HC Deb 03 April 1849 vol 104 cc229-79

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to be made to Question [26th March], "That the Bill be now read a second time;" and which Amendment was to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months." Question again proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question." Debate resumed.


said, he would not delay the House with many observations on the particular question on which the vote was that night to be taken. He regretted that at such a critical moment of the affairs of Ireland, when all acknowledged the necessity of considering those affairs coolly and calmly, the hon. Member for Dublin University (Mr. Napier) should have resuscitated party feelings that should have been let to slumber at such a time. He (Mr. O'Connell) would not follow this example, but would only remark that while he admitted that the people of Ulster had many excellent qualities, it should be remembered they had had peculiar advantages to make them more prosperous than the rest of Ireland; and he indignantly denied the justice of the comparison, so wantonly and unprovokingly drawn by the hon. and learned Member, between them and the poor suffering people of the south and west. The latter were not to be surpassed anywhere for their industry where they had the least opening for it; and the admirable and indeed sublime fortitude and patience they had shown under their terrible sufferings ought to have secured them against the imputations sought to be cast upon them. As to the question of loyalty, it was unworthy of hon. Gentlemen opposite to seek, for a passing purpose, to confound with disloyal practices the constitutional agitation of the legislative independence of Ireland, which had been stoutly advocated by the fathers of many among themselves. He would not make charges by way of retaliation; but would pass the matter by at that time, with simply reminding them that but a few nights previous the loyalty of the North was declared to hang upon so small a matter as a sixpence; and might be accordingly fairly estimated at that value. Upon the question which the House had to decide, namely, the rate in aid, he had not much more to say; but upon the plans which had been propounded to them in the course of the present discussion, he wished to make one or two observations. It was gratifying to every one connected with Ireland to see that so strong an interest in her welfare influenced the minds of men who were regarded in this country as the leaders of great political parties; and he was persuaded that he only echoed the general sentiment of the House when he expressed infinite pleasure at this. Whatever might be thought of the practical character of those plans, there could be no doubt of the sincerity with which they were brought forward; and he was grateful for the sympathy and good feeling which their authors manifested in discussing the condition of his country. But he must protest against the assertion of the noble Lord, that there would be no injustice inlaying upon Ireland an income tax or an increased excise duty, or a land tax, or any of those taxes which constituted the difference between the taxation of this country and of that. To place any such burdens upon the Irish people, would be not only morally but legally unjust. It would be illegal, because clearly inconsistent with the Act of Union. They might repeal the Act of Union if they would. If they were induced to do so, he should be very glad; but while it remained in force they had better beware how they infringed on any of its provisions. The Act of Union was a law with which they could not play fast and loose. As they had held to it to the disadvantage of Ireland, they must not get out of it when some good might accrue to that country from its provisions. He knew it was but too frequently the practice for English Members to get up in that House and talk as if Ireland had robbed this country. Now, without using so strong a term as "robbery," he should say that in stating that proposition, the word "England" ought to he substituted for "Ireland;" because, in the transactions between the two countries, England was the gainer, and Ireland the sufferer. At another time he should take occasion to prove this; and especially to meet the strange and, without meaning offence, he should say the absurd calculation of the hon. Member for Lancashire (Mr. Brown), who had talked of 215 millions being due by Ireland; a statement that quite proved that the hon. Member had not studied the facts of the case, nor the provisions and operation of the Act of Union, and the Act of 1816 for the consolidation of the exchequers. Such statements, totally opposed as they were to the facts of the case, had a very injurious effect, as they increased the ignorant prejudice already too much prevailing in England upon those subjects. It was unfair to speak thus at random, where the results might be disastrous, in stopping relief to the starving. It was also unfair to say that Ireland had not made efforts herself; when she had done so to an extraordinary extent, considering her wretched condition. What was the state of the case? Before the famine Ireland confessedly had not sufficient capital to carry on her ordinary trade such as it was. The famine took away from her not less than 12, 16, or perhaps 20 millions of capital; then came a heavy poor-law, which cost the country many hundreds of thousands; it was therefore most unfair to say that Ireland made no efforts for her own relief. It had been said that Ireland owed a heavy debt for her workhouses; but it was to be remembered that the poor-law in Ireland had been for a short time in operation; and there was, therefore, hardly time to do more than build those houses. Ireland was not the only country in debt for the cost of building workhouses. In England, where the poor-law had been for centuries in full operation, there was a debt of 900,000l due for workhouses. If England owed such a sum, was it any wonder that, under the present circumstances, Ireland should owe a sum of 1,300,000l.? As to a change of policy towards Ireland, if the hope of this country rested upon coercion Bills or upon poor-laws, that hope would end in utter failure; and he hoped that the progress of that failure would not continue to be accompanied by accusations against the Irish which they did not deserve. They had been blamed for their attachment to the potato; but it should be remembered that they had no choice: they continued to plant it as their only and last stake. And now with respect to the plan of the noble Lord, He told them that he would have all improvements rate-free for two years; he could scarcely do less, because no one would lay out money upon any improvement if he had no reason to expect a sufficiently long tenure to afford him a reasonable prospect of the return of his capital. The want of some principle of security or compensation for outlay of capital, whether that capital was in money, or in the labour of the peasant's hands, was at the bottom of some of the heaviest ills at present weighing upon Ireland; and while it was good to hold out the prospect of such security to the new improvers, there was no reason why it should not be given at once to the occupiers of land at the moment. A maximum for the poor-rate, and money for arterial drainage, and to extend a railway, made up the rest of the noble Lord's plan. The former would be a delusion in practice; the two latter were excellent, but were only subsidiary, not great leading measures. In the plan, then, of the noble Lord, he saw little hope. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire came next with his plan. He certainly was consistent in his dislike of what were termed comprehensive measures; for he had proposed nothing as a permanent remedy but the paltry device of lessening the area of taxation for poor relief. He had however suggested a good temporary expedient in place of the rate in aid, having said that the produce of income tax paid by Irish parties ought to be distinguished in the public accounts and credited to Ireland, to obviate the necessity of the Government proposal then in debate. He would suggest a supplemental source of revenue for temporary purposes. By a return just presented, it would be seen that they had been able to borrow 1,100,000l. from insurance offices on security of the Crown and quit rents, of which Ireland paid a large proportion; and the money thus borrowed had been spent in making a few streets in London. Now why not borrow on the same security, or at least on what was paid by Ireland, the sum now required for relief, or such portion of it as could not be got by the expedient suggested by the hon. Member for Bucks? The plan of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth did indeed deserve to be called large and comprehensive; others went peddling about with their little expedients and their stop-gaps, but he came forward and staked his great reputation upon a plan almost revolutionary, except that it was not lawless; but, greatly as he admired the abilities and the wisdom of the right hon. Gentleman, he still must take the liberty of saying there were some parts of that great scheme which did not appear to him to be quite distinct. The right hon. Baronet did not in all respects, though he did in some, follow the example of Lord Bacon's plan; he did not recommend the transfer of Irishmen to this country in lieu of Englishmen going to Ireland, though, doubtless, there were proprietors in the west of Ireland who would gladly exchange their estates in Connaught for land in any part of England. In another respect the right hon. Baronet did not follow the precedent of the time of James I.; he had no provisions about absenteeism, or about leases. He feared that the body of small proprietors which the right hon. Baronet proposed to create, would soon have their possessions swallowed up and absorbed in the larger estates. But however that might be, the two main difficulties would, he trusted, be explained away, namely, what provision would there be to prevent the increase of the evil of absenteeism, from the lands falling into the hands of English and Scotch purchasers who would not reside; and also what kind of security of tenure would be given. If long leases, or leases of any kind, were to be enacted, why not adopt that part of the plan at once, and thus stop the disastrous emigration of the farmer and yeomen class from Ireland, and induce them to lay out our savings on the soil, giving employment to the labouring population? He would not say one word as to the grand difficulty of the right hon. Baronet's plan, viz., where was the money to come from to work it out. The right hon. Gentleman was too sagacious not to have well considered that difficulty, and to be able to settle it satisfactorily with the Chancellor of the Exchequer; and between them both it should be left. He (Mr. J. O'Connell) feared that even this plan, large and bold as it was, would not roach the root of the evils of Ireland. That root lay in the deficiency of capital. Her exports and imports pretty well balanced each other; though at the same time it should be remarked that exports of food from a starving people were not a great proof of prosperity. But over and above these items, there was a clear outgoing without any species of return of any kind of not less than eight or nine millions, in absentee rents, interest on mortgages, uncredited taxation, surplus of revenue, and money payment for coals; and no country could prosper when such a drain of the vital fluid of the body politic, the money of the country, went away without return. Was it possible, under such circumstances, that that country could be in a prosperous state? It was the opinion of the party with which he acted that the best way of remedying these evils was to give to the landowners of Ireland an inducement to live upon their property by establishing a home legislature in that country. He believed that the miseries and distress which Ireland was suffering were tending to bring about that result. In the meantime, however, and as present measures, it might be well to adopt a portion of the different plans which had been submitted to the House. He thought they might adopt the suggestions of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire as to Irish-paid income tax, and those of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, with respect to the advance of capital to Ireland for drainage and railways. He (Mr. O'Connell) would also suggest that if the leading Members connected with leading parties in that House were to visit Ireland during the recess; if a Committee formed of such Members were to go; and the recess to be extended a few weeks to enable them personally to visit the distressed districts of that unhappy country, the best and happiest results would ensue to the subsequent legislation of that House and to the welfare of Ireland.


observed, that the Irish people knew from bitter experience that they had but little chance of obtaining any efficient relief from the noble Lord at the head of the Government, and Her Majesty's present advisers. They had not forgotten that three years ago, when the famine was at its worst, the Government had refused to adopt those measures which were pressed upon them as best calculated to meet the evil. They were entreated to stop distillation from grain—a process by which the food of a starving people was destroyed, but they refused; and, though repeatedly urged to open the ports, they long delayed, and consented only when such a measure was too late to be of effectual service. Why was it left to the Americans to freight their vessels of war and merchant ships with food for the famishing people of Ireland? He considered that every ship in Her Majesty's Navy should have been employed upon that service until adequate relief had been afforded. The measure now proposed by the noble Lord had been condemned by the emissaries of the Government in Ireland who had been brought forward to give their testimony in its favour. An hon. Gentleman had stated that he would support this Bill, in order to remove from Ireland the reproach of national mendicancy. He (Mr. Lawless) did not think the measures would have that effect; and, for his own part, he preferred national mendicancy to national robbery. He considered that this Bill was founded on the rankest injustice. If it were just, so also was the calling of the pickpocket—for he only levied a "rate in aid." He contended that the Government were bound to advance money to the very last farthing in the Exchequer, in order to save the lives of the people; and, if they levied a tax, let it be equally imposed upon every species of Irish property, and let them call upon absentees for a double proportion. The noble Lord at the head of the Government sat as quietly while the people of Ireland were starving, as if everything in that country was going on most prosperously. Indeed, the noble Lord was worse than Nero. He thought the right hon. Member for Tamworth deserved their thanks for the suggestions he had made; but he thought that right hon. Gentleman, if he saw his way clearly on this important subject, while everyone else was roaming in darkness, incurred great responsibility in delaying for a single day to bring forward some specific measure.


said, the hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. Bright) had stated in his able speech, that this was a question between life and money; but if he (Lord C. Hamilton) entertained that opinion, he would not have offered his opposition to the proposal of the Government. But that was not a just description of the case. His constituents objected to this Bill, not on account of the pecuniary burden it would impose upon them, but on account of the principle upon which the rate in aid was based. They considered that such a rate ought to apply equally to every species of Irish property, and that it ought not to he thrown exclusively upon the agricultural interest, which was already on the verge of ruin. He must be excused if he adverted more fully to the speech of that hon. Member, as it appeared to him to be the only one that had as yet contained one cogent argument in favour of the rate in aid, and that argument was of such a nature that he hoped it would ensure the rejection of the proposition by the House. The hon. Member had said that he would be satisfied to vote in favour of this Bill if it would produce the single result of making Ulster a portion of Ireland. He did not exactly know what the hon. Gentleman meant by that expression; but considerable misunderstanding seemed to exist with reference to the state of Leister as compared with the rest of Ireland. There was a general impression that Ulster was highly favoured in respect of wealth, climate, and soil; and that that province possessed natural advantages which were denied to other parts of Ireland. This was a total mistake. He found that, taking the proportion between the population and valuation, Ulster stood below the provinces of Munster and Leinster. The proportions, according to the poor-rate valuation, were—in Leinster, 2l. 6s. per head upon the whole population; in Munster, 1l. 11s.; and in Ulster, 1l 8s. Munster also possessed decided advantages over Ulster with regard to soil, climate, the facilities afforded by the seacoast for fisheries and mercantile purposes, and the residence of the landed proprietors. Besides this, in Ulster the valuation was higher than in the west and south; so that if he were to bring down the valuation to the same level, the disproportion would be much greater. If there were any difference at all, it was simply, he believed, owing to the Ulster people being somewhat more thrifty and economical, mere determined and persevering, and better fitted to look after their own affairs. There was only one source of revenue in Ulster which did not exist in Munster—namely, the linen trade; and the advantage of that was compensated for by the mining operations in Munster. If this were so, then the expression of the hon. Member for Manchester, that he would make Ulster Ireland, could only mean that he would bring down that province from the relative state which, by the industry and self-reliance of the people, their energy and perseverance, and their determined resolve not to rely upon the exchequer of the country, but on their own exertions, had enabled it to maintain, to the comparative distress and want which prevailed in other provinces. If the desire were to discourage capital, and injuriously to interfere with those who were endeavouring to stimulate industry, a more certain and unstates-manlike mode of accomplishing it there could not be than this rate in aid. The hopes and aspirations in which he (Lord C. Hamilton) indulged, were not to make Ulster Ireland, but to raise up the remaining portions of Ireland to the level of Ulster; therefore, naturally, his vote would differ from the hon. Member's. The proposal of Government could not be justified on the ground of urgency; because there were many other ways in which this or a greater sum could be raised from Ireland by the ingenuity of a finance Minister. With respect to the money, he regarded the amount which was sought to be extracted from Ireland as perfectly insignificant compared with the mischievous principle which the Government would establish. The anxiety of the Government might clearly be seen to get in the narrow edge of the wedge, in order to establish the principle. The hon. Member for Manchester expressed the opinion that there would not have been so much opposition to this measure, had not the landlords of the north stimulated it. The hon. Gentleman, no doubt, believed that to be the fact; judging, probably, from a case recently detailed in the public papers, that gentlemen did sometimes stimulate opposition to a rate, whether a church rate or any other. But in the case of the opposition in Ulster, no stimulating influence was required Indeed, he (Lord C. Hamilton) himself was the person stimulated, as having been too indifferent to the subject. The hon. Member for Manchchester had made some observations upon the expense which had been thrown upon two or three great emporiums of wealth and employment in this country for the support of the Irish poor who had resorted thither. Not very long since, when the question of free trade was before the House, some hon. Members on that side of the House had made eloquent and pathetic appeals on behalf of the English labourers; and the hon. Member for Manchester then protested against any interference with the freedom of labour. What, then, attracted these unfortunate beings to Glasgow, and other places in this country, but the prospect of employment? He was therefore astonished that the hon. Member for Manchester should have adverted to this circumstance as if it were a national grievance. He was surprised that one who professed such liberal opinions should have pried so curiously into the rate books of different towns in order to discover how many thousands of pounds were expended on the Irish poor, totally forgetting that while a certain number of paupers came from Ireland into Great Britain, how many wealthy owners of property in Ireland spent enormous sums in this country. Let the hon. Member strike the balance in this matter, and see whether it did not enormously preponderate in favour of England. Ireland would be happy to receive back every one of its paupers if it were at the same time allowed to take back every rich proprietor belonging to it. London was the seat of the Court and the Senate: that caused a great expenditure of Irish money there; and every shilling so drawn tended to pauperise Ireland. But for England to send back the poor and keep the rich, was not consistent with the generosity and justice which were features in the English character. But the hon. Gentleman would reverse the maxim of Scripture; he would fill the rich with good things, while the poor he sent empty away. The justice or liberality of this was not discernible. Unless this country choose to adopt the passport system as regarded Ireland, the free passage of its inhabitants could not be prevented. Perhaps the hon. Member fancied that there existed a practice of sending paupers to England from Ireland. Such a proposition might arise in the mind of one accustomed to the English process of sending Irish paupers back to their country; but in Ireland, where there was no law of settlement, and consequently no power of removal, such an idea was a total delusion. There was no law or fund for such a purpose; and unless he supposed that philanthropic persons subscribed for the purpose, in order to relieve the rates, it could not be done. He was a chairman of a board of guardians near Londonderry, and had never heard of such a practice. If the Union was a reality, so long as the Union lasted, the free transit of Her Majesty's subjects from one part of the kingdom to another must he allowed; it was a consequence of the Union. If they did not like the terms of the Union, let them get rid of it; but do not let them make the natural result of the Union the basis of taunts on an occasion like this. The Union, it would appear, was greatly desired by England, The despatches, recently published, of a celebrated English statesman showed that England resorted to every means within her power to accomplish that Union. It was said, she even bribed and bought—to bring about that Union. The facts were too notorious to be questioned now. England took Ireland for better or worse; and if England were now dissatisfied with the terms, let an endeavour be made to alter them by legislation, but let not Ireland be reproached for the paturai or inevitable consequences of an act which England desired and accomplished. It was not his intention to advert at any length to the comprehensive scheme of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, whom he regretted not to see present; but there was one point upon which he would make a remark. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of the non-payment of certain loans made for the construction of workhouses in Ireland, and he allowed himself to make use of the word repudiate. He spoke as if Ireland had repudiated the debt, and expressed his regret that it should be so, because such conduct tended to alienate the public mind from Ireland. He (Lord C. Hamilton) did not believe the term repudiate was justified by the circumstances. It was true, that owing to the liberal forbearance of those who, at any moment they chose, could have exercised the power of enforcing the debt, this payment had not been made; but had it been really repudiated, that power would soon have been brought to bear. He trusted the Chancellor of the Exchequer would bear him out in the statement that he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had not met in his experience anything to justify the term "repudiation. "[The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER: Hear, hear!] Since that period, large loans had been lent to the same parties, no reference being made to any supposed dishonesty on their part; and he thought he had established that nothing had occurred like repudiation; although there might have been some excuse even for repudiation, seeing that the workhouses were undertaken under the idea that the workhouse test would be maintained, and seeing how the repeated remonstrances of the local guardians against the mismanagement evinced in the erection of the workhouses had been continually neglected, until the Government issued a Commission of Inquiry, which reported that the complaints were well founded, some amount being in consequence of that report taken off the loan. The sum thus deducted, owing to Mr. Pennethorne's award, was 50,000l.; but no one conversant with building would believe that such a sum could cover the real damage and loss sustained. The award was made three years after the evils complained of were rectified: all the loss consequent on change of plans, repair of bad work, substitution of new materials, and other improvements ordered by the guardians, and paid for out of extra funds, was excluded from this award. He would now state why he could not understand either the justice or policy of the rate in aid. One argument he would merely repeat—that even were the principle sound, the proposal was altogether inefficient for its object. If the accounts of the miseries that had accumulated, and were still accumulating, in Ireland, were to he believed at all, it was impossible to believe that the sum proposed to be raised could meet the real difficulty. Irish Members felt that there was a mystery as to the future intentions of the Government, and that the Government must be conscious the sum would be insufficient, and that it was impossible that the rate could last only two years. That was the reason they feared to admit the principle. If they viewed the listless hopelessness of the people in Ireland, where there was now no harvest time, and where now that strong attachment to the soil which once characterised the people had almost given place to an alienation, in which the only hope they indulged was that of turning their hacks upon their native land, and seeking in a western hemisphere a brighter fortune, and a happier fate, it could not be hoped that an evil so vast would greatly diminish in two years. They must remember that there wore wide districts now in which the present genial season ushered in no hopes of future plenty, and no longer clothed the earth with the gladdening prospect of an abundant crop. The word "harvest" had in many places become an almanack term, and no longer represented the operation of the revolving seasons. This apparently made the Government more anxious to establish the vicious principle of this proposal, and, in the same ratio, the Irish Members more determined to oppose it. Irish representatives were sometimes accused of coming to that House with the whine of mendicants to sue for generosity. That was not the case. He, for one, would not stand before the House in that position. All he asked for was justice and a fair consideration of the case of Ireland; and he so much respected the British character for fair play, that he would not believe but that the House, if it investigated calmly the state of Ireland, the liabilities she was now under, and her capability to contribute more largely to the imperial treasury, would feel that the taunts directed against her were not at all deserved. Undoubtedly an unparalleled calamity had rendered it necessary during the past two years for the Government to come forward with large loans for the Irish people, and this advance of money might have caused some irritation on the part of the representatives of Great Britain; but let the whole case of Ireland be calmly considered, and he thought it would be found that that country contributed to the imperial treasury in proportion to her means. If not, he should not deprecate her bearing her fair share of taxation; but if a tax were to he imposed on her, let it be one the least burdensome to those who paid it, and which would not paralyse industry. It was proposed to put a tax upon one species of property already bearing the burden of taxation, just because there was a machinery in operation for levying it; but that ought not to be the consideration that should decide the Legislature. Ought the grower of flax to be compelled to pay the proposed rate, while the manufacturer of it was exempt? But, in truth, was there the machinery by which even the property proposed to be made to pay could be fairly and equally taxed? The valuation ought first to be brought to a uniform standard throughout the country; at present, in the north, they were 40 per cent higher than in the south and west. The fact was, that when the poor-law was introduced, each union was intended to be for this purpose a separate district, and therefore the only object was to fix a fair relative value as between the different electoral divisions; a discrepancy in the valuation in two different unions was of no consequence as between them. As a proof of the manifest inequality of the valuation, he would refer the House to page 38 of the second report of the Select Committee on the Irish Poor Laws. Mr. Griffith one of the Commissioners for the valuation of Ireland, gave the following evidence in answer to Sir James Graham:— Do I understand you to say that the poor-law valuation throughout Ireland has been estimated upon data varying throughout Ireland, and is an unequal valuation?—I think that is the fact. Is it your opinion that any general rate levied upon Ireland with reference to that poor-law valuation would be an unequal rate?—I think it would. You would reject, therefore, with reference to a general rate throughout Ireland, the basis of that poor-law valuation absolutely?—I would. And in answer to another Member of the Committee, the same witness stated further— Do not you think one of the principal elements in the poor-law valuation is equality as between each district in the union? Equal valuation is of the utmost importance. If it is so in each union, if you had a general rate over the kingdom, would it not be of equal importance that each portion of the kingdom should be equally valued also?—Certainly. Then any valuation which exists at present is imperfect for that purpose?—Certainly. Under these circumstances he would say that, until they showed the House that they had some other mode for levying this rate besides the present poor-law valuation, it was obvious that the imposition of the tax would be most unjust. The inhabitants of Ulster were argued with as if they were indifferent to the wants of their countrymen, who wore suffering from the most fearful distress; and they were told that at such a moment as the present it was cruelty to resist the imposition of this tax. But he would reply, on the other hand, that emergency had existed for the last two years, and if the Government wished to relieve it, they might advance the money, pending the settlement of the question, as they were sure of having a majority in that House that would indemnify them for such an act. And he would say further, that, with the existence of so much misery and starvation, he could not conceive how any Government could have paused for a moment before bringing their administrative talents to deal with it. So far, however, from that being the case, this measure of a rate in aid was a mere afterthought. In 1846, a stranger would have supposed that Ireland was the most favoured portion of the united kingdom. One Government was thrown out, and another got in, on the strength of the vastness of their comprehensive remedial measures. But for two years and six months that had since elapsed, these remedial measures had not been brought forward. Had there been a miscarriage, or had this comprehensive policy fallen still-born? After a period of gestation longer than anything that was known in animal life, they had as yet seen nothing but this rate in aid; and he hoped that the House would hear from some Member of Her Majesty's Government whether they were really to expect nothing else after the great promises of the year 1846. This measure appeared to be an afterthought; one would almost think that it had occurred to the Government since the commencement of the Session. It had many traces of being an adopted child. It was fair to ask whether it was the only measure to he proposed upon the subject. In 1846 the Government came in, pledged to bring forward great remedial measures for Ireland; a new era was to dawn upon the land. It was announced in strains of triumph, "coercion now is dead." It is for ever banished from all future legislation for Ireland—that country, under the fostering influence of great comprehensive remedial measures, was to take her fitting place in the scale of nations. So spoke the Government in 1846—the poet told us— Hope springs eternal in the human breast, Man never is, but always to be blest. Is Ireland to wait in expectation of being blest, or is this proposition the full measure of her promised beatitude? As for the right of Parliament to tax Ireland, that was not disputed; but the question was whether, constitutionally. Parliament had a right to tax one portion of the kingdom exclusively to meet the wants of another portion? Was there any precedent for that? If there was distress in Sutherland-shire, might Yorkshire exclusively be taxed to relieve it? This was called a national tax, then one would naturally suppose the produce was to go into the national exchequer; but no such thing was to be done with it. It was to be a tax totally kept from the control and supervision of those who paid it, and of the representatives of Ireland. Would Englishmen or Scotchmen tolerate such a system? This was never intended when the English and Irish Exchequers were consolidated; and the 21st section of the Act then passed showed that if there were taxes for special and local purposes in Ireland, the produce was to be paid into the Exchequer. The money now to be raised was to be handed over to the Paymaster of Civil Services; but in England, when it was desired to apply money to the civil services. Parliament was applied to, and the representatives of the people could cheek and control its application. But in the case of Ireland, that wholesome precaution was to be got rid of. Let an instance be taken to show the injustice of the present proposition. The county of Donegal had a population exceeding by 91,000 the number of pounds to which the townlands valuation amounted; there were eight unions in that county, and not one of them was in the hands of vice-guardians. It had an iron-bound coast, few roads, a population that had greatly depended upon the potato; but it had acted nobly upon the principle so much commended of self-exertion, and the most praiseworthy sacrifices had been made. They had, in fact, stinted themselves to the utmost, in order to do their duty to their poor countrymen. The hon. Member for Manchester taunted them with having too many dogs and horses in Ireland; but most assuredly that taunt did not apply to the recent condition of Donegal. He would take another county, that of Clare, where the population was nearly the same, but the valuation more. In Donegal there was an excess in population of 90,000 above the townland valuation; but in Clare the valuation was 9,000l. above the population, and the result was, that in Donegal the valuation was at the rate of 13s. 6d. per head, while in Clare it was 1l. 1s. 6d. per head, making a difference of 8s. in favour of Clare. In Clare, where there were four unions, three of them were in the hands of vice-guardians, while in Donegal, which had eight unions, there was not one in the hands of vice-guardians. There was an accumulation of debt amounting to 28,000l. in Clare, and it would protably be soon increased to 40,000l. He had shown that Clare was much more advantageously placed than Donegal, yet, by self-denial—by the spirit of self-reliance—by the encouragement of industry, and by many sacrifices, Donegal had been able to weather the storm, and, amid unparalleled sufferings, to do its duty to its country. But, instead of meeting the reward to which their great exertions entitled them, from those who preached but did not practise the doctrine that Ireland should not be always looking to the Government, but should depend on her own resources, the county of Donegal got a death-blow from the Government, and was to be oppressed with a charge of 6,000l. a year, not for her own advantage, but for the benefit of other counties more favourably situated than Donegal was. What must be the feelings of the people of Donegal under such circumstances? He asked Gentlemen to put themselves in the position of the people of Donegal, and say on what principle of justice they ought to be called upon to contribute to those much more favourably situated than themselves. They might well ask why was it that the whole spirit of improvement was to be crushed in that country?—why they were thus to be defrauded of all their fond hopes that, by dint of strenuous exertion and industrious self-reliance, they would ere long be able to overcome all the difficulties which they had hitherto contended with? The tendency of the measure would be not merely to take from them the sum of 6,000l., but to paralyse the efforts they were now making; thus they would have the whole county swelling the number of those unfortunate beings who sought support from this rate in aid, and instead of strengthening the springs of action, which might bring about a very different state of things, they would only weaken them. After the counsels so often given by the illustrious nobleman at the head of the Government in Ireland—after the many useful, economical, and political lessons he had tendered to deputations asking for Government aid, and the advice he had so uniformly tendered to them to depend upon individual and personal exertions, he must confess he did not understand how that noble Lord should approve of the course now taken—a course so much calculated to destroy the efficiency of his past advice, and to neutralise the progress of those agricultural improvements he had so liberally promoted. He (Lord G. Hamilton) had incurred odium in Ireland by his efforts to uphold the poor-law; and he would now beg to remind them of the effect which this rate in aid would have on the administration of the poor-law generally. It was not the 6d. that was objected to, but the principle of taxing one particular portion of the country, and applying that tax elsewhere in a manner over which the ratepayers could have no control. Already it was found difficult to get men to act as collectors of poor-rates; but where were they to find collectors when the odium of the rate in aid was attached to the whole poor-rate? If they insisted on imposing the rate in aid, lot them impose it as a separate tax, and not, by confounding the two rates together, leave it impossible for any man to contribute to the one without feeling that he might at the same time be contributing to the other, and thereby infuse a spirit of discontent into the minds of those who had hitherto willingly and cheerfully contributed to the poor's fund. He would then conclude by tendering to the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government his sincere thanks for the generous manner in which he had defended the loyalty of Ulster. He had nobly vindicated that province from the charge of diaffection which had been made, owing to certain hasty expressions at public meetings. This defence of the noble Lord was the more generous, as the representatives of Ulster had ever opposed him in his political career. He therefore thanked him most unfeignedly. Indiscreet language might have been used; but he would say, on the part of the people of Ulster, look not to their words, but to their deeds, and he would confidently appeal to the uniform and steady loyalty of that province.


, in reference to the observation of Mr. J. O'Connell, as to his calculations on a former evening, respecting the amount really due from Ireland to this country, said, the hon. and learned Member for Limerick had not impugned the accuracy of the calculations, but alleged that he did not say that England was Ireland's debtor for 60,000,000l., intimating, however, that she would have been so if the arrangements made at the Union had been fairly carried out. It was certainly not with the expectation that the 200,000,000l. would ever be paid, that he (Mr. Brown) made the calculations alluded to, but to show to Ireland, on the score of indebtedness, she had no claim on England. He then stated, if the Irish people, in place of calling on Jupiter on all occasions to help them out of their difficulties, would fairly put their own shoulders to the wheel, they would find no indisposition on the part of England to relieve them in their distress. The noble Lord opposite (Lord Claude Hamilton) had said, that no money was paid to enable Irish paupers to come to England; but we had reason to complain that the evictions which took place, and the money given to get clear of tenants, produced the same effect; and he (Mr. Brown) therefore thought the people of this country had every reason to complain. The hon. Member for Manchester had pointed out, in a very eloquent and forcible manner, the enormous increase of our poor-rates in consequence; but the pecuniary loss was of less importance than the demoralising effect on the working classes in England from so large an influx of Irish paupers. Although we could not, and ought not, to interfere with the labour market, as all parties had a right to pass from one country to the other with perfect freedom, yet the wages of labour were reduced by Irish competition; and our operatives suffered by it, and so did the lauded interest; for before this influx of Irish paupers, our manufacturing towns were able to relieve them from much of their surplus population, but now those hands would be thrown back upon them, and necessarily increase their poor-rates; so it was not the actual sum paid for the casual Irish poor, but a consequent rise of poor-rates throughout the kingdom. He (Mr. Brown) had listened with great attention to the measure proposed by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, but he did not clearly understand to what length he wished to go. He spoke of a commission. Did he mean that that commission should take possession of embarrassed estates, and should again sell them in small portions to those disposed to purchase them? If so, he quite agreed with him. Many purchasers of that kind might be found among industrious yeomen, provided they got a Parliamentary title at once; but if they could not get a title for five years, as was laid down in the Act of last year, then, to bring these estates into the market would be of no use. There were plenty of lands at present that could not find purchasers, but which would be more saleable if titles were given with them instanter. He (Mr. Brown) thought something like the course adopted in apportioning the 20,000,000l. for the slaves in the West Indies, might be followed with advantage in this case. There were, in round numbers, 100,000 claimants, 30,000 of them disputed. There was every kind of adjustment to be made; mortgages, book debts, wills, family and marriage settlements, and entails; and those had to be settled by the commissioners as arbitrators under the French law, Dutch law, Spanish law, and English law, and they got through them all in about four years. Now, if a commission were appointed, with ample powers, they might at once begin with the immense amount of Irish estates that were in the hands of the Courts of Chancery and Exchequer, where receivers were now appointed, giving to the purchaser a title at once against all claims, and a clear field to commence on, and the purchase-money received from them to be invested in the funds, the rights of all parties reserved until the arbitrating commissioners could order it to be paid over to those who, in equity, ought to receive it. Investing this money in the funds, in most cases, would be much better for those entitled to the proceeds of the property, than being embarrassed with a less productive estate. Although many of his Irish friends were sincere in their belief that a repeal of the Union would benefit their country, he thought this agitation was a great evil. So long as it continued in the slightest degree, capital, which they so much wanted, would be slow to enter the country, for the English mind associated repeal and revolution together. England had given proof of its sincere desire not to let the Irish people starve, if honest exertions were made there to aid themselves. If they showed a ready acquiescence in the sixpenny rate in aid, the people of England would be ready to give them further assistance. It had been objected to the rate in aid, that it did not come into the English Exchequer, to be disbursed under the control of Government; but this argument did not hold good, for the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) had told them that he would call upon the House to advance 100,000l., in anticipation of repayment out of the rate in aid, the disbursing of which could only be sanctioned under the control of Parliament. If, however, they preferred the income and assessed taxes, he, for one, would be most willing to accept that alternative; for he never could see why a gentleman in Ireland, who had an income of or made l,000l. a year, was not as able to pay the income tax as a gentleman residing in England, who had the same income; nor could he see, where a gentleman could afford to occupy a house with thirty or forty windows, why he was exempt from a charge to which Englishmen were subject for the like accommodation; and those who kept carriages, horses, and servants, were fairly presumed to have the same means of paying the taxes as those who had similar luxuries in England. Under such circumstances, he should certainly vote for the rate in aid. He thanked the House for the attention with which they had listened to his observations.


intended to oppose the proposition of the Government. He felt doubly bound to do so; he stood there as an Irishman claiming justice for Ireland, and also as an English Member to guard England against unjust legislation. This Bill was based on injustice, because the Commissioners whose duty it would be to carry out its provisions would be constituted the sole judges of the necessity of levying the rate, and to them would be confided an uncontrolled distribution of the rate. He was very much inclined to believe that the hon. Member for Manchester had not read the Bill when he said that he would give his vote in support of it. He would do the hon. Gentleman the justice of saying that every other portion of his speech showed the inefficiency of the measure, the principle of which was completely adverse to all the constitutional principles of the empire. He objected to establishing any separate system of taxation for Ireland as long as the two countries were united. He objected to a system of separate taxation without a separate system of legislation. It had been often asserted that Ireland did not pay her fair proportion of taxation. That was a question of Ministerial policy; and in order to come to a conclusion upon it, they should examine the Articles of Union, and see what she was bound to, and what she did perform. In the Articles of Union, she was bound to pay as 2 to 15, this agreement to be open to reconsideration; but it was stipulated that the readjustment should be based upon an estimate of the comparative value of the imports and exports of the two countries. These articles of agreement were never adhered to, and Ireland was taxed in the proportion of I to II. There was an impression that Ireland had been a drain and an incumbrance upon England. She never was until the Union. As long as she had the enjoyment of her own legislative assembly, she flourished, and instead of a drain was a support to England. In the year 1795, when England was in difficulties, Ireland voted a sum of 600,000l. for seamen alone, for the exclusive use of England. The Speaker, in announcing this fact to the Irish Viceroy, stated that the liberality of the gift proved that Ireland was determined to stand or fall with the British empire. He also said, notwithstanding the largeness of the gift, the country was able to afford it without inconvenience, as her growing wealth and resources enabled her freely to make the sacrifice. This was not a single instance. Irish Viceroys, before the Union, were in the habit of thanking the Parliament of Ireland for their liberality. The late Lord Cornwallis said, "I thank you for the large and extraordinary supply which you have voted to meet the exigency of the occasion." He was willing to assent to the imposition of an income-tax in Ireland provided the amount were paid into the imperial exchequer, and that the imperial exchequer should thenceforth be liable and responsible for all the wants of Ireland. With regard to the plan of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, he seemed to have forgotten some facts with regard to the plantation of Ulster. The benefits derived from that measure sprung from the terms which the Crown made with the undertakers or landlords. The Crown stipulated that they should not demise any part of their estates to tenants at will, and that no uncertain rents should be reserved. In the year 1624, James I. sequestrated most of these estates for non-compliance with these terms. In the reign of Charles, the estates were all forfeited upon the like complaints; but they were eventually restored. The prosperity of Ulster was consequent upon the great security in the possession of the land which the tenant enjoyed; and he would tell the right hon. Baronet no scheme of his would be effective until the occupier of the soil possessed such an interest in it that he would be encouraged to lay out capital upon it. The proposed sum of money was to be expended upon the purchase of a miserable pittance of food only sufficient to keep the unfortunate recipient in a half state of life. What good would food do unless he was also clothed? It was well known that food without clothing would not support life; it was also well known that most of these unfortunate creatures were destitute of the commonest clothing. This sum of money, then, expended upon a miserable pittance of food, would only increase the evil, and introduce a species of a more lingering death. If the money were to be expended, he should wish to see it laid out in such a manner as would be productive. He opposed this Rate in Aid Bill, because he thought it dangerous to England, while it was unjust to Ireland. It was dangerous to England, as it would increase the discontent which prevailed in Ireland; and instead of their being able to keep Ireland with a force of 40,000 men, they might not he able to do it with twice that number. He was not the man to say that the imposition of the rate would produce disloyalty; but he was sufficiently well acquainted with the disposition of the men of Ulster to know that it would not be received with a helping hand; and if a certain kind of opposition was entered against the rate, he asked them how would it be possible to collect it? What would be the expense of bringing the goods to sale, supposing that they found a purchaser, which was doubtful? It had been said that the people of Ulster had been excited by the landlords against this measure. Now, it was well known that in the county of Down a strong feeling existed against this rate, and that the Marquess of Londonderry had written a letter to his tenantry deprecating the agitation that was taking place upon the subject. But what did his tenants do? They met in the principal town on the noble Marquess's estate, condemned the letter and the advice it contained, and passed some very strong resolutions against the rate in aid. This was a proof that it was not the landlords who were stimulating the tenants, but rather showed that the tenants were instigating the landlords to come forward and oppose this measure. He begged to say that he did not repudiate on the part of Ireland the payment of her just debts; but neither ought England to repudiate her just responsibilities. It was England's own neglect that had brought Ireland into her present condition. Had the Legislature done its duty, and adopted those measures which had been recommended by successive Committees, Ireland long before this would have been in a situation not to suffer from the failure of a potato crop; for she would have ceased to be a people feeding on potatoes. He wanted to see a real union with England; and if he did not see that, he wished to see the Union repealed; he would not be content with the half-and-half Union which had been existing for the last forty years. The Government should adopt soothing and conciliatory measures in Ireland. Until they did so, England would never have strength. With regard to the rest of Europe, England was responsible for the condition of Ireland, which was owing to her neglect and mislegislation. The hon. Gentleman concluded by appealing to English Members, as the supporters of public liberty, not to give their sanction to this measure, which, he believed, would be most injurious to the interests of both countries.


said, that the hon. Member who had just sat down had thrown a great deal of virtuous indignation against the constitutional principles involved in this Bill. The hon. Member said that for forty years the men of Ulster had lived in a half-and-half state of loyalty, half English and half Irish; he (Sir I). Norreys) did not doubt it, the men of Ulster were amphibious. They did not wish to be taxed for the benefit of their brethren in the south. That was the whole truth of the matter, and the hon. Member for Rochdale had spoken like an Ulster man. According to the evidence of Mr. Twisleton, the farmers were giving up their lands and were emigrating, the labourers in all parts of the country were in a most wretched condition, no work and no money—nothing even to pawn; the pawnbrokers were doing nothing, as the unfortunate people had not even clothes to pawn. They had been called upon to help themselves. Well, they did so; they assented to a tax—a poor-law rate, which it was averaged should only amount to 600,000l. per annum. What was the fact? Last year it amounted to I,600,000l. The failure of the potato crop was estimated at the sum of 11,000,000l. He was of opinion that this eleven millions only represented the interest upon a sum six or seven times larger. Let them reflect upon the instances where labour was paid by potatoes, and they would see the grounds upon which he deduced his theory. Some hon. Gentlemen said they preferred an income-tax; but he could not learn from them whether they meant a perpetual one, applicable to general purposes, or a temporary one for a temporary purpose. He thought nothing could be more unwise in Irish Members than thus putting the idea into the heads of the English people, that that tax ought to be imposed which they had hitherto trembled at the very possibility of the imposition of. If, however, it was proposed to extend the English income tax to Ireland, then he considered this was rather an Hibernian mode of relieving ourselves from a difficulty—it was taking off a sum of 250,000l. to impose a sum of one million. It had been also objected that the rate in aid was insufficient. He thought it was insufficient, and that the Ministerial proposition ought to have been a rate from 9d. to 1s. in the pound instead of 6d. He would not have the tax imposed upon those unions which were to be its recipients, and that they might be effectually relieved he would propose a higher rate than 6d. in the pound on unions able to bear it. In a word, he preferred a larger amount of rate, but operating in a more restricted sphere. He thought that the Irish poor-laws ought to be framed on the principle of a general rate in aid, and that one union ought to be compelled to assist another. He was of opinion that the unions at largo ought to be taxed to a certain maximum amount before they looked to other sources; but when that maximum had been reached, he thought a rate in aid ought to be imposed over the country, the province, or the nation, as Parliament might think fit. And he founded his suggestion upon the general principle that no portion of Ireland was legally or morally responsible for its pauperism. The poorest union was not more responsible than the richest. The freedom from pauperism in Ulster might be traced to Cromwell. The north of Ireland was free from pauperism, because the west was crushed by it. Another cause of pauperism was the fall of prices, the breaking up of the system of middlemen at the close of the war. At that period the landlords were, for the first time, forced into communication with their properties, and finding many of them overrun with poor, many of them got rid of the inhabitants in a mode more economical than humane. As a matter of course, the richer districts were first cleared. But where did the wretched occupants go? Where but to the poorer districts—the poorer lands and to the towns. These two causes were in operation until 1829, when another stimulus was given to the eviction of the population, namely, the suppression of the forty shilling freeholders. Landlords then wanted the land more than its population. The poor-law was next imposed, and instead of the burden of pauperism being distributed over as extensive an area as possible, and as Parliament intended, after that Act was passed the liability was limited to those districts in which pauperism was found. The process of eviction led to the improvement of the wealthier districts of the country; farms were consolidated, and a more improved system of agriculture introduced; they were therefore better able to bear the load of taxation than those needy districts to which taxation was almost confined. He thought the pauperism of Ireland ought to be made a common burden, as far as that could be done without abuse or mismanagement. A change of landlords had been spoken of as a remedy for the present state of things. He thought that proposal quite hopeless. Gentlemen before a Committee which recently sat had spoken of wheat having been grown in England 800 feet above the level of the sea, and in some instances manure was carried up on the backs of the farmers, but the want in Ireland was not the want of land, for there were thousands of acres of good land in champaign districts Iying waste or untilled. Almost every union in Ireland might be said to be a fair epitome of the remainder. In nine cases out of ten, the unions were composed of comparatively rich districts, and of those in which there was a large quantity of poor land. Now, he took it almost as a matter of certainty that in every union they would find that pauperism existed exactly in proportion to the poverty or wealth of the district. He would mention the unions of Kanturk and Listowel. Select from electoral divisions in the Kanturk union the two highest and the two lowest rated. The proportion of people in the highest rated union was 1l. 18s. 10d. per head—that was to say, that for every individual in the union there was 1l. 18s. 10d. of value. Now, those electoral divisions were rated at 4s. 8d.; but he was wrong in saying that 1l. 18s. 10d. was the highest, for there was one in which there was 2l. 8s. of value for each individual who inhabited it. In that electoral division the rate was 4s. 10d.; but when they came down to the two of the lowest value—the two electoral divisions—he found that the rate of value was only as 17s. 10d. and 18s. to each individual; and yet in these two electoral divisions the rates wore 8s. and 9s. in the pound. Now this was exactly the position of Ireland generally—in those districts which had the least means to relieve pauperism, there was the largest amount of pauperism to be relieved; therefore he thought it was only just and fair that, since this pauperism had arisen from no fault of the ratepayers of those heavily-burdened and needy districts, the whole country should come to their assistance. As for thinking that means of employment would be found sufficient to relieve those districts, the supposition was hopeless. They could never force men to give employment where there was no prospect of remuneration for investment—they could never break through those laws which were the foundation of social economy. The system of forced employment could never be carried out. As for the rate in aid being oppressive, he denied that entirely. He confessed he had very much changed his mind upon the subject of absenteeism. He had always hitherto opposed the attacks made upon absentees as such, because he thought that, in a free country, it was inconsistent and unsafe to interfere with the freedom of action and of personal liberty as regarded property. But, from the operation of the poor-law, it was absolutely necessary, in order to check the progress of demoralisation which was now going on, that that law should be much better and more efficiently administered than it was—it was indispensable for this purpose that there should be a superior class of men upon the spot to those which they had at the present time; and, to effect this, he would propose that the rental of the landlords who lived out of the country, or were out of the union in which their property was situated, should be taxed, and expended in relief of the union in which they might reside, as a kind of compensation for their absence. He thought it was to be lamented that the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tam-worth had not made a more full and complete development of his plan, for it was not easy to see from his speech, to which he had listened most attentively, how it was to be carried out. He did consider the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman, that persons should be forcibly dispossessed of their lands, a very grave and serious suggestion, and one which seemed somewhat strange, coming as it did from a Conservative statesmen. Another significant speech had been made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester, who would do away with entail settlements and restrictions which prevented or restricted the free use of property. His suggestions were cheered, and he (Sir D. Norreys) confessed that he too was one of those who cheered them heartily. He believed the only mode of procuring the salvation of Ireland lay in the two propositions of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth and the hon. Member for Manchester. He believed nothing effectual could be done for Ireland until the landed property of that country was completely unfeudalised. They could not hope, he repeated, to force men to give employment—it must proceed from the simple, voluntary, and general development of the resources of the country in every part. What the Government had to do was to give the Irish people an opportunity of turning to advantage those opportunities and developing those resources which Providence gave them, and no longer to allow the land to be tied up by that feudalism which was wholly unsuited to the position of Ireland. The right hon. Baronet proposed a commission to effect his objects. He would couple with that commission the proposition of the hon. Member for Manchester. He would give that commission power to decide on the rights of parties, and to award compensation for those rights, for it was in no way necessary or desirable to rob persons of those rights. A great step had been already made in this direction by a Bill last year, which converted the charges fixed upon land to a question of pounds, shillings, and pence. The hon. Member then gave some instances which came under his own knowledge and observation, in which the improvement of land and the erection of factories which would give employment, were affected by the restrictions appertaining to feudalism and the law of entail. He concluded by saying that he would not give the benefit of a general rate to every district which had not paid up a certain amount towards its own maintenance, but he was of opinion that particular districts ought to be excepted altogether from liability for a certain number of years. He thought that if a maximum rate were fixed, subject to the exceptions he had mentioned, coupled with some trifling modification of the poor-law, great benefits would result.


thought the hon. Baronet's conclusion at variance with the case he had made out at the commencement of his speech. He admitted the necessity for a great and independent exertion on the part of Ireland; and that necessity was also admitted by his constituents, who, however, expressed their opinion—an opinion in which he concurred—of the injustice of the manner in which Government proposed that that exertion should be made. He thought that it was an insult to Ireland that this measure should be pressed forward in opposition to the direct testimony of the chosen witnesses of the Government, and those, too, who were most conversant with the poor-law, and its application to Ireland, as Mr. Senior, Mr. Gulston, and Mr. Twisleton. In imposing such a measure as a rate in aid. Government was bound to take into consideration the question of valuation, which they had not done. To impose it on the present valuation would be manifestly unjust, as that valuation was admitted on all hands to be most unequal. Then, with regard to the amount the rate would produce. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had calculated it at about 250,000l.; he, and others who knew the country, did not believe it would produce any thing like that sum, while certainly not less than 390,000l. would be required. Taking these circumstances into consideration, the valuation, the strong testimony against it, and the proved insufficiency of the amount which would be raised, he could not understand how Ministers could determine on persevering with the measure. The question of precedent had been satisfactorily disposed of by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dublin University; and if it were to be admitted at all—if the English rate in aid was admitted to be a precedent for the measure—after what had been said by the hon. Baronet the Member for Mallow on the subject of a national rate in aid, be would ask what was there that this measure might not be used as a precedent for—what was there which it might not be brought forward to justify? These were strong objections, but they were not all. A strong objection, in the present circumstances of Ireland, was, that this tax was part of a system whose object was by an unassisted poor-law to deal with the circumstances of famine. On this subject he might quote a high authority, that of the hon. Under Secretary for the Home Department, who says— The poor-laws are intended for the habitual relief of ordinary distress—their machinery is not such as to afford support for a whole population in seasons of extraordinary distress. It might be as well objected that the poor-laws did not make rain fall or the sun shine, as that they do not protect us from years of scarcity and famine. The whole course of Government policy on this question was to deal with this case of unexampled distress and famine in Ireland by means of the poor-law alone. It was true that money had been advanced for improvements of land; but much more had been advanced, for the same purpose, to England and Scotland. The noble Lord at the head of the Government, in his speech on the previous day, intimated that advances would be made to Irish railways. That railways were important to Ireland could not be denied; but it was fallacious to suppose that they would be effective as a means of relieving existing distress. The 300,000l. the noble Lord proposed to advance would go to make about thirty miles of railway, and not more than one-third of that sum would be expended in manual labour; and that employment would be given in a district comparatively free from distress. What amount of relief, therefore, could be hoped for from that proposition might be easily estimated. The noble Lord also stated that money would be advanced for arterial drainage. Now, let it be understood what that amounted to. Many such works had been commenced, within the last two years, with insufficient surveys and Incorrect estimates, and had been managed in the worst possible way; and, as the Government officers had been the cause of these works not being completed for the amount contracted for, there was not much to thank Government for in respect to the money they proposed to advance under this head. Under the system proposed, the greater part of Ireland would be left in her present condition. Let the House consider what that condition was. It had been stated, in the course of the debate, that eleven-nineteenths of the Clifden union had already gone out of cultivation. The accounts they had had of the distress there showed that, during the frost in January, several people perished for want of clothes to protect them from the weather. The hon. Baronet who preceded him had described the manner in which, throughout the south of Ireland, the farmers were abandoning their holdings, and the capitalists were mortgaging their properties. Now, the real facts of the case were these—that, since the month of September last, when it was known the potato had again failed, the panic had so greatly seized the farmers in Limerick and other northern counties as to cause numbers of them to emigrate to America. An emigration agent, holding the largest office in the south of Ireland, had written to say that the persons leaving the country consisted of the largest capitalists, and that when these men went, there would be a smaller number of labourers employed than there was at present, and a larger number thrown upon the poor-rates. These ill effects were not confined to the twenty-one suffering unions. A gentleman of undoubted veracity had written a letter to him (Mr. Monsell), descriptive of a district not included in the twenty-one unions, and it described one of the most fearful things he had ever read. It stated that some short time ago, ten proprietors, who had given labour and employment, had resided in a certain district, and that now, with the exception of two or three, all those persons had been absolutely ruined. One was in gaol. One or two others had failed. Another had had his property sold in the centre of the village for poor-rate; and it might be truly said of the whole of them that they had been utterly crushed and annihilated. He, therefore, must say, that if there ever was any system judiciously devised for getting rid of an inconvenient class and race quietly, not in a way to shock public feeling and sentiment, but at the same time to do it surely and gradually, he believed the system now going on in Ireland was admirably calculated for that purpose. He did not say it was the intention of the Government to effect such an object; but this he believed, that Her Majesty's Ministers steered more by the winds and waves than by the compass; that they were thinking far more of how they might succeed in obtaining majorities in that House, than how they might really alleviate the distresses of the sister country. Nevertheless, the means for the redemption of Ireland were obvious enough. The hon. Member for Manchester, had with great ability and eloquence alluded to one of them the night before. In the union of Kilrush, where 10,000 persons had been driven out of their holdings, a Mr. Vendeleur Stewart had purchased an estate in Chancery; but, up to the present day, he had not been put into possession of it, although the whole of his purchase-money had been paid into court. This unsatisfactory state of things was entirely attributable to the tedious proceedings of the Irish Court of Chancery; and the consequence was, that whilst Mr. Stewart was not put in possession of the property for which he had paid the purchase money—while for that purchase money he received no interest—all the evicted tenants of other estates had crowded together and squatted upon his property, over which he was unable to exercise any control. Now, why should such doings as these be allowed to continue? Was it not the bounden duty of Government to introduce some measure which should put a stop to the great difficulty and delay at present existing in the Irish law courts—and so facilitate the purchase of estates? It was no wonder, under these circumstances, that the proposition of the right hon. Member for Tamworth had created throughout Ireland a profound and deep sensation. In that country every advantage was afforded by nature for the productive expenditure of capital, and yet there was some obstacle which prevented English money from being transmitted across the Channel; but the right hon. Baronet had proposed a plan for dealing with the social state of Ireland by enabling capital to take its natural course and to flow into the country. For that purpose he stated that he considered it necessary to have somebody on the spot who should keep his hand on the pulse of the patient, and see what was immediately required; and he (Mr. Monsell) could not believe that the arguments used the night before against the plan of the right hon. Baronet could have any weight either in the House or throughout the country. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire had indulged in verbal criticism when he asked how any plantation was to be created, seeing that there were people already on the land, for he seemed to forget that there must in many cases be room for new proprietors and a new class of farmers. Then the hon. Membet for Buckinghamshire said that the plan would give too great facility to the landlords in the distressed districts to get rid of their estates, because they would be enabled to sell them on better terms than landlords in other parts of the country; but this statement showed that he believed the plan would be extremely likely to work, and that it would create a very great inducement to purchasers and sellers. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had placed distinctly before the House, the night before, what his views with reference to Ireland were, and certainly a more cheerless and hopeless speech it never was his (Mr. Monsell's) lot to hear. The noble Lord had spoken of the manner in which England had been dealt with in the time of Elizabeth, and then he seemed to want to make out, in some mysterious manner, that the 43rd of Elizabeth had produced Milton and Bacon. But if the system of the noble Lord were carried out, England would suffer as deeply as the best parts of Ireland. The rates of the hon. Member for South Lancashire had been 2s. in the pound; now, chiefly on account of Irish pauperism, his rates were increased to 10s. in the pound. The Irish paupers would continue to invade and to depress England until the House adopted some different system to that of the last two years; and, at last, when the Irish revenue was considerably decreased—when the Irish market for manufactures was almost entirely gone—when England became to Ireland what Ulster at present was to Connaught—then the Government would be compelled, too late, to undertake an office, thankless because forced upon them, of dealing with the poverty of Ireland, and of endeavouring to place that country in a different position to that in which she was now placed.


said, that he derived one comfort from this discussion, namely, that a question affecting Ireland had been raised something beyond a mere Irish do-bate; although he felt that in some respects the occasion had not been done justice to. If his objections to this rate in aid were less cogent than he confessed them to be, he could not let this proposal pass upon the grounds put forward by some hon. Gentlemen around him. Those hon. Gentlemen acknowledged the measure to be impolitic, unjust, and oppressive; but they stated their willingness to accept it, as they had nothing better before them. Now, he thought that Parliament had arrived at a period in Irish legislation too grave and too critical to permit of the responsibility being got rid of on such a plea as this. There were few Members who, like himself, had for the last thirteen years given a close attendance in that House on Irish subjects, who had not to reproach themselves for many hasty and inconsiderate votes; and so strongly did he feel this, that he could never again make up his mind to vote on any Irish question without investigating for himself both its principles and its details, and without acertaining, as far as he was able, its bearing upon the national interest of England and Ireland. When the question of affording relief to Irish destitution last came before the House, he had voted with the majority for voting the 50,000l.; and if he could not then justify the vote he had given on sound principles, at least he could on the necessities of the case. But between an exceptional vote to meet a temporary emergency, and one for a measure of permanent policy, there was a wide difference. It might be captivating to English constituencies to be told that by a peculiar vote the burden of Irish relief would be taken from off their shoulders; but he confessed that he could not share in the congratulations of such constituencies, for he believed that the present measure would only effect a postponement of the evil, which might be expected to return in an aggravated form at no distant day. Admitting, for a moment, that the advantages claimed for this proposal would be realised, he still felt bound to ask himself whether he could, at any price, consent to purchase those advantages. The English people were averse to taxation, but they were still more averse to injustice; and to this extent he would answer for the feeling of his own constituents, that if these distressed provinces were to be relieved by a compulsory levy of money not their own, they would rather take upon themselves the burden, than consent to throw the whole of it upon particular provinces in Ireland, which were no more responsible for the distress which existed in that country than were our own ratepayers. England had the power of imposing this taxation; but was it wise, or just, or even safe, that she should exercise it? He found one remarkable omission in the speech of the hon. Member for Manchester of the previous night. In his support of this rate in aid, the hon. Member had not attempted to examine the principle or the policy of the proposal; he seemed, in fact, to take it for granted, that the rate in aid was only a natural extension of the poor-law. Now, he (Mr. Horsman) regarded the proposition in a totally different light, and could see no more affinity between the two principles than could be supposed to exist between a system of national plunder and the laws of private property, or between the sacking of Manchester and the extension of its police force. The hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin had clearly pointed out that difference—he had shown that the principles of the poor-law were those of local authority, local knowledge, and local responsibility—and that the principle of a national rate was of a totally different character. What could be said of a proposal which marked out those who had acquired a position by their past industry and frugality, as the victims of additional taxation? It was the extreme of cruelty to destroy one province in Ireland, in order that misery might he perpetuated in others. Twenty times in the course of the debate had the question been asked, and he repeated it again—what possible claim had Connaught upon Ulster, which Ulster had not upon Middlesex? The Government and their supporters attempted an answer by saying, that Ulster and Connaugh were both in Ireland—that Ireland was exempt from property tax and other taxes which fell upon England—and that this rate in aid was to be considered as an equivalent for the exemption. Now, when it was said that "Ireland was exempt," what was meant by the term "Ireland?" Was it a mere geographical expression, or did it mean a large social community of various grades and classes, variously affected by the graduations of a fiscal system? and if so, he asked whether it was not the case that the very classes in Ireland, spoken of as being exempt from taxation, were not those who also would be exempt from this rate in aid; and whether the classes by whom four-fifths of the burden would have to be borne, were not those whom a more just equalisation of our fiscal system would not touch at all? If that were the case, what became of the vaunted system of equivalents? The proposition then came to this—that because a rich class was exempt from a tax which they ought to pay, therefore, upon another and a poor class it was proposed to impose another tax as an equivalent for that with which they had nothing to do. But his objections to this rate in aid were not yet exhausted. Everybody who had considered the state of Ireland was convinced that it was on improvements in her agriculture that her prosperity must turn. But if there was one thing more than another necessary, and without which agricultural improvement would be impossible in Ireland, it was the conveyance of certainty to the mind of the agriculturist—of a feeling of certainty that he knew the worst—that the full extent of his obligation was before him, and he could make his future calculations on the basis of his own skill and capital and enterprise. But the rate in aid baffled all calculation, and told the agriculturist that his only security was in placing himself out of its reach altogether. You might tell him that the union rate was only 2s., and the national rate only 6d., to be limited to two years, and that that constituted the worst. But who could assure him that this limitation would be observed? The principle once admitted, no one could say that the insolvent unions would right themselves in two years; at the end of which time the same arguments now used in favour of a 2s. rate, might be used in favour of a 4s. rate. He, therefore, objected to the rate in aid, not only on principle, but as a remedy for Ireland at the present moment. Indeed the objections to it on that score were so great and weighty, that the only reason that could justify Parliament in entertaining it, was its being only part of a more comprehensive scheme. When Parliament met at the commencement of the present Session, under circumstances, be it remembered, of increasing difficulty for Ireland, the House had been given to understand that one of the first questions to which it was to apply itself, was that of the amendment of the Irish poor-law. It was supposed that in amending that Act, and in propping it up by a series of remedial measures, the Government would have taken the initiative, and that they would have guarded against the evil of haphazard and piecemeal legislation—it was supposed that the Government would not propose a mere temporary measure for the relief of Irish pauperism, but that they would have initiated some measure of a permanent character? He objected to the proposal before the House, because he could not see that the Government recognised in it either the opportunity or the duty of improving the permanent condition of Ireland. The Government, in fact, seemed to betray a lamentable ignorance on the subject; for the First Minister of the Crown, speaking of the future, said that one of two things must happen—either that there would come a good season, and a return of production and employment, or bad seasons, and emigration to England, Scotland, and other countries. These reasons put forward in support of the measure by the noble Lord, he thought neither satisfactory nor statesmanlike; for they only showed that Ireland might be expected to be in 1859 in the same position that she was in 1849. The only possible justification of this very objectionable measure would have been its forming a portion, and only a temporary portion, of a larger scheme of policy; but in that case the whole scheme of the Government ought to have been laid before the House. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth had evidently considered so; for in giving his vote in favour of the measure, he had guarded himself against placing his support on the narrow grounds laid by Her Majesty's Government. That right hon. Baronet had done justice to the greatness of the occasion: his view of the future of Ireland was more comprehensive, and the manner in which he would deal with it was more statesmanlike. Without intending at the present moment to discuss any part of the plan of the right hon. Baronet, this he (Mr. Horsman) would venture to say, that there was nothing either in the matter or spirit of that plan calculated to excite feelings of hostility. In the difficulties in which they were placed, he thought that they were under obligations to any Gentleman in that House who came forward, and, showing that he had deeply studied this Irish question, was ready with suggestions for solving those difficulties. But any suggestion coming from the right hon. Baronet should be warmly welcomed, and dispassionately examined. In the course which the right hon. Baronet had taken with respect to this measure, he had only acted that part which might have been expected from his position and his patriotism. With that right hon. Baronet, he drew hope from the very extent of the calamity; with him he believed that the very magnitude of the calamity would ensure a remedy. Without going into the question of remedial measures, he would repeat the question put to the Government the other night by the hon. Member for Northampton, and ask them whether, as the right hon. Baronet had proposed a plan, they were prepared to adopt it, or, if not, to propose theirs? If the Government were not prepared with a comprehensive measure, he should at all events like to see some symptom of their having studied the question, in order to ascertain whether they could not devise some moans of extricating themselves from the difficulties which surrounded them. At present the Government had not shown that they had done all that they might have done. Many remedies which might formerly have been inapplicable, might be applicable now; and he thought it was the duty of those to whose care the destinies of this great empire were placed, dispassionately to consider every suggestion which might proceed from high authorities, having for its object the amelioration of the condition of Ireland. There were many suggestions which had been made to the Government, none of which, taken alone, would have been a panacea for the evils of Ireland, but which if connected together, were well calculated to assist in getting over the calamity. An extensive and well-regulated system of emigration, the cultivation of the waste lands, and assistance afforded to the construction of railways, had all been, at various times, suggested. Some of them would, if properly carried out, produce an amelioration of the existing evils of Ireland; and, at any rate, though rejected before, they ought, in such altered and desperate circumstances, to be considered afresh. With respect to the plan before the House, what was its principle? It was the principle of dire necessity—the tyrant's plea—"We must have money; England will not give it to us, therefore Ireland must; save us from the embarrassment of an appeal to England, never mind what becomes of Ireland." The people of England were tired of giving the moans of relieving destitution only to perpetuate destitution. They saw neither humanity nor economy in relieving the sufferings of those poor people only to aggravate and perpetuate those sufferings. But even now, let Her Majesty's Government come forward with a comprehensive and statesmanlike measure, showing that relief and improvement were going on hand in hand, and that the money contributed in England was well laid out in Ireland; then, the people of England, not from motives of humanity alone, but from motives of humanity and thrift, under the guidance of a Minister who had made himself master of the subject, and who possessed the confidence of Parliament upon it, would be ready to give as cheerfully and as bountifully as heretofore. And was there ever such an opportunity? Ireland was never in such a state as she was at present—never so weak, prostrate, and helpless. She was ready to accept any legislation which they chose to impose upon her. She would make no resistance. For the first time in the history of centuries there was no political agitation, no religious rancour, no agrarian outrage in the country. In England, and in Parliament, circumstances were equally favourable, and for the first time in their memory there was no party opposition to thwart the Government in any legislation which it might propose. All parties showed themselves anxious to come forward to strengthen the hands of the Executive, and share its responsibility. If they wanted money, it had been poured forth as plentifully as if England was a mine—if they wanted coercive measures, they had been passed with almost lightning speed. And with what result? Is the state of Ireland less deplorable? Is the prospect for England more cheering? The First Commissioner of the Poor Law in Ireland had resigned. Every one of his coadjutors had declared that the proposed measure could not be carried into effect. If, in spite of these warnings, the Government proceeded with this measure, and the House sanctioned it, then he felt that in the teeth of such evidence they would incur a serious responsibility. If the results predicted upon the passing of the measure should follow—if discontent, hitherto local, should become national, and distress, which was formerly partial, should become general—then the folly and selfishness of the British Legislature would have achieved their work; and in the substitution of ruin in those districts where prosperity now existed, strife and contention where there had existed peace, dissatisfaction where there was loyalty, they would at least have consummated the full measure both of Irish misery and English crime.


congratulated the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down on having delivered one of the most manly English speeches he had heard that Session. He opposed that measure because he considered that it was unjust and impolitic, and that it was calculated to disturb the peace of Ireland. He did not doubt the continuance of the loyalty of Ulster; but although that loyalty could not be doubted, it ought not to be abused. It had been said that the people of the better-circumstanced districts of Ireland wished to repudiate their engagements. But he could state, that in the district in which he resided they had paid the whole of their rates, and a portion of the expense of erecting the union workhouse, and that they were fully prepared to meet all their liabilities. He knew that a great diversity of opinion prevailed with respect to the scheme propounded by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Taraworth; but, for his own part, he entirely approved of it, and most heartily wished to see it carried out. He knew no man in Europe so capable of carrying it into execution as the right hon. Baronet; and the Government ought at once to appoint a Commission and request the right hon. Baronet to place himself at its head. He was now at his leisure and free from official cares; and he should at once proceed to Ireland, and not return till it had been fully brought into operation. He entertained various objections to the proposed measure; and one of his principal objections was, that it taxed the poor as well as the rich classes, and compelled destitution to provide for destitution—a duty which properly belonged to property. Another strong objection was to the mode of valuation. The question of absenteeism had been but little touched on during the debate; and yet it was one of the greatest evils with which Ireland was afflicted. He would rather have a resident landlord with 5,000l., than such wealthy absentees even as the Duke of Devonshire, the Marquess of Lansdowne, or Earl Fitzwilliam. The poor man would always go where there was a resident landlord, and where he knew his wants would be provided for, and his children educated. But there were also very small absentee proprietors, who cut up their estates into small holdings—men who paralysed the efforts of the well-intentioned landlord. Some measure must be resorted to to compel these men to do their duty. It was the fashion to suggest plans, and he perhaps might, therefore, be permitted to suggest one. He would recommend that a double poor-rate should be placed on absentees on whose estates the poor were not employed in proportion to the rental. The proceeds of that rate he would expend on the property out of which it was levied; and the labour to he thus employed on those estates should be superintended by the local agents under the control of the Poor Law Commission. Unless some such plan were adopted, it would be impossible for the resident landlords to go on. Another evil was the system of rackrenting and the letting of small tenements. This was not understood in England. It was well known that during the time the potatoes fed the people, for four acres you could get a rent of 10l., or 2l. 10s. an acre, while for the same land a solvent tenant could not afford to pay more than 25s. In Mayo, at this moment, there were 40,000 holdings under four acres. How could such a district prosper? Another great evil was the want of education. Look at the check given in Con-naught to education by the Roman Catholic priesthood. Look at the conduct of Dr. M'Hale, who had done everything to check education and civilisation. In Ulster there were 1,528 schools, and in Con-naught only 439. In Connaught there was a majority of 642,159 uneducated; while in Ulster the majority of the educated was 289,789. There was one suggestion which he should like to make. Reference had been made to the loans for the building of workhouses. Now, if, instead of this grant of 100,000l., or the rate in aid, they were to call on Ireland to pay one or two instalments of these loans, she could not well refuse compliance, and the money would be raised by far more legitimate means. The hon. Member for Kerry had put a Motion on the Paper for the purpose of extending the income tax to Ireland; but he had done so without the full knowledge or approbation of the majority of the Irish Members, and certainly without his (Sir A. B. Brooke's) approbation and concurrence. Not that he objected to an income tax, fairly and equitably imposed, after a full inquiry, before a Committee, into the present liabilities of Irish property, and its means of meeting them. Whatever might be the law in this empire—whether it were a rate in aid or an income tax—of course, he would be ready to submit to it, if once passed; but if he disapproved of a legislative proposition before it became law, he would state his objections to it in his place in Parliament.


regretted that the hon. Baronet who had just resumed his seat, had thought proper to draw a contrast between the civilisation of Ulster and Connaught. He was sorry also to hear him say of a very eminent Roman Catholic archbishop, that he was an enemy of education. He denied, entirely, however, the accuracy of the hon. Baronet's figures with reference to the schools in Ulster and Connaught. If there were 1,500 national schools in Ulster—[Sir A. BROOKE: Not national schools.] He had misapprehended, then, the hon. Baronet, and he was glad of it, as it was said that the clergy of Ulster were opposed to the system of national schools. It was true—and he regretted it—that Dr. M'Hale was opposed to the system also, but he had provided a substitute. Taking it for granted, however, that Ulster was perfectly loyal, perfectly moral, and perfectly civilised, he was not disposed to place all that to the credit of Protestantism. He found, according to returns made in 1831, that the Catholics of Ulster were a majority of the population of the province—[Sir A. BROOKE: I never said Protestants. I did not exclude my Catholic fellow-countrymen.] He did not impute that statement to the hon. Baronet, but it had been made on his side of the House. He believed that the hon. Baronet presented a most honourable contrast to some of the Irish landlords. It had been said, that this rate in aid was impolitic, unjust, and inadequate. It was declared to be unjust to tax Ulster for Connaught. Now, he had the misfortune to differ from the majority of the Irish Members on this subject. He was prepared to vote for the second reading of this Bill, but most reluctantly. If he could by possibility avoid that vote, he would. [Cheers.] He understood the meaning of that cheer, and he would explain himself by and by. At the opposite side of the House those who opposed the rate in aid did not deny its necessity. It had been said, that there was no argument in favour of the rate but its necessity. [Cries of "No, no!"] He would thank hon. Gentlemen to permit him to speak for himself. Well; but if the necessity were admitted, that was twelve arguments out of thirteen. Hon. Gentlemen opposite said, however, "Do not put on a sixpenny rate, but in the name of common sense and justice put on Ireland the English income tax." His hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Longford divided the House on that very question. ["No, no!"] That "no" was no answer. The Motion of the hon. and gallant Gentleman was this—that all descriptions of property in Ireland should be taxed. There was no exception whatever. Well, he (Mr. Reynolds) moved an Amendment after the Motion of his hon. and gallant Friend had been lost, proposing that all salaries to the amount of 150l. and upwards, all money in the public funds, all money remitted in the shape of absentees' rents, and the interest on mortgagees, which amounted to 8,000,000l. per annum, and was chargeable in this country to income tax, should form a fund for the relief of the destitute poor in Ireland. His hon. and gallant Friend had 165 Members to vote with him, and when his Amendment was lost, he (Mr. Reynolds) tested the House with his own, though he was taunted by the hon. Member for Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) with want of sincerity, and told that he would not divide. He did, however, divide the House; and what was the result? A hundred and ten of those Gentlemen absconded in five minutes—those Gentlemen who had voted for an income tax in all its integrity. They evaporated, and the minority became Small by degrees, and beautifully less. He had only 51 supporters, while his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Longford had 165 votes on his division. Now, he would leave it to the House to say who was sincere, and who was insincere. The proposition of his hon. and gallant Friend was the same as that of the hon. Member for Kerry, who proposed even the grinding security of Schedule D. He was not surprised that such a proposition should come from the opposite side of the House, because it was a landlord's proposition. The object of it was to shift the burden from the shoulders of the landlord to those of the hardworking tradesman and professional man. He was very fond of reading the history of his country, and in the course of pleasing his taste in this way he had happened to light on a perfect gem, which purported to be an account of the Session of Parliament held in Ireland in 1692. The return exhibited an almost perfect analogy to that state of things which existed at the present time. He should not read more than a few lines, and he begged to call the attention of the Gentlemen of the province of Ulster to it. It appeared from that document, that the land was lying waste and untenanted then, that the funds were exhausted, and that there was a great pressure on England. Would hon. Gentlemen find any analogy between that case and the present? Why they appeared to be now in exactly the same position. He begged to call the attention of hon. Gentlemen to the following passage:— By an Order of the Day the House was resolved into a Committee, to consider the state of the nation, and it being proposed that the best way of settling this kingdom in lasting happiness was to find out the cause of its misery, the Committee voted that the two following causes should be assigned for it—first, the great countenance given to the Irish Papists in the reign of King Charles 11, and their being employed by the late King James; secondly, the obstruction of the course of justice by the illegal protections granted since the defeat at the Boyne. That appeared to be the history of the misery of 1692, which presented a close parallel to the state of the country in 1849. Reference was made to the speech of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, which had been circulated upon the wings of the press to all parts probably of the civilised world. It had been read very attentively in Ireland, and to his own knowledge it had made a very strong and favourable impression in that country. The people of that country believed that, although the right hon. Baronet had not yet put before the country the details of his plan, at all events the framework was good. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to have directed his attention to the cardinal point, namely, making the land of Ireland available for the support of the people of Ireland. He believed, after all, that the misery of the country must be traced to the non-employment of the people upon the land. It was not reasonable to think that a country containing 20,000,000 of statute acres, with a population of 8,000,000, should be in a state of starvation, if Government directed its attention, as it ought to have done, to the cultivation of the soil. He was not blaming either a Whig Government or a Tory Government in particular, for he believed both were to blame—he believed both had neglected their duty as regarded the land of Ireland. He would not be guilty of such injustice on the one hand, or such absurdity on the other, as to blame this or that Government for the unparalleled misery that existed—it was the growth of ages; centuries ago their ancestors had laid the foundation, and to do them justice they had put pile upon pile on the building until it became so heavy that it was dangerous to stand near it. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, whom he did not then see in his place, commenced his speech on the preceding night with a loud flourish of trumpets'—he found fault with all that had been said before him, and promised them great things at the beginning of his address. He said this—" I hope to be able to give this discussion something like a substantial and practical direction." He (Mr. Reynolds) watched the hon. Gentleman most attentively, and he must declare, without saying anything ill-natured—for he respected his talents, as almost all of them did—that there was nothing in his speech except the usual song of his complaint. He (Mr. Reynolds) was reminded of an observation the hon. Gentleman made on a former occasion, when he said, in reply to a remark of his, "The hon. Gentleman the Member for the city of Dublin has taunted me because I have not originated measures; let me remind the hon. Gentleman (said he) that we are the Opposition—that it is our duty to oppose and not to originate." Well, if ever an hon. Member had kept his word with desperate fidelity, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire had done so. The hon. Gentleman was fond of dissecting the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, but last night the attempt appeared to be a total failure. He said the right hon. Baronet's plan was inadequate, unjust, and incompetent; and he used a whole lot of other phrases that he (Mr. Reynolds) could not charge his memory with: but after going through the whole plan, he showed this, at all events—that he is perfectly innocent of all knowledge of Ireland, and of Irish affairs. In the first place, he cast the lot of the commissioners in a part of Ireland where they were most unlikely to take up their residence, namely, in Limerick. The most fertile spot in Ireland was in the immediate vicinity of Limerick, and the land let at double the prices got elsewhere. It occurred to him, therefore, that the hon. Gentleman did not know much of the geography of Ireland. He next said, it would be dangerous to establish a plantation in Connaught, in consequence of the sectarian feeling that prevailed there, thus proving that he was grossly ignorant of the state of feeling in Ireland. He (Mr. Reynolds) thanked God that, although there were many drawbacks upon them, that drawback did not exist. He did not know whether it was to be attributed to the growth of common sense amongst them, or to the increase of human misery; but such was the case. Perhaps they had something else to think of besides sectarian feeling. Ninety-nine out of every hundred in Connaught were Catholics; the great majority of the people of Munster were Catholics; but when did they hear that any person had been attacked on account of his religion? It was not fair to the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, or towards any Member of the House who would take the trouble of applying a remedy to their evils, to say it would not be safe for a Protestant to settle in Ireland. Why, Protestants would be as safe there as in the city of London. He was sorry the hon. Gentleman had made such an allusion, and he wished to explain away any mischief that might be done by the observation. The hon. Gentleman then went on to talk about settling arrangements which did not seem to have entered into the plan of the right hon. Baronet at all. He (Mr. Reynolds) would vote for the second reading of this Bill with great reluctance; but he voted for it as a matter of invincible necessity. At this moment the people were dying of want on the high roads, and their bodies remained unburied in consequence of the helplessness of their neighbours. The proposal was, that 6d. in the pound should be levied for two years, making in round numbers 600,000l; and they were told that the wealthy and prosperous province of Ulster would be ruined if they put that 6d. upon them. But he would remind hon. Gentlemen that Ulster was not all Ireland, and that the province of Leinster or the province of Munster would bear more than a comparison with it in point of prosperity; therefore, neither the property nor loyalty of Ireland was exclusively Ulster. The loyalty of all Ireland had been tried, and had not been found wanting. When they made an appeal to the people of Ulster to pay this 6d. in the pound in the name of divine law, and though the appeal was sanctioned not only by human but by divine law, they said they would not give a penny, because Connaught was divided by a line from Ulster. Now that was what he called geographical charity. He could show that there was a precedent for this rate in aid in Ireland. He found that by the 2 and 3 Vic, c. 61, the House passed an Act providing that 584,887l. should be levied off twelve counties in Ireland for the improvement of the navigation of the Shannon. The hon. Member for Roscommon, whom he did not see in his place, was one of the chief promoters of that Bill. [Mr. F. FRENCH (from the gallery): No, no!] That was a large sum, and was in the nature of a rate in aid. Amongst other counties it was levied in Mayo, no part of which was within twenty miles of the Shannon. The distressed district of Erris was, at least, 100 statute miles from the Shannon; and the island of Achil, situate in the Atlantic, had for the last eight years been assessed for the improvement of the navigation of the Shannon. The hon. Member for Roscommon had promoted that Bill, which was called a job, with a most desperate fidelity. [Mr. F. FRENCH: NO, no!] He was informed that the hon. Member did not support it, and that a portion was taken out of the Consolidated Fund. He (Mr. Reynolds) was informed that he was wrong in his figures; but he took the figures from the Act 2 and 3 Vic., cap. 61. The sum authorised to be levied was 584,887l., and by the 13th section he was informed they had a pull at the Consolidated Fund. It appeared they divided it between the Consolidated Fund and the counties, taking 300,000l. from each. He would remind his hon. Friend the Member for Roscommon, that the shores of his county were washed for a distance, at least of sixty miles, by that glorious river. The value of the land was enormously increased by the improvement of the navigation; and he compelled the county of Mayo, that could not derive any practical benefits, directly or indirectly, from the improvements, to pay a portion of the expense. If that was not a rate in aid, he did not know what was. He had a strong dislike to the imposition of any new taxes; but be would vote for this rate, because he was determined, whatever might be the risk, to save as many of the people from starving as possible. He would vote for it, too, with a perfectly clear conscience; because although the city which he had the honour to represent had a rateable property of one million, and would, therefore, have to contribute 25,000l. to this rate in aid, and never derive one penny of benefit from it, yet his constituents had not held one public meeting to protest against the measure during the whole of the three weeks for which it had been before the country: they were prepared to bear willingly, for the sake of others, their part of this burden. He would vote for the Bill upon principle; because he approved of a general rate, not only upon all the rateable property of Ireland, but of the entire United Kingdom, for the support of the aged, sick, and infant pauper population. With regard to the ablebodied poor, the relief might judiciously continue to be raised from the locality; but the infirm or the infant pauper ought to be supported from a general rate.


said, he had been alluded to by the hon. Member for Dublin as having prepared an Amendment to substitute an income tax upon all species of property in Ireland for the proposed rate in aid. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had said, that if the Irish Members would prefer an income tax, they should by all means have one, only they must remember that if one were once imposed, they must make up their minds to put up with its continuing much longer than they perhaps now expected. Now, that was not a fair way of putting the case, because his Amendment proposed to limit the income tax to only two years. But if the noble Lord thought the Irish Members could be deluded into the belief that his rate in aid would be totally removed at the end of the two years, he was certainly very much mistaken, for the Irish Members well knew that it would be easier for them, United with the English Members of that House, to rid themselves of the income tax after the lapse of two years, than it would be for them to throw off this rate in aid at the end of the same period. If it were put to him, whether he would have this rate in aid, to be levied from land alone, or an income tax, he did not hesitate to say that for his part he would choose the income tax. His Amendment proposed, that the funds to be raised should not be applied to the ordinary purposes of the poor-law, but should be spent in placing the distressed districts in a condition to be henceforth able to support themselves. The Government proposition laid down no distinct or fixed plan—it gave no detail of the amount that was wanted, or the manner in which it was to be expended; and there was nothing to lead the House to hope, that at the end of the next twelve months the distressed districts would be in any better condition than they were at present. For these reasons he must vote against the rate in aid; but at the same time he was ready to co-operate in any just plan for making Ireland pay her fair share for the support of her own paupers; and he had no desire whatever to throw upon England, which had come forward so nobly and so generously to Ireland's assistance, any unfair or unreasonable burdens. He believed that Ireland ought now to make a strenuous effort in her own behalf.


wished to explain, after what had fallen from the hon. Member for the city of Dublin, that the project for the improvements in the river Shannon was brought forward by the Government, and had been declared by a Committee of the House to be a national object, that ought to be accomplished from national resources.


observed, that the hon. Gentlemen who had stated their intention to vote for the second reading of the Bill, had given it a very damaging support. The hon. Gentleman the Member for the city of Dublin had even declared that he would gladly escape from voting if he could. In giving a decided and conscientious opposition to the proposal under discussion, he begged to state, that he would do so altogether apart from any feeling that Ulster ought not to contribute to the relief of the other portions of Ireland, or from the feeling that sectarian differences ought to divide the provinces. He had no such feeling—and he deprecated any language which tended to draw an invidious contrast between the loyalty of certain districts. The present was not a question of party or religion, but one which concerned the constitutional rights of the industrial classes at large. He believed there existed in Ireland a far deeper feeling of hostility to this Bill than had been produced by any contemplated legislation for many years. Although the noble Lord had spoken with disdain of the disproportionate resistance which had been made to the measure, he begged to remind him that history afforded instances in which smaller agitations had overcome more determined opposition. So far as he could understand the justification for the Bill, he considered it was introduced avowedly to protect the Imperial Exchequer, by the levying of an impost by the stronger upon the weaker country. It was also justified upon the ground that England, had made noble exertions to relieve the distresses of Ireland, and that the time had arrived when Ireland ought to make some exertion for herself. If he were pressed for an alternative in lieu of the rate in aid, he would state, that it was not the business of those who opposed the measure to suggest a substitute. If, however, it might be permitted to him to find a remedy, he would submit that it would be far better to remedy the evil, than to endeavour to balance one wrong by the commission of another. He implored the Government, whose good intentions he appreciated, and whose difficulties he admitted, to abandon their intention to press on so obnoxious a measure. He would prefer an income tax, or, indeed, any general system of taxation, in preference to a rate of this nature.


would only occupy the attention of the House whilst he offered for their consideration two or three practical suggestions. He saw by the Votes that this measure was to provide for a rate in aid. A rate in aid, of what? in aid of Irish pauperism. Was it meant that it was to add to Irish pauperism, or diminish the number of paupers in Ireland? He naturally referred to Her Majesty's Government for an explanation of what this rate in aid meant. In one of the blue books to which he referred for information, he found it stated with respect to the condition of the small occupiers of land, that unless some change to stimulate and foster their hopes was made, a number of the small ratepayers, which it was fearful to contemplate, would become paupers, and add to the already overwhelming difficulties under which Ireland was suffering. Here there was no attempt to deny that the small ratepayers, if they were not immediately relieved, would add to the number of paupers. Now, as he before stated, there were three points which he wished to suggest, and which, if they were acted upon, would, in his opinion, tend to relieve Ireland from the difficulty in which she was placed, and also save this country a great deal of trouble, anxiety, and expense. In the first place, he would make the unions support themselves. There was no difficulty whatever in the matter. Let them send a plain practical English farmer to each union, who would set the people to dig, and in one month he would have something to keep a cow. It was merely a question of growing produce to keep the people alive. His next point was with respect to emigration. It was admitted that in Ireland there was an overflowing population, and that thousands of them were starving, in consequence of being without employment. Now, there were millions of unenclosed acres in Connaught, and in other parts of the country, in the cultivation of which these people could be profitably employed; and we had got colonies who were asking for labourers to cultivate their produce. Measures to provide for emigration to our colonies ought to be taken, as well as measures to give employment on the waste lands, for he believed that the people of Connaught would never work so long as they were supplied with money to live in idleness. His last suggestion was, that means should be taken to get rid of the class called middlemen, and to bring the owners of the land into immediate contact with the occupying tenants. He would pass a law to compel the middlemen who had long leases to give them up, for their interference had, he believed, a most baneful operation upon the interests of the owners and occupiers of the land. He told the Government that this measure would not go down, no matter what was the result of the division that night. The old Tory times were gone by when a Government could propose and carry what measures they pleased. They must now consult the House of Commons as to what measures should be passed, and it was no discredit for them to have to do so. They had much better shape their measures to meet the general wishes and feelings of the people, than attempt to force that down which it was impossible ever could be popular, or ever succeed.


was disposed to give full credit to the very high character of the noble Lord at the head of the Government; but he was surprised that he should persist in this plan, after the evidence which had been taken before the Committee of that House, and after the decisive resolution of the other House—after the warning given to him by the Members of Ireland on both sides—and, above all, after the unexceptionable expression of feeling against it, not only from Ulster, but from all parts of Ireland. The noble Lord must be a dare-devil to suppose that he could succeed with such a measure. At the close of his speech last night the noble Lord said that he would not pledge himself to the details of this measure, but he wished to affirm the principle that Ireland should supply a portion of the money required; but he endeavoured to carry this much further. The hon. Member for Manchester had spoken of the Protestant ascendancy of Ulster, as being the curse of Ireland: would to God the whole of Ireland were equally degraded, for if it were, there would be no necessity for appealing for alms to that House! He knew that comparisons were odious; but he could not help contrasting the condition of the province of Ulster with that of other parts of Ireland where Protestant ascendancy did not exist. For the maintenance of the Union, you must rely upon the province of Ulster; and he would also say upon the attachment of the body of which he had the honour of being a member. He would state they had adhered to their loyalty, and, to quote the language of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, he would tell the noble Lord that they must trust to the loyalty of the Protestant population of Ulster. Use it, but do not abuse it.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 193; Noes 138: Majority 55.

List of the AYES.
Abdy, T. N. Bruce, Lord E.
Acland, Sir T. D. Bunbury, E. H.
Adair, R. A. S. Busfeild, W.
Aglionby, H. A. Buxton, Sir E. N.
Anderson, A. Cardwell, E.
Anson, hon. Col. Carter, J. B.
Anson, Viscount Cavendish, hon. G. H.
Armstrong, Sir A. Childers, J. W.
Armstrong, R. B. Clay, J.
Ashley, Lord Clay, Sir W.
Bagshaw, J. Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.
Baines, M. T. Cobden, R.
Baring, rt. hn. Sir F. T. Collins, W.
Baring, T. Copeland, Ald.
Bass, M. T. Cowper, hon. W. F.
Bellew, R. M. Craig, W. G.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Denison, W. J.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Duncan, G.
Berkeley, C. L. G. Dundas, Adm.
Bernal, R. Ebrington, Visct.
Birch, Sir T. B. Ellice, rt. hon. E.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Ellice, E.
Boyle, hon. Col. Ellis, J.
Bramston, T. W. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Bright, J. Emlyn, Visct.
Brocklehurst, J. Enfield, Visct.
Brotherton, J. Evans, Sir De L.
Brown, W. Evans, W.
Browne, R. D. Ewart, W.
Fagan, W. Paget, Lord A.
Fergus, J. Paget, Lord G.
Ferguson, Col. Palmerston, Visct.
Fordyce, A. D. Parker, J.
Forster, M. Patten, J. W.
Fortescue, hon. J. W. Pechell, Capt.
Fox, W. J. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Glyn, G. C. Peel, F.
Goddard, A. L. Peto, S. M.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Pigott, F.
Greene, T. Plowden, W. H. C.
Grenfell, C. P. Price, Sir R.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Pryse, P.
Grosvenor, Earl Pusey, P.
Guest, Sir J. Reid, Col.
Hallyburton, Ld. J. F. G. Reynolds, J.
Harcourt, G. G. Ricardo, O.
Hardcastle, J. A. Rice, E. R.
Hastie, A. Rich, H.
Hawes, B. Romilly, Sir J.
Hay, Lord J. Rumbold, C. E.
Hayter, rt. hon. W. G. Rushout, Capt.
Headlam, T. E. Russell, Lord J.
Henry, A. Russell, F. C. H.
Heywood, J. Sandars, G.
Heyworth, L. Scholefield, W.
Hindley, C. Seymer, H. K.
Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J. Seymour, Lord
Hobhouse, T. B. Shafto, R. D.
Hogg, Sir J. W. Shell, rt. hon. R. L.
Hope, H. T. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Howard, Lord E. Smith, J. A.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Smith, M. T.
Hume, J. Smith, J. B.
Jervis, Sir J. Smollett, A.
Johnstone, Sir J. Somers, J. P.
Keppel, hon. G. T. Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W.
Kershaw, J. Strickland, Sir G.
Kildare, Marq. of Stuart, Lord D.
King, hon. P. J. L. Stuart, Lord J.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Tancred, H. W.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Thicknesse, R. A.
Lewis, rt. hon. Sir T. F. Thompson, Col.
Lewis, G. C. Thompson, G.
Locke, J. Thornely, T.
Lygon, hon. Gen. Towneley, J.
Mackinnon, W. A. Townley, R. G.
M'Cullagh, W. T. Townshend, Capt.
M' Gregor, J. Turner, G. J.
Mahon, The O'Gorman Villiers, hon. C.
Mangles, R. D. Wall, C. B.
Marshall, J. G. Walmsley, Sir J.
Matheson, A. Walter, J.
Matheson, Col. Ward, H. G.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Watkins, Col. L.
Melgund, Visct. Wellesley, Lord C.
Mitchell, T. A. Westhead, J. P.
Moffatt, G. Willcox, B. M.
Moore, G. H. Williams, J.
Morris, D. Williamson, Sir H.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Wilson, J.
Mowatt, F. Wilson, M.
Mure, Col. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Norreys, Lord Wood, W. P.
Norreys, Sir D. J. Wyld, J.
O'Connor, F. Wyvill, M.
Ogle, S. C. H. TELLERS.
Ossulston, Lord Hill, Lord M.
Owen, Sir J. Grey, R. W.
List of the NOES.
Adair, H. E. Alexander, N.
Adderley, C. B. Archdall, Capt. M.
Arkwright, G. Howard, Sir R.
Bagge, W. Jocelyn, Visct.
Baidock, E. H. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Baldwin, C. B. Jones, Capt.
Barron, Sir H. W. Keogh, W.
Bateson, T. Ker, R.
Beresford, W. Knightlcy, Sir C.
Blackall, S. W. Knox, Col.
Blackstone, W. S. Lawless, hon. C.
Blake, M. J. Lonnard, T. B.
Boldero, H. G. Lincoln, Earl of
Bourke, R. S. Lockhart, W.
Bowles, Adm. Long, W.
Boyd, J. Lopes, Sir R.
Broadley, H. Lowther, H.
Brooke, Sir A. B. Macnaghten, Sir E.
Bruen, Col. Meagher, T.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Mahon, Visct.
Burrougkes, H. N. Manners, Lord G.
Callaghan, D. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Castlereagh, Visct. Meux, Sir H.
Caulfield, J. M. Milton, Visct.
Chandes, Marq. of Monsell, W.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Morgan, H. K. G.
Christy, S. Mundy, W.
Clements, hon. C. S. Napier, J.
Clive, H. B. Newdcgate, C. N.
Cobbold, J. C. Nugent, Sir P.
Cocks, T. S. O'Brien, Sir L.
Cole, hon. H. A. O'Flahorty, A.
Colcbrooke, Sir T. E. Osborne, R.
Conolly, T. Pigot, Sir R.
Cotton, hon. W. H. S. Repton, G. W. J.
Crawford, W. S. Richards, R.
Damer, hon. Col. Rufford, F.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Sadloir, J.
Dick, Q. Sandars, G.
Drummond, H. Scott, hon. F.
Dunne, F. P. Scrope, G. P.
Egerton, Sir P. Scully, F.
Estcourt, J. B. B. Sidney, Ald.
Fellowes, E. Simeon, J.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Somerset, Capt.
Fitzpatrick, rt. hon. J. W. Spooner, R.
Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W. Stafford, A.
Forbes, W. Stanley, hon. E. H.
Fortescue, C. Stephenson, R.
Fox, R. M. Stuart, J.
Fox, S. W. L. Sullivan, M.
French, F. Sutton, J. H. M.
Fuller, A. E. Taylor, T. E.
Gaskell, J. M. Tenison, E. K.
Gore, W. R. O. Tennent, R. J.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Thesiger, Sir F.
Grace, O. D. J. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Granby, Marq. of Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Greene, J. Verner, Sir W.
Grogan, E. Vescy, hon. T.
Haggitt, F. R. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Halford, Sir H. Waddington, H. S.
Hall, Col. Walpolo, S. H.
Hamilton, J. H. Williams, T. P.
Hamilton, Lord C. Willoughby, Sir H.
Harris, hon. Capt. Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.
Hayes, Sir E. Young, Sir J.
Herbert, H. A.
Herries, rt. hon. J. C. TELLERS.
Hervey, Lord A. Hamilton, G. A.
Horsman, E. Corry, H. T. L.

Bill read a second time, and committed for Thursday 19th April.

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