HC Deb 09 May 1851 vol 116 cc834-41

On Question that this Committee consist of seventeen Members,

MR. KEOGH moved that the name of Mr. Reynolds be added to the Committee.


said, that he had no objection to the name of Mr. Reynolds. His noble Friend (Lord John Russell) had stated that he would add three Irish Members to the Committee, and that he would propose their names on Monday. Under these circumstances he hoped the hon. and learned Gentleman would not press his Motion now.


said, his object in calling the attention of the House to the subject was not that any particular Irishman should be placed on the Committee. His own name had been mentioned, but he had no personal wish to serve on it.


said, that there were not a sufficient number of Members connected with the great missionary societies on the Committee. He thought that the number of Members ought to be increased to twenty.

Motion agreed to.


then moved that the name of Mr. Reynolds should be added to the Committee.


repeated that he had no objection to Mr. Reynolds, but he must ask the House to suspend its judgment until Monday, when the noble Lord at the head of the Government would propose the names of three hon. Gentlemen.


said, he must most decidedly oppose the nomination of the hon. Member for the city of Dublin, and he would state the reasons which induced him to come to that conclusion. He did not think that the hon. Gentleman the Member for the city of Dublin was a sufficiently impartial person to be placed on the Committee; and for this reason, he had declared in that House—publicly, deliberately, and solemnly—that he would oppose any proposition whatever of Her Majesty's Government; and he gave the' House to understand that he would do so whether the proposition was right or wrong. The present proposition was one which had originated with the Government; and if the hon. Member for the city of Dublin were consistent with his own pledges, he would have to go into the Committee-room with the "foregone conclusion" of voting against the Government, be the merits of the question what they might. He (Sir Benjamin Hall) could not, therefore, consider the hon. Member to be a person sufficiently impartial to be included in the Committee. If the hon. Member had not made that avowal, he should, have regarded him in other respects as a man of talent and eloquence—a proper person to be placed upon the Committee. He did not speak from any personal feeling towards the hon. Member, but only judged from his own words that he was not an impartial person.


denied that there was the least analogy between a vote in that House and a vote in Committee. The former might have the effect of dislodging the present occupauts of the Treasury bench—his (Mr. Reynolds') political enemies; but the latter, unfortunately, could have no such happy result. The hon. Baronet the Member for Marylebone must be fully aware of this fact, and yet he had, he would not say the audacity, for that would be unparliamentary, but the boldness to affirm that he (Mr. Reynolds) would go into a Committee-room predetermined to disregard the claims of justice in a case in which he was solemnly pledged to do justice as between party and party. The hon. Baronet had taken his seat to-night in the spot usually occupied by the Nestor of Reform (Mr. Hume); but his position there reminded him (Mr. Reynolds) of a saying of their immortal bard—Shakspere—that a certain place would have been "bettor filled had it been empty." The hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) had declared that he would vote black white; and yet that hon. Gentleman was a Member almost of every Committee. And yet he was to be told by the thick and thin, the black and white supporter of the Government, the hon. Baronet the Member for Marylebone, that he (Mr. Reynolds) was disqualified from serving on a Committee. In this conduct the hon. Baronet would be supported by the Government. What was this but a declaration of war to death on the part of the Government against Members who were conscientiously opposed to their policy? The right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary had admitted that there could be no objection to his (Mr. Reynolds') name being put upon the list.


I said I could not then state any objection.


The House will excuse me for correcting the right hon. Baronet's observation. He said there was no objection, and now he is correcting not me but himself. He (Mr. Reynolds) protested against the Government making their opponents marked men, and denouncing them as not worthy of credit. Such conduct was certainly neither magnanimous nor manly; but it was not unworthy of the hon. Baronet (Sir Benjamin Hall) as showing with what fidelity he did the bidding—he would not say of his masters, for that would be unparliamentary—but of his leaders, and with what despatch and devotion he adhered to his colours.


said, that on this Committee there did not appear the name of a single Welshman. He could not help expressing his deep indignation at the insult offered to his countrymen by the exclusion. He did not at all see why hon. Gentlemen representing Welsh constituencies should not be thought of as well as hon. Gentlemen from across the Channel. No man, for instance, could more conscientiously discharge the duties connected with Committees than the hon. Gentleman the Member for the county of Flint (Mr. Mostyn); and when the information reached the Principality that Welshmen had been excluded from this Committee, he (Mr. Williams) was quite sure that they would feel equally indignant with their Irish friends, A short time ago a countryman of his had returned from Kafirland, and had told him (Mr. Williams) that there was a great similarity between the Welsh and Kafir language. If, therefore, there existed any disposition on the part of Government to appoint a Committee to go to Kafirland, Welshmen would certainly be the most competent parties.


said, he was another Welshman, and he could not avoid expressing his burning indignation at the exclusion of Welshmen from the Committee: he considered that there should be at least three Members Welshmen.


said, that as it appeared three Welshmen were to be added to the Committee, that was just another reason why the House should agree to his Motion.


would have advised his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Keogh) not to divide the House on his Motion that night, had it not been for the attack which had been made on the hon. Member for the city of Dublin (Mr. Reynolds) by the hon. Baronet (Sir Benjamin Hall). He (Mr. Lawless) had made the same declaration as the hon. Member for the city of Dublin—he would give no support to the Government so long as they had charge of the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill. The attack on the hon. Member (Mr. Reynolds) had been dictated by a feeling of bitter enmity towards Ireland; and if on the part of the Government there was any disposition to evince such enmity to Ireland; the Irish Members would conduct an opposition of which they had now no idea. He advised the Government to repudiate the language used by the hon. Baronet (Sir Benjamin Hall).


advised the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Keogh) to withdraw his Motion, seeing that Government was pledged to support three Irish Members.


thought that when the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) had undertaken to name three Irish Members on Monday, he (Lord John Russell) should be allowed to do so. If the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Keogh) persisted in his Motion, he (Sir John Buller) should move that the House do now adjourn.


said, the names of three Irish Members would be proposed by his noble Friend (Lord John Russell); and if hon. Members were not satisfied with these names, they might then propose others. Seeing that this was the case, he did not see the necessity of the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Keogh) then persisting in his Motion.


insisted that the debate ought to be adjourned.


said, it had been understood last night that his noble Friend (Lord John Russell) would put upon the paper the names of three Irish Members to be proposed on Monday. This being the case, he thought the fair way was for the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Keogh) to reserve his notice for Monday night.


said, that if the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Keogh) gave a second notice, he would not be in so favourable a position, for he would then have to propose his names as an amendment. The wisest and fairest course in his opinion was that the debate should be now adjourned.


could not agree to the adjournment of the debate, although he had no objection that the House should now adjourn. The adjournment of the debate would alter the position of his noble Friend (Lord John Russell), who hod proposed the Committee.


hoped that the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Keogh) would persist in retaining the advantage which he now possessed.

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

The House divided:—Ayes 25; Noes 87: Majority 62.

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