HC Deb 15 June 1852 vol 122 cc762-73

On the Report of the Committee of Supply being brought up,


said, he did not know whether he was in order, but he wished to put a question to the hon. Member for North Warwickshire. He found by the Votes that at three o'clock that morning the adjourned debate on Maynooth was further adjourned with his assent, and he wanted to ask the hon. Member when he intended to resume the discussion on his Motion, which he had managed to keep on the paper ever since the 22nd of February?


said, the debate was not adjourned with his assent at first. He voted against the adjournment; and, as he stated last night, he took that division as a division upon the main question. He considered that division to have evinced clearly the opinion of the House, and he did not intend to take any steps further in the matter.


supposed the hon. Member intended to move that the order relating to the adjourned debate be discharged.


knew nothing about that.


said, the order did not remain on the Order book, but became a dropped order.


Then the House would understand that the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Warwickshire abandoned the whole concern.


said, the order for the adjourned debate on Maynooth was now a dropped order, and it was open for any Gentleman to revive it by giving notice, and to keep it still hanging over their heads. He protested altogether against the division last night being taken as a division upon the main question. It was his intention to have voted with the hon. Gentleman for inquiry; but it was idle to suppose that a division upon a question of adjournment at three o'clock in the morning, upon the list of thirty-five orders of the day, was to be taken as a division upon an important question like that. The truth was, hon. Gentleman opposite were thoroughly tired and ashamed of the way in which they had been carrying on this discussion night after night, and had shrunk from a division altogether.


reminded the House that this question had nothing to do with the question before the House.

The Resolutions in the report of the Committee of Supply were then agreed to.

On the Report of the Committee of Ways and Means being brought up,


rose and said, he entirely agreed with the hon. Member who had just sat down (Mr. Bouverie), and he was sorry the hon. Member for North Warwickshire had given up this question. It was not that straightforward manly way in which they ought to deal with it, and it was not consonant with the character of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire. It was his intention to have voted for inquiry, and he believed it was the wish of the great body of Roman Catholics that there should be inquiry. He was sorry the hon. Member had not given the House a fair opportunity of expressing an opinion upon the question; and he hoped the hon. Member would at once declare that he had abandoned it for this Session, or take means to obtain a fair division upon it.


complained, not only of the hon. Member for the course he had taken, but of the Government, who had backed him in it. Great objections were made on account of the lateness of the hour to taking the orders of the day an hour before the division on the question of adjournment of the Maynooth debate, and it was perfectly unpardonable to force upon the House any debate or decision upon inquiry into Maynooth, after all the other orders had been postponed, on the ground of the lateness of the hour. Yet that had no effect on the Government: there they sat to drive this matter down their throats. But the public out of doors would understand that it was done with the view of letting the hon. Member for North Warwickshire out of a scrape, from which he was ready to escape by any trick which could be devised for the purpose.


said, the hon. Member for North Warwickshire had not answered the question which had been put to him, whether he would move that the order be discharged? It was evident last night, from the state of the Ministerial benches, there was an uncertainty on that side of the House that there was to be a division. In his experience of Parliament, short though it might be, he had never seen at so late an hour so full an attendance on the Government side of the House, whilst on the Opposition side the benches were perfectly empty. Of course he acquitted the hon. Member of any intention to bring forward the question again; because he agreed with the hon. Member for Athlone in thinking the hon. Member was ashamed and tired of it. Still, it was perfectly competent for some other hon. Gentleman to revive the subject. The hon. Member's Colleague, who felt very strongly on the subject, might take that course. Therefore he thought, as the hon. Member had expressed himself satisfied with the decision last night, and as he had chosen to put a construction on the English language which it would not legitimately bear, he ought to take some steps to remove the question from the Order book.


said, if hon. Gentlemen opposite were really anxious the question should again come before the House, why did they not arrange with his hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire a day when it should come on? He was perfectly satisfied of the sincerity of his hon. Friend, which seemed to be denied; but for various reasons he doubted the sincerity of hon. Gentlemen opposite. He thought they were not sincere, because, when a division might have been fairly taken, they prevented it by inflicting upon the House speeches of interminable length, with nothing in them. If they were sincere in wishing for inquiry, why did they not consent to it? If Maynooth was a subject which would not boar inquiry, it ought to be inquired into; and if it would bear inquiry, it would not be prejudiced by it. It was an entire misapprehension to suppose his hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire was anxious to get rid of the question; and he challenged those who accused the hon. Member of insincerity to prove their own sincerity by arranging with him to ask the Government for some day when a decision might be arrived at.


said, if Gentlemen on the Opposition side of the House wished the question to be brought to a division, why did they move an adjournment? He (Colonel Thompson) perhaps stood in a peculiar position. He was anxious to come to a bonâ fide division, because he considered himself under an obligation or agreement with his constituents not to vote against the grant to the College of Maynooth; and the last thing he should have thought of doing was, to stop the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, when he was about to take a division on his Motion. But when the adjournment was moved, there was nothing to be done but vote for it, or else give a vote to be counted with the strength of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire.


repelled the charge of insincerity preferred by the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Muntz) against Gentlemen on the Opposition side of the House. He could not allow that the hon. Member for North Warwickshire was sincere in his Motion for inquiry, because the means for making inquiry were in existence, and all that could be proved before a Committee would be, that the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland had not done his duty. If what the hon. Member alleged existed at Maynooth, there was the way, if there was the will, to inquire; and from the course adopted, he (Captain Magan) thought the House would infer no such treasonable practices did exist, and that this question was a mere election cry, not of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire, but of Her Majesty's Government.


said, he left the House before the division took place this morning, not supposing it possible that so important a question as that of Maynooth would come on in any shape at so late an hour. It was his full determination to vote for inquiry, hoping that inquiry would be a fair one; but he protested against it being supposed any decision had been come to by the House; and he hoped the hon. Member for North Warwickshire would still see if he could not take that decision upon some future day.


had felt so strongly that the character of the House was compromised by the protracted manner in which the discussion on Maynooth had been carried on day after day without any chance of arriving at a conclusion, or, if the Motion was affirmed, of its leading to any practical result, that it was his intention last night to have moved, though he was in favour of inquiry, that the debate be adjourned to that day three months; but seeing the empty state of the benches, he did not consider it fair, without notice to bring forward, at that hour, such a Motion. If, however, any Member should renew the debate, he should certainly move that it be adjourned to that day three months.


in reply to the accusation of the hon. Member for Birmingham, that Gentlemen on that side of the House had delayed this debate to such an extent by interminable speeches, that it was perfectly impossible any satisfactory decision could be arrived at, begged to state a fact which could not be questioned, that only four Members of the Roman Catholic persuasion had spoken on this question. Two of those Gentlemen were the hon. Members for the county of Mayo (Mr. Moore), and for the county of Limerick (Mr. Monsell). The hon. Member for Mayo did not occupy the attention of the House, at the furthest, beyond fifteen minutes, and the hon. Member for Limerick did not occupy the attention of the House beyond twenty minutes; whilst, on the other side, the hon. Member for North Warwickshire himself spoke for two hours and a half. He (Mr. Keogh) wished to repudiate the assertion made by the hon. Member for Birmingham, that he, at least, had ever charged the hon. Member for North Warwickshire with not being sincere on this question. On the contrary, on one of the questions of adjournment, he told the House he believed the hon. Member for North Warwickshire was perfectly sincere, though he did charge, and should continue to charge, and he believed the country, if it attended to the statistics of the question, would see no reason to doubt, that Her Majesty's Government had not a particle of sincerity on this question. ["Oh, oh!"] Let any person who said "oh!" listen to the statement he would now make to the House and the country; and if any Gentleman interested in the sincerity of Her Majesty's Government could contradict that statement, let him rise in his place and say what he (Mr. Keogh) asserted was not positively true. He made that assertion in the presence of Members of Her Majesty's Government, and he said that they had sent from this country candidates to Ireland, some of them Englishmen, and others Irishmen; that in many instances they had supplied those candidates with money; that they had furnished them with letters of introduction from the Chief Secretary for Ireland; and that those candidates on the face of their addresses had in the most open and public manner stated they were favourable to a continuance of the grant to Maynooth; and as to the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill of last Session, as the phrase ran, they were perfectly prepared to vote for its repeal. If that was Protestantism, if that was sincerity, then was the present Government Protestant and sincere. He asked the noble Lord the Secretary for Ireland (Lord Naas) whether or not he knew that the present candidate for the borough of Dungarvan—rejected by an English constituency because he was in favour of the grant to Maynooth, and opposed to the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill—he asked the noble Lord whether that hon. Gentleman was not supported by the introductions, by the letters—the money he did not want—of Her Majesty's present Government, and whether he had not stated upon the face of his address he was in favour of the grant to Maynooth, and prepared to vote for the repeal of the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill? He would refer also to the candidate for the county of Water-ford (Mr. Hutchinson); he believed that candidate was a relative of the noble Lord. [Lord NAAS: No!] Well, then, he would ask, was he not supported by the whole weight and influence of the Government, and did he not declare upon the face of his address that he was "true to the hereditary principles of his family?" [An Hon. MEMBER: What are they?] It was not necessary he (Mr. Keogh) should define the meaning of hereditary in the present age; but the hon Gentleman declared that, "true to the hereditary principles of his family, he was prepared to vote for Maynooth, and to erase from the Statute-book every Act of Parliament insulting to the Roman Catholic population." He might go on with a whole catalogue, but he would name one other instance. He knew a candidate who had been sent to Ireland with the full authority and sanction of Her Majesty's present Government. He knew he was in communication with Members of the present Government, for those Members had told him he was. He knew he appeared in a particular town, and on the face of his address declared he was prepared to vote for the repeal of the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, and was a strong supporter of the grant to the Royal College of Maynooth. That was in the morning; but having met some clergymen of the Established Church in the evening, the town was placarded with other addresses, from which that paragraph was carefully omitted. He would sum up with the exception—the only honourable and chivalrous exception, because, although the hon. Gentleman entertained views entirely contrary to his (Mr. Keogh's), he was bound to admit that hon. Gentleman had declared them in a plain, straightforward, and manly way—that exception was the address to the electors of the county of Down, which bore the name of Edwin Hill. There was not one other address which did not, either distinctly or inferentially—two-thirds of them did openly and distinctly—avow a determination on the part of the supporters of Lord Derby's Government to sustain the grant to Maynooth, and vote for the repeal of the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill. He would now return to the position from which he started. He took up the new issue which had been advanced by the hon. Member for Birmingham, and he said he never charged the hon. Member for North Warwickshire with insincerity. He believed on those benches there were many who were sincere, not only on this but on other questions of a more material nature; but he also believed they would find, before a twelvemonth passed, what an aggregate of insincerity rested on those benches before then; and if he was not mistaken, they would find that the Session of 1853 was not a whit less remarkable than that which broke up a much greater party in 1846. He repeated what he had said on this question, that Her Majesty's Government had been, were, and intended to continue to be, playing fast and loose with sincere men who sat behind them; and he would undertake to prove that to the satisfaction of any honest and candid man who would choose to examine facts for himself, undeceived by the flimsy generalities uttered by some Government Member at three o'clock in the morning.


said, he did not rise to answer the general accusation which the hon. Member for Athlone had thought fit to make against Her Majesty's Government. True to his professions, the hon. Member seemed determined to show the same uncompromising hostility to every Government which sat on those benches, and to carry out the principle of the party to which he belonged—to make every Government in this country impossible. With regard to the accusations brought against himself, he (Lord Naas) indignantly denied them. On no occasion had he supplied candidates in the ensuing election either with letters or money; and the hon. Gentleman knew that the Secretary for Ireland had something else to do than to write addresses for candidates who appeared in every borough and county in Ireland. With regard to the Gentleman now standing for Dungarvan, he had not even the honour of his acquaintance; he never spoke a word to him in his life, and never wrote a letter to him, directly or indirectly. If the hon. Gentleman said in his address he would support the Government of Lord Derby, and the continuance of the Maynooth grant, he was only doing that which numbers of candidates were doing in this country; and he Lord (Naas) saw nothing inconsistent in a candidate standing before any constituency and saying he would support the Government of Lord Derby, and that he was not prepared to withdraw at present the grant to Maynooth. It was the opinion which, if he had spoken on the Maynooth question, he should have been prepared to enunciate, that, although voting for inquiry, he was not prepared to vote for a repeal of the grant. He believed no person supporting Lord Derby's Government had said more than that in Ireland; and, as to the statement that he was in any way mixed up with composing addresses or supplying candidates either with recommendations or money, he could only say that statement was utterly unfounded.


thought the hon. Member for North Warwickshire had scarcely dealt fairly with those Gentlemen who intended to support him. He was one who was anxious to vote with the hon. Gentleman in favour of inquiry; and if he had had the slightest idea it was intended to divide, he would have made it his business to remain until the rising of the House this morning.


said, the noble Lord the Member for Coleraine made a charge against the hon. Member for Athlone, which could never be made against the Government to which the noble Lord belonged—that the hon. Member was extremely consistent—he accused the hon. Member of being extremely consistent in his opposition to the present Government. The hon. and learned Member for Athlone (Mr. Keogh) was consistent in his attacks upon all Governments—and he (Mr. B. Osborne) thought justly—that had not the interests of Ireland at heart; and he was sorry to say no Government he had seen sitting on those benches had paid proper attention to Irish wants and Irish grievances, which the nature of those questions required. So far from considering it any stigma that the hon. Gentleman was hostile to the Government, he rejoiced that Ireland had at length a man able, willing, and powerful enough to make known her grievances in that House. The hon. Gentleman's hostility was inconvenient to the Government, because it seldom happened that on any great question he did not put the argumentum ad hominem so completely as to preclude all answer. The noble Lord said he had no time to write addresses. Of that he was never accused. The noble Lord was accused of being engaged with the Government in underhand workings upon these candidates—saying to them, "You may drop all opposition to Maynooth, provided you join in the general paean of success to the Government of Lord Derby. He (Mr. B. Osborne) knew that in the two instances of Dungarvan and Waterford, the whole weight of the Government was given to candidates who professed themselves favourable to Maynooth. In fact, this "organised hypocrisy" on all occasions where the Government was concerned, was being carried to a most disgusting extent in Ireland. He said, Away with this subterfuge, this hypocrisy—away with sending their Secretary of the Treasury to Liverpool—their dumb Secretary in that House, who was not able to defend himself—to repeat his recantations of opinions; away with the deprecated hostility of Irish Members. He called upon the Government boldly and firmly to declare their principles. The noble Lord the Secretary for Ireland said he was for inquiry into Maynooth, but he did not wish to take away the grant without inquiry. What did that mean? The noble Lord formerly belonged to the Peelite party. When he was the great leader of the spirit duty question, he was doing so as a Peelite; but, having been pitchforked into the Chief Secretaryship for Ireland, he became a supporter of Lord Derby. He did not doubt that both the Members for North Warwickshire were perfectly sincere upon this question; but he would suggest to them that it would be wise to follow the example of a noble Lord in another place, and give fair notice of their intention to bring it to an issue in another Parliament. By the course they were now adopting, they were doing harm to their own cause, because all sensible people, seeing that there could be no fair inquiry on the eve of a dissolution, would question the sincerity of their motives. He had no sympathy with the views of the hon. Member for North Warwickshire; on the contrary, he believed them to be wrong in theory, and most vicious if carried into practice; but he had that respect for the hon. Member, that, putting all party questions aside, he advised him, for the sake of his high character, to defer the consideration of this question to another Parliament, and to move now that the order be discharged.


said, if the hon. Member deprecated the discussion by which so much time was consumed, he ought in particular to deprecate the morning sittings being occupied with the same subject. For his own part, he must acknowledge that he had had enough of the Maynooth debate. The hon. Member for Athlone, on the part of the Roman Catholic Members, ought to have been satisfied with the lengthy address of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. V. Scully). The question had been fairly discussed; but he must, before sitting down, refer to something which had fallen from the hon. Member for Middlesex. That hon. Gentleman stated that the hon. Member for Athlone was justified in his opposition to Government, because it had no sympathy for Ireland. He emphatically denied the truth of that allegation, and he unhesitatingly de- clared that Government had every wish and desire to give due consideration to the wrongs and complaints of Ireland, and to carry those wishes into action. The hon. Member for Middlesex (Mr. B. Osborne) was but too ready to throw stones, not only at Governments, but at individuals. He had charged a Member of the Government with being incompetent. He had called the noble Lord at the head of the Government a Fabius Cunctator; but were he (Mr. Beresford) to refer to names in ancient history, he could, perhaps, find one to suit the hon. Member, and he might call him the Thersites of Middlesex. He would say no more on this subject, and he trusted the House would allow public business to proceed.


said, the origin of this Maynooth discussion was the conduct of hon. Gentlemen opposite last night, and the House had a right to ask the hon. Member for Warwickshire, what he intended to do with this order. On any day the hon. Member might revive this order, and play again the same trick which he had played before. He wished to ask the hon. Gentleman whether he was prepared to discharge that order or not? It must be recollected, with reference to this debate, that the noble Lord the Member for London, and the noble Lord the Secretary for Ireland, had both intimated their intention of speaking upon it, and he (Mr. Bouverie) desired to protest against the question being shut up by a snatched decision at three o'clock in the morning. If the hon. Member for North Warwickshire meant to go on with his Motion, let him give notice of a day for resuming the discussion.


said, he answered that question last night, when he said he was perfectly satisfied with the decision, and he should take no other steps in the matter. How could he move that the order be discharged, when notice had been given of three Amendments upon his Motion?


said, that the order was not on the paper, and therefore could not be discharged; but it was competent for any hon. Member to put the order on the paper for the purpose of moving that it be discharged.


expressed his readiness to withdraw the Amendment of which he had given notice, if that would assist the hon. Member for North Warwickshire.


could not understand how it was the Home Secretary had addressed a very lengthy and acrimonious speech to the House on this question, and yet the Government had sought to dispose of it at three o'clock in the morning. It was quite clear the Government owed the House some declaration of its opinion, and the more so because he saw an hon. Member opposite now standing for the important town of Liverpool, who had taken a directly opposite line from that of his leader the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Nothing could be more inconsistent than the conduct of the Government and that of the hon. Gentleman, who, by an anti-Maynooth cry, was endeavouring to rake up the embers of fanaticism amongst the electors of Liverpool.


thought the House ought to have an answer from the hon. Member for Warwickshire to the question which was lately put to him. He understood the decision of the Speaker to be, that if the Amendments were withdrawn, it would be competent to the hon. Member to put his Motion upon the paper for any day which he might select.


said, that the hon. Member could not put his Motion on the paper without giving notice to that effect, and that until it was placed upon the paper it must be treated as a discharged order.


declined giving any notice for the renewal of the discussion, because he felt it would be useless.


had voted for the adjournment on the ground of common sense, and because the Chancellor of the Exchequer had stated that if the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. V. Scully) were to recommence his speech on this question, he should go home and go to bed.

The Report of the Committee of Ways and Means was then agreed to.

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