§ MR. G. H. MOORE
said, he rose, according to notice, to move that a Select Committee be appointed to take into consideration the case of the appointment of Henry Stoner to the office of a judge in the colony of Victoria. There was one insinuation which had been industriously circulated and turned to account in connection with this Motion. It was stated, and was believed by many, that his course upon this question was one of vindictive hostility to Mr. Stonor personally. This was not the case; his object was not to hunt down and trample upon a fallen man. Had such been his object, the course taken by Her Majesty's Government would have abundantly gratified him. It was not at Mr. Stonor that he was striking. He was aiming at the high, and not at the low, and Mr. Stonor was not the criminal whom he wished to reach. The Ministers thought that by sacrificing Mr. Stonor they should escape pursuit, and they were perfectly ready, without remorse—almost without reluctance—to offer him up as a victim to his (Mr. Moore's) hostility; and it was not until he said that it was they whom he impeached that they took refuge in a whine of reproach against his vindictive persecution of a political opponent. In fact, he believed Mr. Stonor had been very hardly treated, though not in the sense of the hon. and learned Member for Dundalk (Mr. Bowyer), who, in his uncouth and ungovernable friendship for Mr. Stonor, appeared to have lost all that reserve of thought and of speech which usually distinguished him, and who had so lost his wits, in friendship for this Gentleman, that he informed the House Mr. Stoner had so greatly damaged his reputation as a lawyer by the part which he took in this Sligo election, that he had been obliged to leave the country. ["No, no!"] The hon. and learned Gentleman had said so. [Mr. BOWYER had not said anything of the sort.] Our Australian colonies had already refused to receive our criminals, and would they look with indifference upon the fact that lawyers of damaged reputation, who had been the detected and degraded instruments of habitual corruption, and who were no longer able to practise their profession with credit in this country, should be sent to preside over the administration of justice in theirs? Now, if instead of sacrificing poor Mr. Stonor the Duke of Newcastle had resigned, or even the hon. 528 Gentleman opposite, his Under Secretary (Mr. F. Peel), he (Mr. Moore) might have considered that the justice of the case was satisfied. He might then have considered it unnecessary to pursue any further this inquiry; and even now he would make the frank, and in his opinion liberal offer, that, if the hon. Gentleman would enter into such a compromise as this, he (Mr. Moore) was ready to say that the justice of the case had been met, and was perfectly willing to withdraw from further inquiry. As, however, the hon. Gentleman did not seem at all disposed to enter into that arrangement, he felt compelled to proceed, in vindication of his assertion the other night that Mr. Stonor had been appointed to this office not in ignorance of or in spite of his corrupt practices, but because of his corrupt practices—that he had been appointed because he had transferred to an hon. Gentleman, then, but not now, a junior Lord of the Treasury, that interest and influence in the borough of Sligo which he had acquired by corrupt practices there. The fact was, that the act which had drawn down upon Mr. Stoner the censure of the Committee was far from being one isolated act of indiscretion on the part of that individual. Mr. Stoner had for a long series of years been steeped up to the lips in all the bribery and corrupt practices for which Sligo, in Ireland at least, was notorious, and, he believed, unrivalled. Before three successive Committees of that House he had been proved guilty, on the evidence of his own handwriting, of systematic acts of bribery and corrupt practices such as no gentleman in his position ever before was guilty of, and the only wonder was Mr. Stonor had had the unparalleled good fortune so long to escape direct censure. In 1847 Mr. Somers was elected for Sligo. A petition was presented against his return, in which Mr. Stonor, though in no way connected with the town, was actively engaged. That petition was successful. Mr. Somers was unseated; and Mr. Stonor went down to Sligo as the active supporter and partisan of Mr. Townely, who then contested the borough. Mr. Townely was successful; he was petitioned against, and Mr. Stonor was summoned as a witness; but excuses were tendered for his absence, he having absconded to the Continent, and (as the event proved) with very great discretion; for Mr. Serjeant Kinglake succeeded in establishing that the acts 529 of Mr. Stonor did not bind the sitting Member. With the permission of the House he would quote part of the evidence of Mr. Stonor upon this occasion:—Mr. Coppock stated that Mr. Kelly said that Mr. Somers, and he also, as a friend of Mr. Somers, had spent a good deal of money upon the previous petition and at the contest; whether it was 3,000l. or more than 2,000l. I am not certain; and that they would not exercise their influence to get their petition withdrawn unless they got the money paid.Did you authorise Mr. Coppock to pay the money?—I told Mr. Coppock that it was better, under the circumstances, to pay this money, if we could induce the parties to withdraw the petition. I knew that the petitioners were parties in humble life, and, unless they were encouraged by Mr. Somers, they could not go on; and, therefore, I thought that if Mr. Somers and Mr. Kelly withdrew their consent, the petition would be immediately withdrawn.You authorised Mr. Coppock to give the sum of money?—He did not mention any sum.You authorised him to give a reasonable sum?—Yes, I said I would supply the money.Were you authorised by Mr. Townely to do so?—Certainly not.You did so upon your own responsibility?—Yes.Did you give the money to Mr. Coppock afterwards?—I did, on the following Monday.Was that your own money?—Some was mine, and some was money I had received for a particular purpose, to settle accounts in Sligo.It was Mr. Townely's money?—It was money I had to account for to his solicitor. I received the money from the solicitor to settle accounts.Can you say how much of the 1,500l. was Mr. Townely's money?—About 900l., I believe.You said, in answer to a question put by the chairman, that you were counsel for Mr. Townely on the petition?—On the petition that was disposed of, I was first engaged as counsel, but I then gave up my brief and went abroad.This was the evidence of another witness examined on the same subject:—Mr. Coppock said: If you enable me to have those petitions withdrawn I shall give you 1,000l.; and, as I know your object in interfering with politics is to get a Government appointment, I shall get Mr. Townely to write as strong a letter as possible to you, pledging himself to give his own influence, and that of his brother the hon. Member for Beverley, and Lord Camoys, to get you a Government appointment, and I will give you 1,000l. besides. 'How is that to be done?' said I. Said he, 'It is very simple; I will write you two draughts of letters, which you will copy, and return to me signed, and then I will perform my part of the bargain.'The witness then went on to state that he called at the Speaker's office, and, finding that he had no authority in law to withdraw 530 the petition, he again met Mr. Coppock, saw the letter of Mr. Townely, which Mr. Coppock had promised, and finally agreed to write a letter to the Speaker, which he knew was valueless, in consideration of 1,500l. which Mr. Coppock paid:—I was determined, when we had written the letter that has been produced here, that I would go the entire length with Mr. Coppock.What do you mean by going the entire length?—Receiving the 1,500l. and writing the letter to the Speaker.You knew that, although you made the proposition to withdraw the petition, the petition could not be withdrawn upon your signature?—Yes; I would give him no distinct authority until I knew the authority would not be regarded by the Speaker.You wrote a letter to the Speaker, although you knew that it was a false statement?—Yes.Of these four individuals, Mr. Coppock had been ever since the confidential agent of the Government opposite; Mr. Stonor had been clothed with the ermine and made a Judge in the Colonies; Mr. Kelly had been made a magistrate of Sligo; and Mr. Walker admitted before the Committee on Complaint the other day, that he had received, through Mr. Somers, four appointments from the Whig Government, and that since he had betrayed and abandoned Mr. Somers, he had received a fifth appointment from Mr. Sadleir. Could the Government expect to receive any credit for putting down bribery if they allowed such individuals as these to be clothed with the ermine, to be raised to the magistracy, and to receive honourable and confidential employment? Mr. Stonor, however, was not satisfied with his experience in Sligo at that time, and the result was the direct censure of the Election Committee of last year. It was said, is it possible that the simple verdict of one Election Committee shall debar a man from ever again holding office? He entertained no such doctrine, but, at the same time, he would ask if it were proper, or even justifiable, to send a man who had been declared guilty of bribery by an Election Committee to preside over the administration of justice in the Colonies? To do so was, in his opinion, a gross and flagrant violation of public decency and a great outrage on the Constitution upon the authority of a Committee of that House. He felt bound to believe, however, that the appointment of Mr. Stonor was not in spite of the acts of bribery which had been proved 531 against him, but was actually in consequence of them and because he transferred his influence in Sligo to a late junior Lord of the Treasury, the present Member for Sligo (Mr. John Sadleir). When Mr. Townely was unseated upon petition, Sligo was in want of a candidate, and the Gentleman who now had the honour of sitting for that borough was greatly in want of a seat, and Mr. Stonor's peculiar faculties were again called into requisition. He would not say by a corrupt conspiracy, he would not even say by mutual management, but by a kind of co-ordinance and coincidence of circumstances which were very surprising, on a particular day Mr. Stonor transferred his own interest and that of the electors of Sligo to the hon. Member who now represented that borough, and on the same day the friends and partisans of that Gentleman engaged in a very active and very chivalrous defence of Mr. Stonor in that House. It was then that he (Mr. Moore) stated his determination to expose the real character of the transactions at Sligo. He had been requested on a previous occasion, when the subject of the appointment of Mr. Stonor was under discussion, by the hon. and learned Member for Dundalk, to be silent on the subject, and he had improperly complied with the request; and the consequence was that he had since been taunted for his silence, and he now felt it to be his duty to go fully into the subject. The coincidence which he had mentioned proved successful, and the friends of the hon. Member for Sligo did the best they could for Mr. Stonor in that House, and Mr. Stonor fulfilled his part of the transaction by transferring his interest among the electors of Sligo to the hon. Gentleman who was elected. That hon. Gentleman was elected, and of course petitioned against, and Mr. Gore Jones, who was employed in the petition of Townely against Somers, accepted a retainer on behalf of the present hon. Member for Sligo to act against his then client, whose petition he was conducting. He (Mr. Moore) was not a professional lawyer, and did not therefore know how far the acceptance of that retainer was proper or right in a professional point of view; but, when it was considered that that gentleman, from conducting the petition, would become acquainted with all the secrets of the election, to be used afterwards against his then client, he felt sure that few persons would like to trust 532 him with secrets concerning their property; and yet this betrayal of his employer, the use, or rather abuse, of the secrets with which he became entrusted with, this fluent swearing, obtained for that gentleman the position of income-tax collector—a position of all others which would enable him to make himself acquainted with the secrets of private persons. This was one of the instruments employed in the Sligo election. The other more damaged and useless instrument was sent out to preside over the administration of justice in one of the Colonies. Could any one, under these circumstances, deny that he had primâ facie ground for the assertion which he had made, that the appointment of Mr. Stonor was not only a reward for his services on that election, but that it was also intended as a compensation for the damage his character had sustained? The Colonial Office ought to be able to assign a just reason for this appointment, but it was evident it was unable to assign any reason at all. He had himself asked the Government if they were aware, when they appointed Mr. Stonor, that he had been reported against for bribery, and also whether, if they were not aware of it at the time of making the appointment, they were now prepared to cancel it. He had put these questions to the Government after due notice, and the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies, in a speech which showed that he had got up the case very cleverly, or, indeed, that the case—and this was a more probable case than the other—had been got up for him—the hon. Gentleman stated that the Government, when they made the appointment, were not aware of the fact of an Election Committee having reported against Mr. Stonor, but that, considering all the circumstances of the case, they were not prepared to cancel the appointment. In other words, the axiom of the Colonial Office was simply this:—"That in making appointments ignorance is bliss, and when those appointments are once made it is folly to be wise." He was not about to criticise the very remarkable speech in which those remarkable dogmas were promulgated, but he believed the answer and the doctrine excited, with one single exception, unanimous disapprobation. He believed, if the Government had resolved on retaining the appointment, they would not have been able to command the votes of fifty independent Members. The hon. Gen- 533 tlemen opposite (pointing to the bench usually occupied by Liberal Irish Members) alone defended the appointment, and the hon. Under Secretary for the Colonies condescended to be their mouthpiece, as the noble Duke at the head of the Colonial Office had condescended to be their instrument. The reason why he said the Under Secretary could not have got up the case was, that the hon. Gentleman taunted him with having been present and not opposed the issuing of the Sligo writ, and he did not believe, if he had remembered the circumstances of his (Mr. Moore's) being present, the hon. Gentleman could possibly have forgotten that he also was present on that occasion. He (Mr. Moore) on a subsequent occasion moved for an Address to the Crown to cancel the appointment, and then the Government put the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies forward to make a statement which, in fact, amounted to a declaration that the Government were quite ready to commit what they believed to be an act of gross injustice to Mr. Stonor. Perhaps the Government took that course because they discovered that Mr. Stonor bad behaved better than was expected. When they were made aware that Mr. Stoner had been reported against for bribery, they stated that his appointment would not be cancelled; but when they found that Mr. Stonor had acted like an honest man, and sent with his testimonials the Report of the Election Committee, they were at once ready to abandon him. What the statement of the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies amounted to was, that one day a letter was received by the Government from Mr. Stonor, a gentleman of whom they previously knew nothing, stating that he should rather like to have a judgeship; that testimonials were enclosed in that letter, and among them there was the Report of a Committee of that House; but that, through the mistake of a clerk, those testimonials were never read.
§ MR. G. H. MOORE
It must have been a mistake on the part of a clerk or of somebody else; but, be that as it might, it appeared from the statement of the hon. Gentleman that the fact was so. So, having received a letter from Mr. Stonor, saying he would like to be made a Judge, and knowing nothing about him, the Govern- 534 ment for that reason appointed him. He (Mr. Moore) could only answer in the words of little Paul, in Mr. Dickens' novel, "I don't believe that story." No one believed it. It was perfectly incredible and impossible, because if the Government had not seen the Report they could not have seen the testimonials sent with it, and not having seen the testimonials, it could not be conceived that they would be guilty of such unpardonable levity in making the appointment. He squeezed out of the Under Secretary this further statement—that although they had not read the testimonials, the letter of Mr. Stonor, which they had read, recited the names of the persons signing the testimonials, and those names were very high and very respectable. He admitted that the statement became less monstrous; still it was utterly impossible that the Government could have appointed a gentleman merely upon his own letter and his own recital of those who had recommended him. It was quite clear that Mr. Stonor had much higher recommendation with the Duke of Newcastle than any contained in the unopened packet of unexplored testimonials. He had now stated what he believed were the circumstances of this case. The House had also heard the statement of the Government, and he confidently appealed to them for a decision upon the question he had raised. His statement might be unjust and unfounded. Their statement, however, was impossible; but even if true, it afforded much stronger ground than any of his suspicions for inquiring into this case, because the people in the Colonies had a right to know, and that House had a right to know, whether it was possible that Judges, to be sent out to administer the law, and to obtain credit for the law, could be chosen with a levity and disregard disgraceful in the case of a counting-house clerk, or even of a parish beadle. He believed the answer of the Government was very reserved and incomplete, but if complete, that there was still further ground why inquiry should be made; and in his view inquiry was necessary for the honour and credit of the Members of Her Majesty's Government, and for the honour and credit of the Government in our Colonies.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
, in seconding the Motion, said, upon occasions analogous to this, Sir, it has been commonly felt to be desirable by those who have made Motions of such a 535 character as the present, that inasmuch as they are looking forward to an investigation which ought to be substantially a judicial investigation, the preliminary statement submitted to the House should be kept as closely as possible to the point and circumstances, and as far as possible from recriminatory matter. I confess it appears to me that is a general rule of prudence and propriety, but it is a general rule, which I am bound to say the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Moore) has set at defiance in every sentence he has uttered. There is a great difficulty in the proposal of the hon. Gentleman, not only as regards the noble Duke, whom I, as every man who has the satisfaction of knowing him, am proud to claim as a friend, but as regards Mr. Stonor himself—for I am at a loss to reconcile and harmonise the hon. Gentlemen's sympathy and compassion for Mr. Stonor with the gratuitous and wanton assaults he has made on his character. The hon. Gentleman said, in the first place, he thought it was an outrageous thing that a person who had been the degraded instrument of habitual corruption should be chosen to fill the seat of justice in one of our Colonies. That is pretty strong against Mr. Stonor. But having said that, what did he go on to say? He went on to say that if my noble Friend the Secretary for the Colonies, or even the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary, had resigned office, in consequence of this attack, then he for one would have been perfectly content to have accepted that as a compromise. He entirely forgot the sanctity of the seat of justice and the interests of truth. [Mr. MOORE made gestures of dissent.] That, at all events, was the language of the hon. Gentleman. The hon. Gentleman used the expression that on such terms he should not be dissatisfied with a compromise. However that may be, I only wish to say that I think the hon. Gentleman, with his compassion—I must call it his affected compassion—for Mr. Stonor—I think the hon. Gentleman has been grossly unjust to Mr. Stonor, in going into other matters and transactions not included in the terms and scope of his Motion. The hon. Gentleman says, Mr. Stonor is the degraded instrument of habitual corruption. Why did he not give notice to those interested in Mr. Stonor personally—I certainly am not—that his charge was about to take that range. He gave no such notice. His object was to prejudice his case. If 536 the hon. Gentleman had known how to discharge the duty he bad undertaken, he ought to have confined himself to the point and the circumstances, and sedulously avoided the introduction of other matters, tending to throw discredit on the party with whose case he had to deal. So much for Mr. Stonor, and in that particular I agree with the hon. Gentleman that Mr. Stonor is not the party really before us. The party before us is my noble Friend the Secretary for the Colonies; and, Sir, I must confess, when first I saw notice of this Motion given, I thought the mode of dealing with the case not free from difficulty, because I think I shall have the general concurrence of this House when I say while, on the one hand, it is most important to vindicate the right of this House to sift to the bottom every case of abuse in the administration of patronage, on the other hand, it is likewise important to maintain the principle that the sole responsibility for patronage rests with the Executive Government, and to avoid any proceeding which shall allow any Member of the Government to shuffle off that responsibility to other parties who may have made the recommendation on which he acted. That is the real difficulty in this case. When you call on a Minister to say on whose recommendation he made an appointment, you call upon him to use his endeavour to shuffle off a portion of that responsibility and to put it On the shoulders of others. But if I felt the slightest difficulty, it would be removed by the anxiety of my noble Friend that there should not be any hesitation shown in granting this Committee. While the hon. Member for Mayo says Her Majesty's Government have concern in this Committee—Her Majesty's Government not separate from my noble Friend—I am bound to say the hon. Member also has some interest in this Committee. I may tell the hon. Member he has committed himself to no inconsiderable extent by what he has said to-night. The hon. Member has made a charge of such a description, that if he is able to prove that charge, no doubt it will bring a public offender to justice; but if he is not able to prove it, that charge will recoil upon himself. What says the hon. Gentleman? He says, in consequence of Mr. Stonor having transferred the influence he had obtained in Sligo to a junior Lord of the Treasury, this appointment was conferred on him by my noble Friend. That is the 537 charge. It is a charge of no common amount. The guilt implied is guilt of a very deep dye. Has the hon. Gentleman proved that charge? Sir, he has not advanced anything even in the nature of proof. What he has said is, that these circumstances coincided in point of time. He said, if this was not the reason of the appointment, what was the reason? and then he appeared to think he had pretty well done his work. But I tell the hon. Gentleman, when he chooses to make such charges as that, he is bound to state something in the nature of argument—something in the nature of fact in its support. Well, he says, if that was not the reason, what was? On that I shall only say that is not adequate support of the charge which the hon. Gentleman has made; but there is not the least difficulty in telling the hon. Gentleman what was the reason of the appointment. I shall not undertake to travel through all the irrelevant matter he has introduced into his speech, about the appointment of Mr. Walker, the magistracy of Mr. Kelly, the collectorship of Mr. Jones—these are all matters of which I for one, and I believe I may say all my Colleagues, are entirely ignorant, and with respect to which their introduction can have no effect, except to perplex the case. If he says in any of those instances they were corrupt or improper appointments, I am quite sure he will have every assistance of the Government in bringing those improper and corrupt appointments under the notice of this House, But let them be brought and tried upon their own merits, not foisted and thrust into a matter with which they have nothing whatever to do. The hon. Gentleman says a certain story was told by the Under Secretary for the Colonies about a packet of papers, and he does not believe that story. I cannot pass by that passage without reflecting on the extraordinary licence of the hon. Gentleman. I for one, having been a partaker in the general responsibility of the Government with regard to patronage, did not feel at all disposed to call attention to that licence, but I do think he goes beyond the general rule of this House, and says what he is not entitled to say, when he tells an hon. Member, after having imputed to him a certain statement—whether correct or incorrect is quite immaterial—he does not believe that story. My hon. Friend the Under Secretary for the Colonies made no such statement as the hon. Member for Mayo 538 has imputed to him. If he had, the hon. Gentleman would not be justified in this mode of dealing with it; but as my hon. Friend never made that statement, as the hon. Gentleman has misunderstood him, and put a statement into his mouth which he never made, the conduct of the hon. Gentleman is most unbecoming and most improper. My hon. Friend never stated at all that Mr. Stonor was appointed simply on the strength of certain written testimonials. I speak in his presence, and by his authority, and I say no such statement was made. I grant, if such a statement had been made, it would be open to the comment of the hon. Member; but no such statement was made. My noble Friend the Secretary for the Colonies earnestly trusts this House will make no difficulty in granting this Committee. I know in the minds of some hon. Gentlemen there is great disinclination to promote inquiry of this nature; but on the part of my noble Friend, and on the part of the Government, I must solicit them to overcome such disinclination, and allow the whole of the facts to be thoroughly investigated and submitted to the public. I put it, on the one hand, that the character of my noble Friend and of the Government is in a great degree involved; I put it, on the other hand, that it is right, after a Member of this House has chosen to impute corruption that would justify impeachment—it is right that that matter should be searched to the bottom, to know with what kind of evidence and with what kind of proof the hon. Gentleman has had the levity to make such a charge. With regard to my noble Friend his statement is a very simple one. Of course he will himself lay that statement before the Committee. At present I have to meet the unsupported allegation of the hon. Gentleman, that Mr. Stonor was appointed with the guilty knowledge and with the corrupt intention of rewarding political services, and those services, too, of an immoral nature. I have to meet that unsupported statement with the unqualified denial of an English gentleman, whose word was never doubted. Sir, my noble Friend did not appoint Mr. Stoner with any knowledge whatever, on the contrary, he appointed him in total ignorance of his connection in any form with the borough of Sligo, or in any form with political corruption. He did not appoint Mr. Stoner upon the application of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Sligo (Mr. Sadleir), for the 539 best of all reasons—I believe I speak in the presence of that hon. Member—that he made no such application. He did not appoint Mr. Stonor on the ground of any political recommendation or application whatever. But he did appoint Mr. Stonor in ignorance of the reasons which, if they had been known to him, would undoubtedly have prevented his appointment. But he did appoint Mr. Stoner upon testimonials, not exclusively written, but high professional testimonials, satisfying him of his professional competency, while with respect to that gentleman's personal character there was no reason to entertain a doubt. That is the substance of the case which my noble Friend has to submit. I do not wish to dwell upon it; I do not wish to introduce any other extraneous matter; but if the appointments of Messrs. Walker, Jones, Kelly, and the rest, are impugned, by all means have them up; only I will just observe that the hon. Member is entirely wrong in supposing an income-tax collector has anything to do with the investigation of private accounts. Be that as it may, whatever the office, let us search the matter to the bottom—let us see whether such appointments have been corruptly made, whether the hon. Gentleman is justified in having made these charges upon insufficient evidence or no evidence at all. I have two requests to make on the part of the Government. The first is, that the House will be pleased to appoint the Committee. The other is one to which I am certain there will not be the slightest difficulty in acceding—at least if I am correct in supposing the course of precedent justifies such a proceeding—that that Committee may be appointed, in a manner which recommends itself to the approbation of the House, by the General Committee of Elections. By that mode we shall have a Committee composed of Gentlemen who will carry a judicial character into the Committee room. However desirous to avoid that which, in the hon. Gentleman, I have commented on, I know that partisan feeling and a spirit of crimination and defence insinuate themselves into these discussions; but if the General Election Committee be the body entrusted with the choice of judge to constitute this tribunal—the Government can desire nothing better than to arrive at a speedy issue—either we shall be found guilty of the highest order of corruption, as is the opinion of the hon. Member for Mayo, or his conscience will not be alto- 540 gether clear with regard to the nature and sufficiency on which he has thought fit to make so serious a charge.
Motion made, and Question proposed—That a Select Committee be appointed to take into consideration the case of the appointment of Henry Stonor to the office of a Judge in the Colony of Victoria, the said Henry Stonor having been reported by a Committee of this House to have been guilty of bribery at the Election for the Borough of Sligo in 1853.
§ MR. DRUMMOND
Sir, I rise with the not altogether hopeless endeavour to persuade this House to reject both the Motion of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Mayo (Mr. Moore) and the consent which has been given to that proposition by the Government. This is neither mere nor less than an attempt to bring down into the body of the House the scenes like those which occurred in the Committee on Corruption upstairs. It is more than that. It is an attempt to engage the whole power of this House against a helpless individual. If, as the hon. Gentleman said—at least as he began by saying—he made his Motion in the interest and out of regard to Mr. Stonor—all I can say is, I shall hope long to enjoy his enmity. Sir, it is impossible for any man, possessing the richness of language or eloquence which always comes from the opposite side of the Channel, and in no one is more efficacious than in himself, to have overlaid a character with more opprobrious terms than the hon. Member has that of Mr. Stonor. The course I propose on this occasion is one I proposed on a similar occasion, and I stated then, and I state again, that my master on such subjects was an Irishman. It was in the days when the noble Lord the Member for the City of London once said eloquence, patriotism, honesty, and common sense were associated with the name of Henry Grattan; and I remember, as I said then, Mr. Grattan urging the House not to interfere in a like case by the similitude of the little impudent dwarf that insulted the giant. When the giant boxed his ears, the dwarf kicked his shins, and the generous bystanders said, "Well done, little fellow." And I think every Gentleman who has heard the speech of the hon. Member will be inclined to take the part of Mr. Stonor, and not the part of the hon. Member for Mayo in this transaction. What is it these Gentlemen have done? They are continually abusing every Government that can be formed, because they do not em- 541 poly Irishmen sufficiently, and when an Irishman is appointed they do nothing but vilify his character. Sir, I remember when an artist went to see the celebrated Mr. Turner begin a picture, he saw him take a patch of yellow, and putting it on the canvas, say, "There, stay there until I make you white." The obvious meaning was that he was going to fill the rest of the canvas with such brilliant colouring and deep shadows, that this bit of yellow paint, in its nature not white, would appear white. The hon. Gentleman says he has been giving us a sketch. It seems he also is an artist. The arts always go hand in hand. With the arts of poetry, imagination, and eloquence we are sure to find that of painting; and it appears there are great painters on the other side of the Channel, who give us a great picture, in which they appear pre-eminent; and they say, "No matter however black I am, stand you there till I have made everybody else blacker." Why, Sir, there is no end to idle stories which may be picked up—really I cannot walk along the street without hearing them; but what sensible man does not let them go into one ear and out at the other. Since I have sat for the last few years in this House, I have heard stories of one Member being bought by a baronetcy, of another being bought by the reversion to an Irish peerage, and of another being bought by a ticket to a Court ball. It is odd, the price at which purchases may be effected. I think an Irish peerage a positive nuisance, the baronetcy little better, and by far the best price was the ticket for the Court ball. But, Sir, it is very difficult to form an estimate of the real amount of dread which Irish Members have of corruption. For what did we hear last year, when the question of the income tax was before us? They told us they were perfectly willing to support Lord Derby's Government, or to vote against it, or to support Lord John Russell's Government, or to vote against it, according as they could save themselves the income tax, which income tax was 7d. in the pound. That is their price. By their own confession, any Chancellor of the Exchequer may have Irish support for 7d. in the pound. I think it very awkward, when large bodies like this take fits of caprice. I do not like Gentlemen to be exceedingly moral one year and very immoral the next. I said when I began, I did not rise as the friend of Mr. Stonor. I do not remember 542 having ever heard his name. I know nothing about him. I rose to vote against both propositions. I recollect on one occasion the sitting Members for a certain place being petitioned against; their opposition to the petition was declared to be frivolous and vexatious, and they were reported to have been guilty of bribery and corruption. What was done? One was immediately made Solicitor General, and the other was made Lord Chancellor. And this poor man, who, I understand, was a briefless barrister, is obliged to give up his profession, goes out to one of the Colonies as a Judge, is guilty of unheard-of corruption, and this pure House never heard anything like it. It is excessively disgusting, and will be reckoned a piece of pure affectation. I so far agree with the hon. Gentleman, that the conduct of the Colonial Department was exceedingly mean and shabby. Having made the appointment they ought to have stood by the man; instead of which the hon. Gentleman (Mr. F. Peel) comes forward, like Sneaky Peaky, in the poem of The Little Hunchback—Sneaky Peaky chucks the Hunchback over on some one else. The Government did very wrong in giving up Mr. Stonor. I hope the House will reject this Motion, and not allow it to go any further, and I shall certainly divide the House against it.
§ MR. BOWYER
said, that the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Moore) had introduced his Motion with a great show of patriotism to vindicate morality and public purity on public grounds, and he complained that people said he was actuated by ill feeling against Mr. Stonor. Yet he appealed to any Gentleman present whether in their experience they had ever heard a more bitter, a more virulent—he had almost said a more malignant—attack than that of the hon. Gentleman? The hon. Gentleman had allowed himself to be so carried away by that lively imagination from which he derived his eloquence and some of his facts, that he had bestowed a portion of it on him. On two occasions he said, "No, no," to the hon. Gentleman. He adhered to what he said, for on both those occasions the hon. Gentleman was saying what he might have believed to be the fact, but was certainly not the fact. The hon. Gentleman had said that when he (Mr. Bowyer) requested him not to attack Mr. Stonor, he spoke loudly and even noisily. He denied that that was the case, and would put it to the House whether it was 543 not obvious that a communication of that sort must have been confidential; and whether it was not most unfair, both to himself and to Mr. Stonor, that the hon. Gentleman should have mentioned it. The sole reason that he (Mr. Bowyer) had for wishing the hon. Member not to attack Mr. Stonor was that he believed that Gentleman to be innocent, and did not wish him to have so virulent an assailant as the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. Moore). He admitted, indeed, that he was mistaken in asking the hon. Gentleman not to assail Mr. Stonor, for he was sure that a speech like that which they had just heard from him—a speech so virulent, vituperative, and bitter—would enlist in favour of the persons attacked the sympathies of all generous minds. He would tell the hon. Gentleman that, although he had brought forward heavy charges in the course of his speech, he had, in making it, damaged himself rather than Mr. Stoner.
§ MR. HINDLEY
said, he had never before had an opportunity of speaking on this subject, although he was one of the Members of the Committee on the Sligo Election Petition of last year. Seeing the Motion on the paper, he had refreshed his memory by reading the evidence given before that Committee, and had come down prepared to take part in the debate; but he had been exceedingly astonished to find that the hon. Member for Mayo had changed his ground completely from that which he took when he commenced his attack; and had stated that if he had to rest his case on the decision of the Sligo Election Committee with reference to the appointment of Mr. Stonor he could not maintain his ground. [Mr. MOORE: No, no!] That was the declaration of the hon. Gentleman; and if that was not his meaning, why was it that he had gone back to the evidence taken before the Committee of 1848, and which was only in manuscript? If he thought that that evidence was of importance, why did he not move that it should be printed, in order that the House might know how far it implicated Mr. Stonor? He really thought that the evidence of 1848, or the Report on that evidence, or something connected with it, had been hanging about Mr. Stonor's neck without the Committee themselves being cognisant of it, and that it had had the effect of damaging Mr. Stonor to an extra- ordinary degree, for after the Committee of 1853 had sat for about half an hour, 544 and when they had only examined one gentleman, Alderman O'Donovan, the Chairman rose and said, he thought the agency of Mr. Stonor had been proved. He (Mr. Hindley) considered such a proceeding so extraordinary that he desired the Committee room to be cleared, and he moved that the agency of Mr. Stoner had not been proved, and that further evidence was required. The Chairman, on that Motion, was left in a solitary minority of one, the four other Gentlemen of the Committee voting against him. He mentioned this in order to show that the very strong opinion which the Chairman of that Committee had expressed in the House, in reference to Mr. Stonor's appointment, should not be taken without some discount, because, from the very first moment, he did in some way connect the proceedings of 1848 with the proceedings of the election in 1852. There was no evidence to prove the agency of Mr. Stoner. Then came the question, had he really promised to pay Alderman O'Donovan 103l.? It appeared that that person had paid money on account of Mr. Townely at former elections, and that he wrote to Mr. Townely to be repaid. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Moore) had said that Mr. Stonor promised to pay Alderman O'Donovan the sum of 103l. after the election. Now, he (Mr. Hindley) defied the hon. Member to point to a single line in the evidence to show that that was the case. It was very easy to deal in assertion, but he required proof. Fearing that he, as a Member of the Committee, not being a lawyer, and therefore not accustomed to weigh evidence, might take as proof what was not proof, he watched vigilantly for evidence of facts, and he would defy any one to take the Report of the Sligo Committee and show that Alderman O'Donovan had ever received a promise of payment from Mr. Stonor. It was said that the promise was contained in a letter written by Mr. Stonor to Mr. Verdon, the Mayor of Sligo. That letter was in the Committee room, but it was never put in evidence, nor appeared upon the minutes. The letter was dated 11th November, 1852, and it referred to the outstanding claim of Mr. O'Donovan. In this letter Mr. Stonor said he would consider whether he would recommend Mr. Townely to pay the money. But that was not said to Mr. O'Donovan, but to Mr. Verdon. Mr. Alderman O'Donovan in his evidence said, that some very vague 545 promises had been made by Mr. Verdon and others, but there was not a shadow of proof that they were made by Mr. Stonor. Mr. O'Donovan stated, that he frequently wrote to Mr. Townely for the balance due to him, and on the 22nd of May, 1852, Mr. Townely wrote to him in these words:—Dear Sir,—I regret that at the present moment it is impossible for me to enter upon the subject of your letter.In the Catholic Standard of last week a letter was inserted, written by Mr. Verdon, in which he said:—That he happened to know all the facts of Mr. Stonor's case; that the letter upon which the Committee of the House convicted Mr. Stonor of bribery was written by that gentleman to him (Mr. Verdon); that a copy of it was surreptitiously obtained from him; that, nevertheless, the Committee found Mr. Stonor guilty of bribery, by promising to pay Alderman O'Donovan a certain sum of money if he abstained from voting against Mr. Townely; and that that letter was never given in evidence.Mr. Verdon then asked who ever heard before of a court of justice condemning a man when the document on which the accusation was founded was not handed in and proved?But," continued Mr. Verdon, "putting aside this error of judgment, this gross miscarriage, he thought it due to Mr. Stonor to assert that he could have proved that the allegations made against that gentleman were utterly unfounded had he been examined.And why was Mr. Verdon not called? Because the parties thought the charge was so trumpery that it was not necessary to do so. It was only because the charactor of an absent gentleman had been most wantonly attacked, and his prospects destroyed, that he (Mr. Hindley) felt it due, as an act of justice to an injured man, to enter into this explanation of what took place before the Committee. But the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Moore) had, since notice of his Motion, changed his purpose. His first attack was upon Mr. Stonor; but now it was upon the Government, whom he charged with not having read all the papers that were laid before them previously to appointing Mr. Stonor. It would be a hard task if every Member of Parliament were bound to read the great mass of papers that were daily coming before him. He could readily acquit the noble Duke at the head of the Colonial Department, and the hon. Under Secretary also, of any inattention to the case when they first appointed Mr. Stonor, and he could particularly acquit them of any 546 wish to ruin Mr. Stonor, by the course they had since taken. In conclusion, he must say that he rather agreed with the hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drummond) that the sooner the House threw the whole matter overboard and determined to have nothing more to do with it, but to leave it entirely with the Government, the better.
§ MR. H. HERBERT
said, it was with very considerable regret that he obtruded himself for a few moments on the House, but it did seem to him that the present proceeding was one of so very strange a nature that he could not resist saying a few words, and stating how it presented itself to his mind. He thought the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had acted almost injudiciously in entering again upon the merits of the case as regarded Mr. Stonor. He did not think the House was called upon to pronounce any opinion upon that subject. He believed that the appointment of Mr. Stoner originally was a very great mistake. He regretted it when he heard the facts brought forward. But Mr. Stonor's appointment had been rescinded. Now, if after you had offered the greatest insult to a man, you retracted that insult, he believed that among gentlemen generally everything that had passed was healed as if it had never passed. Well, if you made an appointment, the propriety of which was attacked, and you rescinded that appointment, he presumed there could not be a stronger proof given of an impression that the appointment originally was improper. Therefore, he did not think the House was called upon to express an opinion upon the subject when the very act of the Government was an admission that the appointment originally had better not have been made. What, then, was it that the House was now called upon to inquire into? It appeared to him to be simply this, whether the Duke of Newcastle had spoken the truth or not. He had the honour of knowing the noble Duke, and he believed that, beyond even the high title and the high rank which that noble Duke enjoyed in this country, he would place above all other things the title of an English gentleman; and he (Mr. Herbert), as far as one Member of that House was concerned, when he saw an English gentleman come down to the House, and declare, as the friend of that noble Duke, and in his name, on the honour of an English gentleman, such and such a fact to be the case, he did believe that word; and he did think that it would 547 be an unseemly sight to foreign countries to see that House appoint a Committee simply to inquire whether a nobleman, filling one of the highest positions in this land, and who had hitherto maintained the most unblemished character—whether the man, as the right hon. Gentleman had stated, that every one who had the honour of his acquaintance deemed it to be a privilege, whether he had spoken the truth or not. For what had he stated that night? The noble Duke had instructed his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to say, on the honour of an English gentleman, that he was not aware that any corrupt practices had been alleged against Mr. Stoner. The proposed Committee would have simply to inquire whether that allegation was true or not. He did not believe that any Gentleman on either side of the House could for a moment doubt the truth of that statement. He believed that the hon. Member for Mayo himself, on mature consideration, would be inclined to withdraw a Motion which could only give pain. He should like to know what it was they had to inquire into, the appointment of Mr. Stonor having been rescinded, and the statement on behalf of the noble Duke having been made. With these views he should certainly vote with the bon. Member for West Surrey against the Motion.
MR. J. D. FITZGERALD
said, he would not have interfered in the debate except from feelings of commiseration towards this unfortunate gentleman, Mr. Stonor, who was, however, personally entirely unknown to him. Though it was his intention to support the Motion of the bon. Member opposite (Mr. Moore), with certain modifications, to which he would presently advert, he must express his most unqualified dissent from the manner in which it had been brought forward. He believed that he spoke in an assembly of gentlemen, in an assembly animated by that fair spirit which was characteristic of Englishmen. He would ask them whether the speech which the hon. Member opposite had thought fit to deliver was not one which it was most derogatory to himself to utter, and degrading to that House to hear. The hon. Member had got up with a pretence to which no one could give credit. He said that he did not wish to press further upon "poor Mr. Stonor." The hon. Member had ruined that unfortunate gentleman—he (Mr. Fitzgerald) did not ask whether from a sense of public duty or 548 private malignity—but he had ruined him, and then he asked the House to believe that he did not wish to press further upon him. The eloquence with which the hon. Member was gifted was like the fabled creature which polluted everything it touched. From Mr. Stoner he travelled to "his uncouth Friend, Mr. Bowyer," who had, at least, the advantage of being a gentleman. Having told the House that Mr. Stonor was the "stolid instrument of profligacy," and that the Colonial Minister had appointed him to office as the reward of corrupt practices, he next informed the House with respect to this poor man—whom he did not, forsooth, wish to injure—that his "name, like a polluting stream, went through the whole of these proceedings." But, not content with this, he next attacked Mr. Gore Jones, bringing against him a charge which, if true, he was bound to prefer in a tangible shape. He did not state, but insinuated, that Mr. Gore Jones was base enough to take a retainer from the opposite side to betray his own client. [Mr. MOORE: No, no!] That possibly was not the statement, but it certainly was the insinuation; and the hon. Gentleman added, that for this Mr. Gore Jones was rewarded by the Government with the appointment of collector of income tax. Now, the foundation of this charge was simply the hearsay evidence before the complainant's Committee of a person named Dane. And the very day after this evidence was given Mr. Gore Jones attended the Committee, and offered himself for examination to prove that it was totally false. The Committee, of which the hon. Member for Mayo was one, did not consider it necessary to hear Mr. Jones. From the terms of the hon. Member's Motion, it might naturally be inferred that he intended to support it by something that took place before the Sligo Committee of 1853. Instead of that, however, he had got from the library a manuscript Report of the evidence taken before the Committee of 1848, and retaining it in his own possession, so that it was impossible for any other hon. Member to become acquainted with its contents, he had made that, and not the Report of 1853, the foundation of his charges. Now, he (Mr. FitzGerald) found that, in the debate of June 30, 1848, upon the issue of a new writ for Sligo, the hon. Member for North Northamptonshire (Mr. Stafford), who had moved it, said:—In Sligo no bribery had been proved before 549 the Committee, no special report had been made, and all that was charged against the candidates was that they had been guilty of treating. But the greatest purist would, he thought, be disposed to admit that if anywhere treating was excusable, it was in the province of Connaught."—[3 Hansard, xcix. 1410.]Mr. Wrightson, the Chairman of the Committee, and another of the Members, agreed with the hon. Member for North Northamptonshire in stating that the only case charged against the sitting Members was one of treating. If they turned to the Report of the Committee which sat upon the last election for the county of Mayo, they would find no fewer than sixty cases of treating, which he supposed was justified on the ground taken by the hon. Member (Mr. Stafford), that, if treating was ever excusable, it was in Connaught. He could very well understand how the Committee of 1853 might have come to the conclusion that Mr. O'Donovan was prevented from voting by the belief that he was promised payment of a debt. But it was quite another question whether any one would be justified in characterising the conduct of Mr. Stonor as the hon. Member for Mayo had done. In June last there was a debate, and subsequently (after the evidence taken before the Committee had been printed) an adjourned debate, upon the issue of the warrant for Sligo, and upon that occasion he well recollected that the House was greatly puzzled to make head or tail of the decision at which the Committee had arrived, in consequence of the absence of the document which was said to be the foundation of the Report. The Members of the Committee spoke in favour of the issue of the writ, and on that occasion the language of the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. Moore) was rather singular. He said that he would support the Motion, notwithstanding the reasons given by the hon. Member for Dublin, who had opposed it on the ground that bribery and intimidation had taken place. To his great surprise, however, when this subject was discussed on the 14th of last month, the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. Moore) was not ashamed to allege, as an excuse of his former conduct, that he had been personally requested by the hon. and learned Member for Dundalk (Mr. Bowyer) not to state what he knew, and that he did not do so because he did not wish to throw water on a drowning rat. If, however, the hon. Gentleman conceived that at the call of private friendship he was justified in swerving from his public duty, while Mr. Stoner was 550 in England, his lips should for ever have been sealed upon the subject, especially while that gentleman was absent from the country, and therefore unable to defend himself. When that gentleman has left the country, it is no time for the hon. Member to come forward and ask the House to believe that it is a sense of public duty that actuates him. He (Mr. Fitzgerald) did not seek to impugn the decision of the Committee; but he would beg to call the attention of the House to the facts as they appeared. Mr. O'Donovan had a claim against Mr. Townely for some unsettled account on which he (Mr. O'Donovan) was liable. In 1848, an action was brought against him (Mr. O'Donovan), and a verdict was given for 203l., which he was compelled to pay. Up to 1851 he made repeated applications to Mr. Townely, which he refused to entertain. After some time, a Mr. Verdon wrote to Mr. Stonor, requesting him to bring Mr. O'Donovan's claim under Mr. Townely's consideration. The reply was, that he could not do so at the time, but that after the next election he would. This letter was shown to Mr. O'Donovan by Mr. Verdon; it might be legal bribery on his part, but it was a different question whether Mr. Stonor had authorised him. The Committee, however, found that he had been guilty of bribery, and affixed a stigma on him. If the hon. Member for Mayo was actuated by so high a sense of public duty, he might then have moved that the Attorney General should prosecute Mr. Stonor for bribery, or that the Committee should proceed further with the inquiry; then, indeed, private friendship had restrained him, but he now came forward from public motives, from a pure spirit of patriotism, to prevent corruption in the disposal of Government patronage. Credat Judœus. He came forward, not to trample on a poor man, hut to inquire into the conduct of the Government. No one could for a moment doubt the accuracy of the statement made by the noble Duke the Colonial Secretary; but had not Mr. Stonor been most hardly dealt with? It was impossible for him (Mr. Stonor) to contravene the decision of the Committee; he could institute no proceeding to test it, though the hon. Member opposite might. Was Mr. Stonor to have been for ever debarred from employment? A good deal had been said of the importance of the office to which he had been appointed, but he (Mr. Fitzgerald) believed it was nothing more than an ordinary magistracy, but one that should be 551 filled by a person of legal attainments and unsullied character. What did Mr. Stonor do? He sent testimonials as to his professional qualifications from Lord Denman, the present Lord Chief Justice, and other eminent lawyers, and sent a printed narrative of all those transactions as affecting his private character. Could any blame attach to him? What more could he have done? It would be a most harsh measure if the Government were to enforce his recall; but they would do so, and condemn this gentleman to utter and irretrievable ruin unless he was redeemed by some proceeding of that House. He (Mr. FitzGerald) had no inducement to come forward, but his regard for justice. This might draw on him the resentment of the hon. Gentleman, whom he remarked had always some person to attack, some victim to run down. He might, perhaps, be the next object of his virulence, but he hoped the attack would not be made in his absence. He would move, as an Amendment, that all the words after "in the Colony of Victoria" should be omitted. His object was, that the Committee should be empowered to inquire not only into the circumstances of the appointment, but also into the transactions, as appears before the Committee of 1853. They would thus have an opportunity of inquiring whether the charge of bribery was fell founded. The Motion as it now stood assumed that the charge had been fully proved. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had alluded to an expression of the noble Lord the Leader of the House, that at least in the time of Grattan, Irish Members were men of eloquence and honour, and actuated by a spirit of patriotism. He (Mr. FitzGerald) revered the memory of Grattan, and blushed that the people of Ireland had ever been ungrateful to his name; but he must say, that there were still Irish Gentlemen in that House, who, though they might not lay claim to the gift of eloquence, yet possessed good sense and a desire to serve the best interests of their country, Gentlemen who did not live by pandering to the taste for private scandal, and who had honourably endeavoured to perform their duty in a period of unexampled difficulty.
Amendment proposed, to leave out from the words "Colony of Victoria," to the end of the Question.
Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. BAILLIE
said, the right hon. 552 Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had stated the case very correctly. It was an accusation against the Duke of Newcastle, and had nothing whatever to do with Mr. Stonor or his case. If Mr. Stonor had been ill-used, it was by the Government, rather than by any Member of that House. The Chancellor of the Exchequer objected to the language used by the hon. Member for Mayo; a second hon. Gentleman thought the hon. Member (Mr. Moore) had done more harm to himself than to Mr. Stonor; and a third was of opinion that the language used was derogatory to the House. ["Hear, hear!"] Did hon. Members who cried "Hear," remember the cheers with which they hounded on the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General when he spoke for a conviction against the right hon. Member for North Essex (Mr. Beresford). It might be very convenient to forget that now; it might be very convenient to hunt even to death a humble Member of that House, and to be very mealy-monthed when the conduct of a man in an exalted position was called in question. A great writer—Mr. Carlyle—had told us that we lived in an age of flunkeyism and shams; and if this assembly, after its loudly-expressed determination to put down bribery and corruption, should pass over such a case as that now brought before it, the country would see that in the House of Commons, at least, flunkeyism and shams were triumphant.
§ MR. STUART WORTLEY
said, he must appeal to the hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drummond) not to give the House the trouble of dividing on this question. He entirely agreed with that hon. Gentleman in the view which he took of the Motion of the hon. Member for Mayo. He fully concurred with him in condemning that Motion, and the spirit which had animated its introduction. But he believed that this question had now arrived at such a stage that it would be unjust to refuse the appointment of the proposed Committee. He felt that the case of Mr. Stoner was one of the greatest cruelty. He believed that that gentleman bad been dealt with in a manner that entitled him to every sympathy which that House could show to him. And he believed that the hon. Member fur Mayo, whatever might be his motives, had placed himself in a position that would not he envied by the humblest Member in the House. It was the bounden duty of the House to give Mr. Stonor the only redress which was left to him—that of 553 an inquiry into the charges brought against him. He would not attempt to impugn the decision of the Sligo Election Committee, and he quite agreed with the distinction taken by the hon. Member for Ennis (Mr. J. D. Fitzgerald), that the decision of an Election Committee was conclusive as to the merits of the election; but God forbid that the time should ever come when the decision of a Committee of that House should be held to be conclusive as to the guilt or innocence of any party in this country. Why, what was the meaning of giving instructions to the Attorney General to prosecute for bribery if an Election Committee was the tribunal for deciding whether the party was guilty or innocent of such a charge? He (Mr. S. Wortley), therefore, could not accept the decision of the Committee as decisive of Mr. Stonor's guilt. After looking at the evidence laid before the Committee, and considering the divisions in that Committee, he must say that it was extremely doubtful whether or not Mr. Stonor was guilty of bribery. At all events, it was unfortunate that the only evidence on which the Committee had found Mr. Stonor to be guilty of bribery did not appear upon the face of their proceedings. Under these circumstances, he sincerely hoped that an opportunity would be afforded for ascertaining whether or not Mr. Stonor was to be excluded from the practice of his profession. He had no acquaintance with Mr. Stonor, and had never seen him, to his knowledge, in his life; but he had heard from many friends whom he esteemed that Mr. Stonor was fully competent for the office to which he had been appointed. It would, then, be the greatest cruelty to condemn that gentleman without affording him an opportutunity for redress. The fact that Mr. Stoner had sent in the Report of the Committee to the Colonial Office, together with his testimonials, showed that he was ready to meet an inquiry. He (Mr. S. Wortley) believed it would be found that Mr. Stonor was appointed by a gentleman altogether removed from politics, and his recommendation made it perfectly ludicrous to inquire into Mr. Stonor's fitness for the office. He (Mr. S. Wortley) regretted the hasty manner in which the Government had determined to withhold their ratification of Mr. Stonor's appointment, and he trusted that the result of the inquiries of the proposed Committee would be a resolution by the Government not to take so harsh a step. He should rejoice if the Committee's inquiries would 554 relieve the House from the danger of inflicting a deep injustice upon a gentleman who, amongst many persons, enjoyed a high reputation.
§ MR. WHITESIDE
said, that on the part of the Bar, he must dissent from the opinions expressed by the right hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down. He regretted that Mr. Stonor was placed in his present painful position. He had no enmity to Mr. Stoner; he knew nothing of the facts except from the evidence as read by the hon. Member for Mayo. By the law as it stood in Ireland, no English barrister could act professionally at an election; but Mr. Stonor appears to have involved himself, not once, but twice or thrice, in discreditable election squabbles in Sligo, and in the end had been pointed out by name in a discreditable manner by a Committee of that House. Surely the right hon. and learned Member for Bute, who was an ornament to his profession, and who so adorned the judicial bench, would not say that that was the road which ought to lead a man at the Bar to honour and distinction. He certainly regretted that Mr. Stonor had been made a Judge. If he had been appointed to some other situation, perhaps the appointment would not have been noticed. He had to remind the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. S. Wortley) that the pride of England was in its pure administration of justice, in which respect no country in Europe could be compared with it. If once they made an appointment of this sort without inquiry, the exception might soon become the rule, and they might live to see the Bench filled by men, not of learning, honour, and integrity, but by men—he did not say Mr. Stoner was one—who were only distinguished for their zeal in the work of corruption. If the hon. Under Secretary of the Colonies could state that he had received the testimonials, and, having heard something of Mr. Stonor, that he had inquired into the accusations against him, and had satisfied himself that they were not sustained by facts, then he could conceive the justice of the Amendment. But he had understood the hon. Gentleman to say that he had not read the testimonials. If the documents in question make out a case for Mr. Stonor, then he must consider that gentleman as hardly used. He nevertheless, lamented that it was possible for a man to be appointed to a responsible situation in any part of the empire without the most careful scrutiny into his conduct and qualifications.
§ MR. GRANVILLE VERNON
said, he should support the Amendment of the hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drummond), as he thought no case had been made out for inquiry, while he had already listened long enough in one Committee to scandal and vile pettifogging assertions not to wish to see a repetition of similar scenes in another. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Mayo (Mr. Moore) told them that he was no lawyer, but though he might not he in the profession, he had got into all the animus of the lowest kind of Old Bailey lawyers. He had been likened already to a four-footed animal of one description, but it appeared to him (M. Vernon) that he was more like the four-footed animal that returned to his vomit. [Cries of "Order, order!"] Animated by a feeling of friendship for the noble Duke, whom the hon. Member had so unjustly attacked, it was impossible for him to speak in the terms that he might wish to use; but he would content himself with saying that, although he felt deeply for the situation of Mr. Stonor, he was yet bound by a sense of public duty to support the Amendment of the hon. Member for West Surrey.
§ MR. LUCAS
said, that although hon. Members opposite had said a great deal about the language which had been used by the hon. Gentleman who had brought forward this Motion, and by other hon. Members on that side of the House, he could not at present recognise anything in the tone with which such hon. Gentlemen had spoken in any way to mitigate such freedom of speech. He considered the language of the hon. and learned Member for Ennis (Mr. J. D. Fitzgerald) quite as intemperate, if not more so, as that of the hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. Moore). The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer told them it was very wrong and very unparliamentary not to be satisfied with the statement made by the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies; but they did not impugn the veracity of that hon. Gentleman, as the statement made by him was not founded on facts within his own knowledge. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had rebuked them in the loftiest terms of his austere indignation; but when the hon. and learned Member for Ennis pronounced a studied and intentional invective on his (Mr. Lucas') hon. Friend (Mr. Moore), there was no sign of indignation on the part of those who had cheered the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He had not much experience in discussions of this kind; his first experience was the 556 speech of the hon. and learned Attorney General last year against the late Secretary at War. He considered that as a model of a peculiar kind of eloquence, which, while professing the utmost candour, inflicted the severest and most deadly blows. With respect to this inquiry, he felt bound to say that he knew nothing of Mr. Stoner, although he knew many of that gentleman's friends, and he had no desire in any way to inflict an injury upon him; but he had no notion of allowing hon. Members opposite to support a system of corruption under pretence of generously supporting a fallen man. He was not at all surprised at the speech of the hon. Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drummond), which he considered merely carried out the memorable doctrines enunciated in the speech of that hon. Member last Session, in which he described that House as a great bazaar of places and corruption, of which he (Mr. Drummond) regretted there was not more. It was all very well for hon. Members opposite, now they were in power, to set themselves against these inquiries into corrupt practices; but when such hon. Members were on the Opposition side of the House, and sat upon those dark and dismal benches, they were the first to come forward to suggest what they were now so particularly anxious to avoid. Their press showed no spirit of fairness, no regard for private character; nothing was sacred from their attack, even when the subject-matter was pending for trial in the courts of law. Committees were called for in language as violent and as personal as any used to-night, when it was thought that the interests of their party could be served by hunting up any case of corruption in the distribution of the good things of the Treasury. With regard to what the hon. Member for Newark (Mr. Vernon) had said of the Duke of Newcastle, he (did not understand that there was the slightest intention on the part of his hon. Friend to impute—["Oh, oh!"] Why, the hon. Gentleman's indignation was so strong that it evaporated before he finished his sentence—before the hon. Member could know what he was going to say. His hon. Friend (Mr. Moore) had not the slightest intention to impute personal unveracity to the Duke of Newcastle. There was no such word on his lip and no such intention in his mind. The case was, however, curious and extraordinary. A gentleman who had been engaged in the management of election affairs in the most corrupt borough in Ireland for a series of years, 557 handed over the corrupt election interest in that borough from those in whose service he had passed the greater part of his public career in connection with the borough to a junior Lord of the Treasury, and almost immediately afterwards he was appointed to a judgeship in the Colonies. The answer of the Duke of Newcastle to this allegation was, that he was not acquainted with the circumstances; and if the noble Duke, or the hon. Gentleman on the opposite benches (Mr. F. Peel), gave an assurance, on the honour of an English gentleman, that the Duke of Newcastle knew nothing of the circumstances, he (Mr. Lucas) would be quite ready to accept that assurance. He was sure, also, that his hon. Friend the Member for Mayo would be satisfied with such an assurance. But it was not only into the conduct of the Duke of Newcastle in this business that an inquiry was demanded. Mr. Stonor sent in a bundle of papers of recommendation, which were not read or opened. Now, Mr. Stonor must have been appointed on some recommendation, and the question was, on what recommendation, and by what influence he obtained the appointment? He (Mr. Lucas) was aware that it would be very difficult to get at the real facts of this case, but they knew that there was a corrupt system connected with the present Government which was most unsatisfactory to the public of Ireland. The case of Mr. Gore Jones had been referred to more than once. What were the circumstances of that case? Mr. Gore Jones—as he had seen it stated in the newspapers, upon authority that appeared to come from the other (the Ministerial) side of the House—was a Conservative barrister; he was the editor of a Conservative journal in Sligo; he had been, during the greater part of his career, an active politician on the Conservative side, and all his connections, and all his means of life, as he (Mr. Lucas) understood, were bound up with the Conservative party. This gentleman, however, by some process or other, all of a sudden made himself over to a Lord of the Treasury; he passed from one camp to the other at an advanced period of his life, and so great, so flagrant, so open, and so notorious was the change in his politics and public position that he was completely ruined. It was, therefore, necessary to patch up his fortunes, and it was said that the present hon. Member for Sligo, a late junior Lord of the Treasury, recommended Mr. Gore Jones for an appointment as collector of income tax in 558 Ireland, in order to compensate him for the loss he had sustained. Here, then, was a man rewarded for political services, and apparently for nothing else, by being placed in a position which enabled him to exercise a sort of inquisition as to the private fortunes and circumstances of every gentleman within his district. He (Mr. Lucas) had beard of other appointments which, in his opinion, were many degrees worse than that of Mr. Gore Jones. But here was a man who must entertain strong political feelings and animosities, and whose previous career had rendered him distasteful to one-half of the community, placed in a position which gave him full knowledge of the private circumstances of those to whom he had been acting in hostility. He (Mr. Lucas) had always understood that in England the appointments connected with the income tax had, as far as possible, been free from all political bias. In Ireland, however, a tax was imposed which was not only odious, but which Irish gentlemen thought was unjust; and, instead of endeavouring to soften the application of that tax, the Government endeavoured to render it yet more odious by selecting the instruments of its assessment and collection from the worst partisans of faction. He thought, then, when they saw a wholesale system of mal-appointments of this kind, that a Parliamentary investigation was necessary. He considered that his hon. Friend the Member for Mayo had been very unfairly attacked for the course he had taken, in which he had only followed the precedents set by hon. Gentlemen opposite when they were in Opposition. He conceived that his hon. Friend had laid before the House a primâ facie case very much stronger than that which led the House to grant a Committee of Inquiry of a somewhat similar kind fifteen months ago, on the Motion of the present Attorney General.
§ MR. FREDERICK PEEL
said, he did not wish to prolong this discussion, but he could not agree with the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, that the strong language which was used by his side of the House with regard to the course pursued by the hon. Member for Mayo was not fully justified by the language of the hon. Member himself. The speech of the hon. Gentleman, he considered, was altogether irrelevant to the question, and was replete with matters which had no bearing on the question before the House. The hon. Gentleman had given them a full detail with regard to the political and elec- 559 tion transactions in which Mr. Stonor had at different times been engaged. He appeared to have collected them with laborious research, but they had no bearing on the position of the Government with regard to this appointment, unless he meant to maintain, which he had not done, that these were matters of public notoriety, and known to the Government when the appointment was made. He might add, that if the hon. Gentleman had been actuated by a desire to uphold the character of public men and the interests of public morality, knowing, as he did know, that the Government were willing to concede the appointment of this Committee, he would have abstained from assuming as facts, statements which were to be sifted by the Committee. The charge of the hon. Gentleman was, that the appointment of Mr. Stonor was not made by the Government in ignorance, but in consequence of a corrupt bargain—that Mr. Stonor received his appointment in consequence of his having transferred to an hon. Member of that House the influence he had obtained in Sligo. Now, that statement of the hon. Gentleman he met with the most peremptory and unqualified contradiction. He contradicted it on his own behalf from his own knowledge—he contradicted it, so far as the Duke of Newcastle was concerned, upon that nobleman's authority. With regard to Mr. Stonor himself, he admitted that the case was a hard one. He had made that statement before; but the hon. Gentleman opposite would not believe that he spoke his own sentiments; he said that he was the mouthpiece of certain Irish Members of that House; that he got his lesson from them. That was not the case. He spoke what he felt himself. It was impossible to deny that the Committee on the Sligo election was divided in opinion—it was undoubted that their opinion was formed on an ex parte statement of the case, when Mr. Stonor had no opportunity of being examined before the Committee, nor was aware that the Committee were about to come to a resolution against him; and further, that the letter on which the charge was founded was not on the minutes of the Committee. But when he made that statement before, how was he answered? The Chairman of the Committee came forward and said that the case against Mr. Stonor was complete, and that lie was never more confident of any decision in his life than in that case. If that were so, and the Committee had come to the conclusion that 560 there was that amount of culpability on the part of Mr. Stonor, he had no hesitation in saying that it was the duty of the Government to support their decision, and not to press his appointment upon the people of Victoria, who were naturally jealous of the character of all appointments made to their colony. He would not now go into the ground of that appointment. He would leave the inquiry in the hands of the Committee, feeling sure that that inquiry would show that the statement he had made was correct, and that the counter-statement was unfounded and directly the reverse of the truth.
§ MR. T. DUNCOMBE
said, it was very seldom he felt justified in voting against inquiries instituted by that House, but, when he did vote for inquiry, he liked such inquiry to be full and complete. He wished to know, however, how the inquiry now proposed could possibly be complete without the presence of Mr. Stonor? Some hon. Gentlemen said they would vote for the inquiry in justice to Mr. Stonor, but Mr. Stoner would not be heard before the Committee. Who was to appear before the Committee on behalf of that gentleman? The Duke of Newcastle might, if he thought it necessary, go before the Committee, and, at all events, he would be represented there, but the noble Duke and the hon. Member for Bury (Mr. F. Peel) had met the imputation of corrupt motives with the most absolute denial as English gentlemen. The hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. Moore) said that if the Duke of Newcastle and the hon. Member for Bury would state in their places that they had not been actuated by corrupt motives, he and his friends would be satisfied. Why, that satisfaction had been given to the hon. Gentleman already. Confessedly, through negligence on the part of the Colonial Office, the testimonials which had been sent in by Mr. Stonor had been overlooked; if they had been seen, his appointment would not have taken place. The Colonial Office had, however, rescinded the appointment. He believed an order had been sent out that Mr. Stonor should not be appointed by the Governor of Victoria, and when Mr. Stonor returned to England his first act would doubtless be to demand an inquiry into the base imputations which had been directed against him by the hon. Member for Mayo. He (Mr. Duncombe) certainly never heard any absent individual attacked as Mr. Stonor had been by the hon. Gen- 561 tleman. The hon. Member said, he only wanted an inquiry into the conduct of the Colonial Office; but Mr. Stonor might complain, with reason, that great injustice was done him by appointing this Committee when there was no one to appear on his behalf. He (Mr. Duncombe) conceived that if a Committee was to be appointed, they ought, at all events, to wait until Mr. Stonor arrived in England, in order that the investigation might be complete. He knew that there was a very strong, and, he believed, a very just feeling on the public mind, that Mr. Stonor had been most unfairly and most unjustly used; and if this Committee were appointed in Mr. Stonor's absence, the public would come to another conclusion, namely, that the House of Commons was adding injury to injustice, by instituting, behind his back, an inquiry which might result in a decision adverse to his interests and to his honour as a gentleman. He would, therefore, vote against the inquiry.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
said, the hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Lucas) had brought forward various questions which had no relevancy to the point at issue, while the real question before the House had been forgotten. The hon. Member for Mayo (Mr. Moore) had brought forward a distinct charge against the Colonial Office, and that charge it was the duty of the House to inquire into. The charge was this: that Mr. Stonor had been appointed to a judicial office in one of the Colonies, not in spite of, but in consequence of, his corrupt conduct; and when the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies made a statement to explain how the appointment occurred, the hon. Member for Mayo said, "I don't believe that story." There was no circumlocution, no softening of the phrase; his words were, "I don't believe the story." The imputations, then, were, first, a charge of corruption against the Duke of Newcastle; and next, a charge of falsehood against the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies; and these two charges it was the paramount duty of that House to inquire into, He would admit it was a hardship, and, to a certain extent, an injustice to Mr. Stonor, that these charges should be inquired into in his absence; but it was a necessary evil. He thought that an immediate inquiry was necessary. Let them fairly understand the question before the House. He did not wish to press hard upon Mr. Stonor, upon the hon. Member for Mayo or any one; 562 but he did wish that the House should understand the question before it. The hon. Member for Mayo thought he had discovered a case of corruption on the part of the Government, and he brought forward a particular instance. He went into a number of other cases, but those they had no opportunity of inquiring into; but this particular case which he had brought forward it was the duty of that House, without hesitation, to inquire into, for if a Minister of the Crown was guilty of appointing a man from corrupt motives to an important office in one of the Colonies, then there was no hope of justice being done either in the Colonies or in this country. He would not occupy the attention of the House further, except to say that he would vote for the appointment of the Committee as amended by the hon. and learned Member for Ennis (Mr. J. D. Fitzgerald), for he agreed with that hon. and learned Member, that there was a distinction to be drawn between the findings of an Election Committee—that their decisions were to be held as conclusive with regard to the objects for which they were appointed, but not with regard to personal character.
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
said, he would not have troubled the House with any observations after the eloquent and conclusive speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down, had it not been for his concluding remarks. He was sure the House would feel that this debate had already been sufficiently protracted; and further, he would remind the House that when Gentlemen were led, in questions of this kind, to paint each other in such black colours as had been done to-night, the public, who did not make the same allowances that were made here, would be but too apt to believe both sides. He wished to refer, however, for a few moments, to the Amendment moved by the hon. and learned Member for Ennis (Mr. J. D. Fitzgerald). The hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. T. Duncombe) said he would not vote for the inquiry at all, because it was unfair to try Mr. Stonor in his absence. But the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) said he would vote for the inquiry as limited by the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Ennis, though he admitted there was a disadvantage in trying Mr. Stonor in his absence. Now, in his (Mr. Herbert's) opinion, there was this further disadvantage in the Amendment, that it 563 would not be a fair trial of the allegations brought against his noble Friend the Duke of Newcastle. The lion. Member for Mayo said he did not attack Mr. Stonor—that was a mere episode in his speech—his boast was that he attacked the lofty and the exalted; and he brought this charge against the Duke of Newcastle, that he had appointed Mr. Stonor, not "in spite of," but "in consequence of," his corrupt conduct. That charge was fairly given in the words of the Motion, which were:—That a Select Committee be appointed to take into consideration the case of the appointment of Henry Stonor to the office of a Judge in the colony of Victoria, the said Henry Stonor having been reported by a Committee of this House to have been guilty of bribery at the election for the borough of Sligo in 1853.Of course, if that had not been the Report of the Committee, there would have been no allegation against the Duke of Newcastle. But if they omitted that part of the Motion, and if they omitted it for the express purpose of entering into the question whether the Committee had done right in making such a Report, then they sunk the charge against the Duke of Newcastle, and merely made it a charge against Mr. Stonor. Against that, he, as the Friend of the Duke of Newcastle, distinctly entered his protest, because he wanted to have the charge against the Duke fairly tried. Besides, he thought there was great weight in the observations of the hon. Member for Finsbury, that if they adopted the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for Ennis, they would be trying Mr. Stonor in his absence. There would be no one to appear for him; perhaps no one was so well acquainted with the facts of the case as Mr. Stonor himself, or even if there were, it was most probable the parties would not have an accurate recollection of the details of such a circumstance. For these reasons he would say, therefore, do not attempt to alter the Motion, and convert an inquiry into a charge made against the Duke of Newcastle into an inquiry into a charge made against Mr. Stonor. He admitted, as everybody did, that the case against Mr. Stonor was a very hard one. He had had the most frank communications with the Duke of Newcastle, such as might pass between men who have been long intimate, and the noble Duke being a roan of warm and generous temperament, he knew that that which had given him the most pain through the 564 whole of these transactions was the unwitting and the unintentional injury he had inflicted on Mr. Stonor. At the same time, he was not sure that the House would not be doing that gentleman an additional injury in forcing forward this inquiry in his absence, when he might perhaps be in the possession of documents or other evidence, which, if produced, would completely exonerate him. Therefore, as interested for the Duke of Newcastle, he entreated the hon. and learned Member for West Surrey (Mr. Drummond) not to press his Amendment, and he hoped that hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House, who were anxious for the vindication of the character of the Duke of Newcastle, would not vote for the Amendment of the hon. Member, but would give his noble Friend the opportunity of stating fully, fairly, and explicitly the circumstances of the case before a Committee to be appointed by the Committee of Selection, who should give a verdict one way or the other upon the facts and merits of the charge.
§ MR. G. H. MOORE
, in reply, said, he must remark that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had begun his speech by a serious reprimand to him (Mr. Moore) for the vehemence of language which he had displayed. Instead of reading him a lecture, the right hon. Gentleman should have set him an example; for there was nothing in the tone in which the right hon. Gentleman usually addressed the House which entitled him to lecture others for vehemence. The right hon. Gentleman had noticed very slightly the arguments upon which he (Mr. Moore) founded this Motion, and whenever he had done so had invariably misrepresented them. The right hon. Gentleman made him say, that he was willing to abandon the case if certain Members of the Government resigned. His observation upon that point was, that Mr. Stonor could not remain in his position; but that, in removing him, justice would not be satisfied. Those who appointed him must be equally visited. The right hon. Gentleman had also said, that he (Mr. Moore) had not given due notice of the charges he intended to make. It appeared that the very words quoted by the right hon. Gentleman, as forming the gravamen of the charges, were used by him verbatim et literatim on a former evening, when he gave hon. Gentlemen opposite notice of the charges he intended to make. Another misrepresentation of his statements had been made by the hon. and learned 565 Member for Ennis (Mr. J. D. Fitzgerald), who said he had accused Mr. Gore Jones of taking a retainer to betray his client. What he said was, that he believed upon the petition in which Mr. Gore Jones was employed by Mr. Somers, Mr. Townely was unseated chiefly by the exertions of Mr. Gore Jones. He had also said that he had heard that during those negotiations Mr. Gore Jones took a retainer from the present Member for Sligo (Mr. John Sadlier) to prosecute against his then client the election contest that must arise from the result of the petition. He also conceived that he had been misrepresented in another matter. Nothing, he could assure the House, was further from his intention, when he said he did not believe the story, than to imply that the noble Duke the Secretary of State for the Colonies would be guilty of saying that which he knew to be untrue. What he had said was, that he did not believe the story put forward by the Colonial Office to be the whole truth. The right hon. and learned Member for Buteshire (Mr. S. Wortley) had borne out that statement. The explanation of the Colonial Office was, that Mr. Stoner had been appointed from his own letter and the recitals in his letters. The right hon. and learned Member for Buteshire said he was appointed on quite different grounds—that a gentleman of the highest distinction had vivâ voce recommended him, and in consequence of that it was he was appointed. When he (Mr. Moore) said that Mr. Stonor was appointed in consequence of his corrupt practices, he did not say that the Duke of Newcastle had appointed him on that account. He believed the noble Duke was not aware of those corrupt practices when he appointed Mr. Stonor, but he believed that those who had the ear of the Duke—those who were known to have the ear of the Duke, or, if not, his Grace was much belied—they were aware of the corrupt practices. He said hon. Gentlemen on those (the Ministerial) benches were those who made the appointment, as stated in the hon. Gentleman's (Mr. Peel's) speech. He believed they were aware of this report against Mr. Stoner. These were the charges he had made, and still made. As to the observation of the right hon. Gentleman (the Chancellor of the Exchequer), that he (Mr. Moore) was deeply responsible, and must justify the charges he had made, he could only say he thought he had justified them. He had shown reasons which would induce any one to believe that 566 the statement of the Colonial Office did not contain the whole truth. The right hon. and learned Member for Buteshire said it did not; and on that fact he (Mr. Moore) stood. He still asserted that those who obtained the appointment were aware of the corrupt practices of Mr. Stonor, and they would never have got him the appointment if he had not been guilty of them. If Mr. Stonor had stuck to his profession, like an honest man, he might have wasted his sweetness on the desert air of Boswell Court for a century, if he lived as long, and no Irish corruptionist would have exerted himself to advance his prospects, or ever have whispered his name to the Duke of Newcastle. Through such influence he was appointed, and against those who obtained the appointment he (Mr. Moore) made the charge.
§ MR. DRUMMOND
said, that it had been observed that in the Post Office nobody spoke English, but that all spoke Galwegian. Now, it must be from some such circumstance as that in the case of the House of Commons that he was utterly unable to understand how it was that the speeches of hon. Members who supported the Motion were entirely contradictory of one another. There was, perhaps, a meaning in those speeches, but it was his misfortune that he could not comprehend it. Be that, however, as it might, he must say that the Committee, if appointed, must fail to meet the view of any of those Gentlemen who were so anxious for its nomination. Under those circumstances, therefore, he should ask the House to negative the Motion.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Main Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 115; Noes 37: Majority 78.
|List of the AYES.|
|A'Court, C. H. W.||Butt, I.|
|Arbuthnott, hon. Gen.||Cardwell, rt. hon. E.|
|Baillie, H. J.||Chambers, M.|
|Baines, rt. hon. M. T.||Child, S.|
|Ball, J.||Coote, Sir C. H.|
|Bass, M. T.||Dashwood, Sir G. H.|
|Bateson, T.||Deedes, W.|
|Beamish, F. B.||Disraeli, rt. hon. B.|
|Bell, J.||Drumlanrig, Visct.|
|Bentinck, G. W. P.||Dunne, Col.|
|Berkeley, C. L. G.||Elcho, Lord|
|Bethell, Sir R.||Fagan, W.|
|Bland, L. H.||Fellowes, E.|
|Brocklehurst, J.||Ferguson, J.|
|Bruce, Lord E.||FitzGerald, Sir J.|
|Buckley, Geo.||Fitzgerald, J. D.|
|Fitzroy, hon. H.||Muntz, G. F.|
|Forster, C.||Murrough, J. P.|
|Fortescue, C. S.||Napier, rt. hon. J.|
|Frewen, C. H.||Norreys, Sir D. J.|
|Gardner, R.||Oakes, J. H. P.|
|George, J.||O'Connell, D.|
|Goddard, A. L.||Packe, C. W.|
|Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.||Paget, Lord A.|
|Graham, Lord M. W.||Peel, F.|
|Greville, Col. F.||Pellatt, A.|
|Grogan, E.||Pinney, W.|
|Gwyn, H.||Pollard-Urquhart, W.|
|Hadfield, G.||Power, N.|
|Hall, Sir B.||Pritchard, J.|
|Hamilton, G. A.||Pugh, D.|
|Hawkins, W. W.||Richardson, J. J.|
|Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.||Robertson, P. F.|
|Heard, J. I.||Roebuck, J. A.|
|Heneage, G. F.||Rolt, P.|
|Herbert, rt. hon. S.||Sadleir, J.|
|Hervey, Lord A.||Sandars, G.|
|Hughes, W. B.||Scobell, Capt.|
|Keating, R.||Scully, F.|
|Kennedy, T.||Scully, V.|
|King, J. K.||Seymer, H. K.|
|Lacon, Sir E.||Seymour, H. D.|
|Langton, H. G.||Spooner, R.|
|Locke, J.||Sutton, J. H. M.|
|Lockhart, W.||Swift, R.|
|Loveden, P.||Thicknesse, R. A.|
|Luce, T.||Thompson, G.|
|MacGregor, J.||Vance, J.|
|Maguire, J. F.||Walmsley, Sir J.|
|Malins, R.||West, F. R.|
|Masterman, J.||Whiteside, J.|
|Meagher, T.||Whitmore, H.|
|Milligan, R.||Wilkinson, W. A.|
|Milner, W. M. E.||Williams, W.|
|Michell, W.||Winnington, Sir T. E.|
|Moncreiff, J.||Young, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Moody, C. A.||Moore, G. H.|
|Mulgrave, Earl of||Lucas, F.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Barnes, T.||Howard, Lord E.|
|Blackett, J. F. B.||Johnstone, J.|
|Bright, J.||King, hon. P. J. L.|
|Brotherton, J.||Kirk, W.|
|Brown, W.||Massey, W. N.|
|Butler, C. S.||O'Brien, C.|
|Castlerosse, Visct.||O'Connell, J.|
|Challis, Mr. Ald.||Parker, R. T.|
|Chambers, T.||Phillimore, R. J.|
|Crook, J.||Rushout, Col.|
|Denison, E.||Russell, F. W.|
|Duff, J.||Seymour, W. D.|
|Duncan, G.||Shee, W.|
|Dundas, F.||Smith, J. A.|
|Dunlop, A. M.||Thornely, T.|
|Du Pre, C. G.||Vernon, G. E. H.|
|Evelyn, W. J.||Willcox, B. M.|
|Goodman, Sir G.||TELLERS.|
|Herbert, H. A.||Drummond, H.|
|Hindley, C.||Duncombe, T. S.|
§ On Mr. SPEAKER putting the question, that the Committee be nominated by the Committee of Selection,
§ MR. J. O'CONNELL
rose and said, he would detain the House but a very few minutes upon a matter entirely of a per- 568 sonal nature. In the late division he had had the misfortune to vote contrary to the way in which he intended. Being a new Member in that House, he was unacquainted with the arrangement of the lobbies, and he went the wrong way, and voted contrary to his intention. [Laughter.] This might be a light matter in England; it would, however, have some importance in Ireland, for it would be talked about there, and he wished to put himself right. So long as certain Gentlemen opposite pursued the course they did, and, for certain purposes of their own, led away a portion of the popular sentiment in that country, they might represent or misrepresent anything concerning himself just as they chose; he should pursue his own course, both in that House and in Ireland, independently of their censures. He had intended to have voted for the Committee, not from any idea at all of the justice of its being granted at the present moment, but merely to give the parties he referred to the fullest opportunity of proving, if they could, any of the statements which they were continually making in order to run down public and private character in every possible manner. If reports were true, a certain Committee now sitting would furnish some test of the value of the attacks which Gentlemen opposite were making upon public men. Assertions had been made in that Committee quite as boldly and as confidently as any made tonight; but, if reports were true, it had been found, when those assertions came to he investigated in a calm and searching inquiry, there had been an amount of evasion, an amount of miserable shiftings to and fro of responsibility from one to another, which was certainly not creditable to the characters of the Gentlemen who so broadly broached them in the face of the House. He thought it necessary and right to make this statement. It was true he might have to meet these Gentlemen in Ireland, and he would not shrink from saying that then which he now asserted in the House of Commons. He was ready to make just the same declaration in Ireland that he was making now, and be would add this much, that it was not creditable for hon. Members to come forward in this way, especially when they had gained their point of running down an unhappy gentleman, who, though he might have done wrong, had been severely punished in his absence, when he had not an opportunity of being heard in his own defence. It 569 was not creditable, he repeated, in them to endeavour to mystify the subject with a cloud of accusations, which upon inquiry would be found as baseless as the accusations of which he had just spoken.
§ MR. BAILLIE
said, that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had suggested that the inquiry should be rather more extensive than the terms of the Motion; and therefore he wished to know whether it would be advisable that the other cases to which allusion had been made should not be included.
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
said, he must explain that his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer had said that if there were allegations brought forward, implicating the names of other gentlemen, it would be open to any hon. Member to make a Motion to include them, and that the Government would offer every facility to such a Motion.
§ MR. V. SCULLY
said, he would suggest that very great facilities might be obtained by referring the subject to the Committee of Complaint now sitting.
§ Motion agreed to.
That it be an Instruction to the General Committee of Elections to appoint the said Committee, and that such Committee consist of Five Members.