HC Deb 26 June 1856 vol 142 cc2046-8

Order for resuming adjourned Debate on Second Reading read.


Sir, I rise to move that the Order be discharged; and, of course, that involves the dropping of the Bill this Session. In moving this, I desire to say a word or two as to my reason for so doing. Sir, I have been met with a most extraordinary, and very nearly an unparliamentary opposition—an opposition which deprives me of hope of being able to carry the measure further this Session, and determines me not to waste the time of the House in vainly attempting so to do. It will be in the recollection of the House that, after leave had been given to bring in the Bill, I was met by two miserable technical objections, by which it was endeavoured to defeat the measure after the main question had been carried. Sir, I succeeded in counteracting that most extraordinary series of tactics, but the movement of yesterday was more extraordinary. I have seen on the third reading of a Bill, when there has been no opportunity of expressing any further opposition to it, some such course taken; but when in such a full House a vote has been taken that the Bill shall be read a second time—and it was virtually read a second time, for the Amendment that it should not be read was negatived—that then an hon. Member should get up, and finding he could not defeat the measure by argument or any fair means, he should attempt to defeat it by a trick—which, whether strictly parliamentary or not, I cannot trust myself to characterise, for if I ventured to say what I thought of it I should incur the risk of being called to order for using language which was unparliamentary—that did; indeed, surprise me. Sir, whether it was fair or unfair, courteous, or uncourteous, usual or unusual, I leave the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kerry to settle. One thing I will say, that I am satisfied with the position in which the question stands. With the Ministry against it, with the ex-Ministry against it, I have carried four divisions in favour of the Bill during this Session; and that must be sufficient to show hon. Gentlemen opposite that, if so humble an individual as myself can carry the measure so far against one existing Ministry and one dead Ministry, and carry the Bill so far by majorities—that must show that the question has merits, which, if they do not succeed now, will on a future occasion; and I hope that those who are interested in the question will devise some way by which we may be relieved from that annual agitation of the subject of which they so complain; for in withdrawing the Bill for the present, I beg to assure them that, if it please God to preserve my life, and I have a seat in this House next Session, it is my intention, on the first notice day, to propose the reintroduction of this measure.


Sir, if the hon. Gentleman is satisfied with the result, so am I; and I beg to say, that so long as I have the honour of a seat in this House, I will use every opportunity which the forms of the House will afford to defeat any similar measure.


said, he thought from the step taken by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) that he had been converted by the arguments of the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. Maguire).


Sir, I happened to follow the speech of the hon. Member for Dungarvan, and I declare I could not make out what connection his arguments had with the question. I did not understand that Maynooth was a place for the education of Sisters of Mercy; and therefore, when the hon. Member descanted upon their duties, I could not see the relevancy of his observations to the question under discussion. But I beg to state, on my own behalf, and on behalf, as I believe, of the large body of the people of this country, who have held for many years a deep and conscientious objection to the Vote for Maynooth College, not only on the score of constitutional principle, but also on account of the position in which it maintains the priesthood of Ireland in relation to the Roman Catholic population—that their opposition is undiminished, and that next Session, when there is less chance of the measure being defeated by such means as those employed by the hon. Member (Mr. H. Herbert) on a late occasion, it will be persevered in in accordance with the expressed opinion of the majority of this House, and, as I believe, also the opinion of the majority in the country. Sir, having seen much of the practice of this House, especially with regard to divisions, I can truly say, that I do not remember any occasion when a Member who has been appointed the organ of the House as "teller," on the occasion of a large division, such as that which took place in a full House yesterday, should have risen as the hon. Member (Mr. H. Herbert) did, with a foolish plea that he had withheld a speech with which he had intended to favour the House, and then, by way of illustrating the value of the arguments we had been fated to lose, talking a quantity of unconnected nonsense, which was, I think, disgraceful to himself ["Order, order!"] and to the House. Sir, I repeat that I have seen many large divisions—I have often been "teller"—but I have never before witnessed such conduct. I do not know whether it comes within the orders of the House, but I recall no occasion on which the "teller" upon a large division has attempted by such an artifice to defeat the intention of the House, as manifested by the numbers of the division. The hon. Member for Kerry may be assured that this kind of proceeding will merely increase the irritation of the feeling with which he has to contend; and, instead of hindering, will excite and stimulate the opposition to the Vote.

Order discharged.

The House adjourned at Two o'clock.