HC Deb 17 February 1866 vol 181 cc667-727

Sir, it is with very deep and sincere regret that I rise to make the Motion of which I have given notice, and which I shall have to place in your hands to put from the Chair. The power which the Government now feel it their duty to ask Parliament to grant them is one which no Government ought lightly or hastily to ask for; and I need not say to the House of Commons that no House of Commons ought lightly, or on insufficient grounds, to place such a power in the hands of a Government. In making the Motion I am about to submit, I make it under a deep sense which the Government entertain that, in the present state of Ireland, after having exhausted all the powers of the ordinary law, it is their imperative duty to ask Parliament for that additional power which will enable them to put an effectual check on a wicked and wide-spread conspiracy which now exists in Ireland, and afford protection to the loyal and faithful subjects of Her Majesty in that country. There may, indeed, be some who think that the Government are late in making this application, and that it ought to have been made sooner. I know that impression is entertained by some Gentlemen who, residing in Ireland, are deeply sensible of the alarm and apprehension which pervade that country, and of the injurious consequences which must ensue to Ireland from the treasonable proceedings which unhappily are going in there. But I do not think the House of Commons will censure the Government for having waited till they were convinced that every power of the ordinary law had proved ineffectual, and every constitutional form of proceeding had been exhausted, and that additional and extraordinary powers were necessary for the accomplishment of the object which we must have in view.

Sir, I need not advert in detail to the existence and the objects of the Fenian conspiracy; they are unhappily too notorious—too painfully notorious—to those Gentlemen who have resided in Ireland, and have shared—and shared, I believe, on reasonable grounds—in the alarm and apprehensions which the proceedings of persons engaged in that conspiracy have caused. The Fenian conspiracy has lately assumed proportions, a form, and an organization which could hardly have been expected a short time ago. I believe, if you go back to 1862, the Fenians were then known to exist in Ireland; and that persons calling themselves Fenians, in different parts of Ireland, were making speeches, and writing articles in the newspapers, of a seditious character, tending, if their opinions became generally prevalent, to subvert the institutions of the country. But those individuals were few and inconsiderable; and the Government, while they kept a watch upon them, did not think it would be wise or prudent at that time to use the power which the law placed in their hands by instituting prosecutions against them. A remarkable change, however, has taken place coincident with the cessation of the civil war in America. The connection of these two events—the cessation of the civil war in America, and the present form, extent, and organization of this conspiracy in Ireland—it is not difficult to trace. We all know that a very large number of Irishmen were engaged in the service of the United States, and formed a considerable part of the armies with which that civil war was conducted. On the termination of that war—their services being no longer required in the ranks of the army of the United States—these men concerted together, they met, and they formed themselves into associations for the purpose of organizing a conspiracy, in concert with disaffected persons in Ireland corresponding with them, to subvert the authority of the Queen in that country, and sever Ireland entirely from the Crown of England. We all know that meetings have been held; that conventions have met in America; and that there has been a complete organization, corresponding with a similar organization in Ireland, with a view to effect that treasonable object. The avowed objects of those conventions, those meetings, and that organization in America has been to excite and assist by money, by arms, and by men, insurrectionary movements in Ireland. For that purpose agents have been sent in large numbers from America to superintend operations in Ireland in correspondence with the leaders of the movement in America, and those agents have been most active in the measures they have taken with a view to the accomplishment of the purposes for which they were sent to this country. I am passing lightly over these matters, because I think it would be wasting the time of the House if I were to dwell on matters which are so notorious; but I may say that the proceeding of those men were closely watched by the Government. The Government were not indifferent to them, because they did not take immediate steps for the suppression of this conspiracy. The Government watched the conspirators till they could strike a blow with effect, and could strike it on evidence so clear, so cogent, and so overwhelming as would convince every one they were fully justified in the steps they had taken. But the time came when it appeared to the Government that they ought, without further delay, to defeat this conspiracy, and bring those persons to justice. Accordingly, on the 16th of September, a seizure was made by the Government of the paper called The Irish People. I should be ashamed to waste the time of the House by reading extracts from that paper to show its seditious and treasonable character. Evidence in abundance was given on this point at the Special Commissions held recently. Simultaneously with the seizure of The Irish People the principal leaders—or those supposed to be the principal leaders—in the conspiracy, were arrested, and the mass of documentary evidence which fell into the hands of the Government was of the clearest and most overwhelming character with respect to the designs of the conspirators and the means by which they sought to effect their objects. I need not trouble the House with many of those documents, because I am anxious to occupy your attention for only as short a time as is consistent with my duty; but let me read a paper seized on that occasion in the handwriting of a man named Stephens, well known as the leader of the movement in Ireland—a Head Centre, as he is called. This paper was proved to be in the handwriting of Stephens by a witness named Nagle in the trial of Patrick Connor, and was a part of the evidence adduced at the recent trials. This document was taken from a person named Patrick Power. It runs thus— Dublin, September 8, 1865. Brothers,—I regret to find that the letter I addressed to you has never reached you. Had you received it I am confident all would have been right before this, because I told you explicitly what to do, and, once you saw your way, it is sure to me that you would have done well. Far as I can understand your actual position and wishes now, the best course to take is to get all the working B's together, and after due deliberation and without favour to any one—acting purely and conscientiously for the good of the cause—to select one man to represent and direct you all. This selection made, the man of your choice should come up here at once, when he shall get instructions and authority to go on with the good work. There is no time to be lost. This year—and let there be no mistake about it—must be the year of action. I speak with a knowledge and authority to which no other man could pretend, and I repeat, the flag of Ireland—of the Irish Republic—must this year be raised. As I am much pressed for time I shall merely add that it shall be raised in a glow of hope such as never gleamed around it before. Be, then, of firm faith and the best of cheer, for all goes bravely on. Yours fraternally, J, POWER. N.B.—This letter must be read for the working B's only, and when read must be burnt. I may observe that the letter "B" was used to designate captains in the Fenian force. The paper is dated September, 1865, a few days before the seizure of The Irish People. Now Stephens, as is well known, was subsequently arrested, and on his person were found documents, with which I need not trouble the House in detail. I may, however, mention that among those papers were lists of persons who had come from America to take part in the movement with the "rank" attached to each name. There is "colonel," "lieutenant-colonel," "captain," "sergeant," and so on. One person has the title of "major-general," and another that of "brigadier-general," against his name. There is also a statement of the sum of money advanced to those persons here or in Ireland, in two or three cases amounting to £70. In another column there is the date at which each had sailed from America. There was found on Stephen's a paper signed by a man named Kearney, who seems to have been employed in the manufacture of implements of war. In it there is the statement— I have got seven 'B's' (or captains), 54 'C' S' (or sergeants), and about 400 rank and file, with five revolvers, fourteen rifles, and 300 pikes. I hope this will satisfy you. That is the character of the documents which were found on the persons arrested. We all know that most of the persons arrested were tried by a Special Commission. These trials lasted for a considerable time, and the fullest evidence was given at the trials as to the guilt of the accused. It has been universally admitted that the trials were conducted with the greatest fairness and impartiality—in a manner which left on the public mind the impression that every man who had been convicted had been justly convicted. Sir, we hoped that those trials would have had the effect of checking the progress of the conspiracy. The Judges—the eminent Judges—before whom the prisoners were tried, in passing the sentences, addressed not the prisoners only, but the whole nation of Ireland in terms calculated to impress upon all who heard or read their words the dreadful consequences which must result to the country from the prosecution of this wicked, this insane conspiracy. They pointed out all these evils, and raised the voice of warning to the persons engaged in the conspiracy. It was hoped that these trials, and the circumstances connected with them, would have had a useful result. For a time the Government indulged in that hope, but with the escape of Stephens, which seemed to give them renewed energy, the activity of the conspirators increased. Shortly after these arrests, bills from America to the amount of no less than £3,000, addressed to the leaders of the conspiracy who were then in custody, were intercepted by the Government. The Irish People newspaper also, which had been suppressed in Dublin, was ostentatiously republished in America and sent to Ireland for circulation through the country. Of course, where-ever that paper has been found containing treasonable articles it has been seized by order of the Government, and any person circulating it is subject, no doubt, to a prosecution; but if this paper is brought over and privately circulated by the agents who are constantly coming from America, it is impossible for the Government, under the existing powers of the law, to prevent it. It has been found that many persons who have been arrested were well supplied with arms, and places have been discovered in which the manufacture was carried on of bullets and other implements of war; and with them documents have been found in which the most treasonable appeals are made to the people, showing the purpose for which these arms were designed. A large number of persons—I do not call them American citizens, but Irishmen, who at a previous period left their country for America, and enrolled themselves in the Federal army, and who are termed Irish-Americans—a large number of those persons, who are well-known to the police, have returned to Ireland, and are now dispersed about the country. Not long ago a seizure was made of a large number of rifle bullets and other implements manufactured for the purpose of this conspiracy. One of these seizures was made on the 11th of January, and a document which I will read to the House was found on the person of a man named James Flood, who has since been tried and convicted on a charge of having been concerned in the manufacture of the bullets. This document purports to be a proclamation to the Irish people. It is dated the 30th of December, 1865, and is in the following terms:— To the Irish People.—Citizen Soldiers,—Again we address you on the importance of the coming struggle. To urge upon you the necessity of prudence we shall not now do, as your past conduct proves you to be men of prudence and discretion. But we shall urge upon you the necessity of earnest preparation. Let all true Irishmen understand one another. In a country where it is 'treason' to have a rifle it is necessary for you to put your weapons in concealment until the day of action. That grand work of liberation shall soon begin. Soon shall our country have an army of citizen-soldiers; soon shall the sunburst shine upon our hills. Our perfidious enemy, aware of the power with which she will have to cope, is making every preparation. She is fortifying her strongholds, barring her prisons, arming her 'loyal' subjects—amongst the rest, 'Orangemen.' She is sending English and Scotch troops to our country. But her strongholds shall give way; her prison doors shall fly open; her arms and her troops become an instrument against herself. She has to contend against that mightiest of powers, the outraged but almighty people. The perjured press, in their fear, thunder out against us. They and all Irish foes will have soon cause to regret the day they worked against their country. We call upon all classes of our countrymen, no matter what creed they profess, to stand forth and be ready to aid in the liberation of Ireland. Ours is no party cause. We embrace Protestants, Catholics, Dissenters, and all who love Ireland. For Ireland a Republic, for Ireland in freedom, we work. A band of patriots, bound together by all the ties of amity and patriotism, pledged to one another in the sacred cause of liberty, may ere long commence that glorious struggle for the accomplishment of which so many have sacrificed their lives on the scaffold and in the field. Let all true men hold themselves in readiness. We advise sobriety, preparation, and prudence. Remember Emmett! Think on your imprisoned countrymen.—By order of the Vigilance Committee. God save the People. Now, the language of that proclamation may be ridiculed as contemptible here, because we know the power of England and how futile any attempt would be to raise an insurrection in Ireland. But we must bear in mind the effect which language like this, conveyed in such a proclamation, is likely to have upon an excitable people—a people, I say it emphatically, deluded by the hope that they will be assisted by an army from the United States. I am bound to say, on behalf of the Government of the United States, that this insurrectionary movement has received no countenance, not even a shadow of support, from them. I know that the hopes of these misguided men are altogether illusory. The very first moment an insurrection should arise, however disastrous the first consequences might be, the power and strength of this country must soon absolutely crush it. But those persons who have arrived from America in large numbers, and who are swearing in members in different parts of the country, are not only holding out these hopes to the uninstructed and half-informed peasants of the country, but they are also doing that which possibly might be attended with far more serious consequences. There is hardly a regiment in Ireland in which they have not contrived to introduce themselves, with the view of seducing the soldiers from their allegiance. But I can speak confidently, and with a firm conviction, of the loyalty of the army. I do not believe that the attempts of these men can have any influence on our military force. It is notorious, however, that in regiments composed in large measure of Irishmen, and some of them scattered in small detachments about the country, agents who have plenty of money in their hands may possess the means of influencing individual soldiers, of detaching them from their allegiance—a result which would only end in their own ruin and punishment. Some instances of that kind have come under the notice of the Government, and some individual soldiers—few in number, I am glad to say—are now under arrest, and awaiting their trials. Now, nothing can be more wicked than the attempts of these men to withdraw our soldiers from their sworn allegiance to their Sovereign, and it is clearly the duty of the Government to check all such attempts in the most effectual manner. It may be asked, "Why are not these agents arrested?" Well, many of them have been arrested, and many more of them are known to the Government and the police. But after what took place on the occasion of the seizure of The Irish People and the arrest of Stephens, it would appear that these agents have carefully abstained from having documents in their possession which would subject them to a criminal prosecution. There has been a great deal of money and gold found in their possession, but no documentary evidence to justify the Government in putting them upon their trial.

Sir, the result of this state of things has been a general feeling of alarm and insecurity pervading the whole country. Representations have been made to the Irish Government from time to time by different classes of persons, calling upon the Government to take measures for their protection, and to prevent a rising in their part of the country. Now, such a rising, though it would he immediately suppressed, would, no doubt, be attended in the first instance with bloodshed, massacre, and the other crimes which the people usually commit in the first moment of an insurrection. The Irish Government had to consider all these applications, and while anxious not to cause unnecessary alarm, have taken from time to time the measures which they felt to be necessary. From time to time reinforcements have been asked for, which were immediately sent over. The effect of this is shown by the proclamation which I have read to the House, in which mention is made of English and Scotch troops being sent to Ireland. There is not the slightest foundation for the statement that the Commander-in-Chief has taken steps to prevent regiments in which there was any considerable number of Irishmen from being sent to Ireland. I do not believe that the Commander-in-Chief has, in a single instance, departed from the regular roster; he has relied upon the loyalty of every regiment, and upon its faithfully discharging his duty. Another question for the Irish Government to consider was the expediency of sending detachments to different parts of the country. It is clear that to station troops in small detachments in different parts of the country is liable to great objection. So strong, however, were the representations received from various parts of the country, and so well founded appeared to be the apprehensions of danger in consequence of the language and conduct of the conspirators, that the Government have felt it to be its duty to send detachments of troops to afford the protection which was urgently demanded.

Sir, I wish to show that the Government have taken all the means in their power to deal with the existing state of circumstances. They exerted all the powers they possess, and resorted to the ordinary legal processes for the punishment of the conspirators. Indeed, they are still doing so. Arrests are now taking place from day to day, as sufficient evidence is obtained, and every person apprehended is taken before the ordinary constitutional tribunals of the country. They have been asked to send, and have sent, the reinforcements which were necessary to afford protection and security to the loyal and faithful subjects of Her Majesty in Ireland. And, in addition to this, the Government has used the power given by the Peace Preservation Act of proclaiming counties in Ireland. This, I believe, has been done to a greater extent than it ever has been before. The object of this was to detect manufactories of implements of war, and the arms which the Government had reason to believe were collected to a large extent with a view of their being placed in the hands of the people when the intended rising should take place. Several maritime counties have been proclaimed in order that vessels arriving from America may be searched, and the consequence has been that a large quantity of arms have been seized by the Government. Now, the Government possesses no other powers except the use of the military force, which could hardly be relied upon to prevent the possibility of a rising in some part of the country. They have no other power beyond that of arresting and sending before the ordinary tribunals the principal persons concerned in the movement. Thirty-six of the principal leaders of the movement are now undergoing penal servitude for various terms, and others are undergoing imprisonment; but every vessel arriving from America brings agents with fresh supplies of money, and these agents endeavour to excite delusive expectations among the people, which cannot but have a very bad effect. I may say here that the proposal we are now making is not suddenly or hastily adopted. Lord Wodehouse has anticipated its probable necessity, and has communicated to the Government his belief that it might possibly be indispensable to have recourse to such a measure. He, however, felt it was his duty to exhaust every power which the ordinary law and the ordinary means at the command of the Government placed in his hands before Parliament should be asked to assent to this extreme measure. On the 21st of January, after the reinforcements he had applied for bad been sent to him, he wrote to me a letter, of which the following is an extract:— I hope that the presence of troops in some of the towns may perhaps allay the general alarm. I am, however, by no means confident on this point, and I wish to call the serious attention of the Government to the state of affairs here, which I regret to say becomes daily more unsatisfactory. When The Irish People was seized and the arrests made, the Fenians were for a while stunned by the blow, especially by the arrest of Stephens; but after Stephens' escape their spirits greatly revived, and their activity was renewed. At the present moment, notwithstanding the perfect success of the Crown at the trials, they are more active than ever. I waited patiently to see whether the alarm in the country would subside; but the alarm has gone on continually increasing. I am now disposed to try what effect can be produced by proclamations, and by detaching troops to the more remote districts. With this view we are about to send troops to Tralee and Sligo, and to proclaim the counties of Sligo and Carlow in accordance with the strongly expressed wishes of the magistrates. Other proclamations will probably become necessary hereafter. But I do not expect that these measures will be sufficient; and, in common with Mr. Fortescue and the Attorney General, I have come to the conclusion that we may have to propose to the Cabinet to ask Parliament to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act. What we have to deal with is a secret revolutionary organization spread over a great part of the country, supported by money from the Irish in America and Great Britain. This organization has its paid agents in most of the towns in Ireland, diligently propagating rebellion and swearing in recruits. I send you a return of men who served in the American war, who are known to the constabulary as Fenian agents. There are, no doubt, others who escape notice. I have asked for a similar return from the rest of Ireland. These are the men who would take command of the rebels, and there cannot be a more dangerous class. Besides them, we know that there are some hundreds of men in Dublin and elsewhere who have come over from England and Scotland, who receive regular pay, and are waiting for the signal of an outbreak. Now, we see no remedy for this but the supension of the Habeas Corpus Act. We should be able to arrest the paid agents of revolution, and to prevent the assemblage in the capital of men sent over specially to take part in a rising. The remedy may appear sharp, but the disease is very serious, and I am convinced will yield to nothing but sharp treatment. Without saying that the moment has actually arrived for so strong a measure as the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, I have thought it right to warn the Cabinet that, in my judgment, that moment is not far distant. P.S. I forgot to mention that we have arrested at various times and places the American-Irish agents, but they are too wary to carry about with them the evidence necessary to convict them. We usually find on them drill-books and a sum of money—sometimes considerable—in gold.


What is the date of that letter?


The 21st of January. The next letter which I think it necessary to read from Lord Wodehouse relating to this subject—and I may say that for some time past I have been almost in daily communication with him on the matter—is dated the 4th of February, and in it he says— I have little hope of pacifying the alarm, which is doing most serious injury to every interest here, without seizing the agents, who are busily employed all over the country, sowing sedition and organizing the conspiracy. On the 9th of February he wrote a letter the substance of which was that he still desired to try whether, by a judicious disposal of the troops at his command, he could not effect his object without having recourse to more extreme measures. But on Thursday last I received a letter which the House will allow me to read. It is dated the 14th of February, and it reached me on the afternoon of the following day. In it he says— I have come to the conclusion, after most careful consideration, that the time has arrived when it is indispensable for the safety of this country that the Habeas Corpus Act should be suspended. The Chancellor and Mr. Fortescue authorize me to say that they entirely concur in the pressing urgency of the measure. And here I may say that Mr. Fortescue is willing to shrink from no share of the responsibility attaching to this proposal. He is himself an Irishman, and all who know him are aware that he would be the last man unnecessarily to recommend that any extreme measure of this kind should be adopted. But so fully convinced is he of its necessity in the present case, that he wrote to the head of the Government to say how entirely he concurred in the recommendation which he was aware Lord Wodehouse had addressed to us. The Lord Lieutenant's letter goes on to say— There is a complete agreement among my advisers, and they feel most strongly with me the urgent necessity for prompt, indeed immediate, action. The state of affairs is very serious. The conspirators, undeterred by the punishment of so many of their leaders, are actively organizing an outbreak with a view to destroy the Queen's authority. Sir Hugh Rose details the various plans they have in contemplation. He has discovered that these agents are making plans of detached forts and barracks. And he draws no exaggerated picture. There are scattered over the country a number of agents who are swearing in members, and who are prepared to take the command when the moment arrives. These men are of the most dangerous class. They are Irishmen imbued with American notions, thoroughly reckless, and possessed of considerable military experience, acquired on a field of warfare (the civil war in America) admirably adapted to train them for conducting an insurrection here. There are 340 such men known to the police in the provinces, and those known in Dublin amount to about 160, so that in round numbers there are 500—of course there are many more who escape notice. This number is being augmented by fresh men constantly arriving from America. In Dublin itself there are several hundred men (perhaps about 300 or 400) who have come over from England and Scotland who receive 1s. 6d. a day, and are waiting for the time of action. Any one may observe these men loitering about at the corners of the streets. As to arms, we have found no less than three regular manufactories of pikes, bullets, and cartridges in Dublin. The police believe that several more exist. Of course, bullets are not made unless there are rifles to put them in. The disaffection of the population in certain counties, such as Cork, Tipperary, Waterford, Dublin, is alarming, and it is day by day spreading more and more through every part of the country. But the most dangerous feature in the present movement is the attempt to seduce the troops. Are we to allow these agents to go on instilling their poison into our armed force, upon which our security mainly depends? These attempts, as I have said before, have been successful to only a very limited and partial extent, but such as they are they will, I fear, implicate certain persons in consequences to them of the most serious character. The letter proceeds to say— I feel confident that the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act will have a most salutary effect. It is remarkable that our reports show that the Fenian leaders are saying that there is no time to lose, as if they delay the Act will be suspended. I trust that the Cabinet will not think me an alarmist. I have watched every symptom here for many months, and it is my deliberate conviction that no time should now be lost in suspending the Act. I cannot be responsible for the safety of the country if power is not forthwith given to the government to seize the leaders. With that power I hope still to avert serious mischief. I most earnestly urge that the Bill for the suspension be brought in without delay. Sir, upon the receipt of that letter, I communicated at once with the noble Lord at the head of the Government, and asked that a Cabinet Council should be immediately summoned. It was summoned, and took this letter into consideration. We felt it to be our imperative duty—a duty from which we could not shrink—immediately to lay these facts before the House of Commons, and to invite them to concur in granting those powers which the Lord Lieutenant and his advisers, and Her Majesty's Government deem absolutely essential for the safety of the country.

Sir, there is one consideration of a very satisfactory nature connected with this matter. This conspiracy differs from other conspiracies which have existed in Ireland in this—that it embraces within its sphere, I believe, no persons of any position or influence in the country—I mean, of course, no persons who, from their position among their countrymen, are entitled to any just influence. I think the paragraph in the Queen's Speech most justly describes this conspiracy. It is one not for a repeal of the Union, retaining the connection of Ireland with the British Crown, or any legislative change, but one the avowed object of which is to wrest Ireland from the British Crown, and transfer it in subjection to some foreign Power. That Speech describes it as "a conspiracy against authority, pro- perty, and religion," and justly characterizes it as a conspiracy—I will not say discountenanced but reprobated by every one who had anything to lose, and who has any regard for authority and religion, irrespective of creed or class. That is a most satisfactory consideration for us in dealing with this conspiracy. It shows that it is no social or political injustice which has given rise to this conspiracy. The truth is, it is a conspiracy which emanates from abroad. Its centre is in America, whence its agents and leaders have come to this country who are endeavouring by combined 'action to stir up the people to insurrection for the purpose of wresting Ireland from the British Crown.

Let me allude to that great meeting which was held lately in Dublin, comprising men of different politics and different creeds—some supporters of the general policy of Government, others its opponents—but all uniting together in the expression of their alarm at the present state of things, and all pledging themselves as loyal subjects of the Crown to give every assistance to the Government, in putting down the conspiracy, and in restoring peace and security in Ireland.

Sir, the disastrous consequences which must follow from such a state of things as now exists, should it remain unchecked, are too obvious to require me to dwell on them. It must paralyze industry; must deter capital from coming into the country; must check every development of its resources; and prevent every practicable improvement in its condition. It is most important, therefore, for the interests of the country, that the conspiracy should be checked. All I ask this House to do is to judge for themselves whether, from what I have stated, and from their own knowledge of the facts, it is not notorious and patent that a conspiracy, dangerous to the peace and destructive to the interests of Ireland, exists in that country; whether the Government have zealously, and energetically exerted the powers at present vested in them by the law in endeavouring to check this conspiracy; and then, if that be so, whether I have not made a sufficient case to justify me in coming to Parliament and asking for additional powers by which this conspiracy may be put down. If the House is satisfied that there is good cause for the proposals I have made, Jet me add one word more. I trust hon. Members will feel that it is important that the powers asked for should be placed in the hands of the Government with the least possible delay, because the object in view might be defeated by delay. The Government make this proposal upon their own responsibility; and it is now for the House of Commons, looking to the great interests at stake and to the important object to be attained, to decide whether they will share with the Government the responsibility of giving to the Government of Ireland the power asked for, to enable it to deal effectually with this evil. I trust hon. Members will feel I have made out a sufficient case for the proposal of the Government. No Government, as I have already said, ought lightly to make such a proposal; no man ought individually to support it unless convinced of its necessity; and no House of Commons should—and I am sure none would—lightly, and on insufficient grounds, place such power in the hands of the Government. I trust, however, that if the House feels it essential, with a view to the security of Ireland, it will arm the Government with the power requisite to counteract and suppress as wicked a conspiracy as was ever conceived, audaciously promoted by men who know how to keep within the limits of the law and not expose themselves to its penalties, and thus to protect Ireland from the disasters and horrors of insurrection. It is not with a view to punishment, but with a view to prevention, that this power is asked for. The effect of its being exercised with the discretion upon which we can rely, will be to frustrate the mad attempt to stir up insurrection. It will afford the most effectual check—indeed, the only effectual check—upon the proceedings of the emissaries of sedition and treason in Ireland. We propose to limit the operation of the Bill to six months, ending on the 1st of September, a period which we hope will be sufficient to accomplish the object in view; and Parliament will have an opportunity before it separates to consider whether it is necessary—which, I trust, it will not be—to leave that power in the hands of the Government for a longer period. Sir, I have now to move that leave be given to bring in a Bill to empower the Lord Lieutenant or other Chief Governor or Governors of Ireland to apprehend and detain for a limited time such persons as he or they shall suspect of conspiring against Her Majesty's Person and Government.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to empower the lord Lieutenant or other Chief Governor or Governors of Ireland to apprehend and detain, for a limited time, such persons as he or they shall suspect of conspiring against Her Majesty's Person and Government."—(Sir G. Grey.)


Sir, I listened with much concern to the notice given by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State yesterday, and I have heard his narrative this morning with unaffected anxiety. For a Government to come forward to suspend the most precious constitutional right of the people is an act which requires on their part the greatest courage; and if a Parliament concede such a measure it is obvious that it must be done with the utmost reluctance. I, therefore, cannot agree with some expressions of opinion that I have listened to—that Her Majesty's Ministers should be blamed because they have hesitated in coming forward to make this proposition. If, indeed, this were the occasion on which to criticise the conduct of Her Majesty's Government with regard to their administration of Irish affairs, I would rather myself have touched upon the delay, the hesitation, and the want of prescience and energy which have been exhibited by Her Majesty's Government with respect to these matters on preceding occasions. For example, it was only last year that an act was repealed under which Her Majesty's Ministers might have obtained all the powers that are now necessary, without having recourse to Parliament, under the pressure of the extreme circumstances which now exist. The Members of the present House, who were Members of the last Parliament, will recollect that an Act—an antiquated Act of Parliament—called the Rapparee Act was repealed during the last Session. That was an Act of the reign of Queen Anne. I believe there was no objection from any party in this House to concede the repeal of an Act which was entirely obsolete, and which was totally unworthy of this country. But during the passing of that Act—a clause from a comparatively modern Act of Parliament—I believe the 50 Geo. III—which was inserted during the progress of the Bill, was also repealed. Under that clause I believe the Government of the Queen possessed, and might have exercised, all those powers which are necessary, without the necessity of coming forward to ask, I admit with due reason, this infraction of the Constitution of the realm. I consider that Parliament is entitled to some further explanation on this point from Her Majesty's Ministers. We are told, and told justly, by Her Majesty's Government that these insurrectionary movements in Ireland have been greatly stimulated and precipitated by the termination of the struggle in America—by the conclusion of the civil war in that country. The repealed clause in the Act of George III. empowered the government of Ireland to arrest all vagrant strangers who had no ostensible home, who could give no satisfactory account of themselves, and could allege no legitimate occupation. The Bill for the repeal of the Act, and of the clause in question, was before Parliament for a considerable period during the last Session. The conclusion of the American civil war was pretty certain early in the spring. Wilmington was taken in April. The evacuation of Richmond followed shortly afterwards. The attention of Government ought to have been given, and confessedly was given, to the Fenian movement long before these events took place; and it is a circumstance which requires ample explanation why the Government permitted such an important provision to be repealed when they were duly cognizant of the disturbed and menacing condition of Ireland. Surely, when we are told that the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland has given such unbroken and anxious attention and vigilance to the affairs of that country, it is not unreasonable for Parliament to expect that the Lord Lieutenant and his Advisers, and Her Majesty's Ministers in this country, should not allow changes in the laws that regulate the condition of affairs in Ireland to take place unnoticed, when, by their negligence, such serious consequences might be produced. Had this clause to which I have referred not been repealed, if the interpretation I put upon it be correct, these dangers, now imminent, could never have arisen, and much of the danger and injury to which Ireland has already been subjected might have been prevented without infringing the rights of orderly and loyal men. But, although I have thought it necessary to advert for a moment to a point of great interest to the country at present, and which requires a due explanation from Her Majesty's Government, I have now to look upon the existing state of affairs in Ireland, and I have to ask myself what is our duty under present circumstances. So far as I am concerned I cannot hesitate upon this subject; and I, for one, shall follow exactly the course which I pursued in the year 1848 under similar circumstances when, by an unhappy destiny, the present First Minister of the country was obliged to appeal to Parliament to sanction a similar violation of the Constitution. If, on that occasion, when I consented to support the appeal of the Government I had believed that the menaced insurrection in Ireland was occasioned by any misgovernment of that country—although I admit that even under such circumstances a consent to the proposition of the Ministry might have been necessary—still, in giving that assent I should have coupled with it an expression of my hope that Her Majesty's Ministers would have taken into consideration measures of a remedial character. But upon that occasion, as upon this, it was perfectly clear that the state of affairs in Ireland was not produced by any domestic or internal cause. It is not now produced by any agrarian cause, because it is well known that the most influential class among the agricultural population, just referred to by the Secretary of State, has, with great reluctance, sanctioned these movements, or connected itself with them. It is not a movement produced by any religious grievances; on the contrary, it is undoubtedly the truth that the Roman Catholic priesthood of Ireland has opposed and discouraged by all its means and powers this disposition and these movements on the part of the disaffected, opposing revolutionary principles as they always have done, and as becomes the priesthood of an ancient and authoritative Church. And no one can hold for a moment that this is a movement occasioned by the ordinary political passions which influence a free country. It is not to obtain increased privileges, and it is not to secure denied rights. It is, on the contrary, so far as political influences can affect men, an attempt upon the majesty of England. It is not directed against the predominance of a party. It is not directed against the authority of any particular institution or establishment; but it aims at the Throne of England and the greatness of her Empire. Under these circumstances, I cannot hesitate to give a complete support to the proposition of the Government. Whether the preceding policy of the Government did encourage such a state of affairs as now exists in Ireland is a legitimate subject for future Parliamentary question and investigation; but all that the House has to consider now is, whether the statement of the present condition of Ireland made by the Secretary of State, is a correct one. Who can doubt it? Who can doubt these facts which are known in their gene- ral character to all of us? Her Majesty's Government asks us to legislate upon events and circumstances of which we ourselves are the competent judges. They do not come here as in old days with a conspiracy in a green bag to startle the country by sudden revelations into violent courses. They have given us a statement of the condition of a portion of Her Majesty's dominions of which we, from our own experience, are competent judges. I do not for one moment question the authenticity of the statement made by the Secretary of State, and I cannot for a moment hesitate as to the course I shall pursue with regard to it. But if the House consent, as I hope it will—and consent unanimously—to this proposition; if we are prepared to give the Ministry with respect to this, and to all arrangements connected with this subject, a unanimous and unwavering support, I would impress also upon the House the immense importance of the utmost promptitude of action, It is not merely that promptitude of action may prevent immediate and future calamity and mischief, but if Parliament be unanimous in supporting Her Majesty's Ministers in this proposition, and prompt in carrying the measure into effect, there is a proportionately better chance of diminishing the period during which this exceptional state of affairs is to continue. It is therefore in the interest of the liberty of Ireland itself; it is in favour of its freedom and the continuance of its privileges; that I say it is our duty and our policy if we consent, as I doubt not we shall consent to the measure of the Government, that we should support those regulations by which the passage of this measure shall be carried without a moment's delay. I trust that the House will, by its cordial and unanimous support of the Government, show to Europe that we are resolved to maintain the Majesty of the Crown of England, and that the people of this country—prepared as they are on all occasions to legislate for their fellow-subjects in Ireland in a spirit of conciliation and of justice—are resolved that no foreign conspiracy shall deprive Her Majesty of one of the most valuable portions of her dominions.


I owe an apology to the Irish Members for stepping in to make an observation to the House on this question. My strong interest in the affairs of their country, ever since I came into Parliament, will be my sufficient excuse. The Secretary of State, on the part of the Go- vernment of which he is a Member, has called us together on an unusual day and at an unusual hour, to consider a proposition of the greatest magnitude, and which we are informed is one of extreme urgency. If it be so, I hope it will not be understood that we are here merely to carry out the behests of the Administration; and that we are to be permitted, if we choose, to observe upon this measure, and if possible to say something which may mitigate the apparent harshness of the course which the Government feels itself compelled to pursue. It is now more than twenty-two years since I was first permitted to take my seat in this House. During that time I have on many occasions, with great favour, been allowed to address it, but I declare that during the whole of that period I have never risen to speak here under so strong a feeling, as a Member of the House, of shame and of humiliation, as that by which I feel myself oppressed at this moment. The Secretary of State proposes—as the right hon. Gentleman himself has said—to deprive no inconsiderable portion of the subjects of the Queen—our countrymen, within the United Kingdom—of the commonest, of the most precious, and of the most sacred right of the English Constitution, the right to their personal freedom. From the statement of the Secretary of State it is clear that this is not asked to be done, or required to be done, with reference only to a small section of the Irish people. He has named great counties, wide districts, whole provinces, over which this alleged and undoubted disaffection has spread, and has proposed that five or six millions of the inhabitants of the United Kingdom shall suffer the loss of that right of personal freedom that is guaranteed to all Her Majesty's subjects by the Constitution of these realms. Now, I do not believe that the Secretary of State has overstated his case for the purpose of inducing the House to consent to his proposition. I believe that if the majority of the people of Ireland, counted fairly out, had their will, and if they had the power, they would unmoor the island from its fastenings in the deep, and move it at least 2,000 miles to the West, And I believe, further, that if by conspiracy, or insurrection, or by that open agitation to which alone I ever would give any favour or consent, they could shake off the authority, I will not say of the English Crown, but of the Imperial Parliament, they would gladly do so. An hon. Member from Ireland a few nights ago referred to the character of the Irish people. He said, and I believe it is true, that there is no Christian nation with which we are acquainted amongst the people of which crime of the ordinary character, as we reckon it in this country, is so rare as it is amongst his countrymen. He might have said, also, that there is no people—whatever they may be at home—more industrious than his countrymen in every other country but their own. He might have said more; that they are a people of a cheerful and joyous temperament. He might have said more than this—that they are singularly grateful for kindnesses shown to them, and that of all the people of our race they are filled with the strongest sentiment of veneration. And yet, with such materials, and with such a people, after centuries of government—after sixty-five years of government by this House—you have them embittered against your rule, and anxious only to throw off the authority of the Crown and Queen of these realms. Now, this is not a single occasion we are discussing. This is merely an access of the complaint Ireland has been suffering under during the lifetime of the oldest man in this House, of chronic insurrection. No man can deny this. I dare say a large number of the Members of this House had, at the time to which the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire referred, heard the same speech on the same subject, from the same Minister to whom we have listened to-day. [Sir G. GRKY: No!] I certainly thought I heard the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department make a speech before on the same question, but he was a Minister of the Government on whose behalf a similar speech was made on the occasion referred to, and no doubt concurred in every word that was uttered by his Colleague. Sixty-five years ago this country undertook to govern Ireland. I will say nothing of the manner in which that duty was brought upon us—except this—that it was by proceedings disgraceful and corrupt to the last degree. I will say nothing of the pretences under which it was brought about but this—that the English Parliament and people, and the Irish people, too, were told, if you once get rid of the Irish Parliament it will dethrone for ever Irish factions, and with a united Parliament we shall become a united, and stronger, and happier people. Now, during these sixty-five years—and on this point I ask for the attention of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) who has just spoken—there are only three considerable measures which Parliament has passed in the interests of Ire- land. One of them was the measure of 1829, for the emancipation of the Catholics and to permit them to have seats in this House. But that measure, so just, so essential, and which, of course, is not ever to be recalled, was a measure which the chief Minister of the day, a great soldier, and a great judge of military matters, admitted was passed in the face of the menace of, and only because of, the danger of civil war. The other two measures to which I have referred are the measure for the relief of the poor, and the measure for the sale of the incumbered estates; and those measures were introduced to the House and passed through the House in the emergency of a famine more severe than any that has desolated any Christian country of the world within the last 400 years. Except on these two emergencies I appeal to every Irish Member, and to every English Member who has paid any attention to the matter, whether the statement is not true that this Parliament has done nothing for the people of Ireland. And, more than that, their complaints have been met—complaints of their sufferings have been met—often by denial, often by insult, often by contempt. And within the last few years we have heard from this very Treasury Bench observations with regard to Ireland which no friend of Ireland or of England, and no Minister of the Crown, ought to have uttered with regard to that country. Twice in my Parliamentary life this thing has been done—at least, by the close of this day will have been done—and measures of repression—measures for the suspension of the civil rights of the Irish people—have been brought into Parliament and passed with extreme and unusual rapidity. I have not risen to blame the Secretary of State, or to blame his Colleagues for the act of to-day. There may be circumstances to justify a proposition of this kind, and I am not here to deny that these circumstances now exist; but what I complain of is this: there is no statesmanship merely in acts of force and acts of repression. And more than that, I have not observed since I have been in Parliament anything on this Irish question that approaches to the dignity of statesmanship. There has been, I admit, an improved administration in Ireland. There have been Lord-Lieutenants anxious to be just, and there is one there now who is probably as anxious to do justice as any man. We have observed generally in the recent trials a better tone and temper than were ever witnessed under similar circumstances in. Ire- land before. But if I go back to the Ministers who have sat on the Treasury Beach since I first came into this House—Sir Robert Peel first, then Lord John Russell, then Lord Aberdeen, then Lord Derby, then Lord Palmerston, then Lord Derby again, then Lord Palmerston again, and now Earl Russell—I say that with regard to all these men, there has not been any approach to anything that history will describe as statesmanship on the part of the English Government towards Ireland. There were Coercion Bills in abundance—Arms Bills Session after Session—lamentations like that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) that the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act was not made perpetual by a clause which he laments was repealed. There have been Acts for the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, like that which we are now discussing; but there has been no statesmanship. Men the most clumsy, and brutal, can do these things; but we want men of higher temper—men of higher genius—men of higher patriotism to deal with the affairs of Ireland. I should like to know whether those statesmen who hold great offices have themselves comprehended the nature of this question. If they have not, they have been manifestly ignorant; and if they have comprehended it they have not dealt with it, they have concealed that which they knew from the people, and evaded the duty they owed to their Sovereign. I do not want to speak disrespectfully of men in office. It is not my custom in this House. I know something of the worrying labours to which they are subjected, and I know not how from day to day they bear the burden of the labour imposed upon them; but still I lament that those who wear the garb—enjoy the emoluments—and I had almost said usurp the dignity of statesmanship, sink themselves merely into respectable and honourable administrators, when there is a whole nation under the sovereignty of the Queen calling for all their anxious thoughts—calling for the highest exercise of the highest qualities of the statesman. I put the question to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He is the only man of this Government whom I have heard of late years that has spoken as if he comprehended this question, and he made a speech in the last Session of Parliament that was not without its influence both in England and in Ireland. I should like to ask him whether this Irish question is above the stature of himself and of his Colleagues? If it be, I ask them to come down from the high places which they occupy, and try to learn the art of legislation and government before they practise it. I believe myself, if we could divest ourselves of the feelings engendered by party strife we might come to some better result. Take the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Is there in any legislative assembly in the world a man, as the world judges, of more transcendent capacity? I will say even, is there a man with a more honest wish to do good to the country in which he occupies such a conspicuous place? Take the right hon. Gentleman opposite, the leader of the Opposition—is there in any legislative assembly in the world, at this moment, a man leading an Opposition of more genius for his position, who has given in every way but one in which proof can be given that he is competent to the highest duties of the highest offices of the State? Well, but these men, great men whom we on this side and you on that side, to a large extent, admire and follow—fight for office, and the result is they sit alternately one on this side and one on that. But suppose it were possible for these men, with their intellects, with their far-reaching vision, to examine this question thoroughly, and to say for once, whether this leads to office and to the miserable notoriety that men call fame which springs from office, or not, "If it be possible, we will act with loyalty to the Sovereign and justice to the people, and if it be possible, we will make Ireland a strength and not a weakness to the British Empire." It is on account of this fighting with party, and for party, and for the gains which party gives, that there is so little result from the great intellect of such men as these. Like the captive Samson of old, To grind in brazen fetters, under task, With their Heaven-gifted strength— and the country and the world gain little by those faculties which God has given them for the blessing of the country and the world. The Secretary of State, and the right hon. Gentleman opposite, even in stronger language, has referred to the unhappy fact that much of what now exists in Ireland has been brought there from the United States of America. That is not a fact for us to console ourselves with; it only adds to the gravity and the difficulty of this question. You may depend upon it that if the Irish in America, having left this country, settle there with so strong a hostility to us, they have had their reasons—and if being there with that feeling of affection for their native country which in all other cases in which we are not concerned we admire and reverence, they interfere in Ireland and stir up there the sedition that now exists, depend upon it there is in the condition of Ireland a state of things which greatly favours their attempts. There can be no continued fire without fuel, and all the Irish in America, and all the citizens of America, united together, with all their organization and all their vast resources, would not in England or in Scotland raise the very slightest flame of sedition or of insurrectionary movement. I want to know why they can do it in Ireland? Are you to say, as some people say in America and in Jamaica when speaking of the black man, that "Nothing can be made of the Irishman?" Everything can be made of him in every country but his own. When he has passed through the American school—I speak of him as a child, or in the second generation of the Irish emigrant in that country—he is as industrious, as frugal, as independent, as loyal, as good a citizen of the American republic, as any man born within the dominions of that Power. Why is it not so in Ireland? I have asked the question before, and I will ask it again—it is a pertinent question, and it demands an answer. Why is it that no Scotchman who leaves Scotland—and the Scotch have been taunted and ridiculed for being so fond of leaving their country for a better climate and a better soil—how comes it, I ask, that no Scotchman who emigrates to the United States, and no Englishman who plants himself there, cherishes the smallest hostility to the people, to the institutions or to the Government of his native country? Why does every Irishman who leaves his country and goes to the United States immediately settle himself down there, resolved to better his condition in life, but with a feeling of ineradicable hatred to the laws and institutions of the land of his birth? Is not that a fit question for statesmanship? If the Secretary of State, since his last measure was brought in, now eighteen years ago, had had time, in the multiplicity of his duties, to consider this question, possibly, instead of now moving for the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, he might have been rejoicing at the universal loyalty which prevailed, not throughout Great Britian only, but throughout the whole population of Ireland. I spent two autumns in Ireland in the years 1849 and 1852, and I recollect making a speech in this House not long afterwards, which some persons thought was not very wide of the mark. I recommended the Ministers of that time to take an opportunity to hold an Irish Session of the Imperial Parliament—to have no great questions discussed connected with the ordinary matters which are brought before us, but to keep Parliament to the consideration of this Irish question solely, and to deal with those great matters which are constant sources of complaint; and I said that a Session that was so devoted to such a blessed and holy work, would be a Session, if it were successful, that would stand forth in all our future history as one of the noblest which had ever passed in the annals of the Imperial Parliament. Now, Sir, a few days ago everybody in this House, with two or three exceptions, was taking an oath at that table. It is called the oath of allegiance. It is meant at once to express loyalty and to keep men loyal. I do not think it generally does bind men to loyalty, if they have not loyalty without it. I hold loyalty to consists, in a country like this, as much in doing justice to the people as in guarding the Crown—for I believe there is no guardianship of the Crown, in a country like this, where the Crown is not supposed to rest absolutely upon force, so safe as that of which we know more in our day probably than has been known in former periods of our history, when the occupant of the Throne is respected, admired, and loved by the general people. Now, how comes it that those great statesmen whom I have named, with all their Colleagues, some of them as eminent almost as their leaders, have never tried what they could do—have never shown their loyalty to the Crown by endeavouring to make the Queen as safe in the hearts of the people of Ireland as she is in the hearts of the people of England and of Scotland. Bear in mind that the Queen of England can do almost nothing in these matters. By our Constitution the Crown can take no direct part in them. The Crown cannot direct the policy of the Government—nay, the Crown cannot, without the consent of this House, even select its Ministers; therefore the Crown is helpless in this matter. And we have in this country a Queen, who, in all the civilized nations of the world is looked upon as a model of a Sovereign, and yet her name and fame are discredited and dishonoured by circumstances such as those which have twice during her reign called us together to agree to a proposition like that which is brought before us to-day. Now, there is an instructive anecdote to be found in the annals of the Chinese Empire. In a remote province there was an insurrection. The Emperor put down the insurrection, but he abased and humbled himself before his people, and said that if he had been guilty of neglect he acknowledged his guilt, and he humbled himself before those on whom he had brought the evil of an insurrection in one of his provinces. The Queen of these realms is not so responsible. She cannot thus humble herself; but I say that your statesmen for the last sixty—for the last forty—years are thus guilty, and they ought to humble themselves be-fore the people of this country for their neglect. But I have heard from Members in this House—I have seen much writing in newspapers—and I have heard of speeches elsewhere, in which some of us, who advocate what we believe to be a great and high morality in public affairs, are; charged with dislike to the institutions, and even disloyalty to the dynasty which rules in England. There can be nothing more offensive, nothing more unjust, nothing more utterly false. We who ask Parliament, in dealing with Ireland, to deal with it upon the unchangeable principles of justice, are the friends of the people, and the really loyal advisers and supporters of the Throne. All history teaches us that it is not in human nature that men should be content under any system of legislation, and of institutions such as exists in Ireland. You may pass this Bill, you may put the Home Secretary's 500 men into gaol—you may do all this, and suppress the conspiracy and put down the insurrection, but the moment it is suppressed there will still remain the germs of this malady, and from those germs will grow up as heretofore another crop of insurrection and another harvest of misfortune. And it may be that those who sit here eighteen years after this moment will find another Ministry and another Secretary of Ltate to propose to you another administration of the same ever-failing and ever-poisonous medicine. I say there is a mode of making Ireland loyal. I say that the Parliament of England having abolished the Parliament of Ireland is doubly bound to examine what that mode is, and, if it can discover it, to adopt it. I say that the Minister who occupies office in this country, merely that he may carry on the daily routine of Administration, who dares not grapple with this question, who dares not go into Opposi- tion, and who will sit anywhere except where he can tell his mind freely to the House and the country, may have a high position in this country, but he is not a statesman, nor is he worthy of the name. Sir, I shall not oppose the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman. The circumstances, I presume, are such that the course which is about to be pursued is perhaps the only merciful course for Ireland. But I suppose it is not the intention of the Government, in the case of persons who are arrested, and against whom any just complaint can be made, to do anything more than that which the ordinary law permits, and that when men are brought to trial they will be brought to trial with all the fairness and all the advantages which the ordinary law gives. I should say what was most unjust to the Gentlemen sitting on that (the Treasury) Bench, if I said aught else than that I believe they are as honestly disposed to do right in this matter as I am and as I have ever been. I implore them, if they can, to shake off the trammels of doubt and fear with regard to this question, and to say something that may be soothing—something that may give hope to Ireland. I voted the other night with the hon. Member for Tralee (The O'Donoghue). We were in a very small minority. ["Hear, hear!"] Yes, I have often been in small minorities. The hon. Gentleman would have been content with a word of kindness and of sympathy, not for conspiracy, but for the people of Ireland. That word was not inserted in the Queen's Speech, and to-night the Home Secretary has made a speech urging the House to the course which, I presume, is about to be pursued; but he did not in that speech utter a single sentence with regard to a question which lies behind, and is greater and deeper than that which he discussed. I hope, Sir, that if Ministers feel themselves bound to take this course of suspending the common rights of personal freedom to a whole nation, at least they will not allow this debate to close without giving to us and to that nation some hope that before long measures will be considered and will be introduced which will tend to create the same loyalty in Ireland that exists in Great Britain. If every man outside the walls of this House who has the interest of the whole Empire at heart were to speak here, what would he say to this House? Let not one day elapse, let not another Session pass, until yon have done something to wipe off this blot—for blot it is upon the reign of the Queen, and scandal it is to the civilization and to the justice of the people of this country.


The question, Sir, which rises in my mind after the speech of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down (Mr. Bright) is, why that speech was made? Was it for the purpose of smoothing the difficulties in our way, or of conciliating Ireland? To my mind, Sir, the purpose was mere mischief. No one is more ready than I am to acknowledge that the reign of England over Ireland has been for centuries a reign of misrule, and I do not believe that centuries of misrule can be wiped out by a small number of years of good Government. Such I maintain to be the actual state of Ireland. I admit that for ages there has been misrule; but I assert, in the face of the hon. Member for Birmingham, that there has been for the last thirty years great and careful consideration bestowed by this House upon her interests, and that no appeal has been made to us in support of measures tending to her real welfare to which we have not listened. That being so, we have a speech like that of the hon. Gentleman complaining from beginning to end of the miseries of Ireland, urging that something must be done, while the hon. Member never puts his finger on a single grievance, and never points out a single measure which it is expedient that we should adopt. Sir, it is all very well to be an admirable declaimer—it is all very well in pathetic tones to lament over the miseries of Ireland; but in what, I would ask, do these miseries consist? I will, step by step, go through the present condition of that country, and compare it with that of England. First and foremost there has been in Ireland for the last twenty-five or thirty years as perfect personal liberty as in any other portion of Her Majesty's dominions. Property is defended in Ireland by the same safeguards as it is in England. Complete freedom is given there as here to every man in his intellect and his endeavour to make his way in the world. There is no restraint placed upon Irishmen which is not also imposed upon Englishmen. But then, Sir, the great grievance of Ireland is said to be the Irish Church Establishment. Now, I should like to know from the hon. Member for Birmingham whether he does not feel the maintenance of an Established Church here to be as great a grievance to himself and those who share his religious views as the Irish Church is to the Irish Roman Catholics? [Mr. BRIGHT: Not at all.] Why not? The Dissenters in England claim to be more than half the population of the country. The endowments of the Irish Church were originally Roman Catholic endowments; so were the endowments of the Church of England. What, then, is the difference between the two Establishments? The Irish Church cannot, I contend, be the cause of the present state of Ireland, and I ask myself where that cause is to be found. I am about to say something that may give offence. At this moment the people of England are, I maintain, anxious to do justice to Ireland, and to provide for her good Government. They are met, in seeking to secure that object, by great difficulties. To whom, under those circumstances, ought they to apply for aid and advice? To the educated people of Ireland. Well, Sir, I heard a Gentleman sitting behind me (The O'Donoghue) say, on the first or second night of the Session, that he did not blame the Fenians. No; for I suppose he is in his heart a Fenian. And what is the course taken in this House by those Gentlemen who call themselves the Liberal Members for Ireland? Why, Sir, there is one eternal whine about the miseries of their country. "Something" they say "must be done"—using exactly the phraseology of the hon. Member for Birmingham; but when you come to ask what that something is no answer is returned. [Cries of "Tenant-right."] Why should we not, I should like to know, have tenant-right in England? Why is it that an Irish landed proprietor should be placed upon a different footing from the same class of men in this country? Nobody has given an answer to that question, and I should wish the next hon. Gentleman who treats us to a tirade about tenant-right in Ireland would let us have some explanation on that point. There is another point also on which I shall, with the permission of the House, say a few words—it relates to the Roman Catholic priesthood. The Roman Catholic clergy have, up to a very late period, preached sedition in Ireland. They have taught the Irish people to hate the English name. They find, however, that they have carried the thing a little too far, and that they have done a mischief which recoils upon themselves. Now, forsooth, they are wonderfully loyal; oh yes, Sir, loyal when danger knocks at their own doors, but for years they have been preaching sedition. ["No, no!"] I say "Yes." There is, I think, under all circumstances of the case, not very much difficulty in accounting for the present condition of Ireland. It has un- fortunately been the fashion among a certain class of politicians to preach up what is called nationality; but no great empire was ever made up of one nationality. That is done by the combination of nationalities, and he who seeks to propagate the contrary doctrine, and thus to dissever a nation, is not a statesman. England is made up of four nationalities—England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. Two of these—England and Scotland—are really amalgamated. I cannot say much for the amalgamation of the Welsh, while the Irish people have hitherto been taught that their connection with England has been a great injury to their country. Here, however, in the face of the world, I assert that Ireland, if left to herself, would afford such a spectacle of misery as mankind have never witnessed. Why, Sir, the power of England would not have been withdrawn a single hour, when within her own shores a civil war would break out. The north would rise against the south, and in my belief the north would put down the south. Ireland is great because of her connection with England. She is now well governed. I should like to have a specific answer—avoiding all lamentation and idle vapid declamation—to the question what more there is which we can do to promote her interest? I want to see a programme laid down of measures which would be for her real benefit, and not to be treated to a lofty oratorical style of talking to the Treasury Bench, biding those who sit upon it to come down from their high places, and all that sort of thing. If such measures as those which I have indicated should be proposed, and the House of Commons should refuse to pass them, then, indeed, the representatives of Ireland would have good cause to complain. As regards the present Bill, I would simply say that the sooner it is passed the better. At the present moment, Ireland is not fit for self-Government. The Irish people have displayed that unfitness from the first hour they had the power to govern placed in their hands. It is a mistake to suppose, as Englishmen so generally believe, that the institutions which are good for our own country must be good for all the world. You may join together two peoples like those of England and Ireland, of totally dissimilar characters, but the union does not form a true alliance. Let Irishmen learn, as they ought to learn, through their educated classes, in what their happiness really consists, and how much it is promoted by the union with England. When they have done that, Sir, I, for one, shall have no apprehension of such declamation as that to which we have just listened.


Sir, I am so deeply sensible of the urgency so properly impressed upon us by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department, and I am so sensible of the responsibility that rests upon every one of us, and of the duty of passing this measure rapidly through, that nothing but the great surprise—the astonishment—I felt at some of the statements of the hon. Member for Birmingham, and the regret which others caused, would have induced me to trespass for a moment upon the House. But as the hon. Member for Birmingham appealed to the Irish Members, because of the deep interest he takes in Irish affairs, I, another English Member, venture to address a few words to him as well as to them, not with the view of provoking, but, on the contrary, of allaying irritation. I, Sir, must express my surprise that the hon. Member fur Birmingham, upon an occasion when it is admitted that time is so valuable, should have made that the occasion for provoking dissensions among us by raising a discussion upon Irish grievances. The Secretary of State has told us that the conspiracy in Ireland is formidable and extending, and he asks us to give the Government fresh powers to check it. How does the hon. Member for Birmingham assist the Government? By delivering himself of a speech that he had prepared for the Motion of the hon. Member for Tralee (The O'Donoghue) the other night. I listened with the utmost attention to his speech, and from the beginning to the end I could not discover upon which side his sympathies were engaged—whether in favour of the Government that wishes to put down this conspiracy, or in favour of the conspirators. To be sure he did not say he was in favour of the conspiracy; but he took very good care to say that he thought there was a great deal to justify it. He appealed to his previous speeches; he said— I do not justify conspiracy, but every year the people of Ireland are insulted by a dominant Church. I do not tell you rebellion is justifiable, but the country is cursed in the hands of cruel and rapacious landlords.


I rise to order. I have only to say that in the last two sentences of the hon. Gentleman there is not one word of mine. I presume that the hon. Member is delivering a speech that he prepared for the other occasion.


I appeal to the House whether the hon. Gentleman did not more than once refer to previous speeches that he has made in this House on the Church and Land questions, and if it was not upon those speeches, and upon the part which he took in reference to the Incumbered Estates Court, that he founded his claim to the gratitude of Irishmen. At any rate, the hon. Gentleman said that he would give the Government the benefit of his support. He said he would support them on the present occasion. [Mr. BRIGHT: No!] Then I am to take it that he will not support the Government. At any rate, though I do not know what amount of value they might have placed on his vote, I am certain of this—that the Fenian conspirators will place a great deal of value upon his speech, I am quite sure that that speech will be very valuable to them. Sir, that speech did not surprise me, for I know, from what has often taken place here that whenever English authority comes into any collision with foreign interests in any part of the world, the conclusion of the hon. Member for Birmingham has always been that England is in the wrong and the enemies of England always in the right. I do not deny the patriotism of the hon. Member; but it seems to be a patriotism of that kind so well described by Canning, in the Anti-Jacobin—and that he is one of those Patriots of the world alone, And friends of every country but their own. But what particularly made me rise was a phrase which the hon. Gentleman used, and which certainly did surprise me. He said that since Catholic emancipation, except the Incumbered Estates Act and the Poor Law Act, England had done nothing for Ireland. This means, in fact, that Ireland is still in the same state that it then was. And he told us, in the same breath, that he had been twenty-two years a Member of this House. Well, I have been here for that time also; and when he was referring to the state of Ireland with pain and humiliation, I could not help thinking that it should fill him with pain and humiliation to have made such a statement. No man who has sat in this House for so many years can fail to see the changes that have taken place in the state of things regarding Ireland. Let me then point out in a few words what was the state of Ireland at that time. No sooner did winter set in than we heard of bloodshed, outrage, and murder; of which every post brought such a catalogue that the atrocities only varied in degree. The Royal Speeches had constantly to refer to such outrages. Every Minister brought in a Coercion Bill or an Arms Act. The debates on Irish affairs took up more time than all the other affairs of the Empire together. The Irish Members sat aloof, as if there was still an imaginary Channel between them and the Scotch and English Members, and they thought they were disliked by the House. There was then an army in Ireland of 60,000, 80,000, or 100,000 men; and Ireland was at that time a constant source of menace and expense. Is not this changed now? How often do we now hear of murders in Ireland? Are they not the exception, not the rule? How long is it since the Queen's Speech referred to crimes and outrages in Ireland? How long is it since a Minister asked us for the suspension of law? How is Irish business now conducted in this House? Is it not as smoothly and as efficiently done as Scotch or English business? Whether you take a Scotch or English Member, is not their interest in matters which immediately refer to the county of Cork or Mayo as friendly and sincere as any they take in matters directly affecting their own country? What, again, is the army we now keep in Ireland, and how often does it come into collision with the people? And yet, after all, why are these grievances to be raked up against us today? They are the growth of bygone centuries, and you cannot expect that the grievances of centuries can be corrected in a day. Sir, when the Member for Birmingham reproaches the House of Commons for all this, I do not see how he is less to blame than those on whom he cast that blame. There have been during twenty-two years many beneficent measures passed; but I do not know that those who struggled for them received any great assistance from the hon. Member for Birmingham. On questions, indeed, connected with the land, when Philippics were to be uttered against the landlords of Ireland, the hon. Member was always to be seen in his place; but when sensation speeches were not to be delivered, I can testify that the hon. Member for Birmingham has generally been conspicuous from his absence. There have been occasions when beneficial measures were proposed, as to some of which he was negligent and as to others obstructive. He has referred, and the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) has also referred, to the state of the Irish priesthood, who, he says, possess—and from my knowledge of them I can say fully deserve—the veneration of their flocks. Now, one of the most important questions connected with this subject ever considered in this House is that of a State provision for the priesthood to whom the people are so much attached. I have always been, with many friends of mine, in favour of that State provision; but I have always found when the Member for Birmingham was present on these occasions he has gone into the lobby with the supporters of the No Popery cry, and voted on the side of illiberality and intolerance. [Mr. BRIGHT: No!] I state positively what I know as a fact, and I challenge the hon. Gentleman to refute it. I have attended too long and closely to these Irish affairs, not to know the course which every prominent man has taken in regard to them, and when the late Sir Robert Peel brought forward that wise and provident measure for improving the position of the College of Maynooth, the hon. Member for Birmingham was one of his opponents. Does he deny it? He voted with the supporters of the "No Popery" cry. I can only repeat from my own knowledge that the hon. Member for Birmingham has been found in his place when grievances were to be alleged or agitation promoted, but I know of no occasion during the last twenty years in which the hon. Gentleman had originated a Motion himself for political improvement of that country. Approving as I do entirely of the course the Government has pursued, I cannot agree with one criticism made by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli), who found fault with the Government for allowing the repeal last year of an obsolete law. Now, I hold they are not blamable for that. That law was existing in 1848; the Government then dared not avail themselves of it, and I believe the House would have been extremely astonished if they had now suspended the law in Ireland by means of that Act. I can only say, when the hon. Member for Birmingham appeals to the people of Ireland on account of his own services, I, looking back to what has taken place, cannot regard him as a benefactor in the past, or a safe guide in the future.


Sir, the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) has this day delivered a speech which, notwithstanding the censures that have been pronounced upon it, I shall take leave to describe as one of the most generous, most true, and most noble utterances which it has ever been my fortune to listen to. The hon. Member required to make no apology to Ireland and to the Irish Members for intruding himself into this debate; and I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the speech he has delivered here to-day will increase that attachment which is universally and profoundly felt for him in my country; and I will say, that though he has been accused of entertaining a sympathy for, and of being a sort of patron of Fenians in this House, he is, on the contrary, a most formidable enemy not only of the Fenians, but of every species of Irish disaffection. It is with unaffected reluctance that I rise for the first time in this House to express sentiments which I know have not the sympathy of the overwhelming majority of the House, and to express my dissent from the proposal which has been made here to-day by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department. My reluctance to oppose the measure is mainly due to the indications on the part of the present Government of a better feeling towards Ireland than has characterized the counsels of former Administrations. I entertain no constitutional scruples on this matter. I am one of those who think that a good Government ought to be cheerfully armed by those who have the happiness to live under it with every power that may be necessary for its preservation. I have no sympathy with Fenianism, and those who have had an occasion to investigate the transactions and the peculiar literature of that movement must know very well that I am one of the most prominent objects of the hostility of its leaders. I believe I was the only candidate at the last general election in Ireland that had to encounter the organized opposition of the Fenians. But I did encounter it on the hustings; and I appeal to my hon. Colleague the Member for Tipperary (Mr. Moore), who is himself not a Fenian, whether I did not so meet that opposition, whether I did not defy it, and conquer it. The facility with which I overcame it in one of its reputed strongholds has always made me sceptical of the force which has been popularly attributed to this movement. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, the leader of the Opposition, says he will support the Bill in the belief that the Fenian movement has no connection with the grievances of Ireland. Now, I know that that is true in one sense—namely, that whatever this House might do would not satisfy the leaders of that movement; but then, on the other hand, I know that whatever force there may be in Fenianism for mischief, that force is derived from the general disaffection of the Irish people arising from the misgovernment of the country. Nothing but the strong and deep-seated conviction that Ireland has been sadly misgoverned, and that to the misgovernment of Ireland the disturbances that exist in that country are attributable, could justify in my own conscience my opposition to this Bill. A good Government is one of the greatest blessings any country can enjoy, and in proportion to its value would be the wickedness of any attempt to overthrow it, and in the same proportion ought to be the zeal of every good citizen in coming to its defence. But in Ireland we have not had good government; and although the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield has challenged a detailed statement of Irish grievances, I consider it would be out of place to enter into such a statement on this occasion; but I must say that the Irish people feel bitterly that the laws which are made by the Imperial Parliament have been generally made in the interests of a class and against the people. They all, no doubt, felt, as the hon. and learned Gentleman had said, that property has been amply secured in Ireland; but they felt, on the other hand, that the rights of labour had been left to take care of themselves, and after all it was on the rights of industry and labour that the rights of property ultimately rested. I will do no more than refer to the ecclesiastical institutions with which we are blessed in Ireland, and I will put it to the country and the House, if such institutions existed in any other country under the sun under the same circumstances, whether the universal voice of the English public would not pronounce them to be a sufficient justification not merely for discontent, but insurrection. But it may be said that this is not a time for raising such a question; that the question which presses for an answer now is how the Fenian conspiracy in Ireland, which is directed against the Government, against property, and against religion, is to be put down? But the House ought to remember, as the hon. Member for Birmingham had said, that this question as to how Irish disaffection was to be dealt with is not now for the first time pressing for an answer. It will be in the recollection of many hon. Members that for some ten years immediately preceding the appearance of this Fenian conspiracy, Ireland was in a state of the most perfect repose, and it was a subject of universal congratulation in the English press that Ireland had forgotten her grievances, had ceased to complain, had turned her attention to the pursuits of industry, and had become one of the most loyal portions of Her Majesty's dominions. I want to know in what state Ireland must be before she is fit to receive her full measure of justice at the hands of the Imperial Parliament. If she is silent and there is an absence of complaint, then the inference is that she has no grievance to complain of. On the other hand, if she is turbulent and seditious, then it is said that it would not be compatible with the dignity of the Imperial Government to make any concession under such circumstances. It seems to me that the only appropriate time for doing justice is always the present hour; and until the Government of this country give some specific assurance that they mean to do justice to Ireland I, for one, cannot aid them in any effort to quell the discontent and disaffection which have been caused by the denial of justice. I thank the hon. Member for Birmingham for his manly expression of sentiment this day, and can only regret that so little justice should be done to a man to whom English industry is so much indebted. Discontent and disaffection are not always unmixed evils. To disaffection England is indebted for the great Reform Bill, and the career of the hon. Member for Birmingham is some proof that popular discontent sometimes works good; for if the hon. Member had not exerted himself to excite popular discontent the industry of England might still be suffering under the burden of the Corn Laws. Popular discontent does this service to society, that it renders the infliction of wrong troublesome and sometimes very costly; and those who were either active in the infliction of wrong, or acquiesced in its infliction, had little right to claim aid in their efforts to evade the natural and just consequence of their own misconduct. For this reason I venture to protest against the measure which is now before the House, but in doing so I entirely repudiate any desire to offer a factious opposition to it.


said, that some asperity had been introduced into this discussion which he should not imitate. The occasion was one for deep grief, not for irritation. He agreed with the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) that this Bill was a cause for shame and humiliation to this country. We were present at the collapsing of a great delusion. England had for a considerable number of years been flattering itself that the Irish people had come to their senses"; that they were now sensible that they had got Catholic Emancipation and the Incumbered Estates Bill, which were the only things they could possibly want; and had become aware that a nation could not have anything to complain of when it was under such beneficent rulers as us, who, if we do but little for them, would so gladly do much if we only knew how. We all knew that in times past England had been unjust to Ireland. Of that national sin this nation had repented; and we were not now conscious of any other feelings towards Ireland than those which were perfectly honest and benevolent, and he did not say this of one party, or of one side of the House only, he said it of all. But we had fallen into the mistake of thinking that good intentions were enough. We had been in the habit of saying pleasant things on this subject in the hearing of foreigners, till, from iteration, foreigners were beginning to believe that Ireland was no longer our weak point—England's vulnerable spot—the portion of our territory where we might perhaps be successfully assailed, and which, in any case, by neutralizing a great portion of our available force, disabled us from doing anything to resist any iniquity which it might he sought to perpetrate in Europe. This pleasing delusion was now at an end. Every foreigner, every continental writer, would believe for many years to come that Ireland was a country constantly on the brink of revolution, held down by an alien nationality, and kept in subjection by brute force. ["No, no!"] He did not mean that he shared that opinion; he disclaimed it. He hardly knew to what to compare the position of England towards Ireland, but some illustration of his meaning might be drawn from the practice of flogging. Flogging in some few cases was probably a necessary abomination, because there were some men and boys whom long persistence in evil had so brutalized and perverted that no other punishment had any chance of doing them good. But when any man in authority—whether he was the captain of a ship or the commander of a regiment, or the master of a school, needed the instrument of flogging to maintain his authority—that man deserved flogging as much as any of those who were flogged by his orders. He was not prepared to vote against granting to Her Majesty's Government the powers which, in the state to which Ireland had been brought, they declared to be absolutely necessary. He was not responsible—they were. They did not bring Ireland into its present state—they found it so, through the misgovernment of centuries and the neglect of half a century. He did not agree with his hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham in thinking that Her Majesty's Ministers, if they could not devise some remedy for the evils of Ireland, were bound to leave their seats on the Treasury Bench and devote themselves to learning statesmanship. From whom were they to learn it? From the Gentlemen opposite, who would be their successors, and who, if they were to propose anything which his hon. Friend or himself would consider as remedies for Irish evils, would not allow them to pass it? The Government had to deal with things as they were, and not with things as they might wish them to be. He did not believe that the power granted to the Government would be strained beyond the necessity of the case. He would not suggest a suspicion that tyranny and oppression would be practised. He knew there would be nothing of the kind, at least with their cognizance or connivance. He was not afraid that they would make a Jamaica in Ireland; and, to say truth, the fountains of his indignation had been so drained by what had taken place in that unfortunate island that he had none left for so comparatively small a matter as arbitrary imprisonment. When, however, the immediate end had been effected, he hoped that we should not again go to sleep for fifty years, and that we should not continue to meet every proposal for the benefit of Ireland with that eternal"non possumus" which, translated into English, meant, "We don't do it in England." If his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sheffield thought that nothing was now amiss in Ireland except the Irish Church, he would be likely to hear much more on the subject before long, if he would only listen.


I can speak of my own knowledge that my hon. Friend has no Fenian sympathies. We travelled together through Ireland, and we saw a good deal last autumn. He met with opposition in all directions from that party. The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield has taunted the hon. Member for Birmingham, and those who advocate the cause of Ireland, with not having suggested what the measures are which ought to be taken for restoring peace and prosperity to that part of the Empire. In reply, I will say, that the measures most required have reference to the land question, which is the question that most deeply affects the industry of the country, and to the abolition of the supremacy of the Established Church. These are the real measures to bring back peace and restore order to the country.


, speaking for all those who were interested in authority, property, and religion in Ireland, declared that they were prepared as one man to give their full support to the Government in the powers they now asked for. If, at the recent great meeting held in Dublin, they did not call for the measure now under consideration, it was because they knew the day was not far distant when such a request would be made. The only reason why they did not call upon the Lord Lieutenant to exercise his authority at that time was, that they had complete confidence in the sagacity and in the readiness of the noble Lord to adopt such measures as were necessary for the security of Ireland. If this question had been considered one of importance on previous occasions, every time it came before the House its importance was increased. Up to a recent period, the wise measures which Parliament had passed had produced signs of revival and improvement in Ireland; but these had been interfered with by the Fenian movement, which from his visit to America he had no hesitation in declaring to be of foreign origin. One of the consequences of the cessation of the war in America had been that a number of restless spirits had been thrown into idleness and inaction, and the result had been what might have been anticipated. The ancient policy of the country had been galvanized by the American war, and had taken the form of rebellion. It was the material Crown of this country that was aimed at, and to dissever Ireland from the English rule. But the policy adopted in the present Motion was an antiquated and obsolete policy, and was not the policy which had been inaugurated for the last twenty years. However, it was absolutely necessary that they should en- deavour, by all the support they could give to Her Majesty's Government, to put down what was in all its aspects a wicked and most mischievous thing.


said, he was certain that if the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) had said anything in his speech that was calculated to produce mischief, the House would feel that he owed a most ample apology to the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield for having intruded upon his special domain. He did not expect when he came into the House that day that he would hear any Fenian speeches; but he regretted to say that he had heard from the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield one of the strongest Fenian speeches it was ever his misfortune to have listened to. He (Sir John Gray) had no sympathy with Fenianism, and no sympathy with the members of that wicked and foolish conspiracy. From his personal knowledge of the means proposed to be used by the Fenian conspirators, he could not say with his hon. Friend the Member for Cork (Mr. Maguire) that there was much either of virtue or of honour connected with the movement, in fact or in sympathy. He regarded the Fenians, judging of them by their own avowal, as men who were banded together for the purpose of assailing property of every kind. ["No, no!"] Some Gentlemen might say "No, no!" but he (Sir John Gray) spoke from facts within his own knowledge, and he repeated that it was avowed by these men that a general assault upon the persons and property of either priest or layman who opposed them was not only legitimate but laudable. The Fenians had honoured him by associating him in an indictment with the Archbishop of Dublin, for having given publicity to the opinions of the Archbishop, warning his flock against the criminal designs of those men, which he said were based on a desire to upset the rights of property, and even to deal summarily with the lives of all who differed from them or opposed themselves to their projects. He was charged with being a co-conspirator, to use the legal phrase, with the Archbishop of Dublin, for the purpose of preventing the Fenians from getting a fair trial in their own country, and he had to defend himself in the law courts of the country against that charge. In doing this he had to go carefully into the whole of their proceedings, read all their documents and proclamations, and from the knowledge he thus acquired he would not hesitate to pledge himself to the veracity of the statement that the property and life of all laymen and clergymen who opposed them were distinctly pointed out as proper objects for Fenian assault in Ireland. He had not intended to intrude on the House that day, but having heard the mischievous and unwarranted attack of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield on the Catholic clergy as a body, he felt justified in asking the House was it not true that the whole of the Catholic episcopal body in Ireland, and that every dignitary of the Catholic Church, every priest even of that faith, had joined in denouncing these objects, and had laudably exerted their influence in warning their people against being identified with these destructive projects. That being so, he was, he submitted, justified in saying that a more mischievous or a more Fenian speech could not have been uttered than that in which the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield assailed the Catholic clergy; nor could a more unfounded charge be made than that of accusing them of being the abettors of sedition and sympathizers of the Fenian movement. He asked the House to bear in mind that in the rebellion of '98 the Catholic clergy were the active friends of order. In the attempted revolution of 1848, the leaders of which were men of intellect and generous impulses, the Catholic clergy had been conspicuous in restraining their flocks from joining in the insurrectionary movement (organized by the Presbyterian revolutionists of Ulster). ["No, no!"] Hon. Gentlemen who thought that no good could come from a Catholic ecclesiastic or any person of the Catholic party might say "No, no!" but it would be remembered that the Catholic clergy were assailed by many of the leaders of the '48 party, and that the failure of that movement was attributed by these leaders to their opposition. In America and in Canada some of the Catholic clergy were doomed by exiles as the great obstacles to their success. He asked those who heard unprovoked attack, to deal with the facts of the case under the consideration of the House, and say to whom did they owe most for the preservation of peace and the preventing a Fenian outbreak in Ireland. Was it not to the Catholic clergy! And he would ask what would be thought by the Irish people when they read the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman who once was recognized in that country, and in this House, as a leader of the Liberal party, but who, descending from his former elevated position, had no better occupation than that of vituperating. When a man of the transcendant ability of the hon. Member for Birmingham, who stood up in that House to demand in the name of England and her Liberal constituencies that Ireland be governed on just and equitable principles, to endorse the eulogium on the conduct of the Catholic clergy pronounced by the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what would the people of Ireland say on hearing that a gentleman who once called himself a Member of the Liberal party had vituperated that man for pleading for Ireland, and had assailed the Catholic clergy—the loyal men who stood by the Government of the country and the peace of the country, and who endeavoured to prevent this attempted revolution getting to the position in which it now is. While the Government asked for these extraordinary powers, he hoped they would at the same time give an assurance to the people, who are loyal and steady and refuse to be identified with revolutionary projects, that they intend to put an end to the causes which had led many to sympathize with the present movement, and to palliate conduct which they could not approve. The true way and the only way permanently to crush these insurrectionary movements was to do justice to the country and thus destroy the trade of revolutionists. The friends of peace expect a promise to that effect from the Government. The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield said the country had nothing to complain of. But was it nothing that during sixty years of British Parliamentary rule there had been sustained in Ireland an ascendancy of the most cruel, obstinate, and galling character? Was it nothing that the whole ecclesiastical revenues of the country were absorbed by a small minority of the people—a minority who could look back on nothing they had ever done for the country, and who had done everything ingenuity could devise to increase the natural feeling of discontent and disappointment entertained by the masses of the people at their being ruled by men who, though living amongst them, treated them as a conquered race, with whom they could have no sympathy? ["No, no!"] He repeated that they were ruled by an ascendancy class who resided amongst them as conquerors, and who had no sympathy with them.


rose to Order.


said, the hon. Member for Kilkenny was in order.


said, he was obliged to the hon. Gentleman who had called him to order, because the rebuke their hon. Speaker had administered to that hon. Gentleman showed that he it was who was transgressing the rules of order and debate. He would, therefore, again venture to repeat that those who ruled in Ireland as a hostile though resident ascendancy over the masses of the people of Ireland, and those who had grasped to themselves nearly all the places of power, of authority, and emolument, including the ecclesiastical property of the people, had no sympathy with the masses of the Irish population, and were the real promoters of disaffection. When the proceedings of that House were made known in Ireland he regretted to say it would be seen that when an English representative of transcendant power and ability pleaded in this House for justice to the Irish race and nation, with an eloquence that was as much to be admired as was the broad statesmanship that inspired it, there were to be found Members calling themselves Liberal who delighted in pouring out upon that great and gifted man their invectives, and in assailing him for no other offence than that of asking that the Irish people be ruled with justice and with equity.


begged to thank his hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) for the speech which he had delivered to-day—a speech which, he was certain, if acted upon would be a serious blow to Fenianism, and which he was happy to think justified the efforts he had frequently made to induce his countrymen not to despair, and to convince them that they might yet expect justice from Parliament and the English people. The line of argument taken by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) was no doubt very satisfactory to himself, for it simply consisted in saying what his opinion was, and that he did not care who differed from him. The hon. and learned Gentleman's reasoning did not, however, appear to him to be very forcible or logical. He simply asserted that there were no causes of disaffection; but when he found these who ought to know something about the state of Ireland—the people of Ireland—saying that there were causes of disaffection, he attached no importance whatever to the hare assertion of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield. In anything he (The O'Donoghue) might say, he wished it to be understood that he was not influenced in the slightest degree by what the Fenians wanted or what they might do. What he asked for might not satisfy them; but if what he asked for was conceded—if the Government were willing to inquire into the causes of the disaffection with a view to their removal, and promised to adopt such a course, what the Fenians might think, and what they might do, would be of no importance whatever. He was convinced, however, that robbery and murder were not the motives of the organizers of the movement. He attached no weight to that allegation, because he knew that similar charges had been made against all those who at any time had endeavoured to bring about a national movement in Ireland. They were made against O'Connell, and they were made—if he might be allowed to say so—against the hon. Member for Kilkenny (Sir John Gray) himself, when he was a distinguished inmate of Richmond Bridewell. Statements of that kind were no doubt useful in throwing discredit on the movement, but he maintained that when those statements were without foundation, it was discreditable to those who used them. If the House was inclined to support Her Majesty's Government in their determination to invest with despotic power the nervous and bewildered officials of Dublin Castle, it was quite evident that no opposition which he could offer could be of any avail; but although he was most unwilling to do anything factious or to occupy at any length the time of the House, when to do so would be utterly useless, he could not forget his right nor neglect the duty of declaring that coercion was not what Ireland required—that it would create a panic and intensify disaffection; and that the ordinary constitutional powers at the disposal of the Government, if placed in the hands of men of nerve and judgment, would be amply sufficient to meet any emergency that could arise. When the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department on the previous evening told them he was about to give notice of a Motion which concerned Ireland, he was reminded of the speech of the hon. Gentleman who seconded the Address in answer to the Speech from the Throne; but when the right hon. Gentleman rose, and without a single explanatory observation, but in a manner which certainly did not seem to correspond with the gravity or the awful nature of the announcement he was about to make, let the House know that the mea- sure which Her Majesty's Government had in store for Ireland was the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act—that was, the suspension of the Constitution and the placing of the life and liberty of every man ["No!"]—well, the placing of the liberty of every man in Ireland for the next six months at the disposal of an authority whose vacillating conduct would be simply ridiculous, if it were not dangerous—it became the duty of those who represented the Irish people to vote against such a proposal. He had watched the effect on the House of the announcement of the right hon. Gentleman, and he was happy to say that the impression produced upon him by the demeanour of the House was, that there were few in that Assembly who would not willingly lay down the arm of coercion; and although, no doubt, there was the determination to maintain order, there was, notwithstanding, an undercurrent of strong feeling, that if the conduct of the Government had been otherwise than it had been—not during the last few months, not during the last year, but during the last three or four years—these measures of coercion would have been absolutely unnecessary. He saw in the leading journal that the notice given by the right hon. Gentleman had been received with cheers. He had looked to the quarter from which those cheers came, and he saw they came from the representatives or deluders of the small Orange party of Ulster, who looked upon it that the greatest blessing the Government could bestow on Ireland would be to suspend the Constitution, not for six months, but for ever. In his speech of that day the Home Secretary had given them no new information whatever; he had told them nothing which would not have justified the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act six months ago, and which would not equally justify its perpetual suspension. The right hon. Gentleman read letters and proclamations from Mr. Stephens, and he informed them that Mr. Stephens announced that the flag of the Irish republic was to be raised in the year in which he was writing, which was the year 1865. But that prediction had been falsified, and he had no hesitation in saying that all the other predictions made in the same quarter would also be falsified; while he was perfectly certain that no one would rejoice more at the course taken that day than Mr. Stephens. It would give an importance to the movement which otherwise it never would have obtained. Would not those Irishmen in America who had been so grossly deceived and deluded by the statements of Mr. Stephens, would they not say, "We must subscribe; we must get our ships and go over?" As the British Government were obliged to suspend the Constitution, and do what so many of the English had assailed the American Government for doing when hundreds of thousands of armed men were in the field, Irishmen in America would come to the conclusion that the movement must have attained really formidable proportions. He could not help feeling supprised at the new light which appeared to have dawned upon the Government in that matter, and no one certainly could have supposed from the Queen's Speech or the address of the Chancellor of the Exchequer during the first week of the Session that such a measure was in contemplation. He believed that since the Habeas Corpus Act had been passed in 1679 it had been suspended only four times, and, in Ireland, such a step must be regarded as one of a very momentous character. The proceedings of the Government on the present occasion differed from past preceedings in this respect, that formerly the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act preceded instead of following the Special Commission. And how, after the language used by the right hon. the Attorney General for Ireland at the close of that Special Commission, when he and the Judges and the sheriff, and the other officials were interchanging compliments with each other, he could now advise the Government that grounds existed for suspending the Habeas Corpus Act, he was at a loss to discover. He could only account for it by supposing that it formed part of that vacillation of purpose which had distinguished every Member of the Irish Executive, from the noble Lord the Lord Lieutenant down to the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General. In September last his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant went to Tipperary, and, in a speech made at a cattle show there, said that Ireland never was so contented; and so rejoiced was his Excellency at this prospect of general contentment that he declared that the proclamation which for twenty years had rested on the county Tipperary should be immediately removed. In this fit of generous enthusiasm the Lord Lieutenant removed the proclamation; but unfortunately it was replaced the very next week. The Lord Lieutenant and his advisers resembled a political pendulum, and from their acts it was impossible to tell what the state of the country really was. He had no doubt that stories of the most alarming description reached the Government. A short time ago a reverend friend called upon him early in the morning, and asked could he speak to him for a few moments. He replied "Certainly." "Well," said his friend, "I have just come from So-and-so."—alluding to a gentleman who occupied an important official position in Dublin, and whose name he was prepared to give in confidence to any hon. Member—"and he has told me most positively that next Sunday is to be the rising." His friend asserted his firm belief in the accuracy of the information he had received; and, being asked what advice he would offer under the circumstances, said, "Well, perhaps it would be as well if you left the country." So little importance, however, did he attach to this piece of information, although undoubtedly well meant, that it was not until after dinner on Sunday that he recollected that was to have been the day of the rising. The right hon. Gentlemen the Attorney General and the Solicitor General, if they thought proper to do so, could tell the House some stories of the same complexion, which, no doubt, would be very amusing, in justification of their advice to the Government to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act, and thereby deprive the people of Ireland of those constitutional privileges so justly prized by every subject. The language which the Irish Attorney General used at the close of the Special Commission was as follows:— I think it very important to observe, for the information of the public, that every single individual connected with The Irish People newspaper and every person whose name has appeared as a leader in the voluminous correspondence of James Stephens and others, has been brought before this Court during its sittings—every single individual of mark, except one or two who fled the country, has been made amenable to justice. Therefore, I may safely affirm that all the leaders of this conspiracy have been now convicted; and, my lords, with respect to the mere rank and file, the Crown has no desire to pursue them if they are disposed to return to that allegiance which they should never have abandoned. One person, James Stephens, escaped by treachery which no care, perhaps, could anticipate, and certainly could not have foreseen; he has not been made amenable. He is a fugitive from justice; but every one of the persons whom he trusted and selected to be leaders in the intended insurrection—every one of those persons has been captured and brought to justice. That certainly is a result with which the Crown ought to be satisfied, and which, I hope, will produce its due effect on the people. After the lapse of so very short an interval, the right hon. and learned Gentleman now recommended the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act. He would only add that the proceedings of the Irish Government reminded him of what occurred on the morning after the escape of Stephens. A second edition of the Government organ came out, in which the public received the startling but consolatory information that the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General, the Castle adviser, and the Inspector of Prisons had gone up to Richmond Bridewell, and were holding an investigation with closed doors.


Sir, the House in general, and my Colleagues with myself in particular, have been anxious to hear on this critical question the sentiments of representatives from Ireland. But as I did not perceive that any one of those Gentlemen rose to address the House after the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, and as promptitude is of the utmost importance, I have thought it right to make an appeal to the House to consider whether we should not endeavour at once to carry this matter to an issue. I begin by referring to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, and will, in the first instance, allude to the less important parts of his speech. The right hon. Gentleman, referring in the exercise of his undoubted liberty to the previous conduct of the Government, said, that on former occasions, or on a former occasion, he thought they might have been chargeable with delay, hesitation, and want of prescience and energy. No one, I hope, will suppose that I complain of the right hon. Gentleman for having chosen this occasion to mention that charge against the Government; it was an occasion purely germane, I think, and suitable for any objection of that nature. At a time when we are performing the irksome and painful duty of asking Parliament for powers beyond the practice and foreign to the spirit of the Constitution the right hon. Gentleman was well entitled to say, "Had you at a former period been more careful of the powers which the law already gave you, you need not have placed Parliament in the painful position it occupies to-day; you need not have called on us to make this choice between endangering the peace of Ireland and the security of loyal subjects on the one hand, and interfering with the regular course of law and abridging the privileges of liberty on the other." But admitting entirely the relevancy of the charge, I hope it will be thought right that I should state in a few words the answer of the Government. The Act to which the right hon. Gentleman referred is an Act 50 Geo III., entitled— An Act for more effectually preventing the administering and taking of unlawful oaths in Ireland, and for the protection of magistrates and witnesses in criminal cases. The seventh section of that Act provides that any stranger sojourning or wandering in Ireland may be brought before any justice of the peace in Ireland and there examined. We are well convinced that this Act was prepared with an aim and purpose wholly different from that which we now have in view. So far as this section is concerned, it is plain that the legislation had reference to aliens as distinguished from native born subjects, a style of legislation much in vogue at the time when this Act was passed, but which has now disappeared from our statute-book. And we should not, I think, have been justified, even supposing that Act were in existence, in availing ourselves of an accidental power intended for a different purpose, and in using it to enable us to depart from the regular practice and from the known spirit of the Constitution. But I have this second answer, which I think the right hon. Gentleman himself would admit to be conclusive. I have said that the section authorizes the arrest of any strangers sojourning or wandering, and their examination respecting place of abode, place from which they come, means of livelihood, and their objects or motives in remaining or coming into the county, city, or town in which they may be found. Let the right hon. Gentleman consider who are the persons—foreigners, indeed, to this country, but yet connected with Ireland by birth—who are the persons that we have at this moment principally in view? They are the very class of persons who would at once say, when challenged before the magistrate, "We are not here as vagrants or vagabonds; we are not here for any doubtful purpose; we are emigrants from Ireland who have returned to see the friends and relatives that we left behind when we went away, and it is cruel that we should be brought before a legal tribunal because, on this occasion, we have been found among them." But how does the section proceed? It goes on to say— And unless be or she shall answer to the satisfaction of such magistrate, or produce sufficient security for his or her good behaviour, he shall be then detained. The meaning of these words of course is this, that the charge on which these parties would be brought before the magistrate would be a bailable charge; and the whole question of finding bail merely means whether he has or has not money enough to induce parties to become security without risk to themselves. Whatever may be said of Fenianism no one pretends that it is wanting in funds for its support. And had it been in the power of the Law Advisers to recommend proceedings under that section, the ridiculous process would have been gone through of taking up persons who would have no difficulty whatever in getting themselves admitted to bail, and the matter therefore would have resulted in an entire frustration of the proceedings of the Government. I trust I have shown sufficient cause for the conduct of the Government last year; and I need not therefore take shelter under the fact, which I admit would not be a shelter, of the repeal of this clause. That repeal was proposed—and I give him credit for it—by my hon. Friend, an independent Member of this House, now sitting near me: and the Bill was passed through the House of Lords, not by Her Majesty's Government, but at the instance of the Earl of Donoughmore, a distinguished Member of the Opposition. Now, that would be no excuse to us if the measure had been unwise, but it is a most important testimony that the repeal was wise, though the right hon. Gentleman has, perhaps, somewhat hastily alleged that our conduct savoured of delay and want of precision and energy. Well, Sir, I pass from that less significant portion of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, and I must in justice say that I can hardly remember an occasion on which my hon. Friend has exercised his extraordinary powers with greater force. I must freely admit that the exercise of those powers, great as they are, derived additional impressiveness from the evident, the undeniable, and the transparent sincerity of the speaker. Sir, having made that admission, or rather, having tendered the tribute to my hon. Friend which truth demanded, I do not scruple to add that I listened to the speech of my hon. Friend with regret and with pain. It was a speech, I admit, containing many truths; but it was also a speech containing many propositions of which it maybe said that some were not true, that many were open to question, and that most were out of place on the present occasion. A wise man has said that everything is good in its time, and the converse of this proposition will also hold—that nothing is good that is out of its time. But there were two statements contained in parts of that remarkable speech, and suggested by it all along, to which alone I shall make particular reference. My hon. Friend stated that in this matter we are dealing coercively with the Irish people; and he appeared to believe—indeed, he distinctly said—that the numerical majority of that people, if left to themselves, and if it were physically possible, would unmoor the island from its fastenings in the deep, and convey it at least 2,000 miles westward. Now, Sir, I think there is no fallacy which can be propagated in connection with the present subject more dangerous in its character than the supposition that the proceeding in which we are now engaged is an appeal to a simply or substantially English Parliament to apply the hand of force to Ireland. Her Majesty on this occasion makes an undoubted and unhesitating appeal to the well-tried loyalty of her faithful Commons in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and that Parliament as it is English, as it is Scotch, so also is it Irish. The Irish portion of the Parliament is not less freely elected than the English and Scotch portions. It is elected by the voices of the people of Ireland; and, for my part, I decline to recognize the voice of that people, or to accept any interpretation of their real feelings and opinions, other than that which is conveyed through the mouths of its representatives lawfully chosen to sit in this House. Well, then, what has been the voice of the representatives of Ireland on the present occasion? Have they come forward to protest against the measures that we propose? My hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham—let me again do him that full justice—and my hon. Friend the Member for Westminster (Mr. Stuart Mill) have avowed, though reluctantly and with hesitation, that they approve, under the circumstances, of the proposal we have made, and that at least they will not take the responsibility of resisting that proposal. Then we have heard Members representing popular constituencies in Ireland—Members sympathizing with every sentiment which exists in the popular mind, and having close associations with the religious teachers of the great majority of the Irish people—they have spoken unchecked and uncontradicted by their companions, and they have advised the House to pass this measure, and given decisive support to the proposal of my right hon. Friend. ["Name!"] I would instance the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilkenny (Sir John Gray), and I do not understand either the hon. Member for Tralee (The O'Donoghue), or the hon. Member for Tipperary (Mr. Dillon), to mean that they raise their voice in defence of Fenianism. Indeed, the hon. Member for Tipperary emphatically condemned it, while the hon. Member for Tralee founded his objection to the Bill, not on the proposition that Fenianism was a movement which it was not our duty to repress, but simply that to upset the ordinary course of law would defeat the end which we have in view. [The O'DONOGHUE: I said it was unnecessary.] Just so—that it was unnecessary. Therefore, we have the unanimous consent of the House expressed to this effect, and expressed by every Member who comes from Ireland, that this conspiracy deserves the disapproval and the condemnation which have already been bestowed upon it by every one who can claim to represent either the property, the morality, or the religion of the country. That, of course, amounts in principle to approbation of the measure which the Government have proposed to-day. And on the part of the Government, I must express our gratitude to the right hon. Gentleman who preceded me in this debate, and to the House generally—gratitude entirely unqualified by any remarks which have been made during the discussion—for the manner in which it has thought fit to receive our proposal. I believe that hon. Members have given us credit for not having lightly, wantonly, or needlessly made a proposal and submitted a measure of a character so grave and, at first sight, so objectionable in the eyes of all those who understand the spirit and who love the action of our Constitution. We have delayed it up to the last moment. The hon. Gentleman the member for Tralee (The O'Donoghue) says that neither the Speech from the Throne nor the debate which ensued upon it in this House gave the slightest intimation that such a measure was intended. But the reason is obvious. Such a measure was not at that time intended. The subject of Fenianism was mentioned, indeed, in the Speech from the Throne; but, although it had been mentioned, the emergency was not at that time of that grave character which alone would have justified us in taking any extreme step in regard to it; and I am confident that the hon. Gentleman himself will agree with me that it would have been a breach of our duty if, under those circumstances, we had caused unnecessary alarm and other grave inconveniences by adopting such a course. We have endeavoured to ascertain fully the necessity for this measure before submitting it to the House, and we have also endeavoured to limit the time of its action, so that at a very early period we may be again compelled, if we feel that its prolongation is necessary, to submit the question to the mature judgment of Parliament, ripened and strengthened by the observation which the interval will have afforded. We have endeavoured to exhaust, before resorting to this measure, all the means afforded by the ordinary law. After what has already been said on the subject, I will pass over that portion of the speech of the hon. Gentleman, with reference to which I could only repeat what has been so convincingly stated by my right hon. Friend (Sir George Grey), as to the condition of affairs in Ireland which leads us to believe that this measure is indispensably necessary. We do not propose this measure because we believe that it is through English influence and English regiments that the connection between the two countries is to be maintained. My firm belief is that the influence of Great Britain in every Irish difficulty is not a domineering and tyrannizing, but a softening and mitigating influence; and that were Ireland detached from her political connection with this country, and left to her own unaided agencies, it might be that the strife of parties would there burst forth in a form calculated to strike horror through the land; though I do not hesitate to express my conviction that if that struggle were carried on with Irish means and resources exclusively, Ireland, united as it is, without distinction of creed or class, in support of order, would effectually and quickly extinguish all the machinations of these disloyal and misguided men. The hon. Member for Birmingham has asked me for expressions of sympathy with Ireland, and declarations as to the intentions of the Government in regard to applying itself to a consideration of measures for the improvement of the condition of the country. Neither my Colleagues nor myself have been, or will be, slow to give utterance to those sentiments at the proper time. My hon. Friend says we have no statesmanship; and it may be, if we have not shown it, he is perfectly justified in saying we have not got it. It may also be that the depressing and the bewildering influence of the masses of detail, with which all public life is overlaid at this hour, may have had upon us, and others more worthy, the effect of obscuring our view and lowering our aims as to the highest objects of public policy; but on this day we have one, and only one, duty to perform—an irksome, a painful, a grievous duty, and yet one of solemn and primary obligation. However contracted be the scale of statesmanship in this country, at least let us see that we retain a sensitive perception of its elementary functions, and that we know as no man can reach the higher rounds of the ladder without treading on the lower, so no man is fit to deal with great political problems unless he sets before his eyes, and never consents to turn away his vision for one moment from, the primary duty of maintaining in an orderly and peaceful country the blessings of peace and order, and of defending the loyal and well-disposed masses of the community against those who may have been unhappily misled. This is the duty of to-day, and to that duty for the day we confine ourselves. I have said we are grateful to the House—grateful to it for the appreciation which from every one of its Benches it has shown of the obligation which at this moment presses upon us. When time and occasion offer, let us give anxious consideration to every subject connected with the welfare of Ireland; but do not let us permit those subjects which, important as they are, are less important than the duty of to-day, to interfere with the discharge of that duty. Do not let us say to-day that which can be as well said on any other and future occasion. Let me remind the House of the position in which we stand in another respect. Every question of this kind, however marked may be the unanimity that prevails upon it, is a critical question; it is one of a class of questions which puts free institutions on their trial before the world. We aim by our laws, our habits, and our institutions, at the preservation and development of the fullest liberty. If the foes of public freedom sometimes ask contemptuously whether that individual liberty is not purchased at the expense of weakness in the State in times of public difficulty or danger, it devolves upon this House to give the answer; and I feel well convinced what that answer will be. I believe, from the manifestations of opinion that have proceeded from every quarter in this House, that before another hour has struck its note this Bill will, in all likelihood, hare passed into another place for the purpose of being submitted to another judgment; and we shall show to the world upon this occasion—as the House has never been slow to show upon other occasions—that you need not paralyze the arm of authority in the time of danger because you appreciate the value of freedom, and that the harmony of those two great principles is recognized, understood, revered, and practised among us. It is well to bear in mind that, however difficult be the problem that faces us with respect to Ireland, even upon this very occasion we may see, and it is our duty if we see, to record the signs of progress made. Two generations ago a wide-spread rebellion in Ireland would have plunged whole provinces or extended districts in blood. In 1822, when the Habeas Corpus Act was suspended, there was a spirit of disaffection, powerful not in numbers only, but in other elements of strength, and that was not of foreign introduction. In 1848 this House divided upon the proposal to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act, and that division was preceded by a deliberation totally different in tone, I rejoice to say, from that of today. No Member has to-day said that he thought he best discharged his duty to the Queen by endeavouring to detach from her dominions those portions of them which it was not convenient for her to occupy and to rule. Nor are we likely, I think, to see the proceedings of this day followed up, as were those of 1848, by a Member rising, and, amid the suppressed indignation of the House—which then, perhaps, more than upon any historical occasion, testified its inestimable regard for the great principle of liberty of speech—stating that when he quitted the House he would go to Ireland for the purpose of offering armed resistance to the law. Some progress, at least, has been made towards unity of sentiment; and we have in that unity of sentiment additional testimony, if additional testimony were needed, to the assertion that was authoritatively made in the Speech from the Throne, and was not contradicted, I think, in this House, with respect to that remarkable state of opinion, that remarkable unity of sentiment in Ireland which encourages us to go fearlessly forward with those measures which are necessary for the maintenance of authority and law; for the purpose of preventing, if it may be, and at any rate limiting and reducing to its minimum, the frightful mischief of the outbreak of insurrection; for the purpose of defending the loyal masses of the people, of whatever class and religion; for the purpose of vindicating the name and fame of this country; and for the purpose, last of all, of defending also the misguided and misled agents of these frightful evils against themselves.

The Question having been put, and the great majority of voices appearing to be for the Ayes, Mr. Speaker declared that "The Ayes have it;" but an hon. Member (believed to be The O'Donoghue) crying that "The Noes have it;" the House divided:—Ayes 354; Noes 6: Majority 348.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Sir GEORGE GREY, Mr. CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER, and Mr. ATTORNEY GENERAL for IRELAND.

"Bill to empower the Lord Lieutenant or other Chief Governor or Governors of Ireland to apprehend and detain, for a limited time, such persons as he or they shall suspect of conspiring against Her Majesty's Person and Government,"presented, and read the first and second time; com-milted; considered in Committee, and reported, without Amendment; read the third time, and passed.

Acland, T. D. Bruce, rt. hon. H. A.
Adderley, rt. hon. C. B. Bruce, Sir H. H.
Agar-Ellis, hn. L. G. F. Bryan, G. L.
Agnew, Sir A. Buckley, E.
Akroyd, E. Buller, Sir A. W.
Allen, W. S. Buller, Sir E. M.
Anstruther, Sir R. Burghley, Lord
Archdall, Captain M. Burrell, Sir P.
Aytoun, R. S. Butler, C. S.
Baggally, R. Butler-Johnstone, H.A.
Bagge, W. Calcraft, J. H. M.
Bagwell, J. Campbell, A. H.
Baillie, H. J. Cardwell, rt. hon. E.
Baines, E. Carnegie, hon. C.
Barclay, A. C. Cave, S.
Baring, hon. A. H. Cavendish, Lord E.
Baring, hon. T. G. Cavendish, Lord F. C.
Barnes, T. Cecil, Lord E. H. B.G.
Barry, C. R. Chambers, T.
Barry, G. R. Cheetham, J.
Bathurst, A. A. Childers, H. C. E.
Beach, W. W. B. Cholmeley, Sir M. J.
Beaumont, H. F. Clifton, Sir R. J.
Beaumont, W. B. Cochrane, A. D. R. W. B.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Cole, hon. H.
Biddulph, Col. R: M. Colebrooke, Sir T. E.
Biddulph, M. Coleridge, J. D.
Bingham, Lord Collier, Sir R. P.
Bonham-Carter, J. Colthurst, Sir G. C.
Bridges, Sir B. W. Colvile, C. R.
Bright, Sir C. T. Conolly, T.
Bromley, W. D. Corry, rt. hon. H. L.
Bruce, Lord C. Courtenay, Lord
Bruce, Lord E. Cooper, E. H.
Bruce, Mr. C. Cowper, hon. H. F.
Cowper, rt. hon. W. F. Gridley, Captain H. G.
Cranbourne, Viscount Griffith, C. D.
Craufurd, E.H. J. Grosvenor, Capt. R. W.
Crawford, R. W. Guinness, B. L.
Dalkeith, Earl of Hadfield, G.
Davey, R. Hamilton, Lord C. J.
Dawson, hon. Capt. V. Hamilton, E. W. T.
De Grey, hon. T. Hamilton, L. T.
Dent, J. D. Hamilton, Viscount
Dering, Sir E. C. Hankey, T.
Dick, F. Hardy, G.
Dickson, Major A. G. Hardy, J.
Dilke, Sir W. Harris, J. D.
Disraeli, rt. hon. B. Hartley, J.
Dodson, J. G. Hervey, Lord A, H. C.
Dowdeswell, W. E Hayter, Captain A. D.
Duff, M. E. G. Headlam, rt. hon. T. E.
Duncombe, hon. W. E. Heathcote, Sir W.
Dundas, F. Henderson, J.
Dundas, rt. hn. Sir D. Henley, rt. hon. J. W.
Dunne, General Henley, Lord
Dutton, hon. R. H, Herbert, hon. P. E.
Eaton, H. W. Hesketh, Sir T. G.
Egerton, hon. A. F. Hodgson, K. D.
Egerton, E. C. Hogg, Lt.-Col. J. M.
Elcho, Lord Holden, I.
Ellice, E. Holford, R. S.
Enfield, Viscount Hope, A. J. B. B.
Erskine, Vice-Admiral J. E. Horsman, rt. hon. E.
Hotham, Lord
Esmonde, J. Howard, hon. C.
Evans, T. W. Howard, Lord E.
Ewart, W. Huddleston, J. W.
Farquhar, Sir M. Hughes, T.
Fawcett, H. Hunt, G. W.
Feilden, J. Ingham, R.
Fellowes, E. Jardine, R.
Fergusson, Sir J. Jervis, Captain
Ferrand, W. Kearsley, Captain R.
Fildes, J. Kekewich, S. T.
FitzGerald, Lord O. A. Kendall, N.
FitzPatrick, rt. hn. J. W. Kennedy, T.
Fleming, J. King, J. G.
Foley, H. W. Kinglake, A. W.
Forde, Colonel Kinglake, J. A.
Forester, rt. hon. Gen. Knight, F. W.
Forster, C. Knox, Colonel
Forster, W. E. Knox, hon. Major S.
Foster, W. O. Laird, J.
Fort, R. Layard, A. H.
Fortescue, hon. D. F. Lamont, J.
French, Colonel Lawrence, W.
Gallwey, Sir W. P. Lawson, J. A.
Gaskell, J. M. Leader, N. P.
Gavin, Major Leatham, W. H,
George, J. Leeman, G.
Getty, S. G. Lefevre, G. J. S.
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. Lefroy, A.
Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E. Lennox, Lord G. G.
Gladstone, W. H. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Glyn, G. C. Leslie, C. P.
Glyn, G. G. Leslie, W.
Goddard, A. L. Lewis, H.
Gooch, D. Lindsay, hon. Colonel C.
Goodson, J. Lindsay, Colonel R. L.
Gore, J. R. O. Locke, J.
Gore, W. R. O. Lowe, rt. hon. R.
Gower, hon. F. L. Lowther, J.
Graham, W. Lusk, Alderman A.
Graves, S. R. Mackie, J.
Gregory, W. H. Mackinnon, Capt. L. B.
Grenfell, H. R. M'Lagan, P.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. M'Laren, D.
Mainwaring, T. Selwin, H. J.
Manners, Lord G. J. Selwyn, C. J.
Marjoribanks, D. C. Severne, J. E.
Martin, C. W. Seymour, G. H.
Meller, W. Seymour, H. D.
Milbank, F. A. Shafto, R. D.
Miller, S. B. Sheridan, H. B.
Miller, T. J. Sheridan, R. B.
Miller, W. Sherriff, A. C.
Mills, C. H. Simeon, Sir J.
Milton, Viscount Simonds, W. B.
Mitchell, A. Smith, J. A.
Mitford, W. T. Smith, J. B.
Moffatt, G. Somerset, Colonel
Monk, C. J. Speirs, A. A.
Montagu, Lord R. Stacpoole, W.
Montgomery, Sir G. Stanhope, J. B.
More, J. Stanley, hon. F.
Morley, S. Stansfeld, J.
Morrison, W. Steel, J.
Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R. Stirling, W.
Naas, Lord Stuart, Col. Crichton-
Neate, C. Sturt, H. G.
Neeld, Sir J. Sullivan, E.
Neville-Grenville, R. Surtees, C. F.
Newdegate, C. N. Surtees, H. E.
Nicol, J. D. Sykes, C.
North, Colonel Sykes, Colonel W. H.
Northcote, Sir S. H. Taylor, Colonel
Norwood, C. M. Taylor, P. A.
O'Brien, Sir P. Thorold, J. H.
Oliphant, L. Torrens, R.
O'Loghlen, Sir C. M. Tottenham, Lt-Col. C. G.
Otway, A. J. Treeby, J. W.
Packe, Colonel Trefusis, hon. C. H. R.
Padmore, R. Trevelyan, G. O.
Paget, Lord C. Turner, C.
Paget, R. H. Vandeleur, Colonel
Patten, Colonel W. Verner, E. W.
Paull, H. Verner, Sir W.
Peel, rt. hon. General Verney, Sir H.
Peel, A. W. Villiers, rt. hon. C. P.
Peel, J. Vivian, H. H.
Pelham, Lord Walcott, Admiral
Pennant, hon. Colonel Waldegrave-Leslie, hn G.
Percy, Maj-Gen. Lord H. Walker, Major G. G.
Potter, E. Walrond, J. W.
Powell, F. S. Walsh, A.
Pritchard, J. Walsh, Sir J.
Pugh, D. Watkin, E. W.
Rebow, J. G. Weguelin, T. M.
Robertson, P. F. Western, Sir T. B.
Roebuck, J. A. Westropp, H.
Rothschild, Baron M de Whalley, G. H.
Rothschild, N. M. de Whitworth, B.
Russell, A. Wickham, H. W.
Russell, H. Williams, Colonel
Russell, F. W. Williamson, Sir H.
Russell, Sir C. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Russell, Sir W. Wise, H. C.
St. Aubyn, J. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Salomons, Alderman Woods, H.
Samuda, J. D' A. Wyld, J.
Samuelson, B. Wyndham, hon. P.
Sandford, G. M. W. Wynn, C. W. W.
Schneider, H. W. Wynne, W. R. M.
Scholefield, W. Yorke, J. R.
Schreiber, C.
Scott, Lord H. TELLERS.
Scott, Sir W. Brand, hon. H. B. W.
Scourfield, J. H. Adam, W. P.
Seely, C.
Blake, J. A. Rearden, D. J.
Blennerhasset, Sir R.
Bowyer, Sir G. TELLERS.
Brady, J. O'Donoghue, The
Dillon, J. B. Maguire, J. F.

Bill read a third time, and passed.