§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
§ MR. BOWYER
said, that he must ob- 1713 ject to proceeding further with the measure, which was of a most penal and stringent character, and involved to a great extent the suspension of those safeguards which the constitution had provided for the liberty of the subject. It was a Bill to be justified only by considerations of a very grave and urgent character, and such he believed did not exist in the present instance. There was no more "crime and outrage" in Ireland at the present moment than there was in England, and the title of the Bill was therefore most offensive. Besides that the measure had been brought in with no sort of explanation or justification on the part of the Government; and, feeling that that ought not to be a mere Motion of course, and ought not to be acceded to unless an urgent necessity could be shown, he should certainly divide the House in opposition to the measure.
said, he fully agreed that nothing but a strong necessity justified the passing of a Bill of that nature. On looking over the calendars at the assizes, he found that the number of prisoners for trial was extremely small, and that the offences were not of a character to call for a Bill only applicable to a country in a chronic state of outrage. Neither was it, he thought, respectful to the House that a Bill of such a class should be proposed without any statement by the Government.
said, he had intended to make a statement with respect to the measure. He very gladly and heartily bore his testimony to the tranquil state of Ireland. He believed no country in the world had made a greater progress in the last few years; but the Government were in this position, that there were less troops in Ireland than at any former period, and that they had been advised that, under all the circumstances of the case, this exceptional kind of legislation might be preserved in a modified form. With that view they proposed to withdraw the proclamation from all districts in which tranquillity prevailed, and he hoped that, by next Session, the Bill would be withdrawn altogether.
said, that although the right hon. Secretary for Ireland admitted the general tranquillity of Ireland, the preamble of the Bill distinctly stated that the prevalence of crime and outrage in Ireland called for strong measures of repression. He (Mr. De Vere) contended that the country was not in a state to call for the continuation of such a stigma upon 1714 the character of the people, and therefore he would oppose the further progress of the Bill.
§ MR. KENNEDY
said, there was no shadow of an excuse for the continuance of the Act. He should, therefore, move that the second reading be postponed for 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."
§ MR. BRADY
said, that it was a very unconstitutional course to adopt such a measure, seeing that the people of Ireland were most loyal, he should therefore vote for the postponement of the second reading. It would create a feeling of discontent which did not now exist, and a grave responsibility rested upon the Government in pressing the Bill upon the House at the present time.
§ MR. MACARTNEY
said, he should support the Bill. It was a protection to the lower class of farmers, and they would be extremely sorry to find that it was not re-enacted. The better course would have been to have made it perpetual at first, instead of it being necessary to continue it from year to year.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 42; Noes 19: Majority 23.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read 2°.
§ The House adjourned at half after Two o'clock.