§ Order for Committee, read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."
§ MR. REYNOLDS
rose to move, that the Bill be committed that day three months. He appealed to the Government (they having had an entire night for reflection) whether they intended to persevere in attempting to pass this Bill, and to inflict another gratuitous insult on the people of Ireland? He scarcely hoped to succeed, although he believed he ought to succeed, because the accounts received every day by the post more than corroborated what had already been stated respecting the peace and good order which existed in the country. Some said it was entirely owing to 960 the operation of this Coercion Act. He did not believe it; but, if the Bill was to be passed on that ground, he wished to know when it was to cease? Because, if the want of peace and order was to be urged for its adoption one year, and the existence of peace and order urged for its continuance another, he presumed he must suppose it was intended to have a perpetual existence. The hon. Member for Montrose referred yesterday to a supposed compromise which the Irish Members had entered into with the Government to give no further opposition to the Bill. If there was any such compromise he was no party to it, but he was informed that there was none. The suspicion, he believed, had arisen from the circumstance of the Government determining not to support the Landlord and Tenant Bill; but it was quite unnecessary to have entered into a compromise with respect to that measure, for the Irish Members could have strangled it, if necessary.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House will, upon this day three months, resolve itself into the said Committee," instead thereof.
§ MR. G. THOMPSON
said, he could support the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman with perfect consistency, because he was one of the small number who opposed the Bill when originally introduced by Government. On the present occasion Her Majesty's Ministers had displayed a degree of taciturnity which argued the weakness of their cause. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in the able and temperate address which he delivered when asking leave to introduce the measure in November, 1847, told the House distinctly and repeatedly, that he proposed the measure with great reluctance, but that his object was to lessen the evils which had grown out of the state of the relations between landlord and tenant, and that if the measure were passed, and the Lord Lieutenant armed with the extraordinary powers which it would give him, it should be followed by measures adapted to remove the cause out of which the evils which they all deplored originated. Looking back, however, to their legislation since 1847, he did not remember a single Act which had passed that House calculated to reach the seat of the evils which the right hon. Gentleman had admitted were the fruits of the existing state of the law of Ireland. Under 961 these circumstances, could he, as an English Member, vote with any party in favour of the continuance of this (to use the word of the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Mayor of Dublin) "insulting" Act? Was it not paraded in the Speech from the Throne at the commencement of the Session that Her Majesty was received in Ireland with a burst of loyal feeling? Had the House not been told that there was a large and gratifying diminution of crime and outrage in that country? that the calendars, even in the troubled districts, were lighter than they had ever been known in the memory of man? Why, then, in these circumstances, should the House be called upon to continue this exceptional, not to say unconstitutional, measure for two years longer? The time was come, he thought, when they ought to allow the Act to expire, and when the House ought to show that they had some faith in the Irish people. The disaffection which gave rise to the Crime and Outrage Act did not now exist. The individuals who promoted it were not now in the country; and the press that fomented that disaffection was utterly extinguished, or if not extinguished, had greatly modified its tone. He should support the right hon. Gentleman in the Motion he had made, and he asked the Members for Ireland on this occasion to do their duty. He witnessed a state of things yesterday which was discreditable to the Irish Members. Out of 105 Members, thirty-three only were within the walls of that House; of this number eighteen voted for, and only fifteen against the measure—the whole number of Irish Members present being considerably less than one-third of the entire representation of that island, when a measure was under discussion affecting the enjoyment of constitutional government in that country. He called on Irish Members to do their duty on this occasion; it was not even now too late for them to do so; and he trusted that the House would not give its sanction to so wanton an outrage on the constitutional liberties of the people of Ireland as was contemplated by this Bill.
§ MR. AGLIONBY
said, that ever since he had had a seat in that House he had taken a lively interest in the affairs of Ireland, and although he had on a former occasion resisted a Coercion Bill, he felt that he was acting quite as consistently as the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down in giving his vote in favour of the Bill now 962 proposed by Government. Although, however, he should support this measure, believing it to be necessary, he begged to say that he had never on any occasion been absent when he had had an opportunity of voting for a remedial measure for Ireland, and as long as he had a seat in that House he never would. It was said that the measure was unnecessary. He had no evidence that it was unnecessary. As far as he could judge from the public papers, public documents, and the declarations of public men, there was a frightful amount of outrage and crime in Ireland. [Cries of "No, no!"] He was glad to hear it, but he feared that what he had just said was only too true. [An Hon. MEMBER: Are there no murders in England?] There were murders in England; but they were of a different class. They were not committed in open day, with people standing by ready to shelter the murderer, as if he had done an act worthy of commendation. He regretted, however, that the Bill had been brought in at so late a period of the Session, when there was so little time for investigation and discussion respecting it. The Bill was printed only on the 6th of August, and this was the 9th, and many Irish Members were absent.
§ MR. AGLIONBY
said, he had assigned the existence of crime and outrage as his reason for supporting the Bill.
§ MR. MOORE
said, that the hon. Gentleman had forgotten the admission of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, and also of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland, that crime and outrage did not at present exist in Ireland. The hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets had taunted the Irish Members with not having done their duty on this question; but he begged to remind the hon. Member that when the Irish Members made their first stand against this measure, they had neither the voice nor the vote of the hon. Gentleman. With respect to the party with whom that hon. Member acted, he begged to thank them in the warmest terms for their support on this occasion; but he was bound to say that this was the first time, and that on every previous occasion 963 when Irish rights had to be vindicated, and their wrongs resisted, that party had deserted them.
§ MR. G. THOMPSON
explained that he was ill in bed on the first occasion when this Bill was discussed, or he would have been but too happy to attend in his place to oppose the measure.
§ SIR T. O'BRIEN,
in reply to the taunt that the Irish Members showed no unanimity on questions deeply interesting to their country, instanced some English measures on which the same want of unanimity amongst the English Members was evinced, alluding more specifically to the Bill for improving Spitalfields, which they discussed on the previous day, and on which they found, not merely English Members differing, but even those who represented the metropolis, although the measure was purely metropolitan in its character. He must oppose this Bill, as totally uncalled for.
§ MR. C. ANSTEY
said, that the conduct of the hon. Member for Cockermouth was most extraordinary. When Coercion Bills were first brought under the notice of the reformed Parliament, the hon. Member was one of a small band of English Members who voted with the late Mr. O'Connell against them, although a much stronger case was made out for them then, than there had been on the present occasion; and now they had the hon. Member voting for the present measure, simply because he was ignorant that it was unnecessary. This was not a question of opinion, it was a question of fact. He called upon the supporters of the measure to show that the existing law was insufficient for the existing emergency. He admitted that there were murders in Ireland, just as there were murders in England; but he maintained that the existing law was as strong in the one country as it was in the other to reach the murderers. He admitted that in Ireland convictions could not always be obtained from jurors; but were there no cases of English juries refusing to convict a murderer, because they thought it a less crime to violate their oath than to assist in taking away human life? He should support the Amendment.
§ SIR G. GREY
did not think the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets was quite just towards the Irish Members, in attributing insincerity to them with reference to this measure. In point of fact, he thought that their opposition had been most strenuous and consistent. The Bill 964 which came down from the Lords had to be laid aside in consequence of an informality. It became necessary, therefore, to move for leave to introduce another. That Motion met, with a strenuous opposition, and two debates took place upon it—rather an unusual course on such an occasion. There was another discussion and division on the second reading, and now the opposition was renewed on the Motion for leave to go into Committee. He must say he was surprised, therefore, to hear the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets charge the Irish Members with insincerity. The hon. Member, although it would appear that he had referred to the Parliamentary debate which took place when the Bill was originally introduced, had quite misconceived or forgotten the object of the Bill. The hon. Gentleman seemed to think that it had been introduced for the purpose of repressing the unfortunate political disturbances which occurred in Ireland two years ago; and he argued, that as there was now no political disaffection, as the Queen had been received with the warmest expressions of loyalty and attachment by the people of Ireland, and as the leaders of the insurrection were now far removed, the Act should be allowed to expire. But the fact was, that the Bill was antecedent to the political disturbances. It had no connexion with them, and had passed into a law long before they occurred. The hon. Gentleman ought to have known that the Bill was not introduced with reference to political disturbances at all, but with reference to a system of assassination which had attained a great height, and which was a disgrace to a civilised country. The ordinary law was quite sufficient to punish crime; but it was not, in the opinion of the Government, strong enough to prevent it. The Bill was not of a penal, but of a preventive character. Its object was to prevent the commission of crime. The hon. and learned Member for Youghal had also misconceived the object of the Bill. He had clearly confounded it with the Coercion Bill, as it was called, of 1832–33. The hon. and learned Member had referred to the difficulty of obtaining convictions for murder, and had said that a similar difficulty was not unknown in England, whereas the Act did not at all interfere with the ordinary forms of trial. The operation of the Bill was antecedent to the commission of crime—with the exception of cases where crime was rife in any district; but the 965 cases of crime to which it referred were altogether different from the kind of murders which occurred in this country. They were cases of assassination in open day, similar to the one which occurred a few days ago—assassinations in broad daylight, before an assembled populace, without a hand being raised to arrest the murderer and bring him within the reach of the law. The Bill provided that the Lord Lieutenant should have power to send additional police into a disturbed district to perform the duties which were performed in this country by the population to a man, and to impose upon the district the expense of the additional police which was rendered necessary by the sympathy which existed with the criminal, but which might easily be avoided by their performing the duty which was morally and legally imposed upon them. No doubt the Bill suspended some rights. It empowered the Lord Lieutenant, for instance, to restrict the possession of arms, and to require that parties using them should have a licence. But it did not deserve the hard names which had been applied to it in these debates. He believed, indeed, that if this Act were hastily and inconsiderately removed, it would, in all probability, render necessary the introduction of another measure of still more stringent provisions than this. The hon. Member for Mayo was mistaken in supposing that the noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown, and the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland, had said that crimes and outrages had entirely ceased in Ireland. They said no such thing. What were the facts on this point? He (Sir G. Grey) held in his hand a return which was moved for some weeks ago by the hon. Member for Kerry, showing the number of outrages reported by the constabulary in Ireland during the periods of six months ending respectively 30th of June, 1848, 31st of December, 1848, 30th of June, 1849, 31st of December, 1849, and 30th of June, 1850. He found that in the six months ending the 30th of June, 1848, the number of cases of homicide was 86; firing at the person, 37; and firing into dwellings, 65. In the last half year, namely, the half year ending the 30th of June, 1850, he found a gratifying decrease; but it would be seen that outrages were far from being totally extinct. The number of eases of homicide was 76; firing at the person, 27; and firing into dwellings, 24. In many countries this would be thought a frightful amount 966 of crime. In these circumstances the Government had thought proper to propose the renewal of the Act for a limited period, to enable the Irish Executive to take the necessary precautions against the commission of crime. He trusted the House would, in accordance with the previous votes, intrust the Government for a limited period with the strong powers of this Act. The hon. Member for Cockermouth was quite correct in saying that this new Bill was printed only on the 6th of August; but it ought to be remembered that the preceding Bill came down to them from the Lords five weeks ago, and it was fixed for deliberation at a much earlier period, but it was prevented from coming on by the unexpected debates which arose respecting the claim of Baron Rothschild to take his seat. It could not be said, therefore, that the House had been taken by surprise.
§ SIR W. SOMERVILLE
said, that what he stated was, that he had no long list of outrages to read to the House. On the contrary, he was very glad to assure the House that the state of crime had greatly improved.
§ MR. W. J. FOX
said, that the right hon. Baronet had told the House that crimes of the description which this mea sure was specially intended to put down had not entirely ceased in Ireland. Such was unhappily the fact; and they were not likely to cease entirely in that country while the system existed which was the great stimulus to crime. But the right hon. Gentleman had also stated that those crimes had materially diminished. The single argument which had been urged in favour of this Bill was this: Crimes of a certain description, and of an atrocious character, were very abundant in Ireland some three years ago; they had now very much diminished; this Act had been the efficient cause of the diminution, and therefore it should be continued until the outrages were entirely put down. Now, this argument involved a fallacy. If the Bill had been the efficient cause of checking crime and outrage in Ireland, how had it done so? There were two modes in which it might have operated—either by making the effect of its formidable powers evident at once, and staying the tide of crime while it was 967 flowing full and fast, or by producing a continuous and gradual diminution, from year to year. Had it operated in either of these ways? He denied that it had. According to the returns on the table, it appeared that crime considerably increased, instead of diminished, in the year following the passing of the Act—not only crime generally, but the particular species of crime against which the Act was levelled. It increased upwards of 23 per cent after the passing of the Act. This put an end to the argument that the Bill had, by one great blow, arrested the progress of crime. Well, then, if the Bill had not immediately arrested crime, had it gradually done so? Nothing of the kind. They had first an increase, then a diminution, and again an increase. As, therefore, the theory of a gradual operation was as untenable as a sudden operation, he contended that they should fall back upon a common-sense view of the case, and leave Ireland to the regular operation of the laws and constitution of the country. With respect to remedial measures, he would not say that the Government had done nothing, hut he denied that they bad done enough. They had done something in passing the Incumbered Estates Bill; hut that was not a measure which reached the great mass of the peasantry. They had also done something to redeem the franchise from utter extinction; but it had not yet been put on the same level as it was in this country. On one thing, however, the Government had done, and were doing, great good to Ireland—he referred to the educational scheme in operation there. He believed that Irish education had done what English education had not done. It had thrown up a barrier against criminality; and he attributed this to the different spirit in which education in that country was conducted. He found that while, during the last ten years, in England the proportion of criminals who had been partially instructed had been gradually increasing, as compared with those who had received no education, in Ireland crime was almost totally among the uninstructed, and that crime among the instructed was diminishing instead of increasing, as in this country. But he believed that peace and quietude in Ireland could never he secured until measures of a more peaceful and mentally influential kind, such as he had referred to, were still further extended. No country would remain contented where the established religion was only that of a 968 small minority—where the worship of one portion of the people was an insult and aggravation to the other, owing to its being supported from the resources of the great body of the public—and where the Church of the State, instead of being a monument of religion, was an unjust and oppressive institution.
§ MR. STAFFORD
said, he had already stated his reasons for supporting the Bill, and saw only additional reasons for adhering to that course in what had lately passed. The whole conduct of Her Majesty's Government during the present Session, with respect to Ireland, had been calculated to exasperate class against class, to inflame jealousies between landlords and tenants; so that the Bill was absolutely necessary to suppress a series of disturbances and outrages which would otherwise inevitably take place. Nothing could be more lamentable and discreditable than the conduct of Government with respect to a question compared to which all others fell into insignificance, and which was now convulsing Ireland from one end to another—that of landlord and tenant. In the face of the promises they had made in the Speech from the Throne, to introduce a Bill for the amendment of the law of landlord and tenant, they had not only withdrawn their own measure on that subject, but appealed to the hon. Member for Dublin University to withdraw that of which he had the charge. He thought the whole responsibility of defeating the efforts which had been made, and the wishes which were entertained on all sides, and by none more than the Irish landlords, for the improvement of the law on this subject, ought to be cast on the heads of the Government. By the whole proceedings of Her Majesty's Government, which terminated so disgracefully yesterday, they had shown that they preferred other and minor considerations to the settlement of a question in which the tranquillity and welfare of Ireland were so deeply interested.
§ MR. TORRENS M'CULLAGH
said, he had no intention at any time of offering what was called a factious opposition to this Bill, but he should certainly vote for the Amendment. He called the attention of the Government to a course pursued by the Commissioners under the Incumbered Estates Act. There was a desire to sell estates "cleared," as they were called, and the Commissioners refused to recognise any one as tenant unless he 969 were tenant under lease or indenture, and that had raised a great feeling in Ireland. He thought Government should intimate to the Commissioners that they should not pursue that course. To say that estates should be cleared for the purpose of fetching a higher price, was to proclaim a war against life in Ireland.
MR. M. J. O'CONNELL
said, that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in quoting from the returns which he (Mr. O'Connell) had moved for, had made an omission which showed more of official dexterity than of statesmanlike ingenuousness. The right hon. Gentleman had omitted the offence of robbery of arms—an offence which, more than any other, afforded a correct test of the state of Ireland. From that return it appeared that in the first half year of 1848 the robberies of arms were 100; in the second half year, 137; in the first half year of 1849, 67; in the second half year, 46; and in the first half year of 1850 they were 51.
§ COLONEL DUNNE
said, he felt as strong an objection as any one to this Bill. He believed that the Government themselves had produced the necessity for the measure, while throughout the Session, the only remedial measure passed had been the Franchise Bill, and that had nothing to do with the peace of the country. He had not opposed the introduction of the Bill, feeling that some such measure was necessary: but he would grant it for the shortest possible time. The all-absorbing question in Ireland was tenant-right; a sort of Parliament on that subject was now sitting in Dublin; and no doubt it would give rise to great agitation. He recommended the Government, instead of slandering the magistrates and abusing the landlords, to adopt just and conciliatory measures.
§ SIR B. HALL
thought a Bill of this nature ought not to be brought in so late in the Session; the House had now spent two hours in discussing whether they should go into Committee or not. The manner of disposing of the public business had come to such a pass that it was absolutely necessary the whole system should be revised, or it would be impossible to get through the business of the country. He must protest against important Bills, with deceptive titles, being brought forward at a period when most Members were wearied with their labours. Since the period of the Reform Bill, he had never known a 970 Session when there was a more anxious desire to transact the public business than in the present Session. On no occasion had they failed to make a House; the House had been rarely counted out; and, excepting the debate on the foreign policy, the speeches had been shorter and more to the point than usual. The sittings of the House had been more protracted; and he defied any man to sit continuously, as they were required to do by the Government, and to give proper attention to the business before them—to say nothing of domestic enjoyments. [The hon. Baronet was proceeding to state the number of hours the House had sat on each day in July, when]
§ SIR B. HALL
said, he was using it as an argument against important Bills like this being pressed at so late a period. He would take another opportunity of going into the statement to show the amount of time wasted, and the number of important Bills that had been abandoned. On the present question he should certainly vote for the Amendment.
The CHANCELLOR or THE EXCHEQUER
said, he had no objection to the statement of the hon. Baronet, provided it were made in proper time.
§ MR. MOWATT
considered that no just ground had been shown for continuing this measure. In asking for additional powers, the Government signed their own condemnation. He should have supposed they must, ere this, have been convinced of the inefficiency of Gagging Acts, Alien Bills, and other coercive measures. To deal with crimes without going into their causes, was most unstatesmanlike. It was incredible that a people like the Irish would commit such appalling murders as had been recently recorded, except they were suffering from the conviction of extreme wrong. One of these wrongs was the absence of manufactures in their country, which our policy, so called, had put an end to. The power of inflicting two years' imprisonment for the mere possession of arms was most monstrous. The Bill was a reproach to the Government, especially looking at the time and the circumstances under which it had been brought in.
§ MR. E. B. ROCHE
did not think the time of the House had been wasted in the two hours' discussion of that morning, as the wrongs of the Irish people 971 had been admitted on all sides, though they were traced to different causes. Government, instead of redressing those wrongs, sought to coerce the people; for such a course their responsibility was very great. Admitting the unsatisfactory nature of the relations between landlord and tenant, they had introduced a Bill, and kept it dangling before the people's eyes all the Session, and then withdrew it at the last moment. The consequence was, the breach between landlords and tenants was widened. Had Government pressed that Bill, instead of the Coercion Bill, there would have been much less waste of time. Nothing was to be done this Session for the redress of wrongs. He could not but feel anxious as to the conduct of the people of Ireland, between this period and the next Session. He hoped the tenantry would be firm, but moderate, in their demands; but should, unhappily, any violent measures be resorted to on either side, the blame would rest on the Government. He thought the present Bill wholly unnecessary. Ireland was perfectly tranquil, more tranquil than any one had a right to expect, seeing that all redress of wrongs had been uniformly refused.
§ MR. P. SCROPE
could not but sympathise with the Government, under the attacks which they suffered from all sides, as to the principle of this measure. He hoped it would be a warning to them to cease governing Ireland by coercive measures.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 82; Noes 34: Majority 48.
|List of the NOES.|
|Anstey, T. C.||Humphery, Ald.|
|Collins, W.||Keating, R.|
|Crawford, W. S.||Kershaw, J.|
|Evans, Sir De L.||M'Cullagh, W. T.|
|Fox, R. M.||Moore, G. H.|
|Fox, W. J.||Mowatt, F.|
|French, F.||O'Brien, Sir T.|
|Grace, O. D. J.||O'Connell, M. J.|
|Greene, J.||Pechell, Sir G. B.|
|Hall, Sir B.||Roche, E. B.|
|Higgins, G. G. O.||Salwey, Col.|
|Hume, J.||Scholefield, W.|
|Serope, G. P.||Wakley, T.|
|Scully, F.||Wilcox, B. M.|
|Stuart, Lord D.||Williams, W.|
|Tenison, E. K.|
|Tennent, R. J.||TELLERS.|
|Thompson, Col.||Reynolds, J.|
|Thompson, G.||Walmsley, Sir J.|
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ House in Committee.
§ Clause 1.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the blank be filled up with the words 'until the 31st day of December, 1851, and from thence until the end of the then next Session of Parliament."
§ MR. MOORE moved that the continuance of the Bill be limited to one year only. He confessed that he felt more anxious for the result of the Motion he now proposed, than for the fate of the Bill itself. The liberal Irish Members, who had always given a consistent support to the Government, were unanimous in favour of the proposition he now made. He trusted, therefore, that the Government would yield to their wishes in the present case, and would consider that sufficient for the year was the evil thereof.
§ Whereupon Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the blank be filled up with the words 'for one year.'"
§ MR. HUME
suggested to the Government to yield to the reasonable proposition now made. The former Act was based on the existence of certain facts, which in his opinion formed some justification for the Government in introducing it. But no such facts were produced on the present occasion. For this reason he should support the Motion; but he hoped the Government would accede to the proposition, and would not press the House to pass it for a longer period than one year.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
supported the Motion. He hoped the Government would see the propriety of not pressing the Bill on the people of Ireland beyond what was absolutely necessary.
§ MR. E. B. ROCHE
said, that Ireland was now, generally speaking, free from agrarian outrages, and, therefore, there could be no pretence for demanding the continuance of the Bill beyond one year. If Ireland became more disturbed, the Government would then be able to come to that House with a good case to ask for a continuance of the measure for a longer period.
MR. M. J. O'CONNELL
hoped some Member of the Government would attempt an answer to the arguments which had 973 been used in favour of the proposition now made. The noble Lord at the head of the Government justified this measure on the ground that it would be inconvenient for the Irish Government not to have such a measure. Taking that to be the justification of the measure, the Bill ought not to be continued beyond the period which the necessity of the case demanded.
§ SIR G. GREY
said, that the object of the measure was not to punish crime, as had been supposed, but to prevent crime. With regard to the time which it was to continue, it was possible that the condition of Ireland might so improve, that the Act would not be any longer necessary. So it might in three months. But the Government did not think it right that this subject should be made a matter of discussion next year, and they only proposed to continue the measure for the ordinary period that all similar Bills were passed.
§ MR. C. ANSTEY
was afraid that the object was to continue this Bill from year to year, in order that Parliament, in a fit of desperation, should pass a permanent Arms Act. He, for one, should never consent to such a proposal. If it was the object to suspend the liberties of the people of Ireland, let them do it by an annual measure. He should vote for the Motion of the hon. Member for Mayo.
§ MR. SCULLY
thought the grounds stated by the hon. Gentlemen the representatives from Ireland were such as ought to induce Her Majesty's Ministers to accede to the proposition of limiting the operation of the Bill to twelve months. He wished that the queries of the hon. Member for Montrose, relative to the returns of robberies of arms, with the localities in which they occurred, had been answered; and also it was important that they should know what increase had taken place in the number of constabulary, and the extra expense incurred thereby. He hoped Her Majesty's Ministers would not drive them to a division, but accede to the proposition of limiting the Bill to one year.
§ MR. S. CRAWFORD
protested against the renewal of the Bill for any term whatever. He thought Her Majesty's Ministers would do better to bring to a fair termination the disputed points between landlord and tenant.
§ MR. MOORE
said, he was not then going to reply. The call upon Her Ma- 974 jesty's Ministers had been unanimously made by the Irish liberal Members; but the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State did not think fit to give them any answer beyond the cut and dried one, that lie bad a duty to perform in resisting their application. He hoped a time would come—indeed, he doubted not it would—when, to the application of the Ministry to which the right hon. Baronet belonged, the Irish liberal Members would also respond that they had a public and a national duty to perform.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
said, the Bill before the House was one for the discouragement of crime in Ireland; and that being the case, be considered that the continuance of the Bill for a period longer than twelve months would have a beneficial effect in discouraging and repressing crime, particularly the dreadful crime of murder. It was, indeed, desirable that the period for which it would be necessary might be short. What was desirable for Ireland, as for England and Scotland, was, that they should induce habits of order and obedience to the law; and having induced these habits and that obedience, they might then rely on the operation of the ordinary law for the prevention and punishment of ordinary crime. By limiting and shortening the duration of Bills, they withdrew the repression imposed upon crime, the consequence of which was that crime revived; and then, again, they were obliged to have recourse to extraordinary measures to repress it. He, therefore, thought that, if they wished the measure should not in reality be of lengthened duration, they had better now consent to its enactment for two years, as such a course would be wiser than applying again for a renewal. The hon. Member for Rochdale had alluded to the question of landlord and tenant, with a view to the intentions of Government in the next Session. He agreed with the hon. Member in the general principles laid down by him, that although they could not prevent dissensions and differences occurring between landlords and tenants by statutable enactments, it was yet desirable that any defects that might be found to exist should be removed; and that the tenant should have due remuneration for his improvements, as well as the landlord full security for his property. Her Majesty's Government proposed to introduce next Session a Bill for the settlement of the relations of landlord and tenant in Ireland; and he earnestly 975 hoped they would then be more successful than they had hitherto been in their attempts to deal with that question. But in reference to the Bill then before the House for the suppression of crime and outrage, and particularly the crime of murder, he thought it absolutely necessary the Bill should be continued; and he should consequently vote in accordance with that conviction.
§ MR. MOWATT
thought the Government was bound to inquire into the causes that produced these murders referred to by the noble Lord, with a view to removing them. There appeared in the papers a few days since an account of some 600 persons having been ejected and thrown upon the world. If unfortunate creatures were treated in such a way, what was left them but to turn round like wild beasts on their destroyers? The murder of Mr. Pike was perpetrated in presence of an entire village; which showed how utterly gone the sympathy of the public was for the unfortunate victim. Penal and preventive laws would never answer; they should remove the causes.
That the blank be filled up with the words 'until the 31st day of December, 1851, and from thence until the end of the next Session of Parliament.'
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 75; Noes 34: Majority 41.
§ MR. REYNOLDS
said, he would move, on the third reading of the Bill, that its operation be confined to one year. He could assure the Government that no Coercion Bill would remedy Ireland, until the causes of her disaffection should be removed. The temporalities of the Irish Church, and the question of landlord and tenant, demanded settlement; and there would be neither peace nor quiet until they were settled—and indeed, in his opinion, there should not be. He believed the sufferings endured by the Irish people would justify them in resisting their oppressors to the death; and the peace and order that prevailed was not owing to Algerine or Coercion Acts, but to the high religious feeling of the people, as well as the lessons of patience inculcated by their revered clergy.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
With regard to what had been said by the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Mayor of Dublin, he thought that the question of the time to which the Bill should be limited had already been sufficiently discussed.
§ The House resumed. Bill reported; as amended, to be considered To-morrow.