SIR JOHN FITZGERALD
then rose to move for leave to bring in a Bill to provide, that the Act of Parliament which regulated the presence of soldiers in England during a Parliamentary election, be extended to Ireland. He was induced to make this Motion in consequence of the proceedings that had taken place at a recent election for the county of Clare, where a number of voters were seized upon by a military guard, and escorted by them to the polling station. It was the presence of soldiers at an election that had made standing armies unpopular in that country. The people were excited on that occasion, and naturally so under such circumstances. The late Government had brought a charge against the Roman Catholic clergy of having occasioned the lamentable sacrifice of six human lives on that occasion, but the verdict of the coroner's jury completely acquitted them. He wished to contrast 1076 the conduct pursued by the authorities at the Blackburn election with that of the magistrate at the Clare election. In the former case the magistrate had addressed the people in conciliatory terms, and induced them to disperse. He condemned the conduct of the commanding officer at the Six-mile Bridge affair, and attributed to his inattention to his duty the circumstance of the soldiers not being identified, as he was bound to examine the number of rounds of ball cartridges each man had on going out in the morning, and the number he had on returning from detached duty. He had himself commanded a regiment for fourteen years, and knew that such was the duty of the officer.
§ Notice taken, that Forty Members were not present; House counted; and Forty Members not being present,
§ The House was adjourned at half after Eight o'clock.