HC Deb 02 March 1849 vol 103 cc99-156

The House having resolved itself into a Committee on the Poor Laws (Ireland),


rose, and said: I now rise. Sir, for the purpose of explaining to the Committee the course which Her Majesty's Government wish to pursue with regard to this most difficult question of the poor-laws in Ireland. Earlier in the present Session I proposed the appointment of a Committee, stating at the same time my opinion, that, although the Government had certain amendments of the law in view, it would be desirable that some Gentlemen representing Irish constituencies, and other Members of this House, should be appointed on that Committee, in order that, by their knowledge, by their experience, and by their acquaintance with the feelings and opinions of the people of Ireland, as well as of this country, they might aid in the discussion of this arduous subject. Sir, I brought before that Committee, upon their first meeting, several propositions. But before I allude to them, I will state, in the first place, what I conceive to be the general working of the poor-law in Ireland. It appears to me, then, that so far as the measures passed in this House in 1847, for placing on the property of Ireland the charge of the destitution which it was foreseen would be very appalling for a considerable time, and which would at all times be of very large extent—so far, I say, as the object of those measures has been the relief of destitution by rates collected in Ireland, so far has that object, to a great degree I think, been attained. It is not to be denied, however, that in accomplishing that object great evils have arisen, some of them arising from particular circumstances of a local nature, others from circumstances of a more general character; but all requiring the serious attention, first of a Committee, and afterwards of this House and of Parliament. Generally speaking, I think it is admitted that in many parts of Ireland the occupiers of land, upon whom was suddenly imposed a burden, accompanied by circumstances of no ordinary character—the occupiers of land in Ireland, instead of considering the burden of pauperism a reason for their giving greater employment, have, on the contrary, taken alarm at the extent of the burden imposed on them, and have rather diminished than increased the number of their labourers. It therefore appears, that though it is contrary to the general principles of the poor-law, and more especially of the poor-law in England, which contemplates the relief of distress wherever it may exist, and that the destitute poor will either be relieved if infirm, or if ablebodied set to work at the expense of the local community, and that to any extent and to any amount which first the parish and afterwards the county would require, it appears to us that notwithstanding the divergence from such a plan, it would be expedient in Ireland to propose that there should be a maximum rate, beyond which the rate for the poor should not go. In proposing this maximum rate, it should be considered in the first place, whether it should be entirely a union rate, whether it should be an electoral division rate, and whether there should be any auxiliary rate given from any other portions of the country. What I proposed to the Committee was, in the first place, that there should be a rate of 5s. in the pound—that is, that the poor-rate should not extend beyond 5s. in the electoral divisions; and that when it should exceed that sum, a rate should be collected from the union not exceeding 2s., making a rate of 7s. altogether, to which the electoral divisions should be subjected. On that subject, the Committee were of opinion—although I think they were generally favourable to the imposition of a maximum rate—that it was advisable that some evidence should be taken, with regard especially to the amount which it was expedient to impose. I believe such was the general opinion of the Committee with regard to that part of the plan which I proposed; and I consented to withdraw the resolutions I had moved on that subject, to allow the Committee to proceed with the evidence. But before I went into Committee, I stated in this House, that if at any time I thought, or if the Government should come to any decision, that it was necessary to propose any measure, that even though the Committee should not adopt it, I should then feel myself justified in coming down to the House to ask it to assent to it. However, I do not propose at the present time to make any proposition to the House on the subject of a maximum rate. I shall readily wait until further evidence has been taken on that branch of the subject; but it certainly is the decided opinion of the Government, that whether the 5s. and the 2s. respectively are the proper limit or not—whether the mode of taking the first sum from the electoral divisions is the most expedient form or not—yet that in the present state of Ireland a maximum rate is desirable, and that you might combine the relief of destitution—which I must say is the object to a great extent that has to be achieved—with the encouragement of industry and the promotion of the cultivation of the soil. I will go on. Sir, to state some other measures which the Government have in contemplation with re- spect to the poor-law, on which I have not asked the opinions of the Committee, but which I intend, at some future time, in modification of the present poor-law, to propose to it. One of these alterations is, that when agricultural improvements on the land take place, there should not, for a certain number of years, be an increased valuation on account of these improvements. Whether that period should be seven years or ten years, or whether it should be for any longer period, is a point upon which there may be room for much difference of opinion. I should think ton years ought to be the utmost limit, perhaps seven years would be sufficient; but, as I have said, upon that there may be room for considerable discussion. There are some other alterations that I think necessary with regard to the poor-law in Ireland; and, more especially, there is one upon which a great deal of attention has been fixed during the discussion that has taken place from the very commencement of the amended poor-law, in 1847, and upon which I wish to state some general views to the Committee. It is with respect to the area of taxation. Many persons are of opinion—I believe the majority of the Irish Members, both upon the Committee and in this House, would be doubtless of opinion—that it is desirable to have a maximum point beyond which the poor-rate will not go. They will be of opinion that the occupier of land would be more likely to take land and expend his capital upon it, if he had a certainty that there would not be an unlimited rate imposed; and they will think also, that in the case of the sale of property, property would be much more readily bought if the purchaser was sure that the whole of the rent would be derived from the estate—that it would not be entirely swallowed up by the poor. It is considered that the area of taxation should be much more limited than it is at present. It is with the view that the landlord, having a certain limited amount of labour within a certain district, and being so far master of that district as that he could command the employment to be given upon it, would more readily employ his capital on such land, and employ the labourers residing there, than he would be if he found that other proprietors living in his immediate neighbourhood, and subject to a similar poor-rate taxation as himself, were able at the same time to refuse all employment, and thus thereby throw upon him the burthen of taxation, while he was employing all the labour which it was in his power to employ for the improvement of his own land. But, Sir, while I admit that this is certainly a most plausible view of the subject to take, I think it is impossible to consider the question in all its bearings without seeing that if the principle were adopted of saying that each property should form a separate and distinct area of taxation of itself, liable only to the support of the poor found upon it, very serious evils are likely to spring up. In the first place, it does not seem to me that, if this principle were acted upon, we could give the small proprietors the benefits that would be given to the larger ones. In a return, drawn up by the clerk of the Limerick union, I find the cases of some large proprietors mentioned: there are also the cases noticed of small proprietors having only about thirty-eight acres. Now, I do not see how it is possible to say, "We shall protect you, the proprietor who owns two or three thousand acres, against being swamped by the negligences of your neighbour who has only thirty-eight acres; but we will not concede the same advantages to the proprietor of thirty-eight acres, who is liable to be swamped by the negligences of the proprietor of two or three thousand acres." There could be no fairness in any such one-sided system as this. But if you determine that every small property shall have a separate taxation, it is obvious that the confusion which will arise must be very great, and that it would be almost impossible to carry the poor-law into effect; and that other evils would necessarily follow. But there are even stronger objections than this. One is, that although a landlord wishing to do his duty, and finding a number of labourers on his estate, and that the land was capable of improvement, would no doubt readily lay out his capital upon that land—would readily take care that the ablebodied labourers should be employed, and he himself would ultimately be rewarded, not only by seeing the happiness and cheerfulness of those around him in his service, but also by finding that his estate was, in the long run, far more valuable than if it were left untouched. I say, supposing all this to be very true, still in Ireland, the testimony of almost every gentleman belonging to that country proves, there are a class of landowners who take a very different view of the matter. And, with respect to these landlords, when they found that their land was to bear the taxation for supporting all the infirmity and want of em- ployment existing amongst the population resident upon it, their first impulse would be to rid their land of what they considered to be an incumbrance, and the small tenants at will would be driven away, for they would prove a burden to them. And you will find that these people would be driven, in very large numbers, from the agricultural districts; they would be driven, as many others had been driven in the course of the last thirty years, into the suburbs of the large towns, there to live as mendicants for a short time, and afterwards perish from disease and pestilence. But, Sir, even with regard to the best possible arrangements, were you to decide that each property is to be subject to its own rate for its own poor, you would then find that you would establish a much stricter law of settlement than that which exists in this country. You will find that these persons might obtain employment from their own immediate landowners, and from the occupiers of the different little circles in which they lived; but if they went out of that circle—if they thought of going a few miles further off, or even less than that, they would discover that they were mot on all sides by a dread of their becoming chargeable upon the new district; and they would be driven back to reside in the district from which they had at first taken their departure; and they would thus become, not a class of free and independent labourers, worthy of the British empire, but be reduced to the miserable condition of absolute serfs to the landlords who employed them. Sir, while these are to me the objections, and, as it appears to me, the insuperable objections, to that subdivision of the areas of taxation which has been proposed by some poor-law reformers in Ireland, there is, at the same time, no doubt very considerable inconvenience arising from the size of many of the unions, and of many of the electoral districts. The Commissioners to whom I alluded last night have taken that subject into their consideration—they have compared the unions of the south with the unions of the north, and the electoral divisions of the south with those of the north; and although there are, no doubt, many physical circumstances in the face of the country which are different in different parts of it, yet, I think, their opinion is, that the more minute subdivision of the area of taxation that took place in the north was more favourable to the development of industry; and, therefore, they proposed that there should be a greater subdivision than has usually been with regard to the large unions of the south, and that a great portion of them should be contracted. The question how far such a different arrangement of unions, of electoral divisions, may be carried out, may very fairly become the subject of consideration to the Committee, who can examine persons who have been engaged in forming those new unions and new electoral divisions; and they might either be convinced that the right course has been pursued, or there might be suggestions made for some alterations with respect to the course to be adopted. It would better be left as a matter for full consideration and discussion whether we should adopt the principle that the Commissioners recommend for modifying the present electoral divisions, seeing that they were framed for a very different law from that which now exists. But the kind of subdivision I before referred to would be found a serious and permanent evil in the working of the poor-law in Ireland. Sir, there are some other amendments of the poor-law to which I know not that I need now more particularly allude; but there is one that has been suggested by others, and to which the Government has given its consideration, and upon which I am ready to state my views. It has been suggested that it is not just, considering the introduction of this poor-law in Ireland took place so very recently, and seeing that the charges on the land were not made in contemplation of the present poor-law—it has been argued, I say, that, considering all these things, it would not be just to subject these charges to the same rate for the poor, that the rent of the landlord should be. Now, I think, with respect to mortgages on the land, that it would be quite impossible to subject them to the charge for the poor-rate, it being a charge that must vary in its nature, not being fixed like a tax levied for the national exchequer. The immediate effect of any such deduction from the mortgages would be, that the sum so lent on mortgage would be withdrawn, and very great distress, instead of benefit, must be the consequence of that. But with respect to family charges the case is different. I think, these charges having been settled, not in contemplation of the poor-law, those who made the settlements having done so in the belief that the landowner would have a certain income from the soil, and therefore that a certain charge could fairly be paid in favour of the members of the family —I think, I say, that in these cases it would be at the same time just and also practicable that there should be a deduction made when these payments are made for the poor-rate to be imposed. I do not think it should go beyond the settlements that have been hitherto made. Then again there were settlements that have been made heretofore, it being known at the time that the poor-law existed in Ireland, and these settlements therefore being made with that law in contemplation. Now I do not think, with respect to charging these settlements with poor-rates, that the regulation should be made a prospective one with regard to settlements made heretofore; but these are all points that very properly ought to come under careful discussion. There is another question that has led to a good deal of doubt, but upon which I think some provision should be made—it is with regard to the land that has been unoccupied for a considerable time, and upon which the arrears of poor-rate are very considerable. Now I think it would tend much more for the future occupation and cultivation of the land, if for once those arrears should be remitted. But I come now, Sir, to state what is more particularly the subject of the resolution in your hands. And in so doing I must refer to the report of the Commission, which contains a letter to his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant, dated 11th December, 1848. It is at page 7 of the report. It says— Of the entire number of unions, 131, there are perhaps twenty which require to be considered separately from the remainder, as presenting peculiar difficulties. There is a second class, consisting of ten or eleven unions, in which the present amount of outdoor relief is considerable, but in which, by dint of exertion, serious financial embarrassments may be avoided, and the destitution at the same time be effectually relieved, without external aid. It might be stated, therefore, with regard to these 100 unions out of 137, that their state, considering the immense destitution they had experienced, is very satisfactory, and, indeed, I should say, more satisfactory than I could have expected them to be in. The report further says— Of the remaining unions, say 100, there are thirty-seven in which no relief is at present given out of the workhouse; in the other sixty-three the extent of outdoor relief is for the most part inconsiderable, the aggregate total cost little exceeding 1,800l, weekly; while the additional workhouse accommodation provided in these unions is calculated to meet a considerable pressure, before the necessity of resorting to extensive outdoor relief will be again acknowledged. The result is, that out of 131 unions in Ireland, there are twenty, and (as the Committee expect) not more than twenty, to whom some external aid would be required. In considering this subject, as I stated on a former occasion, we must never keep out of sight the effects of the great failure of that food which has been the staple of the country. It is impossible to consider these unions as existing in the state in which they existed in the years 1836 and 1837, when the Poor Law Commissioners made their report. At that time, however wretched might have appeared the condition of so many of the inhabitants of Ireland, living, as they were found, in mud cabins, with only one room—if it could be called a room—however wretched their situation might have been in these years, still it had been altered greatly for the worse by the deprivation of the people of that food upon which their subsistence depended. For Parliament could never expect that they could have ever received, in the course of the intervening years, such wages as would enable them to live, however hardly or scantily, without being still dependent upon the produce of the little patch of potato-ground adjoining the miserable cabins they inhabited. Sir, in the last year we have seen repeated, and repeated in an aggravated shape, those calamities which at various times have afflicted Ireland. A similar visitation afflicted Ireland about the middle of the last century, and also again in 1822, when very great relief was afforded by Parliament. The question, therefore, now comes to be, whether this relief shall, in any shape, be continued, or whether Parliament will think it wise to make no provision whatever for the relief of the Irish people; whether it will allow these unions and their impoverished inmates to take the miserable chance they may have of surviving until the next harvest, without making any effort whatever for their relief. In considering this subject, the House of Commons has judged, and I think very naturally judged, that the exertions made during the last few years, by the people of this country and by the Imperial Parliament out of the national revenues, have been of a great and very extraordinary character. I do not wish to speak of the mode in which the relief has been given, or to discuss again the methods by which it was bestowed. But, then, hon. Gentlemen say that nothing was done except to feed the people. I think, were it even so, that that is doing a great deal. Yet I must also remind the House of the fact that there have been very great exertions made by Parliament, in order to stimulate industry in Ireland, and place her in a better position than she would otherwise stand in. I hold in my hand a general estimate of the different grants of sums to be expended upon works of a reproductive nature that had been made in the years 1846, 1847, and 1848, respectively:— The advances on the land, under the Land Labour Act, were nearly 500,000l.; the sums advanced for land improvements and drainage in what was called Labouchere's letter, were 200,000l.; the extraordinary advances for arterial drainage, &c., 370,000l.; the grant for navigation connected with drainage, 100,000l.; the improvements connected with the navigation of the river Shannon, 123,000l.; ordinary Board of Works loan fund, 180,000l.; grants and loans for the erection of piers and harbours, 100,000l.; advances for railways, 620,000l. So that not less than 2,193,000l. had been I advanced in the three years, for what are called works of a reproductive character. And be it remembered that, although 500,000l. has been advanced under the Lands Improvement Act, there yet remain one million that has been applied for, and which will be drawn from time to time for works of reclamation and drainage, as authorised by the Act, making altogether 3,193,000l. I think with that statement it cannot be said that the Government had altogether neglected works of a reproductive character, or that the whole of the money given has been entirely consumed in purposes of mere charity. Again, I always maintain that, in a season of such great and overwhelming calamity, when there is no power adequate to enable the people to maintain themselves without help—to feed the people is really the primary and main purpose of such relief. Sir, having made these efforts, we proposed at the commencement of the present Session, in continuance of the grants that were made last year, that the further sum of 50,000l. should be voted to meet the pressing necessities of a number of the more destitute unions in Ireland. It was stated in this House, and stated, I admit, with great force, that already much has been done—that very large grants have already been made—and that if it was right to continue this system in any way, it was also right that Ireland generally should be called upon to contribute towards that fund. Now, Sir, in looking at the burden of the poor-law, I certainly find, that with regard to many parts of Ireland no greater burden, if indeed one so great, is borne by these parts as is imposed upon many parts of England. I find, for instance, looking at the county of Antrim—[The noble Lord here quoted a statistical document, which stated, that in the county of Antrim, the average amount of the poor-rate last year, in different unions, was 1s. 2d., 1s. 10d., and 1s. 7¾d. In some of the unions of Armagh, the rate was 1s. 4¾d., 3s. 4d., and 2s. 10d. In Fermanagh, it had been 2s. 5¾d., 3s. 1½d., and 2s. 8d. In county Down, it averaged 1s. 3d. or 1s. 4d. in many of the unions; in various unions in Londonderry it averaged 1s. 3d., 1s. 4d., 1s. 6½d., 1s. 6¾d., and the like. With regard to several counties in Leinster, the rate last year averaged a similar amount of charge. In Kildare, in one union it was 2s., in another 7¾d., and in another 1s. 6¼d. In county Meath the sum was 1s. 2¼d. in one union, in another 2s. 1¾d., in another 1s. 10¼d., and so on with the rest.] These are sums that appear to have been paid under the poor-law in several parts of Ireland; so that it cannot be said, with regard to these districts, that they have been entirely sunk and destroyed and ruined by the poor-law. On the contrary, it does appear that, comparing them with many parts of England, they are less burdened than a good many parishes in Wiltshire, Sussex, and other parts of this country. It does not, therefore, seem impossible that they could bear some additional burden for the sake of those distressed unions to which I have alluded. When I propose, however, that there should be a rate in aid to be collected in Ireland generally, for the sake of the support of these distressed districts, I have been met by the argument, that this being a local burden, there is no more obligation on the county of Down than on the county of Middlesex to support the poor in Mayo or in Sligo. I have been met with the argument that it would be quite as just to impose an additional poor-rate in Lancashire for the purposes of Norfolk, as to make one of the counties of Ulster pay for the purposes of the West of Ireland. Now, there would be much that is just and fair in this argument, if it could be said that Ireland altogether was taxed to an equal amount with England—that she paid and contributed in the same degree, in proportion to her wealth, to all the taxes to which Great Britain is subject. But it was put forward, and with great emphasis, by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Northamptonshire, when we proposed a former grant, that there are taxes to a very large amount payable in this country that are not paid in Ireland at all. The hon. Gentleman stated the amount to be 11,000,000l., but I have here a statement that makes his calculations to be considerably under the mark. It appears that we pay in this country 5,300,000l. of an income tax, 1,150,000l. land tax, and 3,400,000l. assessed taxes; making together, of direct taxes alone, 9,850,000l.; and the excise taxes, in bricks for houses, soap, &c., reach 2,300,000l. more; making altogether 12,150,000l. of taxes, from which Ireland is altogether exempted. Now, I think it is but just to say, that if there is an additional taxation of upwards of 12,000,000l. upon this country alone, this alters the case entirely with regard to local taxation, which we wish to impose for the western districts of Ireland. I find Gentlemen saying—and saying very readily at the present moment—"Impose on us the same taxation as you have in this country—impose exactly the same taxes upon us, too, and then take from the Imperial Treasury anything that you wish." This, I know, has been very readily said; but, I think, if we were to come to propose, not only the income tax and the assessed taxes—if we said that, instead of 300,000l., we shall charge Ireland with 1,000,000l. of additional taxation—if, instead of proposing 6d., we were to propose something like 1s., or even 1s. 6d. in the pound—if we were to do this, then, I think, we should find that hon. Gentlemen belonging to Ireland would very materially change their minds upon the subject; and, having made that profession of their readiness to accept the burden of the income and other taxes, in order to get rid of the present proposal, to which they entertain strong objections, they would, I doubt not, with twice as much obstinacy and fierceness, stand out against that proposal which they say we ought to make in preference to the present one. But now, even with regard to the income tax alone, there is 7d. in the pound to be paid. And with regard to this 6d. in the pound, which I propose to ask, the tenant and occupier will escape from one-half of it; because, being for the support of the poor, the landlord would bear one-half of the additional rate, supposing the rent to remain the same as before. But if we were to subject the tenant to the income-tax, we would take 7d. in the pound from all the tenants with more than 150l. a year; and thus we would subject these persons to, at least, a deduction of 7d. in the pound from their incomes, instead of the 3d. in the pound we now propose to demand from them in the shape of a poor-rate in aid. But, Sir, with regard to this measure itself, I certainly have no peculiar fondness for this mode of rating, rather than for any other; but I believe, if we were to withdraw this proposition, and substitute the income tax in its place, that we should find, only in another shape, the same objections as those which are now offered to a charge in Ireland for relief in Ireland; and the same argument, that the Imperial Exchequer ought to be made answerable, and not the people of Ireland alone, would be encountered equally in the one case as in the other. But, Sir, the objections go further than this; and we were told last night, that it is a mere matter of feeling, affecting even the loyalty of the loyal province of Ulster; but I don't think that those who represent Ulster, and represent her truly, will assert that her loyalty could be impared by such a proposition. I can well understand, if it were a question of right—like that for which Hampden resisted, and patriots resisted at other times—that 6d., or 3d., or 1s. might be to them as much as the largest sum, and that they would be ready to stake their existence against that sum; but it is no question of right. Every one acknowledges the right of the Imperial Parliament to tax Ireland as well as England. All that the Imperial Parliament has done has been to tax Great Britain; but it has not taxed Ireland, although nobody denies that it would be competent to Parliament to impose the income tax or the assessed taxes on Ireland at any time that they thought necessary. And then, not being a matter of right, I say I cannot believe that the loyalty of Ulster is of that nature that it will be impaired by the imposition of a tax of this kind for the relief of persons who are destitute and suffering the extremity of hunger. I believe their loyalty is founded upon attachment to the Throne and to the institutions of the country. I believe it is founded upon sympathy with the religion of this country, and upon the memory of the many dangers and the many victories in which they have been associated together. I cannot think that their loyalty can he impaired, still less turned into disaffection, because a rate of this nature is imposed, and because they are asked to bear some part of a burden which for years together Great Britain has borne without complaint. But, Sir, I am told that this measure is likely to lead to a permanent charge upon the income of Ireland, and that a rate in aid—a perpetual rate in aid—will be the consequence of the proposal. Now, let us look to what is the actual situation of that country. We have twenty unions now either in, or likely to be in, a state of very great distress. But there is no reason, that I know, why that distress should be one of continuance for many years longer. My expectation is, that one of two things must infallibly happen: either you will find, that on the return of good and plentiful harvests there will be sufficient food and employment for the people in those districts, or that there will be such a change of culture and such an employment of capital in those districts, that the people may be placed in a state of comparative comfort; and then you are relieved from the burden in that manner. Or else you will find that the people, seeing that they have no prospect of the restoration of the food upon which they depended, will migrate to other districts. They will migrate to other parts of Ireland; they will migrate to Scotland; they will migrate to England, and to the North American and Australian colonies, and to the United States of America. That is what I find they have done to a great extent within the last throe years. It is not without example that great calamities have befallen the people in consequence of failure either of their occupations or of the other means of life. Not many years ago there was a great population maintained in some of the western islands of Scotland by the gathering of sea-weed for the manufacture of kelp; but in consequence of the discovery of certain chemical preparations those people were deprived of their means of subsistence. Their means of subsistence have not been restored, and great misery was endured by them. But there is no longer—there could not be any longer—that population continuing in the western islands without the means by which they formerly subsisted. So, likewise, I find, in several towns in this country and on the Continent, that various branches of manufactures subsisted and flourished for a time, but that those branches of manufacture having deserted the places in which they were established, great misery has been endured for a certain period; but afterwards I find that those people have migrated to other districts, where the same employment, or some other employment, was found for them, and the calamity left no trace behind it. So I believe it will be with respect to this calamity, which is affecting some of the southern and western districts of Ireland. The livelihood of the population entirely rested upon the culture of the potato, and that food having failed, unless that food comes back, and they find the same mode of subsistence they hitherto had, you will find that other districts will have not the burden of their subsistence, but they will have the benefit of their employment. I have now stated the reasons on which I ground the proposition I have to make to the House. I believe, if you agree to this proposition, that we will then be entitled (after the consent of the House has been obtained, if we find it necessary, from the accounts of increasing destitution) to ask, and will be justified in asking, some advance from this House before the rate could be collected by which we could supply the more immediate wants of the people. At all events, I think it is the duty of the Government to lay the case before the House of Commons, and ask the House of Commons whether they are ready to consent to the means by which we propose to meet this case of misery and wretchedness. It is our duty to inquire whether the House of Commons—if they do not take our means—consider there are other means that ought to be adopted in preference; or whether, lastly, it will be the deliberate will and sentence of the House of Commons that no attempt shall be made to relieve the exigencies of Ireland. The hon. Baronet who spoke last night, and resisted the Speaker leaving the chair, seemed at least to take that view of the Motion. For my part, I own I cannot take it. I own, although we should limit our aid, although you should take care that it should be spent as frugally and as economically as possible, yet, considering the whole social state of Ireland, considering that Ireland is undergoing a great transition, that you may save some of the misery, and that you may save many of the deaths that are the consequences of that transition, by interposing with relief of this kind, I confidently ask for your assent to this resolution.


said, that he laboured under great difficulties in addressing the House upon the present occasion; but he had laboured under greater difficulty two years ago, when he had announced what would be the result of the present Irish poor-law, for experience had not then confirmed, as it had since completely confirmed, the statements which he had made. One principle which he had ever advocated with regard to Ireland, and which had guided his conduct under very difficult and trying circumstances, was, that whatever they did with regard to financial matters in Ireland, they must never be led away either by shortsighted pity and mistaken charity on the one hand, or a peevish reaction on the other, to neglect that just principle the non-existence of which in Ireland was the cause of all her social, and many of her political evils. He alluded, he was sorry to say for the twentieth or thirtieth time, to the great principle of self-dependence. The maintenance of that principle had compelled him, at the risk of severing party ties, to which he felt a strong attachment, to refuse to his lamented Friend Lord G. Bentinck his support when he, at the head of a united party—united save in very few instances—brought forward his plan for the construction of Irish railroads. That plan was extremely popular in the district of Ireland with which he himself was connected, and was a great favourite with his lamented Friend who brought it forward. It was advocated and supported by all the leading Members of the party with whom he had acted and still continued to act; but still he felt so strongly the necessity of drawing no financial distinctions between England and Ireland, or by illusory promises or fallacious representations interfering with the great principle of self-dependence, that he was wholly unable to agree with Lord G. Bentinck on that occasion. So whenever the noble Lord at the head of the present Government, or his right hon. Friend the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, had felt it their duty to resist the extension of the income tax to Ireland, on no such occasion had he given them his support. On the same principle he had urged the necessity of coupling with the 50,000l. grant a notice to the part of the country for which it was asked, and the public at large, that the system could not go on. He felt that these details would be of no importance did they not entitle him to claim the attention of the House whilst he showed them how in justice to his own constituents, and in obedience to the dictates of his own conscience, he was obliged to vote last night against the Speaker leaving the chair, and why he should also feel called upon at every stage of the Bill, whenever a division should take place, to record his vote in direct and earnest opposition to it. The noble Lord the Chief Minister of the Crown had referred to the course pursued by the Government during the present Session. It was a matter of difficulty at the first meeting of Parliament to elicit from the Members of the Government that they had any plan at all. His own conviction was, that when they first met Parliament, they had absolutely none. The right hon. Secretary for Ireland, who rose after he (Mr. Stafford) had put the question, did not so much as allude to it. Subsequently the right hon. Secretary for the Home Department stated that the Government was determined to adhere to the main principles of the present poor-law.


The hon. Member put a question to me on one particular point, and on that I answered him plainly and distinctly; but I did not go into the general question.


Yes, the right hon. Gentleman stated that, as regarded the principle of outdoor relief. Ministers were not prepared to abandon it. Then came the appointment of the Committee, before which the noble Lord at the head of the Government was to submit certain leading proposals, and put them in the form of resolutions, to be submitted to a Committee. The order of reference, under which the Committee on the Irish Poor Law was appointed, was without precedent in the annals of that House, so that it had at least the merit of perfect novelty. When that Committee met, the noble Lord at the head of the Government stated it to be his intention to resist the taking of evidence, if not with regard to the third and fourth resolutions, at all events with regard to the first. Some hon. Members ventured to propose that evidence should be taken, and thought themselves justified in resisting the proposition of the Prime Minister, by citing an authority still higher than that of the noble Lord, namely, that of Her Majesty's Speech from the Throne, in which they were told, "that the operation of the laws for the relief of the poor in Ireland, would probably be the subject of their inquiry." And yet what was the course pursued by the noble Lord? He commenced proceedings by resisting all inquiry, by calling upon them, inasmuch as it was an Irish Committee, to pronounce before inquiring. Some, however, who had become habituated to English usages, ventured to suggest that it would be more respectful to Her Majesty's Speech to adhere to the old fashion, and allow inquiry to precede judgment. The noble Lord, however, was inexorable, and compelled them to decide at once upon the 6d. rate, and report the resolution to the House; and it was that resolution alone, and not all the suggestions with which the noble Lord had now garnished his proposal, that they had now to discuss. In discussing this subject, he (Mr. Stafford) must be permitted to say that he did not address himself to those hon. Members whom he had seen last night taking part in the cry that the property of Ireland should support the poverty of Ireland; and who, without waiting to understand its meaning, repeated it so loudly to themselves as to drown the voice of all justice and all reason within them. There were, however, he felt certain, a great number in that House who would permit him, with great deference, though at the same time with great earnestness, to analyse that cry. The noble Lord had stated that distress in particular districts arising from local circumstances was not a thing wholly unprecedented, and cited a case which had happened in this island, where, by the introduction of barilla, the lucrative cultivation of kelp was put an end to, by which means the population employed in it would have been reduced to great distress, had they not addressed themselves to other employments. He apprehended, however, that Gentlemen possessing greater local cognisance of that district than the noble Lord, would tell him that the distress there had not, as he sanguinely expected, wholly vanished. The noble Lord had also referred to cases of local distress in different parts of Europe, and cited them as precedents for the state of Connaught at the present moment. His illustrations, however, proved fatal to his argument; for although distress existed, still in the case referred to by the noble Lord there was no relief in aid. The noble Lord had stated the manner in which he hoped to sec the distress which existed in Connaught mitigated. He expected that either the crops would come back, or the people would go away. For his own part, he confessed, he thought the latter by far the more probable alternative. If they asked Manchester and Liverpool, they would probably find that it had already, to a great extent, come to pass. But how they were to emigrate to North America or any of our colonies without means at their disposal, the noble Lord did not state, neither did he state that any part of the sum to be raised I by this rate in aid was to be applied to purposes of emigration. He confessed, however, his belief that if the present system continued, a large diminution would take place in the population of those districts. Not that they would emigrate to North America, but some of them would emigrate to England, and some would be, "where the weary are at rest." Now let the noble Lord consider this, and let some Minister of the Crown remedy the Prime Minister's omission. He wanted to know, too, what amount of money he expected this 6d. rate to raise, what amount of destitution they expected to be called on to relieve, and what amount of resources they believed to exist in these localities. In order to assist them in arriving at some conclusion on these points, he would refer the Government to their own paper laid on the table of that House, in which it was stated that in the twenty-one unions which were in a state of more particular distress, the debts and probable expenditure would amount to 592,000l. The noble Lord, in stating that it would be better for Ireland to have this than the income tax, did casually let drop his estimate of the sum which he expected to levy by means of this rate. The noble Lord would correct him if he was in error, but he understood him to estimate it at 300,000l., which would still leave 292,000l. to be provided for. Suppose that, contrary to the predictions of all the Government officers in the distressed districts—contrary to all the anticipations and predictions of every Member connected with them, of whatever politics he might be—the distress should not increase during the year upon which they were entering, still he trusted that the financial part of this matter would be dealt with by his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and that hon. Members whom he saw opposite, men of business, would also address themselves to it as an important and essential part of the question. That Irish property should support Irish poverty, was, as he had said before, so to speak, the cry that would carry this measure. The proposition of the noble Lord, however, did not go to realise that idea. Let Irish property support Irish poverty, said hon. Members on the other side of the House. Be it so, said he (Mr. Stafford), at least, on that side of the House; and here, he must remark, that to contrast the sentiments of one Irish Member with another, and sneer at their dif- ferences, might afford opportunities for clever and showy exhibition, and elicit a passing cheer in that House, but it was not the way in which the difficulties of Ireland ought to be met. It was not the plan of wise statesmen, though it might be the shift of practised debaters, who concealed executive imbecility by showy phrases. Convinced that any measure passed nominally for Ireland must immediately as well as perpetually react on England, they wished to see men in power who, listening attentively to all the statements as well of those representing Irish constituencies, as those connected by property with Ireland, knew how to extract the real facts of the case out of the conflicting statements placed before them. The objection which he entertained to the plan of the Government was, that, in the first place, it was unjust; next, that it was difficult of execution; and, thirdly, that if it were not unjust and difficult of execution, still it would fail of its purposed object. He apprehended hon. Members would concede this much, that although it was desirable that Ireland should not come any longer to England as a beggar, there might be means of raising money in Ireland so unjust and so oppressive, that by far the greater majority of the House would refuse to lend themselves to such a proposition. He would take the case of the Church property in Ireland. He believed that if at that moment the present or any-other Government had come forward and proposed that the fee-simple of the Irish Church property should be sold in order to meet the immediate destitution of the country, and the proceeds at once paid into the hands of the Poor Law Commissioners, for distribution in the distressed unions of Connaught and Munster, very few would have lent themselves to such a proposition. Nor could they have supported a proposal to sell all the property belonging to the London companies in the north of Ireland, and devote the proceeds to a like purpose. There were also purposes to which the House would not sanction the application of the funds which might be raised. Borrowing a hint from the noble Lord, what, he asked, would have been the feelings of the House if they were told that the whole of the fund was to be paid to the Emigration Commissioners for the purpose of transporting the whole of Connaught to the West Riding of Yorkshire? And yet the means by which the funds were to be raised now, and the purposes to which they were to be applied, were nearly as unjust. The right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer had felt it his duty last year to resist the extension of the income tax to Ireland. Ireland, he said, was only just emerging from a season of great calamity. Resorting to the ad misericordiam argument, he said, "Do not press hardly on a stricken land, or lay a heavy hand on those who were only just rising above water. But the time may come when Ireland will be more prosperous, and then under more favourable circumstances, perhaps, it will be my duty, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, should I hold that office, to propose an extension of the income tax to Ireland, where common feelings of humanity and pity prohibited me from imposing it now." Now, he trusted that the right hon. Baronet would explain the peculiar circumstances of Irish prosperity and the peculiar sunshine of affluence and wealth which induced him now to retract his opinion, and not merely harden his heart, but select that peculiar kind of property in Ireland which was the most oppressed, and had been the most unfortunate? Let Irish property support Irish poverty, cried hon. Members in that House, and the voice of the public out of doors too, he was bound to admit. No, said the noble Lord, not quite; but let a rate in aid be levied only on rateable property, of that kind which was most oppressed, which had been the most taxed, and which had just been brought down to absolute prostration. The noble Lord had said, that if he had proposed to extend the income tax to Ireland, the proposition would have met with great resistance; but what he (Mr. Stafford) complained of, and which be protested against, was, that the noble Lord had never given Ireland that alternative. Let not the noble Lord, therefore, stand up to say, that the people of Ireland resisted an equality of taxation. He had never given them an opportunity of pronouncing an opinion. [An hon. MEMBER: Yes, last year it was suggested.] Last year? Why, the suggestion was a very different thing from an alternative. If the hon. Member was asked if he would give a sovereign, he would, doubtless, say "no;" but if he got the alternative of whether he should give one or two, it would be easy to say what his decision would be. If the noble Lord had asked the people of England if they were disposed to agree to an income tax, and if be had appealed to hon. Members in that House, he felt satisfied that few indeed would be found to vote in its favour. But when the alternative was given them in a proper and statesmanlike manner—when they pointed out, as guardians of the public purse and the Ministers of a great people, that it was indispensable that an income or some other still more oppressive tax should be imposed—that was what he called giving them the fair and manly alternative. The right hon. Baronet the late Prime Minister had said to the House of Commons, "You had better let me take off so many import and excise duties, and allow me to lay on an income tax of 3 per cent in lieu of it." He (Mr. Stafford) was not going to say, then, whether that proposition was right or wrong; but at all events he gave the House of Commons and the people the alternative. Now, when the noble Lord and his Colleagues had determined that a rate in aid should be extended all over Ireland, he must say, that it would have been treating Ireland better, and that it would have been more fair to that House, if he had at least offered to the Irish people the alternative of an equality of taxation. He had no business to anticipate what the answer of Ireland would be, not being an Irish representative: but he must again strongly urge and insist upon the absolute advantage to Ireland of giving to her, instead of this measure, an equality of taxation. Let the noble Lord remember, that not having done that, he had armed against him many who, although willing to pay a fair portion of the burden of taxation, shrunk from the injustice and hardship of the present proposition, and had induced them to join with the men who resisted all taxation. He thought it would have been much wiser and better to have kept these two classes distinct. Look how much more judiciously and fairly the income tax would deal with the frieze-coated farmers in that country. If they had an income tax in Ireland on the same footing as in England, all farmers who paid less than 300l. per annum were exempt from its operation. But under the proposition of the noble Lord, all those farmers, down to those who paid only 4l. per annum rent, would be liable to the rate, and why had not those men got the alternative? Why had such a measure been proposed without some intimation to the country? There had been no mention of it in Her Majesty's Speech—there had been no submitting of it to that House; but the noble Lord took it to a Committee upstairs—a Committee of their own selection —and then it came down to them with the recommendation of the said Committee. Why should they, on the one hand, refuse the offer of the alternative to Ireland, and on the other, why should they depart from the bold and manly course of bringing it forward as a Government measure, and permitting the representatives of the Irish people to pronounce an opinion upon it? The consequence of this management was, that all was doubt and confusion as to what were the intentions of the Government, and what were the decisions of the Committee. Why, even worse rumours than the 6d. rate in aid were abroad, and with them was the assumption more or less well founded that the Government was not playing a fair or constitutional part; so that no opportunity would be afforded Ireland of declaring her wishes on the occasion. Under these circumstances, he must blame the Government strongly, and censure them heartily, for the conduct they had pursued. He blamed them for not separating those who wished to pay a fair share of the taxation from those who refused to pay at all. The noble Lord had alluded to the loyalty of the people of Ulster, and had referred to the rather mirthful allusions of the previous evening of the people of that province abandoning their loyal principles on account of the rate in aid. Following up what had been said by the hon. Member for Downpatrick of the intention of certain magistrates in his part of the country to resign, the hon. Member for Dublin had spoken of a sixpenny loyalty; but he (Mr. Stafford) could not help regretting that so much mirth had been exhibited on such a subject. The Government might depend on it that they were dealing with a question which was no longer a laughing matter, and they would find that the 6d. rate in aid was no joke. He would just ask those who had indulged in so much mirth respecting the province of Ulster—he would ask the Government whether, if they had a choice, they would not rather have Ireland four Ulsters than four Connaughts? He thought there could be but one reply to that. He agreed with his noble Friend (Viscount Castlereagh), that while the loyalty and attachment of the people of Ulster to the British Throne had never yet been shaken, there was nothing so well calculated to shake them as proceedings like the present. He thought there had been shown towards them a system of unfair dealing, a disregard of public feeling, and an absence of all acknowledgment of the difficulties they had successfully struggled with, and the firmness with which they had maintained their loyalty in the worst of times; and he was satisfied that the measure now proposed by the noble Lord would go but a little way in conciliating the people of Ulster towards that House or the country. He thoroughly agreed with his noble Friend in the observations he had made in reference to that point. Having stated why he considered it unjust and unfair in the noble Lord not to have given the alternative of an income tax to the people of Ireland—having shown that the imposition of a rate in aid like the present, upon a species of property that was in a most depressed state, was manifestly unjust, he came now to the consideration of the application of the money. And here he would say, that one great reason for proposing an equality of taxation between Ireland and that country was this—that if Ireland was at the present moment on an equality with England, no hon. Member in that House would refuse, in the severity of her distress, to advance to Ireland as much money from the Imperial Treasury as would enable her to encounter that emergency. They would then feel that they were voting money from the national funds under the scrutiny of the representatives of the people. The noble Lord now proposed a general rate to be raised by local machinery, and distributed by local officers. He thought such a proceeding decidedly objectionable. There could be no check upon profuse expenditure, and no restraint upon jobbing. There could be no check upon the expenditure, and there could be no strict scrutiny unless the money was paid from the Imperial Exchequer. He was anxious that every Englishman should be enlisted on the side of Irish economy, and no method could be so successful for that purpose as to have all pecuniary grants coming from the Imperial Treasury. But he must observe, that he did not wish a farthing to come from it, unless they were both similarly and fairly placed in reference to taxation. The noble Lord who had brought forward the proposition had stated, that some of the alterations with respect to the operation of the poor-laws, he would submit to the House, and not to the Committee. [Lord J. RUSSELL: No, no!] Then was it intended that they should come before the Committee? [Lord J. RUSSELL: No!] Then the noble Lord did not say that he was going to bring forward anything to the House that would not be brought before the Committee; nor, on the other hand, that he would bring anything before the Committee which he would not bring before the House. Then it was evidently his purpose, and that of Her Majesty's Government, to conceal the object they had in view. He thought there had already been quite enough ambiguity and concealment on the subject of the poor-laws. The noble Lord had said, that the small area rating had tended to effect clearances. But he must say that such observations showed a great absence of knowledge of the details of the present poor-law with regard to the area of taxation. The noble Lord had stated that the electoral divisions would be "reconsidered," and that, he presumed, was to be taken as a kind of a soft word for "diminished;" just as the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, in referring to the repeal of the corn laws, spoke of "adjusting" them. Take, for instance, an electoral division of 300 acres, belonging to three proprietors, and the charge for a pauper to be 1s. If the electoral division be reduced to 100 acres, one proprietor would have to pay the whole 1s,; if reduced to 150 acres, that was 100 acres of his property and 50 of his neighbour's, each would have to pay 6d.; but if the charge was divided over the whole division of 300 acres, then every one of the three proprietors would have to pay 4d. each for every pauper that was ejected. So that if the boundaries of property were coterminous with property, in the one case he would have to pay 1s., and in the other, with a larger area, he would have to pay 4d. for every pauper turned off. During the last week that he was in Ireland he had two rather unpleasant duties to perform. A noble neighbour of his turned off 30 or 40 families one morning; he (Mr. Stafford) assisted in preserving the peace of the country at that part where the poor creatures were turned into the road; and the next day, as chairman of the board of guardians, he had to sign an order for their maintenance on himself. The noble Lord had promised the House that these electoral divisions would be reconsidered or adjusted. Why, the arranging of the area of those electoral divisions was a matter of very peculiar importance. The experiment of large electoral districts had been already tried in Connaught: that province had been made the corpus vile on which the experiment might best be tried, and the result had been that the country had been ruined. The other provinces, then, might fairly object to the same system being applied to them. The great object should be to make the poor-law in Ireland the means of relieving destitution, and stimulating the people to employment. In a country where population and property were so dissimilar, they must make different arrangements from those which prevailed in England; and they must, above all, endeavour to arrange so that the poor-rate should be paid out of income instead of capital. In the north of Ireland he believed it had been found that the electoral divisions, being coterminous with property, were a stimulus to the employment of the labouring population, and the plan of small divisions had there worked well. Suffice it to say that, by the operation of the law—a law which had been seventeen months in operation—one province had been laid desolate, and in that one the electoral divisions were the largest. Hon. Members not acquainted with Ireland could have no idea what glass houses they lived in there. The press of that country was what might be called of an anti-landlord character; but he was bound to say he believed that there was no locality in which the character of the landlords was not minutely known to the Earl of Clarendon. Now, what he drew from this statement was this question, which he wished to ask the right hon. Secretary for Ireland—he asked him to say, out of all the suggestions for alterations and remedies in respect to the poor-law which had been made to him during the last autumn and winter, what was the one most generally asked for by those whom he must admit were deserving of his best consideration? Would not the right hon. Gentleman tell him that, apart from any difference in respect to politics or religion, what was asked for most earnestly, and pressed most zealously on his attention, by men of all creeds and parties, was a reconsideration and revision of the area of taxation in Ireland? They spoke of the Irish poor-law as if it were the same as the English poor-law. This was, however, a mere jingle of words. They had certainly applied all the difficulties of the English poor-law to Ireland, but some of the great advantages they had refused. In respect to one of these advantages, Malthus and Ricardo had both declared that had it not been for the smallness of the parishes in this country, the English poor-law never would have worked well in England. The small area was the great advantage which the English poor-law had over the Irish. The other great difference was this—the whole of the rating under the English poor-law falls upon the occupier. In Ireland, however, two-thirds, or often the whole, rate falls upon the landlord. If they intended to give them the English poor-law, they ought also to give them the English area of taxation. He wished the noble Lord at the head of the Government to understand the definite proposition which he now made, and which he believed would be acceptable to a large body of Irish gentlemen. He asked the noble Lord to direct the Boundary Commissioners to assimilate as much as possible the size of the Irish electoral divisions to the size of the English parishes, so that they should never be considerably above 2,000 acres, or much below 1,000 acres. He thought that that was the fair and just decision to arrive at, and it should form the animus of these Commissioners in their arrangement. Unless they acted thus, all the arrangements for the relief of destitution would but increase pauperism, and diminish the stimulus to exertion. Without some such arrangement as this, he was convinced that any Bill for the sale of encumbered estates would be found utterly useless. No person would purchase property in an electoral division of 10,000 or 17,000 acres, where he could not have the slightest idea of what his capital would return. In smaller districts he might be able to form some opinion as to the returns he might expect. The effect of this alteration would not be, as had been stated, to check the sale of properties, but rather to diminish their value. Persons would not be driven altogether from entertaining the idea of purchasing, as they now were, in consequence of not knowing the return for their capital. When speaking upon this subject, he was reminded of an extract which he had read from a newspaper some time ago. This related to a soldier in India who was going to Hyderabad, but who lost all the camels which he had charge of on his journey. On being asked how this happened, he said, that before setting out, these camels were all loaded with burdens, and when one of them died, the burden which he had borne was put upon the other, consequently they all died from the additional weight that was put upon them. In the same manner they were now loading the improving landlord with all the burden of the one that had been knocked down. They could not bring the latter to life, but they might also kill the former. He hoped the House would not confound the question of the electoral divisions with that of the unions. The Boundary Commissioners were, however, labouring sedulously to mix up these two questions together. If they had every electoral division a union, the stimulus to employment would not be increased, for the badly-disposed would be enabled to exercise their influence over the good in the same way as now. Wherever they had a new union they had a new master, new chaplains, and a whole staff of official appointments. The question of new unions, therefore, addressed itself to a class of persons that were particularly alive to those facts. He asked the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer where the money was to come from for these new unions? They were arming the Commissioners with too much power in this respect. He trusted that the Government would take care, in whatever arrangements they made with the Boundary Commissioners, that they would not give them the power of separating the unions except upon the expressed wish of the majority of the boards of those unions. The question of these poor-law arrangements was urgent and imminent. If they let the seed-time go by without them, they would have more misery in Connaught than they had there in 1847. The Irish Poor Law Committee had reported the evidence of a Mr. Griffin upon the subject of valuations. With regard to the question of the 6d. rate in aid, Mr. Griffin, in his evidence, sought to show that the imposition would be unjust, because it would be unequal. The Government imagined that they were about to impose a sixpenny rate; but the valuation was so arbitrary that this rate would vary from sixpence to two shillings. The equality of the rate depended entirely on the equality of the valuation; and if hon. Members found that the valuation was unequal, he trusted that their conviction in the justice of the rate would be materially shaken. He hoped, therefore, that Members connected with England, who knew nothing of the valuation of Ireland, would reserve their final opinion on the merits of this scheme until they had read the evidence on this subject which had been laid on the table. The Government taunted them with not having brought forward some plan of their own. He, however, had suggested one—namely, equality of taxation, smaller areas, and some other amendments of the poor-law, which, though not of very pressing importance, were still of extreme urgency. He would say that if ever a Government was called upon to propose a comprehensive plan, it was the present Government. He did not charge them with being actuated by either good or had principles in regard to Ireland, but he charged them with having no principle at all. He did not believe that a single arrangement had been agreed upon in regard to the poor-law in Ireland before the Parliament had met. He did not think that the Government had shown themselves a united family upon this subject, for there was discord and difference in the Cabinet. If ever there was a Counaught of a Government, wholly devoid of resources in itself, it was the present Government. Although he was disposed to resist the present proposition, yet, taking pity upon their great destitution, he had in the suggestions he had thrown out to them in this case, given them his rate in aid.


hoped the House would not suppose that the hon. Gentleman who had last addressed them had spoken for the whole of Ireland. In respect to the size of the electoral divisions, he thought that the hon. Member for Northamptonshire had altogether failed to meet the argument of the noble Lord so forcibly put against the project of reducing the area of taxation, which would be a premium to extermination. He was, however, sorry to see no appearance yet of Government taking a comprehensive view of the state of Ireland. The noble Lord had given them a melancholy prospect of the condition of that country—he said, that he saw but two alternatives before them; first, some process, the nature of which was not explained, by which the potato was to be restored, and the peasant would be enabled to consume better food; the other, that the people of Ireland were to be swept away by a wholesale system of emigration. He must say, that there was nothing statesmanlike in this view of the case. The system of planting Ireland anew had been tried three or four times already, and yet they were as far from a state of prosperity as ever. It appeared, however, that they were to add another dark item to the catalogue of miseries Ireland had suffered from this country. They were to have another extermination of the natives, in order to make room for the stranger. He did not wish to commit himself to a decided opposition to the measure of the Government, until he heard some better proposition made by hon. Members on this or the other side of the House. Several hon. Members had already addressed the House against the 6d. rate in aid, but had failed to put forward any better plan instead. It was not, he thought, becoming in hon. Gentlemen opposite to complain now of the policy that had been pursued by England towards Ireland, because up to the present moment those hon. Gentlemen had supported that policy, no matter how unjust it was towards Ireland, or how much it was complained of by the great body of the Irish people. He must also say, that he thought the part taken by English Gentlemen in these discussions was not creditable to them; and that where one portion of the empire was suffering great distress, there should be such difficulty made by those Gentlemen, and such unwillingness manifested by them, to advance public money for the saving of human life. For his own part, he could not bear to hear the taunts that were uttered, and the reproaches made, when assistance was required by a poor country from a rich country—that being, too, the same rich country that had taken from Ireland the management of her own affairs, and that would not permit Irishmen to deal with Ireland. And yet what was asked on the present occasion? He replied, but a small portion of what was due to Ireland by this country. It was under such circumstances that a grant of 50,000l. was wrung from the House—that it was given with insult, and that when given they were told that Ireland should be left to its own resources for the future. Irishmen had, he thought, done so small injury to their country by their admissions—admissions, too, that they made without inquiry—and which were to the effect that Ireland had leant too much upon England, when the fact was, instead of Ireland being, as it was supposed, exempted from her fair share of taxation, she had not obtained the full amount of exemption to which she was fairly entitled in accordance with the terms of the Union. He protested against its being said to Irishmen that they were "beggars." He replied, "We are not beggars—give us back our Parliament—give us back that Parliament which you deprived us of by fraud, by violence, by cruelty, by corruption, by the perpetration of every crime of which one nation can be guilty towards another—give us back the management of our own resources, and we will support all our own establishments, as in truth we do even now—but give us back our Parliament, and we shall neither ask for nor receive any aid further from you." Such, he said, was the language in which he would reply to those who told Irishmen that in the present condition of their country they were beggars. It had indeed been said, that Ireland should be put upon a level with England in point of taxation. This was the novel panacea for Ireland. He would tell those who suggested it that the experiment had been already tried and failed. In 1807, this country had tried to raise the taxes in Ireland from 4,000,000l. to 7,000,000l.; but in 1821, instead of there being an increase in the revenue, there was a decrease to the extent of half a million, so that sum was lost by the experiment. With this experience, he asked if this same experiment was to be tried over again? The assessed taxes in Ireland were taken off because they did not cover the cost of collection; and now, if they increased taxation, it would be found that whilst they did not benefit the revenue, they would only add to the misery of Ireland. With regard to the proposed rate in aid, he must confess that he scarcely knew what course to take. He knew, that in the present disposition of the House, the Government must have some pretext when asking that any aid should be given to Ireland. But he feared that what was proposed would destroy the poor ratepayer, who in these cases was always forgotten, though the result of the oversight was to multiply the number of paupers. The population of Ireland was little else than a community of landlords and poor tenants; a middle class could scarcely be said to exist; and, under such circumstances, the course proposed could not but operate injuriously. He supposed, that in the course of that evening he was likely to hear something of the proposition of an income tax in Ireland. If any such proposition were made, he would ask, what were the circumstances that would enable Ireland in 1849 to bear a burden which it was admitted it was unable to cope with in 1842, when the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir R. Peel) proposed his income tax? He objected to an income tax upon principle—upon principle it was not right for Ireland to pay more taxes—in detail, because if once introduced, the small traders and business people in Ireland, the foundation of the middle classes, would be utterly crushed and broken in Ireland. The noble Lord had said that Ireland was not taxed in proportion to its resources. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth had calculated that the fiscal ability of Ireland, as compared with England, was as one to nine; and the fact was that, of all the taxation imposed upon the two countries, three-fourths of all those taxes were paid by Irishmen, and their exemption was but as one to four. The argument of the noble Lord, therefore, would not bear examination. Hon. Gentlemen were led astray by the fact that Ireland supplied only 4,000,000l, while England supplied 36,000,000l. The produce of taxation was less only because the ability to consume was less. He did not deny that it might be considered a hardship to the people of Ulster that they should be called upon to pay this rate in aid; but the peculiar advantages which they had enjoyed had prepared them to sustain the burden. He thought it would be fair, at such a period, to raise a contribution from the church property in Ireland. The Church itself was the church of a small minority. In 1834, its members were calculated at seven or eight hundred thousand. He did not believe that the number now exceeded 700,000. Was it not monstrous that upwards of 600,000l. should be given annually to such a Church? Though he had no wish to interfere with vested rights, he thought the Government might fairly borrow money on the security of the property in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, leaving it to be repaid out of the proceeds of lapsed benefices. Thus, 200,000l. might be readily raised. His next proposition was an absentee tax, as nothing could, he thought, be more fair or just than a tax on absentees. The House took no account of the amount of income tax—near 350,000l. per annum—paid by Irishmen who lived in England, and abroad, and who had money in the Funds. Was not Ireland to get credit for that money, which came out of the resources of Ireland? Were not the Crown rents in Ireland also to be taken into account? They amounted to 65,000l., and on that, as a security, they might borrow half a million of money for the improvement of Ireland. But there were other monies also that Ireland ought to get credit for—namely, the customs duties paid on foreign goods, which were introduced into Ireland through England. They amounted to between four and five hundred thousand pounds, and would furnish an adequate fund of themselves to meet all the exigencies of the present time, without imposing any new and vexatious taxes. If he were asked what his plan was for the amendment of the poor-law, he confessed he had none; for he never had faith in any poor-law, which, even in England, had not worked well. He wished to read to the House an extract from an address of the suffragan bishops of the archdiocese of Tuam, relative to this subject. It was as follows:— Cottages levelled under the pretended sanction of law, and their inmates driven, in defiance of the Divine law, to perish in the ditches, as they are daily seen to do, numbers of them flocking to the poorhouses, in the hope of promised relief, and again repulsed under the plea of inadequate accommodation to receive, or moans to support, them; the poorhouses themselves, in several instances, converted, through the bigotry of perverse officials, into occasions of sin, by the snares that are laid for the inmates, to inveigle their faith or corrupt their virtue; thousands resigned to die in silence and in patience, rather than encounter temptations so terrible. Such are the scenes that now present themselves throughout our province—such are the fruits of the inhumanity by which the poor have boon so long treated, abandoned to the exclusive use of a precarious and tailing esculent, and obliged to export, to the amount of some millions of pounds annually, the more substantial food, raised with their own industry, which would save them from perishing. Whilst the remedy applied by the Legislature is always expensive, often inhuman, and generally inadequate for procuring relief; and what is more deplorable, this remedy, so fraught with evil and danger to the morals of the rising generation, that it is by almost all classes of society dreaded as a curse rather than regarded as a blessing. †JOHN, Archbishop of Tuam. †PATRICK M'NICHOLAS, Bishop of Achonry. †EDMOND, Bishop of Kilfenora and Kilmacduagh. †LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, Bishop of Galway. †JOHN DERBY, Bishop of Clonfert. †GEORGE, Bishop of Elphin. †THOMAS FENNY, Bishop of Killala. The people of Ireland had never denied the private charity of individuals in England for the relief of the poor in Ireland; but what they complained of was, that, while with one hand they gave them a morsel of bread, with the other they gave them a blow—that while they gave them aid, they added the insult of calling them "beggars." The people of Ireland, he repeated, were grateful for the private charity of England, though much of it had been warped to the purposes of proselytism by those to whoso hands it had been intrusted for distribution. With respect to the provisions of the poor-law itself, he trusted that in Committee some hon. Gen-man would move that the Gregory Clause, as it was called—the quarter-acre clause, which had been the instrument of so much tyranny—be struck out of the measure. The Government ought to pass a good landlord and tenant Bill. The security which the tenantry in the north of Ireland enjoyed was the cause of their industry, and of their comparative prosperity; and if the tenants in the south were equally circumstanced in their holdings, like advantages would result in their case too. Let them give up their wretched expedients and patchwork legislation, not merely for the sake of Ireland, but for that of the whole empire. If they did not, they would drag down England ultimately to the level of Ireland's present ruinous condition.


, in reference to the statement of the hon. Member for the city of Limerick that that (the Opposition) side of the House had made no proposal in lieu of that of the Government, would maintain that it was not their business to do so. He would beg to quote the words of the most eloquent of living men, conveying the sentiments of the most eloquent of departed orators:—"Some there are who seek to embarrass a speaker by asking, 'What shall we do?' To them I would give the answer, the most true and just that can be given—'Do anything but what you are now doing.'" What was true 3,000 years ago of the affairs of the Chersonesus, was not less true as applied to the affairs of Ireland. Let the Government just reverse its policy. They were told that Ireland was exempt from the income and assessed taxes; but because trades and professions in Dublin and other towns were exempt from such payments, were his constituents to be called on to pay this tax now proposed by the noble Lord at the head of the Government? Again, they were told that if they did not grant this rate, the people in the west of Ireland would starve; but if that were true, on whom did the responsibility rest? He hold that the Executive Government was responsible for the lives of Her Majesty's subjects, and that they were not entitled to make the preservation of the people dependent upon the adoption by the House of this or any particular measure. The hon. Member for Limerick had proposed to confiscate a portion of the Church revenues for the support of the destitute unions; upon this principle we might have another appropriation clause, and any legislative injustice might be committed. If there was inequality of taxation between the two countries, let that inequality be remedied. If it was just that the income tax should be applied to Ireland, let that question stand upon its own merits, but do not on that ground bring forward a tax so objectionable in principle, and fraught with such dangerous consequences as this rate in aid. There were many reasons given by the right hon. Gentleman (Sir R. Peel) when he brought forward the income tax, why he did not impose it on Ireland, and the same reason existed still. They were told that the taxes borne by England and not by Ireland amounted to 11,000,000l.; but he believed that if those taxes were imposed on Ireland, they would not realise 500,000l. He begged to call the attention of the House to the way in which property was burthened in Ireland by the repayment of the amount for which it was liable. The other day a Highway Bill was discussed in that House, in which it was proposed that a sum of 8,000,000l. should be charged on the county rates, and that a sinking fund should be created to pay it off by instalments, and the country Gentlemen opposed it, on the ground that the land was unable to pay it. If this was the case in England, what was the position of property in Ireland? They had to pay a debt of 3,700,000l. upon a rental of 13,000,000l. a year, and of that sum no small part had to be paid almost immediately. But he would ask the Government how were they to collect this rate in aid upon a defective valuation? In almost every union in Ireland, there was a different ratio of valuation, and it was notoriously inaccurate and incomplete. If the Government would consult the returns and documents in the library, they would find that the mode adopted by Mr. Griffin, with respect to the valuation, was essentially different from the course pursued by other parties. Besides, in the poorer parts of Ireland the valuation had fallen off at least one-third since it was originally made, so that while they were taxing those districts at 6d., they were in reality levying a tax of 8d. in the pound. They were in fact levying a tax in the increased proportion of the power of those districts to pay. Then let the House consider the position of the poor-law unions in many parts of Ireland. In many places the poor-law was working well, but in other portions it did not work at all. There were only forty-five unions not in debt; and if they were to collect the debt from these unions, they would place them in the greatest pecuniary difficulties. From experience he found that it was impossible satisfactorily to carry on the poor-law, unless they had a balance lying in the bank to the credit of the union. Then, how were unions that could not at present, without difficulty, pay their current expenses, to be got to pay this rate for the assistance of unions scarcely more distressed than themselves? In the union of Midleton a proposal had been made to ask the Poor Law Commissioners to allow them to borrow money themselves; not because they could not by extreme measures collect it from the people, but because it would embarrass them loss to raise it after the next harvest. Now, when a union was anxious to borrow money for such a purpose, was it not an extraordinary proposal to make, that money should be taken from it to assist other unions scarcely more distressed than itself? The noble Lord stated that if the area of taxation were narrowed so as to include individual property, the tendency of it would be to increase the number of evictions; but he forgot that the person turning out tenants would be liable for their support if he was the means of sending them to the workhouse. He urged upon the House to remember that which the noble Lord opposite had but lightly touched upon—namely, that Ireland was at present but just emerging from a calamity the most terrible, perhaps, that had befallen a country in modern times—the loss of the staple food of the people, and that even this year the crop had in a great measure failed. He was by no means insensible to the liberality that had been displayed by that House, or the unbounded generosity that had been manifested by the people of this country towards Ireland; but it should be remembered that 1,000,000l. of the sums that had been mentioned was given by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tam-worth in consideration of the alteration in the corn laws, and it was therefore scarcely fair to reckon that sum in the account. He greatly feared that the proposition of the Government would have an injurious effect upon Ireland, by setting those different classes one against the other which ought to be bound together and united for the common good. Allusion had been made in the course of the last debate, to the strong feeling in Ulster against this measure. He feared the noble Lord's proposition would have an injurious effect in Ireland—that it would revive religious animosities between the different parts of the country, which ought to be buried in oblivion. He thought it unwise to create a bad feeling in the north; it was to that part of the country was mainly owing the preservation of the peace of Ireland last year. He believed it was on the loyal inhabitants of Ulster and the sentiments they entertained, that the salvation of Ireland and stability of the country mainly depended. Dii Patrii, quorum semper sub numine Troja est, Non tamen omnino Teucros delere parati, Cum tales animos juvenum et tam firma dedistis Pectora. His opinion with respect to Ireland was, that the first step towards promoting her prosperity was to restore confidence, peace, and tranquillity there. When this was effected the Chancellor of the Exchequer would find that Ireland would be able to pay as large a proportion of taxes as Scotland, which contributed 6,000,000l. to the revenue of the empire. It would greatly tend also to the benefit of the manufacturers of England to promote the prosperity of Ireland, for they would find a better market for their productions there than in more distant parts of the world. He would not trespass longer on the attention of the House, but would conclude with urging the Government to adopt a different policy towards Ireland, to develop the resources of Ireland by providing the means of carrying railways through the country, and by the adoption of other measures which would tend to restore confidence, and consequent peace and tranquillity, and thus to enable Ireland, as she had shared in the military and naval honours of England, to share also in the peaceful triumphs of her commerce; and he hoped that the request conveyed in the beautiful language of Mr. Grattan, speaking eighty years ago on the navigation laws, would yet be granted, when he said "Cork will not be the emporium of the empire. Old England will still be at the head of all things. All Ireland asks is, that, her little bark may, as an attendant sail, pursue the triumph, and, if need he, catch some of the vagrant breezes of those trade winds which waft the British empire along the tide of commerce."


said, the noble Viscount who had just addressed the House, stated that the measure of Her Majesty's Government would set class against class. How he made out that proposition he did not clearly explain. But he would tell the noble Lord that he was much more likely to set class against class by drawing the distinction he had done between the men of Ulster, and the inhabitants of the other portions of Ireland. Why, during the debate it was made to appear as if none but the loyal and religious people of Ulster was to pay the rate in aid, forgetting altogether that the Catholics of Leinster, of Munster, aye, and Connaught too, were to be equally taxed to sustain their destitute countrymen. But, passing that by, he would come to a remark which had fallen from his hon. Friend the Member for the city of Limerick. His hon. Friend was hostile to poor-laws; he, on the contrary, while admitting many errors in the details of these laws, was in principle in favour of them. What could have been done the last two years in Ireland without a poor-law? How could famine have been prevented making trebly more fearful ravages but for that beneficent law? His hon. Friend, too, said that England owed none of her prosperity to her poor-laws; there again he differed from him. The impulse given to the manufactures of England by the power-loom and the machine spinning would never have occurred if the handloom weavers and spinners who were displaced by machinery, had not had the poor-law to fall back on; the vast change could not otherwise be accomplished. The fact was, that all were in a state of panic as regarded the poor-law, and every man's hand was against it. The poor were not considered at all in the discussion. The landlords and ratepayers were alone objects of sympathy—the destitute were not thought of. Even the noble Lord the Member for Banden Bridge, which admitting the destitution existing in the west, said nothing more on the subject than that he threw the responsibility on the Government, instead of putting his shoulders to the wheel, and endeavouring to rescue the unfortunate people from impending starvation. Before he came to that part of the speech of the hon. Member for Northamptonshire, in reference to the vexed question of the area of taxation, he hoped for the indulgence of the House while he endeavoured to state his reasons for the course which he felt it his duty to adopt in the Committee upstairs, and what it was his intention that night to follow in support of the Ministerial proposition. He was the more anxious for this, as he believed there was no person in that House felt more convinced than he did, that in justice the aid for the distressed districts should come from the imperial resources, rather than be extorted by a national rate from Ireland. He agreed in the full in what had fallen from the hon. Member for Rochdale, and the noble Lord the Member for Devonshire, who had so eloquently addressed the House last evening, that as Ireland was united with this country politically since 1801, and fiscally since 1817, it was the duty of England to aid to the last in relieving the distressed districts of Ireland during the continuance of the calamity with which Providence had visited them. He would venture to assert, that manufacturing England is as much interested in the condition of these districts as Ireland is. Next to this country Ireland is her best customer; and he would venture to say that Manchester is more interested in the prosperity of Cork than Dublin is, and in the prosperity of Galway or Sligo than Wexford or Waterford. But he would be met with the statement that Ireland is free from, and ought to be subject to, the assessed and income taxes. To this he would reply, that such an imposition would be a violation of the basis of agreement on which the Union was founded, and of the spirit of the seventh Article of the Act of Union. That Article says, that Ireland should not contribute beyond her means to the imperial expenditure. Before any proposition of an income tax on Ireland be adopted, let there be a fair account struck between the two countries, and he would venture to state, that instead of being a debtor to, Ireland would be found a creditor of, England. Evey one at all acquainted with the subject now admits that it was an extortion to compel Ireland to pay two-seventeenths of the imperial expenditure up to 1817. One or two statistical facts will prove this. At the Union Ireland owed about thirty millions, England four hundred and twenty millions. In 1817, when the Exchequers were united, Ireland owed one hundred and thirty millions, and England six hundred and eighty millions!—that is, the debt of Ireland was increased over 50 per cent. If Ireland's annual revenue at lowest was to contribute two-seventeenths to the imperial expenditure, her debt would have increased only in the same ratio as the English debt. Nothing so strongly demonstrates the unjust amount of her contribution. It should have been but one-twelfth or one-tenth. If it were but one-tenth, the debts of Ireland would never have approached within two-seventeenths of that of England, and, consequently, under the Act of Union the two Exchequers would never have been connected, and Ireland continuing to contribute but one-tenth, would, since 1817, have paid but three millions five hundred thousand pounds, instead of four millions five hundred thousand pounds, or, with unacknowledged taxes, five millions, which she now pays. Therefore, if an account was fairly rendered, the honest and just people would at once acknowledge, that instead of coming here as mendicants seeking for charity, they were fairly creditors, and ought to be treated as such. Again, the public expenditure is carried on in England. In the dockyards and factories of England they were spending millions, while they refused the most paltry sum for such purposes in Ireland. The public boards were all concentrated in London, and the system of centralisation was, year after year, destroying or rather drawing away the resources of the Irish people. It may, then, be fairly asked, why he, in contradiction to such sentiments, came forward to support the imposition of the national rate on Ireland? He replied, because he saw it was hopeless to expect in the present state of feeling in England any more grants from that House. The English Members were deaf as adders to the fiscal argument they were making; and while they were endeavouring vainly to convince, the people would die of starvation in hundreds and thousands. It was impossible for any one who was present at the debate on the vote for the 50,000l. not to have observed the strength of hostility against this grant. Some of the ablest and honestest men in Parliament voted against it; and but for the aid of the powerful party of which the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon is one of the leaders, the Government would have been defeated. That right hon. Baronet voted for it on the express understanding that it would be the last—that these grants had reached their limit—that the people of England would not submit longer to such drains; and the right hon. Baronet was the first in that House to suggest the rate in aid. If such was the disposition evinced on that occasion, how much more would it be increased if, after the Irish Members had rejected the rate in aid, Government came down to that House for another grant. He ventured to say it would be scouted from the House. Under such circumstances, when he found it stated that 200,000 human beings would have died last year, but for the aid given by the British Association and the Government—when he found that the 600,000l. subscribed by the generosity and munificence of the people of England was exhausted—when he found that these distressed unions owed 123,000l.—that the Commissioners reported that it would take 590,000l. to sustain them during the year, and yet that the utmost that could be extracted in the shape of votes was 200,000l.—when he saw this, it was impossible to refuse a reluctant assent to the national rate in aid. Had he been able to address the House at an earlier period of the evening, he would have read extracts from the communications from the different local inspectors to show the dreadful state of these districts. But these extracts, though they would strengthen his case, be would at that late hour of the night decline reading. He had extracts from letters of the Bantry guardians, where they state that the condition of the whole people is "immeasurably below what the most heartless would consider the lowest depths of wretchedness"—where they say that "destitution is a term that conveys no idea of the privations and sufferings of a large portion of the people in that wretched union." He had extracts to the same effect from Bellmullet, Clifden, Kilrush, Scariff, Galway, and Ballina. In point of fact, if these people were not relieved by the wealthier unions, they would migrate to these unions where their destitution must be relieved. He saw no difference in the moral obligation of supporting these destitute strangers when they inundated the richer unions, and of sending them aid towards their maintenance in their own unions. The cry has been raised in Ireland that it was hard that the industrious and the provident should have to support destitution produced by indolence and improvidence. But does not this occur in the every-day history of the poor-law? Destitution is mainly produced by indolence, improvidence, or misfortune; and yet the thrifty, the temperate, and the industrious, who are utterly unconnected with them, are obliged to sustain the destitution. For these reasons he was in favour, as he could get nothing better, of the national rate. But in the details he thought much amendment was necessary. Hon. Members at the opposite side of the House had spoken of tire hardship of charging this rate on poor farmers nearly as destitute as those for whose re- life it was intended. Now he admitted this to the fullest extent; and were it not for the inquisitorial nature of an income tax, to which on principle he was opposed, he would, to relieve them from such imposition, vote for it. But as a temporary aid to the poor-rate, it was not advisable to subject the affairs of the mercantile and middle class to the inquisition of a tax collector; and he would suggest that this grievance of the national rate be got rid of by exempting all occupiers of holdings in the country of under 20l., and in towns of under 10l. He would also have a provision to protect the towns from the enormous expenditure which the present system of pauper emigration produced. One great advantage of the measure is its being temporary. During the period of its existence there will be sufficient time to mature plans for making the poor-law stimulative of industry. He admitted that the employment-giving landlord had much to complain of in the existing system, but he was most strongly opposed to the towuland or estate area of taxation as advocated by hon. Gentlemen opposite as the great stimulant to employment. Now he considered that scheme was put hors de combat by the noble Lord at the bead of the Government. It was clear it would have no other effect than encouraging clearances. The hon. Member for Northamptonshire referred to English parishes as being made areas of taxation, and pointed to them in sustentation of his argument. Now he would not pretend to knw anything personally of the parish system in England; but he had Mr. Nicholl's authority for saying that it work-ed badly in England, and the Commissioners were anxious to join several parishes together into unions for the purposes of taxation, and the opinion in favour of large areas of taxation was extending in that country. But even admitting that the parish area of taxation worked well, still there could be no comparison between the size of the parish and of the townland. There were but 16,000 parishes in England, spreading over a surface of 32,000,000 acres; there were 60,760 townlands in Ireland, spreading over an area of little more than twenty millions of acres. The House from that could readily see how little the two were to be compared. Again, there cannot be townland areas without a strict settlement system, with all its attendant evils, its litigation, its check to the free migration of labour, and the right to relief of all persons, whether aged, infirm, or ablebodied. This would speedily overthrow all property in Ireland. The hon. Member for Northamptonshire stated that there was already a settlement in the Irish poor-law, inasmuch as that a residence of thirty months was necessary for electoral chargeability. But this was not settlement; for a destitute person need not he an hour in a division without being entitled to relief; the only difference being that his maintenance would be charged to the general union. But while he was opposed to townland rating, he was most anxious for any plan that would encourage tillage, particularly spade husbandry. It was very remarkable that in proportion as tillage increased in any district, pauperism lessened; and in proportion as pasturage extended, pauperism increased. He had in his possession a very curious table, completed by a gentleman who had devoted much time and study to the subject, and, from his knowledge and talents, well competent to judge. That table showed these facts most conclusively; but at that late hour of the evening he would refrain from reading it. By making one rate for the aged and infirm, to which all in the union should contribute, and another for the ablebodied destitute, and exempting spade husbandry and green crops from the second rate, an enormous impulse would be given to industry. Such were briefly his views on this important question, as far as at so late a period of the night he could develop them. He Supported the national rate in aid, because he felt its dire necessity. He was for making the poor-law a stimulative of industry. This, with measures affecting the tenure of land, with encouragement to arterial drainage and land improvement under the provisions of the law, would sooner or later bring forth the resources of which nature had been so bountiful, and yet contribute to make Ireland a prosperous country.


said, the noble Lord at the head of the Government, towards the conclusion of his speech, had given utterance to some very strange and ominous expressions. The noble Lord had stated broadly that, after all that they had been called upon to pay for the relief of destitution in Ireland, they were to depend upon mere chance for the repayment of the sums so advanced. For what was the security proposed by the noble Lord? The security for the money which the English people were called upon to pay, was this rate in aid, which certain Irish Members told them they could not pay, and which others said they would not pay. That was the position in which this question was placed by Her Majesty's Government; and he must say that his hon. Friends who last night took the precaution of endeavouring to have a preliminary explanation from the noble Lord, had acted wisely, and were justified in the course which they pursued; for if the noble Lord had made the statement then which he had made last evening, he (Mr. Bankes) doubted whether he would have got his Committee. It was a most serious consideration for English Members, who with great difficulty had been brought to accede to a vote of 50,000l., to be now implicated in a vote which might be for half a million or a million, or even more, based upon a security which the Irish Members repudiated. He gave credit to the Irish Members for speaking out. They had told the House plainly, some of them, that they would not, and others that they could not, pay this rate in aid. They had told them that it would prove a delusion in the end, and that the English people would lose their money. Well, then, he contended that it was no longer a mere Irish question. The question was British—it was English; for the English would have to pay the money. He could assure the hon. Member who spoke last, and who complained of the Irish Members being taunted with coming down to the House one night full of menaces, and the next as mendicants—he could assure that hon. Member that not only had no such harsh expressions fallen from the lips of hon. Gentleman on that (the Opposition) side of the House, but they had refused to lend any sanction to such expressions. It was those hon. Gentleman who sat on the Ministerial side of the House who uttered and applauded those offensive phrases. With the Irish, they (the hon. occupants of the Opposition benches) knew that the people of this country had a common cause, and a common feeling. They could assure the Irish people that they joined heartily in every measure calculated to relieve Ireland (which was equally the country of English and Irish) from that distress which had so unhappily fallen upon it. But the Irish Members would not blame him (Mr. Bankes), representing, as he did, constituents who, under existing circumstances, were not in a very prosperous situation, and who were calling upon the representatives of the agricultural interest to procure for them compensation for the injuries which had been inflicted on them, as they thought, by no act of their own—the Irish Members would not blame him if he did his best to guard his constituents from further infliction. The Irish Members could not blame the representatives of parties if they grudged even so small a sum as 50,000l., and had voted it with hesitation and unwillingness, not because they were unwilling to acknowledge the distress of Ireland, and to administer to its relief, but because they had distress existing among their own constituents, which had been inflicted upon them by the course which not all, but a large body of the Irish Members had thought proper to pursue in that House. But the protectionists owed no grudge to them; let them come back to the advocacy of protection, and they would make common cause with and join them again. The sentiments to which the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Fagan) had that evening given expression, were such as the protectionists had always advocated. They had always held that the encouragement of tillage was the way to banish pauperism. It was because tillage had not been encouraged that pauperism prevailed. So said the hon. Member for Cork; and it was a just sentiment—it was one which was now fully exemplified in the state of Ireland, and would be exemplified in England likewise, unless some remedy were speedily adopted. It was said that that House was bound to bear the burden of providing for the distress of the people. He was not sure of that proposition; but sure he was of this, that, constituted as that House of Parliament was, the people should not be allowed to starve, although they might differ as to the best mode of affording the people relief. Hon. Members considered that the late vote of 50,000l. was to meet the difficulties of a peculiar emergency. If that sum were not sufficient, why did not the Government ask for a larger sum, that might have been sufficient? But, above all, why did not the Government call Parliament together at an earlier period, seeing that the papers which had been laid on the table of the House proved that on the 29th of September they were aware of the emergency? After such culpable delay on the part of the Government, how could they now venture to charge hon. Gentlemen on that (the Opposition) side of the House with being heartless and reckless, and being capable of sitting calmly to consider the destitution and starvation of the people of Ireland, because they had asked for a delay of perhaps a few hours to consider the nature of this proposition of the Government? And when the Government did call Parliament together, they did not think it was their duty to put into Her Majesty's Speech any one expression that led the House to believe that the state and condition of Ireland was such as they now described it to be in. If, then, there was any charge to be made against any parties in this matter, it should be made against the Ministers of the Crown, and not against those who had exercised their duties conscientiously towards their constituents. The security which the Government now proposed to his (Mr. Bankes's) constituents for the repayment of the sums which had been advanced to Ireland, was insufficient. He was one of those who had, last Session, voted for a property tax for Ireland. He feared that he had offended some of his Irish friends by that vote; but he had considered it his duty to record his opinion in favour of such a measure. Had that proposition been then carried into a law, they would not now be called upon to deliberate upon this question of a rate in aid. England and Ireland would then have been so united, fiscally and politically, that Ireland's present destitution could not have happened. He did not, however, believe that it would be well to propose a scheme of assessed taxes for Ireland. He could understand the difficulty and aversion of the noble Lord, with regard to the imposition of a property tax upon Ireland. The noble Lord had adopted a long series of measures, to which he had a decided and perhaps an hereditary aversion. He had carried the Arms Bill, the Coercion Bill, the Suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, and he must now carry a property tax for Ireland, and then he would have achieved the full measure of his destiny. There were some of the greatest authorities in that House who had not declared their sentiments upon this question—some of those who had held the highest stations in the State—some of those who had been the Ministers of Ireland yet remained to enlighten the House upon this rate in aid, to which he was decidedly averse. He would, however, reserve his judgment and vote until he should have heard those high authorities declare their sentiments. In a time of extreme difficulty, like this, he felt that every honest man ought to come forward and give his opinion, and therefore it was that he had ventured to detain the House so long. With these feelings he thought the Government ought not to come forward and ask for an advance for Ireland without approved security—and that it would not be accepted. He regretted that the Government had not brought forward their measure last night, because then so many hours would not have been lost without some person being prepared with a scheme to replace that which he felt would not be adopted by the House.


agreed with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Dorsetshire as to the undesirableness of this vote, but for different reasons. The subject was under consideration in another place, where evidence was being taken upon oath, and also by a Committee of this House, who were receiving evidence relative to the Irish Poor Law. He did not agree with his noble Friend the Member for Bandon, that the best mode of dealing with this question was by abstract arguments as to the relative amount of English and Irish taxation, but he considered that it must be met in a practical way. No doubt good arguments had been used, and would be used, against the imposition of additional taxation on Ireland; but he took that to be a settled question. The people of Ireland could not be left to starve by Christian legislators in a Christian country, and there was no doubt that Ireland must find the money to support them. He believed there was little doubt that this House would not consent to grant money out of the imperial resources for the relief of the country, unless some additional contributions were made to the Imperial Treasury by Ireland; and he, therefore, thought it better to meet the case as it existed, without going into theoretical inquiries, or into calculations as to what balance there might be between England and Ireland. He trusted, however, that hon. Gentlemen would pause before they consented to the proposition submitted to them by Government; for he thought he should be able to show them that the proposed mode of raising the necessary funds was the most unjust that could be devised. There certainly did appear peculiar injustice in singling out that portion of property which was at present in so lamentable a condition as the only portion now to be taxed in Ireland. He was clearly convinced that the proposition, for that reason, was one which the House ought not to adopt. But he feared that there was a sort of hopeless feeling in the breasts of English Gentlemen, which induced them to place themselves completely at the disposal of the Minister, and to accept, without examination, any proposition he might think proper to make. They thought that in return for the pleasures of office, he ought to have the misery of being alone responsible for Ireland. Still the case he had to make out was so strong as to induce him to hope that before the close of the debate he would have the votes of many who had come to the House determined to support the proposal of the Government. The Ministerial proposition was to lay an additional tax of 6d. in the pound on all rateable property for the relief of certain distressed districts. He objected to that proposition—first, on the ground of its insufficiency for the purpose intended. Did any one believe that 250,000l., the sum which it was expected the rate would produce, would be sufficient to relieve the distress of the insolvent unions? Why, their debts and probable liabilities would amount to between 550,000l. and 600,000l., before harvest. Next, the tax was to terminate in two years. Now, the evidence taken before the Poor Law Committee had been laid on the table, and, therefore, he presumed he was justified in alluding to it, and in that evidence it would be found stated by Mr. Power, the assistant poor-law commissioner, that in his opinion there were many districts in which it was idle to suppose the distress would be relieved for many years without extraneous assistance. Therefore the proposed limitation in time was a delusion. Another point touched upon in that evidence was the question of valuation. Mr. Griffith, the Government valuator, proclaimed the existing valuation to be most unfair, fluctuating in different districts. In the union of Kilrush the valuation was 3s. 4d. more than that of the Government valuator, while in part of the county of Down it was 8s. more. Would it, therefore, be just to impose a tax upon such unequal valuations? He asked, then, would the House, would English Members, consent to so monstrous an injustice as a rate in aid founded on that valuation? He came now to the only argument which, in his opinion, had any force as in favour of the Government proposition. It was asserted that Ireland paid no income tax—it was admitted upon all hands that if Ireland paid that tax there would be no more fairness in taxing it generally for the relief of certain distressed districts, than there would be in taxing Yorkshire or Middlesex for the same purpose. He accepted that proposition, and he asked the House, was it fair that the farmers of Ireland, who almost all have less than 150l. a year, should pay that which the farmers of England, of a similar class, did not pay? for it was well known that although England had an income tax, the great majority of the farmers were exempt from its operation. Could any one use as a valid argument in favour of the rate the argument of necessity; he trusted that the maxim, Rem, si possis, recté; si non, quocumque modo rem, would never be adopted as a reason for levying an unjust tax. Such an argument would justify him in breaking open a jeweller's shop to relieve a distressed person. He was willing to accept for Ireland equal taxation, but he must explain what he meant by the term when applying it to Ireland. He did not mean the assessed taxes, because he believed that their collection would cost more than they were worth. To raise the spirit duty to the English level, would, in his opinion, be most impolitic, because it would resuscitate all the evils of illicit distillation. Similar evils would follow from the imposition of the soap duty; and, therefore, all that remained for consideration was the income tax. He wished then to state the terms upon which, as representing an Irish constituency, he was willing to accept that tax. It would be in the recollection of many hon. Members, that when that tax was proposed for England, Her Majesty's Ministers gave as a reason for not imposing it on Ireland, that in the then depressed state of the country, its imposition would be oppressive. It was universally admitted that Ireland was now in a worse state than when that exception was made in her favour; and, therefore, when an Irish Member accepted the income tax, it should be conceded to him that the Imperial Treasury, reinforced by the proceeds of that tax, should adopt a liberal course with reference to that object in Ireland. He believed it would have this great advantage: it would provide for the immediate distress, and thus enable the Government to proceed to the consideration of more permanent and comprehensive remedies. At that late hour he would not attempt to point out those remedies in detail, but would merely point out what had already been done by a noble Lord, a distinguished Member of the Government (Lord Palmerston) upon his property, situated, as it was, in a district quite as miserably off as Clifden, about which they had heard so much. That noble Lord had devoted all his energies to the task of raising the condition of the district; and the House would be gratified to learn that his Lordship's exertions had been entirely successful. How had the noble Lord succeeded? Not by attempting to feed with alms the dense population, but, pursuing the only rational course, he enabled hundreds of them to go to another country, where they were doing well, and had been enabled to send money home to their friends. He stated this upon the best possible authority. He might mention also what had been done by another Member of the Government—the Earl of I Carlisle. That nobleman having found that on a property in Ireland belonging to the Crown no rent had been paid for eleven years, and that the residents and occupiers were a pest and terror to the whole country, came forward, and, with the funds at his disposal, enabled them to emigrate; and the consequences had been the complete renovation of the whole district. No one could doubt that Her Majesty's Government would have pursued a wiser course during the past two years had they listened to the recommendations of Irish Members in favour of emigration, instead of persevering in a course which had ended in their coming down to that House to propose a tax which was thoroughly obnoxious to the people of Ireland. He hoped the noble Lord would consider well before he pressed the measure now submitted to their consideration. He would tell him in words not unfamiliar to him— Turno tempus erit, magno quum optaverit emptum Intactum Pallanta. When the noble Lord had, by trifling with their feelings, severely tested the loyalty of Ireland—when paid vice-guardians should have replaced those boards of unpaid guardians who were now doing their duty so actively and so well—when stipendiary magistrates should be seen sitting on the bench of justice—the noble Lord would regret too late that he had not withdrawn a proposition which had been received in that country with so little favour.


felt relieved, by the opening part of his hon. Friend's address, from saying much which he might otherwise have felt it necessary to say, as to the observations made by hon. Members who disclaimed, on the part of Ireland, the imposition of burdens for the relief of a distress which was confined to one portion of that country. His hon. Friend admitted that it was not right that further burdens should be imposed on the people of Great Britain for the purpose of relieving distress in Ireland. [Mr. MONSELL dissented.] Perhaps it was too much to expect that an Irish Member should say he thought this fair. [Mr. MONSELL: I expressed no opinion upon the subject.] At all events, his hon. Friend admitted that the only question was, as to the mode in which this money was to be raised from Ireland. That the necessity of aid for the relief of destitution was great, must be admitted by all who were acquainted with the state of Ireland; even the hon. Member for Dorsetshire admitted that advances must be made. In a great proportion of the western districts of Ireland, without some assistance to the aid which the local rates can afford, distress and starvation to a fearful extent must ensue. There was nothing more strange to him than the fact that in so much of what had fallen from some of the hon. Gentlemen opposite, there should appear, on their part, altogether a forgetfulness that any such necessity existed, and that in their anxiety to force such alterations as they thought necessary to lessen the burden of the law on the consideration of the House, they should seem almost to lose sight altogether of the more pressing emergency which existed, of meeting the demands of the starving population, arising from the failure of the food of the country during the past three years. Now, he was far from saying that these Gentlemen intended to treat this main part of the question with that neglect which he attributed to their manner of pressing their views upon the House; but still he thought that he was justified in saying that they had dilated on that part of the case which was not so pressing, and had neglected that part of it which, if it were to be done at all, must be promptly done, in order to afford an efficient remedy of some sort or other for the evil which existed. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Dorsetshire had cried out a little before he need have done so, about the large advances made to these unions not having afforded any adequate remedy, and about the blame which was to be attached to Her Majesty's Government for not calling Parliament together at an earlier period of the year, for the purpose of considering this emergency. But the hon. Gentleman should have remembered that before the beginning of February, it was not necessary to make any advance whatever fur which the sanction of the Legislature could be required, and that within four days from the meeting of Parliament, he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had stated to the House the sum which he thought would be sufficient to carry these distressed unions over the period that must elapse before his noble Friend could state to the House the proposition that was now before it, or some other proposition calculated to meet the exigency which they knew must continue for some period to come. He would not at that late hour refer to much of which at an earlier period of the evening he should perhaps have felt inclined to enter upon. He would merely confine himself to the objections that were raised to the mode by which this relief was proposed to be raised. Hon. Gentlemen had expressed the strongest opinions against this proposal, and he must own that he, for one, had been not a little surprised at the violence—if he might use the expression—which was exhibited against the proposition of a national rate in aid. He had, during the last three or four months, heard many suggestions from various parts of Ireland in favour of a national rate, as being the most convenient mode in which funds could be raised for this purpose. One suggestion was, that the charge for the constabulary, now paid out of the Consolidated Fund, should be put back on the Irish counties, and that a proportionate amount should then be paid out of the national revenue for the relief of these unions. This was in substance to exact a national rate for the purpose of relief. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Monsell) had himself, not ten days ago, expressed a desire in that House for the imposition of a national rate in favour of emigration. He had stated that he would not object to a national rate for such a purpose; but if that were so, what became of the objection on which so much stress had been laid that night—that it was utterly and altogether unjust that the landed property of Protestant Ulster should pay for the distress of the Roman Catholics of Connaught? [Mr. NAPIER: No, no!] The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin certainly did last night allude to the religious differences between the two provinces as a reason which made it more unjust than it otherwise would be for Ulster to be called upon to pay for the support of the people of Connaught; but he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) regretted that he had recurred in the slightest degree to that subject. He sincerely apologised for having used an expression that had the effect of exciting even a momentary feeling of religious differences, which he was the last person in the House who would wish to see revived. But at all events the admission had been made by Irish Members, that they would have felt no objection to a proposal for making the farmers of the north pay a rate in aid of emigration from Kerry and Connaught; and yet such a proposition appeared to him to be open to precisely the same objection as one for asking the north to assist in preserving the same parties from starvation. The hon. Member for the county of Limerick might think that emigration was a hotter mode of giving relief; that was a point on which he would not at present enter. It must be obvious that the objection raised by the people of Ulster, was not the particular mode in which the relief was to be given, but to their being called upon to contribute towards it at all. But was it extraordinary, when this proposal had been put forward by Irishmen of all parties, and by the hon. Member for Limerick himself, in that House, not ten days ago, that Her Majesty's Government should have been led to think that it was one not likely to prove unpalatable to the Irish people, and at all events that it was one which would not have been stigmatised with so much violence as unfair, monstrous, and unjustifiable? He perfectly agreed with the hon. Gentleman, that emigration was one of the most useful steps that could be taken, or that landlords could promote, for the regeneration of the country, and that to a certain extent it ought to be encouraged by the public in regard to Ireland. He thought that nothing could have been more useful than what his noble Friend (Viscount Palmerston) and other noble Lords and Gentlemen had done in promoting emigration from their estates in Ireland; and the hon. Gentleman opposite must know that his noble Friend (Lord John Russell) did not propose to exclude altogether from the purposes to which this rate in aid might be applied, some assistance to emigration; but what they contended for was, that to any proposition in favour of a large system of emigration—to use a modern phrase—carried on by the Government, very great objections were to be entertained. He believed that, in the first place, any such general system was wholly unnecessary, and also, that its effect would be to damp the exertions that were now made to an almost incredible extent in promotion of private emigration, and to transfer to the State a burden now borne by other parties in a more advantageous way, and, as he believed, with infinitely less expense to the country than any public system could be conducted upon. He had been told—and the accounts which had arrived from the west of Ireland confirmed the statement—that emigration had been already carried to such an extent in many parts of these distressed districts, that it would be mischievous and injurious to the best interests of the country if any larger number of the population were to leave the country. As an instance of the extent to which emigration was now going on, he would beg to refer to a statement which he then held in his hand of the number of emigrants who proceeded from the united kingdom in the month of January for each of the last three years; and it was notorious that these emigrants included a very large proportion of Irish. In the mouth of January, 1847, the number of emigrants from the united kingdom was 4,721; in the month of January, 1848, the number was 4,561; while in the month of January of the present year the number was no less than 10,143. His conviction was, that emigration conducted on the voluntary system was by far the most healthy kind of emigration that could take place, because the parties proceeded almost universally on the invitation of those who had gone before them, and who provided them with some kind of resting place on their arrival upon a foreign shore, so as to insure them against the misfortune of being thrown homeless upon the wide world. And when he stated to the House the sums of money which had been remitted to Ireland by those who had previously gone to America, for the purpose of promoting the emigration of the friends they had left behind, hon. Gentlemen would, he thought, be not a little astonished at the greatness of the amount, and would be inclined to agree with him that there was not much necessity for the Government to take steps for providing further means in aid of emigration. He had received returns of the sums remitted from America in the year 1848, for the purpose of promoting emigration, partly in money, and partly by the passages being paid for on the arrival of the emigrants; and though the entire amount was not known, and the sums remitted through one of the largest houses in the American trade were not included in the returns, still the House would probably be surprised to hear that these returns exhibited a total sum of no less than 460,000l. for the last year alone. He thought that such being the case, there was but little need of any further stimulus being given to emigration even from Ireland. The emigration which prevailed was a wholesome one, and was very properly encouraged by the voluntary aid given by landlords; but it was all the better for not being checked by any expectation being excited that emigration was to be carried on to any large extent by Government means. He entertained the strongest conviction that any general system of emigration supported by Government aid would interfere most injuriously with what he believed to be the healthiest and the best emigration—that conducted on the voluntary system—and that any amount so expended would in fact be merely thrown away, as far as increased emigration was concerned, as it would be merely a substitution for, and not an addition to, the money now devoted to that purpose. But to return to the proposition before the House. He had already stated that the proposal of a national rate had been suggested by many gentlemen connected with Ireland. He wished that hon. Members connected with Ireland would not suppose that he did not sympathise with those who did their duty as landlords in the many pressing claims that they had to meet, or that he was not ready to support them in obtaining any assistance that could be rendered to them without entailing on the country consequences more injurious than any they had as yet known. This was the feeling of every Member of the Government as well as of himself; and he would remind them that this rate was proposed by his noble Friend at the head of the Government, merely as a temporary measure. As had been stated already by another Member of the Government, he certainly would not, for one, ever have thought of proposing a national rate in aid for the relief of Irish distress, if it were not intended to continue merely for a limited period. One great consideration in any such measure was, that the amount should be readily raised, at a small expense, and without the necessity of creating new machinery for the purpose. Now, this proposed rate in aid could be raised without costing a single farthing for additional machinery of collection. The whole machinery for the collection was already in operation, and the only thing necessary to be done was, to add 6d. to the amount of any rate now to be collected. It would be collected by the same individuals who collected the ordinary rates, and in the cheapest and readiest mode in which a tax could be got in. Now, he certainly could hardly believe that hon. Gentlemen who represented Ireland were serious when they talked of substituting for such a plan an equality of taxation with England. So tempting was the offer to a Chancellor of the Exchequer, that he could hardly be expected to refuse a proposal so generously made; but when the hon. Member for the county of Limerick came to consider the extent of this suggestion, and the objections that existed to an income tax, from the necessity of creating an extensive machinery which did not at present exist, for its collection, and the other taxes that should be imposed, in order to equalise the taxation between the two countries—omitting the assessed taxes, which the hon. Gentleman disavowed, but including aland tax as paid by England, and many excise duties from which Ireland was now exempt, he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) thought that the hon. Member could hardly be serious in his proposal. When the hon. Gentleman proposed such an arrangement as that, involving the payment of 2s. or 3s. at least in the pound, in order to avoid having to pay 6d., the only inference to be drawn was, that there was an unwillingness to pay any-thing at all, and that an offer was made which nobody could believe to have been seriously intended. His belief was, that the mode proposed, having been suggested from Ireland itself, and being confined to Irish purposes alone, and being, besides, the cheapest form in which the amount could be collected, was one in which the House might well be called upon to concur. There was one further objection made by the hon. Gentleman. It was the inequality of the valuations that had been referred to; but perfect equality was not to be expected. In the county of York, in which he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had property, as well as in every other county in England, there were very considerable differences between the valuations of the parishes. He knew that two adjacent parishes in which his property lay were very differently rated; and he believed the same to be the case in Scotland and in every part of England. He believed that the inequalities in Ireland, and the differences in value to which the hon. Gentleman had referred, were not very unlike those in England. Some hon. Gentlemen wished that the rate should be levied upon Mr. Griffith's valuation; but that would completely change every existing arrangement. That valuation was not made upon what the land would let for, as in this country, but upon Mr. Griffith's own estimate of its value; and certainly the differences stated by hon. Gentlemen sounded very much as if Mr. Griffith's valuation was not so very correct as hon. Gentlemen from Ireland generally thought. However, the poor-law valuation was that upon which the rate was collected, and not upon Mr. Griffith's; and the proposal of the Government was to levy the additional 6d. in the pound upon the existing valuation. Would any hon. Gentleman tell him what practical injustice could be done to anybody in Ireland by adopting such a basis? He did not mean to say that any tax could be perfectly fairly adjusted; but when hon. Gentlemen considered the difficulty of collecting the sum required, without incurring additional expense in its collection, he thought it would cover any trifling injustice that could be supposed to arise under the difference of valuation. And certainly no proposition that had yet been made, even by the Irish Members themselves, appeared so advantageous for their country, nor was there one which would not entail upon them more expense than the proposition of the Government.

MR. B. OSBORNE moved that the Chairman should report progress, and ask leave to sit again.


said, that considering the debate had not made such progress as he could have wished, and inasmuch as he was desirous to give an opportunity to every hon. Member who was anxious to express his opinion upon the question, he should not offer any opposition to the adjournment of the debate. The first business that stood for Monday was the subject of the navigation laws; but, in consideration of the necessity of going on with this debate, he would give up Monday to go on with it. But he should, at the same time, say, that he hoped to make some ar- rangement on Monday to bring on the navigation laws on Tuesday. There were some Motions of considerable importance on the Paper for Tuesday; but they were of such a nature that they need not stand in the way of the debate on the navigation laws.

The House then resumed, the Chairman reported progress, and obtained leave to sit again on Monday.