§ Order read, for resuming adjourned Debate on Question [24th February], "That Lord Naas be one other Member of the Select Committee on the said Bills."
§ Question again proposed.
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. DRUMMOND
said, that before they agreed to this question, the Government ought to inform the House precisely what course they intended to pursue with regard to these Bills. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the late Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Napier) introduced one Bill, not in his official capacity, but because he had long been engaged in preparing a measure, and he would not suffer his situation in the last Government to prevent him from bringing it in. Now, the right hon. and learned Gentleman's Bill and the other Bill had both been carried on the second reading, and the principle was admitted; yet it seemed to him (Mr. Drummond), whose name appeared on the list to be nominated, that there were the names of several Gentlemen proposed for the Committee who were entirely opposed to the principle; and the consequence would be, that the Committee would certainly be shut up for the rest of the summer; and he, for one, would not submit to what the late Sir Robert Peel called "intramural interment," and kicking against their coffins for months together. Now, if every Member of the Committee did not agree in the principle, what did the right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary for Ireland mean to do, and had his proposal the sanction of the Government?
§ MR. CAYLEY
said, he wished to call attention to the fact, that the measures referred to the Committee, though nominally they affected the tenure of land in Ireland, did, in reality, affect the tenure of property throughout the whole kingdom. The hon. Gentleman was proceeding, when
§ MR. SPEAKER
said, he must remind 768 the hon. Member that the question before the House related to the names of Members to be appointed on the Committee.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ On Question, that five be a quorum,
§ SIR JOHN YOUNG
said, he was prepared to answer the question of the hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drummond). What had taken place with reference to these Bills would be perfectly in the recollection of the House. Before Christmas the hon. and learned Member for the county of Kilkenny (Mr. Serjeant Shee) offered a Bill for the consideration of the House; and the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Napier), then Attorney General for Ireland, brought in Bills which showed that a great amount of labour and ability had been bestowed on their preparation. The Bills were all read a second time, and ordered to he referred to a Select Committee. The duty which devolved on the present Government was to carry out the order of the House, that a Select Committee should be appointed to whom all these Bills might be referred. He (Sir J. Young) had not the smallest degree of responsibility for either the Bill of the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny, or for those of the late Attorney General for Ireland. Undoubtedly, the noble Viscount the Secretary of State for the Homo Department and he (Sir J. Young) had not acted without the sanction of Her Majesty's advisers with respect to the course they had taken; and when they went into Committee, he had no doubt the Secretary of State would be prepared to inform the Committee what was the course he was prepared to take. There were different opinions entertained by different parties in the House upon the subject. If they went into Committee, by earnestly and carefully discussing the question, he (Sir J. Young) believed they might do great benefit to Ireland, for it was admitted on all hands to be desirable that some settlement of the question should be arrived at, and that, if one were not arrived at, the statesmen of this country should be prepared to give the people of Ireland reasons why the question should not be dealt with. His intention in going into the Committee was to look to the views which might be laid before the Committee. He gave the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin all credit for the pains he had taken and the ability he had shown in preparing measures; and, not agreeing with the right hon. and learned Gentleman on all subjects, he should state his own 769 views and offer Amendments; but with respect to the names of the Committee, let the House look at the question as it was. They must, when they looked at it, bear in mind that it had disorganised and disordered the public mind for many years past in Ireland, and that in the state of that country, if they had it in their power to give their attention to a question which it would be so much for the benefit and welfare of the country to settle, it was their duty to apply themselves resolutely to that question, and, if possible, to bring it to some amicable conclusion.
§ MR. LUCAS
said, be did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland rightly understood the question of the hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drummond); for it did not appear that he had given a very precise answer. The question which he (Mr. Lucas) wished to put was, whether the Government acceded to the principle of the Bills, or whether the Committee were to consider what the principle should ultimately be. The principle of the Bills of the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin, and of that of the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny, were precisely the same. There was a great deal of difference, he believed, between the practical arrangements of the two Bills, but the principle of each was identical. What the hon. Member for West Surrey wished to know was, whether the Committee were to determine whether the principle of those Bills was to be adopted, or how that principle should be carried out. Therefore, he (Mr. Lucas) thought the House should be informed of the intentions of the Government in this respect, whether the Committee were to commence de novo, or whether they were to consider that the principle was agreed upon.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, there were certain Bills brought into this House before the adjournment. The House then determined that they should be all referred to a Select Committee. There was a change of Government, and it became the duty of Her Majesty's Government to name a Committee on which the House had previously determined. If the hon. Member, or any one, asked on what conditions the Members of that Committee would go into Committee, the only answer was, that they went into it perfectly unfettered.
§ Motion agreed to.