The Duke of Cumberland
, submitted to the noble Earl at the head of the Administration, that he ought not to persevere in his intention of moving the Second Reading of the Irish Reform Bill so early as Monday. It was impossible that the Irish Peers could have sufficient notice before that time, and it was not treating them with proper respect and courtesy to take the second reading so early. It would be impossible even for the Peers who were present to make themselves masters of the Bill in so short a time.
§ Earl Grey
could not see that there was any reason to postpone the second reading of the Bill beyond Monday. The Bill had been long before the other House of Parliament, and the Irish Peers must be acquainted with the provisions of the Bill. They must know also that it would come up to this House about this time, and they might have attended if they pleased. The Bill must be already well known to the Members of both Houses of Parliament; and, besides, the printed copies were actually now on the Table, so that their Lordships 537 could have no difficulty in making themselves masters of the details before Monday next. Under these circumstances, and considering the period of the Session, and that the time was come when it was highly desirable that the Members of both Houses should have some relaxation after their long-continued and severe labours, he could not think of postponing the second reading beyond Monday.
The Duke of Cumberland
assured the noble Earl that it had been thought by many that the Bill would not have come up to this House before the beginning of next week. The noble Earl was aware that a noble friend of his, who had given notice of a motion on the state of Ireland, had postponed it out of courtesy to the noble Lords on that side of the House, who wished that it should be delayed till the Lord Chancellor for Ireland should be in his place; and it was but fitting that the noble Earl should, in his turn, out of courtesy to them, postpone the Motion for the second reading of the Irish Reform Bill at least till Thursday.
§ Earl Grey
was sensible of the courtesy which he had experienced on the occasion to which the illustrious Duke alluded; and if he could see any good reason for postponing the second reading he would agree to it. But then there was a very strong reason for postponing the discussion on the state of Ireland till his noble and learned friend should be able to attend, because it was a motion on a subject with which his noble and learned friend was particularly conversant, and in which he was personally concerned, and the absence of his noble friend was occasioned by very important public business. In the present case, there was nothing to prevent the attendance of the Irish Peers if they pleased; and they could not but be aware that the Bill would come up about this time, and he was persuaded that the delay of a few days would not produce a more numerous attendance than would take place on Monday. He saw no reason, therefore, at this period of the Session, for postponing the second reading of the Bill to a later day.
The Earl of Limerick
thought that Monday was too early a day. There was a peculiarity in the state of Ireland, which did not occur in the case either of England or of Scotland. There was an extensive Reform in Ireland at the time of the Union, and in 1829 there was a further Reform, as it was called, when power was intrusted to a new class of individuals, and in what 538 manner they had exercised that power was well known. He had no great hope that the passing of this Bill would be prevented by the delay, or that the postponement would make any great difference in the attendance of Peers. But he really thought that a regard to decorum, and to the interests of Ireland ought to prevent this important measure, in which Ireland was so deeply concerned, from being hurried forward like a common Turnpike Bill.
The Earl of Gosford
was fully persuaded that the delay would be of no use whatever, and that even if the second reading should be postponed for a fortnight, no more Peers would then attend than on next Monday.
§ The Duke of Wellington
thought some more time ought to be allowed for the consideration of the provisions of the Bill. If, however, the noble Earl should persist in moving the second reading of the Bill on Monday, he hoped that the noble Earl would at least allow some considerable time to elapse between the second reading and the Committee, as some noble Peers might think proper to propose amendments. For his own part, he did not know till this morning that the Bill was brought up from the other House.
The Earl of Limerick
agreed with his noble friend (the Earl of Gosford) that the delay would make no material difference in the attendance of Peers. That was not, however, the ground on which he put the case. His argument was, that decency, and a respect for Ireland, ought to secure a further delay of the second reading of a Bill by which the interests of that country were so materially affected.
§ Earl Grey
had every respect for Ireland, and as much regard for the interests of that country as the noble Earl himself could have; but full opportunity had been already given for the consideration of the whole of the provisions of the Bill. It was impossible that the Irish Peers should not have attended to the nature amd provisions of this Bill during the long period which the proceedings upon it had occupied the other House. The printed copies, he repeated, were now actually on the Table, and great inconvenience would arise from the delay at this period of the Session. He could see no reason for assenting to the proposal.
§ Lord Wynford
did not think that their Lordships were bound to take their information from the proceedings in the other House, or to read all the papers which that House ordered to be printed. It was 539 enough for him to read the printed papers of the House of Lords; and in this case the Bill consisted of twenty-six pages, besides various schedules, and it was impossible for their Lordships to make themselves masters of the whole Bill, so as to decide on Monday on the general principle. He moved that this Bill be read a second time on Thursday next.
§ The House divided on the question that Thursday stand part of the question—Contents 13; Notcontents 15—Majority 2.
§ The Amendment put, and the Bill ordered to be read a second time on Monday.