HC Deb 10 June 1850 vol 111 cc1008-30

Order for Second Reading read.

LORD J. RUSSELL moved that this Bill be read a Second Time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."


hoped that Ministers would abandon this measure, which, according to report, was not viewed with favour by individuals in high positions connected with the Government. The Legislature had no right to pass a Bill for abolishing the office of Lord Lieutenant. The office was guaranteed to Ireland by the treaty of union between the two countries. The people of Ireland were as much entitled to have their Lord Lieutenant as the people of England were to have their Lord Chancellor. The law officers of the Crown had not attempted to answer the legal objection which was taken to the abolition of the office. That the people of Ireland were opposed to the removal of the Lord Lieutenancy was apparent from the circumstance, that whilst many petitions had been presented against the measure, not one had been presented in favour of it. It had been expected that an important petition from Dublin would that evening have been presented against the Bill by one of the Lord Mayors of that city; but it would appear that now there were two Lord Mayors of Dublin neither of them could come to London. The state of public feeling in Ireland with respect to this Abolition Bill might be inferred from a declaration recently made by a gentleman who had hitherto been a supporter of the Government, who said, "I am not a repealer, I am a rebel; for the Government is driving us to madness." It was the fashion now to assert that the Lord Lieutenant had nothing to do; but the time had been when Ministers stated in that House that his duties were most onerous. Ireland had been deprived of her nobility and gentry, and now it was proposed to deprive her of her Lord Lieutenant. Do that, and how would you govern the country? The Marquess of Wellesley once said to him, "If things continue to go on as they do at present, Ireland will be governed either by the mob or by the military." That declaration was made as the Marquess was leaving his Council of State in Dublin at two o'clock in the morning—a proof, by the way, that the Lord Lieutenant had some business to occupy his attention, and if further evidence upon that point were desired, it would be found in the Earl of Clarendon's letter upon the table of the House, describing the measures adopted for preserving the peace of the country after the suppression of what he must be allowed to term the mock rebellion two years ago. It was a significant fact that this Bill was warmly supported by the party which was supposed to have looked with approbation on that insurrectionary movement. The noble Lord at the head of the Government must believe the people of Ireland to be a mere besotted race if he supposed that they could possibly regard this as an advantageous measure. One of the most objectionable provisions of the Bill was the transferring to Her Majesty the power now possessed by the Lord Lieutenant of issuing proclamations. Why, the Irish people were born under proclamations, they lived under proclamations, and under proclamations they died, and were buried. But how were these proclamations to reach Ireland from Downing-street? They must resort not merely to the parachute, but to the electric telegraph itself. Did the noble Lord think that the people of Ireland would submit to this? The noble Lord did not know of what kind of spirit those people were. When he (Mr. Grattan) was a young man, he could have adopted means of agitation under such a law which would have upset any Ministry of the day. He would refer to a reply of the Earl of Clarendon in answer to a memorial that was presented to him, which would at once show the advantage Ireland must derive from having a man high in authority on the spot to superintend the administration of justice in that country. In the case of certain individuals who had been transported from Ireland, an address was presented to the Lord Lieutenant in their favour, and particularly requesting that those individuals should not be treated with severity. The Earl of Clarendon, being on the spot, knowing the circumstances of the case, and being satisfied that the safety of society was secure, made this reply:— I fully appreciate the motives of humanity which have dictated your address, and in reply, I am at present only able to assure you that the Government in the performance of its duties can have no other desire than that justice should be administered without any degree of severity beyond that which the interest of society demands. That was a proper, an honourable, and a constitutional reply. Now, one of those individuals who was so transported to Maria Island, was a gentleman whose friendship he had long had the honour to enjoy. How had the humane treatment so strongly recommended by the Earl of Clarendon been carried out towards that individual? Mr. Smith O'Brien had 50l. forwarded to him, and he wished to purchase some tea, but he was prevented doing so; he wanted to read the papers, but that privilege was denied him; he was anxious to take exercise, but that he was not allowed to do without being constantly accompanied by some official person; in short, they would not allow him to expend any portion of the 50l., either in a way conducive to his health or to his amusement. Such was the treatment Mr. Smith O'Brien experienced at Maria Island. Such was the humanity of the generous mind of the Earl of Clarendon, in Dublin, on the one hand, and such the inhumanity of the officials at Downing-street, on the other. But, in the case of the administration of justice at home—suppose a man tried in Ireland on a Thursday, sentenced on a Saturday to death, and the execution of that sentence to be carried into effect on the following Monday. In such a case what appeal could be made to the Government in Downing-street to arrest that sentence? Was it not clear that instead of having justice promoted by the transferring of the criminal administration from Dublin to London, the risk would be incurred of the people of Ireland receiving no justice at all? But there were many other difficulties in the way of this measure. The Bill would bring a number of onerous duties on Her Majesty which she would never be able to discharge. Without intending to make the assertion himself, it certainly was generally supposed that the creation of this fourth Secretary of State was a job, and that it was for the purpose of giving increased power and influence to the Crown. He would request the House, at all events, to consider whether it was not calculated to have that effect. His own opinion was that it would not only very largely increase the expense of the government of Ireland, but that it would increase most formidably the power of the Sovereign. The effect of the measure would be to desolate Ireland. If the Lord Lieutenant were removed, the landed gentry, who were already too few in that country, would immediately depart from it, and those whose welfare they ought to promote would be left entirely without resource. What was the condition of Ireland, even now? Prom his own personal observation he could declare that it was getting worse and worse every year. He had, within the last few months, visited the north of Ireland, not having been in that part of the country for six years previously, and there he saw the people in the greatest state of wretchedness and misery. A Mr. Mauleverer had been recently murdered, and great indignation had been expressed of the management of the estates under that gentleman; but what was the fact? Talk of Irish landlords neglecting their duty! Why, the manner in which English landlords managed their Irish estates was a disgrace to the name of England. The hon. Member for Manchester, in one of his philosophical dissertations on free trade, thought it proper to give a description of the character of Irish trade; and observed that the exports from Ireland consisted now of Irishmen only; who went abroad, not to found flourishing colonies in amity with the mother country, but that as soon as they planted their feet on a foreign shore, wherever it might be, it was their boast that they harboured a feeling of unabated hostility to this country. These words of the hon. Member for Manchester were received with cries of "Hear, hear!" and cheers. Now, that in England a body of English labourers should have cheered the hon. Member on making such a statement as that, was to him very surprising, and he could attribute it but to one cause alone. There was in the English labourer an innate love of justice. They knew that no Government would dare to treat Englishmen as they had treated the Irish. That was the meaning of the cheer; and so far it was a proper cheer of caution. He once attempted to allude to a difference between America and this country, and he was sneered at; but he had heard this Session a like allusion made by an Englishman, and it was received with decorum. He could assert that a proposition, and that not very long ago, had been made to send 70,000 men from America to Ireland. He had himself, when in France not many years ago, been offered to land in Ireland 30,000 men from that country. But he was a loyal citizen, and he would never invite the Americans over to his country, though in five days a communication could be effected by the Viceroy—meant, not the Viceroy of Dublin, but the steamer from Galway Bay—with the American shores. He had once declared that he never would sharpen his sword but on one side, and that was as a loyal subject and in support of the constitution; but now so stricken down and doomed had his country become by the insane policy of the Ministers of this country, he would not sharpen his sword on either side, but would leave the Government to fight out their battle by themselves. [Mr. ROEBUCK: Tant mieux.] Tant mieux, said the hon. and learned Gentleman. It might well be, so much the better for him, for a very little sword would soon cut him in two. He must say that, after nearly 25 years of intimate connexion with England, and after upwards of 50 years' strict observance of public affairs in Ireland, he was as much at sea in regard to what was the policy of the Government of this country towards Ireland as ever he was in the earliest days of his life. No set of Ministers bad had the spirit to act boldly towards that country. In all their measures they had halted half way. What had been their policy in regard to the Church? They had abolished ten bishops—a measure of which he had never approved, but they had made no provision whatever for the real working clergy of the Church. Then, how had they dealt with absenteeism? For years men living in London had been receiving vast sums from their estates in Ireland, leaving those estates and the people living on them to be managed and cared for by others. Could such a system last? It might last his day, for he was old; but would it last with the young men who were now growing up. What did those young men say now of the system which the British Ministers were pursuing? Why, they declared that so thoroughly did they detest that system that there was not one man amongst them who would draw his sword for that Ministry to-morrow. They were giving constitutions to the colonies, to Australia, New Zealand, and the Cape of Good Hope; why would they not give a constitution to Ireland? It was because the young men who were their public writers in that country, and who gladly earned their money, were deceiving them. Therefore it was that he condemned the removal of the Lord Lieutenant, because he knew how easily the Ministers were deceived. The present system of government in Ireland was demoralising the people; a general apathy was coming over them. But bad government was not only demoralising them, it was sending them by thousands and tens of thousands away from the country altogether. The people would not remain in it. Repeal was once the question, but you refused it. You would not give King, Lords, and Commons to Ireland. But what was now the question? It was not repeal, it was separation. 408,000 individuals had loft Ireland within the last three years. That was separation; but there was not only separation, there was war. Here, then, they had a pretty state of affairs. There was a quarrel between the different members of the Church, where they had baptism without regeneration—sin without remission; while, again, there was marriage without regard to blood; and, lastly, there was in Ireland separation without repeal. It appeared to him that the proceedings of the Government would involve Ireland in conflicts which would be interminable, unless, indeed, they were terminated by the good sense of the House and the spirit of justice and humanity which ought to in fluence the Ministerial benches. The truth was, the hard work of legislating for Ireland had killed Ministers of State as well as Members of Parliament, and the decimation would go on so long as we approached the task in our present spirit. England took away Ireland's nobility and gentry, and supplied their place by 40,000 soldiers and 10,000 police. He appealed to that spirit of humanity which ought to animate the Government and Parliament not to permit the errors of Ireland to perpetuate her misery and degradation.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Ques- tion to add the words "upon this day six months."

Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."


said, he was unwilling to give a silent vote on so important a question. He felt sure of this, that things in Ireland would never be in a satisfactory state—that Ireland never would cease to be England's difficulty—until a complete change was made both in the system of legislation and of administration in that country. [Cheers.] He need scarcely say the meaning in which he used those words was different from the sense in which probably the hon. Members opposite, and especially the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, who had cheered him, understood him. What he meant was, that the system of legislation as regards Ireland should be so assimilated with that of England, that English Members would be actuated by precisely the same motives and feelings in legislating for Ireland as they were when legislating for England. He was far from saying or meaning that Englishmen were at all indifferent as regarded Ireland: quite the contrary; but so long as the system of legislation and the laws were so different—and he was sorry to say the differences were widening every day—it was impossible for English Members, engaged as they were with English legislation, to bring to bear upon Ireland that sound practical good sense, and those habits of business, which were eminently the characteristic of Englishmen; and when he spoke of administration, what he meant was, that the administration of affairs in Ireland should be on the principles of the British constitution—on those principles which were recognised as the only ones on which the conduct of affairs could be carried on in England—namely, that the law should be made and held paramount; that the rights of property should be maintained; and that the legislation and administration should be conducted for the good of the community, and not from any party or political motives. He had hoped that the noble Lord would have propounded some such policy as this: and as a part of such policy, he (Mr. Hamilton) would have supported him in the Bill before the House. He had watched anxiously the speech of the noble Lord, and he was unable to discover any indication of such a policy: on the contrary, the Bill itself, and nearly every Government Bill that had been laid on the table this year, indicated a different policy. In all there was a tendency to centralise, and a jealousy of the local authorities. The Bill for the abolition of the Lord Lieutenancy increases the power of the Poor Law Commissioners—the Petty Sessions Bill contained most absurd provisions indicative of their policy—the magistrates were not of themselves even allowed to fix the day for petty sessions, or a place for keeping their books without the consent of the Government. Would such a thing be tolerated in England? In the same way the Medical Charities Bill was full of the centralisation principle. It seemed from the measures of Government that Ireland was henceforth to be ruled by boards. The Poor Law Commissioners, the Board of Works, the Board of Health, were to be her governors. Now, he did not hesitate to say that the abolition of the Lord Lieutenant—except as a part of a new policy and of a new system on English principles—would be an injury instead of an advantage. There could be no doubt it would injure Dublin and its mercantile interests. It would give increased political power to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, who, with the Privy Council, would constitute the local government. He thought there were many objections to that. Again, how was the patronage to be dispensed? Already, there were complaints of the disposition of patronage by the Government in Downing-street as regarded Irishmen. The right hon. Baronet opposite the Member for Harwich had taken offence at some observations that were made some time ago as regards patronage in his department. It was not intended to blame him in particular, but it was quite notorious, and was strongly felt in Ireland, that in foreign appointments, and in India and the colonies, Irishmen did not receive their fair share. He (Mr. Hamilton) had made out a list of one department; there were twenty-two colonial bishops and forty dignitaries; as far as he could discover, not one of them was an Irishman. These evils would be aggravated by the removal of the Lord Lieutenant. He also thought the time and manner of bringing forward the measure was improper. So important a measure involving so great a change in the constitution of Ireland, ought to have been announced formally in the Queen's Speech. Public attention would thus have been directed to it in the proper and constitutional manner. For these reasons, having given the sub- ject his best consideration, he felt bound to record his vote against the second reading of the Bill.


expected that some Member of the Government would have favoured the House with a few reasons for the necessity of passing this Bill. Failing that, however, he was driven to look at the arguments adduced on the occasion of the first reading. The main argument appeared to be, that there had been abuses connected with the office in former times, and that the parties holding it had been abused in all times. He was not there to deny that there had been injustice and maladministration by Lord Lieutenants; but the argument, if it were worth anything, went not only against all offices, but all governments also. The Bill left the Privy Council and the Lord Chancellor of Ireland to carry on the executive; so that, whilst they were going in England to separate the judicial functions of the Lord Chancellor from his Parliamentary functions, in Ireland they were going to superadd to his judicial functions the duties of the Lord Lieutenant. Another argument in favour of this Bill had been founded on a reference to Scotland. The cases, however, were not parallel; for, in the Union with Scotland, the Church of the people had been left as the established Church of the realm; whilst in Ireland the Church of the few had been made all-dominant. With all those abuses standing before their eyes, and patent to all the world, the Ministers of the Crown continued to tell the House that the cases of Ireland and of Scotland were alike. They continued to tell Parliament that the case of Scotland was a precedent that might be quoted in favour of the measure which they now proposed for removing the Lord Lieutenant from Ireland. It might be all very well for them to talk of Scotland, but they left the government of that country to Scotchmen; they never sent a spendthrift there to rule the people, nor a political adventurer. The people of Ireland never had the nomination of their own Lord Lieutenant; they, on the contrary, were obliged to take whomsoever the English Government for the time being thought proper to send. Now, in the course of the present discussion, they had heard much of the evils attendant upon, and supposed to be inseparable from, the administration of the government of Ireland by a Lord Lieutenant. But he maintained that those evils were not inseparable from the ancient practice of ruling Ireland by means of a Viceroy. The present system was the abuse of the institution; and, though the remark might be old, it was not the less just, that no argument against the legitimate use of anything ought to be derived from its abuse. He would say to the present Ministers of the Crown, "Reform the abuse, and give to Ireland the benefit of that reform." He could supply to the House many instances in which the presence of a Lord Lieutenant in Ireland had been of the highest value and importance, not merely in maintaining order within the limits of the kingdom, but in preserving the empire intact. In 1745, when Prince Charles Edward landed in Scotland, and advanced at the head of his followers as far as Derby, the Earl of Chesterfield was the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; and at that critical moment what kept the Catholics from rising on behalf of the exiled family? Nothing but the politic character of the Earl of Chesterfield, and the profound knowledge of human nature which he possessed. That wise and able man soothed the discontents of the people, and alleviated the mischiefs produced by former Governments in Ireland; there was, therefore, no rising there simultaneously with the rising in Scotland. He never, in his own person, had occasion to transact much business with the Lord Lieutenant; officially he knew but little of that functionary; no one, however, could be acquainted with events occurring in Ireland, and not know that, in proposing this measure, the Government were striking the first blow against the connexion subsisting between the two countries. It appeared to him scarcely possible that the Government of Ireland could be safely and efficiently carried on unless there was always to be found on the spot an eminent public officer, invested with full powers, and prepared to exercise those powers. He knew that Ministers would tell him that they, by the present Bill, gave those powers to the fourth Secretary of State in Downing-street, and that the improved facilities of communication rendered such an officer quite competent to the task of governing Ireland; but surely that wonderful ease of transit was equally available in Dublin as in London, and the fourth Secretary of State would possess no advantage denied to the Lord Lieutenant. He desired now to come to the argument founded upon the economy of the proposed change. The hon. Member for Montrose had often brought the subject under their notice, but he had rested his arguments chiefly on the ground of economy. Now, nothing could be more manifest than that it would not effect the saving which the hon. Member for Montrose anticipated. His opinion, deliberately adopted, was, that they would effect no saving whatever by the removal of the Lord Lieutenant; and they would prevent the spending of a certainly small sum—only 54,000l. a year—in the capital of Ireland. There would, he repeated, be no saving to the united kingdom, but a great loss to Ireland individually. Unless the Government could show a very great saving, he should continue to hold the opinion that the sum expended in Ireland, however small, was a great loss to that country; and that the empire at large was deeply injured by the increasing centralisation of all the powers of Government in this metropolis.


thought that the Irish Members had derived no encouragement from the debate which should induce them to draw tighter the bonds between the two countries. On the last night of the debate, one of the Secretaries of State was left to answer the charges made by hon. Members as best he could; and this night the noble Lord, trusting to a majority in that House, and to the newspapers which vilified the motives of his opponents, had taken off his hat, and asked them to abolish the office of Viceroy of Ireland. He protested against this measure. It was fifty years since centralisation had been attempted, and during that fifty years Great Britain had attained a high pinnacle of glory. What advantage had, during the same time, accrued to Ireland, who shared in those conquests by sea and land which rendered England great? The Irish Members, being but one to five in that House, could do nothing but protest against their legislation. In the year '98, Ireland owed but nine millions and a half—she now owed one hundred and thirty-four millions and a half; and how was this incurred? By wars in acquiring those colonies by which England enriched himself. Their trade to the colonies had scarcely increased since the Union. Before that period, there were Peers and commoners residing in Dublin. One hundred Peers had residences there, and now he knew of but one, and so depreciated had house property in that city become, that some houses which had been mortgaged for 20,000l. were lately sold for 5,000l. Their taxes were increased, their trade was depressed, and, by the repeal of the cornlaws, their agriculture had suffered; in return for which they had got free trade, which was no free trade except to the foreigner. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had stated that it was not the intention of the Government to remove the law courts from Dublin. This would come to pass in time, and they should not trust the assertions of a Minister, for no Minister could answer for the acts of his successor. In 1846, when there had been a discussion on this same subject, the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tam-worth had declared, not that it would be impossible to remove the Lord Lieutenant from Ireland, but "that it must be done with the will and the wish of all the Irish people." The people did not wish it: he, as one of their representatives, protested against it. It was alleged, as two reasons for abolishing the office, that Lords Lieutenant governed by corruption, and that libels were heaped on their characters. The corruption was derived from the fountain-head in Downing-street; and as to the other reason, a governor of Ireland should be above libel. To proper censure he might be liable; and a fear of public opinion being unfavourable to him, would be the best motive for inducing him to govern with justice. He had lately noticed, with great surprise, an article in a paper remarkable for its aptitude at cooking statistics, and also as enjoying the confidence of the Government—the Economist—showing the rapid prosperity of Ireland. Nothing was more calculated to mislead public opinion than such paragraphs, in papers supposed to be clothed in official authority; and he was sure that the paper in question had no such authority for making the statements, which were a tissue of misrepresentations. Such statements might be taken as a specimen of the kind of information upon which the people of England were expected to form a correct opinion upon Irish affairs. The hon. and gallant Member for Middlesex had ridiculed what he called the mock royalty of the Lord Lieutenancy. But if this was an objection, it was an objection which applied wherever a Viceroy existed. If the Lord Lieutenancy be done away—if the people of Ireland—the most loyal people upon the face of the earth—are to be deprived of the presence of a representative of their Sovereign in Dublin—let an assurance be given, as far as an assurance can be given on such a subject, that the presence of the Sovereign Herself may be occasionally depended upon. The right hon. Member for Tamworth, when arguing, in 1846, against the abolition of the Lord Lieutenancy, stated most truly that one of the effects would be to increase the amount of absenteeism. He (Colonel Dunne) was of opinion that the same result would inevitably follow from the adoption of the present measure, and that it would increase the plague spot of Ireland instead of removing it. He thought it would be far wiser to pass laws to discourage and prevent absenteeism, rather than to promote it. For the reasons enumerated, he would give every opposition in his power to the progress of the Bill, and, in doing so, he considered he was acting a consistent and honest part towards Ireland.


might ask what was the real question before the House, because from the multitudinous array of arguments which had been brought forward, one could hardly believe but that they were engaged in a general debate, not only upon the measures of the present year, as regarded Ireland, but of every year since the union of the two kingdoms. It was proposed by the Bill before the House that the office of Lord Lieutenant in Ireland should cease to exist; and therefore the question before them was—whether that was an alteration which would be for the benefit of the people of Ireland? The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin said he wished to see the Government of Ireland so like the Government of England, that nobody could distinguish the one from the other. In that case they would find in Ireland counties and boroughs governing themselves exactly as they did in England, and the same system in every respect in operation; but then the hon. and learned Gentleman desired that there should be in Dublin an officer called the Lord Lieutenant. Now, what did that Lord Lieutenant do for Ireland? He asked those who contended for the existence of that functionary, to point out, not by references to past history, but to the present state of Ireland, what benefit was conferred upon that country by his presence there? He denied that there was any hostility on the part of the English people to Ireland. Those who said there was, could not point out a single effect of legislation since the beginning of the Reformed Parliament, except one Act, in which there had been expressed any hostile feeling towards Ire- land. It had been said England ruined the manufacturers of Ireland. That he acknowledged; but when? Were they to look back upon the page of history without reference to the circumstances that then governed men, and ask if the English Parliament, in the reign of William III. in that of Anne, or of George III. or even of George IV. could be contrasted with the present House of Commons? Let any one point out the Act injurious to the manufacturers of Ireland passed in the present day? [An Hon. MEMBER: The abolition of the corn law.] An hon. Member spoke of the corn laws. Now, what was the fact? The English people provided money during the famine, and it went to buy foreign corn abroad to feed the Irish people; and yet they had been charged with sending their money abroad, and not thinking of the people of Ireland. Could there be a more senseless complaint than that? And he was ready to maintain that, whatever might be the case with Irish landlords, the abolition of the corn laws had been an inestimable boon to the great mass of the Irish people. But, the question recurred, what had Ireland received from its mock Royalty? They were told that it was the means of bringing up to Dublin Irish gentlemen and ladies to go through an imitation of what took place in St. James's; and then they were further told that there had been a rapid diminution of property in Dublin. But had not all this poverty been created during the existence of a Lord Lieutenant, and were they likely to be worse after his removal? If the office were abolished, would not the Secretary for Ireland be seen in that House with full power and responsibility, ready to answer at that table for every act and deed he committed? But at present he shrouded himself under the covers of divided authority in Ireland. To take an illustration from the poor-law in this country, formerly there were constant complaints and universal discontent with the working of that law; but from the time that the board was changed, and one Commissioner brought into that House, the rule was, a fault found a fault answered, discontent and dissatisfaction disappeared, and perfect contentment followed. In the same way when the Secretary for Ireland was made really responsible, they would find him with not half of the government, but the whole of the government in his hands, and the Irish Members able to deal with him in his place. He asked wherein, after this alteration, was the possibility of evil to Ireland? The only objection was, that the Court would be withdrawn from Dublin, and that the shopkeepers would thereby suffer; but was that an argument which ought to influence the House? He hoped that by breaking down the petty intrigue which characterised the present state of things they would give the Government of Ireland an imperial character, and, by making it imperial, promote the interests of England and Ireland under the same system of a free and liberal administration of public affairs.


, in supporting the Bill, expressed a wish that the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield had, in doing the same thing, rested his arguments more on the real points of the question before the House, and indulged less in those personalities, of which, he regretted to say, he made too liberal use. He (Mr. Conolly) thought that the abolition of this office could fairly be argued on grounds of national policy; and that it was for the interest of Ireland at large that the office should be done away with. There appeared to be no real ground of opposition offered to the measure, but that of the city of Dublin; and, such being the case, he thought it was the duty of the Government to persevere with it. It was an old and acknowledged maxim, that union was strength; and it was on the principle that the union between England and Ireland was for the benefit of the imperial constitution that that union was originally promoted by Mr. Pitt. He believed, therefore, that they were only carrying out Mr. Pitt's policy in removing this last obstacle to the real union of the two kingdoms. On that ground, he supported the measure. He believed it was a measure for the benefit of Ireland, for whose welfare and future good government he considered it was of great importance that they should have in that House a responsible Irish Secrectary.


considered it as somewhat remarkable that on a Bill of such importance as that then before them—a Bill for the abolishing an office which had existed in Ireland for centuries—no Member of the Cabinet should, up to that moment, have addressed the House. The first person to speak in favour of it was the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, a Gentleman whose arguments were easily answered. That hon. Gentleman, and the hon. Member for Donegal, were the only persons to support the Bill. The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield desired to abolish the office of Lord Lieutenant on the ground that they would have a responsible Secretary in that House. Why, that might be attained by having the Secretary for Ireland a Member of the Cabinet—that which the present Irish Secretary was not; but that the preceding Irish Secretaries had been. There was, then, no necessity for making this change, and in so doing abolishing an office, when it was notorious that the Irish people were induced to support the Union on the promise that a Lord Lieutenant should be continued. The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield boasted of what the Reform Parliament had done for Ireland. He (Mr. Grogan) said that the policy pursued by that Parliament—he said nothing of its motives—had been most injurious in its consequences to Ireland. The trade of Ireland had been destroyed, upon an application from the Parliament here to that effect. The woollen trade had been so destroyed; but the hon. and learned Gentleman said that no such thing could occur at the present day. What was the fact? That which was the only trade of Ireland—its agriculture—was annihilated; and this happened for the benefit of the manufacturing interests here, who deemed it to be very convenient to increase their foreign trade. He asked them what single interest of Ireland had been benefited by their legislation? Let the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield show him one class in Ireland that had been benefited by their legislation. He (Mr. Grogan) could point to many that had been injured by it. That which they complained of in Ireland was the system of centralisation—the system which promoted absenteeism from Ireland; and the noble Lord's argument in favour of his Bill went to show that the evil would be extended still further by this Bill. The policy for establishing a fourth Secretary of State was more than doubtful; and as to their policy, it was proved by the fact that in the short space of three years not less than 500,000 acres of wheat land had been thrown out of cultivation.


said, that the hon. Member who had just sat down seemed surprised that no Member of the Government had yet risen in defence of the measure now before the House. But the hon. Gentleman, and those who preceded him, could not, he thought, fail to perceive that the Government had taken the usual course; and that after introducing the measure, and stating the reasons which had induced the Government to bring it forward, they had been waiting, on the second reading, to hear what objections could be urged against it. Having waited, therefore, he found from hon. Gentlemen that in fact the objections which they had to urge were not directed against the present measure; but, whether they were good or bad, were almost all directed against legislation by Parliament for the united kingdom, and if these objections were good for anything, they tended, not to maintain a Lord Lieutenant in Ireland, but to repeal the Union. One of the topics on which the hon. Gentlemen dwelt, namely, the repeal of the com laws, which the hon. and gallant Member for Portarlington said had been most injurious to Ireland, was not connected in any way with the maintenance of the Lord Lieutenant. The decision for a repeal of the corn laws was come to by a Parliament of the united kingdom; and unless there had been a Parliament sitting in Dublin, that Act was sure to have passed, whether there was a Lord Lieutenant or not. The arguments which hon. Gentlemen had used, in some cases unceremoniously, had put them, not in the situation of objectors to the removal of the Lord Lieutenant, but of repealers of the legislative Union. He would not now enter into the question of the injuries said to have been inflicted on Ireland by William III.; he gave up William III. to those Gentlemen who had been pleased to attack him, and abandoned his memory altogether. The question at present before the House was that of the maintenance or abolition of the office of Lord Lieutenant. Hon. Gentlemen seemed to think that, by pronouncing a single word, they uttered the condemnation of a measure which the Government had brought forward after considerable deliberation. They said that the measure tended to "centralisation"—a word now in very common use. There were occasions when that word was properly used, as when local powers were proposed to be transferred to the central Government; it might be argued, whether rightly or wrongly, that these local powers ought to be preserved, and that such centralisation should not take place. With respect to the Imperial parts of administration, he had never heard any one deny, unless there were insuperable objections to it, that it was desirable to have the Government in one place, so that persons in different departments might readily confer with each other—that Ministers might easily communicate with their Colleagues, so that they might he enabled to form their measures in such a way as was calculated to promote the general welfare of the empire. These were advantages which he believed no one had denied. The objection hitherto urged against the adoption of such a measure as the present, was the time that was consumed in making communications with Ireland. This argument might have been of a valid character formerly; and at present, with regard to particular parts of the empire, it was of a binding character. With regard to India and Canada, those countries must have a local administration; for it never could happen that they could communicate in due time with India and Canada in the affairs of these countries. Did this obstacle now exist with regard to Ireland? He recollected the time when a Lord Lieutenant might be three or four days performing his journey to Holyhead, and be forty-eight hours more on his voyage to Dublin; or even, as had happened, he might be a week at sea. At that time the Government might justly say that it could not trust to the winds, or to the chances of the delays of a long journey, and therefore they must place a man in Ireland with the power of administering the affairs of that country in his own hands; by those means avoiding the stormy and adverse gales that [might impede the intercourse between the two countries. But now these evils had been done away with; and by means of the progress of mechanical science, they had succeeded in doing that which the gods had formerly been called upon in vain to do, namely, annihilate space and time. Those objections and obstacles which formerly were urged no longer exist; so that they might now observe the rule, that there should be one general Government for the united kingdom, which should take upon itself the administration of affairs. This was the reason for the introduction of the Bill before the House at the present time. He had stated, on a former occasion, the general reasons and arguments in favour of this measure; and he had also stated some evils which were connected with the continuation of the Lord Lieutenant in Dublin; and he had hitherto heard no answer to them. He had said, he thought that party spirit in Ireland, which was generally of a very violent and vehement nature, was embittered by the continuance of a separ- ate authority in that country; for if the Lord Lieutenant was known to be favourable to one of these parties, it gave rise to great hostility on the part of the other party, and thus it proved most injurious to the general administration of the country. He did not wish to repeat to the House what he said on that occasion; but there were instances which must be in the recollection of all. Such, for instance, as the hostility manifested towards the Government of the Marquess of Normanby by a great part of the nobility and gentry of Ireland; and, on the other hand, the hostility shown by large masses of the people to the administration of a Lord Lieutenant of opposite politics. In such instances, they found party spirit of a far more bitter nature than it would have been if the administration of affairs had rested in this country. Hon. Members had stated that a number of gentlemen residing in different parts of Ireland went at particular seasons to Dublin, in consequence of the Lord Lieutenant holding a court there, and that their expenditure in consequence amounted to a large sum. This might, no doubt, be a very excellent reason for the representatives of Dublin to urge; but if there was no court at that place, the gentlemen would still have their money to spend: and, for his own part, he believed it would be more advantageous if they spent it in living on their own estates, than in going to a distance to do so. He did not see any reason, as the two countries were so close, for the necessity of having more than one Court, which would be held by the Sovereign of the united kingdom; nor did he perceive the necessity of there being a reflection and imitation of Royalty in Dublin. The reason he had just alluded to could apply only to Dublin; but, with respect to Cork or Limerick, the Lord Lieutenant's court could have no more to do with those places than if it was in London. The same facilities for communications from these places would exist with the Secretary of State in this country as there now was with the Lord Lieutenant. That part of the Bill which he had heard the most objected to, but into which he did not then wish to enter, was in respect to the appointing an additional Secretary of State. It was said that it would be much better to have but one Secretary of State to administer the whole of the internal affairs of the united kingdom; but when they went into Committee on the Bill, he should be able to show that there were so many questions of administration relating to Ireland constantly arising, that it was desirable there should be a Minister to have this department, and this department only, and who should be responsible for its administration. The hon. Gentleman who spoke last said, that all the advantages which were proposed to be attained by having this additional Secretary of State could be effected by the Secretary for Ireland, as the office was now constituted, having a seat in the Cabinet; but the hon. Gentleman did not see the weight of the objection to this, as the circumstance was, that the Chief Secretary was only the Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant. The Cabinet was appointed for the whole kingdom, in which the Ministers of the several departments had to bring forward their different propositions for consideration in framing instructions for the administration of affairs, so that when the I Chief Secretary for Ireland was sitting in the Cabinet, he was giving orders to the Lord Lieutenant; but immediately on his arrival in Ireland, the Lord Lieutenant was his master. This was an anomaly that, could not be got over, and he believed that great inconveniences arose in the administration of Irish affairs, in consequence of there not being a person in this country who was responsible for that department, with whom the rest of the Government could communicate from day to day. That advantage would be obtained by passing this measure. They would thus have a Minister who would be able directly to confer with his Colleagues on the measures to be brought forward, and who would be able to defend either in that or the other House of Parliament the administration of any measures for which he might be responsible, and could show whether or not he was pursuing such a course as would afford satisfaction to Ireland, and at the same time promote the great interests of the empire at large. He believed this change would tend more and more to make the legislation for Ireland similar to that for England. The hon. Member for the University of Dublin said, if he (Lord J. Russell) had stated that the object of this measure was to make a change in the legislation for Ireland, so as to make it more in harmony with the legislation of this country, ha should not have opposed it. Now he (Lord J. Russell) thought that it was quite unnecessary on his part to make any such statement, for he had hardly ever spoken on an Irish subject in which he had not dwelt on the importance and advantage of attaining that object. He would refer on this point to what he had said on the Municipal Corporations Bill for Ireland, when he had repeatedly urged upon the House his anxious desire that the Irish should feel that they enjoyed all the advantages and privileges possessed by the inhabitants of this part of the united kingdom. The hon. and gallant Member for Portarlington must excuse him (Lord J. Russell) when he referred to the rather extraordinary language which fell from him just after that House had declared that it would make a large extension of the franchise in Ireland, and make it as far as possible correspond with the franchise which the people of England enjoyed. When a large majority of the House had so recently adopted a measure for that purpose, it was rather disappointing to hear an hon. Member say that no measures had been brought forward by the Government, or supported and adopted by that House, which were not introduced for the injury of Ireland. They had heard a great deal respecting ministers' money, and the evils which arose from its being levied in Ireland; and no doubt when they met next year, and Her Majesty's Ministers brought forward a measure for its abolition, they would be told that ministers' money was a blessing to Ireland, and that nothing but a determination on the part of the Government for the ruin of Ireland could have induced it to propose such a Bill. Such was the mode in which some Gentlemen argued on the affairs of Ireland. This measure had been under consideration ever since the Earl of Clarendon had been sent to Ireland; and last August he (Lord J. Russell) wrote to the Earl of Clarendon, and having referred to the termination of the famine in 1847, and to there being an end of the perils of 1848, he asked whether he should be justified, in the course of the present Session, in bringing forward a measure for the abolition of the office of the Lord Lieutenant. His noble Friend after having given the most mature consideration to the matter, assented to the proposal, and it was in consequence, with his advice and counsel, the measure had been brought forward.


said, as he, with many other hon. Members connected with Ireland, were anxious to address the House on this subject, but who had not been fortunate enough to catch the Speaker's eye, he thought it was not too much on his part to ask for an adjournment of the debate, notwithstanding the understanding that prevailed during the Session that a debate should not he adjourned after the Prime Minister bad addressed the House.


would not agree to an adjournment. He trusted the very useful course which had been adopted during the present Session, of abstaining as far as possible from having adjourned debates, would not be departed from in this instance, as the measure would be often under discussion in its future stages.


thought it would be better at once to assent to the adjournment, as it was desirable that the people of Ireland should see that the measure had been fully discussed.


observed, that there were Members in that House, both Irish and English, whose opinions it was most desirable to have on this subject. He believed the greatest man in England, the Duke of Wellington, had not changed his opinion as to the inexpediency of such a measure as this. He believed also the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tam-worth had not changed his opinion on the subject; and it was most desirable, before they went to a division, that that right hon. Gentleman should let the House know what he thought of this measure.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the debate be now adjourned."

The House divided:—Ayes 63; Noes 188: Majority 125.

Question again proposed.

MR. E. B. ROCHE moved the adjournment of the debate, on the ground that the discussion had not commenced before half-past eight, and there had not been afforded an opportunity of fully considering the Bill.

Whereupon Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."


seconded the Motion, and declared his willingness to persevere till six o'clock in the morning to gain his point. He thought Irish Members should have an opportunity of stating their opinions upon a Bill of such magnitude.


said, he had given his vote for the adjournment, as he did not think it unreasonable that, considering only four hours had been appropriated to discuss the second reading of a Bill making such a great change in the internal administration of Ireland, and many Irish Gentlemen wished to declare their sentiments upon it, there should be another opportu- nity for their doing so. At the same time that he was desirous of deferring to the sense of the majority of the House, and was perfectly prepared to state his opinion on this Bill, giving however precedence to Irish Gentlemen on this subject; yet, as he saw the hon. and learned Member for Dublin University was anxious to deliver his opinions, and he (Sir R. Peel) had never heard a speech from that hon. and learned Gentleman that did not make him desirous of hearing him again; and as many Irish Members wished also to speak, he thought the Motion for an adjournment was not unreasonable.


said, that after the division which had just been come to, he was ready to consent to the adjournment of the debate.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Debate adjourned till Monday next.

The House adjourned at a quarter after One o'clock.