HL Deb 15 May 1840 vol 54 cc117-8
The Marquess of Westmeath

presented a a petition from certain inhabitants of Bath, complaining that measures were not taken to punish sedition in Ireland as it was punished in this country. The petitioners stated, that on the 10th day of April last, a society was formed in Dublin for the avowed purpose of repealing the union between the two countries, in which association seditious and inflammatory language was used by Mr. D. O'Connell and other persons, of which no notice had been taken. The petitioners were of opinion that it was alike contrary to justice and humanity to prosecute and punish poor labourers for sedition, while Mr. D. O'Connell and his friends were allowed, without molestation, to use the most inflammatory language. They could not conceive why sedition should be connived at, if not encouraged, by the government in Ireland, while it was prosecuted and punished in England. They, therefore, prayed their Lordships to address her Majesty that she would be graciously pleased to command the Attorney-general to issue proceedings against all such offenders, of whatsoever rank and degree, and to vindicate the laws of the land. This petition was signed by 112 most respectable persons. Though he entered fully into their feelings, he was rather surprised at the simplicity of the parties in supposing for a moment that the Government would direct the prosecution of those who were guilty of sedition in Ireland, when the law officers of the Crown were appointed at the instance of the persons whose conduct was complained of. He could assure the noble Viscount, that if he had at any time during these latter years conciliated the support of the country gentlemen in Ireland, instead of depending on the eleemosynary support on which he now depended, he would be considerably more at his ease as Prime Minister than he now was, and would be more secure in the situation to which he so anxiously adhered, than he could hope to be by any guarantee he might receive from the objectionable quarter to which he had alluded.

Petition laid on the table.

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