The Earl of Wicklow
was of opinion that this bill ought to have been introduced by his Majesty's Ministers, and not by individuals. The present bill was similar to one formerly passed, which had never been productive of the slightest benefit to Ireland. There was one part of the bill to which he wished to draw the particular attention of the noble Duke on the cross-bench (Richmond), who had moved for a Select Committee to inquire into the propriety of substituting declarations for oaths. If he looked into this Bill, he would see that it required the administration of oaths to an enormous extent. In the 9th clause the Commissioners were empowered to compel the attendance of persons to give evidence, however great the distance might be. Now, in a bill at present before the other House, and having relation to Ireland, though power was given to compel the attendance of individuals before the Commissioners, it was provided that that power should not extend to those who lived at a greater distance than twenty miles. In that 795 measure also, although power was given to call for papers, yet a special protection was inserted against the production of title deeds of estates, but no such provision was to be found in this bill; and if it were suffered to remain thus, much inconvenience, to say the least of it, would be the consequence.
§ Lord Fitzgerald
said, on referring to the votes of the Other House, it would be found that there was more than one bill which went farther, with reference to local improvements in Ireland, than the present measure. Therefore, if it were convenient, he would propose to his noble Friend to refer this measure to a Select Committee, where it might be thoroughly considered, so as to prevent its provisions from being defeated or rendered useless by other bills.
§ The House resumed. Bill referred to a Select Committee.