HC Deb 29 March 1870 vol 200 cc908-30

rose to call the attention of the House to the circumstances connected with the dismissal by the Irish Government of Mr. John Madden of Hilton Park, Clones, from the Magistracy. His apology for taking this course was the importance of the questions it involved. Mr. Madden, a resident on his property, a model landlord and a loyal subject, had acted up to December last as a Deputy Lieutenant for the counties of Monaghan and Fermanagh, and justice of the peace for Monaghan, Leitrim, Fermanagh, and Cavan; and, during the twelve years he had been engaged in the administration of justice, his actions had been characterized by the strictest impartiality. Although a Protestant and a Conservative in politics, he had hitherto entirely abstained from taking any part in political or party meetings. On the 25th of November last Mr. Madden received a communication from the Under Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland directing him to make all necessary preparation for assuming the office of High Sheriff for the county of Leitrim for the year ensuing. On the 6th of December following Mr. Madden replied as follows:— Hilton Park, Clones, county of Monaghan, December 6, 1869. Sir,—I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 25th ult., informing me that I have been appointed High Sheriff of Leitrim, and ordering me—without any previous warning, which is contrary to the usual practice—to make the necessary arrangements for undertaking the duties of that office. While I am fully aware the law enables the Lord Lieutenant to give such an order, I feel it my duty to enter my formal protest against being called upon to serve under the present Administration, 'who have conducted the affairs of my unhappy country in such a way that, in less than a year, we have been reduced from a state of comparative prosperity' to a condition when law, order, and security for either life or property may be said to have practically ceased to exist, and the very fabric of society itself seems threatened with dissolution, when 'no man can tell whether he will be allowed to reap the fruits of his own industry,' or 'enjoy the property which his own money has purchased on the security of titles granted under the guarantee of the State;' when, too, I find myself, 'as an Irish Protestant landlord, in common with the rest of my brother landlords, held up by Members of the Government to the hatred of our Roman Catholic neighbours as 'oppressors of the poor' and 'exterminators of the people,' enriching ourselves by the 'spoils wrung from a defenceless peasantry'—when I consider these things, I can only say I solemnly protest being called upon to act as the chief guardian of the peace in the county of Leitrim, and I call upon the Government to recollect that this 'honour' has not been of my seeking.—I remain, Sir, your obedient servant, JOHN MADDEN. To the Under Secretary for Ireland, Dublin Castle. He (Lord Claud John Hamilton) did not stand there to justify the terms of that letter. He would not himself have written such a letter under the circumstances, and he thought its general sense might have been conveyed in terms more moderate and more dignified. But it was not a question for the House whether the letter was wise or not; but whether the action of the Government following upon that letter was just. On the 22nd of December, Mr. Madden received a reply from the Chief Secretary, in the following terms:— Dublin Castle, Dec. 21, 1869. Sir,—I am directed by the Lord Lieutenant to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 6th inst., and to state that you are quite in error in supposing that your appointment as High Sheriff was contrary to the usual practice, there being no deviation from the course invariably adopted of sending the usual printed letter, which you received, to the gentleman first on the list for the office of Sheriff. His Excellency cannot permit anyone to serve Her Majesty as High Sheriff who thinks proper, in reply to a communication appointing him to an office executive and non-political, to use language of studied insult to the Government of the Queen. I am further to state that for the same reason his Excellency has, under the powers vested in the Lord Lieutenant by the 8th section of the Act 1 and 2 William IV., cap. 17, signified to the Lieutenant of the county of Monaghan his pleasure that you should be removed from the office of Deputy Lieutenant of that county, and has requested the Lord Chancellor to consider the propriety of retaining your name in the Commission of the Peace.—I am, Sir, your obedient servant, C. P. FORTESCUE. And on the following day, the 23rd of December, Mr. Madden received the following letter:— Lord Chancellor's Secretary's Office, Four Courts, Dublin, December 22,1869. Sir,—I am directed by the Lord Chancellor to inform you that a copy of a letter addressed by you to the Under Secretary, in reply to a communication appointing you to the office of High Sheriff of Leitrim, has been submitted to his Lordship, at the desire of the Lord Lieutenant, with an intimation that his Excellency cannot permit you, in consequence of the studied insult conveyed by that letter to the Government of the Queen, to serve in the shrievalty of Leitrim, or hold the deputy lieutenancy of Monaghan; and a request that the Lord Chancellor may consider the propriety of any longer retaining you in the Commission of the Peace. The Lord Chancellor has accordingly given the matter his best consideration, and he has no doubt that such a letter, written on such an occasion, makes it his duty to remove you from the list of the magistracy. His Lordship cannot, with a due regard to the interests of the administration of justice and the maintenance of respect for legitimate authority, allow a gentleman to remain in the Commission who solemnly protests against being called upon to act as chief guardian of the peace in the county Leitrim, and scoffs at the 'honour' of serving the Queen in the important office to which he was nominated by Her Majesty's Judges and appointed by her representative. The Lord Chancellor has ordered that a writ of supersedeas shall be prepared for your removal from the Commission of the Peace for the counties of Monaghan and Leitrim.—I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant, "CHARLES TEELING. Thus in two days Mr. Madden was removed from the office of Deputy Lieutenant of the county of Monaghan and from the magistracy of the county of Leitrim and Monaghan. But he (Lord Claud John Hamilton) would endeavour to show that the pretext on which this was done was merely imaginary; that the allegations made against him by the Chief Secretary, on the part of the Lord Lieutenant, were wholly untrue; and that the peculiar circumstances of the case justified his making the solemn protest he did. The Chief Secretary said the Lord Lieutenant could not permit anyone to serve as a magistrate who thought proper to address himself in terms of "studied insult to the Government of the Queen." Now, before going further he wished to say he had no charge whatever to make against the Lord Lieutenant, whom he entirely absolved from all share in this transaction. Lord Spencer, as an Englishman but slightly acquainted with the affairs of the country over which he presided, was bound in matters of this kind to listen to the advice of his chief official. Lord Spencer had filled the office of Lord Lieutenant during a most critical time, and under circumstances made doubly difficult by the acts of the Cabinet on this side of the water, and ranked second to none in the long list of Lord Lieutenants who had governed Ireland. With regard to the pretext that Mr. Madden had offered a studied insult to the Crown, anyone who read the letter carefully would see he studiously confined his remarks to the Government and the Irish Executive, and did not in any way refer to Her Majesty personally. Doubtless all Governments in this country were Governments of the Queen; but as criticisms on the conduct of a Government were made entirely apart from any reference to the Crown, he was sorry that the Government had sought refuge in such an excuse. In his protest Mr. Madden stated that he could not serve under a Government which had found Ireland comparatively peaceful, and had brought it to the state in which it at present exists, and he further stated that he could not conscientiously exercise the duties of his office under such an Administration. Considering that a High Sheriff was the chief executive officer of the Crown in his county during his term of office, who could wonder that Mr. Madden should enter his solemn protest against being called upon to serve under the present Administration? Why, within three months he had seen a Protestant High Sheriff insulted and degraded by the Irish Executive, and a gentleman who was avowedly a partizan of the Government, a Liberal and a Roman Catholic, appointed over the heads of two gentlemen who were in the Judges' list. He therefore contended that Mr. Madden was perfectly justified in protesting against being called upon to serve under the present Administration. Then, was there any truth in the allegations in Mr. Madden's letter against the Government? The Royal Speech delivered at the opening of last Session was sufficient to show that Mr. Madden was perfectly justified in stating that "the present Administration found Ireland in a state of comparative prosperity." Mr. Madden also stated that "the Government had reduced the country to such a condition that law might be practically said to have ceased to exist," and he asked the House whether there had been any law in Ireland during the last six months? Could law be said to exist in a country where the Chief Justice on his way to court was stoned by a seditious and rebellious mob; when one of Her Majesty's Counsel, conducting a case on behalf of his client, was threatened with death if he fulfilled his duty; when the High Sheriff on the road to the courthouse to swear in the grand jury was fired at, and when the very jurors themselves were threatened with death if they did their duty and did not perjure themselves? The Solicitor General for Ireland had been unable to obtain verdicts against seditious and disloyal papers; and at the trial of Barrett, in Galway last autumn, the Attorney General said that— It is, unfortunately, too true that a feeling had been excited and maintained in this county respecting the trial of the prisoner of such an extraordinary character as renders it almost unreasonable on the part of the Crown to call on the gentlemen of this county to incur the risk—for such it unquestionably is—of discharging their duties as jurors. How and by what means this feeling has been engendered it is not now for me to say, but I believe that the agents of terrorism and intimidation have not been idle. A juror of the highest respectability, a magistrate of the county, was almost immediately after he left the jury-box, at the conclusion of the late trial, pursued through the streets of the town and grossly maltreated, because he was supposed to have entertained an opinion adverse to the prisoner upon the evidence adduced by the Crown at the trial, according to which he was sworn to find his verdict. He was guarded from his place of refuge to his hotel by a magistrate and a force of constables, who were themselves assailed by missiles; while the prisoner himself, in his passage to and from the gaol to the court, was greeted by crowds of no insignificant numbers in a manner and with a demeanour which must give rise to the most serious reflections, as indicating a sympathy with the crime with which the prisoner is charged. After that, was not Mr. Madden justified in stating that law had practically ceased to exist in Ireland? With regard to Mr. Madden's statement that there was no security for life or property in Ireland, he had not to go outside the walls of Parliament for evidence. The speech of the Chief Secretary for Ireland on moving the second reading of the Peace Preservation (Ireland) Bill, and the monstrous provisions of that Bill itself, showed what was the state of Ireland. For evidence in support of Mr. Madden's statement, that— No man can tell whether he will be allowed to enjoy the property which his own money has purchased on the security of titles granted under the guarantee of the State, he referred to the way in which the Land Bill dealt with the property which every man had bought in Ireland since the establishment of the Landed Estates Court, and the security on which he had bought it, and contended that anyone reading the Bill would see how rotten that security was. Mr. Madden proceeded to say that as an Irish Protestant landlord he found himself, in common with the rest of his brother landlords, held up by Members of the Government to the hatred of their Roman Catholic neighbours, and in respect to that allegation it would be unnecessary, after what had been said in the recent debates, to do more than refer to the letter of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade in November, 1866, and to his speech at Edinburgh in November, 1868, to show Mr. Madden was perfectly justified in stating that Members of the Government had held him up, in common with his brother landlords, to the execration of the people of Ireland? All Mr. Madden's allegations could be proved to be perfectly true; and the only pretext which the Government had for passing upon him the tremendous sentence of dismissal was the sense in which he used the word "honour" at the end of his letter. With regard to the Lord Chancellor's letter of dismissal, he complained that he did not even write to Mr. Madden for an explanation, or for an assurance that the protest had actually come from Mr. Madden. He simply, upon the ipse dixit of the Lord Lieutenant, erased Mr. Madden's name from the commission of the peace with almost indecent haste. The presumption the Government wished to raise was, that Mr. Madden had offered an insult to the person of the Sovereign, and not to the Irish Executive. Those who were in the House in 1868 would remember how the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, on the occasion of his defeat on the Resolutions of the right hon. Gentleman, then Member for South Lancashire (Mr. Gladstone), proceeded to Osborne to have an audience of Her Majesty, and how, upon his return, he stated the substance of what had passed, and naturally in so doing was compelled to refer to Her Majesty. Thereupon the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire, followed by the Commissioner of Works, the Secretary of State for War, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, commenced a series of bitter taunts at the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire for sheltering himself under the sacred name of Her Majesty, and things culminated when an hon. Gentleman, now a right hon. Gentleman, accused the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire of "pomposity and servility," and offered a studied insult to the Government, which was as much the Government of the Queen as any Government, by accusing them of having crept into Office by unworthy dodges, and asserting they were nothing better than a party of cricketers. The dignified reply of the right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire would be long remembered, and from that time they had heard nothing of "pomposity" and "servility." But it happened that the present Government had done precisely what they unjustly accused their predecessors of having done. He had it on the authority of Sir Thomas Larcom that it was entirely unusual to apply the term "the Government of the Queen" in Irish official correspondence; the term used was "the Government," or sometimes "Her Majesty's Government." The letter from the Lord Chancellor was a very clever letter. "Studied insult" against whomsoever directed was a matter of deep regret; but if Mr. Madden had been guilty of using "studied insults" to the Government of the Queen, it should be remembered he was only copying the example set by those who had now constituted themselves his schoolmasters. He believed there was no precedent for the conduct of the Government under similar circumstances since the reign of Charles II., and that was in the case of Sir David Powlys, who, for a supposed insult to Lord Strafford and the Council, was treated in precisely the same manner as Mr. Madden, except that he was also confined in the Old Bailey during His Majesty's pleasure—an additional punishment which the right hon. Gentleman would probably be pleased to adopt in Mr. Madden's case also if he could. Why had not the Government adopted the ordinary course of fining Mr. Madden for his refusal to act? And why was Mr. Madden especially selected for dismissal? Other magistrates had been committing offences in open day by uttering inflammatory speeches which had been duly reported; and foremost among them stood the nobleman who was not only a magistrate, but also a maker of magistrates. The Earl of Granard, a nobleman who was as much distinguished by the irritability of his disposition as by the comeliness of his appearance, was Lord Lieutenant of Leitrim and Custos Rotulorum, duties which he discharged with diligence and ability. He was also a Knight of St. Patrick, and a faithful disciple of Cardinal Cullen, a warm friend of Chancellor O'Hagan, and an enthusiastic admirer of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government. Lord Granard, by virtue of his offices, his birth, and ancient lineage, was looked up to by the gentry of the county of Leitrim as their natural leader. He presided at a meeting, held at Enniscorthy on the 16th of November, consisting of the usual enthusiastic "tenant-righters," many of whom were green round their hats. Lord Granard, in his speech opening the proceedings, said, he was proud to address them on that Classic ground, teeming, as it does, with the associations of the past and the aspirations of the present, within view of that historic hill where your fathers, lashed into armed resistance by the injustice of the times, made their last gallant stand. Were hon. Members aware of the glorious associations of Vinegar Hill? Why, according to Maxwell's History of the Rebellion in Ireland in 1798— Not less than 400 Protestants were massacred in Enniscorthy and on Vinegar Hill, the bodies of whom lay unburied during several days; and such was the cruelty of the 'rebels' that they would not suffer their female friends to perform the last act of humanity, nor even look at them, on pain of death. To increase the horror of the scene, the swine were suffered to prey upon the bodies. Upon the same occasion the Rev. Mr. Doyle, a parish priest, made a speech in which he quoted extracts from an American newspaper, the purport of which was, that if landlords hid themselves in London to prevent themselves being shot, they were to shoot their agents, and if they could not get at them, they were to shoot their bailiffs; but that if they could they were to shoot all three together, and then, he added, that he foresaw that unless a radical change were made there would be terrible work in the country. On that very occasion the Earl of Granard hailed that clergyman as a patriot. [Sir JOHN ESMONDE: Was that after the speech?] It was after the speech. On another occasion, at Carrick-upon-Shannon, Earl Granard attended a meeting, at which landlords were denounced, and afterwards wearing his star of the Order of St. Patrick at a banquet to which the more select of the party were invited; and, in returning thanks, the noble Earl said that in presiding at that meeting he was, after all, doing that which was his duty as the Queen's representative in the county. At that hour, however, he would say no more than to ask whether it was fitting that Earl Granard, the Lord Lieutenant of his county and a magistrate of his county, should have taken this prominent part in, and have acquiesced in all that was said at this public meeting, at which revolutionary and incendiary language had been used? It appeared, however, that sedition might be spoken with impunity at all these meetings, whenever they were held in support of the Government; while the moment an unfortunate Protestant magistrate thought fit to call the Government to account for the state to which he conscientiously believed his country had been reduced by the acts of the Government, he was immediately dragged from his office, and the whole country was called upon to applaud the vigorous administration of the law by the Executive. In conclusion, he begged to move for Copies of Correspondence between Mr. John Madden, of Hilton Park, Clones, and the Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in October 1869, relative to the proposed illegal party procession in Dublin, on Sunday, October 10th, and, of all Correspondence between Mr. Madden and the officials of Dublin Castle, including the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, in the months of December and January last.


, in seconding the Motion, said, that Mr. Madden was by no means to be confounded with a demonstrative gentleman of the same name—he was a quiet country gentleman residing on his property and attending to his duties; but he had dared: to join, issue with Her Majesty's Government, and therefore they had dismissed him from his office. Taking into consideration that Mr. Madden was smarting under the overthrow and plunder of his Church, and taking into consideration that he had been insulted by being invited to serve as High Sheriff of his county, of which Earl Granard was Lord Lieutenant; and, taking into consideration that the Lord Chancellor of Ireland had not noticed the "studied insult" of Mr. Butt, nor the conduct of the junior Member for Tipperary, who had made use of language on the hustings which he should repeat by-and-by to the House—he contended that it was not consistent with the rules of justice, equity, impartiality, or liberal policy, that Mr. Madden should have been deposed from his magistracy. The gist of the accusation against the Government was, that they did not administer the law impartially—that they meted out one measure of justice to the Ultra montane party, another to the National party, and another to the Protestants of Ulster. Had not Mr. Butt written a letter to the Under Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, which was couched in the terms of "studied insult?" Was not the language used by Mr. Butt in that letter as much a "studied insult" to the Government as anything that had fallen from Mr. Madden? But what had the Lord Chancellor done in his case? Next came the junior Member for Tipperary (Mr. Heron). The hon. and learned Member had been Law Adviser to the Chief Secretary for Ireland, and he was the Ministerial candidate for the county of Tipperary. The hon. and learned Gentleman appeared on the hustings wearing a large green scarf, and on it a harp without the Crown, and it was reported, and he believed it had never been denied, that at the hustings he called on the mob to give three cheers for the Fenian prisoners.


rose to Order. He asked the Speaker whether it was in accordance with the rules of the House—as it certainly was to propriety—for an lion. Member to accuse a Member—in this case an absent Member—of having used language which he had denied in his place in that House?


said, that as the language referred to by the hon. Baronet had been denied in that House by the hon. and learned Member for Tipperary, the hon. Baronet would be out of Order in persisting in his reference to the statement.


said, he would have been the last man to repeat the statement if he had been aware that it had been publicly denied. He now begged to withdraw the accusation. He knew that hon. Members on the Government side as well as on the Opposition side of the House were of opinion that what had occurred on the Tipperary hustings was derogatory to the dignity of the Government. He next came to Lord Granard. The noble Earl, in spite of the oath he took when he entered on the important duties of Lord Lieutenant of the county of Leitrim, and when he was elected a Knight of the illustrious Order of St. Patrick, had mounted a platform erected advisedly within view of Vinegar Hill. It was his sworn duty to maintain order and peace and the majesty of the law; but on that platform, in most significant terms, he alluded to the rebellious associations of Vinegar Hill; and he was president of the meeting at which Father Doyle used words which he thought every hon. Member would admit to be treasonable. He sat by while that reverend gentleman quoted an epistle from the other side of the Atlantic favouring landlord assassination. He was present ten days after when the landlords were held up to execration. Everyone had supposed that Her Majesty's Government would take some notice of this conduct on the part of Lord Granard, and he believed that by no other Government in the world would such language have been tolerated. But those who had so supposed, waited in vain. Her Majesty's Government appeared to be in a state of somnolency—they seemed to remain in a state of quiescence while language was used that almost drove the country into a state of rebellion. Sir Robert Peel, when in Office from 1841 to 1846, was at the head of a strong Government. The right hon. Gentleman now at the head of the Government had a majority equally strong as that which Sir Robert Peel commanded at that time; but he could not say that the Irish Government was equally strong. Sir Robert Peel was a great rhetorician; but he never made indiscreet utterances. He never had been obliged to publish a preface to tone down and explain his speeches. At one time he dismissed from the commission of the peace one of his best supporters—the Ven. Sir William Verner—because at a semi-private dinner he alluded to the Battle of the Diamond, which was one at which, in 1798, the rebels were worsted by the Protestant party. What did the right hon. Gentleman opposite do? He maintained in high, important, and influential office a nobleman who had alluded, and alluded, he might say, in laudatory terms, to the atrocities of Vinegar Hill, where the rebels held that post against the troops of the King for upwards of six weeks. But if Sir Robert Peel dismissed Sir William Verner, he also dismissed those magistrates who advocated the repeal of the Union and a severance between the two kingdoms. But what did Lord Chancellor O'Hagan? He merely exercised his energy and vigour against the loyal and the true. In seconding the indictment brought by his noble Friend against the Government, he thought he could not do better than adopt the language of an able Irish journalist who, referring to their conduct, described it, in terse and vigorous terms, as— Cringing before treason, intriguing with disaffection; the Irish officials never using authority except against loyal men, and even then in the indirect, treacherous manner of self-conscious guilt.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That there be laid before this House, Copies of Correspondence between Mr. John Madden of Hilton Park, Clones, and the Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in October 1869, relative to the proposed illegal party procession in Dublin on Sunday October 10th; and, of all Correspondence between Mr. Madden and the officials of Dublin Castle, including the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, in the months of December and January last."—(Lord Claud John Hamilton.)


said, there was one peculiarity which struck him about the speech of the hon. Baronet who seconded this Motion, that he had not, in the course of his observations, made one single allusion to the case before the House. He had talked about all kinds of matters relating to Ireland, some of which had been disposed of already, and others of which were not worth disposing of; but he had not made one solitary reference to the case of Mr. Madden, which, in a way of which he certainly had no reason to complain, had been brought before the House by the noble Lord (Lord Claud John Hamilton). He (Mr. Chichester Fortescue) had been rather curious, when the hon. Baronet rose, to ascertain whether he was about to put to the Irish Government that portentous Question which some weeks ago he placed on the books of this House; but which he never put, rather to my regret—that Question, which was described by my right hon. Friend at the head of the Government as the longest and most complicated Question ever put by one human being to another; and if the hon. Baronet had put it to-night—at all events, if it had been at an earlier hour of the evening—he (Mr. Chichester Fortescue) probably would have thought it his duty to answer it in detail. As it was, he was happy to say that he should spare the House altogether, or almost entirely, that infliction. He would not trouble the House with the question of the personal letter written by Mr. Butt to the Under Secretary in Dublin Castle, with which they had nothing to do; nor need he trouble them with any other point outside the question of the dismissal of Mr. Madden from the magistracy; except one question on which he would for one moment touch—the conduct and language of Lord Granard at Ennis-corthy—though this also had nothing-whatever to do with the dismissal of Mr. Madden from the magistracy—an act which it became the painful duty of the Irish Government to perform. There seemed to be an idea—which had been very prominent indeed in the speeches and publications in Ireland on behalf of Mr. Madden and against the action of the Government—that the dismissal of that gentleman from the magistracy was an invasion of the independence of the Irish magistracy—was an attack on their freedom of conduct and of action; and a great deal of language of that kind had been held. He could not enter even for a moment into this case without protesting in the strongest terms against any such idea as that. The Irish Government had had no wish or idea—as they had proved in many respects during the last twelve months—of interfering with the perfect freedom of speech and action of any gentleman in Ireland, whatever his politics, or of any magistrate or official in that country, within the bounds of the Constitution. The question relating to Mr. Madden was one not of speech, or of writing, addressed to the public, but of an official letter addressed by way of answer to an official communication from the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. But if, without the slightest shadow of reason, the language and conduct of Lord Granard at Enniscorthy must be connected with this case, all he had to do was to inform the House why the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland did not deem it his duty to take any official cognizance of the language or conduct of that noble Lord on that occasion. Lord Granard, like other men in public positions, must abide the criticism of the public. That criticism was a very wholesome and very useful process, from which Lord Granard had no reason to expect that he would escape, and he (Mr. Chichester Fortescue) was not here to say he thought he could altogether escape from it. All he had to say was, that the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, on a careful consideration of the matter, did not deem it his duty to enter into an official correspondence with Lord Granard with respect to the circumstances of that Enniscorthy meeting—a correspondence which he wisely and prudently—and a prudent man he is—determined not to engage in unless he saw his way to take further action in the matter; which he did not think, under the circumstances, was possible. As to the language of Lord Granard itself, he was not there to say that it was prudent or discreet, or such as anyone would recommend to a person in his position on such an occasion. At the same time, he was bound to say, in the strongest terms, that, on the very face of that language, it was evident that any notion of anything approaching to sedition, or opposition to the law, or disloyalty to the Sovereign and Constitution, was absolutely wanting from the beginning to the end of that language. Nor did this rest upon his own interpretation of that language; for, fortunately, there was a letter in which Lord Granard gives the interpretation of his own words. After the speech at Enniscorthy, the Lord Lieutenant of the country of Westmeath addressed a letter to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland referring to the speech of Lord Granard, and calling upon the Lord Lieutenant to consider whether Lord Granard should continue to be lieutenant colonel of the Westmeath Militia, and what action ought to be taken in the matter. The Lord Lieutenant, in his letter in reply, said that whatever might be the opinion as— To the prudence or good taste of the allusion to the 'historic hill,' your Lordship's opinion that the speech was seditious could not be maintained, nor do I think that I can pursue the matter further with advantage to the public service. That letter of Lord Spencer's was forwarded to Lord Greville of Clonyn, who was then acting as Vice Lieutenant of Westmeath, and by Lord Greville it was also forwarded to Lord Granard. Lord Granard's answer to Lord Greville was couched in these terms— My Lord,—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 26th instant, enclosing to me copies of a correspondence between his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant and the Marquess of Westmeath, relative to the commission I hold in the regiment under your Lordship's command, and to thank you for making me aware of an accusation which, if I conceived it necessary, I should repel with the utmost indignation. I never made, nor intended to make, a 'seditious' speech at Enniscorthy, and I have yet to learn that an historical allusion, contrasting the mis-government of former days with happier days under the beneficent rule of Her Majesty, is to be construed into 'sentiments utterly disgraceful and unbecoming to anyone wearing Her Majesty's uniform and holding a commission in Her Majesty's service.' He (Mr. Chichester Fortescue) referred to that to show the interpretation placed by Lord Granard on his own words, because, without for a moment defending the prudence of those words, the meaning of them could not be questioned for an instant by anyone; and it was his conviction that it was absolutely impossible that any question should be raised upon it by the Irish Government. It was true that a speech was subsequently made in his presence by a rev. gentleman which it was impossible to read without deploring and condemning. He (Mr. Chichester Fortescue) was not there to excuse or defend that speech; but the whole matter resolved itself into this—whether, because a speech of an objectionable characters as made by an excited individual at a huge excited open-air meeting in the presence of Lord Granard, without any interference on his part, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland was under compulsion to interpose, and to call that noble Lord to account because he had not sufficient presence of mind to call the speaker to order, if, indeed, he had heard the particular words which are now well-known to the world from news-paper reports. The Lord Lieutenant did not think it was incumbent on him or that it would be useful for the public service in the case of a nobleman of whose entire loyalty no question could be entertained by anyone in that House, or out of it, whose attachment to the Crown and Constitution was beyond the very shadow of suspicion—he said his noble Friend did not think it would have been useful to the public service to take any notice of the matter. As he had said, Lord Granard's words at the meeting had nothing whatever to do with the question of Mr. Madden. Mr. Madden was not removed from the magistracy on account of words used by him at a public meeting, or of any letter to the public or anyone else. Mr. Madden was removed on account of language held upon a strictly official, and not a political, occasion, in answer to a letter addressed to him in the name of the Lord Lieutenant, which it was the Lord Lieutenant's duty to address to him, and which it was Mr. Madden's duty, like other men, to answer in a proper and becoming spirit. He would tell the House what that language was. Mr. Madden having received the ordinary official letter calling upon him, as first upon the Judges' list, to serve in the office of Sheriff, made use of that particular occasion for the purpose of giving expression to the most violent and extravagant party feeling in answer to the Lord Lieutenant. He was not now going to enter into the truth or falsehood of the allegations in question, with which he had nothing to do; but he would not pass them by without saying that they were absurd, extravagant, and preposterous to the last degree, that they contained nothing which had not been refuted over and over again, and that their very extravagance in the eyes of all impartial men must refute them. But he did say that the occasion which Mr. Madden used for the purpose of venting those party passions on the representative of the Queen was so totally unfit and improper that it was impossible for the Lord Lieutenant to pass it by without notice. Passing over many violent words, the end of the letter was this— When I consider these things, I can only say I solemnly protest against being called upon-to act as chief guardian of the peace in the county of Leitrim, and I call upon the Government to recollect that this 'honour'" (the word honour being in inverted commas) "has not been of my seeking. Now, he would say, that by that letter of this gentleman, the Lord Lieutenant was put in a position from which there was no escape but by the course that was taken. Was the Lord Lieutenant to allow Mr. Madden to serve as Sheriff? Mr. Madden did not refuse to serve. If he had refused, means might have been taken to compel him to do so, or a penalty might have been inflicted; but he did not refuse. He was ready to accept the office of Sheriff on his own terms. But he (Mr. Chichester Fortescue) submitted to the House that it was impossible for the Lord Lieutenant to accept Mr. Madden as Sheriff on these terms. On the other hand, was it possible to allow Mr. Madden to escape the office of Sheriff on his own grounds? It would have been a very agreeable thing for Mr. Madden if the Lord Lieutenant were to say—"Very well, we will not ask you to serve." But in the opinion of the advisers of the Irish Government it was impossible to allow Mr. Madden, merely because he had made an improper use of opportunity given him, to escape from the duty of Sheriff; for, while they decided that Mr. Madden should not be Sheriff on his own terms, they were equally decided that he should not escape, and they considered that if Mr. Madden refused and protested against acting as chief guardian of the peace of the county it was equally impossible that he should act as guardian of the peace in any sense. The Lord Chancellor answered Mr. Madden in these words— His Lordship cannot, with a due regard to the interests of the administration of justice and the maintenance of respect for legitimate authority, allow a gentleman to remain in the Commission who 'solemnly protests against being called upon to act as chief guardian of the peace in the county of Leitrim,' and scoffs at the 'honour' of serving the Queen in the important office to which he was nominated by Her Majesty's Judges and appointed by her representative. That was the view of the Lord Chancellor and the Government, in refusing to allow Mr. Madden to dictate his own conditions and either to serve or to escape from serving the duties of Sheriff on conditions utterly inconsistent with the honour of any Government, and which in Ireland would be fatal to all authority. Now, on this subject the same misapprehension prevailed not only in the language they had heard to-night from the Mover and Seconder of the Resolution, but still more in the public Press, and in the declaration signed by a number of magistrates. Mr. Madden said— Every British subject, as I take it, has a right to find fault with the administration of public affairs when they think the conduct of the servants of the Crown is open to censure. I presume the Lord Chancellor will not deny that. I have done no more. Now, who for one moment denied that any man, whether magistrate or not, had the right to criticize and condemn the conduct of the Government? Mr. Madden might have done what a great many gentlemen in the North of Ireland have done with the utmost freedom. But the allegations which were made in this case only showed the entire misconception this gentleman entertained of his own conduct and position—a misconception not confined to him, but, he was sorry to say, shared in by a number of his brother magistrates as to the conduct of the Government. He (Mr. Chichester Portescue) desired, therefore, to state, in the strongest terms, that nothing could be further from the intentions or wishes of the Government than to interfere in the slightest degree with the perfect freedom of speech and action of the magistrates of Ireland, or with the perfect independence of that body; and nothing but the conduct of Mr. Madden, who unfortunately put himself in a position with which the Government believed they could deal in no other way, could have compelled them to take the course they had adopted. But they had been told to-night that such an outrageous act of authority as this was never hoard of before. He did not wish to rest the case of the Irish Government and the Lord Lieutenant upon any accidents; but he did mean to say that so extreme and so excessive was the violence of party passions in Ireland that these cases did sometimes from time to time occur, and former Governments had found themselves compelled to act in a similar way, and their actions had been approved by all parties and by all Governments. A few years since, as those who were acquainted with the North of Ireland would remember, occurred the case of Mr. D'Arcy Irvine, who was removed from the Commission of the Peace for conduct which fell far short of the course taken by Mr. Madden as against the Lord Lieutenant. In consequence of the very violent protest which he addressed to the Government in his capacity of magistrate, he was removed from the commission of the peace by the Government of the day. But, going back a few years further, there was a case singularly on all fours with the present—namely, that of Mr. St. George, a Galway magistrate. The appointment of stipendiary magistrates was very much resented by some of the Irish county magistrates. Mr. St. George, who was one of these, wrote a letter which, while professing the greatest possible loyalty to the Queen, said— I have, therefore, to request that you will convey to his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant my strong remonstrance against this uncalled for, discourteous, and unjust insult to the magistrates and resident gentry of the neighbourhood. …. The moral injury has been done—the sacrifice to the Moloch of agitation has been made, and the remembrance thereof cannot be effaced. He continued— My first impulse was to have resigned my office into the hands of him who has now, for the first time, thought fit to consider me unworthy to hold it independently; but as, by so doing, I should carry into effect the views of those who have suggested to the Government their present measures, I prefer to await the more distinguished honour of a public dismissal, should I be thought worthy thereof. Mr. St. George, by his voluntary act, placed himself in the same position as Mr. Madden had done—a position from which there was no escape except by the unpleasant process which the Irish Government had been obliged to take. Some fix or six years afterwards Mr. St. George was restored to the commission of the peace, upon the application of his brother magistrates, supported by the Lord Lieutenant of the county (the Marquess of Clanricarde). Questions were asked in both Houses of Parliament on the subject. The then Chief Secretary (Lord Eliot), in reply, stated that— The Lord Chancellor (Sir Edward Sugden), however, was so strongly impressed with the impropriety of the letter, viewing it as an insult to the representative of the Sovereign, that he refused to comply with the application until an explanation had been given. Such an explanation had been given as had satisfied the Lord Chancel- lor; and he, of his own motion, but with the entire concurrence of the Lord Lieutenant, had reinstated Mr. St. George. And in the House of Lords the Duke of Wellington vindicated the conduct of the Government, saying that, after the letter of Mr. St. George— He could not do otherwise than say that, in his opinion, the noble Lord at the head of the Irish Government could not have done otherwise than desire that Mr. St. George might be dismissed from his office. Undoubtedly it sometimes occurred that questions of the highest character and honour were carried beyond the bounds of public propriety; and when such cases did occur, the painful necessity was laid upon the Irish Government of acting as they had been compelled to act in the present instance. Irish Gevernments—he could, at all events, answer for the present Irish Government—were anxious to avoid adopting such a course if they could do so consistently with the authority and dignity of the Government they were bound to protect. But, in maintaining that it was the duty from which they could not escape to take this course in respect to Mr. Madden, in consequence of the position in which he had chosen to put himself by his own act, he could not sit down without ending, as he began, in declaring in the strongest terms that the act of the Irish Government did not in any way contemplate any interference with perfect freedom of action and speech of the Irish magistrates, and that it implied no attempt or desire to interfere with their perfect independence. They knew that language, certainly of the strongest and sometimes of the most violent character, may have been used by Mr. Madden and others, and was used during the period of strong party feeling that had existed during the past twelve months without any interference on the part of the Government; and nothing but the position in which Mr. Madden put himself by an answer of the most improper kind, directed, upon an official and non-political occasion, to the head of the Irish Government, would have compelled or justified the Irish Government in taking the course they had adopted. That course, in his belief, was not only rendered necessary by a sense of duty, but was necessary for the safety of the authority of all future Irish Governments.


thought it absolutely necessary to say a few words in defence of an absent man. He regretted that the noble Lord who had brought forward this Motion (Lord C. J. Hamilton) with so much ability should not have confined himself more to the question which he had introduced, and should have dwelt upon so much that was irrelevant. One of the statements which the noble Lord made was particularly painful to him, because it related to a friend of his, of whom he had lost sight of for many years, but who he now heard subjected to the accusation of using most improper language. He referred to the Rev. Thomas Doyle, who had been accused of using language which, if correct, he, for one, should be sorry to defend. That gentleman had furnished him with the report of his speech, a copy of which he furnished the day after it was delivered to a Wexford paper. He had asked him to read certain extracts, which were, in fact, the extracts corresponding to those portions of his speech which had given rise to these charges. He would neither assail nor defend, but would simply read the extracts, which were as follows:— Was the earth created only for Emperors, Kings, and Governments? [A Voice: No, no!] Was it created for an aristocracy, or for those whom George Henry Moore calls an oligarchy of buckeens? [Cheers, and 'No, no!] God alone has supreme dominion over the land, and he created it that the people might occupy it and live upon. You have just as good a right to occupy the land of your birth as the landlords [Cheers]; and any law made by man to deprive you of that right of occupancy is a violation of the natural law. … My first mission was in New Ross in '46–7, and there I witnessed scenes in the town and in the workhouse that made me proclaim undying war against landlord law. … This tyranny has become intolerable—it can be borne no longer.… [Cheers.] Only a short time since a fox cover was burnt, likely by accident, and there was great commotion about it, and a gentleman made a speech in favour of the fox, and said he hoped the farmers would not grudge him a fowl for his breakfast. … But the poor of Killesk were driven out in the snow; a dying woman, Mrs. Murphy, had to receive the last Sacraments under the ditch; I saw the snow water dripping down into the deathbed of the aged Mrs. Ryan; for them there was no compassion, no protection. ['Shame!'] Yes, the words of our Divine Redeemer are fulfilled to the letter—'The foxes have their holes, and the birds of the air have their nests wherein to lay their young, but the Son of Man has not whereon to lay His head.'.. I say this is an alarming state of things. We may preach, and our Bishops may write pasto- rals; but there are other pastorals—other missives coming across the Atlantic every day, which are read by thousands, which are carried by the penny Press into every cottage in the land. To one of these I beg to call the landlords' special attention, not as a threat—God forbid—but as a friendly, a salutary warning. Mr. John Mitchel has great influence with the Irish race all over the globe. [Cheers.] Only a short time since both branches of the Fenian organization offered to make him their leader. I will read for you the advice lately given by Mr. Mitchel to the Irish peasantry. You may condemn it, but you cannot ignore it; you must deal with it as a fact. He says—'If the landlord evict you unjustly, shoot him like a mad dog.' [Cheers and laughter.] It is not a matter for laughter, but for very serious and painful reflection. 'If the landlord unjustly evicts you (he says) shoot him like a mad dog. Should he hide himself in London, then shoot the agent or the bailiff, or all three. It is a desperate remedy, but it has become unavoidable.' We may deplore, we may condemn, we may denounce this teaching; but there it stands a fact, not to be despised. New, of course, it might be said, and said truly, that passages like these were to be judged not merely according to the effect they would produce on a reasoning and dispassionate mind, but according to the impression they were calculated to produce on an excited and impassioned assembly. At the same time, hon. Members must recollect that the scones of savage cruelty enacted during the course of the evictions of 1846 and 1847, and of which Mr. Doyle was a witness, were cited in that House with indignant and romantic pathos by the late Sir Robert Peel, and yet neither the Legislature nor the Executive stirred hand or foot in order to prevent them. Therefore, he maintained that when this rev. gentleman thought proper to allude to those terrible scenes of which he had been a witness, alongside with other atrocities committed by other misdoers, it was not with a desire to make light of what he should call the 5th, but what most hon. Members would call the 6th commandment, for he pointed out with great theological accuracy a number of ways in which men might be guilty of its infraction. In regard to what had been said about Vinegar Hill, he would admit that there rebels fought against the Government; but against what kind of Government and what kind of men did the people rebel? He would read a description of those men which was written by the great Lord Chesterfield, when Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and he called him great because he believed history had not done justice to that nobleman's wisdom and energy. The letter in question was addressed to an Irish Protestant Bishop, and bore date the 1st of October, 1764. It contained the following passage:— I see that you are in fear again from your Whiteboys, and have destroyed a good many of them; but I believe that if the military force had killed half as many landlords it would have contributed more effectually to restore quiet. The poor people in Ireland are used worse than negroes by their lords and masters, and their deputies of deputies of deputies. For there is a sentiment in every human breast that asserts man's natural right to liberty and good usage, and that will, and ought to, rebel when provoked to a certain degree. It was against such men that the people of Ireland rebelled. No doubt it was true that great excesses were committed by the peasantry; but were none committed on the other side? Although he protested against the internecine atrocities which he hoped were about to cease in Ireland, he must confess he felt an interest in every spot on the face of the globe—however illustrious and however obscure—from Marathon to Vinegar Hill, on which men had stood up against oppression.


moved the adjournment of the debate.


wished to state that he had been informed that it was by Lord Normanby, not by Sir Robert Peel, that Sir William Vorner had been dismissed from the magistracy in 1839. Sir Robert Peel dismissed the Repeal-men.

Debate adjourned till Tuesday next.

House adjourned at a quarter after One o'clock.