§ The Earl of Roden moved that the third paragraph of her Majesty's Speech from the Throne be read.
The Clerk read the paragraph, as follows:—
My Lords and Gentlemen,—The external peace and domestic tranquillity which at present happily prevail are very favourable for the
consideration of such measures of reformation and amendment as may be necessary or expedient, and your attention will naturally be directed to that course of legislation which was interrupted by the necessary dissolution of the last Parliament.
The Earl of Roden
then said, he had already stated to their Lordships the reasons which induced him to abstain from making any observations on that part of her Majesty's Speech which had just been read on the first day of the present session. He had thus acted, because he felt as strongly as any of their Lordships, that, on an occasion so interesting as that occasion was, when her Majesty, for the first time, came down to make her Speech to her first Parliament, it would have ill become any noble Lord to introduce matter that was likely to provoke debate, or to give rise to difference of opinion. Therefore, he had felt it to be his duty to take the opportunity which was now afforded to him to request their Lordships' attention for a very short time, as short as he could, while he adverted to the statement made in her Majesty's Speech—while he endeavoured to show, by a reference to facts and documents, not, in his opinion, to be overturned, that her Majesty's Ministers had no ground for stating to their Lordships that tranquillity was so generally established in the empire, as to afford a most favourable opportunity for the consideration of measures intimately connected with Ireland, and of the greatest importance to that country. It appeared to him that that part of the speech was very dexterously worded, and perhaps with the view of making it appear, as it had been stated in a certain periodical paper, which he knew was very popular amongst some of their Lordships, that the administration of the noble Earl (Mulgrave) had been the means of removing many of those evils which had existed for a long period, and of producing tranquillity, or at all events, a degree of comparative tranquillity, in that part of the empire, which had not existed before. Now, he believed, that so far from this being the fact, so far from the state of Ireland being more tranquil now than it had been for a long time before (and he would hardly except those periods when the country was in a state of open insurrection), that in some districts at no period had property, had life, had the exercise of the Protestant religion in Ireland, been in greater danger than at the very moment when he had the honour of addressing their Lordships. He felt, that in making this charge against the noble Earl who held the first situation under the Crown, in making 214 so heavy and so grave an accusation, that it was right for him to say, before he referred to the acts of the noble Earl, that to those acts he attributed the fatal and melancholy state of things which now existed. He knew that such a charge was grave and serious, and it certainly would not become him to make it, if he did not feel that he stood on ground from which he was not to be shaken, and that he was amply furnished with facts to prove all that he had advanced. He was quite confident that in adopting this proceeding he was not swayed by any private motive, nor had he any party purpose to serve, for he had no political ambition whatever to indulge or satisfy; but he felt that he stood there speaking the sentiments of a very large and respectable class of persons in Ireland, with whom he had the honour of much intercourse for many years. He had received the confidence, not of this class, nor of the other class, but he would say, and he made the statement with pride and satisfaction, that he enjoyed the confidence of persons of various denominations residing in that country. In bringing this subject forward he was anxious not to make any overstatement, or to paint the subject in such colours as would make the case appear worse than it really was. He wished merely to claim their Lordships' attention while he stated plain facts, in order to prove that Ministers had no right whatever to describe Ireland as being in that state of tranquillity which was mentioned in the speech from the Throne. He might be told by the noble Earl in answer, that not only his opinion, but the authority of the judges and of the assistant barristers, delivered in their respective courts was against the opinion he wished their Lordships o adopt. He knew that this might be said, because he saw it written in the organs, or the pretended organs, of her Majesty's Ministers, that the judges at the assizes expressed their congratulations to the grand juries on account of the calendars being so small. But he begged leave to say, that the fact of the calendars being so small when compared with the proclamations of the noble Earl, and with the statements contained in the papers which it would be his duty to move for, would really establish the truth of his position, and show that the law in Ireland was a dead letter—that crimes were committed, but the culprits were at large. The papers connected with crime in Ireland for which he meant to move would extend from the 1st of January, 1836, to the 1st of December, 1837. By the proclamations 215 of the Lord-Lieutenant it appeared that no less than thirteen murders had been committed in different parts of Ireland during the last six weeks. Houses were attacked for arms—attempts were made at assassination—people were cruelly beaten, and excesses of almost every description had been committed to a great extent during that period. In twenty-five counties crimes of this description were in the course of hourly perpetration—crimes bearing on their character what the Marquess Wellesley had described in his letter to Earl Grey—namely, "the sure and certain result of political agitation!" These crimes had been the result of a system of conspiracy which had been in existence for some time under various names. Sometimes the conspirators were called Ribbonmen, sometimes Whitefeet or Whiteboys. But whatsoever the denomination might be, the object was one and the same. The visits of these marauders by night were often directed against Roman Catholic inhabitants who wished for peace, and who would not join in their conspiracy. They wreaked their vengeance on those people, sometimes by beating and sometimes by murder. But the great and ultimate object was the destruction of Protestant property, of Protestant life, and the extermination of the Protestant religion in Ireland. These things he would prove by the papers for which he meant to move, and when they were laid before their Lordships, if submitted to a Committee, he thought that there would be no difference of opinion with respect to the state of Ireland. He intended to move for these papers as preparatory to another step which he meant to take at a future period. It was, in his opinion, most important, when those papers were produced, that this conspiracy, that the whole of these transactions, that the entire state of Ireland should undergo the most serious consideration in a Committee of their Lordships' House. He believed that her Majesty's Government had received information of this conspiracy; but if the noble Earl, or if any noble Lord, doubted its existence, he would refer to the opinion of one to whom the noble Earl must bow—to the opinion of one who was considered a very great authority by the noble Earl, and an opinion held, he believed, in great respect by her Majesty's Government. Well, then, at a speech made by the great agitator, Mr. O'Connell, on the 6th of November, he said, "What I now wish to address you upon is the violent combination which now exists in Ireland. It has ex- 216 isted five or six times before, but I was enabled to put a stop to it; I put a stop to forty or forty-five of these associations in Meath. The Members call themselves exclusively Catholics, but they spare not Catholics." So much for the actual existence of this conspiracy, which noble Lords opposite would fain deny. But he found that the opinion of this Gentleman was the same as that expressed by the noble Earl the other night—namely, that these proceedings did not grow out of political feelings. Now, he would contend that the information which Government had received on this subject proved the reverse; and he would ask whether what he was about to state was not the substance of the oath used in the society of Ribbonmen? One part of the oath enjoined secrecy on every member of the society, and pledged them "to be ready to assist when required to turn out to aid Mr. O'Connell in obtaining justice for Ireland. These were not the exact words of the oath perhaps, but he believed that they contained the substance of it. If, however, their Lordships granted a Committee, they would soon be able to ascertain the truth or error of what he had stated. When he called the attention of the House to a very large exportation of arms from Liverpool, which were sent to Ireland recently, and coupled it with the facts to which he had referred, then he conceived no doubt could be entertained of the ultimate end and object of this conspiracy, which had gone to a most alarming extent. It had extended itself during the last year through almost the whole of Leinster, Munster, and Connaught. There was, in fact, hardly a county in those provinces in which that atrocious system was not known, everywhere carrying with it misery, and crime, and wretchedness. He should next call their Lordships' recollection to the month of January, 1836, when the Catholic Association was in being. At the time that the Protestant gentry of Ireland were assembled in Dublin, for the purpose of petitioning their Lordships' House, which petition he in common with the noble Marquess near him (The Marquess of Downshire) had the honour to present—at that period it was rumoured that there was likely to be a change in his Majesty's Councils, and he remembered that the same gentleman to whom he had already referred declared publicly, and he used the gentleman's own words "that if such a change took place, there would be a brutal and bloody rebellion in Ireland." From that time this. Ribbon conspiracy increased its 217 operations, determined to accomplish that prophecy whenever a fitting opportunity should present itself. Such had been the extent to which, and the rapidity with which, this infernal machine had been rolled along through the different counties, that they now found the greatest exertions were making by those who, by their agitation and their inflammatory speeches, had set the machine in motion, to stop it, and to prevent its being pressed forward before the proper time for accomplishing the conspiracy arrived. He was very unwilling to detain their Lordships at any great length, but the subject was one of vast and mighty importance to Ireland. He felt, and he felt it with sorrow, that the people of this country did not understand the state of Ireland. They were blind to the misery, wretchedness, and suffering of the loyal people of that country, whether Protestants or Catholics. With a view to their information on the subject, he had therefore selected a few cases from the proclamations of the noble earl and from other sources. He did so, in order to effect what he was most desirous to effect—some impression on their Lordships' minds with reference to the true state of Ireland under the Government of the noble Earl. He should first advert to the county of Sligo, a county which for a long period, and until about a year ago, was as desirable a part of the world to reside in as any portion of her Majesty's dominions. But since the system of intimidation had reached that county, it had turned, he might say, a paradise into a desert. It was no longer a place in which any quiet person could wish to live. It was now a scene of distress, misery, and turbulence. The case to which he would first refer was that of "two unoffending Protestants of the name of M'Kenzie and Allen. Those two men were sent to a village in the county of Sligo in the end of August last. They were met by a mob not far from the village, who dragged them off the car on which they were travelling, beat them severely, bound them with cords, and led them to an outhouse in the village, where they had bags or sacks placed over their eyes. They were conveyed thus blindfold to the mountains, and were treated with the greatest barbarity there; they were beaten with bludgeons, left bound and blindfolded for a considerable period, and afterwards taken to a hut and left without food. While they were in this state, a poor man acquainted with M'Kenzie came to them, loosed their cords, 218 and took them to his house. After six days and nights' confinement, and after this inhuman treatment, these two respectable Protestants were at midnight conveyed on horseback to the house of M'Kenzie and there the next morning Allen died. An inquest was held on the body of this unfortunate man, and a verdict was returned that he died of wounds inflicted on his body by persons unknown; and a reward of fifty pounds was offered by the Government for the apprehension of the perpetrators of this cruelty." The next case occurred also in the county of Sligo. "A poor man, a Roman Catholic, of the name of Devanny, a blacksmith, was ordered not to shoe the horse of any Protestants, who were called Hanoverians—a name which was now the term of reproach for all who were Protestants. This man persisted however in doing so, in consequence of which he was attacked by a large party, who were armed; they rushed in at the door of the cot occupied by Devanny and his wife, and commenced beating him most cruelly with sticks. The wife, who thought their object was to murder her husband, threw herself over his body to protect him; but the password 'Spare him not,' had gone forth from the pacificators, and the husband and wife were most brutally bruised and cut. The former lingered till about a fortnight since, when death put an end to his sufferings; the latter is in a precarious state, and it is thought cannot long survive. The daughter, a girl of seventeen, concealed herself in the house, and when she thought the party had gone, looked out at a window after them, when one of the party fired at her and lodged several shots in her face." This affair was, he understood, officially reported to Government, but no reward was offered, and no notice was taken of it. Such was the spirit that actuated those who formed the Ribbon conspiracy. They attacked all who would not join them. Protestants or Roman Catholics. The next case to which he should allude also happened in the county of Sligo on the 10th of November last. The circumstances were well known to a noble Lord a friend of his who was then present, and if he stated anything that was incorrect he hoped that his noble Friend would set him right. The cases were these:—"A respectable Protestant, named Fairbanks, left his home on the morning of the 10th of November, to take his barley to the market of Sligo; he called at the house of a Roman Catholic neighbour to take some butter for him; within twenty minutes he was found a corpse on 219 the road-side, near his cart, with two coils of rope round his middle, and his brains beaten out with stones." This was another proof, another instance, in the chain of facts, of the manner in which the tranquillity of Ireland was preserved, of the respect which was paid to the law, and of the treatment to which her Majesty's loyal and peaceable subjects were exposed. He could multiply instances of the same kind with reference to this county, but he did not wish unnecessarily to detain their Lordships. He would, however, say a word or two as to the means which had been adopted by the noble Earl to prevent these outrages, and to put a stop to such scenes of barbarity. One would suppose, that when a county like Sligo had been in a very short period changed from a state of peace and tranquillity to a situation in which crimes like those which he had described might be perpetrated with impunity, her Majesty's Government in Ireland would have sent persons into that county uninfluenced by party or political feelings, or by any strong leaning one way or the other; that they would have selected for that purpose fair, honest, and upright individuals, who would exert themselves, and take care that the peace of the county was preserved. But the noble Earl did no such thing. He sent into that county an individual named Blake, a stipendiary magistrate—an individual who had, in the month of January last, been engaged in a tour with the great Agitator himself through the county of Sligo, and who, on the 25th of January, was present at one of those agitating dinners. Yet this was the person who, in the month of February following, was selected to officiate as stipendiary magistrate in that very county. He was extremely unwilling to allude to the private character of that individual, but circumstances obliged him to do so, and he must therefore state that this person had been tried by a court martial, and dismissed from his Majesty's service for highly improper conduct. He did not give so much weight to that part of the case as to the evil of appointing a man to that county as stipendiary magistrate who was noted for his love of agitation, and who had taken a decided part in favour of that faction to whom all the evils which now afflicted Ireland might be traced. The next case to which he should refer was that of the city of Dublin itself, where the noble Earl lived in perfect security in his castle, and surrounded by his guards. The poor Protes- 220 tant farmers to whom he had alluded, and he to whom he was about to allude, had had no guards to protect them—nay, even the protection of the law he could not procure. The latter, named Andrew Ganley, a respectable man, a Protestant, and by trade an egg-broker, on Monday, the 1st of last October, was murdered in the public streets of Dublin, in a densely-populated district, in the very heart of the city. Murders, he was aware, might take place any where; but it was rather to the nature than to the place of this murder that he wished to call attention. A number of persons were known to have been sufficiently near him at the time to have heard not only his cries but the very blows he received, yet not one of them ran forward to his assistance; and neither watch nor constable was to be found to prevent the perpetration of this barefaced and cruel outrage. The facts connected with this circumstance were peculiarly striking as regarded the ramifications of the ribbon system. This unfortunate man had had a brother in the town of Longford, who had been charged with a riot, and with having shot an individual. He was brought to trial, and honourably acquitted, while the woman upon the strength of whose evidence he had been tried, and who, it appeared, was a woman of bad character, had been prosecuted for perjury; whether she had been convicted or not he could not then say, but bills had certainly been found against her by the grand jury. Thus they failed in their statement against a man in Longford, whose brother they murdered in Dublin, for no other crime than that apparently all-sufficient one of being a stanch and loyal Protestant, and was not afraid to avow it. In the counties of Kilkenny and Mayo proclamations had also been issued in cases of which he would instance a few. One offered a reward of 50l. for the discovery of the murderers of a man in Kilkenny; and in the same Gazette another reward of 20l. was offered in the case of an attack made upon a respectable inhabitant of Ballina, Mr. Strogan, who had been struck on the head with a stone, and beaten by men who could not be identified, part of the ribbon system being to bring men from a different county, that they might not be known. The next circumstance to which he would call attention would be more likely to show the state of society as regarded gentlemen and farmers living on their estates and farms in certain parts of Ireland. It took place during the election for the county of Tipperary—a time when 221 it was particularly incumbent on the Government to preserve peace and order, that her Majesty's loyal subjects might have the opportunity of fairly exercising their political privileges.—The circumstance was this:—In the barony of Lower Ormonde, a considerable distance from the town of Clonmel, the gentry and farmers in coming to the election were obliged to proceed there like a kind of caravan, all of them being armed and prepared for any attack they might encounter. As they advanced—he could not say exactly in what numbers—they found the full benefit of the precautionary steps they had taken so strikingly, that if they had neglected them, in all probability they would never have reached the town of Clonmel. He held in his hand a letter from one of those persons, a part of which he would read for their Lordships, as the best mode of stating the facts of the case. It appeared that at every village or cross-road they were assailed with shouts and imprecations. As they approached Cashel they were told to "wait till they went there, and they would receive their deserts." Two miles from the town a pit had been dug in the road, and covered with bushes and dust so as to deceive. Into this pit the first car that came up was precipitated. The letter proceeded to say:—But as we got near the town the fences of the roads of both entrances were completely levelled and brought into the centre of the road for a considerable distance. The heights were invested with thousands of people with stones. We had an escort of the Queen's Bays and ten police and some infantry. We assisted them to get the road passable, but as soon as the first cars moved on, the advanced guard moved on quickly, and in consequence of the state of the road all the party were not able to keep up, and we were separated. However, being all armed, and holding ourselves in a state of preparation for some time, they were deterred from attacking us, but when they found we were out of sight of the guard, they placed a large tree across the road, and commenced a simultaneous attack with stones, by which many of us were severely cut. Mr. Falkener, an old gentleman of seventy-eight, had his temple artery cut open; Mr. Nisbett had his eye so injured that it is not yet well; and I had my leg so bruised that I have been laid up a considerable time. There were many others wounded, and I am certain it would have been worse had not some of our party fired, which had the effect of checking the assailants till the party got together. There were fifteen dragoons, ten policemen, thirteen infantry, a stipendiary and local magistrate, and yet there was no attempt made to arrest one man or put back the mob in any way. We were left at six o'clock in the evening after this occurred, with tired horses, a little out- 222 side Cashel, by the dragoons and police, to get into Clonmel, thirteen miles further, as well as we could, though it was well known a large party were assembled on one of the roads to intercept us. We reached Clonmel by eleven o'clock at night, and may thank the darkness for our safety. On our arrival at Clonmel, at the door of the Globe Inn, a man named Hardy had his skull fractured by a blow from the mob. I forgot to mention that as we passed the National School of Dovalla, we were pelted with stones by the boys and girls from the school house, which is in the chapel yard. Not the slightest attempt was made, as far as we could see, by master or mistress to prevent them. It is quite clear that while things remain in this state freedom of election is a mere farce.He apprehended, that not only in the county of Tipperary, but in Sligo and elsewhere such was the state of the country, that the gentry were unable to quit their houses without being armed for their personal protection. He now came to the last case with which he would trouble their Lordships—a murder which had taken place in the county of Tipperary on the 12th of this month—one too, of so aggravated a nature that he could not avoid calling their Lordships' particular attention to it. The man's name was Denis Murphy, a comfortable farmer, who lived near the village of Bansha. Between seven and eight o'clock in the evening an armed band of men, five in number, went to his house and inquired if he were at home. They were answered by his wife in the negative, but not believing her, they of course searched the house. Finding that she had told the truth, they retired to the back of the house to attend the coming of their victim. The poor wife, fearing that her husband was in danger—for she apprehended the real object of the ruffians—endeavoured to make her escape by a window at the back of the house, in order to go to meet her husband, and forewarn him of the circumstance; but while in the attempt one of the men presented a blunderbuss at her, pushed her back, and as he (the Earl of Roden) had been in-informed, stood guard over her. This occurred two hours before their victim returned, which he did without the slightest fear or apprehension of the fate that awaited him. He would not attempt to describe the feelings, the sufferings, of his poor wife during the lapse of those two hours, at the expiration of which she foresaw that she would be widowed, and that her ten children would be made fatherless. The time and their victim arrived—they murdered him in the presence of his wife 223 and children, and not even content with having taken his life, they dragged his body to the door of his own house and there mutilated it, before the eyes of his wretched family. These were two tales of woe, arising from circumstances not of days long gone by, which lost their effect in the narration, but of every day occurrence, which took place under the very eye of the Irish Government, and of which that very moment might be furnishing additional examples. Could he then be silent? Should he not have been guilty of the grossest dereliction of duty to their Lordships, to his country, and to himself, were he to have allowed her Majesty's Ministers to put into the mouth of her Majesty in that House, words declaring that the domestic tranquillity which at present prevailed in Ireland presented a favourable opportunity of entering amongst other things into the consideration of the state of the municipal corporations of its cities and towns—of entering upon the consideration of measures which were to give more power, more political power, to those very individuals who were the instigators of the crimes he had detailed—the very cause from which they sprung—would he not, he asked, have been guilty of a great dereliction of duty had he neglected to bring this subject under consideration on the present occasion? He would appeal to the noble Earl in the name of that spirit of humanity which inhabited the heart of most men, and which he doubted not dwelt in the heart of the noble Earl, whether he was not called upon to use every means in his power to prevent as much as possible the recurrence of these melancholy scenes, and not to appoint to office men who were themselves engaged in, who were themselves parties to, that political agitation to which these scenes owed their origin? If he failed in moving the sympathy of the noble Earl, he would appeal to the noble Lord opposite who was at the head of her Majesty's Government—a man possessed of greater power than perhaps any Minister that ever sat in that or the other House of Parliament since the accession of the House of Hanover—whether, considering the situation of the noble Viscount in connexion with the present circumstances of the Throne, or the just popularity which belonged to him through the medium of all those by whom he was surrounded—he would appeal to him, he would implore of him to exercise that power, not in giving discouragement to Protestantism, not in casting heavy blows upon the Protestant 224 faith, and upon Protestant principles in Ireland, but in preserving the loyal Protestant population in that country from such a frightful state of things as he had described. He would also beg of him to bear in mind, that it was Protestantism in this country which formed its brightest feature, and which had achieved those blessings which they had now so long enjoyed, and that it was that nucleus of Protestantism in Ireland which had preserved to Roman Catholics as well as themselves the liberties they possessed. He could not avoid making this appeal to the noble Viscount. If he failed in it, he had one consolation left, which was, that there was a God in heaven who felt and sympathised for the sufferings of His people—that there was a God of justice whose peculiar care was the fatherless and the widow, and who, he believed, would yet visit with vengeance for those scenes of blood which were desolating the land. He therefore entreated their Lordships to take into their consideration the present state of Ireland. He would conclude the painful and melancholy, but nevertheless imperative, duty he had felt called upon to perform, by moving for returns of all the rewards that had been offered by the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland for the perpetration of murders and other offences, from the 1st of January, 1836, to the 1st of December, 1837; the number of rewards claimed, the reports of the police of all offences, the offences that had been tried at the assizes, the number of convictions (distinguishing the nature of the crimes), and the punishments awarded.
The Earl of Mulgrave
Before I rose to address your Lordships I paused, because I was anxious to see whether any other noble Lord was desirous to make any addition to the statement of the noble Earl, or to draw my attention to any other points which might require notice on my part, so as to save the necessity of a reply, for I am afraid that I must trouble your Lordships for some time. My Lords, I begin, then, by stating my obligation to the noble Earl for bringing this question fairly forward, because I am sure that your Lordships will feel that any man who has been subject for many months to the almost daily vituperation of the public press must feel obliged by any opportunity, provided in this case by the manliness of the noble Lord in coming forward, for enabling the country to judge between the vague accusations, the loose terms of the anonymous charges which have been brought against me, and the more deliberate but more 225 guarded accusations of the noble Ear). The noble Earl has entered upon a detail of all the circumstances connected with Ireland during the last few months, and I hope that he will allow me to share with him the grief which he has expressed at the occurrence of any outrages there. But, my Lords, he says that the circumstances which have happened there are attributable to the pernicious course of my government; and I am glad of an opportunity to deny it, because I fear that a large proportion of the people of England only read the statements on one side, and I am anxious that they should compare the shape of the present accusation with the numerous anonymous libels with which I have been assailed, that they may ascertain the truth. The noble Lord accuses us of the maintenance of a conspiracy in Ireland, and if he means to attribute to the Government any participation in, or connivance at, the existence of any improper societies there, I repudiate with scorn his accusation; and I say that the noble Earl ought not to have made it without a full knowledge of the facts on which the accusation is founded. Throughout the whole of the noble Lord's speech I have been able to discover but one direct charge. He says, that I have appointed to office several parties whom he is pleased to say have been selected for their political connection with these societies. I will with confidence refer him to a list of persons appointed by me, Protestants as well as Catholics, and I will tell him that political agitation did not recommend a single person to any one appointment. The noble Lord states on his own authority that an extensive conspiracy exists in that country. My Lords, there has always been in Ireland a combination connected with the competition as to the tenure of land; but that any combination which may exist at present has the least connection with a political object I utterly deny. The noble Lord went on to state the form of the oath which binds together this society. My Lords, I know not of any such oath, nor of any circumstances connected therewith, even those which may have happened whilst I have been in London would, of course, have been reported to me; but, my Lords, if the slightest clue can be obtained, I will sift it to the bottom. I never would tolerate such a society, and there never was a Government more determined than mine to suppress them. The noble Earl had referred to Dublin; my Lords, in Dublin, at the inauguration of the Lord Mayor, I stated 226 to his lordship and the recorder, before I was aware of any appeal to this House, my knowledge that there did exist, not a political combination, but a combination of workmen of different trades. So far I thought it right to state my knowledge; for I believe that the system is common to most trading communities, and came over to Ireland from Manchester. As to a large importation of arms from Liverpool to the seat of Government, I do not believe that any such thing has occurred. I know not whence the noble Earl has derived his information, but I believe him to have been entirely misinformed. The noble Earl commenced his address by desiring that so much of her Majesty's speech as related to the tranquillity of the country should be read, and on which were founded certain recommendations. My Lords, the fair meaning of that passage is, that the general domestic tranquillity—founded on the absence of all insurrectionary movement, and, allow me to add, my Lords, of political agitation, for never was Ireland so free from political agitation as at present—renders the public mind exceedingly favourable for the consideration of measures of a more permanent nature than if, as in other times, it were necessary to act upon the odious necessity of passing a coercion bill. But, my Lords, any absence of political agitation, for which the Government has received or taken credit, is not so complete as to prevent, at intervals, some expressions of opinion. We do not pretend, my Lords, to any magic charm, we make use of no animal magnetism, to draw the hearts of a willing and peaceful people to their Sovereign and her Government. We depend, my Lords, entirely upon the natural results of cause and effect; we endeavour to induce a reciprocal feeling of confidence between the governors and governed; and our influence is founded on the reliance of the people, on the administration of justice, and on the feeling which pervades all the nation, that the English will unite in procuring for Ireland that justice which she has not formerly experienced. But, my Lords, whilst there is this desire on the part of the Government to give to every moral feeling a proper direction, we cannot expect that this feeling on the part of the Irish people will be complete whilst there exists in full force one ingredient in the social system which has reduced them to the lowest level, I may almost say, of destitution; and allow me to add, that there is one measure recommended in that 227 portion of her Majesty's speech just read at the table which your Lordships must take up in connection with the state of Ireland, to the consideration of which you must come prepared with a cool head, but, at the same time, with a bold resolution, for, unless the full security of industry be united to security of property, we can never expect that Ireland will be in a perfectly tranquil state. The noble Lord has asked for certain returns. There cannot be the least objection, on the part of the Government, to produce all the returns which the noble Lord has moved for; nay, if it be possible to frame them in a more complete shape than what is suggested by the noble Lord, with a view to put the whole facts more completely before your Lordships, the Government will be most anxious to do so, If the noble Lord had overlooked any returns that might be obtained from the constabulary or other authorities, I should have been more gratified in supplying the omission than in refusing the noble Lord any of the returns for which he has asked. But I will explain, why I think there will be a difficulty in complying with the request of the noble Lord, with respect to the second return moved for by him. The constabulary officers are perfectly aware of the outrages that are committed, because they report them; they are, in many cases, also perfectly aware of the offenders who are arrested. But the noble Lord asks for a return of the number of those offenders who are afterwards brought to justice. Of this, the constabulary officers can give no official information; that must come from the Crown-office; and, I think, we shall be able to give the noble Lord all the information he desires on that point in the third return for which he has moved. My Lords, all details of crimes are revolting, our nature is offended at the outrages committed, and our sympathies are excited for those who are ill used. My Lords, the recital of the noble Lord has undoubtedly excited your feelings, and I can assure your Lordships, that although the cases stated by the noble Lord are not so new to me as they may be to him, yet even the hearing of their recital again awakens in me as strong feelings of pain as the noble Lord suffers, and as were caused by first hearing of them. But, my Lords, it is to be remembered, that when we talk of the tranquillity of a country, we must compare the present state of that country 228 either with its state at some former period, or with the state of some other country. Before I read to your Lordships the returns which are now before me, I should observe, that there are many reasons why those returns will appear of a more unfavourable description than any former returns as to the state of Ireland. In the first place, the returns I have to produce, are more comprehensive than any former returns; they include a greater variety of offences. Previous to the organization of the constabulary force, there was a great deal more laxity in making up the returns. The police force not being so complete as at present, it could not give to your Lordships the same full and accurate information. Without troubling your Lordships with a statement of minor offences, such as larcenies, an account of which, however, I have before me, I will read to your Lordships a comparative statement of the undernamed crimes and outrages, as reported by the constabulary to have been committed during the two periods, from October 1832 to March 1833, and from October 1836 to March 1837. The former period comprised the six months preceding the passing of the Coercion Bill. I mention this, because the last time the state of Ireland was brought regularly before your Lordships, a comparison was instituted between the offences committed during that period—that is, the six months preceding the Coercion Bill, and a return then made at the request of the Secretary of State for the Home Department, but which could not embrace the two first months of this year. It was, therefore, a comparison between the six months before the Coercion Bill with the last six months of the year 1836. The comparison to which I now call the attention of your Lordships, is made between the six corresponding months of the years 1832–3 and the years 1836–7. The offences enumerated in this return are homicides, firing at the person, cutting and maiming, assaults (specially reported), abductions, rapes and attempts to ravish, levelling, burning, burglary, attacks on houses, demands or robbery of arms, oaths unlawfully administered, illegal notices or meetings, riots, faction fights, rescues and resistance to legal process. The offences in which the greatest diminution has taken place are attacks on houses, firing dwellings, demand and robbery of arms, assaults, cutting and 229 maiming. But the sum total of the whole return, during the six months preceding the passing of the Coercion Bill, was 6,355, and during the six months of last winter 2,385. That any person in the situation of the noble Lord, should state that Ireland is now in a worse condition than it ever was before, when there existed such a return as this, which must, to a certain extent, have been known to everybody who concerns himself about the actual state of Ireland, is most extraordinary. But, my Lords, I will put the case in another point of view. I have a return of the number of crimes reported to have been committed in the first nine months of the years 1832, 1833, 1834, 1835, 1836, and 1837. The number of offences in the first nine months of 1832 was 7,460; in 1833, they were diminished to 6,547; in 1834, to 6,016; in 1835, they rose to 6,645; in 1836, they were reduced to 5,384; and, in the first nine months of the present year, the offences which have called for all this inquiry and lament on the part of the noble Lord have been reduced to 3,784. I have stated, my Lords, that in 1835 there was an increase of the number of offences. But, in that year, there was the excitement of a general election, as there was also in the present year; there were many other exciting causes also operating at that time. The result was, that in 1835, the number was 6,645; whereas, in the first nine months of 1837, also with a general election, the number was 3,748. But, my Lords, I shall be told, that there are other offences. Your Lordships are aware that there are, besides the reports of the constabulary, two other reports, the one made out by the Crown solicitors of the number of prosecutions, and the other made out by the inspectors of prisons. Upon this point, I will read returns to your Lordships which will establish a fact that must be gratifying to the noble Duke opposite, because I am sure, all that the noble Duke desires is, that justice should be done. If I can prove that the number of committals bears a greater proportion to the number of outrages committed, and that the number of convictions bears a greater proportion to the number of committals at this time than in any former period, the noble Duke will, I am confident, admit that it is a highly beneficial result. The first thing to which I shall call the attention of your Lordships is a summary of the returns furnished by the in- 230 spectors of prisons from 1832 to 1836, and including the first nine months of 1837, which, in fact, corresponds with the returns of the former years, inasmuch as the offences committed in the last three months of every year, or rather all after the summer assizes, are included in the returns of the succeeding year. Without troubling your Lordships with minor offences, I will confine myself to the crimes of murder, manslaughter, shooting, stabbing, administering poison, assaults with intent to murder. These offences are all tried at the Assizes. In 1832, there were 772 committals, and 203 convictions. In 1833, 826 committals, and 303 convictions. In 1834, 520 committals, and 315 convictions. In 1835, 922 committals, and 409 convictions. In 1836, 843 committals, and 425 convictions. In 1837, 547 committals and 229 convictions. In the course of five years, according to this statement, the committals had increased, and this is the first year in which they have diminished. This, I consider, establishes the fact which I wish to impress on your Lordships. I conceive, that according to the greater efficiency with which the law is administered, the greater will be the number of offences prosecuted, and of offenders arrested by the constabulary. One of the circumstances referred to by the noble Lord as a proof of the increase of crime was the increased number of proclamations in The Gazette; but the noble Lord evidently cannot derive any advantage in argument from the increased number of proclamations in The Gazette, when it of proved by the returns that the number is outrages has diminished. There is never any proclamation inserted in The Gazette except upon the report of a constabulary officer. It is he that recommends the offering of a reward, having first reported the offences. Supposing, then, there are more proclamations than before, what does that prove, my Lords? Only the fact that there is a greater disposition than ever to bring offenders to justice. It is founded upon the returns that the precautions taken by the Government have so increased during the last year, that both committals and convictions have been increased at the same time that offences have been diminished. The increased number of committals and of convictions is perfectly compatible with the actual decrease of crimes, when a system of greater vigour in administering the law and in bringing offenders to justice is proved to have been adopted, Then, my 231 Lords, if there has been a greater number of convictions what does it prove? Why, not that crime has increased, but that the intimidation of prosecutors has diminished. I trust, my Lords, after we shall have wiped off the arrear of crime committed in Ireland, the result of former systems, we may infer favourably from the diminished number of offences during the past year as to the future state of that country. Upon this subject the noble Duke on a former occasion alluded to the returns made by the Crown solicitors of the number of persons prosecuted. On my return to Ireland I directed inquiry to be made of the Crown officers, for information. Reports have been received from Mr. Barrington and Mr. Kemmis, two of the Crown solicitors, addressed to Mr. Drummond, on the subject. Mr. Kemmis writes thus:—"Mr. Kemmis presents his compliments to Mr. Drummond, and in reply to the several inquiries contained in his note of the 13th instant, begs leave to state that previous to the year 1828, and for some time subsequent to that period, almost every case of homicide was charged against the accused parties as murder, and it was left to the petty jury to find a verdict of either murder or manslaughter. Of late years, however, the practice has been changed, and the counsel for the Crown, on reading the evidence in support of the prosecution, decides whether the indictment to be preferred is to be for manslaughter or murder. In former years the Crown did not prosecute all cases of homicide. Now there is scarcely a case of this description that is not prosecuted or investigated by the Crown. Of late years the Crown solicitor has been directed to prosecute crimes which were not previously taken up by the Crown; such as robberies without violence, bigamy, receiving stolen goods, and cattle stealing, but this latter offence was only prosecuted at one assizes on the Leinster circuit, and has no reference to Dublin. Almost every case of abduction or rape has of late years been prosecuted or investigated by the Crown—before it was not so. Only those cases which were attended with great aggravation and violence were prosecuted. Violent and other assaults have latterly become very frequent in the county and city of Dublin, and appear to arise either from a spirit of combination, or some other illegal confederacy.—Kildare-street, Nov. 15, 1837." Mr. Barrington writes in these terms:—"That the prosecutions of 232 the Crown had till lately been confined almost entirely to cases of Whiteboyism; but that after the year 1821 it was considered, in consequence of the persecutions which ensued on persons prosecuting certain offences, and which deterred others from prosecuting at all, that they should be taken up by the Crown; it was therefore directed that robberies, and maliciously killing and maiming of cattle, and other offences of that description, should be made the subjects of Crown prosecutions. This has necessarily increased the number of prosecutions beyond that of former years." I have letters, my Lords, of exactly the same purport from other Crown solicitors; but it is not necessary that I should trouble your Lordships with them. There is another circumstance to which I will call your Lordships' attention; it is with regard to those returns from the inspectors-general of prisons. I feel it necessary to do this, because I have seen in many of the journals, founded on those returns, an argument very unfavourable to the state of society in Ireland as compared with society in England. I confess, my Lords, when I saw the statements first put forth I did not understand how such a result could arise so apparently unfavourable to Ireland. I therefore examined very carefully into the matter before I made any further inquiry at the Home-office. I first found it was stated that there were something like 18,000 committals in Ireland, and only 13,460 in England. Upon examining further I found the number of persons sentenced to death, transportation, or imprisonment for more than six months, was in England and Wales 5,846, and in Ireland 2,614; and to imprisonment for six months and under were, on the other hand in England and Wales, 8,384; and in Ireland, 13,464. This, my Lords, did certainly seem to me most extraordinary. That so great a number of minor offences should be committed in England, where the people are supposed to be more free from motives of strife than they are in Ireland, while the greater offences in England should present so very unfavourable aproportion as regarded Ireland, did seem very extraordinary. I directed an inquiry to be made at the Home Office upon the subject, and what, my Lords, do you think I found to be the case? Why, that in the Irish returns were included all offences tried at petty sessions and all summary convictions, while every similar offence was excluded from the English returns 233 When I obtained a corresponding return for England and Wales, I found the convictions to amount to 53,270. My Lords, I cannot wish to state anything disadvantageous to England; therefore I am bound to recollect that a great many of these summary convictions in England and Wales arise from a state of the law in this country which does not exist in Ireland—such as the game-laws and the vagrancy laws. But even making due allowance for this circumstance, I think there are grounds for stating in round numbers, that out of the 53,270 petty and summary convictions we ought to take 20,000 and add to the 14,000 convictions at the assizes and quarter sessions in England and Wales. This, my Lords, would give a result of 34,000 convictions to England and Wales, and 18,000 to Ireland. But supposing we put these summary convictions in England out of the question, and deduct from the Irish returns that which ought not to be in them, with the view of making a fair comparison between the two countries, it will then appear that the convictions in England and Wales are 14,000, and in Ireland 10,000. This I consider to be, in proportion to the population, as one conviction in every 1,000 in England, and one in every 800 in Ireland: a proportion, I admit, unfavourable to Ireland as four to five. But who, my Lords, that looks to the state of society in that country, who that reflects on the manner in which it has been treated, who that considers the grievous evils (and, my Lords, I make no political allusion) with which it has been afflicted, and which have been productive of the greatest destitution and misery—who that looks to these things can be surprised at this relative proportion of offences in the two countries? One other explanation, my Lords, with respect to the returns of the inspector-general; in them 340 persons are stated to have been charged with murder; of these 274 were found innocent or the bills were ignored, twenty-two only were sentenced to death, and from forty to fifty were stated to be discharged on sureties. This seeming absurd, I found the mistake arose from a circumstance which I am sorry to say, is a very common one in Ireland, where death often results from casual violence, the confusion of mixing up manslaughter with murder. Thus it was that the 340 persons committed for murder were reduced to twenty-two persons convicted and sentenced to death. There is 234 another observation connected with the large increase of committals with which it appears to me worth while to trouble your Lordships. It has been the observation of many intelligent gentlemen, both Crown counsel and Crown solicitors, connected with the administration of justice in Ireland, that in proportion as the country is less disturbed—that as there are fewer Whiteboy offences, the minor offences increase. The former constitute rather an important item in the vague accusation thrown out by the noble Lord, but the number of persons committed for Whiteboy offences in 1835 was 425; in 1836, 280; and for the present year, 169. Having so far disposed of these general returns, I must now come to what the noble Lord dwelt very much upon, namely, the effect of the general election upon the tranquillity of Ireland. The effect of that general election was two-fold. One of the effects, which was direct and most objectionable, and did not extend so far, was as in some of those cases to which the noble Lord had alluded, that parties were directly molested for their votes by the popular party. The other effect was the extent to which that election has disorganised again the relation between landlord and tenant. With regard to the first effect of the general election, the noble Lord has alluded particularly to the county of Sligo. The noble Lord has also alluded—and I had hoped that the name of that unfortunate gentleman Mould not again be brought forward—but he has also alluded to the case of Mr. Blake, whom he states was most improperly made a stipendiary magistrate of the county of Sligo. My Lords, with respect to Mr. Blake having been sent to Sligo, I will candidly own that there was a very great difficulty in finding a sufficient number of stipendiary magistrates to attend the several contested elections at the same time, and when I returned to Ireland I found that Mr. Blake had been already sent to Sligo. I did, perhaps, think that of the whole list of stipendiary magistrates (for it should be observed that there never had been any imputation sustained against him in the discharge of his duty) that Mr. Blake was not the one who should be in that particular district without assistance—Mr. Crossley and Major Browne were accordingly sent to the same neighbourhood. Now, with regard to his appointment, the noble Lord stated that he was disgraced. [Earl Roden: No, no; 235 dismissed.] I understood the noble Earl to say that he had been dismissed his Majesty's service for dishonourable conduct; but all that I can say upon the subject is, that Mr. Blake was recommended to me by a noble Friend of mine, who was then acting as Vice-Lieutenant of the county of Mayo, by a relation of mine, Lord Dillon, and by several other gentlemen. I ascertained that Mr. Blake had acted as a magistrate and without reproach for several years, and upon this information and these recommendations I appointed him. Subsequently to the election at Sligo, a report for the first time reached me that Mr. Blake had been dismissed from his Majesty's service by a court-martial, and I immediately took a step which I think I was bound to do. I applied to my noble Friend at the head of the army for a report of the proceedings of the court-martial. I read the proceedings, and conceiving that a person who had been dismissed from the army, should not be placed in the situation of a stipendiary magistrate, I cancelled Mr. Blake's appointment. I should, however, state, that I learned that the whole case had been investigated ten years before by Lord Manners the then Lord Chancellor, on Mr. Blake's being recommended to be included in the commission of the peace, and that Lord Manners had declared that he was a proper person to hold the commission. I repeat, however, that after a perusal of the proceedings and sentence of the court, I decided differently from Lord Manners, and Mr. Blake has been dismissed. I will only add, in closing the case of Mr. Blake for ever, that as far as his conduct as a magistrate could be noticed I do not believe that there is the slightest ground to find fault with him. Charges were made against him by the hon. Member for Sligo; and with the facility with which I have on all occasions given to both parties an opportunity of bringing them forward, I granted an investigation, on the application of Colonel Perceval, without difficulty or hesitation. Colonel Shaw Kennedy went down to Sligo, by my desire, to hold that investigation, but Colonel Perceval declined to proceed with his charges. I believe that as a magistrate Mr. Blake's conduct has been perfectly without reproach. But that part of his life being brought to my attention in the way I have mentioned, I examined into the circumstances, and I considered that it was not proper, Mr. Blake having been dismissed from his Majesty's service, that 236 he should hold her Majesty's commission of the peace, which, in ignorance of that fact, I had entrusted him with. The noble Lord, has alluded, at considerable length, to the case of Allen. I refer to that again only to show your Lordships how misstatements, when they are not made face to face—what party zeal will do when persons make charges, and when the party charged has not an opportunity of answering them—what erroneous impressions may be made on the public mind on such occasions. There is a certain Colonel, a Member in the other House, but it is not as a Member of the other House I have now to do with him, but as an itinerant orator against the Government—Colonel Conolly. I saw a report that he had made, a statement, that Allen had been murdered, and that the Government had taken no more notice of it than if he had been a dead dog. Now, my Lords, is this language for such a person as Colonel Conolly to hold, unless he is quite sure of his fact? Why, my Lords, what is the fact? The murder of Allen took place at the end of August. By the 6th of September not only had a reward been offered by the Government for the apprehension of the offenders, but money had been also offered for private information, and which led to the apprehension of a person in the station of a Roman Catholic clergyman. The moment it was heard that he was the person accused he was arrested. There was no difficulty in arresting—there was no impediment to the due course of justice. The whole circumstances were investigated; but I will say no more upon the subject at present, because it still stands for further trial, except this, that I believe no person who attended that investigation believed the clergyman to be implicated to the extent supposed; at all events, it was their opinion that Mr. Spellman, far from being fairly charged, had no direct evidence against him, and he was admitted to bail. Yet, my Lords, Colonel Conolly, with all these facts before him, made the statement I have mentioned to your Lordships so lately as the 27th of October. The noble Earl has alluded to another most lamentable case which occurred in Sligo. My Lords, this and every other case of a similar description, of course, requires and demands every attention on the part of the Government. But neither in this case nor in any other case will I admit that the man was murdered because he was a Protestant. I do not believe, my Lords, that such a 237 thing exists. I have heard it stated—by the connexion, of a noble Lord opposite—by a young gentleman who perhaps will know more of Ireland hereafter, when he extends his excursions beyond his own ample domains, for other purposes, than to attend such meetings—but I have heard it stated by that noble Lord, "that no Protestant's life is safe in Ireland unless he is armed." Why, my Lords, I have the authority of many of those who have attended the assizes in Ireland for stating to your Lordships that they believe no such thing in Ireland takes place as the murder of a man on account of his religion. A man happens to be murdered as a part of that dreadful system of combination which exists in Ireland with regard to the tenure of land. If he be a Catholic who has been ejected, and if a Protestant happen to come into the holding, he is murdered on that account, and not because he is a Protestant. It is merely a coincidence that he is a Protestant. Indeed, with respect to Allen, it was supposed that he was murdered because it was suspected that he would have succeeded the person, ejected by the noble Lord opposite, from his holding. [Viscount Lorton: It was only suspicion.] I say so, my Lords. I say that such was supposed to be the ground of the murder. My Lords, in not one of the cases which have been stated by the noble Lord is there any reason for saying that the man was murdered because he was a Protestant. A gentleman who has had very considerable experience in prosecutions as a crown solicitor, Mr. Barrington, states:—"I never knew an instance of a murder of any man on account of his religion. Almost all the homicides amongst the lower class in the south of Ireland are of Roman Catholics; and of those in the higher class there were in Limerick alone, in the years 1821, 1822, and 1823, prosecutions in fourteen cases for the murders of, or combining to murder, respectable Protestants, not on account of their religion, but from local causes; so that the attacks on persons who happened to be Protestants is not a recent crime; and the two last prosecutions for conspiring to murder respectable persons were for offences against Roman Catholic gentlemen—one a magistrate and a grand juror, who was fired at and wounded in the year 1834; and the other the case of a conspiracy in the same year to murder the land-agent of a Roman Catholic nobleman, himself a Roman Ca- 238 tholic, by some tenants who were dispossessed of their holdings." The noble Earl has alluded particularly to the county of Sligo; and to show that what has taken place in that county has not escaped my attention, I will read a portion of a communication I made to my noble Friend, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in consequence of an application from him for returns of offences for the month of September, some offences having increased, and some diminished. The noble Earl here read a long letter addressed to Lord John Russell. His Lordship began, by stating that the result of his anxious inquiries had already been that a somewhat unfavourable change had taken place as to certain offences, occasioned by the unfortunate animosities arising out of the late general elections. But Lord John Russell could not have failed to have observed, on examining the returns which were transmitted to him, how local and partial the increase of offences had been. A general return from Sligo showed that one description of offences had increased during the last month (September) above the corresponding month of last year from 21 to 131. In making a strict inquiry into the different parts of these transactions in Sligo, Longford, Mayo, and other counties in that part of Ireland, the noble Viscount thought he could not do better than commit the task to the trust-worthy care of Colonel Shaw Kennedy, with whom he had arranged previous to that gentleman's departure into those counties, that a more efficient system of police should be organised. Such, my Lords, was the state of these counties in the month of September. The noble Earl threw out something like a sneer at my conduct, as if I had not taken proper and vigorous measures to put down that state of things in the counties of Sligo and of Mayo. My Lords, one of the best modes of judging of my endeavours is by the result. I am happy, my Lords, to say that I have received not only the assurances of Colonel Shaw Kennedy, founded upon personal observation, that tranquillity is rapidly returning to, and extending in, those two counties; but the number of outrages has diminished, as I was shortly after able to inform my noble Friend, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in the proportion of from one-fourth to one-twenty-fourth of the crimes committed in the rest of Ireland. Then, my Lords, with regard to the case of Allen and Mackenzie 239 though I cannot but express my feeling of horror at the atrocity, yet I cannot entirely forget that the system of kidnapping, which has been found to be one of the causes of the subsequent offences, is not by any means confined to any one party or to any one county in Ireland. In the county of Longford, affidavits were sworn to the effect that persons who were known not to be disposed to vote for the Conservatives were confined until the election, and then brought up to the poll and made to vote for that party. In the county of Carlow, the cases of Nolan and Brennan came before the judges at the assizes, where a conviction actually took place of parties charged with having kidnapped persons who would have voted against a certain Conservative party, if they had not been kidnapped. When, my Lords, such proceedings were countenanced by persons of education, who of course could not, by any possibility, be considered as desirous of leading to the commission of an offence of so serious a nature as that of murder—but, my Lords, when persons of high station are seen setting so bad an example, it cannot be a matter of very great surprise, that their example should be followed by persons of an inferior station, who, in the first instance, could not be supposed to intend to commit murder, but whose subsequent proceedings have led to the committal of that crime. I come now to the observations made by the noble Earl with regard to the general election, and to that disorganization that unfortunately too much prevails in Ireland, in the relation between landlord and tenant. Your Lordships must be well aware, the fact having been so frequently mentioned in this House, that much of the disturbance of Ireland depends upon and has its origin in the peculiar tenure of land in that country; and you must also be well aware, how wide is the difference in the relative situations of landlord and tenant in the neighbouring kingdom compared to the situation of the same classes in England. In Ireland there is no demand for any other than agricultural industry. Land becomes a necessity of life, necessity drives hard bargains, and hard bargains beget no good or kindly feelings in the minds of those who are parties to them, either on the one side or on the other. But I will not pursue that part of the subject further. I will not enter into a discussion of those social relations which make so marked a distinction between the 240 relative position of landlord and tenant in Ireland, as contrasted with the position of the same parties in England; it is enough to say, that the general good feeling which exists in the latter, is unknown, or rarely to be found, in the former; and that whilst, in most cases, the relation of landlord and tenant in England is one of sympathy without dependence, in Ireland, it is too often one of entire dependence without a shadow of sympathy. Out of this unfortunate state of things arise many of the disturbances of Ireland. Now, when a general election takes place, it often happens that the party which in Ireland is called Conservative, are induced to start candidates in districts in which I never heard it even pretended that they had the slightest chance of succeeding in obtaining a return. That they have a perfect right to take such a step, if they deem it proper, I do not for a moment deny. I make no complaint upon that head; but if in such districts any unconstitutional threats are held out to bias the votes of any portion of the electors, I leave it to your Lordships to judge whether such a course of proceeding is not calculated to widen the differences and to foment the ill-feeling which already too much exists between landlord and tenant, and at the same time to disturb, perhaps to destroy, the tranquillity of the country. Your Lordships must also recollect the peculiar situation of the popular party at this moment in Ireland. For the first time in the annals of the country, that party is identified with the English government, anxious for nothing more, desirous for nothing more, than to lend a firm and honest support to the British Government and British Parliament. In all former discussions upon the state and condition of Ireland we have heard much of agitation. Three years ago the whole country rung with the cry of "repeal;" where is that cry now? From one end of Ireland to another the people are mute upon the subject of that once-popular demand—not a murmur is heard in any part of the kingdom; they are perfectly satisfied, perfectly content, with the English Government. In such a state of things, I must say, that it is to the landlords of Ireland that we are to look for the maintenance of tranquillity in that country. Of that point I am sure your Lordships must yourselves be sufficiently aware; and, connected with that I must observe, that certain rumours have reached me of the conduct of particular landlords which I 241 shall be very glad to hear explained. I see a noble Earl (Bandon) opposite, of whose conduct as a landlord, in a parish in the county of Cork, certain rumours have been circulated which I am sure he will be happy to have the opportunity of explaining. I am aware that the subject is a very delicate one. I am reluctant to touch upon it. I certainly shall not dwell upon it. I am perfectly aware that the noble Lord has a right to do what he pleases with his own; but, at the same time, when we are considering the effect it may have upon the tranquillity of Ireland, I am bound to say that any wholesale system of depopulation, founded upon the religious opinions of a portion of the people, is a system that cannot for a moment be tolerated. I doubt not that the noble Earl has been misrepresented; and in mentioning the subject I am only affording him an opportunity of explanation, for which I am sure he will thank me. I am sorry to say that this is not an isolated instance. I have read within these last few days a letter, which, upon inquiry, I have every reason to believe genuine, purporting to be addressed to one of the chief tenants on the estate of a Dr. Quin, in the county of Wexford, and stating that his (the tenant's) and his brother's lease would not be renewed, not on account of any objection that his Lordship entertained to either the one or the other of them as farmers, but upon the general ground that the Roman Catholic tenants had given every opposition in their power to the payment of tithes, and had acted against their landlord at every general election for the county. This letter was addressed, as I understand, to the principal tenant of the noble Lord, and in the paper in which I saw it it is accompanied with a statement, which I believe may be corroborated, that so complete was this system of persecution and extermination carried on against the Roman Catholic tenantry, that many of them are unable to find even a night's shelter. Upon such a system, my Lords, I will not make a single comment; but I leave it to your Lordships, when you are exposed even for a moment to the cold air in passing hence to-night to your own homes, to reflect upon the sufferings of these people—to reflect upon the sufferings of aged men, bedridden, if still they have a bed left—of women in childbirth—of infants hungry and helpless, ejected in this wholesale manner from their homes, and compelled to wander the country in 242 these bleak winter nights. Such, I am told, is the condition of some of the tenantry in that part of the country to which I have alluded. My Lords, let those only who think that such things are right for such causes—let them, and them only, talk merely of the crime, and think nothing of the misery of Ireland. Nay, I will say more: if any such system is pursued—if any general depopulation of the country on the ground of religion is attempted in Ireland—I will still labour on; I will still endeavour, as long as I am honoured with the confidence of my Sovereign, to secure the tranquillity and preserve the peace of that distressed country. The greater the difficulty the more time I will devote, the more energy I will exert towards the attainment of that end; but I tell the persons who take such steps, that I consider them more powerful for evil than I can be for good in the honest and unshrinking discharge of my duties; and if such a state of things arise, on the heads of those who have provoked the consequences, be the responsibility. The noble Earl in the course of his address this evening has alluded to many of the circumstances that exist in Ireland as if they were new. He makes it a serious charge against the Government that the grounds of complaint are new. I think that the noble Lord is bound not only to prove that I am censurable for the existing state of things in Ireland, but that that state of things is such as has not existed before. But I am satisfied, that not one of your Lordships can have heard the noble Earl's statement this evening without being at once aware that complaints of a similar nature have been made not only within the last few years, but for a very long time past. The noble Duke opposite must recollect the circumstance of his bringing in a bill to give additional force and vigour to the law in the first year in which he filled the office of Secretary for Ireland, giving us his reason for so doing, the disturbed state of society in that country. So again, in 1814, Mr. Peel, in bringing in a bill similar to that introduced by the noble Duke, stated that the evil the measure proposed to remedy had not arisen on a sudden, but that it had existed for a considerable time, indeed for the whole time that he had had the honour of forming a part of the Irish Government. The right hon. Gentleman then said, the oath which the parties took bound them in the most sacred and solemn terms to suffer 243 death rather than give any information against their companions—against those who associated with them to join the French, if the French could be persuaded to make a descent upon that country. Mr. Peel also related that there was something peculiar in the then existing state of the country, something in the nature, character, and tendency of the associations and combinations then formed in every part of the kingdom, that rendered it necessary to have recourse to measures of greater rigour than had previously been adopted. He described the disturbances that existed everywhere as of the most alarming description. Such information, he said, had reached the Government as, when explained to the Legislature, would render it impossible for any one to whom it was addressed not to acknowledge the necessity of adopting some such measure of rigorous severity as that which he then proposed, even though it might shock their minds and wound their feelings. Such were the arguments advanced by Sir Robert Peel in 1814 in support of the measure then introduced by him. My Lords, I know of no system now existing in Ireland that demands any alteration of the laws that might shock your minds or wound your feelings. Speaking upon the same subject again in the year 1816, Mr. Peel said that the disturbances which then existed in Ireland seemed to be the effect of a general confederacy in crime, a comprehensive conspiracy of guilt, a systematic opposition to all laws and municipal institutions. The records of the courts of justice, he said, would show such a settled and uniform system of guilt, such monstrous and horrible perjuries, as could not be believed or be found in the annals of any country on the face of the globe, whether civilised or uncivilised. Then, added Mr. Peel, in a few words of practical wisdom that would apply well to the present time:—"Time alone, the prevalence of a kind and paternal Government, and the extension of education, are the remedies which must be chiefly relied upon." I will not dwell upon the use made of the time which elapsed whilst Mr. Peel continued his connection with the government of the country; but surely, when that right hon. Gentleman cordially concurred with the noble Duke opposite in 1829 in carrying that measure without which no government would be accepted as a kind and paternal government in Ireland, surely the right hon. Gentleman must at that moment have looked back with no very 244 enviable feeling to the time which had been wasted between 1814, when he said that "time alone must be relied upon," and the year 1829, when he came forward as the advocate and supporter of the Roman Catholic Relief Bill. And when Mr. Peel spoke of the "extension of education," as another part of the remedy to be applied to Ireland, I take it for granted that he meant the extension of such a system of education as should be applicable to the great mass of the people. I feel, therefore, that in 1814, Mr. Peel only anticipated the intention which induced him, in 1829, to co-operate with the noble Duke in carrying the Catholic Relief Bill, and, in 1835, to propose an extended plan of national education in Ireland, I must crave your pardon, my Lords, for having occupied so much of your time, but I am now drawing towards a close. In referring to these points it is rather curious to observe how, in all ages and all times, a contrast has been presented as regards the state of Ireland, between that which wise men said in their closets was good for it, and that which statesmen afterwards carried into execution. With what wisdom have men written, with what folly have they not acted in reference to Ireland? I happened lately to have my attention called to a few words used by a great authority of old, but which singularly apply to the state of Ireland at the present sime. Lord Bacon, in speaking of Ireland, strangely enough makes use of expressions which, remote as was the period at which he wrote, and different as the circumstances of the country then were, apply with singular force to the condition of Ireland at the present day. In a letter which is quaintly entitled "A letter to Mr. Secretary Cecil, after the defeating of the Spanish forces in Ireland, inciting him to embrace the care of reducing that kingdom to civility, with some reasons sent inclosed," Lord Bacon says:—As one that wisheth you all increase of honour, and as one that cannot leave to love the State, what interest soever I have, or may come to have in it, and as one that now this dead vacation-time hath some leisure ad aliud agendum, I will presume to propound to you that which though you cannot but see, yet I know not whether you apprehend and esteem it in so high a degree; that is, for the best action of importation to yourself, of sound honour and merit to her Majesty and this Crown, without ventosity and popularity, that the riches of any occasion, or the tide of any opportunity can possibly minister or offer; and 245 that is the causes of Ireland, if they be taken by the right handle. For if the wound he not ripped up again and come to a recrudency by new foreign succours, I think that no physician will go on much with letting of blood, in declinatione morbi, but will intend to purge and corroborate. To which purpose I send you mine opinion without labour of words in the enclosed; and sure I am that if you shall enter into the matter according to the vivacity of your own spirit, nothing can make unto you a more gainful return. For you shall make the Queen's felicity complete.I am sure there is not a native in Ireland who does not feel that the early opportunity which her Majesty took to express her good wishes and kind feelings towards that particular branch of her empire, ought to entitle her to the regard of every subject in it, and to induce them all, by a strict observance of the laws, to secure to her that "complete felicity" which Lord Bacon was anxious to procure for Elizabeth. Lord Bacon, in the same letter, advances a number of considerations touching the Queen's service in Ireland. "The reduction of that country," says he, "as well to civility and justice as to obedience and peace, which things, as affairs now stand, I hold to be inseparable, consisteth in four points:—first, the extinguishing of the relics of the war; second, the recovery of the hearts of the people; third, the removing of the root and occasions of new troubles; fourth, plantations and buildings." He then observes: "Towards the recovery of the hearts of the people there be but three things in natura rerum. One, religion; two, justice and protection; three, obligation and reward." Lord Bacon goes on to recommend the toleration of the Catholic faith—a thing rather curious at that time; and with respect to justice, he advised the introduction of the laws of England. Upon the point of obligation and reward, he says:—It is true, no doubt, which was anciently said, that a state is contained in two words, prœmium and pœna; and I am persuaded if a penny in the pound which hath been spent in pœna—for this kind of war is but pœna or chastisement of rebels, without fruit or emolument to this state, had been spent in prœmio, that is, in rewarding, things had never grown to this extremity. But to speak forwards. The keeping of the principal Irish persons in terms of contentment and without cause of particular complaint, and generally the carrying of an even course between the English and the Irish, whether it be in competition or whether it be in controversy, as if they were one nation, without that same partial course which hath 246 been held by the governors and counsellors there, that some have favoured the Irish and some contrary, is one of the best medicines of that state. And as for other points of contentment, as the countenancing of their nobility as well in this court as there, the imparting of knighthood, the care of education of their children, and the like points of comfort and allurement; they are things which fall into every man's consideration.So it appears, my Lords, that a very learned Lord in the reign of Elizabeth, certainly did not entertain the same idea of the Irish people as a learned Lord of our own time, and never dreamed of treating them as aliens. I will trouble your Lordships with only one more document upon this subject. It comes from the hand of a very different person, and is of a very different date. It came into ray possession by accident, but it is, I think, strongly applicable to the present time. It is an autograph letter of the great Lord Chesterfield, which was found with many others in the castle at Dublin, having been written many years after that noble Lord had been Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. In that letter Lord Chesterfield, observing upon certain comments that had been made upon his conduct whilst entrusted with the Government of Ireland, said that whilst he had endeavoured to govern, with all humanity, he had invariably enforced the laws without reference either to the religious opinions or political sentiments of those who came within the scope of justice. I tell the noble Earl (Earl Roden) opposite that that is exactly what I would do. If there were any disposition on the part of any body of the people to violate the laws, I, although accused of leaning to the Papists, would follow the example of Lord Chesterfield, and enforce the laws without reference either to the religious opinions or political sentiments of those who exhibited a disposition to violate them. In another part of his letter Lord Chesterfield says, "I was determined to proscribe no set of persons whatever, and I was determined to be governed by none." So say I. The noble Earl opposite in the early part of his Speech quoted from an authority to which he said I was bound. My Lords, I am bound to no man—I acknowledge no man's bond. I defy the noble Lord to prove that part of his accusation. I do not consider that in consulting the wishes of an entire people to the best of my humble ability I have in any one act given ground to the noble Earl to say that I have bowed to any 247 man. I require, my Lords—I care not what insinuations may be thrown out against me—I require nothing but the conviction of my own conscience throughout the whole of the time that I have been the representative of the Crown in Ireland to sustain me against such charges as have this night been brought against me. It has been stated by persons who must know better, that Mr. O'Connell has all the patronage of the Government in Ireland. I utterly and indignantly deny the truth of that statement. Mr. O'Connell, like any other Member of Parliament requiring information from the Government, has, I admit, had several communications with it; but I can confidently state, that the applications of Mr. O'Connell have been fewer than those of any other Member of Parliament. Neither has Mr. O'Connell been consulted more than any other Member of Parliament in any one appointment made by the Irish Government. Mr. O'Connell holds no government patronage in Ireland, nor does he exercise any of the patronage that belongs to the Government. Mr. O'Connell does not bind nor control me in the exercise of my judgment, or in the distribution of my patronage. I bow to no man. But whilst I bow to no man, like Lord Chesterfield, I will "proscribe" no man. The taunt against me is, that I have treated Mr. O'Connell in the same way as I would treat any other Member of Parliament. So I have, my Lords, and so I will always continue to do. But I fearlessly and utterly deny that the Government has been controlled by Mr. O'Connell, or has consulted with Mr. O'Connell as to any of the appointments that have been made; and as to the charge of the Government having the steady support of Mr. O'Connell, I honestly confess that that is a circumstance, considering how much he carries with him the hearts and affections of the Irish people, that I can regard only as a great advantage, and as one that ought not to be made a matter of reproach. But that Mr. O'Connell influences me—that he actuates me in the discharge of my duties, or that I am governed or actuated by any other than my own sense of right, I utterly and totally deny in the face of your Lordships, and of the noble Lord by whom the charge was brought forward. The noble Earl (Roden) is perfectly aware, that on all occasions on which I have an opportunity of addressing your Lordships, I never hesitate to express the respect I really feel 248 for the consistency and sincerity of his character. It is therefore with very considerable pain that I allude to a phrase attributed to the noble Earl, and said to have been uttered by him, not in this House, but elsewhere—a phrase to which my attention has been called, and of which I shall certainly desire to receive an explanation, because, if it be accurately reported, I consider it one of the most unjustifiable imputations that has ever been made in any quarter throughout the whole of the party warfare which has raged during the last few angry years. It so pleased the self-styled Conservatives of Belfast to hold a meeting not long since, at which no reporters were admitted, except those of their own political opinions. Therefore any thing that is reported to have been uttered by any person at that meeting, one must take us being not only what he did say, but what he wished to be known. My Lords, I feel that there are topics of too great, of too sacred importance to be made the subject of political discussion in any assembly. I have this feeling deeply and strongly impressed upon me, even whilst I am asking the noble Earl for an explanation of the expression attributed to him; but how much more strongly do I feel it when such subjects are brought forward at political party meetings and midnight revels. At the meeting to which I allude, it was asserted, as the report says, by the noble Earl opposite, that the Government of this country was vested in the hands of infidels! "Do I speak too strongly?" the noble Earl is said to have added. Well might the noble Earl have put that question to himself. If such language is unfit to be held here, well might the noble Earl have asked himself whether it were fit to use it to an excited party meeting. I feel that the noble Earl's conscience must have already reproached him. Is it possible, that the noble Earl could seriously mean to employ such language in addressing the excited revellers about him?
The Earl of Roden
Perhaps I may save the noble Earl's time by declaring, at once, that I never made use of the expression attributed to me.
The Earl of Mulgrave
Then I will not add another word upon the subject. I am perfectly satisfied with the noble Earl's declaration. All I can say is, that these words were reported, and that all other reporters were, as I understood, ex- 249 cluded from the meeting except those favourable to the views of the parties assembled. I should, therefore, have concluded from the report that such words had been used; but as the noble Lord disclaims them, I feel assured that he did not employ them, and I, at once, dismiss the subject from my mind, fully persuaded that the noble Earl feels as strongly as I do that nothing could excuse such an imputation as that of infidelity upon the whole of the Government. I fear I have wearied your Lordships, hut it was necessary for me, in justice to myself, to enter into some detail. I have already stated, that I am not able exactly to understand the nature of the charge which the noble Earl brings against me. I trust, however, I have been enabled to prove, first, that the number of political offences has, during my administration in Ireland, been less than in previous years; and secondly, that the general moral improvement of the people has been progressive. I do not pretend to say, that there have not been occasional checks in the progress of improvement; but I hope I have stated enough to prove that the Government has done every thing in its power to neutralise all the old tendencies to crime. I have proved to your Lordships that outrages are decreasing, I have proved that the proportion of convictions to committals, and of committals to the actual number of outrages, has greatly increased within the last few years as compared with former periods. Having stated thus much, I shall only, in conclusion observe, that as long as I possess the confidence of her Majesty, I shall continue in the steady pursuit of that course which I consider the best for the welfare of the country intrusted to my charge. I have no other object in view, than the impartial distribution of justice to all. In the words of Lord Bacon to treat the English and the Irish as one nation. In the words of Mr. Peel, in 1816, I shall look to the influence of a kind and paternal Government, and to the extension of education, to secure the tranquillity of Ireland; and whilst, on the one hand, I will submit to the dictation or control of no man, so, on the other, shall I be careful, in the language of Lord Chesterfield, to "proscribe" no man. The only object that I shall have in view will be to attempt in the humble sphere of my utility to cherish the confidence of my Sovereign, and to unite in her service the hearts of the Irish people.
The Earl of Bandon
felt, as the noble 250 Earl opposite had alluded to him in so pointed a manner, it was necessary that he should trouble their Lordships with a very few words. The noble Earl had brought a charge against him, founded upon a newspaper report. He (the Earl of Bandon) was not in the habit of attending to newspaper reports, and he never condescended to answer them. He thought he had some reason to complain of the noble Earl for advancing so grave a charge against him, founded upon no more authentic information than that contained in a newspaper. He would not trouble their Lordships by entering into a detail of his arrangements with respect to his own estate. He would only say, that the 247 persons whom he was accused, at that inclement season, of having turned adrift in the world were all of them in their respective houses. Having made that statement, he must repeat, that he fell himself rather ill-used in having been called to defend himself from a charge founded upon no better authority than that of a newspaper.
The Earl of Mulgrave
I told the noble Earl at the time I made the statement, that I did not believe it to be true. I merely mentioned it to give him the opportunity of explaining.
The Earl of Donoughmore
said, that, from the position which he held in the county Tipperary, he was enabled to prove to their Lordships' satisfaction that the noble Earl was not borne out by his facts in stating that internal peace and domestic tranquillity prevailed in that portion of Ireland. He would prove, not from any questionable documents—not from any sources which could be gainsayed, but from the police reports made to the noble Earl himself, that there was not only a great amount of crime at present, and for a long time past, in that county, but that it had been, and actually was, considerably on the increase. At the same time, he begged to say that he made no charge against the noble Earl of not suppressing that which did exist, or of causing that increase, by neglecting to carry the common law of the land rigorously and strenuously into execution. In the first place, he would beg to call the attention of the House to the convictions which had taken place there. At the last assizes in the county of Tipperary, held at Clonmel in August, there were 1,131 cases of all classes for trial before the Judges. Of that number 251 166 were convicted; twenty-five condemned to suffer death, of which six had been already executed, and the sentences of the remainder commuted to transportation for life. In addition to these there were sixty-six others sentenced to different periods of transportation. Could the noble Earl or any other noble Lord opposite say, after that, that he had not pushed the common law of the land in Ireland as far as it could go? But he (the Earl of Donoughmore) would bring the whole state of the country under the consideration of their Lordships. It was not to be dissembled, that in consequence of the late general election there had been much commotion in the country, and a considerable quantity of bad feeling elicited; though he would do the noble Earl opposite the justice to say that on that occasion he had sent a large body of troops into Tipperary for the purpose of keeping the peace and making the people quiet; but still the crimes of the county had gone on increasing ever since, notwithstanding all the exertions of the noble Earl, and all the powers of the common law of the land, He (the Earl of Donoughmore) repeated, that he made no charge against the noble Earl, and that what he was about to state he quoted from the police reports published by Government. The assizes for the county were held in July. From thence to August the neighbourhood was very quiet, for there was only one murder committed in that month. That murder took place at six o'clock in the evening, within a little distance of the house of the hon. Member for the county, Mr. Sheil, and yet no reward was offered for the apprehension of the murderers, and no notice was taken in any way. But the great evils of the county in that month were large hordes of armed men marching and countermarching across and athwart it in all directions, by day and by night. In August these bodies of armed men made their appearance upon no less than seven occasions. Crime of that kind must be very gross indeed for the gentlemen of the county of Tipperary to call on her Majesty's Government for interference and support against it. In the month of September there was only one murder also, but then the appearance of armed bodies of men had increased eleven fold. It was in the month of October, however, that the vast mass of crime which constituted his proof occurred; and he hoped 252 that he should be able to make out his case to the satisfaction of the House by reference to the police reports for that period alone. In that one month ten human beings were consigned to an early grave, barbarously murdered by lawless assassins, some of them in the open day. Ten others had been beaten so badly in the same month—some having had their skulls fractured, some their legs and bones broken, and some their eyes knocked out—that they still lingered without hope of surviving! What did he say? Eight of them only survived; for two of the wounded men had since been added to the black catalogue of murder which preceded them. Thus, in one short month twelve human beings were consigned to a premature grave, and eight more put in a condition to follow them, besides bodies of armed men marching over the county almost nightly. The noble Earl would certainly allow that that was a vast mass of crime, and he would allow it was particularly so when it was borne in mind what great efforts were made to suppress it. But he had additional proof that crime in the county of Tipperary was not on the decrease. There could be nowhere found a more efficient officer than Mr. Howley, the assistant barrister of that county. He was a Roman Catholic but he put the law vigorously in force, and spared not to punish crime when he had the power of doing so. The duty of assistant barrister was to preside at the quarter sessions of the county, a court with powers recently extended to transportation. But how stood the case in regard to the state of crime in that court? At the Thurles Sessions, held October, 1836, there were forty-six persons convicted before the assistant barrister, whilst in the October session of 1837, the following year, there were no less than eighty-five. That did not look very like decrease of crime at all events, whatever else it looked like. He did not wish to say anything which could excite angry feelings in the mind of any person—still less did he desire to give utterance to words which could offend the noble Earl opposite; but still he could not help concluding that that noble Earl had not made himself master of the contents of these reports—perhaps the fairest supposition was that he had not seen them—when he made the statements he had submitted to their Lordships. Neither could the noble Viscount (Lord Melbourne) have 253 been acquainted with the facts which he had now laid before their Lordships when he was writing the speech which her Majesty delivered from the throne, or he would not have spoken so confidently of our domestic tranquility. He knew his honesty, he knew his downright integrity, and he repeated his belief that, if he had been aware of these circumstances, he would never have introduced such a paragraph into the speech. He was obliged now to go a little further, and to refer to circumstances which took place on the very day when her Majesty was making her most gracious speech from the throne. On that day was held a meeting of eighteen magistrates of the county of Tipperary, for the purpose of taking into consideration the state of one barony in that county. Now, he begged particularly to call the attention of the noble Viscount (Melbourne), and the noble Earl (Mulgrave), to the description of the parties who met there. Perhaps they might think that it was the Conservative gentry who had met together for the purpose of injuring the noble Earl's administration. That, however, was not the case. Three out of the eighteen magistrates who attended were Catholics, most respectable men, and who in every point of view did their duty as magistrates strictly and well. They were also supporters of her Majesty's present Government. In addition to these gentlemen there was another Catholic magistrate present, the first Member for Cashel after passing the Reform Bill. The magistrates to whose meeting he referred, after taking the state of the barony into their serious consideration, addressed a memorial to the Lords Justices, a copy of which he held in his hand. He (the Earl of Donoughmore) should take the liberty of reading the document to their Lordships.
It was as follows.Tipperary, Nov. 20, 1837.We, the undersigned, magistrates of the country of Tipperary, residing in the barony of Clanwilliam and its vicinity, beg leave to represent to the Lords Justices of Ireland,That we consider it our bounden duty to lay before her Majesty's Government a statement of the crimes committed in the Barony of Clanwilliam between the 1st of October to the 20th of November as appended.We beg leave to call your Lordships' attention to the number of crimes of all description which have been committed in the short period stated, including murders of the most atrocious nature, as well as attacks on houses and property in general.254We particularly call your Lordships' attention to the murder of Murphy, at Bansha, on the 12th instant, which was attended with the most revolting and barbarous circumstances. The perpetrators remained guarding the wife and ten children of the deceased for two hours, until the return of Murphy, when he was murdered in the most brutal manner. It is supposed from expressions uttered by the assassins that his having seized and sold corn for rent due to him was the cause of his death.We also call your Lordships' attention to the attack upon the police of Donaskeigh, on the 21st of October, who, having arrested an outlaw, were instantly attacked by a considerable mob, the House in which they took refuge was set on fire, and the prisoner rescued. One of the police was seriously wounded, and one of the mob was shot.This case proves the facility with which a body of persons can be induced to set the laws of the land at defiance.We therefore give it as our decided opinion that from the system of outrage, which is pursued by the disturbers of the peace neither life nor property is safe or secure in that district.We also state it as our opinion that the lawless portion of the peasantry of the county are in possession of considerable quantities of unlicensed arms.Under the circumstance, we beg respectfully to request that the 5th and 6th William 4th., cap. 48, may be put in force.This law is, we conceive, peculiarly necessary, as the common law of the land is not sufficiently strong as regards the punishment of the offence of being in possession of unregistered arms, especially when armed parties are met with at night.We also recommend that an additional force of fifty police be sent into these districts and a military party be sent to Cappaghwhite, and that the system of patrolling by military as well as police which was attended with such good effect in the winter of 1834–5, be resumed.These statements and observations we respectfully submit to the Lords Justices of Ireland.Having gone thus far to prove the existence of the internal peace and tranquillity boasted of by the Noble Earl he (the Earl of Donoughmore) should next read a few details from the general statement of crime in the barony, commencing on the 1st day of October, and ending the 20th of September. They, unhappily, consisted of some murders of the most cold blooded and atrocious character, coupled in most cases with attacks on property. Those magistrates in their memorial, had said that there was no safety for life or property in the barony of Clanwilliam, and he should be able to prove that they stated but the simple truth by a reference to the police reports for that period—little more than seven weeks: 255Oct. 9.—On this night, about ten o'clock two shots were fired into the drawing-room of James Sadlier, Esq., of Brookville, in this district, and a threatening notice, of which the following is a copy, posted on the hall door—:'Sadlier, we are listening to you this long time, and we said nothing to you; but if you don't take this warning we will cure you. Less you say about any one the better for you. This is the last notice you will get.'A man named Bourke was suspected for this outrage, because it was reported that Mr. Sadlier could prove it was he that beat Patrick Kilmartin, and fractured his skull.Oct. 9.—On this night, as Partrick Kilmartin was returning from the market of Tipperary he was knocked down, and his skull fractured, at the Cross of Scallaheen, parish of Tipperary, Barony of Clanwilliam. Kilmartin could not say who struck him but stated that there were many persons present when he was beaten.Oct. 10.—On this night a milch cow, the property of James Sadlier, Esq., was maliciously shot through the loins by some person unknown.Same reason is assigned for this as for the outrage committed on him the night before.Oct. 12—On this evening, about six o'clock, as Mr. Henry Quillilan, of Ballyneal, was returning from Tipperary, he was fired at by two men, armed with large pistols, who came from behind a hedge at Cappuattin, parish of Donohill, barony of Clanwilliam. A slug wounded Mr. Quillilan, in the lower part of the belly, but not severely. He did not know his assailants, nor can he assign any reason for the attack; but thinks he was mistaken for somebody else.The person he was mistaken for was Colonel Purefoy, a gentleman of large landed estates in the county, but who for the last four years had been unable to go out, even on his own demesne, unless accompanied by armed men for his protection from these assassins:—Oct. 19.—On this night, about the hour of one o'clock, the house of Timothy Crotty, of Shronehill, in that parish, and barony of Clanwilliam, was entered by an armed party, who fired two shots therein, and they broke all the windows, and fired three shots into an outhouse, and broke the yard gate, and then went away, warning Crotty to 'share the quarry-field,' meaning a field which Crotty had lately purchased from one Philip Dwyer. Neither Crotty nor his family knew any of the party.The same night a notice was posted on the door of Mr. Henry Quillilan, of Ballyneal, ordering him, upon pain of death, to turn out of his employment a man named William Corbet. This Mr. Quillilan is the person who was fired at on the 12th inst., and he can assign no reason for their wishing to have Corbet turned off unless because he is a trustworthy man of his.256Nov. 2.—On this night, about the hour of nine o'clock, a threatening notice was posted on a stick, opposite the hall door of Mr. Sadlier, of Sadlier's Wells, ordering him 'to have nothing to do with Mr. Sherrard's herdsman.'A shot was also fired at one of the parlour windows, which broke a pane of glass. Mr. Sadlier parted with a herd of the name of Dwyer, and was about hiring a man, named Ryan, which is the only reason assigned.These were the police reports furnished to the noble Lord, and, with these before their Lordships, would any one be found hardy enough to say that he had properly described the state of Ireland? But there were still more and worse to come on:Nov. 12.—On this night, about the hour of seven o'clock, the house of James Honan, Mrs. Honan, Mrs. Cronan, at Ballyhurst, and Martin Dalton, of Drumalieve, all in the parish of Tipperary, barony of Clanwilliam, were attacked by an armed party, who beat James Honan and his sons severely, broke all the windows, and fired four shots. They broke Mrs. Houan's door, and broke all the windows at Mrs. Cronan's. They entered Martin Dalton's house, beat him and his son, and on going away fired a shot in the yard and warned them to have nothing to do with, the lands of Drumalieve. This farm belongs t Mr. Scully, of Kilfeacle, and is to be let, and all the above-named persons had proposed for it, which was the cause of the outrage.The same evening, about the hour of six o'clock, an armed party came to the house of Mr. William Dickson, of Scallaheen, parish of Tipperary, barony of Clanwilliam. They succeeded in robbing the house of a valuable double-barrelled gun, which they found in a case at the foot of Mr. Dickson's bed.Nov. 14.—On this night a man named John Mannix was barbarously murdered at Ballykesteen, in the parish of Scalaheadbeg and barony of Clanwilliam, by some person or persons unknown. He was found dead by a man named Jones, lying near a heap of stones, with his skull broken in several places. No clue whatever has been obtained as to who the perpetrators are.But, perhaps, the most fearful of all was the murder of Murphy. He would read the report for their Lordships:—Nov. 12.—On this night, about the hour of eleven o'clock, the house of a farmer, named Denis Murphy, of Foxfort, parish of Bansha, was entered by three armed men, two of whom were disguised, who, after searching for Murphy, and finding him absent, lay in wait convenient to his dwelling, until he was returning, when he was pounced upon by these merciless assassins, who, after breaking his head to atoms, fired a shot, which broke his leg. The cause assigned for this outrage is, that Murphy had distrained some effects be-longing to tenants of his, on lands held under 257 a lease of his own life; and yet this man's house was within a mile of Bansha, where there is a body of military, and a police station.He (the Earl of Donoughmore) hoped he had now sufficiently satisfied the House that the allegations of the memorial transmitted by the magistrates of the county of Tipperary, to the noble Viceroy's Government, "that there was no security for life or property longer," were fully sustained; and also that the common law of the land as it now stood was insufficient to meet men with unregistered arms in their possession. What was the common law with respect to the possession of unregistered arms? By the provisions of the statute for the purpose, any person found in Ireland with unregistered arms in his hands was only liable to a fine of 10l. or two months' imprisonment in the gaol of the county. Was that a punishment sufficiently severe for an offence which entailed such fearful consequences upon society? He could not by any means concur with the noble Earl in his view that it was—considering the harm that had been done by those in possession of weapons. He never should agree in that respect with the noble Viceroy, though he believed him to be entirely sincere in his view; for how could he be otherwise, when he liberated a man confined for the offence in one of his gaol deliveries at Clonmel? For himself he did not hesitate to state his belief that the existing common law was insufficient for its object, and it was under the same impression that these gentlemen, the magistrates of the district, called upon the Lords Justices to put in force the statute 5 and 6 William 4th. chap. 48, which was an Act brought in at the time the noble Viscount opposite was at the head of his late Majesty's Government, and which received the Royal assent in the month of August, 1835. Now, he did not pretend to be a lawyer, and he should not therefore attempt to offer any good opinion upon the provisions of that Act. Although it was entitled an Act for the better prevention and punishment of offences against the peace in Ireland, experience convinced him that even if that Act was put in force, the magistracy would still be wholly unable to get up the unregistered arms in that district. His reason for saying this was, that he remembered when the Marquess Wellesley was Lord-Lieutenant, that noble Marquess was 258 obliged to put coercion in force in this self same barony of Clanwilliam, and that even under the penalties of the Coercion Bill, in no single instance were the magistracy or police able to get up the unregistered arms in that district. Therefore, if the noble Earl was mistaken in supposing that a more lenient enactment than that would be likely to succeed, it was impossible for this county to remain in its present state; and he would tell the noble Viscount opposite, that sooner or later he would be obliged to strengthen the powers of the noble Earl near him in order to take the arms out of the hands of the misguided people who now possessed them; no doubt he would be obliged to bring in an Arms Act, with provisions similar to those introduced in the Act brought forward some sessions back in another place by Lord Stanley, when he was chief Secretary for Ireland. He remembered of that Act, that it was stated, that it would be used as an engine for oppression. But under that Act it was provided, that if a party were taken with unregistered arms in his possession, he should be brought before the assistant-barrister,—one of a body of most able functionaries, as the noble Earl must himself admit—and if convicted, the assistant-barrister was authorised, if he so thought fit, to transport him for the term of seven years. Now supposing such an Act was in force at the present, in what way could it possibly work oppressively? The party charged would first be tried before a fully competent tribunal, and if convicted upon clear evidence might be sentenced to seven years transportation; but it was well known that sentence could not be carried into execution without the evidence upon which the conviction had been obtained being laid before the noble Earl opposite as her Majesty's representative in Ireland, and then, if the noble Earl saw anything in the case at all approaching to oppression or partisanship, the noble Earl had full power to exercise the royal prerogative of pardon. He was aware that the noble Earl opposite would not like to come down to this House and ask their Lordships to intrust him with such additional and severer powers as he had suggested; he was aware that many reasons might prevail in the noble Earl's mind against his taking that course; it might be that the noble Earl might, have a fear that by so doing he might lose some of his popu- 259 larity in Ireland. But although the noble Earl might not continue so much the idol of those people who disturb the peace—of those who commit these offences—of those who perpetrate these midnight murders—he was perfectly convinced that if the noble Earl came clown to that House—admit that though the law of the land had been carried out by him with the fullest vigour, (for he must admit, with a knowledge of this county gained by a residence in it of twenty years, that no Lord-Lieutenant ever pushed the law there further than the noble Earl opposite had done) it had wholly failed, if the noble Earl made the admission, and asked this House for additional powers, he could assure the noble Earl that whatever popularity he might lose with one party, he would gain it in a tenfold degree from the friends of peace and good order in Ireland. There was not a resident gentleman—there was not a magistrate in the county of Tipperary that would not, if that course of conduct were pursued by the noble Earl, almost worship him, and that, too, for the reason that at present they lived in fear and trembling for their lives. He most truly believed that the noble Earl, by the terror such a bill would create, would be able to give protection to life and property, which was more than any Lord-lieutenant had been ever able to do in that most unfortunate county. It was always with the greatest reluctance that he intruded himself upon the attention of their Lordships, and he certainly should not have done so upon the present occasion, had he not felt it his duly to state to their Lordships the opinions held by these eighteen magistrates, and that duty he trusted he had discharged with calmness and moderation.
The Earl of Mulgrave
said, that before he addressed their Lordships in reply to the observations of the noble Earl by whom the present subject had been brought under discussion, he had paused in the hope that any other noble Lord who had any fact or circumstances to state, should do so before he (the Earl of Mulgrave) engaged their Lordships' attention. He made no complaint that the noble Earl, who had just sat down, had not availed himself of the opportunity then afforded him of making the statement he had just concluded: but surely it would have been much more convenient had he pursued that course: and still more so if the noble 260 Earl had, like the noble Lord who spoke first, had the courtesy to give him (the Earl of Mulgrave) notice of his intention to bring this statement before the House. [The Earl of Donoughmore:] It is founded on all your own documents. The noble Earl's statement was founded on the representations of the magistrates addressed to the Lords' Justices, and which came through the hands of the noble Earl in his character of Lord-Lieutenant of the county of Tipperary; and if the noble Earl had given him (the Earl of Mulgrave) notice of his intention to use it, it would have spared their Lordships the unpleasantness of so repeatedly hearing him, and he should have come prepared with the document which the noble Earl had quoted. That document he had only received yesterday morning, but he had read through the whole of the police reports with reference to the outrages committed on the 1st of October, in the barony of Clanwilliam. Unfortunately it was no new thing that there should be a banditti in that district, but after reading the reports very attentively he found that those outrages arose from a desire to obtain possession of lands—from a desire to keep possession of lands—or from quarrels between farm servants. Neither did he perceive that any great number of persons had combined together to commit these outrages. Such was his impression on reading the document and he was confirmed in his former opinion that he should be able to put down those outrages by the force of the ordinary and existing laws. This question, as to the means of keeping the county of Tipperary quiet and tranquil, was not a novel question, for two years ago the noble Earl who spoke last had made a similar appeal to him that the noble Earl had brought forward to-night. After that he had increased the force in that district, he had added very much to the constabulary body, but he had refused to apply the provisions of the act to which the noble Earl had referred, and what had been the result? Why, that the number of offences had diminished, as appeared from the charges of the judges of assize, and from the state of the gaols, and he thought it would require a stronger case than the noble Earl had been able to bring forward to induce him to take the course the noble Earl opposite had proposed. At the same time his mind was open to conviction, but unless he could see some reasons very different from any thing that had yet appeared, he did not think that the state of the 261 barony of Clanwilliam, was such as to call for the application in that district of the act which had been referred to. The only ground upon which those magistrates had called for a stronger measure was the quantity of unregistered arms now in the hands of the people. Now, it was a curious circumstance that in these returns, containing, it was true, accounts of many outrages, there were only two connected with the robbery of, or a demand for, arms. The one case was that of a gun which had been stolen, and the other, reported this morning, in which the offenders had already been apprehended. He did not complain of the course pursued by these magistrates; on the contrary, he was well aware that they had acted in a manner which they thought the best calculated to maintain the peace of their own district; but he drew a strong inference from the mode in which they had stated their case. They gave an account of a man having been rescued from the custody of the police, and they state this to have been effected by a considerable mob. Now, it appears (from the constables' own report) that the aggressors numbered about fifteen or twenty persons; a number that could scarcely ever, in the ordinary acceptation of the term be called a considerable mob. These gentlemen then stated that the possession of unregistered arms afforded facilities to these bodies of persons to set the law at defiance, but they did not show that the laws of the land were set at defiance with impunity. On the contrary, there were no less than four or five persons arrested for these offences, and were now in gaol. It was true that many of these outrages were much to be deplored, but as at present advised, he did not see any such peculiar distinction in them as to be induced to apply to this district the provisions of the act to which the noble Earl had referred. He had received a communication that day from Sir Edward Blakeney, informing him that the detachments had been restored to Bansha and the other stations which had been removed during the summer, and he (the Earl of Mulgrave) would, on his part, push the law, to the utmost extent. Then, again, he was confirmed in his views by a letter he had received from Colonel Shaw Kennedy, announcing that two more chief constables and fifty additional sub-constables had been despatched to the barony of Clanwillam, that Mr. Wilcocks was now also in Tipperary, and he had no doubt that these 262 steps would be sufficient for the suppression of increased crime in that district. The noble Earl had stated that he hesitated to apply for additional power, lest his popularity should be thereby endangered. He had no such consideration; he thought the prompt execution of the law was amply sufficient for the purpose desired, but he had not the slightest hesitation in saying that any statute which he thought could be beneficially applied to Ireland, he should apply it without considering the question of popularity or no popularity.
§ The Duke of Wellington
had not intended to have troubled their Lordships on the present occasion, but having considered, after his noble Friend (the Earl of Roden) had announced his intention of bringing this subject under the consideration of the House, it to be his duty to look into, and examine the documents, and those papers having made an impression upon his mind, he now felt himself bound to offer a few observations to their Lordships upon them. The noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Mulgrave) had told the House that the tranquillity mentioned in her Majesty's Speech from the Throne, on opening the present Parliament, was not intended to mean judicial or agrarian tranquillity, but political tranquillity. And what was the sort of political tranquillity existing in Ireland. He believed that a very few days before the Speech in which the word tranquillity was used was delivered, the association which was assembled in the capital of Ireland under the eyes of the noble Earl opposite was dissolved, but at the same time her Majesty was given to understand that she was not to have the choice of her Ministers, but that they must be selected by the gentleman who was the founder and the head of that association. Now to talk of tranquillity, political tranquillity in any part of that country, looking at the situation in which it was placed, was vague and idle. The noble Earl had said that the agrarian disturbances in Ireland were not to be attributed to political agitation. Now, one of the greatest authorities that ever appeared in that or any other country—a noble relation of his (the Marquess of Wellesley), whose opinion had been confirmed by a noble Earl, who at that time sat upon the opposite benches(Earl Grey), and who pronounced the strongest panegyric upon that opinion of his noble relative—namely, that agrarian disturb- 263 ances in Ireland were to be attributed to political agitation, and to nothing else, as much as effect was to be attributed to cause in any instance whatever. Not only did the noble Earl (Earl Grey) express in strong terms his entire acquiescence in that opinion, but he thought also that a noble and learned Lord opposite (Lord Brougham) who then occupied the woolsack, expressed his approbation of that sentiment. He would say, that in Ireland they had agrarian disturbances because they had political agitation, and, indeed, the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Mulgrave) over and over again admitted it in his speech to-night; nay, more—the noble Earl had himself clearly proved the fact from the quotations which he had read from some of these reports. But then the noble Earl said, that it had always been so in Ireland. That was most true; it was so when he had the honour to fill the office of chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant, now some thirty years ago; it was also the case at a subsequent period, when a right hon. Friend of his in another place was the chief secretary. He admitted that such was the state of things at both those periods, and that it had continued in a great degree ever since; but what was the difference in the course of the Governments with which he and his right hon. Friend to whom he had alluded were connected, and that of her Majesty's present advisers? Why, they, and the Governments to which they belonged, came down to Parliament, and admitted that there were disturbances. They came down and entreated Parliament to enable them to put them down, but they did not come down and put into the speech of any Sovereign that Ireland was in a state of tranquillity. No, he repeated that they came down, candidly stated the truth, and called upon Parliament to grant them extraordinary powers; powers which, perhaps, Parliament ought not to have given. However, they did not speak of tranquillity as has been done in the Speech from the Throne, in 183G, and in that of the present year. There was the difference in the course of former and the present Governments. Now it would be well for their Lordships to look a little into the state of general tranquillity spoken of in the royal Speech, as shown by the papers which had been laid before the House. On the subject of those papers, he must say, that their Lordships had not 264 been remarkably well treated. There was on the table a Report of the inspectors of prisons, the 15th Report, upon which he should by and by have to say a few words, but there had been laid before the other House of Parliament, and presented there, another report—namely, a return from the clerks of the crown, and the Clerks of the Peace for the several counties of Ireland, of the number of persons committed for different crimes. That Return or Report had not been printed by their Lordships, though it was of a very different nature from the Report of the inspectors of prisons which had been printed and laid upon their Lordships' table. Upon both, however, he should offer a few remarks, and first, with respect to the Report from the inspectors of prisons in Ireland. That Report contained a general statement of the offences committed in Ireland in the year 1836. Now, the noble Earl opposite had gone into a long argument to show the House that there had been an increased number of committals in proportion to the number of offences, and an increased number of convictions in proportion to the commitments. He admitted, and gave the noble Earl every credit for that fact, but he also begged leave to give some credit to the House of Lords for it, and for this reason, that the House of Lords amended the Police Bill, and by it gave the noble Earl an efficient police, by which he was enabled to accomplish that good object—namely, to apprehend more criminals in reference to the quantity of crime, and to convict more of those put into confinement than had been convicted previou to the noble Earl's having the aid of that Police Bill. That was a fact, and the House of Lords were to be congratulated on the result. Now, he would call their Lordships attention to the state of crime in Ireland as it appeared on the face of the inspectors' Reports. He found that in the year 1836, there were committed to prison for offences 23,891 persons. Now, he remembered that year was the first in which "general tranquillity" was made matter of boast in a Speech from the Throne at the end of the Session. He had taken the trouble to look back at the Returns of previous years, and he found a great increase of crime in the very year of tranquillity, 1836, which was specially mentioned in the Speech to that and the other House of Parliament. In that year 265 the number committed for offences was, as he had stated, 23,891 persons. From a similar return made for the year 1835, it appeared that the numbers were 21,265, or 2,000 less than the year of tranquillity. He had gone back to the year 1828, and he found the returns were as follows:—In the year 1828, the number of committals for offences was 14,683; in 1829, 15,271; in 1830,15,794; in 1831,16,192; in 1832, 16,002; in 1833, 17,819; in 1834, after the passing of the Coercion Bill, 21,381; in the year 1835, 21,255; and in the year 1836, 23,891. Now that was what was called tranquillity. These returns showed that the number of committals which, in 1828, amounted, as he had stated, to 14,653, had increased, in the course of eight years, up to 23,891, and then Parliament, was told that Ireland was in a remarkable state of tranquillity. Now let their Lordships observe what happened in that remarkable year of tranquillity. The noble Earl (Mulgrave) made his tour through Ireland, and crime having thus increased, he thought proper to exercise the royal prerogative of mercy to the extent of pardoning not less than about 1,300 persons. This accounted for the boasts of tranquillity; this it was that led to these painful discussions in their Lordships' House. But there was ot any man who had any property in, or connexion with Ireland, that did not feel there was a total absence of security for life as well as property. The noble Earl had said it was not political agitation. How was it, then, that two Protestant clergymen had been murdered? [The Earl of Mulgrave: Not one since I have been in Ireland.] He was sorry it' he had been in error on that point, but of this he was certain, that a vast number of Protestant clergymen had been the objects of these very offences. He did not wish, however, to make any distinction as to Protestants, but there could, he repeated, be no doubt whatever that in Ireland there was no security either for property or person; nay, one description of property had been done away with, and no man could say that his life or that his property was secure. It was worth while, he felt, for a few moments longer to detain their Lordships, in order just to state what the offences were, which appeared in 1836 to amount to 23,891. Of that number, 7,769 were offences against the person, and of them 843, that was about two a day, 266 were either cases of murder, of conspiracies to murder, or of manslaughter; they were all cases in which human life had been attacked or risked. Then there were not less than 500 cases of malicious offences against property, of burning, destroying and attacking property, and there were forty-four robberies of arms. This, he thought, was a pretty large number of serious offences in the year of tranquillity, 1836. This was the account as it stood on the face of the report of the inspectors of prisons; but he had another account, namely a return from the clerks of the Crown and the clerks of the peace of the several counties in Ireland, of the number of persons committed to their respective gaols, and brought to trial in 1836. These returns were signed by the clerks of the Crown and the clerks of the peace; and he believed them to be more correct returns, returns upon which more reliance could be placed, than upon the returns of the inspectors of prisons. This return from the county officers, states the fact, that in 1836, there were 14,000 more criminals in confinement than was stated in the other return. He would read the difference with regard to one most remarkable county—that was Tipperary. In the return made by the inspectors (Return, No.15,) the total number of committals in Tipperary was stated to be 1,557 persons. Now, look at the returns of the clerks of the peace and of the Crown. First of all, for the gaols of Clonmel, 442; for other gaols in the county of Tipperary, 5,412; these numbers added together would make 5,854. He entreated their Lordships to notice the total difference which appeared between the returns, it being not less than 14,000 to be added to the 23,891, admitted by the return referred to by the noble Lord. The noble Lord had stated, what he was bound to believe, namely, that he performed his high duties in that way in which he conceived he ought to perform them. But he would ask that noble Lord, had he carried the law into execution against persons whom the law had justly condemned? Did he never pardon people who ought to have the law carried into execution upon them? Had there not been some little seeking of popularity besides that which ought to result from the performance of the great duties and judicial functions, for such they were, which he was called on to execute as the 267 highest magistrate in that country? He really thought that the House of Lords was entitled to have these matters satisfactorily explained. They ought to know what was the real state of crime in that country? There ought to be laid before the House the returns, whether they came from the clerks of the peace, or the inspectors of gaols, or from any other quarter, which should contain a clear and accurate account of the real state of crime in Ireland, and they ought to be enabled to know which was really the true and correct return when they were called on to pronounce whether that country was or was not in a state of tranquillity. In the course of former discussions in relation to this subject he had been surprised at the accuracy and minuteness of the police reports which had been laid before the House. There were some in his hands, and on looking at them he found that they were remarkable for the distinctness and minuteness with which they were made. The police report before him stated every offence under its particular denomination, and if details were required, they were to be found at once. The numbers of persons committed or convicted were given under the several heads of—"Homicide—violence to the person—ribbonism—common assault—outrages of an insurrectionary character—attacks made, having intimidation for their object—combinations," &c. A comparative table of the decrease and increase was also given, one month of the current year with the corresponding month of the previous year. On looking, however, to the present returns he found that the offences were divided under such heads as "Bastardy, common assaults, uttering base coin, passing forged notes, intoxication," &c.; but the returns were by no means so clear, and full, and satisfactory as the others. But they ought to be such as to furnish Parliament with information of the real state of Ireland. He believed that if the returns had been honest and correct there would not appear any grounds for believing in the reported agrarian tranquillity. From all the information he had heard, and carrying his inquiries up to the period of the assizes, and even down to the present moment as far as he could, there was certainly no ground for believing that in that important part of Ireland, Tipperary—important in reference to the subject under discussion, or in other parts of the country, there was any decrease of 268 crime since the beginning of the year 1837. By the accounts which he had received, and by others which had been made public, he must say that in that county at least, and in some other parts of Ireland, there was much more disturbance than tranquillity, and that such a word was not applicable to those parts of Ireland at the present moment. The noble Lord had stated in answer to his noble Friend, that he had reinforced the police, and that he had reason to believe the effect would be beneficial. But there was one point which the noble Lord had lost sight of, and that was, that armed bands of men were in the habit of passing through the country un-prevented by any magistrate or by any body else. The noble Lord certainly might not be in a condition to prevent such persons going about to commit outrages; but he should not use the word tranquillity while those outrages existed. It was true they had existed before, and they had not been punished; but at the same time those who were then in the Government never used the word tranquillity in reference to such outrages; they acknowledged the fact. That was the first point to which he wished to call the noble Lord's attention; and the next was, to use means to procure and furnish such returns hereafter as would enable Parliament to form a correct and certain opinion upon the real state of crime in Ireland.
The Earl of Mulgrave
wished to state, in explanation, what he ought to have mentioned before. The returns from the clerks of the peace and the clerks of the Crown were certainly very voluminous, and evidently there was a great discrepancy between them and the others, and it was difficult, perhaps, to ascertain when and to what extent those discrepancies existed. But the examination which the noble Duke had made had proved that the returns of the clerks of the Crown and of the clerks of the peace gave a larger amount of crime than the others. Now it should be understood that very often the same offence was given three times over. For instance, a man might be charged with assault, riot, and rescue, and he would be then set down three times, under the head of the three separate offences. If the prisoner should not happen to be tried until the following assizes, his name would be repeated in the same way, so that, in fact, in some cases the offence was repeated three times, and in others six. 269 This mode of making out the returns was, he confessed, not a good one; but it had only recently come to his knowledge. With regard to the supply of information, he was most willing, as he had already said, to furnish all the information in his power; and if noble Lords would only point out the way in which he could more clearly state what was not the positive, but the relative, tranquillity of the country, not the political tranquillity merely, but the general tranquillity of the country, he would be happy to do it, so as to assist their Lordships in entering on the consideration of political measures. With regard to the exercise of the prerogative of mercy with which he had been intrusted, he could not at the moment lay his hands on a return which would afford information, of all memorials subsequent to the last return, but he intended to lay it on the table of the House. However, he would say in round numbers, that out of 800 memorials which had been examined by him, about one-half had been decided unfavourable to the prisoner after reference to the judge or without it, and only 100 in favour of the prisoner without reference to the judge, but on the authority of medical and other certificates. There was only one class of prisoners towards whom leniency had been shown in a sort of wholesale way and without such certificate. He alluded to those persons who had been convicted of joining in Orange processions, the last month of whose imprisonment he had remitted, on their renewed assurance that they would not so offend again.
§ Viscount Melbourne
was very sorry that the word tranquillity had given so much disturbance to the noble Duke, who appeared extremely tetchy and hurt in his feelings about this subject. He was sure he had done everything in his power, both in speaking and writing, to guard against anything that would hurt the feelings of the noble Duke. The noble Duke had found fault with the royal speech, and said, "You put into your speech what you ought not to put into it." And in the next place, said the noble Duke, "You don't understand Throne speeches; you don't know what you mean yourselves, and what you have put into the speech is not what you mean." The noble Duke had said, "You apply the words, 'domestic tranquillity,' to the whole empire, but you don't mean that. What you mean is the absence of the diminution of agrarian out- 270 rages, or, as it is called otherwise, predial 'crime in Ireland.' "But as far as he knew anything of the meaning of that speech, it was not intended to apply to Ireland any more than as Ireland was a part of the whole empire, and he would put it fairly and distinctly to the common sense of the House whether the present stale of the British empire was not such as to justify the application to it of the words domestic tranquillity." If not, he believed they would never be able to use those words. If they were to wait until there was no crime, or until there was a very considerable diminution of crime on the face of those returns, he feared they never would be in a condition to use the words "domestic tranquillity." What he meant was, that there were none of those political symptoms which characterised the state of Ireland five or six years ago, and that there was no apprehension of a breach of the public peace; and in that respect, the Government was justified in employing the words, and in voting them in the address in answer to the Speech from the throne. If there was anything offensive in them, he would take care to avoid giving such offence in future. But really it was very difficult to draw up a Speech for the Throne. One person would say, "It says nothing," another, "It says too much, and you are very imprudent." In fact, if they were to be condemned as having been imprudent, and as having gone too far in putting the words "domestic tranquillity" into the Speech on the present state of the country, it was impossible for them or any other Ministers that might come after them to use them, or to draw up a Speech, or to be able to advise her Majesty to say anything whatsoever. Now the noble Duke had said, "You mean agrarian disturbances, which entirely proceed from political agitation;" and the noble Duke proceeded to quote upon that point an authority which was always to be considered as a very high one, but in the present instance it had acquired an extraordinary influence over the noble Duke. He did not know whether that authority had always been as important and valid to the noble Duke, but in this case it appeared to be quite oracular. Now, it was admitted that agrarian disturbances were not of recent date. They were as old as the year 1760. He had once before traced them in a Speech delivered in that House, to which the noble 271 Duke had replied, to a dale as far back as that: and, undoubtedly, agrarian outrages prevailed in Ireland long before there was any political agitation of the kind which had recently existed. But the noble Duke said, that when the existence of those outrages was admitted, the Government of the day came down to the House, and asked for extraordinary powers to put them down. Did the noble Duke, and the noble Lord behind him, mean to say that the state of Ireland at present was such as to justify the demand for extraordinary powers? Did the noble Duke consider that it was the duty of the Government to demand extraordinary powers on the present occasion, and under existing circumstances? He dared say that the account given by the noble Lord of the state of Tipperary was a very correct one. He knew that it was in a similar condition when he went to Ireland ten years ago. The first thing that he had to notice was, that certain noble Lords connected with Tipperary were constantly coming to him and making exactly the same statements. The noble Lord was not amongst them, he was at that time a Member for the county, and he was not so susceptible to feelings of alarm on the subject as he was now. The noble Duke had said that armed bands were in the habit of passing through every part of the country, and that it was impossible to restrain them and put them down, except by strong measures. Why, strong measures had been already demanded and given, but what had been the result? The Arms' Act itself had proved quite fruitless; and he did not believe it possible to frame laws which could effectually get the arms out of the hands of the people. He had formerly voted for extraordinary measures, and he did not conceive that they deserved the characteristics of tyranny and injustice which had been attributed to them; but this he did think of such extraordinary measures, that they did not give a Government any strength; for the odium and obloquy which they inevitably brought on the Government weakened it instead of conferring strength upon it. That was the reason—without binding himself to every occasion which might arise—that was the reason why he should be at present against the adoption of any extraordinary measures. There must be circumstances much more trying than the present to induce him to demand such 272 powers. It was not his intention to go into the returns which were laid on the table, and he thought the deductions which had been drawn from them by his noble Friend were extremely satisfactory. At the same time it must be seen that deductions drawn from contrasting the numbers of crimes committed in one year with the numbers of another year must be subject to a great deal of discrimination before they could be considered satisfactory authority; for not only might the crimes be different in their nature and character, but the circumstances under which a certain number of crimes were committed in one period might make them outweigh in atrocity and malignity a far greater number of crimes committed in another period of equal duration and coming under a different legal description. Such a contrast, then, could not lead to any very satisfactory conclusion. If the increase of crimes was very great, and the number committed was very large, that might form ground for observation and inquiry, but the statements must always be considered in connexion with the circumstances under which the crimes were committed. The noble Earl who brought the subject forward had, in the conclusion of his speech which he addressed to the House, appealed to him and to his noble Friend, and he must say, that he was perfectly ready to answer to that appeal. The noble Lord requested his noble Friend to use the powers intrusted to him for the maintenance of the public tranquillity; and, also, not to appoint persons to offices who, by their principles, would be incapacitated from performing the duties of those offices. Now, he would take upon himself to say, that the course which his noble Friend would consider it his duty to pursue, and the noble Lord ought to acquiesce in the propriety of it, was not to consider what might be, or might not be, the opinions of persons appointed to any offices, but what was their conduct, and the manner in which they discharged the duties of the situation in which they were placed. One observation the noble Duke might have spared—that was, when he asked his noble Friend whether there had not been some seeking—some unworthy seeking—of popularity in the manner in which he had exercised the great duty and prerogative of mercy intrusted to his hands. If the noble Duke thought that there was any case to justify the accusa- 273 tion, if there were any grounds for it, he did not deny that it would be the duty of the noble Duke to call the attention of the House to it. But it was very difficult ground to take, and the noble Duke ought to possess himself of some reason for making such an observation, before he proceeded to cast such an imputation on so high an officer as his noble Friend, to whom the administration of the law and the exercise of the prerogative of mercy were intrusted. The noble Lord, in addressing himself to him (Viscount Melbourne) told him that he was in possession of great power, and appealed to him to use that power in the way he recommended. As to the great power which the noble Lord had attributed to him, he must certainly say, that if he possessed any, it was not in that House. Could he ever become intoxicated with such a thought, one glance around the benches of that House would be quite sufficient to dissipate the dream, and be a complete remedy for the intoxication. The noble Lord had also adverted to some expressions which fell from him about three years ago, he meant the phrase, "a heavy blow and a great discouragement to Protestantism." Those words had been quoted and used by persons of all ranks and situations; by a right rev. Prelate whom he did not then see in the House, in a charge which he delivered to the clergy of his diocese, by Sir Robert Peel in that great booth which sprang up so suddenly in Glasgow to the great astonishment of every body; by his right hon. Friend, the late Member for Cumberland, who at present had not a seat in the other House; and as he had heard, during the vacation, by several noble Lords sitting on the other side of the House. But of all the persons who had alluded to that unfortunate expression, neither Bishops, nor Ministers, nor Ex-ministers, nor noble Lords, nor Members of Parliament, not one had quoted the passage correctly, and that he must say was not fair. Men might fairly enough make allusions to an expression which dropped from the mouth of a person in his situation, but when so much was made of it, when so heavy a charge was grounded upon it, he thought it but fair that the expression itself should be honestly quoted. There were no productions to which he referred with less pleasure than his own speeches, but he was compelled to do so on the present oc- 274 casion. He had used the following language:—At the same time, my Lords, that I propose this measure, I am fully aware of the effects which it will produce, and of the objections which may be urged against it. I am deeply sensible and much concerned at the impression which I feel it will make. I cannot conceal from myself that it will be in the first instance, and for a certain time "—Here was the qualification of which he ought to have had the benefit before all the tribunals before which he had been cited—A heavy blow and a great discouragement to Protestantism in Ireland; that it will be also a great triumph to the adverse party. I am well aware that it is not the same thing to destroy as never to have constituted; to demolish as never to have built up; but this evil, which I trust will be but temporary, is forced upon me by the untoward circumstances which I have already described. I cannot avoid it, and that which I cannot avoid I must submit to with as much patience as I can command, and temper with as much remedy and alteration as it is in my power to administer."*That was the passage, and to misquote it was not fair. In the next place, though the words were not the best which he could have used, it was evident that he was making a distinction between the immediate effects of the measure and its ultimate results; and endeavouring to show that, although immediately it would be as a heavy blow against the Protestant religion, ultimately it would be advantageous to the Protestant faith and religion. That was the view which he had intended to advance; and he had only to ask, that whenever any persons should bring forward the expression again they would do him the favour to read the whole passage, and not take the words "heavy blow and great discouragement to Protestantism in Ireland" again, without the qualification and modification with which they were accompanied in his speech. It was with great concern that he saw the noble Lord, holding such principles and such a position in Ireland as he did, coming forward to declare that he entertained such feelings of alarm with respect to the present state of Ireland. But if there were any truth in his views, if they were not totally erroneous, he should feel much more deeply concerned. He trusted also that the noble Lord's views* Hansard (Third Series), vol. xxx. p. 727.275 with regard to the future were not correct and just, and that a far better state of things was to be expected in Ireland. He was sure that his noble Friend, while at the head of the Government of that country, would do his utmost to administer impartial justice, and obtain security of life and property for all her Majesty's subjects in that country.
wished to say a few words in consequence of what had fallen from the noble Duke, in reference to an opinion which that noble Duke had attributed to him. His recollection of the matter did not coincide with that of the noble Duke. He did not recollect having said, or admitted, that predial or agrarian outrage must always be attributed to political agitation. He never had said so. He could not possibly have said so, because he never could have thought so. The noble Duke was perfectly justified in reminding him of having given his support to the Coercion Bill. That measure he did support, and he stated the ground on which he supported it to be simply this, that the duties of protection and allegiance were reciprocal, and that Government had no right to call on the people for allegiance, if they were not prepared to afford them protection in return. That was his language at the time, and it did not express his opinion more clearly then than now; for if the same circumstances were to recur, he should be prepared to pursue the same course again. He had no desire whatever to withdraw from his support of that measure at the time, and in the circumstances which forcibly compelled him unwillingly to adopt it. The noble Duke had stated the authority of a noble relation, a late Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, cited from a despatch he believed of that illustrious, enlightened, and upright statesman, who was both an ornament to his rank and to his country, whose liberal policy was amongst the greatest blessings ever conferred on Ireland, and whose absence from that House he most sincerely regretted on every account save one, that it enabled him to express what all others felt. But even after admitting all this he could not bow to the opinion attributed to that illustrious statesman by his noble relation. He more than doubted the accuracy of the noble Duke's recollection on this point. His noble relation might have said that political agitation was in some circumstances, or at some time, productive 276 of predial outrage. That he would not deny. He believed such was the case at the beginning of the year 1833, or about the end of 1832; but that they were always inseparably connected, he held it impossible that the eminent person in question could ever have said in the sense described by the noble Duke. He would frankly avow his opinion that much of the pacification which had taken place in Ireland was owing to the Coercion Bill, which paved the way for all that had ensued to pacify Ireland. He would never deny having given his consent and support to that measure; but it was extorted from him by the cruel necessity of the case; it was wrung from him at the expense of most painful feelings, by the most heartfelt anxiety for the welfare of Ireland, and for the safety of the constitution of the country. But in proportion as he bitterly lamented the necessity, so did he rejoice to take the earliest opportunity of putting an end to an Act which had been forced from him, and which weighed down and tormented his mind every hour of its duration. His noble Friend near him (Lord Melbourne) never shrunk from the responsibility of that measure. Ill-advised and indiscreet friends had represented that he stood in a different position in regard to it from his Colleagues, and took occasion to draw distinctions between the Government of Lord Grey and the Government of his noble Friend, as if the present Ministers were incapable of originating such an Act as that of 1833; in other words, that the noble Viscount was utterly incapable of doing the very same thing which he had himself done in the very same year; for the Coercion Act came from his own department, and he was primarily, and above any one, responsible for it. So much for the skill of such advocates; so much for the friendly aid of such pernicious allies—pessimum inimicorum genus laudatores. But he agreed with the opinion which his noble Friend had that night expressed, and went along with him in the statement that such measures were deeply to be deplored, not on their own account only, but on account also of the necessity which gave occasion for them and the rankling feeling they were sure to cause. But although he had expressed that opinion, he must add, that experience had shown how cautious statesmen ought to be before they yielded to that necessity. Before men listened to 277 arguments in favour of such measures, drawn from the necessity of the case, they should remember, that although they might give a moment's strength, that strength was unwholesome, because it was unconstitutional; and the time would speedily come when, if they reckoned the cost, they would find that they had lost more than they had gained. He would not follow the noble Duke into all the details into which he had gone. The noble Duke had stated that the number of crimes in the year before the passing of the Coercion Bill was 17,000, and he had informed their Lordships, that that number had increased to 21,381 in the year immediately following the passing of that Act; and this might seem to disprove the efficacy of the measure. But, notwithstanding the able and argumentative speech which the noble Duke had delivered, and the facts and statements into which he had entered, he could not help saying, that it was not pursuing the most advisable course to pursue, to compare only one year with the next, because much depended on the nature and character of the crimes committed, as well as on the number of those crimes, and one year might be better than another, although at first sight it might look much worse. The noble Duke complained, also, of the discrepancies betwixt the reports which had been laid on the table, and stated a difference between the true returns in a single year of 14,000 crimes. But it turned out that under the Government of his noble Friend, they were to read every 500 only as 100. The way it seemed was to multiply one to five or six, because in many instances, the names of persons accused of a crime consisting of various parts as assault, battery, and false imprisonment, were repeated in some of those reports, while in others they were only inserted once. But what had all this debate arisen from? Two words in her Majesty's most gracious Speech from the Throne, and those words were, "domestic tranquillity;" those two words had given rise to the debate, and caused those grave charges to be made which their Lordships had listened to. But these royal speeches were purposely vague. He had heard it said, that the great object of the composers was to put the smallest quantity of meaning into the greatest quantity of words; a somewhat hypercritical remark; though he be- 278 lieved it might be said that the object was to seem to say as much, and really to say as little, as possible, and to follow the old gardener's motto, of "look at everything and touch nothing." They were intended to touch a certain quantity of subjects, but in such a manner as to shrink away from them as soon as they were handled. He would, however, put it to the candour of the noble Duke, whether it was proper to hang so weighty an argument, so grave a statement as he had made on these two words, of a composition purposely intended to be vague. But his noble Friend (Lord Melbourne) had said, that by those two words, he meant nothing about Ireland more than the Isle of Wight, or the Isle of Man; but simply alluded to the general tranquillity of the empire. If, however, the state of Ireland in 1832 was compared with the state of England in 1830, when the noble Duke left the Government to them, the words "domestic tranquillity" might not be so inappropriate. It was impossible for him to go through the facts and details which the noble Earl (Roden) had given, as he was not sufficiently acquainted with the cases which had been brought forward; but the noble Earl must see that the four instances of outrage which he had adduced, were not sufficient to establish his position; for as long as men continued what they were there never could be any difficulty, in any country, inhabited by so many millions, of producing as many instances of outrage. He believed every person, who had listened to the noble Lord, had sympathised deeply in the cases of the unfortunate individuals he had alluded to, and that there was no difference of opinion as to those deplorable events. He would confine himself, however, to one of the cases which the noble Earl had brought forward. The noble Earl had quoted a speech delivered by Mr. O'Connell, in which it was stated, that combination and disturbance were spreading in Ireland; but that he (Mr. O'Connell) had put a stop to it. How? By a new Coercion Act? No—By an army? No—By a fresh police force? Nothing of the kind but by a speech. He was willing to allow the force of a good speech, but he could not believe that the tumults and disturbances could be very formidable which a single passage in any speech could put down. The noble Earl opposite 279 (Lord Donoughmore) had allowed that his (Lord Brougham's) noble Friend had done everything in his power to enforce the common law of the land—that he had been lavish of the power confided to him,—that he had sent constables to the disturbed districts,—had commissioned magistrates—in short, that all had been done by his noble Friend which man could do to enforce the common law of the land. But if these means were unavailing, why not put in force the statute law? That also had been done, but still it was said crime continued to increase, notwithstanding this reinforcement of the common law. After these statements, he (Lord Brougham) then expected the noble Earl opposite would retreat to his third parallel and ask, why not put the Coercion Bill in force? And accordingly he stated, that eighteen magistrates had requested his noble Friend to put that law in force. But he could tell the noble Lord, that that Act would be as ineffectual as the common law and the statute law had been; and if ever his noble Friend was again called upon to put that law in execution, he hoped that his answer would be, that it was useless. But what the noble Lord opposite mainly insisted on was the necessity of arming the executive with new laws. He understood what he meant, he meant an Arms Bill—a measure of all others the most odious to the country, and the very name of which most deeply wounded the hearts of the Irish people. Let them do what they would; but let them not pass an Arms Bill nor any such harsh and hateful measure. He said so for two reasons;—first, because even if it. did good for the present, the re-action which would inevitably take place would be productive of consequences destructive of all the good which it might for a moment effect; it would ultimately make things worse than they were; and in the second place, because it would, in his opinion, be attended with no beneficial effect; and he questioned whether they would get one stand of arms out of Tipperary as the fruit of an Arms Bill. He had considered Arms Bills for different countries, and he was persuaded if such a measure were passed for Ireland, that it would be productive of every species of discontent, and that it would plant hatred where love and respect alone ought to be fostered. If such a measure were passed, when they came to reckon up the 280 cost they would find that while it would prove to have been ineffectual, it would be found to have created amongst the people discontent and hatred in their most exasperated forms. He hoped and trusted that no such advice would be followed. He had no fears for his noble Friend, for he was persuaded that he would conduct his Government in future as he had hitherto done, and that his policy would continue as creditable to himself as beneficial to Ireland. His noble Friend had been accused of bestowing his patronage on improper persons, but he had said, that while he would not be governed by any man he would proscribe no man. He would do justice to all men, and shut the door of promotion upon none. His noble Friend, and those with whom he acted, for his noble Friend acted under the Ministers, who were responsible for his Government, although he was the representative of the Queen, and although he (Lord Brougham) had of late heard more of kings and queens, especially from his Whig Friend, than he had ever done before in all his life, yet they knew nobody in Parliament but the Ministers who were accountable to Parliament for the Government of the country; and he would say, that his noble Friend and the Ministers would not act in a spirit of fairness if they refused a share of their patronage to Roman Catholics, or members of associations, simply because they were members of the Roman Catholic church, or of those associations, It ought not to be any reason with the Government, it ought not to influence their conduct in the distribution of their patronage, that men were members of that church, nor should the fact that individuals were members of those associations be a cause either for their promotion, or for withholding patronage from them. They ought to disregard such distinctions, to be actuated by no personal or sectarian, or factious views, but to discharge their duties without favour or partiality for any body of men, or any prejudice against any body. It would have been well for the country if this principle had always been followed; if the Catholic Emancipation Act had not been made a dead letter, and if none had been excluded from, office because they were Catholics, or because they belonged to any one persuasion rather than another. Lord Wellesley and Lord Anglesey had seen the wisdom of this course and had 281 pursued it. They saw that Catholics ought not merely to be made eligible, but to be selected, when fit, for office. These were his opinions, and he could not, after what had been said, have allowed that opportunity to pass without expressing them.
§ The Duke of Wellington
said, that as the noble Lord who had just sat down had questioned the accuracy of a quotation which he (the Duke of Wellington) had made from a despatch of a noble relative, he would read the passage. The noble Duke then read the passage, which was in substance as follows:—"I cannot sufficiently express my solicitude as to the intimate connexion between the system of agitation and its inevitable consequences—violence and outrage. They are always to each other as cause and effect, and I cannot separate the one from the other."
said, that was exactly what he meant—that that illustrious person connected the political agitation then existing with the existing agrarian outrage, and the noble Duke had said such was the case still, as if the two were always inseparable. It was that position which he had combated.
§ The Duke of Wellington
What I said was, that agrarian outrage was the effect of political agitation.
The Earl of Roden
could assure the noble Earl (Mulgrave) that no tenants could be more attached to their landlords than the tenants of Ireland, and therefore if the amount of outrage were great, it was not produced by ill feelings existing between the owners and occupiers of the soil. Before making any further remarks on the subject in debate, he could not help saying that he thought the noble Earl had not dealt fairly with him when he had quoted an expression which he (Lord Roden) was reported to have used at a dinner table. Before having done so the noble Earl might have asked whether he had used the words which had been quoted. He felt as strongly as any man what were his failings, but should be sorry, at any time, to take advantage of any individual, or complain of any one, without cause. The noble Earl had in the course of his address spoken of a gentleman as bring an itinerant orator. 282 He begged to assure their Lordships that the gentleman so alluded to was of the highest respectability, and that the application of such terms to him was by no means warrantable. He agreed with the noble and learned Lord who had just spoken, that after the passing of the Roman Catholic Emancipation Bill, it was right that all persons, whatever their religious persuasions, should be placed upon an equal footing with regard to the Government patronage; and he only wished the present Administration had acted on that principle. But what had been their course? They had appointed to office members of the Catholic Association, while they had turned out of office individuals belonging a loyal association—he meant the Orange Association, which was not contrary to law. He believed that the debate which had taken place would be the means of opening the eyes of many persons to the real state of Ireland. No one would be more pleased than himself to find that the conclusions at which he had arrived were erroneous, but he was confident that the case he should be able to lay before the House on the production of the papers he had moved for would warrant him in calling on their Lordships to appoint a Committee to inquire into a state of things by which he believed the best interests of the country to be endangered.
The Earl of Mulgrave
said, that he would offer only one observation to the House in allusion to what had fallen from the noble Lord and the noble Earl who had last spoken. He had himself of his own accord appointed several deputy lieutenants of counties and several other persons to situations as soon as they had ceased to be open to the objections which had been pointed out. No such reasons, however, as had been suggested had ever induced him to appoint any individual to an office, or to refuse his appointment.
§ The return of the papers moved for by the Earl of Roden was ordered.