HL Deb 21 July 1840 vol 55 cc859-60
The Marquess of Westmeatk

wished to remove some misrepresentations which had been made with regard to a question which he put to the noble Marquess opposite the other night respecting the temperance movement in Ireland. He had stated that he thought it would have been better if the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland had expressed his gratitude for certain signs of a return to temperance amongst the Irish people, not in his official, but personal character. He had been represented as deprecating the return of the Irish people to sobriety; but he had done no such thing. There was not a man in Ireland less open to such a charge, which had originated either in stupidity or malice, he could not tell which. He had been twenty-five years in the commission of the peace, and had done everything in his power to discountenance drunkenness, and to promote temperance. The very circumstance of the fever of temperance now going about the country, got up as it had been, and containing in itself an acknowledgment of a frightful degree of drunkenness and inebriety, justified the severest censure that could be passed on the conduct of the Roman Catholic priesthood. That body had had, time out of mind, the care of the lower orders of Ireland, and the superintendence of their actions, and would suffer no one else to interfere in them. Yet here was a practical acknowledgment of drunkenness and immorality made by multitudes assembling together for that purpose, thereby stamping on the Roman Catholic clergy the truth of all the charges he had brought against them. Another misrepresentation was, that he had disparaged the rev. Mr. Mathew. He had said nothing whatever in disparagement of that individual; he said he had done good, and he repeated it. He hoped that the exertions of Mr. Mathew might produce good effects; but he had said that it was not for the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland to mix himself up in that view of the question.

The Marquess of Normanby

said, it was, no doubt, very natural for the noble Marquess, to take an opportunity of qualifying, rather than of retracting, the expressions he had formerly used.

Subject dropped.

Back to