HC Deb 05 June 1862 vol 167 cc413-29

rose to make an appeal to the good feeling of the noble Lord at the head of the Government on a matter which involved both public interests and his own private character. A sense of duty had led him on a number of occasions to bring before the House the very painful subject of the destitution which prevailed in certain parts of Ireland. On the last occasion he made several statements with regard to a particular locality in the county of Cork on the authority of a competent person whom he had sent down to that district to examine for himself the state of things that existed there. Before bringing the subject before the House, he placed the communications which he had received from this gentleman in the hands of the Irish Secretary, and desired him to inquire into their truth for himself, Mr. Horsley, a Government officer, was accordingly despatched to investigate the circumstances of the locality. In answer to his speech in the House the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) stated that Mr. Horsley visited Cape Clear and Sherkin, to which reference had been made, and reported, that although there was much distress there, it was not more than prevailed in ordinary seasons. Upon receiving that reply, he was, of course, to use a common phrase, "knocked over." A few days afterwards, however, he saw a report of a meeting which was held in the Union of Skibbereen, at which Mr. Horsley, in a report to the guardians, urged them to relieve the people in those islands, as otherwise they would certainly die, and he said that what he (Mr. Maguire) had stated was not in the least exaggerated, but was literally true. He was indebted to the courtesy of The Times for the opportunity of placing before the public a number of extracts from the statement of Mr. Horsley. Whether that officer had asserted what was not true, or whether the right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary had garbled his report, he would not undertake to say; but he asked the Government to produce the report which the right hon. Baronet quoted in a recent debate. The right hon. Baronet said that it was a special and confidential paper; but, at any rate, he was justified in vindication of his own truth and honour in demanding that the public report which Mr. Horsley made to the Poor Law Commissioners should be laid on the table. He did not address himself to the right hon. Baronet, but he appealed to the noble Lord at the head of the Government wheit was right for a Minister of the Crown to quote from an official document, and then to refuse to produce it. He trusted that the noble Lord's sense of justice and fair play would lead him to publish Mr. Horsley's report to the Commissioners; but, if it were refused, he should, of course, move for it on another occasion.


said, he wished to make one or two remarks on the general state of the country. He should be very brief, for he knew that the hon. Members were much disposed to count out an Irish question. He thought that the appeal of the hon. Member for Dungarvan was a very proper one. He had read the report with regard to the Skibbereen union, and certainly its tendency was to support the statement of the hon. Gentleman opposite rather than that of the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for Ireland. He was himself well acquainted with the most notorious district in Ireland; and he never remembered a state of affairs so grave as that which at present existed there. The application of the Peace Preservation Act and the special Commission, so far from affording a remedy, operated as a positive mischief. He would not detail his reasons for so believing; for if he did so, he would not be understood; or if he were, his remarks would be treated by the House and the Government with that indifference amounting almost to insolence with which the opinions of Irish Members were invariably received. The occupiers of property in the neighbourhood in which M. Thiebault was murdered would, if properly applied to, have helped the police to detect the assassins, but they were deterred from doing so by indiscriminate taxation for the support of extra police. By sending these extra police they would impose a tax upon the district of £350 a year. Part of the property in the locality belonged to himself; and one of the tenants, a widow with six or seven children, who could not pay her rent, would be overwhelmed by this taxation. If the Government wished to pacify the country, let them take the opinions of the Irish Members; let them not govern Ireland with a high hand, and by rules that were utterly exploded and repudiated for England; let them govern Ireland as they governed England, and it would be as good as England, for it was quite as moral, except so far as its morality was affected by these agrarian outrages. He wished some one like the hon. Member for Birmingham, who could not be suspected of interested motives, would take up the question, and prevent Parliament separating for a week without applying a remedy. He did not hold the Chief Secretary for Ireland responsible for the present condition of the country, but it was remarkable that when Ireland had a quiet and conciliating Chief Secretary it was in a state of almost stupid tranquillity. He really thought Irish Members on both sides of the House would, without any disrespect to the Chief Secretary, join in petitioning the Government to let Ireland have back her late Chief Secretary, such as he was.


I can assure the hon. Member for Dungarvan that I am satisfied no Member of the House imagined that in the controversy, if I may call it so, between himself and my right hon. Friend, any question arose as to the veracity of either of them. Each of them made statements founded upon information which he believed to be correct, and that is all that any Member of this House can be expected to do. It remains to be ascertained whose information was the best-founded. The hon. Gentleman wishes for the production of a report made by Mr. Horsley to the Poor Law Commissioners. I have not seen that document, and I am therefore unable to say whether there is in it anything which ought or ought not to be made public. I will call for it, and examine it; and when the House meets again, I will inform the hon. Member whether there are in it any names or other matters which it would not be desirable to publish, and whether the substance may be given without making public matters the publication of which he would himself admit to be objectionable. My hon. Friend who has just sat down (Mr. Scully) seems to wish that his countrymen should return to that state of stupidity, which, he says, is the only condition of mind in which Ireland is tranquil. I do not quite agree with him in that respect; but, no doubt, the events which have recently occurred in that country are most deplorable; they indicate something in the public mind of Ireland which must take its rise from sources that ought not to exist in society. My hon. and learned Friend objects to certain measures which have been applied to Ireland, and he objects to them on the ground that Ireland ought to be governed according to the same method as England. But I would beg him to recollect that there is one material difference between the habits of the two countries. In England, when an atrocious crime is committed, all the population who can do so join in the endeavour to detect the criminal and bring him to justice. In Ireland, unfortunately, when these atrocious crimes are committed, all the population join in screening the criminal. From what cause that different habit in Ireland proceeds, from what secret influence that vicious temper of mind arises, I am unable to say; but my hon. and learned Friend must see that when the habits of the population of the two localities are so diametrically opposite, it is impossible entirely to assimilate the modes of dealing with those localities.


I do not think that the statement of the noble Lord is satisfactory. The Government is inefficient in Ireland because—without questioning the general popularity of the Government of the noble Viscount—his Government is unpopular in Ireland, and has not the confidence of any section of the people. I think he is mistaken in what he has said regarding the mode in which the Government of that country can be assimilated to that of England. I think the laws in the two countries can be assimilated. I think scant benefit is to be gained from special commissions. I think the steady, impartial, regular administration of justice by those well acquainted with the country will go far to restore tranquillity. But, at the same time, I venture to insinuate, with great respect, that it will be very difficult to govern Ireland in the same way as the Ionian Islands are governed—that is to say, with all the inhabitants of one way of thinking and the local Executive of another.


said, that having property in Ireland, he was unwilling that this subject should drop without having from Her Majesty's Government something more tangible and practical than the speech of the noble Viscount. Nothing could be more appalling than the present state of affairs in Ireland. Within the last six weeks there had been six or seven agrarian murders, or attempts at murder, in that country. And what had been the effect of this? In the first place, innocent men's lives were sacrificed; in the next, property was depreciated to an immense extent, For every agrarian murder that took place in Ireland, every landowner's property was depreciated to the extent of a year's purchase at least. As to the occupying tenants, who were said to be the instigators of some of these hideous murders, and the perpetrators of others, what was the result with regard to them? If this state of things progressed much further, instead of being exceptional, it would become permanent, and extermination would become essential in order to vindicate the law. Surely that was a frightful state of things when the law could not be vindicated, when life was not safe, and when, in fact, the state of society was such as did not exist in any other civilized country. The noble Lord said there was a great difference between the state of social existence and of feeling in England and in Ireland; and in reply to his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Scully) very properly pointed this great distinction, that in England, if a crime was committed, every man's hand was against the criminal; whereas in Ireland, every man's hand, so to speak, is raised in order to protect him. No doubt there was in Ireland a great connivance on the part of the neighbours of those who committed crimes. The noble Lord ought not to stop after stating these two propositions, which no one denied. Why not inquire into the cause of the state of society being so different in Ireland to what it was in England? That was a proposition which a statesman ought to apply himself to solve. Who were the classes in Ireland who could, if they liked, put down agrarian crime by arresting the criminals? It must be the residents in the country. Now, in the south of Ireland, where crime was so prevalent, who were the residents? They were, first, the landed proprietors and the local magistrates; secondly, the farmers who tilled the land; thirdly, the Roman Catholic clergy. He would ask the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for Ireland what had been done in Ireland to enlist any one of these classes on the side of the law? With regard to the resident magistrates, who ever heard till this evening— when he heard the right hon. Baronet say he had consulted a resident as to which of three Crown lands should be mulcted for this crime—who ever heard in Ireland — though these agrarian outrages had lasted a considerable time — who ever heard of the Government inviting even lieutenants of counties to come to Dublin and give advice to the Executive? Had what was regarded by some as a bugbear, he Irish Parliament, been in existence, it would have been called together and consulted as to what they would do in order to check the progress of crime in the country. With regard to the local magistrates, they were completely superseded by a system of governing in bureaus. No one ever heard of a local magistrate being consulted, as long as there was a stipendiary magistrate in the neighbourhood. The result was to keep away a body of men who possessed a complete knowledge of the country; the lieutenants of counties and the local magistrates were entirely ignored by the Government, who put themselves in the hands of the stipendiary magistrates and the police. The result was, that minder after murder was committed, and the murderer could not be discovered. As to the occupying tenants, there had been much of unfair dealing with them. He did not mean to say that they had not had exorbitant notions of what was "justice to Ireland;" but year after year there had been legislative sanction to the notion of the possibility of giving them what they wanted, namely, fixity of tenure; till at last a measure was passed for regulating the relations between landlord and tenant, which was so futile and ridiculous that he believed no landlord or tenant in Ireland had ever made use of it in any shape or form. As to the last class—the Roman Catholic clergy — agrarian crime and disturbance would never be put down, until by some means or other the Government placed itself more in accord with that body of men. The right hon. Baronet the Secretary for Ireland— how did he stand with regard to that body? He entertained opinions on the subject of education very similar in theory to those which he (Lord Fermoy) himself held, and therefore he did not mean in any way to attack his views on that question. But it was one thing to differ from a body of men and another to insult them. We all knew how much the Irish people looked up to and respected their clergy, and how much the subordinate clergy looked up to their superiors in authority. Any statesman, therefore, who knew what an important body of men the Catholic priesthood in Ireland were, would be much more disposed to put himself into friendly communication with them than to affront them. Well, the right hon. Baronet went over to Ireland as Chief Secretary, and before he had been one month in the country he put a personal insult on the head of the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland—an insult which was aggravated by being given in the very centre of Orangeism. And what was the result? The majority of the people of Ireland had come to the deliberate opinion—however wrong it might be in point of fact—that the right hon. Baronet was acting as agent of the Government, and that he was sent over to Ireland to get up a quarrel with the whole body of the Irish Church. Many Roman Catholics then gave up their support of the national system of education. After that a season of great distress occurred in the country—such distress as he (Lord Fermoy) had not seen since the time of the famine. If any of the people of Ireland sympathized with criminals in that country, such a feeling had been produced by the mismanagement of those who ruled in Ireland. It had been said that the policy of the Government with regard to Italy was the cause of the feeling in Ireland towards the Government; but there never was a greater fallacy than that. There were large bodies of men in Ireland among the Roman Catholic laity who sympathized sincerely and honestly with the Italian people, in their struggles to obtain self-government. If Ireland had been dealt with as Canada, and the other Colonies had been dealt with, there then would have been no feeling against the Government. The Roman Catholic clergy of Canada were favourably disposed towards the British Government, because the Roman Catholics there had been dealt with with even-handed justice. Instead of that, however, Ireland had been dealt with under the old system of exclusiveness in that country; but if Ireland were to be treated as Canada was, the Government would soon have reason to be proud of her, and every Irishman to be proud of his country.


said, the noble Lord (Lord Fermoy) seemed to imply that the efforts of the Roman Catholic clergy for the repression of crime depended on the degree of courtesy they received from Her Majesty's Government. That was certainly not the case. They used every effort to repress crime, as was their duty as ministers of the Gospel; and if they were ever so much insulted by the Government, they would continue to do so. The steps taken by them in reference to secret societies were sufficient to show that. But he agreed with his noble Friend who had just sat down, that the policy of the Government towards those bishops and priests was unwise and unstatesmanlike. The Government had endeavoured to blind themselves to the fact that Ireland was a Catholic country. He said "a Catholic country" advisedly, because law could not make a country one religion when the majority of the people professed another. Canada was treated as a Catholic country, and there was always a spirit of loyalty there. In Ireland, the Ecclesiastical dignities of the heads of the Roman Catholic Church were declared to be illegal; and if Her Majesty went to Dublin, it would be impossible for the Bishops and clergy of that Church to approach the Throne, because the dignities and the spiritual powers which they wielded were not only not recognized by the law of England, but were denounced and declared illegal by that law. The Ecclesiastical Titles Act and the penal clauses of the Emancipation Act were, it is true, a dead letter, because they could not be enforced, as they were directed against matters of opinion. Such laws ought to be repealed. The clergy of the Catholic Church enjoyed their titles from a higher authority than the Government. They derived them from the same authority as originally created the Archbishopric of Canterbury, the Archbishopric of York, the Bishopric of London, and all the Bishoprics of the Protestant Church. He meant the authority granted by our Lord to St. Peter and his successors. The Parliament could not overrule such an authority, and Ireland would not be satisfied until the law rendering illegal the dignities of the Catholic Church was repealed.


said:—Sir, no Member of this House regrets more than I do that the affairs of Ireland should be dragged before the House on every possible occasion. I am as anxious as any one could be that the affairs of that country should be fairly and properly considered; but I think that there are certain times when it is right to bring subjects like the present under the notice of the House, and that this is not one of them. It is from a feeling that Irish matters are too frequently and unnecessarily brought forward, in a way which very much intrudes upon the public time, that when such subjects are discussed I very rarely address the House. But feeling that I have as great an interest in that country as any hon. Member present, and that, from the circumstance of residing there, I have a right to express my opinion respecting it, I must venture on this occasion, when statements are made as to which I entirely differ, to trouble the House for a few moments. I feel I should not be discharging my duty if I allowed some observations which hon. Members have thought proper to make to remain unnoticed. My noble Friend opposite (Lord Fermoy) appears to me to have made, on this occasion, a most rambling speech. He has alluded to the unhappy condition of Ireland, and to the murders and other crimes which have recently taken place, and with respect to which I entirely agree in the sentiments of indignation which he has expressed. But, Sir, I cannot agree with him in the conclusions to which he has come on these subjects. He certainly has taken a very wide range in looking for the cause which has led to these murders. He commenced by doing that which has been, of late, so frequently done in this House—attacking the police. He has represented the police as an inefficient and useless body of men for that country, so far as repressing crime is concerned. I do not stand up entirely to defend the existing system of police in Ireland. It may be capable of improvement; and if it can be improved, I trust her Majesty's Government will turn their attention to the subject, with a view to introduce into that force such changes as they may consider beneficial. I must say, however, that it does not appear to me that this is a time to attack the police, when crime is rife in Ireland, and when, instead of attack, they require all the support and assistance that can be extended to them. The noble Lord (Lord Fermoy) also made an attack upon the police magistrates, who, he states, have altogether superseded the local magistrates. Well, there may or may not be some cause to find fault with that; but I do not see that my noble Friend has pointed out to Her Majesty's Government any course to pursue that would be at all suitable to the case. What does he propose? His proposition is that all lords lieutenant of counties—men whose views and ideas upon the subject may entirely and widely differ—should be brought up to Dublin in order to consult upon a matter which it is peculiarly the duty of Her Majesty's Government to deal with—namely, the best means of preserving the peace of the country, and affording protec- tion to life and property. As to that suggestion, I cannot for a moment agree with the noble Lord. But, Sir, the most important subject to which he has alluded has reference to the Roman Catholic clergy, and that subject has been dealt with in a still wider manner by the hon. and learned Baronet the Member for Dundalk (Sir George Bowyer). He has gone far beyond my noble Friend, and has expressed opinions which, I am sure, many hon. Members in this House are very sorry he gave utterance to. I cannot help saying that holding up the Roman Catholic clergy as the men by whom and through whom the peace of the country is to be preserved, is a doctrine to which I can never subscribe. I should be sorry, if anything were wrong with the Protestant laity of Ireland, that her Majesty's Government should call upon the Protestant clergy to have the peace kept by their congregations. I believe it is the province of the Government to take measures for the preservation of the peace, and the duty of the clergy to attend to spiritual matters. I am exceedingly sorry that, with respect to the Roman Catholic clergy, I cannot agree in some of the opinions expressed this evening; and I do not say this from any feeling of prejudice, or from any unwillingness that they should have every consideration. But, Sir, I speak of them from the documents which they have issued. A proclamation was lately issued in Dublin by the heads of that Church, which has been sent to myself, and, I suppose, to other Irish Members of Parliament. It appears to me that the Roman Catholic hierarchy have been most unfortunate in their selection of subjects. They first allude to the subject of education. The National system of education in Ireland is not a very popular system, but certainly I cannot at all agree in the views they express. They then introduce a matter not at all relevant, and upon which, on this occasion, I do not wish to enlarge; but this much I will say, that if it is said that these are the persons to whom we owe gratitude for the peace of the country, I am exceedingly sorry I cannot concur in the statement. They allude to the land question, and say that its present condition has too much contributed to the unfortunate condition of Ireland. Now, Sir, it appears to me to be a very grave thing that gentlemen holding such a position, who should be the teachers of religion, the iuculcators of good-will towards men, who should be the first to impress upon the people their duty to obey the law, should hold out to the people that their crimes are to be excused in any way on account of the condition of the land question. I have risen, on this occasion, to protest against the doctrine that we are to be grateful to those who issue such documents, for preserving the peace of the country. I cannot at all agree in the attack that has been made on the Irish portion of the Administration. It has been stated that ray right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland said in his place in this House that there was no distress in Ireland. Sir, I was present on each occasion when the subject was under discussion, and I can state positively that he never said any such thing. [Sir ROBERT PEEL: Hear, hear.] The right hon. Baronet stated that the accounts of the distress had been greatly exaggerated; and if it be necessary to bring forward proofs that that statement is a correct one, I am prepared to do so. I do not intend to make any observations with respect to the speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Dungarvan. It may be, as he stated, that the documents to which he referred should be produced; but I certainly think, that if the production of them is at all calculated to do harm to individuals, or to be attended with any other bad consequences, they ought not to be laid on the table of the House. In the present state of the country I do not think it is fair or reasonable for hon. Members to come forward on every occasion, and ask her Majesty's Government to produce documents, which, if produced, might be attended with dangerous consequences to individuals. I do not say that it is so on the present occasion, but I say that her Majesty's Government ought not to be attacked for not producing documents when no sufficient reason is given for producing them. I wish to say so much with respect to the observations made by hon. Members, and I cannot help again expressing regret that these matters should be so frequently dragged forward, and that remedies so ineffectual and so unsuitable should be proposed.


wished to explain that the hon. Gentleman had misunderstood what he had said about the police in Ireland. He had found fault with the Government for putting the police over the heads of the local magistracy, but that was not the fault of the police.


said, he did not wish to prolong this somewhat desultory conversation; but he wished to remark that, whatever were the causes of the recent lamentable acts of murder and agrarian outrage in Ireland, there could be but one feeling among the Members of that House in regard to them—that of abhorrence of the crime and the desire that additional security might be afforded to life and property. The hon. Gentleman who had just spoken had correctly declared that it was the duty of the Government to take measures for that purpose. The Government had done, and were doing, all in their power; and he was not aware how they could take any further measures without proposing some special legislation, conferring extraordinary powers, which they did not think it their duty to do. The police were actively employed in endeavouring to detect the perpetrators of crime, and their exertions had been attended in many cases with prompt success. A Special Commission had been issued for the speedy trial of prisoners, where the Government had reason to think a conviction could be reasonably hoped for. The right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin had recently pressed the Government to issue a Special Commission. [Mr. WHITESIDE expressed dissent.] At all events, the right hon. Gentleman had asked whether the Government were going to issue a Special Commission. His (Sir George Grey's) reply was, that such a question was premature, and that it would depend upon the evidence which the Law Officers of the Crown were able to collect. If that evidence were sufficient to justify the Government in placing the persons apprehended on their trial, he stated that a Special Commission would be issued on the earliest opportunity. It was gratifying to the Government to hear from the noble Lord the Member for Marylebone (Lord Fermoy) that the Italian policy of the Ministry had nothing to do with their supposed unpopularity in Ireland; and that the great body of the Roman Catholic laity as fully sympathized with the people of Italy in their struggle for freedom, as did the great body of the people of England and Scotland, and to find that the hon. and learned Member for Dundalk (Sir George Bowyer) had not denied that statement. He was glad to learn, on such good authority, that there was such a generous feeling of sympathy for the Italians among the people of Ireland. The noble Lord, however, complained that the local magistracy in Ireland had been supplanted by the police magistracy. The statement was incorrect. The police magistracy had been established many years; they were under the direct orders of the Government; they were bound to obey the directions they received from them for the repression of crime, and to report to them the condition of the districts in respect to crime. He had, however, never heard that the local magistracy were prevented from assisting the police magistrates in the discharge of their duty; and he knew that in many cases they had rendered useful assistance. He had heard with great astonishment the statement made by the noble Lord, that the conduct of the Roman Catholic priesthood of Ireland had been influenced by a speech made by his right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary at Deny. It was, he believed, most unjust to them to say that any speech would produce such an effect. He need not say that there was no intention whatever in that speech to insult any Roman Catholic prelate or priest; and even if there had been, he could not think it would induce the Roman Catholic priesthood to look on with indifference, and not do their utmost to check that system of assassination and murder, which was a disgrace to a country with any degree of civilization. His noble Friend (Lord Fermoy) then spoke of the land question, which he said was one great cause of disorder in Ireland; and that the people of Ireland had been grievously disappointed by the rejection of measures introduced in reference to that question. It was true that during the last few years independent Members of the House had laid on the table of the House measures with respect to the tenure of land involving principles which the Government could never sanction. Nothing could be more mischievous, or more likely to perpetuate the present state of things in Ireland, than leading the people to entertain false expectations with respect to the land question. He hoped that no such notions would arise, and that no portion of the people of Ireland would suppose, that by a system of disgraceful and cowardly assassination they would force the Government to adopt a particular course of legislation. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin seemed to think that the present unhappy condition of affairs would be remedied by his return to the office of Attorney General, which he so efficiently filled; but if tranquillity was to be restored on the terms mentioned by the hon. and learned Baronet the Member for Dundalk (Sir G. Bowyer), namely, a repeal of the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, and the placing of the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland on the same footing as the Roman Catholic clergy of Canada, he asked the right hon. Gentleman, Was he prepared to go that length? But it was not the existence of one Government or another that caused these murders. The extravagant idea which existed in the minds of a portion of the Irish people with respect to the rights of tenants holding land was—he would not say the cause of all these crimes, but to some degree connected with them, and at all events they were irrespective of the religion of the victims; for in the majority of instances lately the sufferers were Roman Catholics. The last thing the House would sanction wolud be a change in the law giving to the tenants fixity of tenure, and possession of the land irrespective of the rights of the landlords. Those rights should be exercised with judgment, moderation, and justice, and he trusted that in the majority of cases they were so exercised; but nothing could justify the acts which had been committed. The Government had taken all the means in their power for the apprehension and bringing to justice of the offenders, and he hoped the result would show that the law was strong enough to repress crime without the necessity for applying to Parliament for extraordinary powers.


said, that what he had asked was, Whether the Special Commission was about to be issued on the eve of the assizes?


said, he should not have risen but for the statement of the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston), that the people of Ireland were naturally inclined to screen murderers. To that statement he gave the most strenuous denial. There might be a semblance of a desire to screen offenders against the law; but it was the consequence of the state of fear in which they lived. There was no protection for any man. They were ruled by an old and effete stipendiary magistracy and a military police, and they felt that the Government did not give them the protection to which they were entitled. The Government would only receive reports of the state of the country from the stipendiary magistrates. This, and all the Governments before it, had re- fused to put any trust in the people. If the people were properly treated, they were ready and willing to protect themselves and their families, and to put down aggressors against the law with a strong hand. Some years ago several murders were committed in the county of Roscommon; the people formed themselves into a body for the protection of the part of the county threatened, and patrolled the district without the assistance of the police every night. He had himself done so every night for six weeks. The whole thing was crushed out, and nothing like it had occurred from that day. If the Government could be persuaded to understand and trust the Irish people, such complaints as they had heard to-night would not continue to be made.


believed, that the drift of one of the observations of the noble Lord the Member for Marylebone (Lord Fermoy) had been misunderstood, for he was understood to intimate that the only effectual method of detecting and arresting crime was through the agency of the Roman Catholic clergy, and that they had abstained from interfering in consequence of some foolish speech which had been made by the right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary. He altogether repudiated such an argument. He was quite sure that no speech could tend to relax the efforts of the Roman Catholic clergy to repress crime, and that they would not be influenced in the performance of their duty by any act of the Government or their representative. The efforts of Parliament ought to be directed towards strengthening the hands of the Government in their efforts to remove the stigma which now rested on Ireland; and he believed that the law officers of the Crown would not have advised the issue of a Special Commission if they had not sufficient reasons for believing that they had sufficient evidence to ensure convictions, because, if convictions did not follow, the step which had been taken would be productive of evil rather than good.


explained, that he did not attribute to the Roman Catholic clergy that they were accessory to these horrible crimes. In his argument he had endeavoured to account for the very widespread disloyalty to the law which existed in Ireland; and he said that one of the reasons for it was that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary pursued a particular policy with respect to the heads of the Catholic Church and the Catholic clergy generally, which they believed to be a fixed policy of the Government, and which had given occasion for general discontent.


said, he was glad to hear from the noble Lord the Member for Marylebone, that a large body of Roman Catholic opinion sympathized with the policy which had been pursued by Her Majesty's Government, and that there was a wide-spread sympathy amongst them for their co-religionists in Italy in their efforts to acquire that freedom to which they had proved themselves so fully entitled. The remarkable fact which had been admitted during the debate which had taken place, was that several of the persons who had recently been murdered in Ireland were Roman Catholics. Coupling these two facts, and remembering the spirit which animated the hon. and learned Baronet the Member for Dundalk (Sir George Bowyer), and the fact that he represented the opinions and purposes of the Ultramontane and dominant party of ecclesiastical Rome, it must be quite apparent to the House, that there were in Ireland persons at the head of the Roman Catholic hierarchy who wished to force on the Roman Catholics of Ireland claims on their part and submission on the part of others to which many Irish Roman Catholics were as adverse as the Italians were to the temporal power of the Pope. And it was a remarkable fact, that in speaking on the subject of these murders, the hon. Baronet should stipulate that certain concessions should be made to the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, in order to induce them to exercise their influence to mitigate those atrocious evils. [Sir G. BOWYER: No, No!] He (Mr. Newdegate) was speaking in the recollection of the House of what had become manifest during the debate. The hon. Baronet said plainly that these Roman Catholic bishops — he (Mr. Newdegate) rather believed that he might more properly have said that the Legate Dr. Cullen—claimed to exercise in Ireland an authority higher than that of the Imperial Legislature; the impression on the mind of the hon. Baronet evidently being, that this high authority would not be exercised for the preservation of life and property unless Parliament succumbed to that which the hon. Baronet described, and claimed should be considered, as a higher authority in matters temporal than the Imperial Parliament! ["No, No !"] The hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Lefroy) had shown that that high authority claimed, not only to interfere with matters of etiquette, such as the assumption of Episcopal titles forbidden by the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, but also with the social and temporal interests involved in the relations of landlord and tenant; and when the House remembered that these outrages were agrarian outrages, and coupled this fact with the declaration which had been made by the hon. Baronet the Member for Dungarvan, he thought that every honest-hearted and loyal Roman Catholic in Ireland, and he was sure that every faithful Protestant in England, would feel it his duty to support the Government in whatever measures they might think necessary for the preservation of life in Ireland, and in arresting the intrusion of the temporal authority of the Papacy on such terms into the sister country.