§ Order for Committee read.
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the chair."
§ MR. BOWYER
said, there was nothing in the circumstances of Ireland to justify such a measure, as, by the admission of the right hon. Secretary for Ireland himself, there was neither crime nor outrage in that country. The Irish soldiery were freely shedding their blood in the war in which we were now engaged, and surely it was a small boon to ask that their country should be placed on an equality with the other parts of the Empire. He should move that the Bill be committed that day three months.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House will, upon this day three months, resolve itself into the said Committee," instead thereof.
§ MR. I. BUTT
said, if the Bill was allowed to expire, they would have no restriction on the people of Ireland acquiring arms. Since the Union there had been only one year in which there had not been an Act to prevent the people acquiring arms. In 1846 an Arms Bill was introduced, containing some objectionable provisions. The argument was urged that Ireland was tranquil, and the Bill was withdrawn. The result was that persons went about selling arms, and the Government could not prevent it, and many disturbances followed. He did not think that that example would justify them in adopting a similar course. As long as tranquillity was preserved, the Bill was a dead letter, and he believed there was no inconvenience attending the Bill. He thought, instead of renewing the Bill, next year Government should bring in a permanent Bill to prevent the people of Ireland arming.
§ MR. M'MAHON
said, he was glad to hear the real author of the Bill avow himself. If they applied the provisions of the Act to the Orange processions in the north of Ireland it would suppress those processions most effectually. Government had made no case at all for the Bill.
§ MR. VINCENT SCULLY
said, he hoped Government would yield to the appeal that had been made to them, and withdraw the Bill. There had been excuses made for the Bill on former occa- 1895 sions, but they had made none on the present occasion. But it was not the Bill of the Government at all, but the Bill of the hon. and learned Member for Youghal (Mr. I. Butt) and the hon. Member for Antrim (Mr. Macartney). The Bill had always been presented before in connection with a prospect at least of remedial measures; but there was nothing of that kind in the present instance, and on that ground, if on no other, it ought to be rejected.
§ MR. KENNEDY
said, he should support the Amendment, considering that the Bill was inapplicable to the present circumstances of Ireland. Its very preamble set forth a state of things which did not now exist; and he declined to endorse a falsehood.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 39; Noes 15: Majority 24.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ Notice being taken that Forty Members were not present, the Committee was told; and Forty Members not being present, Mr. SPEAKER resumed the chair; and having counted the House, and Forty Members not being present,
§ The House was adjourned at a quarter after Three o'clock.