§ On the question that the Speaker do leave the chair for the House to go into a Committee of Supply,
§ MR. KEOGH
rose to move—For the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into the Law and Practice of Striking-Juries in Criminal Cases in Ireland, and especially into the facts connected with the Striking of the Juries in the late Cases of 'The Queen against William Smith O'Brien, M. P.;' The Queen against Thomas Meagher;' and 'The Queen against John Mitchel.'The hon. Member said, he had not expected that the proposition of which notice had been given that night by the noble Lord would have been submitted to their consideration when he came down to make this Motion. Not that he questioned the 666 propriety of the course which was proposed; but certainly it increased the responsibility of any person who submitted such a question at the present moment, that Her Majesty's Government found Ireland in such a perilous state of confusion, that they could not be answerable for the maintenance of peace in that portion of Her Majesty's dominions, except by a temporary, but still a lung, suspension of the constitution of these realms. It occurred to him that it would be peculiarly unfortunate if they were to close this Session of Parliament without being able to give a due account to their constituents in Ireland, when a case was brought forward, involving not only grave suspicion, but surrounded by circumstances which, unless they were fairly explained, left no doubt on the mind of every right-thinking man, that justice had not been duly administered in the oases to which he should refer. It would be most unjust if they were to return to their constituents, and tell them that they had been employed only in passing measures of coercion, but that measures of conciliation they had none to give. For the purposes of the present matter it might be said that the law as to striking juries in Ireland was theoretically the same as that in England—the Act 3 and 4 William IV. was the Act by which the striking and selection of juries was regulated in Ireland. He was prepared to prove that in every transaction connected with the striking of the jury in the case of John Mitchel, now a convict at Bermuda, from the original selection of the panel down to the time at which they were in the box, there had been very gross invasions of the due administration of justice. In the outset he might call the attention of the House to an anomaly in the selection of juries in Ireland. The sheriff of the city of Dublin was chosen immediately by the Crown; which, in his mind, was a reason why the Government should take peculiar pains that no suspicion should rest upon the juries appointed to try political offenders. Juries were chosen immediately in the manner prescribed by the Act of Parliament—the qualification was pecuniary—they were returned at the commencement of the year upon the collection of the grand jury cesses, and their names were preserved in a book kept in the office of Recorder. The juror's book for the present year contained the names of 4,570 persons; of these, 2,965 were Roman Catholics, 1,635 Protestants, or something 667 less than two Roman Catholics for one Protestant on the juror's hook. The sheriff had to select from the list such a number of names as would be sufficient to try offenders before the Commission; and in this particular case the sheriff selected 150 names. If that selection had been made by lot or ballot, the chances were that two out of every three of the 150 would have been Roman Catholics. But the selection was made by a sheriff appointed by the Crown; and what was the ratio? More than four to one of the whole 150 were Protestants, and only one-fifth were Roman Catholics. By Act of Parliament the sheriff was bound, when he struck the panel, to sign it—to issue his warrant to the summoner, calling upon him to summon the different persons named in the warrant, who was required to summon them at least six days before the opening of the Commission. In this case the Commission opened on the 20th of May; on the 11th May persons were summoned to serve on the jury; other persons were summoned on the 13th of the month; and it so happened that those persons were Roman Catholics. They came into court on the day of the trial, produced their summons signed by the proper officer, and it appeared that their names were not on the panel by which Mitchel was to be tried. To what conclusion did this inevitably lead? Either that a panel was previously prepared by the high sheriff on the 11th, and that Mitchel having been arrested on the 13th, that panel was withdrawn and another substituted; or that the summoner acted on the 11th and 13th without any panel having been prepared by the sheriff, and in so doing committed a breach of the Act of Parliament. If either of these practices were made manifest to the House as having been committed, doubtless they would have very little hesitation in granting the inquiry for which he asked. Mitchel was arrested on the 13th; on the 20th his trial came on. It was stated in open court, and deposed to on solemn affidavits made by the prisoner himself and the attorney for the prisoner, that the brother of Her Majesty's Attorney General for Ireland, holding under him the office of clerk, was concerned in unfair practices touching the selection of the jury. An attempt had been made to serve him for the trial of Mitchel, and a postponement of two days was asked in order that his attendance might be secured. He would venture to say—for they had experience of what the conduct 668 of Her Majesty's Attorney General had been in like eases—that in this country that application would have been acceded to; but it was refused in Dublin. He had said there was a grave suspicion that one panel was prepared on the 11th, then withdrawn, and another substituted. Look at the evidence of the high sheriff. He was asked—Was the panel all prepared on one occasion?The answer was—It was, as well as I can recollect.Was it prepared before or after the 13th of the month of May?—To the best of my recollection it was before it; I am not certain.Was the panel all made on that occasion?—Yes, it certainly was.The evidence of the under sheriff on the same point was:—Were you present at the framing of the panel?—I was.Was it prepared on one day?—I cannot recollect the exact day on which it was prepared, but I think there were two days occupied in preparing it.The high sheriff is asked—Was it you that selected the names from the book, or was it the under sheriff?The high sheriff says—I did it.The under sheriff is asked—Was it you that selected the names from the book, or was it the high sheriff?The under sheriff says—I rather think I did it.How was it possible to reconcile those two statements? The high sheriff went on still further, and being asked if he had selected those names from the only proper place, the jurors' book of the city of Dublin, said he had so selected them. The under sheriff was examined, and he said he received at least a hundred of those names from a Mr. Wheeler, who had been acting in some capacity in the sheriff's office, and who, it was a most remarkable circumstance, left the city of Dublin two or three days before the day of trial of the challenge, which was one ground assigned for the application of postponement. Two gentlemen were selected to try whether that panel was fairly chosen or not, both of those gentlemen holding a very high and responsible position in the city of Dublin. As regarded the politics of those gentlemen, he thought he might safely state that they both would feel very much offended if they were not thought to entertain very strong opinions in one direction, certainly not the most favourable to the accused. 669 However, the panel was found to be fairly chosen, the sheriff stating that it was selected for its wealth and respectability, whilst the under sheriff said he had received 100 out of the 150 names from Mr. Wheeler, who was conveniently absent in London. Out of the whole 150 there were but 28 Roman Catholics, and out of the first 70 names only 8, the remainder being placed last on the list, so that there was every possible chance of their not being called upon to servo. The jurors' book was arranged alphabetically. There were two persons of the name of Moore in it; they resided next door to each other in one of the principal commercial streets of Dublin, carrying on the same business, and holding similar stations in society. The one was a Protestant, the other a Roman Catholic; and the sheriff, if he went through the list impartially, would necessarily find the one Moore near the other. Yet the Protestant Moore was placed twelfth, and the Roman Catholic Moore appeared the 122nd man of the 150. Surely, when the Attorney General observed the unfair selection, it became his bounden duty to do all that in him lay to restore the balance, instead of allowing the Catholics to remain as only one to four upon the panel; whereas they ought, according to the jurors' book, to have stood in the ratio of two to every Protestant juror. Only 71 persons altogether answered to their names, and out of that number 18 were Catholics. And what did the Attorney General? As each Catholic came to be sworn for the jury, he was at once ordered to stand by, and thirty-nine out of the entire seventy-one were challenged by that officer. He would say to that House, that it was not a fair system of conducting prosecutions, for the Attorney General, while the prisoner only had the power to challenge twenty-seven persons peremptorily, to have the right to go on challenging every person, till he absolutely was enabled to put on his own jury to try the case. He perceived from a gesture of the Attorney General that he was not disposed to assent to the justice of this latter observation; but surely he would recollect that in Frost's trial, even the Chief Baron of the Exchequer, a very eminent authority, had declared that the Crown ought not to be allowed an unlimited right of challenge, while the prisoner could only challenge twenty names, and asserted his belief that the law recognised no such right in the Crown. Many other very 670 eminent persons and lawyers entertained a similar opinion; and one legal authority, to whom hon. Gentlemen opposite, when out of office, were particularly disposed to bow—the late Master of the Rolls for Ireland, Sir Michael O'Loghlin, before a Committee of the House of Lords, in 1839—distinctly stated that he did not believe that such was the law of the land. Every lawyer knew that an ancient statute required the Crown to assign a cause for the challenge; and although in later times the prerogative had run so high that the Crown was not bound to comply with this requirement, still the propriety of neglecting it had been questioned on more than one occasion. Why were the eighteen Catholics who answered to their names set aside? What excuse could the Attorney General have for departing so far from the instructions of many Attorneys General who had preceded him in the administration of the law in Ireland? Her Majesty's present Ministers, when out of power, had never harped so much upon any one string as upon that of the unfair administration of the law in Ireland. Carrying out these views, Sir M. O'Loghlen, writing in February, 1836, to the Crown solicitors acting under him in Ireland, used language to this effect:—I do not wish that you should exercise the right without having some sufficient cause, not founded on any political or religious distinction. I am glad to know, from what passed when I spoke to you on the subject, that you agree with me in thinking that convictions obtained in cases in which the right shall not have been exercised, will have a more beneficial effect than those which may be procured when some of the jurors are objected to. There may, and probably will be, some acquittals not warranted by a calm consideration of the evidence; but after an anxious consideration of the subject, and an experience of the result of the present system, I think that I should not on that account refrain from adopting the course above stated. In England no such right is claimed.These instructions had been carried further by a gentleman who had subsequently held the office of Attorney General for Ireland, and who now filled the important post of Lord Chancellor of that country. He referred to Lord Chancellor Brady, whose authority no one would be disposed to impugn. He would now direct their attention to the manner in which it was supposed that system had been worked out, as given by Sir M. O'Loghlen and Judge Perrin before the Committee of the House of Lords, when asked—Supposing in the case of a political libel, a man notoriously a violent 671 political partisan, and known to express at public meetings the strongest opinions corresponding exactly with those of the man upon trial, came forward, he should consider it safe for the administration of justice that such a man should be sworn? Sir M. O'Loghlen replied that the challenge might be maintained in such a case; but it was better that he should he allowed to be sworn than he should be set aside, and a conviction obtained upon the verdict of a jury selected by the prosecutor; and that he could state that during the time he was Attorney General he had many persons as jurors of notoriously identical political opinions with the accused, and yet obtained convictions. Judge Perrin, on being interrogated upon the same subject, answered—that he thought the moral effect of allowing the men to be sworn as they were returned by the sheriff, unless, indeed, there were good cause for the challenge, was preferable to exercising the right of challenge without assigning the cause. What was the reason that the present Attorney General had departed from these instructions? He had made the most accurate inquiries into the subject; and, after availing himself of every possible source of information, he was prepared to state in that House that ten out of those eighteen Catholics so set aside were not connected with any political association whatever. He would now come to what was, perhaps, a more serious part of the case. There was not only one such trial when the Catholics called to servo on the jury were set aside; but, unfortunately for the case which the Government would endeavour to make out, there had been four such juries struck off before the particular one to which he had just been alluding. He meant the trials of Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Meagher; and the juries that were struck to try John Mitchel in the case abandoned before the new Felony Act came into operation. Now, the practice of striking special juries was somewhat different. Forty-eight names were drawn from the ballot box for the special jury, 24 had been struck off, 12 of them by the Crown; but these 12 so struck off by the Crown were all the Catholics out of the 48; and 11 out of this 12 were totally unconnected with any political association. In the case of the jury to try Mr. Meagher for sedition, the Crown had struck off 10 Catholics, seven of whom were not connected with any political association. One of that seven was a Mr. Powell, a highly-respectable brewer in 672 Dublin, who, he could state on his own knowledge, was of the very high Whig school of politics, if, indeed, he were not something nearer akin to a Conservative. A Mr. John Macailiff was another of the seven Catholics, who, although tinged with no political partisanship, had been struck off the panel; and he could avouch that Macailiff had habitually voted for the Conservatives and against the Repeal candidates. With regard to the jury in the case of J. Mitchel, for sedition, Thomas Laffan, Esq., a gentleman who had for several years sustained the office of a director of the Bank of Ireland, was a Catholic, and never interfered with politics at all, had also been struck off the panel. It was curious to contrast the recent conduct of the noble Lord now at the head of the Government, and the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Home Department, with the protestations in which that noble Lord and that right hon. Baronet dealt so profusely when the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth was First Minister of the Crown. It was as curious as it was interesting and profitable to refer to Hansard, and to see what took place on the striking of the jury which was empan-nelled to try O'Connell and his fellow-traversers. The case then brought against the Government was, that from that jury ten Catholics were struck off by the Crown. It was distinctly proved with respect to eight of those Catholics that there was the strongest possible reason for suspecting that they were implicated with Mr. O'Connell in his political delinquencies, and that, in point of fact, they were members of his Repeal Association. The ninth was proved to have signed the requisition called the Tara meeting. The explanation, however, which was then offered in justification of the Government, totally failed to give satisfaction to the hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who now occupied the Treasury bench. He was at a loss to understand on what pretext of justice or of honour the Ministers should refuse to apply to the transactions of 1848 the same rule which they had applied to those of 1844. Look to the first paragraph in the speech delivered by the noble Lord, on the occasion of the discussion which took place in that House in 1844 with respect to the constitution of the jury in O'Connell's case:—It did so happen then that, of the forty-eight name that had been chosen, there were only ten of those persons that were Roman Catholics, and 673 it happened that it having been the former custom always to leave out Roman Catholics and Liberal Protestants, that those ten Roman Catholics and two Protestants were struck out by the Solicitor for the Crown. It does, Sir, appear to me that such a fact of itself deprives the whole of those proceedings of any weight or value. I could understand the objection that might have been made if those persons, whether Protestants or Roman Catholics, had contributed to the funds of the association. Tills might be a proper objection to them. It might be said, 'It is not because you are a Roman Catholic you are to be left on a Jury. Your doing so does not entitle you more than any other man to he there.' But then with regard to two of those persons who have been struck off, there is an affidavit that two of them, and there is the affidavit made by one of them, that he was not a member of the Repeal Association, and never bad been a subscriber to its funds. If that, then, be so, I collect that these two were left out because they were Roman Catholics; the conclusion is that the other eight, whether sub-scribers or not to the repeal funds, would have been equally omitted.If the doctrines which the noble Lord so emphatically enforced in 1844 were correct, he should like to know on what grounds the noble Lord was prepared to justify the fifteen cases of exclusion of Catholics to which the attention of the House was now called? Where were the glorious promises of the noble Lord and his great protestations? He had been for two years and a half in office, and all he had been able to accomplish was to keep Ireland, not to govern her. The noble Lord was in his place until the present Motion was called on, but he suddenly vanished. A direct insult to the Roman Catholic population of Ireland did not appear to the noble Lord to be of sufficient importance to justify his attendance. In the absence, however, of the noble Lord, he would take the liberty of reading a passage from a speech delivered in the course of the same debate by the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Home Department. The words of the right hon. Gentleman were as follows:—The moral effect of a verdict did not consist in tile form of law, but in the conviction of its justice, and of the impartiality of the tribunal be-fore which the cause was tried. In the present state of Ireland they were engaged in a solemn case of the administration of criminal justice. Were six Roman Catholics to be placed on their trial in such a country as Ireland, a country where party spirit and religious feeling ran high, before a jury of men holding opinions diametrically opposed in religion, and it might be supposed in politics also, to themselves?Such were the sentiments in 1844 of the right hon. Baronet. But about that same time there were statements made in the city of Dublin by other hon. Gentlemen—now Members of the Government—and a 674 course of conduct was pursued by them, which if those same Gentlemen were right in the course they adopted in 1848, left the dispassionate observer no alternative but to conclude that their behaviour, in 1844, was factious and vexatious, and eminently opposed to the proper administration of justice. He had made it his business to refer to the papers of that day, and he found that twenty-four hours were not permitted to elapse before a meeting of Catholics was hold in the city of Dublin to protest against the indignity which had been offered to the Catholic population of Ireland by the proceedings of the Government, with respect to the jury empanelled to try Mr. O'Connell. To the requisition convening that meeting, the name of no less a person than Her Majesty's present Attorney General for Ireland was attached; as also were the names of his right hon. Friend the present Master of the Mint, and the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for Ireland (Mr. Redington). The Master of the Mint, for whoso splendid intellectual attributes no man could have a higher admiration than he, attended the meeting, and what was his first declaration?—It is," he said, "a source of very great pride to me, and a fact which I will remember with gratification as long as I live, that mine was the very first inline that was attached to the requisition by which you have been called together. The time is come for making a great popular demonstration of our feelings, and a demonstration of oar feelings is also a demonstration of our power.(It was not then criminal to talk in that strain.)The nation is now our own. My advice is, that you should present a memorial to the Queen and petitions to both Houses of Parliament, stating your cause of complaint with calmness and method, and without exaggeration. That all the Catholics have been struck off is an admitted fact. It has been suggested that they were all members of the Repeal Association, and therefore guilty of some of the overt acts charged in the indictment. Suppose they were so, I do not think such a circumstance would at all relieve the prosecutors from the grave imputation they have incurred.Such was the language held in 1844 by the right hon. Gentleman the Master of thee Mint. The right hon. Gentleman wont on to argue the case, and submitted that if there had been in England an indictment charging an influential body with seeking Parliamentary Reform, vast indignation would be everywhere exhibited if the Crown Solicitor were to strike off the jury every one who happened to be a member of the Reform Club. He concluded— 675The conduct of the prosecutors proved that foul play had been practised, and ho, therefore, called for the strictest and most searching Parliamentary inquiry.The reporter added, "The meeting here rose en masse, and cheered for several minutes." The next speaker at that meeting was Mr. Wyse, who called on his fellow-subjects in England to say whether it would be fair, in the event of a man who was a Chartist in politics being indicted for an offence, that all persons who happened to be Chartists as well should be excluded from the jury box. The third speaker was Mr. Redington, who declared it to be his opinion that the course pursued by the Government would neither redound to the credit of the Cabinet nor the safety of the State. Such were the sentiments formerly professed on the subject of jury packing by the very men who now sat upon the Treasury bench. But the most extraordinary matter of all was, that to the requisition convening the meeting was affixed the name of the present Attorney General for Ireland who conducted all the recent prosecutions. The next name in the list of those who so energetically protested against the practice of jury packing was a more exalted one than any yet cited, being no other that of the present Chief Governor of Ireland. A Motion condemnatory of the improper conduct imputed to the Government of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth having been brought forward by the Marquess of Normanby, and having been lost on a division, the dissentient Peers put their protest on record. The protest, as drawn up, contained five or six reasons of objection. The fifth reason ran in the following words:—Dissentient, because the recent prosecutions have been conducted in a manner which deprives them of all that moral weight which belongs to the due administration of justice.Some of the dissentient Peers signed the Protest for one, two, or three reasons; but the Lord Lieutenant was so taken by the whole proceeding, that his name appeared the second on the list; and the world was given to understand that it was for all the assigned reasons (for all without exception) that the signature of "Clarendon" had been attached. He had now considered this transaction in the same aspect as that in which that which was deemed to be a similar transaction was considered in 1844 by those who were now Her Majesty's Ministers; but he admitted that be should have but slight claims on the attention of the House, and could allege but trivial reasons 676 in favour of the appointment of the Committee for which he was applying, if he had no better grounds on which to base his application than such as were furnished by the inconsistent and very contradictory conduct of those who had occupied the Treasury bench. Was there nothing in the present condition of Ireland to warn that House against doing anything to induce the people of that country to believe that the laws and institutions of England, which were given to them as a blessing and a boon, were not to be administered honestly and impartially, but that, on the contrary, justice was to be distorted by fraud and contrivance? Was there nothing in the present condition of Ireland which rendered it unwise and impolitic that the people of that country should be taught to believe that a man was not to get a fair trial under the laws of England; but that, on the contrary, the prosecutor was to be at liberty to select men to try a prisoner, not because they were impartial or respectable, but because of their decided and well-known aversion to his opinions? It had been asserted that the men selected to serve on the jury which tried Mitchel, had been so selected because of their wealth and respectability. Anything more incorrect had never been alleged, The foreman of that jury, so distinguished for its wealth and superior respectability, was a bankrupt in the city of Dublin within the last two or three years. Others of the jury had also been bankrupts or insolvents; and yet those were the men, to make way for whom men of well-known wealth, and whose respectability was true, genuine, and undoubted, were set aside, and contemptuously rejected. Was there any reason why the Government should thus tamper with the affections of the Irish people? The noble Lord now at the head of the Government saw, when in opposition, visions of plenty and unfailing sources of great prosperity for Irelond, which to realise and to make productive needed nothing but his advent to power. Waste lands became fertile valleys to his glowing imagination, and everything promised peace, plenty, and prosperity. The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Shell), in powerful and commanding language, and with an eloquence which no one in that House but himself could have displayed, pointed out how the fertile resources of far distant colonies might be made subservient to the requirements of this country and of her poorer sister across the 677 Channel. Other hon. Gentlemen now in the Government drew pictures equally glowing. They all descanted on their peculiar hobbies; but every one of them, from the highest to the lowest, in both Houses of Parliament, stated, over and over again, that unless some settlement with respect to the Catholic clergy in Ireland were speedily achieved, there could be no peace in that land. The Session of 1847 passed over without witnessing any such measure. The Session of 1848 was about to expire, and no such measure had as yet been introduced. They had been sitting since November. The first thing that Government had called for was a Coercion Bill for Ireland. The Irish representatives naturally expressed their amazement, and protested against the infraction of so many solemn pledges, and the violation of so many glorious promises. They were told to keep themselves quiet, and that all would be right in February. The noble Lord (Lord John Russell) treated the House to a summary of the great remedial measures which it was in the contemplation of the Government to introduce. One of those measures was a Bill to facilitate the sale of encumbered estates. Of that measure he would not now speak in detail; but he had his own opinion of it, and did not think that in a country where five millions' worth of property was on sale, and could not find a purchaser, any great good would result from throwing ten millions more into the market. The next remedial measure that was promised was one for the improvement of the laws relating to landlords and ton-ants. What had become of it? Then they were to have had a Bill to improve the grand-jury system, which they were told was a pest, a nuisance, and a scourge; but no such measure had as yet, that he was aware of, been laid upon the table. What were the great remedial measures, he should like to know, which the Government had ill their contemplation in the year 1846? Where were they? What had become of them? When the noble Lord was out of office, he had nothing but large schemes. Nothing moderate or small would do for him. He would have nothing that was not a large and comprehensive scheme. But at length an eventful period in the history of the noble Lord's party arrived. He alluded to the latter end of 1845, when the right hon. Gentlemen opposite were not able to form an Administration. The right hon. 678 Baronet the Member for Tamworth again came into office; and then, as of course, no one would attribute to the noble Lord's party any motive for seeking for office, except a desire for the advantage of the country, the noble Lord came down on the 22nd of January, 1846, and said—I certainly had formed a great and comprehensive scheme to lay the foundation of a lasting peace in Ireland. I certainly did entertain this dream, and it is on that account only that I regret I had not been able to form an Administration.Surely, at the end of 1848, after two Coercion Bills, and another to be introduced before twelve hours passed by, he had a right to ask where was this great comprehensive scheme? And now, having stated these facts, and having made this appeal to the House, he would again ask them not to send the Irish representatives back to their constituents, without, in the words of the address of 1834, and of the reply from the Crown to that address, enabling them to say that they were "willing to redress grievances, and to examine into well-founded complaints." He would ask, was not the present a time, not for great comprehensive schemes, but for an inquiry demanded by justice? The warning had often been given in that House that the time might come when they should find it necessary to look to Ireland. The noble Lord had often reverted to the convulsions that might take place in Europe from any change in the Government of Franco. At the present time, when that change had taken place—when republics were springing into existence around them—when war was in the south of Europe, and when peace was scarcely established in the north—he asked, might not the moment be near when it would be advisable to rally round the Throne every portion of Her Majesty's subjects? He would ask them to show to Irishmen that they were ready to do justice; and he would say for all classes of his countrymen that they would find their valour and loyalty as conspicuous as it had always been in times gone by. He had brought the question forward in this spirit, because he was anxious to conciliate the Irish people. ["Hear!"] That sneer, he thought, but ill became men who for years had been in connivance with others, lashing the people of Ireland into the state of discontent of which they now complained. It ill became those who had encouraged, when out of power, every 679 species of agitation in Ireland, and who had continued their connivance with the parties who were engaged in that agitation, after their accession to office he had brought forward this Motion, he would repeat, from an anxiety to conciliate the people of Ireland, and to enable them to recover the vantage ground from which they had themselves retired; as he believed that if they granted this inquiry they would give an assurance to the people of Ireland that all their promises had not been pretences, but that they were really anxious for the welfare of that country.
§ SIR Gr. GREY
The hon. Gentleman stated that he addressed the House with much hesitation as to the prudence or expediency, under existing circumstances, of bringing forward this Motion. However, after having deliberately considered whether he would bring it forward or not, he had determined that it was his duty to bring it under the notice of the House; but in arriving at that determination, he had prescribed to himself—he intimated—the solemn duty and obligation of keeping strictly to the point, and of showing the House whatever might be the tone of his speeches made at different periods out of the House—whatever might be the tone and character of the few speeches he had made in the House since he had been a Member of it, that at all events to-night the House should see that he could keep within the bounds of moderation, and that he was only actuated by a pure love of justice, and a desire to establish the fair and impartial administration of justice. Therefore, the hon. Member was to abstain from every topic not necessarily connected with the point he had to establish, and the Motion he had to submit to the House. I appeal to the House as to how far the hon. Gentleman has kept that promise, in the latter part of his speech at least. I have, perhaps, no right to complain of this. Belonging to a Government which has failed to recognise the merits of the hon. Member, I probably should not be surprised at hearing from him a violent party speech, most unfairly impugning the conduct of the Government during the time they have been in office; though the hon. Gentleman seems to be forgetful of the time which this House spent (while the hon. Gentleman was making speeches at public meetings in Ireland) hi passing Acts calculated to mitigate the severity of one of the most unparalleled 680 visitations of distress, postponing discussions respecting popular rights and the extension of the franchise, to the work of feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, and rescuing from starvation and death the fellow-countrymen of the hon. Gentleman, whom he has deluded with the phantom of repeal. I will not now enter into that wide question which has been opened, and which may more properly be discussed on the Motion of the hon. Member for Rochdale; but I will content myself with saying that the Government will not be deterred, so long as they have the honour of holding office, from discharging their duty to their country, and from taking those measures on their own responsibility which the law authorises them to take, or in proposing to Parliament to grant additional powers for the purpose of maintaining the peace and security of Ireland, and of every part of this great empire, by any taunts of the hon. Gentleman, who, in 1841, was an ardent repealer, and admirer of the late Mr. O'Connell—who, at that time spoke of the Melbourne Government as the most paternal Government, and lauded it with his eloquence—who, in 1844, wrote a pamphlet just as laudatory of the Government of Lord De Grey—and who, if I am not misinformed, since he has taken his seat in this House, and while a petition was pending against his return, gave the Government reason to suppose that he would not be among their opponents, if they used their influence to have that petition withdrawn. [Mr. KEOGH denied the truth of that statement.] If the hon. Member denies the truth of the statement, I must withdraw it. [M. KEOGH: I repudiate all the statements of the right hon. Baronet excepting that referring to the pamphlet which has been alluded to.] I refer to an election dinner given to Mr. Dillon Browne, at which I find that a Mr. William Keogh was present. At that dinner the whole of the persons shouted out "Dillon Browne and Repeal," and the greatest enthusiasm was evinced in favour of "Repeal." It is on this evidence that I supposed the hon. Gentleman to be a repealer. And when the health of Mr. O'Connell was proposed, Mr. W. Keogh was called upon to respond to the toast; and that gentleman, after speaking in the strongest terms of Mr. O'Connell, and avowing his approbation of the course of that gentleman, and also expressing himself most enthusiastically for repeal, said— 681You are fighting for English constitutional liberty led on by O'Connell, and under the most paternal Government I have ever seen, the Government over which Lord Melbourne presides.If the hon. Gentleman denies his identity as the same Mr. W. Keogh, then I have nothing to say upon that point. And I would then refer to a pamphlet called Ireland under Lord, De Grey, published in 1844, which has always been attributed to the hot). Gentleman, and I believe has not been repudiated by him, in which he warmly approved of the Administration of Lord Do Grey. But I will repeat that the Government will not be deterred by the taunts of the hon. Gentleman from proposing to Parliament those measures which they think necessary for that country. I come now to the case the hon. Gentleman has laid before the House, avoiding all other topics; and I can assure the hon. Gentleman that I entirely concur with him in the opinion he has expressed of the importance of securing a fair and impartial administration of justice; but I confess I should be sorry to be tried by the hon. and learned Gentleman, if I may judge of his fairness by the extracts he has made from Hansard, which he has so diligently studied, although he has been so short a time a Member of this House. I will follow the hon. Gentleman in the course he has taken, although he reversed the order of the trials, thinking, perhaps, that the trial of Mr. Mitchel was a stronger case than either of the other two. The hon. Gentleman first referred to the conduct of the sheriff in striking the jury. I do not at all mean to say that anything was done by the sheriff inconsistent with the law, or the duty he had to perform. I am merely dealing with the case as connected with the Government; and have to consider how far the Government is affected by this charge. The hon. and learned Gentleman, who spoke as a lawyer, or rather as an advocate, should have said what is the power which the Government have of selecting the sheriff. The hon. and learned Gentleman must know that the Government have not that power. [Mr. KEOGH: They have for Dublin.] I understand the practice to be, for the Chief Justice to return the names of three gentlemen, and, out of those three, one is chosen to serve. But the hon. and learned Gentleman Impugned the conduct of the sheriff; but, in doing so, he failed to establish the charge against him, of having made an unfair and partial selection of 682 the jury list, in order to obtain the conviction of Mitchel. This question was raised by the challenge of the array; that challenge was made in the way pointed out by law, and a tribunal was appointed by the court legally to try the question. It was tried; and now the hon. and learned Gentleman asks us to sot aside the verdict that was returned, and to decide that the sheriff acted with unfairness. Then the hon. and learned Gentleman said, that the brother of Mr. Monahan was away, and therefore there was no opportunity of examining him upon the Question. That point was also raised in the court, and the court not only decided on evidence that there was ample time to have served that gentleman with notice, and dismissed the charge that he kept out of the way to prevent such service, but said that they believed the com-plaint was made for the purpose of delay. But, did the sheriff in the case do anything not authorised by law? He would ask the hon. and learned Gentleman whether a great portion of his remarks were not an attack upon the law rather than upon the practice, and whether the sheriff was not bound to return a certain number from the larger list, out of which the jury should be selected? The hon. and learned Gentleman said that in Frost's case another practice was adopted, that of an alphabetical list, and that an objection being made by the counsel for the prisoner of the departure from the usual practice, and the court appearing inclined to allow it, the Attorney General waved the point. But what does that show but that the usual practice being not an alphabetical arrangement, it gave rise to an objection; and that if the sheriff had in this case departed from the usual course, and made an alphabetical list, it would have been made the ground of an objection on the part of the prisoner's counsel. Then, said the hon. and learned Gentleman, the Attorney General having obtained this unfair selection, which had been prepared before the trial, should, in order to restore the balance, have left on the jury the Roman Catholics. I think that if the Attorney General had taken that course, he would have neglected his duty under the circumstances of the case. I will read to the House the instructions of the Attorney General to the Crown Solicitor, and will ask the House whether they are in accordance with the duty be had to perform, or whether it would have been better performed by his leaving on the list simply Roman Ca- 683 tholics because he found them there? The hon. and learned Gentleman said the instructions of Sir C. O'Loghlen required that the Crown Solicitor should not set aside any person on the ground of political opinions, and that the instructions of Lord Chancellor Brady were not to set aside any person on the ground of any political or religious opinions, and that the Crown Solicitor should he able to state the grounds upon which any person was set aside. But those instructions were issued for ordinary trials, and were justly so considered by Mr. Monahan; and his instructions to Mr. Kemmis, the Crown Solicitor, were these:—'"The Queen v. Mitchel.' Dear Sir—In answer to your letter requiring my instructions relative to the course to be pursued by you in setting aside jurors on the part of the Crown in this case, I beg to say it is not, and never was, my wish or intention that any juror should be set aside on account of his religious opinions. But with respect to the propriety of setting aside jurors on account of their political opinions, I do not think that the instructions given on the subject by previous law officers were ever intended to apply to a case like the present, in which a party is to be tried for a political offence, and is openly supported and countenanced by certain political associations. I have, therefore, no hesitation in saying that in the present case you should set aside on the part of the Crown, without regard to their religious opinions, all persons whom, from the inquiries you have made, and the information you have received, you find to entertain those peculiar political opinions avowed by the accused, and the associations by which he is supported; and, having regard to the extraordinary proceedings which have been had recourse to in order to intimidate the jury, I think you should also set aside such persons as, from their position, occupation, and circumstances, would be likely, by such intimidation, to be deterred from a fair and conscientious discharge of their duty as jurors. All that I wish for is a fair, impartial, and unbiassed jury; and, in my opinion, to allow any not coming within this description to be sworn would be to defeat the administration of the law, and be totally inconsistent with the true principle of trial by jury, which is, that the juror should stand indifferent between the Crown and the prisoner.This is my answer to the charge brought against the Roman Catholic Attorney General when he is attacked for not retaining the whole of the Roman Catholics upon the jury. [Mr. KEOGH: NO, no!] Perhaps the hon. and learned Gentleman is not conscious of what he said at the moment; but I understood him to say the whole of the Roman Catholics. But I would ask the hon. and learned Gentleman, whether, if he had held the office of Attorney General, he would have dissented from the terms of that letter, and would have altered one word of those instructions of Mr. Monahan? 684 It is a notorious fact that jurors in Ireland have been subjected to a species of persecution for venturing faithfully to discharge their duty. It was to save Mr. Campbell from becoming an object of persecution that he was set aside. Mr. Campbell was a Catholic and a grocer; and it was apprehended that he would be ruined in his business if he were on the jury, and ventured to give a verdict for the Crown. If the House will only bear in mind the peculiar circumstances under which the trials took place, I am sure it will not be disposed to concur in the censure which the hon. and learned Member has cast upon the Attorney General for Ireland. The hon. Member stated that eighteen Catholics had been set aside; but he ought to have added that twenty-one Protestants were also set aside. The hon. and learned Member referred to ten persons who, he said, ought to have been retained on the jury in Mitchel's case; but I know that with respect to six of those gentlemen, they formed part of a list in the possession of the prisoner's solicitor to be retained in the panel, because, I presume, they were supposed to be favourable to him. That was the reason why they were set aside, and not because they were Catholics, for recollect, Mr. Mitchel himself was a Protestant. It was not true that the Crown exercised the right of peremptory challenge. The prisoner could exercise the right of peremptory challenge in twenty cases, but the Crown could not have recourse to it in one; the Crown could challenge only on cause assigned. I say, then, that in the circumstances of the case the Attorney General would not have discharged the duties of his office fairly if he had pursued the course which the hon. and learned Gentleman recommends. In Mr. O'Brien's case also the traverser was a Protestant; and, therefore, no religious question was involved in the setting aside of Catholics. I will read to the House a statement drawn up by the Attorney General for Ireland, which will place the House in possession of the principles on which he acted. The statement was addressed to the Lord Lieutenant, and is as follows:—I do not believe that a single person was struck off the list of jurymen on account of his religious opinions. It is unnecessary for me, being a Roman Catholic, to assure your Excellency, that I could have no desire to exclude from juries persons against whom there existed no objection but that they were of the same religious persuasion as myself. It was in consequence of Mr. Kemmis's determination not to exclude any 685 Roman Catholic to whom no political objection existed, that he allowed the name of Mr. Fitzgerald to remain on the list, because he was a Roman Catholic; and he had not obtained any information leading him to believe that his political opinions coincided with those of the traversers. It is generally understood that Mr. Fitzgerald is one of the two who held out for the acquittal of Mr. O'Brien, the other being of similar politics, but a member of the Established Church. I believe, shortly after the trial, Mr. Fitzgerald attended a repeal meeting in Conciliation-hall, and took very great credit to himself for the course he pursued on the jury, Another thing which has, I understand, attracted observation, is that in forming the list of 48, some most respectable persons, magistrates—for instance, Mr. Roe—were objected to on the part of the Crown; while others, to whom a similar objection existed were allowed to remain in. This occurred in this way:—I was very anxious that there should be no danger of a postponement of the trial in consequence of nut having a full attendance of qualified jurors, and accordingly instructed Mr. Kemmis to object to all persons not legally qualified to serve, as other-wise an objection would probably be made by the traversers at the trial. In pursuance of those instructions, when the name of Mr. Howe, and, I believe, some others, were drawn, they were objected to by Mr. Kemmis. The counsel or solicitor who attended for the traversers admitted the existence of the objection, and the names were not put on the list. In a few minutes after the names of others similarly circumstanced were drawn, and a similar objection made, when the counsel for the traversers refused to admit the existence of the objection, though it was notorious, but beyond strict legal proof; this not being forthcoming, the person, though legally disqualified, was allowed to remain on the list of 48, and was afterwards struck off when reducing the list from 48 to 21. As it is probable some observations may be made as to the right exercised by the Crown of setting aside juries in the case of the 'Queen v. Mitchel,' I take the liberty of enclosing to your Excellency a copy of my instructions to the Crown Solicitor.I have also a letter from Mr. Kemmis, the Crown Solicitor, in which he declares that he acted in strict accordance with the instructions given by the Attorney General. I will now proceed to notice the articles of indictment which the hon. and learned Member has preferred against myself. I anticipated that the hon. and learned Gentleman would refer to a speech which I delivered in 1841; and before this discussion commenced I went up to the library to look at it, and I found a passage marked with ink, probably by the hon. and learned Member himself. As I said before, I should be sorry to trust the hon. and learned Gentleman as an impartial judge, though I do not deny that he is a zealous advocate. The hon. and learned Gentleman, however, has not been very scrupulous in selecting extracts from the speech delivered by me on a former occasion to which he 686 has referred. On looking back to that speech, there is not a word which I would net utter in the position I now occupy. I then held precisely the same opinion which I hold now, and which I then stated, that, commencing at the point at which the Crown Solicitor began to strike the juries, he could not, in the discharge of the duty imposed upon him, have taken any other course than that which he pursued. But the hon. and learned Gentleman kept that fact back. I am not surprised at that, because I know he is a skilful advocate; but I must say that I have a much greater opinion of his skill and talent than I have of his fairness and impartiality in conducting his case. In the speech to which the hon. and learned Gentleman has referred, I said, with regard to the striking of the jury—The right hon. Gentleman, feeling that the pure administration of justice was a subject upon which this House and the people of this country were most deeply and properly sensitive—feeling the force of the observations which have been made, both within the walls of the House and out of doors, upon certain parts of the proceedings in the late trials in Ireland, addressed himself first to the defence of the Government in reference to the exclusion of Roman Catholics from the jury by which the traversers in the Court of Queen's Bench were tried. Upon that subject I am bound to say, taking up the question at the point where the Crown Solicitor attended to strike the jury, and placing implicit reliance on the statement of the right hon. Baronet, I am not prepared to assert that the Crown Solicitor could have adopted my other course than that which he took. In expressing this opinion, I say nothing at present of the policy of the Government in instituting prosecutions which necessarily involved such a result.I do not wish to reopen the question with regard to the policy of those prosecutions, as no observation has been made on the subject by the hon. and learned Gentle-man. I then proceeded—But if, as appears to have been admitted, eight out of ten Catholics were members of the Repeal Association, and of the remaining two, one, although not a member, was proved to have signed the requisition for a meeting—for so he had understood the right hon. Gentleman—[Sir J. GRAHAM: Was believed to have signed it, and net denied.] Believed and not denied, then, to have signed a requisition for calling one of those multitudinous meetings, the proceedings at which meeting were to furnish part of the evidence for the prosecution—I am bound to say that, with regard to these nine out of the ten Catholics, the Crown Solicitor would not have discharged his duty had he allowed them to remain upon the jury. With regard to the remaining one, the right hon. Gentleman has pledged his word that that person was believed to be a Protestant, but that, for reasons known to the Government, which they did not feel themselves called upon to dis- 687 close, he had been struck off, those reasons being irrespective of the question whether he was a Catholic or a Protestant.Those are passages which the hon. and learned Gentleman should not have suppressed. I would ask the House what they think of the conduct of an hon. Gentleman who, in the present critical state of Ireland, comes forward and makes charges with an litter disregard of fairness and impartiality? I ask the House whether, in defending the conduct of Mr. Monahan and Mr. Kemmis now, I am departing in the least from the opinions I expressed in 1844? The hon. and learned Gentleman, not knowing that I had the means of referring to the speech, endeavoured to induce the House to believe that on the occasion to which he has referred, I denounced the conduct of the Government, and accused the law officers of the Crown of having discharged their duty partially. I am not now prepared to follow the hon. and learned Gentleman into the wide field of debate as to the remedial measures which ought to he adopted for improving the condition of Ireland; and still less do I wish to anticipate the debate which may arise to-morrow on the Motion of my noble Friend (Lord J. Russell). The hon. and learned Gentleman has commented upon my noble Friend's absence, as if, in leaving the House, the noble Lord had intended to offer an insult to Ireland, and as if—instead of attending to the responsible duties of his office—the noble Lord was seeking his own pleasure and ease. Now, I can assure the House that my noble Friend was influenced by no feeling of this kind; but as I was aware that he had most important duties to perform, I told him that I would remain here, with other Members of the Government, and that I proposed to address the House after the hon. and learned Member for Athlone (Mr. Keogh). On that understanding, the noble Lord left the House; and I consider that the attack which has been made upon him is most ungenerous, most unjust, and most unfair. When the hon. and learned Gentleman has been longer a Member of this House, he will know that taunts like these, even when thrown out by a man of his versatility of genius, will not affect the character of my noble Friend, whose life is before the country, and whose character commands the respect of all, except the hon. and learned Gentleman. I have now, I believe, referred to all those facts with regard to which the hon. and learned Gentleman 688 seemed to be particularly excited. He himself holds Roman Catholic opinions, and he was anxious that Roman Catholics should have been retained upon the jury; but while I respect Mr. Monahan's attachment to the Roman Catholic faith, I honour him for not pandering to popular feeling by adopting the course which the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Keogh) would evidently have wished him to pursue. I shall oppose the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman. If he impugns the jury laws, which are applicable alike to England and to Ireland, let him bring in a Bill to amend those laws. I must say that, in my opinion, the hon. and learned Gentleman has entirely failed to establish any case which would justify the censure implied by this Motion upon the Attorney General for Ireland and the Government. I am ready, if the hon. and learned Gentleman pleases, to take upon myself personally the responsibility of the course which has been adopted; and I certainly think he has entirely failed to show that the jury did not act in a most impartial and unprejudiced manner, and that they did not do full justice between the Crown and the prisoner upon trial.
§ MR. KEOGH
, in explanation, said it was a marked characteristic of that House to hear impatiently the defence of Members who might be accused. A great charge, or rather great charges, had been brought against him by the right hon. Gentleman, He had made altogether three charges against him, for none of which had he presumed to give his authority. He had stated, without authority, that he (Mr. Keogh) had caused the Government to be informed that he would support them—
§ SIR G. GREY
No; what he said was, that pending the petition presented against the return of the hon. Member, he had not given Her Majesty's Government any reason to suppose they would find him an opponent, provided the petition were withdrawn. The hon. Gentleman had denied that statement; and he (Sir G. Grey) had stated he was bound to take the hon. Member's word.
§ MR. KEOGH
said, the right hon. Baronet had not stated that he (Mr. Keogh) led Her Majesty's Government directly or indirectly to believe he should give them his support if a petition against him were withdrawn. But he was glad he had now an opportunity of saying he had not given Her Majesty's Government any reason to believe he should not be opposed to them 689 if the petition against his return were withdrawn. So then now, in the place of a charge, there were only two refined negatives. He begged to ask the right hon. Gentleman why he (Mr. Keogh) should have held out any such expectation to Her Majesty's Government, having, as he had, fought his own election against a candidate who was pledged to the repeal of the Union? How could Her Majesty's Government have the power of withdrawing the petition? But he would now state some facts connected with the case, since the right hon. Baronet seemed so familiar with the repeal candidates and repeal petitions in Parliament. He (Mr. Keogh) had Friends in the House who he thought would repose confidence in the statements which he would make, and he would now tell the House, that having been opposed in his election by a repeal candidate, he had been offered, as he before stated, on the very hustings—he had been offered three different times, in the most solemn manner, that the repeal candidate should he withdrawn—he had been offered it by the Roman Catholic bishop, that the re-peal candidate should he withdrawn, if, even in private, he would say that he would favour the repeal of the Union. He refused, and he was fortunate enough to secure his election. He would next state the particulars to which the right hon. Baronet alluded. He would speak to some Friends of his on the other side of the House. He said that he was there fighting a battle against a repeal candidate; that he had been opposed to the last in a contested struggle because he would not flinch from his declared hostility to repeal; and he asked his Friends why he should he opposed in such a contest by the Government and the Government money; by the money of a Government which had declared its hostility to a repeal of the Union? And why did he say that, but because he was told that the petition against him was supported by the promise of money from the Government? He had stated that to his Friends on the other side of the House, and he was sure the House would agree with him in thinking that such conduct on the part of the Government was most inconsistent and most unfair. But directly, or indirectly, he had never held out any expectation of support to Her Majesty's Government in that House, except so far as he could conscientiously give it. But the petitions were not withdrawn. Her Majesty's Government had not withdrawn 690 the petitions. The right hon. Gentleman said he had no power to cause them to be withdrawn, and yet it was to Her Majesty's Government that he (Mr. Keogh) was to apply in order to have them withdrawn. But he said that the Government had the power, and the charge was a precise one, which he was going to make. It was, that a Member of Her Majesty's Government, the Under Secretary for the Colonies, had fomented, encouraged, and supported that petition against him. The hon. Gentleman looked quite incredulous—the hon. Gentleman who was rejected for the borough of Lambeth. The hon. Gentleman, after he had been rejected by Lambeth, sent a gentleman who was himself only twenty-four hours arrived from the colony of Newfoundland, where he had lately held the office of chief justice. He sent that learned gentleman along with the gentleman who had been his agent at the Lambeth election, to sec if he could, with any chance of success, contest the borough of which he (Mr. Keogh) was now the representative. The ex-chief justice of Newfoundland arrived with the hon. Gentleman's agent, and he alleged several things in favour of the hon. Gentleman; amongst others, he especially urged the large number of suffrages which he had received in Lambeth. However, he did not think it well finally to try his chance at the election, and the ex-chief justice and the election agent decamped almost as fast as they had arrived. What was his (Mr. Keogh's) surprise to find that of the petitions lodged against his return—for there were three—the ex chief justice had got up one signed by his (the chief justice's) father; and that whilst he was in daily communication with the right hon. Baronet himself, he used to come into the office to fight the petition, which he (Mr. Keogh) succeeded in defeating. The feeling in the borough of Athlone having, however, as he had stated in Kinsale, become the object of the hon. Gentleman's attention—
§ MR. SPEAKER
The indulgence of the House in hearing the hon. Gentleman is confined to an explanation in reply to any personal attack made upon him.
§ MR. KEOGH
was only making statements which he thought were connected with the charges which the right hon. Gentleman had made against him. He next 691 came to the second charge made against him by the right hon. Gentleman, who had charged him with having published a pamphlet in 1843 or 1844. He did not know whether it was the custom of hon. Members of that House to plead guilty to any charge of having published anonymous pamphlets which might be made against them; but if it were, he had no hesitation in saying he was ready to own any that he had published. But the right hon. Baronet seemed not to have made much of it; for although he (Mr. Keogh) was ready to avow the authorship, the right hon. Gentleman had not read a single extract from it. The right hon. Gentleman had said that as he (Mr. Keogh) was a lawyer, he might possibly plead the Statute of Limitations to what he had said in 1841; but he scarcely thought Her Majesty's Government could plead it as against what they had done in 1844. The right hon. Gentleman had accused him of suppressing passages and portions of his speeches; but the House had now heard both parties, and could judge between them whether the charge was a fair one. But where were the statements made by him which would support the charge made against him by the right hon. Gentleman?…. QuisnamDelator? Quibus indiciis? Quo teste probavit?Where was the paper? Who was the authority? Let the right hon. Gentleman name the paper. He had read a printed thing which he called a report of a speech made by him (Mr. Keogh) in 1841. Where was the passage to be found? [Sir G. GREY: It was put into my hands only about five minutes before I got up.] When was it published? [Sir G. GREY: Before the general election in 1841.] He utterly denied, in the most solemn manner, that either directly or indirectly, in youth or in more advanced years, he had ever declared or uttered an opinion in favour of the repeal of the Union. And he would tell the House how he could prove it. From the time when he was a student in the University of Dublin—which was not so long ago—when they held their mimic debates in the Historical Society, he was always the strenuous opponent of the repeal of the Union; and he appealed to the hon. Member for Dundalk (Mr. Torrens M'Cullagh) to bear him out in his assertion that he was almost the only member of that society who was an opponent to the repeal. With regard to the dinner, he would explain the circumstances connected with it. Being 692 possessed of some small property in the county Mayo, he was down in the neighbourhood at the time; he found the late Sir William Brabazon, with whom he was perfectly acquainted; and a dinner was given to Sir William Brabazon, then Whig Member for Mayo, and to that dinner he was asked, and to that dinner he went. He recollected this most distinctly, that neither by word, act, or deed, did he assent to anything connected with the repeal of the Union; that, called as a young barrister to reply to the health of O'Connell, he spoke of him in terms of warm admiration as a person who had emancipated him as a Roman Catholic; but he could recollect that he guarded himself against using any expression which would imply a direct assent to the doctrine of the repeal of the Union; and he defied any hon. Gentleman to read a passage from the paper assenting to the repeal of the legislative Union. Whether the House would consider that as a satisfactory explanation of the accidents of seven years to a man just then entering on the world, and whose opinions were then as formed on the repeal of the Union as those of any Gentleman, it was for the House to decide; but he had never paltered with the question in a double sense—he had never given cheques for the support of the seat of repeal candidates, or, as a Cabinet Minister, forwarded to them the money which was to pay the price of their conversion.
§ MR. HAWES
A very unexpected, a most unjustifiable, and perfectly unfounded personal attack has been made upon me by the hon. and learned Gentleman. I am here to meet that most unexpected attack upon mo, and to give it the most unequivocal denial. I will state the facts, just as they occurred to me, in reference to the borough of Athlone. Immediately after the Lambeth election, a gentleman to whom the hon. and learned Gentleman has referred, came to my house and told me there was a prospect of ray success at Athlone. I believe it is not at all an unnatural thing that a defeated candidate should receive such a communication. He told me there was a fair prospect of success at Athlone, and volunteered his services to go. I knew nothing of Athlone. I was not unwilling to seize any chance of obtaining a seat in the House, but I thought it a prudent precaution to send a friend in whom I had confidence. That friend went to the borough, and made a communication to me which led me decidedly to say, I was not 693 a candidate for the borough. Rut, now I come to the more serious part of this unfounded charge against me—that I fomented, or stirred up, or was in any way party to, or cognisant to, a petition got up against the hon. and learned Gentleman. I was no party, directly or indirectly, in any way, nor had I the smallest knowledge that any such petition was got up; and it was not till long afterwards I heard accidentally of the petition. I had no interest in it—I cared nothing about it; and I assure the hon. Gentleman, in the most unequivocal way, that I had no knowledge of, and was in no way a party to, the petition.
§ MR. C. ANSTEY
wished to recall the attention of the House to the subject immediately before it. The hon. Gentleman made several efforts to address the House without obtaining a hearing, and therefore moved that the House do now adjourn.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
had to express his regret at so much acrimony and personal feeling being displayed. He had a good deal of experience in public meetings, and deliberative assemblies, and he could not charge his memory with recollecting an occasion when the question under consideration was so widely departed from as on the present occasion. The hon. and learned Gentleman who introduced the Motion, stated that his object in doing so was to sot Her Majesty's Government right with the people of Ireland, and reinstate them in public confidence. But what degree of credit the hon. and learned Gentleman was entitled to when he made that assertion, he (Mr. Reynolds) would have the House to judge. Certainly his speech did not appear to him (Mr. Reynolds) to he calculated to improve their position. In the course of that speech, the hon. and learned Gentleman had appealed to him to verify his assertion as to the respectability of the Catholics who had been excluded from the juries of Mr. Smith O'Brien, of Mr. Meagher, and of Mr. Mitchel. As a citizen of Dublin, intimately acquainted with that community, he felt no hesitation in saying that those gentlemen of his creed who had been excluded from those juries were men collectively and individually most respectable. He believed that, in public and in private, their reputations would be found to be unblemished, and their characters unimpeached and unimpeachable. He (Mr. Reynolds), therefore, had always expressed his surprise that the Attorney General for Ireland, or whoever repre- 694 sented that functionary, thought it was his duty to exclude them from the juries on those State trials. He believed that foul play had been adopted in the selection of those juries; he had always stated so in public and in private; and he believed that a deep wound had been inflicted upon the administration of justice in Ireland by such selection. During the debate, he (Mr. Reynolds) had heard imputations thrown out, not against Roman Catholics, but men who, like himself, were sincere advocates for the restoration of the Irish people to the right of self-legislation; and was he to be told, in that House, that, because he was an advocate for the repeal of an Act of Parliament, be was not to be believed upon his oath? If they put forward such a doctrine as that, the people would despair of receiving justice at their hands. He therefore cautioned hon. Gentlemen against promulgating such doctrines; for they might drive the people to despair, and must then be prepared to take the consequeuces. With regard to the selection or packing of the juries, if ever there was a period when it should be an especial object to avoid any complaint on that head, this is the period. It appeared that the Government had unfortunately undertaken a system of wholesale prosecution—where it was to end, God could only know; but much as he (Mr. Reynolds) was opposed to the suspension of the constitution—strongly as he was opposed to Coercion Hills, whether they called them "Arms Dills," or "Felony Bills," or "A Bill for the Suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act," he would rather one and all of those Bills should be enacted, than be told that, as a Roman Catholic, he was not deserving of confidence, and that he was not fit to be believed upon his oath. They were told that the strongest bulwark of their liberty was the trial by jury; but he would he glad to know how they could get the people of Ireland to believe that doctrine if they sanctioned the packing or selection of juries? Reference had been made by the hon. and learned Gentleman to the former opinions of Gentlemen on the Treasury benches; he said they wrote so-and so on a certain day, and stated so-and-so on a certain day, and that they now turned their backs on the principles they had formerly professed. The hon. Gentleman accused denied the soft impeachment, and so the matter remained unsettled. The hon. and learned Gentleman said, he never was a repealer 695 —that, thank God! whatever false stops he might have taken, he had not fallen into that abyss—and had not advocated the restoration of the Irish Parliament. If the hon. and learned Gentleman had done so, it appeared to him that the hon. and learned Gentleman would not he one particle less respectable than he was. Reference had been made to a speech, which was said to be delivered by the hon. and learned Gentleman in the year 1841. But there was a mistake in the date—it appeared that the speech was delivered in the year 1840; he held in his hand an extract from that speech, and as it settled the question, the House would probably permit him to read it. It was taken from the Freeman's Journal, October 7, 1840, Lord Melbourne being then Prime Minister. The speech was delivered at a dinner given at Claremorris, and which was intended to compliment the then hon. Members for the county of Mayo, both of whom were pledged repealers—Sir W. Brabazon and Mr. Dillon Browne. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Athlone was present, and the toasts were as follow: "Her Majesty the Queen, Prince Albert, and the rest of the Royal Family resident in England"—that excluded the King of Hanover—" Her Majesty's Government—the Repeal of the Union—Daniel O'Connell." In the course of an eloquent speech delivered by Mr. Dillon Browne, he went on to propose, after several other toasts were given, "the health of Daniel O'Connell, Esq., M.P.;" and there having been loud calls for Mr. William Keogh, that gentleman, after being repeatedly called upon, addressed the assembly as follows:—I am as yet nearly a stranger to you, and must claim your kind indulgence. I have only within the last few hours arrived from a distant part of the country. I thank you for the great honour you have conferred on me in allowing my name for an instant to he associated with the great men of Ireland and of Europe. The compliment you have paid me is entirely unexpected, and shall be warmly remembered; at the same time my breast is full of the subject on which you have debated; and in common with every young man who chooses to enlist in the ranks of his fellow-countrymen, it beats high with hope. It is au honour to have my name associated with the great patriot who, after thirty years' exertion, is still followed with undeviating fidelity and undiminished love. I feel that nothing unworthy of his great name should be stated. Where shall I begin? We are fighting for English constitutional liberty, led on by O'Connell, and supported by the most paternal Government Ireland has ever seen—the Government presided over by Lord Melbourne.696 He (Mr. Reynolds) would be glad to know if that was not a speech sanctioning the repeal of the Union? The hon. Member had published a pamphlet in 1840, which contained very different opinions indeed from those expressed by him at present; and was as much opposed as possible to his present views, at least according to his own account. A court of justice in England had decided that the mode in which the trial of Mr. O'Connell had been conducted in Ireland was "a mockery, a delusion, and a snare;" but of all the acts which the Irish Government had committed, the late trial was the most unprecedented.
§ The House divided on the question that the House do adjourn:—Ayes 22; Noes 155: Majority 137.
§ [It seems sufficient to give the Ayes only on the Division.]
|List of the AYES.|
|Archdall, Capt.||Hudson, G.|
|Bateson, T.||Ingestre, Visct.|
|Bentinck, Lord G.||Keogh, W.|
|Chichester, Lord J. L.||O'Connor, F.|
|Christy, S.||Sadlier, J.|
|Devereux, J. T.||Scott, hon. F.|
|Dundas, G.||Scully, F.|
|Dunne, F. P.||Sullivan, F.|
|Fitzgerald, W. R. S.||Waddington, H. S.|
|Fox, R. M.|
|Gaskell, J. M.||Anstey, T. C.|
|Greene, J.||Taylor, T. E.|
§ Debate adjourned.
§ House adjourned at half-past Two o'clock.