§ MR. HENNESSY
said, he rose to call attention to the emigration of the Agricultural Population from Ireland, and if any excuse was required for its introduction it would be found in the conflicting statements as to the condition of Ireland which had from time to time been made by different members of Her Majesty's Government. In the year 1860 the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary, then Chief Secretary for Ireland, said that there was in the world no more striking instance of the growth of national prosperity than was to be found in Ireland, but in a very short time he was contradicted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who said that public attention had not been sufficiently awakened to the calamities which afflicted that country since the year 1859. The statements of the Members of the Government, however, were in their turn denied by the Irish Members, who in sisted upon the existence of a more widely spread distress than was admitted from official sources; and in the face of that diversity of statement, it was not wonderful that the Irish people should seek for authentic information on a subject which so nearly concerned them. In March last, he (Mr. Hennessy) called attention to the depopulation of Ireland, and showed that there was a decline of 3,000 in the population of that country every week, and also that the emigration from Ireland at that moment was greater than at any other 48 period during the last ten years. The number of persons who left Ireland in 1861 was 64,292; in 1862, 70,117; in 1863, 117,820; and the Emigration Commissioners stated in their Report, published a few days ago, that if the emigration continued throughout the year 1864, at the rate which it had gone on during the first three months, the number that year would be 156,000; and that depopulation was taking place in a country in which the number of marriages was declining, the proportion of births to deaths was falling of, and the population was declining more rapidly than that of any country in Europe. The emigration was distributed generally over the country. In 1863 the number of persons who emigrated from Leinster was 15,000, Munster, 55.000, Ulster, 22.500, and Connaught, 18,000. From the year 1851 to December, 1863, the total loss by emigration had amounted to 1,431,000 persons, of whom the so-called flourishing province of Ulster had contributed no less than 400,000. The emigration had been regarded by some Members of the Government as possessing a satisfactory character. When the attention of the Lord Lieutenant, for example, was called to the decline of the population, he said that although the grain crops would decline, the green crops and live stock would increase, and both he and the Chief Secretary said that one effect of the emigration would be to diminish poor rates, and increase the rate of wages in Ireland. The fact was, however, that while emigration had been increasing, both the live stock and the green crops had diminished. Last year there were in Ireland 23,715 horses less than there were in 1862; the decline in the number of cattle amounted to 116,615; sheep, 152,201; pigs, 89,522. The total loss of live stock in the year 1863 amounted in value to £1,227,041, the loss in the previous year having been £1,500,000. The cereal crops diminished in 1862 by 72,000 acres, and in 1863 by 144,000, and in both years the green crops also decreased. In 1863 their decrease amounted to 19,358 acres, and the total loss of cereal and green crops in 1863 was 164,077 acres. Mr. Donnelly, in his last report, stated that the total of bogs, waste and unoccupied lands of Ireland had increased to the extent of 74,856 acres. There was no increase worth notice last year, except an increase in the cultivation of flax and meadow-land; but making allowance for that increase, there were 100,000 49 acres out of cultivation. The prediction that emigration would diminish the poor law expenditure was by no means confirmed by the statement made by the Poor Law Commissioners in their last Report, dated March, 1864. They said that the tide of emigration had had little effect upon the expenditure of the poor rates beyond the amount which the guardians had expended in assisting the emigration of poor persons who might otherwise have become chargeable to the rates. The parties who emigrated at their own expense were not such as would have been likely to become chargeable, but it was possible that some increase of expense might arise from their leaving behind them dependants or relatives who might be either temporarily or permanently thrown upon the rates. He found that in 1863 the Poor Law expenditure increased by £37,000, and the number of paupers in that year exceeded the total in the previous year by 26,000, For the first eight weeks of 1864, the only period as to which information was in the possession of the House, the rate of pauperism had increased from 68,000 on the 2nd of January, to 76,000 on the 20th of February—that was to say, at the rate of 1,000 a week. The third prediction of Her Majesty's Government had therefore failed, like the other two. With regard to the rate of wages, recent information had been gained before the Select Committee upon Irish Taxation appointed on the Motion of the hon. and gallant Member for the Queen's County, to the proceedings of which some prominence was given in the public papers. The hon. Member for the County of Cork (Mr. Maguire) was questioned before that Committee as to the condition of the labouring classes, and said he could not conceive how they could make the two ends meet with the wages they received. In his part of the country he could procure as many men as he wished for 1s. a day, and they were most thankful to get it. That statement ought to be put in contrast with that made by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of the Colonies when bringing in his Tenant Right Bill, to the effect that wages in Ireland were ordinarily 1s. 3d. a day. If that as sertion were accurate, a positive decline, instead of an increase, had taken place in the rate of wages. Mr. Lambert, the treasurer to the county of Mayo, before the same Committee, said that the country was in a more depressed condition than in former years, and that the condition of the 50 labourers was not as good as before the famine. The Rev. Mr. O'Regan, P.P., spoke from his own knowledge of three counties—Kerry, Limerick, and Cork—and said—In my part of the country for certain portions of the year men are very gratified if they can get occupation at 9d. per day.All hon. Friend of his who sat on the benches opposite, who owned large property in the King's County, and was chairman of one of the principal railways in Ireland, declared to him in conversation that the Government never made a greater mistake than in prophesying a rise in wages, as both his private and public experience led him to believe that the rate of wages was declining. Of the four benefits then promised by the Government none were found to exist The population was not only diminishing, but at a rate more rapid than heretofore; the quantity of live stock and of crops, green as well as cereal, was growing less and less, wages were falling, whereas poor rates and pauperism were actually on the increase. With regard to the condition of those unfortunate subjects of the Queen who were driven to leave Ireland he wished to say a few words, and to correct some misconceptions that were abroad. People generally were under the impression that of the emigrants from Ireland all went to the United States, and went with the intention of enlisting in the Federal army. Of the 117,000 who emigrated from Ireland in 1863, 94,000 went to the United States, but as many as 18,000 went to Australia, 4,000 to Canada, and the remainder to other places. Of the total number of 56,000 persons described as general labourers, 40,000 went to the United States and 14,000 to Australia. Of 9,000 farmers, 6,500 went to the United States and 1,500 to Australia; of female domestic servants 20,000 emigrated, 14,000 going to the United States and 5,200 to Australia. The question whether emigrants entered the ranks of the Federal army, and in what proportions, was one of much interest, and some light was thrown upon it by a comparative return which the Emigration Commissioners had published, giving the numbers who emigrated in the last two years preceding the war. The number of Irish single men who emigrated to the United States amounted in 1859 to 37 per cent, and in 1860 to 38 per cent, of the total emigration. During the progress of the war the proportions bad been 33 per cent in 1862 and 38 per cent in 51 1863. The actual numbers of Irish single men who emigrated in those years respectively were—in 1859, 22,000; in 1860, 30,000; in 1862, 19,000; and in 1863, 53,000. The proportion of single men who emigrated since the war began was, therefore, less, if anything, than before it commenced. The Commissioners observed that—Of those who went out many, no doubt, enlisted; but their number could have but little effect in keeping up the strength of the Federal armies. It must be borne in mind that by the Passengers' Act all boys above twelve years of age are classed as 'single men,' and a deduction, therefore, of at least 12 per cent must be made from the single men for boys between twelve and eighteen years of age. A large proportion of the remainder emigrated as sons or brothers in families, and were, therefore, not likely to enlist. After these deductions are made there would probably not remain in 1863 more than from 20,000 to 25,000 single men out of whom the Federal army would have a chance of obtaining recruits, and it is not to be assumed that even a majority of these took service.He mentioned these facts for the purpose of showing that the amount of Irish additions to the Federal ranks was not so great as some persons had been led to imagine. And what was the condition of the Irish emigrant arriving in America? He had recently seen a very touching letter from the Roman Catholic Bishop in Toronto written to one of the Roman Catholic Bishops in the North of Ireland, and dated April, 1864, in which he dwelt upon the lamentable condition of the Irish emigrants, and said—How heartrending the sight of these emigrants arriving on our wharves, surrounded by sharpers—the harpies of cities—destined to be swept like a torrent of rain into the sewers of society! Hence the hospitals, the poorhouses, and gaols in the States, and to a great extent in Canada, have more than their proportion of inmates of Irish or their descendants. The emigrant ship, where all sexes are huddled together, breaks down the barriers of modesty, and opens the path, in thousands of cases, to ruin. How many a tear has been dropped by those emigrants for ever having left their home!The Bishop gave a touching description of the condition of the female emigrants—The workhouse system of Ireland is most degrading and immoral in its tendency, if the tree could be judged by its fruit. It is humiliating, indeed, to see numbers of poor Irish girls, innocent and guileless, sitting round in those large depots in seaport cities waiting to be hired. Men and women, enter those places, and look round to find out the girl that would apparently answer their service. How many of them found the protection of the wolf is known only to God!The Canadian Bishop concluded with a 52 strong appeal to the Bishops in Ireland to do something to prevent the Irish emigration. His high authority was corroborated by a statement put forward by a correspondent in The Times newspaper. Writing even before the war broke out, that gentleman said—The papers of all the large cities are filled with 'appeals' from the friends of various eleemosynary and benevolent societies and institutions for aid, in which the sufferings of orphans, widows, and children are set out in the most touching terms. Washington is filled with misery, nor have I ever been in any cities in the world in which the Irish and other poor populations appear to live in more squalor, or to endure greater privations than in the vile alleys of New York itself, Pittsburg, Baltimore, New Orleans, and the other large towns of the Union. No delusion can be greater than to suppose the poor emigrant at once attains a greater degree of physical comfort in the States than he has in his own country.There was abundant evidence that the people of Ireland, if driven from their own country, were not driven to a soil where they could enjoy that happiness which ought to have been theirs at home. To quit their native land was in itself a misfortune which they felt more keenly, perhaps, than the people of any other country in Europe. True, there was a school of political economists which held that a country prospered as its population declined. He found Adam Smith was not of that opinion. He would invite the attention of such economists as the Secretary for Ireland and the Lord Lieutenant to those few words in which Adam Smith said, "The most decisive mark of the prosperity of any country is the number of its inhabitants." His whole work was an argument to that effect, that labour was the source of wealth, and population the source of labour. But it was said they had agricultural labour in Ireland, while what was wanted was manufacturing industry. On that subject he should like to quote another sentence from Adam Smith. He says—The capital employed in agriculture, therefore, not only puts into motion a greater quantity of productive labour than any equal capital employed in manufactures; but in proportion, too, to the quantity of productive labour which it employs it adds a much greater value to the annual produce of the land and labour of the country, to the real wealth and revenue of its inhabitants. Of all the ways in which capital can be employed it is by far the most advantageous to society.He therefore asked the Government and the House to do something in the direction of keeping the agricultural population in Ireland and developing her national resources. Now, what could the House and 53 the Government do? He would venture to suggest that the Government had the choice of three courses—they might take one or all of them. They could introduce into that House and no doubt carry certain legislative measures long demanded by the people of Ireland, recommended over and over again by commissions, committees, and Ministers of the Crown—measures, for instance, such as the Earl of Derby introduced in the House of Lords in 1845, but which unhappily did not pass at that time—measures such as were introduced in the following year by the Duke of Newcastle, but which again unfortunately did not pass—measures introduced by the Karl of Derby's Government in 1852, but did not pass. Why did those measures not pass? They were called for by the people of Ireland, and proposed by influential Ministers. If they did not then pass that was no tea son why they should not have been re introduced. He only hoped some Government or another would have the wisdom and strength to carry a measure which would restore concord between landlord and tenant in Ireland, and give tenants some property in the improvements they might make on the land. A measure of tenant right such as that proposed by any of the statesmen to whom he had referred would be sufficient. But other things the Government could do. Select Committees and Royal Commissions had recommended that as Ireland had formerly been treated exceptionally, so exceptional legislation might still be adopted especially by the employment of public money in public works, in reclaiming waste lands, and in various productive works in Ireland. Some time after the peace and down to 1830 a good deal of public money was laid out in that way. The Report of the Select Committee on the state of the poor in Ireland in 1830 said—That the effects produced by these public works appear to have been, extended cultivation, improved habits of industry, a better administration of justice, the re-establishment of peace and tranquillity in disturbed districts, a domestic colonization of a population in excess in certain districts, a diminution of illicit distillation, and a very considerable increase to the revenue.Unfortunately, from that day, Government had done nothing in that direction. The Royal Commission, presided over by the Earl of Devon, presented one of the most valuable Reports ever made, and what did it say. It said—We believe that in many instances the principles of sound policy and of a wise economy ought 54 to lead to the undertaking, at the public cost, of works of this nature, even although the inhabitants of the district, or the proprietors of adjoining land, are unwilling or unable to contribute. While it is true, on the one hand, that Government ought not to allow the funds of the State to be applied for the improvement of private property, it is equally certain, on the other hand, that expenditure upon works calculated to produce public and general benefit ought not to be withheld because the operation will at the same time confer a benefit upon individual proprietors. This first operation gives encouragement for the outlay of private capital, and affords facilities for its useful application; and the joint effect of the whole is at once to stimulate the industry and increase the comforts of all parties connected with the immediate locality, and to promote the prosperity of the whole surrounding district, and thereby to add to the general resources of the country. We are not, however, advocates for any indiscriminate advances of public money by way of grant. We are only desirous of impressing upon those whose duty calls upon them to consider this matter more particularly, that cases frequently will and do occur, in which it is consistent with a wise economy to grant money from the public funds for the execution of a public work, from which no direct return is to be expected, and towards which the neighbouring proprietors are either unable or unwilling to advance any money.There had been reports from time to time pointing out the various parts of Ireland in which such works could be carried out; yet the Government had done nothing. Looking at the climate of Ireland, there was no species of public works that would prove so useful and remunerative as arterial and main drainage works on a large scale. But Government had done nothing in that way. Last year they had the Report of Mr. Bateman, to the Treasury, on the state of the Shannon. The great injury done by the flooding of that river was said to be owing to certain Government works which were very ill constructed and only partially completed on the Shannon, whereby a large district was covered with water, and became unfit for bearing crops. Mr. Bateman reported that the injury sustained was very considerable, and that the liability to occasional flooding was such as to render the preservation of crops very precarious, and to arrest all attempts at improved cultivation. It was asserted that the prevention of the inundations would save property, even in one year, to the value of more than £30,000. Mr. Bateman went on to say—I therefore propose to provide works at Killaloe for the passage of 1,200,000 cubic feet of water per minute, without allowing the water to rise on the callow lands, and, at Meelick, for the passage of a flood of 1,000,000 cubic feet of water per minute, similarly confining the water to the river channel, and at all other parts of the 55 river in proportionate quantities, always keeping down the surface of the river, so that scarcely any of the lands now flooded shall be ever affected.The total works were estimated at £283,000. That Report had been in the hands of the Government since May, 1863, and yet no steps had been taken to act upon it. A paper had been presented to the House on the River Barrow, which, with its tributaries, extended through King's County, Queen's County, and Kildare. That river was recommended to be deepened, and that operation, if carried out, would, it was believed, effect the object in view to a very great extent. When the enormous amount of land lying waste and uncultivated in the three counties to which that Report referred was considered, it would be at once seen that the deepening of that river—a work so gigantic that no proprietor could for a moment be expected to undertake it—would have the effect which the Government Commissioners pointed out, would afford immense employment to the people and be reproductive in its character. Yet the Government had taken no step whatever, as the result of that Report, any more than of Mr. Bateman's. That was not all. The Chairman of the Board of Works, Sir Richard Griffith—than whom on such subjects there was no higher authority in the United Kingdom—once published a very valuable Report on what might be done with the waste lands of Ireland; and as the Government had never thought fit to take any action in the matter, he would quote the opinion of the Devon Commission as to that Report. The Devon Commissioners said—Mr. Griffith's valuable Report and Table exhibit the amount of waste land in the different counties, classified according to the different degrees of capability for improvement. They show that Ireland contains waste land—improvable for tillage, 1,425,000 acres; ditto for pasture, 2,330,000 acres; total improvable, 3,755,000 acres; waste land unimprovable, 2,535,000 acres—gross total, 6,290,000 acres.There was a difference between these figures and those of Mr. Donnelly, arising from the latter gentleman giving 9,000,000 acres as being under grass. It was interesting to read the Commissioners' remarks on Sir Richard Griffith's statement as to what might be done with these waste lands, and the effect which their reclamation would have on the population. The Commissioners said—It thus appears that 192,368 families might be permanently provided for upon lots about eight acres in extent by the existing amount of the best 56 quality of improvable waste land, or that the first and second quality added together would furnish the same number of families with farms of about twenty acres each. This would be a permanent provision for that number of families, comprising above 1,000,000 souls, and may be estimated to abstract permanently from competition in the present labour market about 300,000 labourers. And, if a proper selection of the waste land settlers be made, 133,720 families, comprising about 730,460 individuals, would be raised in their condition by the consolidation up to eight acres of small productive lots at present inadequate to their support. This would produce a further abstraction of competitors from the present labour market of more than 200,000 labourers, making, with the former number of 300,000, a total of 500,000 labourers abstracted from competition in the overstocked labour market. And the evidence leads to the conviction that this result can be obtained, not only without any permanent loss, but with a very large permanent gain, as it appears that 3,755,000 acres of waste land, not now giving a gross produce exceeding on the average 4s. per acre, may be made to yield a gross produce of £6 per acre, being a total increase from £751,000 to £22,530,000, and that the first three or four years' crops would return the cost requisite to bring about this change.If any other Government in Europe had had such Reports from men like Sir Richard Griffith and the Devon Commission, they would long since have expended in a country like Ireland large sums of public money on works which, as was said, would in the first three or four years after their execution repay their entire cost. He had said that the Government might introduce a measure which would give to tenants in Ireland compensation for the improvements they might make, and which would have the effect of inducing the Irish farmers to lay out their money on the land, instead of putting it into the pocket of the emigration agent and going to America. The Government might also, as they had been recommended to do by their own officials, deepen some of the rivers of Ireland, and promote main and arterial drainage. In addition to that, he thought they ought to adopt other measures. The fact was, the people of Ireland not only felt that their complaints, addressed to that House and the Government, on the land question, had been disregarded frem year to year, but they were under the conviction that any appeal they might make to the Government or the House was of no avail. He challenged any Member of the Government to point to one single instance during the last quarter of a century in which the people of Ireland had made any representation to the Government asking for something for Ireland, and in which the Government had granted it. The Irish people had been in the habit of peti- 57 tioning that House year after year; but he did not think they had petitioned it much that year. Their petitions had related to the land question, to the relief of the poor, to the education of the poor—all subjects of vital interest to them; yet their respectful requests had produced no effect whatever, and the result was that the people were beginning to think that to them Parliamentary representation was useless. Nothing could be more unfortunate than that they should allow the Irish people to imagine that calamities were steadily advancing upon their country, that it was fast losing its population and its wealth in every branch of industry, and yet that that House was to remain silent, without expressing its regret at such a state of decline, and without urging the Government to take measures whereby capital and labour might be kept in Ireland. On behalf of those whom he had the honour to represent he ventured to make his present Motion, and he did so, likewise believing that if that subject were fully and fairly placed before the House, the people of Ireland would receive justice at its hands. In that belief he now took the liberty of moving the Resolutions which stood in his name.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That this House observes with regret that the Agricultural Population of Ireland are rapidly leaving the Country."—(Mr. Hennessy.)
§ SIR ROBERT PEEL
Sir, the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman touches two main points in connection with the condition of Ireland—namely, emigration and agriculture. But on entering into his statement on these two points he has alluded to several other matters to which I desire, with the permission of the House, at the outset to refer. He adverted to the Bill brought in by my right hon. Friend the Secretary for the Colonies (Mr. Cardwell), to settle the question of the tenure of land in Ireland; and I must say it is unfortunate that the Irish people have not more availed themselves of the opportunities which that measure offers them. But, leaving that point, the hon. and learned Gentleman referred to the different, and, as he called them, the contradictory statements of Ministers of the Crown and others as regards the condition of Ireland. On that the House must feel that when a state of depression falls upon a country it is often very difficult to determine accurately what its effects may be till time has enabled us to judge on the 58 subject; and if, perhaps, I took too favourable a view of the condition of Ireland in 1861, 1862, or 1863, I was desirous not to paint things in worse colours than they might turn out. During those few years Ireland has passed through a serious and momentous period. Up to 1859 the prospects of that country were most flourishing, but afterwards she laboured under excessive drought, and then under very wet seasons, and the result certainly has been very disastrous. That I fairly admit. But think the hon. and learned Member will agree with me that a wonderful revival is taking place. And although the emigration continues to a serious extent, I think I can show him that his statements on that point are not strictly correct. He thinks there are about 3,000 persons a week at this moment leaving Ireland, and also that the emigration is proceeding at a greater rate than last year and the year before. I shall be able to prove that during the month of May last there has been a sensible diminution in the numbers leaving the country. The hon. and learned Gentleman in submitting his Motion to the House laid down four propositions. He said—Look at what the state of the country is, and then consider what the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and others have stated, and see how different it is from the prospect which they held out.He further stated that the land is going out of cultivation, that emigration is on the increase, pauperism is on the increase, and the wages of labour are diminishing. The hon. Gentleman read a portion of a report from Mr. Donnelly, showing that there was a diminution of land under cultivation. This, however, was partly owing to the diminution of live stock in the country, and to the land, in consequence, not being properly cropped. With respect to pauperism, I receive fortnightly returns from all the poorhouses in Ireland, and I am happy to state that during the last three or four fortnights there has been a diminution of more than 1,000 in the recipients of indoor relief in the unions of Ireland. [Mr. HENNESSY: As compared with the same period of last year?] Yes. The hon. and learned Gentleman has been, I think, rather too severe upon the various Governments of this country in saying that, for the last quarter of a century, nothing has been done for Ireland. There has been, on the contrary, a most anxious desire on the part of every successive Government during that time to bring for- 59 ward measures for the benefit of that country. He also complained that Sir Richard Griffith made a Report in 1845 which had never been acted upon. I can assure him that there are at the present moment between 200,000 and 300,000 acres that were, bog and waste lands at the time when Sir Richard Griffith made his Report, which are at the present moment under actual cultivation.
I will now discuss the two points to which the hon. Gentleman has more particularly referred—the cause of emigration, and the condition of the agricultural population of Ireland. I will not dispute that in one sense it is painful to observe the emigration that has been going on. Every man who has a heart must feel for these poor people, who are leaving the homes of their fathers and separating themselves from their families. It is, however, to be considered that they are leaving their native land to better their condition, that they are going to join other members of their families who have preceded them, and that they have a prospect before long of remitting money to their friends at home, as other emigrants have done, to the amount of hundreds of thousands of pounds. If Adam Smith has shown that labour is the source of wealth, and that population is the source of labour, I must also maintain that Ireland has had for many years a redundant population. There have been in that country a vast number of small occupiers, the holders of five and ten acres, who did not employ labour. A country cannot be in a more disastrous condition than to have small tenures of two, five, and ten acres, which the owners cannot cultivate for their own advantage, and which hold out no prospect for the future. In a humanitarian point of view I may regret the emigration which has been going on; but considering the interests of the country, it is a benefit, and not to be regretted. Emigration has long been felt to be necessary in order to put the population of Ireland on a proper footing. When the population of Ireland was not quite 4,800,000, a Committee of the Irish House of Commons recommended a system of emigration as a necessary means of improving the condition of the people. No doubt the emigration from Ireland during the last twenty or thirty years has been enormous. I have here the exact figures, from authentic Returns. Between 1831 and 1841 no less than 400,000 persons left Ireland for the colonies or fo- 60 reign countries. That was exclusive of a migration of 200,000 into England and Scotland. Between 1841 and 1851 the total number of emigrants from Ireland was 1,240,000. From 1851 to 1860 was a most important period, for not less than 1,190,865 persons left Ireland during that period. That is, no doubt, an enormous emigration within twenty years, an amount perhaps unknown in the annals of any country. I believe a great deal of the emigration that went on during the latter period is attributed by men of scientific knowledge and experience to the famine that visited Ireland in 1845, 1846, and 1847, which rendered it absolutely impossible for the population of Ireland to live upon the potato root, and obliged them to seek the means of livelihood elsewhere. There was a progressive emigration during 1861 and two following years. In 1861, 66,396 persons left Ireland; in 1862, 72,730; and last year the number increased to 117,820. The hon. Gentleman has quoted some Returns to show that a great number of these persons do not go to the United States of America. I think he is not quite accurate in those statements. A small portion, no doubt, go to Australia or Canada, but the vast majority go to the United States. I believe there is a Return that about 23,000 able-bodied Irishmen entered the Federal service last year. [Mr. HENNESSY: I said between 20,000 and 30,000.] I now come to the emigration of the present year. The hon. Gentleman said it is going on at the rate of 3,000 a week, and that it is assuming even larger proportions than in the previous year. I believe that was the case up to the month of May. The Registrar General states that the emigration during the months of January, February, March, April, and May, this year, amounts to 63,833. The emigration during the corresponding five months of 1863 was 60,246, and during the same months in 1862 only 31,259. So that the increase during the first five months of this year over that of 1862 is nearly double, and is an increase of 3,000 over that of 1863. Since the month of May, however, I am happy to say, there has been a sensible check in the stream of emigration from Ireland. In the month of May itself there was a decrease this year, compared with 1863, of 1,023 emigrants. The information I receive from Cork confirms this statement. There is evidently in the city, which is one of the most important ports of departure, 61 a less desire to emigrate. "The vast tide of emigration," says one account, "has begun to decline in a very perceptible manner." The hon. and learned Gentleman has referred to the state of the Irish women in the United States, and there is, no doubt, a great deal of harrowing truth in the letter he read. It is too true, I fear, that there are thousands of these poor deserted Irish girls who are gaining a precarious livelihood by vice and other unhappy means. I have here a statement copied from the Cork Daily Reporter, and taken from the most authentic source, that there are no less than 30,000 Irish females who have left home and friends, and are now walking the streets of New York friendless and deserted. Well, I do hope when that statement reaches the humble homes of those who are about to emigrate, that they will take care to procure sufficient funds to enable them to do so with some prospect of success, and that their friends will see that in leaving the shores of Ireland they are, at least, placed in the hands of those at the other side of the water who will look after their future condition. The hon. and learned Gentleman in the course of his speech asserted that the emigration up to the present time has gone on to the most unparalleled extent, and no doubt it has; but he did not mention that there is a great desire on the part of Irish landlords—and I think it is very meritorious on their part—to get rid of a certain number of the redundant population on their estates, by providing them with free passages to America, in order that they may join their friends and relatives there There is no doubt that the Reports of Committees and Commissions, over and over again—in 1826, 1827, 1830, 1836, and 1841—have all expressed an earnest hope that the landlords would do all in their power to facilitate the emigration of those who were living on their estates. I read only the other day that a noble Lord who sits on these benches, and who is a large and most respected landed proprietor in the county of Kerry—I mean Lord Castlerosse—had in the most liberal and generous manner actually paid the emigration expenses of seventy persons, all of whom were occupying small holdings and doing badly at home, and his example has been followed by others. The noble Lord thought, and many landlords thought with him, that the best way of improving the country was by facilitating the departure of those poor people, and giving them the 62 means of joining their friends in America. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that the state of Ireland now is worse than it was formerly, and he quoted the opinion of Mr. Lambert, treasurer of the county of Mayo, who was examined the other day before a Committee upstairs. But that opinion must be wholly without foundation in fact, because it is evident to anybody who looks at the Reports of the Devon Commission in 1845, and of the Commissions of 1830 and 1836, that the state of the country then was not to be compared to what it is now. In the Report of the Census Commission of 1841, it is stated thatSixty-eight per cent—i.e. upwards of 5,000,000—of the rural population consists of heads of families, without money, capital, or acquired knowledge—i.e. labourers or persons who obtain the means of existence by employments requiring little or no instruction. This may include small farmers up to five acres.Now, I defy the hon. and learned Gentleman to say that such a state of things exists now. And in the State trials Mr. O'Connell referred to this statement as representing nearly 70 per cent of the people in a destitute condition. No one now, not even the hon. Member for Dungarvan (Mr. Maguire) will assert that the state of Ireland is anything like that pointed out by Mr. O'Connell. The Devon Commission, whose Report was published in 1845, state that there were then 2,300,000 persons in a state of absolute destitution in Ireland. Well, I put it to those hon. Gentlemen who know the country, whether that condition of things which was shadowed forth by the Census Committee of 1841 and by the Devon Commission of 1845 now exists. The hon. and learned Gentleman has alluded to those early Commissions. I have taken the pains to read as far as possible the Reports of the Commissions and Committees of 1826, 1827, 1830, 1836, and 1841, and if the House will allow me I will refer to one or two statements in those Reports, showing that from the first those distinguished persons who served upon them always advocated emigration as the sole means of reviving the condition of Ireland. In the year 1826 a Select Committee was appointed to inquire into the expediency of encouraging emigration, and to them the Reports of 1823, 1824, and 1825 on the state of Ireland were referred. That Committee reported thus—The unemployed labourer at home necessarily consumes more than he produces, and the national wealth is diminished in that proportion.63 That was the exact reverse of the doctrine laid down by the hon. and learned Gentleman—that population was a source of labour and labour a source of wealth. The Committee then went on to say—Your Committee therefore trust that the most deliberate attention of the proprietors of land in Ireland would be called to this subject, and that they may be induced to make voluntary contributions for the purpose of emigration as a relief from those burdens which, though not legally imposed, are yet found practically to press upon them from the superabundance of the pauper population.Here is an extract from the Report of the Committee of 1829—The fact is undeniable that generally speaking there is that excess of labour, as compared with any permanent demand for it, which has reduced and must keep down the labourer at the lowest possible amount of subsistence.And they add—Your Committee would particularly wish to press upon the attention of the House that the evils of population furnishing an excess of labour above the demand for it contain within themselves a self-producing and self-aggravating principle, and that, so long as no measures are taken to restrain them, they must not only continue to exist and increase, but by their very existence must prevent the introduction of that capital which, if introduced, would diminish the redundancy by establishing a greater equality between the supply of labour and the effective demand. ֵ The evils of a redundant population, with all the incidental consequences, have been universally felt and acknowledged, and various suggestions have been made for their partial relief. But your Committee cannot but express their opinion that a more effectual remedy than any of those temporary palliatives which had been offered is to be found in the removal by emigration of that excess of labour by which the condition of the whole labouring classes is deteriorated and degraded. The question of emigration as connected with Ireland has been already decided by the population itself, and that which remains for the Legislature to decide is to what points the emigration should be directed.In short, all the Reports say that the remedy for the evils complained of was to be found in emigration, and all urged its necessity. The following passage occurs in the Report of the Commissioners of 1836:—There is not in Ireland the division of labour that exists in Great Britain; the body of the labouring class look to agricultural employment, and to it only, for support; the supply of agricultural labour is thus so considerable as greatly to exceed the demand for it; hence come small earnings and wide-spread misery.That is but a brief outline of the expressions used in the various Reports.
I come now to the last part of the Resolution—namely, that which regards the state of agriculture in Ireland. The hon. 64 and learned Gentleman has omitted one or two paragraphs which he originally contemplated introducing in his Motion. The hon. and learned Member's Motion expresses a trust that the Government would direct their attention to the subject he has brought under the notice of the Mouse, with a view of devising some means by which the Irish agricultural population may be induced to devote their capital and labour to reproductive employment at home. There is no doubt that the land question has a great deal to do with much of the distress that exists in Ireland. It is clear to every one who considers the question, that in any country where the seasons are uncertain and hazardous, and where the occupier cannot enter on a fair rotation of crops, he cannot easily recover himself from the loss he may incur on one crop. It is a fact that in joint-stock banks there are placed, at the rate of only 2½ per cent, sums principally belonging to the farming class in Ireland, amounting to upwards of £14,000,000, some portion of which vast amount the occupier of land would naturally be inclined to employ in the improvement of the land if he had a certainty of being remunerated for the investment in the course of a series of years by a fair rotation of crops. No doubt the Land Improvement Act of 1860 was intended by the Legislature to work good in that way; but I believe that every one admits that it has been to a great extent a failure. Considering the number of measures which have been passed for the improvement of land, it is to be deplored that the landlords of Ireland have not availed themselves more of the facilities placed at their disposal by the Legislature as they might have been fairly expected to do. At the same time, whatever may be proposed tending to improve the condition of the agricultural population, and the occupiers of those very small holdings in Ireland, is well worthy the attention and consideration of the House. I stated last year, in answer to the Motion of the hon. Member for Kildare, that I considered it desirable that something should be done in that direction; but I always said that, as a proprietor of land myself, I must strenuously set my face against the schemes propounded by some gentlemen in Ireland. In reference to the agricultural produce of Ireland the hon. and learned Gentleman has quoted from the returns of Mr. Donelly, the Irish Registrar General, and has en- 65 deavoured to show that land is going out of cultivation, and that a serious state of things is occurring. No doubt it is perfectly true that with regard to the cultivation of cereals there has been a decrease in the acreage to the extent of 143,534, but at the same time there has been an increase in the acreage under flax cultivation to the extent of 64,922 acres in the present year as compared with the last. It is also a curious fact, that while the land under cultivation for wheat decreased in 1863, the produce on the diminished acreage exceeded that of 1862 by 154,858 quarters. With regard to potatoes, there was a slight increase of acreage under cultivation in 1863, amounting to some 5,000 acres, but the yield was no less than 1,927,547 tons more than in the preceding year. There has been a great movement in respect to flax, and nothing is more interesting than the facts concerning the cultivation of flax in Ireland at the present moment. I have a most interesting Return showing the enormous development of this cultivation. In 1854 there were only 151,403 acres under flax cultivation, but in 1863 there were 214,063 acres under that cultivation. This is a great development, and I hope the movement will be attended with success. I am informed that in the course of the present year there is a breadth of land under flax cultivation to the extent of one quarter more than 1863, that is to say, there is at this moment about 300,000 acres under flax cultivation. Considering the benefit which the investment of so much capital in that cultivation must produce, I think that the greatest credit is due to men like the hon. Member for Dungarvan, who was among the first to take up the question of the cultivation of flax. I was reading the other day some Returns from India, showing what has been done there by the people turning to proper account lands fit for the cultivation of cotton and tea. In 1861 the Indian cotton crop produced about £9,000,000, and in 1863 it was estimated at £43,000,000. With regard to tea, the Indian exports of tea in 1861 were worth £17,244, but in 1863 they had risen to £192,242 in value. I am, therefore, entitled to ask, why may not Ireland make an equal advance in the cultivation of flax, if people only turn their attention to it; and I trust that the expectations formed of this movement in Ireland on this subject may be realized. The hon. and learned 66 Gentleman referred to the waste land of Ireland, and said that from the time of Sir Richard Griffith's Report in 1845, the different administrations of the country had done nothing to remedy the state of things. That Report was not the first which was made on the subject. A Report was made and an Act passed in the Irish Parliament as far back as the year 1731, for reclaiming waste and bog land, and up to 1798 a succession of measures was passed in Ireland for the same object, but not a single step was taken to put them in execution. Even so far back as 1809 the British Government issued a Commission, which reported on the practicability of reclaiming the waste lands of Ireland. Nothing, however, was done until the Report of Sir Richard Griffith in 1845. The hon. and learned Gentleman has said that there are 6,000,000 acres of land in Ireland now lying waste, but that statement is, I think, scarcely warranted by the facts of the case. The works were commenced in 1846, the year after the Report; and since that period, of the 3,755,000 acres there stated to be improvable more than one-half have been reclaimed. Therefore, instead of the 3,500,000 acres alleged, there must, I think, be less than one-half that quantity now available for improvement. The hon. and learned Member should recollect that the Lands Improvement Acts authorize loans for the purpose of reclaiming waste lands, and that advantage has been taken of these provisions. Much, no doubt, may yet be done, but I have not the power to state, on my own authority, that the Government is prepared to recommend extensive works such as that reported on by Mr. Bateman. My hon. and learned Friend says that if we look around in Ireland we see in all directions trade, commerce, in fact, everything declining. Surely that cannot be true! We have only to read the Reports of the monthly fairs, and of the trade at Waterford, Londonderry, Belfast, Dublin, &c, to find that in every instance a very considerable development has taken place in the material prosperity of the country. Let us take the case of Waterford for example. The tonnage in 1864 was 398,771 against 386,281 in 1863, thus showing au increase of 12,490 tons, or about 3 per cent. Similar results are to be observed at Londonderry, In 1840 the tonnage of the vessels trading to Derry was 84,178 tons. In 1850 the gross tonnage was 161,539, or nearly twice as much as that of 1840, and in 67 1860 the tonnage was 247.121, or treble what it was twenty years before. These figures certainly do not bear out the assertion of my hon. and learned Friend. I have received letters from different parts of the country, all affording evidence of the improvement which has taken place in the state of affairs. One correspondent in Kerry writes—You will be glad, I know, to hear that our prospects never were brighter in this country than they are at present, and all our crops are looking splendid, thank God!The prospects of Ireland generally are equally good, and I might refer to the Reports from Belfast, Limerick, and elsewhere to illustrate the hopeful condition of the country, if I were not unwilling to trespass longer on the time of the House. It may be true, as the hon. Gentleman has said, that labour is a source of wealth and population a source of labour, but there may be a state of things, as in Ireland, which requires a remedy to be applied in the shape of encouragement to emigration. I agree with the hon. Member that the best capital of Ireland is the industry of her people; and none can deny that an impetus has been given to that industry. Tillage is considerably improved, and the amount of agricultural produce has been increased. In fact, capital is generally being brought into very active and successful exercise. Whatever the past may have been, this is not a time to despond in regard to the future. Ireland is essentially an agricultural country, and exertions are now being made for the establishment of farming societies, which will, I believe, be of great advantage by bringing together different classes for the consideration of matters connected with their common interests. Property is every day becoming more valuable in Ireland, and surely the comfort of the community must be on the increase. I thank the House for the opportunity of showing what has been done for Ireland, and I rejoice to think that in 1864 we do not find, as in past years, political partisans endeavouring to make capital out of the calamities of Ireland. We all of us, I hope, wish to do our best for the regeneration of the country. It has passed through several series of bad years—from 1838 to 1842, from 1845 to 1847, and lately from 1859 to 1863; but, thank God! a happier time seems to have commenced. The improvement is owing, I am bound to say, not so much to the measures of the Government as to the energy of the great 68 bulk of the people. I hope they will continue to be animated by the same spirit, and, whatever Government may hold office in this country, I am sure that there will be an anxious and earnest desire to promote those measures that may tend to promote the advancement and prosperity of Ireland, and thereby to enhance the peace and general welfare of the United Kingdom.
§ MR. MAGUIRE
expressed his admiration of the tone and temper in which the right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary for Ireland had addressed the House. He felt certain that there was no Irish Member, on whichever side of the House he might sit, but would feel that the right hon. Baronet had risen to the dignity of his office, and had demeaned himself not only with courtesy to individuals, but with a gravity that the importance of the subject required. The right hon. Baronet had made a graceful admission that night, and one which he felt the more keenly as it had been his painful duty on many occasions to bring the state of Ireland under the notice of the House. He assured the right hon. Baronet now that the crisis was over, that he was urged to do so from an overpowering sense of his duty. It was painful to Irish Members to have to appeal ad misericordiam to the House, for they would rather see the bright than the dark side of the mantle, and he was glad to find that he had been vindicated that night by the statements of the right hon. Baronet. The statements he had made on a former occasion the House would see had been fully justified by the facts. He hoped, therefore, if such a state of things again arose, he should not be met in future as he had been in times past when urging them on the attention of the Government. The right hon. Gentleman had obliterated the past by the frank and cordial manner in which he had represented the true state of things in Ireland. The hon. and learned Member for the King's County (Mr. Hennessy) also deserved credit for having brought this matter under the notice of the House, because the state of things in Ireland, above almost any other question that could be named, ought to interest the Parliament and people of England. They would soon see the House in a state of great excitement, each party levelling its taunts against the other, and banding criminations from side to side in a hearty and deadly struggle for office on the subject of Denmark. In the country of Denmark, however, he had 69 no special interest, and though he admitted its importance, he considered the condition of Ireland and how it could be improved a question of far greater gravity, and one that ought to arrest the attention of both sides of the House; and he believed that the statesman who took up the question of Ireland, and dealt with it boldly and courageously, as the late Sir Robert Peel did, would do more for his own name and honour than if he shone in a great party battle which had only a selfish object for its end. He did not expect that immediate legislation upon the condition of Ireland would follow from this discussion; but enough had been said to convince the House that there was something wrong in the state of Ireland, and to induce the Government to consider the subject during the recess, with the view of introducing some substantive legislation next Session. The right hon. Baronet had said that since 1840 a large number of acres of waste land had been reclaimed; but he had not alluded to the still more startling fact, which could not be disputed, that 200,000 acres of cultivated land had relapsed into sterility in two years, The right hon. Gentleman had also mentioned in proof of the great resources of Ireland, that £14,000,000 of capital were in the banks of that country; but the right hon. Baronet had not urged it to its proper result—namely, that the people allowed it to remain there almost useless, and unproductive, because they had not sufficient faith in the security of the great bank of nature—the land. He believed that not one-tenth of the land of Ireland was properly cultivated, and the reason was that the people had not faith in the security, and they hoarded their money with the object of leaving the country rather than of remaining in it. He believed that until the land question was settled they could not have permanent prosperity in Ireland. It was an exceptional state of things in Ireland and it justified exceptional measures, as had been stated by Lord Derby, Lord Palmerston, and every Minister that had endeavoured to interfere with the land question. There were some exceptions, but as a rule what had been done in Ireland had been done by the tenants; and therefore it was the duty of Parliament to protect the tenant, by giving him compensation for unexhausted improvements, where he was arbitrarily removed from the land. A measure of that kind would soon change the face of Ireland, for the people themselves had a capital in their thews 70 and sinews and in their energy and industry, and there was as great a desire to be energetic and industrious in the humble farmers of Ireland as there was in the people of any country on the face of the earth; and if the Government wanted them to take their £14,000,000 from the banks, where it yielded no more than 1 or 2 per cent, they had only to give them proper security for their investments in land. England had had the sole and uninterrupted management of Ireland for the last sixty-four years. The native Parliament of that country had been destroyed. His firm conviction was that if there had been a Parliament in Ireland at this moment the state of things would have been very different, and the resources of Ireland would be developed. No matter what differences might exist about religion, or whatever causes of strife might exist, there would be sufficient self-interest to develop the resources of the country. After the lapse of sixty-four years Ireland was going back, and although there might be a little activity along her seaboards, that activity was partly factitious, because it was owing to foreign vessels bringing in food, whereas Ireland ought to be an exporting and not an importing country. There was another sign of activity in some parts. But what was it? What brought English vessels into Cork Harbour? Emigration. There were two or three vessels leaving that port every week; but a fortnight ago there were not a sufficient number of vessels to carry off the emigrants. What was the feeling of the people of Ireland on this subject? The feeling of a large portion of the people of the South of Ireland was one of utter insecurity, of disgust with the country, of a desire to change at any risk or any hazard. The Catholic Bishops and clergy and the Liberal press had done their best to dissuade the people from reckless emigration, but they could not stop the rush which was taking place from the shores of Ireland. Of course there were many reasons why the emigration was going on. Higher wages could be obtained in America and Australia; and the fact that they had relatives there of course operated as an inducement to them to cross the Atlantic; but the fact was undeniable that there was a rush from the country, which plainly showed that there was something wrong. The farmer had no security, and, therefore, he would not improve his farm, and therefore there was a smaller demand for ordinary labourers. If the 71 farmer had security that his improvements would become his property, the face of Ireland would be changed, and, instead of being half cultivated, it would be equal to the best parts of England. The state of things was this: nine-tenths of the agriculturists of Ireland held at will. If all landlords were like the noble Lord the Member for Kerry (Lord Castlerosse) and his hon. Friend the Member for Clonmel (Mr. Bagwell), a change in the law of landlord and tenant might not be necessary. But there were hundreds and thousands of estates which had been purchased under the Incumbered Estates Act which were a blister and a curse to the country. The owner could raise the rent of the tenant, could turn him out at a few months' notice, and possess himself of the property. Many owners had done so, and the result was that the people were discouraged and dissatisfied, and were rushing away. An Act had, it was true, been passed in 1860 with a view of improving the condition of the tenant; but that Act had turned out a dead letter, and he trusted that his right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary would, during the recess, turn his attention to framing a measure by which that Act would be amended. It was admitted that since 1831 three millions and a half of people had left the shores of Ireland. It was true that some had gone to join the Federal armies. The blood of many was reeking to heaven, and called for heavy vengeance on some persons who were continuing the unnatural conflict. But if it ceased to-morrow, he believed the tide of emigration would flow on unchecked. The matter was one, he might add, which very seriously affected England herself. There was no recruiting going on in Cork, and very little in Munster. The fighting part of the population had gone to fill the ranks of the Federal army. Now, England ought rather to encourage the people to remain in Ireland than to go away. It would not be well for England to have the population of Ireland reduced to three or four millions. Some years ago it was said that emigration was a panacea for the ills of that country. But Ireland had not only bled from the veins, but from the arteries; and, surely, no one could now say there was a superabundant population. The small landowners were disappearing every day, and the number of large farms was increasing. This, then, was the proper time for a good landlord and tenant law which would allow the people to defend themselves. The right 72 hon. Baronet had certainly spoken in kindly terms; but it would be much more gratifying if at the commencement of the next Session he would lay on the table some measure calculated to improve the condition of Ireland. He admitted that some gentlemen were endeavouring to introduce manufactures into that country; but Ireland being an agricultural country there ought to be a landlord and tenant law of a comprehensive character. Unless some change of that nature took place, if another bad season should occur, the scenes of ruin and disaster which had been witnessed would be again witnessed. The Government of Ireland by England was pointed to by Frenchmen and Italians and Spaniards as a source of shame to the latter, and Englishmen ought, he thought, to be anxious to wipe away any cause of reproach on that score by, at all events, passing a law which in the opinion of nine-tenths of the Irish people was essential to the welfare of their country. The present law was a mockery. What was required was a reality. If that was given, Ireland would be in that position which she would occupy were she governed by her own laws, her own sons, and her own Parliament.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, the enormous increase of emigration from Ireland gave him the deepest pain, and he was convinced that if it went on the results would be most disastrous. The richer portion of Ireland, such as that with which he was connected, would probably not suffer so much, but in the poorer portions land which was yielding from 16s. to 20s. per acre rent would be turned to growing bog grass. It was time that the Government and Parliament, in the interest of the landed proprietors themselves, looked the matter seriously in the face. The experiment of bloodletting to cure the evils of Ireland had been tried often enough and had failed. The right hon. Baronet, in the quotations he had made from the Reports of various Committees and Commissioners, had not taken into account the entirely different state of things which at present existed there. The miserable cottiers which then formed so large a part, of the population had almost entirely disappeared, and they had to deal with a totally different state of circumstances. It was a remarkable fact that the rural population was diminishing in almost every country. In England, during the last ten years. it had diminished from 2,000,000 to 1,900,000. In Scotland the diminution was still 73 greater; and in France there had been a great diminution, not from emigration, but from the agricultural population seeking employment in the towns. The difference between the rate of wages in town and country in France was not nearly so great as the difference between the wages in Ireland and America, and while the people could get from Ireland in eleven or twelve days, at the rate of from £5 to £6 per head, the emigration was sure to go on if something were not done to stop it. He believed that many persons entertained mistaken notions on the subject of population. When Arthur Young was travelling in France, before the French Revolution, he said that its prosperity do pended on the population being reduced by five millions. But the population of France was very much greater now than it was in the time of Arthur Young, and yet the people of France enjoyed a great deal more of comfort and prosperity than they did then. The prosperity of a country depends on the proportion between the capital and the number of hands that re quire employment, and during the last three years capital had been decreasing in Ireland nearly as fast as population, Unless the condition of the people improved the emigration would go on to a fearful extent. Well, then, what could be done? No doubt that was a most difcult question, but still it must be looked fairly in the face. The question of land tenure had been alluded to, and there would be no doubt that the reason why the land tenure had not been amended ten years ago by the Earl of Aberdeen's Government was the extravagant views put forward by many persons at that time—views which frightened the House, went to subvert all ideas of property, and rendered it perfectly impossible for moderate men to put for ward their views. If the same enthusiasm raised by those extravagant views had been excited in favour of Sir John Young's Bill, and if that Bill had been passed, it would have done immense good in Ireland. The right hon. Baronet had spoken of £15,000,000 or £16,000,000 belonging chiefly to the Irish population being locked up in banks. Would it have remained there if it had belonged to the population of England or Scotland? In the one instance there would be security to the tenants for any improvements they might effect in their farms; in the other it was far otherwise. No better advice could be tendered to the Government 74 than to reconsider the Bill of Sir John Young, with a view of seeing whether it could not be re-introduced next Session. Another Bill which would be of great benefit to Ireland would be a Bill such as that which the Attorney General had intimated his intention of laying on the table during the Session—a Bill for the Registration of Titles. Such a Bill based on a proper principle would tend to cheapen the transfer of land, and companies would be found springing up which would buy the large estates which were disposable, and would sell them out in small portions accessible to the people who were the possessors of the £15,000,000 or £16,000,000 of capital. Nothing would more tend to improve the condition by rousing the energies of the farming classes than to make them feel that by industry and saving they could become small proprietors. These two measures would confer enormous benefit on Ireland. There ought also to be, he would say, a good deal more of kindliness of feeling displayed by the Government towards the Irish people. It might be sentimental, but there was no doubt that such hard and harsh speeches as those of the right hon. Baronet during the last two or three years, when he denied the existence of distress in Ireland, and that of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, when he refused to give them the benefit of University education without sacrificing their religious convictions, had had a great effect on the Irish people, and had made them feel that the Government was not at one with them. Under such circumstances the people said, "Let us go to other countries, where we shall be treated with greater kindness." Feeling most deeply the danger to which the country was exposed—believing that the emigration instead of diminishing was likely to increase, and that it was the interest of all parties to try and stop it—he begged of Her Majesty's Government not to remain quiescent in the matter, but to endeavour honestly to grapple with and stay the evil by removing those obstacles which prevented the improvement of the country.
§ SIR PATRICK O'BRIEN
observed, that the question before the House was not a party question, and ought to be treated by hon. Members as men of business. The present state of Ireland was connected with the land system in that country, and he believed it could not be treated by rotation crops or by endeavouring to make tea gardens of the agricultural 75 districts. The other day he was coming up from Tralee, and in the train with him were no less than eighty-three emigrants. He had seen forty or fifty coming from Tullamore. These cases were illustrations of what was going on in Ireland, and his impression was, that the day would come when not only the tenant but the landlord would suffer from the emigration. He differed from his right hon. Friend (Mr. Monsell) with regard to the measure of the Earl of Aberdeen's Government, as he did not think that was sufficient. Both sides of the House ought to unite for the purpose of settling the Land Tenure Question, and he asked the Government to endeavour to bring about such a settlement.
§ MR. M'MAHON
said, the day had arrived when English Members ought seriously to consider the question as it concerned England. He cared more for the tenants of Ireland than he did for the Irish landlords. The tenantry of Ireland had been trying for years to obtain some measure which should induce them to stop in Ireland, but it had been refused them, and now they were seeking in America that which was denied to them at home. By going there they improved their own condition, but injured the power of this Empire. [Cries of "No!"] The power and greatness of a country depended on the multitude of its inhabitants. He would remind those hon. Gentlemen who cried "No" of the scriptural phrase—"Woe unto the people when the stranger at the gate sits in judgment." The Motion before them was—"This House observes with regret that the agricultural population of Ireland are rapidly leaving the country." Did the House view it with regret? From the tone taken by the right hon. Baronet the Chief Secretary for Ireland, and the manner in which his observations had been received, he feared that the House did not view with regret the fact that the people of Ireland were leaving their country. This country ought to bear in mind that those who were leaving Ireland were not vermin which it was desirable to clear off the land, but men and women, the natives of the soil, and whose labour would be lost to the place of their birth. His right hon. Friend was not exactly correct in stating that opposition had been offered to Sir John Young's Bill from the quarter to which he had referred. He confessed that his own views on the Land Question were extreme, 76 and went much beyond those embodied in that measure, but the Members of the Tenant League in that House had given their strenuous support to Sir John Young's Bill and also to the Bill of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin. If the Government and Parliament wished to bring about a state of prosperity in Ireland, they must settle the question of landlord and tenant in Ireland on the basis on which it was settled in Prussia, in Hungary, and Germany; they must give security and fixity of tenure to the tenant, he rendering a fair value for it. They must go further and get rid of the supremacy of the Established Church, and make the people of Ireland feel that they themselves governed the country, and were not slaves.
said, the House owed a debt of gratitude to the hon. and learned Gentleman by whom the Motion had been proposed, for of all the subjects they could discuss none more deserved their attention. As had been said during the debate, the affairs of Denmark, of Italy, of Turkey, and of the whole world engaged their attention; but what were these in comparison with the affairs of Ireland? He owned that he had been greatly surprised at the observations on the subject of emigration which had fallen from many who had addressed the House. It had been his fortune, or misfortune, to hold a prominent office in the Irish Government during the most disastrous period that had befallen any nation, and from 1846–7 onward a great pressure was placed upon the Government not to check, but to aid the emigration of the surplus population of Ireland. From that time great progress had been made in that direction. Boards of Guardians were empowered to give very considerable aid to emigration, and that movement had to a great extent encouraged the emigration that had since taken place to other lands than our own colonies. The Irish people were deeply attached to their native land, but the warmth of their family affection was unbounded, and there was scarcely a poor family in the distressed districts of Ireland which had not a friend or relation in America beckoning them on to a happier and a better lot. What means had the Legislature of counteracting such a movement? It had been stated that within fifteen years the enormous sum of over £12,000,000 had been sent from emigrants in America to their relatives or 77 friends in the United Kingdom, but principally to Ireland; and that was a specimen of generosity unparalleled in history. Meanwhile, what had happened at home? While the poor were receiving money to take them away, had anything been done to fix their lot in Ireland. There had been three bad seasons, and the small farmers were beginning to think that they would be unable to hold their ground. Their grasp on the land, so to speak, had been loosened, and when invited to go and share the happier lot of their friends they were asking whether it would not be better to accept the invitation. Even recent legislation adopted in a kindly spirit towards the people, had by its tendency to increase evictions unintentionally aided in the removal of the people from the soil. Thus Parliament, with regard to certain tenements, had imposed upon the landlord the duty of paying the rates. Hard times followed; the landlord received no rent, but he had to pay the rates, and who could wonder at his wish to preserve himself and his property as far as he could from ruin? The effect of such a measure might be imperceptible, but it must have some effect in the direction he had suggested. Then, had the Irish landlords done all they could to induce their poorer tenants to remain? Had the condition of these poor people been improved—had they been made as comfortable as they ought to be? Why, the Irish people were at that moment the worst lodged of any people—he was going to say on the face of the earth, but certainly in Europe. Then, with all these inducements to go, and with so few inducements to remain at home, was it astonishing that emigration should continue? Could anything be done to stop it? No! And when it was remembered that these poor persons were going to a happier land, where they would have better wages, better clothing, and better lodging, he thought the Legislature ought not to stop emigration even if they could. This state of things must be left to find its own level. Parliament could do nothing. He had listened to the debate in the hope of hearing some real remedy, but he had heard none that was likely to receive the sanction of the House, and even if it received that sanction he doubted its efficacy. It was said that if the land question were settled, if security was given to the tenant, such an outpouring of wealth would follow as would gratify the most ardent patriotism. But what prospect was there of that? The 78 land question was a very delicate one. It ought to be fairly considered, and the whole truth should be told. What was really the difference at that moment between the Irish tenant and his landlord, and the English tenant and his landlord? He was told that in England the landlord made the improvements, and in Ireland it was the tenant; but if so that was all a matter of bargain. If the English landlord did make improvements, he required a higher rent from his tenant in consequence. Let hon. Members take care that in urging the question they did not injure the Irish tenant. If both parties were put upon their mettle what would happen? If the English system were introduced into Ireland the consequence would be the introduction of English tenants into that country. Landlords in Ireland would then look for men who had a capital of £10 per acre, without which no tenant would be received. The House might depend upon it that the land question must remain as it was—a question of agreement between the parties. The Irish landlord had a very delicate duty to perform. He should perform that duty with forbearance, kindness, and consideration, but more than that he could not do. The real want of Ireland was a state of security. It was useless asking that House to pass a law which could only have the effect of making matters more insecure than they were at present. In all their dealings with the Irish people they should endeavour to show that they were their friends, that Parliament and the Government desired to assist them, and such conduct would do more towards bringing about a better state of things than any meddling with the land question. If the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Wexford (Mr. M'Mahon) met with any response in that House, he should despair of any real improvement, because the proposition of the hon. and learned Gentleman was equivalent to taking property from one set of men and giving it to another set. Under the sanction of Parliament, property had been sold in the Incumbered Estates Court of a value exceeding £20,000,000; and the House, by showing itself determined to maintain the great landmarks of property, would do more to tranquillize Ireland and to obtain the confidence of the people than by any rash meddling between landlord and tenant, and by exciting hopes which it would not in any way gratify.
§ MR. WHITESIDE
Sir, Icannot re- 79 frain from congratulating the noble Lord upon the excellent observations he has made, and in so doing I cannot but remember the efforts he has made to remedy some of the evils which we all deplore. I remember that I had the happiness of supporting a measure for improving the habitations of the poor in Ireland, which was introduced by the noble Lord. He has, however, omitted some of the causes which have led to the present condition of Ireland, and it is very unjust to charge upon the Parliament of this country the evils which have unquestionably overtaken the people of Ireland. When the Irish Parliament was in existence, a class of 40s. franchises was created; and I have heard old men describe the condition of the small occupiers, and the miserable dwellings of those who, as a class, existed only to gratify political ambitions. Then he was a man of the most importance who could bring the largest number of small occupiers to the poll, and the result of that state of things was a great social and political evil. If the same course should be tried here, or in any country, the result would be the same. In describing the causes of emigration the noble Lord also forgot to mention one very important cause—the repeal of the Corn Laws. At the time when that question was discussed here it was always said that sooner or later the real effects of the repeal of the Corn Laws would be felt in Ireland. The hon. and learned Member for Wexford (Mr. M'Mahon) who has spoken in such strong terms as to the causes of the misfortunes of Ireland, should have remembered that Mr. O'Connell and the whole body of Irish Liberal Members in this House supported the change, which they were warned must ultimately produce a most serious effect upon the fortunes of their country. The measure for the repeal of the Corn Laws was carried, I believe, by the votes of seventy Irish Members—votes, no doubt, given in a patriotic spirit, but no one can doubt that the effect of that measure has been to make the profitable cultivation of small farms of from six to ten acres a sheer impossibility. In considering the causes of the present state of Ireland these are not facts to be overlooked. Although I do not often agree with the Edinburgh Review, yet I do agree with an article which appeared in that review a few months since, which was written in an impartial spirit. The unknown Whig, its author, stated that all legislation of this House of late years has 80 gone against Ireland. That is quite true, although it was never intended to inflict injury or to do injustice to the country, but simply to carry out the theories enunciated with such marvellous eloquence by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The hon. Member for Dungarvan has given notice of a Motion upon the paper duty, but he must know that all the paper mills in Ireland have been destroyed. In carrying out great theories, put forth with great ability by such men as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, we must not be surprised if such consequences follow. It is not long ago that being on a visit to a large farmer in Ireland he pointed out to me as remarkable a man who farmed fifteen acres. He explained it by saying that under the present system, having regard to the price of corn and the climate and condition of Ireland, it was next to impossible for a man to support himself upon a farm of fifteen acres. If that be so, we have only to refer to the tallies of statistics, and find out how many farmers of that class there are in Ireland, and then we shall know how many there are to be disposed of in some way or another. The noble Lord is right in saying that the small farmer in Ireland begins to find out that he cannot keep his place in the country. I believe that it is so, and with the noble Lord I think it is a matter of regret. If I am asked why in the county of Armagh the small farmers manage to live, I would reply that they pay their rent when due and continue to live because they produce an article for which they have a market—flax. But as to the pure agricultural districts of Ireland it is impossible for men to live upon such small farms. If that small measure of revolution be given which is proposed by the hon. and learned Member for Wexford—who is speaking less in this House than upon the hustings—what will happen? He spoke of Hungary and of Prussia. I know nothing of Prussia, and there is no country I care less about, or whose examples should have less influence with us. But I have been recently in the county of Wexford, and I found it a thriving county, the farmers in good condition, the landlords and tenants upon good terms, and a strong Conservative spirit pervading them all. I agree entirely with the noble Lord that the tenantry ought to be treated with generosity and kindness, and that is how they are treated in the part of Ireland from which I come, where there are pecu- 81 liar customs which tend to keep them in the country, and where there is a branch of trade which enables the poor man to live which does not exist in other parts of Ireland. If you can introduce that industry into other parts of the country, you may enable the small man to live, but I am afraid that the legislation which you have adopted, and which you will never retract, and the principles which you have laid down, and which a majority of this House are determined to carry to their legitimate conclusion, will and must tend to continue, and it may be to increase, she emigration from Ireland. I do not entirely agree with the noble Lord that that is a matter for satisfaction—[Lord ATHLUMNEY: I did not say so]—a matter which Parliament can do nothing to avert. Parliament can do a good deal when it chooses, and Government can do something when a Government exists which wishes to do something; but a great many Governments exist which wish to do nothing. I should be the last person to cast censure on the Chief Secretary, who has traversed Ireland and seen a great deal, and who knows a great deal about the country. He seems to think that the emigration must continue, but I venture to express my regret at its existence to so great an extent, and I think that there is nothing extravagant in asking the Government, as this Resolution does, to consider a subject of such a startling character, and not for the purpose of introducing any Utopian measure, but with the view of ascertaining whether it may not be possible to do something to alleviate that which every right-minded man must regret.
§ MR. BLAKE
regretted being obliged to differ from the noble Lord opposite (Lord Athlumney) in much that had fallen from him, particularly in the satisfaction with which he viewed the expatriation of the Irish people, and his belief that emigration was desirable for their interests and that, of the country. The noble Lord had asked, what better remedy could be suggested under the existing state of things? He was sorry he was not answered by some one more eloquent than he was; but the remedy was so simple, that expressed in the plainest language it lost nothing of its force, and that was, to cherish the people whom famine and emigration had spared, by securing them just compensation for improving the letting value of the land. If the Irish farmer were assured that he would not be wholly deprived of the fruits 82 of his laborious industry, his toil and savings would be expended on the land, which, if properly cultivated, was quite equal to supporting in comfort many more than now derived a miserable existence from it, and the landlord would have increased security and better rents. The noble Lord had said that, practically, there was little difference between the course pursued by the English and Irish landlords, as if the former made the permanent improvement they put on an additional rent for their outlay, and that the latter let their land for less money on account of the tenant making these improvements. Now this difference, which his Lordship thought so little about, accounted both for the prosperity of the English tenant and the misery of the Irish one. The first was not called on to expend his capital and labour, on first taking possession, on constructing a homestead, main drainage, fences, gates, &c.—all that was done for him by the landlord; whilst the Irish tenant had to do it all himself, and for years had to work against the dead horse. True, the Englishman had, perhaps, to pay 6 per cent additional on his rent for the outlay of the landlord; and, unless he had spare capital, surely it was infinitely better for him to do so, and to be free to devote all his resources to the proper development of the soil. But not only had the unfortunate Irish peasant to incur all this cost, but he ran the risk of offering the landlord an inducement to raise his rent or to dispossess him altogether, in order to have the benefit of the increased value of the land created by his industry. And this was no theory; there were thousands upon thousands of instances where it had occurred, and, unfortunately, were still occurring. No wonder, therefore, that the people abandoned the country, that its productiveness decreased, and that discontent and disaffection prevailed. There were many noble exceptions, he fully admitted, to the practice which too generally prevailed; and he was glad to say the noble Lord was one of them, as he showed himself a kind and considerate landlord over his large estates in the North of Ireland. The House furnished many examples of what proprietors ought to be—for instance, the Junior Lord of the Treasury and the Member for the county Clare—and it was only sought to make men not so well disposed, to do by law what others did of their own free will. Those who acted with him (Mr. Blake) had been 83 charged with putting forward extravagant demands, which could not be complied with. Now he could say, on their part and his own, that they would be well satisfied with either of two things—the tenant-right custom, as it existed in the North, and which made it not only the most flourishing part of Ireland, but also the most advantageous both for landlord and tenant, and where agrarian disturbances were rarely heard of; or pass a similar measure to that introduced by Lord Derby's Government some years ago, and which passed the Commons but was shipwrecked in the Lords. He differed very widely in many things from the Chief Secretary for Ireland, but he could not but admire the moderate, able, and generous speech he made that night. He was always grateful when kind words were spoken of Ireland, and a disposition shown to serve her, and would praise the man who evinced such a disposition, no matter on what side he sat. These were very hopeful words that fell from the hon. Baronet that night, and he trusted he would realize them. His speech showed him to have possessed himself of a good knowledge of Ireland. If he would only, during the recess, inform himself still further as to her requirements, he should become convinced that the real way for preserving the country, both for landlord and Government, would be to secure to the tenant a fair share in the increased value of the land which his industry had created. He and the Friends who acted with him sat and voted on the Opposition side, chiefly because they saw that the existing Government were not disposed to do justice to the tenants. The due protection of the latter was the most vital and paramount of Irish questions beyond all comparison, and until it was settled on just terms, the distractions and misfortunes of Ireland never would cease, and it was hopeless to expect she would become prosperous, contented, or loyal.
§ MR. POLLARD-URQUHART
said, the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dublin University (Mr. Whiteside) seemed to think it was in the power of any Government to apply some remedy to the emigration taking place in Ireland. Now, he wished the right hon. and learned Gentleman had thrown out a hint as to the nature of the remedy. He believed that some such Bill as that introduced by the right hon. and learned Gentleman and the late Lord Chancellor for Ireland would do much to stop the exodus. He should like 84 a distinct answer from the right hon. and learned Gentleman as to whether he would be prepared to bring forward such a measure if he was in power. In the present divided state of parties such a declaration might not be without its significance. The other evening the Government only had a majority of seven, and it might turn out that hon. Gentlemen might compromise some of their opinions in favour of the right hon. and learned Gentleman if he would make some such pledge as this, although he did not know whether the right hon. and learned Gentleman would go the length of reimposing the Corn Laws.
§ SIR FREDERICK HEYGATE
said, that no measure of tenant-right would enable the small farmers of Ireland to hold their own. The only remedy for the depressed state of the country would be the development of trade and commerce. Some advantage might be gained from the cultivation of flax, but those who thought that that article could be immediately cultivated to a large extent would be disappointed. It was a matter for serious consideration, whether it was fair to impose the same taxation upon an undoubtedly weak country like Ireland as was paid by one which had the greater means of prosperity, by the development of trade and commerce which were possessed by England.
§ SIR GEORGE BOWYER
said, that as an Irish Member and an English landlord he had taken a great deal of trouble to examine the relation between landlord and tenant in Ireland, and he must confess he had always felt at a loss to understand the conduct of Irish landowners. An English landlord, when a farm fell vacant, put all the buildings into thorough and tenantable repair, knowing very well that unless he did so he might get a tenant, but not a first-rate one, and that his rent would be unsafe. English landlords supplied the tiles for drainage purposes, and expected the tenants to put them in; and in case a tenant grubbed up waste land he was allowed to hold it for a certain time without increase of rent, and after he had obtained fair remuneration for his outlay the proper increase in his rent was determined by valuation. He felt sure that if Irish proprietors dealt in a similar spirit with those holding under them, they would have a happier and more contented tenantry to deal with. The reason why a similar system was not pursued in Ireland 85 he did not know, and he had never been able to find out. If the Irish landlords persisted in neglecting to do what was just, the Legislature, in his opinion, ought to step in and compel them to deal more satisfactorily with their tenants. When the tenant-light agitation was in full strength he had never agreed with the legal notions of its leading advocates, knowing that the views of law which they put forward, had no war rant in the history of any country, and were not countenanced by any legal authority. They advanced the doctrine of emphyteusis, which did not apply to the matter, misinterpreted portions of the civil law, and constructed a theory of mutual rights in the soil to which the only thing at all like a parallel was found in India, where it had been productive of endless mischief. At that time feelings were so violently excited that the advocates of tenant-right could not be reasoned with. At present there was no violent agitation in Ireland, and advantage ought to be taken of the prevailing calm honestly and usefully to grapple with the difficulty. It was very well to tell people that in America they would be better off. The heart-rending scenes witnessed on their departure showed that they left unwillingly; they felt there was no place like home, and their right to live in their own country could not be disputed. It was, therefore, with deep regret that he learnt there was a common practice of dispossessing tenants at the end of their term without any compensation for improvements, and of setting up their holdings to auction. [Cries of "No!"] He hoped such was not the case in the districts of which hon. Members had cognizance, but he knew that the practice prevailed to a formidable extent.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
Sir, it must be owned that the House has listened to a very interesting debate upon a subject which must have excited very strong feelings on the part of every one interested in the national welfare. At the same time, I hope that the hon. and learned Member who brought forward the Motion will be content with the expression of feeling which he has elicited from all sides of the House, and be satisfied to leave the matter as it stands, without pressing his Motion to a division, which might imply a difference of opinion that really does not exist. It is very much to be lamented that circumstances should induce a large 86 number of the people of Ireland to emigrate from their own land. At the same time, I cannot join with those who lament this on account of the emigrants themselves, because, if they go to a country where they are in a better position than they were in in their own, and acquire wealth and comfort, as far as the individuals are concerned you cannot regret the change in their circumstances. A proof of their improved condition is afforded by the fact that the Irish who emigrate to America send enormous sums of money to their friends in Ireland—in one year of the famine as much, I believe, as £1,500,000. Those remittances show that the persons who were able to send them must have been in comfortable circumstances, and in the receipt of good wages; and they likewise do the greatest possible honour to the Irish people, because, however large may have been the means of those emigrants, in the money sent home to their friends and relations an amount of self-denial is implied, an amount of affection involved, reflecting the highest credit on the hearts and feelings of the Irish people. We have been told by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin, that this emigration arises from the repeal of the Corn Laws, the repeal of the paper duty, and other liberal and enlightened measures of Imperial legislation. When he calls on the Government to apply a remedy to the evils he laments, he cannot, I presume, mean that we should re-enact the Corn Laws, re-enact the paper duties, change our spirit duties, and alter all those things to which he ascribes the flow of emigration from Ireland to America. Then we are told that tenant-right would remedy the evils complained of; that if we were to adopt a change of law regarding landlord and tenant, instead of leaving that relation to be dealt with by bargains between man and man according to the plain and simple doctrine that should regulate transactions of that sort—if we would only pass some law which would impose an obligation on the landlord that, as I apprehend, would transfer part of his property eventually to the tenant, that would form such an inducement as would prevent the Irish people from going to America. Now, all these remedies appear to me wide of the mark. It is a simple question of the law of level; and this the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Limerick illustrated very clearly. Its operation is shown in every civilized 87 country in Europe. In England the rural population is gradually flowing from the country to the towns. Why? By the law of level, and because they get better wages in the towns than in the rural districts. In France it is the same. When we talk of Irish emigration, we confine ourselves to the emigration to America, and forget that there is a very great Irish emigration to this island. We forget that every seat of industry in England and Scotland swarms with Irishmen, who have emigrated because they thereby obtained better employment and better wages. In Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol, South Wales, London, in every part of this island where there is a great demand for labour, and where the wages are high, you find Irishmen flock and settle. Why? Because they are tempted by high wages, better employment; and next, because, being admirable workmen, those who employ labour find it to their interest to employ the industrious Irishmen, and are glad to pay them those wages which make it worth their while to come and stay there. You cannot by any legislation alter that state of things. You cannot alter the laws that regulate human society by any artificial regulations. And this hon. Gentlemen who have spoken on the point this evening admit by their prospective apprehensions, because they say that, great as the emigration is now, yet when the civil war in America shall end that emigration will be much greater. Why? Because the increased demand for labour in America will increase the temptation to Irishmen to go from their own country to America. The thing I lament is not that so many Irishmen go to places where they find themselves better off and more prosperous than in their own country, but that from a great many circumstances owing their origin to an early period long gone by, and a state of things now happily ceased, Ireland is not in such a state that Irishmen find within their own country those inducements to and rewards of labour which they find in other countries. I lament that the rewards of labour are so low in Ireland, and should be glad if anything were pointed out that would tend to alter and improve that condition of things. Part of it arises from the dispensations of Providence in regard to the physical arrangements of the country. There are not in Ireland those great stores of coal which are to be found in many parts of England and in America, and which afford 88 an easy employment for capital and labour. But there are in Ireland great means for many kinds of manufacturing industry. There is no country where there is greater abundance of water power—and water power is in many cases as good as steam power for manufacturing purposes, and I cannot understand why capitalists who intend to employ their capital in manufacturing operations do not go to Ireland more than they do. They would find it to their advantage to do so. I know it is sometimes said that capital is not so secure there; but that, I think, is a great mistake. We hear, no doubt, of agrarian outrages from time to time, but these are totally independent of the operations of manufacturing industry; and I am quite satisfied that any capitalist going to Ireland and taking advantage of its natural resources, both in material power and human labour, would find just as great security as in England, and from the abundance of water power and labour would find it answer his purpose. I trust that is taking place gradually. We heard the other day, I think, of Mr. Whitworth going to establish manufactures in Ireland. One example of that kind will lead others to follow, and I am quite confident that of all things most likely to arrest the tide of emigration would be not attempting to do so artificially and against the laws of nature, but holding out to Irishmen those inducements to labour which they are now obliged to seek across the Atlantic. There is another thing that tends to increase this emigration—the greater facility which steam navigation affords for the passage—not only the greater rapidity in point of time, but the greater cheapness in point of money. It is impossible by any artificial arrangement you can devise to change the laws of nature, or to prevent people going where they consider their position will be greatly improved. All you can do is to endeavour to improve their condition in their own country, and add inducements that may lead them to continue at home. As long as they can improve their condition by going to America, it would be unkind to do anything to prevent them. I quite agree with my noble Friend (Lord Athlumney) that there are no people who are so open to the effect of affection and kindness as the Irish, and no doubt much depends on the conduct of landlords towards their tenants. I think an immense improvement has taken place in that re- 89 lation of late years. In former times the landlord and occupier of the soil had no common relations whatever. The land was generally let in large lots on long leases for three lives or sixty-one years. The man who had the lease subdivided the land again to other people, by whom it was again subdivided, and those who lived on it had no relations to the real landlord. There was no kindly feeling between them because they had nothing to do with each other, and when the middleman disappeared and the landlord and tenant came together, they had not the reciprocal kindly feelings which are necessary for the social welfare of the country. Well, that state of things is over. I am sure anybody who knows Ireland must know that the landlords are taking much greater interest in their tenants, in everything connected with the comfort of their habitation, in the establishment of schools, and all the other arrangements by which tenants are made to feel their landlord's care for them. Those relations are extending and taking deeper root in the country. I should therefore hope that the hon. and learned Gentleman who made this Motion will not really press so very general a Resolution as this, which would appear to impose on the Government duties which are not expressed, but that any Member who thinks he can produce a particular measure that would contribute to the result he desires will have the goodness to do so, and it will be duly considered; but the affirmation of a Resolution so vague as the present, would merely lead to expectations which would not be realized, and would only tend to aggravate the evils we all deplore.
§ MR. HENNESSY
said, he could not help remarking that the Resolution had been supported by all the Irish Members who had spoken. The first part of the Resolution was—That the House observes with regret that the agricultural population of Ireland are rapidly leaving the country;and the next part was—That the House trusts Government will direct their attention to the subject, with the view of designing some means to induce them to devote their capital and labour to reproductive employment at home.The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary said he would be inclined to support the latter part of the Resolution. The only Question, therefore, was, whether they should express their regret at the people leaving the country?
§ Whereupon Previous Question put, "That that Question be now put."—(Sir George Grey.)
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, before the Question was put he wished to make an appeal to the hon. and learned Member for the King's County. He had listened to the debate with great interest, and he must say he had never heard a debate upon an Irish question conducted with greater ability, or conveying more useful information on both sides of the House. He thought that the hon. and learned Member for the King's County had made out a strong case for the second part of his Motion. He considered, however, that if the first part were carried it might lead to apprehensions as to the opinions expressed in reference to emigration. At the same time, if the Motion were negatived, it would most likely leave an impression on the people of Ireland by no means advantageous as regarded the feelings which existed in that House in reference to the relations between the Government and the people of the sister country. He could not conceive any better solution of the difficulty in which the House was placed than to accept the assurance given by the noble Viscount in his admirable speech. He (Mr. Walpole) must therefore say, that if the hon. Member for the King's County should, notwithstanding, go to a division, he should support the Motion for the Previous Question.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, he would venture to make an appeal to the hon. and learned Member for the King's County, grounded on the enormous importance of that Question, and the extreme undesirableness of anything like a difference of opinion being exhibited to the country when they were substantially all agreed. The noble Lord at the head of the Government had reechoed almost every sentiment expressed by the hon. Mover of the Resolution, and the hon. Gentleman would really injure his own cause by dividing the House.
§ MR. LEFROY
said, he had not the advantage of hearing the former part of the debate, but he must say that the statements made by the hon. Baronet below him (Sir George Bowyer) were as unfounded and as unbecoming a man who professed to know anything of Ireland as anything he had ever heard. If the House were forced to a division, he should feel it impossible to support that vague and indefinite Resolution. The noble Lord had stated to them 91 most truly the real position of Ireland, and the means by which they were to arrive at its improvement.
§ MR. HENNESSY
said, he wished to say a few words out of respect to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole). He had been asked not to go to a division; but what had the Government done? At the last moment, and without notice, they had moved the Previous Question. There had been a belief in the House that the Government would give way, and that there would be no division, and acting under that impression several hon. Members had gone away. The noble Lord had made a speech, in which he promised nothing, and told the people of Ireland that he did not regret the decline of the population. Except that negative fact, there was nothing in his speech. Deeply regretting to differ with the right hon. Member for Cambridge University and others, he must certainly feel it his duty to press his Resolutions to a division.
said, that although he was as anxious as any man for the prosperity of Ireland, he felt it his duty, if the hon. Gentleman went to a division, to vote against his. Resolution, which, even if carried, could lead to no practical result. He did not recollect any debate which had brought home to his mind more forcibly than had been done that night the conviction that there was something good in store for Ireland. He remembered several discussions on the subject, and several Bills which had been thrown out by the advocates of the landlord interest in the House. He thought that a want of moderation had prevented a settlement of the Question.
§ SIR PATRICK O'BRIEN
said, that although he was generally a supporter of the Government, he should call in that case upon his hon. Colleague to persevere with his Motion. To put Resolutions on the paper without seriously intending to carry them to an issue would create a bad impression in Ireland.
§ Previous Question put—
§ The House divided:—Ayes 52; Noes 80: Majority 28.
§ MR. HENNESSY
said, he believed his second Resolution, in favour of employing 92 the agricultural population, had not been put.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That this House trusts that Her Majesty's Government will devise some means by which the Irish Agricultural Population may be induced to devote their capital and labour to reproductive employment at home."—(Mr. Hennessy.)
§ SIR GEORGE GREY moved the Previous Question.
§ Whereupon Previous Question proposed, "That that Question be now put."—(Sir George Grey.)
§ MR. HENNESSY
said, he understood that the Secretary for Ireland had consented to the second Resolution.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, he believed that the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary was right, but great inconvenience was occasioned by the intention of the Government not being distinctly expressed earlier in the debate. The hon. Member for the King's County had met with rather hard measures from the Government.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
said, he had hoped that after the appeal made to the hon. Gentleman he would not have pressed the Motion to a division. It was only when the hon. Gentleman insisted on dividing the House that the Government moved the Previous Question.
§ MR. WHITESIDE
said, he would recommend his hon. Friend not to give the House the trouble of dividing a second time. The Secretary for Ireland had led the House to believe that he would agree to the second Resolution.
§ Original Motion and Previous Question, by leave, withdrawn.