HC Deb 31 July 1854 vol 135 cc1060-1

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed. "That the Bill be now read a second time."


said, he thought the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland ought not, at that hour of the morning (ten minutes to two o'clock), to persevere with a Bill which he really did think, under the present circumstances of Ireland, involved both an insult and an outrage.


said, the Bill was simply directed against the Ribbon lodges and secret societies in those counties in Ireland where they existed. When they looked at the operation of these societies in the county of Monaghan, and in part of Armagh, some repressive law must be considered as absolutely necessary. It was impossible to exaggerate the evils which the system of terrorism, as it prevailed there, produced, and no Government could safely dispense with the powers given them under this Act. The powers conferred upon the Government by this Act were simply these:—In case atrocious crimes were frequent and numerous in any district, the Lord Lieutenant had power to proclaim that district, and to station there a certain number of constabulary, which formed a charge upon the district. The main power, however, was the restriction placed upon the possession of arms. Any person who wished to possess arms must come forward and ask for a licence to have them in his house; but this licence was never refused unless a satisfactory reason could be assigned, publicly and in open court, why the applicant should not be allowed to have it.


said, that he had been told by the late Mr. Bateson that be had received thirty-eight notices, and in the place he (Mr. Mitchell) lived in the north of Ireland, a gentleman was unable to leave his house because he employed an agent denounced by one of these Ribbon societies. He should support the Bill.


said, that as nothing had been shown to implicate the whole of Ireland in the offences which the Bill was intended to meet, he should move that the Bill be read a second time that day three months.

Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day three months."


said, that while expressing his abhorrence of such few wretches as had been described, he must, assert that the state of Ireland generally did not justify the passing of the Bill—being peaceful, loyal, and obedient to the law, as a general rule.


said, he did not approve of this kind of legislation two years ago, and therefore he could not be supposed to agree to it now when Ireland was so much improved, with the exception of the limited districts in Monaghan and Armagh. The Bill was now said to be to put down Ribbonism, which was entirely confined to the north, there being none in Munster and Connaught, and therefore the Bill ought to be limited to that part of the country.


said, that none but Roman Catholics were affiliated in these societies, and he hoped it would not be supposed these crimes originated with the Protestants of the south of Ireland,

Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."

The House divided:—Ayes 50; Noes 11: Majority 39.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read 2°.

The House adjourned at Three o'clock.