HL Deb 22 March 1841 vol 57 cc452-4
The Earl of Glengall

rose to move, that Mr. Phelan, assistant Poor-law Commissioner in Ireland, should be called to the bar and examined. The noble Earl said, that before doing so, he thought it but justice to say, that he had that day received a letter from Mr. Bagwell, whose name had been mentioned in that investigation, denying that he was actuated by any improper motive in his opposition to the appointment of Mr. Butler as returning officer, or that it was because he happened to be a relative of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cashel, as stated by Mr. Stanley in his evidence before their Lordships. He would read the letter he had received:— Marlfield, March 19, 1841. My dear Lord—It appears by the Dublin Evening Post of the 18th inst., a copy of which I send you by this post, that in the course of your examination of Mr. Stanley, on the 18th inst., a letter was read from Mr. Hawley, assistant commissioner to the Poor-law Commission in Dublin, in which Mr. Hawley is represented to have stated, that Mr. Butler was the nephew of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cashel, a very respectable man, and that the charges brought against him by Mr. Bagwell could only be attributed to the fact, that he was the nephew of the Roman Catholic Archbishop. As I presume that the examination of the witnesses, with reference to this union, will be left principally in your hands, I wish to direct your attention to the imputation thus cast upon me by Mr. Hawley, in order that if that gentleman should come under examination in the House of Lords, he may be required to explain and justify such a statement as the one above quoted. I need scarcely add, that I was quite ignorant of any relationship between Mr. Butler and the Titular Archbishop of Cashel, until I saw Mr. Hawley's letter in print this morning.—I have the honour to he, my dear Lord, yours very truly, JOHN BAGWELL. I have also written on this subject to Lord Normanby.

The Marquess of Normanby

said, that he also had received a similar letter from Mr. Bagwell, and that he had written to that gentleman, stating that he disbelieved the imputation.

The Earl of Wicklow

thought that they ought to have Mr. Hawley there, for it appeared to him that Mr. Hawley was the most culpable person engaged in the transaction.

The Marquess of Normanby

thought it would be proper to have Mr Hawley examined at the bar.

Lord Ellenborough

said, they should recollect where they were going. He was anxious to have Mr. Hawley examined, but it appeared to him that, if they were to make inquiry into the conduct of the commissioners, they had better make it altogether, and not by halves.

The Marquess of Normanby

said, the object of their present inquiry was, to ascertain on what grounds an alteration had been made in the language of a letter, and by whose advice and sanction that alteration was made. A general investigation into the conduct of the Poor-law Commissioners would extend the subject to a much greater length.

The Earl of Wicklow

said, that the most important part of the inquiry was, by whom was the alteration made?

The Earl of Glengull

said, his object was to get at the point mentioned by his noble Friend, but an inquiry into the general working of the Poor-laws could only be done by a committee up stairs.

Lord Fitzgerald

thought that it was due to Mr. Hawley, that he should be afforded an opportunity of explanation.

Mr. Phelan

, an assistant Poor-law Com- missioner for Ireland, was called to the Bar, and his examination occupied the whole sitting.