§ MR. J. O'CONNELL
rose to call the attention of the Government to the appalling consequences which had followed the execution of the instructions given to reduce by 20 per cent the destitute persons employed on public works in Ireland. He was sure that the noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown had intended, when he advised this course, to do that which he considered to be the best for the condition of the Irish people; but letters received from Ireland by every post contained intelligence that the reduction of the number of labourers would entail the most lamentable consequences to the suffering people. He supposed the reduction was to be carried out by the Commissioners of Public Works, who considered themselves not at liberty to exercise their judgments with respect to the requirements and attendant 374 circumstances of the various districts. It should be borne in mind that these men were not thrown upon the resources of private works, neither were they thrown upon their own resources; for—God help them!—they had none left: but they were doomed by an unexpected and undeserved edict to a terrible, painful, and immediate death. He held in his hand a letter from the rev. Bernerd Duncan, parish priest of Kilcanduff, in the deanery of Swinford, county Mayo, descriptive of the dreadful sufferings of his parishioners, and expressing the alarm which he entertained at the consequence which would inevitably ensue, were the people to be deprived of their only resource, and dismissed from their employment. The rev. gentleman wrote—The union contains a population of 11,000 persons. The greatest number of persons employed at any time did not exceed 1,800, which was considerably below the scale generally allowed. The consequence of a great portion of the public works being suspended is, that the people are actually starving. It is my firm conviction, that unless the works are immediately resumed (of which there is at present no appearance), or unless God especially interposes to save them, numbers must inevitably perish.He had also received a letter from the rev. Malachy Duggan, parish priest of Carrigaholt, descriptive of the state of things in his neighbourhood. The rev. gentleman wrote—The greatest terror and dismay reign here to-day. The one-fifth of the working lists will be struck off to-morrow. We know what will happen. Of this we are certain, that many will die who have no resource to sustain life but the labour of their hands. Oh, what legislation! All the machinery has been wrong from the commencement.In the Freeman's Journal of Tuesday, the 23rd instant, there were also to be found a number of letters similar in their character, and all expressive of the most melancholy forebodings regarding the consequences which must result from the sudden reduction of 20 per cent of the employed poor. One of those letters was dated "Ballyglass, county Mayo, March 20," and the writer said—Relative to the Government order for striking off 20 per cent of the labourers now employed from the public works, and the effect produced by this terrible edict among my parishioners, I have to inform you that yesterday, for the first time, I received a communication from the chairman of our relief committee upon this subject. I waited on the inspecting officer at Castlebar, to remonstrate with him on the cruelty of such a proceeding, particularly as he knew the awful amount of destitution in the neighbourhood. I told the inspecting officer that out of 1,200 families in Bal- 375 lintubber and Killavalla, there were not 12 who had one hundredweight of seed oats; that they were all on the same level, without food, without money, without any resource on earth but the public works to enable them to drag out a miserable existence; that until some other substitute were provided for the people, to close up this only resource would be signing the death warrant of every individual thrown out of employment. I showed the officer the census of the parish from our committee register; and though he could not deny that the most dreadful consequences were to be apprehended, still his answer was, 'that the Government orders were peremptory.' As a member of the Ballintubber relief committee, I shall not be a party to so reckless a measure. The landlords of this district have, up to this, shown no concern for the lives of their tenantry under this terrible visitation. The great sensation caused by the report of this reduction from the labour list, brought several members of the surrounding committees, and crowds of poor half-starved wretches, to Castlebar, our county town; and there was a general feeling of horror manifested at the conduct of the Government—so much so, that there was a general determination among the clergy, and the more humane members of the committees, to refuse lending themselves to a measure calculated, if not intended, to destroy the people. Eight hundred families in Killavalla—the tenantry partly of two noblemen and of a rich baronet—have been living during the last three months on the proceeds of their daily labour, averaging from 3s. to 4s. a week from each family, while meal sold at 3s. and 3s. 6d. the stone. Numbers have perished already from hunger and dysentery—hundreds are at this moment tottering on the brink of the grave. The whole country presents an appearance of a barren waste, deserted by its people—no cultivation. The people have no seed to sow, and have no food to support them, if they even had the seed; and the landlords look on with calm indifference at thousands of human beings, whom they have stripped of the last shilling, writhing in the agonies of hunger. Next week will be one of the most eventful weeks ever recorded in the annals of human suffering. The lives of thousands are in the scale, and oh! it is frightful to contemplate what the consequences may be, if Divine Providence does not come to the rescue of an oppressed and injured people.Another corresponding note from Balla, on the 22nd inst., was to the following effect:—I hasten to inform you that the ukase has been rigidly enforced in this district. The poor who have been dismissed are loud in their complaints, and I have no hesitation in stating that they must inevitably starve, as they have no resources to fall back on for their support. The Government are acting in real or affected ignorance of the appalling destitution that prevails in this district. How truly has Dean Swift declared that 'we are in the condition of patients who have medicine sent them by doctors at a distance, strangers to their constitution and the nature of their disease.' These persons removed must perish, or live by plunder. I suppose the framers of this measure imagine that we have a substantial class of yeomen here, who might employ at tillage the persons who were put off the works. But, alas! we have no such men. The best part of the lands in this district belongs to absentee farmers, 376 who employ none but the herd to take charge of the stock. The Government are already aware that the poor have no seed, and there is no disposition evinced to supply them with it. Is it not a melancholy fact to see the garden plots not even dug, which the poor would have done if they were able to purchase cabbage plants, which are sold at the exorbitant price of 1s. 10d. per hundred. I should have informed you that the miseries of the poor who were thus peremptorily dismissed will know no bounds, as there is yet no provision for supplying them with food.Another, writing from Kells, said—The order for disbanding the labourers has been carried into effect, and the people so dismissed crowded round the parochial house to-day, with tears streaming down their manly cheeks, and agony in their every look, asking what was to become of their now starving wives and children. Large grass farms surrounding us on every side, and the spring sowing being now nearly completed, no employment whatever was to be had. Such were their heart-rending exclamations—and no wonder—for in a week, if unrelieved, they and their families must certainly perish. As yet, no provision whatever has been made for their relief. I ask, in the name of a merciful Heaven, what is to become of our brave, and faithful, and industrious people?Another gentleman writing from Ballinagh, county Cavan, on the 21st instant, reported—The check clerks here have received instructions from the inspecting officer to have twenty per cent of the people employed at the relief works dismissed, and that on yesterday this order was carried into effect. This dismissal has created both alarm and confusion, for almost every person to be so dismissed is the occupier of only from four to five acres of land; and they are, without exception, in a much more destitute state than the common labourer, as they are subject to rent and other taxation. There has been no provision made for their support; and they will doubtlessly, by this dismissal, be reduced to utter starvation. They are still conducting themselves peaceably; but their murmurs, which they are endeavouring to suppress, denote the exasperation of their minds, and it is much to be feared will ere long explode like the pent-up volcano, in robberies and the destruction of property.Another from Clones, county Monaghan—I have to announce the terrible fact that one-fifth of the least destitute of the labourers employed have been actually dismissed from the public works. Unfortunately, there is no immediate likelihood of their being employed in tillage. Except a few cases of housebreaking in the town of Clones, and some pillage through the county, no overt acts of tumult have yet appeared. The people, in fact, exhibit a patience too passive for praise. No provision has as yet been made for the dismissed, and there is none for the destitute except that which has long existed (a relief committee), that gives one pint of soup in the day to each person on their lists. From this small allowance a large number is altogether cut off.The same state of things existed every 377 where. Another gentleman from Limerick wrote:—Let it end as it may, it is only Providence alone can be thanked if mischief does not follow the unparalleled experiment of disemploying 141,000 hungry men. Generally speaking, we tremble for the result; they have not time as yet to come to any plan, being so detached from each other, as the farmers cannot employ them.Such statements as those ought to command the serious attention of the Government. He feared the introduction of the clause suggested by hon. Gentlemen opposite to preclude from relief the occupiers of land, if it were only half an acre, would be productive of the most lamentable consequences. The accounts which were daily received from all parts of the country bore testimony to the wonderful patience of the people; but, at the same time, they expressed fears that if the Government did not speedily interfere, and afford relief, that outrages would become frequent, and that property would be no longer secure. Something ought to be done by the Government immediately. The food depôts in every district were filled; but the difficulties which attended the formation of relief committees under the temporary measure, were productive of so much delay that thousands would expire before the relief was extended. He understood that it was necessary to hold five meetings before those committees could be got into working order. If such were the case, ten days or a fortnight would elapse before even, in the most favoured districts, the temporary relief measures could be carried into practical effect. If they were dealing with an inanimate article of machinery, they might be able to form a correct calculation as to the length of time it would last; but they could not thus estimate the duration of human life. The people had literally no means of existence. He implored the Government to order the depôts to be opened and food to be distributed among them, before death in its most hideous shape carried off its victims wholesale. The statements of the Gentlemen in that House who represented those starving multitudes, were surely worthy of consideration at the hands of the Government. He felt convinced no Irish Member could be found to oppose his prayer when he implored the Government, in the name of the perishing people of Ireland, to act energetically, and at once to prevent that appalling annihilation of human life which inevitably would ensue unless relief were extended immediately. 378 Thousands had died already—thousands must die before even that temporary relief could be extended; but once more he implored the Government to act at once to prevent the most fearful consequences to an entire people.
MR. SMITH O'BRIEN
could confirm all that had fallen from the hon. Member. It was understood by hon. Members, on both sides, that the Government had given instructions that the greatest care should be taken that the people should not be discharged from the public works until other means had been provided to enable them to procure the means of subsistence. He believed that the greatest confusion would follow the putting in force the order for dismissing persons from the public works to come into operation on Saturday last. The Government ought instantly to put in force the Act for the constitution of relief committees. It was seven weeks since the Temporary Relief Bill passed through the other House, and he could not conceive why the relief committees had not been constituted. If the relief committees had been previously appointed, many of the people who now crowded the workhouses would have had something to fall back upon.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
could assure the hon. Member for Kilkenny, that he agreed with him in the opinion, that however necessary it might be to reduce the number of persons employed on public works in Ireland, and to put an end, as speedily and quietly as possible, to the present system, yet that the greatest caution should be used in effecting any change. He had, on a former occasion, stated the plan laid down for the mode of proceeding by the Irish Government, viz., that on a certain day, not that twenty per cent of the people employed in every district on public works should be discharged, but that in the aggregate twenty per cent of all those at present employed should be put off, leaving it to the discretion of the Irish Government to decide upon the proportions to be removed from each district. It would be necessary and proper to make a general reduction; but the Irish Government was left to the exercise of its discretion in making the several reductions by districts, as the Executive in Ireland could best decide where it might be dangerous or improper to make any change, and when a change might be with propriety and safety made. That was the general answer he had to give to all quarters upon that sub- 379 ject. But he could not sit down without referring to a circumstance which he felt the greatest gratification in stating to the House. It was the immense quantity of provisions that was pouring into the ports of Ireland, the result of private enterprise. He had been very much struck by reading an account, on the preceding day, in a Limerick newspaper, of the quantity of provisions brought into the single harbour of Limerick by the ordinary operation of trade. He had previously mentioned to the House a similar fact with regard to Cork. But the article to which he now alluded stated that—On taking a retrospective view of the imports into the port of Limerick since the pressure of scarcity in the local provision market became urgent, we find that the vessels arrived in port from the 1st of September last, landed over 50,000 tons of bread-stuffs of all sorts to this present week—an event without parallel in the records of our harbour. There were 150 sail of vessels in the Shannon on Monday last.
§ MR. SHAW
quite concurred in the doctrine, that they could never have a sound state of society, or a wholesome condition of the labouring population in Ireland, until all the persons then employed in pauper labour were removed from that dependence; but still the transition would be difficult and full of danger to the suffering poor. He felt that no arbitrary rate of reduction, such as twenty per cent of those employed, could be safely applied; and he thought, practically, the regulation to be safe should be—not to discharge those poor people until some temporary means of relief, under the Temporary Relief Act passed that Session, should be provided for them.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
quite agreed with the right hon. Gentleman so far as referred to the stoppage of public works generally. But it would be found by reference to the instructions to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, that it was not intended that the relief works should be immediately discontinued. Some of the accounts received from Ireland stated that in some parts the landlords declined to advance money to their tenants for the purchase of seed, because they had not been paid the last year's rent. That, with the fear of the tenants, on the other hand, lest they should be called on for arrears, were the two causes which had been before alluded to, as preventing to a considerable extent the cultivation of the land. But it also appeared that the abstraction of labour from the tillage of land by the employment given by the Board of Works, operated so detrimentally, that many per- 380 sons who were anxious to till their land could not obtain sufficient labour. The Government, therefore, thought it necessary to direct the putting off of some of the labourers from the relief works, feeling assured that there was now ample employment to be obtained in the country by those put off.
§ LORD G. BENTINCK
said: Sir, I cannot allow the observations of the right hon. the Secretary of State for the Home Department to pass without some notice. The right hon. Gentleman told the House; that, although cultivation might be going on in some parts of Ireland, yet in other parts it was discontinued, and discontinued from causes over which the Government had no influence. The Earl of Besborough, in January last, wrote a letter to the First Lord of the Treasury urging him to supply the farmers in Ireland with seed, and stating that in many parts of the country it was not possible for them to obtain seed without assistance. Captain Wynne wrote to the same effect; and then the Government came down to this House on the first fortnight of the Session, and announced that it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government to advance 50,000l. But now, at the eleventh hour, and after Her Majesty's Government have for a whole month given the people of Ireland reason to think they would receive assistance from the Government, you have disappointed them. I think Her Majesty's Government have exercised a most pernicious influence over the cultivation of the soil. There are hundreds of thousands of farmers in Ireland, who, when they heard that the Government were prepared to advance 50,000l. for seed, and when they recollected that the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland had persuaded the Government to advance money—not for grass seeds, but for corn seeds—relied with confidence on receiving such a supply from the Government. But now, at the last hour, when it is too late for the farmers of Ireland to purchase seed with their own funds, the Chancellor of the Exchequer comes down to the House and tells the Irish people, from his place here, that the 50,000l. is to be advanced, not for corn seed, but for green crop seed, of which the farmers will not be able to avail themselves till the summer time. I want to know whether, under these circumstances, Her Majesty's Government are not greatly to blame for the vacillating course which they have taken with regard to this matter of seed? There was an observation, too, of 381 the right hon. the Chief Secretary for Ireland, which I cannot suffer to pass without notice. The right hon. Gentleman has glorified himself and the Government for allowing the people of Ireland to take care of themselves. He has told us that since the month of September, that is to say, in the course of six months or more, 50,000 tons of provisions have come into the ports of Limerick. Why, Sir, I recollect reading that in one week in the course of this year 30,000 quarters of grain went out of the port of Limerick. So that, after all, what did this importation of the 50,000 tons of provisions amount to? It might be true, that now provisions were imported by private speculators; but what compensation is this for the deaths of some 200,000 persons who have died of starvation or pestilence, while we have been waiting for this supply? If the Government had but one-tenth of the sympathy shown in Boston by the Americans for the starving people of Ireland, all this food might have been supplied at least six months ago. By the last return we were told that though the number of meal depôts had been diminished, yet in extent they had been increased, and that it was quite a mistake to argue that, because there were only twenty-four meal depôts now, where there were ninety-three when the Government came into office, that the amount of provisions distributed was in like manner diminished. I looked at the last return, and what did I find to be the amount of provisions distributed? On the week ending the 6th of March, the amount of meal distributed was 262,000 lbs.; or about 1,048,000 lbs. a month, not the eleventh part of the food distributed by the late Government in the month of June last, when the famine was not the ninth part of what it is now. I think, under these circumstances, the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland has little cause to congratulate himself, especially when he reflects on the hundreds of thousands of persons who died under his administration of affairs in Ireland.
thought it most important, when such charges were made against the Government, that a weekly statement should be laid before the House of the number of persons employed on public works in Ireland, and at what cost to the Government, that the people of this country might distinctly understand what they had to pay for destitution in Ireland, and how little the gentry of that country did to relieve it. He called upon Irish 382 gentlemen to take a lesson from the people of England in one of its poorest districts. He observed from a newspaper that had been sent to him, that in a small town in South Wales, where distress existed in consequence of the failure of the potato, oat, and barley crops, 3,000l. had been subscribed in one week for the purchase of food, and an order sent to a great mercantile house for 1,000 quarters of corn. It was calculated that 24,000 quarters of corn would be required for the supply of that district, but no appeal was made to those unconnected with the locality; the magistrates and gentry of South Wales themselves took most prompt and effectual means to secure relief. Why had not similar exertions been made in Ireland?
§ The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
hoped the House would not be dragged into a general discussion, but would at once go into Committee, as it was most desirable that progress should be made with the Irish Poor Law. He did not rise to make any reply to the speech which the noble Lord had repeated with his old accusations. He would take no notice of the noble Lord's assertions; they had been refuted more than once. He would only remark, that the weekly return alluded to by the hon. Member for Coventry, had been made by the Government, and had been ordered to be printed; it was intended to continue those returns weekly.
§ COLONEL RAWDON
thought the attack which had been made on the Government by the noble Lord the Member for Lynn most unnecessary. He particularly regretted that one in the noble Lord's position had disadvantageously contrasted the conduct of the Government with that of the people of the United States of America. He had representations from the county of Wicklow in which fears were expressed, that the public peace could not be maintained unless great caution were exercised in discharging the men now employed on the public works.
§ The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that as a general reply to such letters as that quoted by the hon. Member, he had seen a private letter from Colonel Jones, in which it was stated that the reduction of the numbers employed in various places on the public works had been effected quietly, and without any unpleasant results having followed. It was, of course, impossible to speak of particular districts, but generally the reduction had passed quietly off.
§ COLONEL RAWDON
said, that the letter, which was from a noble Lord connected with the country, was at the service of the right hon. Gentleman, to whom he was ready to show it.
§ MAJOR LAYARD
thought the attack made upon the Government most unjustifiable. As to the verdict agreed to some time ago, by a coroner's jury in Ireland, he thought that also most unjustifiable: but some allowance might be made in such a case for the feelings of people, excited by scenes of misery around them. But as to the attack made by the noble Lord, he should say, before the House and the country, when the Government had made every exertion to meet the state of distress, that the attack was most unjust and unjustifiable.
§ VISCOUNT SANDON
wished to ask a question of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department. In consequence of the extraordinary influx of Irish paupers, great difficulty existed as to the machinery for removing Irish and Scotch immigrants. He spoke not with reference to the increased charge on the poor rates, but to the apprehended propagation of pestilence in the town he had the honour to represent. He wished to know if the right hon. Gentleman was prepared to suggest any plan by which greater ease of action should be given to the existing rule for pauper removals. When they came to deal with thousands and tens of thousands, the existing machinery would be found impracticable. Of course, there was great unwillingness to remove any parties unseasonably; they would be more at liberty to do so when provision was made for the relief of the poor in their own country. Perhaps some new arrangement might be made in the Committee on the Poor Law Bill.
§ SIR G. GREY
had received representations from Liverpool with reference to this subject. He did not think there was any general disposition to send back the Irish paupers until this Bill passed, changing very materially the right to relief in Ireland. The law with reference to orders for removal, ought to be made more efficient; but he did not think any provision for that purpose could well be introduced in Committee on this Bill. A Vagrants' Bill would be introduced, which would afford a more fitting opportunity for amending the existing machinery for removals.
§ MR. SHAW
begged to ask the right hon. Baronet, whether it was not true, 384 that although a great number of paupers had arrived at Liverpool from Ireland, yet that a much larger number of the poor in and about Liverpool had presented themselves to the authorities, professing to be from Ireland, and seeking relief under that pretext, and that the Government had instituted an inquiry on the subject?
§ SIR G. GREY
stated, that an investigation had taken place with reference to the number and description of Irish paupers in Liverpool. It was quite true that a certain number who had been resident there for some time, had come out of their ordinary dwelling-places and presented themselves in the streets of Liverpool as newly arrived from Ireland; but the representation he had received was, that 60,000 had arrived from Ireland within the year, of whom 20,000 came with the view of emigrating to America, while the other 40,000 either remained in Liverpool or were spread over Lancashire.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
would take that opportunity of saying, that he thought the observations of the hon. Member for Carlow (Major Layard) on the noble Lord the Member for Lynn, were totally inapplicable and unjustly severe. The hon. Gentleman had seen that Members on that (the Opposition) side of the House were determined not to continue the discussion; and it was not consistent with fairness that he, under such circumstances, should have made those remarks.
§ MR. CARDWELL
said, he had received a letter from a magistrate of Liverpool, in which he said—Of course no one can desire to remove the poor people without adequate provision being made for their sustenance at home. The influx of paupers continues, and for the last few days has exceeded 2,000 per diem. In a few days we shall have a new fever hospital, capable of receiving 400 additional patients.He agreed that the proper time to remove the technical difficulties in the way of the removal of Irish immigrants would be when the Vagrancy Bill was before the House.
§ MR. P. SCROPE
said, the account read by the right hon. Gentleman (Sir G. Grey) of the number of Irish immigrants was dated the 17th of February, and gave the number, up to that period, at 60,000; but as immigration was going on at this rate of 2,000 a day, the number that had reached Liverpool must be from 120,000 to 140,000. The Government were exerting themselves to the utmost to put an end to the terrible state of things in Ireland; 385 and he hoped they would not waste their time by answering party attacks, which had been so repeatedly answered already.
§ MR. GROGAN
hoped, that when the Irish immigrants were returned to their own country, care would be taken that they would not be quartered on the inhabitants of Waterford, Wexford, Dublin, Belfast, and Drogheda, but be made chargeable to the districts from whence they emigrated. With respect to party attacks on the Government, he wished it to be borne in mind that the subject had been twice introduced by Gentlemen on the Government side of the House. It appeared that the Government could not control their own friends. A very large number of Gentlemen of all ranks had been appointed in Ireland, under the new commission, for relief committees, and he wished to know from what funds they were to be paid?
LORD J. RUSSELL
said, the Vagrancy Bill had been prepared, and would be shortly brought before the House. With regard to the preservation of the public peace in Ireland, he had no fear whatever. The Government would be responsible for the public tranquillity. Colonel M'Gregor, who was at the head of the police, had no fear of a breach of the peace. Notwithstanding the great number of military and police required to escort provisions for the use of the destitute, he had no doubt of the public tranquillity being preserved.
§ MR. D. CALLAGHAN
said, there was a general complaint in Ireland of the neglect of the Government to furnish the farmers with seed, as had been promised. He could bear testimony to the fact that the people had not the means of sowing the ground.
§ MR. BELLEW
thought the attacks made upon the Government, with respect to Ireland, were altogether uncalled for.
§ SIR A. BROOKE
hoped the Government would not supply seed to the landlords of Ireland. He could only say, for himself, that he would rather sell the coat off his back than ask of Her Majesty's Government any favour to which he was not entitled; particularly at a time when Irish landlords were taunted, both in and out of doors, with asking favours. He thought the Government had done as much as Irish landlords had a right to expect; and he, for one, was grateful for what had been done.
MR. DILLON BROWNE
said, the question was, whether the Government ought to supply the tenants with seed where the landlords neglected that duty. If they did not do that, they would have a great deal of the land of Ireland uncultivated; and the country, most probably, would display a repetition of the scene of Skibbereen next year, in consequence of the Government refusing to make a slight advance at this moment. He begged to state, that he had received accounts from every quarter in Mayo denying that a combination existed against sowing the land, as had been stated; and requesting him to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of Ireland to point out where such a state of things existed. On the contrary, the people were most desirous to cultivate the land, but they had not seed, and the majority of the landlords were either unable or unwilling to give them the seed.
SIR W. JAMES
, as an independent Member of the House, would express his opinion, that the Government, upon the whole, in the difficult and arduous circumstances in which they had been placed, as far as effort, energy, and a sincere wish and desire to give relief to the famishing people went, though they might have erred, perhaps, rather on the side of generosity, had discharged their duty to the country conscientiously. With respect to giving seed to the people, he begged to ask the attention of the House to a letter, contained in the correspondence of the Board of Works, from Commander Fishbourne, who stated that a Mr. Mahon, in the county of Clare, had provided 800 stone of seed wheat for some of his tenants; but he found that they ate it: he then had some steeped in sulphate of iron, so that it could only be used for seed, and offered it to them, but they refused it: he then offered to take the land into his own hands and sow it for them, and pay them over the balance; but they refused that. This was surely a strong corroboration of the statement which the right hon. Secretary for Ireland had made.
§ MR. G. A. HAMILTON
said, he merely rose to correct a misapprehension into which, as he thought, several hon. Members had fallen with respect to the observations made by the noble Lord near him, the Member for Lynn. Some hon. Members had attacked the noble Lord in no measured language, for having accused Her Majesty's Government of neglect and apathy in not having supplied the land- 387 lords or the people of Ireland with seed. Now, as he understood the noble Lord, the matter of his complaint was quite different. He had complained, not that the Government had not supplied seed, but that they had held out the promise of doing so nearly two months ago, and then, on reconsideration, a short time ago, had felt themselves unable to fulfil the expectation which they had themselves created. He (Mr. Hamilton) would not say a word on any other subject; for he concurred with those who thought that their first duty was to go into Committee and dispose of the Bill; but, he would repeat, this was the charge made by the noble Lord, and it had not been answered.
§ Subject at an end.