HC Deb 19 February 1852 vol 119 cc764-824

said: Mr. Speaker, in rising to propose the Resolution of which I have given notice, I feel that I may claim the indulgence of the House for standing in somewhat peculiar circumstances. It is a most invidious task to be obliged to impugn the actions of any public men, and particularly of the actions of men who hold high offices under the Crown. The House must therefore at once see in what a disagreeable position I am now placed; but I feel even more reluctant in bringing this subject before the House, because, in common with all who mix in the public affairs of this country, I must entertain great respect for the character of the individuals to whom I shall be obliged to allude. Sir, I have the utmost possible respect for the high personal qualities, the talent, and the private worth of the noble individual who fills the office of Lord Lieutenant in Ire- land. I may also say, that, although I shall he compelled to arraign and impugn certain acts which the noble Lord and his Government have committed, I shall not for one moment attempt to deny that that noble individual and that Government have performed great and useful services to the State. I do not wish, in the slighest degree, to deny a fact which is so patent to all; but at the same time I cannot think that those great services will in any respect influence the opinion of this House with regard to the question which I have now to submit to it. For the character and private worth of the right hon. Gentleman (Sir W. Somerville) whom I see opposite, also I must, in common with all the Irish Members, entertain the greatest respect. I am free to acknowledge the courtesy with which he has on all occasions transacted Irish business, and any other business in reference to which he is brought into communication with Members of this House. But though, in common with all with whom I act, I have these feelings with respect to the individuals themselves, I do not think that, in bringing forward the present Motion, I am taking a step which is unworthy either of myself or of the position I occupy as a Member of this House. It is not to be denied that it is a right inherent in any Member of this House, as well as in the House itself, at any time to take exception to, and consider, the public acts of public men. But though nobody can deny this, I feel as much as any one the great responsibility that attaches to a Member of this House who takes such a course; and I think that no Member of the House of Commons can stand in a more invidious or worse position, than that he should on light, frivolous, or vexatious grounds, attack the character and the acts of Gentlemen who hold high office under the Crown. Before I resume my seat, however, I believe I shall so present to the House the transactions to which I allude, that I shall convince the House that neither the charges I bring forward are light and trifling, nor the course I take frivolous and vexatious. I desire most carefully to abstain from making an attack upon the private character of any one; and I am certain that by no possible ingenuity or contortion of facts will it be shown that this Motion is intended as a personal attack. Sir, I now impugn the acts of political men openly, in the face of the country and in the presence of their own Colleagues, upon public grounds, and upon public grounds alone. The transactions to which I allude are public acts. They have been justified, if justified it can I be termed, upon public grounds. They involve what the House will no doubt consider an unwarrantable employment of the public money. Now, if this be not a public question, and a question worthy of the serious attention of the House, I cannot conceive what a public question really is. I will not weary the House with further preliminary observations, but at once endeavour to detail, as shortly as possible the particular transactions to which I refer, and which are transactions as unpleasant to the House to hear, as they are disagreeable to me to describe. The transactions between the Irish Government and the editor of a Dublin newspaper called the World, were brought to light upon a trial which took place in the Court of Queen's: Bench in Ireland on the 5th and 6th December last. It was an action brought against the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland by an individual of the name of Birch, to recover a sum of money alleged to have been due for services performed by Birch for the right hon. Gentleman; and in order to make the House fully aware of what were the particulars of the demand, I will state the mode in which it was made. The first demand by Birch against the right hon. Gentleman was— To balance remaining due for work and labour and services rendered by the plaintiff to and for the defendant, and also for work, labour, and services rendered by the plaintiff, in support of the existing Administration, at the instance and request of the defendant, from the 16th July, 1818, to the 16th of January, 1851–6,700l. That was objected to on demurrer, as not being sufficiently specific. The bill of particulars was then amended and another put in, which was also considered unsatisfactory. In the end, the plaintiff sent in the following bill of particulars as that upon which he rested his claim. This states— That the defendant having retained the plaintiff as a journalist, to devote his journal to the composing, printing and publishing of articles in support of the existing Administration, to which the defendant was and is attached as Chief Secretary of Ireland:

"Composing, printing, and publishing said articles from the 10th day of July, 1848, to the 16th day of January, 1851—balance £6,050 0 0
"Also I send you with this a specification of and reference to the dates and particulars of the said several articles.
"Attending the defendant and his secretary weekly during said period in reference to the composing, printing, and publishing of said articles, at 5l. per week £650 0 0
"To 12,000 copies of the World newspaper at 6d. per copy in which said articles appeared, published and distributed by defendant's order to the defendant, to Peers, Members of Parliament, clubs, news-rooms, and forwarded to France, America, the colonies, and to leading parties throughout England and Ireland 300 0 0
Making in all the sum of 7,000l. Such was the origin of the action, and such the claims brought by Mr. Birch against the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary. The defence set up was this: the main facts of the case were not denied. It was not objected that this work had not been done and performed; but the defence set up was, that the original understanding was with the Lord Lieutenant, and not the Chief Secretary, and that his Excellency had discharged all the claims brought against him by the plaintiff Birch. Having thus shown the nature of the action, and that it was not denied by the Irish Government that Birch had been employed by them, I will now proceed to describe what was the character of that gentleman, and what was the character of his paper —the World. It was a paper which had been established in Dublin for some years, and its circulation was very limited. In 1846 its average circulation did not amount to 600 a week: the total number of stamps issued to it in that year were 30,913. In 1847 they had increased to 39,893; giving an average issue of not quite 800. In 1848 it appears to have nearly doubled its issue; the number of stamps issued to this journal in that year amounting to 60,970: an average issue of not quite 1,200 a week. Now, that, I think, will show the House pretty clearly what was the circulation and what was the character and influence of the journal in question. It was a paper of a very peculiar character. It had always been in the habit of publishing in its numbers articles of very great political ability. It discussed the various transactions that were going on in the political world with singular talent. But, at the same time, in addition to that, there were generally to be found in that paper articles of the most disgraceful and libellous description, to which I can discover no parallel except in the columns of a paper once, known as the London Satirist, and which has now become utterly extinct. These personal attacks were of the grossest and most horrible character. They were attacks upon private individuals. They gave the names of persons in full. They contained accusations of the basest and most improper actions; and, in fact, they were such articles that I should be very sorry indeed to read an extract from them to this House. No one was safe from these attacks. Every person of character and station in the country was exposed to them. Female chastity and manly honour were alike assailed. The credit of the opulent merchant and the character of the small shopkeeper were equally held up to derision and contempt, and charges were thus published and circulated that were disgraceful to any print. In addition to this, it seems to have been the practice of this man, on more than one occasion, to endeavour to extort money from various individuals, under the threat of publishing these disgraceful articles. I could read to the House specimens of these articles, but I am sure the House would not desire it. Indeed, I should not like to pollute my lips by doing so. There are a few extracts to be found, however, in a paper contained in the Dublin University Magazine of the last month, which will be quite sufficient to satisfy any hon. Member who refers to them of what was the real character of this journal. But justice at length overtook this person in the midst of his career. In the year 1845 Birch was prosecuted in the Court of Queen's Bench in Ireland for an attempt to extort money under a threat of publishing one of those libellous articles; and in order to show the House what was the opinion entertained of this man at the time, I will read to it a very short extract from the speech of the eminent counsel who conducted the prosecution on that occasion. The learned counsel said that— In stating his case he should have indeed very little more to do than to state, by way of preliminary observation, the way in which the publication of the libels commenced, and then proceed to read a series of as outrageous libels as ever were printed by one man concerning another, published in that form and by that agency through which they could procure the greatest possible dissemination. He (counsel) did not think that within the code of criminal law, save the exception of crimes committed against the lives of Her Majesty's subjects, there could be a greater offence than that which the Act of Parliament in question had been passed to guard against. Sir, the learned Gentleman who so eloquently stated the case and prosecuted Birch on that occasion, was no other than Her Majesty's present Attorney General for Ireland. Well, this man Birch was found guilty, and sentence was passed upon him by Mr. Justice Crampton in these terms. The learned Judge said— The indictment in the present case contains twenty counts; and they resolve themselves into three distinct charges. First, the professing to abstain from publishing defamatory matter against the prosecutor; secondly, the threatening to publish defamatory matter, with a similar intent; and, lastly, actually publishing libels on the prosecutor, with a similar intent—to extort money. Now, James Birch, you have been convicted upon all the counts of the indictment. It appears, upon the evidence, that you and the prosecutor were strangers to each other up to July, 1843; and you introduced yourself to his notice by writing a letter, in which you stated that certain parties had applied to you in your capacity of a journalist to notice certain transactions in which Gray was mixed up. Those transactions related to a compromise entered into in a certain suit between him and third parties. The matter was at an end. It did sleep until you raised it. And what was your motive? The indictment charges, and the jury have found, that your object was to extort money, through the instrumentality of the newspaper of which you are the proprietor. You threatened to expose him, and accuse him of fraud, usury, and perjury; and the prosecutor was weak enough to offer you money—400l. or 500l. was demanded, and, finally, 100l. was paid by the prosecutor for the purpose of purchasing' silence. It was obtained by threats; and not content with that sum, you proceeded, in the correspondence, still further to threaten the victim you had in your hands. Your letters became more urgent; you threaten to expose everything before the public, and to effect his total ruin. You get the prosecutor's 100l., but he subsequently became firm; he refused to give any more, and you then denounced him as guilty of perjury, fraud, and usury. The result was, your prosecution on the present indictment, and a verdict of guilty; which, looking upon the evidence, should satisfy, and certainly does satisfy, the Court as to its propriety. You now stand convicted of extorting money from this gentleman, who must be given credit for his courage in coming forward to face the terrible power under whose attacks he had already suffered; and tempering the law with mercy, while at the same time vindicating it in the punishment of a serious offence, the sentence is, 'That you, James Birch, be imprisoned in the gaol of Newgate for six calendar months.' That sentence was published in all the newspapers of Dublin, and was perfectly notorious to every one at the time. This, then, was the man who was employed by the Irish Government to write in its interests, and in the interest, as they termed it, of law and order. This was the paper which was selected by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and his Government, to assist them in repressing the very outrageous publications which appeared in some of the rebellious prints of that time. Now, Sir, I cannot help thinking that a very grave error was committed on the part of the Lord Lieutenant—an error both in principle and in judgment. I think it to have been an error in principle, because it is impossible to say that any public officer could be justified in engaging for one moment the services of a man who had been already convicted of such a serious crime in the columns of the very paper which was intended to be the authorised organ of that public officer. It is utterly impossible to defend such a transaction. It was also an error in judgment, because no assistance that could be given by such a journal could be useful to a Government that was determined honestly to discharge its public duties. But believe, even if the paper had been the most ably-conducted paper in Dublin, and it were known to have been purchased by the Government, that its usefulness and influence would at once have been at an end. In my view, nothing can be more injurious to the circulation or the influence of a newspaper than the knowledge of its being paid and used by a Government for party purposes. I will now, for a short time longer, detain the House by describing, seriatim, the transactions which took place between the Irish Government and the editor of this paper. In so doing I shall make as few comments as possible of my own, but rather leave the House to judge for itself from the facts, and then fearlessly ask you, Sir, whether I have in any respect exceeded my duty in bringing this question before the House. It is my intention to make use only of documents, and of the evidence which was produced upon the trial of the action brought by Birch against the Chief Secretary for Ireland. Numerous letters and an elaborate correspondence have been placed at my disposal which were not produced by counsel upon the trial; but I think it would be improper in me to quote anything that is not contained in the evidence. To the evidence, therefore, I shall strictly confine myself. It appears that the connexion between the Government and this paper was first commenced in the year 1848; and in order to detail more clearly the mode in which that connexion was begun and carried on, I will read the evidence of Birch himself as given at the trial, and which evidence was not in the slightest degree contradicted or denied. On his examination Mr. Birch said— He knew Lord Clarendon since March, 1848. Lord Clarendon's private secretary then was Mr. Corry Connellan. Sir W. Somerville's secretary in was Mr. H. Meredyth. Was in communication J with Lord Clarendon first in March, 1848. Had a letter from Mr. Connellan fixing the time for an interview, and called at the Castle accordingly. Had a very lengthened conversation with Lord Clarendon then. Acted for Lord Clarendon as I public journalist and political agent after that. It then appears, according' to his own account, that he was not long in the service of the Government before he received the sum of 350l. He says— This was money which witness had previously: got, 250l. of it from Mr. Connellan, paid by Mr. M'Kenna's draft, and 100l. from Lord Clarendon. To a Juror.—Lord Clarendon did not hand witness the 100l. himself. Witness was directed to go to the Park, and there saw Lord Clarendon. There were 100 sovereigns lying on the table, and Mr. Connellan told witness to take them up. Received the 250l. about the 22nd of March, 1848, and the 100l. in June, 1848. During the early part of that year, in consequence of being so employed, it seems that he was in constant communication with the Government. Numbers of letters were produced on that trial which were written by the Lord Lieutenant's secretary, showing that he was so; and I will read one or two for the purpose of letting the House see what was the nature of those communications, and the footing on which this editor stood at the Castle. The first is dated— Viceregal Lodge, March, 1848. Dear Sir—The French news ought to turn to account. The triumph of the moderate party, the defeat and certain election of Ledru Rollin, the Irish fraternisers, and the vigorous proceedings of the Provisional Government in making arrests. I presume that to-morrow's (Friday's) mail will bring us account of the capture of Blanqui and Cabet, the great Communist leader. The morale of this might be well applied to Mitchell and Co.—Yours truly, "CORRY CONNELLAN. Mr. Birch. Again, on the 5th of April, 1848, Birch received another letter from Mr. Connellan as follows:— My dear Sir—His Excellency was entirely ignorant, I need scarcely say, of anything connected with the pike affair. And Brown! Brown asserts he never directed Kirwan to order pikes, but merely to procure them. Information can only be obtained from mauvais sujets, who often misinterpret their instructions, and exceed the limits of their commission. His Excellency took not the slightest notice that Dr. M'Hale sailed for England until he saw it in the papers. His Excellency's opinions, as you may suppose, were not in the smallest degree influenced by Dr. Yore's crambe repetita. You need not notice this in your paper. That the House may understand that these directions were pretty nearly carried out, I may state that in the next number of the World I find that the first leading article is upon the affairs of Brown, Kirwan, and the pikes; and then in the notices to correspondents are these remarks:— NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS.—The Archbishop of Tuam.—'Paul Sarpi,' is acquainted that we are ignorant of the nature of the London mission undertaken by the Archbishop of Tuam and Dr. O'Higgins. As to the interview which it is said Dr. Gore had with Lord Clarendon, we have heard it rumoured—but with what truth it is not for us to say—that although the well-intentioned ecclesiastic, contrary to the Fransoni injunction, introduced politics and broached the question of repeal, the Viceroy gave him no encouragement. Now, Sir, I think it is quite clear that that article was written in consequence of the communication which Birch had received from Mr. Connellan. The communications appear to have been continued until the month of July, on the 17th of which the following letter was written from Mr. Connellan to Birch, who was at that time in London:— My dear Sir—lam so pressed with business that I have only time to apprise you that H. E. will write to-day to Sir William Somerville to state his opinion that your journal has done good service to the cause of peace and order, and in the interest of the Government.—Yours, &c. To J. Birch, Esq." "CORRY CONNELLAN. In his evidence on the trial, Birch details the occurrences which took place whilst he was in London, which principally related to his claims for further remuneration for his services. About this time also a most extraordinary letter was written by the Lord Lieutenant's Secretary to Birch. It would appear that the latter did not find the supplies coming in quite so fast as they did during the first year of his employment—and he begins to be importunate. On 19th March, 1849, therefore, the private secretary of the Lord Lieutenant writes him as follows:— Dear Sir—I have had a letter from Sir William Somerville, announcing the receipt of one for you, upon the receipt of which I shall have a conversation in London (For which I start on Wednesday morning) with the Lord Lieutenant. As to the phrase, 'lukewarm support,' in your last note, I have only to remark that no journal in England receives any subsidy; and that in one year you have had more than twice as much as was ever paid in the same period to the only news-paper in Ireland which is aided by public money. —Yours truly, "CORRY CONNELLAN. It would really appear as if this system of subsidising newspapers by public money were a system which had been in operation in Ireland for some time; and I think I have a right to ask, and the House of Commons has a right to know, what is the "other newspaper" which receives subsidies from the public money, and how I much Her Majesty's Government pay to newspapers for supporting the acts of their administration. Shortly after the date of the letter which I have just read, a most extraordinary episode occurred in the communications between Mr. Birch and the Castle, and there was an interruption of the friendly intercourse which had for more than a year at that time prevailed. What the exact nature of the attack was I cannot conceive, but certain is that most unpolite words were used by Birch in reference to some persons connected with the Castle, and a retractation was thereupon demanded by the private secretary of the Lord Lieutenant, whose letter is dated the 17th of May, 1849. In it he says:— May 17, 1549. Sir—Having, by desire of the Lord Lieutenant, communicated to Sir William Somerville your letter, in which you made use of the phrase, 'deliberate liars,' I am directed to inform vim that a retractation of these words is demanded, If, therefore, you write me a line to that effect and will send a confidential person here at three o'clock to-morrow, he shall receive the ruin of 100l., for which I am credited. I am, dear Sir, yours, C. CONNELLAK. Now that was certainly the best possible way of arranging such an affair of honour. I have no doubt that Birch deemed it to be for his interest to accept that 100l., and make the retractation. At all events, notwithstanding this episode, friendly relations were very speedily re-established, harmony was restored between the editor of an Irish newspaper and the Government in Ireland, and things went on as before. Accordingly I find that on the 10th of November, 1849, he receives 100l. from the Chief Secretary; and on the 19th of December, 1849, another 100l. from that right hon. Gentlemen. But when we reach the beginning of the year 1850, it is evident that he becomes increasingly importunate. I suppose that money was not so plenty at the end of 1849, and accordingly he begins at this period to write letters of a most threatening and menacing nature to the Government:— Dublin, March 31, 1850. 7, Richmond-street, Mountjoy-square. Sir William —As it is now quite evident that Lord Clarendon has determined to trample upon me, by leaving me no alternative but that of sup- porting a most unpopular Government, whose general policy I believe to be most ruinous, and which, were it otherwise, the pride of manhood would revolt from sustaining—seeing that I have no hopes from it, nor do not possess a particle of its confidence, or permitting my reputation and property to be sacrificed, and my motives and conduct misinterpreted, one course alone is left me. I have calculated the gains and loss of the steps forced upon me, I believe I have done nothing dishonourable or that I need be ashamed of; but if I have, Lord Clarendon, you, and her Majesty's Ministers have been compurgators with rue.—I have the honour, &c. "JAMES BIRCH. "Sir Wm. Somerville. That letter was answered by the Chief Secretary for Ireland on the 11th of April, 1850, as follows:— London, April 11, 1850. Dear Sir—I received your last letter, which was forwarded to mo to the country, can only say now, as I believe I have said before, with reference to former communications, that I am utterly unable to draw an opinion from your remarks. Whatever you may think, I feel certain that no journalist was ever treated with greater generosity or consideration than you have been. I am equally certain that Lord Clarendon never; means to 'trample' upon anybody, and that he I would not desire the support of any man who does not conscientiously give it. For myself, I, tan only say that I am not aware of having given you any cause of offence.—I remain, dear Sir, yours faithfully, "W. M. SOMERVILLE. James Birch, Esq. This did not satisfy Mr. Birch, and another letter of a stronger nature was written about this time to the Chief Secretary:— Sir William—I have just received Lord, Clarendon's letter—the letter I long anticipated. I shall now know the course to pursue, and he shall find he has no political prostitute. You have relieved me from all embarrassment by saying you don't caw; what was published.— I have the honour, &c. JAMES BIRCH. Sir Wm, Somerville, Bart., M.P. Then comes a series of letters from Birch complaining of bad treatment, want of confidence, and great ingratitude towards him on the part of the Government, begging for money and a place for his brother, and stating that the Government had promoted several persons who were very much in the same position as himself, and had done them political service. Notwithstanding ail these letters he received in July, 1850, but 50l.; and in August, finding he had little hopes of obtaining any more, he began to take offensive measures, and sent in to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland his "little bill." It was couched in the following terms:— Lord C., Dr. Birch, Or. For supporting law and order in the World for two years, and for rendering service to the I Government, 50l. a week—6,500l. These sums the Lord Lieutenant very naturally refused to pay, and on that refusal Birch commenced proceedings in the Queen's Bench; and this is the most extraordinary part of the whole story. Birch, having commenced proceedings in the Queen's Bench, a number of documents were, I believe, placed upon the file; but I suppose that, fearing the exposure which would accrue from a public trial, the Lord Lieutenant found it more for his credit and advantage to compromise this trial. A release was accordingly drawn up and signed by the Lord Lieutenant's attorney and by Birch. The solicitor of the Lord Lieutenant, Mr. Geale, in describing the release of the trial said— The release is in witness's own writing, under the direction of counsel, under Lord Clarendon's authority; had three interviews with Mr. Birch in arranging this settlement. Was not then acting for Sir William Somerville. Asked Mr. Birch for some letters at that time before witness gave the 2,000l." It appears that as well as an answer to all claims, it was a part of the bargain that Birch should give up certain documents in his possession. The deed of release is in the usual terms. It is dated 4th November, 1850, and is under the hand and seal of James Birch; it recites that— James Birch brought an action against the Earl of Clarendon, seeking to recover a large sum of money alleged to be due to him for services rendered by said James Birch, tending to the suppression of the rebellion in Ireland—for the insertion of divers paragraphs in the World newspaper, and other services relating thereto; and whereas the said Earl of Clarendon altogether disputes such claim by the said James Birch, still in order to avoid litigation, and fully to satisfy any claim or demand of the said James Birch, which he has or alleges to have against the said Earl of Clarendon or any other person, for the services so rendered by the said James Birch to the said Earl of Clarendon, for the purpose aforesaid, the Earl of Clarendon has agreed to pay the said James Birch the sum of 2,000l., and in consideration of said sum the said James Birch has agreed to release and discharge the said Earl of Clarendon and all other persons, from any demand whatsoever. Know all men that I, James Birch, by these presents, do release, acquit, and discharge the said Earl of Clarendon and all other persons from all actions, suits, claims, and demands whatsoever of mine, the said James Birch, or in relation to the services so rendered, or alleged to have been rendered, to the date of these presents, and also for all costs incurred by said James Birch, or to his attorney, in relation to the execution of these presents. This affair became rumoured through Dublin at the time, and the most mysterious reports prevailed, but the general opinion seemed to be that nothing more would be heard of it. But Birch, after pocketing his 2,0001., lay by for a time to see what he should do next, and again in January, 1851, we find him demanding more money and writing to the Chief Secretary. He stated in these letters that he was in great distress, that his reputation and fortune were ruined by his connection with the Government; that the Chief Secretary was in his power, and he asked him (the Chief Secretary) for a character. On finding that his representations were not attended to, and that the Government was not inclined to give him a character, Birch wrote to the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government, and I think that the House will perceive that this letter is really the climax of impudence —the most extraordinary production that was ever brought before the public. The letter is addressed from Peel's Coffeehouse, Fleet Street, London, and is as follows:— London, July 19, 1851, Peel's Coffee-house, Fleet-street. My Lord—If you not apprised already of the fact, I beg to acquaint your Lordship that I have instituted proceedings against Sir William Somerville in the Queen's Bench, for the recovery of what I believe to be a legal—but what, at all events, I shall be greatly disappointed if the country do not consider a most equitable claim. It was my desire to restrain as much as possible all personal feeling in the ease, and to endeavour to have it brought before a legal tribunal dispassionately, and, as far as I was concerned, without acrimony. I therefore wrote to your Lordship from Dublin, a considerable time since, and also to Sir William Somerville, requesting that an appearance might then be given to the attorney I should name, so that I might have no unnecessary trouble or expense in submitting my claim to a legal tribunal. All honourable men that I ever heard of before are willing to submit to make an arrangement, but your Lordship and Sir William Somerville tacitly declined to do so. I made a similar demand here, and it was only after my attorney bad twice written, that Mr. Coppock, the well-known political agent of the Reform Club, appeared to answer for Sir William Somerville. To-day my attorney has informed me that a notice has been served on him, as a preliminary, to compel me to give security for costs. I have no objection—certainly not, to any step that might be deemed requisite to guard any person or party against a vexatious or pauper litigant; and your Lordship and Sir William Somerville may have some reason to apprehend that the man whose property you have destroyed, and whose reputation you have attempted also to blast, may be unable to bear a harassing legal contest with the British Government; but I do respectfully insist that Sir William Somerville could have informed Mr. Coppock of my occupation, profession, and residence, and that for the costs of such an action as I am bringing in a neighbouring assizes town, I have at least pro- perty enough left in Ireland to hold him, or rather the present Government, harmless. Now, Sir, it is a very extraordinary fact, that wherever there is any queer work going on, there this Mr. Coppock is certain to be found. As I conceive the step taken is only preparatory to other proceedings of a vexatious character in which J will he committed with a powerful Government and its numerous retainers, I shall consider the next unfair aggressive measures is perfectly justifying me in accelerating the fatal consequences to Sir William Somerville, and all connected with the case, which I firmly believe ultimately to await them, by publishing and circulating a faithful and impartial version of my cruel treatment, and endeavouring, if I can, to obtain some Peer or Commoner to present a petition of my grievances and unprecedented case to the Legislature. My wish is that the public should hear first, in a court of law, the narrative of my affairs— from Lord Clarendon, Lord Palmerston, and yourself; but circumstances may render my desire impracticable and impolitic. If once my connection is explained, and the services I rendered, and my sacrifices to the Crown made known, I shall bow my head with resignation, and even if defeated upon some technical point, I shall not complain. One thing, if the truth he told, cannot be denied—that you gave me, during a lengthened period, and in various sums, 3,700l.; that by the letter of your Irish Chief Secretary I might still have been a stipendiary advocate; and that, having refused the proposal, a terrible effort is now about to be made to ruin me. Birch having at length found everything unsuccessful, and having tried every means either to continue in the service of the Government, or to obtain more money from them, brought an action at law, by which all those matters were brought to light. The action was tried in the Court of Queen's Bench, in Dublin, before the Lord Chief Justice. The trial occupied two days, was conducted with great ability on both sides, and caused a high degree of public interest; but the most extraordinary event which occurred at the trial is one which I feel it most disagreeable to refer to. The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland was produced as a witness on that occasion, and, Sir, I feel that I shall be obliged to read and allude to the evidence of that noble individual, although that is to me by far the most painful part of the duty f have to perform. The Lord Lieutenant was called by the plaintiff, and appeared upon the bench. The whole court, the Judges, and the Bar, rose to receive his Excellency. It was the first time in the annals of Irish history that the Viceroy appeared in the witness-box—he was sworn upon his honour. It was a most unusual proceeding—it was a tiling never seen before, and caused great excitement in Dublin at the time. When that noble individual came to the court of law, he did not come as he might have, without doing anything derogatory to his position as the representative of Her Majesty—he did not come to give evidence as to a question of property in dispute between man and man—he did not come to throw the ægis of Royal authority and protection over wronged worth or injured innocence, or to testify to the public services of a meritorious officer of the Crown; but he came as a witness against his own Chief Secretary—against his own political colleague, at the bidding of a miserable man by whom he had been trapped and misled. The Lord Lieutenant was examined by Mr. Meagher, the counsel, at considerable length as to his connexion with Birch and his knowledge of his paper. In the course of the evidence his Excellency stated that he hardly ever saw Birch's paper. Now, Sir, I should like to know if his Excellency was aware that there were invariably two leading articles in the World—one praising the policy of the Irish Government, the other the foreign policy of the Administration, in the highest degree. I have a right also to ask if his Excellency, at the same time that he told Birch he might abuse himself (the Lord Lieutenant) as much as he pleased, also told him that he might give no support to the Government; and how it was that Birch received a letter from the secretary of the noble Lord then at the head of the Foreign Office, offering him such information as he might desire for the purpose of defending the Government? I have not got that letter by me. It was produced at the trial, but as it is not of any great importance, I did not think it necessary, as the reading of all the documents would but weary the House, to provide myself with it. [An Hon. Member here handed the noble Lord a document.] I have just received a copy of the letter, and will therefore read it to the House:— (Private.) Foreign Office, May9,1849. Sir—I am directed by Viscount Palmerston to express to you his thanks for your communication of the 7th inst., and I am to say to you, that if, through your agent or correspondent in London, you should write at any time to ascertain the circumstances of any information which you may have received, and upon which you may propose to found any argument or opinion, I shall be ready to receive such correspondent or agent, and to afford him such information as I may be autho- rised by Viscount Palmerston to give.—I am, Sir, your most obedient servant, SPENCER PONSOXBY. James Birch, Esq. That letter will satisfy lion. Gentlemen that Birch's paper was, at all events, in the interest of the Government. The answer of his Excellency to counsel as to the connection with Birch at a later date, and his obtaining Birch's support for "law and order" then—that answer, in which his Excellency states that he was not aware that law and order required it at the time, would lead to the belief that the engagement was of a temporary nature to counteract the rebellious writings which were circulated throughout Ireland at that period. But what was the fact? The rebellion was terminated by that miserable fusillade in the cabbage garden at Ballingarry, on July 29, 1848, and Smith O'Brien was convicted on October 7 of the same year. Yet I will prove that in 1849 Birch was in constant communication with the Government—that after his retractation letter of the 17th May, in that year he got 100l., on Nov. 10, 1849, another 100l., and on Dec. 19, 1849, a third sum of 100l., more than a year after Smith O'Brien was convicted. It was absurd, then, to say that this was merely a temporary arrangement come to with the editor of a paper for a certain purpose. It was evidently an arrangement with him to support the measures of the Government generally, on the understanding of receiving a certain reward. Mr. Meagher continued his examination:— Counsel: Did your Excellency make any payment to Mr. Birch for the services which you accepted from him in defence of law and order? His Excellency: Yes. Mr. Meagher: What sum on that account? His Excellency: He received sums at various times; I could not exactly say the amount paid him. The first time I saw him he asked me for money, for the purpose of rendering his paper, as he said, more efficient. I told him there was no fund applicable to it, but I offered him 100l., if I remember right, and he said that would not be sufficient for the purpose, and I then increased it to about 350l. This was in the beginning of 1848 —the month of February, I think. Mr. Meagher: Does your Excellency know that any further sum of money was paid to Mr. Birch in London? His Excellency: Yes. Mr. Meagher. From what fund? His Excellency: From a sum placed at the disposal of Sir William Somerville, at my request. Mr. Meagher: Out of the public funds? His Excellency: I did not say that it was out of the public funds. Mr. Meagher: I thought I understood that from your Excellency. His Excellency: I said they were funds placed at the disposal of Sir William Somerville at my request. Mr. Meagher: May I take the liberty of asking your Excellency whether or not they were public funds? His Excellency: Part was from a sum applicable to special services, part from my own private pocket; the money applicable to special services was at my request and on my responsibility, and has been paid by myself very long ago. This proves beyond doubt, from the lips of his Excellency himself, that these services of this man were paid for out of the public funds. It is true his Excellency says that the money was repaid; but so many remarks were made at the time regarding this repayment, that I have a right to ask —and I hope whatever Member of the Government will answer me will state explicitly—when that money was repaid? It is one of the most material questions, and one which the House has a right to have answered. The Lord Lieutenant was cross-examined by Mr. Brewster, in the course of which his Excellency stated that he knew nothing of Birch or his paper previous to 1848. They were bound to take those answers as his Excellency had so stated them; but if his Excellency knew nothing of Birch's antecedents, he was most shamefully kept in the dark by his subordinates, for he was surrounded by persons who could have informed him of the character of this man. The right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (the Attorney General for Ireland), who had so ably prosecuted Birch on the occasion when he was sentenced to six months' imprisonment, was actually Solicitor General to the Irish Government at this period; he was in constant communication with the Castle, and he must have known the character of Birch. Mr. Corry Connellan, who was four years private secretary to Lord Clarendon and to former Lords Lieutenant, who was a barrister himself, and constantly residing in Dublin at the time, could not have been ignorant of Birch's antecedents; and all I can say on the matter is, that the Lord Lieutenant's subordinates treated him exceedingly ill. I have now concluded this most unfortunate and most unpleasant case. I have shown the House the arrangement which was come to between the Irish Government and the editor of a newspaper; that the services of that paper were accepted by the Government; and that the Government paid for those services out of the public money. These facts are in evidence from the admissions of the parties engaged in them. There can be no doubt as to the facts—the evidence cannot in the slightest degree be impugned. Therefore I cannot conceive that I, a Member of the Opposition in this House, have done wrong in submitting this case to the consideration of the House. I think it one worthy their consideration, and I cannot conceive but that the decision the House will arrive at to-night will be regarded as of the utmost importance. I believe that upon that decision rests the scale of public morality. [Laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen may laugh, but I do say that the decision of the House to-night will decide whether it is right that the Government should subsidise a newspaper—a disreputable newspaper— with the public money. That is the question which they have to decide. This case is oik1 which I think merits the condemnation of this House, and upon which I will ask them to decide. I do not know what course Her Majesty's Ministers may take on the present occasion—deny the facts they cannot, and defend them I am sure they will not. But the House will not, I am sure, entertain it as a light and unimportant question, but rather as one of great gravity and importance; and having heard all that is to be said on both sides, they will come to no other conclusion save that which is embodied in the Resolution I have the honour to submit.

Motion made, and Question put— That, in the opinion of this House, the transactions which appear recently to have taken place between the Irish Government and the Editor of a Dublin Newspaper, are of a nature: to weaken the authority of tile Executive, and to reflect discredit on the administration of public affairs.


I agree, Sir, with the noble Lord who has brought forward this Resolution, that there is a most grave question for the consideration of the House; and let not the noble Lord at tempt to extenuate or diminish the gravity of that question. The noble Lord said that he wished to do nothing vexatiously; that he wished to avoid saying anything personal respecting Lord Clarendon. Now, the House must be aware that the attempt of the noble Lord by his Motion is to blast the character of the noble Lord at the head of the Government in Ireland—to affix a disgrace upon a man who has rendered great public services, who has been for many years engaged in political life with great credit and with great honour, and who, above all, has rendered great public service to that country, of which the noble Lord (Lord Naas) is a representative. Let net the House, then, at all believe that the noble Lord is bringing forward a question of mere speculative reference to public morality, for it must entail the consequences which I have mentioned; and T must examine, therefore, upon what foundation he asks this House is come to so grave and so penal a declaration as that embodied in his Resolution. The facts with respect to these transactions require, think, to be gone over again, after the narration of them by the noble Lord. In the first place, let me say, however, that for my part I never heard from Lord Clarendon a single word upon this matter, or upon his relation with Mr. Birch, until after the notice of the noble Lord's intention to bring on this Motion— in fact, four days ago. The letter which has been read by the noble Lord as having boon addressed to mo by Mr. Birch, was, I believe, east aside unnoticed, as one of those communications which frequently come to me from people who are either so wild, so insane, or so worthless, as not to be deserving of notice. Let me now then state the facts as I had heard them from Lord Clarendon, as I have gathered them from the reports of the trial, and as I believe the undoubtedly to have been. In the spring of 1848, after the revolution which had taken place in France, the state of Ireland was one of great peril. At that time Mr. Birch sought the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and told him that his own disposition was in favour of supporting the Government of the country against the revolutionary doctrines which were then so actively dispersed among the people, and that as his newspaper was a weekly one, and circulated together with the most pernicious of those publications which were preaching up rebellion, he could be of great use in maintaining the connection between Great Britain and Ireland, and in supporting the cause of peace and the maintenance of law. In this situation of affairs, and under circumstances which I shall have hereafter to describe to the House, Lord Clarendon accepted Mr. Birch's offer. Mr. Birch then stated—and I will quote the words which Lord Clarendon used, and to which the noble Lord (Lord Naas) has already referred:— I then saw Mr. Birch, and in the state of public affairs at that time, I think I should have failed in my duty if I had not accepted offers which any person made in support of law and order. Mr. Birch offered to write in that sense, and I told him he might do so, although I did not expect much good to result from his labours. I told him, at the same time, that he should offer no support to the Government, and that, as for myself, he might abuse me as much as he liked, as I was perfectly indifferent to it. Now, Sir, that passage shows that what Lord Clarendon wished to be done was writing in favour of the maintenance of law against the attempts at rebellion, and that he did not seek any support to his own Administration. The letter afterwards written by the right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary for Ireland, corroborated exactly what was stated by Lord Clarendon. On the 30th of April, 1849, Sir William Somerville said, in a letter addressed to Mr. Birch— As far as I am concerned, my sole motive throughout was to aid a journalist who professed himself anxious to promote the cause of public order; nor can I charge myself with having done, or left undone, anything at all calculated to give you just cause of complaint. On the 3rd of July, 1849, he also writes— If there is anything I can legitimately do to aid you in your efforts to promote the cause of order and good government, I shall be glad. And again, in November of the same year, he says— I can have no other view than the public good, and I say the same for the other parties named in your communication. These are the statements of Lord Clarendon and of the right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary for Ireland. The noble Lord opposite says they are men of high public character—he has not impugned their character—and therefore the House, upon the statement of the noble Lord, will accept those declarations as being the real motive which actuated the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and the Chief Secretary throughout these transactions. The editor of this newspaper, the World, the noble Lord says, was a person who was a discredit to any newspaper with which he was connected, and referred to his previous connections; and although he acquits Lord Clarendon of any knowledge of the facts, he states that he certainly ought to have known them. Now, for my own part, the first occasion upon which I had ever heard or read of the World newspaper, was in the most complimentary terms, having seen in it a letter from Lord Elliot (now Earl of St. Germans) once Chief Secretary for Ireland in which the newspaper is mentioned. The letter was dated September, 1842, and was as follows:— Sir—Believing that the recent prosecution instituted against the World newspaper was owing to the displeasure with which some of the political opponents of the present Government have viewed the course taken by that journal, I cannot but exceedingly regret that the very independent support which you have given to the measures of the Government should have subjected you to this treatment. Differing as you do from the Government upon many and most political opinions, I cannot but think that your conduct as proprietor of the World, in having considered and discussed their acts with impartiality and candour, is very creditable to you. With these feelings I very willingly subscribe the sum of 50l. to the fund for paying the expenses of this prosecution. [Lord NAAS: What is the date of that letter?] This letter is dated September 1842, and was written at the very time that the Earl of St. Germans was Chief Secretary for Ireland—and the Earl of St. Germans is a man of the highest character —and I certainly never should have supposed, after seeing that letter, but that the editor of this newspaper was the editor of a respectable journal, expressing his own impartial and independent opinions. Mr. Birch has sent me copies of a number of other letters, some of them to the same effect, purporting to be from Earl De Grey, Earl Gengall, and others. I know not what authority those letters may have, and I shall not, therefore, quote them. I received the letters to-day, and as I consider that the word of Mr. Birch is but of little value, I shall decline to quote them upon his own unsupported authority. Mr. Birch, it appears, in his statement to Lord Clarendon, stated that it was very difficult to procure a sale for a paper which did not deal in the exciting topics of the day in favour of rebellion, and asked for some money to enable him to get agents, and to pay for the expenses connected with increasing the circulation. That, it appears, was the first beginning of his receiving money, and Lord Clarendon at first let him have 100l., which was afterwards increased by various payments to 1,700. But in the year 1849 the times had materially changed. At the end of 1849 there was no longer any danger to be apprehended to Ireland, and it appears that the Lord Lieutenant did not direct any further sum to be paid to Mr. Birch. But, Mr. Birch importuned at one time and threatened at another, as must have been seen in the letters produced at the trial—letters addressed by him to the Lord Lieutenant and Chief Secretary. In the beginning of 1850, Lord Clarendon, having considered the matter over, asked some of his friends, whom he consulted, whether it ought to be considered that the sums advanced to Mr. Birch were properly payable out of any public fund entrusted to his disposal, or whether they should be paid out of his private purse? The question was referred to my right lion. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and he was of opinion that they ought to come out of the private funds of Lord Clarendon. Accordingly at the beginning of 1850, all sums that had been taken out of the public fund for this purpose were repaid to that fund, and the whole charge for this expenditure was at the sole expense of Lord Clarendon. But Mr. Birch being determined to give notoriety to these transactions, or to extort money from the Government, demanded a sum of 4,000l. for his services. Lord Clarendon was advised that if the matter came before a Court of Law, as he never made any express stipulation with Mr. Birch, or entered into any contract, but as he had paid him from time to time, the jury might find a verdict for a large sum, and that it would be safer for him to make some adjustment of the claim. In consequence of that advice, Lord Clarendon paid Mr. Birch 2,000, which, with what he had already received, made 3,700l. a sum much more than adequate for the payment of any services he had performed. It would have been thought that after these transactions his relations with the Government would cease; but being determined, if he could, to extort more money, he proceeded to bring his action against ray right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland, which was beard last December, and with the particulars of which the House is acquainted. Upon that trial Lord Clarendon was examined as a witness; he declared that he never directed in any way what should be the course of the paper, that he never wrote a line in it, that he read the leading articles during the excitement of 1848; but that after the danger was over it was not his custom to read them. I come now to the transactions which are connected with the present motion. It suits the noble Lord (Lord Nass) exceedingly well to omit all mention of those circumstances, which made a great impression at the time, and which Members of this House will hardly forget. In the beginning of 1848 a democratic revolution took place in France, which destroyed the monarchy, set up a republic in its place, with democratic leaders, and proclaimed, in somewhat ambiguous terms, its intention to help the oppressed nationalities in other countries. The disaffected in Ireland immediately endeavoured to take advantage of that circumstance. Clubs were raised in Ireland, expressly for the purpose of severing that country from Great Britain. Clubs were established for the purpose of throwing off the allegiance to the Crown, and a special mission was sent to France, with the idea of securing French assistance for the contemplated rebellion. This House cannot forget the withering reply which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department gave to questions put in this House by one of those who had returned from that mission. To enable the House to remember still more vividly the circumstances to which I allude, I will read some few, and only a few, of the extracts of the Dublin newspapers which then circulated, and which, containing the most exciting matter, were read with the utmost avidity, while those newspapers which supported law and order were cither only circulated amongst the higher classes of society, or else had a very limited circulation. These extracts will show what was the nature of the danger, and what was its extent. In the beginning of March there appeared in an Irish newspaper recommendations for street fighting, in imitation of what had taken place in Paris. Advice was given to take up the pavements, to procure missiles, and how best to destroy the soldiers who were to defend the authority of the British Crown. After recommending these missiles, this journal (the United Irishman) said:— To these missiles from windows and housetops revolutionary citizens always add boiling water or grease, or better cold vitriol, if available; molten lead is good, but too valuable. In the Nation newspaper the week afterwards, the 11th of March, it was said: — We demand a convention fit to treat with England for our freedom—a convention representing the people, and whom the people will obey. On the same day the United Irishman said— We must utter and maintain the godsent truth—the decree that is in the hearts of us all —Hate England to the death. This was the language commonly used and generally spread by these newspapers in Ireland. On the 18th March, a similar passage appeared in the same newspaper, the United Irishman. It was a letter to the Earl of Clarendon:— And, as for the same warlike and treasonable articles in this newspaper, they will be steadily continued and improved upon, week after week, until they have produced their effect—the effect not of a street not to disturb a peaceful meeting, but of a deliberate and universal armament, to sweep this island clear of British butchers, and plant the green flag on Dublin Castle. The letter was addressed to "The Earl of Clarendon, Her Majesty's Executioner General, and General Butcher of all Ireland." In another passage— That a strong English reaping-hook is a capital weapon; and in case of street fighting let no powder be too explosive, or no instrument be too hot for fair hands to lift and hurl down upon the enemy. This was the kind of language Lord Clarendon had to meet. These were the circumstances in which he thought it advisable to spread an antidote against such poison. These were the circumstances in which he aided and encouraged a public writer, not to defend his conduct, not to defend his merits, or those of his Administration, but to defend the cause of the United Kingdom, the cause of the Imperial Parliament, the cause of the existence of this Empire. There was another passage, written in a similar tone, in which it was added that their object was to destroy the accursed British empire. These incentives had very great effect. Arms were secured, pikes were manufactured, and there were a number of clubs in the different towns, as well as affiliated clubs scattered throughout the country districts, avowedly for the purpose of making an insurrection, driving out the Queen's troops, and plundering every man of property in the country. These were the circumstances under which Lord Clarendon was called to govern Ireland. On the 22nd of July, on a Saturday morning, I proposed in this House to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act, and at seven o'clock on the same evening a Bill, with only eight dissentients out of an assembly of 300, suspending the Habeas Corpus Act, passed through all its stages. What must have been the danger and the imminent peril which would have induced the House of Commons to pass a Bill suspending the liberties of the Irish people—and which induced them to act with such speed and such unanimity? Well, Sir, these measures, with other measures of Lord Clarendon, completely defeated the intended insurrection. It was intended to defer for some six weeks, or about the time of the harvest, the outbreak. When the leaders found their persons were to be seized, they were forced into premature insurrection. Lord Clarendon was alive and vigilant to the danger. He instantly despatched General Macdonald into those parts which were threatened; and the insurrection, according to the admission of the noble Lord, which was formidable a week before, failed entirely, and became utterly ridiculous. But why did it become ridiculous? Why was it that the country was not subject to those sad disorders of civil war which took place in 1798, and the cruel consequences which followed it? It was because the Government of Ireland was alive and vigilant. It was because the Lord Lieutenant acted properly that these attempts at insurrection were defeated, and the danger averted. I have alluded to the consequences of the outbreak in 1798. Every one has heard and read with pain the scenes which were enacted, and the punishment which followed that insurrection. Sir, the punishment which followed the attempt of 1848 was totally of a different nature. The chief actors were put upon their trials for high treason—they were convicted of high treason—no blood flowed upon the scaffold—the executioner was not called in to complete what the civil authority had commenced. A great example of clemency was shown, which had its effect, and the rankling wound, which usually attends insurrection defeated, did not fester in Ireland. After a very short time men began to admit that the Government had acted wisely and leniently. However, next year it was again thought prudent to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act, and it was suspended from the beginning of the next Session till August, 1849. I wish these facts to be remarked, because there is a desire to ignore them; and counsel for Mr. Birch have endeavoured to show that all danger was over in 1848. Why, if that had been the case, this House would not have readily a second time assented to the suppression of the liberties of Ireland. Well, then, Sir, I think it is generally admitted—universally admitted—that Lord Clarendon, in a time of great danger, great difficulty, and great peril, has shown ability, vigilance, prudence, and judgment, and all the characteristics which ought to distinguish a Viceroy in a moment of difficulty and danger. His Sovereign readily admitted that merit, and thought him entitled to the distinctions given by the Crown, of which it was said— Those emblems Cecil did invest, And gleamed on wise Godolphin's breast"— were accorded to his Lordship in testimony of his high public services. And now, Sir, it is attempted—after these services have been performed, after these dangers are past—it is attempted to affix a stigma on that character, and mark with indelible disgrace the man who performed these services. Why, we would think it very strange if a ship was in great peril, and the captain, by the exertion of toil, and judgment, and discretion, had baffled the efforts of the winds and waves, and saved the vessel from the storm, if some one who had not assisted in that endeavour crept out from the hold and said, "I must inquire into the means by which the safety of the vessel has been secured. I must see how you have contrived to weather the gale, and if I find that any one of your sailors who was employed either in cutting away the mainmast, or baling out the water, is an unworthy person, I will condemn you, and pass unnoticed the meritorious act by which you have saved the vessel." But I am still further astonished at the quarter from whence this Motion proceeds. I could have imagined that some demagogue who had hoped in the overthrow of existing institutions in 1848 to have obtained place or plunder, who had desired to invest himself in the insignia of a Secretary of State of the Irish republic—I could have imagined him coming back to vent his spite and indignation against the man who had baffled and overthrown treason, and crushed rebellion in the bud. But what I do not and what I cannot understand is that a member of a Conservative Opposition, after having shared in all the benefits of Lord. Clarendon's wisdom and policy—and it was to that wisdom and that policy, and the energy which characterised both, he owes the enjoyment of his property in pen: o and safety—I say I cannot understand a member of a Conservative Opposition coming down here to arraign the man who has conferred these benefits, and asking the House to agree with him in condemning the man to whom, in common with the whole country, he ought to be most grateful. I am sure that such will not be the feeling of this House. The House of Commons has done nothing—it has had no opportunity of doing anything by which they can show their estimate of the emi- nent services performed. But I cannot think they will give their first expression of opinion on Lord Clarendon's Administration in the severe and unsparing condemnation contained in the terms of the notice. Never was the Executive stronger than in the hands of Lord Clarendon. Never was public authority more respected, even by his enemies. Never was there a Viceroy carrying on the duties of that office with more fairness to all parties, with more courtesy to all who came to consult him, and with a more earnest wish to remedy some of the many grievances under which Ireland labours. But I have now stated what was the nature of the transactions with regard to this newspaper, the World. I do not propose to follow the noble Lord into those statements of the merits of the various transactions to winch he has alluded. I believe it was with the motive that I have stated that Lord Clarendon accepted the services of Mr. Birch when they were offered. I believe that he accepted them with the view that they might be of service in maintaining order when it was so grievously assailed—that he might be able to administer some antidote to the poison spreading throughout the land, a poison which might have the worst effects. Whether Lord Clarendon was right at any time, even when placed in circumstances of great alarm and danger, or when the danger was not so lowering, to spend public money on purposes connected with the press, I do not mean to combat with the noble Lord. If you enter into the consideration of that question, you ought to consult persons connected with the Government in Ireland. We know very well that in this country it is not the practice to do what Mr. Corry Connellan calls subsidising the press. No Government could receive any advantage from such a proceeding. But if you want to know what is the practice in Ireland—if you want to know the policy of that conduct—ask all the Chief Secretaries who have been there, and hear their opinions. Take the Earl of Derby; and if the Earl of Derby were to declare that in no circumstances whatever were you to give public money for purposes connected with the press, that he had always carefully abstained from it, I would have the greatest respect and attach very great weight to that opinion. I should likewise wish to bear the opinions of other Chief Secretaries, who could tell what has been the practice, and what were the grounds upon which it was justified. For my own part, I have never been either locally or immediately connected with the Government of Ireland, so I cannot express an opinion upon the point. I do not think it necessary to say more than that in my belief Lord Clarendon acted with no wish to benefit himself or to support his own Administration; he seems to have acted solely with a regard to the public good; and he also seems to have acted not differently from those formerly engaged in the Government of Ireland. With regard to the further question, immediate to this, whether Lord Clarendon should have given aid to an editor of a paper of so disreputable a character as the World, I have only to say that the noble Lord (Lord Naas) in his speech gives full credit to Lord Clarendon's assertion that he was not aware that such was the character of the paper, And what do I find? Why, that Mr. Birch being imprisoned for libel, many of the most respectable citizens of Dublin, amongst others Mr. Roe, had gone with a memorial to the Government, asking for his release. This was not the conduct of persons who believed that this man was of a disreputable character. With respect to the further question—whether the Government acted wrong in giving sums of money, and whether Lord Clarendon should have paid that 2,000l. upon demand, with-going before a jury—I am of opinion Lord Clarendon erred in not contesting the payment, and in agreeing to the compromise. I only heard of these transactions lately, and I have framed my judgment upon them; but I do not think that an error of that kind, an error of no very grave importance, not so much to be weighed even against the weight of a feather, can prevail against the eminent, the undoubted, and valuable services which Lord Clarendon has rendered to his country. Well, then, here is a great question before the House. You have the character of a public man intrusted to your hands. I am persuaded that you will be of opinion that it is neither consistent with the dignity of Parliament nor with the welfare of the country, that you should pronounce the condemnation that is prayed for. And for my part, as a Colleague of Lord Clarendon—as one who has esteemed him, and for many years has loved him—I am ready to place his character and his conduct in the hands of the Commons of England, and I am assured that he will obtain justice in their decision.


Sir, I wish, if no one else will address the House, to divest this important question of the veil of sophistry with which the noble Lord at the head of the Government has enveloped it. The argument of the noble Lord, in the first place, is—put down rebellion, and if you are successful, never mind the means: you may appeal to your country for a verdict in your favour. But is that reasoning which will be supported by the Members of a Liberal party? Is that the reasoning they will apply to other rebellions in Ireland, when they were quick to criticise the conduct of Government, which was successful, but which had recourse to means they could not approve? Only extend this proposition, and you will imperil all public morality. I will not say that the noble Lord's proposition is a specimen of political immorality, because it is unnecessary to use strong language here. It is a position, however, I am sure, that the House of Commons will never sanction. According to the noble Lord, there was a great crisis in Ireland in 1848. The existence of the empire was at stake; and so strong was the feeling of this House of Commons of the magnitude of the danger, that the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act was proposed and agreed to in one day. It was in consequence of his prudence and energy, along with other means, that Lord Clarendon saved Ireland and the empire. And what were the other means? Mr. Birch. Lord Clarendon wielded all the powers of the law, and had at his command the whole military force of the country, but all were insufficient until he obtained the potent aid of the editor of the World. The Government of Ireland is brought under your consideration upon the following charge:— That the transactions which have taken place between the Irish Government and the editor of a Dublin newspaper are of a nature to weaken the authority of the Executive, and to reflect discredit on the administration of public affairs. And what says the Prime Minister under these circumstances? He says there was a rebellion—a rebellion which the Administration of that country succeeded in putting down, supported by the almost unanimous vote of the Parliament of England. What has this to do with the question before us? The noble Lord says that there was a great chance that every honest person would be plundered; and, to prevent every honest person being plundered, Lord Clarendon called into his counsels the editor of the World newspaper. He was the scapegoat who was to prevent this huge robbery being inflicted, and for his services Lord Clarendon paid him 3,700l. out of his own purse. I want fairly to put before the House the real point at issue. The question you have to decide is the conduct of the Administration in Ireland. You have to say whether those facts placed before us—the accuracy of which is not denied, for remember, the truth of the statements of the Mover has not for one moment been challenged—you are to say whether these are circumstances, calculated, in the language of the Motion, to weaken the authority of the Executive, and to reflect discredit on the administration of public affairs. Are they calculated to strengthen the authority of the Executive, or to reflect credit on the administration of public affairs? Have we, or have we not, in this matter, the inkling of a system prejudicial to public morality? The noble Lord, while he admits all the facts, and the inevitable consequences to be deduced from them, forgetting his original position, that this was an anomalous state of affairs, produced only by a rebellion, appeals to the conduct of other secretaries—to what Lord Elliot did in 1842, and demands to know from the Earl of Derby whether he did not subsidise the Irish press? Well, then, here is a remarkable inconsistency in the argument of the noble Lord. If it be true that this was an unprecedented occurrence, a course adopted under circumstances of panic, I admit that there may be some colour for drawing an inference in favour of his Excellency. But if these are the ordinary transactions of the country, then there is a sound reason for affirming the Resolution of the noble Lord (Lord Naas). And it is because I believe them to be the ordinary transactions of the country, not only admitted but proved, that I seek the calm and dispassionate judgment of the House of Commons; and I ask them whether this is the conduct they will justify by their vote, and sanction by their approval: or whether they think it is a system which tends to weaken the authority of the Executive, and reflect discredit on the administration of public affairs? Now, after the fervid declamation of the noble Lord, I have brought back the discussion to the real point. If Lord Elliot, in 1842, acted in the manner intimated by the noble Lord, we have only been furnished with an additional reason for giving an opinion on those transactions of the Irish Government. It is possible that the Earl of Derby may have had transactions of this nature, as was insinuated; but on that subject I will say more by and by. It is possible, and if so, we have another reason why the House of Commons should express their opinion on the subject. Every point the noble Lord adduced, every argument he brought forward, every instance he referred to, destroyed the original position which he took in the heat of his declamation. Now I wish to press this point upon the attention of the House. If this were a Motion brought to cast a stigma on an individual character, I very much doubt whether my noble Friend (Lord Naas), who brought it forward in so temperate a manner—one, himself proud, and justly proud, of being an Irishman—would have been the person to have made this Motion; and certainly I would not have been the individual to support it. If it was an extraordinary transaction, which could only have occurred in the heat and fiery fervour of party strife, every generous man would have helped to cast a veil over it, [Ministerial cheers.] That very cheer is the best argument in favour of the Motion. They would have said, what has occurred never occurred before, will probably never occur again, and it is not necessary to enter upon it; but if every Chief Secretary for Ireland has lent himself to such transactions, then the case assumes quite a different character, and the conclusion in favour of the Motion of my noble Friend is irresistible. If it be true that every Secretary of the Lords Lieutenant has pursued that system, and if we believe that system to be a most pernicious one, it is not an affair of feeling—it is not an affair of taste for the House of Commons—it is an affair of public duty, that we should examine these remarkable circumstances, and express an opinion upon them. Now, Sir, I have nothing to say on the conduct of Lord Elliot. He has friends in this House who will be ready, if necessary, to defend him; but the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) has referred to all other Secretaries, and in a very marked, though in a very allusive manner, he has referred to the Earl of Derby, formerly Chief Secretary for Ireland, as Lord Stanley. I remember recently reading a book, which I dare say most hon. Members have seen, and which throws some light on the secret history of modern Irish affairs. I believe it is a fact that, during the Administration of the Marquess of Anglesey, who is a member, by the way, of the present Government, when party spirit raged very high in Ireland, when the press in that country—which is particularly affected by the press—was divided between the two great sections of public opinion in that country, which we call or did call the Orange and Catholic parties—I believe it is a fact that the Government of the Marquess of Anglesey, wishing that what they conceived to be the temperate tones of a wiser policy should, at least, be heard by their countrymen, did attempt, and not unsuccessfully, to establish a newspaper. Is there any one who finds fault with the Administration of the Marquess of Anglesey in that respect? Is there any one in this free country, that owes so much of its liberty and happiness to a free press—is there any Gentleman on either side of the House who will contend that such a course is either disgraceful or irregular? I conceive there is no one who will not maintain, on the contrary, that it is a bold, a proper, and a legitimate one. I say that for a Government, in a legitimate manner, to endeavour to establish an organ to express their opinions—especially in a country where public opinion is ranged in two hostile parties, and they find the expression of the opinions and sentiments of those parties conveyed in language of great excitement and exaggeration—is not a matter for censure. I know nothing more legitimate, more proper, more praiseworthy of any Government, than thus to attempt to soften public feeling, and obtain additional influence to the support of their administration. I believe that was the case in the administration of the Marquess of Anglesey, and I believe the instance in which it was attempted produced beneficial results. A newspaper, conducted by respectable men, written by respectable men, one of them not an undistinguished member of the Irish Bar, effected a not inconsiderable and a salutary influence on public opinion. But if I chose to view the question merely in a party point of view—if I availed myself of the allusive reminiscences of the First Minister of the Crown—if I had chosen to denounce that attempt, instead of meeting it as I do with sincere approbation, I might have referred to the Memoirs of Lord Cloncurry, and there found a passage which would certainly not have suited the argument—if I may call the brilliant declamation of the First Minister an argument—which would certainly not have assisted the argument of the noble Lord. The Administration of the Marquess of Anglesey, placed under circumstances of great difficulty, in great straits, anxious that a moderate but I believe truly national policy should be pursued, established a newspaper—written, I say, by honest men, by able men, by men who enjoyed the respect of the society of which they were ornaments, but who were the advisers, the prime advisers of the Lord Lieutenant at that time. I am afraid, though it may mortify my Lord Derby—I am afraid I must admit that he did not exercise so much influence over the mind and policy of the Lord Lieutenant as his name, talents, and position perhaps entitled him to. There was a camarilla, we are told by one of its members, in the Castle of Dublin. There were three or four individuals who entirely managed the Lord Lieutenant, and I am sorry to say the Chief Secretary was not one of them. But this I do recollect, though I may not recall the names correctly—of those four, the most eminent and the most influential was George Villiers, that distinguished man whose conduct as Earl of Clarendon we are this evening discussing. Thus it does not appear, though he went to Ireland with a new name and in a new capacity, that he was entirely ignorant of the press of that country. It is not a fact that the Earl of Clarendon, even adorned with that surpassing decoration to which the First Minister has alluded, was entirely ignorant of the nature and character of the Irish press. I can conceive even a Knight of the Garter in these commonplace days condescending to some acquaintance with the press. Distinguished as is the position, acknowledged as are the abilities of the Earl of Clarendon, decked as he is with worthily-won honours, I cannot believe that the Viceroy of Ireland was altogether ignorant of the means, and the men, who produce leading articles, and the manner in which they are produced. I may, therefore, express my extreme astonishment at the mode in which this eminent personage, at a moment when—to use the language of the noble Lord at the head of the Government—of which I made a minute that I might not be guilty of exaggeration—"the cause of the Crown and the cause of the British empire was at stake"—the mode in which the Viceroy of Ireland sought, as the noble Lord had said, an antidote. The noble Lord read to us one after another the leading articles of all those seditious prints which had led to so many public trials, to such painful public punishments, to the exile of many persons. The noble Lord said the Mr. George Villiers of former days, the Earl of Clarendon of the present, equally experienced in the Cabinet and the city of Dublin, wished (to use the language of the noble Lord) "to encourage a writer who would counteract all those seditious efforts which imperilled the cattle of the Crown and the existence of the British empire." And so with all his former experience, and with his former acquaintance, according to Lord Cloncurry, with Irish journalism, the noble Lord falls into the trap of Mr. Birch. I am the last man to depreciate the influence of the press, which I respect and admire, to which I think we are indebted for some of the greatest of our blessings, and which I believe is one of the best securities for our liberty. But I do not take an exaggerated view of the power even of the press. I am not at all clear that, in a moment of revolution, at an epoch of rebellion, even the very best article that ever was written could save a country. I am not certain that the noble Lord the First Minister, at a moment of considerable danger and of considerable difficulty, though feeling that the leading articles of the Times, written with the usual ability of that journal, might be calculated to keep up the high tone of public patriotism in the case of invasion, for example, that they might recall and revive the energies of the people—I am not certain that he would appeal to the patriotic energies of that journal; but, at any rate, of this I am certain, that it the noble Lord went anywhere he would go to the Times, and not to the Satirist. And now here we have put fairly before us, in a manner most temperately expressed, these facts: that the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, doing—as the First Minister tells us—as all Lords Lieutenant have always done, has placed himself in communication with a newspaper—I will not inquire whether its sale was great or small, whether its reputation was high or base—but he places himself in communication with a newspaper, engages the influence of that paper in support of his Administration, and he pays that news paper out of the public funds. And they we are told these are not subjects for am House of Commons to inquire into, am then the First Minister rises and appeal to the great deeds of the person implicated and says you shall not inquire into circum stances which are of public interest, of public importance, which concern public morality. Why? Because that individual succeeded in his policy! It is the old story of Scipio revived, which, if the First Minister had been contented with it, would have been at least intelligible. But, coupled to this position is the significant announcement—"this is part of a system which has always prevailed." Is it the opinion of the House of Commons that it should always prevail? Is it the opinion of the House of Commons that it is beneficial to this country that the Government, from whatever side it may be recruited, should subsidise the press through the public funds? That is what we have to decide—in which the country is interested, and is watching in the debate of this evening—whether a Vote of the House of Commons shall put an end to proceedings which I believe, in the words of the Motion, "are of a nature to weaken the authority of the Executive, and reflect discredit on the administration of public affairs."


who rose amidst partial cries for a division, said, he had hoard nothing in the arguments adduced on the opposite side of the House, or in the statements made, that had at all tended to show him that this Motion was justified, or that it was not of a nature to east a stain on the character of the Lord Lieutenant, and to embarrass the conduct of public affairs in Ireland. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (who had not displayed his usual ability in the speech he had just made) had endeavoured to show that there was a distinction between the course taken during the period when Lord Stanley was Chief Secretary for Ire] nil, and that taken by the present Lord Lieutenant; but he (Mr. Hobhouse) did not perceive any distinction between the two proceedings. In the former instance the Government retained particular writers to advocate its cause, and this was all which had been done by the present Viceroy. If there were any difference between the two cases, he thought the difference was in favour of Lord Clarendon, for at the time the latter had engaged the services of the newspaper, law and good order wore very much at stake. He was informed that the Dublin Times, the paper alluded to as having been engaged while Lord Stanley was the Chief Secretary, received communications from the Government, and was supported by the secret service money of the State, and not, as in the present ease, from the pocket of a nobleman who disinterestedly came forward in the support of order. It had been stated also in the debate, that Lord Elliot had patronised the paper called the World, which was now so severely condemned, though formerly held up to admiration. It seemed, therefore, that the opinions of Gentlemen opposite had changed a little since the days of Lord Elliot. At that time, because the World happened to be supporting their own opinions, it was a very respectable newspaper; but now the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire trampled upon a fallen man, and, if we were to believe him, the World was the Satirist of the press. With regard to the Dublin Times, he (Mr. Hobhouse) was informed that two of its writers were placed by the then Government in high official appointments, for having espoused and promoted the doctrines of their party; and even the judicial station was, he believed, conferred upon one of them. He asked whether this was true or not? If it was not true, let it be denied; but if it was true, do not let hon. Gentlemen come forward with trivial and trumpery charges against Lord Clarendon for doing what they had themselves set the example of. But then it was said that the charge brought against Lord Clarendon was not for having connected himself with the press, but for having connected himself with an unprincipled and profligate journal. Now he (Mr. Hobhouse) was not going to say a word against the press; whether he agreed with the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire in admiring it, or whether he did not, was beside the present question, and his opinion on the subject would probably have little weight; but he conceived what had happened in this particular instance was the consequence of the system of anonymous writing—of that system by which public writers refused to affix their names to their contributions, and by which unprincipled and vicious men came sometimes to write in furtherance of doctrines which would otherwise be placed under the care of men of better character. Even assuming, what might not be admitted, that Lord Clarendon was acquainted with the character of Mr. Birch, the maintenance of law and order could not suffer by that character, while the name of the writer was withheld from the public eye. Whatever disadvantages there might be in this system of anonymous writing, it possessed at least one advantage, namely, that the acceptance of sound and good doctrine was not prejudiced, because it happened to be set forth by an unworthy person. No doubt there were certain truths which would be admitted equally, whatever the reputation of the teacher. No one, for instance, would deny that the three angles of a triangle were equal to two right angles, because he did not like the person who enunciated the doctrine; and the same might be said of the general principles of morality. But there were truths less open to demonstration, and disputed doctrines, especially in the region of politics, the examination and reception of which were, reasonably or not, dependent in no small degree on the reputation, moral and intellectual, of the writer. The anonymous system diminished, in this respect, the inducement to sift the character of writers for the press, and too little concern was shown for the worth of the man who guided a secret pen. Seeing these things, he (Mr. Hobhouse) did not know why, in defence of such a cause, Lord Clarendon was to be condemned for availing himself of the services of Mr. Birch. Hon. Gentlemen had been denouncing this unfortunate writer, and holding him up to the contempt of this House, but he should take the liberty, in addition to the letter of Lord Elliot, of quoting the opinion of the Standard as to the character of this paper in former years. The Standard did justice and homage to an opponent, and its opinion was the more worthy of their attention, because it confessed, in bestowing a eulogy on the World, that it differed from the paper which it praised. [The hon. Gentleman here read an extract from the Standard, in which it was stated that the World newspaper was conducted with great ability and independence of spirit; and that it had been eminently useful to the peace of the country; and this was followed by a passage vindicating the character of Lord Elliot.] The great Protestant party, it thus appeared, then thought well of the World; and if so, why should Lord Clarendon not have availed himself of the services of that very paper? The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire stated that this was a question of duty; and he seemed to insinuate, though he did not openly assert, that the House had no alternative but to say "Aye" or "No" to the Motion before them. He (Mr. Hobhouse) begged distinctly to deny that principle, so far as he understood the course of procedure in constitutional assemblies. They were to take into account the whole con- duct, the whole character and policy, of a person standing in Lord Clarendon's position. They were to survey the entire case, from first to last, and were not bound to give a distinct affirmative or negative to the question. They were not there as a jury, to say "Aye" or "No" to a particular issue; they might object to the issue, and he, for one, did object to the one brought before them on that occasion. What would be thought of a critic who picked out for censure a particular blemish in a work, passing over all its excellences? Lord Clarendon had held the scales between parties in Ireland with moderation and justice, and had discharged his duty with ability, skill, and judgment. The noble Lord had come in contact with the old ultra-Protestant leaven of bigotry; and he showed, in his treatment of the Orangemen, that he was not disposed to see the Irish Government treated with disrespect, or in a manner unworthy of its dignity. He would not say whether that was the cause of the present Motion or not; but he believed that if the noble Lord (Lord Clarendon) had played a little more into the hands of that party, the House would have heard less of the present vote of censure. He thought Lord Clarendon had deserved well of his country, and was entitled to the approbation of that House and the country; and had not the noble Lord at the head of the Government met the Motion with a direct negative, he (Mr. Hobhouse) would have been disposed to bring forward an Amendment, which would have challenged inquiry into the whole character, principles, and conduct of the noble Lord's Government in Ireland. Under the most trying provocations he had succeeded in repressing rebellion, and throughout he had done all that lay in his power to promote the welfare of Ireland. It might be all very well for the noble Lord who introduced the Motion to cast ridicule now on the danger that was then treated as so very serious; but the House was not likely to forget what the circumstances really were. At that time the ultra-Protestants and the Conservatives came forward with addresses of congratulation to Lord Clarendon; and he thought it was a little inconsistent on their part to adopt now the language of censure. For these reasons he should deem it his duty to vote against the Motion of the noble Lord.


considered the question before the House to be, whether the Government was justified in subsidising or bribing the press. He had great respect for Lord Clarendon, and on many points he agreed with him. He had been most useful in advancing the linen trade in Ireland, and, on a late occasion, he (Mr. S. Crawford) had been a party to presenting him with a testimonial for his exertions in that matter. As one sent there to protect the rights of the people, he regarded a free press as the great palladium and security of liberty; and he believed that if they permitted Government to tamper with the press, they would destroy the confidence of the public in that great engine. Tampering with the press was defended on the ground that it had been the custom of all previous Governments in Ireland to do so. That was the very reason why he now took his stand on this question. He believed this had been the custom of all Governments, and he feared that on a very important question the press was at present subsidised. He deprecated all such practices, and hoped they would receive the most positive censure of that House. Suppose the noble Lord at the head of the Government was to be charged with subsidising the press of this country, would the people of England for a moment bear such a thing? Certainly not. Then, why should it be tolerated in Ireland? He was sent there to defend and advocate the rights of an English constituency; he was proud of it; but he would never so far forget his connexion with Ireland as to be prevented from taking the course which he deemed just and right. He much regretted the course he felt bound to take on the present occasion; but no consideration would prevent him from giving his vote for the Motion.


said, he had never since he had had a seat in that House felt more anxiety as to the decision the House was about to come to than on the present occasion. He believed there was not a man in Ireland capable of comprehending the bearings of a political question, who did not anxiously await their verdict with a consciousness that it would deeply affect, one way or other, questions that had been long mooted, feelings that had been long stifled, in the mind of every intelligent man in that country. The question which they had to decide by the Vote of that night was, whether any amount of misconduct was ever considered objectionable in England when committed in Ireland by authority and power. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had insinuated that this was in reality a party Motion—a dexterous insinuation; for in reality that was the only allegation that could be urged against it. Were the question left for the decision of any body of English Gentlemen, uninfluenced by party motives, it would be a libel on their honour, truth, and character to doubt as to the opinion they would form. Were it left to any jury in England, except a jury of partisans, it would be a stigma on trial by jury itself to doubt their honest and indignant verdict. He did not believe there was a Whig gentleman in England—a member of Brookes's—a member of any Whig family—setting aside his feeling as a Member of that House, who must not have been shocked by a perusal of the trial out of which this Motion had arisen; and should it be said that that House was the only place in England in which an elevated moral sense and a respect for the decencies and decorum of society, were overlooked and overlaid by party and political passions? The honourable character of that House in the minds of the people of England, to say nothing of the people of Ireland, was deeply and perilously involved in the decision they should pronounce on that question. The people of England were not, perhaps, particularly astute in their appreciation of hidden motives—not inclined perhaps to look behind the veil of official hypocrisy; but they were never indifferent to flagrant violations of public decency and morals, and they were always shocked when these were violated by men in high places. And it would tend little to the elevation of the people of England, if acts of political profligacy, which no English gentleman would venture to defend in any private circle, or at any public meeting, were in that House set aside or slurred over by those who ought to be foremost in the defence of political morality, both in public and private. What were the facts—the plain, palpable, proved, admitted facts of this question? Why, that the Earl of Clarendon, representing the majesty of the Throne in Ireland, had not scrupled, for a series of years, to corrupt, and pay with the public money, as a secret organ of his own Government, a man and a journal infamous alike to the utmost extent of their local notoriety, and abominable almost beyond the limits of belief. He would not compare the Satirist with the loathsome publication of which he spoke. Had the case occurred in England, what would have been thought if the noble Lord at the head of the Government had been detected in secret and corrupt connivance with the editor of the Satirist, paying that journal out of the public money, to blacken, defame, and malign his political opponents? A file of the World, previous to and during its connexion with Lord Clarendon's Government, would have been an edifying and instructive document. But he need not go further than the testimony of Mr. Brewster, Lord Clarendon's counsel—for he was Lord Clarendon's counsel on the trial—who asserted that this Birch was the greatest pest and nuisance to society that had ever infested the city of Dublin. He believed he had done all in his power to poison the public mind, obstruct the channels of justice, and pollute its sources. He (Mr. Moore) had quotations without end from the World to prove the infamy and abomination of that journal. During and previous to its association with Lord Clarendon's Government, it was widely and infamously notorious throughout the city of Dublin. It had been expelled from every clubhouse and newsroom as an infamous and abominable print. It stood not only conspicuous, but alone, in being socially vicious and immoral. Its trade, occupation, and calling was the levying of contributions from private families, by threats of defamatory exposure, real or imaginary. It lived by defamation and slander. And this was the organ of "law and order," secretly and corruptly paid out of the public money to perform, in aid of Lord Clarendon's Government, the only task it was capable of performing—to asperse, to belie, and to defame. It had been said by the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) that Lord Clarendon was placed in very difficult circumstances—that Ireland was involved in an insurrection—that the institutions of that country were threatened with a deep-laid and wide-spread conspiracy—that the press of Ireland was in great part leagued with the insurgents—and that the Lord Lieutenant was obliged, in self-defence, and in defence of "law and order," to employ any instrument on which he could lay his hands. Now, that every one of those assertions was substantially and unequivocally false, he believed to be capable of the severest proof. Such allegations might have gone down, or have appeared plausible, a few years ago, when the Mitchell and Meagher conspiracy was in fashion, and when the fires of revolution that blazed all over the Continent magnified into undue importance the most insignificant events in this country. But there was not a well-informed man in England—certainly not a sane man in Ireland—who now believed in the Clarendon insurrection. Its mention was sufficient to excite contempt for the moral cowardice then betrayed. The Irish people were more prostrate and incapable of any great effort in any direction than they had been for centuries before. The Catholic clergymen were well known to be as hotly and bitterly opposed to the Young Ireland party as they were to the red republicans of Italy at the present day. What was the power to act upon this inert mass? And what was the power that was to overcome these mighty antagonists? A little knot of insignificant individuals, representing their own opinions, and not possessing individually or collectively a particle of influence over the people of Ireland. It was a very instructive fact, that the leaders of this party, including every man that by any possibility could have been suspected, or conceived to have influence over the public mind, had been in the height of this insurrection mobbed and beaten in one of the largest towns of Ireland, and were obliged to place themselves under the protection of the police against the very mobocracy of which they were said to be the champions. About the middle of February, 1848, Mr. John Mitchell, who was favoured with that very instructive demonstration of popular feeling in Limerick, had set up a newspaper in Dublin, in a back street, and under most unpromising auspices. He plainly told the Lord Lieutenant that it was his intention to storm the Castle of Dublin, and to take possession of the Government of the country. He used no disguise or circumlocution; he declared that what he advocated was treason, and that he meant it to be so. He said to the Lord Lieutenant, "Either you or I must be put down." The alternative presented no difficulty. Every one knew that a couple of policemen and Her Majesty's warrant was enough to put down Mr. John Mitchell and the United Irishman, But these inflammatory and seditious publications were allowed to circulate for week after week and month after month, inflaming the minds of the ignorant people to whom they were addressed. The consequence was, that in a short time men began to believe in John Mitchell; and Lord Clarendon seemed to have been one. The preparations which he made for the defence—not for the preservation—of the city of Dublin, and the state of military alarm in which he kept it for two months, led to the belief, either that his Excellency was still pregnant with some tremendous secret which had not yet seen the light, or that he was as completely the dupe of the lunacy of Mitchell, as he had been of the villany of Birch. The insurrection progressed day by day. Lord Clarendon made no preparation to prevent it. He contented himself with plotting and countermining—hounding on such men as Mr. Birch—intriguing with one part of the population against the other—while he allowed incendiary publications, from one end of the country to the other, to inflame unchecked the miserable population against whom he was making these formidable and fearful preparations. Had it been possible to have caused bloodshed in Ireland at that time, such a course of policy would have caused it. But there was a deep and powerful influence at work, sufficient to save the people alike from the machinations of jacobinism, and from the cowardly treachery of official intrigue. The whole history of that plot, denouement, and catastrophe, might have been as well read in its prologue at Limerick, as in its epilogue at Ballingary. Instead of adopting the proper measures, it was said that Lord Clarendon had thought it wise to pay a mere literary staff to assault, malign, defame, and calumniate in the cause of "law and order." This was simply pleading insanity on behalf of Lord Clarendon. He was surrounded by men who were as well acquainted with the character of Mr. Birch's World as they were with the world in which they moved. To say that all that time he had never once inquired, or was never once informed of the character which Mr. Birch or his paper bore, was an assertion which no intelligent attorney would venture to plead on behalf of a thief at the Old Bailey. This was not the first time that a plea of almost insane ignorance had been put forward on behalf of Lord Clarendon. The story of Captain Kennedy and the Orangemen who demanded 500l. from the Government for a supply of arms, was fresh in every one's recollection. On that communication the money and the arms were furnished by Captain Kennedy; an order was given for the passing of the arms into Dublin; and the Orangemen were armed as they wished. In the next Session, 5901. was voted to Captain Kennedy, for checking the insurrection. Lord Claren- don alleged that he never knew of the Orangemen being armed; that the 590l. voted to Captain Kennedy was for a hook he had written; and that it had no connexion whatever with the money paid for the arms. He (Mr. Moore) had that confidence in the word of an English gentleman, that he was prepared to believe an impossibility on that word, once—but not twice, on the word of the same gentleman. It had been said in lobbies, clubs, and other places where Members most did congregate, that this Motion was meant to get rid, by a side-wind, of the Reform Bill of 1852. He would rather say that the Reform Bill of 1852 was meant to get rid, by a side-wind, of such Motions as this. After the Government had been buoyed up, for a series of years, by national calamities and national perils—after every conceivable species of political claptrap had been exhausted—Louis Napoleon having disappointed them of an invasion—protection being no longer regarded as a bugbear, the noble Lord now came with his little measure of reform, and said, "If you don't keep me in office, you will lose the Bill." If the reformers of England were in earnest, could they suppose it possible to prevent the adoption of a much larger measure of reform than the noble Lord had proposed. If this Motion were carried, it would necessitate a more liberal measure. He did not believe the reformers of England would consent to affix their fiat of approbation on the most flagitious act of a Government that had ever ruled in the name of law and order. He would not appeal to one side of the House or the other; he appealed to the justice of every Englishman, the truth of every honest man, the manliness of every man, he appealed in the name of society itself, against the pollution and outrage which was sought to be justified under the pretext of "law and order." But it was not to the one party or the other that he appealed, but to the truth and manliness of every Gentleman present, against the outrage endured at the hands of Lord Clarendon.


said, the noble Lord at the head of the Government had alluded, with great eloquence and success, to the general policy of Lord Clarendon. With that policy he was not prepared at present to find fault. He admitted that there was an incipient rebellion in Ireland in 1848, that it was put down, and that those engaged in it were punished with considerable moderation. But he admitted that Lord Clarendon was the man who put the rebellion down. The truth was that Lord Clarendon was aided by the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland, and to them must the suppression of the rebellion be in a great measure attributed. But the policy of Lord Clarendon had, in his mind, but little to do with the subject now before the House. The question was, whether Lord Clarendon's conduct, in connexion with the infamous paper which had been referred to, was prudent or just; and the noble Lord at the head of the Government, while making a most eloquent defence of Lord Clarendon's policy, admitted to all intents and purposes that the accusation against him of imprudence was well founded. The next question then was, whether Lord Clarendon had not been sufficiently punished? Now, when he considered that the accusation had been brought forward in a place where Lord Clarendon could not defend himself—a line of attack dictated by the most prudential valour, for he believed the prime mover of it was a noble Lord who might have made the accusation, if he had so chosen, face to face with Lord Clarendon—he thought Lord Clarendon had been sufficiently punished, because, while he had been attacked behind his back, he had not been very successfully defended by his own friends in that House. Then, as an Irish Member, he (Mr. Roche) had to decide whether the present Motion had no other bearing than as a mere act of vengeance against Lord Clarendon. He believed it had a much wider and deeper meaning than appeared on the surface. The press in Ireland and England representing the party to which the noble Lord (Lord Naas) was attached, had announced that the existence of the Government depended on the issue of this Motion. He, then, as an Irish Member, was not prepared to promote a Motion, the success of which would cause the present Ministers to vacate their places, to be occupied afterwards by the noble Lord (Lord Naas) and his party. He was aware that a large number of the Members of that House had condescended to attend a meeting at the Earl of Derby's, and had decided (not very constitutionally, in his mind), without waiting for the discussion of the Reform Bill, to obstruct that measure altogether. Now, he was not prepared, as an Irish Member, to take the responsibility of placing that party in power, for he believed that it was most essential for the best interests of the Kingdom, that a wide and radical reform should he applied, not only to England and Scotland, but also, and above all, to Ireland. He also remembered that at the opening of the Session, the Earl of Derby made it one of the gravest accusations against the Government that they did not carry vigorously into effect in Ireland the Ecclesiastical Titles Assumption Bill. He (Mr. Roche) believed that the present Ministry acted most imprudently and unjustly in extending that Bill to Ireland; but he thought that the best thing they could do afterwards was never to enfore it there; and as he believed, if the party opposite should come into power, common informers would be immediately let loose in Ireland, and the country thrown into confusion and agitation, he would not take the responsibility of assisting, by voting for the present Motion, to place them in power. He also was not prepared to adopt another portion of the policy of the party opposite, who, because agrarian disturbances and murders had taken place in one part of Ireland, wished to suspend trial by jury and to introduce a Coercion Act. He believed that some of his hon. Friends on the other side, representing Ireland, were committing a great mistake in supporting the present Motion. So far from rallying in defence of their country, they were only joining in an Orange foray to wreak vengeance on one who had the courage, boldness, and honesty, in defence of the rights and liberties of the Catholics, to humiliate the leaders of Protestant ascendancy. The hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. S. Crawford) could not narrow the question into merely whether the press ought to be tampered with or not. He (Mr. Roche) would not defend the conduct of the Earl of Clarendon in that particular; but he was bound to consider the question, not in its narrow, but in its wide and national sense, and he could not go into the division lobby without considering that the result of a majority in favour of the Motion would be to place in power a party who, though they might avail themselves of Roman Catholic support to help them to office, would he the first to spurn that support when firmly seated in the Government.


said, that he must express the admiration which he felt for the noble Lord (Lord Naas) who had had the moral courage to bring forward so important a Motion. He (Colonel Sibthorp) did not blame the Earl of Clarendon any more than any other Member of the Government, who were all more or less guilty of the mal-appropriation of the Secret Service Money. It was abominable that the public money should be applied to cover the machinations of an incapable Government. No man respected the press more than he did; it was a mighty engine, essential to society, and although it sometimes lashed him when he no doubt deserved it, he at least respected a noble, fair, and candid enemy. The noble Earl, however, had tampered with a degraded press, and made a friend who turned out to be a wolf in sheep's clothing; but was it not most disgraceful, was it not a very shame, that a Government should take such a step? He gave the Earl of Clarendon credit for the possession of much ability, and it was said that his Lordship did a great deal of good; but it was possible for a man who did a great deal of good to do also a great deal of harm, and that he thought was the case of the Earl of Clarendon. This was not the first imprudent proceeding of the noble Earl, because he (Colonel Sibthorp) had learned from the public press, which was the only source of information open to him—he had learned from that source of information, that a toast had been proposed in the noble Earl's presence to the health of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, about the same time that the noble Lord at the head of the Government had chosen to pen his celebrated letter to the Bishop of Durham. While he said this he meant no disrespect to the Church to which that Archbishop belonged, for he knew that the soldiers who were members of that faith were in no ways inferior to those who were members of his own Church. He would not trespass farther on the time of the House. He spoke his mind openly—he must speak it; and he had but one word more to say. He thought the present Motion was a step in the right direction, for he thought they would at last come to know what became of the Secret Service Money, where it went to, both in Ireland and in England. He must say he hated the very words Secret Service Money; for no money that came out of the pockets of a free people ought to be expended secretly.


said, in listening to the speech of the noble Lord who introduced this Motion, and the speeches of hon. Gentlemen on his side of the House, with a view to discover, if possible, how far the transaction to which the Resolution referred had weakened the authority of the Executive, and discredited the administration of public affairs in that country, he was bound to say that that statement and those speeches had failed to convince him that the authority of the Executive in Ireland had, in the slightest degree, been affected by those proceedings. If the part which the Earl of Clarendon took in these affairs were of the nature which the noble Lord (Lord Naas) had represented it to be—a part with which public opinion in Great Britain and Ireland was shocked and outraged—how; did it happen that that feeling was not expressed either in petitions to that House, or in addresses to the Crown, praying that the Earl of Clarendon might be removed from that position on which, if they were to believe the assertions of the noble Lord who introduced the Motion, he had brought discredit and disgrace? The absence of those petitions and addresses satisfied him that the public had taken a much more disinterested view of Lord Clarendon's character than the noble Lord opposite. He would not say that the act of Lord Clarendon in this matter would bear the test of a severe morality; but they were to consider the critical position in which he was placed—the dangerous circumstances with which he was surrounded; and he (Mr. Power) thought they would find much to palliate, if not to justify, those acts. What were the circumstances in which he was placed? He was surrounded by a wide-spread and general discontent, which was ready at any moment, and on the slightest pretext, to break out into open rebellion—unable to rely upon any party, because the Orange party were dissatisfied that Lord Clarendon would not let them loose upon the Roman Catholics—the well-affected Roman Catholics overawed by the seditious clubs which were found at their doors, in every city, town, village, and hamlet in Ireland—the public press, with scarcely an exception, opposed to him and to the Government, while some of those organs published articles of the most inflammatory and revolutionary character, inciting the people to open rebellion. Considering all these critical and painful circumstances, was it fair, was it generous, was it just, to seek to stab his character, now that the danger was past, because in the interest of peace and order he had employed, and that out of his own money, a public journal to counteract the poison of Socialism with which the public press of Ireland was at that time so strongly tainted? This was the head and front of Lord Clarendon's offending. He was of opinion that if the noble Lord (Lord Naas) really meant to support the authority of the Executive, and to sustain the credit of public affairs, instead of introducing this Motion to wound the character of a distinguished nobleman, he would have moved for a Secret Committee to inquire into the practices of former Administrations, with reference to the employment of agents and spies in the time of public danger. He rather thought he would have discovered that former Administrations had not been over-scrupulous in the employment of agents for the purpose of seeking information and of counteracting the machinations of those who were opposed to public order and tranquillity. If the noble Lord's morality were shocked by such an inquiry—if he and his colleagues thought that public virtue in the administration of public affairs would be best promoted by putting a stop to such practices—he might effect great good by stopping that annual vote which was appropriated to the purposes of the Secret Service Money. He (Mr. Power) could not bring himself to vote for this Resolution; even though he might admit that Lord Clarendon had in this instance committed an error; still he could not forget that Lord Clarendon was the best Viceroy that had ever been sent to govern his (Mr. Power's) unfortunate country—he could not forget what he had done to promote the peace and prosperity of Ireland—what interests he had advanced—what public works of utility he had supported. If he looked to agriculture, he found that he had been foremost to promote it by the employment of instructors—if he looked to public works, he found that he had ever been ready to encourage the promoters of them by attending their meeting's, and by the employment of all his influence in their behalf—if he looked to education, he found that he had ever fostered it by his tender care, and by his discouragement of a sectarian tendency, which tended to obstruct its progress and mar its usefulness. There was, especially, one point in the administration of the Earl of Clarendon which had been eminently successful—he meant the manner in which he had put down the monster of Orangeism. He could not forget the rebuke which the Earl of Clarendon administered to a noble Lord (the Earl of Roden), who was, he believed, a relative of the noble Lord opposite (Lord Naas)—not that he meant to impute to the noble Lord that that had influenced him in bringing forward the present Motion; the rebuke which he administered to the Earl of Roden, on an occasion when he prevented the renewal of those scones which led to the disastrous affair at Dolly's Brae. These were the acts which had endeared Lord Clarendon to the majority of the people of Ireland, and which would lead them to regard his removal from his post as a great national calamity. It was possible that the noble Lord who made this Motion, and the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) who supported it, might one of these days be placed in office by the aid of such Motions and speeches. In such a case he warned the noble Lord and the hon. Member not to trust too far or too much to those who might now be called their Irish allies. Those allies might perhaps place them on the Ministerial benches; but the moment they were there those same allies would proceed to hurl them from power unless they would consent to repeal the Ecclesiastical Titles Act of last Session, for which he believed the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire voted; to remove from the Statute Book every Act which was opposed to the Roman Catholic religion; and unless, farther, they consented to legalise the custom of Tenant Right in Ireland. Those were the conditions on which it was proclaimed, by the party who styled themselves the Irish Brigade, that the people of Ireland would assist any Administration; and he believed those were conditions which the hon. Member for Buckinghamsire would be slow to adopt. If he did adopt them, no man would more willingly give him his aid than he (Mr. Power) would; but unless he did adopt them, the very party which was ancillary to placing him in power, would be the first to remove him from that position, and give him leisure to write that which he was so well capable of writing—his adventures in the Irish Brigade. For his part, he could be no party to a factious vote which would place upon the Ministerial benches Gentlemen who had always been hostile to the liberties of Ireland. He could not make himself a party to inflicting a stigma on the character of a nobleman who had identified himself so thoroughly with all the interests of Ireland, and whose loss, he was sure, would be felt in that country as a national calamity.


could neither admire nor concur in the political morality of the two hon. Members for Cork. Both had stated that whatever truth there might be in this Motion, whatever might be the facts of the case, still they would not vote for the Motion, because it might place the party with which he (Mr. Newdegate) was connected in power. The hon. Member who last spoke said, that he trusted that party would never be in power till they had abandoned their principles. He could tell the hon. Member that that party would never be in power except in accordance with the principles of which the people of England recognised them as the representatives. He trusted they wore as incapable of voting against the plain facts and truth of a question, as they were of abandoning principles which they believed to be just. He had never been more struck with the eminence of the noble Lord at the head of the Government in one respect than he was to-night. He did not deny that noble Lord's title to the name of statesman. As a Member of that House he was eminent, but as a partisan the noble Lord stood unequalled—he never had his match. The worse the case might be of a friend whose cause he undertook to plead, the greater the eloquence and energy of his advocacy. Did the noble Lord approve of the Earl of Clarendon's conduct in employing Mr. Birch, a convicted libeller, a man who was again under prosecution—a libeller who spared not even the prisoner awaiting his trial, from a sense of what is duo to justice—a writer who spared neither the honour of his fellow man, nor the purity of woman. Such was the agent. Did the noble Lord approve of the Earl of Clarendon's employment of him? He did not. He put the letter which Mr. Birch wrote to himself into the fire. Did the Government approve of the employment of public money in that way? They did not. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to his honour be it recorded, dishonoured the draft which was drawn upon the funds under his control, by Lord Clarendon, for the payment of Mr. Birch. The noble Lord at the head of the Government, in the spirit of a thorough partisan, had the hardihood to put in competition the moral influence of the World newspaper with the moral influence of Parliament, which repealed the Habeas Corpus Act at an hour's notice, to meet the emergency which had occurred in Ireland in 1848, to say nothing of the moral influence which the conduct of the people of England in 1848 must have exercised; and yet the noble Lord pleaded that his noble Colleague, backed by all the moral influences which had supported him, was reduced in his difficulty to the necessity of employing the Times—he begged to apologise to those who conducted the Times newspaper—he had intended to say Worldnewspaper, as though that paper could create and foster a moral feeling among the people of Ireland. He (Mr. Newdegate) did not undervalue the influence of the press—he did not wish to see it undervalued; but he wished the press to remember that, seeing they all wrote anonymously, it would be especially wise in them to cast out of their number all who proved unworthy; that if they had any respect for the estimation in which they were held in the country, they would repudiate by every means in their power all connection with those who were a disgrace to their profession. Now, what was the Motion to which the noble Lord the Member for Kildare asked the House to assent?— That, in the opinion of this House, the transactions which appear recently to have taken place between the Irish Government and the Editor of a Dublin newspaper, are of a nature to weaken the authority of the Executive, and to reflect discredit on the administration of public affairs. The "authority of the Executive" did not appear to be very strong in Ireland. It was very possible that a man in the high position of Lord Clarendon might use means to get through an emergency which, though successful for the time, might by their immorality work future mischief. What had they seen in Ireland since these transactions? They had seen open outrage in defiance of the law and the Legislature. They had seen a murderous conspiracy stalking over the land—they had seen the murderer strike down his innocent victim. They knew that the innocent were in daily terror of their lives; they saw the majesty of the law paralysed by perjury, and the refusal of juries to do their duty. And he asked, was there anything in all this to show that the moral tone of Ireland had risen under the Administration of Lord Clarendon? The known state of Ireland at present afforded an answer which could not be refuted. When, therefore, he was asked as a Member of that House to express his opinion upon these transactions, he could not refuse, merely because the Earl of Clarendon had contributed to suppress a rebellion three years ago, to give his assent to a Motion that was couched in such plain terms. A majority of this House, carried away by partisan feelings, might consent to ignore the transactions to which the Motion called their attention; but he could assure the House that the people of England would not ignore them—they would look with jealousy upon any Government who had recourse to such means—with double jealousy when they remembered the means of another kind that were so liberally placed at his disposal in 1848. He should, therefore, vote for the Motion of the noble Lord the Member for Kildare, believing that he had acted from the most honourable, public-spirited, and by no means personal, motives in calling upon the House of Commons to condemn acts which no man could justify, unless he was biassed by the blindest party feeling.


said, that in listening to what had proceeded from the opposite side of the House, he had been perpetually assailed with the apprehension that hon. Members had been suffering under that misfortune which sometimes happened to an advocate, of having the wrong brief put into their hands. It appeared to him that they had done nothing but try to blacken their client; for in this case of Birch versus Clarendon, he believed he was right in saying that it was not Lord Clarendon that was their client. He protested against being supposed to form conclusions for other hon. Members; but he saw on one side a convicted libeller—the term was not his, for he took it from the opposite side—a man, too, who had evidently employed the breach of private and public confidence as the means of obtaining money—and the point on which he felt himself bound conscientiously to decide was, whether he would vote for this man or his victim. There could be no doubt that the noble Lord in question had the same feeling as was so amusingly expressed on a late occasion by an hon. Member, who said that in respect of a certain borough he had only one thing to regret, which was that he had ever anything to do with it all. But as for criminality, he surmised the noble Lord's criminality was of the same kind as he would have incurred if, by a slip of the foot, he had fallen into a quagmire. He did fall into a quagmire when he communinicated with the party in question. But was a public man in Ireland to be debarred from all communication with the press? Was he to take for granted that Gentlemen opposite never did such a thing when they were in power, or would not do it if they again attained to the haven of their desires? On the whole he thought the charge against the noble Lord amounted to nothing; and he should vote accordingly.


could assure the House that ever since he had had the honour of having a seat in it, he had never known a step so painful to his own feelings as an imperative sense of public duty compelled him to take on this occasion. There was one point in which he fully agreed with the hon. and gallant Member who had last spoken, that the noble Earl at the head of the Irish Executive had been guilty of an indiscretion; that he had "fallen into a quagmire." That was a full description of what that noble and distinguished Personage had committed, and he deeply regretted that it was so. Again, he had to confess he never knew a case in which his own private feelings clashed so much with his sense of public duty as on the present occasion. It was not only that he had the privilege—and a high privilege he accounted it—to be acquainted with that nobleman in private life; but he considered that there was no man who by his talents and services had done more to adorn his high rank than the noble Earl. He considered that Ireland had seldom, if ever, seen a Viceroy who had brought to bear upon his difficult task more zeal and talent—not even excepting the illustrious Earl of Clarendon who had formerly held a similar situation in Ireland. In history the present Earl of Clarendon's career would be held in high honour; and he would say as an Irishman and as an Irish representative, that his country owed the Bar of Clarendon a deep debt of gratitude. There was no subject connected with the social prosperity, or with the development of the industrial resources of Ireland, which had not been advanced by his enlightened talents and ability, he, therefore, felt it a painful duty that he was compelled to condemn, not assuredly his whole career, but that one error into which his great talents, his high public services, and his noble bearing, had not prevented him from falling. He would gladly take refuge, if he could, from the necessity of recording his vote against one to whom Ireland was so much beholden, in the vague generalities which the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) had indulged in. But he looked upon the noble Lord's speech as an evasion of the whole question. If the noble Lord had appealed to the generosity and the manly spirit of that assembly, he would have had a good chance of obtaining a unanimous acquittal. But, unfortunately, the noble Lord avoided giving a direct opinion upon the one point on which alone an opinion should have been given. He talked most eloquently when he said that during the excited period of 1848 Lord Clarendon displayed every attribute that ought to appertain to a Viceroy, and that all his actions showed him to be endowed with the highest powers necessary to carry on the responsible task which had been entrusted to him; but there was always an unfortunate reference to some one thing which seemed to have had a great effect in obtaining the result which had been arrived at. They had heard of the dangers of a civil war and an insurrection; and from the speech of the noble Lord it could only be gathered that he believed the real instrument in putting an end to that state of things was this despicable paper, the World. No reference was made to the loyalty of the great mass of the Irish people; and he was astonished to find that no other Irish Member had come forward to say that the insurrectionary spirit was not so general as the speech of the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) would lead people to suppose. The noble Lord had underrated the loyalty of the people of Ireland, and had attributed far too much to Mr. Birch and the articles in his newspaper. He (Lord C. Hamilton) hoped he should not be accused of giving a party vote, for if he could possibly avoid expressing an opinion with regard to this one blot upon Lord Clarendon's public career, he would gladly do so. As an Irish Member he owed Lord Clarendon a debt of gratitude; but he should consider that he was insulting him, and putting a stigma of ignominy upon his whole career, if he was to mix up this one transaction with his general conduct, and take a verdict upon this question upon the pica of his general career. That distinguished nobleman must, long ere this, have felt how great was the error he committed, and his high chivalrous feeling would scorn having his general conduct thrown in as a make-weight against this fault. He wished to say a few words upon another question. He hoped that enlightened organ of public opinion, the press, would watch not only the speeches but the votes of the hon. Gentlemen opposite, who supported the Government upon this occasion. It so happened that the noble Lord at the head of the Government, and another noble Lord eminent in the councils of Her Majesty, had recently uttered strong censure upon the independence and freedom of the press. Wide-spread dissatisfaction had been felt with those expressions; the press rebutted the charges, and denounced the language in which the censure had been conveyed. The noble Lord was free to censure the way in which the unbought press of England had criticised the public acts of public men in foreign countries. But it was a fitting corollary of this censure that the first occasion upon which Government marshalled all its forces together this Session, and used every influence to secure a majority, should be in direct support and approval of buying and rendering venal the public press. He trusted that the unbought and unpurchaseable press of England would expose this miserable attempt on the part of the Government to patch up the unfortunate act of a distinguished statesman, and that they would direct attention to the fact, that upon this point Her Majesty's Ministers had mustered all their forces to obtain, a majority.


said, there had never been a public man so singularjy attacked and so singularly defended as Lord Clarendon had been in this matter. The noble Earl was assailed for having had recourse to the press in the support of legitimate government. Why, what was this more than all public men before him had done? But then, it was said, Lord Clarendon had recourse to a convicted libeller: the gentleman who had made such a point of this vituperation of Mr. Birch, could hardly have been present when the noble Mover of the Resolution passed such an eulogium upon the great talent which the political articles in the World had manifested. Now, what did Lord Clarendon want at the particular time but political talent? What was the press of this country? Why, were not 999 out of every 1,000 of the population guided by the press? Was not the press the thinking machine of the nation? Did men in general think for themselves? Was not the press the general guide of the people? And was a public man, then, to be blamed, because he sought the aid of so important a means for securing public approbation to his measures? It was all humbug to talk about Lord Clarendon needing to be ashamed of having recourse to the press as a means of influencing public opinion. He repudiated the apology suggested for this alleged blot on Lord Clarendon's character in the general excellence of his administration. He held that any public man who had confidence in the justice of his own opinions had a perfect right, whether he were in office or out of office, to have recourse to the means which the press afforded him of forwarding those opinions. It did not matter whether he established a new paper, or took advantage of the existence of an old one. It would have been absurd for Lord Clarendon to have attempted to get his opinions promulgated through the Dublin Evening Mail or Post. He took the common-sense way. He found a paper in existence, with political articles of great ability, and, what was of more importance, the paper was what is called a low, scurrilous paper, which, he supposed, meant that it circulated among the lower classes, and among those whose opinions were, to a certain extent depraved. Now, for the preservation of law and order, it was a thousand fold more necessary that such a vehicle should be made use of for the promulgation of proper opinions, than a paper which circulated more exclusively amongst the higher classes. Suppose, for example, a paper like the Satirist had existed in 1848. Would any Minister of the country who wished to influence public opinion through the press attempt to disseminate opinions contrary to Socialism in the Morning Post, the Times, or the Chronicle? No; would it not be far more important that he should have recourse to a paper like the Satirist. His position was this, that if one had to encounter principles through the press, he must engage a press which circulated among the classes where those principles which he wished to oppose prevailed. He therefore maintained that Lord Clarendon was perfectly justified in obtaining the assistance of a paper like the World. When hon. Gentlemen spoke of corrupting the press, might be ask what opinion they formed of the press? Did they think the press was a virtuous woman? Did they look upon the press, he said, in the light of a virtuous woman, whose purity it would be horrible to trifle with, and to make arrangements with, such as Lord Clarendon had entered into? Could hon. Gentleman realise the idea of the press being a mere article for sale? Could they realise the idea that the editor of a newspaper cared little for the principles which he wrote about, but that he adopted those principles because they were the most profitable? Could they realise the idea that an honourable man might be engaged to adopt one side of politics or principles, if nothing immoral were connected with them, on one day, and transfer those talents the next day to another newspaper, according as he might be engaged? He said, then, that there was nothing dishonourable either in the person who engaged those talents, or in the individual who sold them to him who wanted them. Was not that an every-day occurrence? It was; and why, then, was Lord Clarendon to be made a victim, for that he, bowing to the force of the press and of public opinion, had taken those means which were within his power of engaging the talent which he thought the most applicable to the purpose, and the best suited for the promulgation of those views which he and the Government thought right? He contended that Lord Clarendon had done nothing more than any statesman guided by public opinion in this country was justified in doing. That he had been unfortunate in having had to do with a man like Mr. Birch, who appeared to have no moral or honourable feeding, he admitted, but beyond that there was no moral censure upon Lord Clarendon.


Sir, having for many years had the advantage and the honour of Lord Clarendon's private friendship, and having been closely and directly connected with him by official relations, I cannot reconcile it to my feelings to give a silent negative to the Motion of the noble Lord (Lord Naas). I feel bound to bear my testimony to the private worth, to the personal honour, of Lord Clarendon, and to his public value as a servant of the Crown, and to express my deep regret that he should upon this occasion have been selected as the object of a personal attack. Sir, the noble Lord who made this Motion disclaimed its being a personal question; but if this is not a personal question, I am utterly at a loss to understand what a personal question is. This is not an attack upon a measure of the Government or of the Administration. The noble Lord brings under the discussion of the House, and calls upon the House to censure, a strictly personal act of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Now I hate personal attacks. I think it is an unworthy method of political warfare. But, at all events, if any hon. Member considers it his duty to bring forward a personal attack upon a public man, I think he is bound to see that the grounds upon which his attack is founded, are broad, clear, and substantial. Now, I appeal to those who have heard what has passed this evening, to say whether the noble Lord has succeeded in showing any such ground for the censure he has proposed. I confess it never has been my lot to hear so unsubstantial a ground laid for so grave and serious an accusation. What is it that the noble Lord has established? Upon his own showing, what is the charge which he brings against my noble Friend? It is this—that in a moment of public peril, when dangers of the greatest magnitude threatened that part of the empire of which he was the responsible Governor, a newspaper editor comes and says, "I agree in the policy which you are carrying on. I wish to support the cause of monarchy, of loyalty, and of order, which you are charged to maintain. I have a paper which has but a small circulation. I am willing, if you will assist me in giving it a greater circulation, to endeavour to diffuse more extensively those opinions which I conscientiously entertain, and which are favourable to the system of government which you are desirous of maintaining." Why, I say, Sir, if my noble Friend bad shrunk from giving the editor that support he asked for, he would have been more liable to blame for having refused that support, than he is for having afforded to that editor the means of rendering a public service. It may be that the editor was in some respects unworthy of the confidence which my noble Friend reposed in him. It is the misfortune of generous minds frequently to fall into the error of trusting too implicitly those who afterwards prove themselves unworthy of the confidence placed in them. But, Sir, I must say, that for my part, I should not think that I was doing myself credit or honour by taking advantage of information given me by a man who had proved himself so undeserving of confidence; and it must be recollected that those who endeavour to throw dirt upon others may sometimes soil their own hands. I confess that part of the pain which the debate of this evening has occasioned me, arises from seeing the noble Lord (Lord Naas), for whom I enter- tain personally great respect, become the instrument of so unworthy an attack. Sir, I shall say no more. I see, from the tone and temper of the House, that this unjust and unworthy attempt at censuring my noble Friend will utterly fail; and I am persuaded that the tenor of the debate which has taken place, and the opinion which this House will pronounce upon the Motion of the noble Lord, will leave my noble Friend standing in the high position which he has hitherto maintained, as a most distinguished servant of the public, and a man who has rendered important services, and conferred great benefits on his country.


Sir, I do not intend at this hour to trespass upon the attention of the House for any length of time; but I repel with indignation the assertion that this is a personal attack upon Lord Clarendon. I agree with the noble Lord who has just sat down that if I had made a personal attack upon Lord Clarendon, I should have been unworthy to hold a seat in this House. But I have brought under notice the public act of a public individual, the act of an officer of the Government, justified by himself upon public grounds; for the justification which he put forward at the trial was a justification upon public grounds. He said distinctly that the circumstances of the country were such as to justify him in making use of such an instrument. The act was not alone that of the Lord Lieutenant, but of his Government. It is an act which I believe the whole Executive Government have participated in; and of all that I have alluded to to-night, the noble Lord who has just sat down was cognisant. Therefore, it cannot be for a moment maintained that this is a personal attack. Such a thing was never intended. The speech of the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) was a most dexterous one; but I appeal to the House and to hon. Gentlemen whether the noble Lord, in reply to me, touched a single fact of the case. I maintain that the act of the Irish Government, in this case, was reprehensible and disgraceful. And, notwithstanding all the ability and talent shown by the other side of the House, I have heard nothing to-night to disprove any one of my facts, nor do I think that hon. Gentlemen have vindicated by their speeches what they are going to vindicate by their votes. I leave the issue calmly, and with perfect fearlessness, in the hands of the House. At the same time, I say that the vote they are going to give, is one which may be quoted against them hereafter, They are going to establish, as a precedent, that this House of Commons approves of extracting the public money from the public purse for such purposes. Distort it, alter it as you will, that is the question you are going to vote upon. Even now, I can't conceive that the House will come to such a decision; if it does, it will be remembered against it.

The House divided:—Ayes 137; Noes 229; Majority 92.

List of the AYES.
Adderley, C. B. Grogan, E.
Archdall, Capt. M. Guernsey, Lord
Arkwright, G. Gwyn, H.
Baldock, E. H. Hallewell, E. G.
Baldwin, C. B. Halsey, T. P.
Bankes, G. Hamilton, G. A.
Barrow, W. H. Hamilton, Lord C.
Bateson, T. Harris, hon. Capt.
Bennet, P. Herbert, H. A.
Blair, S. Higgins, G. G. O.
Blake, M. J. Hildyard, R. C.
Blandford, Marq. of Hill, Lord E.
Boldero, H. G. Hodgson, W. N.
Booker, T. W. Hope, A.
Booth, Sir R. G. Hotham, Lord
Bremridge, R. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Brisco, M. Jones, Capt.
Buck, L. W. Keating, R.
Buller, Sir J. T. Keogh, W.
Bunbury, W. M. Knight, F. W.
Burghley, Lord Knightley, Sir C.
Cabbell, B. B. Knox, Col.
Chandos, Marq. of Knox, hon. W. S.
Chatterton, Col. Langton, W. H. P. G.
Christopher, R. A. Lawless, hon. C.
Cobbold, J. C. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Cochrane, A.D.R.W.B. Lockhart, W.
Coles, H. B. Long, W. B.
Collins, T. Lowther, hon. Col.
Compton, H. C. Lowther, H.
Corbally, M. E. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Crawford, W. S. Mackenzie, W. F.
Disraeli, B. Meagher, T.
Dod, J. W. Manners, Lord G.
Dodd, G. Manners, Lord J.
Duncombe, hon. A. Miles, W.
Duncombe, hon. W. E. Monsell, W.
Duncuft, J. Moody, C. A.
Dunne, Col. Moore, G. H.
Du Pre, C. G. Mullings, J. R.
Edwards, H. Naas, Lord
Farnham, E. B. Napier, J.
Farrer, J. Neeld, J.
Filmer, Sir E. Newdegate, C. N.
Floyer, J. O'Brien, Sir T.
Forester, hon. G. C. W. O'Ferrall, rt. hn. R. M.
Fox, S. W. L. O'Flaherty, A.
Fuller, A. E. Ossulston, Lord
Galway, Visct. Packe, C. W.
Gooch, Sir E. S. Pakington, Sir J.
Goold, W. Peel, Sir R.
Gordon, Adm. Prime, R.
Gore, W. O. Renton, J. C.
Grace, O. D. J. Repton, G. W. J.
Grattan, H. Reynolds, J.
Greene, J. Rushout, Capt
Sadleir, J. Thompson, Ald.
Scott, hon. F. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Scully, F. Tyler, Sir G.
Seymer, H. K. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Sibthorp, Col. Verner, Sir W.
Spooner, R. Waddington, D.
Stafford, A. Waddington, H. S.
Stanley, E. Walpole, S. H.
Stuart, H. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Stuart, J. Whiteside, J.
Start, H. G. Wynn, H. W. W.
Sullivan, M. TELLERS.
Tennent, Sir J. E. Beresford, W.
Thesiger, Sir F. Baillie, H. J.
List of the NOES.
Abdy, Sir T. N. Evans, Sir De L.
Adair, R. A. S. Evans, J.
Aglionby, H. A. Evans, W.
Alcock, T. Ewart, W.
Anson, hon. Gen. Fergus, J.
Anstey, T. C. Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Armstrong, Sir A. Fitz Patrick, rt. hn. J.W.
Bagshaw, J. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W.
Baring, H. B. Foley, J. H. H.
Baring, rt. hn. Sir F. T. Fordyce, A. D.
Bass, M. T. Forster, M.
Bell, J. Fortescue, C.
Bellew, R. M. Fox, R. M.
Berkeley, Adm. Fox, W. J.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Freestun, Col.
Berkeley, C. L. G. Geach, C.
Bernal, R. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Bethell, R. Glyn, G. C.
Birch, Sir T. B. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Blewitt, R. J. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Boyle, hon. Col. Granger, T. C.
Brocklehurst, J. Grenfell, C. P.
Brockman, E. D. Grenfell, C. W.
Brotherton, J. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Brown, W. Grey, R. W.
Bruce, Lord E. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Bunbury, E. H. Grosvenor, Earl
Burke, Sir T. J. Hanmer, Sir J.
Butler, P. S. Harcourt, G. G.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Hardcastle, J. A.
Cardwell, E. Harris, R.
Carter, J. B. Hastie, A.
Caulfield, J. M. Hastie, A.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Hatchell, rt. hon. J.
Clay, J. Headlam, T. E.
Clements, hon. C. S. Heneage, E.
Cockburn, Sir A. J. E. Henry, A.
Coke, hon. E. K. Hindley, C.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Hobhouse, T. B.
Collins, W. Hodges, T. L.
Cowan, C. Hodges, T. T.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Hogg, Sir J. W.
Craig, Sir W. G. Horsman, E.
Dashwood, Sir G. H. Howrard, Lord E.
Dawes, E. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C.T. Howard, hon. E. G. G.
Divett, E. Howard, Sir R.
Drumlanrig, Visct. Humphery, Ald.
Duncan, Visct. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Duncan, G. Jackson, W.
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D. Kershaw, J.
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Kildare, Marq. of
Ellis, J. King, hon. P. J. L.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Emlyn, Visct. Langston, J. H.
Enfield, Visct. Lawley, hon. B. R.
Lemon, Sir C. Romilly, Sir J.
Lennard, T. B. Russell, Lord J.
Lewis, rt. hon. Sir T. F. Russell, F. C. H.
Lewis, G. C. Salwey, Col.
Loch, J. Scholefield, W.
Locke, J. Scobell, Capt.
Loveden, P. Scrope, G. P.
Lushington, C. Seymour, Lord
Mackie, J. Slaney, R. A.
Mackinnon, W. A. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Macnaghten, Sir E. Smith, J. A.
M'Gregor, J. Smith, J. B.
M'Taggart, Sir J. Somers, J. P.
Mahon, The O'Gorman Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.
Mangles, R. D. Spearman, H. J.
Martin, J. Stanley, hon. W. O.
Martin, C. W. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Matheson, A. Stanton, W. H.
Matheson, Col. Strickland, Sir G.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Strutt, rt. hon. E.
Milligan, R. Stewart, Adm.
Milnes, R. M. Stuart, Lord D.
Milton, Visct. Stuart, Lord J.
Moffatt, G. Talbot, C. R. M.
Molesworth, Sir W. Tancred, H. W.
Moncreiff, J. Thicknesse, R. A.
Morgan, H. K. G. Thompson, Col.
Morris, D. Thornely, T.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Townley, R. G.
Mowatt, F. Townshend, Capt.
Norreys, Sir D. J. Trelawny, J. S.
O'Connell, M. Trevor, hon. T.
Ogle, S. C. H. Tufnell, rt. hon. H.
Ord, W. Tynte, Col. C. J. K.
Osborne, R. Vane, Lord H.
Owen, Sir J. Verney, Sir H.
Paget, Lord C. Villiers, hon. C.
Palmer, R. Vivian, J. H.
Palmerston, Visct. Wakley, T.
Parker, J. Watkins, Col. L.
Pechell, Sir G. B. Wawn, J. T.
Peel, F. Wellesley, Lord C.
Perfect, R. West, F. R.
Peto, S. M. Westhead, J. P. B.
Pigot, F. Willcox, B. M.
Pilkington, J. Williams, J.
Plowden, W. H. C. Williams, W.
Ponsonby, hn. C.F.A.C. Willyams, H.
Power, Dr. Williamson, Sir H.
Power, N. Wilson, J.
Price, Sir R. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Pusey, P. Wood, Sir W. P.
Ricardo, O. Wrightson, W. B.
Rice, E. R. Wyld, J.
Rich, H. Wyvill, M.
Robartes, T. J. A. Young, Sir J.
Roche, E. B. TELLERS.
Roebuck, J. A. Hayter, W. G.
Romilly, Col. Hill, Lord M.

The House adjourned at half after Ten o'clock.