The Earl of Roden
said, that before their Lordships adjourned, he wished to put a question to the noble Viscount opposite. He thought that it would be wrong to put such a question as had been put the other night, without following it up. He should follow it up, and therefore he asked the noble Viscount if the noble Viscount was prepared to lay on the Table, a copy of the Dispatch which he 47 had received on the subject of the procession into Dublin, from the noble Earl the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland?
§ Viscount Melbourne
said, that he had not heard any ground laid that would justify the production of this dispatch. He believed that its production would be injurious to the public service, and to the welfare of the country, and therefore he should decline to produce it.
The Earl of Roden
should only add, with respect to what he had stated the other night, that noble Lords must be convinced that his statement was correct, as he offered then, and he offered now to call to their Lordships bar gentlemen who had been present, who were present, and who saw in the procession the emblems of sedition and green flags, bearing on them inscriptions which no noble Lord would say were not seditious. It was not necessary for him now to enter into a description of what those flags were; but as there were some noble Lords now present, who were not present the other night, he should inform them what he had then stated—namely, that among the flags there was the harp without the crown, and there was the cap of liberty, and there were flags of a green colour, which was known to be a party colour in Ireland, the colour of that party which was ever opposed to the connection with England, and ever most anxious to overturn the Protestant Establishment in that country. He had felt it his duty not to let the matter rest as it stood. He had stated the facts, and he desired to prove them—not that he wished that the persons who had been guilty of exhibiting these flags should be punished, but that he put in a claimer on behalf of the Protestants of Ireland, that should they, in their zeal and loyalty, and desire to support the Constitution of the country, as was their habit, and as in former days they had been encouraged to do, in support of those principles which were known as Orange principles—a claimer that, if they should exhibit their banners, with emblems of loyalty on them, they should not be prosecuted by the law which had been restrained and kept back from those who had taken part in this procession. He believed that never had been a similar procession to that which had accompanied the present Lord Lieutenant's entry into Dublin. It had produced a most painful effect on the minds of all loyal men, and a degree of irritation which 48 it would be very difficult to allay. He believed that there never had been such a procession graced with the presence of the Attorney and Solicitor-General, and he did not see how it could be passed over without notice.
§ The Earl of Leitrim
said, that he had formed part of the procession, and was enabled to say, that the noble Lord opposite was much mistaken as to the character of the banners displayed there. The procession was most perfectly orderly, and he saw nothing but what appeared to him the mere emblems of the trades to which the individuals belonged. He did hear, after the procession was over, that there had been one solitary banner on which was inscribed "Repeal of the Union." That might be inexpedient, but he was not aware that it was illegal; at all events whether it were or not, it was not right to give a character to a whole body of men from the conduct of one individual among them. The true cause of the great enthusiasm with which the Earl of Mulgrave was received was to be found, not in the party motives usually attributed to it, but in a circumstance which more nearly touched all the citizens of Dublin. The great majority of those citizens were Roman Catholic. By the law they were admissible to offices; but though they contributed most largely to the support of the Corporation, not one of that majority had been admitted to corporate offices.—There certainly was much enthusiasm in the way in which the Earl of Mulgrave was received, but there was nothing that was contrary to the most perfect order and propriety in that reception; and the enthusiasm, as he had already said, was to be accounted for very much from the belief that under the present Administration a Bill would be introduced for the reform of Corporations, and among others, of the Corporation of Dublin. It was the belief that the noble Earl represented a Government which would reform the Corporation abuses that made the people of Dublin so enthusiastic in his reception. Of the sort of spirit which Corporation privileges engendered in Dublin, and of the way in which they were exercised to the annoyance of those who did not enjoy them, he would mention one anecdote. A tradesman, who was not a freeman, expressed to a person who was a freeman of the city his opinions on a certain matter with considerable freedom and received this an- 49 swer:—"How dare you speak in that manner to me?—you, who are not a freeman, and I am!" It was owing to the fear that Corporation abuses would be reformed, that all the clamour might be attributed that had been raised about this much-calumniated and misrepresented procession. It was raised by that party who dreaded in Dublin and elsewhere the reform of those abuses.
The Marquess of Londonderry
said, that what had fallen from the noble Earl opposite made it necessary that they should have accurate information on the subject. The noble Earl had contradicted what had been stated, but he had not offered to prove his assertions at the bar of the House, as his noble Friend the Earl of Roden had done when he said that there was a Member of the House of Commons ready at their bar to prove what he had stated. He therefore said that the Government was called on to produce the Lord-lieutenant's letter, or to give them some ground to believe that the procession was not what it was represented to be, or to say whether the procession was legal.
The Earl of Wicklow
said, that if the noble Earl opposite had stated himself to have been a spectator of the procession, he should have placed implicit faith in the noble Earl's representation, but the noble Earl merely said, that he formed part of the procession, Now they all knew that those who formed part of a procession least of all knew what it was. He had formed part of that immense procession which went out to meet George the Fourth, and he saw no more than the inside of his own carriage and the back of the hammercloth. Those who sat and watched it were better able to judge about it. His noble Friend had offered to produce the evidence of competent witnesses upon oath as to what they had seen, namely, not one, but one hundred revolutionary banners. However, sufficient had fallen from the noble Earl to show that this was purely a Roman Catholic assembly. [The Earl of Leitrim "No, no!"] Unless the noble Earl meant that, it was difficult to understand why he had gone into the subject at all, and it was impossible to understand the explanation in any other sense. The noble Earl said, that it was a procession of those who, being Roman Catholics, were aggrieved by being kept out of the Corporation. If so, that contradicted the statement of those who wanted to make it out that it was not 50 a party procession, but the spontaneous effusion of a loyal feeling among the people of Dublin towards the representative of their king. As the noble Viscount refused to produce the papers asked for, he should not press that proposal further, for the noble Viscount, as Minister, ought to be the best judge whether papers ought to be produced or not. But as things now stood, there was an offer on one side to produce evidence and none on the other.
§ The Earl of Leitrim
had not stated that the procession was Roman Catholic, but that the citizens of Dublin, as citizens of Dublin, all looked with anxiety for a Bill for the reform of Corporation abuses—that, of course, the Catholics, as comprising the majority of the citizens, felt most peculiarly anxious about it—but both the Catholic and Protestant citizens of Dublin joined in looking forward with anxiety to that Bill, and on that account heartily welcomed the noble Earl whom they believed to be the representative of a Government that would grant it to them.
§ Viscount Melbourne
said, that undoubtedly his opinion was, that the paper referred to should not be produced, and he believed, that this discussion of the subject only tended unnecessarily to prolong agitation upon it. He felt for himself the greatest satisfaction at being relieved by the form of the question from entering upon the subject. The question before the House was the question of adjournment, and that did not necessarily call on him to enter on the topics now introduced. If a distinct motion were made for the production of the dispatch, or for an inquiry into the subject, he should then state the circumstances on which he conceived himself justified in resisting it. He should not conceal, that he was anxious to avoid discussion on the subject, not for himself, not for the Government or any one connected with it; but for the reason he had first stated, namely, that such a discussion could not be productive of any satisfactory results, but must embitter old animosities and tend to create fresh discord. He should therefore content himself with entering his protest against the doctrine stated by the noble Earl opposite (Earl of Roden), that because no notice had been taken on the present occasion of the procession, that therefore the law relating to party processions was to be a dead letter, and was not 51 to be enforced against those who, in other parts of the country, should actually violate it. He protested against such a doctrine. The law should not be violated with impunity. He believed that full notice had always been given, full warning not to violate the law in the way alluded to by the noble Earl; and he now said, that so long as the present Ministers had anything to do with the Government of the country, they would continue to enforce the law in the same spirit, but with the same firmness as heretofore.
§ The Question of Adjournment was then carried.