§ SIR G. GREY moved, that so much of Her Majesty's Speech as related to Ireland be read.
The following passages were accordingly read by the Clerk at the table:—
Her Majesty laments that in some Counties of Ireland atrocious Crimes have been committed, and a Spirit of Insubordination has manifested itself, leading to an Organised Resistance to legal Rights.
The Lord Lieutenant has employed with Vigour and Energy the Means which the Law places at his Disposal to detect Offenders, and to prevent the Repetition of Offences. Her Majesty feels it, however, to be her Duty to her peaceable and well-disposed Subjects to ask the Assistance of Parliament in taking further Precautions against the Perpetration of Crime in certain Counties and Districts in Ireland.
§ SIR G. GREY
said: Sir, it is with feelings of deep regret that, in accordance with the recommendation conveyed in those passages of Her Majesty's Speech which have just been read, and in the discharge of an imperative duty, I rise to ask the House for permission to lay upon the table a Bill for the better prevention of crime and outrage in certain districts of Ireland. The attention of Parliament has recently been largely directed to the affairs of that portion of the United Kingdom. In consequence of that visitation of Providence—unprecedented, perhaps, in its suddenness and in its extent—which, while it inflicted severe privation on the inhabitants of most of the countries of Europe, fell with peculiar intenseness and severity on the people of Ireland, on account of the unfortunate dependence of the great majority of the population on that article of food, which, from causes which have hitherto baffled all research and inquiry, was almost totally destroyed—in consequence of the severity of that calamity, and of the intenseness with which it visited Ireland, successive Governments—the Government of the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir R. Peel) in the first 271 instance, and the Government of my noble Friend (Lord J. Russell) afterwards—felt it their duty to propose to Parliament measures calculated to mitigate the distress and to relieve the destitution with which the people of Ireland were afflicted, and to arrest the progress of famine and disease, which were rapidly spreading through that unhappy land. Parliament responded readily to the appeals made to it by successive Governments, and various Acts were passed sanctioning measures calculated to effect the object with which they were prepared. Acts were passed authorising grants and advances of money, partly for the purpose of immediate relief for a pressing and emergent necessity, partly for the purpose of enabling landed proprietors to obtain advances which might be employed in improving the condition of their lands; thus effecting the double object of employing the people, and affording to a large number of them the means of subsistence, and of increasing the future productiveness of the soil, and its capability of providing for the wants of the people settled upon it. An Act, too, was passed last Session, making better and more ample provision for the permanent relief and support of the destitute poor of Ireland from resources drawn from the property of that country. I had ventured to hope that the calamity by which Ireland had been visited might not prove an unmingled evil, I had ventured to hope that, from the period of extreme distress which had passed over Ireland, a new era might have been dated; and that one result, at least, of that severe distress, and of the measures taken for its relief, would have have been to draw together, in bonds of mutual goodwill, founded, if upon no better motive, at least upon a sense of their common interest, the different classes of society. I did venture to hope that there would have been inculcated upon all the indispensable necessity of the mutual co-operation of all classes of society, each discharging those functions which Providence has assigned to it—and it is difficult to say which are the most important, the duties attaching to the highest or to the lowest grades of society—in promoting the peace, order, industry, and prosperity of their common country, and in developing those resources which that country undoubtedly possesses, but which have been hitherto rendered in a great measure fruitless and unavailing, owing to the unhappy divisions, political and religious, which have prevailed—owing to the jea- 272 lousies and mistrusts which have existed between different classes of society, which have been the fruitful source of crime and disorder, and have opposed almost insurmountable obstacles to every attempt which has been made permanently to improve the condition of the country. I am not yet prepared to abandon the hope that those expectations may be realised; for the case it will be my duty to lay before Parliament to-night will apply, I rejoice to say, to only a comparatively small portion of Ireland. I am glad to take this opportunity of repeating what I said on the first night of the Session, in answer to the hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Grattan), that in the greater part of Ireland crime has diminished; that I believe life and property are as safe in a great portion of that country as in any part of Her Majesty's dominions; and that the crimes which have stained and disgraced some districts, and which bring down shame upon Ireland, are held in detestation and abhorrence by the inhabitants of by far the greater portion of the country. I am happy to state that the general result of the tabular statistics of crime transmitted by the constabulary of Ireland shows that there has been a diminution of crime recently, compared with former periods, when the attention of the House has been directed to the affairs of that country. The aggregate offences of all kinds reported by the constabulary have considerably diminished. Taking even the month of October, during which the crimes to which I shall presently feel it my painful duty to allude more in detail, were perpetrated in rapid and frightful succession, the gross returns of the amount of crime for October, 1847, as compared with 1846, show a diminution of nearly one-third. The gross amount of crimes of all kinds—I allude to those crimes with which hon. Gentlemen are familiar, and which are enumerated in the constabulary reports—committed in October, 1847, was 1,035; while the gross number of crimes committed in October, 1846, amounted to 1,483. There has been a still more remarkable decrease since January last, for at that time crime had reached its maximum, and the number was 2,885, while in October, 1847 (as I have said), the number was 1,035. I wish, therefore, distinctly to state, that it is no general bill of indictment which I am about to prefer against the people of Ireland. I do not come here to use the language which 273 has been imputed to some one—I know not whom—by the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Roche), when he said that the whole country had been stigmatised as a country of assassins. Any one who has the slightest knowledge of the existing state of things in that country would know that such an accusation was wholly groundless. But I am prepared to say that there are districts in Ireland in which there is an amount of crime, more dreadful from its concentration; in which, within the last few weeks, the records of crime hare been of a frightful and appalling nature; in which there have been instances of assassination, apparently the results of a secret conspiracy against the rights of property, whether it be property held in small portions, or by individuals whose lands are to be counted by thousands of acres—a secret conspiracy which has led to men being doomed on account of their exercising, and in the fairest manner, the rights which are ordinarily held to be attached to property; and these crimes, concentrated as they have been in such narrow limits, have spread the utmost terror, consternation, and dismay among all the peaceable and orderly inhabitants of those districts. I think, then, that I have a right to call upon those Members for other parts of Ireland who feel that the character of their constituents may be affected by conclusions which may be formed in ignorance, and which, perhaps, will be formed in other countries to the general prejudice of Ireland, to come forward and lend their aid in arresting the hand of the assassin in those districts to which I refer, and giving that protection to life which peaceable and well-disposed subjects have a right to look for at the hands of the Government. I will only make one other observation on this point, with regard to the partial extent of these outrages—that the crime to which I shall have to advert has not developed itself in those parts of Ireland in which, as I regret to say, distress is still severe. My right hon. Friend the Secretary for Ireland stated this with great clearness on the first night of the Session; that there is not a shadow of pretext for these crimes—I do not say that there could be an excuse under any circumstances—but that there is not a shadow of pretence for the assertion that men are driven to desperation and madness by the pressure of want and distress. These crimes are committed in districts in which there is money to pay rent, and in which, when the strong arm of the law 274 comes upon the defaulters, they are found to have the money, and when they see resistance to the law to be unavailing the money has been forthcoming; and there is no pretence for saying that there is any difficulty in meeting the demands made upon them, or that it is the attempt harshly to enforce those demands which drive men to the perpetration of these crimes. But I know I may be met by some hon. Members, even with reference to that part of Ireland to which the measure I shall have to propose will apply, by an objection which was hinted at on the first night of the Session, namely, that in proposing a Bill of this nature we are having recourse to the old, vulgar, oft-tried expedient of coercion, while we leave the causes of the evils from which these crimes arise untouched, and make no attempt to remove those causes. [Mr. F. O'CONNOR: Hear!] The hon. Member opposite cheers that expression; it will be for him by and by to show, if he can, that the measure which I am about to propose can justly be characterised as a needless and harsh measure of coercion: if not—if it is only a just measure for the prevention of crime—and if we are only asking for those powers which are essential for a Government to possess in order to the conduct of the affairs of the country—I shall claim his vote in favour of a step calculated to prevent the effusion of blood, shed by the hand of the ruthless and cowardly assassin, skulking behind a wall and endeavouring to take without a moment's warning the life of a man who is unconscious of being the object of any one's jealousy or hatred. With regard, however, to the objection which I have noticed, I am willing to say that I so far concur in it, that I do not pretend to propose this Bill as a cure for many of those evils which exist in Ireland. I think it would indicate a very shortsighted policy to imagine that the mere prevention of crime by police regulations or penal measures was the great object of legislation. It is necessary, when crime of a peculiar character is rife, that the law should be enforced, and that, if the law be inadequate to the protection of life, and the enforcement of those just rights which law has guaranteed to individuals, it should be so amended as to render it efficient for the purposes for which law is required; but, on the part of Her Majesty's Government, I disclaim at once any pretence that a Bill of this kind, limited as it will be in its duration, and partial in its character, can be 275 any panacea for the evils of Ireland, or that when we have passed it we have discharged the duty we owe to the inhabitants of that country. Far be from me any such idea! it is the duty of a wise Government, and of a wise Legislature, to look to the causes of evils, rather than to their symptoms. But I am not prepared to say that the symptoms are to be neglected, or that we are to wait for that slow Curative process which may be effected by measures with regard to the law of landlord and tenant, the disposal of encumbered estates, the grand jury laws, or other subjects however important—I cannot hold, I say, that we are to disregard the symptoms of the disease while that slow curative process is in progress. I must also say, that I am not one of those who think that it is in the power of Parliament to do all that is attributed to it by some. I believe that Parliament may do much in the way of wise and judicious legislation; it may, and I trust it will, be able to establish a better system to govern the relation of landlord and tenant than that which now subsists; though I altogether disclaim any participation in the Utopian views of those who think it an easy thing to place this question by law on a footing which will obviate all disputes, or that we can grant perpetuity of tenure to a man and his descendants (as an hon. Member said the other night), though he is now tenant at will and I also protest strongly against being supposed to concur in the significant expression which was used about "taking the idlers off the land." No, I cannot think that this House will ever sanction any system by which the rights of landlords shall be transferred to tenants, though I believe much may be done to place the relation between those two classes of society upon a better footing, and to remove some of those causes of heartburnings, and mistrust, and jealousies, and litigation, which have been the fertile sources of crime in many parts of Ireland. I believe, however, that the real cure of the state of society in Ireland is to be found in the faithful, zealous, efficient discharge of their duties by all classes of society, the humblest as well as the highest; and that the neglect by any class of those duties which Providence has assigned to it is sure to produce a derangement in the social system, and retard effectually any beneficial result from the wisest and most wholesome legislation. But, while we call upon Gentlemen connected with property in Ireland to dis- 276 charge the duties attached to the possession of property—while we call upon the poor-law guardians to give their aid in carrying into effect the laws devised for the humane purpose of preventing destitution and affording relief to the poor—while we call upon all to co-operate with the Government by discharging the social duties which belong to their position, they have a right to call upon the Government, if they are willing to discharge those duties, for protection from the hand of the assassin, and for that security of life which will enable them to remain resident on their properties or in their respective districts, cooperating with the Government in carrying into effect those laws which may be passed by the Legislature for the common good of all. Having adverted to the general and satisfactory result of an investigation of the tables showing the aggregate offences of all kinds reported by the constabulary, and shown that they have considerably diminished, I proceed to lay before the House some statements with regard to four classes of crimes which, I regret to say, have within the last six months, in the aggregate, been very materially increased. I hold in my hand a comparison of the outrage returns for the six months ending October, 1847, compared with those of the same period in the year 1846, and they show the following results for the whole of Ireland:—
But even this would give a very inadequate idea of the fearful increase in these classes of crimes which has taken place in the districts of Ireland to which it will now be my duty to call the particular attention of the House. The whole of Ireland is not implicated in the shame and disgrace of the fearful increase in the aggregate of these serious offences, all of them affecting human life, and many of them involving the actual loss of life. I look at the police returns, and find that it was about the middle of September that these crimes began to increase, and since then they have advanced with frightful rapidity. It devolves upon me, from the position I hold, to receive the accounts of these outrages and of the barbarous acts committed; and painful and distressing as were the accounts last year that came in day by day of deaths, 277 from severe destitution, which was pressing down the people and exhausting all the resources available for its mitigation, it has been infinitely more painful and distressing to receive these records of crime: the one was the act of Providence, and we trusted that Providence would aid our efforts to mitigate and remove the evil; but these are acts which show a depravity of heart, an Absence of right principle, a want of all regard for the laws of God and man, from which one turns with a feeling of sickening disgust. The total number of homicides throughout Ireland in October was 19; firing; at the person, 32; firing into dwellings, 26; robberies of arms, 118; total, 195. But, on examining the returns, I find that of these 195 crimes 139 were committed in Clare, Limerick, or Tipperary, being 71 per cent of the whole number, though the population of those three counties is only 13 per cent of the population of Ireland. Of the 19 homicides three were committed in Clare, two in Limerick, and five in Tipperary; of the 32 cases of firing at the person, nine were in Clare, five in Limerick, and six in Tipperary; of the 26 cases of firing into dwellings, one was in Clare, nine in Limerick, ten in Tipperary; and of the 118 robberies of arms, twenty were in Clare, 50 in Limerick, and 19 in Tipperary. The robberies of arms in these three counties are 75 per cent of all the robberies of arms in Ireland; in Limerick they are 42 per cent, with a population of only 4 per cent of the whole population of Ireland. It is chiefly to these counties of Clare, Limerick, and Tipperary, that the observations I shall have to make will apply; it is chiefly from these counties that the records of crime are taken, to some of which I shall hate to call the attention of the House, though I am aware that the tendency of crime is to spread; and in King's County and Roscommon, and, I regret to say, the hitherto orderly county of Fermanagh, the peaceable residents and possessors of property have been struck with terror and dismay by the threats of similar outrages, and the impunity with which those threats are executed, or attempted to be executed. I shall begin about the middle of September; for it was about that period that these crimes assumed their present type and frequency, and became remarkable; and it will be seen in the cases I shall submit to the House, that they have not been directed against one class—the landlord class, as we are accustomed to speak of it 278 here, as composed of gentlemen of property with large bodies of tenantry—but they have been directed in almost all instances against the class of landowners, and they arise either from motives of revenge, owing to persons having taken land from which others (sometimes three or four years before) were dispossessed, or to intimidate collectors of rent, and prevent its payment being enforced. The first case I shall mention, taking them in the order of date in which they have been reported, occurred in the county of Limerick on the 16th of September; it was the case of a small farmer, and the stipendiary magistrate reports:—
1846. 1847. Homicides 68 … 96 Attempts on life by firing at the person 55 … 126 Robberies of arms 207 … 530 Firing into dwellings 51 … 116Michael Connell, a tenant of Mr. Holland, and who lived on the townland of Showrath, in the parish of Mahoonagh, and barony of Glenquin, was shot dead on Thursday morning last, in a meadow, whilst attaching a rope to a haycock.The man was in the discharge of his duties, having some small holding of his own, and was attending to his property: and the only reason assigned for this murder, committed in broad daylight, is, that there having been a distress on the estate, of which he was one of the tenants, but to which distress he was no party, the landlord returned this man some of his cattle which had been distrained; and for this he was singled out for assasination, and deliberately shot. To show the system of terror which prevails, I will just mention that there was a man employed in the same field, and not many yards off, who is not suspected of being a party to the murder; but he denied having heard the firing of the shot, or knowing anything of the matter, till his master, who was at some distance, came up and showed him that Connell was lying dead a few yards from him. I do not speak of that as a case of sympathy with the assassin. There is that sympathy, I am sorry to say, in some districts—I will not say universally, but generally; and, owing to that sympathy on the part of a large number in those districts, and of the terror excited by the determination with which these decrees are executed in others, it is extremely difficult to obtain information which it is the duty of all to render in aid of the discovery of offenders of this class; and much labour has been thrown upon the police, which they have discharged with greater success than might, under such circumstances, have been expected. The next case is one with which the same individual stands charged who is waiting his trial for 279 the murder of Connell, and on another charge besides of a similar nature. A sub-inspector of police in the county of Limerick reports on the 18th of September last:—I have to state, that on the evening of yesterday, the 19th instant, a few minutes before seven o'clock, as Michael Kelly was walking near his own house at Bunkey, in company with Edward Ryan, he perceived a man who lives within a few yards of him following him along the road, and on his coming up to him he discharged a loaded pistol at him and wounded him slightly in the back; the bullet, having gone in an oblique direction, was found in his coat. The assassin immediately ran off, and was followed by the police in a short time, but the night became so dark it was impossible to trace him. I have no doubt but he will be taken, as he is well known to the police in this and the neighbouring counties. The cause of his having committed this outrage was, that Kelly had lately taken a farm of which he was dispossessed.In this instance the attempt at murder was happily unsuccessful; and the Government, affording that protection which they have done in numerous cases to persons they believed to be the objects of attack, afforded to Kelly a guard of police, who constantly watched his house to prevent any renewal of outrage. But within a week of this, another report was received from the sub-inspector of police, in which he said—I have to state, that on the evening of yesterday a man entered the house of John Kelly, of Knocksentry, and shot him through the heart in the presence of his family, Seven bullets passed through his body, and wounded a child named Michael Kelly, who was standing to the rear of him. There is no doubt but that the individual named in my report, dated from this place, and sent on the 18th, is the person who perpetrated the murder, inconsequence of information having been sworn against him by Michael Kelly, a brother to deceased, for having, on the 19th, fired at him and wounded him in the hack. Knowing that the man's object was to murder Michael Kelly, I had a constant watch kept on his house; and, finding that he could not succeed in murdering the person who had possession of his farm, he revenged himself on his brother. Every possible exertion has been used to arrest the man, since the 19th instant. Men have been, day and night, since then, searching for him; but he has so many relations in different parts of the country, that almost every person is endeavouring to protect him.Yes, that is one of the most unfortunate and discouraging circumstances in the whole history of these cases. The ordinary character of these crimes is that of deliberate assassination, encouraged, I have no doubt, by the impunity—the immediate impunity—for I rejoice to say that measures have been taken to prevent ulti- 280 mate impunity—the immediate impunity with which the assassin is almost sure he shall escape, because he knows that none but the police will move a hand to arrest him. Outrages may be committed in other countries: in this country we have occasionally accounts of fearful outrages; but, thank God, there is not a man who does not lend his assistance to arrest the offender. ["Hear, hear!"] My hon. Friend (Dr. Bowring) cheers me; and it reminds me of one instance, a few weeks ago, strikingly illustrative of this truth. He and his brother were passing along the road with a large sum of money for the payment of workmen, and, after a true Irish fashion, or rather, if some of my hon. Friends will allow me to say so, after the fashion of Clare, Limerick, and Tipperary, two men presented loaded horse-pistols at them, and threatened them with death if they refused to deliver up the money: there was no resisting an appeal of that kind; my hon. Friend immediately held out the 1,000l., and directly they had obtained the money, one of the men, that there might be no mistake about the pistols being loaded, or to stop immediate pursuit, shot the horse dead upon the spot. But what was the result? One of the gentlemen, procuring a horse from a neighbouring cottage, galloped to the police station. My hon. Friend, relying on the well-known disposition of the people of England and Wales, made known the outrage as widely as he could; the whole population was on foot, the escape of the criminals was impossible, and, before midnight, they were secured. Would that the same spirit existed in Ireland—would that the people there were as prompt to display a willingness to aid in the detection and apprehension of offenders as were the people of Wales! One object we have, and which we hope to effect by the Bill I am about to introduce, is at least to impress it upon the minds of the people of Ireland, that it is their duty to render every assistance in their power to pursue the perpetrators of crime, and secure their apprehension, and, when apprehended, to contribute their help in the thorough investigation of the offence. This, I hope, we shall succeed in effecting by making any refusal on their parts, either by silence or by intentional absence, when called upon to render that assistance, punishable by law. I am afraid I am wearying the House with going through these cases, because, unhappily, we are all 281 already too familiar with them through the ordinary channels of intelligence. Still it is part of my painful duty to show the House the extensive nature of the crimes which it is the object of us all to suppress and punish. The next case to which I shall refer is that of the murder of Mr. Hoe, who was in the commission of the peace for the county of Tipperary. The report states, that on the 2nd of October, about eleven o'clock A.M. (and here let me particularly observe that the crime was not committed at night, but, as in many other instances, in broad daylight; not in a desolate place, but in a place where there were inhabited houses within sight of the assassin)—the report says—About eleven o'clock A.M., W. Roe, esq., justice of the peace, Rockwell, was fired at from a plantation, and shot dead on the high road, when walking from his own place to the house of Mr. George Roe, his agent. On hearing of the occurrence, I immediately hastened to the scene, accompanied by Mr. Ffrench, resident magistrate, where an active and diligent inquiry was carried on until seven o'clock this evening. I am glad to be able to say that we have reason to hope that the guilty parties will be discovered.(I regret to say that hope has not been realised.)October 4.—Mr. Ffrench, resident magistrate, reports that the person by whom there is every reason to believe the shot was fired, has fled. His description has been sent for insertion in the Hue and Cry. Within the last five weeks he had been ejected by Mr. Roe, and had since been living within 100 yards of the spot where the murder was committed.I fear there is much reason to suspect that this person is protected by persons who ought, for their own sakes, to lend their aid to discover the offender and bring him to justice. It is not stated in the police report, but I have been informed that the party suspected of having committed this crime was formerly a tenant of Mr. Roe, and that he owed several years' rent to that gentleman, but he refused to pay a single farthing, although only one year's rent was demanded of him. He, however, was determined to hold the land in defiance of the landlord, without paying rent, although nothing was alleged to show his inability to pay it. A writ of ejectment was then enforced, and the result was that the landlord was shot within a few yards of his own house. The next case was that of John M'Enery:—Limerick, Oct. 4.—John M'Enery died from the effects of a gunshot wound inflicted by an armed party who attacked his house.Then in Tipperary (October 8), Timothy 282 Hanly, woodranger to the Hon. Mrs. Otway Cave, was shot dead through his bedroom window, by some person unknown. The next case is that of Peter Nash, in the county of Limerick. The report says—I have to state that, on yesterday evening (11th of October), a few minutes after six o'clock, Peter Nash, of Garden-hill, was returning from a bog, about a quarter of a mile from his house, when, passing through a narrow lane (in company with two men named Meehan, connexions of his own), he was fired at and shot in the back. I was on the spot before he was removed to his house, where he expired in about an hour and a half after he was fired at. In answer to questions put him by me, he denied knowing who fired at him, as also the two men who were with him; they were examined by Mr. Tracy, resident magistrate, who was at the scene of occurrence last night, and they distinctly state that they did not see any person, having run off the moment Nash was shot.Then comes the case of the murder of Mr. Lucas, in King's County. The report states—I have to report that about the hour of nine o'clock on the night of the 18th inst. (October), as Mr. William Lucas, of Brusna, was returning from the house of his ploughman, which is situated within about thirty yards from his own house, and about the same distance from the police-barracks at Brusna, he was fired at from behind the wall of the road by some assassin, as yet unknown, and mortally wounded in the left temple and breast with slugs, from the effects of which he died in about half an hour. The deceased was walking by the side of sub-constable John Green (one of two protective police who are stationed at his house) when the shot was fired, and the sub-constable immediately ran to the barracks to turn out the party, and in about half a minute they were on the spot, and, dividing themselves through the fields, made every effort to discover the assassin, but, I regret to say, as yet without effect. The motive assigned, and which there can be no doubt of, is in consequence of the deceased having recently ejected twelve or fourteen refractory tenants from off the lands of Scorduff, in this district, for non-payment of rent, and which was the sole cause of this murder.Another case occurred in Clare, where a gentleman of the name of Read was returning from a friend's, where he had been spending the evening. He was fired at, and received a gunshot in the back and neck, and several gunshots passed through his hat.Tipperary, Oct. 24.—Patrick Ryan, steward to Mr. Kellett, of Clonacody, was shot dead by a person unknown, on his way home in company with Michael Cummins, who was also wounded at the same time.The next case is the murder of Michael Walsh, in the county of Clare. The report states—I have to report that, on this morning(Oct. 30), about half-past 7 o'clock, or near it, as Michael 283 Walsh, of Ballynatwich, steward to Charles O'Callaghan, esq., Dragoon Guards, and of Ballynabuck, was proceeding to Ennis to pay money to Mr. O'Callaghan's agent, he was fired at from one of the Maryfort plantations on the roadside, and shot through the head with a ball, and instantly killed; two shots were heard by several persons in the neighbourhood, but the persons who committed the murder were not seen by the persons who came up almost immediately; the second shot wounded him in the hand. He was riding at the time, and had a sum of money on his person, which was taken by the murderer—the amount of which cannot as yet be ascertained, but it was over 17l. Michael Walsh was acting as steward and driver on the estate at the time the late Mr. Carrig was shot; and shortly after gave up the collection of the rent, but retained his situation as steward, and in charge of the domain. He occupied some lands from which some tenants were dispossessed by ejectment about three years since; his arms were taken from his house, as reported on the 15th of June, 1845, and for some months after Mr. Carrig's murder we gave him police protection by patrol, &c, as I then considered his life in danger.The next case in order to which I must refer in this melancholy catalogue of crime is the murder of Major Mahon, in the county of Roscommon, the only case (with one exception) which is drawn from that county; but I regret to say, what I believe will be confirmed by Gentlemen connected with that county, that owing to the perpetration of this crime, and to similar crimes in the adjoining counties, to the murderous spirit in which they have been perpetrated, and the threats that have been received by several other landlords that a similar fate was destined for them, a feeling of terror and dismay prevails throughout the county, and no one possessed of property feels his life in that district secure. The police report states that—This evening (Nov. 2), about the hour of 6 o'clock, as Major Mahon was returning from a meeting of the board of guardians at Roscommon, and travelling in an open carriage, in company with Dr. Terence Shanley, he was met on the high road by two armed men, fired at, and shot. He was wounded in the breast and stomach with shot.The report from the county inspector states—Referring to Sub-Inspector Blakeney's report of the melancholy murder of Major Denis Mahon, of Strokestown-house, forwarded yesterday evening, I beg to state that I proceeded here to attend the inquiry into the occurrence, and assist in endeavouring to discover the assassins; and during the investigation, which is at this moment going on, it appeared that there were two strangers, and suspicious-looking characters (whose descriptions are herewith sent), seen lurking about the spot where he was murdered on the day of the occurrence, and who are suspected to have been the persons who committed the act.284 The sub-inspector further reports—I visited the scene of the occurrence at 7 o'clock A.M. yesterday, and also at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, accompanied by Edmund Blake, esq., resident magistrate, and a party of military and constabulary, and arrested several persons residing in the immediate locality, for the purpose of having them examined before the high sheriff, Lord Crofton, D. H. Kelly, deputy-lieutenant, Owen Lloyd, and John Devenish, esqs., magistrates, who were then assembled in this town, to inquire into the occurrence, and who again met on this day for the same purpose, with the addition of Messrs. Derinzy and Birmingham, resident magistrates. The investigation is still being proceeded with; but I regret to say that up to this moment (half-past 5 P.M.) no clue has been obtained to the discovery of the assassins. I think it right to observe that last night lights were exhibited through part of the country, seemingly in exultation at this melancholy event.I will also read an account of the proceedings of the vice-lieutenant and the justices of Roscommon; with reference to this case:—Strokestown, Nov. 5.We, the undersigned, the vice-lieutenant and justices of the county of Roscommon, who have been for the last few days engaged in the melancholy duty of investigating into the circumstances connected with the barbarous assassination of the late Major Denis Mahon, at Doorty, in this county, on the 2nd of November inst, beg to state, that it has appeared clearly before us, that there were two persons engaged in the perpetration of this crime, one of whom fired the fatal shot, whilst the gun of the other burned priming. From the conduct of all the parties from the vicinity brought before us, and their uniform denial of circumstances which must have been within their knowledge, we can have no doubt that an extensive and deep-laid conspiracy existed against this gentleman's life. The information we have received leads us to believe that a general resistance against rents and the legal exercise of the rights of property is in existence and likely to extend; and these circumstances place more than ordinary difficulties in the way of justice. We have heard that bonfires, manifesting a very bad disposition among the peasantry of the neighbourhood, have been lighted since the murders, and that very considerable excitement prevails. That, from every inquiry we have made, it seems that this lamented gentleman had to deal with a pauper tenantry, owing from three to four years' arrear of rent, unable to till the land, and unable and unwilling to pay anything for it; that he was thus obliged to dispossess them or abandon his property altogether, whilst in so doing no unnecessary harshness has been used, and very large sums have been expended in giving compensation and sending them to America; and in proof of the benevolence of his disposition, it was his anxiety to obtain the means of keeping open the fever hospital in this town, and preventing the poorhouse in Roscommon from being closed, that brought him to that town on the morning of the day of his murder. In conclusion, we beg to thank the Government for their prompt offer of every aid in their power, and we beg to assure them that our 285 utmost exertions shall be used to further the ends of justice.I have thought it right, although I am persuaded that there is no Gentleman in this House—no man of right feeling either in the House or out of it—who will for a moment contend that there is the slightest extenuation of the crime to be discovered in the conduct of Major Mahon towards his tenants; yet, because it has been alleged that Major Mahon was a harsh landlord, and had proceeded against his tenants with a severity which he was not justified in adopting, I have thought it right to obtain all the information that could be furnished to me on the subject. No one, I say, could contend that even had Major Mahon been a harsh and severe landlord, it would be any extenuation of the crime which had been committed; still it was alleged that his conduct had been such as rendered him an object of just dislike to those who lived on his estates. Now I hold in my hand a statement, not from the police, and for the accuracy of which I cannot vouch excepting as knowing the parties from whom it comes; but I will not at the present moment read it to the House, because if any charge of the kind I have mentioned should hereafter be preferred, and the question should be inquired into, then in justice to Major Mahon and his friends it will be right to show the manner in which he had managed his property. This fact is admitted, that he spent 6,000l. within the last two years for the purpose of providing means to enable several hundred poor people to emigrate to America. In giving this assistance, he made proper provision for the comforts of the emigrants on board fully equal to that which was required by the Government to be provided by emigration ships. There was not the slightest reason to suppose that the least dissatisfaction existed among the parties so sent out; on the contrary they expressed at the time their gratitude for what he had done for them. It is true that it was stated on the first night of the Session, that one of the ships, on board of which several of those emigrants had embarked, was unfortunately lost; and it was suggested that on that account Major Mahon became an object of dislike to the kindred and friends of the sufferers, which ultimately terminated in his barbarous murder. We must all remember, that during the stormy months of last winter several ships were lost. One, I believe, was lost on the coast of Ireland, and another among the Western Isles of Scot- 286 land; but there was not the slightest pretence for saying that the parties sending out those ships had been negligent of their duty, or had failed to make every provision for the safety of the emigrants. I will not insult the understanding of the House by supposing that an imputation of such a nature could make any impression on their minds, or that there could by possibility exist any motive in the mind of Major Mahon for wishing that the parties for whose emigration he had incurred so heavy an expenditure should not arrive safely at their place of destination, and become useful and valuable members of the community to which they were sent. I shall say no more on this point. I am fully aware there will be no excuse even attempted to be made for assassination; but if, incidentally, the character and conduct of Major Mahon should come under discussion, it will then be the time to refer to the papers which are in my hand; and if I now abstain from reading them, do not let it be inferred that it is from any desire to avoid the question, but because I feel I should be wasting the time of the House, and improperly diverting its attention from the statement it is my duty to make. The next case is one of a different character. It is not a case in which assassination was the object, but a robbery of arms; a very daring act, and one which was successfully attempted:—Mr. James Meade had a shooting party at his house at Ballyagna, in the county of Limerick. There were five gentlemen and three servants in the house. Having been shooting during the day (November 3), they at ten o'clock retired to bed. The house is cottage like, and has no upstairs. The two Mr. Keanes and Mr. Meade slept together in one room, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Nicholas Meade slept in an opposite room. At 7 A.M., on the 4th of November, an armed party (seven in number) attacked the house and stole three double-barrelled guns. The guns were in the room in which Mr. Darcy and Mr. Nicholas Meade slept; they were all loaded and capped. Three servant men slept in the kitchen. One of them, Pat Healey, got up at 7 o'clock, A.M., and was half dressed, when he opened the kitchen-door for the purpose of admitting light to dress by, as the shutter was up to the window; the moment he opened the door seven armed men, with blackened faces, rushed in; one of them remained in the kitchen as guard over the servants, the other six rushed into the hall, and divided themselves, three into one room and three into the other. The two Mr. Keanes and Mr. Meade, in one of the rooms, were prevented from leaving their bed, as the men were in before they heard any noise, and they presented arms at them and prevented their stirring. Mr. Darcy and Mr. Meade, who slept in the opposite room, were up before the Whiteboys entered, Mr. Darcy seized 287 a gun and snapped at the first man who entered, but unfortunately missed fire; the other fired at him, and lodged a hall in the wall behind him, a few inches over his shoulder. Darcy snapped a second barrel, but again missed fire. He then threw down the gun and grappled with the man; he succeeded in putting him on his back, and was in the act of looking round the room for something to strike him with, when he received a blow of a blunderbuss across the forehead, which knocked him down and stunned him. They then threw a coat over his eyes, and beat him most cruelly. Mr. Meade, his companion, also snapped and twice missed fire at the ruffians; he also grappled with some of them in the hall, and had his skull fractured from blows he received on the head; he also received two slugs in the thigh, and is dangerously ill.It is a remarkable thing that all the four barrels should miss fire. It is a fact which may perhaps afford a clue to the detection of the offenders, as there is too much reason to suppose that there were other parties concerned who had access to those guns. A very gallant defence was made by the gentlemen; but from the unfortunate circumstances in which, no doubt by treachery, they were placed, they were obliged to surrender their guns. The next case was that of wounding constable S. Dobbyn, on the 5th of November, in King's County. The report states—About three o'clock, P. M., on the 5th inst., as Mr. G. Garvey, justice of the peace, of Thorn-vale, was returning from attending the petty sessions of Moneygall, he called at the police barracks there, and was accompanied by constable Stephen Dobbyn, of that post, and a bailiff, named Mara, in the employment of Mr. Garvey; and when proceeding to his residence of Thornvale, along the public road, they had gone about a quarter of a mile from the village, when the constable's attention (who was a little in advance of Mr. Garvey and the bailiff) was attracted to two men whom he observed inside the ditch of the road in a plantation. The constable immediately went forward and challenged, and, when in the act of attempting to pass through the hedge, two shots were immediately discharged at him, which severely wounded him on the left arm; five balls having passed through it above the wrist, with three flesh wounds near the shoulder, three across the chest, one through the right thigh, and one in the second finger of the right hand. The jacket which he were at the time was much shattered and torn with balls; in fact, his escape from immediate death was most providential. There can be no doubt but that the assassins were there lying in wait for the purpose of taking the life of Mr. Garvey on his return from petty sessions, and who narrowly escaped on that occasion, as he was quite close to the constable when he fell, whose courage and determination in facing the party saved the lives of Mr. Garvey and his bailiff. In a few minutes after the perpetration of the outrage, the police of the Moneygall post were on the spot, and scoured the surrounding country, which is thickly wooded, and I regret to say could find no trace of the assassins, save a 288 pistol, which was found by one of the police convenient to the place where the party were in ambush. I have remained at the scene of outrage, making every possible inquiry, and trust I shall ultimately succeed in tracing them out.The next case is that of Patrick Cleary, and I mention it in order to show that the victims of vengeance are not always men of high station, but that the assassins pick out the object of their murderous attacks sometimes from persons in a high station of life, and sometimes from persons of humble station:—Patrick Cleary, a smith, of the city of Limerick, was attacked by three men at Gurtuaghough, one of whom fired a pistol at him and fatally wounded him—he supposed because he had prosecuted Tipperary men for swearing him to leave his residence. The man who fired the shot and another have been arrested and committed. Cleary died on the 21st inst. in the hospital.The next is a case of deliberate assassination, although not premeditated. It shows the recklessness of human life, and with what facility these persons commit deliberate murder if it become necessary for their purposes to carry their object into effect. The report states that—On the 7th of November five armed men entered the dwelling of Daniel Hardinge, at Loughourna, county of Tipperary, and demanded his gun. While searching for it, Edward Devitt, a near neighbour, came running to the house, when the depredator stationed at the door fired on him, and mortally wounded him. He died on the 9th. None of the party are known.I have here a number of cases in which armed men are found going about the country, visiting houses, and firing shots into them, utterly reckless whether they are fatal or not, with a view of enforcing a system of terror and intimidation, in order that their objects may be attained, and that all legal exertions to arrest their career may be defeated. But with more cases of that character I will not trouble the House. The next case is one of a peculiarly atrocious nature. A man of the name of Ryan appears to have been the object of a murderous attack in the county of Limerick; and the life of an unoffending woman was barbarously taken:—Nov. 14, 1847.On the 12th inst. two armed men entered the house of John Tucker, of Tamana, about 7 P. M. In this house John Ryan, a bailiff, who has recently served latitats for rent due to the Rev. Mr. Delmage, also resides. Some slight resistance having been manifested, these men fired on the inmates, who were assembled round the fire, and shot Mrs. Ryan dead, and wounded Mrs. Tucker. Their intention, no doubt, was to have murdered Ryan.The victim of this barbarity was a most ex- 289 emplary young woman in her rank of life; and still I have not been able to discover the slightest indication amongst her neighbours of horror or sympathy at her wretched fate.Nov. 19, 1847.At the inquest on Mrs. Ryan, the bailiff's wife, who was murdered on the 12th inst., it appears that the agent of Sir W. Barrington and Mr. Delmage has always acted in the most indulgent manner. The tenants have been in many cases five or six years in arrear, and, having now been proceeded against for one year's rent, the result was this murder.I must now call the attention of the House to the murder of Mr. Hassard, in Fermanagh, on the 13th of November:—I have to state," says the report, "that yesterday evening, about the hour of half-past 5 o'clock, as William Hassard, Esq., of Gardenhill, treasurer of this county, was returning home from Enniskillen, alone, on his outside car, he was feloniously fired at by some persons to him unknown, from a plantation in his own demesne, about half a mile from his house, and dangerously wounded in the lower part of the right thigh with slugs and sparables, from the effects of which he now lies in a very precarious state. Immediately on hearing of the occurrence, I proceeded to Garden-hill with the men of this station, where I was joined by the county inspector, W. Foot, Esq., B. H. Holmes, Esq., resident magistrate, three other magistrates, and sub-inspector Watkins, with ten men from Enniskillen, when two persons were arrested under very suspicious circumstances, and committed to gaol for further examination. No cause can be assigned for this outrage, and the magistrates are of opinion that a public reward of 100l. should be offered.This occurred in a county which I before said has not heretofore been characterised by outrages and crimes of such a nature. Mr. Hassard died shortly after of the injuries he had received, and a meeting of the magistracy was convened by the Lord Lieutenant of the county, and took place in the court-house on the 23rd of November. The meeting was numerously attended, and the following resolutions were agreed to by the magistrates:—That this meeting views with horror and detestation the recent barbarous murder of the late William Hassard, Esq., the county treasurer, whose uniform uprightness of character, gentleness of manner, and charitable disposition, should have shielded him from the malevolence of the most ruthless assassin; and this meeting deeply deplores that an act of such atrocity should have been committed in a county hitherto so conspicuous for peace and good order.That this meeting do conceive the law at present in force to be totally inadequate to prevent the recurrence of the most atrocious crimes, or to bring the perpetrators to conviction; and, from the numerous instances of almost daily murders which are committed in other counties of Ireland with impunity, they cannot but feel apprehensive that similar lawless proceedings may be enacted in this county, unless determined mea- 290 sures be at once adopted by Her Majesty's Government to meet the emergency.I venture to assert, that the apprehensions expressed by the magistrates of Fermanagh are not groundless; for when crimes of such an appalling character as those which it has been my painful duty to detail to the House are committed unchecked, and without the detection of their perpetrators, the disposition to commit similar crimes rapidly spreads, and many gentlemen residing in parts of the country in which such offences have not usually been committed have received threatening notices that they will be selected as objects of assassination. At their meeting the magistrates of Fermanagh pledged themselves, as I rejoice to say the magistrates of other districts in which the most atrocious murders have been committed have done, to co-operate in their respective districts, and adopt all means in their power to bring offenders to justice. Under these circumstances, I think it is due to the magistrates of Fermanagh to lay before the House the view which they entertain of the remedy that ought to be applied to the state of things of which they so justly complain. They say—That, while this meeting entirely disapproved of the late Arms Act as having proved mischievous and totally inadequate to carry out the purposes for which it was passed, they more strongly condemn the unrestricted permission at present granted to the peasantry to possess arms, and respectfully call the attention of Her Majesty's Government to the necessity that exists for an enactment to restrict the possession of firearms to such persons only as by the test of their poor-law rating may be considered elegible to be licensed to possess such. And also to prevent the sale of arms and gunpowder to any individual unless qualified by the possession of a license to make such purchase.The magistrates next advert to the measures adopted by the Lord Lieutenant in the case of the murder of Mr. Roe:—That this meeting considers the measures adopted by his Excellency after the murder of Mr. Roe, proving as they do his Excellency's determination to preserve the peace of the country, to be well calculated to check agrarian outrage; and they confidently hope that his Excellency will receive the utmost support of Her Majesty's Government.I come now to a case which was referred to the other night by the hon. Member for Northamptonshire (Mr. Stafford). The case is thus described in the police return:—Nenagh, November 14, 1847.It is my painful duty to report another dreadful crime, to add to the fearful catalogue so re- 291 cently recorded in this district. Last evening, about half-past five o'clock, Mr. Richard Bayley (one of the most valuable and influential, and, I believe, the most esteemed and popular resident gentleman of the north riding of this county) left Nenagh accompanied by his brother-in-law, Mr. Michael Head. On their return to Mr. Bayley's residence, about three miles from Nenagh, they had proceeded about two miles, when they were fired at from behind a wall which fenced the loft of the road. The shot took effect, entering tinder Mr. Bayley's left ear, at the angle of the left jaw, which is shattered in pieces, and all the teeth on that side knocked out. I proceeded to Ballina-clough, taking two surgeons, immediately on hearing of the occurrence, and remained until I could ascertain the opinion of the surgeons, which, I grieve to say, is very unfavourable as to any hope of Mr. Bayley's life. An express was at once sent off to Dublin for the Surgeon General. Mr. Head was also slightly wounded in the head. I need make no comment on this outrage; it is but another illustration of the fact, which every information we can obtain confirms, that there exists a secret and diabolical conspiracy against life and property. To demand the payment of rent, to take legal proceedings for the payment of arrears, is to incur a sentence of death, passed in deliberate convention. I could name several gentlemen who, I am informed, are already doomed victims of this fearful combination. No means within the ordinary course of the law are efficient against such a system of assassination.Extract from constabulary report, November 16:—From the police report of the firing at Mr. Bayley, it appears that he had recently ejected a tenant of his brother's, who would neither till his land nor pay rent; that most liberal terms were offered to this man, but that he would not accept anything but a restoration of part of his farm, which was refused.The next case to which I must refer also occurred in Tipperary, to a man in the lower ranks of life named Quin:—Nenagh Barracks, November 19, 1847.This neighbourhood continues in the same disturbed and unsettled state; scarcely a day or night passes without some outrage or other act of violence prevailing. On the evening of the 16th instant, at seven o'clock, not more than two miles from this town, two men unknown, with blackened faces, entered the house of Thomas Quin, whilst himself and family were at supper; one of them fired a shot at Quin, which fortunately missed him, but struck the candle close to him; the villains then went away. The cause assigned is Quin having paid rent to his landlord.The next case is a very shocking one; it occurred in King's County:—A party of fourteen or fifteen men attacked the house of Patrick Larkin on the night of the 17th, at Newtown, with the view of shooting his daughter, the widow M'Neal, who occupies a farm which her husband's brother endeavoured to turn her out of in vain. Larkin and son having resisted, the assailants fired, and wounded them both. Larkin fell covered with blood, when the miscreants fled, thinking they had killed him.292 Let us hope, for the sake of human nature, that the motives supposed to have led to the commission of this crime may not have occasioned it. On the 17th of November a murder was committed near the city of Limerick, and two other persons at the same time wounded, one of them dangerously. These are the facts of this case:—Limerick, Nov. 19, 1847.I have to state that about 8 o'clock yesterday morning as Ralph Hill, under-agent to Mr. David Fitzgerald, was proceeding to the lands of Raton, and within one mile and a half of this city, accompanied by four assistants and several carmen, he was fired at and shot dead; two of his assistants wounded, one of them dangerously. The party were about to remove some corn and hay sold on the previous day for rent and arrears due by a man named Quaine; the assassins fired from the haggard of Quaine, close to his dwelling-house. The daring atrocity of this murder is not surpassed by anything that has occurred even in this county. The place was actually within view of the new infantry and cavalry barracks. I have placed a large police force in the house of Quaine, and propose to leave them there until the corn, &c., are removed, and this it is intended to do tomorrow. The state of this county and the part of Clare adjoining the city of Limerick is most frightful and alarming.After this dreadful murder had been committed, the Government received information that, owing to the sympathy with crime in the town, or to the terror inspired by its frequent commission, no carts could be obtained in that part of the country for conveying away the corn which had been seized. When this came to the knowledge of the Lord Lieutenant, he immediately issued orders that Ordnance carts should be supplied for the purpose of carrying away the property which had been seized, and that a sufficient military force should attend to cover the operation. In consequence of that decisive step being taken, not a hand was raised against the officers of the law engaged in the business. I am happy to say that the law was carried into execution with complete success and without the slightest obstruction. Examples of this nature will convince the misguided people that, in the long run, their object cannot succeed, and that, whatever immediate advantage they may in some instances obtain, by murders intended to deter persons from enforcing their rights, the system of terror and intimidation is sure, in the end, to be put down by the strong arm of the law. The constabulary report which I am about to read has so important a bearing upon the shocking murder of Mr. Hill, that I do not feel myself justified in withholding it from the House:— 293I beg leave to report that between the hours of nine o'clock P. M. on the 18th, and one o'clock A. M. on the 19th instant, during which time I was on patrol, I heard above forty shots fired in and about this village, and the portion of the counties of Clare and Limerick that comprises the sub-district. I also saw a large fire on the hill of Ballynivan, which lasted for a considerable time; I can ascribe it to nothing but rejoicing at the death of Mr. Hill, who was shot that morning in the county of Limerick. Mr. Hill was agent on the property of Ballynivan. On several occasions I have observed that when a murder is about being committed in any part of the counties of Clare, Limerick, and Tipperary, a greater number of shots than usual will be fired in this locality, and the fires are frequently kindled when an occurrence of the kind takes place.Before proceeding further, I may take this opportunity of stating the course which the Lord Lieutenant pursued in connexion with the case of Mr. Roe, since it has been particularly referred to by the magistrates of Fermanagh in their resolutions. The representative of Mr. Roe applied to the Lord Lieutenant for a force to protect the agents of the law in the collection of the rents due to the estate. In answer to this appeal his Excellency sent a party of military and constabulary to protect the officers of the law; and when the people saw that the force was too powerful for them to resist, not a single head of cattle or sheaf of corn was sold, for the tenants distrained upon at once came forward and paid every farthing that was owing. The proceedings also produced its effect on the tenants of an adjoining property, who, anticipating that a similar process would be applied to them, voluntarily made a merit of necessity by coming forward and paying their rents. It was evident that in this case it was not poverty which prevented the tenants from paying their rents. They had the means of doing so, and instead of avoiding the obligation by the death of the landlord, they were compelled to pay the whole arrears due without any delay. I hoped to have been able to state that since the meeting of Parliament, on the 18th of November, no further outrages of an atrocious character had been committed in Ireland. It appeared that as soon as it became known that the Government intended to appeal to Parliament for increased power to enable them to prevent the frequent recurrence of crime, the well-disposed portion of the community took confidence, whilst the minds of evil-doers were alarmed. I hope that Parliament will not disappoint the expectations which have thus been raised. I perceived with satisfaction, the course taken on the first night of the Ses- 294 sion. It is true that those Gentlemen who concurred in the Address in answer to the Speech from the Throne, did not thereby pledge themselves to support any measure which the Administration might propose respecting Ireland; but, nevertheless, I believe that the unanimity which was exhibited on that occasion has tended to increase confidence in the administration of the law in Ireland, and to excite a hope that the Legislature will not, by withholding additional power from the Executive, give an indirect encouragement to the perpetration of crimes of the most appalling character, which bring indelible disgrace on all concerned in their perpetration. I regret, however, to be obliged to state that I received this morning an account of an attempt to assassinate a poor-rate collector in the county of Roscommon. This is the statement sent to me:—As Mr. Kelly, a poor-rate collector, was returning from dinner at Woodpark, he was fired at at Braghbabazon; the slugs passed through Ms hat; this occurred about eleven o'clock on the 23rd inst. No motive assigned, save his having enforced the payment of poor-rates.I remember that when the Irish poor-law was under discussion in this House, all parties agreed that its success would mainly depend upon the manner in which it should be administered in Ireland; and it was held that, if properly carried out, it must prove an inestimable boon to the people of that country. At that time we called upon the Irish gentlemen who were members of the boards of guardians to assist to their uttermost in the administrations of the poor-law—we called upon the poor-rate collectors, who had been charged with neglect of duty, to co-operate with the guardians, and collect the rates to the fullest extent; and I ask them is it to be tolerated that when one of those collectors, in obedience to our call, diligently and resolutely does his duty, he is to be subjected to an attack upon his life; that he is to be fired at because he attempts to carry out a law made with such a benevolent object? I think I have shown sufficiently the necessity for adopting a measure with a view to suppressing these crimes to which I have alluded. I have shown examples of this necessity by instances chiefly from Limerick and Tipperary, partly from Clare and the King's County, and in two instances, Fermanagh and Roscommon. I have shown the prevalence of crimes of a fearful and appalling character, and I have shown that these offences have, in nu- 295 merous cases, arisen from the reckless use of firearms: but other weapons are used beside firearms to carry into effect the unlawful object of the combinations from which these crimes emanate. I speak not of the axe or the stone: such weapons are not deemed necessary to be used in all cases. Threatening letters are sent, and lists made of those who are doomed, and these being followed up by the assassination of one or two of the persons on such lists, spreads terror and dismay among the rest; and if that course drives the others out of the country, or has the effect of preventing them from taking measures for the maintenance of their rights of property, then the objects of the combination are answered. I hold in my hand a letter addressed to a gentleman in the county of Londonderry, but which has a direct relation to the murder of Major Mahon, and to the county of Roscommon. The letter, which bears the Strokestown post-mark (Major Mahon's property) was addressed to Mrs. M'Causland, the wife of the cousin of Major Mahon, and it contained another letter, addressed to Mr. M'Causlaud:—County of Londonderry, Nov. 16.I have to report that a threatening letter of a very violent nature, with the Strokestown postmark was received by Marcus M'Causland, Esq., justice of the peace and deputy-lieutenant, of Fruit-hill, near this town, by post on the 14th inst. Mr. M'Causland, who holds considerable property in Roscommon, was first cousin to Major Mahon, who was so recently murdered near Strokestown. What marks this case with a deeper degree of atrocity is the fact that the letter to Mr. M'Causland was enclosed in one addressed to Mrs. M'Causland, and was, consequently, opened by her, causing her deep distress and alarm. Copies of both letters are here transmitted:—(Copy of a letter to Mrs. M'Causland.)'Madam—As a token of gratitude, I write to you these few lines, apprising you of your approaching fate. I am to inform you that, unless Mr. M'Causland becomes a better landlord in this country, he will share the same fate as the demon Major Mahon did; there are resolutions made in this country to take down all the tyrannising landlords; he, Mr. M'Causland, is numbered amongst them unless he changes, and give a full remittance of all the arrears that is due to him, and begin in the new with his tenants, as to think that he is far from the rath of this country it is useless, the Conought men are determined, and perhaps meet him in his own demesne; there is two men appointid for the expedition, they are to begin their journey on the 11th inst. I hope that you will not suffer yourself to be a widdow, the same as Mrs. Mahon. As to Ross Mahon, the cries of the starved and desolated have reached the Heavens, and, after shooting him, he is to be hanged and quartered, unless he quits Ireland; there is a fund at present in this country, the subscribers chiefly in America, for shooting op- 296 pressors. I take the liberty of informing you of the fate of the oppressors.' Addressed on the outside—'To Mrs. M'Causland, Fruit-hill, Newton Limavady post-office, County Londonderry.' Post-marks, Strokestown, Nov. 12, 1847; Longford, Nov. 12,1847; Dublin, Nov. 13, 1847; Newtown Limavady, Nov. 24, 1847.(Copy of letter to Mr. M'Causland, Roscommon.)'Honoured Sir—As a token of gratitude for a former kindness bestowed on me and my family, I write you these few lines apprising you of your approaching fate; unless you become a better man than what you are at present to your tenants, you will share the same fate as your kinsman the demon Major Mahon did. I am to inform you that there are resolutions made in this country to take down all tyrannising landlords. You are numbered amongst them, which I do sorely regret, unless you give a full remittance of the arrears and begin in new from the 1st of August last. As to think you are far away, their vengeance will overtake you; the Conought men are real determined. If you do not comply to this, fly to England on receipt of this until the times mends, as you may depend on it I would not give three farthings for your life before the 1st of December, if it was known I wrote you this I would share the same fate as is intended for you, so hold it to yourself. As to Ross Mahon, any part of Europe he goes he will fall if known where he is, there is a fund at present formed in this country for shooting oppressors, the subscribers chiefly American emigrants from this country, there is two men appointed for going to the northern country to you and a Mr. 'Dodulla,' county Cavan, they are to begin their journey the 11th inst., unless you change your way from oppression, take heed to the contints of this, if you make any effort to goodness you will often hear from me.—I remain, for your welfare,'" &c.This is only one of a numerous class of cases. Letters of the same kind are constantly addressed to gentlemen in Ireland, in some cases under cover to their wives, in order that if the gentlemen themselves should disregard the threats contained in them, their wives may be kept in a state of constant anxiety and alarm for those most dear to them, and upon whose existence they are dependent for their happiness, comfort, and support. It is not surprising that, under such circumstances, gentlemen should—I will not say neglect, for that would be an improper term, but—be driven from the scene of duties which they are anxious to discharge, and compelled to seek refuge in Dublin or this country. With reference to the state of that part of the country, I should wish to read to the House a memorial addressed to the Lord Lieutenant from the magistrates who met at petty sessions at Nenagh after the murder of Mr. Bayley:—TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE EARL OF CLARENDON.We, the undersigned, magistrates usually attending the petty sessions of Nenagh, having as- 297 sembled to consider the recent dreadful attempt on the life of Mr. R. Bayley, deemed it our duty at this crisis to inform your Excellency, that, to such an extent has the lawless spirit of assassination advanced in this district, and so completely inadequate are the existing powers of the law to check this frightful system, that it is wholly out of our power to discharge with advantage to the public our very responsible duties as magistrates or as ex-officio poor-law guardians; and nothing but the respect we owe to Government and the laws of our country would withhold us from relinquishing duties which we feel we can only attempt to exercise at the imminent risk of our lives. We are fully convinced that a widely-spread, determined, and well-organised combination exists to overturn all laws, both human and divine, aimed principally at an invasion of the rights of property, as well as the maintenance of order. Every day's experience fully corroborates this position, and plainly manifests the existence of rapid progress, and, we may say, successful results of the system. We feel it our duty, and that a most melancholy one, to state, that by no exertion on our part as magistrates, landlords, or agents, do we feel ourselves able to grapple with this disorganised state of society, or to compete with this determined and increasing combination against all laws, order, life, and property; that the most humane discharge of duty, or lenient exercise of right, is equally fruitless and unavailing to protect property, or to ward off the blow of the assassin. We refer your Excellency to the recent reports of outrage and murder which have followed one another in such rapid succession. We are convinced, from private information recently obtained, showing the details and plans of the system, that other individuals have been marked as intended victims of this frightful code; for, besides the barbarous outrage committed on our valued, esteemed, and universally respected brother magistrate and friend, Mr. R. Bayley, we have undoubted authority for stating that several most respectable persons have been proscribed and marked out as the future victims of assassination. An increased military or police force of itself we consider to be quite ineffectual as a remedy to the present state of crime; and the facilities of obtaining, and consequent universal possession, of firearms, have placed the originators and perpetrators of this lawless combination in a position the more effectually to obtain their objects. Fully impressed with these opinions, we beg respectfully to assure your Excellency (should we be enabled to continue to reside in this country) of our cordial and strenuous exertions to aid the Executive to carry out and render efficient any measures which may be adopted to remedy these evils.Such is the statement proceeding from six or seven magistrates, whose names are appended to the memorial, and who remain at their post, notwithstanding these circumstances, while they point out the causes of the evil, and implore the Government to adopt at least some measure calculated to put an end to this appalling state of things. It may be suggested, however, that these magistrates were acting under feelings of undue alarm. I therefore feel it my duty 298 to call the attention of the House to a document received a few days ago from the Lord Lieutenant, contained in a letter addressed to him by Mr. Serjeant Howley, the assistant hamster of Tipperary, after returning from presiding at a recent quarter-sessions in that county. That learned gentleman says—I have now stated some of the cases which you will have to investigate at the present sessions; and, numerous as they are, and many of them very serious, it would still be satisfactory if they presented the full picture of the present condition of the country. It is truly alarming, and none but the disturbers are without apprehension and fear. All law appears to be pushed aside, and threatening notices and the arms of the assassin govern, control, and punish almost every exercise of right, of property, or of duty. Those whom the blow has not yet reached, know and feel, from the written threats they have received, that in their daily avocations they walk in the shadow of death. No courage, no precaution, no life, however blameless, no benevolence, however large and comprehensive, saves the victim from his doom; and, when the bloody deed is accomplished, it would appear as if the work of an invisible hand; for no trace is found, no information gleaned, no eye has seen the perpetrator of the crime.What I have just read is an extract from the address of Mr. Serjeant Howley to the grand jurors of the county of Tipperary. The letter to which I have referred also says—The acquisition and possession of arms by persons of the worst character, was the subject of general remark and general reprobation; a general fear appears to pervade all; no person, if he could avoid it, would travel after nightfall. Some of the gentlemen summoned as grand jurors made private statements, which I had grounds for believing to be correct, that their lives would be in danger if they attempted to return home after the business of the day concluded, and earnestly sought exemption on this ground—they had received threatening notices.In another part of the letter he says—But it is not alone over the better or wealthier classes that servile tyranny now prevails; the humble, the weak, the defenceless, are subjected alike to its relentless rule. Many examples of this come before me. I was sorry to observe, that the repeated acts of assassination and murder which are now occurring in Tipperary tend in some measure to insure the impunity of the perpetrators, not only by operating on the fears of the well-disposed, but in some degree by deadening the moral sense. There was a time when the felonious taking of human life was a saddening and painful surprise to those who heard it, shocking the feelings, rousing up the general indignation, and exciting an unusual activity to apprehend the criminal. I have latterly observed the accounts of the murder of the best men heard without much emotion, and referred to as topics of conversation without any strong movement of the feelings. The sensibilities of the heart which, under other circumstances, lessen the chances of 299 impunity to the offender, and are, in a well-regulated state of things, no mean assistance towards the prevention of greater offences, are in danger of being deadened into inactivity unless the progress of unpunished crime be speedily checked.I will read another extract from his letter, in connexion with an extract from a police report of the murder of the man Hill, in Limerick, showing the obstacles and inconveniences which impede the administration of justice, owing to the possession of firearms by all classes of persona in those districts where the crimes of which I have been speaking are of such frequent occurrence. It is stated in one of these reports, though I cannot lay my hand on it at the present moment, that, in former times, when shots were heard in any locality, the attention of the police was attracted by them, and they turned out immediately, there being then some chance from their immediate presence on the ground of discovering the perpetrator of any crime that might have been committed with firearms. Now, however, owing to the indiscriminate possession of firearms, shots are fired at all hours of the day and night; and the report states that—The mere fact of a shot being fired, frequently within sight and hearing of the police station, consequently affords no information to the police, who would be running about all day, to the complete destruction of their efficiency, if they turned out on every occasion when they heard shots.With reference to this subject, Mr. Serjeant Howley says—When I was lately in Tipperary, passing along the high road between Clonmel and Caher, at one o'clock in the day, that day Sunday, I observed a person, accompanied by two others, present a large horse-pistol across the road and fire. He then passed across to see the effect of his shot, and was reloading for another trial, just as I drove up opposite to where he stood. I must say, he obligingly allowed me to pass before he renewed his practice. Every half-hour shots may be heard in the fields, on the roads, in the streets of the towns, in the suburbs, and this by day and by night. Formerly, when the report of a gun was heard, it at once attracted the attention of the police, and was some warning, if at an unseasonable hour, that some act of violence or outrage was being committed. But the noise of firearme no longer gives any notice, or, at least, operates as such. The police would be constantly running backward and forward if they attended to every report of arms.I have now laid before the House, I hope, sufficient evidence to show that, whatever may be the nature of the measure which we may propose, or which Parliament may think proper to sanction, there does exist within the limited area which I have de- 300 scribed, a system of terror and violence by which individuals, in the discharge of their duties, whether cast upon them by property or by residence, are exposed to the constant danger of assassination; a system which, if unchanged, must lead to the dissolution of society, and present an insuperable barrier to improvements in the condition of the people. In every case which I have brought forward, and which constitutes a type of that long catalogue of crimes which have been committed—in every case the crime has been perpetrated by the means of firearms. Leaving, however, this part of the subject, I now proceed to another, which I think the House has a right to expect that I should not pass by—I mean the powers now possessed by Government for dealing with this state of crime; in other words, the actual state of the law, and the manner in which that law is administered. And I think I may appeal to every Gentleman conversant with Ireland, and who may have recently been in that country, to bear testimony to the vigour and efficiency with which the Lord Lieutenant has administered those powers which the law has given to him. It is gratifying to find, in the resolutions of the magistrates which I have already referred to—resolutions adopted under circumstances of unusual terror and dismay—that no charge is brought against the Executive Government, of having neglected any means which could be adopted for the enforcement of the law, or of showing the least degree of indifference towards the crimes which have been perpetrated. I may take credit at least for the vigour and efficiency of my noble Friend in discharging his functions for the repression of crime, the protection of life, and the encouragement of those—and I am glad to say that there are many such—who are disposed to co-operate with Government for the maintenance of order, and the repression of outrage. The Lord Lieutenant has made what use he was able of the military and police force at his disposal in all the cases in which, in his opinion, the appearance of an overwhelming force might overawe the offenders, or convince them of the fruitlessness of their attempts to gain the advantages they seek for from the commission of crime. I have adverted to the proceedings in the case of Mr. Roe, and also to those in the case of Mr. Hill, who was shot near Limerick, in both of which all the powers which could be exercised by the Lord Lieutenant were rigidly enforced. With the view, 301 however, of pointing out to the deluded perpetrators of these outrages, and all others who were aiding and abetting in keeping up that system of terror and intimidation now prevalent in certain parts of Ireland, the Lord Lieutenant has issued a proclamation which appears to me to comprise all that a document of that kind ought to contain. In that proclamation, the Lord Lieutenant, while sympathising with the sufferings of great bodies of the people, points out that the outrages do not generally occur in those districts in which the most severe destitution exists. He states that, although outrages have been committed under the pretext of severe distress, yet the night attacks in Limerick and Clare, and the assassinations in Tipperary, the King's County, and in Roscommon, have not been induced by want. His words are—His Excellency deeply deplores the destitute condition of a large number of the people; but, although outrages have been committed under the plea of distress, yet it is notorious that the robberies of arms and the night attacks so constantly occurring in the counties of Limerick and Clare, as well as the atrocious assassinations which have also disgraced Tipperary, King's County, and Roscommon, are not induced by the pressure of want, but are the acts of habitual disturbers of the public peace, who seek by the perpetration of such crimes to intimidate all other classes.He then says—His Excellency is resolved by every means in his power to suppress the wicked spirit which now disturbs the public peace, and retards the social improvement and the prosperity of the country. The constabulary will be increased in all disturbed districts (whereby an additional burden will be thrown upon the rates), military detachments will be stationed wherever necessary, in aid of the civil authorities, and efficient patrols maintained,And I may here state that the Commander of the Forces in Ireland and the head of the constabulary have established, as far as is at present practicable, a system of patrols.Liberal rewards will be given for information leading to the arrest of offenders, and ample protection to all who come forward and prosecute them; in short, no exertion shall be spared for rigorously enforcing the law against those by whom it is violated. The Lord Lieutenant, therefore, warns all who engage either in resistance to legal authority, or in attacks upon life and property, to abstain from such crimes, which will be followed by the severest punishment; he cautions the people not to join with the habitual perpetrators of outrage, nor to listen to the evil counsels of men who encourage opposition to the law for their own ends, and who will leave those they have deluded into crime to suffer its punishment; above all, he thinks it his duty to make known the penalties that will be incurred by accessories to 302 crime, and that all persons are by law considered accessories who protect criminals against their pursuers, who afford them the means to escape, who aid in their disguise, who mislead those who may be in search of them, or who harbour offenders in their houses. The hand of every one should be against the perpetrator of crime; and the law will pursue with rigour, not alone the culprit himself, but sentence to transportation or imprisonment all who give him aid, shelter, or protection.Perhaps I may here mention that a case recently came before the Court of Queen's Bench, in Ireland, which I refer to in connexion with the last paragraph of the proclamation, and the decision in which will, I trust, have no slight effect in enforcing the solemn warning of my noble Friend, and in leading the people to see that his are no unmeaning words: Two persons were charged with having harboured a man accused of atrocious crime. They were arrested; but unconscious, as it would appear, of the gravity of the offence which they had committed, they applied to be admitted to bail. The Chief Justice, in an elaborate judgment, pointed out the enormity of the offence, and the severity of the punishment which would await it, and refused to entertain the application for bail. I trust, Sir, this decision, coupled with the language of the proclamation, will have its effect in checking the sympathy which has been unhappily manifested with the perpetrators of crime in Ireland, and of preventing that aid and countenance being shown towards them which we have in too many instances had reason to regret. Allusion was made the other night to a special commission. Now, I am not in a position to state that a special commission has issued for the trial of offences; but let me remind the House that the cases which would be tried at it have all occurred within the last few weeks. The first case in the sad catalogue which I read, occurred little more than two months ago. Since that time every exertion of the Executive Government has been made to detect the offenders—to trace them to their hiding-places; and notwithstanding the many difficulties and obstacles which have been thrown in the way, I rejoice to say, although some of the perpetrators of those outrages are still at large, and no clue has yet been obtained to their lurking-places, yet that several of the perpetrators of the most daring crimes have been apprehended, and will no doubt be brought to justice. With respect, however, to a special commission, the Lord Lieutenant has stated his intention of issuing such a commission the moment 303 that the Attorney General informs him—as I trust he will very shortly—that there are a sufficient number of cases which can be submitted to a jury with sufficient evidence to justify such a step. This induces me to refer to one circumstance with reference to the state of Ireland, as it respects crime, namely, that I have no fact to lay before the House—and I rejoice that I have none—showing that juries are disposed to shrink from their duty. I do not venture to anticipate what may be the conduct of the juries in those cases in which parties will be brought to trial for the crimes which have lately been perpetrated. We can only judge of the future by the past, and I rejoice that up to the last quarter-sessions the parties who are charged with the conduct of criminal prosecutions have not reported that they were dissatisfied with the results. I therefore do not ask the House to change the ordinary tribunals, trusting that the ordinary course of the law will be sufficient to bring offenders to a prompt trial and speedy punishment. In the meantime, however, some measures are essential to check the repeated commission of these crimes. Persons are seen going about by day and night with guns loaded. An officer lately sent me some shot of the same size and description as those with which Mr. Roe was killed. It appears that the parties load their weapons with a bullet and twelve or thirteen swan-shot, and, practising as they do at a mark, it is hardly possible that the shot so fired can fail of effect. By the last Constabulary Act, passed a year and a half ago, the Lord Lieutenant has the power of proclaiming certain districts as being in a state of disturbance; a condition to which I beg the attention of the House, as there are other Acts called the Whiteboy Acts, which contain severe penalties against the same character of crime as that which is now being committed in some parts of Ireland out of the counties specially marked by agrarian disturbance, as in Fermanagh and other places, which cannot be called technically in a state of disturbance, because the general state of the district is not that which is described in the preamble of the White-boy Acts. In such districts the penalties of these Acts might therefore not apply. When the Constabulary Act was passed, we did not anticipate the frequency of this crime of secret assassination, and therefore powers were not given to meet these cases. The only power given to the Lord 304 Lieutenant is confined to disturbed districts. That power might undoubtedly be exercised as regards Limerick, Tipperary, and Roscommon, and I might almost say the whole—certainly a part—of Clare, and possibly in some other districts. By that Act a power was conferred upon the Lord Lieutenant of sending into any district so proclaimed to be in a state of disturbance a limited number of police, in addition to the ordinary number of the constabulary of the county, and of charging the expense of that additional police on the county—that expense being collected at a distant period as part of the county cess, to be raised by means of a grand jury presentment. The Lord Lieutenant has felt that the mere exercise of that power now, without any other result than an increase of the police in those districts in which these crimes are committed, and which could be effected without it to a certain extent, was not desirable. He felt it was more prudent not to proclaim those districts to be in a state of disturbance when he was unable to exercise any other power than that of sending into those districts a small body of police to augment the constabulary of the county. The whole reserved force which the Lord Lieutenant is able to maintain in Dublin, in addition to the ordinary constabulary force required in the counties in Ireland, is 400. It was originally proposed by the Constabulary Bill that of that 400 the Lord Lieutenant might send out any portion to meet an extreme case; but considerable objection was raised in this House to that power, chiefly owing, I believe, to the charge that might be imposed on a county by the will of the Lord Lieutenant in cases which might require an augmentation of the constabulary force; and an Amendment was made in the Bill, by which the power of the Lord Lieutenant was restricted to sending 100 to any disturbed district. I have now to state that the Lord Lieutenant having, as I said before, actively and vigorously exercised all the powers which the law has placed in his hands, and being determined to exercise those powers with vigour and efficiency in every case where it can be done, with the view to the repression of crime, the apprehension of offenders, and the protection of the peaceable inhabitants, has represented to Her Majesty's Government his concurrence of opinion with those resolutions which I have read from the magistrates in different parts of the country in those disturbed districts, that the 305 powers he at present possesses are insufficient to afford that protection to life which he feels, and which the Government feel, it to be the duty of every Government to afford to those who, in the discharge of their duty and residing on their property in Ireland, are anxious to co-operate with the Government in the permanent improvement of that country, and which those persons are most justly entitled to demand. We come to Parliament, not to ask for any general Bill applicable to the whole of Ireland—I mean, necessarily applicable to it—but for a Bill applicable to every part of the country in which crime of the same kind may be found to exist—applicable at the discretion of the Lord Lieutenant. I say applicable at the discretion of the Lord Lieutenant; for, if you have confidence in his administration of the law—if you believe that some amendment of the law is necessary—that some further powers than those which he now possesses are essential in order to enable the Lord Lieutenant to maintain the supremacy of the law in the disturbed districts of Ireland, I ask you to leave the discretion as to the exercise of those powers to him rather than place it in the hands of any local authority; not from any distrust with regard to the local magistracy of Ireland, who, I must say, have shown a spirit well worthy of imitation; but because I think that they ought not to have thrown upon them, in addition to their present responsible duties, that invidious and often hazardous discretion of determining whether any special powers should or should not be exercised. I will now proceed to state to the House the nature of the Bill we propose to introduce. The Bill, after stating that in consequence of the prevalence of crime and outrage in certain parts of Ireland, it is necessary to make better provision for the prevention thereof, will in its first clause empower the Lord Lieutenant, with the advice of his Privy Council, by a proclamation, whenever, in his opinion, it may be necessary for the repression of crime and outrage, to declare—not that the district is in a state of disturbance, because, as I have shown before, if we so limit it, he might not be enabled to apply it to such districts as those in Fermanagh and other counties where assassination has been committed; but that from and after a given day the provisions of the Act shall apply to a particular district. In defining the district to which the proclamation should apply, 306 we have followed the precise words in the existing Constabulary Act, by which the Lord Lieutenant will have the power of applying the Act to any county, county of a city, or county of a town, or any barony or half-barony in any county at large, or any district of less extent than any barony or half-barony. In some cases it may be necessary that a whole county should be so proclaimed; in others it may be right that the proclamation should be confined to a very limited district, if there is reason to believe that the district is in a state to subject it to the provisions of this Bill. The second clause of the Bill merely provides, that copies of the proclamation shall be posted throughout the districts named therein, in order to give persons notice of it, together with an abstract of the provisions of the Act for the information of all persons that may be affected by those provisions. We then propose, as one consequence of that proclamation, that the Lord Lieutenant shall be empowered, without any limitation as to number—the present limit being 100—to increase the constabulary force in any such proclaimed district to any extent he may think necessary, that of course being limited by the number of the force placed by Parliament at his disposal—such increased force to be subject to the provisions of the present Constabulary Act, and to the same control as the present constabulary force. The Bill then proposes that as the present reserved force is only 400, and is largely drawn upon by the draughts which the Lord Lieutenant has sent into these disturbed districts already, he shall be empowered to increase it to 600, so as to place at his disposal a greater available force than he has at present. Certain provisions will be necessary for authorising the payment out of the Consolidated Fund, as in the existing law, of the maintenance of the additional force; but by the present Constabulary Act it is provided that, when in consequence of a proclamation being issued any additional police are sent into any county or district, half the expense of the additional police shall be paid by the county or district in which the force serves: the expense of half the maintenance of the force being ascertained and collected ultimately at a distant period as part of the county cess, by means of a grand jury presentment. We, however, have thought it desirable—and to this provision in the Bill the Lord Lieutenant attaches great importance—that two alterations should be made as to this provision of repayment: 307 the first is, that when in consequence of crime an extraordinary number of police are required for the repression of such crime, for the apprehension of offenders, and the protection of the peaceable and loyal inhabitants, the whole expense of the police, during the time they are in that district, should be borne by the district, and not by the public Treasury. And, although the Consolidated Fund will be charged, in the first instance, with the payment of those men, we propose that the whole expense incurred shall be repaid by the district in which they are called upon to serve. But another and material alteration, which at the suggestion of the Lord Lieutenant Her Majesty's Government have thought it right to propose, is this, that that payment shall not be postponed to a remote period, but enforced in the nature of a penalty, and be payable at once by the district the state of crime in which may have given rise to the necessity for the employment of the additional police. The Lord Lieutenant thinks that the payment ought to be made immediately. We agree with him, and we propose that by the provisions of this Bill the Lord Lieutenant should be authorised—though I will not now go into the details—that when any police force shall be sent to any district an estimate of their expenses for three months shall be made, and that means shall be taken for levying the amount immediately in the same way as the county cess, which falls upon the occupiers. If the presence of the additional force is required for a longer period, at the expiration of the first three months the same process may be repeated, and provision may be made for any broken period, and for repayment to the county cess if the police are withdrawn at an earlier time than the expiration of the period for which the estimate has been made. I now proceed to another clause. It contains regulations which we think are necessary to be established in order to restrain in these districts the present unrestricted possession and use of firearms by persons, who by the use they have made of those arms have proved themselves unworthy of this privilege, and not fit to be trusted with them. The first provision we propose with regard to this subject is, that there shall be a general prohibition, in the districts so proclaimed, and from the day on which by the proclamation the provisions of the Act will take effect—a prohibition on all persons, irrespective of their amount 308 of rating, with certain exceptions which I will presently explain—to carry or have within the district specified within any such proclamation, elsewhere than in their own dwelling-house, arms, which are enumerated in the Bill—that enumeration being necessarily inserted to prevent any evasion of the clause; and that any person who shall carry or have arms contrary to the provisions of the Act shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be liable to imprisonment and hard labour for a term not exceeding two years. In this clause no discretion is left to the Lord Lieutenant. His sole discretion will be in issuing the proclamation; and if he thinks it necessary that a proclamation should issue, these provisions will follow without any further act on his part, and it will no longer be lawful for persons to go about carrying arms, as at present, for the execution of their sanguinary purposes in the districts to which the proclamation will apply. But I now come to the exceptions which are necessary: for it is impossible that this disarmament should be universal. The exceptions, therefore, will be justices of the peace, persons in Her! Majesty's naval or military service, or in the coast guard, or in the service of the revenue, or in the police or constabulary force, or special constables, or persons duly licensed to kill game; or persons duly licensed in the manner specified in the Act. The list of enumerated exceptions comprises recognised cases that already exist, and in which no license will have to be applied for; but it has been thought that there might be cases in which it was necessary that the exception should be carried further. If we could rely at once with absolute confidence upon this clause of the Bill effecting the object for which it is framed, and that by the mere enactment of this clause we could disarm all persons who improperly carried and used firearms, it might not be necessary to make any other exception; but there may be persons, such as collectors of poor-rates, who are objects of these deadly attacks, or poor-law guardians, or persons absolutely obliged to go abroad in the discharge of their duty, whom it may be necessary to exempt from the operation of this clause for the purpose of self-defence. We do not propose any local system of licensing—I mean any system of licensing for the purpose of carrying arms abroad in any district, by means of the existing local magistrates. We do not think that the magistrates of the disturbed 309 districts should have imposed on them the duty of licensing persons to carry arms when it might expose them to greater danger than that which they already incur in the discharge of their duty. We intend that this second class of exceptions shall be few in number; that prohibition shall be the rule, and licensing the exception; and in granting that license we propose to place the responsibility on the Executive—on the Lord Lieutenant; and to provide that persons to be named by him, connected, perhaps, with the constabulary, shall have the power, at certain times, and under certain instructions to be issued by him, of granting licenses in those cases in which for the purpose of self-defence persons may require the privilege of carrying arms. There will be power given for the apprehension of all persons unlawfully carrying arms contrary to the provisions of this Act, and power for the constabulary to search all persons whom they may suspect as offending against this provision of the Act, and to take away their arms, which will then be forfeited to the Crown. As an illustration of the probable working of this clause, I will recall to the recollection of the House the fact I stated from the report which I read to the House, that upon the day on which Major Mahon was murdered, two persons were seen lurking about the spot where he was afterwards murdered; and there is no reason to doubt, although the assassin has not yet been discovered, that they were the persons by whom that fatal act was committed. If, then, the police had at that time been armed with the powers provided by this Bill, those persons might have been arrested, the fatal weapon by which Major Mahon was murdered taken away, and the parties made amenable to the punishment provided by this Bill. The provisions of the Bill, as far as I have stated them, do not extend to persons retaining the possession of arms in their houses; and we are of opinion that the same absolute prohibition to carry arms out of doors ought not to apply to the possession of arms in their houses by persons in the districts to which the Bill will extend. There is no doubt that the possession of arms has been sought for and obtained in many of these disturbed districts, by many small farmers and others, for the lawful purpose of defending their houses against midnight attacks; and in many cases those attacks have been suc- 310 cessfully defeated by the gallant use of their firearms by those persons. But, at the same time, the indiscriminate possession, even in their own houses, under all circumstances, by persons, of arms within these proclaimed districts—persons, perhaps, against whom suspicions are entertained of being concerned in these murderous conspiracies, if not the actual murderers—ought not to be sanctioned. We therefore propose that the Lord Lieutenant shall be empowered, at his discretion, to call upon all persons not within the enumerated exceptions, and who have not also obtained, in the manner to which I have already referred, a license to retain arms in their own houses, to deliver up their arms by a day to be named in a notice to be issued by the Lord Lieutenant at some police station in the district proclaimed. And we propose to enact that after such notice any persons within the district specified in that notice knowingly retaining arms in their possession in their houses, not being within the exceptions or duly licensed, after the day named in that notice, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and the Lord Lieutenant shall have then the power, by warrant, to direct a search by the police in the day time for arms in such district, and to authorise the seizure and forfeiture to the Crown of all arms found in the possession of any persons, contrary to the provisions of the Bill. Such are the provisions we propose with regard to the possession of arms; and they are provisions which I am authorised by the Lord Lieutenant to state will, in his opinion, enable him, with the additional police force he will be empowered by this Bill to throw into the disturbed districts, aided by the support of the military, more effectually to prevent the frequent recurrence of crime, and to check that system of assassination which at present is so fearfully prevalent. There are some other provisions of the Bill to which I will in conclusion briefly allude. With reference to the state of disturbance in counties or districts, proof of which is now required before persons can be prosecuted under the Whiteboy Acts, it will be provided, that, in any proclaimed district the proof of disturbance shall be rendered unnecessary to a prosecution under these Acts; and that if it becomes in the opinion of the Lord Lieutenant expedient to apply the provisions of this Bill to limited districts not marked by agrarian outrages, and not coming within the ordinary definition of dis- 311 turbance, persons writing threatening letters, or appearing in any way in arms to the terror of Her Majesty's subjects, shall be amenable to the provisions of the Whiteboy Acts, and shall be liable to the penalties imposed by those Acts for the commission of every such crime. There is one other clause which I believe is a novel one, and which, perhaps, may be thought by some gentlemen to do little more than declare the existing law. It not only, however, declares, but it increases and enforces, the stringency of the existing law—subjects parties to penalties for any violation of it—and will, I trust, have the effect of removing, to a certain extent, that apathy and indifference to the commission of crime which now prevails, and of checking that disposition to refuse assistance to the police in the apprehension of offenders to which I have more than once adverted in the observations I have made to the House this night. We propose that justices and constables, where any murder has been committed, or where there has been any attempt to commit murder, or where there is reasonable ground for believing a murder to have been committed, shall have power to call on all male persons within the ages of 16 and 60, residing or being within the district in which that murder has been committed, to assist in the search for and pursuit of the parties charged with the commission of the crime; and thereupon every person refusing to join in such pursuit shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be liable, upon conviction, to be imprisoned, with or without hard labour, for any term not exceeding two years. Such, Sir, are the main provisions of the Bill which I am anxious to obtain the leave of the House to lay upon the table this night; and whatever the opinions which may be entertained with regard to its adaptation to check the evils which it has been my painful duty to lay before the House as existing in various parts of Ireland in a greater or less degree, I hope that this House will allow me to lay at once upon the table a Bill which the Government have felt it their duty to propose, framed with the object rather of preventing the commission of crime and facilitating the detection of criminals, than of subjecting a whole people, for the offences of the minority, to the penalties of a severe and vexatious law. As I said before, in explaining the reasons for introducing the Bill, I do not require the suspension of the ordinary form of the law, or 312 the abolition of the ordinary tribunals; but I do ask from you the means of dispelling that terror—that natural and well-grounded terror—which exists in all classes of society in Ireland in consequence of the atrocities which I have already detailed. I trust that whatever opinion may be entertained as to the efficiency of the proposed measure, Parliament will at least not delay in acknowledging the principle, that it is the duty of the Government and of the Legislature to endeavour, by the existing law if you can, and, if not, by an amendment of that law, to prevent the repetition and frequent occurrence of crimes of that atrocity to which the attention of the House has been so painfully called. I trust that no objection will be offered from any quarter to laying the Bill on the table—the Bill being now ready to be placed in the hands of Members—and that, as an early day will be fixed for taking the second stage, any protracted debate will be until then postponed. I think it is important that there should go forth from this House this night, in agreeing to the Motion I have made for leave to bring in "a Bill for the better prevention of crime and outrage in certain parts of Ireland," a resolution, that Parliament is not prepared to withhold from us those powers which we on our responsibility demand, and which we believe to be indispensably necessary to the due accomplishment of those ends at which it is our duty to aim.
§ MR. J. O'CONNELL
was agreeably disappointed with respect to the Bill. From what they had heard out of doors from certain parties, and also from the elaborate statement of crime which the right hon. Baronet thought it necessary to enter into, he had certainly expected a more severe measure than that just proposed by Her Majesty's Government. He did not think that the right hon. Baronet need have put himself to so much inconvenience to obtain a fair hearing for the measure which he had proposed. He could not of course undertake to speak for any other hon. Member of that House; but speaking for himself individually, he was bound at once to say that he was prepared, as was the usual courtesy with regard to Bills in that House, to consent to its introduction. Nay, more, he was prepared to say that, if the right hon. Baronet would allow them time to send the Bill to Ireland, and to collect evidence, either before the second reading, or at any future time, to give 313 them a full opportunity of discussing its expediency, he would undertake to give the right hon. Baronet all the assistance which he could possibly extend to him in carrying the Bill through the House, should he be of opinion that it was a necessary measure. He was not yet convinced that the powers of the law, as they stood at present, were not perfectly equal to the repression of outrages, without any further measure. It certainly would be on his part a very grave thing to oppose the introduction of the proposed Bill at a time when such fearful outrages had taken place in Ireland; but he must, nevertheless, implore the Government, during the progress of this measure through the House, to put in force all the powers of the existing law, to try the effects of the special commissions to which the right hon. Baronet had made allusion; and to see whether they might not he able to declare to the House, before the Bill should have been read a third time, that the necessity for any measure beyond the ordinary law no longer existed; and that, by the vigorous execution of the existing law, peace and order had been established throughout the country. The testimony of Mr. Serjeant Howley had been quoted, in which he was represented to have said that every peaceable person was afraid of travelling through the county of Tipperary unprotected. Now, Serjeant Howley was himself in the habit of travelling through Tipperary at all hours of the day and the night, entirely unprotected, and yet he had never been injured. He had been informed that Mr. Howley had never received even the least intimation of injury; and yet he was certainly one who, on the judicial bench, by no means failed in carrying out the powers vested in him; indeed, it so happened that, of all the assistant barristers in Ireland, Serjeant Howley had, he believed, sentenced the greatest number of convicts to transportation. There was one thing which he deplored very much in the speech of the right hon. Baronet. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken very strongly indeed against the outrages committed by the peasantry. He had denounced very strongly the crimes committed by portions of the people of Ireland. He had lauded very highly the conduct of the magistrates and gentry of the country; but he had not said one word about the crimes that were committed by some of the gentry against the poor. He did think that in his denunciations of the crimes of the poor man, the crimes of the 314 rich man should not escape. The crimes were not all on one side. The unfortunate relation of landlord and tenant was the fruitful source of crimes and outrages in Ireland. The tyrannising powers which had been exercised by the landlords of Ireland against their tenants had produced outrages upon the part of the tenantry of Ireland. He had brought down to the House a mass of evidence showing the nature and extent of the crimes committed by the landlords, and of the provocation which they had given to outrage in their respective districts. He did not like to enter into those details; but he should feel it to be his duty to bring those details before the House, if Her Majesty's Government did not speedily, and during the progress of this Bill through the House, propose some measure for settling that most difficult question of the relation of landlord and tenant. He could quote from the speeches of the Members of the Government passages in which a distinct pledge was conveyed that they never would give their sanction to any measure of coercion except it was accompanied by a measure of relief. They were told, indeed, that the Government did intend to bring forward measures of relief; but the House did not see them—they did not know what they were. To deal with the evils of Ireland harshly and severely, was a bad way to begin. He did assure the hon. Gentlemen who sat on the Treasury bench, that if they had accompanied the proposal of this Bill with substantial promises of remedial measures as to the laws of landlord and tenant, the Bill would have been more effectual in the repression of outrage and crime. He hoped that before this Bill was passed, the House would demand of the Government a detail of the remedial measures which they intended bringing forward for Ireland. There was another matter which he would very shortly dwell upon, but which must be pressed again and again upon Her Majesty's Government. The Government depended a great deal too much upon the poor-law for the support of the people of Ireland. The poor-law would be found to be inadequate. Human life was perishing in Ireland; the resources of the country could not be developed in time to save the waste of human lives. Whilst the Government were anxious to bring in a Bill to repress outrages and crime, they should also do their utmost to prevent the ravages of starvation and pestilence in Ireland. He had a bundle of 315 evidence, in addition to that which he quoted from the other night, which showed that the extent of destitution in Ireland would be greater this winter than it was in the winter of 1846. The anticipations which were entertained of the present winter were of the most dismal and gloomy nature; the state of the Irish poor in the present winter would be one of horrors. The people were without employment, and the relief to be afforded from the rates would be of the most scanty character. Outdoor relief must he withdrawn in a very short time. Something should be done to assist the people. It was said that Her Majesty's Government had got some corn in reserve with the view of relieving about 500,000 persons. He believed that instead of 500,000 persons, there would be between three and four millions to whom relief ought to be given. He believed that a million and a half was intended to be lent for the improvement of the land, and 500,000l. or 600,000l. to railway companies; so that there must be a residue of about 4,000,000l.. out of the 8,000,000l. advanced last year still unemployed. He would therefore implore the Government, if that was the case, to devote the residue of the loan to the purpose of saving the lives of the people; if not, more than another million of the people would be starved to death before the expiration of a month. As Her Majesty's Government were not likely to meet with much opposition in the various stages of this Bill, as they found that they would be disembarrassed of much of the difficulty which they reasonably anticipated, with regard to this measure of coercion, he called upon them to propound, during its progress through the House, those remedial measures which they intended bringing forward for the purpose of restoring peace and prosperity to Ireland. It was not creditable for this country that there should be nothing more than attempts made to meet the distress of Ireland by what might be called mere stop-gap measures. If, however, Her Majesty's Ministers had any intention of bringing forward any great plans on which to lay a foundation for the amelioration of Ireland, why should they not announce them at present? Why not specify them now, and thus show to the country that they really did intend to remedy the evils of Ireland? He would not longer intrude upon the attention of the House. He thought that he should have had to make a much longer speech with 316 respect to the Motion of the right hon. Baronet. He begged to be understood, however, that he did not pledge himself in any way to support this Bill. If the Government should, during the progress of this measure through the House, find that by a vigorous execution of the existing ordinary law peace was restored in the disturbed counties in Ireland, he implored them to withdraw the Bill, and consider the absolute necessity of bringing forward some remedial measures. In such measures the Government would receive all the support which the Irish Members could tender to them. No obstacles would be put in their way. If they governed Ireland on those principles, they would recover that popularity which they once had in that country, but which he regretted to say they had in a great measure lost for some time past. He had a letter in his pocket from a barrister of large criminal practice in Ireland, who was of opinion that the ordinary law, if duly put in force, was perfectly sufficient, and that special commissions would be sure to succeed, as they had in times past, in restoring tranquillity to the country. He would earnestly suggest to the Government that they should try the effects of the ordinary law. The hon. Gentleman then read a letter written by his father in 1845, prophesying a complete failure to the coercive measures proposed at that time, and insisting on the amelioration of the law of landlord and tenant as the great means of repressing outrages and crimes in Ireland. The people were now, he said, slipping out of the hands of their superiors, as prophesied by his father years ago. The truth was, that many of the peasantry of Ireland, having no hope of the laws with respect to the tenure of land being altered, cared little, if anything, for the admonitions of their priests or bishops. The people had reached a state of madness; the manner in which their appeals for improved laws had been neglected had rendered them desperate. No admonitions could restrain them now. As long as they attended to the advice of their clergy there was some hope of peace, law, and order. He implored the Government to come forward in a statesmanlike manner to remedy the desperate condition of Ireland. With that humble adjuration he would conclude, by assuring the Government that he would give them every facility in the passing of this measure, if they acted during its progress through the House in the manner to which he had alluded. Let them endea- 317 your to give peace to the well-disposed people of Ireland, not by coercive, but just and remedial laws.
§ MR. O'CONNOR
confessed that, after "the humble adjuration" of the hon. Member for Kilkenny to the present Ministry, he felt himself surrounded by a good deal of difficulty. At the outset he might state that there was no hon. Member in that House who had a greater horror of outrage and violence than himself; and he was proud to say (and it could not be contradicted) that in the whole of the course of his life he never committed or sanctioned one criminal act. But it was because he recognised in this measure the foundation and basis of more criminality than it was intended to put down, that he gave his most determined opposition to it in the outset. And after the speeches of the hon. Member for Kilkenny in 1843 and 1844, he was astonished that he should place any reliance upon the equivocal promises of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite on the Treasury benches. But if he required a stronger reason for opposing this Bill than upon principle, he had been furnished with it by the right hon. Baronet who had introduced it, because, from the beginning to the end of his speech, every single sentence, every single announcement with regard to the stretching of the ordinary law, went to prove that, with the present exertions of the Lord Lieutenant, all that could be done was done, and that successfully. At the outset of his speech the right hon. Baronet told them that crime had diminished by one-third—and then he afterwards paid a very bad compliment to the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, and that House, because he told the House that portions of the outrages to which the Bill referred had been in progress for two or three years previously to the present Government coming into office. Then be would ask the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir G. Grey) why he had assisted in driving the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth from office? But the right hon. Baronet (Sir G. Grey) had himself that night admitted that in cases in which the Lord Lieutenant had driven the powers of the ordinary law to the utmost, peace was restored to a disturbed district. The ordinary law had been found to be amply effective. He did not disapprove of this Bill more than he disapproved of the principle of coercion for Ireland. The right hon. Baronet (Sir G. Grey) had said, 318 in appealing to the Irish Members, "Don't let it go forth to this and to foreign countries that you are opposed to our attempting to remedy the present distracted state of Ireland." No, rather let the truth go forth to this and to foreign countries, that, when the people of Ireland were dying for want of food, the Government of England gave them coercion. He (Mr. O'Connor) had always found that whenever the ordinary law was executed with vigour, but at the same time with mildness, it was sufficient; but the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman proposed to legalise outrage and crime in Ireland; it proposed to establish a brigand police in every district which the Lord Lieutenant might proclaim as a disturbed district. In fact, this Bill would enable the police to do as they pleased; but it was evident that this Bill was but a sample of old English rule in Ireland. It was a sop for the landlords. It was merely a bit of patronage for them. He supposed it was a bit of compensation to the landlords for the repeal of the corn laws. That evidently was the intention of Her Majesty's Government in bringing forward this Bill. The hon. Member for Kilkenny had said that he was satisfied with a measure of coercion so long as the Government promised remedial measures. But he could not promise the Government his support of this measure on such slight grounds. He was for no such temporising policy. He never found that such temporising policy resulted in any good. He was not prepared to enter into the discussion of the Bill at present. He intended reserving himself for another opportunity, quoting the high authority of several constitutional writers, all of whom united in condemning coercion, and none more strongly than the noble Lord opposite (Lord John Russell). He should be prepared to show from the noble Lord's own work upon the government and constitution of England, that the effect of coercion failed in its objects in any country in which it was established. He (Mr. O'Connor) had done as much as any man in this country towards the suppression of crime in Ireland. In 1822, a special commission was issued for Cork, which at the time was very much disturbed, and it was found to restore tranquillity to the country, although the amount of outrage and crime was much greater than that now proposed to be repressed in Tipperary, &c. The judge that presided over that commission laid it down as law, that people that ran away from the soldiers were 319 primâ facie guilty, and that a good character was rather an aggravation than a palliation of an offence. The outrages that occurred at that time were outrages not against landlords, but against tithes. How were those outrages? They were put down. The tumults were put down; but immediately after came full remedial measures. But that was not the course taken by the noble Lord opposite. Why had not the present Government produced contemporaneously with this measure of coercion the remedial measures which they had said they intended hereafter bringing forward for Ireland? They certainly had given tranquillity and quiet to some parts of Ireland; but it was the tranquillity of starvation, and the quiet of the grave. At the time of the Cork disturbances the hon. Member for the University of Cambridge brought forward the Tithe Composition Bill at the same time that he proposed coercion for the disturbed districts of Ireland. At the time of those disturbances, he, in company with thirteen priests, twelve of whom were still alive, succeeded in persuading the people to give up all their arms. The ordinary law was found to be sufficient to check outrage and crime amongst the people. Whilst the noble Lord had robbed the Established Church of a fourth of its income, and handed over the spoil to the landlords, not a single fraction had been given to the located tenants. Then they heard an outcry in favour of the landlords; and the right hon. Baronet (Sir G. Grey) said that there was an expression of his (Mr. O'Connor's) which struck him with horror and with awe, viz., that the idlers should be taken off the land. In the observations which he addressed to the House a few nights ago, he (Mr. O'Connor) certainly did talk of taking the idlers off the land; but he did not mean the landlords, for no man had ever done so much in defence of the Irish and English landlords as he had throughout the whole of his political career. What he did say was, "Take off the taxes; take off the poor-laws; take off everything that weighs heavily and needlessly on the land; take off the idlers, that was to say, give employment to the unemployed poor." The right hon. Baronet opposite had said in effect, "Let the police be the judges of crime; let the police be magistrates; let the police be executioners." The result of such unconstitutional proceedings had ever been found to be productive of the worst results. He would ask the Go- 320 vernment rather to try what a mild enforcement of the ordinary law would do than coercion. He would ask hon. Gentlemen opposite with what face they could support such a measure as that proposed by the right hon. Baronet, when it was confessed that the ordinary law had not been efficiently tried? He himself believed that there were ample means in the hands of the Government to restore perfect tranquillity in Ireland. It was futile for the present or any future Government to attempt to restore peace to Ireland during the present state of the law of landlord and tenant. If the right hon. Baronet wished to give peace and prosperity to Ireland, he must bring forward not a Coercion Bill, but a Bill to remedy the social condition of Ireland. As it was the intention of hon. Members who put themselves forward as leaders of the Irish people to delay their decision until they discovered what effect the news of more bludgeons and dragoons would have in Ireland, he would reserve what he had to say. He recommended the exercise of the ordinary laws, although they had been strained against himself. Those who took a leading part in agitation ought, as they sought for the lion's share of the glory, to be prepared to endure a lion's share of punishment. He regretted to see the part taken by those Irish Members. He was an Irishman himself, although representing an English town, and so far from acquiescing in the provisions of the Bill, he gave notice that even if he should stand alone he would divide the House upon every single occasion on which he could do so. He was content to go into the lobby alone, and let the Irish Members go along with the Ministers if they pleased. The whole principle upon which the government of Ireland was based was a wrong one. Ireland was an agricultural country, yet it was in effect governed by a majority of English manufacturers, and by a timid body of Irish landlords. If English and Irish landlords did not unite and place the property of Ireland on a better footing, both would rue their negligence: he said both, for the English landlord would be stabbed through the side of the Irish landlord. The fact was, Ireland was looked upon in no other light by the Ministry than as regarded the amount of political support or opposition she could give to them; and in this self-same point of view she had been regarded by several successive Administrations. The Government of this 321 country did not care a jot for the Irish people nor for the Irish landlords. He must again express his regret that the hon. Member for Kilkenny (Mr. J. O'Connell) had not taken a more bold, manly, and decisive course—that he had not resisted the Bill at the onset. He (Mr. O'Connor), as an Irishman, had more pride than quietly to sit by and see his country crushed. He would divide against the Motion, and go with satisfaction into the lobby even if he wentalone, because he felt that he was maintaining a just principle, and by his vote marking, in the most energetic and practical way he could do, his dislike of that coercive policy which had been the ruin of Ireland.
§ MR. HORSMAN
said, although he should support the measure now proposed, or any other measure that was calculated to promote tranquillity and the security of life in Ireland, he was not prepared to support it either on the ground stated by his right hon. Friend who introduced it, or on that to which the observations of the hon. Member for Kilkenny applied. His right hon. Friend had dwelt particularly on the present prevalence of outrage and crime in Ireland. That was not to him satisfactory, because crime and outrage in Ireland were very familiar to us, as familiar as Coercion Bills; and we knew that in former periods measures of coercion had failed. Neither could he support the measure, because it was a milder measure than Ministers were expected to introduce, for he considered that he was not to look at a measure, where so much was at stake, to ask if it were mild or severe; his duty as a Member of Parliament was to ask if it was a suitable and effective measure. When the preservation of human life was the object to be attained, he thought that a falling off on the side of leniency might be little less reprehensible than an excess of severity. The question he asked himself was, was the measure founded on right principles, or was it, as had been predicted by those who threatened opposition to it, founded on the old mistaken principle, a mere isolated expedient to meet a temporary emergency, another in that series of violent makeshifts by which our past legislation in Ireland had been disgraced? Was it founded on that better principle which Parliament established not long ago, that our Irish legislation should henceforth proceed on a system; that every enactment should be part and parcel of a great and comprehensive policy—links in a great chain of intelligible measures, each intended to support the 322 other, and all having the same object—the improvement and tranquillity of Ireland? That was a question which, on this occasion, they were bound to ask, and especially those who sat in the last Parliament. And they were more bound to do so now than at any former period, because now they were in different circumstances from any which had ever existed when measures of coercion were introduced. With demands for similar powers on the part of former Administrations, and compliance with them on the part of former Parliaments, they were unhappily too familiar: there were precedents enough for them; but in relation to such demands, Parliament now stood in a position for which there was no precedent. The last time those powers were demanded by the Executive Government they were refused; they were demanded by the Gentlemen who occupy the benches opposite, and refused by us who sit here. Was it a light occasion on which that occurred? By no means—the fate of an Administration hung upon it. The right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) was then in power, and was driven from it, because for the government of Ireland he asked, and was refused, those powers which they were now about to grant to his successors. He could not forget the vote he had given on that occasion, or the part he had taken, so far as his humble powers went, in the proceedings which then occurred, or the grounds on which he had then acted. It was not that they had no confidence in the right hon. Baronet, nor that they quarrelled with the particular measure introduced by him, but it was that they wanted to give a death-blow to the coercive system. That was the main ground on which they acted; it was on that ground that the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell), who had led them with so much spirit on that occasion, based his argument. The noble Lord then told them that successive Administrations had always acted on this system; that in doing so they had been all wrong; that a coercive policy was a mistaken policy; and that now was the time, by a decisive blow, once for all to bring it to an end. He, on that occasion, following the noble Lord, also expressed his sentiments; and he quoted a protest left on record by a late wise and benevolent statesman, Lord Holland, which declared that the coercive system had been particularly injurious, for two reasons—that it taught the gentry and magistracy of Ireland to rely for protection 323 rather on the suspension than the preservation of the law; and to depend for security, not as English Gentlemen did on the respect and affection of their neighbours, but on the presence of a military force. The other had effect was, that it encouraged Government to postpone and resist those healing measures without which Ireland could never be reconciled to English connexion. The noble Lord had taken his stand upon that principle, and maintained it with spirit and success; and well did he recollect the cheers which followed the speech of a right hon. Gentleman, now a Member of the Administration, who, remarking that that was the first time in the history of the country where Parliament had ever refused those powers to an Administration, comforted them with the assurance that no Government would ever ask to have them granted again. That was the ground then taken in 1846. They were now at the end of 1847. The question to be asked was, were they about to retrace their steps? He hoped they were not; he thought they were not. Referring to the complexion of the present measure, it was their duty to see if its provisions were suitable and convenient. Now, who were the parties whom it was likely to affect? The miserable wretches by whom the crimes now common were committed. But if they could believe what had been stated to that House, as well as in the ordinary sources of knowledge, he should doubt if these were really the parties by whom the tranquillity of Ireland was so much disturbed. He wished not to give offence, or to hurt the feelings of any one; but he could not forget that a few nights past the hon. Member for Marylebone (Sir B. Hall) had stated, in a speech with which the House generally seemed to concur, that great blame was to be attached to certain associations in Ireland, the whole end and object of whose existence was to excite aversion and hostility to this country, and to hold up the law to the poor man as his enemy and oppressor. According to the descriptions they had heard, the poor man was kept for a long time on the verge of insurrection, on the brink of crime, by the exciting language addressed to him, until at length he plunged in. The law seized him, and made an example of him; but those who were represented to be the poor man's instigators, those who really were the causes of the crimes he committed, were left untouched, nor did the provisions of the law 324 attach to them. Again, an hon. Gentleman whom he saw opposite, and who had addressed them in a short and impressive speech which riveted the attention of the House, alluded to another subject—the priests of Ireland. He wished again to avoid raising any angry feeling; he, as an Englishman, took the Irish system as he heard it described by those who were more familiar with it than himself. Called upon to legislate for Ireland, he was told there were priests who denounced from the altar by name some gentleman who, he said, was the poor man's enemy. The poor man takes the hint—he shoots the enemy. You hang the miscreant that fired the shot; but he, the more culpable assassin—he who charged the weapon and directed his aim, do the provisions of your law touch him? Again, they had heard and read, and they knew from official statements that the facts were true that wholesale ejectments went on in Ireland. A whole village was pulled down, and the people turned out into the road: the infant and the aged, the hale and the sick, were thrust out; their cottage was burnt over their heads; they took refuge in the nearest ditch, without a roof to shelter, or a crumb to feed them. The wretched outcast, feeling that the law gave him no protection, took the law into his own hands, and avenged himself. The provisions of this law applied to him; he would be taken, tried, and executed. Well, the rich man, who by one despotic command, might at any moment jeopardise the lives of his fellow-men, did the provisions of this law affect him? He had alluded to agitators in Ireland, but he hoped that in doing so he should be acquitted of wishing unnecessarily to throw a stone at any of those Gentlemen by whom agitation was practised in that country. He had read the history of Ireland with some attention, and he could not disguise from himself, nor was he ashamed or afraid to avow his conviction, that every act of justice which Ireland had obtained from the British Legislature had been obtained by agitation. They had heard Gentlemen in that House, and holding high official station, declare that if they had been Irishmen, they would not merely have been agitators, but repealers; and he himself felt that if in England one hundredth part of the injustice done to Ireland since the Union had been committed, he did not believe that England would have been governable for a week. These were facts which they all knew, and therefore, al- 325 though he could not approve of the exaggerations which they were accustomed to hear called forth, or of the proceedings to which those who took the lead in Ireland lent themselves, still he must say, that those men, being lovers of their country, and seeing the miseries which she had been made to endure from the policy pursued towards her—miseries which, according to Lord Devon's report, were borne with unexampled patience and submission—ought not to be judged too severely—he could not at all times expect them to restrain their language any more than to forget their history. The grounds on which the Bill had been introduced, referred to the state of crime now so prevalent. But, appalling as were many of the statements which his right hon. Friend submitted to the House, it was not the murders themselves that to him formed the most horrible part of the picture; nor the fact, though it was a most painful one, that you could not get the inhabitants of the district to apprehend the assassins; to him the most horrible consideration was, that we had allowed this system to go on ever since we had known Ireland, and that up to this moment we had made no progress in remedying it. These statements were very painful; they showed that outrage and murder were prevalent in Ireland, but there was nothing in them to surprise by its novelty, for he remembered its being once said in that House with a sneer, that the budget of outrages was presented in that House every winter as regularly as the Christmas pantomime. On the last occasion the hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon (Sir J. Graham) produced it with a power and effect which, if anything could, would have persuaded the House to adopt the measure he proposed; but the statement fell flat upon their ears. Lord Althorp, in the year 1833, had gone over the same ground exactly; yet he was not original. He had been preceded in the year 1825 by Mr. Secretary Goulburn; yet the exposition of that accomplished master was quite void of originality. For even so far back as the year 1814, Mr. Secretary Peel had made the blood of the House run cold by what, even in his case, was only the repetition of a thrice-told tale. To go back to the commencement of the century, immediately after the Union, let hon. Gentlemen who said the present state of matters was without precedent, listen to a statement made by a Peer in Parliament on the same subject. The Earl of Clare said— 326Happy would he be if he could go to his bedchamber at home without encountering an enemy, and could close his eyes without apprehensions of having his throat cut before morning, and seeing his wife and children butchered before big face; he should be extremely happy if he could ride or walk abroad unguarded, for it was a curious fact that his servant brought him his arms as regularly as his hat when he went out in Ireland.The noble Lord went on to offer a villa and six acres of land to any one who would occupy them for six months; for, he added, that he was perfectly satisfied no one would accept them under such conditions. If any one would refer to Mr. Peel's speech to which he had already alluded, he would be surprised to find that we were now exactly in the same state of society as thirty-three years ago, deploring the same crimes, and tracing them to the same sources, not political or religious, but agrarian; and, listening to a Member of Government bringing forward this tale of horror, of which they ought to be ashamed, could he hesitate to admit that, unless other measures were to accompany the one now before the House, they should be following the pernicious example of former Parliaments, and wasting their energies on the symptoms of the disease, leaving the malady itself untouched? He had stated this much, not merely in vindication of the course he was about to take, after the vote of last year, but for a better reason, and one quite legitimate—it was because he was perfectly prepared to place the powers now asked for in the hands of the Administration. That the measures would not be severely carried out, he was convinced from the first, by the character of the Government. He was perfectly ready to place powers such as those proposed, or even greater powers if they should be required, in the hands of Ministers; but what he did require was, that they should have an equivalent in the shape of remedies. He wished that remedial measures should go hand in hand with coercive measures. He wished that they should show the people of England that they were in earnest, and that it was now time to put an end to this constant alternation of relief and coercion—feeding the people of Ireland one day, and coercing them the next—throwing the burden of these measures on their constituents who were to bear them, as the revenue tables told us, with diminished means, and as he feared the Chancellor of the Exchequer would tell them, with increased taxation. He felt that this was not a time to trifle with the subject. For thirty-three 327 years we had been at peace with every people of Europe, except the Irish. Who could tell how long an European peace might continue, or who was the bold man to predict when the Irish war would be brought to a termination? He felt as if standing on the brink of a volcano. They had by the mercy of Heaven escaped the judgment which they had deserved for the enormities they had committed in the government of Ireland; but let them not tempt their fate further; let them retrace their steps, and, entering on a new course, show at last a sincere although a tardy repentance. He had said, and with unfeigned sincerity, that he trusted the Ministry, by the remedial measures which they would propose, would show themselves equal to the emergency in Ireland. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had sketched out to them on the other evening-some of these measures. One of them was a most important measure, and he had heard the noble Lord refer to it with immense satisfaction; it was the measure for the sale of encumbered estates in Ireland. He would not put this measure forward as the first in importance, but he did think it one of the most important that it would be possible to introduce. The noble Lord told them also that they were to have a measure for the improvement of the jury law. He did not remember any of the other measures adverted to by the noble Lord. [An Hon. MEMBER: The law of landlord and tenant.] He presumed that measures for the amendment of the franchise and municipal corporations would follow as a matter of course; but he owned that with respect to that Bill which his hon. Friend had reminded him of, and which he had not forgotten, he was sorry to hear the noble Lord speak of it with so much doubt. The Landlord and Tenant Bill was a most important one, and if they were to believe the authorities who had hitherto spoken on the subject, it was, if not the most important, certainly one of the most important that could be brought forward; and he thought that if a measure of the kind were to be prepared—if the noble Lord who spoke the other night did not see his way clear in the framing of such a measure, he thought his speech of last year was unfortunate and ill-advised. He admitted that there were difficulties on the subject; but his opinion also was, that there were no difficulties in the governing of Ireland which were not aggravated by delay. He admitted that there was danger in Ireland; but no danger 328 was likely to prove half so great as the danger of proceeding with half measures—and he felt certain that the present Government had with respect to Ireland an unusual load of responsibility. First, there was the manner in which they succeeded to office, pledging themselves manfully, and he hoped sincerely, to remedial measures, in opposition to a coercive policy. There was this other responsibility, that they entered upon the legislation of Ireland with one advantage that no Government ever possessed before, and he doubted whether in our time any Government would possess again—he meant the perfect absence of all party feeling. The government of Ireland was placed unreservedly in their hands: on that point there was complete unanimity both in and out of doors. Parliament had gifted them with absolute powers—the courage and capacity to turn those powers to the best account Parliament had not given; but these, he could assure them, were qualities that neither the country nor the Parliament would dispense with.
said, that he stood up with the greatest reluctance to state to the House the course which it was his intention to pursue. His reluctance was the greater in consequence of what had occurred on the part of certain hon. Members with whom he was in the habit of acting; but he could not permit any feelings, however cherished, to interfere with the discharge of that duty which he owed to his country, as one of the representatives of her constituency. He was bound fearlessly and manfully to perform that duty; and when the hon. Member for Nottingham had stated his intention of dividing the House that evening, he felt it incumbent on him to claim from the House its indulgence, while he shortly explained the views which would compel him to go out with the hon. Member. There was no one in that House who more than himself deprecated the prevalence of crime in Ireland; there was no one who more than he, regretted the abominable crimes that had lately been committed in that country; but at the same time he felt this, that these crimes called to Heaven for vengeance, which would sooner or later bring down a just retribution on those who had prompted to them. He admitted, that the best efforts of the country were paralysed, and that these crimes made many turn with disgust from politics; but while he admitted all this, he was perfectly convinced that such measures as the pre- 329 sent would not prevent the perpetration of crime. The right hon. Baronet who had introduced this measure anticipated the best results from it. He held a very different opinion, for in his impression its only effect would be to increase the discontent in the country, and consequently increase the prevalence of crime. It was a maxim in politics, that where the mass of the people were opposed to the policy of certain laws, no coercive measures that they could by possibility introduce would have the effect of inducing them to change these opinions. Let the House remember the history of the tithe warfare. Lord Stanley introduced his Arms and Coercion Acts. He put in force his rebellion writs; but he asked those who knew the history of Ireland at that period, if the Arms Bill, or the Coercion Bill, or the military force, or the police constabulary, had the effect in any degree of repressing crime, or putting a stop to outrage? What was the result? A Tithe Commutation Act was ultimately introduced, which passed into a law, and then they had an end of outrages arising from this source. The great origin of all disturbances in Ireland arose from the tenure of land. They saw the tenant struggling with starvation on the one hand, and on the other hand with the proprietor; and it was because this antagonism existed that crime was rife, and that such measures as the present were deemed necessary by the Government. Let them do away with the cause, and the effect would soon follow. He believed, that until this was done, the Bill of the right hon. Baronet would be attended with no permanent result, or in any degree aid the prevention of crime in Ireland. The history of Ireland since the Union had been a history of coercions. What was the consequence? Let them look over the returns of crime, and he would venture to say that in no single year since 1800 were crimes and murders less numerous than at present. They had the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act in 1801; they had the first Arms Bill in 1807. Was crime less frequent after the passing of these Acts? In 1843, they had the celebrated Arms Bill; and he recollected well the discussions that took place on that measure, and in particular a speech of the right hon. and learned Member for Dungarvon, characterised by a more than usual share of his genius and patriotism. But that Arms Bill was not nearly so strong as the measure proposed this year by the right hon. Baronet. 330 Did the Bill of 1843 produce the effects that were anticipated from it? Nothing of the kind. He found that crime was upon the increase in 1844, and that out of a thousand cases not less than 550 were committed in the five counties so often referred to on that evening. This was a consequence of their Arms Bill, In the year 1846 they had had introduced into the House a Coercion Act; but the Government of the country was overthrown upon it. There was then a kind of dread of approval of such a Bill on the minds of the Members of that very Government which introduced the present measure. They then accepted office, and told the world that the system of coercion had found its end, and that Ireland was for the future to be ruled by remedial measures only. They were told that nineteen murders had been committed in one month in Ireland; but at the former period fifty murders had been committed in two months. If, then, the right hon. Baronet the Irish Secretary thought that last year's Bill was not necessary when fifty murders had been committed in two months, how could it be more necessary now, when only nineteen murders had been committed in one month?—horrible as these murders were, to be sure! And, with regard to the second question—if the ordinary laws were first to be tried then, why should they be less necessary now? He admitted that Ireland had never been under a more able, efficient, and intelligent Lord Lieutenant than the present; but still he contended that the ordinary powers of the law had not yet been fully tried. The crimes had only lately been committed; but they were told, that so soon as sufficient evidence could be collected, special commissions would be sent down to the several counties, and passages had been read from existing Acts of Parliament, which satisfied his mind that the ordinary laws of the country were sufficient to cope with the evil. It was said, and said truly, by the right hon. Baronet, that many of the respectable farmers armed themselves and their tenants. He knew of his own knowledge that this was the case, and that the purpose of their so arming themselves was for the purpose of defending property. Now this arming took place in the five disturbed counties; but he would ask the right hon. Baronet if from thence he meant to conclude that that fact was the cause of crime? The cause was deeper than hon. Gentlemen were disposed to allow for. They surely did not 331 imagine that these surface Bills, these Coercion and Arms Bills, that hon. Members in the British House of Commons, legislating for Ireland, appeared to be so fond of, they surely did not imagine that these measures would put a stop to crime? The remedy was pointed out by the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. S. Crawford); it had been admitted by the right hon. Baronet; he had admitted that the great mass of the community had nothing to do with the crimes that had been committed in some small parts of Ireland, and he had only done justice to the people of Ireland in saying so. The people of Ireland were most patient and enduring. They were so because they were a religious people. He would affirm that no nation on the face of the earth would have endured with so much patience starvation and utter destitution. No other nation would have borne with the same patience the misery and the famine to which they were subjected for the last two years. Certain it was that the people of this country would never have borne with half the injustice. Let them go to Mayo, and see the people there dying by hundreds, and sea if there was a single murmur or sigh of discontent at the system under which they were placed; or let them go to Clare, and see the people seeking from the rocks that surrounded them the seaweed and the shellfish that would enable them, in the absence of all other support, to sustain life; or let them go to his own county of Cork, to the district of Skibbereen, where the population exhibited every symptom of famine, and where there was not 101. in the hands of the poor-law treasurer to support the destitution, and where the whole rental of the district would be insufficient to support the thousands that crowded round for relief. And yet he was proud to say, that when the Stephen Whitney was wrecked upon the coast, the starving inhabitants freely shared their last morsel with the unhappy survivors of that wreck. Yes, the people deserved the eulogium that had been paid them; and the question was, what could be the cause of these outrages in the five counties that had been named? for he would assert, that no country was more free from crime or from agrarian outrages than Ireland was. He would not go into any elaborate investigation as to the causes of these crimes. His own opinion was, that it was owing to the struggle which, especially in these localities, had 332 been long continued between the possessor and the occupier of the soil. Even from the first connexion of Ireland with England these localities had been remarkable for the disturbances that took place in them. The reason was, that these districts were geologically fitted for pasture; and the landlords were anxious to throw the lands into pasture, while the occupiers were as anxious to retain them in tillage. It was calculated that there were 30,000 farms in Tipperary alone that were under thirty acres; and, supposing it was intended to consolididate those farms into holdings of more than thirty acres each, they would require to eject 15,000 families, or 75,000 individuals. There were two causes for the unhappy state of the country—first, the undue competition for land; and, second, the embarrassed state of the landowners. Now, with regard to this second cause, it was said that the Government had some measure in preparation; and, no doubt, if it was sufficiently stringent in its provisions, it would be productive of much good. The mortgages in Ireland were calculated to amount to four millions, while he did not himself believe that the whole rental of Ireland was more than twelve millions. But of this rental a large portion was paid to absentee landlords in this country, and to large companies existing in this metropolis; and their lands were charged with no money. The four millions of mortgages must, therefore, be subtracted from the rentals of the resident landlords. He would, therefore, hail with delight the prospect of any measure which would enable the proprietors of Ireland to get rid of the embarrassments which encumbered them; and he hoped that the measure to be brought forward by Government would be sufficient to meet the evil, and that it would go so far as to reach the system of entail. With regard to the evils arising from the undue competition of land, he thought that could only be got rid of by a public valuation. Lord Gosford never let an acre of land without having it examined by a professional valuator; and the consequence was, that there was not one of his tenants that was 5s. in arrear. Mr. Wiggins, an extensive agent both in England and in Ireland, had published a pamphlet on the subject, in which he stated that a public valuation of land would be necessary to guard against the evils of undue competition. His own opinion was, that the Bill of the hon. Member for Rochdale was the only Bill that would 333 tranquillise Ireland and introduce prosperity into that country. He might be told that he ought to have confidence in the noble Lord, and wait till his measure with regard to landlord and tenant was introduced, the rather as the right hon. Secretary for Ireland had declared that it would be found to go far enough to satisfy even the hon. Member for Rochdale. But he had his doubts whether after all it would satisfy the people of Ireland; and if it did, he still thought the noble Lord was bound to have introduced such a Bill at the same time with the present. It would be well if the House would endeavour to conciliate Ireland. He admitted that the House had acted nobly last year; and they had obtained, as they deserved, the gratitude of the Irish people. He admitted that the English people had acted most generously in having subscribed the sum of 700,0001. for Irish distress. They had gained the good opinion of Ireland last year; let them not now produce a contrary effect. He had hoped that the days of coercion were over—he had hoped that the first measure in the fifteenth Parliament of the Union would not have been a measure of coercion. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department expected much good from the new poor-law; but he would tell the right hon. Gentleman, that in the effect of that measure he would be disappointed. The noble Lord at the head of the Government, on the occasion of his opposing the Coercion Bill by Sir Robert Peel, said, he expected no good from a poor-law for Ireland; and he (Mr. Fagan) would now ask the noble Lord and the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary whether they anticipated that the quarter-acre clause of the new Poor Law Bill would have the effect of tranquillising Ireland. He ventured to predict that it would not. The principle of free trade had recently been established, and in the year 1849 corn would enter the country free of all duty. What, he would ask, would be the effect of that upon Ireland? Why, that the present mode of cultivation in that country must be changed. The country could not then depend upon cereal crops. Her climate was not suited for it, as it was humid, and better calculated for green crops, and, consequently, was more suited to the feeding of cattle. How was that change to be produced? Why, it would involve an expenditure of at least 10l. per acre. Was it to be expected that the necessary drainage of the land would take place without 334 the tenant having an interest in the improvements which he effected? That was a great question, and one which that House, in legislating for Ireland, would do well deeply to consider. A good deal had been said in the course of this debate, and on a former occasion, as to the conduct of the Catholic clergy in Ireland. Now he believed in his conscience that the Catholic clergy in Ireland were the link which bound that country to England. He believed that, by their instruction and moral teaching, they kept the people of Ireland tranquil and submissive to the law; and it did not become any Member of the British Legislature to say anything disrespectful of a class of men that had done so much good service to the community. He had himself the honour of being acquainted with a clergyman whose name had been made the subject of a comment in that House—Archdeacon Laffan. That reverend gentleman never intended that the expressions which he was reported to have used should be construed in the manner which they had been in that House. He believed that the object of the rev. gentleman was merely to draw a comparison between the sturdy and determined character of the people of England, and the more excitable and irascible character of the Irish; and certainly nothing could be further from his mind than the intention of exciting the people to the commission of crime. He begged to apologise to the House for having detained them so long; but as it was his intention to support the hon. Member for Nottingham (Mr. F. O'Connor) in the division which he intended to take, he had considered it his duty to lay his views upon the subject before the House.
§ VISCOUNT JOCELYN
said, the hon. Member for Kilkenny (Mr. J. O'Connell) had commenced his address by expressing the gratification he felt that the measure which had been proposed by Her Majesty's Government was not of that stringent character which he had been led to expect. Now he (Lord Jocelyn) must acknowledge that he felt bound to take the earliest opportunity of expressing his regret that the measure of Her Majesty's Government was not of a more stringent and a more efficacious nature. He felt deeply that the measure which Her Majesty's Government had this night laid on the table of the House would not be found to be sufficient to enable the Government to cope with that state of society which at present existed in Ireland; 335 and they would not find themselves, with that measure, enabled to put down those monstrous crimes and that system of assassination which had disgraced Ireland during the last month, in the eyes of all civilised nations. He could have wished that Her Majesty's Government had thrown themselves on the good feeling of that House, and had proposed a measure to Parliament which would have enabled them to maintain the law, and would have enabled them to place upon a better and more secure footing the lives of Her Majesty's subjects in Ireland. He believed that there was no man in that House who would be opposed—if he believed its possession would be successful—to giving to Her Majesty's Government any power which they might consider requisite to enable them to crush at once those hideous conspiracies which now exist in Ireland for the destruction of a class of men, who, whatever their faults might be—be those faults as bad as they were described in that House at various times, but which he did not believe—he said that these men had a right to expect from the Government and from that House security for their lives and property. They had a right to expect that in a civilised nation they should have the advantage of protection, and not be placed in the position of those who lived where there was no law except the law of impulse and passion; or, at all events, that they should be placed in a position of being able to defend themselves and their property, and be prepared to meet any blow which might be aimed against them. He believed that the first duty of all Governments was to give security to life and property. There was a compact between citizens and States for that purpose. It was for that purpose that laws were made. To attain this security, so essential to the peace, happiness, and prosperity of a people, men in former times banded themselves together, living in cities, armed: it was the origin of the feudal system, which, as the world grew older, and men became more intelligent and far-seeing, gave place to the authority and the will of the people, speaking through, acting through, an organic Government; and this was found the only power equal to give the security requisite. If the State failed in this compact, see the position in which the member of the State was placed. Let the House look at the position in which the Irish landlords were placed now. They could not raise and drill an armed body of 336 men for their protection, as that would be illegal, and very properly illegal. The law professed to give them protection; but if the law in itself was powerless, they were in a worse position than when no law existed. Different diseases and different states of society required different remedies. Look at the different states of society in this country. Look at the law in England. The law here was venerated—it was respected; it was the terror of the evil-doer. It was looked upon as the protector of the weak, and the supporter of all. But turn to the state of Ireland, and how different was the picture! The law there was neither regarded with veneration by the well-disposed, nor feared by the wicked. It was neither the protector nor the avenger. The law which did exist had now to battle with a murderous and bloody one, and the latter was now victorious. He believed that it was in the power of the Government to make the law of the land paramount. There had been similar periods in the history of Ireland when law had vindicated itself. A similar period occurred in 1832, when crime defaced Ireland as it was defacing that country now. He would, with the permission of the House, read an opinion that was then given by one whose legal attainments and whose knowledge of Ireland he believed no one would doubt. He would read to the House an extract from the charge of Chief Justice Bus he, delivered to a special commission which was held in 1832, in Mary-port, which would show the opinion that learned judge then entertained of the power of the law. He said—Although this mysterious engine of secret combination, shifted from place to place, continues to be wielded and worked by some invisible hand, from time to time, against one part of the island and now against another, yet those who have had the experience of many years of official and judicial life can assure you that it has never been able to stand against the venerable authority of the laws vigorously and calmly brought to bear upon it.He (Lord Jocelyn) believed that the Government of this country had reserves at their command. The responsibility of bringing these reserves into operation rested with them. The Government were looked to for the security of the lives of Her Majesty's subjects in Ireland. There were men who were now remaining at their dangerous posts believing that the State would perform its duty. It would be no excuse for weakness and vacillation for the Government to plead the fear of 337 unpopularity. It was for them to go to Parliament and to ask for those powers which were necessary. If those powers were refused, then the consequences would rest with those who had refused them. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Cockermouth had drawn a picture of the poverty of Ireland, and the state of want in which the people were placed; and he seemed to attribute the crime which existed in Ireland to that poverty and want. He (Lord Jocelyn) did not think that this inference was a just one. Poverty and want were not the parents of crime in Ireland. Chief Justice Bus he says—I cannot recollect an instance in my experience of many years in which men have been charged with insurrection where the crime could be traced to want or poverty.He (Lord Jocelyn) believed that a late respected Roman Catholic prelate, the right rev. Dr. Doyle, had given a similar opinion, which was corroborated by Colonel Miller, who said—It is a curious circumstance, confirmed by the testimony of those who are the most experienced in these matters, that the period in which the outrages prevail most extensively are not the periods in which the population suffer the most, either from the effects of insufficient harvests, or from other causes of privation.They had the experience of last year to corroborate this statement, and to prove that crime was not greatest in the localities where the sufferings were most intense. But there were features in the condition of Ireland that were very peculiar. During a part of last year, that portion where the people were suffering, he believed, one of the greatest afflictions that ever visited Ireland—during the greater part of that period, the forbearance of conduct of the people was most exemplary. There were features in the crimes of Ireland that were very painful. Where murders were being committed, there was no anxiety evinced by the people in the neighbourhood, there was no horror exhibited, and hence the secret tribunals without difficulty obtained individuals to carry out their behests. In the broad day, in the public roads, within a few yards, in one case, of the barrack, the murder was committed, and the murderer walked quietly away. In one instance, in the very next house to where the murder was committed, armed men were seated. Those armed men remained unmoved, although they were within hearing of the shrieks of the victim. The whole character of the human race appeared to be changed in 338 these districts; and no man could look at the present state of things without abhorrence. He did not, however, believe that, generally, the milk of human kindness was changed in these districts; but he was fearful that this Bill would not, as it professed to do, give security to those who might be ready to uphold the law, but who now felt that if they gave evidence it would only be followed by their death-warrant. The instances he had named were not singular—there were many, very many, ex uno disce omnes—and who were the individuals against whom these dreadful crimes were committed? What were they? Were they harsh and tyrannical landlords? Were they men of barbarous habits, unmindful of the wants of those around them? No, they were found to be kind, gentle, open-handed, generous, and liberal men. It was very easy for men to say "the sins of the father are visited on the children." Heavy indeed were the evils that were pressing down the Irish landlords. Surrounded with perils, their position had been described in a very able paper in an Irish monthly publication, from which perhaps he might be permitted to read:—A new and undisguised war is waged upon the landed proprietors of Ireland; they have adversaries where, in former times, they might have looked for allies. Powerful organs of public opinion have opened a murderous fire upon them. Within a short time they have suffered almost irreparable detriment and loss: they remain without protection in the range of positions occupied by foes who give abundant proof that they will show them neither mercy, moderation, nor justice; and, marvellous to relate, in this desperate emergency, without effectual concert or communication with each other, without regard to counsellor, dependant, or leader, Irish landlords stand opposed to their enemies, and hopelessly await destruction.That, he believed, was a faithful description of the state of the Irish landlords. Parliament had a right to compel the landlords of Ireland to the performance of their duties. It was just and right; as they knew from holy writ, that there should ever be poor in the land—that provision for their subsistence should be made out of the property of the land. He voted for that measure, for he believed, and did so still, that it would ultimately work most beneficially for the country. He then foresaw how heavy that would bear on many individuals in Ireland; but he knew that as their fathers had sown the wind, that their successors must reap the harvest of the whirlwind. When the measure of which he had just spoken was brought forward, 339 he entertained the hope that they were laying the foundation of an improvement in the social condition of Ireland. Great changes required time and patience; but there seemed a gleam of hope in the distance, and, although the passage was dark and dreary, it seemed to him that goal was not unattainable. But whilst these duties were rendered imperative, let not the Government be unmindful of its first obligation: the landlord had a right to demand from them that his life and property should be secure. Were the measures now laid upon the table sufficient for the emergency to be met? The monstrous crimes, the peculiar state of society, were unparalleled. The Government had on their side men who knew Ireland well. Did they believe that a paltry Arms Act would be sufficient to meet this frightful system? Did the right hon. Member for Dungarvon (Mr. Sheil) believe that such a measure as this would meet the difficulty? Did he believe that the murderer would find no other and as sure a weapon to carry out his design? Did he believe that the evidence for prosecution would be more easily induced to come forward? Did he believe that conviction would be more readily obtained by a jury? These were the considerations which were urged in 1843, when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth introduced an Arms Act. The subject was far too important to be bound up with party feelings. Publishing proclamations and writing letters from the Castle, however able the documents might be, were not sufficient. Active and vigorous steps could alone meet the evil. He admitted the energy of the noble Lord at the head of the Government in Ireland. But they acted unfairly to one who understood the position of that country, in not enabling him to carry out his views. He approved of that part of the measure by which a locality would have a pecuniary interest in bringing criminals to justice; but let the power be given of making domiciliary visits not only by day but by night. [Sir G. GREY: For what purpose?] Let a right be given to search for arms. But, above all, let an inducement be given to men to come forward in support of the law. An hon. Gentleman whom he held in great respect, the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. S. Crawford), and other excellent and philanthropic men, deluded themselves into a belief that a thing called tenant-right was a panacea for the ills of Ireland. If by tenant-right was meant the 340 claim of an outgoing tenant to remuneration for capital invested in the permanent improvement of the land, its justice must be acknowledged, and the moral obligation of the landlord, God forbid that any one should deny! But could any one really believe that the legal acknowledgment of such a claim would be sufficient to satisfy a secret council whose laws were written in blood; and if tenant-right meant what misguided men had been too often taught to believe—if it meant to give the tenant a vested interest, not in the capital which he had laid out on the land, but in the soil, such a proposition was no other than open and avowed robbery. It was a proposition which required no argument to refute it, because directly opposed to the rights of property, which were held so dear and so jealously guarded by every member of that and every well-ordered State. Should the time come when that right might be regarded with less respect, he did not believe the authors of the change would be more prosperous, more happy, or more secure. Although they could not observe the difficulties to be contended with unappalled in legislating for Ireland, there was still much to hope in a firm and vigorous determination to maintain the law at all hazards, in the increased energy which, in many parts of Ireland had been displayed in meeting the difficulties with which indviduals found themselves surrounded, in the increased capabilities of the soil, and in the application of a law which he believed would ultimately tend more than anything to facilitate the improvement of cultivation and the application of capital. On the other hand, they had to regret the apathy they found in other parts of the country—they had to deplore the low moral tone of certain districts—they had to deplore that in many instances the relief granted so liberally by Parliament last year had tended to cherish such a dependence upon other aid than their own energies—they had deeply to regret that in some instances—he trusted that they were few—the language of those who should be guides and teachers of their people, the ministers of the people, had tended to inflame instead of soothing the evil passions of their flocks. Those who had guided the helm of affairs had a most difficult course to pursue. Every commission which had been appointed, every individual who had turned his attention to Ireland, had wound up his opinion by stating that until life and property were made secure, no means could be 341 successful to advance the state or to improve the condition of Ireland. Should the measures which the Government proposed be adequate—should it be their lot to give security to life and property in Ireland, they would have thrown a bridge over an abyss which had hitherto kept Ireland back in the scale of civilisation and improvement—they would have thrown the first plank upon which might pass with security, and upon which would pass, he had no doubt, with rapidity and energy, capital and enterprise, diffusing life and vigour through that hitherto paralysed country.
§ MR. R. M. FOX (Longford)
said, that the result of a long residence in Ireland had been to convince him that the unsettled state of the law as to landlord and tenant was the cause of that conspiracy which led to the commission of so many crimes; and that the want of employment afforded ready tools for the purpose. He learned that the Bill which Her Majesty's Government intended to introduce would be very impotent in its effects; for, in his opinion, no measure short of the sale of the entire occupancy to the tenant would succeed in removing speedily what he believed to be the cause of agrarian disturbances in Ireland. As to the remedial measures of the Government for the purpose of providing employment for the people, he was surprised that one subject had been forgotten. It formed one of the resolutions submitted to the Government by the deputation of Irish Members, and was of the greatest importance—he meant the subject of the arterial drainage of Ireland. In the county of Kildare, Mr. More O'Ferrall had found, by that means, sufficient employment for the poor of a large barony, without having had recourse to any extra taxation. This plan would render it unnecessary to call for any advances from the Imperial Treasury; because even now there were a large number of individuals who would advance the money upon the security of the ventures paying a large rate of interest; and the only reason why the landed proprietors themselves had not undertaken these works was to be found in that unfortunate apathy which prevailed in all classes in Ireland—that want of self-confidence and self-reliance, which had been engendered in all classes, he believed, by their never having been trusted with the power of exerting their own energies, but having always been subject to the control of others. He wished that the Go- 342 vernment would now employ the numerous local engineers who were stalking about the country doing nothing, in ascertaining the opinions of the landlords upon this subject; and he was sure that they would soon obtain as many signatures as would be necessary to commence these draining works. He knew that he should be blamed for this advice; but he believed that it was the only effectual mode of providing employment for the people. He laid no great stress for that purpose upon the repairing of unfinished roads; although good in itself, it would not answer the object of affording immediate employment to the people.
§ VISCOUNT BARNARD
was prepared to give his support to the measure of Her Majesty's Government, but would have preferred that they had brought forward a measure of a more stringent character. It was, in his opinion, much better for the interests of Ireland that the constitution should be outraged for a period, than that there should be no protection for the security of life, or the maintenance of good order. It was impossible for hon. Members who resided at this side of the water, to form anything like a correct idea of the lawlessness which prevailed in Ireland. It might with perfect truth be said, that in certain districts the reign of terror held undisputed away. He had that evening received a letter addressed to a noble relative of his by a gentleman of large possessions in the county Cork. The writer, who was a liberal employer and an excellent landlord, enclosed a copy of an anonymous letter which had been sent to him a few days since, and which was worded as follows:—Sir—Take timely notice, that if you do not take care of yourself, and leave off your doings, you and your vagabond agent will be made examples of to the whole country. We are aware of your doings, and will put an end to your life if you do not mind and be better to your tenants.No better landlord was to be found in Ireland than the gentleman to whom that truculent communication had been sent; and what must be thought of the state of the country in which such a man could experience such treatment? He cheerfully bore testimony to the admirable manner in which the present Lord Lieutenant discharged the difficult and embarrassing duties incidental to his position; but all his exertions would be ineffectual for the repression of crime, unless he were properly supported by the Legislature. If the Bill which was brought forward for the protec- 343 tion of life in Ireland last Session had passed into law, the necessity for any such measures as the present would have been superseded, and many a valuable life might have been spared. The peasantry in all other districts of Ireland, besides those which had been specified as the principal theatres of disturbance, were for the most part orderly and well-behaved; and it was in their name and for their sake that he advocated the enactment of some measure which would strengthen the hands of the Executive, and render the detection of criminals more certain. He had on all former occasions supported the coercive measures which were brought forward with a view to the attainment of that object; and to the present measure he was also prepared to give his countenance, not, however, without an expression of regret that it was not more stringent.
§ MR. P. SCROPE
might perhaps feel himself called upon to apologise, as an English Member, for taking part in the present debate, were it not that the time had arrived when the general opinion of the country seemed to be unanimous in acknowledging the truth of the assertion, that the condition of Ireland was a question with which the condition of England was inextricably involved. The evils of a vicious state of society in Ireland were sure to react upon England, and to come back on the English people in the shape of a heavy mulct on the capital of the country. Even in the absence, therefore, of any nobler motive for interference on behalf of Ireland, this country was impelled, by a due regard for her own interests, to make an effort to ameliorate the physical condition of the Irish people, inasmuch as the condition of the people of the one country would eventually and inevitably influence that of the other. It was not possible to permit the Irish people to remain in the same condition in which they had been for the last twenty or thirty years, without dragging down the English population to the same miserable level, by the invasion of Irish poverty, and the contagion, it might be, of Irish crime. With respect to the question under the immediate consideration of the House, he would take leave to say that this was not the first occasion on which he had mingled in similar discussions. Like the noble Lord opposite (Lord Barnard), he had taken part in the discussions on the various Coercion Bills which from time to time had been brought forward by different Governments since he 344 had the honour of a seat in that House; but, unlike the noble Lord, he had invariably opposed them. In the years 1834 and 1835, the earliest periods in which it was possible for him to have so acted, he had recorded his opposition to the principle of coercion by dividing the House, on a resolution which was substantially as follows: That Parliament would not be justified in passing any law to increase the powers of the Executive for the repression of crime, unless, at the same time, it distinctly pledged itself to take into consideration measures to remove the causes of those crimes; unless it offered security to the occupying tenants against harsh ejectments; unless it afforded to the honest and industrious labouring man the means of living by his industry, and removed that dread of extermination and consequent destitution which was the prevalent and fruitful source of agrarian crime amongst the Irish peasantry. To the measure at present under consideration he was not prepared to offer opposition, for he shared in the feeling which seemed to be entertained by many, that it was of a milder character than might have been expected; but at the same time he could not forbear from giving expression to his conviction, that unless it were accompanied by some measure of a remedial character, it would prove ineffectual in attaining the end at which it aimed—the security of life and property in Ireland. If he thought that those most desirable objects could be ensured by means of Coercive Bills, he should never have resisted them; but he had opposed them because he was convinced in his soul that it was idle and preposterous to expect any such consequence to follow from such a course. There was but one way to give security to the life of the landlord in Ireland, and that was by taking care that security should be given to the life of the tenant. He was happy to find that it was in contemplation at length to call the attention of Parliament to the consideration of measures which would tend to promote that great end; for he was convinced, that until some means were devised for securing the life and property of the poor man in Ireland, it was folly to think of protecting the rich. That House took a step in the right direction last year, when they passed the new poor-law. Surprise had been expressed by some Members that that law had not contributed to the suppression of outrage in Ireland, and to the establishment of a better order of things; 345 but it should not be forgotten that the law had only been in operation for a couple of months, and could not be said to have as yet had a fair trial. Indeed, it could scarcely, with propriety, be said to have as yet come into operation at all. It was irrational to expect that feelings which had been engendered in the souls of a suffering people by centuries of oppression, should be rapidly effaced, and should suddenly disappear; but he certainly did entertain a sanguine hope that the poor-law would eventually produce a most beneficial effect in Ireland, and that the poor would recognise in it the solicitude of the Government that their lives should be protected. That this feeling would gradually spring up and gain vigorous growth in the country he had not the slightest doubt; but it should be borne in mind that the poor-law only affected to ensure the preservation of the lives of the most destitute class in the country. The crimes of which an account so painfully circumstantial had been given that evening were, for the most part, if not perpetrated, at least designed, and sympathised in by a higher and larger class than the poor-law would affect. The occupying tenants were at the bottom of all the agrarian outrages in Ireland. Was the House prepared to protect the property of the occupying tenants? Would they pass a law to enable one million of those men to have some security for the continued enjoyment of their holdings, which they wished to retain, in order that they might not sink into that class of destitute paupers for whose relief the poor-law was designed? If the Legislature were not pepared to do this, it was idle to think that they should be enabled to throw a shield around the landlords by any such enactment as the present. It was the dread of degenerating into the pauper class which prompted the tenants to commit such crimes. It was, in fact, the dread of absolute destitution. The present state of Ireland was looked upon by some as a paradox, a problem, and a puzzle; but, in reality, it originated from what they all knew to be the constitution of human nature. The tenant's antagonism with his landlord was literally a struggle for the means of existence—for the common necessaries of life. The means of livelihood in Ireland were to a great extent identified with the possession of land; and it was the terror of losing that land, and being left to abejct destitution, that worked like madness in the brain of the peasant. It was 346 not a knife and fork question—nor a bread and cheese question, nor now a potato question (for the potato crop had to a great extent disappeared)—it was literally a question involving the means of existence which stimulated the great masses of the peasantry to combine in associations, and carry out laws which they passed in those associations by a series of outrages directed by regular sentence at a midnight tribunal, and executed by the lowest class of ruffians hired for the purpose. By a reference to the concentrated digest of the evidence collected by the Devon Commission, it would be seen that the result of the elaborate inquiries instituted by that Commission into the cause of agrarian outrage in Ireland was the discovery that they had their origin in the incessant endeavour of the people to convert the possession of land into an indefeasible title. It was said that those crimes were confined to certain districts. That might be true in the present instance; but it was equally true that there were few, if any, districts in which they did not from time to time break out when the same causes operated to produce them. The outrages broke out sometimes in one place, and sometimes in another; and the excitement to their breaking out was generally the prevalence of some series of ejectments by which an example was made by some landlord who wished to clear his farm of the occupying tenantry. The tenantry in the neighbourhood then took the hint, and thinking that they would be ejected also, they determined in those secret conclaves of which he had spoken to make an example of the landlord or his agent, or the party who came into the farm. They thus endeavoured to bring about such a system of intimidation as would prevent the spreading of the system of consolidation, for that was the way this system of outrage took its root. But there were some counties in which disturbances were not heard of at all, where the main objects for which this system of intimidation was created by the tenantry in Tipperary was fully carried out—he spoke of the whole province of Ulster—through the kindly feelings of the landlords, and those privileges could not be taken away or refused without the danger of agrarian outrage. If the same security were granted to the tenant in Tipperary, that county might be as tranquil as Down or Armagh. He (Mr. Scrope) wished to take that opportunity of expressing his conviction that it was only by the conces- 347 sion of privileges throughout the country similar to those enjoyed in Ulster, they could prevent those offences. He could not understand how any person could feel alarm at the proposition to establish such a system of tenant-right throughout Ireland, when it was found to be attended with so many advantages to the landlords of Ulster. It had answered so admirably in the province of Ulster that he could not understand how it was looked upon with so much horror by the landlords in other parts of the country.
§ SIR R. PEEL
said: I should be unwilling, Sir, to let the first night of the debate on the proposal of Her Majesty's Government to pass without publicly declaring that it is my intention to give to that proposal a cordial support. I cannot resist the force of the appeal which the right hon. Gentleman has made to the House. The right hon. Gentleman has told you that Her Majesty, in the Speech from the Throne, has recommended you to take into consideration the state of Ireland with reference to the prevalence of atrocious crimes, to the impunity of the offenders, and to the inadequacy of the existing law to give protection to life and property. The right hon. Gentleman has justly said that this House, without committing itself to the details of any particular measure, has, in an unanimous Address to the Throne, conveyed to Her Majesty the assurance that it will take this subject into immediate consideration. The right hon. Gentleman has said that the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and Her Majesty's Government, charged with the heavy responsibility of giving protection to the subjects of the Queen, in return for the allegiance which the law exacts from them, consider the state of the law to be imperfect, and that on their responsibility they must demand additional powers. The right hon. Gentleman has fortified the claim, thus made on the responsibility of the Executive Government, by reciting details of crimes which can leave no doubt on the mind of any man that it is our duty to attempt, at least, to arrest the progress of one of the vilest and most sanguinary tyrannies that ever existed in any country having a claim to be called civilised. Why cannot I resist the force of the appeal thus made by the right hon. Gentleman? Because it is precisely the same appeal which some two years since I myself made, and made in vain. Now, Sir, let me not be mista- 348 ken. I most fully admit that measures of this nature are no effectual remedy for the social evils that prevail in Ireland. Nay—for I will conceal none of the objections—it is always with great reluctance that I have consented to propose, or that I consent to support such measures, because there is this evil attending them, even with reference merely to the peace and tranquillity of the country, that it is impossible to enforce them without, in some degree, diminishing confidence in the efficacy of the ordinary law, and paralysing its operation. But still, when I hear, upon the authority of the Government, and when I find the statement confirmed by evidence, that there exists in Ireland an organised conspiracy—employing assassins, in order, without reference to age, sex, property, or condition, to deprive of their lives the faithful and unoffending subjects of Her Majesty—I say the continuance of this conspiracy is such a scandal, that none of the objections that may apply to the measure appear worth consideration, compared with the evil of apparent connivance at that scandal. And although I think this Bill is no permanent remedy for the social evils of Ireland, yet I, for one, will not postpone my consent to this measure till I hear what are the other measures, what are the more permanent remedies, the Government has to propose. I will enter into no parley with assassins. I say it is our duty, if we wish to lay a foundation for the permanent improvement of Ireland, to do all we can to preserve the lives of Her Majesty's faithful and loyal subjects in that country; it is our first duty to paralyse the arm of the assassin. Having done this, let us apply our deliberate consideration to other measures of a different character, calculated to improve the condition of a part of the empire which ought to be as dear to Englishmen as England itself. No evil can afflict Ireland that will not react on this country; whether it be want of employment, misery, or poverty, depend on it the evil effects of these things will not be limited to the soil of Ireland; they will react on the state of society here, on the social position of the English labourer, and the remuneration he gets for his toil. I feel all these things strongly and acutely; yet I much fear that any one who expects immediate results from measures of improvement, well intentioned as they may be, takes too sanguine a view of the power of legislation to remedy evils of 349 long endurance. The length of the time they hare lasted is no doubt a reason for the immediate consideration of a remedy; but it is also a reason for distrusting the immediate efficacy of legislation. Take the remedies generally proposed. One is emigration. At first sight it seems a simple matter to transfer the superabundant population of one part of the empire to a colony in want of additional labour; but when you address yourselves practically to the subject you feel all the difficulties of it; you find that to transfer any such portion of the population of Ireland to a distant colony, as shall tell on the social state of Ireland, cannot be done without great expense and much preliminary preparation. Then there is the measure on which the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Scrope) has dwelt so much—namely, the improvement of the relations between landlord and tenant. The hon. Gentleman has laudably directed much of his attention to that subject, has adverted to the good effect of the tenant-right in Ulster, and contrasted the state of things in that province with the condition of Connaught and Munster; but there are other causes for that distinction, and the hon. Gentleman must not rush too suddenly to the conclusion that the legislative introduction of the usages that exist in Ulster into Connaught and Munster would at one produce there the same effect. There is another hon. Gentleman who is equally entitled to commendation for the attention which he has given to this subject, I allude to the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. S. Crawford), who has in his own case set an example which many landlords might well imitate. I assent to the justice of the principle which I understand him to contend for. I think that the tenant—particularly in Ireland, where he has to bear expenses which the tenant in this country does not bear, such, for instance as the erection of the place in which he has to live—I admit that the tenant who has improved the property has a just claim for compensation against the owner of the land. I have heard it, however, contended in this debate that the general application of the tenant-right of Ulster will be no remedy for the evils of Ireland; that you must go further; that you must give the tenant an absolute right in the occupancy, without reference to any improvements he may have made. I must say that a law establishing such a right, though it might produce a temporary lull for some two months 350 on the part of those immediately benefited by it, would be calculated more than anything else to shake confidence in the security of property, to diminish the stimulus to improvement, and would be as fatal to the well-understood interest of the tenantry as of the proprietors. There ought to be no distinction in principle between the law of property in England and the law of property in Ireland, with respect to this tenant-right. We admit here the justice of the principle, that the tenant improving his land ought not to be dispossessed of it, and made to forfeit the money he has laid out in improvements at the mere caprice of the landlord. I think that protection to the tenant to be just in England, and just therefore in principle in Ireland also; but no man who considers this question, and desires to make it the subject of direct legislation, can enter on the discussion without being soon aware of the very formidable difficulties in the way. Only last Session, there being a general concurrence in the justice of the principle acted upon in Lincolnshire—the principle, I mean, by which the tenant, being dispossessed of his farm, has a right to the value of the unexhausted improvements he has made on his land—when an attempt was made to introduce by law that principle throughout England, we know how great were the difficulties of legislation on the subject. We must expect to encounter equal difficulties in the case of Ireland, even with respect to the limited view of tenant-right taken by the hon. Gentleman who spoke last, namely, that the tenant should have the right to recover for improvements made by him on the soil. They are difficulties which ought not to make us despair, but ought, at any rate, to render us not too sanguine as to the results of our legislation. So, with respect to many other matters deeply connected with the social state of Ireland: feeling, as I do, the vast importance of giving them early consideration, I am yet not sanguine enough to hope that the best devised measures can tell immediately on the present condition of Ireland, or can relieve us from the duty of taking immediate steps with respect to assassination and the conspiracy of assassins. It is not my intention, Sir, in giving my support to the Government, to make any reference to the bygone transactions of 1846. It has been said by an hon. Gentleman, that it is due to the late Government that you should resist this measure, because you defeated a similar 351 measure when they were in office. The best reparation you can make to the late Government is to pass this law. As for reparation in any party sense, so far from wishing to see the passing of this measure in any way urged against the Government as a triumph in reference to any proposal made at another time, I utterly disclaim entertaining such sentiments. The state of society in Ireland is the paramount consideration; and all party disputes are utterly unworthy of consideration. The right hon. Gentleman opposite has proposed a measure, which, on the responsibility of the Government, he thinks adequate for the purpose. We must regard the decision of the Government as almost final in this respect. A popular assembly representing the people ought to be unwilling to force on the Government measures of coercion which they who are responsible for the public peace do not think necessary for its preservation. I wish to observe, however, that there are parts of the proposed measure which I do not understand. I do not understand what is to be the nature of the tribunal before which, in a proclaimed district, offenders are to be carried. I understand the right hon. Gentleman to propose that the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland should have unlimited power to proclaim districts in Ireland corresponding with the limits of counties or with smaller territorial divisions. Then I understand that the Lord Lieutenant is to have a double discretionary power in respect to the possession of arms—first, a power to interdict the carrying of arms except by parties named in the Act or especially authorised. [Sir G. GREY: That would necessarily follow from the proclamation.] Secondly, a power to prevent the possession of arms, and to authorised the search for them by day. I will take the case of a witness called on to attend a trial, in a district where the sympathy is with the murderer and not with the murdered man. I take it for granted that the Lord Lieu-tenant would allow that witness the possession of firearms—that that is a case in which he would exercise his discretion as to permitting the use of arms. In the case of carrying arms or of possessing arms in violation of the proclamation, the right hon. Gentleman has not said whether the offence is to be tried by the ordinary or by special tribunals. [Sir G. GREY: By the ordinary tribunals with a right of challenge.] I am also bound to say that I think the state of the law with respect to the possession of 352 arms, after this Bill has been passed, will be unsatisfactory. In districts proclaimed by the Lord Lieutenant, the population may be disarmed, either partially or totally; in the latter there will be a power of domiciliary visits, and of depriving all parties of the possession of arms, except those who are specially permitted to retain them; but I am afraid that, unless the permissions to retain arms are very wide, you may create great insecurity in some of the disturbed districts, There can be no doubt that many persons in the lower ranks of society are now in the possession of arms for no dishonest or illegal purpose, but bonâ fide for the purpose of offering that resistance which is the most effectual check upon the disturber of the public peace. The shooting of one man in the act of violating the law by the brave, determined occupier of a house, has more effect in repressing outrage than half a dozen executions. To disarm, indiscriminately, all persons in a proclaimed district, except a privileged class, will not, I am afraid, have the effect which, as I am sure, the right hon. Baronet is desirous that the Bill should have—to afford additional protection to life and property. In certain districts, proclaimed by the Lord Lieutenant, there will be a general disarming of the people. In the adjoining districts, not being proclaimed, there will be no prohibition, no restriction whatever, as to the indiscriminate possession of arms by all persons. Now I must say that there are many districts of Ireland in which repeated murders may not occur, yet in which there is no justification whatever for permitting the perfectly unrestricted possession and parade of arms. The Lord Lieutenant will have the power of issuing his proclamation disarming the inhabitants of certain districts; but it would be infinitely bettor to have a general and permanent Act regulating the possession of arms, applicable to the whole country, rather than to provide that in certain districts, to be named at the discretion of the Lord Lieutenant, the possession of arms is to be totally prohibited, while in other districts, almost as bad, and immediately adjoining the proclaimed districts, the people will not only have the power to keep arms in their houses, but to parade those arms in the face of the authorities at mid-day, and to carry on those shooting operations to which the police-constable of whom we have heard referred. The state of the law in this respect, under the Bill before 353 the House, will be very imperfect and unsatisfactory; and I hope the right hon. Baronet (Sir G. Grey) will not abandon altogether the intention of proposing an Arms Act, which, with as little vexation as possible, may regulate generally the possession of arms throughout the country. What will be exactly the state of the law with respect to Whiteboy offences under the proclamation, it is impossible to say, without minute reference to the Whiteboy Acts; and I do not think that this is the occasion for entering into those details. I consider that the right hon. Baronet has offered a full vindication of this measure. He has proved that there exists in Ireland a degree of insecurity for life which ought not to be permitted to continue. I cannot say whether the Bill he proposes will be efficacious or not; but I earnestly hope, that if before Parliament may separate there should be reason to believe that this Bill will not be efficacious, no fear of taunt will prevent him from appealing to Parliament to strengthen the hands of the Government. My firm belief is, speaking from the experience of thirty or forty years, that there are certain districts in Ireland, parts of the county of Tipperary, for instance, in which there is such an inveterate, such an hereditary, if I may so say, disposition to commit murder—that some decided permanent effort must be made to check the evil. So long since as the year 1814 I detailed cases of organised conspiracies to murder, directed against gentlemen of the highest respectability, exactly similar to those which have been laid before the House by the right hon. Baronet. I recollect perfectly well a case in which, on each of three different roads approaching the town of Clonmel, five assassins, hired by a party of some property were stationed in order to insure the death of a magistrate of the highest respectability. By one of those roads this magistrate travelled, and by the five assassins stationed on that road he was murdered. It appeared that the assassins had been hired at two or three guineas a piece to commit the deed. A reward of 1,000l. was offered to any person but those who actually fired the shots, for the conviction of each of the assassins. The person by whom they were engaged laid open the whole plot, and claimed the reward. Two of the assassins whom he employed were convicted on his evidence; and, in consequence of the assurance given by the Government, I paid that man 2,000l. But 354 it is quite unfair to impute to Ireland generally crimes of this nature; it is most unjust to judge of the general disposition of Ireland from the iniquity of particular districts. With respect to the great towns of Ireland—for instance, Dublin, Limerick, and Cork—where the people are collected together in large bodies, they seem to be even more submissive to the laws, more obedient to authority, than they are in this country; and the same may be said of the inhabitants of many counties. In many districts of Ireland the people are more peaceable, more resigned, more patient under privation, than the people of this country: nothing can be more unjust than to judge of the general character of the people of Ireland from those plague-spots which have been mentioned. But these crimes are so inveterate in certain districts, that I greatly mistrust the efficacy of any mere temporary law for their suppression. I greatly doubt whether it is not absolutely necessary to subject such districts to a permanent discipline. I do not think it would be necessary to have enormous penalties or unconstitutional powers; but I would have new police districts, I would have the strictest registry of every person within them, and I would subject those districts—as the right hon. Baronet proposes—to the expense entailed by extraordinary measures; though when the people are suffering, as is at present the case, from extreme poverty, I do not know whether this step would afford any very effectual remedy. I would also have a detective police, as well as a protective police. I consider that this is what you want in Ireland. You have an excellent police for defeating powerful combinations, but I think you are wanting in a detective police. I think you ought to have a police especially engaged in the detection of these offenders. I think you should also give the most complete assurance to witnesses that, if they aid you in carrying the laws into effect, they shall have valid protection. I know how difficult it is to deal with this question. You must take care not to hold out the temptation to unfounded accusations; but when a man who comes forward to give his evidence in aid of the law is doomed, if not to murder, at least to certain ruin, there is a discouragement to the due administration of the law for which it is almost impossible to find a remedy. Even if you send such a witness to Canada, or to some of our other 355 colonies, I fear that, with the great facilities of communication which now exist, you cannot give him the protection he needs. He will probably be a marked man in the colonies, and still exposed to the vengeance which he hoped to escape by abandoning his native land. These subjects, as it appears to me, deserve the serious consideration of the Government; but the immediate necessity is for the passing of a law directed against murder, and conspiracy to murder, in Ireland. I will quarrel with none of the details of this measure. I will give it throughout my cordial support; and I trust that those who opposed the measure brought forward in 1846, will not think it incumbent on them from any consideration for the late Government, to withhold their support from the Bill now before the House.
§ MR. MAURICE O'CONNELL
was understood to say, that although the right hon. Baronet who had just resumed his seat informed the House that he had brought in Coercion Bills for Ireland in 1814 and 1846, he had only just discovered the want of remedial measures. It was only just now that the right hon. Baronet had thought of such a policy, and for the first time in his life he had mentioned the subject of tenant-right in Ireland. Had he thought of tenant-right in 1814, the case of Ireland might have been far different at the present day. He hoped that if the Government got leave to bring in this Bill, they would accompany it as early as possible with a sound and equitable Landlord and Tenant Bill. He should offer no other opposition to the bringing in of the Bill. It trenched so little upon the constitution, that he should not deem it his duty to oppose it, although he should most certainly not vote for it. In the list of defects which the hon. Member for Tamworth enumerated in the Bill was one—that it was one not of a permanent character. The Secretary of State for the Home Department did not mention the term of duration, but he clearly meant the Bill to be of a temporary character. If he accompanied the measure during the present short Session with a good Landlord and Tenant Bill, he would find no necessity for continuing the Coercion Act He hoped that the duration of the Bill would be limited to the shortest period.
§ MR. CALLAGHAN,
as an old representative, and one whose political opinions had generally coincided with those of the present Government, congratulated Minis- 356 ters that they had escaped from the dangerous trap which he thought had been laid for them. He feared that coercion for Ireland would have been proposed in order to gratify the prejudice of England. He heard with great astonishment from Lord John Russell, that his Lordship was prepared with a Coercion Bill; but he could see nothing in the present measure to justify that appellation—he could see no violent interference with the principles of the constitution. The search for arms in the hands of officious policemen might create a little disturbance; but he hoped that the most stringent clauses of the Bill would never be brought into action. He should go back to his constituents with infinite satisfaction and tell them that they were not about to be visited by any measure of great severity.
§ MR. DISRAELI
said: I had not intended, during this debate, to trespass one moment upon the attention of the House; but, with every wish to remain silent, I cannot, after the speech which we have just heard from the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, but feel it due to myself and to those who opposed his Irish Bill in the last Parliament, to make one observation, that the present House of Commons may understand the position in which we stand towards the House and each other with regard to the present Bill. I will not say—though it would be a legitimate reason for the course which we took—that it arose from a general want of confidence in those who were then the responsible advisers of the Crown. We did not merely oppose the Bill of the late Government for regulating the possession of arms in Ireland because we had no confidence in them. On the contrary, though that would have been a perfectly legitimate ground of objection, it was not that which we used; for I myself and other Members of the last Parliament objected to that measure, not because it was brought in by the Government then in power, but because we thought we had a right to assume that it was introduced with no serious intention of carrying it, and because we took exception to several of its provisions. I therefore wish the House to understand the differences which subsisted between the right hon. Baronet and the last Parliament on the subject of his measures of Irish legislation; and I desire especially to call attention to the difference between the policy towards Ireland of the present Government as contrasted with that of the right hon. Baronet. At the commence- 357 ment of the Session of 1846, the Administration of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth announced to Parliament and to the country that life and property in Ireland were in imminent danger. I hope the House will recollect—though many are now present who did not belong to the late Parliament; but they, I trust, even then took too strong an interest in the condition of the country to remain ignorant of what was at that time passing in this House—they, in common with other Members, will, I hope, remember that Parliament was in a hurried manner called together, and we were informed that life and property in Ireland were in imminent peril at the time of our assembling; yet the Bill of the right hon. Baronet for giving protection to life and security to property in Ireland was not introduced for months after the meeting of Parliament—was not laid upon the table of this House till the month of June. [Mr. HUDSON: It was brought down in the month of April.] It was not before this House for any purpose of practical legislation till the month of June. That Session of Parliament, as we all remember, was occupied with business of great importance; but however important the affairs which engaged its attention, they could not have been more important than the protection of life and property. Nor did we who opposed the Bill resist it merely on account of the delay of the late Government in the conduct of that Bill, though that of itself supplied a fair ground of suspicion; on the contrary, we had other and more important objections. My noble Friend the Member for King's Lynn, who is, I regret to say, prevented by indisposition from attending here this evening—that noble Lord took the lead in opposing the Bill; he denounced it as a Curfew Bill—as a measure which would compel men to stay within their dwellings after sunset. Yet when he examined the analysis of crime, which was laid on the table as the foundation of the law, he observed that the majority of them were noonday assassinations. This objection was then often urged, and it was never satisfactorily answered. In my opinion, it is to the credit of the present Government, that as they feel the necessity of interfering, they have done so early in the Session, and, as I believe, with a sincere intention to pass the measure. It is not for me—and I agree with the right hon. Member for Tamworth, that it is not for any one sitting at this side of the 358 House—to urge the Queen's Government to advance in an outrage upon the constitution. If the present measure be not strong enough for the occasion, on the Government, and on the Government alone, rests the responsibility; and I need not remind them that that responsibility is not a light one. I must say I am happy to find that, after all we have heard of the state of Ireland, an addition of 200 constables may secure the peace and prosperity of that country. But I have no doubt that the Government have well considered the subject. I have no doubt they have great confidence in the officer who has to administer the powers given by this law. It is not our part, under any circumstances, to urge the Government to exceed the powers which they deem necessary for attaining the purpose which we all desire; and I am glad to find that there will be almost a unanimous consent in supporting the measure which they have introduced. All that I have risen for is, to let it be clearly understood that the passion of party did not induce us, even for the purpose of terminating the existence of an Administration which we did not wish to endure—that nothing but a legitimate consideration induced us to oppose the measure of the late Government. ["Hear!"] I will answer that ironical cheer; I am not saying that we did not embrace legitimate opportunities, which every Gentleman and every party would; and if there be any party in this House holding the existence of a Government to be generally injurious to the country, I should think the whole character of our constitution was lost if that party did not exercise its power upon a legitimate opportunity. I say that that was not a factious opposition, for the reasons which I have given you: first, that the measure that was introduced by the late Government, which, at the commencement of the year, announced as the basis of its legislation that the lives of Her Majesty's subjects were in danger, was not really proceeded with until six months after Parliament had been sitting; and, secondly, that that measure contained a principle of legislation which we considered unnecessary and arbitrary.
§ SIR G. GREY
expressed his gratification at the spirit and temper in which the proposed measure had been received, and begged to thank those Gentlemen who had come down with an intention of opposing the introduction of the Bill, but had consented to allow it to be brought in that 359 evening; because he felt its efficiency would be greatly promoted by the promptitude with which it would be adopted by Parliament. With regard to the question of the hon. Member (Mr. M. O'Connell), it was the intention of the Government to propose that the Bill should be in force until December 1st, 1849, and to the end of the then next Session of Parliament. With respect to the observations of the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel), he agreed that great advantage resulted from certain parties in Ireland, small farmers for instance, retaining arms for the purpose for which he believed they had acquired them, namely, self-defence; and he thought he had stated, that while with regard to carrying arms abroad, the license would be the exception, it would be given far more extensively in regard to retaining arms in the house. With respect to a detective police, the attention of Lord Besborough was called to that, among other subjects, early in this year, before that fatal illness which had deprived the Government of his cooperation and the country of his services; and under his administration the organisation of a detective police was commenced, which had been carried on by the present Lord Lieutenant, who had lately reported favourably of its efficiency. The Government had no intention of proposing a revival of the former Arms Act; but at the same time some regulation with regard to the indiscriminate possession of arms, as applicable to all Ireland, was under the consideration of the Lord Lieutenant, who had brought the subject under the attention of the Government. He hoped the House would understand that, by the present Bill, which contained provisions more stringent than would be suitable for any general measure, the Government were not precluded from proposing a measure of that kind if circumstances should render it necessary. With regard to the Bill proposed by the right hon. Baronet in 1846, there was an Arms Act then in force, and the powers then asked for were powers, not only in addition to the ordinary law of the land, but to the Arms Act, which did not expire until the end of the Session of 1846. The present Bill was proposed with the earnest hope and the belief that the sanction of Parliament to this measure would so far strengthen the hands of the Government as to enable them to afford protection to life; if this measure should fail, and if crime and outrage, notwithstanding this Bill, should continue to 360 prevail to a large extent in Ireland, the Government would not shrink, for any fear of those taunts referred to by the right hon. Baronet, from coming to Parliament, and asking for such further powers as would enable them to perform the duty which they owed to their Sovereign, and to the people, who were entitled to such protection.
§ MR. WAKLEY
understood that the hon. Member for Nottingham (Mr. F. O'Connor) intended to divide the House on the first reading of the Bill. That division might place many Members in a very unfair position. He did not understand from the Government that there was any distinct promise of remedial measures before the second reading of the Bill. The Government were silent. He should, therefore, consider it his duty to move an Amendment—That it is not just to the people of Ireland to enact any Bill of a coercive character without at the same time enacting measures with a view to give permanent relief.The Government ought not to object to that. He did not complain of their conduct with regard to Ireland since they had been in office; he never recollected any Government that had acted with a more kind or generous feeling with respect to Ireland. In many respects—in fact, in nearly all, they were entitled to the gratitude of the people of that country. But Parliament was assembled now specially for taking the state of Ireland into consideration, and the Government had come forward with a coercive measure, and a very indistinct promise with regard to remedial measures. What was to prevent them from introducing the series of Bills at once? The tone and spirit of the right hon. Baronet (Sir G. Grey) had been admirable; of all that the right hon. Baronet had said, he approved; but before voting for such a Bill as this, he had a right to know what were the other measures of a remedial and soothing character which the Government meant to introduce. But there was no such statement made; no description was given of those measures—no explanation with regard to the propositions they were to contain. The hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. W. S. Crawford) introduced as long ago as 1836 a Bill with regard to landlord and tenant; but it received very little attention, even from Irishmen: several times he was counted out. But the principle of that Bill was now acknowledged; even the Government was supposed to approve the principle. At the same time, the landlord and tenant ques- 361 tion had been a puzzling one to him (Mr. Wakley); he used to think that what was called "tenant-right" appeared to be landlord robbery; but Gentlemen seemed to like it; and if they were pleased with it, why should they not have it? So with this Bill: this was a matter of shooting Irishmen in Ireland; and if that was an amusement which they relished, why should not they have it? Occasionally, however, mistakes were committed, and Irish women were shot; and as a matter of gallantry, he was bound to protect them from any such inflictions for the future. He did not understand what was going on in Ireland; but the Government were in possession of all necessary information to enable them to bring forward some well-defined and clearly-understood measures. But, as this had not been done, he did not choose to give his vote for a Bill which he did not altogether approve. The Bill might, under the circumstances stated by the Government, be perfectly justifiable. Crimes in Ireland appeared to be of so horrible a character that there was scarcely any power which Government could ask for that he would not support, provided he saw at the same time propositions laid before the House in the shape of Bills that would strike at the very root of the evils in that country, and which would place society upon a perfectly new footing. In the absence of any such measure, he felt bound to press his Amendment.
§ MR. BROTHERTON
observed, that whatever his hon. Friend the Member for Finsbury might say as to the course intended to be taken by the hon. Member for Nottingham placing him in an awkward position, he confessed that the Amendment just proposed by his hon. Friend was calculated to place him in a much more awkward dilemma. He, like his hon. Friend, had opposed every Coercion Bill that had hitherto been introduced since he had been a Member of that House; and he always stated, as his reason for doing so, that in his judgment conciliation had never yet been tried. Coercion had always been had recourse to; and he never would support coercion until he saw a disposition to do justice to Ireland by promoting remedial measures. He was happy on this occasion to hear the sentiment expressed by the Irish Members, that this was a Bill not to be characterised as former Bills had been. He had great confidence in the discretion of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; and he had equal confidence in the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government 362 that he would fulfil the promise he had intimated to the House, by introducing measures of conciliation for promoting social improvement in Ireland. There would need no coercion in Ireland if people would only act upon proper principles. But no measures of improvement could be introduced until there should be security for life and property. Whatever might have been his former course in respect to such measures as the present, he was happy to feel that he had the moral courage to support a proposition which he believed was calculated to promote the wealth and happiness of the community, and he should certainly vote for the introduction of the Bill.
§ MR. REYNOLDS moved that the debate be adjourned. ["No, no!"]
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
understood from the whole previous course of the debate, that the House was anxious to come to a division upon the main question as to the introduction of the Bill that night. Several hon. Members who were at first prepared to oppose even the introduction of the Bill, afterwards declared, upon hearing the statement of his right hon. Friend (Sir G. Grey), that they did not know how far they should carry their opposition to the measure itself; but that they were at least ready to allow the Bill to be introduced. If that were the case, he did submit to the House that to adjourn the debate, not till to-morrow (because it would be most inconvenient to postpone the business which was specially appointed for to-morrow), but to a future day, would be defeating the object for which the House had assembled, and would prevent the Irish Members from giving that consideration to the Bill which was most desirable. He did, therefore, hope, that if the hon. Gentleman persisted in his Motion, the House would agree that the debate ought not to be adjourned, but that the Bill should be introduced.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
was quite willing to withdraw his Motion, reserving to himself the privilege of opposing the Bill in any future stage.
§ MR. M. J. O'CONNELL
hoped the same rational course would be adopted by the hon. Member for Finsbury. He joined with the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Brotherton) in appealing to the hon. Member to withdraw his Amendment, which would certainly place him (Mr. M. J. O'Connell) in as awkward a position as it did his hon. Friend. If such an Amendment as that proposed by the hon. Member for Finsbury were brought forward on the 363 second reading of the Bill, or on going into Committee, he, as an Irishman, and as an enemy to all coercion, would cordially support it. In fact, it would be a matter of consideration with him, whether it would not be his duty to move such an Amendment in another stage of the measure. But to delay the discussion in order to know what other measures were about to be introduced, was not only putting the Irish Members in an invidious position in that House, but was placing them in a most unpleasant position before the country. He therefore hoped the hon. Gentleman would concur with those hon. Members who, like himself, did not altogether approve of coercion in the abstract, but were nevertheless willing to allow this Bill to be placed before the country.
§ MR. S. CRAWFORD
said, that he and his hon. Friend (Mr. Wakley) felt themselves in a position of embarrassment, in consequence of its being the intention of the hon. Member for Nottingham to divide the House on the original question. They felt that if they did not bring forward this Amendment, and yet opposed the hon. Member for Nottingham, they would be declaring their decided approval of the Bill. He considered it was necessary to guard his vote, by not giving it in favour of this Bill without some knowledge of the remedial measures that were to accompany it.
§ SIR G. GREY
assured the hon. Gentleman that he would not be in the least pledged to any opinion in favour of the Bill by not opposing its introduction now. His hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford (Sir R. Inglis) the other night assented to the introduction of a Bill by the hon. and learned Member for Youghal (Mr. Anstey), although he entertained the strongest objection against the measure, reserving to himself the right of opposing it on the second reading.
§ MR. MAURICE O'CONNELL
would ask the hon. Member for Finsbury to. withdraw his Amendment; and would say this much to him—that if before the second reading a Bill on the subject of landlord and tenant, and other remedial measures for Ireland, were not brought forward, he should not only he prepared to agree with the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman, but, as the saying was, would "go the whole hog" with him.
§ The House divided on the question, that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the question:—Ayes 233; Noes 20: Majority 213.364
§ [First Division. It is unnecessary to repeat the lists, and we have designated the absentees on the second Division.]
|List of the AYES.|
|Adair, H. E.||Dundas, Sir D.|
|Adair, E. A. S.||Dundas, G.|
|Anson, hon. Col.||Dunne, F. P.|
|Attwood, J.||Edwards, H.|
|Bagshaw, J.||Evans, J.|
|Bailey, J.||Evans, W.|
|Baines, M. T.||Farrer, J.|
|*Baring, H. B.||Ferguson, Sir R. A.|
|Baring, rt. hon. F. T.||Fitzpatrick, J. W.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Fitzroy, hon. H.|
|Barrington, Visct.||Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W.|
|Beckett, W.||Foley, J. H. H.|
|Bellow, R. M.||Forbes, W.|
|Benbow, J.||Fordyce, A. D.|
|*Beresford, W.||Fortescue, hon. J. W.|
|Berkeley, hon. Capt.||Fox, W. J.|
|Bernal, R.||Freestun, Col.|
|Bernard, Visct.||French, F.|
|Birch, Sir T. B.||Frewen, C. H.|
|Blackall, S. W.||Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.|
|Bourke, R. S.||Glyn, G. C.|
|Bowring, Dr.||Grace, O. D. J.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Brand, T.||Granby, Marq. of|
|Bremridge, R.||Grattan, H.|
|Broadwood, H.||Greenall, G.|
|Brockman, E. D.||Greene, T.|
|Brooke, Lord||Grenfell, C. P.|
|Brotherton, J.||Grenfell, C. W.|
|Brown, H.||Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Bruce, Lord E.||Grey, R. W.|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Grogan, E.|
|Bunbury, E. H.||Gwyn, H.|
|Burke, Sir T. J.||*Hall, Sir B.|
|Campbell, hon. W. F.||Hallyburton, Ld. J. F. G.|
|Cardwell, E.||Hamilton, G. A.|
|Carew, W. H. P.||Hamilton, J. H.|
|Carter, J. B.||Hastie, A.|
|Castlereagh, Visct.||Headlam, T. E.|
|Caulfield, Col.||Henley, J. W.|
|Cavendish, hon. C. C.||Herbert, H. A.|
|Cavendish, W. G.||Heywood, J.|
|Chichester, Lord J. L.||Hindley, C.|
|Clay, J.||Hodges, T. L.|
|Clements, hon. C. S.||Hodgson, W. N.|
|Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.||Hood, Sir A.|
|Cockburn, A. J. E.||Horsman, E.|
|Codrington, Sir W.||Hudson, G.|
|Collins, W.||Hutt, W.|
|Corbally, M. E.||Inglis, Sir R. H.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Jackson, W.|
|Cripps, W.||Jervis, Sir J.|
|Curteis, H. B.||Jervis, J.|
|Davie, Sir H. R. F.||Jocelyn, Visct.|
|Deedes, W.||Keogh, W.|
|Deering, J. P.||Keppel, hon. G. T.|
|Disraeli, B.||Ker, R.|
|Dixon, J.||Labouchere, rt. hon. H.|
|Dodd, G.||Lennox, Lord A.|
|Drummond, H.||Lewis, G. C.|
|Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.||Lindsay, hon. Col.|
|Duff, G. S.||Littleton, hon. E. R.|
|Duke, Sir J.||Lockhart, W.|
|Duncuft, J.||M'Gregor, J.|
|Dundas, Adm.||M'Naghten, Sir E.|
§ * Absent from the second division.
|M'Tavish, C. C.||Sadleir, J.|
|Magan, W. H.||Scrope, G. P.|
|*Maher, N. V.||Seymour, Lord|
|Mahon, The O'Gorman||Shafto, R. D.|
|Maitland, T.||Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.|
|Marshall, J. G.||Sheridan, R. B.|
|Martin, C. W.||Simeon, J.|
|Martin, S.||Smith, J. B.|
|Matheson, A.||Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.|
|Matheson, Col.||Sotheron, T. H. S.|
|Maxwell, hon. J. P.||Spooner, R.|
|Melgund, Visct.||Stafford, A. O'B.|
|Mitchell, T. A.||*Staunton, Sir G. T.|
|*Moffatt, G.||Strutt, rt. hon. E.|
|Monsell, W.||Stuart, Lord D.|
|Moore, G. H.||Stuart, J.|
|Morgan, O.||Sutton, J. H. M.|
|Morpeth, Visct.||Talfourd, Serj.|
|Mowatt, F.||Taylor, T. E.|
|Mulgrave, Earl of||Tenison, E. K.|
|Norreys, Sir D. J.||Tennent, R. J.|
|Nugent, Sir P.||Thicknesse, R. A.|
|O'Brien, Sir L.||Thompson, Col.|
|O'Connell, M. J.||Thornely, T.|
|Ogle, S. C. H.||Towneley, J.|
|*Ord, W.||*Townley, R. G.|
|Oswald, A.||Turner, E.|
|Paget, Lord C.||Verner, Sir W.|
|Paget, Lord G.||Verney, Sir H.|
|Palmer, R.||*Villiers, hon. C.|
|Palmer, R.||Vivian, J. E.|
|Palmerston, Visct,||Vivian, J. H.|
|Parker, J.||Walmsley, Sir J.|
|Patten, J. W.||*Walsh, Sir J. B.|
|Pearson, C.||Ward, H. G.|
|Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.||Watkins, Col. L.|
|Peel, Col.||Wawn, J. T.|
|Perfect, R.||West, F. R.|
|Peto, S. M.||Westhead, J. P.|
|Pigott, F.||Willcox, B. M.|
|Pilkington, J.||Williams, J.|
|Pinney, W.||Willoughby, Sir H.|
|Plumptre, J. P.||Wilson, M.|
|Plowden, W. H. C.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Price, Sir R.||Wood, W. P.|
|Pusey, P.||Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.|
|Raphael, A.||Wrightson, W. B.|
|Rawdon, Col||Wyld, J.|
|Repton, G. W. J.||Wyvill, M.|
|Ricardo, O.||Yorke, H. E. R.|
|Rice, E. R.|
|Russell, Lord J.||Rich, H.|
|Russell, F. C. H.||Tufnell, H.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Anstey, T. C.||O'Connor, F.|
|Blewitt, R. J.||O'Flaherty, A.|
|Devereux, J. T.||Power, N.|
|Fagan, W.||Reynolds, J|
|Fox, R. M.||Scholefield, W.|
|Greene, Capt.||Scully, F.|
|Keating, R.||†Seeley, C.|
|Lushington, C.||Thompson, G.|
|Morgan, H. K. G.||TELLERS.|
|O'Brien, T.||Crawford, W. S.|
|*O'Connell, M.||Wakley, T.|
§ * Absent from the second division.
§ † Voted with the Ayes on the second division.366
§ The House again divided on the original Motion:—Ayes 224; Noes 18: Majority 206.
§ Leave given.
§ Bill brought in and read a first time.
§ House adjourned at ten minutes to One o'clock.