HC Deb 26 February 1847 vol 90 cc528-9

, seeing the right hon. Secretary for Ireland in his place, wished to put a question to him with respect to the Government grant of 50,000l. for the distribution of seed in Ireland; he understood it was not intended to give the grant in money, but in seed itself. The question he wished to ask was on a point not less important than making the grant, namely, the manner in which the seed so given would be used? He hoped the present misery of Ireland would not be made perpetual by a neglect to use that seed; he trusted it was by this time employed day by day in sowing the land of Ireland; but could the Government give them any consolation as to the present state of that country in this respect?


could not give a very precise or distinct answer to the question of the hon. Baronet. But he hoped the House, and still more the people of Ireland, would not suppose, from his not giving such a reply to the question, that the cultivation of Ireland was to depend, in any considerable degree, on the small grant of seed which the Government was about to devote to the purpose. On the contrary, he was glad to take the opportunity of expressing a hope that the grant would not relax the efforts of proprietors to encourage the cultivation of the soil. If it did, he had no hesitation in saying, that the result would be most unfortunate. The very limited supply would be made almost entirely in turnip seed, and seed for green crops, and scarcely at all in grain. Had they undertaken to supply seed for grain crops in Ireland, they would have undertaken a task which no Government could perform; and any notion that it could do such a thing must cause more harm than good. With regard to the proportion of land under cultivation in Ireland, he had reason to believe that a larger breadth of it had been laid down in wheat this than in any former year; he could also say, that in many parts of Ireland great efforts were being made for the cultivation of the soil; at the same time, he was afraid, unless great exertions were used, that the cultivation of the land in the more remote districts would be very imperfect. Everything depended on the next six weeks; and he trusted the upper and middle classes of Ireland would consider it a duty alike imposed on them by the necessity itself, and a well understood self-interest, to exert themselves in every way to insure this object of paramount importance, by assisting the small holders to cultivate the ground for the ensuing harvest.


asked, whether the attention of the Government had been directed to a memorial laid before it, praying that wherever the landlord neglected to buy seed for his tenant, a power should be given to those who would supply seed on credit, to have the first lien on the coming crop; that it should not all go to the landlord for rent? If such a power were given, a large amount of seed would be supplied by persons in Ireland, on the credit of the growing crop, when it could not be obtained from any other source.


said, no such measure was contemplated by the Government.

Back to