The Earl of Wicklow
presented a Petition, very numerously signed, from the Protestant inhabitants of the parish of Kilbucar, in the county of Westmeath, praying for the revocation of the Irish Ecclesiastical Commission. The petitioners declared, that they viewed this measure with deep apprehension, and that the whole Protestant population of Ireland were greatly alarmed at it. They were the more astonished at such a measure having been adopted, since it had been stated by two influential Members of his Majesty's Government that opinions were divided on the subject.
§ Earl Grey
did not know where this information came from, but of this he was certain, that no person could, consistently with his duty, disclose any circumstances that had occurred in the Cabinet. A communication had, at an early period, been received from the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland, and in consequence the subject had been taken into consideration. He did not mean to deny, that the individuals alluded to, had a right to offer objections to the step proposed to be taken, if they thought proper; but he must say, that it was irregular to state what had taken place in the Cabinet.
§ The Duke of Richmond
said, that what he had said in explanation on a former occasion, in consequence of what fell from his noble friend opposite, was not stated without the express sanction of his 1213 Sovereign. In cases of that sort, when the honour of an individual was concerned, he was anxious for the House to know that he had not stated anything without that sanction. In consequence of despatches from the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland, recommending that a Commission should issue, the subject was taken into consideration, and from that time till he left the Cabinet, he heard nothing further about it. That, he believed, was exactly what took place.
§ Earl Grey
said, his noble friend's declaration, that he had received his Majesty's permission to state what he had done, was perfectly correct; but as he had received no such permission, he could not, consistently with his obligation as a Cabinet Minister, disclose what passed on the occasion referred to. He was sure, that his noble friend meant to state correctly what had happened, and he (Earl Grey) did not feel it necessary to say more than this—namely, that the question was, at a very early period indeed, brought under the consideration of the King's Ministers, despatches having been received with reference to the subject from the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland, and it was again taken up, and most maturely considered, before the measure was decided on.