The Earl of Wicklow
rose to bring forward the motion of which he had given notice, with great regret, as he might be supposed to stand in the situation of a public accuser. He did not mean to place himself in that situation, but the imputation of doing so might attach to him, and there was also other imputations against which he felt it necessary to guard himself at the outset. It might be supposed that he intended, upon the present occasion, to make a general attack upon the policy of the Irish Government, and to take this opportunity of venting his hostility against the Administration to which he was opposed. Both these intentions he disclaimed, and, with respect to the first, he would show that it was unfounded, by avoiding all topics that were not immediately connected with the subject before them; and, as to the government of the noble Marquis, he begged to assure their Lordships that he entertained for him feelings of high respect, and was convinced that he entered upon the Irish Government with a deep anxiety to promote the welfare of that country, and that he had never been actuated by any other motive: at the same time, there was much that he disapproved—much of what appeared to him bad policy in the conduct of the Irish Government. The noble Lords opposite, had pursued the system while in office which, when out of office, they had always recommended to all former Governments, and held out as the most favourable to the welfare of the country. But now, after so long an experience of the evils which arose from their system of conciliation, it might have been expected that their eyes would have been opened, and that they would have corrected their policy. While attempting to avoid the errors of former Governments they had gone to the opposite extreme, verifying the remark of the poet, Dumvitant stul- 500 ti vitia in contraria currunt. It would be recollected that it had been attempted by himself and others to draw the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, whose absence upon the present occasion he regretted, into explanations of the transactions relating to Captain Graham. It was true, the noble and learned Lord said, that he would withhold his explanation, as a notice of a motion on the subject had been given by a noble friend of his; and then, when his noble friend had set him right, and said that he had withdrawn his notice, the noble and learned Lord said, "Oh! in that case, as there is no motion intended, there is no occasion for me to say any thing about it." On one occasion the noble and learned Lord had risen apparently for the purpose of giving an explanation of the proceedings of Government, when, unfortunately, a noble Marquis called him to order. The noble Marquis, however, immediately withdrew his objection, and all the noble Lords on that side of the House loudly called upon the noble and learned Lord to proceed, but, notwithstanding this, the noble and learned Lord had thought better of it, and positively refused to proceed. This was the course pursued by the noble and learned Lord when it was attempted to get out of him an explanation for which all the country panted. It had been truly said, on a former discussion of the affairs of Ireland, that it was not so much a great military force which that country required as an efficient Magistracy. This sentiment was expressed by the noble Duke (Wellington), and he was glad to hear it loudly re-echoed by the noble Earl at the head of his Majesty's Government. But when he said it was the duty of Government to support the Magistracy, he did not mean to contend that they ought. to be supported in illegal or arbitrary acts, but only that the Government should show them some degree of favour; that they should not, at least, judge of their conduct with severity, and manifest a disposition to condemn it; that they should not sacrifice them for little faults, to which it must be expected that country gentlemen should be liable; that, above all, they should not sacrifice them for the sake of obtaining a transitory, unworthy, and degrading popularity. If the character or interests only of an individual Magistrate were at stake, the case would then have a strong claim to the attention and to the justice of that House; but this sunk into nothing, in comparison with a case in which the interests of the whole of 501 Ireland were concerned. The case of Captain Graham had had a powerful influence upon all the Magistrates of the country. He knew that the Magistracy were paralyzed he knew that they were alarmed, and that they felt they were now liable, upon any slight occasion, to be thrown over by the Government to the power and mercy of the democratic party in that country. In order to show that this was the fact, he would read an extract from the evidence given by the Archbishop of Dublin before the Tithe Committee. It would be recollected that the Archbishop of Dublin had received his appointment from the present Government. He was asked if he knew of any instance in which the Magistrates had been deterred from doing their duty from fear of popular clamour? He replied, "Many. One Magistrate had said, upon one occasion, that he would not put his head into the fire." And he mentioned others who had been deterred, by the apprehension of clamour, from doing their duty efficiently. In allusion to the affair of Knocktopher, he said it was not that the force was insufficient, but that the troops had been deterred from firing till the rioters had seized their muskets, and wrested them from their hands. This evidence with respect to the massacre of Knocktopher, was enough to show that this unfortunate occurrence had been produced by the conduct of Government towards Captain Graham in the affair of Newtownbarry. The first case he should come to was that of Newtownbarry, and, having disposed of that, he should next endeavour to ascertain what were the causes which made the Government angry with the persons who took an active part in suppressing the riots there; but, in the first instance, he should briefly point out to their Lordships the state of the country previous to those riots, The accounts which had reached the Government from various quarters were so alarming as to induce the Lord Lieutenant to issue instructions to the whole of the Magistracy, pointing out to them how they were to act, and promising them countenance and support. He well remembered the circular issued in the autumn of 1830, and one, he must say, which, at the time, afforded him great pleasure, because, whilst it intimated to the Magistrates that, as they would incur the displeasure of the Government for any neglect of duty, so, on the other hand, the Government pledged itself to do its duty in protecting the civil authority. That circular afforded great consolation to him and to all 502 well-disposed persons, and was shortly after followed by another, in which the Magistrates were called upon, not only to disperse rioters, but to take steps to prevent riots, and in which minute instructions were given as to the manner in which the Riot Act was to be read and enforced. It was clear, then, that the Government at that time felt that the peace of the country was endangered, nay, absolutely outraged. He would not trouble their Lordships with the whole of that circular, but he must call their attention to its concluding paragraph. The letter was signed by Mr. Stanley, and was directed "to the Magistrates assembled in petty sessions"—it concluded in these words:—'I am directed, in conclusion, to assure you, that, while his Excellency will not fail to visit with his severest displeasure any Magistrate who may shrink from the due performance of functions so vitally important, so, on the other hand, your efforts for the suppression of acts of outrage or illegality will be duly appreciated and acknowledged. The Government will perform their part, affording you the fullest protection in the responsible exercise of your authority, and in supporting the civil force whenever it may be necessary for the preservation of the public peace.' This paragraph was very consolatory to the Magistrates. But this was not enough; another circular was sent, encouraging and directing the Magistrates, in which he found the following passage:—'You will further observe, that the Magistrates are authorized to prevent, as well as suppress, tumultuous meetings, and, therefore, when a riot, or breach of the peace, is likely to be caused by such a meeting, they are authorized, and it is their duty, to desire the parties to disperse or desist, and, in case of their refusal to arrest them, in order to prevent such breach of the peace. The letter then went on to say, that the authority which gave the Magistrates these powers did not take away from them those powers which they previously possessed; and the passage concluded by saying that,—'If the persons so assembled, or any of them, shall happen to be killed, maimed, or hurt, in the dispersing, seizing, or apprehending, or endeavouring to disperse, seize, or apprehend them, then every such Magistrate, and all persons aiding or assisting, shall be indemnified.' Having now called their Lordships' attention to the state of the country and the instructions issued to the Magistrates, he would 503 proceed to refer to the affray at Newtownbarry. Captain Graham, who was the senior Magistrate of the place, and three or four of his brother Magistrates, received information, on the 16th June that a distress for tithes was to be levied on the 18th of the same month upon the goods of a wealthy farmer of the name of Doyle, and they also ascertained that the people were determined to resist the distress, and that a large concourse of people would be assembled for the occasion. They immediately took the best precautions in their power, and collected as many as they could of the police, whom they placed under the command of Captain King, an officer of the police, who had also considerable experience as a military man, and who was known to be competent and trustworthy. In addition to information which the Magistrates had previously received, they, on the evening of the 17th, heard, from a gentleman who had just arrived from Dublin that the adjoining parishes were placarded with notices of the intended meeting, and that crowds were likely to come from a distance for the purpose of being present at the riot, for such was certainly contemplated. Some of the placards were stuck up in the parish of Baltinglass, a distance of fourteen miles from Newtownbarry, as well as on the road the whole way from Baltinglass to Blessington. It then became necessary for the Magistrates to decide upon the best course to be pursued. The nearest military force was at Wexford, a distance of thirty miles; and if an application could have been made in that quarter, it was well known to the Magistrates that the officer there had no greater disposable force than about thirty or forty men, even if there had been time for them to arrive at the scene of the contemplated riots. No resource was then left but the Yeomanry, as it was well known that the police were insufficient. The Yeomanry were sent for, but the notice was so short that only 110 could be collected, and, having marched into the town, they were, in order to prevent all excitement, placed by Captain Graham in a close yard. About twelve o'clock on the 18th a person called upon Captain Graham and informed him that the cattle had been driven away. He, with the police force at his disposal, immediately followed them, retook the cattle, and had them driven back, during which proceeding he was frequently insulted, though not absolutely attacked. Captain King called upon Captain Graham for additional aid, and the latter gentleman 504 seeing that the party under Captain King could not execute their duty, went back to the town for the Yeomanry force, which he had in readiness there, and returned with it to the scene of the disturbance. The attack then commenced on the part of the peasantry. From the evidence given at the trial it appeared that the Yeomanry were not only insulted by the grossest language but were assailed by vollies of stones, and fired at, in consequence of which, some of the party were wounded. Captain Graham seeing the situation in which his men were placed, and being a military man, took up what he considered the most favourable position under the circumstances, by placing the cattle in front, under the protection of the Police, and bringing up the rear with the Yeomanry. In the course of their march, the Yeomanry were constantly exposed to the attacks of the peasantry, and were at length obliged to fire (which they did without orders) in their own defence: the consequence was, an unfortunate loss of life. The cattle were finally taken into the town, and thus ended the unfortunate affair of Newtownbarry. This affair caused a great sensation in that part of the country, and the Radical party in Wexford made strong remonstrances to the Government against the conduct of the Magistrates and Yeomanry. The Government acted with the utmost propriety on the occasion. They admitted the affair was most lamentable, but they said, it would ill become them to adopt measures against the supposed guilty parties, who were amenable to the laws of their country. The Government further stated, that the persons concerned in the transactions should be put upon their trials at the next Assizes: consequently, at the ensuing Assizes eighteen bills of indictment were preferred, which the Grand Jury ignored, and, by their verdict, pronounced that the Magistrates and Yeomanry had only done their duty. Thus stood the case up to that moment, and he would ask, what was there in all this to excite the anger of the Government? Its cause of displeasure must have been founded upon one of three grounds; first, that the calling out of the Yeomanry was wrong, they being an improper force to employ on such occasions; or next, that if the Magistrates had a right to call out the Yeomanry, that was not an occasion in which it was necessary; or thirdly, that the Magistrates had not acted with judgment, prudence, and discretion in their official capacities. With respect to the first of these points, 505 namely, the propriety of calling out the Yeomanry under any circumstances, He could refer their Lordships to the high authority of the Judge who presided at the trial, which arose out of the affair of Newtownbarry, at the last Assizes at Wexford. The learned Judge said—I have not the least hesitation in saying that the Magistrates did nothing more than their duty in calling out the police under these circumstances, and that they were further justified in calling also on the Yeomanry to be ready in case their services should be required.He said, in his address to the Grand Jury—When Yeomanry are called upon to assist the Magistrates in preserving the peace, the circumstance of their being Yeomanry imposes upon them no peculiar obligation, neither does it clothe them with any peculiar protection. In such a case, they act not as Yeomanry, but as citizens, who are called upon to lend their assistance to maintain the authority of the laws. Persons who are called upon to suppress a riot, may take with them such arms as may appear necessary to enable them to suppress it.This was the law as laid down by a most able Judge; and, if the Magistrates of that country, acting under such authority, had erred in the execution of their duty, their fault should surely be attributed to an error of judgment, for which no punishment ought to be inflicted on them; or, at all events, that punishment should be very lenient. He could show, however, that Government, so far from condemning the employment of Yeomanry, authorized Magistrates to avail themselves of the services of that force. It so happened, that a similar occurrence to that which occurred at Newtownbarry, had taken place, a short time before, at a place situated in an adjoining county. He alluded to the case of Captain Feltus, in the county of Carlow, who had actually received the thanks of the Government for an act precisely similar to that for which Captain Graham was dismissed; for dismissal he would call it, though the noble Lord, the Chancellor for Ireland, said, that Captain Graham was not dismissed, but that he was not reinstated. The Magistrates, upon that occasion, called out the Yeomanry, and succeeded, by means of that force, in preventing a riot. He would not trouble the House with reading the instructions from the Secretary of Ireland on that subject; but 506 he would refer to another occasion still prior to the affair of Newtownbarry, in which resistance to the payment of tithes was displayed; for, unfortunately, resistance to the law was, at that time, spreading over the whole of the country, embarrassing the Magistrates, and terrifying the loyal and peaceable portion of the community. The circumstance to which be alluded took place at Ardmire in the same county. The Magistrates, on that occasion, had time to consider what measures they should adopt, and they, therefore, deputed one of their body, Captain Owen, to ascertain from Mr. Stanley whether, in case of necessity, the Magistrates might call out the Yeomanry? The extract which he would now read, would put their Lordships in possession of the result of the conversation which took place between this Gentleman and Mr. Stanley, as detailed in a letter from Captain Owen to Captain Graham:—Dear Sir—In reply to your letter, I can only give you the purport of the conversation I had with Mr. Stanley, in February last, in the presence of Captain Gossett, when I went up, on the part of my brother Magistrates in this neighbourhood, to apply for military aid, to put a stop to an illegal meeting which was about to be held near Gorey. There not being any soldiers quartered near enough to reach us in time, Mr. Stanley asked me, were there not Yeomanry, and why were they not called out? A good deal of conversation ensued, but my impression was, and still is, that at that time if we had, as Magistrates, thought fit to call out the Yeomanry, we should have been acting with the complete sanction of Government.The date of that letter was September the 4th, 1831. He would next read a letter written by the right hon. Secretary for Ireland, in answer to one addressed to him by the rev. Henry Moore, of Carnew, near Newtownbarry, with the view of ascertaining whether, in the event of riot arising from resistance to the payment of tithe, the Magistrates would be justified in calling out the Yeomanry? The letter was as follows:—Dublin Castle, January 10, 1831.Sir—I have to acknowledge your letter of the 7th instant, but cannot take upon me to do more than recommend to your attention the line laid down in the circular which I had the honour to address, some days ago, to the magistracy of Ireland. It is for them to decide upon the peculiar circumstances of each individual case, as it occurs. No Government can do more than point out the general principles upon which their decision should be 507 formed. As, however, you state that 'there is a sufficient body of loyal Yeomanry in your part of the county to prevent aggression, and preserve the public peace, if the Magistrates should be empowered to call upon them,' you are certainly empowered by law to call on all persons to aid and assist in preserving the public peace; but, perhaps, the safest course to pursue would be, to swear, as special constables, such of the Yeomanry as you can confidently rely upon, and call upon them for their exertions in that capacity, should the ordinary civil force be insufficient to prevent outrage and disturbance, or to disperse any meeting clearly illegal, upon the requisition of the Magistrates. I have the honour to be, your obedient servant,E. G STANLEY,Rev. Mr. Moore, Carnew.He thought he heard a cheer when he read that part of the letter which stated, that the Magistrates might swear in the Yeomanry as special constables. If the noble Lords opposite wished to take advantage of that expression, he would give them all the benefit which they could derive from it. Those noble Lords, probably, would be ingenious enough to show the difference between employing Yeomanry in the ranks of the police and as a separate body. His understanding, however, was not astute enough to see that this circumstance made the slightest difference. He thought he had now proved that the Magistrates were sanctioned by the law, and by the wishes of Government, in employing the Yeomanry if necessary. The next point was, to ascertain whether the Magistrates acted wisely in having recourse to this force upon that occasion. It must be recollected, that there was no military force within reach; that, on two previous occasions of a similar nature, the Yeomanry had been called out; and that, on one of these occasions, the persons calling them out had received the thanks of the Government—further, the circumstances attending this particular case must be recollected. The Magistrates had received information that vast multitudes were to assemble to resist the law, and preparations for this purpose were observed going on at fourteen miles' distance from the scene of action. If any man would say that, under these circumstances, the Magistrates were not justified in putting into requisition all the force which they had at their disposal, he must form a widely different opinion of the manner of dealing with riots in Ireland from that which he, and most Irish Magistrates, entertained. He thought he might venture 508 to assume, that he had established two points; first, that it was legal for Magistrates to call out the Yeomanry; and, secondly, that this was an occasion which justified them in having recourse to that force. He would next proceed to show, that the Magistrates acted wisely and prudently in this transaction, and ought to have received the same degree of approbation which Government extended to others under similar circumstances. Though he was unwilling to trouble their Lordships with extracts, he felt that it was absolutely necessary, upon this point, to call their attention to circumstances which transpired at the trial that took place at the last Assizes at Wexford. The evidence of Mr. Ralph, (Mr. M'Clintock's agent), was very important. That gentleman deposed that Captain Graham and his party were pelted with stones of a very large size—that the mob made use of the most insulting and irritating language towards the Yeomanry—and that Captain Graham warned the people that the muskets of the Yeomanry were loaded with ball-cartridges. He would next refer to the evidence of Dr. Hyde, to which he particularly requested the attention of their Lordships, on account of circumstances to which he would allude presently. Dr. Hyde deposed, that the Police and the Yeomanry were exposed to a fierce attack from the people. He described the stones which the mob threw, as forming from their numbers in descending, a perfect arch. Many of the police were hurt by them. He stated that three shots were fired by the crowd, and that he attended one of the Yeomanry who was wounded in the heel. This evidence completely disproved the assertion that the people had no fire-arms. It appeared that two of the Yeomanry were actually wounded, before they commenced firing in their own defence. It was sworn by one or two witnesses, who were brought forward by the prosecution, that Captain Graham gave orders to the Yeomanry to fire, but this evidence was most decidedly contradicted by other witnesses. In the first place it was shown, that the witnesses who deposed to the fact of Captain Graham having ordered his men to fire, were persons of infamous characters. But further than this, men who were in the ranks, deposed, that the words used by Captain Graham were "fie fie," which were addressed to the men to make them cease firing, instead of "fire, fire." The result of the evidence adduced 509 at the trial, went most fully to prove, that Captain Graham, in the execution of the difficult duty he was called upon to perform, acted with sound judgment and discretion, and in a manner which, in his (the Earl of Wicklow's) opinion, did him infinite credit. He would, however, read the opinion of a person whose authority on this point was much higher than his own, that of the learned Judge before whom the trial took place, who said, "You are not now trying Captain Graham, but, after it has been his fortune to have been indicted for the same alleged murder before two successive Grand Juries, and his name called so much in question, it may not be improper to declare to you that, if you believe the witnesses brought forward for the defence, he appears to have conducted himself throughout not merely with a high sense of magisterial duty, but with prudence, moderation, and humanity." When he reflected that Captain Graham had obtained the sympathy of his countrymen—that he had received an approving address from fifty-five Magistrates of the county of which he was himself a Magistrate—that he had been twice instantaneously acquitted by grand juries, and that his conduct had called forth from a Judge of the land the expressions of approbation which he had just read, that Gentleman notwithstanding, the anger of Government had reason to be proud of his situation. In the first instance, the Government certainly acted correctly in refusing to yield to the clamour which was raised against Captain Graham; but subsequently to the trial, and when it was supposed that the affair was at an end, the factious demagogues of Ireland had goaded on the Government to adopt some measures against the magistrates of Wexford. The Government was no longer able to resist the force which burst upon them in August; the Secretary for Ireland, by the desire of the Lord Lieutenant, wrote a letter of censure to the Magistrates of Wexford for their conduct in the Newtownbarry affair. The Magistrates replied, as became them, by sending in their immediate resignation; upon which the following letter was instantly addressed to Mr. Davenzy, one of their body:—Dublin, August 19,1831.Sir—I have had the honour to lay before the Lord Lieutenant the letter of the 12th instant, desiring, in consequence of the censure, as you are pleased to express it, which his Excellency conveyed by my letter of the 7th instant, to be relieved from the Commissions 510 of the peace for the counties of Carlow and Wexford. His Excellency, in giving effect to your wishes, cannot refrain from expressing his surprise that you should have considered an intimation of his opinion on the impolicy of the measure adverted to in that letter as amounting to so severe an animadversion as to justify, in your opinion, so strong a declaration of feeling as the resignation of your commissions. I have the honour to be, Sir, Your roost obedient and humble servant,J. Davenzy, Esq. W. GOSSETT.He was astonished that the Lord Lieutenant should express any surprise that Magistrates who had been twice virtually acquitted in the face of their country, should feel indignant at receiving a letter of censure from the Irish government. So far from taking the same view of this subject as his Excellency did, he should have considered these gentlemen unworthy of sitting on the bench, if they had not acted precisely as they did. There were reasons which prevented Captain Graham from resigning at the same time as his brother Magistrates. Captain Graham was the agent in several counties, for a most respectable nobleman, whose absence, on the present occasion, no one had so much reason to regret as himself, because he would have performed the duty which he had undertaken much more ably than he could pretend to do. Captain Graham, feeling that he could not effectually perform his duties as agent to Lord Farnham, did not feel himself justified in resigning his commission; but, shortly afterwards, his Excellency, the Lord Lieutenant, withdrew Captain Graham's name from the commission of the peace. Their Lordships must recollect that the Lord Lieutenant expressed his surprise that the other Magistrates should have felt it necessary to send in their resignations, and yet he had deprived Captain Graham of his commission. Why he made any distinction between their case and that of Captain Graham he had yet to learn. The Magistrates were all engaged in the same transaction—they co-operated together in the discharge of their duty; and no difference of opinion prevailed amongst them. When he proposed a question to time Lord Chancellor of Ireland upon this subject, he seemed to draw a distinction between the dismissal of a Magistrate and the omitting to insert his name in the commission. He gave the noble and learned Lords all the benefit which he could derive from the distinction. It might be said, perhaps, that the omission of Captain Graham's name was the 511 act of the Lord Lieutenant of the county, who, under the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland's Act, was called upon to revise the Magistracy—and not the act of the Government. This, though not stated, was in some degree implied in what fell from the Lord Chancellor of Ireland. In order to remove all doubt upon that point, however, and to show how the matter really stood, he would trouble the House with some further correspondence. Captain Graham wrote a letter to Mr. Carew, the Lord Lieutenant of the county of Wexford, to the following effect:Newtownbarry, December 31, 1831.Sir—Finding that circular letters have been addressed by you to the Magistrates of the county, and not having myself been honoured with one, I am in doubt whether or not I am authorised in continuing to act as a Magistrate for the county of Wexford. May I, therefore, beg you will be so good as to favour me with the necessary information on this point. I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient servant,R. S. Carew. W. GRAHAM.This was the answer which was re-turned—Castleborough, January 4, 1832.Sir—I have this day had the honour of receiving your letter, and beg to inform you that the new Commission of the Peace for this county will be very shortly issued, by which the functions of the Magistrates under the former Commissions will cease, and any act done by them before they qualify under the new Commission would be illegal. I regret that I cannot, at present, give you any further information on the subject of your letter, which I have laid before his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant. When I am enabled to do so, I shall have the honour of communicating it. I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient servant,W. Graham, Esq. R. S. CAREW.Subsequently, Captain Graham received the following letter;—Castleborough, January 10, 1832.Sir—I have the honour to inform you, that the new Commission for the county of Wexford will be immediately issued, and with reference to my former letter, in which I mentioned that I had laid your letter before his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant, I beg to say, that it is not deemed expedient that your name should be replaced in the new Commission. I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient servant,Captain Graham." "R. S. CAREW.This relieved the Lord Lieutenant of the county from all responsibility on this point. The matter, however, did not end there. Although Captain Graham had been once acquitted, his enemies were still 512 urging on the Government the necessity of putting him and his companions once more on trial for murder. Captain Graham naturally felt anxious on the subject, knowing the bitter hatred of those enemies, and the little support which he was likely to receive from the Government; and, therefore, his Solicitor by his direction, wrote to the Attorney General a month before the last Assizes, to know whether the Government intended to institute a prosecution against him? The answer of the Attorney General was, that it was not the intention of the Government to do so. Notwithstanding that answer, Captain Graham was again put upon his trial! So sudden was the determination of the Government on this point—so little regard did they show for the feelings of individuals—that, actually, they had not made up their own minds as to the course they should pursue on the morning the Assizes commenced; for the Judge observed, in his charge to the Grand Jury, that he was in a state of uncertainty as to the course which the Crown would pursue with respect to the events at Newtownbarry. A bill of indictment was, however, preferred against Captain Graham, and immediately ignored. He must now mention one circumstance, though not immediately connected with the case of Captain Graham, to show the inexplicable manner in which the Government acted, and the little regard they exhibited for the feelings and interests of the persons implicated in the affair of Newtownbarry. The individual, from the report of whose trial he had been quoting (Mr. Kilfoy, one of the police), was put upon his trial for manslaughter. Dr. Hyde, who was a material witness in his favour, was then in Scotland. It had been the invariable practice of Government, whenever any of its functionaries had been put upon their trial, under circumstances similar to those in which Kilfoy stood, to grant funds to defray the expenses of bringing witnesses from a distance. An application was made to the Government for funds to defray the expense of bringing Dr. Hyde from Scotland. Kilfoy's friends were told that the application would be laid before the Attorney General, and his opinion taken upon it. They continued to call day after day, but no answer was given to their application. Kilfoy's trial was fixed for the 2nd of March, and at length, on the 25th of February, his solicitor was informed, too late for the post, that, on his client lodging an affidavit that 513 the evidence of Dr. Hyde was absolutely necessary, the requisite funds for defraying the expense of that gentleman's journey would be provided. Was this proper conduct? Government was already in possession of an affidavit, stating that Dr. Hyde was a material witness; and yet no answer was given to Kilfoy's application until two or three days before the time fixed for the trial, when it was physically impossible that he could derive advantage from the proffered liberality of the Government. The life of this man might have been sacrificed, had it not been for the generosity of an individual, who gave 30l. to defray the expenses of Dr. Hyde's journey. The Doctor arrived in time to give evidence, which was materially instrumental in obtaining the acquittal of the prisoner. He could not refrain from contrasting the conduct of Government towards Captain Graham with their conduct towards another Magistrate in the same neighbourhood, to whose case he had before adverted. An affidavit was forwarded to the Government, stating that this individual was in the habit of proceeding from chapel to chapel, urging the people to resist the payment of tithes. No notice, however, was taken of this representation of the Magistrates. He by no means asserted, that the information which was sworn to was correct—and he admitted that the gentleman in question felt much hurt at the charge which had been brought against him, and asserted, most solemnly, that it was false. For his argument, however, it mattered not whether the charge was true or false. What he complained of was, that the Magistrates were not informed by the Government whether the transactions reported by them had been investigated or not. All they knew was, that their representations were disregarded, whilst they saw, at this moment, the individual whom they accused, and whom they still believed to be guilty, supported by the Government, and made a Deputy Lord Lieutenant! On the other hand, they observed, that Captain Graham, who, to the best of his ability, exerted himself to preserve the peace of the country—was degraded, and struck out of the Commission of the Peace! He knew not whether the noble Duke, who, on a former evening, said that he had afforded a singular example of Irish justice, was now in his place—but, if he was, he would refer him to this transaction, as a specimen of what the Irish government considered to be even-handed 514 justice. Could the Government expect that gentlemen in Ireland would exert themselves to preserve the peace of the country, when they were liable to be treated as Captain Graham had been? Government could not expect to receive the cordial co-operation of the Magistracy; and without that, they would be obliged to overrun Ireland with military in order to maintain tranquillity. He had now brought the whole case before the House, and had stated sufficient he hoped, to induce the House to agree to the motion for papers to elucidate the case. He begged leave to move "that there be laid before the House a copy of Mr. Stanley's circular letter to the Magistrates of Ireland, dated December 30, 1830."
The Marquis of Anglesey
My Lords, in the absence of my noble and learned friend, the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, I rise to give a full explanation of the Motion which led to the decision of not replacing Captain Graham in the Commission of the Peace for the several counties where he has hitherto acted. I do this the more readily, because I entirely identify myself with my noble and learned friend in this case. I fully concur with him in the view he has taken of it, and am even quite ready to take the whole responsibility upon myself. I shall very much confine myself to that particular case, because I really am unequal to follow the noble Earl, who has made the Motion now before you, through all the variety of topics upon which he has descanted—of some of which I have no knowledge whatever—of others, but an imperfect recollection; and, as they are foreign to the case immediately in question, I think I may dispense with noticing them in detail. I will merely observe, that, if in the course of what I have to say, I should omit any material point which might require explanation, I would intreat the noble Lord to interrupt, and to put any question he may think fit; or, if he should be inclined to lay any stress upon the points on which I may not touch, if he will give me notice of it, I will take care to come prepared to meet him in explanation. I proceed now to the case before us:—Your Lordships are all aware that it is entirely in the province of the Chancellor to appoint Magistrates. So much inconvenience had been felt by former Chancellors, and more particularly by the late Chancellor Hart, who felt that he had made many improvident appointments, that in 1828 I determined upon recommending 515 to his Majesty's Government, of which the noble and gallant Duke opposite was then at the head, to put the administration of county affairs in Ireland upon the same footing as those of England and Wales. I recommended that Lords Lieutenants of counties should be appointed. The measure was approved, but it was not acted upon. After my dismissal, upon my return to resume the Government of Ireland, in 1830, it was one of my first Acts to recommend its adoption. His Majesty's present servants entirely concurred in this view, and, by bringing in a Bill, they immediately effected the object. Upon the appointment of the Lieutenants of counties, a circular letter was addressed to them by the Chief. Secretary, pointing out the required qualifications, explaining that certain specified offices would render those holding them ineligible; and particularly stating, that, although there might be persons then upon the Bench, whom, if this were an original appointment, it might not be desirable to place there, still, that being already there, if there was no very material objection to them as to character, they should bere-appointed. Now, my Lords, there is a great difference between erasing a name from the list, and merely declining to re-appoint the person, when, by the demise of the Crown, his Commission would cease. Captain Graham stood precisely in the predicament to be dealt with upon this rule. Captain Graham was not dismissed. He was merely not re-appointed. I mention this to show that there was not the least disposition to deal harshly by Captain Graham—but I do not wish to lay any stress upon it. I rest my vindication of the conduct of the Chancellor upon much firmer ground. My Lords, I assert that the Magistrates, of whom Captain Graham was one, in calling out the yeomanry, acted illegally. They had not the power to do so. The Lord Lieutenant of the county had not that power—even the Chief Governor is not authorised to call out the yeomanry except in cases of invasion, or of actual and well defined insurrection. The Magistrates have the full power to call upon the Members of these corps, separately and individually, to turn out and to support the civil authorities. They have even the power to compel them to act as special constables, and to fine and imprison them if they disobey; but they have not any authority to call them out as an armed organised body. I say, then, that, in doing this, they acted 516 illegally; and that they acted most indiscreetly, it will be equally easy to show. My Lords, in considering this, your Lordships must bear in mind the actual state of the country. Owing to the indiscretion of that part of the people called Orangemen, and amongst whom there is a vast number of the yeomanry, this force has become particularly obnoxious. They had attended large meetings called together by a class of the highest order in the country, and who had lately assumed the title of Conservators. There the yeomen had frequently appeared in party colours, some in uniform, some armed, some even carrying the King's arms—here they had heard the most inflammatory harangues, they were brought to believe that the Catholics were to assume the ascendancy, that the Government was unfriendly to the Protestants, and no pains were omitted to inflame them against the Government, and against their fellow subjects. Is it to be wondered at, then, my Lords, that these people, thus goaded to mischief, should frequently have effected it? My Lords, it rarely happened that these pernicious meetings did not terminate in some collision. Now, my Lords, let me not be misunderstood or misinterpreted in regard to what I have said, or think, of this body of the people. My Lords, I consider the yeomanry of Ireland to be brave, honest, independent, and loyal. I have no hesitation in saying, that, if I were in the unfortunate predicament to have to repel invasion and foreign aggression, I should feel proud and happy to place myself at their head—and I should feel the utmost confidence in leading them—but I must, at the same time, say (and I wish that all I have said were heard by them as well as your Lordships), I do think them the very last description of force that ought to be employed in cases of domestic disturbance. It ever did, and it will never fail, to lead to mischievous results. Let me also say, my Lords, that, although I cannot but highly deplore and condemn the conduct of those of the highest influence in the country, who are perpetually inflaming the minds of the Protestants, and encouraging, or rather forcing, them to believe that the Government is not favourable to their interests (than which a fouler calumny cannot be put forth), let me, I say, observe, that, in deploring the line of conduct they have pursued, I do not deny that they have met with great provocation. My Lords, there exists in Dublin a Society(indeed Societies) 517 whose ramifications extend to every county, and whose sole object is, to vilify and calumniate every party in the State that does not partake of their revolutionary principles. These have assuredly been the first aggressors; but does even their misconduct justify the violence of the other party in vilifying and misrepresenting his Majesty's Government, and using every exertion to weaken it? My Lords, the Government of Ireland is taxed with condescending to rule upon the principles of conciliation—most assuredly that is the principle upon which it has been my ambition to act, but most lamentable has been my failure, for I find every act of the Government systematically misrepresented and calumniated. Each party, or rather the extremes of each party, being bitter and unforgiving, because each discovers that there is not the slightest chance of its being permitted to assume the ascendancy and to dictate to the Government. This is the miserable state of the public mind in Ireland. Is it, then, under such a state of things, that the yeomanry ought to have been called out? In addition to all that I have already said, I must add, that the county of Wexford was only at that moment recovering from the agitation and excitement of two county elections, where party spirit had run unusually high. I say, then, my Lords, that the calling upon the yeomanry was an act of the greatest indiscretion. It was illegal. It was indiscreet, and I will show that it was unnecessary. The noble Earl has stated, that there was no troops within thirty miles, therefore he conceives Captain Graham acted judiciously in calling out the yeomanry. Now, my Lords, the fact is not so. Regular troops were within reach. There was ample time to draw them to Newtownbarry. There was a small garrison at Wexford, only twenty-one miles distant. There was also troops at Carlow, distant fourteen miles; and I believe that there was also a small detachment still nearer. Be that as it may, there was ample time to move even from the most distant station, and I will answer for it, that, had these troops been employed, not a drop of blood would have been spilt. I will now come to the conduct of Captain Graham during the affray. Upon this there is a most conflicting and contradictory evidence; many witnesses swore positively that they heard the word "fire" given by that officer; others swore as positively that he did not give that order. Now, here I must remark, without, how- 518 ever, meaning to bear hard upon Captain Graham, that the evidence of the former witnesses is positive; they say they heard the word, whilst the others can only prove that they did not hear—not that the word was not given, for it might have been given when they were out of hearing; others, one I am sure, and I believe two, swore that the Captain did not give the word "fire," but that, in order to prevent them, he said "fie, fie." Now, my Lords, if this be the case, is it not lamentable that the lives of men should be contingent on the accurate distinction between the words "fire," and "fie?" Most assuredly that officer could not, in the whole vocabulary, have fixed upon a word of more equivocal sound than of "fie," when it was used to prevent the effect which the word "fire" would have produced. Upon this subject I find it difficult to come to a satisfactory result; I rather lean to the opinion, that Captain Graham did not give the word "fire," and, certainly, he did exert himself to prevent the continuance of the firing. The consequence of this lamentable affair was truly distressing! No one who was not in the county, or who did not receive accurate and daily intelligence, can form a notion of the agitation, the irritability, and the frightful excitement, it occasioned. Many of the yeomanry absconded—some, I am assured, left the country; of those who remained, and from whom bail was taken to answer the charges against them at the next Assizes, it became necessary to escort them to their residences under a guard, in order that they might not fall a prey to the fury of the people, or come again into collision with them. It was also necessary to place safe-guards in some of the houses. The friends of Captain Graham prevailed upon him to quit the country; he judiciously and humanely consented to do so. I say humanely, because the character of that gentleman as an officer stands too high to imagine he would do so from personal consideration, and I am quite certain that he took this step from motives of humanity, and to avoid any increased irritation by his presence. Here, my Lords, I feel that I may close this case. I imagine that your Lordships will concur with me in thinking that the employment of the yeomanry was—even if not illegal—at least indiscreet, and that it was unnecessary; and that, under these circumstances, coupled, too, with the fact, that Captain Graham was not possessed of any landed property in Wexford, a sound discretion 519 has been exercised in not naming him on the Commission. The noble Marquis then alluded in pointed terms to an attack made on him in his absence by the noble Marquis (the Marquis of Westmeath). What could be the noble Marquis's motive? He could not fear to answer me as a debater. He knew that I had no practice—no experience—and that in the way of argument I was incapable of taking any advantage. The noble Marquis must have felt, that upon that score he had the superiority. What, then, could have actuated him? My Lords, the noble Marquis did not like to encounter the plain facts, which he knew I should, at all events, be able to bring forward, and which he must have been conscious would have blown his Address (for I maintain that it is his Address, and not the Address of the Magistrates of Westmeath, his writing is legible in every line of it), his speech and arguments to the winds. With respect to the motives of the noble Earl for bringing forward the Motion now before us, and at this particular time, I should more easily have accounted, if he had not been a practised and a finished speaker. Although the noble Earl may not himself, have suffered under the desperate inflictions of my noble and learned friend, yet, as he must have occasionally witnessed the painful writhings of some of his noble friends, under my noble and learned friend's powerful lash, I might have been tempted to believe that the noble Earl would feel some relief from knowing that the moment he was speaking there was a wide channel, and 300 miles of land between him and the person he was calling to account. No such motive, however, could actuate the noble Earl, and, therefore, I am wholly at a loss to account for his conduct. My Lords, if I was not afraid of trespassing too severely upon your Lordships' patience I would gladly be permitted, if the rule of the House do not preclude me from doing so, to make some observations upon the papers now lying upon your Lordships' Table upon the motion of the noble Marquis, the Lieutenant of Westmeath. I allude to the address of that noble Lord and the Magistrates of that county. To save your Lordships' time as much as possible, I will, without circumlocution, proceed to make a few remarks upon the most prominent paragraphs of that address. The first I would notice runs thus:—' We beg leave to represent that the state of the laws do not afford that sort of dis- 520 couragement to that crime, that would amount to an adequate protection for those who would rally to them, if they saw they dare assist in bringing the offenders to justice.' Now I should be glad to ask what sort of further discouragement than that which the law gives, the noble Marquis would propose? Fine—imprisonment—transportation—Death. These are the discouragements which the law already affords, and I should wish to learn what can be added to these? My ingenuity presents nothing beyond these but torture, and I hardly imagine that, in this enlightened age, this could be seriously thought of. The next paragraph to which I would refer is as follows:—'We humbly beg leave to observe to your Excellency that a leading feature of this system is, that it involves the forfeiture of human life as the penalty for any breach committed against its various impositions, although the presumed offences are undefined, and vary from one moment to another; indeed solely arising out of the caprices of savage men, broke loose from restraint, in a country, the laws of which command the respect of all other parts of the United Kingdom subject to them.' It would seem by this sentence that the actual law does command the respect of all other parts of the United Kingdom. How comes it, then, that there only it fails? Is it shown that any extraordinary exertion has been made by the authorities to meet the licentiousness of the turbulent? Have there been meetings of the gentry to combine, and unite, and organise a system to resist outrage? Has there been any previous representation to the Government? Has application been made to proclaim the county, or at least the most disturbed Baronies? Has an additional constabulary force been applied for? Is there a single instance in which a military force has been required, that it has not been sent? Have the tenantry been encouraged to support their landlords in any vigorous exertions to support the law? Have special constables been sworn in? Has the noble Marquis himself set a laudable example? Has he collected his servants, his tenants, his dependants—all those over whom he must have influence? Has he asked them to turn out and protect his neighbourhood from outrage? And if he has not, must he not upon reflection acknowledge that such a course would be more likely to effect tranquillity, than writing, within a 521 a well barricaded house, angry letters to violent and ungrateful agitators, and denouncing the population of a whole country? My Lords, I know, and I say it confidently, there is a vast number of the people who if properly called on and encouraged, would willingly combine with the gentry in the suppression of crime. I will simply relate one striking occurrence in exemplification of this. At the late Assizes of the Queen's County, held at Maryborough, several persons were upon trial for Whiteboy offences. A witness of the name of Dunne was under examination. A Magistrate, known to be of very high party feeling, and not a very constant resident, asked him, in a somewhat imperious tone—"And pray, Sir, do the farmers in your neighbourhood look on at these proceedings, and take no pains to check them?" The farmer replied in a sturdy tone—"No, Sir, they do not; but if you and those who call themselves gentlemen, and the Magistrates (instead of skulking out of the country when the danger comes on), were to help the farmers as they ought, these disturbances would have been put down long ago." The farmer was a Catholic. "We come next (says the address) to the case of Thomas Grotley, a man of notoriously desperate character, who was taken in his progress from the county of Meath, to which he belonged, through a part of the country with a carriage and money in his possession, for the purpose of swearing in and organizing the people, with seditious papers and in their nature treasonable, found upon him, one of them exulting in the confusion of Britain, as the triumph of the system he was organizing. This miscreant was enlarged from the prison he never ought to have left, upon the avowed opinion of the Attorney General, that although the papers were found upon him no tangible case could be made out to convict him as the law now stands." This is a very plain story: a bad character was travelling through the county, papers were found upon him he was taken up and sent to jail. The noble Lord pronounces that these papers were treasonable and of a seditious nature, and that he had been enlarged from a prison he ought never to have left. This is the noble Lord's opinion: that of the Attorney General is different. He says, that, upon these papers no tangible case could be made out, and he was accordingly enlarged. I think the House will go along with me in thinking, 522 that upon a point of law, the Attorney General was the better judge. We then meet with this passage:—"Upon these facts thus selected, and upon the mass of crime which, if enumerated here, would swell a folio, we mainly rest our assertion." Why, my Lords, here is a folio filled already, and closely filled with assertions which cannot be proved. It goes on to say—"The laws at present are utterly powerless to check the progress of a system so destructive to society, or to reach the known abettors of its blood-thirsty organization; a state of things to which open rebellion would be preferable as that might be dealt with by a corresponding power adequate to the evil." To this conclusion, my Lords, I cannot come. I totally dissent from it. Open rebellion would evidently entail a frightful loss of life. The present state of the country is, I admit, extremely deplorable—but, inasmuch as I feel certain that it may by union and proper exertions be tranquillized, I greatly prefer it to the other alternative. The Address goes on to say—"We have assembled to prepare a respectful Address to your Excellency, and petitions to Parliament, but we cannot, in the utmost stretch of respect, acknowledge to your Excellency or the Legislature that system to be sound which subjects the peaceable and industrious members of the community to the ravages of the depraved; or that, although one offence, in a given mass of enormity, may meet a tardy retribution, still leaves exposed all that is valuable in a trading and agricultural country to the tyranny of savage caprice." Here, my Lords, is a direct libel upon the whole system of law and jurisprudence of the United Kingdom, applicable, not merely to the present moment, or to any particular spot, but to every place; and to meet the views of the noble Marquis, it would be absolutely necessary for your Lordships to go into a revision and alteration of all those laws under which the empire has been enjoying more freedom, more happiness, and more prosperity, than any other portion of the known world; and to prove these calumniated laws are not asleep, but in actual operation, I beg leave to lay upon the Table, a catalogue of punishments which have been the results of the last Spring Assizes, and which it is truly painful to contemplate. The Address concludes with this remarkable paragraph; "With great respect, we conceive it to be nothing less than an absurdity to leave the 523 enjoyment of the privileges of free Government unsuspended among a peasantry who know not its value, or are so far corrupted as not to appreciate its advantages." Upon the whole, my Lords, this Address deals only in general abuse of the existing laws and institutions, without specifying defects, or suggesting a single remedy, and it concludes with a sweeping anathema against a whole population, denouncing it as utterly unworthy of enjoying the privileges of a free Government. I need not trouble your Lordships with my answer to it. It is on your Lordships' Table. I will merely say, that upon the fullest reflection, I cannot retract one word of its sentiments. I utterly deny that there is anything offensive in a single sentence, and I do assure your Lordships that it was written in a spirit of the most perfect good feeling towards the Magistrates of Westmeath.
The Marquis of Westmeath
said, that, as allusion had been made to him, he felt it necessary to repeat what he had distinctly declared on a former evening—namely, that he was actuated by no feeling of hostility to the noble Marquis in the Motion which he had then brought forward. As to the address which had been referred to, he had no hesitation in avowing that he had written it, but it had been approved of generally by the Magistracy of Westmeath. He could assure their Lordships that he had no intention of taking advantage of the absence of the noble Marquis the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland when he brought forward his Motion, and, if he had thought that such an idea could have been entertained, he should not have brought the subject forward. But he had brought it before their Lordships as an act of the Irish Government of which he disapproved. He considered such acts to be fair and open subjects of discussion, and that, in the present state of the country, consideration for individuals ought to give way to the interests of the public. He was quite ready to avow that, whenever a military force was demanded, the noble Marquis was most willing to give it; but he felt some regard for the King's troops, and he did not wish to see them harassed by encounters with a population who made a mockery of them, and could disperse like flies whenever occasion required. The Magistrates only asked for protection for life and property. It was said that they ought to stay at home and do their duty. For his own part, he wished to God he was 524 at home now; but he was here—and could not be in two places at once. He must say that the Irish Government, in not taking vigorous means for the restoration of tranquillity and the protection of property, was in his opinion very much to blame.
The Earl of Roden
said, that after hearing the several statements made by the noble Earl who brought the matter before the House, and the noble Marquis's reply thereto, he must maintain that the charges which the noble Earl had brought against Government for their conduct respecting Captain Graham had been fully substantiated, and he could not help thinking that that individual had been the object of great and unmerited persecution and hardship. The noble Marquis (Anglesey) said that the reason which induced the Government of Ireland to omit the name of Captain Graham from the commission of the peace for the counties of Wexford Carlow, and Meath, was his having called out the Yeomanry without being sufficiently authorised to do so. The noble Marquis said, there was no intention on the part of Government to act with harshness towards that gentleman, but he (the Earl of Roden) could not conceive any more harsh act than putting a gentleman on his trial twice for the same offence, and causing him an expense of upwards of 400l., for the vindication of his character. The result, indeed, was highly honourable to Captain Graham. It was fully proved that he was a most honourable and upright man. As to its being illegal to call out the Yeomanry, he would beg to refer their Lordships to a letter addressed by Mr. Stanley to a gentleman of the name of Moore, residing in the same county in which Captain Graham lived, in which he alluded to the disturbed state in which the country then was, and recommended the Magistrates generally to act with resolution, and if necessary (in the event of a decided manifestation of resistance to the laws) to call for the assistance of the Yeomanry corps. Yet because he had done this very act was the chief reason assigned for the dismissal of Captain Graham, he, therefore, left the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and the Secretary for Ireland, to reconcile that difference. Further the noble Marquis said, that Captain Graham had acted indiscreetly; but there again he was contradicted by the Judge who tried the cause; and he, (the Earl of Roden) also trusted many of their Lordships fully agreed with 525 the learned Judge. It was then said in extenuation of the dismissal that Captain Graham had little or no property in the county of Wexford, and consequently ought not to be on its commission. This he had no hesitation in stating openly was a mere quibble and pretext for injustice. Did such a circumstance exclude other individuals from being retained on the commission? There was Mr. Challoner, the agent of the estates of the Earl Fitzwilliam in the county of Wicklow, who, although possessed of little property in that county, was invested with the duties of a Magistrate. He really could not but regret that such idle and absurd excuses should be tendered in explanation of an act of injustice. It might be fairly asked, if the allegations of the Irish Government were unfounded, to what was the dismissal attributable? He would tell their Lordships; Captain Graham was dismissed in obedience to the directions of demagogues, a class unfortunately too prevalent in Ireland, and to whose influence still more unfortunately the Government of that country seemed inclined on all occasions to bow. These demagogues were individually pledged to the destruction of Protestantism in Ireland, and naturally every man who had the hardihood to offer his support to that religion became the object of their hate and persecution. One of that class was Captain Graham. He was known in Ireland to be an individual who made it his object and endeavour to support the Church whose religion he professed, against the open and daring attacks which were being made against it; and by his honest and open avowal of his principles he became obnoxious to the feelings of all those whom he had just described as pledged to the annihilation of the Protestant religion in Ireland. The neglect and want of countenance which the Government of Ireland had shown to the Protestant gentry of that country was productive of the worst consequences. Those individuals had for some time past looked upon themselves as badly treated: and he could assure the House that the manner in which Captain Graham had suffered had not contributed to improve that feeling. There was not a Protestant who did not regard the dismissal of that individual as demonstrative of what might be expected from a resistance to the efforts of insidious agitators, having for their object the expatriation of the Protestant gentry. Indeed since the present Government had entered upon 526 their office they had been guilty of a total disregard, nay, more than that, of a studied and avowed scheme to destroy Protestant influence, if not the Protestant Church, in Ireland. And what was the motive which influenced Government in this respect? Why, the weak and vain desire of conciliating mob demagogues. In the first place Government had introduced a measure relating to education. They withdrew the grant from that society which afforded the children of the Protestant poor the sole means of being brought up in the full knowledge of the Scriptures, and bestowed the grant thus withdrawn upon a Board which put into the hands of the people the Bible in a mutilated form, and which separated a moral from a religious course of education. Then again in the Reform Bill, what was the avowed object of one of its clauses? If their Lordships would look into that Bill they would see the little care that was taken of the Protestant portion of the constituency. In the English Bill, as their Lordships might be aware, the existing rights of freemen, under certain restrictions, were vested in their children, but in the Irish Bill no such provision was made. Now, when speaking of that clause on the occasion of the introduction of the Bill, what was the language used by the right hon. Secretary for Ireland? After stating that it was determined by Ministers that the rights of freemen should cease on their demise, Mr. Stanley said, that this determination was occasioned by the circumstance that in Ireland the freemen of corporations were for the most part Protestants, whence if their rights were to be continued to their children a set of Protestant constituents would be formed and perpetuated; a state of things which he openly avowed it was far from the wish of Ministers should take place. He begged to ask their Lordships if such a statement was not enough to induce an apprehension in the minds of the Protestant gentry that their religion was in danger of being sacrificed to the wishes and dictates of the demagogue portion of the Irish people? In addition to this there were many other acts of the present Government in which the Protestants of Ireland felt themselves much aggrieved. They perceived that in several instances persons were chosen for public situations in consequence of the dictation of a certain knot of demagogues, who held their periodical parliaments in Dublin, and who of late were in the habit of issuing their 527 orders in council, as it were, directing who were and who were not to be appointed to official situations. Noble Lords on the opposite side of the House might dissent from his statement, but he still would maintain it; and, what was of more importance, could prove it. In one instance an individual was named as Deputy Lieutenant for the county of Sligo, although possessed of little property, and less influence, in that county, merely because he was brought into notice, having been nominated as a fit and proper person about a week before the date of his appointment by Mr. O'Connell, at one of his demagogue and mob-agitating assemblies. Such was the state in which Ireland then was—a state into which she had been reduced by the weak, irresolute, and temporising system pursued by its Government—a system which, unless it was not only restrained but destroyed, would soon render its Government a mere farce. He spoke warmly on the subject but he assured their Lordships he but spoke as he felt. The speech of the noble Marquis seemed to imply, that there was no part of Ireland in a disturbed state except the county of Kilkenny, but if the noble Marquis had that belief, he was very ill served by his new allies in the county of Kildare; such was the state of society, that it was described by a noble friend of his (the Marquis of Ormond), to be worse than in a state of open warfare, that it would be better for a man to know his enemies and to meet them face to face than to be waylaid as at present in the roads and defiles, without the least power of defence. Look again to the state of Queen's County. At a meeting held the other day by the Magistracy, resolutions were passed stating that the laws were openly violated, that crime, intimidation, and outrage were increasing, that the civil power was unable to cope with the difficulties, and that more energetic measures were required to put an end to such terrible disorders; and it was agreed that a petition founded on these facts should be presented to Parliament. He would not go through the melancholy detail of crime by which these facts were fully borne out, but he would say that, if the present system falsely called conciliation was persevered in, these enormities which were at present confined to particular districts, would spread throughout the land. The noble Marquis had said, that the people of Ireland were divided into great parties, and that Government could obtain the support of neither of the extremes of 528 those parties; but so far as the one party the Protestants were concerned he believed there was no extremes, that they were united almost as one man in opposing the miserable policy of expediency. It was urged that they had united themselves in societies. They were united, and he thought they ought to be united. Government had in a measure withdrawn its countenance from them, and unless they formed a union among themselves for the security of their property, lives, and interests, their existence in Ireland would be precarious. They had likewise united with a determination of upholding their religion, and he was satisfied that to that union while life remained they would stand fast. Before he concluded, he desired to allude to one other topic in the noble Marquis's speech. The noble Marquis said, that if the Magistrates of Ireland did not timidly skulk out of the country there would be little or no disturbance. He begged to repel the imputation which the noble Marquis seemed desirous of fixing on the Magistrates. They were no skulkers. Nothing could be further from their intentions than to skulk out of the country. The Magistrates of Ireland were as brave and intrepid a set of men as ever existed in any country. If they, in some instances, did not act with the resolution with which they were in the habit of acting, it arose from no fear of personal consequences, but from a conviction that they could not rely on the support of Government in any measure they might deem necessary to adopt according to their own judgment.
The Marquis of Anglesey
begged to remind the noble Earl that he had not charged the Magistrates with "skulking from danger;" quite the contrary: he had merely repeated those words as part of the evidence of a farmer, to show that the class of persons of whom the witness was one were not unwilling to assist the Magistrates, if called upon. The number of persons brought to punishment for crime at the last Spring Assizes was sufficient to show that the Magistrates were not remiss in their duty. The calendar of the convictions at the Assizes which had lately terminated, he regretted to say, was exceedingly frightful, but it was right the House should be put in possession of it:—38 persons were sentenced to be transported for life; 342 for seven years: 106 had sentence of death recorded against them; 64 had been left for execution; and 19 were actually executed.
The Marquis of Clanricarde
said, that he was decidedly of opinion, that the Government of Ireland had acted perfectly right in pursuing the course they had adopted in the case of Captain Graham. After the representations which were made to them respecting the feeling of the people of Ireland in regard to that individual's conduct, it would have been most impolitic to have retained him in the Commission of the peace. He did not mean, for his own part, to cast the slightest imputation on Captain Graham's character; indeed, from the representations which had been made to him, he believed him to be a highly honourable man; but still he was of opinion that if his conduct was such as to give general dissatisfaction, which he understood was the case, he ought not to be retained upon the Commission. He thought it should be also considered that the Catholic population of Wexford—and the population of that county was principally Catholic—entertained very strong feelings as to Captain Graham's conduct; consequently, if not on grounds of justice, which he was far from admitting, on the grounds of prudence alone his dismissal was proper. It was said, that the Government of Ireland ought to maintain the law, and that they ought not for trifling faults to act with severity against Magistrates. True, but how did that argument hold in the case of Captain Graham? What was the trifling act in which his name, justly or unjustly it was not then for him to say, had been implicated? Twenty-two individuals were known to have been shot by the Yeomanry under his command. Was this a trifling act, or one which the Government of the country would be justified in passing over? Unquestionably not. Indeed he was convinced such would have been the hatred of the people of Ireland to the laws of that country had not Captain Graham been dismissed, that in a short time both it and the Government of the country would have become a dead letter, totally disregarded and laughed at. Considerable stress was laid on the rejection of the bills against Captain Graham by the Grand Jury, and the language addressed by the Judge of Assize on that occasion. As to the address of Baron Foster, he thought it ought not to be regarded with too much consideration, for it was absolutely impossible that a man who had lived all his life in the midst of a party could divest himself of his private feelings, particularly when the decision of the Grand 530 Jury gave him a pretext for indulging in them. The noble Earl who had last spoken had been particularly vehement against the sufferance of assemblies composed of demagogues, as he termed them, whose sole object he stated to be the destruction of the Protestant Church and the Repeal of the Union. Did then the noble Earl think that the Orange party in Ireland, by their conduct and bearing towards their brethren, would further the maintenance of the Union? If the noble Earl cherished such an opinion it was not one in which he participated. On the contrary, it appeared to him that the line of policy pursued by the Orange party was inimical to the maintenance of that Union which they professed to advocate. To such an extent did he carry this opinion, that if called upon to make a comparison between the Irish demagogues and Irish Orange conservatives, he should give the preference to the former. The principles of the Orange party were in fact most unjustifiable and unprincipled, and calculated beyond any thing else to lead to the separation of the two countries. As a sample of the spirit in which persons belonging to those Associations conducted themselves, he need only refer to an address delivered lately at a great conservative meeting by a Mr. Archdale, a clergyman too, he believed. The Christian spirit of this address might be judged of when he informed the House that the speaker exhorted his hearers "to put their trust in God and keep their powder dry." That was a proper speech indeed for a Protestant clergyman, though it had not the merit of originality. If the present state of the law was not sufficient, he begged to know what the noble Marquis (Westmeath) and others wished for? Was it for martial law? If this was their desire let it be openly stated. He resided a good deal in Ireland, and for his own part, he knew of no instance in which the law had been put in force and in which it was not efficient; and he believed that what was wanted was, the vigorous exertion of the law, in all cases and towards all persons.
The Earl of Winchilsea
felt himself bound to stand up in defence of a Magistrate who, he considered, had been harshly treated for the conscientious performance of a public duty. The noble Marquis (the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland), with that frankness and generosity which generally characterised him, had taken the blame of this transaction on himself, but he (the Earl of 531 Winchilsea) thought it ought more properly to fall on the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, who had advised the proceeding now complained of. Captain Graham be it remembered, did not act on the occasion referred to by himself—he acted with two other Magistrates; and, though it had been repeatedly alleged that Captain Graham had acted indiscreetly, after reading over the evidence, he could not bring his mind to that conclusion. If any blame rested on Captain Graham, however, it rested equally on the other two Magistrates who acted with him. Whilst on this subject he was most anxious to ascertain whether the law really was as laid down by the noble Marquis (Anglesey); was it a fact that a Yeomanry corps could not legally be called out by the Magistrates unless in a case of invasion, or "well-defined insurrection?" those he believed, were the words of the noble Marquis. He was the more anxious on this point, as it happened only a few weeks ago that the Magistrates of the county with which he was connected called for the assistance of the Kentish Yeomanry for the protection of property. Now he wished to know if that was illegal? Had not Captain Graham and his brother Magistrates called out the Yeomanry, he believed that the lives of many more persons would have been lost; and how the Government could feel itself justified in censuring Captain Graham, by omitting his name from the Commission, he knew not, as that gentleman had been tried twice for the same offence, and not only honourably acquitted, but complimented by the Judge who presided for the discretion, humanity, and kindness with which he acted. The Orange Association of Ireland having been alluded to in terms of such severe censures by the noble Marquis (Clanricarde), he (Lord Winchilsea) felt bound to state that he had enrolled his name in that loyal Association; and he trusted the Protestants of England would follow the example set them in the sister country. Their objects were, to support the Protestant religion—to uphold the laws of the country—to maintain the just succession to the Crown, and to defend the true religious establishments of the empire. Such an association was a species of institution entitled to the respect and support of every sound-hearted Protestant. He would conclude by declaring his intention to support the motion, and he hoped the noble Earl would follow it up by an address to his Majesty to reinstate Captain Graham.
§ Lord Templemore
observed, that the Lord Lieutenant of Wexford was adverse to the omission of the name of Captain Graham from the list of Magistrates, simply because he feared that such a proceeding might seem to prejudge the case which was about to be tried at the Assizes. Captain Graham had but a few fields in the neighbourhood. He believed they were situated in Carlow, not in Wexford, and it was not necessary to place him in the Commission of the Peace for that county, when a great number of resident gentlemen might be found to undertake the office.
§ The Earl of Eldon
observed, that he did not know whether the law of Ireland differed from that of England with respect to the calling out of the Yeomanry. But, at all events, were he in the Commission of the Peace in England he should not hesitate for one moment to call out either the Yeomanry or any other class of the King's subjects, to maintain the peace or preserve the property of the lieges. Every man in this realm, who was likely to be despoiled of his effects, had a right to call upon every other man to assist him in defending them.
§ Lord Cloncurry
wished to call the attention of their Lordships to the law on this subject, which, with respect to Ireland, was explicit and direct. It pointed out distinctly when the Yeomanry might be called out. The Act of 4 Geo. 4th, cap. 15, said, "that in all cases of invasion, or insurrection, or apprehension of insurrection, in Ireland, it would be lawful for his Majesty's Justices of the Peace to call out the Yeomanry." Did that provision, he would ask, apply to the present case? He would assert, that there was no country the people of which were more disposed to respect the laws than Ireland, if they saw those laws administered with justice and impartiality. No matter with what severity they were administered, the people were disposed to respect them if they saw them administered equally to all classes. Though he was unwilling to trespass longer on the attention of their Lordships, he could not forbear to state what had been omitted by the noble Earl who opened this discussion, and the noble Marquis who followed him; he meant the circumstances out of which this fatal affair had arisen. The fact was, that it arose out of a dispute as to whether or not the tithes claimed were due. It appeared by the evidence on the Coroner's inquest, published by the House of Commons, that the tithe was not 533 strictly due. The people who lost their lives by the imprudence of Captain Graham, said, they would leave the question in dispute to two country gentlemen, the sons of clergymen. Mr. M'Clintock was ready to leave it to two lawyers. The clergyman was willing, also, to accept the Composition Act, if the people would make him an advance to pay his tithe-proctor. They did pay him in advance, and afterwards the clergyman wanted them to continue to pay in advance. This only part of them agreed to. The point in dispute was, whether what they had paid in advance should be set down to their credit or not. Then came a Magistrate, who issued his orders as a Magistrate to himself as a Yeoman, and he went forth as a tithe-proctor, driver, and Yeoman, to execute the orders he gave as a Magistrate. He admitted that the laws were not respected in Ireland, but the reason was, that the gentry were guilty of breaches of the law. They were the first to break them. It was the duty of Magistrates to call out the yeomanry and military in certain cases, but the Magistrates ought never to leave them to themselves. Much of the evil of Ireland arose from the destitution and want of employment of the people; only find them employment, and double the population, and the people of Ireland would be a blessing to the empire. But certainly there could be no peace in that country while a Magistrate could go out and shoot people for something like amusement. The people were naturally irritated at the whole proceeding, and it was found that in other parts of the country the affair of Newtownbarry had made a most unfavourable impression. Captain Graham ought, in his opinion, to have been removed the instant the act was committed which had given rise to the debate.
§ The Earl of Eldon
must beg leave to repeat that it was a mistake to suppose that the Yeomanry might not be called out to preserve the peace and protect property, as well as any other class of subjects. He had himself had occasion to call for their aid some time ago, not as yeomen, indeed, but as fellow-subjects, for the protection of property; and, if they had refused to come, they would have subjected themselves to an indictment. As to the dismissal of a man from the commission of the peace, he must say, for his own part, that he had never done so, during the time he had the honour to hold the Great Seal, without strict inquiry as to his conduct, and into 534 all the circumstances of the case alleged against him. He did not know that it was done so in this instance.
§ Viscount Melbourne
thought it was very natural that his noble friend (the Marquis of Anglesey) should have made a few observations on his own conduct, which had led to a general debate on the state of Ireland, which he did not mean to go into. Without noticing, therefore, the extraneous topics which had been introduced in the course of this discussion, he begged leave shortly to advert to the Motion really before the House. In the first place, he wished to call their Lordships' attention to the extreme inconvenience of the Motion itself, and of the extremely inconvenient precedent which would be established if such a Motion should be acceded to. The appointment, the re-nomination, or the dismissal of a Magistrate in Ireland, were prerogatives of the Crown, exercised by the Lord Chancellor—and certainly ought not to be interfered with by any vote of that House. He trusted, therefore, that their Lordships would consider seriously before they countenanced any Motion of such a nature as that then before them. The Lord Chancellor might not always be able to state the reasons why he had removed a Magistrate from the Commission; and, if their Lordships consented to such motions as this, it would lead to most inconvenient interference with the prerogative of the Crown. The noble Earl who brought forward the Motion, commenced his statement by reading certain letters which had been issued by a Member of the Government, exhorting the Irish Magistracy to an active, zealous, and energetic discharge of their duty. He supposed that the noble Earl read those letters in order to lead the House to conclude that the Government was not prepared to support those whom they had thus exhorted, if any unfortunate results should ensue. But he was sure their Lordships would remember that, in the same letters, the Irish Magistracy—at the same time that they were exhorted to act with vigour—were also exhorted to act with prudence, discretion, and temper. With respect to this particular case, Captain Graham had been wanting in all these qualities. In the first place, he called out the Yeomanry, being all Protestants, to act against a population of Catholics. Next, they were called out by the person who commanded them, and on a question of a doubtful and difficult nature—a question of Tithes. He might and ought to have 535 called out the military. He was imprudent also in ordering the sale on a fair-day. These were sufficient reasons for nut reinserting his name in the Commission of the Peace when it was renewed, which was very different from taking his name out of the Commission while the Commission was yet existing. As to the opinions of the Judge, quoted by the noble Earl (Wicklow), he thought they were of no authority, except on a point of law; and, in his political opinion, he did not concur with the Judge. At the same time the Judge had only stated, if the witnesses for the defendant spoke true, that the conduct of Captain Graham was praiseworthy. The other cases quoted by the noble Earl (Wicklow) did not bear on the point; because the noble Earl had not stated what were the circumstances of these other cases; and, unless these circumstances were stated, no correct opinion could be formed. He admitted that the description given of the affray at Newtownbarry, by the noble Earl, was correct; but he must say, that the whole of the evil at Newtownbarry was caused by the Yeomanry. The firing was begun by the Yeomanry, and continued much longer than it ought to have been, and would have been, if they had been military. He was apprehensive that there must be some mistake in the assertion that Captain Graham was informed, on an application to the Attorney General, that no further proceedings should be taken against him. The Attorney General could not have made such a statement, because he could not tell what additional evidence might be brought to light. A second prosecution might be the result of such evidence, and proved no particular asperity on the part of the prosecutor. With respect to the Motion, some of the papers moved for were already published; the Report made by Mr. Green was intended solely for the Lord Lieutenant, and he hoped that the noble Earl would not press for that document.
The Earl of Wicklow
said, he found it necessary to make a few observations on the various statements which had issued from the opposite side of the House. The noble Marquis, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, had insinuated that this case had been postponed till the period when the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, was absent. When his noble friend (the Marquis of Westmeath) brought forward the Motion some time since—to which reference had already been 536 made—the noble and learned Lord accused the noble Marquis of doing so, because the noble Marquis, the Lord Lieutenant, was absent in Ireland; and now he was accused of having introduced his Motion because the noble and learned Lord was absent. He was well aware of the great talents and sarcastic powers of that noble and learned Lord, yet he should have had no objection to meet him upon the present question; and certainly his absence had made no difference in his plans. The noble Marquis stated, as a reason for the dismissal of Captain Graham, that he had been guilty of an illegal act in calling out the Yeomanry. That law, as laid down by the noble Marquis, was directly contrary, not only to the usually received impressions on the subject, but to the circular letter of Mr. Stanley. For his part, he would not hesitate to say, that, having previously seen a precisely similar case in which the conduct pursued met with the approbation of the Government, he should have thought it his duty, under similar circumstances, to have acted exactly as Captain Graham did. The noble Marquis also cast some aspersions upon the Yeomanry concerned on that occasion, and stated that some of them had fled the country. He was not surprised that such should be the case; and the statement of the noble Marquis made it imperative on him to declare some further facts. Very shortly after that transaction, one of the Yeomanry engaged, who had received a shot in his knee which was with difficulty extracted, had his house burned to the ground. A letter was written by Lord Farnham to the Lord Lieutenant, mentioning this gross outrage, and requesting that a proclamation should be issued for the discovery of the perpetrators. He obtained an answer, in which the Lord Lieutenant stated that that should be done. No proclamation had, however, been issued up to that day. In the course of the debate it had again been intimated, that Captain Graham had given the orders to fire; but any noble Lord, who would take the trouble to read the evidence, must be convinced that could not be the fact—for, when the firing commenced, Captain Graham was not with the Yeomanry, but was heading a column of police. Again, the letter from the Lord Lieutenant, expressing disapprobation of the conduct of the Magistrates, was not addressed to Captain Graham, but to Mr. Brereton; from which it appeared, his Excellency thought both Magistrates in fault, although one of them only was 537 selected for punishment. Such a distinction made the case appear more invidious. After what had been stated by the noble Viscount (Melbourne), he would not press his Motion to a division.
§ Motion negatived.