HC Deb 17 June 1850 vol 111 cc1405-64

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [10th June], "That the Bill be now read a Second Time;" and which Amendment was to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."

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

Debate resumed.


said, that, although he approved of the principle of the abolition of the vain and idle pageantry called the Viceroyalty of Ireland, he was not prepared to extend one inch further the principle of centralisation. He approved of the first five clauses of the Bill, but he would not support its further progress if the noble Lord was determined to abide by the machinery which it was the object of the concluding clauses to substitute for the present system. This Bill was called the Lord Lieutenancy Abolition Bill, and if it stopped there he should say he would have no objection to it. But the most important part of the Bill was kept out of sight—he meant the appointment of a fourth Secretary of State. He objected to all that related to that appointment, and, consequently, on that ground he was prepared to opposed the second reading of the Bill. By way of making his position clear, he begged to refer to Schedules "A," "B," and "C," in which were enumerated Acts of Parliament by which the power at present exercised by the Lord Lieutenant, with or without the advice of the Privy Council, were proposed to be confided to other hands. Schedules "A" and "B" proposed, the former to transfer the powers to the Privy Council of Ireland alone, and the latter to transfer certain powers therein named to the Privy Council of Ireland. The Privy Council of Ireland, like that of England, though the chief council for purposes of State, he regretted to say, was never summoned unless on holyday occasions, its duties having been usurped by the Cabinet Council, a body unknown to the common law. When he came to Schedule "C," he found the powers of no leas than twenty-seven Acts of Parliament—some of them Acts of the Irish Parliament—proposed to be taken away by that Schedule, as well as by Clause 11, to which I it related; and these powers to be taken from the Privy Council of Ireland, and vested in the hands of one Secretary of State, whether at present existing, or hereafter to be appointed by Her Majesty, and resident in London. It was further proposed to give this Minister the power of destroying whatever remnant of commerce remained in Ireland, by creating a quarantine, which they already knew, by the reports of their commissioners, to have had a most injurious effect on the commerce of any port where they had been established. They never were effectual for the purpose of accomplishing that which they were aimed at; but they were singularly effectual for the purpose of destroying commerce. In this country, namely, in England, Scotland, and Wales, a quarantine could not be proclaimed unless by an order of the Queen in Council; but in Ireland the merchants would be dependent for the continuance of their commerce on the whim or caprice of the Secretary of the day. He further found that, in the department of law and justice, the Bill proposed to give the Secretary power to alter the time and place at which assizes, sessions of the peace, civil-bill sessions, and the like, were to be held, such as the Lord Lieutenant in Council possessed at present. Whilst, as regarded the constabulary—that standing army not voted annually by that House— if report could be believed, it was intended to convert thsm into a sort of garde mobile; and, though originally intended to be a purely local force, they would in future be subject to be drafted in sections or bodies to any part of the kingdom—a power which was heretofore confined to the Lord Lieutenant by the advice of the Privy Council. Again, there was the periodical valuation of Ireland, on which valuation taxes and rates were assessed. That valuation was to take place every fourteen years; and the commissioners, valuators, and other members composing the machinery that carried out the Act, were appointed by the Lord Lieutenant, who, in Council, had the power to make certain alterations or changes, for the purposes of relieving properties of certain amount from undue burdens resulting from taxation. But now it was proposed to transfer these powers to an almost irresponsible and totally nonresident functionary. That did not show a disposition to govern Ireland for the Irish, which, in his opinion, could never be accomplished save by discountenancing jobbery, and allowing a local executive. Every step taken was in the wrong direction; and, unless he received full and thorough satisfaction on the points which he had raised, he was ready to vote against the Bill. Ever since the legislative Union Ireland had been undergoing a progressive decline, and during the whole of that time there had been a Lord Lieutenant. The present Viceroyalty was a most contemptible one, its powers being more circumscribed than those of the municipalities. They would do well to abolish it. But for what purpose? For the purpose of replacing it by a reality—by something having a useful operation, and accessible to the whole population of Ireland. The Executive Government of Ireland ought to be strictly local, and it was because it was not so that the legislation of that country was all vicious. All the present evils had grown up under a system of centralisation, and yet it was now proposed to make that system still more absolute. Unless he received most satisfactory assurance that the Minister to be armed with the new powers would be bound to reside in Ireland, except when attending to his duties in Parliament, he should oppose the further progress of the Bill.


Sir, considering that this Bill is brought forward by Her Majesty's Government, and that the undoubted object of it is to promote the good go- vernment of Ireland, it is entitled on these accounts to at least the most respectful consideration of this House. I consider the main question to be, will the arrangement proposed by the Bill conduce to the good and satisfactory government of Ireland? All other considerations are, I apprehend, subordinate to that. The withdrawal of the Lord Lieutenant from Ireland may or may not affect some local and partial interests, but still, if the result of the measure shall be to promote the end of good government in Ireland, all other considerations of partial and local injury are in my opinion to be regarded as subordinate. I wish I could see with the same confidence with which some Gentlemen see the unequivocal advantages of this Bill; but I own that, while upon the whole I am perfectly willing to consent that the experiment should be made, I am bound, in giving that consent, to say that I do so with much hesitation and doubt as to the advantages which, in the estimation of many Gentlemen, are likely to result from it. Of this I am confident, that if you are to have local authorities who, without the responsibility of the Lord Lieutenant, will assume the executive functions of Government, Ireland will derive no advantage whatever from the measure. I am quite aware of the difficulties which men, even of high character and great acquirements, have in administering the government of Ireland; but these difficulties are not, I apprehend, so much felt on account either of their personal qualities or on account of the constitution of the office of Lord lieutenant itself, as on account of difficulties inherent in the state of society in Ireland; which difficulties will, to a very considerable extent, continue to operate, even if this office is removed. I feel that there are some difficulties inherent in the constitution as regards this matter. When there was a local Parliament in Ireland, the relation of the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant was a national and constitutional relation. The Chief Secretary was then in immediate connexion with the Lord Lieutenant. He stood in a subordinate capacity; all he did emanated from the authority of the Lord Lieutenant, and his relation to him corresponded in all material respects to the relation in which a Minister of State ordinarily stands with reference to the Crown. When you abolished the local legislature, and transferred the Secretary's Parliamentary functions to this side of the water, you altered ma- terially the relations between the two parties. You put the office of Secretary aside from that of the Lord Lieutenant; you made him a Minister responsible for the administration of justice in Ireland—a Minister necessarily possessing great power, and exercising that power sometimes without communication with his chief, however desirous he might be of doing so. You thus placed him in a position in which it was very difficult for any man with the very best intentions to carry on the public business without the risk of occasional embarrassment. I speak from experience as to the difficulties that have resulted from the position in which the Chief Secretary stands with regard to the Lord Lieutenant. At the same time, what may be the effect of removing from Dublin the authority of a nobleman of such high acquirements as the nobleman now administering the functions of Lord Lieutenant in Ireland, and what encouragement it may give to the revival of local agitation and to the struggles of party, I cannot pretend to predict; but I certainly do not view without apprehension the risk that if you are to have a local Commander-in-chief, a local Lord Chancellor, a separate bar, and altogether a separate administration of justice, the removal of an authority like that of the Lord Lieutenant—acting independently, animated by a sincere desire to promote the welfare of the people, free from all local prejudices, and from all personal partialities—may be attended with an injurious effect. You have attempted to counteract and to remedy the difficulty that arises from this peculiar relation to the Lord Lieutenant by giving to the Secretary for Ireland necessary additional powers. You have occasionally found it necessary, or considered it necessary, to give to the Chief Secretary the authority of a Cabinet Minister. That I conceive to be a most clumsy device for remedying a difficulty inherent in the constitution. It is a device not only disturbing the relations of a chief to his subordinate, but one positively inverting those relations. When you give to the Chief Secretary all the authority of a Cabinet Minister, and leave the Lord Lieutenant without that authority, you encourage the Chief Secretary still more to assume for himself the exercise of independent powers. On that ground alone, then, from the difficulties that are experienced in maintaining the relations between these two authorities—there being at the same time grave objections to the remedy occa- sionally employed, that of conferring the dignify of a Cabinet Minister on the Sec-rotary—it is, in short, from a reference to the difficulties inherent in the constitution, and the employment of that occasional remedy, that I am inclined favourably to receive the proposal for an alteration in these arrangements. I am bound, also, to admit that the increased facilities of communication between the two countries gives increased means of conducting the Government of Ireland without the intervention of a Lord Lieutenant; and probably no period could be better selected than the present for making that experiment. But, then, I must say that that which will best reconcile me to the working of the experiment will be that you have unity of system in the form of government which you are to substitute. I did express strong doubts—not in 1846, as the hon. and gallant Member for Portarlington stated the other night—but in 1844—I then stated the apprehensions which I felt as to the result of the appointment of a fourth Secretary of State for the administration of Irish affairs; and I am bound to say that those apprehensions have continued till now. The advantages compensating for other risks and inconveniences are, in my opinion, a system of unity—a system of unity of legislation, so far as legislation can be uniform respecting two countries like England and Ireland, and unity in the way of appointing one man to administer the whole affairs of the Secretary of State. If you have two Secretaries of State for exercising the same, or nearly the same, duties, the question must arise, whether you are not forfeiting a great part of the advantage you hope to obtain from the extinction of the high office of Lord Lieutenant. You are, in fact, by this proposal, receding from the principle on which you acted in 1816. In that year you found the advantage of consolidating the two Exchequers, and you resolved that the financial arrangements of the two countries would be better carried on by abolishing entirely the office of Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer, and vesting the whole functions of the office in the English Chancellor of the Exchequer. Every argument that could apply to that case will be equally applicable to the administration of justice and the exercise of the executive functions. If you are to have two Secretaries of State, I earnestly entreat you to consider the nature of such an arrangement as this—to put Wales and Scotland under one of them, and England and Ireland under the other. [Laughter.] You laugh at the idea of such an arrangement, but there is no reason why you should laugh at a proposal of that kind any more than at a proposal for giving one Secretary to Ireland, and another Secretary for the rest of the kingdom. There might be good reason for separating Scot-land from England in this respect, for there a separate system of law and administration exists; but I really do think that it would he a better arrangement to have Wales and Scotland under one Secretary, and England and Ireland under another, than to make the distinction you propose by this Bill. If you are to have an officer residing in England, and occasionally perhaps in Ireland, with all the authority of the Lord Lieutenant, then I must say I foresee more chances of differences of opinion with regard to the administration of affairs in Ireland than at present exist. If the times be tranquil, and no danger of popular commotion arise, then the Irish Secretary of State may very easily administer the affairs of the Government so far as the employment of the soldiery in connexion with the civil power is concerned; but suppose there may be serious troubles in Scotland, and disturbances also in England and Wales, and at the same time popular outbreaks in Ireland, will it not be of the highest advantage to have one civil officer who has to communicate with the Commander of the Forces in order effectually to suppress the outrages that have arisen—to have one man ready to deal with the exigencies of every part of the empire, than to have two men both responsible for the maintenance of the public peace, and holding, it may be, different and conflicting views on a matter of such importance as the restoration of the public peace through the application of military force? But when you say the Secretary of State is overwhelmed with public business, and that it is necessary to appoint an additional Secretary, my experience rather tends to show that the conflict of power and of co-equal authority adds to the difficulty of disposing of public business. If I am to take no step, to direct no regiment to be sent to Wales without communicating with my brother Secretary, who is pressing also at the same time for that same regiment to be sent elsewhere, you give me no relief in the execution of my functions; because before I give my order I must have the assent of another man, possessed of the same responsibility as myself, and wishing to have the same assistance. Now, with respect to unity of legislation. We all know that it is of the utmost advantage that our Irish legislation should, as nearly as possible, conform in principle and in details with our legislation for England. It is easy to say that; but when we come to the practical application of the principle, how many difficulties do we not find in the way? Must the one Secretary, before he proceeds to legislate, hold frequent communications with his brother Secretary on those points that are to form the groundwork of proceeding for that part of the kingdom under his jurisdiction? If, on the other hand, there is to be no such communication—if one is to legislate for Ireland, and the other for the rest of the empire, without communication, then you undergo the risk of causing such material differences as must disturb the harmony of the whole. I assume there will be communication between the Secretaries; and I only say, that however pressing the amount of business might be, I would rather be responsible for the whole of the legislation of the country than for all the unsatisfactory details which would be inevitable under such a system. With respect to the administration of criminal justice in Ireland, if there be a separate Secretary of State for that country, what will be the consequence? There will be communications carried on by the Judges and by the Attorney General and Solicitor General with the Secretary of State, and thus you will be keeping up a distinction in the Irish administration of justice which it is your object to avoid. Whereas, if there were but one Secretary of State for the united empire, who should be responsible for the advice given to the Crown in respect to the exercise of the prerogative of mercy for all parts of the united kingdom, my opinion is, that the burden it would cast on the shoulders of that one Secretary would not be more onerous than it is at present, while the satisfaction it would give would be much greater, from the conviction which the people of Ireland would feel that the same principle in the administration of the law, and in the exercise of the prerogative of mercy, was applied to all parts of the kingdom. I do not wish to deny the fact as to the extent of the business which presses upon the Ministers; and there is no effort I would not make to relieve the Secretary of State for the Home Department from many of the functions which he now performs, in order to make him responsible for the administration of the criminal law both in England and in Ireland. For instance, if it be true that the superintending the administration of the criminal law he too heavy a duty for the Secretary of State to perform, why not, if you are going to alter the constitution of the office of Lord Chancellor, by appointing two Judges to discharge the duties which the Lord Chancellor now performs—why not transfer the administration of the details of criminal justice to those new officers, in order that the Secretary of State might be able to apply his undivided attention to legislation for the united empire, and to the duties of the Executive Government? Depend upon it, if you make the change proposed by this Bill, what you will want in Ireland will be the moral influence of a man of the highest authority. I consider that authority will be much higher if it be exercised by the Secretary of State for the Home Department, possessed of all the authority which the Crown can confer upon him for the administration of the whole connected affairs of the united empire. That authority will be much greater than if you constitute a distinct Secretary of State for administering those separate functions in one part only of the united kingdom. But I do not at present understand how it is proposed that the Secretary of State is to discharge his duties. Is he to be resident in Ireland during that period of the year when his Parliamentary duties may not require his presence in England? and, if he be resident in Ireland, will he have full power, which a Secretary of State ought to have in times of emergency, of acting, not only with formal authority, but with a known, patent, and unquestioned authority, which free access to the Sovereign necessarily confers? Will he be enabled to suggest the Queen's command as the ground for those acts of authority he may at any time exercise? But, if he be resident in Ireland, I don't see why the objection which has been made to the applications that are frequently forwarded by the magistrates of Ireland to the Lord Lieutenant for advice in the execution of their magisterial duties, should not be equally applicable to the case of the Secretary of State, to whom, no doubt, the magistrate would be as ready to apply for advice as to the Lord Lieutenant. If, however, the new Secretary of State is to reside in this country, then I do not see why you should not make the experiment you are now about to make, by calling upon the present Secretary of State for the Home Department to perform these united functions. I recollect, during the late war, that all the functions, and the whole of the administration of colonial and foreign affairs, were performed by one Secretary of State. If the right hon. Gentleman who now holds the office of Secretary for the Home Department would only say "I will undertake to perform the Irish as well as the English affairs, only give me a proper number of subordinates," my opinion is he would find it perfectly practicable to accomplish the object desired. If he would take upon himself the solo control over the administration of criminal justice, and over the legislation of that branch of the Government, he may depend upon it he would not have a greater demand upon his time than he would have if he were united with an Irish colleague who would be constantly telling him, what all Irish Members were ever telling us, that Englishmen knew nothing about Ireland; that no Englishman is at all fit to govern that country. It is true when Irishmen came over here they heard Englishman talk of certain principles of justice and of equity, and so forth; but still no Englishman could understand the mystery of Irish society. This Irish Secretary would no doubt be followed by many of his Irish friends in this House; and the right hon. Gentleman would soon find the Irish Secretary, co-ordinate and co-equal with himself, a very disagreeable colleague, and one not likely to relieve him from the burden of any portion of that business, the discharge of which was the cause of great anxiety and uneasiness of mind to him on whom the responsibility of that department of the Executive Government devolved. I therefore most honestly and earnestly advise the right hon. Gentleman to take the administration of those functions upon himself, even though he should have another 10th of April to contend with. For it is of importance that the same mind which has to guard against any dangers that may threaten this metropolis, should he equally called upon to take into consideration whether similar arrangements would be necessary in the event of the city of Dublin, or any other part of the United Kingdom, being in danger of having its peace disturbed. A command of time, and less of change, a unity of system, and a prospect of inspiring confidence, besides the facilities for conducting a joint administration of affairs, are in my opinion advantages infinitely more likely to be enjoyed if the functions of this department are exercised by one Secretary of State, than if the duties should be performed by two. I wish to destroy the impression which appears always to rest in the minds of Irish Gentlemen, that it is necessary for them constantly to refer to Government for advice. I wish them also to see that the proposal for transferring a portion of the authority now held by the Lord Lieutenant to the municipal corporations, would not at all solve the difficulty. It may be quite right, for aught I know, to transfer some of those powers to the corporations; and considering that the successful result of the exercise of the municipal authority in the city of Dublin has been so great, it may be the opinion of hon. Gentlemen that by increasing their powers, we should be increasing the benefits arising from their exercise. Still I do not apprehend that any increased powers given to the municipalities of Ireland would solve the difficulty created by taking away the government of the Lord Lieutenant. Let the corporations have additional powers, if it be necessary, but that is a separate question altogether; and lot it therefore stand upon its own independent merits. Giving increased authority to the municipalities will not assist either one Secretary or two Secretaries in determining the principles of legislation, or aid them in conducting the ordinary affairs of Government. I do not, however, view with complete freedom from uneasiness and anxiety the change you are contemplating. I will not stop to consider some questions which have been suggested in the course of the debate; but this I will say, that if you think the city of Dublin is likely to be injuriously affected by the loss of the Lord Lieutenant, I am of opinion that we shall be bound to consider, equitably and liberally, the claim which Dublin may have for compensation. I do not mean a claim in the shape of a grant, but a general claim; without pretending precisely to say what pecuniary compensation it should be. I do not entirely agree with the noble Lord in the opinion that all the sums which have hitherto been spent in Dublin would henceforth return to the different localities and he expended there. I am rather afraid that a single Court with increased splendour—for the splendour of the British Court, splendid as it now is, would undoubtedly be increased, and would be adorned by Irish gentlemen and Irish ladies—would have a tendency to increase absenteeism; and that it would not be to the counties of Ireland that the benefit would accrue, but rather to England, by a concentration of society in this country. However, I am prepared to incur that risk; but that which I shall ask as a compensation for the risk I am willing to incur is that we shall so make our arrangements for the legislation and government of Ireland as shall insure as much uniformity and as much unity as it is possible for legislation to effect.


said, that upon the first occasion when the noble Lord the First Lord of the Treasury introduced this measure, he thought it worth his while, in order to get rid of the main objection to the Bill, to state authoritatively, on the part of the Government, that there was no intention, either now or hereafter, to remove the courts of law from Ireland. He had no doubt that that was a genuine pledge on the part of the noble Lord, and he was sure that it would be kept; but he would ask, had they any reason to be so certain that those who in the natural course of events may succeed the noble Lord would not be prepared to sweep away the courts of law in Dublin, and transfer the legal adjudication to London, for the purpose of centralisation? He thought that the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth showed them that at any rate there was one man in this country who would be prepared, when in power, not only to give them what he was pleased to call identity of law, but to sweep away every remnant of local power in Ireland, and to destroy all her national institutions. The right hon. Baronet would allow him to state that in the minds of the people of Ireland there was a great difference between equality of justice and identity of laws. The circumstances of that country were different from those of England, the people and their feelings were different, and a law which may be good in England may he exceedingly bad in Ireland. Therefore he insisted that when the right hon. Gentleman held out as an inducement to them to support this Bill, that the result of it would be that by centering everything in this country they would have an uniformity of government and an identity of law, they would by adopting such a course be inflicting a great injury instead of conferring a benefit on the people of Ireland. He confessed that he was surprised to hear the speech of the right hon. Baronet. He listened to everything that came from him with great deference and the utmost attention, and he was aware that everything which he said was listened to with the same deference and attention by the people of Ireland; and he (Mr. Roche) must declare that if ever there was a speech calculated to revive the cry of a repeal of the Union, it was that great centralisation speech which they had just heard from the right hon. Gentleman. Would the right hon. Gentleman let it go to the bar of Ireland—that body which had on all occasions been a credit to that country, and the only stronghold of nationality—that he thought that this Bill did not go far enough in point of fact, as it still maintained in Ireland a separate bar and a separate Lord Chancellor. That was the only conclusion that he (Mr. Roche) could draw from the right hon. Gentleman's speech, and he thought that it was one which went as determinedly against the Bill as any speech could possibly do. The right hon. Baronet said that this Bill was an experiment, and stated that Irishmen always fancied that they monopolised all knowledge of Ireland. He (Mr. Roche) felt that if this Bill was an experiment, it was a most dangerous one. He would pass over the sneer with which the right hon. Gentleman had alluded to their corporate bodies in Ireland, and the extreme and punctilious diligence with which he picked out some of the transactions of the corporation of Dublin. The right hon. Gentleman then said that it was not now a matter of consideration whether they were to have local authority or not; that the question was whether they would have an uniformity of government, or have separate Secretaries of State for England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. He (Mr. Roche) was not there, though opposing the Bill, to vindicate the present state of the government of Ireland, nor was he there to accuse the Government of trying to ruin and destroy Dublin by introducing this Bill. He was not there to vindicate the conduct of the Lord Lieutenant in Ireland; but he was there to warn the House against making a change for the worse, by taking-away all administrative power at a time when everything in Ireland was in a state of destruction, and when every interest there was in a state of collapse. The noble Lord had told them that the Bill was the result of long consideration on his own part and on that of the Earl of Clarendon. He must say that, considering the length of incubation, the effect was as miserable and unfledged as anything that could be. The first thing that the noble Lord told them was, that the Irish were not sufficiently self-dependent; and now he was going to make them more dependent on the English than ever they were. The hon. Member for the city of Cork argued in favour of the Bill, that they were too dependent on the Irish Government; and his cure is, that they should be made dependent on the English Government. The noble Lord at the head of the Government, and the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, seemed to have strange notions of the uses of government, when they thought that the Government was to be carried on by a centralised police force. They took a railway view of the question, and looked on it as a matter of time and space. If the noble Lord was in America, nobody could do more than he in the way of annexation; let them but give him a railway, an iron bridge, and a steamboat, and he would do anything in that way. Now, he would caution the noble Lord against losing the confidence of the middle classes in Ireland, by removing the local Government. If the middle classes in Ireland are never to look the Government in the face, how long will it retain their confidence? and, if it loses their confidence, how long will you retain the country? His hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Middlesex made a very brilliant speech, advocating this Bill, and adduced as an argument in favour of the abolition of the Lord Lieutenancy that the great majority of those who had filled that office had been either knaves or fools. But what did the hon. and gallant Gentleman propose? His case was, that they should change the Lord Lieutenant into a Secretary of State; and he supposed that he would wish that the Under Secretary of State should be chosen from the ex-aide-de-camps. If the Lord Lieutenants were fools, there was no doubt that they would have made worse Secretaries of State. Such men would be much more mischievous as Secretaries of State than as Lord Lieutenants. This Bill did nothing at all to improve the sources from which good government should spring. They did not alter the principles of government by it; they merely made a change in the mode of carrying them out. He would now allude to the reasons which had been given by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield for supporting the Bill. That Gentleman came down to the House with a prepared philippic against Ireland, which he had ready for delivery on the first convenient Irish debate. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that the Bill was a good one, because it would make the poor-law more representative in the House of Commons. From that statement it appeared that that Gentleman did not read the provisions of the Bill. The effect of the Bill would be quite contrary to that; it would completely destroy the representation of the poor-law board of Commissioners in the House of Commons. It would take those who at present represent the poor-law, out of the commission. It was strange that the hon. and learned Gentleman, who was so much in the habit of charging Irish Gentlemen with ignorance of their own affairs, should now give his support to a Bill which he evidently did not understand, or had not taken the trouble to read. If this Bill was passed, no question relating to the poor-law could be answered in that House. The hon. and learned Gentleman raised another question; he asked them to point out to him one single case in which English legislation on Irish matters in that House had not been the acme of perfection. He added, that since Parliament was reformed, they never made but one mistake: but the hon. and learned Gentleman did not point it out. He (Mr. Roche) would, however, give him a few instances of bad legislation with regard to Ireland. In 1838 the House, in its wisdom, passed a poor-law for Ireland; at that time it was the expressed intention of the Government to provide for the then existing pauperism, and to diminish it for the future. What, however, was the consequence? In the year 1838 there were 80,000 paupers in Ireland, according to the statement of Mr. Nicholls; and in 1848 the number of paupers amounted to nearly a million, and your law of 1838 was swept away by the flood of increasing paupers. Now he would give them another instance. In the year 1847 they picked out their best man, and sent him to pacify, subdue, and govern Ireland, and they strengthened his hands by two most unconstitutional Coercion Bills. In 1848 Ireland was in military occupation, the constitution was suspended, and rebels were in the field. There was another case of English wisdom. In 1849 they passed an Act to disencumber the land of Ireland, and in 1850 that Act began to work to the utter ruin of both creditor and debtor. And they were now passing a Bill to render encumbrance perpetual in that country, and to give legislative and Parliamentary sanction to the debtor. This was an answer to those who said that Englishmen could govern Ireland better than, or as well, as Irishmen. [Sir R. PEEL: All that occurred under the Lord Lieutenancy.] The right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth says, that all this occurred while a Lord Lieutenant was in existence. He would, then, ask why it was that the Lord Lieutenant was continued up to the present time, if to him were to be attributed all the misfortunes that occurred in Ireland? Why was it that they did not make this discovery until the year 1850? He did not care much about their taking away the Lord Lieutenant; but he thought that they should not take with him all the useful administrative functions that at present existed in Ireland. If they took away the Lord Lieutenant, they should give increased power to the corporations; they should make them free, as they were in England. They should give them free grand juries, and county corporate bodies, who should properly represent the people, and control the local taxation. If, however, they once let the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth get into power, they would lose not only their mock court, but along with it would go the Lord Chancellor and the Irish bar, and everything which Irishmen ought to hold dear to them. He (Mr. Roche) protested against such a proceeding; and he would say that if this Bill did no other mischief, it would do this—it would afford an excuse to those who were desirous of crushing all national feeling in Ireland to hound on the English to crush all their national institutions. He knew that he and those who held the same views as he did would be defeated that night; but he warned the Government that they would not be able to carry out the measure; for although the Irish Members were few in that House, yet as long as they possessed the confidence of the people of Ireland, they were strong outside the House. If the Bill passed, the cry of national redemption would go forth to excite a people who were both patriotic and sensitive. Seeing from the indications which came from both sides of the House, that the Bill was not a mere attempt to alter the staff and remove the Lord Lieutenant, but to crush all national feelings and all independent exertions in Ireland, he would give the Bill the fullest and strongest opposition in his power; and he hoped that in case it should pass this House, the Irish people would have occasion to thank their stars that they have a House of Lords.


explained. The hon. Gentleman was mistaken if he supposed that he had any desire to interfere with the bar of Ireland, or the separate existence of the Attorney General and Solicitor General, or of a judicial bench. In his opinion, those matters left the question entirely untouched, whether they had two Secretaries of State or one.


having, after considerable deliberation, come to a conclusion different from that to which his mind was in the first instance inclined, felt it his duty to give his reasons why he had done so, and why he considered he ought to oppose the second reading of this Bill. The noble Lord, in introducing the Bill, said it was a subject of the greatest importance to unite the administration of Ireland with that of the rest of the empire, and expressed his desire to equalise the laws of both countries, and to prevent those evils which directly obstructed the welfare of Ireland, and ultimately affected the interests of England. That statement caught his (Mr. Napier's) attention with many who acknowledged the abuses that existed, and could see no prospect of any likely remedy but some such change in the administrative government of Ireland. He entirely concurred in the view of the noble Lord, that the union in law should be followed up by a union of administration, and if the Bill effected or accelerated that result, he (Mr. Napier) would support it; but believing it would have no such effect, but would, on the contrary, aggravate existing evils, he felt bound to give it his strenuous opposition. The Bill, so far from providing one administration, perpetuated two distinct administrations; it substantially fused into one the offices of Lord Lieutenant and Chief Secretary, and transferred the head of the Executive Government from Dublin to London, leaving the rest of the Government to work its way in Ireland. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Tam-worth had stated with great clearness the grounds on which, with all deference, he (Mr. Napier) thought a very different conclusion from that at which the right hon. Baronet had arrived might have been based; but, setting aside any objections to the creation of the new Secretary-ship, it would be important for the con- sideration of the Bill before them to see how far, supposing the new office carried out, it possessed advantages over the office of Lord Lieutenant. The noble Lord at the head of the Government, after stating at great length the evils of the several administrations to which Ireland had been subject for centuries, assumed that those evils were essentially inherent in the office of Viceroy, and could not be removed or remedied without getting rid of the office. He, for one, would say that if these evils could not be remedied but by the abolition of the Viceroyalty, that the office ought to be abolished; but when the noble Lord came to put forward his case for the proposed change, he did not seem to think it possible for a moment that any abuse whatever could arise under his new system. The noble Lord had described the Lord Lieutenancy as a sink of corruption, jobbing, and intrigue; but he should remember that there were two parties to such jobbing and corruption. His new Chief Secretary was not only to have the gift of clairvoyance, and to see everything going on in Ireland, but to be incorruptible and beyond political pressure in all time to come. He certainly would be in direct communication with the Government, and immediately under the control of Parliament; but when the noble Lord compared this new officer with past Lord Lieutenants, it should not be forgotten that he compared realities with what did not yet exist. They had had heard much talk of identifying Ireland with England; but he would tell the House ill one word, that it could not be done. Attract the sympathies, conciliate the feelings, and gain the affections of her people they might; but they never could remove those national peculiarities, or destroy the distinguishing lineaments which had been stereotyped by the hand of God. He hoped the day would come when such distinctions as the laws could remove would be seen no more, and that the genial influence of the British constitution might be brought fully to bear upon Ireland; but they must permit the people to cherish their peculiarities; and, in the wisdom of Bacon, if they wished to conquer nature, it must be by obedience. They had also heard some hints thrown out as to the propriety of uniting the bar of Ireland to that of England; and, sorry as he should be for any such measure, if the fusion of the two bars was necessary for the happiness of Ireland, he would say, Perish the bar of Ireland, and let her people be happy, That the noble Lord did not propose to do. He left in Ireland a separate bar, the law courts, a Privy Council, a Commander-in-chief, and a Royal residence, and thus permitted a great amount of separate administration. Was it carrying out the principle of the Union to have an office open to political influence in England, and to political pressure from Ireland, with nothing but secondhand experience, and under the screw of what was termed State policy? Would the principle be better carried out by such an officer than by an able and impartial nobleman residing in Ireland, with all the advantages of immediate access to the best sources of local information? It would be much more convenient, in the event of a necessity arising for those occasional consultations with the Cabinet which had been referred to, for the Viceroy representing the Crown to come over from Dublin, and to bring with him the results of his personal observation and experience. There was one strange fallacy pervading the whole of the noble Lord's arguments, founded on the increased facilities of communication between the two countries, which was, that whilst he spoke of twelve hours' distance between Dublin and London, he forgot that it was a very different matter if you come to look to a case arising in Kerry or Mayo, which had to be settled in London after references to the authorities in Dublin. But the certainty of information, the truth in public matters, was a result of some importance. Still, and he was sure the noble Lord's experience would bear him out in saying, there was nothing more difficult than to get at the facts of any controverted transaction in Ireland. Which would—the old or the new system—work the best in that point? A Lord Lieutenant residing in Dublin, would have every channel of information open and accessible on the spot—the judges, the assistant barristers, and the gentlemen of the country. Admitting all the difficulties in his way, such a person must be more likely to get accurate information on the spot than a person living in London, far removed from the scene of the particular occurrence; and the staff of lower officials who would be left behind would scarcely be able to aid him from their inferior and more corruptible sources of information. The daily conference with the legal functionaries in Dublin on matters familiar in Irish Government, would also be cut off by this Bill. Were the Attorney and Solicitor General and the head of the constabulary to remain in Dublin or London; and was it not more important for the individual charged with the government of Ireland to hold daily communications with them, than casually with the Cabinet Ministers, to whom he could go whenever he pleased? Suppose such a state of things occurred again in Dublin as they had seen in 1848—the Lord Lieutenant gone—the Chief Secretary in London—a sudden emergency arises—who was to act? Who was to command the Commander-in-chief? Was it the Lord Mayor; or, if there were two claimants to that honour, as recently, was it the Lord Mayor de jure, or the Lord Mayor de facto? He trusted such a time would never come; but they were bound to guard against it, and a steady and firm Executive, with all its resources on the spot, strong in confidence and moral security, would be invaluable in such an hour of danger. English Members went much astray when they talked of at once assimilating the social systems of England and Ireland. The latter was in many places without a resident gentry—without any class to fill up the gradations between rich and poor—with much poverty, dissatisfaction, and discontent. It would be wise to consider whether a magistrate or a stipendiary officer placed in such a state of things, without encouragement and support from the residents, was in a like position as if he was in a peaceable English county? Plainly not—and therefore the custom had been to assist magistrates and others placed in such difficult circumstances by legal interpretation, and by advice on points of policy, which were referred to the Lord Lieutenant, and which he considered in conjunction with the law authorities and the head of the constabulary. The noble Lord asserted that the office was calculated to increase party spirit. They heard a great deal about party spirit in Ireland, just as if they had none of it themselves; but for his part he considered it the price that must be paid for a free constitution, and the result of those energetic differences of opinion it engendered. It was not party spirit, but the dishonest working of party spirit, he objected to, and which he wished to see put down; and it would be far more easy to suppress it by an honest policy than by any change of the agent who carried our policy into effect. Party spirit could be as easily influenced by a Chief Secretary in London as by a Lord Lieutenant in Dublin; and although they had heard great use made of the phrase, "the backstairs' intrigue of Dublin Castle," he believed the only difference would be that those who used the back stairs in Dublin could march up the front stairs in Downing-street; and that those who might be ashamed to be seen soliciting favours openly in a place where they were known, would, on the eve of a critical division, when a few votes were of importance, boldly ask for them, and obtain some crumbs, or it might be, a good slice of the loaf of patronage, the distribution of which had been so candidly explained by the hon. Member for Cork in a recent letter to his constituents. He could, indeed, conceive the Chief Secretary subject to an influence in London, from which in Dublin he might be free; and, much as he loved England, if he saw a section of English Members bringing their power to bear on the Secretary, and forcing him by their influence to do what would militate against the real interests of his country, he had enough of Irish blood to be roused at the sight, and he might be disposed to think that there was no very great advantage in having Ireland administered under such English influence. It was not the Lord Lieutenant who was responsible for Irish legislation, but that House; and he would be glad to see, not identity of legislation, for that was impracticable, but a system carried out with the same affection, care, and real regard for Ireland, that they exhibited towards England. He could not but say there were instances with which he was acquainted in which that was not the case. He would refer to one only. A Bill of great importance to Ireland had recently been brought in, to which he had given his best assistance in its various stages. When it went to the other House, certain clauses of a very important character were added to it, founded in utter ignorance of the laws of Ireland. These Amendments were not noticed in the Parliamentary papers of this House. The Bill was returned with the Amendments, and at two o'clock in the morning, before they adjourned for the Whitsun holydays, the Bill was passed without the attention of any Irish Member being directed to it. On being acquainted with the fact, he wrote to the Solicitor General, who informed him a Bill would be brought in to amend the former Bill, and he. (Mr. Napier) expected he would have been informed when the now Bill would come on; but it was read a first and second time on the same evening with- out previous notice, passed through Committee in haste; and when on the third reading he pointed out to the Attorney General, who was naturally enough unacquainted with the peculiar law of Ireland, the glaring defects of the new Bill, he was answered by a midnight majority. The Bill was now the law of the laud, and he prophesied before the Session elapsed they would have an application to introduce a Bill to amend a Bill to amend a Bill which had been passed but a few weeks previously. He was no grievance-monger; but he asked, could such a thing have happened in the case of any English Bill? In Ireland, where many people regarded particular measures more than abstract policy, the circumstance had given rise to the greatest dissatisfaction; but if the House, instead of such reckless legislation, introduced sound and well-considered measures—if they gave the country a firm and sted-fast administration of the law—if they protected the peaceful and repressed the lawless, so as to give real security to life and property, his life for it English capital would soon flow into Ireland, and they would see her prosperous and employed. As to the Bill before them, he doubted, even supposing it advisable to equalise the administrations of the two countries, whether that was a time at which they could venture on an experiment presenting but speculative advantages, and entailing certain evils. The noble Lord had referred to the letter of George III. as intimating the impression on his mind that the Lord Lieutenancy should be abolished; but he (Mr. Napier) rather thought it showed His Majesty anticipated that, by the sound and wise influence of the agencies of the constitution, the Irish people might gradually be raised to a level of civilisation with the people of England. He would ask the House what was the present condition of the people of Ireland—were they not most deplorably depressed? He would not be hypocritical enough to contend that a powerful argument might not be founded upon the effect of the proposed change on Dublin; but he was bound also to look at the view which the people of Ireland generally were likely to take of such a question. They, he doubted not, would regard the whole policy of it with alarm. The people of Dublin would view with regret the withdrawal of the Court; they would view it in connexion with the ungenerous discontinuance of all the grants made to their hospitals; they would look on it as a measure calculated to crush a respectable class that had hitherto endeavoured to maintain a good position by industry in trade. Was this, then, the time to propose a measure for abolishing the office of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland—a time when the whole social system had been racked and shivered, and the country so recently smitten with sterility; was such the fitting time to bear hard upon the feelings of a suffering people? Surely that was the last moment that any one should choose for the purpose of trying political experiments upon afflicted and impoverished Ireland. In England the proposed change might be regarded in one point of view; but he did not doubt that the people of Ireland would regard it otherwise; he feared that they would view it as an insult in their distress if they could not find that any sound political argument had been urged in its support. They had their national peculiarities as well as other people—national peculiarities which nothing could efface; the land of Burke and of Wellington might cling to her national feelings with pride, and at least without rebuke. The people might naturally expect that the Government of this country ought to begin at the right end; that they ought to proceed first upon principles of sound legislation; that they ought not to allow the vessel of the State to drift—that the time had come when they ought to steer. When they succeeded in somewhat raising the people of Ireland to comparative prosperity, then perhaps experiments might be tried. Feeling that this new separate system could not be rendered salutary or effective—believing that the Irish Government in Dublin might be allowed to remain there, and yet be stripped of many of its evils, he therefore could not vote for this Bill. As to the present Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, he had had little intercourse with him; but in that little he found him candid, courteous, and patient, and doubted not that, with a Cabinet capable of furnishing him with sound instructions, that noble Lord was equal to the task of governing Ireland with satisfaction and advantage to the country and the empire at large.


said, that he had heard three long speeches upon the question he-fore the House; but it seemed to him that they applied more to the details of the measure than to its principle, and he therefore thought they would have been more appropriately addressed to the Com- mittee than to the House. Many of the arguments which had been urged by his countrymen partook strongly of sentimentality; but he was not disposed so to treat this important subject. There were many objections to the details of the measure, which might be fairly considered in Committee; but as to the abolition of the viceregal system of government, there had been an utter failure to urge any satisfactory argument against the great principle of that proposition. The Irish Members who were opposed to this principle were but few as compared to the gross number of Irish representatives in the House. The majority of Irish Members in this House were now, as they had been for years, anxious to see a measure of this character introduced, and the insulting and disgraceful method of governing a large portion of the empire by a deputy wholly abolished. Although the number of his hon. Friends opposing this measure were few, he acknowledged that their opinions were deserving of much consideration and respect; but looking at it as a national question, and in a still more important point of view—namely, as a Parliamentary question—he maintained that very cogent reasons might be urged for the abolition of this inefficient mode of governing a great nation. As regarded this question in a national point of view, they had heard much about Irish nationality, about local institutions, about Ireland for the Irish. How could his hon. Friends reconcile this phraseology with a viceregal system of governing Ireland? Of all these viceregal Lord Lieutenants, they had had only one or two who were Irish noblemen. This office was limited to the nobility of this country. A system was in progress by which the ancient nobility of Ireland were becoming gradually extinct. However able, however practical, however influential a Member of the Commons might be, he was disqualified for the office, he was discharged from holding this office. During the last half century there had been twenty-five Chief Secretaries conferred upon Ireland. There had been a Scotch Gentleman and one or two Irishmen. His local knowledge made the Chief Secretary qualified to suggest and carry out the measures which were particularly called for by the peculiar exigencies and wants of the Irish people. He was surprised to hear any hon. Member talk of the presence or absence of a viceregal court affecting the trade of a great and populous city like Dublin. He had no apprehensions on that score. On the contrary, he was of opinion, that that empty pageant once removed, a proper direction would be given to the enterprise, the intelligence, and the industry of the metropolis. With respect to the political view of the question, he would ask any man of ordinary Parliamentary experience whether they were willing to see so large a portion of the united kingdom as Ireland so feebly represented in the imperial councils, as it must be if the viceregal system were continued? The noble Lord at the head of the Government, when introducing the Bill, had observed that great changes in the mode of administering the affairs of Ireland must follow the abolition of the Viceroyalty. No doubt there must; and such changes must have the effect of greatly increasing the vigour and efficiency of the Irish department. At present, the Viceroy and his opinions were only indirectly represented in Parliament. He had no power to construct, to prepare, or to pass measures for the good of the country, under that system which they were told must be preserved if they hoped for the regeneration of Ireland. In fact, he had power to do mischief, but he was totally powerless when any good was to be effected. Even the Earl of Clarendon had never been able to impress upon Parliament the necessity of carrying through any Act, save a continuance of the Suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act. No doubt his Lordship had incessantly pressed upon Government the necessity of introducing practical measures for the benefit of Ireland, but with very little effect. Then how could it be expected that the English law officers would continue to devote their attention to maturing Irish measures, seeing the enormous mass of English business they had continually to deal with. During the six centuries preceding 1800, 6,847 Acts of Parliament had been passed, and about the same number since that time, making in all 13,000 Acts of Parliament, of which 8,000 had since been repealed. Was not that a mass sufficient to engage the attention of the English law officers, without wearying them with Irish affairs? And yet these were the men who were now constantly employed to suggest laws for Ireland—a country of the circumstances of which they were profoundly ignorant. If they abolished the Viceroyalty, an entirely different system must be adopted. The Government could no longer vacillate or hesitate, but must at once determine whether or not they would make the Union a reality by making the laws and institutions of the two countries equal in every particular. He believed that there was not a repeal Member in the House who had in reality over sought for more. Assuming the Viceroyalty abolished, how was the Irish business to be carried on? From no system that could be substituted, could Irishmen of talent and experience be excluded, and in that fact he found the strongest argument for its abolition. The Lord Lieutenant was in fact no more than a sort of correspondent or scout to Downing-street. He was the representative of the Sovereign at a flower-show or a racecourse; but in his political capacity he was only looked upon or corresponded with as the agent and correspondent of the English Government. It was now as in the time of Spenser: he complained, as other writers had often done, of the continued changes of policy consequent upon the frequent change of Lord Lieutenants, every one trying to undo what his predecessor had sought to accomplish. Spenser said they were envious of each other's glory; and if they contended in a generous emulation, there would be no doubt of its useful consequences; but they sucked the sweets and left the bitterness to the poor country. One wheedled the Irish, the other oppressed them; and a third so dandled between the two systems as utterly to confound and render miserable the poor people of that country. What security had they against such changes in the present day? Had they not had the gentry deprived of the commission of the peace by one Viceroy for their political opinions, and reinstated for the same opinions by his successor? Had not some of them been degraded for their share in the melancholy affair of Dolly's Brae; and did they not look upon themselves as political martyrs, to be restored to all their honours by a Viceroy of a different political complexion to the present at some future period? Believing that in supporting the abolition of the Viceroyalty he was supporting the inauguration of a better system in the government of Ireland, he should give his cordial support to the present Bill.


said, that a more illogical train of reasoning than that of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, it had never been his lot to hear. The hon. Gentleman first complained that so few of the Lord Lieutenants bad been Irishmen; and his remedy for that injustice was, to make the office entirely English. The hon. Gentleman complained that Lord Lieutenants had constantly made the most important suggestions, and proposed the most beneficial reforms, which were not attended to by the Government; and, as a cure for that, he proposed to abolish the office from which such suggestions had emanated, and to leave the Government without any such adviser. Then the hon. Gentleman alleged that every Lord Lieutenant invariably reversed the policy of his predecessor; and, to amend that evil, he advocated the substitution of a Secretary, who, in like manner, would go out with every change of Ministry. The hon. Gentleman's arguments were all of a similar character. As for himself, being very undecided upon the merits of this question, he would have preferred the silent solution of his own doubts to the intrusion of half-formed opinions upon the minds of others; but having already listened with the most deferential attention for two whole nights, with the greatest willingness to be convinced, and yet without the slightest progress towards conviction, he was induced to hope that, by stating the impressions that had thus far been produced upon the mind of a dispassionate listener, he might possibly elicit such further elucidation of the subject as might perhaps conduct him to a definite conclusion. When this question was first introduced to the notice of the House, he confessed to having felt the greatest doubt and difficulty in arriving, he would not say at a satisfactory conclusion, but at any conclusion at all upon its merits. His first impression was that of having been taken, as it were, by surprise. It struck him that the introduction of a Bill of this nature, in the midst of the Session, without having been alluded to in the Speech from the Throne, or mooted during any previous Session of Parliament, had the appearance of being dictated rather by momentary irritation or sudden caprice, than by cool and mature deliberation. It could not have been that recent circumstances had opened the eyes of Her Majesty's Government to the mischievous influence of the Viceroyalty in Ireland; for they had been told, till they were almost sick of the iteration, that to the recent influence of that Viceroyalty they owed the salvation of the kingdom. It could not have been that the present moment was considered peculiarly favourable for a long-cherished scheme; for, in the words of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, that time was unnecessarily unhappy. He confessed, therefore, that even in the manner and time of the first announcement of this Bill, there had appeared to him something unsatisfactory, if not suspicious. But when he had come to consider this proposition in the abstract, and in its relation to the past rule and future government of Ireland, he had felt completely overwhelmed by a consciousness of his own ignorance of the subject. It had certainly never occurred to him that he could solve his doubts, like the hon. Member for Cork, by a reference to the history of the middle ages, or cut the Gordian knot with the slashing sword of his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Middlesex; but after a careful consideration of the subject in all its bearings, he had arrived at the mortifying conclusion, that neither his reading nor experience furnished him with sufficient data to form a decisive opinion upon this Bill. He had not entertained a shadow of doubt, however, that those difficulties would have altogether vanished in the course of the debate upon the second reading. He had had no doubt that Her Majesty's Ministers had duly weighed and considered the important change in the administration of the country which they were about to propose; and that they would not have presumed to call upon the United Parliament of Great Britain and Ireland to sanction so great an alteration in their united government, without assigning such sufficient reasons of state as might influence the judgment of statesmen in a matter of such interest and importance. He had expected from the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government, not scraps of history that every child knew—not details of Dublin scandal and Dublin squabbles that every man had discarded from his memory—but he had expected, from his great constitutional knowledge, and still more from his great practical experience, a grave and explicit statement of the evils that had resulted from a Viceregal Government; of the impediments that that Government threw in the way of the proper administration of the country; and of the facilities that would be afforded by the plan he had laid before them, for a great and extensive improvement in the conduct of Irish affairs, both as regarded the local interests of the Irish people, and their relation with the general interests of the whole empire. He had imagined also, that the opinions of the noble Lord, thus clearly and broadly propounded, would have been met, if not encountered, by other views of other experienced statesmen; and that, from the collision of abler and more accomplished understandings than his own, he would have derived that opinion which his own knowledge and experience had not enabled him to form. He confessed he had been both disappointed in that expectation, and at the same time somewhat relieved as regarded the contemptuous opinion he had formed of his own judgment and information, on hearing the speech of the noble Lord, and the debate that had followed; inasmuch as neither the noble Lord, nor the hon. Gentlemen that had favoured the House with their views on that occasion, had condescended to inform him of a single fact of which he was before ignorant, or a single argument calculated to affect the question at issue. The noble Lord had commented with some severity upon the illogical form in which the arguments of some hon. Members opposed to the Bill had been conveyed to the House. His hon. Friend the Member for Portarlington, for instance, having maintained that during the last half century a gradual and progressive decay had taken place in Irish property, industry, and trade, he had been ingeniously represented as now contending for the continuance of the very system out of which these ruinous consequences had arisen. But the argument of his hon. Friend, fairly stated, was this: "During the last fifty years a centralising policy had been pursued with regard to Ireland, which had been attended with the most disastrous results. Ruin and degradation had followed on its footsteps, as far as it had gone; this was another step in the same direction, and he therefore protested against it, as precipitating and tending to complete our ruin." Now, without adopting either the statements or the arguments of his hon. Friend, he conceived that a more logical conclusion from given premises it was difficult to conceive; and he confessed he would rather have heard it met and confuted, than evaded with such subtle and disingenuous casuistry. Indeed, the accusation of illogical and inconsequent reasoning applied much more justly to the noble Lord himself, than to those whom he reproached. His historical reminiscences, in particular, were especially open to this imputation, and appeared to him not only too unimportant in their nature to sway the opinions or to fix the judgment of the House, but rather tending to a totally opposite conclusion to that indicated by the noble Lord's Bill. It appeared to him, for instance, that the object of the noble Lord should have been to show, if possible, that the Irish Viceroys generally had impeded and perverted the good intentions of English legislation; that, at the different periods of our history to which he referred, they had been the instigators of the unwise measures which had been pursued with regard to Ireland; that they had thwarted and perverted the more reasonable and beneficent policy which the Government at home might have wished to introduce. Whereas the noble Lord, on the contrary, had endeavoured, rather unnecessarily, to prove that the Viceroys sent over from this country were men of the best abilities and intentions, thwarted and assailed only by the Irish themselves. This might be a reasonable argument for the abolition of the Irish people, but it was an argument against the removal of the Irish Viceroys. In fact, the noble Lord's history had run away with his logic. Were he (Mr. Moore) inclined at that moment to dress up the subject in rags of ancient history—did he think that any fair inference as to the influence of the Viceroyalty in modern times could be drawn from its relative influence in days gone by—he thought he could make out a case in favour of the office that might not be considered altogether contemptible. He thought he could show that, comparing the biography of the men with the history of the times, they had been generally in advance, often centuries in advance, of the ages in which they lived. That, as a general rule, they had sought to modify and soften the overbearing pride of England on the one hand, and the mutual animosities of the Irish on the other; that reflecting, as it were, in virtue of their office, a ray of light from the noblest prerogative of the Crown, and gathering in some sort inspiration from the genius of the law, which, even in its outraged majesty, they represented, they had interposed the ægis of British protection between the oppressors and the oppressed; that they had been the pioneers of reason, justice, and humanity, as they had hewn their toilsome path, step by stop, through the dark and ferocious prejudices of barbarous ages; that it was their wisdom that had foreshadowed, and their counsels that had led the way to the wise reforms which the present age had reluctantly conceded, and even to those which it had not yet had the virtue to achieve. Among the many instances of this humane pre-eminence which occurred to his memory, he might cite that of Sir John Perrot, whose wise and beneficent government had drawn down upon him such unjust reproach on the part of his own countrymen, that he was obliged to petition the Queen to relieve him from a charge which the temper of the times would not allow him conscientiously to fulfil. He might cite the case of the Marquess of Ormond, who, well nigh two centuries before its time, had produced to the world the embryo of the Emancipation Act of 1829, as well as of other reforms which were still in the womb of time. He might refer to the unavailing efforts of Lord Chesterfield, of the Duke of Bedford, and of Lord Townshend, to encourage the growth of national energy, to promote something like equal justice, and soften the ferocity of the penal laws. He might cite, in contrast with the efforts of these statesmen, the miserable misrule which had existed during the interregna of the Viceroys, sufficient, as Lord Clare had declared, to beat down the strongest nation upon earth. He might remind the House of the significant history of Lord Fitzwilliam's acceptance of office, and the equally significant history of his recall; the administration of Lord Wellesley, struggling with reluctant Governments, and beleaguered by contending parties. The administration of Lord Anglesey, more liberal than the liberal Ministry of the day, brought down to their own times the history of the Lord Lieutenants of Ireland, who, harassed as they were by international antipathies, thwarted by remorseless factions, and bearing the obloquy of deeds not their own, had not been without some regard for their own honour—not without some charity for a trampled race—not without a sense of that high trust and delegated majesty to which the empire and the Government from which they were derived had been utterly insensible. He found the Irish Viceroys in every age better than the English Governments they respectively represented; better than the dominant parties by whose intrigues their best efforts had been rendered abortive; and if he Were obliged to judge of the future by the past, he would be bound to infer that an Irish Viceroy would still continue to be a shade better than an English Secretary, and the rule of Downing-street something worse than that of the Castle. As for the peculiar line of argument put forward by the noble Lord, and afterwards repeated with additional point and pleasantry by his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Middlesex, he could hardly conceive that either the noble Lord or his hon. Friend could be seriously of opinion that the occasional unpopularity of particular Viceroys, or the saucy things that might be occasionally said or done by a Dublin rabble, affected the present question. As the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire had shrewdly remarked, such arguments as these told just as strongly for the abolition of the Monarchy in this country, as the removal of the Viceroyalty from Ireland. What foul thing had been said, what vile act had been perpetrated, in regard of an Irish Lord Lieutenant, that worse had not been said or done with regard to our English Monarchs? If hon. Gentlemen looked to words, he would refer them not to such works as the anonymous slanders of an obscure print, but to the Two penny Postbag, and the Irish Avatar, written by the most illustrious authors of the present age. If they demanded facts, in return for the bottle which had been flung at the head of an Irish Viceroy, and which the noble Lord with such sententious significance had flung at the heads of his opponents in the course of the debate, he might remind the House that within the memory of man the lives of two reigning Sovereigns had been three times attempted—that one Minister of State had been assassinated, and another had only escaped by a mistake on the part of the assassin, and at the sacrifice of another valuable life. When he found that no more important facts than such as these, no more important arguments than such as these, had been alleged in support of this measure by the First Minister of the Crown, and when he perceived that one of the cleverest and most effective speakers in the House could do no more than repeat the same facts and arguments, with no other addition than the salt and spice with which his wit and fancy had flavoured them, could he be considered unreasonable in entreating that before they came to vote upon so great a question, they should have the means of judging on more substantial grounds and on more satisfactory information? He cast aside altogether the petty interests which complicated this question, which gave it a fictitious importance to some, and invested it with a fictitious insignificance in the eyes of others. To the Dublin shopkeepers, St. Patrick's-hall was still the hall of Tara; and the Viceregal Court the palladium of their national liberties. Under this patriotic and disinterested impression, they had convened public meetings, and unanimously resolved that Irishmen of all parties should merge all other objects, all other grievances in one glorious stand for the Castle balls. He regretted this indiscreet display on their part, inasmuch as it had the effect of persuading many worthy people as shallow as themselves, that the whole significance of the whole question was expressed in the noisy folly of these obtrusive clamours. For himself, although he could not see without sincere regret the ruinous loss that this measure would inflict upon so many of his fellow citizens in the city of Dublin, he could not allow a feeling of this description to prejudice, in ever so minute a degree, his consideration of this question; neither could he enter into the fantastic imaginations of those who called the Viceregal Court a national feather on the one hand, or a badge of national servitude on the other. At the risk of being called a traitor to his country, he declared he cared very little about the Viceregal Court, but he cared a great deal about the government of Ireland. The material question was, whether the administration of Irish affairs should be conducted by a local or central government, and that question involved two distinct considerations: first, would the government of Ireland be more wisely, more equitably, and more Satisfactorily conducted in times of general tranquillity? and, secondly, would the maintenance of public order, and the suppression of popular disturbance, be as carefully, and, at the same time, as constitutionally guarded under the system now proposed, as under that which they were about to supersede? Had Irish Members, who, with such reckless facility, undertook to decide upon a great national question such as the future administration of their country, ever considered this latter part of the question at all? Had it ever occurred to them to inquire as to what was to be the nature of the Irish Executive in case of disturbance or insurrection in that country? Was a provisional Viceroy to be sent over for the nonce, or was Ireland to be subjected to a military dictator, subject only to instructions from London, which might be intercepted or indefinitely suspended? Irish Members of all political opinions should narrowly consider the possible consequences before they pronounced too hastily in this matter. The only solid advantage which he had yet heard stated as likely to arise from this change, was the additional responsibility of the Minister who would have the charge of Irish business—the advantage of having, in that House, a Minister who might be called to account if public business was neglected, from whom explanation might be demanded whenever matters appeared unsatisfactory or obscure. But he saw no valid reason why that might not be the case under the present system. He saw no reason why the Irish Executive should be represented in that House as it was, unless it was the deliberate intention of Her Majesty's Government to carry this question by a species of blockade, and to prove the necessity of a new arrangement by making the present impossible. The Irish Executive, as it was represented in the House, was an argumentum ad absurdum in favour of the Bill; and if an admission that any change would be for the better, argued an acquiescence in the change proposed, it would be unnecessary to divide the House upon it. He thought, however, that Her Majesty's Ministers were taking an unfair advantage of the House, in this style of argument; he thought the difficulty capable of another solution, and that it would be necessitated as much by the rejection as by the passing of this Bill. He did not flatter himself he had cleared up this most difficult question; but if he had succeeded in proving that it still required elucidation—if he had succeeded in mowing down any part of the jungle in which the whole subject was smothered and obscured, he had not risen in vain.


felt compelled to say that he felt some satisfaction in supporting the Bill, reserving to himself the right of using his discretion hereafter as to whether he should support or oppose whatever form of government might be substituted for the existing system in Ireland. Looking back as he did upon the history of Ireland, he believed that that history was but one continued scene of misgovernment. He looked upon the office of Lord Lieutenant as the chief feature of that system, and now that it was proposed to abolish that office, he could but rejoice at the change. He felt that the present system of governing that country partook very much of that pursued with reference to the colonies, while it possessed nothing whatever of its efficiency. He had listened with much interest and pleasure to the able end eloquent speech of the hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin; but he could not discover that he had advanced any substantial reasons in opposition to the Bill. However, he (Lord Naas) should feel bound to support the hon. and learned Gentleman in some of his views during the progress of the Bill in Committee. He was sorry that Government had not taken this opportunity to indicate their intention to pursue a new line of policy towards Ireland. As an Irishman he could not view with any feelings of alarm a measure which might have the effect of drawing closer the bonds of union between England and Ireland. If Irish influence was really to be felt—if Irish interests were really to become powerful—it was not by provincial but by imperial influence that those ends were to be obtained. As Members of the Imperial Senate, Irishmen could far better minister to the welfare of Ireland, than by backstairs intrigue in the Castle of Dublin. It seemed there was no such intention, and that in fact this Bill would effect nothing more than transfer the office of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland to London under another name. The only difference in the new system would be, that the functions and powers now exercised in Ireland by the Lord Lieutenant, would for the future be discharged in this country by the fourth Secretary of State. He believed the Government might have devised a better system, and one more productive of advantage to Ireland; however, he would support the Bill, as he believed the system of Irish government at present pursued was very bad. Without pledging himself as to his opinions respecting the mode of government which may be substituted, he should now vote for the abolition of the office of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and in favour of the second reading of the Bill.


said, that two questions had entered into all that had been stated that evening, and which ought to be kept quite distinct: one was, whether the office of the Lord Lieutenancy ought to be abolished; and the other was, by whom, and in what manner, the duties of that office should be performed, should Parliament approve of the abolition? With respect to the first, he considered that it must be apparent, that it would be beneficial to have the duties performed by a person having a seat in the Cabinet. With respect to the greater part of the information received by the Lord Lieutenant, he could have no other means of collecting it in Ireland than could be at his command in London. He must obtain his information by letters and records, and not by personal intercourse, whether in Dublin or in London; and as communications could now pass with almost as much facility from Dublin as from Yorkshire or Devonshire to London, any inconvenience arising on that head could surely not be advanced as a reason for continuing what was undoubtedly an expensive, and, he believed, an inconvenient arrangement. It had been asked how could the requisite attention be given to the affairs of Ireland, if the Lord Lieutenant was withdrawn from Dublin, and placed here? The answer to that was, that if he were sitting as a Member either of the one House of Parliament or the other, with a seat in the Cabinet, he would be able to give his attention to every Bill and every measure that was brought forward affecting Ireland—to take a part in the debates upon those measures, in constant communication with the other Members of the Government, and sharing in the responsibility of every measure, while taking upon himself the main responsibility of all the measures especially affecting Ireland. The real question was, whether the administration of the affars of Ireland could be best carried on by a Lord Lieutenant resident in Ireland, or by a responsible Minister here? For his own part, he could not entertain a doubt that the latter would be the best plan. He could see no ground for treating Ireland differently from any other part of the empire. He admitted that the Home Secretary was responsible for the administration of Ireland, and was bound to answer any questions that might be asked regarding it; but to be able to do that he must be in constant communication with the Lord Lieutenant. He himself had been so now for a considerable period; but he felt it would be infinitely more satisfactory if that communication could take place personally with a Secretary of State for Ireland—assuming at present that there was to be one—meeting in the same room, than by correspondence. Undoubtedly there had been instances in which the Lord Lieutenant had come here to defend his policy; but that had been attended with great inconvenience, and could not be adopted as a practice. If the direction of the affairs of Ireland were conducted here, instead of in Ireland, the Secretary of State having the reponsibility of them would have ample opportunity of intercourse with his Col- leagues, while he would also have personal communication with gentlemen connected with that country, and be able to ascertain the views and feelings of all parties. Then there was the separate and distinct question, namely—if the office in Ireland were abolished, and its duties transfered to a Member of the Cabinet, by whose hands would those duties be performed? He admitted the importance of unity of action in governing this empire. Departmental government was an evil; and there could be no doubt of the desirableness of having one mind to pervade and influence every department of government, but there must also be division of labour, and looking at the number and importance of the measures that were daily brought before Parliament affecting Ireland, and the pressure of business that was continually arising respecting it, it would not only be impossible at once to throw the whole burden and responsibility of that upon the Home Secretary, but it would not be giving the present measure a fair chance of success, if provision were not to be made, in the first instance at least, for the discharge of the duties of the office by some other person than the Home Secretary. It was easy to speak of Ireland as identified with other parts of the empire, but in many things it was very different. It might be desirable that the legislation for the whole empire should be assimilated, and the present measure would do much towards that end; but there were some subjects on which identity of legislation was unattainable. He thought the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth had rather overrated some of the inconveniences which might arise from the abolition of this office. For instance, he had asked, supposing disturbances to take place in Ireland, and the question arose whether a regiment should be sent there or not, how was it to be decided whether the regiment should be sent or not? Really he (Sir G. Grey) could not see the difficulty. Such a difficulty could not arise in an united government. It would be with respect to Ireland as it is now with respect to all other places. A regiment was wanted for Ireland, or for a colony. Well, one Member of the Cabinet mentions that to the others; they consult upon it; and without any difficulty it is settled whither a regiment shall be sent, and from what part of the kingdom it shall be withdrawn. Then with respect to the judicial institutions of Ireland, he could not imagine how the idea had got abroad that the courts of law were to be removed from Ireland to England. Such a notion had never entered the mind of Her Majesty's Government. The courts of law in Scotland exist there now as they had always done; and so would the courts of law in Ireland continue there after the abolition of the Lord Lieutenant's office, just as before. No doubt communication between the Judges and the Lord Lieutenant was necessary, and that communication with the Judges in Ireland could just as well be kept up if the Lord Lieutenant, or a Secretary for Ireland, were here, as it is kept up between the Judges in Scotland and the Government in London. And when Gentlemen spoke of the administration of the internal affairs of Ireland, looking at the system which had lately grown up of putting questions in that House upon almost every imaginable point, and the answers to which often required a knowledge of the most minute details, there could be no doubt that the constant presence in Parliament of the person most intimately conversant with those affairs and details would be an essential benefit. With regard to the suggestion of the right hon. Baronet, of the possibility of withdrawing a portion of the duty of the Secretary of State, in order to allow him to devote more of his time to Ireland, that was a subject which hereafter might be well worthy of the attention of Parliament. Upon that point, however, he would not at present offer any opinion, the question now before the House being, whether they would consent to the abolition of the office of Lord Lieutenant, and the substitution of a Minister responsible to Parliament in his place. He hoped the House would agree to the second reading of this Bill, with a view to substitute imperial for provincial government, and to place the administration of Irish affairs in the hands, whether of a fourth Secretary of State or of some other Member of the Government; but still in the hands of a Minister, who would have to answer in his place in Parliament from day to day any questions that might be put to him, and who would be responsible for any legislative measures which he, as a member of the Cabinet, might have to bring forward.


I can-not refrain from expressing the satisfaction at the serious and considerate tone which has characterised this debate, contrasting forcibly as it does with the levity of allusion and bitterness of taunt, by which a former night's discussion was but too much characterised. The question before us is one eminently worthy of dispassionate, careful, and full deliberation. A question more grave you cannot be called on to determine, with reference to the future welfare of Ireland, or the permanent strength and unity of the empire. It is no nice balance of merits between different sets of official forms. It is no vain or empty dispute about the comparative fitness of titles which this or the other functionary may hereafter bear. It is no inflated controversy about subordinate details. The real question before us is, whether the Government of Ireland shall be transferred from Ireland to England, and whether, if it be so transferred, it will be rendered thereby more efficient and more responsible? Incidental difficulties or inducements connected with the proposed change may be entitled to more or less of incidental consideration; but the main question is this: Are you prepared to decree that in future there shall be no local government in Ireland? Are you convinced that the good of that country will be promoted by the complete concentration of all administrative authority in Downing-street? And here I would ask the House to consider whether the time is peculiarly propitious for the intended change? Are the difficulties of Irish administration so diminished, or is the condition of the country itself so happy and secure, that you should just now precipitate this confessedly most unpopular, and, I believe, most perilous experiment? The strife of sects is indeed abated, and the violence of party has for a season died away; but the old quarrel still remains—the unquenched suspicion and distrust between an alien proprietary and the great mass of the people of the land; and he must be a very superficial observer, I think, of what is daily passing before our eyes, who does not see how strongly the currents of popular feeling are running there, with regard to these the most vital questions by which society can be moved. For one, I can only say, that, knowing what I do of the condition of things now existing, and anticipating what I do, as to the exigencies that may arise, I should be false to myself and to those whose representative I am, were I to withhold the avowal that I look toward the present and proximate future of society in Ireland with profound and painful misgivings. Were this my own conviction merely, I should hesitate publicly to urge it upon the attention of others. But it is not so. Similar feelings are, I believe, entertained by every person whose judgment I should wish to have were I placed in a position of responsibility in connection with the affairs of that country; and I am firmly persuaded that no man of experience or foresight who comprehends the nature of those grievances whereof the great bulk of the community with too much reason complain, will say that the utmost care, vigilance, and caution, are likely to become superfluous in the daily administration of affairs. The duty of Government in a representative State may be said to be twofold: it is charged with the maintenance of the laws while they remain in force; and it is responsible for their modification, as well as for the suggestion of new laws when circumstances demand them. How will this measure affect the performance of these two functions? When we talk of laws being well administered, it is important to bear distinctly in mind what the laws in question are. It is proposed, that hereafter the laws of England and Ireland should be administered under the same Ministerial authority, and from the same Ministerial seat of power. Well, that might be somewhat more reasonable if the laws to be thus administered were the same; but what if the laws are wholly and in the gravest essentials dissimilar? The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) asked why should there be distinct administration when the laws of the two realms were identical? Why, where was a greater delusion than that which such a question betrayed. Identity of English and Irish laws may be an apt phrase in debate; it may be a pleasing rhetorical mode of expression made use of by parties in power, or candidates for power who wish to conciliate Irish support; but as a matter of fact it is perfectly certain that no such thing exists; nor in my belief is there the slightest probability of its existence, within any period of time which any one here can assign. To talk of assimilation of laws as a condition precedent which may be assumed as a settled basis for a single and centralised administration, is no better than solemn trifling. Not in minute details, in nice adaptation merely, but in every characteristic feature of our domestic polity, the difference is wide and palpable. The educational system by which the children of the many in Ireland are formed, is wholly unlike anything which exists in England. The organisation of the general police, whereby offenders are made amenable to justice, is wholly unlike anything which any one dreams of in England. The entire machinery whereby public employment is permanently afforded through the sub-department of public works, has no parallel or counterpart here. The ground plan of our poor-law and its whole superstructure is necessarily dissimilar from that which exists in England. Go through the whole list—not of exceptional statutes, but of fundamental and permanent laws—and you will be forced to confess that in every thing of importance and of difficulty—in every thing where administrative skill, circumspection and energy are required—the laws of the two kingdoms are diverse not identical. This may be an evil, or it may be a good. That is not the question here. Is it a fact? Will any one on cither side of the House who has ever held responsible office connected with Ireland, rise in his place and controvert it? And if not, where is the point or force in the reasoning that rests altogether upon an hypothesis so utterly and helplessly unsound? When the noble Lord at the head of the Government introduced this Bill, I was one of those who understood him to do so as affording the means of finally settling a great problem, of determining the true proportions of central power, and of adjusting the balance between local and imperial functions. But after what we have heard to-night from the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel), and the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department, it seems pretty clear that this is only a first step in the path of centralisation. The right hon. Member for Tamworth deprecated the inference drawn from his ominous words regarding the Irish bench and bar, by my Hon. Friend the Member for Cork. He says he did not mean to foreshadow their fall. I was happy to find him so prompt in endeavouring to do away the effect which his expressions were so well calculated to produce; although what he meant to convey by the use of the singular phrases "a separate bar, and a local chancellor," nobody in this House but himself will undertake to explain. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir G. Grey) appeared almost to outbid the right hon. Baronet for the favour of those who desire to see every local institution uprooted in Ireland; for he intimated not very obscurely that a fourth Secretary of State might be only a transitionary expedient, and that we might look forward, ere long, to the honour of being bereft of every remnant of a separate or distinct executive power. Considering the position of the representatives of Ireland in this House, and that on every occasion where the interests of their country and those of other portions of the empire are supposed to differ, the Irish Members are liable first to be outnumbered in the lobby, and then to be held up as fit objects of public denunciation and abuse; it is vain to pretend that any practical responsibility could be enforced in Irish affairs, if such affairs were massed and confused with those which now engage the undivided care of the Home Secretary. The stronger influence would prove irresistible; and the weaker would be left without redress, or the hope of exacting any thing like Ministerial accountability. The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield asked us to discuss this question as if no deep and dangerous channel had been by the hand of nature interposed between the two countries. It was certainly a large demand upon our powers of imagination to invite us to ignore the existence of that formidable and uncontrollable tide. But the hon. Gentleman in fact required a much greater stretch of our fancy, when he requested that we should, for the purposes of this debate, forget the moral, social, political, and religious differences between the two nations. Of these the Channel is but in truth a very inadequate symbol. The rustic, we are told in the fable, punished his donkey for having drunk up the moon that shone in the shallow pool; but the thirst of centralisation is more silly and more insatiable; for it would not only gulp the sea, but it would fain believe that those popular wants and passions with which the dark and restless waves have been so often compared, can be got rid of by simply refusing to see or heed them more. Suppose for a moment, however, that all this were possible—suppose we could forget all we have had bitter cause to remember—suppose that we sincerely desired to obliterate henceforth all national distinctions in legislation and government, does any man who knows the real feeling of this or the other House of Parliament, believe that we should find the slightest approach to a general or substantial compliance with such a demand? I have had but brief experience, and may be deemed to possess but limited faculties of observation. But I doubt if any one of weight or character will hazard a confirmation of the assertion made by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, that the people of England regard the people of Ireland as politically undistinguishable from themselves, and that Parliament is prepared to make laws in future for the two communities in one and the same spirit. I totally disbelieve both propositions: I utterly disbelieve in the alleged disposition to legislate for Ireland—not in the same words or forms, but—in the same just, forbearing, and considerate temper which characterises legislation for Great Britain. And how is it conceivable, that while a jealous, distrustful, and severing spirit pervades the making of laws, you can hope to reduce their administration to moral or intelligible unity? I have no particular love for an obsolete office. I set little store on the perpetuation of a title somewhat, it must be owned, out of date. Still less do I care for the dingy pomp of Viceroyalty. What I desire above and beyond all else is to see the business of the country well done, and therefore done where alone it can be efficiently done—on the spot. For business so done you may and can exact responsibility at that table; but for business ill done, or left undone in Downing-street, we should never be able to enforce any responsibility at all. With respect to the other great duty of a constitutional Ministry, that of originating measures of change in the law, the consequences of adopting the present proposal would be equally injurious. The words of Lord Bacon have grown almost proverbial, that "laws they are not, which public opinion hath not made." But whose opinion did the wise man mean to declare thus indispensable? Manifestly that of those on whom the laws are to be imposed, and whose willing assent it is of so much value to reckon upon. A sagacious and liberal Government is careful to ascertain, and prompt to embody in permanent forms of law, the opinions of the community, or of the better portion thereof. This may not always be easy to ascertain. Not unfrequently the predominant feeling or sense of the public is matter of dispute. But the duty of those who fill the station of Ministers is so far plain, that they are bound to use all diligence, and to avail themselves of the best means in their power for ascertaining what public opinion upon each important subject is, and to take nothing on trust or at second hand where there is danger of their being deceived, and where opportunities are open to them of judging for themselves. But what is the use of affected assent to these incontestable prin- ciples, if the essential consideration is silently evaded—what public opinion is to be consulted? In points of imperial policy the range of inquiry ought to be imperial, and any may be consulted where all are concerned. But where measures are strictly limited to one-third of the empire, ought not especial care to be taken that the sentiments of that particular portion should be heard, and examined, and weighed? And how is this practically possible if the Minister whose especial duty it is to frame laws and alterations in laws for Ireland, is as a matter of course to reside and transact the business of his department all the year round in London? Is he to take his notions of public opinion in Ireland from the hungry and pliant crew—highborn or humble it signifies not—who crowd the steps of every department, and eagerly wait for a propitious moment when they may pour the tale they imagine best calculated to please, into the ear of one who has favours to bestow? Is it only what is agreeable to his humour, or what jumps with his preconceptions, that it is needful a Minister should hear? Or is it only from the lips of the importunate, the intrusive, or the intriguing, that he is to learn by personal observation the state of a nation? If the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell), were Irish Minister, would he not rather seek to know what were the real feelings and thoughts of the middle classes of the community—those classes whose worth was regarded, and justly regarded in this fortunate country, as the true ballast of the State? But how could a Minister permanently resident in London come at the genuine thoughts and feelings of these classes in Ireland? Police reports daily received and duly noted when read, may give a Minister very accurate notions of all that is evil, and barren, and vile; but out of police reports, no Minister with heart to conceive any project of popular amelioration, or intellect capable of working out such a scheme, will ever glean the knowledge that he requires. In Ireland, the classes to whom I allude, for the most part possess but limited means; and from too long neglect and depression they are but ill fitted to make their sentiments heard on questions of unattractive and unexciting detail, by a distant and unknown Minister. The consequence would be, that while their opinions and wishes remain unheeded, in their name a restless and selfish cabal would ever beset the department here; and instead of the free and varied reflec- tion of the national mind, there would be nothing but the worthless suggestions and promptings of an insignificant oligarchy. I cannot regard such a result as in any degree tending towards improvement or progress. I cannot believe that executive responsibility will thus be rendered greater; on the contrary, I am persuaded that it will, of necessity, be rendered far less. Irish Peers and Members of Parliament may gain somewhat in personal influence; but it will he at the cost of their country, and in a political sense the change will deserve not the title of gain. It has, I know, been said by those who would sweep away every vestige of a distinct department, and who would make the Home Office discharge the same functions for both kingdoms, that however partial and unequal past legislation may have been, in future everything shall be uniform, and imperial assimilation shall become the inflexible order of the day. Now, if you expect us to credit this marvellous change in your Parliamentary ways of thinking and acting, you ought to show us some sign whereby we may know that you are in earnest in promising it; you ought to point out some of the symptoms from which we may fairly infer that its coming is nigh at hand. For my part I have sought diligently, but hitherto most unsuccessfully, for any such symptom or sign. Neither within the Statute-book, nor without, have I been able as yet to find any trace of an altered spirit of legislation for Ireland; any proof of even an intermittent distrust towards her. Let mc not be mistaken as making any complaint that the two islands have not the same laws. The theory of assimilation is that of the hon. Member for Sheffield: it is not mine. What we desire is equal, not identical, institutions. To be truly equal, they cannot, in my opinion, be the same. The habits and wants of the two nations are not identical; how then can you satisfy them alike if you do not vary, adapt, and suit their respective laws to each? What I do complain of is, that not only is the letter of legislation different, but that the spirit is wholly and essentially diverse. And when by way of a remedy it is proposed that, fit or unfit, suitable or the contrary, the selfsame enactments shall be made without distinction for both, so as to secure the semblance and show of imperial impartiality; we are left to search in vain for even a trial of this clumsy experiment in national justice. We have for years past been continually assured that the old sys- tem in this respect was about to be given up; that a reformed Parliament would certainly deal quite differently with Ireland; that the Union would at length be made real; and that, for hotter for worse, we should dwelt in the same constitutional home, and partake of the same political fare. Well, is it so? Why, the mere enumeration of statutes made in the two last years, would convince the most credulous dreamer of amended rule, that not even a beginning as yet has been made in the way of assimilation. In the Session of 1844 you passed 133 "public and general Acts" as they are termed in the Statute-book. Many of these are in point of fact strictly local, and the title of "public" seems oddly enough applied to several others. So that in truth it may be fairly assumed that not above 100 deserve the designation of national statutes. Well, of these no fewer than twenty-five, or a fourth of the whole, are limited in their operation to Ireland only; while of those which were meant to extend the provisions of English enactments to that country, there are to be found but four. Will it he said that nevertheless the tendency is towards assimilation? Let us see. In the following year, 1849, the public and general statutes passed were 111, from which we should, for any purpose of legitimate comparison, deduct a considerable number as being but technically distinguished from "local" Acts. Out of these, no less than thirty-two were exclusively applicable to Ireland; and of assimilating statutes, there were during the Session but three; so that the proportion of separate and distinct laws made by the present Parliament appears to be rather upon the increase than otherwise. You find it impossible to assimilate the forms, and you are not prepared to equalise the spirit of legislation: yet you ask us to consent that the administration should be concentrated in a single hand and in a single place, while the enactments to be administered continue to be utterly dissimilar. The noble Lord at the head of the Government lays claim on behalf of Parliament to Irish gratitude, on account of the Franchise Bill. It will be time enough, I think, for the people of Ireland to make up their minds regarding that measure when they have got it. Rumour may be deceptive on this as on other subjects; but as far as those who are not in the secrets of party elsewhere can venture to form a conjecture, it seems to be still exceedingly doubt- ful how much of that measure we are likely to get. But however and whenever passed, I must frankly say that in my judgment no claim of gratitude can or ought to be made for the tardy payment of such a debt so long overdue. In conclusion, I can only repeat that while I have no objection that the title of Viceroy, and the ceremonial connected with that ancient office should be abolished, and to the substitution of a Minister of State for Ireland, with a seat in the Cabinet, I cannot assent to the annihilation of all the moans of local government in Ireland, or the concentration of all administrative authority in London. I believe that so long as the institutions of the two kingdoms differ in the most essential features, you may compound but you cannot unite their responsible government, You may detach and disgust the middle classes by shutting them out from every opportunity of making their sentiments understood; you may drive the working classes into a more deep and dark sense of the hopelessness of their condition under your system of rule; but the peace of Ireland you will not secure, and the unity of the empire you will not consolidate, by this Bill. It will gratify an absentee gentry, it will fulfil the anticipations of theorists, and conciliate the applause of bureaucratic cliques; but it will tend to enfeeble authority in Ireland, and render you more dependent than ever for the maintenance of order and tranquillity there upon the strength of your garrison.


The fervid nationality of my hon. Friend the Member for Dundalk has overcome, in this instance, his habitually admirable good sense. His criticism, on the details of the Bill, which is at least as minute as it is accurate, does not touch the principle. He has throughout assumed. that the Minister for Ireland is not to visit that country. This is a misapprehension. That functionary ought to have a perfect knowledge of Ireland, and be conversant with our policy, our feelings, our prejudices, our passions, our good qualities, and our imperfections; and there can be no doubt that his residence in Ireland must be conducive to that knowledge, and is to be desired. I have risen. Sir, with a view to prove two things; first, that the Lord Lieutenancy is worse than useless; and, secondly, that the Government of Ireland ought not to be absorbed in the Homo 'Office. There was a time when the Lord Lieutenancy was made subservient to the policy upon which the Government of Ire- land was carried on; when Ireland was governed, through the chief proprietors of the country, upon principles which were not more Protestant than they were aristocratic; when the Irish gentry were the sole depositories of political power, and the entire patronage of the Crown circulated in a lucrative monopoly through that contracted channel; when they commanded the representation of almost every county, and the nomination of almost every borough in Ireland, and the Minister, not only not unnaturally, but almost inevitably, looked to them for Parliamentary sustainment. The Irish Lord Lieutenant, a nobleman of high rank and consideration, surrounded with the apparatus of a court, made the Castle the point of political and social centralisation, and attracted the small but powerful class in which the exclusiveness of fashion and the intolerance of faction were combined. That a considerable influence was exercised by the Irish Executive through their instrumentality cannot be doubted; but suddenly the foundation on which this artificial fabric was constructed gave way. Catholic emancipation was carried; it was followed by Parliamentary reform. Power was almost immediately transferred from the favoured and manageable few to the multifarious and unmanageable many. The Lord Lieutenant was denuded of all influence; he was unable materially to effect the return of a single Member of Parliament; and what had been an engine of State was converted into a mere scenic machine for the very imperfect representation of Royalty on a very provincial stage. The spectators are weary of the exhibition, and it is time that the theatre should be closed. Let us get rid of the Irish Court, which is, after all, a badge of colonial inferiority. Let us get rid of the Malvolio dignity of the retainers of this mimetic institution. Let this glittering superfluity—I dare not call it this gaudy nuisance—be put aside, and in lieu of all this mockery let us give the opportunity to the Irish people to give to the Sovereign of that great empire, of which Ireland constitutes a part so important, that frequent welcome which will never fail to come in fervour from the nation's heart, and of which, by its reiteration, the enthusiasm will never be impaired. I pass to the important question, whether Ireland should be merged in the Home Office? I think the duties of that department too onerous. It will be deemed presumption on my part to dif- fer from the Member for Tamworth, who filled that office, and conferred lustre upon it. I cannot help thinking that the right hon. Gentleman is the least competent witness on the subject; because, gifted with Atlantean faculties, he judges of the power of other men to sustain a mighty burden by his own. He could perhaps keep back England with one hand, and stay Ireland with the other; but this achievement is not given to others to perform. The hon. Baronet alluded to the 10th of April. If circumstances should arise analogous to those under which, two years ago, so much energy, so much firmness, and so much moderation were exhibited by my right hon. Friend, when with the constable's staff he struck insurrection down, do you think that England and her peace would not give him enough to do? Ireland, with her millions, her distresses, and her dangers, would not fit in the Home Office. The Home Office would not hold her. Look at Ireland. Don't shut your eyes. Don't endeavour not to see the evils to which she is subject, and the hazards to which she is exposed. Ireland is passing-through a frightful ordeal, to which the gentle and mitigated name of "transition" is sometimes applied. Ireland has not yet adapted herself to that terrible novelty—that dire necessity—the Irish Poor Law. The Commission for the Sale of Encumbered Estates is proceeding with a rapidity which divests the law of its proverbial procrastination. Great as the good it will do in many regards, it will throw hundreds of well-born and well-instructed men upon the world; and it is not necessary to tell you that ruin is the recruit of agitation. Vast assemblages of the peasantry are held in various parts of the country, where an agrarian code is propounded, and the liabilities of landlords and the prerogatives of tenants are defined. At the head of these assemblies stand the priesthood—Catholic and Presbyterian. I could say much more than I choose to utter; but I have said enough to show you that the state of Ireland must long engross the undivided thought and the undistracted solicitude of the man to whose care she shall be consigned. But is the administration of Ireland to continue distinct for ever? I do not mean to say so. But great changes must first take place in Ireland, which we may not live to witness, but to which we may even now remotely contribute. When the moral aspect of Ireland shall have changed—when she shall have passed through a process of social and political amelioration—when the disaffection which is still smouldering shall be extinct—when the embers, still pregnant with fire, living though latent, shall grow cold—when the rights of property and the rights of poverty (for poverty has its rights as well as property) shall be reconciled and adjusted—when an Irish landlord shall learn to look on a poor-house, not as a memorial of extortion, but as a monument of public mercy—when you shall adapt your institutions to Ireland, and give up the idle endeavour of adapting Ireland to your institutions—when the Parliament shall give the Government leave, or, I should rather say, when the people of England shall give the Parliament leave to do what it is so hard to do, but what every man who has the least acquaintance with Ireland pronounces it to be, for the purposes of wellbeing, and even of safety, indispensable to accomplish—when, I say, these things shall have come to pass, then, and not till then, let the administration of England, of Scotland, of Ireland, be as indivisible as the realm; but until then, in the interval—long, perhaps, in reference to individual existence, but short in reference to a nation's life—let us wisely abstain from adding to the weight of toil and care necessarily incidental to the internal administration of this great island a cumulative load of labour and of solicitude, which it would require a rare and almost hopeless combination of intellectual power and of physical endurance to sustain.


Sir, when I heard the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down allude to the fervid appeals of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dundalk, and then listened to his own glowing address, I was surprised; but more so when I found his rhetoric clothed an argument in favour of an office which he rose to abolish. "I will prove," he says, "that the Castle of Dublin has undergone a great revolution—that all corrupt influence there is at an end, and because it is pure that is the first reason I would abolish it." "But," said the right hen. Gentleman, "I have another reason—the situation of Ireland is most perilous—her situation cannot be compared to the situation of other countries;" and the right hon. Gentleman, having painted her situation in most forcible terms, says, "I am for destroying the form of government which is already established, and which hitherto has successfully coped with these dangers. Sir, I feel the difficulty of the question before the House. On the only division which has taken place, I recorded my vote with Her Majesty's Ministers, for I thought it was but Parliamentary courtesy to permit a Minister to introduce a measure; but at the same time I intimated some objections, which appeared to me on the face of the scheme, as worthy of the attention of the House. Since then I have had the opportunity, in common with other hon. Members, of perusing the Bill then introduced, and since then I have listened attentively to the speeches of Members on both sides of the House; but, after a careful consideration, I can arrive at no conclusion which shakes the general opinion I then expressed, and in maintaining that conclusion, I am sure I am not misled by any party feeling. Indeed, it is a question on which no feeling exists which might endanger the existence of a Government, and that I think a fortunate circumstance. I should therefore probably have given a silent vote, if I had not had a strong conviction that the measure is a most unwise one—that it is a measure that will not work—that it is not a deeply-considered and finely-matured measure—and that before long the country and the House will recognise in unexpected disasters its consequences. That is why I would express my reasons for the conclusions at which I have arrived. What is the principle of this Bill? The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary found it convenient to impress upon the House that the principle was simply the abolition or maintenance of the Lord Lieutenancy. There I entirely differ from the right hon. Baronet. The principle of the Bill is expressed in its title, "to provide for the abolition of the office of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and for the appointment of a fourth Secretary of State." The appointment of a fourth Secretary of State is as much the principle of the Bill as the abolition of the Lord Lieutenancy. The right hon. Baronet treated that, however, as a mere matter of detail, and held out to the House that the appointment of the fourth Secretaryship was a matter which might be corrected in Committee. It is not, however, a matter of detail. When you have voted for the principle of this Bill, you will have but little chance of recording a negative opinion in Committee on this point. But I will argue the case on the ground which the right hon. Gentleman has chosen, I think un- fairly. I will admit, for the sake of the argument, that the principle of the Bill is simply the abolition of the Lord Lieutenancy. Then what is the object of the Bill? It is to abolish an office which has been in existence for centuries, and, modified by modern experience, and, adapted to modern practices, has flourished for at least fifty years—an office which, I think, has been victoriously vindicated by the hon. Member for Mayo and other hon. Gentlemen. But if you are about to abolish an office which has existed for centuries, and which, even according to modern practice, has worked well for half a century, what are you going to substitute for it? Whatever opinions hon. Members may entertain of the office—although some may think it feeble, some corrupt, some that it is inadequate to the difficulties, and others that it is unable to cope with the necessities of the times—no man ought to vote for its abolition unless he be prepared to approve of that which is to be substituted for it. This is not the first time a new Secretary has been proposed for institution by a Ministry, and assented to by the House. A third Secretary was proposed by the Prime Minister of England, as Secretary for the Colonies, in 1768. The plantations of England were so prosperous, the colonial interests of England had developed themselves in so striking and satisfactory a manner, that the ancient mode of administration under which this had taken place was not deemed adequate to its management, and caused the Minister to come forward in 1768, and propose a third Secretary of State, in order to manage our colonies. What was the consequence? Ten years afterwards we lost our colonies, in consequence of the management of the new Secretary. The new Secretary was appointed to foster the fortunes of our plantations in America, and ten years afterwards the plantations in America did not belong to England. The precedent is so unfortunate, that I cannot help looking with suspicion on this proposal to substitute a fourth Secretary of State for the ancient form of administration in Ireland. Let the House well remember the words used by Mr. Pitt in proposing the Union. "My object is to place under one public will the direction of the whole force of the empire." I want to know from Her Majesty's Ministers whether their proposal to create a fourth Secretary of State is calculated to realise the plan of Mr. Pitt? Not a single argument have I heard to show that the appointment of a fourth Secretary will have a tendency to "place under one public will the whole force of the empire." On the contrary, it is evident when you call into being a great Ministerial officer, second to none but the First Minister of the Crown, that, proud, and justly proud, of his position, he will stand upon the rights of his office, and will not allow the general tenor of the policy adopted to be any one's but his own. It is possible that that policy may be a wise one; but still it will not be that of the Cabinet, except by consent—at any rate, there will not be that unity of will spoken of by Mr. Pitt any more than under the old form of government. Is it intended that the fourth Secretary shall be resident in Ireland? I want an answer to that question. If he be resident in Ireland he is a governor, and all the alleged evil consequences of the present system—which I am not prepared to recognise—must again occur. If he be not resident in Ireland, he must depend upon the subordinates of his office; and how, under those circumstances, will the Government he freed from local management and local influences? The difference between the new system and the old system will be, that under the latter we had local management by an officer of exalted position and high character; and under the new system we shall have local management under obscure and intriguing persons. But then it is said that the office of the Lord Lieutenant is an anomalous office. Are anomalies so rare in this ancient country, that the moment an office becomes anomalous it ought to be destroyed? Does everything exist here by the force of pure reason? On the contrary, everybody knows we have prescription and prejudice without stint; but are not prescription and prejudice sources of strength which no wise statesman would throw away, and certainly not unless he had something to propose in their stead a little more matured than the present scheme. The Lord Mayor of London is an anomalous office. His real position and his general reputation are so contradictory that no foreigner could understand them; and yet the Lord Mayor is treated almost with royal ceremonial. He has a mimic court; but is his a flimsy existence or not? Its consequences are very substantial. It is an office which has contributed to the liberty of this country, and to the maintenance of our public spirit, and yet not an argument against the anomalous mimic Court of Dublin has been used that will not apply to that chief magistrate who has made some figure in the history of England. And here I cannot help making a remark on what has fallen from the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, who, like that distinguished orator the Master of the Mint, appears to me to have delivered a most unanswerable speech against the measure. The right hon. Baronet—and every word which fell from his lips was in fact an armoury, from which every opponent of this measure may find a weapon—closed his address, notwithstanding, by saying that he should support the Bill as an experiment. I must say I have no great taste for experimental legislation. I have seen a great many things introduced into this House as experiments, which, in my opinion, have not succeeded. Not to touch on subjects which might create ill blood, I might remind the House that the income tax was an experiment—an experiment, too, which will take a long time in its solution. I must, however, make one observation on the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. While he consents to the abrogation of this high, ancient, and, as I believe, most useful office, touched doubtless with some generous reminiscences of the distinguished years which he passed in Dublin, he added that he could only do so upon certain terms, namely, that the citizens of Dublin shall receive an equitable and liberal compensation. Now, really, before we go to a vote, I think we ought to have some explanation of such a peculiar phrase from such a high quarter. "Equitable and liberal compensation" comprises a great deal. What I recommend to the citizens of Dublin and to their representatives, is to press for some distinct definition. I know the unhappy class with which I have some connexion were once promised compensation. That promise was never forgotten, and never fulfilled. If the citizens of Dublin are not to have more liberal compensation than the agricultural interest, I recommend them to omit making use of no means of opposing this Bill; and I advise them not to suppose that if they give their assent to the present stage they will find hereafter something that will console them. Truly, I think that the right hon. Baronet, considering that he has been once Prime Minister of this country—that his fame peculiarly rests upon his financial knowledge—that he has always been remarkable for his great caution—that he is celebrated as a Minister for doing more than he promises—ought to give some explanation of what he means by "equitable and liberal compensation" to the citizens of Dublin for the abolition of the Lord Lieutenancy. For the life of me, I cannot annex an idea to the phrase. Ever since I heard it, I have puzzled my brain to discover what it could possibly mean. I have pictured to myself the countenance of a Prime Minister coming down to the House to propose a loan, and then its additional longitude when again he comes down to turn the loan into a gift. The amount—the character—the nature of this compensation are all most perplexing; and it is most important that on this point we should have definite information. There is another point on which I would remark. The right hon. Baronet threw out a pregnant hint to the Government that those sort of duties which are usually filled in foreign countries by the Minister of Justice might be transferred from the Secretary of State to the Lord Chancellor; so that the Lord Chancellor would have to decide on those important, interesting, and numerous eases which occur in Ireland with regard to the exercise of the prerogative of mercy. I differ entirely with the right hon. Baronet on that point. I do not think that the prerogative of mercy is one upon which a mere lawyer ought to be consulted. With the greatest respect to many of my friends in this House who belong to the long robe, I think they might be too much inclined to view such eases in a legal spirit. Those are cases in which a Cabinet Minister—a statesman—a man of the world—of large experience and accustomed to responsibility—would best advise the Sovereign. The point would, perhaps, be of less importance, but that a hint from such a significant quarter must be looked upon as being put forward to cut the knot of some of the difficulties which are involved in this measure. The Bill is brought forward as an experiment. I will take none of its responsibility—I will not have anything to do with such an experiment. I think the case which the Government have made out against the office a weak case, drawn from ancient prejudices, and founded on traditions long since obsolete. But if it were a case as complete and powerful as I think it partial and weak, I could not support it unless I found a better substitute for the office than the one proposed. I deny that the two subjects—the abolition of the one office, and the establishment of the other—are not necessarily connected. I say, both are necessarily and indissolubly connected; and that, in voting for the principle of the Bill, you cannot leave out that moiety which relates to the establishment of the fourth Secretary.


said, the gorgeous eloquence, he might say poetry, of the right hon. Gentleman the Master of the Mint, and the perpetual exhibition of fireworks with which he had dazzled them, could not make him overlook the close of his speech, rendered significant by the cheers with which it was greeted, and the quarter from which those cheers came, when he said he regarded the measure as chiefly valuable because it gave him reason to hope when there was one uniform system of administration, and when the great operations of centralisation were fixed here, that the early dream of his boyhood would be accomplished. Now, who would contradict him (Sir R. Inglis) when he affirmed that the object to which the right hon. Gentleman alluded was the establishment of the Church of Rome in the kingdom of Ireland? He would over oppose a proposition to which such a tendency could be assigned; and he begged to ask the noble Lord at the head of the Government and the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, how they had ruled the country so long without bringing forward a measure they now thought of such importance to its destinies? In 1844 both parties were agreed in stating the time had not come for the abolition of the office. The whole argument in favour of it now must rest, therefore, on what had occurred between 1844 and 1850; but he would appeal to the House if, in January 1850, any one could have anticipated Government would have brought forward this measure. Having heard nothing in 1850 which would have induced him, if it had been stated in 1844, to vote for the Bill, and having listened to the whole speech of the hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin, which seemed quite conclusive, he was not prepared to vote for the Bill.


begged to tender to the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, on behalf of his constituents, his sincere thanks for the suggestion he had thrown out as to the compensation of which the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth spoke; and would endeavour to avail himself of that suggestion, if necessary. It would, he feared, prove ultimately but a shadow and a sound; because he recollected when the noble Lord stated Dublin would not suffer so much loss, because Her Majesty would pay an occasional visit, he (Mr. Reynolds) had asked the noble Lord to insert a clause to that effect, and had been answered only by a nod, which satisfied him the clause would not be inserted. He wished to declare that the citizens of Dublin never had advocated the retention of the office on the narrow grounds put forward by the hon. Member for Mayo, but believed that the abolition of the Lord Lieutenancy, while especially injurious to Dublin, would prove detrimental to Ireland generally. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth had admitted he entertained some doubts as to the wisdom and necessity of the measure. He wished the right hon. Gentleman had given Ireland the benefit of his doubts. As a question of argument very little had been urged for the abolition—indeed, the only substantial argument for the measure was "the Conway tube." The right hon. Gentleman the Master of the Mint had pointed out, as a consolation, that the fourth Secretary would visit Dublin occasionally, but had not stated where he would take up his quarters. He (Mr. Reynolds) supposed it would be at "the Hibernian," or "the Gresham," and that the morning papers would announce the arrival of this locomotive specimen of British legislation at some hotel, which would be very good places to stop at, as he might receive very valuable information from the waiters. It occurred to him that Government were not anxious about the measure, and would be happy to make a creditable and satisfactory retreat from it; and, as one of their supporters and sincere friends, he would rejoice if they were rescued from their dilemma. They said, "Ireland has been badly governed, therefore remove the Lord Lieutenant." Now, he (Mr. Reynolds) condemned all references to those angry portions of history; because they were calculated to do much evil, and no good; and he would not, therefore, allude to the attrocities committed in the reign of Oliver Cromwell, or in the time of his royal successors in Ireland; but he would draw a distinction between the English of the past and of the present day, and he believed the latter were desirous of doing justice to his country. Would it be doing justice, however, if they were to substitute for the Lord Lieutenant a fourth Secretary—an Englishman, of course— who would reside in England—who would have no connexion with Ireland, and possessed no knowledge of the people? In conclusion, he could only say, that if he wished to cut the painter between the two countries, and to introduce republican principles, be would vote for this measure; and he could assure the House he had not mot a man discontented with British connexion who had not rejoiced at the proposal. He implored the House to reject a measure which would inflict one more blow on his unfortunate country.


was sure there were many English Members who like himself were unwilling to pass under the sweeping description of following the beck of the Government without any reason being offered for the course they were adopting. He was surprised to find that during the long debates which had taken place, no reference had been made to a great precedent—a grand experiment, though confined perhaps to the negative part of the argument—ho meant the precedent of Scotland. He would ask whether the condition of that country a century ago, was not as bad as anything that can exist in Ireland, and whether every one of the arguments employed against the abolition of the Lord Lieutenancy might not equally have been urged in the case of Scotland, had such an office existed? John of Groat's House, it might have been argued, was so far off, and it was so difficult to get information without being at least as near as Edinburgh, and the communication across the border was so liable to be interrupted by floods and snow. But, for all that, was there any Scottish Member who would aver that the complete union with England had not greatly improved the country which he represented? The reason why he and other English Members would support the Bill, was simply because they believed the Lord Lieutenancy bad always been, and especially in worse times than the present, the centre of the accumulations of evil which had afflicted Ireland. Who was the first Lord Lieutenant? Was it Strongbow? If not, it ought to have been. As an Englishman who admitted that there had been an almost incessant course of ill-treatment to Ireland, he formed this opinion of the office and its tendencies. He heartily agreed in the sentiment expressed by the hon. Member who led the opposition to the Bill, as to the danger to be apprehended on the side of America. He (Colonel Thompson) believed that America would soon look with the same eye upon Ireland as she was now looking upon Cuba. He was strengthened in that belief by the sentiments expressed, not indeed in a communication from an American Secretary of State—for Secretaries of State were not given to be communicative on such points—but in a document put into the hands of every American man, woman, and child, that landed in England—a book that like Peter Pindar's razors was made to sell, and therefore it was quite certain did not designedly run counter to public opinion in America; in short, the American Guide-book for England, entitled the Tourist's Guide, or Pencillings in England, published in Philadelphia. With the permission of the House, he would quote a passage:— While standing on the summit of the tower (at Windsor), the royal standard of England was proudly tho wing out its silken folds to the southern breeze from the lofty pinnacle above, giving notice to all that royalty revelled in the banquetting-hall of Windsor Castle, and that its warders were on duty at their watch towers. While gazing and listening at the flapping of the royal banner, as if proud of its lofty height, I thought that the time would come, and probably the child was then born in the western world who would live to see yon silken banner give place to the stars and stripes of America, whose mandates would go forth from those massive portals below, dictating to the world, commanding nations to honour and respect the modest bunting that waved in signal triumph from the towers of Windsor Castle. These aspirations were significant, and the danger would be increased from many causes. Among others, there would no doubt be a number in Ireland, and perhaps in England, who would be swayed by the desire of a republican form of government; though he should have thought that late events both in France and in America had shown that the election of the head of the State, was the weak point in their form of government. But the danger would still he there; and everything pointed to the fact, that a few years hence England and Ireland must be as completely united as England and Scotland are, or there would be an open door for the admission of foreign domination to them all. Providence in its good-will appeared to have removed the barriers between the two countries; for if the last newspaper did not misinform the public, the passage between Dublin and Liverpool was reduced to fourpence. He hoped Irish Members would not take it ill from him, for he never addressed himself to an Irishman without a feeling of comradeship; but he really thought Irishmen were making a mistake like that of the native American chieftain to whom the Spaniards sent chains under the guise of ornaments, and who did not discover his error till he found himself a prisoner in the Spanish camp.


said, that he thought it his duty to his constituents not to give a silent vote on this occasion. He would allude to a speech made by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth in the year 1844, when that right hon. Gentleman expressed his belief that absenteeism was the greatest curse upon Ireland. The abolition of the Lord Lieutenant would increase absenteeism. The opinion of Dean Swift was— That a people long used to hardships lose by degrees the very notion of liberty; they look on themselves as creatures at the mercy of a Government, and feel that all impositions laid on them by a strong hand are legal and obligatory; hence proceeds the poverty and lowness of spirits to which a kingdom as well as an individual may be subjected. That opinion applied to Ireland at the present day. He suggested that, as in olden times, the relatives of the Sovereign should fill the high office of Lord Lieutenant, and when the young princes came of age they ought to be sent over to represent their Sovereign in Ireland. He wished not to give a silent vote, but at the same time he was not one of those Members who were in the habit of retiring to their closets to prepare their speeches, which they came down and delivered like parrots. He greatly regretted that he was obliged to differ in opinion from, and vote contrary to, many hon. Gentlemen from Ireland. He had the misfortune also conscientiously to differ from the noble Lord at the head of the Government, whoso policy he had always admired, and whom he hoped he would be able to continue to support. He should on this occasion go into that lobby where he hoped to find a few honest men, and a few sympathising Englishmen, who would conscientiously vote against this Bill for the abolition of the Lord Lieutenancy of Ireland, which would alienate the people of that country from England, and inflict great harm on both.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 295; Noes 70: Majority 225.

List of the AYES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Anson, hon. Col.
Adair, H E. Archdall, Capt. M.
Adair, R. A. S. Armstrong, Sir A.
Bagshaw, J. Du Pre, C. G.
Bailey, J. East, Sir J. B.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Ebrington, Visct.
Baldock, E. H. Egerton, W. T.
Baring, H. B. Ellice, rt. hon. E.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T. Ellis, J.
Barnard, E. G. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Bass, M. T. Enfield, Visct.
Benbow, J. Estcourt, J. B. B.
Berkeley, Adm. Euston, Earl of
Berkeley, C. L. G. Evans, J.
Bernal, R. Evans, W.
Birch, Sir T. B. Evelyn, W. J.
Blackstone, W. S. Ewart, W.
Blair, S. Fagan, W.
Blewitt, R. J. Farnham, E. B.
Booth, Sir R. G. Fergus, J.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Ferguson, Col.
Bowles, Adm. Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Boyd, J. Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W.
Boyle, hon. Col. Fordyce, A. D.
Bramston, T. W. Forster, M.
Bright, J. Fortescue, hon. J. W.
Brisco, M. Fox, W. J.
Broadley, H. Freestun, Col.
Brocklehurst, J. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Brockman, E. D. Gladstone, rt. hon. W. E.
Brotherton, J. Glyn, G. C.
Brown, H. Goddard, A. L.
Brown, W. Gooch, E. S.
Browne, R. D. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Bruce, Lord E. Greenall, G.
Bunbury, E. H. Greene, J.
Burke, Sir T. J. Greene, T.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Grenfell, C. P.
Campbell, hon. W. F. Grenfell, C. W.
Carter, J. B. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Caulfeild, J. M. Grey, R. W.
Cavendish, W. G. Gwyn, H.
Cayley, E. S. Hale, R. B.
Chaplin, W. J. Hall, Sir B.
Cholmeley, Sir M. Hallyburton, Lord J. F.
Clay, J. Halsey, T. P.
Clay, Sir W. Hanmer, Sir J.
Clements, hon. C. S. Hardcastle, J. A.
Clifford, H. M. Harris, R.
Cockburn, A. J. E. Hastie, A.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Hastie, A.
Colvile, C. R. Hatchell, J.
Conolly, T. Hawes, B.
Corry, rt. hon. H. L. Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Headlam, T. E.
Craig, Sir W. G. Heald, J.
Crowder, R. B. Heneage, G. H. W.
Cubitt, W. Heneage, E.
Currie, R. Herbert, H. A.
Dalrymple, Capt. Herbert, rt. hon. S.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Hervey, Lord A.
Davies, D. A. S. Heyworth, L.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Hildyard, T. B. T.
Deedes, W. Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.
Denison, E. Hobhouse, T. B.
Denison, J. E. Hodges, T. L.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C. T. Hollond, R.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Hope, A.
Drummond, H. H. Howard, Lord E.
Duff, G. S. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Duke, Sir J. Howard, hon. E. G. G.
Duncan, Visct. Hughes, W. B.
Duncan, G. Humphery, Ald.
Duncuft, J. Hutchins, E. J.
Dundas, Adm. Hutt, W.
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D. Jermyn, Earl
Jervis, Sir J. Pilkington, J.
Jocelyn, Visct. Plowden, W. H. C.
Johnstone, Sir J. Portal, M.
Keating, R. Powlett, Lord W.
Keogh, W. Pugh, D.
Ker, R. Pusey, P.
Kershaw, J. Reid, Col.
Kildare, Marq. of Ricardo, O.
King, hon. P. J. L. Rice, E. R.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Rich, H.
Langston, J. H. Rebartes, T. J. A.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Romilly, Col.
Legh, G. C. Romilly, Sir J.
Lemon, Sir C. Rushout, Capt.
Lennard, T. B. Russell, Lord J.
Leslie, C. P. Russell, hon. E. S.
Lewis, G. C. Russell, F. C. H.
Loch, J. Sadleir, J.
Locke, J. Salwey, Col.
Lockhart, W. Sandars, J.
Lowther, hon. Col. Seymer, H. K.
Lushington, C. Seymour, Lord
Lygon, hon. Gen. Shell, rt. hon. R. L.
Mackie, J. Shelburne, Earl of
Mackinnon, W. A. Slaney, R. A.
Macnaghten, Sir E. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
M'Gregor, J. Smith, J. A.
Meagher, T. Smith, J. B.
Mangles, R. D. Smyth, J. G.
Marshall J. G. Smollett, A.
Marshall, W. Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W.
Martin, J. Spearman, H. J.
Martin, C. W. Stanley, hon. E. H.
Martin, S. Stanton, W. H.
Masterman, J. Staunton, Sir G. T.
Matheson, J. Strickland, Sir G.
Matheson, Col. Stuart, H.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Sutton, J. H. M.
Meux, Sir H. Tancred, H. W.
Milner, W. M. E. Tennent, R. J.
Milton, Visct. Thicknesse, R. A.
Mitchell, T. A. Thompson, Col.
Monsell, W. Thornely, T.
Moody, C. A. Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Morison, Sir W. Towneley, J.
Morris, D. Townley, R. G.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Townshend, Capt.
Mulgrave, Earl of Tufnell, H.
Naas, Lord Turner, G. J.
Newport, Visct. Villiers, hon. C.
Newry and Morne, Visct. Wakley, T.
Noel, hon. G. J. Walmsley, Sir J.
Norreys, Lord Walpole, S. H.
Norreys, Sir D. J. Watkins, Col. L.
O'Connell, M. J. Wawn, J. T.
O'Connor, F. Wegg-Prosser, F. R.
O'Flaherty, A. Welby, G. E.
Ogle, S. C. H. Westhead, J. P. B.
Ord, W. Wilcox, B. M.
Osborne, R. Williams, J.
Owen, Sir J. Williamson, Sir H.
Paget, Lord A. Willoughby, Sir H.
Palmer, R. Wilson, J.
Parker, J. Wilson, M.
Patten, J. W. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Pearson, C. Wood, W. P.
Pechell, Sir G. B. Wyld, J.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Wynn, Sir W. W.
Peel, F. Wyvill, M.
Pelham, hon. D. A. Young, Sir J.
Pennant, hon. Col. TELLERS.
Perfect, R. Hill, Lord M.
Pigott, F. Bellew, R. M.
Alexander, N. Dod, J. W.
Anstey, T. C. Dodd, G.
Arkwright, Gr. Duncombe, hon. O.
Bankes, G. Dunne, Col.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Edwards, H.
Best, J. Fagan, J.
Blackall, S. W. Farrer, J.
Boldere, H. G. Floyer, J.
Bremridge, R. Forbes, W.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Forester, hon. G. C. W.
Burghley, Lord Frewen, C. H.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Gore, W. O.
Butler, P. S. Grace, O. D. J.
Cabbell, B. B. Granby, Marq, of
Chatterton, Col. Grogan, E.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Hamilton, J. H.
Christy, S. Hildyard, R. C.
Crawford, W. S. Hood, Sir A.
Devereux, J. T. Hornby, J.
Dickson, S. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Disraeli, B. Mackenzie, W. F.
M'Cullagh, W. T. Smythe, hon. G.
Mahon, The O'Gorman Stanley, E.
Manners, Lord C. S. Stuart, J.
Manners, Lord J. Sullivan, M.
Moore, G. H. Talbot, J. H.
Mullings, J. R. Taylor, T. E.
Napier, J. Tenison, E. K.
Neeld, J. Thornhill, G.
Nugent, Sir P. Villiers, hon. F. W. C.
O'Brien, Sir L. Waddington, H. S.
O'Brien, Sir T. Walsh, Sir J. B.
O'Connell, M. Wellesley, Lord C.
Reynolds, J.
Roche, E. B. TELLERS.
Scully, F. Grattan, H.
Sibthorp, Col. Hamilton, G. A.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read 2°. and committed for Monday, 1st July.

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

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