayment. He took it for granted, that that inquiry was answered in the affirmative. He believed that the functionaries of the Government had, in that case, manifested great wisdom in recommending the advance. The work had been conducted, and had done great benefit to Ireland; and part of the money had been already repaid. But how was the money proposed to be advanced by this Bill? Were they to take 4,000,000l. yearly from the Exchequer, in order to lend to the Irish railways? No, that was not the proposal of the noble Lord. His pro- 1263 posal was of an entirely different kind. It was that a functionary should be employed by the Government, to whom should be entrusted the important duty of showing that the railway, upon which it was proposed that the advance should be made, was a work likely to succeed; to afford employment to the people of Ireland; and likely to produce ultimate benefit to the country, as well as to be ultimately beneficial to the shareholders. If such, in that officer's opinion, were likely to be the case, the Government would then interpose its credit to enable the company to borrow the necessary sum on good security. By such a course the hon. and learned Member for Bath would, if he looked carefully into the matter, find that instead of money being taken out, it would be put into "the pockets of his taxpaying countrymen" by the Irish people. But he really believed that the people out of doors did not entertain the opinions of the hon. Gentleman on the subject. No taxpayer who had taken the trouble to inquire what this measure really was, would feel the slightest apprehension on the subject. Not one farthing was proposed to be taken out of the national Exchequer; it was proposed that the works should be carried on upon the credit of the Government, and that might be done in various ways. If it was done by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for instance, it would be done merely upon Government security; but then the amount would be pledged to be repaid by good security. The Chancellor of the Exchequer might issue Exchequer-bills to the amount of the required sum, that was to say, if the Government considered the security good, and the repayment safe; because this was not a compulsory measure—this was not a measure that entitled the owners of shares and the directors of railways in Ireland to come in for a general scramble of the public money. It was entirely the reverse. It was a measure which would interpose between speculation and gambling in railways. Before any money could be advanced, the Government must be satisfied that the security was good, and it could only be unsafe or uncertain in a case where the officer of the Government did not properly discharge his duty. [Lord G. BENTINCK: He will be responsible to the Government.] But as the noble Lord had reminded him, that officer would be responsible to the Government, if he recommended as safe an undertaking which was likely to be merely a gambling speculation, 1264 or not profitable to the shareholders, he would be liable to be removed from his office. He appealed to the justice of hon. Members who intended to give their votes upon this measure, and who were called upon to reject it, because it was represented as one which would take money out of the pockets of the taxpayers of England, to carry on a gambling speculation, to read the words of the Bill. They would see how carefully such a proceeding was guarded against. If the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer had done what in fairness and candour he (Mr. Stuart) thought he ought to have done—and the language was so plain, that he who ran might read, and he that read must understand—it would have been more fair to the House and to the country if he had applied his attention to the 18th clause, the words of which were—That an advance is only to be made upon the Government being assured that the railway, if completed, will afford a reasonable prospect of sufficient security for the loan applied for.Now, he stated the provisions of this Bill, being borne out by its words; and he challenged any hon. Member—he required it as an act of justice—that before he described this Bill as one which was to put into the hands of needy, and it might, perhaps, be greedy speculators, the Government money, he should read the 18th clause, and should afterwards state whether it was possible to misunderstand its provisions; and after having fairly read the Bill, he would ask him whether it did not provide not only that a sufficient guarantee should be given for any money lent by the Government, but also that the speculators themselves should be benefited? He had already endeavoured to prove to the House that the establishment of public works for the purposes of internal communication were beneficial to the country. And he would remind them that this Bill proposed no new proceeding. The mode in which loans were proposed, and security required, was no new measure. He had also said that it was in the power of the Government to issue Exchequer-bills to carry on the proposed works; but if the Government did not choose to adopt that course, there was another course open to them, which was admirably adapted to the purpose. He was indebted to his hon. Friend the Member for Westmoreland (Mr. Alderman Thompson) for a copy of one of the securities, on which the moneys had been raised by means of which great public works 1265 had been carried on by the credit of the Government in Canada. Some years ago it was proposed that public works should be constructed in Canada, which was then in a condition somewhat similar to Ireland, for the purpose of employing the people. The Government was applied to, and it was thought a safe and reasonable thing on their part to interpose the credit of the Government for the purpose of enabling, not the Government, but other individuals, to lend their money upon security of the particular works, with the security of the Government superadded. The instrument issued by the Government for that purpose was a "Debenture;" and there could be no difficulty, he presumed, in the way of the Chancellor of the Exchequer adopting a similar course in the case of Ireland. He was thus particular on this subject, for the purpose of showing the absurdity of saying that the money required for Irish railways would have to come out of the pockets of the taxpayers of England. Repayment of the loans to be made by private individuals for the proposed railways, would be secured by Her Majesty out of the funds of Great Britain. He had been surprised to find some of his hon. Friends in opposition to this measure; and he alluded particularly to that small section of the House, who lately formed Her Majesty's Government. If they meditated voting against this Bill, he would have them to consider well what they had already done to sanction such measures. He would ask them, whether what they had already done in that direction, was wisely done and wisely sanctioned? And whether they should now stand up in that House, and taunt the noble Lord the Member for Lynn, or the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Hudson), with bringing before the House a measure for the purpose of putting the money of the taxpayers of England, into the pockets of gambling speculators in Ireland? If they were to discuss like wise men the wisdom of this measure—it might be wise, it might be foolish—but he did entreat them to discuss it fairly: let them make a fair examination of the facts, and let them not be led away by such statements as those which they had heard, he regretted to say, from so high an authority as an officer of the Crown, in the position of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Now, before he quitted the subject of advances of money, and the wisdom or expediency of the Government interfering with the various speculations which might be set on foot in 1266 Ireland, he would ask whether the Governments of any other countries had interfered in the same way? It was notorious that other Governments had so interfered in several instances; and he begged leave to call the attention of the House to what had been the result of that interference. It was well known that on the Continent, in Belgium and France—but in Belgium particularly—the Government had taken the whole subject of railways into its own hands, and had become, not the lender of the money upon security to be invested for a speculation, but itself the great speculator in railways. Now, what said the free-traders when they were talking of this, and considered the subject fully and deliberately in their closets? Mr. Porter could not be accused of any party purposes when he was considering whether the Belgian Government had acted wisely in not merely lending the money, but itself becoming the speculator in railways. Now, let him beg the attention of the House to what had been the result of the course pursued by the Government of Belgium in this respect, as estimated by Mr. Porter. According to Mr. Porter, that Government had invested its money to carry out railways; but from the lowness of the charges the money so laid out had never been repaid. But did that free-trader, Mr. Porter, consider that the Belgian Government had done an unwise thing in this? Did he consider that because, on account of the lowness of the charges, the interest on the money invested was not paid, that Government had done a foolish thing? No. On the contrary, he considered that the course taken was one which had proved a decided gain to the country. He showed, that even though the railway tolls were not affording an adequate remuneration to the Government, the whole revenue of the State was deriving a great advantage. The nation at large had derived great benefit from the measure in the diminished charges for conveyance—an advantage in which, in one shape or other, the whole Belgian nation participated. Those were the opinions of Mr. Porter, an honest free-trader; and he believed that in using them, he was influenced by no party considerations. But it was said, that if all the Commons in England did not reject this measure, be it wise or not, unless the Prime Minister should be of opinion that it was a wise one, and if they persevered in the measure, why a greater calamity than a famine—greater evils than those which now afflicted Ireland 1267 —greater than the starvation which now existed in that country, would take place—the Prime Minister would resign. Now, he, for one, should very much regret that result, because at the present moment it was impossible to say that some embarrassment and some difficulty might not be caused by that resignation. But such a threat was hardly worthy of a great Government—it strongly indicated a feeble Government. When such topics were urged by any Member of the House, and he begged hon. Members who might be swayed or influenced—as many would be by that, to them, formidable intimation—to consider that it was not a new device of Prime Ministers. Cases had occurred in that House before, in which Prime Ministers made similar threats, which were obeyed; but he begged hon. Members to consider what were the results. Why, the late Prime Minister of England some years ago, after a vote in that House given by a great majority of the House on an important question, came down and told his supporters that unless they rescinded that vote, he would resign. Now, he did not mean to ask the House to act according to what were his (Mr. Stuart's) opinions of what might be called political morality or political integrity; but he would ask the House whether, after hon. Members had honestly given their vote upon any particular measure, it was right or wise that they should rescind their votes, merely because the Prime Minister for the time being might threaten that unless they did rescind it, he would resign? He believed that no good would result from such conduct; nor did he consider it to be consistent with political honesty. Now, he should be sorry to use any expression offensive to any hon. Member, but he begged leave only to be understood as expressing his individual opinion upon the subject. He believed that there were many other hon. Members who participated in that opinion; and that it was the opinion of the great body of the people. Whoever would consider the result of such a course as that pursued by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, to induce his supporters to come down and vote that that was wrong which two nights before they had voted to be right, would find that it ended in disappointment; the result was disastrous even to himself. And he (Mr. Stuart) appealed to those Members who might be supposed to be influenced by the threat of the present Prime Minister, not to consider that threat, but to look 1268 fairly into this measure, and they would, he believed, vote in favour of it. If, however, they listened to the threat, they would get no credit themselves, and they would do no good to the Government: nay, more, such a proceeding would be heavily visited upon the head of the Prime Minister. That was the case of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth. It was thought that unbounded confidence might be reposed in his Government; and how was that confidence justified? Why, what did the House witness in the course of the last Session of Parliament? What did they witness upon that occasion which placed the noble Lord at the head of the Government, in the place which he now ocupied? Every one of those who had improperly, in his (Mr. Stuart's) opinion, voted for the Coercion Bill, merely to keep that right hon. Baronet in office, had been disappointed in that object. They had the discredit of giving an improper vote merely to save the Government, and yet had not succeeded in saving it. He deeply regretted (and he believed he spoke within the hearing of some of the hon. Members who voted upon that occasion) that they should have on an important question sacrificed their independent opinion, because of the threat of a Prime Minister of the Crown. But the right hon. Baronet had not, after all, benefited by this conduct; on the contrary, the right hon. Baronet had brought discredit upon himself, and was in his opinion most justly deprived of the government of this country. He begged to call the attention of the Government to the fact that the Belgian Government invested money in railways even where they did not pay. Some people might say that there was more of absolute power in the Belgian Government; but what did the United States of America do? Why, they pledged the credit of the Government to procure the construction of the public works. And he begged of the Government to attend to the result of that policy. It could not be denied that the Government of the United States was a wise, a crafty, and a selfish Government. The United States was above all other countries remarkable for speculation and enterprise of the most gambling and extravagant character. Well, this very Government interposed the credit of the State, for the purpose of executing these public works. Neither the fact nor the result escaped the observation of Mr. Porter, who said that the canals were made not with the money of the State, for that 1269 was not So easily had, but with money borrowed on the credit of the State. They did not construct the works, like Belgium, at their own expense, but they interposed their credit to enable money to be raised for the construction of those great canals. Already, observed Mr. Porter, a large portion of the cost of these works was realized from the tolls, and in a few years the State would be in possession of an unincumbered and splendid income, which would lighten considerably the burden of the taxation of that country. Was that wise, or was it not? No man could doubt its wisdom. Well, now, observe the difference of the two cases. The Government was only called upon by his noble Friend to pledge the public credit to procure loans for the purpose of constructing works of great public utility, so that the taxpayer might not be too heavily burdened. It could not be denied that ultimately the works would prove most advantageous—that they would tend to promote internal intercourse, increase trade, and give employment to a starving population; but, besides all this, there was another reason for the Bill, which did not exist in the United States, namely, a great emergency. And further, they were at present paying large sums of the public money, without any prospect of return, for the relief of the distress which existed, and which could be far better expended on railways. The United States was not visited with such a calamity as that which now existed in Ireland, when they pledged the public credit. No, they did so on the speculation that it would prove of advantage to the country, and their anticipations were realized. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that nothing but an emergency could justify such an expenditure as that sought for. What, Sir, nothing but emergency? Had he not shown that no such emergency existed, when the most selfish Government in the world (he used the epithet in no invidious sense) had pledged the credit of the State to an immense amount for the construction of public works. Let any man contrast the present state of Ireland with that of America when this proposal was sanctioned, and say where was the greater exigency? Why, Sir, in Ireland, if ever there were only a poor prospect of repayment—if the security were doubtful, the advantages remote, he could not doubt for a moment that even still the British people would be willing that Government should interpose its cre- 1270 dit for a purpose so useful. The Bill of the noble Lord was no newfangled theory. It was the result of deep meditation; it was based upon experience; it bore the impress of wisdom. Why was there a question about the utility of the scheme? It was said that it was a gift to the Irish landlords. It was a mockery to say so. How could money expended in the way Mr. Porter had described, go into the pockets of the Irish landlords, or any other comparatively small section? Anybody who did not shut his eyes to the contents of the Bill, must see that this was a fiction, a mere delusion, which, at least, ought to find no encouragement in the House of Commons. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had on the first night met the Bill with several objections, but, he must admit, in a statesman-like manner, and, on the whole, very different from that of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The noble Lord's first objection was, that in Ireland there were a vast number of railway projects — that Government must give a preference to some, and thereby encourage gambling and speculation. If that objection was well founded, he admitted it was a serious one. But he asked the House to consider whether or no it was so. As to preference, why the whole system of railway legislation was one of preference. And as far as the objections of preference went, he admitted that this Bill involved it, for the Commissioners must give a preference to good over bad security. Then as to speculation. He did not very well see how the Government could prevent it, nor yet how the public would suffer from it; nor did he think Parliament should be deterred from conferring a great national advantage from the fear that for a few months some railway speculators might be kept in a state of anxiety. The noble Lord admitted that by the Bill employment would be given to the poor; but he said the able-bodied would be chiefly employed. Well, suppose it should be so, was that no benefit? Would Ireland derive no advantage in her present condition from having her able-bodied population employed? Was it an objection to the Bill, that wages would not be distributed, as at present, by the Government to the halt and the lame? Why, Sir, if the able-bodied alone were to be employed on railways, it would, at all events, make room for the employment of those who were less able-bodied in other occupations. And had not the able-bodied, 1271 brothers, sisters, and parents, who would be benefited by their getting constant employment and good wages? Such objections would not stand the test of practical experience for a single moment, and did not come very well from the lips of political economists. But the Chancellor of the Exchequer pushed the matter still further. He said, "Your railways will be in the east, whilst starvation and distress are in the west." For men to advocate such narrow views—for free-traders to set up such a theory—was strange indeed. Why, would not common sense tell a man, that when a demand for labour was created in the north, south, east, or west, it would be met from whatever quarters there was a redundancy of supply. Could any one believe that the able-bodied peasant, who was starving from want of employment in Mayo or Galway, would not go to Kilkenny or Kildare, if employment was to be had in those quarters? Why, would not the labourer in Ireland, as well as in other places, endeavour to sell his labour in the dearest market? To his understanding, the argument, if such it could be called, was a mere mockery. [Lord G. BENTINCK: Do not the Irish poor go to Liverpool?] Yes, truly, as his noble Friend aptly remarked, did not the Irish labourer save the money which he ought to expend upon a loaf for his family, to pay his passage to England, to a distant, and, to him, foreign country, to seek for remunerative employment? And yet, according to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he would not seek for it in his own country. But, said the noble Lord the Member for the city of London, "those railway projects will be productive of no immediate advantage; the benefit is prospective; they may or they may not pay. It may be years before they pay; it may be years before they produce those happy results so confidently anticipated." Such were the arguments of the noble Lord. Why, was the immediate employment of able-bodied labourers in Ireland, in the present state of that country, a prospective advantage? Was affording the instant means of procuring bread to a starving population, a remote benefit? Surely, no man could say so. But this was not the first time when the assistance of the Government had been given with advantage for the construction of public works. What account did Mr. Porter give of the consequences of assisting a public work, even where the money was unprofitably expended? He meant 1272 the Ulster Canal. Mr. Porter said, that although that work was a failure, it conferred a blessing during its execution, by affording employment. For these reasons, he thought that a greater boon could not be conferred on the Irish people, under present circumstances, than the pledging of the public credit in order to the construction of works which would procure immediate subsistence and employment to the starving population in Ireland, and works, too, which, when constructed, must eventually tend very materially to promote the prosperity, not only of Ireland, but of the United Kingdom.
§ MR. F. T. BARING
observed, that the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Newark appeared to him a very unsatisfactory answer to the lucid, and in all respects admirable, statement of his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He could have wished that the hon. and learned Gentleman had applied his abilities rather to replying to the objections of the Chancellor, than to indulging, as he in many instances had done, in general declamation on the question. There was one mode of viewing this question, which had been treated very lightly by the hon. and learned Gentleman, but to which he (Mr. Baring) was disposed to attach very great weight, namely, its relation to the present state of the country's finances. The hon. and learned Gentleman had gone so far as to contend that the project was one which would be advantageous to the taxpayers; but he confessed that the manner in which he sought to argue, this proposition was calculated rather to inspire fear than confidence. He did not mean to question the great resources of this country, or to doubt its ability to make an effort to meet any extraordinary emergency that might be forced upon it; but what excited his surprise was, that the hon. and learned Gentleman should have thought it a mere trifle—a matter so insignificant in a financial point of view as to be scarcely worthy of a moment's consideration, that in addition to all the vast sums already expended in Ireland, England should pledge herself to the disbursement of sixteen millions of money—four millions of money annually for the next four years. That was a mere trifle, scarcely worth noticing. The hon. and learned Gentleman had talked of the facility of accomplishing the great object on which he was bent by means of Exchequer-bills, and he had even condescended 1273 to enlighten the House on the point of what an Exchequer-bill meant; but he was not quite certain whether the noble Lord opposite (Lord George Bentinck), who was hereafter to carry on the Government, or who had at least informed them last night that he was ready to do so, and who, from his knowledge of statistics, would probably occupy the post which he once filled—he was not, he repeated, quite certain whether that noble Lord would find it quite so easy a matter as the noble Lord's hon. Friend appeared to think to bring those four millions of Exchequer-bills into the market. Already that description of security was wavering on the confines of discount, and he feared their marketable value would not be very great the morning after the new issue. If that was the noble Lord's great monetary scheme, if that was his boasted plan for raising money so as to benefit the people of the empire, all that he could say was that he had no great confidence in the financial speculation about to be introduced. But the hon. and learned Member for Newark maintained that there was an absolute certainty of repayment. This assertion he made very roundly; but when he came to talk of the securities and guarantees which actually existed for repayment, he found he was treading on ticklish ground, and with the dexterity of an able advocate he veered quietly round, and began to enlarge on the great advantages to be derived from public works. But the sturdiness with which the hon. and learned Gentleman insisted upon the benefit of such works, even in cases where the advances were never repaid, afforded strong grounds for supposing that he felt some slight misgivings in his own mind as to the prospect of repayment in the present instance. Surely it was worth while for the English people to pause before they plunged their hands so deeply into their pockets, and to deliberate well upon the chances of their sixteen millions being paid back. The hon. and learned Gentleman had triumphantly referred to the case of the Dublin and Kingstown Railway. The prosperity of that line, which was eight miles in length, and which ran through the richest part of Ireland, he was not prepared to dispute—he admitted it unequivocally; but he denied that the fact of that company's prosperity was to be taken as a test of the success which awaited all railway enterprises in Ireland. If that was the noble and learned Gentleman's only argument—if that was 1274 the only "great fact" he could rest upon—it was to be feared that the chances of repayment were but small. "But," said the hon. and learned Gentleman, "you are sure to be repaid, for you have a great public board, whose duty it will be to look into the securities for repayment; and to take care that no advances be made, unless those securities be unquestionable." If this were to be construed strictly, he would be very much disposed to think that the Legislature, after all, need have very little fear of granting the sixteen millions to-morrow. Mark how this would work. One of the hon. and learned Member's great objects was to employ the destitute population of Ireland. Which would be the best railway lines? When the Railway Board would come to look into the various Bills submitted to their consideration, what lines would appear to them most worthy of their sanction and assistance? Assuredly those which would run through the richest tract of country; lines which would run through districts where great want and destitution prevailed would afford the least security for repayment, and of course could not receive the sanction of the Board. How, then, could they carry employment into the destitute districts of Ireland? The districts where it was most essential that the people should be relieved, were those which would be the very last to which the efforts of railways could apply. The measure was sought to be justified on two grounds. First, the temporary advantage of Ireland, regard being had to her present distress; and then her permanent advantage. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had told them, in the first place, that for every 4,000l. advanced, only 1,000l. would be employed on labour. If that were so, where would the other 3,000l. go? He did not feel any jealousy towards those who had invested their capital in railway speculations, nor towards the Irish landowners; but he felt that the people of England ought not to advance money in order to benefit the interests of those classes. Those persons had a perfect right to reap any advantage that was to be derived from the investment of their capital in railways; but he begged to protest against their deriving advantage by the employment of the capital of the people of England. His right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer had said, that the employment likely to result from the construction of those railways would be created in places where the employment 1275 was least wanted; and that in the most destitute districts, where relief and employment were most required, no railway would be constructed. To that argument he admitted some answer had been attempted. It had been said that they could not pour money into one part of Ireland without benefiting another; that they could not afford relief to the people of the east coast, without conferring advantage upon those of the west. Now this might be all very time; but results like these could not be expected until after the lapse of a certain period. It might be all very true that the lapse of years would show that they could not benefit one half of the island now, without eventually advantaging the other half as well; but then this measure, as a measure for giving immediate relief and employment to the destitute population of the western coast, would not be found to have any effect whatever. It should be remembered that time was everything. At a moment when men were starving, time was everything. They might make one half of Ireland rich, while they left the other half in a starving condition. His right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer had said, that railways would not employ the population even of the districts through which they would run. The hon. and learned Member for Newark had not attempted to deny this statement. He fell back upon political economy, and contended that if he took a number of persons out of the labour-market, wherever it might be, others would necessarily be benefited. That was perfectly correct; but it was a question of time; and looking on this project as a mere temporary measure, he thought it would be inoperative of good; for surely it would be very much better to carry employment to the destitute districts at once, than to wait until, by absorbing the "navvies" of England, they might look forward to employ the labouring population of Ireland. If any Gentleman had read the blue books on the Table, he would see that the best way to employ the people of Ireland, was not in large bodies of men, but by distributing them, and carrying the work to their own doors. That they did not effect by the present Bill. The great ground of complaint against the employment on public works which had heretofore been resorted to in Ireland, was, that it did not fulfil that condition. But he would take leave to call attention to one part of the argument which was worth considering. Independently of its merits as a 1276 measure for temporary relief, this Bill had been represented as in itself a great and comprehensive permanent measure. He (Mr. Baring) wished to consider it as a measure, separate from its use as affording temporary relief. The hon. and learned Gentleman read quotations from Mr. Porter, setting forth the advantage of employing money on public works. To these quotations, he (Mr. Baring) was not inclined to take exception. He willingly admitted that in many cases it might be attended with advantage, that Government should pledge its credit for the carrying out of public works. In the year 1839, he voted for the proposal of Mr. Drummond. He admitted that he did so; but he never had greater difficulty in making up his mind to any vote, and subsequent consideration had tended to confirm rather than to weaken his doubts. But at the same time, while his feeling was strongly in favour of the position, that, in England at least, it would on the whole be better to leave capital to the discretion of private intelligence and private enterprise; and while he admitted his belief, that, in a country like this, such a course was the most prudent, and the one most suitable to the genius of the constitution and of the people; still, on the other hand, he was willing to admit, that, in the case of railways, the principle was not unattended with inconvenience. With regard to a general system of railways, other countries had followed a different course, which had its own advantages; but what he wished to show was, that none of the advantages which other countries had secured to themselves would be the result of the "great and comprehensive scheme" now under consideration. The hon. and learned Gentleman had referred to the case of Belgium; but had Belgium advanced money to private companies for the construction of railways? Certainly not. No; the Government of Belgium took the entire railway communication of the country into its own hands. This was something of the plan of Mr. Drummond; he objected to it for England. It was not, however, without its advantages. No doubt it would create a great monopoly; but it would be for the public advantage, not for private benefit. If the charges were too high, the surplus would go to the public revenue; if they were too low, what was a loss to the Exchequer would go into the pockets of the people. Again, by placing the management of railways in the 1277 hands of the Government, this advantage was secured, that the loss of unprofitable lines was counterbalanced by the gains of profitable ones. The loss was set off against the gain. But no such advantage was proposed to be secured by the present Bill. The unavoidable tendencies of hon. Gentlemen, who were themselves connected with railways, induced them naturally enough to take very good care of all that attached to railways; but there was no advantage whatsoever secured to the public, as in the case of Belgium. After the noble Lord's Bill passed, if indeed it were to pass, the monopoly enjoyed by railway companies would be quite as secure as before. All the profitable lines would go on. The unprofitable ones would be thrown upon the hands of the Government. That would be the result. This was talked of as a permanent measure. It was his decided impression that, under the present circumstances of unexampled emergency, it would be unwise to deal with great and important public questions of this description. Let them deal with the emergency first, and then, in a calm moment of deliberation, consider what practicable and feasible scheme, adapted to the requirements of the country, it might be judicious to introduce. France had been alluded to by the hon. and learned Gentleman. Did the French Government advance money to private companies, leaving the management of the lines to them? Not at all. He was not going to say that the French system was better than that followed in England. But the Government of France got something by their encouragement of private enterprise. The Post-office despatches were carried without charge, and troops were gratuitously transferred from place to place. The French lines were leased by Government for a certain period, at the expiration of which they fell back again to the public; and so great was the advantage derived from that plan that a friend of his had calculated—though he (Mr. Baring) did not guarantee the accuracy of the statement—that had it been adopted from the first construction of railways in this country, they should have been able, by the present time, to pay off the national debt. There was no provision in the noble Lord's Bill, he believed, for paying off the national debt; on the contrary, he thought that one effect of its enactment would be to increase that large debt still more. Certainly the scheme proposed by the noble Lord would not produce 1278 any of those advantages which foreign Governments derived from their encouragement of private enterprise; and, on looking carefully through its details, he felt that it was one of the least wise permanent arrangements that could be suggested, and so utterly inapplicable to the present financial condition of the country, that he wondered it could have emanated from a council of which the hon. member for Essex was one. On these grounds he thought that the measure of the noble Lord was not adapted either for the removal of present difficulties, or for the permanent advantage of the country. He did not wish to be understood as giving an unqualified opposition to all encouragement by Government to railway enterprises in Ireland. He would not preclude Government from making, in particular cases, and with great reservation, advances for the earthworks of railways. On the contrary, he hoped that Government would take some such plan into consideration. He did not say that he was hostile to some great arrangement for the purpose of Irish railways; but if they did make any great arrangement for the purpose, and if they advanced the capital of the country—for after all, though they might call it a loan, it would take 16,000,000l. from that fund that was destined to employ the people of England, and transfer that to the fund that was destined to employ the people of Ireland—if they did that, at any rate let them take a fair view of the subject, let them look into it fully, and see if it would give them some equivalent advantage for their money. If they followed the policy of foreign Governments, at least let them follow their prudence also: let them not advance their money for objects which would not produce at all, for the present, an equivalent advantage to the destitute population, but would lay down for the future a system that would only strengthen monopoly, and do no one good to the public interests of the country.
§ SIR JOHN TYRELL
said, it was not his intention to have addressed the House on the subject, if it had not been for the allusion which was made to him by the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. The strong recollection that must attach to the right hon. Gentleman since the period when he had schemes of a financial character to submit to the House and to the country, and which were so well recorded in the memories of every Gentleman in the House, as well as in works of art, 1279 quite superseded the necessity for more particularly alluding to the right hon. Gentleman. But he must tell the right hon. Gentleman, who thought proper to come to the rescue of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, they had certainly witnessed very extraordinary exhibitions in that House from various Chancellors of the Exchequer. It was but the other night that the right hon. Gentleman and the House had witnessed the scene of a right hon. Gentleman shedding tears over a blue book. That right hon. Gentleman had exhibited all those powers of sympathy that belong to him; and really he was, at the moment, inclined to think there would be some hope for Ireland, with reference to an advance of public money, on the grounds which had been put before the House with such great ability by the noble Lord the Member for Lynn. But the House, on a former occasion, had a no less extraordinary exhibition from the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, who, after forty years' experience, and having been Secretary for Ireland thirty-five years ago—and having moved for blue book after blue book, and inquiry after inquiry—to say nothing of Lord Devon's report—having, as it were, the choice of all measures that would be likely to be conducive to the benefit of Ireland, had only proposed to support the noble Lord at the head of the Government in laying the foundation of measures expressive of their sympathy for Ireland, and promoting its permanent welfare. He must beg to say, that on all occasions he had voted for a poor law for Ireland. As an apology to the Irish Gentlemen for his doing so, he would state that he had several years ago had an opportunity of residing in the south of Ireland for the period of a year. He mentioned this, because English Members were constantly accused of having voted for measures for Ireland in ignorance of the social condition of that country. He might state that he had the good fortune to pass from Dublin to the south of Ireland the day after the celebrated robbery of the Cashel mail, and he observed that whenever they changed horses there were two dragoons before and two behind the coach, with two guards seated on the dickey. When he arrived in the south of Ireland—in one of the most flourishing towns in that part of the country, the town of Fermoy—he had many other occasions of seeing the social condition of the country. He saw those horrid objects who usually are sheltered in hos- 1280 pitals and asylums, and other charitable institutions in this country—he saw them there exposed to public view for the purpose of exciting charity—he saw the dead on a market-day exposed on biers, that they might ensure Christian burial; and when he called upon a gentleman not very far from the scene which he described, he had a perfect recollection of seeing opposite his windows sentry boxes cut out among the trees, to enable beggars to present themselves for charity, whenever the inhabitants came to the door or walked out in his grounds. When he saw that such was the social condition of the country, he felt that their social condition would be improved by a poor law, and therefore he had invariably voted for it. He was not one of those who believed that it was beyond the power of legislation to improve the condition of that people. He believed that many of the measures which were proposed by the noble Lord opposite were calculated to effect an important improvement in the social condition of society; but he thought the measures of Government failed in that object, when compared with the measure brought forward by the noble Lord the Member for Lynn, which would not only meet the present destitute situation of Ireland, but which had in it the seeds and elements of permanent improvement in a far greater degree than the comparatively petty measures—the pot-and-kettle measures, if he might call them so—or the soup-ticket measures which had lately been introduced. He said it was the duty of statesmen so to regulate the interests of a great country like this, that regard should be had, not only to the immediate necessities of persons in extreme distress, but that regard should be had to the permanent improvement of the country. He was one of those who thought, notwithstanding all the measures that had been introduced to the House, still when this measure came fairly before the consideration of the country, when the illusions were dissipated which hon. Gentlemen had propagated, that they on his side of the House were guilty of a profligate expenditure—that they were unmindful of the other claims on the public purse—and that they were bidding for the votes of Irish Gentlemen on light and frivolous grounds—he was confident that it would secure the approbation of the country. By the complexion which the noble Lord opposite had given to this debate, he had put the real merits of the question aside, and 1281 he called the House to decide, as it were, upon a question of confidence in the Government; so that the votes of many hon. Members would be given, not with reference to their sincere convictions on the questions before them. The other night the hon. Member for Bath said, that it was desirable that the truth should be spoken. Now, he would not say that the truth had not been spoken to-night, but he believed that the whole truth had not been spoken. He believed it had not escaped the sagacity of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, that great advantages would arise if railways were promoted by Her Majesty's Government. It was well known that the private opinion of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland was in favour of a system of railways for Ireland. But every one knew that the noble Lord opposite had been placed at the head of the Government under circumstances of peculiar difficulty; and he, for one, sincerely believed that the noble Lord felt that, on this occasion, he was not at liberty to follow the guidance of his own judgment, and that he was prevented from taking an enlarged and comprehensive view of the subject by his apprehension of the opposition of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth. Now, remembering the influence which his opinions formerly had upon all subjects connected with the business of that House, he (Sir J. Tyrell) felt it his duty, and he had considerable curiosity, to ascertain what were that right hon. Baronet's sentiments on the important question before the House. The late Chancellor of the Exchequer and the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth had not yet thought proper to favour the House or the country with the expression of their sentiments; and, therefore, as the nearest approximation to their opinions on this subject, he had referred to the views which were held by the late heads of the Government, when a question very similar was brought before the House. In 1839, when they were discussing the question of railways in Ireland, the right hon. Baronet said, that if he opposed their adoption, the ground of his opposition was not the expense of the measure. That, in his opinion, was no objection to the scheme. On the contrary, once show him that this measure would benefit Ireland, and the expense would not deter him from giving his assent to it. Now, it might happen, and perhaps the noble Lord, from his knowledge of the right hon. Baronet's tactics, might be justified in infe- 1282 ring, that because the right hon. Baronet was favourable to such a measure in 1839, therefore he had a fair right to conclude that the contrary would be his opinion now. The right hon. Gentleman, who had just sat down, advocated strongly the propriety of leaving these matters to the energy of private speculation. But there were considerable objections and disadvantages attending that state of things; and perhaps the House would allow him to state one case which occurred in his own county. He believed that no loss than 60,000l. had been expended in law proceedings, and in that House, upon a railway between Colchester and Harwich, a distance of twenty miles only, and where the latter was well known to be a good watering place, and to present great facilities for continental traffic. Now, surely it must be admitted that the spending of this money on merely preliminary expenses was a great calamity. There were other evils arising from leaving railways to the exercise of private enterprise alone, as every Member must feel on coming down to the House when he found the public streets blocked up by professional men and railway agents, by lawyers and blue bags; and he believed it was a fact that two-thirds of the jewellery purchased in this town was purchased by members of the legal profession, and by others who were made rich at the expense of the railways. Upon these grounds, he would give his cordial support to the measure brought forward by the noble Lord below him, which he believed was more calculated for the permanent welfare of Ireland than the measures which had been brought forward by the Government.
MR. DILLON BROWNE
was not prepared on this occasion to support the proposition of the noble Lord the Member for Lynn, because he conceived that by voting for the noble Lord's measure, he should be declaring his confidence in any Administration that might be formed by the noble Lord the Member for Lynn, and his want of confidence in Her Majesty's Ministers. Under any circumstances—and he was sorry the noble Lord at the present moment was not in his place—under any circumstances he was not prepared to support the policy of the noble Lord the Member for Lynn, until he ascertained from him what were his intentions respecting other matters connected, not alone with the social, but with the political condition of Ireland. He could not forget that the party of which 1283 the noble Lord was the powerful and intelligent leader, had been for centuries the consistent opponents of the extension of civil and religious liberty to his country. He could not forget that they had been the consistent supporters of monopoly, both as regarded the commercial and political interests of this country; and until he heard a distinct declaration as to what was to be the policy of the noble Lord on other matters connected with Ireland, he (Mr. Browne) was not prepared to give a vote that would bring him into office. He could not forget that the noble Lord had opposed Catholic emancipation—["No!"]—he meant that the party to which the noble Lord belonged had opposed Catholic emancipation; he could not forget that they had opposed the Reform Bill; he could not forget that they were opposed to any settlement of the Church question in Ireland; he could not forget all these circumstances; and until he heard a declaration from the noble Lord the Member for Lynn on these points, he could not say that he would support the noble Lord's policy. He should be willing on this occasion to give his vote to the noble Lord, if he declared what policy he was about to pursue respecting other matters connected with the political condition of Ireland. He wished to know what policy the noble Lord would pursue with regard to the franchise; what policy he would pursue with regard to giving an increased representation of Ireland; what policy the noble Lord would pursue with regard to the appropriation of the surplus revenues of the Church of Ireland to secular purposes. He wished to know what was the noble Lord's opinion respecting a measure which was about to be brought under the consideration of Parliament for reclaiming waste lands in Ireland, and creating new elements in the social system of that country, by establishing a body of independent agricultural yeomanry in Ireland. He thought that the plan of the noble Lord was rather calculated to benefit the landed proprietors of Ireland than the great body of the people, although certainly it was calculated to give them employment for a time. The improvement of the waste lands of Ireland would not give probably the same immediate amount of employment, but then it would furnish a continued and permanent employment. Suppose that a system of railroads was made in Connaught, it would enhance the value of land to the grazier in that province, in consequence of the 1284 increased facilities it would afford to send his produce to market, and would also induce the landlords to reclaim the waste lands, and thus tend to place the redundant population on another footing on the soil. He did not think that the reclamation of the waste lands of Ireland would be a panacea for all the evils which afflicted that country; but he conceived that the adoption of an extensive system of that kind would aid the raising the first necessaries of life in Ireland. He conceived that it would he better to colonise the waste lands of Connemara and Erris, and the mountains of Kerry and Donegal, than to send out at great expense to colonise Australia and Canada. It would be much better to do this than resort to the latter system, for it took the best men as well as capital out of the country. Most of those persons who emigrated were men who possessed capitals of 30l., 50l., or 100l. By the emigration of such men, facilities to obtain employment were not created for those who remained behind, as it could not be said that when they left, others would step in their places. A man possessed of one or two hundred pounds would often give employment to two or three other men; but when he emigrated, there would be the less for the employment of so much labour, for he took his capital with him. The system of colonising the waste lands of Ireland would be most beneficial to the mass of the population of Ireland; he therefore wished to know whether the noble Lord the Member for Lynn was prepared to support such a system as would compel the landlords of Ireland to cultivate the waste lands themselves, or let others do so, by which the greatest advantages would be derived to the country. He would entreat the noble Lord at the head of the Government, when he brought forward his plan for the reclamation of waste lands in Ireland, to make it compulsory, so that the landlords should not, like the dog in the manger, refuse to do it themselves or let others do it. It was most desirable to establish a body of independent yeomanry in Ireland, such as was contemplated in the scheme of the noble Lord the Member for the city of London. This would introduce a new element into society, and create a new class between the aristocracy and the peasantry. By such means, you would make the one class nearer the other; and you would also create a body of yeomen which the peasantry below them would endeavour to 1285 reach by every exertion in the arts of industry. It had been stated that the adoption of a plan of this kind would result in small territorial divisions; but he did not believe that anything of the kind was to be apprehended. They might take the instance of a country in which this system had been adopted with the most beneficial result, but which was previously in a worse condition than Ireland, and was obliged to import a large portion of its food. By dividing and reclaiming the Crown lands, and partitioning them among the people, the peasantry, from the most wretched condition, had been raised, under the superintendence and care of the Government, to a state of comparative prosperity in many parts of the country. He alluded to Sweden. There was a great identity between the former condition of that country and the present condition of Ireland. In that country, instead of importing food, the exports had greatly increased, and the whole face of the country had been cultivated. The greatest improvement in the condition of the people had taken place, and this had solely arisen from the wise system of cultivating the Crown lands of the country, which previously were nothing but waste lands. The consequence had been, that the greatest change had taken place in every phase and condition of society in Sweden. With the view of showing the great change that had taken place in many parts of Sweden, he would refer the House to the statement of a writer who lived previously to the adoption of the system he had referred to. That author (Mr. Hemmens) states—It rarely happens that a single family possesses an entire division; more frequently it is parcelled out among a great many, in lots, scarcely sufficient to accommodate the increasing number of children, to exercise one plough, or pasture a few cows and sheep. In Dalecarlia, this process of dismemberment is carried so far, that properties are broken down into fractional parts of acres and roods, not worth two or three rixdollars—a state of things hostile to all improvement, and the source of much poverty and distress in the country in consequence.He would now read an extract from Crichton's Scandinavia, which had been written since the adoption of the plan:—The produce of their scanty harvests was long insufficient for the subsistence of the inhabitants, who were compelled to purchase foreign grain to a considerable extent; and even, in the northern districts, to grind the bark of the fir to eke out the stinted supply of their natural food. Every year it became necessary to import from Dantzic or Holland to the extent of 300,000l. or 400,000l. sterling. The commercial scale in this 1286 respect has of late completely turned in favour of Sweden. Numerous societies have been instituted for the encouragement of agricultural enterprise. Government has zealously seconded the exertions of private individuals; and the king has set a personal example to his subjects in purchasing experimental farms—particularly that of Engtlofta, near Helsingborg—that he might exhibit the development of the art upon the most approved principles. The nobility, by their fortunate preference of rural pursuits, have also contributed powerfully to the diffusion of the same habits among the inferior orders. Since 1803 upwards of 6,000 farms have been created out of large tracts of crown lands previously lying waste. The result has been of immense value to the agricultural prosperity of Sweden. Instead of depending upon foreign supplies of grain, she affords abundant provision for the inhabitants, and annually exports a considerable surplus. In 1829 the deficient harvest of France was recruited from the produce of Scandinavia; and in 1830, the ports of Malmo, Landscrona, and Wisby, alone, sent to England 32,500 tons of oats, and 3,000 of barley.…. At present it may be affirmed of the Swedish farmers in general, that they lead a quiet and laborious life, alike free from the depressions and elevations of fortune, enjoying an equal share of civil rights with the nobles, but paying a much heavier proportion of the national burdens. The number of proprietors in Sweden is reckoned at 923,000 individuals, or 322,000 families; but that of labourers is considerably greater in proportion, being estimated at 2,067,000, or seven-ninths of the whole population.This was clear and distinct evidence of the advantages which had resulted from the adoption of a proper system of the cultivation of waste lands; and every Minister who wished to recommend himself to the popular favour of the people of Ireland must adopt some plan of this kind. If he rejected a system calculated to create such an improvement in the condition of the people, by the raising of a large body of rural proprietors, he did not believe that such a Minister would meet with a favourable reception from the majority of the Irish people. He was doubtful also as to the intentions, as regarded the welfare of Ireland, of the party with which the noble Lord had connected himself. That party had constantly supported a Government which was composed of elements which were opposed to the interests of Ireland. He did not allude to the noble Lord associating himself, in carrying out his plan, with the hon. Member for Limerick, but to his associating himself with their protagonists the Orangemen of Ireland. The people of Ireland must be satisfied that they were not sold for selfish purposes, or that those who proposed this plan had not done so from a desire to advance themselves. Before they got the confidence of the Irish people, they must 1287 show that they were prepared to bring forward other measures of a different nature, really for the benefit of Ireland. Was there a unanimity amongst the party opposite as to the question of the tenure of land—was there a unanimity as to giving compensation to the struggling peasant of Ireland for any improvement he had made in the land from which he might be ejected—was there a unanimity among them as to making the law less stringent towards the unfortunate peasantry—or was there a unanimity among them in favour of a measure which would tend more than any other that he was aware of to benefit the people—he meant a good and effective system of poor laws? He believed that this was the only means of making the absentees attend to the condition of the people. If they persisted in a system which made London the centre of government, and which caused a constant drain of the capital of Ireland from its natural sources, by inducing the gentry of Ireland to desert their native shores, they must take steps to make the landlords who so acted liable to the burden of maintaining those who had been deserted by their natural protectors. They would thus create a selfish feeling in the minds of the absentee landlords to promote the wellbeing of the peasantry on their estates. If the landlords would not attend to higher motives, their selfish feelings must be operated upon in such a way as ultimately to lead to the promotion of the welfare of the country. It had been said of the Irish, "Why do they not of their own accord, and by their own industry, become the founders of their own prosperity?" They were asked why they did not navigate their own rivers, and apply the powers of those rivers to the arts of manufacture and the creation of trade? They were asked why they did not use the means in their own hands for the elevation and improvement of their country, instead of looking for aid and assistance from others? The reasons why they did not do so, arose from the past centuries of misgovernment which they had endured having disorganised the natural order of things in Ireland. It was the result of that system of English government, which had ever arrayed the few against the many; and had sown discord between the two great elements of society—the aristocracy and the people of the country—for its own particular purposes. It was the consequence of that system of class legislation which had given to the few all the power in the 1288 land, and had ground down the multitude, of whom was the raw material of which nations were formed. He asserted that that system which had created antagonism between the few and the many, had prevented the population of Ireland from having that trust in each other, without which there could be no prosperity in the land. That it was which had prevented prosperity in Ireland. There was evidence of the fact to be found even in Ireland, where in the north they had seen happy homesteads in consequence of the existence of the tenant-right. But not alone to the system of class legislation was the misery of Ireland to be traced: there was, besides, the system of centralization, which had solely English objects for its view, and which had left no field in Ireland in which Irish enterprise could soar. Before concluding, he should return his thanks to the noble Lord the Member for Lynn, for his endeavours to assist the people of Ireland, and for the exhibition of a kindliness of feeling towards them which was calculated to inspire hopes of brighter prospects for the country. It was a good sign when they beheld the hon. Member for Sunderland supporting the proposition of the noble Lord—when they saw the Peer and the millionnaire united for the same object. He could not forget the noble sentiment uttered by the noble Lord, when stating the objects of his measure—that he, a Saxon, would stake his head upon the block for the loyalty of Ireland, if its industry were brought into play. It showed that he could depend upon the honour and loyalty of the people, if employment were offered to them, for the maintenance of the peace and the increase of the prosperity of Ireland.
§ VISCOUNT BERNARD
intended on that question, as he trusted on all others, to give an honest and independent vote. He returned his sincere thanks to the noble Lord (Lord G. Bentinck) for the able, comprehensive, and statesman-like measure which he had brought forward, and which would receive his warm and cordial support. He gave the measure his support, because he believed that it met in a great degree the present emergency; because it supplied what was deficient in the measures of Her Majesty's Government; and because he believed that it would most effectively lay the foundation of the future peace, happiness, and prosperity, and, he trusted, the future greatness of Ireland. In supporting the measure, he, for one, would not give his sanction to it if he thought it liable 1289 to the objections that had been, in his opinion, most unfairly urged against it. He should never give it his support if he did not believe that each of these railways would be subjected to the most scrutinizing investigation—that their merits would be correctly tested, and, so far from encouraging improper speculations, that the practical effect would be, that a greater scrutiny than ever would be applied to those measures. In his own (Lord Bernard's) neighbourhood, a railway was practically stopped for want of the necessary funds. All he asked was, that those who projected the railroad should be allowed to show to the Railway Commissioners that the speculation was a bonâ fide one, and was calculated to be of great benefit to that part of the country. Many hon. Members on the other side appeared not to understand the condition of Ireland. They treated it as if it were an agricultural country; but many of the parties who would be employed by these railways were shopkeepers and artisans. Now, all those persons were obliged to seek for employment on the public works; and if a proper and extensive system of railways was set on foot, the masons and tradesmen of all descriptions would be fully employed, and the small shopkeepers would participate in the benefits of the revived trade that would follow. He would support a measure that would facilitate the making of a railway to Cork. He was not going to quarrel with the first measure of the Government; he thought it was good as far as it went—it was one passed with the view of providing food for the Irish people. Speaking upon this subject, he had a letter in his pocket which he received from a gentleman residing in the western part of Ireland, which stated the appalling fact that there were 25,000 persons in that part of the country whose health was irretrievably ruined by the deficiency of food. He thought that much better measures might have been proposed by the Government to meet the impending calamity than those that they had already announced. He would now call the attention of the House to the measure for the advancement of loans of money to the Irish landlords. Now, he believed that as far as it went it was excellent; but it would be impossible for the Irish landlords, even with this assistance, to employ anything like the amount of labour in the market in agriculture, until the science was brought to much greater perfection than it at present was. There was a sys- 1290 tem connected with the employment of the people in Ireland that was extremely prejudicial to their interests; he alluded to the truck system, by which, instead of making money payments to the poor labourers, goods of various descriptions were handed to them. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Portsmouth had that evening spoken against the measure of the noble Lord the Member for Lynn on grounds that he considered were arguments in favour of it. The fault in the Labour-rate Act was, that instead of great works being undertaken that would confer much public good upon the country, great competition was created by the work being brought to every man's door. The labourers consequently refused to go to those works of a permanent and beneficial nature, such as drainage, &c., because they would have had to travel some distance. In speaking of the Labour-rate Act, he hoped he should not be understood as joining in any general condemnation of it. Many charges were brought against the Board of Works for not doing things which if they even wished, they were wholly unable to do. The Irish gentleman was charged with throwing on the Board of Works the responsibility of deciding on the works under 10 Vic. 107, and with putting too many on the relief lists. With regard to the first charge, it should be recollected that the magistrates and cess-payers were required under this Act to do what had never before been done: by the Act of the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel), an appeal was reserved for the county sessions; under 1 Vic. 21, the Board of Works were to determine as to the utility of the roads. Now, with respect to the first charge, it should be recollected that the decision in respect to these works was lodged in the hands of the Board of Works. They were going to have a measure introduced into Ireland, the merits of which he would not now discuss, inasmuch as an opportunity would soon be afforded him for entering more particularly on that subject; he alluded to the proposed poor law for Ireland. The Railway Commissioners Report for 1839, alluded to railways as a means of enabling the Irish proprietor to bear the pressure of the new burden of poor laws, and how much more necessary was it now when they had so large a population thrown on their hands for employment? He begged leave to call the attention of the House to what had been done in 1839; and in supporting the principle of the noble Lord the Member for 1291 Lynn's measure, he would remind hon. Members that he was only taking a course that he had at all times followed. Though not a Member of the House, as far as a country gentleman could do by petitioning, he had supported the measure brought forward by the noble Lord the First Commissioner of Woods and Forests (Lord Morpeth) in 1839; and when the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth (Sir R. Peel) afterwards came into power, the gentlemen of his part of the country with whom he acted were the first to present a petition to Earl de Grey, the then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in which they endeavoured to show the Government the absolute necessity of carrying out some such measure as had been proposed a short time before by the noble Lord (Lord Morpeth). He had attended meeting after meeting at that time with a view of pressing the subject upon the consideration of the Government. Those persons with whom he was then acting were not of that class who, it was said, had no other feeling but their interest in advocating such matters; but they were principally merchants of what was allowed to be the second commercial city in Ireland. He supported the measure of the noble Lord the Member for Lynn, from a conviction that it was the best calculated to meet the dreadful evils arising out of the present calamity, while he expressed his firm conviction that the calamity which it had pleased Providence to inflict on Ireland, was one which no human foresight could have avoided. He was also convinced, that if the measure proposed by the noble Lord the First Commissioner of Woods and Forests, in 1839, had been carried out, Ireland would, previous to the late calamity, have been in a far better condition than she was. The most distant part of Ireland would then have been brought within forty-eight hours of this country. There had been many just complaints made of the absentees of Ireland. He certainly knew some absentees who were as excellent men as ever existed. It was not, however, the large landed proprietor that by his absence inflicted great evils upon the country; but the numerous small landed proprietors, who, though not connected by any great territorial ties, yet by early associations were connected with the country—these were the persons who, by their residence in the fashionable watering-places of England, did injury to Ireland. By the introduction of railways, great facilities 1292 would be given to the intercourse between the two countries. He believed that this measure, if carried, would do more to bring these parties back to their country than any legislative measure that could be proposed upon the subject. It would be also most important to the Irish Members of this House, that instead of wasting so much of their time coming over here to their duties, they would be able to perform with comparative ease, both their duties as country gentlemen, and as representatives of their several constituencies in Parliament. He now wished to allude to two circumstances that had occurred at the period when the noble Lord the First Commissioner of Woods and Forests, in 1839, had brought forward his measure. In a speech of the noble Lord himself at that time, he referred to the enormous expense attending the formation of the Caledonian Canal:—If we look," said the noble Lord, "at other countries united or connected with this, what has been the course pursued by the parent country towards those other countries? Large sums have been voted for the Caledonian Canal, for highland roads and bridges in Scotland, and for the Rideau and Ottawa Canals, and for canal communication in Canada, By a return of the sums voted in each year for these works from 1770 to 1839, I find that there has been voted for the Caledonian Canal the sum of 953,638l. for the highland roads and bridges in Scotland, 25,752l.; for military roads and bridges in Scotland, 241,918l.; and for the Rideau and Ottawa Canals, or for canal communication in Canada, 1,034,429l. After all this, I cannot think the application unreasonable to grant railways in Ireland—I will not say the gratuitous assistance—but the intervention of the State. It seems to have been a part of the past policy of the State, wherever in any portion of its dominions or dependencies it had reason to think there was a deficiency either of population or of capital, to make what it did not find. Wherever we pursue the inquiry, I think it will be found that the facility of intercourse and of communication has a marvellous tendency to reproduce and to multiply itself."*According to the report, then, made in 1830, an expenditure of 200,000l. in Scotland, in fifteen years, had raised the condition of that country 100 years. He might add, that the town of Clifden in Galway, up to 1822, contributed no revenue; that in 1836 the revenue was 700l.; that from an expenditure in Connaught, in eleven years, of 160,000l. in public works, the increase in the revenue derivable, had become equal to the whole amount. In Cork, Mr. Griffiths expended 60,000l. in seven years; and there was stated to be an annual increase of customs and excise of 50,000l.* Hansard Vol. xlv., p. 1063, Third Series.1293 The noble Lord then urged the adoption of a similar policy in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Portsmouth, who now complained of the effect which the carrying of this measure would produce upon the money market, had in 1839 proposed, in connexion with the noble Lord's measure, the issue of Exchequer-bills to the amount of 2,500,000l.; and it should be recollected what the state of the finances were in 1842. The right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) had to provide for a deficiency of 10,000,000l. He would now refer to a speech made at that time by the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume), who, it would be recollected, had in 1839 represented Kilkenny in that House. The hon. Gentleman then said, that it appeared to him to be sound policy and wisdom for the Government to carry out a system of railways in Ireland—that the importance of such a measure would not be confined to Ireland, but England would be also greatly interested in the prosperity of the sister country, which was certain to result from such a course. The hon. Gentleman had then a most excellent opportunity of forming an opinion upon the subject, for doubtless he was then daily receiving letters from his constituents of Kilkenny—Cœlum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt.The hon. Member for Montrose had at the former period urged very forcibly the formation of a railway from Dublin to Cork, which he thought would change very considerably the social state of the country, and would lay the foundation for the future prosperity of the country. Such a measure as this, he continued to observe, was worthy of a wise and great nation, and should not be opposed by any narrow and shortsighted system of economy. One thing appeared to him to be of great importance when considering a measure for the introduction of railways into Ireland. They did not stand in the same position as England. In England, the importance of the towns necessarily encouraged the construction of railways to connect them together, whereas in Ireland, the question was to which of the great seaports should they make the railway, because it was well known that by the construction of railways they would make their seaports of great importance. Upon that ground, he thought that the railways to all the great seaports in Ireland should be simultaneously made. With regard to the importance of the question of seaports, he would allude to a subject which he 1294 thought of the greatest importance. He believed that if a railway were made from Galway to Valentia, Ireland would become the great mart with Europe for American traffic. With regard to the position of Ireland, as a means of communication with America, Sir R. Kane says—Lord Sheffield, whose acute judgment will be admitted, and who was certainly not biassed by Irish prejudices, notices the position in a passage which is amusingly candid.He says, when speaking of the impolicy of repealing the navigation laws between England and Ireland, which was then clamorously demanded by this country—Her object is to become the mart of Europe for the trade of America, for which she is so well suited, by her western position, immediately open to the ocean, and accessible almost with every wind; her vessels often crossing the Channel in a shorter time than the shipping of London require to clear the Channel. In addition, her ships can be victualled infinitely cheaper, and every necessary of life being low as well as public taxes, the general charge of conducting trade will be proportionably less.Now, this object, which Lord Sheffield so much feared, is precisely what should be be the ambition of this country. He had urged this point upon the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) last year — that if he advanced the Government money for the formation of a railway from Dublin to Cork, there could not be a question as to the repayment; and he would secure the completion of the railway within two years; and in proportion as the works advanced, so would the prosperity of the country be secured and increased. In speaking of absenteeism in Ireland, he thought that the establishment of railways in Ireland would not only make the absentees do their duty, but also the Government of the country. The gentlemen of Ireland were frequently taunted for not employing more labourers, and for not preventing their going to the public roads; but the Government left themselves open to the charge of passing by property of their own, upon which labour could be very properly expended. He would ask the Ministers why they had embarked in Government works, and then refused to finish them? The First Lord of the Admiralty, in reply to a communication made to him on this subject, said, that as they had not money sufficient to make a naval dockyard in Cork, the English ones would be found sufficient. If a railway were to be once formed between Dublin and Cork, no Government would dare to refuse to carry on 1295 these naval undertakings. The report says—The deficiency of supply, the want of boats, improved fishing-tackle, gear and skill, are mainly attributable to the want of a steady constant demand and remunerating price near the site of the fisheries; while on the other hand, the want of demand and price is chiefly caused by the remoteness of the districts, the want of quick and facile means of communication with good markets, and the total absence of an enterprising spirit of trade to establish curing stores, and, created on the spot, the steady markets for the fruits of the fisherman's labour. As regards the future, the construction of railways through the country, and the increase of steam navigation, will soon apply the necessary remedy.It was said by some, "your railways will take about two years completion, and then there will be nothing for the people to do." On the contrary, Ireland abounded in sources of wealth; like the fabled golden branch, if you removed one, another sprung up:—Uno avulso non deficit alterAureus, et simili frondescit virga metallo.And there had just been presented to the House by Her Majesty's Government a report upon the Irish fisheries, in which allusion was made to the importance of railways in Ireland, as eminently calculated to develop the resources of her fisheries—than which, Arthur Young once observed, there was nothing which could be of greater advantage to that country. But it was said that the money required to be advanced for the purpose of carrying out his noble Friend's plan, would be drawn from the hard-earned wages of the English people. Now, he believed that there never was so complete a fallacy as this. And he must say, that he gave the English people credit for not being influenced by such sophistries. All that the Bill proposed was, that the Government should lend its credit. But it was said, the landlords ought to contribute something, because they had a beneficial interest. Had the State then no beneficial interest in Ireland? Had not the revenue of Ireland gone on increasing yearly, in recent times? The increase in her customs and excise was very considerable. The effects of improving her roads were to prevent illicit distillation, to put down disturbances more easily and effectually, and to promote the general improvement of the country. Well, then, if such effects as these had arisen from improving the common roads, what might they not anticipate from the encouragement of railways there? He believed that it was only necessary to construct the 1296 railways in order to open up almost exhaustless sources of wealth. But at this moment especially, he would urge upon the House to do everything to save the lives of the people of Ireland. He believed that Parliament and the country would be amply repaid by the adoption of the Bill of the noble Lord the Member for Lynn. Yes, they would be repaid not merely by the cheers of the Members for Ireland in this House—not merely by the heartfelt gratitude and silent prayers which would ascend from many a humble cabin, now the abode of penury and misery, sickness, disease, and death; not merely would they cheer the last moments of many a poor labouring man borne down by insufficiency of food, with the thought that there was yet a ray of hope—a dawning of a brighter and a better day—a chance that in a land they loved, his children about to be fatherless might earn an honest livelihood, and support a widowed parent; but if those considerations were of no avail, they would be repaid in the increased revenue which Ireland would pour into the coffers of the Imperial Treasury; and should the day come, as come it might, when that ignis fatuus of free trade which they had been so blindly following, led them on to deceive them, should an export duty upon foreign corn and an import duty upon the manufactures of other countries cripple the industry of England; in Ireland, they would find, as their Commissioner told them in 1832, markets more important than those which they were seeking in America, and they would have the satisfaction of knowing that they had sown seed in Ireland which would be productive, at no distant day, of an harvest happy in the varied abundance of its agricultural produce, but happier still, in the more abiding fruits of harmony and peace.
said, that he was induced to trespass upon the attention of the House thus early after becoming a Member of it, solely by the conviction of the vast importance of the subject under consideration. He had been exceedingly impressed by the great zeal and ability displayed by the noble Lord the mover of this Bill, in bringing forward a scheme so truly comprehensive, and so beneficial in every particular. In his opinion, with the noble Lord's measure, the measures of Her Majesty's Government would bear no comparison. He must also bear his testimony to the remarkable accuracy of the details and data produced by the noble 1297 Lord. As far as he could judge of them, they were quite incontrovertible, and in every particular within bounds. He spoke from experience, and he did not hesitate to say, that Irish railways would be sure of success, both in their produce and in the security of the capital which might be embarked in them. But that, he thought, could not be observed with reference to the plans of the Government, because they were uncertain in their produce, and still more so in reference to the security of the capital. Much had been said with regard to commissions for public works; and he remembered when the commission, with Sir Henry Parnell at its head, was appointed for improving the public roads, that vast sums of money were lavished on the roads through Towcester and Daventry to Birmingham, and that at the very time when a railway was in course of construction that ran parallel with them. Railroads would eventually be made in Ireland, and thus the money spent on the common roads there would be lost, as was the case in the instance to which he referred. He had so far travelled most pleasantly with the noble Lord the Member for Lynn; but he regretted to say that here he must leave him. He thanked the noble Lord, however, and he hoped the country would thank him, for the skill, care, and ability which he had evinced in introducing the measure to the House. Now, the ground on which he (Mr. Chaplin) would take his stand was, he confessed, exceedingly tender ground; but he trusted, that his suggestions would not be deemed altogether unreasonable, or unworthy the notice of the House. He believed, that if the measure of the noble Lord were qualified, and if the Government would carry out part of the measure, it would prove vastly more beneficial to Ireland and the kingdom at large, than would the measures of the Government. He quite agreed with the hon. Gentlemen who had spoken in the course of this debate, that Government interference with private enterprise was a tender subject; but he thought at the same time that that interference might be so qualified as to render it endurable under the particular pressure to which Ireland was now subjected. By taking in hand the works only of this great scheme, the Government would have the opportunity of employing exactly whom they pleased. They could select for the carrying out of those works the districts which were most oppressed 1298 and most required assistance. They could pay the labourers as they pleased, either in food or money. They could, as was done in France with the public works, employ the labourers in the construction of railroads in seasons which were dull, or when their labour was not required in agricultural pursuits. And then, with reference to those fears, which he thought to be justly entertained, with regard to the financial condition of this country, the fear that the commercial interests of the country would suffer from too great a drain upon its capital and resources for the relief of Ireland, the Government, having the entire control and management of those works, could so regulate their progress and expenditure, that whilst they materially benefited Ireland, our own country would sustain no injury. Of this he felt quite certain. It must be allowed on all sides that the pressure was exceedingly severe; so severe, indeed, that it had already justified a very considerable expenditure of the public money. But the noble Lord had stated what he (Mr. Chaplin) thought was rather strange, that it was almost immaterial how the money was spent, so that it was spent. Surely, no Member of the House could doubt the efficacy of establishing railway communication in Ireland. Irish railways would produce immediate and permanent benefit. He hoped, therefore, that the qualification he had mentioned would justify the Government in going so far as to make the works. Having so done, he was convinced, as the noble Lord the Member for Lynn had stated himself to be, that the success of those undertakings would be certain and ample, and that there was sufficient enterprise and capital in this country to take the works out of the hands of Government, in a manner that would secure the return of the entire advances that might be made, and likewise develop the industrial and internal resources of Ireland to a degree that would elevate her to an equality with this country. The Government should have power to create everything, and all that need be sacrificed was a slight increase of the interest on the capital expended, an increase occasioned by a slight delay of the works. But, on the other hand, the expenditure to be avoided by abolishing the ridiculous costs at present incurred by going before the Standing Orders Committee, and other parliamentary and law expenses, which were now felt to be so oppressive a weight upon the promoters of 1299 railways in this country, would at once be a set-off to that portion of the expenditure which was consequent upon the increase of interest. Hon. Gentlemen would believe him when he assured them that there were instances of railways being made in America for less money than the parliamentary and law expenses amounted to in England. Therefore, although there might be some fear on the part of the railway interest with regard to the coercive parts of the measure of his right hon. Friend the Member for Derby (Mr. Strutt), still they felt they had reason to expect so much alleviation with regard to the reduction of the preliminary expenses from his judicious care, that they would be justified in bearing some of his measures with good temper. The calculations which had been laid before the House by the noble Member for Lynn, were, he thought, close enough for all useful purposes. When railways were formed in this country at the rate of from 12,000l. to 50,000l., and even 60,000l. a mile, he conceived that there must be margin enough to meet all speculative arguments upon the subject of difference in details and expenses. And, he believed, that all practical men who were versed in the question of railways, and the expenses of their construction, fully and entirely relied on the soundness, propriety, and justice of the noble Lord's measure.
§ SIR C. NAPIER
thought the House was now in a complete fix. He had listened with great pleasure to the eloquent speech of the noble Lord the Member for Lynn, who had said, with great justice and fairness, "You have advanced 1,000,000l. for the Caledonian Canal—you have advanced money for the Caledonian Canal—and why should you refuse money in the present instance?" The noble Lord had suggested Cork as a proper place for a naval station; and such stations would be beneficial alike to the Navy, to Ireland, and to the country at large. But the question at the present moment was, whether the project of the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government should be adopted, or the project of the noble Lord the Member for Lynn, to advance 16,000,000l. He said that was the question. The noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government had stated, that if the noble Lord the Member for Lynn succeeded in getting the assent of the House to his plan, he must come forward and assume the Government. If that plan would benefit Ire- 1300 land, if the noble Lord could form and carry on an Administration, he (Sir C. Napier) would vote for his measure, even at the risk of turning out the present Government. But he was convinced that the plan would not answer the end proposed; he was convinced the noble Lord could not form a Government; and he was more than convinced that if the noble Lord did form an Administration, he could not carry it on. Those were the reasons why he opposed the plan of the noble Lord. He should like to know who were the labouring people that would be employed to work on these railways? It would be the business of the proprietors to select strong and efficient men to execute them. He begged to ask his right hon. Friend the Lord Mayor of York (Mr. Hudson), who would probably have a great concern in these railways—there was not the smallest doubt of that—what would be his duty? Not to look after the starving people of Ireland. He was bound in duty to those who employed him to select the best and strongest men he could find to carry on the works. It was stated by Gentlemen from Ireland, that the people there were reduced so low, that they were not fit for really good work. If the right hon. Gentleman found they were not able to work, it would be his duty to send to England for experienced labourers. ["No, no!"] Hon. Gentlemen said "No;" but he said "Yes." It was the duty of railway directors to find the best and strongest men for their work, without any regard whatever to the starving people of Ireland. An hon. Friend reminded him that, in France, English labourers were employed on the railways; and if in France, where they hated Englishmen as much as it was possible for one set of men to hate another—["No!"]—they certainly did not like them — they were forced to employ labourers whom they found not certainly the most sober, the self-same thing might occur, were the attempt to establish railroads in Ireland prosecuted, when it was found that the native labourers were not sufficiently strong for the work. If the noble Lord the Member for Lynn could bring forward any better scheme for saving Ireland from starvation, he should give it his best support. Ireland was in a state horrible to be thought of—impossible to be described. The calamity was an infliction from Divine Providence, which Ireland could not avoid. Notwithstanding the distress in Scotland, and also in England, it was the duty of this country 1301 and of the House of Commons to come forward and alleviate the distress of Ireland. Suppose a calamity like the plague or the great fire were again to desolate this city — if half London were burnt out and starving in the streets—would any Government he able to say, "We will not give relief to those starving people?" Ireland was more distant, but the claim was not less imperious. Great abuse had been thrown in that House upon the Irish landlords. He did not believe they deserved blame to the extent which was stated. The hon. Member for Inverness, in his very excellent speech, had remarked that the people of Scotland, when distress appeared, did not fold their hands, but set on foot plans for relieving the poor. But Scotland was not in the same situation as Ireland. Estates were not so embarrassed; the population were more energetic, enterprising, and easy to manage. The proprietors borrowed money, which the Government advanced; they cultivated their land better, and reaped the benefit. But, were the Irish proprietors in the same situation? He understood that many of their estates were embarrassed; that they let out their land in small patches; and that, the food of the people being entirely destroyed, the landlords could not get their rents. Embarrassed as they were, and not receiving their rents, he would ask hon. Gentlemen to consider how it was possible for them to relieve the poor, in the present great calamity, in a manner similar to that pursued in organized countries like England and Scotland? He believed that the Irish landlords had been unjustly accused. If they had not been unjustly accused, and if they did not do their duty, it was the business of the Government to propose laws to compel them to do their duty; and he understood that a poor law, and other laws, would be brought forward, with the view of assuaging the misery existing in Ireland, and for the purpose of protecting the country from its future recurrence.
§ MR. HUDSON
was sure he would receive the indulgence of the House while he addressed to them a few observations on the present question. He should not think it consistent with the dignity of the House, or with the position he occupied in it, to attempt to reply to the observations which had been made relative to him personally, in connexion with railways. He had been actuated by the purest motives of single-heartedness to serve his country and bene- 1302 fit Ireland, by the part he had taken with respect to this measure. The gallant Admiral had said that he might take a prominent part in the management of those railways. It must be sufficiently well known to the House, that the calls upon his time, and the responsibility which attached to those calls, would be sufficient to excuse him from embarking in those concerns; and he was sure the House and the country would believe him when he stated, that if this measure were so fortunate as to receive the sanction of the House, any advice or information which he could give towards the carrying of it out, would be given freely and voluntarily; but as to taking a single share or interest in them, he would do nothing of the kind. Gentlemen connected with those undertakings were frequently and unceremoniously charged with having entered upon them merely for gain—for obtaining wealth for themselves. Now, he could say for himself, and he thought he might add for almost every gentleman connected with railways, that they had not entered into those undertakings merely for the purpose of gain, but from public motives, from a knowledge that they would be useful to the country. He should now endeavour to apply himself to the speeches delivered by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and by the right hon. Member for Portsmouth (Mr. F. T. Baring). As far as he (Mr. Hudson) could ascertain, there were but two points on which the right hon. Gentleman had doubted the statements of the noble Member for Lynn—namety, the number of men that would be employed on the lines, and the amount of money that would be expended in labour. As far as he could remember, those two were the only points questioned by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer; and since then they had been taunted by the right hon. Member for Portsmouth for not having replied to the objections made in those respects to the plan of the noble Member for Lynn. He did not know on what authority the Chancellor of the Exchequer had made his statement, as to the amount of money that would be expended in labour; but he wondered it had not occurred to the right hon. Member for Portsmouth, that even upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer's own showing, that the right hon. Gentleman must have made a gross mistake. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to have forgotten that, under the Bill of the noble Lord the 1303 Member for Lynn, for every 4,000,000l. which the Government would have to provide, the railway companies would provide 2,000,000l. more. Now, the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Baring) allowed 25 per cent for earthworks; but he only allowed that 25 per cent on the 4,000,000l., which would make 1,000,000l. to be devoted to earthworks; whereas he ought to have allowed it on the 6,000,000l., which would have made the amount 1,500,000l. So that, by his own showing, the right hon. Gentleman was at least wrong in regard to that point. Now, he (Mr. Hudson) would give figures which would clearly show that the noble Lord's calculation was below the average amount in regard to labour, and that, instead of 1,500,000l., it would be nearly 4,000,000l. that would be expended under that head under his plan. Take, for instance, the expenses in constructing the North Midland Railway. That line cost, on the average, 40,000l. per mile. The land cost 5,500l. per mile; the permanent way cost between 5,000l. and 6,000l. per mile, and the parliamentary expenses about 2,000l. There was an expenditure of, say, 13,000l. per mile; and to what did the right hon. Gentleman suppose the remaining 27,000l. were devoted? That was a line of great expense and large works; but there was the York and North Midland, a line of comparatively small expense and small works, and that line cost an average of 23,000l. per mile; the land having cost not more than 1,800l. per mile, and the permanent way 5,500l. Now, he wanted to know in what the remainder was spent? Why, undoubtedly, in labour. In the Leeds and Bradford, again—a more recently constructed line—of which the expense had been 33,000l. per mile, there had been 17,000l. per mile to be calculated on the side of labour. The permanent way included sleepers and other things connected with the works. They might, perhaps, say there was a great consumption of bricks; but they could not make bricks without the employment of much labour—and with such facts as these before them, how was it possible they could doubt the accuracy of the statements of the noble Lord who had brought forward this measure, and that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer was grossly mistaken. The right hon. Gentleman, too, had said that the number of men per mile was about twenty-five or thirty; but on the Orleans line there were as many as 130 per mile, He really thought the 1304 right hon. Gentleman ought to be better informed before he came down to the House and impugned the statements of other Gentlemen. The right hon. Gentleman had also spoken of the monetary question, and had had some communication, evidently, with a late Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Baring). That right hon. Gentleman undertook to discuss this question of raising the money; and he must say he was astonished to hear what he stated on that head, when he considered that he (Mr. Baring) had voted, but a few years ago, for raising a loan of 5,000,000l. He had said that he doubted at the time whether that sum could be raised; but it was natural enough that he should have done so, for these railway matters were not at that time so well understood as they were at present. Besides, what was the state of the bullion at the Bank at that time? And yet the right hon. Gentleman, in the present state of the finances of the country, said that they who were the promoters of this Bill were guilty of a measure which shocked him much, when he himself, in a time of great difficulty, was ready to ask for a Vote of 5,000,000l. The right hon. Gentleman who did this now came forward and blamed them for a Bill which involved an outlay of 16,000,000l., which were to be spread over a period of four years. He thought he had, however, given an answer to those two right hon. Chancellors of the Exchequer. In respect to the question before the House, he would assure them it was one on which he had felt strongly for a long time past, and though he should not have dared to presume to have brought it before the House, yet he was convinced that it involved one of the great means of raising the social condition of Ireland, and of giving to that distracted and discontented country, peace, contentment, and happiness; and having received the invitation of the noble Lord the Member for Lynn to assist him in the collection of facts, and in furnishing him the means of bringing this measure before Parliament, he felt that in having done so he had only done his duty to his country; and though he should regret the rejection of this Bill by the House, he certainly should ever rejoice at the course which he had considered it right to pursue. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had told them that the security, too, was questionable. He did not think that was a prudent speech, and he regretted that part of this debate, because he did think that whatever means could 1305 be employed to secure that for Ireland which had done so much good to this country, would be conferring a lasting benefit. It would be presumptuous in him to differ on some subjects from the Chancellor of the Exchequer; but there might be some things as to which he, from circumstances, might have the opportunity of obtaining more information; and so perfectly secure did he feel that these investments were good, that he would be disposed to pledge the whole of his property that not one sixpence of the money would be lost; speaking, of course, with this qualification that there should not be a reckless and indiscriminate expenditure and bad management. With proper safeguards, he was sure that these investments were secure, and would tend to the benefit of the country. No man knew bettor than did the hon. Member for Bolton how much depended on management, and that one man would make productive that which would fail in the hands of another. He consisidered it was very unfair to draw comparisons between this measure and those which had been brought forward by the noble Lord. The promoters of the measure had never said that it was brought forward in opposition to those Bills; on the contrary, it was intended rather as an auxiliary to them. One of those measures was for the improvement and reclamation of waste lands; but they should begin at the right end—first, construct their roads, and then they would be able to reclaim their lands at half the expense. In regard to drainage, too—a thing of the first importance—he was prepared to consider this measure as a sort of superstructure for that and similar measures. Many improvements would arise from giving Government the means of assisting private exertions and property; and, in regard to the money required, he had no doubt that the Government would have no difficulty in obtaining it. He was as convinced of this as he was that he had a seat in that House. A few months ago, companies with which he was connected, created a capital of 10,000,000l. in one month; and six days after the calls, which were for ten per cent, were made, there were not 25l. of arrears. He had no doubt this money might be obtained. There were large sums of money that could not be invested in anything but Government securities, and there was ever a large surplus to invest in them; and, for his own part, he did not believe that the funds would be affected to the extent of a quarter per cent 1306 if they were to go into the market and raise the whole of this money at once. Again, they had appointed a Railway Board, composed of gentlemen receiving large—though he was sure he did not think too large—salaries; and surely those commissioners could manage a business like that which would arise under this measure. He was sure that, with the intelligence and good judgment of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Strutt) who presided over that board, there would be no difficulty in regard to the selection of the lines, and in ascertaining that the security was good. Having ascertained that the security was good, he believed that there was not one hon. Gentleman at all acquainted with the subject who would not say that the establishment of railways would be most advantageous to Ireland. Then they should remember that they were expending in this country, for the last four years, in railway undertakings, at the rate of 15,000,000l. a year. He was sure he could not rate the outlay at less than 15,000,000l. a year. When this was the case, surely they could spare four millions and a half in the year, in a country which was calling for something to be done for its benefit, and to mitigate its evils. Ireland had been to this country a constant source of anxiety—Government after Government had declared it to be their "great difficulty." They had been cobbling and peddling with Ireland; but they had attempted ineffectually to develop its resources. If they did so now—or if they had done so before—they would have Ireland, instead of being their difficulty, one of their strong arms; it would be so by raising their social character, and improving the condition of the people. Why, there was none of them that knew anything about Ireland. They were legislating for a country with which many of them were totally unacquainted. Let there be given, as proposed by this measure, the means of ready access—let the communication be facilitated—and there were very few Members of that House who would not be found visiting Ireland once or twice in the year. He believed that if this measure had been left to be judged of by the Members for Ireland—he believed that if, instead of being legislated upon in this country, it were to be decided in Dublin, there would be a unanimous expression in its favour. If that then were so, what an argument would they furnish to the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. O'Connell) for a repeal of the Union, 1307 should they refuse to entertain a question in support of which Irishmen would be found unanimous. They had the opinion of the hon. Member for Salisbury (Mr. Chaplin); they had the hon. Member's judgment, and the judgment of every man of talent and experience, that the plan proposed could be effected with perfect security. Why, then, did they refuse? He said that they furnished an argument, a strong argument, to the hon. Member for Cork, if they refused to concede this great and important measure to Ireland—one which might be regarded as one of the greatest benefits to that country. Why, he asked, was Ireland a most unfortunate country? Why was she distressed? Because her resources were neglected; because her means of improvement were not developed. Did they know the full value of railways to agricultural produce? He said that they could scarcely make a railroad in any country that was at all civilized, in which it would not be found that the produce of the land would pay uncommon interest on that railway. This, he said, was a statement that would he confirmed by every man of common experience in railways. But, then, it was said by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what security was there for the money advanced upon railways? Why, he had rails; he might be able to sell them. They would be one-third of the security. As to the money market, he was quite sure that there no hesitation would be felt as to the security; and if properly managed there could be as little doubt that the railways in Ireland would be productive. The right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer had next remarked that none but able-bodied labourers would be employed upon railways. He could say that boys of nine, ten, twelve, and fourteen years of age, were very largely employed on railways. But surely, if none but able-bodied labourers were employed, that in itself would be doing a great deal of good, and especially so at a time when they were told that they were employing half a million of able-bodied labourers. Would it be no advantage, if instead of paying 150,000l. a mouth—as the Chancellor of the Exchequer said they were paying to able-bodied labourers—they had no such money to pay, and yet be certain that they were fully and profitably employed? Assuredly that alone would be a vast advantage. Then, there was another consideration. They could not give employment to able-bodied men without bene- 1308 fiting the whole mass of the population. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had much alarmed him by the manner in which he had introduced his remarks upon one part of the Bill; and when the clause was read, he (Mr. Hudson) did take a little blame to himself for introducing it. That clause secured to parties who had lent money to the present railways the power to take their money back if they thought proper. He knew that parties who lent money had often great objections to Government interference: he did not think they would do so in this instance; but it was only fair that, if they did object, they should have the power of taking back one half of their money. This did not advantage the shareholder, but the man who had advanced money on the railways. The clause was framed to meet an extreme case: it would perhaps have been better left out; but he (Mr. Hudson) had felt a great anxiety to obviate all chances of doubt or dissatisfaction. The House looked gravely at a sum like 16,000,000l. for Ireland; but not long ago Parliament had, by an almost unanimous vote, giver, 20,000,000l. to the slaveholders, and the country cordially approved of that grant: but that was an unproductive grant—it was given away; while, in asking for this money for railways, they were not seeking compensation. They wanted the present grant to save the people of Ireland from immediate starvation, and permanently to advance their social condition; and it could not therefore be compared to a grant for the abandonment of a disgraceful traffick in human blood. They asked for the money for a great public improvement, which would enable them to bestow vast advantages upon Ireland without any loss to themselves. He was fully confident of that; he pledged himself that there would be no loss. He could assure the House that he had endeavoured in all the statements he had made, to adhere closely to what he believed to be the facts and truth of the case. As he had said before, be had no personal interest in the measure, and had no wish to participate in any of its advantages. He trusted the measure would be discussed without any personal imputations upon anyone. The measure, he was sure, would prove beneficial to the country; and he felt great satisfaction and pride in the reflection that he had assisted the noble Lord in bringing; it forward. He did, however, regret exceedingly that Her Majesty's Government objected to pass this measure; if 1309 they objected to the details, they might have altered it. He and his friends would not have objected. They might have put in 8,000,000l. instead of 16,000,000l.; they might have altered the clauses as they thought proper. The right hon. Member for Portsmouth had found great fault with the Bill. He had said he never saw such a Bill. What did the right hon. Gentleman expect—did he expect it would contain some new principle? He (Mr. Hudson) thought it a merit that it did not propound any new principle. Hitherto railways had been left, and he thought wisely left, to private enterprise. They did not possess, like France, a Government machinery to carry out such undertakings; and he thought it most wise to adhere to the principles hitherto acted on in this country, and call in the aid of Government to the assistance of private enterprise. He did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman had read the Railway Bill introduced by the right hon. Member for Derby. That Bill authorized Parliament to regulate the fares every ten years; and, of course, they would have the power also of regulating the Irish railways. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had objected to the details of the Bill; but his desire had been first to secure to the Government the repayment of their outlay, and then to secure the railways to Ireland. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had said something about the measure being more feasible had it been confined to a few mail lines, which might have been productive. He (Mr. Hudson) could give many instances in which public opinion had been in fault as to the results of different lines before they were completed; and he had no doubt that the proposed execution of the various lines in Ireland would put an end to scenes which had occurred and were occurring there, which were a disgrace to the Government and to Ireland; and all the enjoyments of peace, content, and social happiness, would be given to the people. He did not see why Ireland should not rise to a position equal to that of England. Was there anything in its climate, its soil, its productions, to prevent its rising to a most influential position? If this measure were carried, the union between the two countries would be cemented; they would be united by the strongest ties of attachment; the character of the country would be raised; and she would be enabled to enjoy a fair share of those advantages and blessings England possessed so abundantly. He had done 1310 his best to assist his noble Friend; and he was proud of the concurrence and support of their Friends in the House. He knew he had the concurrence of the whole of the railway world—which viewed the undertaking as a certain means of benefiting the two countries. It was useless to contend the benefits would exclusively belong to Ireland; for if Ireland were benefited, England was also benefited. If the north of Ireland were benefited, so was the south, and the benefit would be felt in every part of the country. The hon. Gentleman had mentioned the Dublin and Kingstown Railway as a particular case, which did not apply as a general example, on account of its locality; but if that railway were advantageously situated, it was constructed at a large cost, and so that unusual cost made up for its peculiar situation. The promoters of the measure had stated the average cost of making railways in Ireland to be 16,000l. per mile; but he did not think it would be anything like that amount. They were bound, however, to take the estimate submitted to Parliament as the groundwork of their calculations; but he staked his experience that the sum stated would be far above the reality. If that were so, there was another argument against the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He regretted the course the Government had taken, though he confessed he had no right to find fault; they had a perfect right to take that course if they conscientiously believed it to be the right one. Indeed they were indebted to the noble Lord at the head of the Government for the candid spirit in which he had met the Bill. He deeply regretted that they had had no pledge from the Government that they would, supposing the present measure to be thrown out, carry one something similar. If so, they should have his support for such a measure—his disinterested support, for he could have no personal interests to serve. He was quite contented with the throne on which he sat.
§ MR. GOULBURN
could assure the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, that he did not aspire, to the throne on which he sat: still less was he inclined to impute improper motives to him for the part he had taken in the preparation of this measure. He gave him credit for having done so, in the sincere belief that he was lending his efforts to contribute to the welfare of the sister kingdom, now afflicted with the deepest calamity that could afflict a nation. He admitted, 1311 also, that the right hon. Gentleman was a great authority on all questions connected with railways, and he would willingly bow to him on any point of detail on which discussion might arise. But he deduced from the example of the right hon. Gentleman himself the strongest reason for opposing the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman told them that by his constant attention he had succeeded in establishing in England a complete system of railways, managed with economy by private companies, and producing results the most favourable to those who had invested their capital in them, and to the counties through which they passed. He told them, that in the execution of these projects there had been no difficulty whatever in raising by voluntary contributions the enormous sums by means of which those great objects were achieved. When, therefore, the hon. Gentleman told them how these objects were attained in undertakings with which he was connected, he furnished to his mind the strongest proof that Parliament had committed no error in trusting these great efforts to individual exertions, rather than by interference and loans of public money inducing persons to embark in them. And what was the difference between Irish and English railroads? Were they to suppose that Irish railroads were made by Irish capital alone, and that English railroads were made by capital exclusively English? Was that the ground on which they were to proceed in the discussion? If it were, the House should know that those views were altogether ill-founded. The House had had before them in a previous Session a statement of the names of those persons who had embarked money to a specified amount in different railroads in the two parts of the United Kingdom. Those returns showed the residences and country of those who had contributed their capital to the performance of these undertakings. And what was the result? Why the result was, that of the total amount of money there stated to have been subscribed for the construction of railways in Ireland, three-fourths of the whole was contributed not by Irish proprietors, but by the moneyed interest in England—by persons who embarked equally in railways in Scotland and England, and were prepared no doubt to apply to the conduct of railways in Ireland the same exertions, the same economy, the same superintendence which the right hon. Gentleman had shown were perfectly effective for the establishment of a complete 1312 railway system in England. If, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman found private exertions sufficient on the part of our capitalists for conducting railway operations here, on what grounds did he suppose, if these works would be really productive of public and private benefit, that the same individuals who had applied their money to railroads in England and Scotland, would not by similar exertions, and without assistance from Parliament, produce the same effect in Ireland? He said, then, there was primâ facie evidence against the course the right hon. Gentleman recommended. Now he agreed with the right hon. Gentleman, that this discussion was in some degree unfortunate; that it was impossible to enter upon the question of establishing railways in Ireland, and to discuss the probability of their success, without impairing the credit of some of them, and thus throwing difficulties in the way of completing the undertakings brought under discussion. But who was responsible for that? Not those who resisted a measure so novel in itself, but those who, without due consideration of what would affect the money market of the country, and the speculation in these particular railways, brought forward the measure, and called for an opinion which it was impossible to express without in some degree hazarding the success of those undertakings. The question before the House was one which, in a pecuniary point of view, was of no trifling character, nor could they consider it solely with regard to the amount, large as it might be, which they were required to provide. The Bill called for 16,000,000l.; but who could suppose that the expenditure of this sum could relieve them from the obligations imposed upon them of providing for those portions of the community for whom the Bill would afford no relief? Difference had existed as to the precise amount of expenditure on a railway which was applied to manual labour. But deal with it as they pleased—state what proportion of the money they pleased as applicable to manual labour—were the statements of the Chancellor of the Exchequer correct, or those of the right hon. Gentleman who spoke last? Let half, as the right hon. Gentleman affirmed, be expended on earthwork, or only one quarter, as was stated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, still the question remained the same—what were they to do with that portion of the population of Ireland, who, by distance from the line of railroad, by age 1313 or infirmity, were incapacitated to perform the work required? What were they to do with that portion of the population, even if they adopted the measure the right hon. Gentleman recommended? Why, they must resort to measures similar to that the Government called upon them to adopt; they must incur the expenditure the Chancellor of the Exchequer foreshadowed, and the proposition for which would be before them in the course of a fortnight; they must incur this tremendous expense in the course of the ensuing year, and it must be added to the 16,000,000l. the noble Lord now called on them to furnish. The noble Lord told them that 4,000,000l. only would be required in the present year? But to that you must add the 6,000,000l. or 7,000,000l. necessary for the relief of the destitute, and must provide in the course of the present year 11,000,000l. of money, with the certainty that for the three succeeding years at least 4,000,000l. more would be necessary; nor had any one yet satisfied the House that the completion of the Irish railways would not cost more than the 16,000,000l. at which they were estimated. The right hon. Gentleman taunted the hon. Member for Portsmouth, because in 1839, he was prepared to advance 5,000,000l. in spite of a deficiency in the revenue of 1,400,000l., and said it was, therefore, unreasonable to refuse the advance asked for, when the surplus revenue exceeded 2,000,000l. But the argument derived from the existing surplus was of no avail, if this expenditure for Ireland was defrayed out of it. They knew by the last return that there was something short of 3,000,000l. surplus revenue, and they knew also that 6,000,000l. or 7,000,000l. must be raised for the purpose of alleviating the awful calamity with which Providence had now afflicted us. Therefore, so far from dealing at the present moment with a surplus revenue—so far from being in a better situation than they were in 1839, when the then Chancellor of the Exchequer agreed to a loan for a totally different purpose, the present moment was likely to be one of much more financial embarrassment. It had been assumed in the debate, that those who resisted this measure were opposed to the establishment of railways in Ireland. He begged altogether to disclaim that feeling. He believed that railways, when not prematurely pressed, but resulted from private enterprise, were 1314 the greatest benefit that could be conferred upon any country. But his argument was, that we ought not to depart from that principle upon which we had always acted hitherto with respect to such works. It had been hitherto successful—it would continue to be successful if carried out as it had been; more successful than in other countries where public works had been attempted to be carried out in a different manner. He did not deny that there were cases in which a Government might afford their assistance with very considerable advantage; but coming into the field of individual enterprise, for the purpose of superseding such enterprise, was a measure inexpedient in itself, and not likely to lead to a successful result. The right hon. Gentleman who had last addressed the House, had told them that prudence and economy in the management of railways were the real secrets which led to success; but it had ever been found, that money furnished by Government was always dealt with in a more extravagant manner, than money which belonged to a private purse; a manager of a concern under such circumstances, was ever more careful than when he was dealing with that which was partially the money of the Government. In estimating the probable success of the measure, he did not think that the railway alluded to in the early part of the evening (the Kingstown) was one which could be fairly taken as a criterion of Irish railways. There was another railway in Ireland—the Dublin and Drogheda, which appeared to him to furnish a better criterion. That was an established railway, of which twenty-four miles ran through a county the most thriving in Ireland; one which opened a communication with the north, where the manufacturing interest was rising, and where great industry prevailed—a railway which ought, on ordinary principles of calculation, to be as certain of success as any one in that country. The shares in it were of 75l. each; of which 70l. had been paid up, and within the last ten days he had seen that the shares had been sold in the market for 58l., thus showing, at all events, a slight indication of the amount of profit made upon that line. Doubts were expressed whether the value of the shares was a just measure of railway success. He undoubtedly understood that the value of shares in a railway was dependent upon the interest paid on the money subscribed; and if that was the case, then that line was evidently not a very profitable one. 1315 An hon. and learned Gentleman who addressed the House early in the evening, was anxious to prove to the House that we might without financial risk embark in this expenditure, because money borrowed by the State, was not money belonging to the State. He, for one, could not follow the hon. and learned Gentleman in his argument, nor could he at all enter into the distinction which he drew. The hon. and learned Gentleman had referred to America in illustration of his argument, where money was borrowed for the purpose of constructing railways. If the hon. and learned Gentleman meant to imply that we in England were to pursue the same course with respect to the money borrowed for the purpose of making railways, as had been pursued by the people of America, then he (Mr. Goulburn) could very well understand his argument, and that the money so borrowed would not be the money of the State, but that it would be that of the unfortunate individuals who had been deluded out of it. He was not disposed to pay the hon. and learned Gentleman so bad a compliment as to argue for a moment that he had mentioned America in regard to her railways as a precedent for adoption here; therefore he could not draw the distinction which the hon. and learned Gentleman was so anxious to lay down between spending one's own money, and money which had been borrowed. The hon. and learned Gentleman said, that that was not a question affecting the payer of taxes; but was not the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that if the State borrowed money with the intention of repaying it, they must provide for the payment, at least, of the interest upon the sum borrowed, until the repayment had been made, and that therefore a burden would be imposed upon the public by an annual charge for such interest until the railroads were completed, because until that period they would not be productive? If they were to pay the interest otherwise than from the produce of taxes, the payment could only be made out of the money actually advanced by the Government; and that mode of borrowing money to pay interest must ultimately operate most prejudicially, and cause both loss to the country, and greatly increased burdens on the people. He confessed that his expectations of a successful result from this measure, had been damped by what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman who last addressed the House. He said, that if at the end of thirty years the money was not repaid by the railway companies, then the Govern- 1316 Ment might sell the iron rails. Evidently the right hon. Gentleman had no very sanguine hope of the repayment of the money, when he made such a suggestion as that the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer should become a dealer in old iron. For his own part, he believed that, in a financial point of view, of all things the most dangerous was for the country to embark in time of peace in a system of raising loans to a large amount for any object whatever. He admitted that it was a prudent course for a Government to pursue, to reserve a sum out of the annual revenue, for the purpose of assisting great works which would be beneficial to the country; but once begin the system of making advances out of borrowed money, to supersede individual exertions, and not a year would elapse before they were called upon to aid other undertakings, which either had equal claims to assistance, or might be made to appear equally promising and equally advantageous, as affording employment for the people, as those now advocated by the noble Lord the Member for Lynn; and they would be compelled to embark in an extensive system of loans, for the purpose of creating works which would be much better carried out by individual enterprise. He felt bound to say that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hudson) had entirely failed in showing that the measure he supported so warmly, would lead to any great relief of that destitution which unfortunately pressed so heavily on Ireland. There might be some excuse for adopting an erroneous principle for the purpose of affording relief for a great impending calamity; but that would not be the result of the measure before the House. The railroads to be made, must be limited to particular districts; and, as he understood the right hon. Gentleman, even before a single line was commenced, an extensive, because thorough, examination of the nature of the line, its prospects of traffic, &c. was to be made, in order to see whether it would be a sufficient security for the money to be advanced for its completion. It must be shown to give some prospect of being profitable before any advance was made. That inquiry, if it were to be effective, involved delay—delay which might be indefinitely protracted, and consequently the measure could prove no remedy for the existing state of things in Ireland; it would be wholly inefficient as a measure of immediate relief. Under these circumstances he could have no hesitation in recording his vote against the se- 1317 cond reading of the Bill. He thought the hon. Gentlemen were in error, who said the want of capital was the great evil existing in Ireland. If the people of that country would only exert their natural energy—if they would apply themselves, as did the people of England, to the accumulation of capital—both energy and money would be found amongst them to complete all these undertakings. He had shown that a great part of the capital subscribed for these Irish railways had been subscribed by English capitalists. They were experienced in undertakings of that nature; and although they were now unwilling to advance the money which they had engaged to contribute for them, he saw in that no reason why they should be relieved from paying up the necessary calls upon those shares for which they had contracted. On the contrary, they ought to carry out those works which they had sought powers to make, and which had been granted to them by Parliament; nor would an advance be made to one railway without in many cases a manifest injustice. If they took the Dublin and Galway Railway, for instance, and declined to take another parallel line in the same direction, an injury would not alone be done to the railway which was rejected, but a public wrong effected by the paralysation of competition. On these grounds, therefore, he should oppose the Motion.
§ Debate adjourned.