HL Deb 08 August 1843 vol 71 cc360-94
The Earl of Roden

said, before he called the attention of their Lordships to the petition which had been put into his hands, he thought it his duty to state, that it had emenated from upwards of 5,000 of her Majesty's Protestant loyal subjects, residing in the district of Rathfriland, in the county of Down, and consisting chiefly of persons in the humbler situations of life, as shopkeepers and small farmers; some of them were members of the established church, some of the Presbyterian church, and some belonging to the various denominations of Dissenters known in that district. He mentioned these matters because he was sure that their Lordships would feel with him that it must be a very important concern that would draw persons of such a rank of life from their various callings to constitute the meeting at which the petition was agreed to which he held in his hand. The petition was couched in simple language, and he was sure that coming from the persons he had described, humble though they were, that would not be a reason why it should to receive the fullest consideration from their Lordships. The noble Earl then read the petition, and continued; their Lordships would perceive that the petition contained two requests, both of which were, in his opinion, of a most important character. The petitioners asked their Lordships, in the first place, to take into immediate consideration the alarming situation in which the Protestants of Ireland were placed in consequence of the dangerous agitation now carried on in that country for the repeal of the union, and to adopt such measures as would prevent civil war and its direful consequences; and the petitioners also prayed their Lordships to repeal an Act of Parliament passed some years ago to prevent certain processions from taking place in Ireland,—that not being a penal statute, and—as its provisions were carried out—operating against her Majesty's loyal Protestant subjects, while other persons were permitted, with perfect impunity, to form processions, with banners and music, for a purpose very different to that for which the Protestant inhabitants of Ireland had formerly assembled together. He begged permission to call their Lordships' attention to the circumstances under which the Act to which the petitioners referred, was passed. It would be in the recollection of some of their Lordships, that, in the month, he believed, of August, 1832, an Act was submitted to that House, by noble Lords now sitting on the opposite benches, but who at that time were the advisers of the Crown, to restrain for a period of five years, certain party processions in Ireland. He would appeal to any noble Lords now present, who might remember this circumstance whether it were not understood that that Act should apply not only to the Protestant processions in Ireland, but to all processions connected with any class or denomination of the inhabitants. At the time this Act was proposed, a strong feeling of opposition to it was manifested; and that class of Protestants in Ireland connected with the Orange Associations, of which he had himself the privilege of being a member, felt that this Act was aimed mainly at their proceedings. He placed so much reliance on the statements of noble Lords opposite—that this Act was intended to apply to all classes of the inhabitants, that he was for some time engaged in persuading the Orangemen in Ireland, that they entertained erroneous views in supposing that the measure would not be applied, without distinction, to persons of all classes or persuasions who appeared in procession, accompanied by bands of music and with banners. The persons connected with the Orange institutions were at length led to imagine that their views were erroneous, and many of them—indeed, the great majority of them—submitted willingly to this Act of Parliament, and had never since appeared in such processions as those against which the Act was directed. Their Lordships would, however, allow that, among such a large number of persons as were connected with the Orange institutions, there must inevitably be some foolish and rash individuals, who would not, by any considerations, be induced to desist from the processions in which they had long been in the habit of engaging. He did not intend to excuse or to palliate the conduct of any individuals who had violated the provisions of this Act of Parliament, but he did complain that this Act had been enforced, with great severity and cruelty, against the Protestant subjects of her Majesty, and he would mention an instance in support of this assertion. Under this Act the mere fact of appearing in procession was constituted a crime, no matter whether any overt Act, any violent or dangerous conduct, had occurred on the part of the persons composing such procession. If an individual was found guilty of taking part in a procession, the punishment, and he thought it was harsh in the extreme, was six months' imprisonment. Several individuals connected with the Orange institutions had been subjected to this punishment; and he had received a letter, which he would read to their Lordships, from a friend residing in his own neighbourhood, detailing a case of this nature. He begged their Lordships to consider that an imprisonment for six months, inflicted upon an active and laborious young man, gaining his livelihood by his own industry, having perhaps to maintain a wife and family of children, or who might be the sole support of aged and infirm parents, was a most severe and serious punishment—a punishment most disproportionate to the offence. The case to which he had alluded, occurred in a district containing 6,000 Protestant inhabitants, and within a short distance of his residence, his correspondent said:— With regard to the young men, George Dickson and J. Hutton, of this parish, who had been undergoing the sentence of five months' imprisonment in Downpatrick gaol for appearing in a procession at Dromore in July last, your Lordship is aware that they had been liberated when within a few days of the expiration of their term. Under the general view of the favourable manner in which the laws are allowed to overlook the most flagrant breaches in others, we cannot help feeling the contrast in the severity extended towards the Protestant portion of the community, as in the case of those two young men, the only defaulters from among a population of about 6,000 Protestants belonging to the parish, and the first offence of the kind that either of them had committed. The imprisonment of George Dickson particularly, pressed most severely upon his infirm parents, who depended upon him chiefly for their support. His, and their peculiar case, was submitted to his Excellency by an humble petition, the prayer of which had been recommended by a Deputy-Lieutenant of the county, and a Member of Parliament, and forwarded by the Marquess of Downshire, and yet, under such favourable auspices of at least obtaining a mitigation of the sentence, it was my painful task to communicate to the afflicted friends, 'that the law must take its course.' It was received by them in sorrowful submission, but without a murmur.' Under all the circumstances, I felt greatly disappointed, and I am certain, your Lordships will agree with me, not without sufficient cause. This was one case out of many which he could adduce; but he mentioned it merely to exhibit the operation of the Act, and to show that the extent of punishment inflicted, far exceeded the deserts of the offenders. But the injustice of such proceedings appeared still more monstrous when they saw that large multitudes were allowed to assemble in Ireland with banners, mottoes, and emblems of sedition, and to march in procession through the different parts of the country with impunity, while her Majesty's loyal Protes- tant subjects were incarcerated for six months for attending processions to celebrate the anniversary of the battle of the Boyne. He thought it must be admitted that this was extreme injustice; and he would turn to her Majesty's present Ministers and implore them to take into consideration the prayer of the petitioners; either at once to propose the repeal of this act relating to processions, or if they deemed it necessary, if they considered it for the benefit of the country; that processions should not take place in Ireland—to extend the act, as they were in justice bound to do, to all classes and denominations of her Majesty's subjects who engaged in such processions. He felt that he was preferring no unreasonable request when he made this appeal to the Government, and when, in the name of the Protestants of Ireland, in the name of the loyal people of England, and in the name of common justice, he called upon them to adopt one of the two courses he had mentioned. He must, while referring to this portion of the petition, beg permission to allude, for a moment, to the conduct of his Protestant brethren in Ulster during the last month. He had had the satisfaction of personally witnessing their conduct, and he had been pleased and delighted to see them still manifesting a determination to support the laws, evincing a readiness to sacrifice their own private feelings, to submit to all the provocations and taunts to which they were subjected, and exhibiting their anxiety to maintain the character they had ever held as loyal and devoted subjects. Some of their Lordships had already given utterance, in that House, to expressions of their sentiments on this subject in a manner which had been duly felt, and which had commanded the sincere gratitude of those to whom he was alluding. It was impossible for any of their Lordships who were not personally acquainted with the situation of the Protestants of Ulster to form a just conception of the forbearance they had manifested. It had been his privilege to witness their conduct; and on the morning of that day on which they had been accustomed to meet their loyal brotherhood, and to march together in procession either to their church or to their several places of worship, he had seen them taunted by their Repeal neighbours—laughed at and jeered for abandoning their former practices— aye, charged with cowardice because they had followed the advice of their best friends. An opportunity had been afforded to their Lordships and to the country—to those who knew the value of such a class of men in these distracted times—of drawing a conclusion, by contrast, which must be favourable to his Protestant brethren. The other prayer of the petitioners was that their Lordships would take into consideration the dangerous situation in which the Protestant population of Ireland were placed, in consequence of the agitation for Repeal which was now carried on. It was unnecessary for him to detain their Lordships by alluding in detail to the unhappy effects which were apparent and which were gradually becoming more manifest in Ireland in consequence of the disturbed state of that country. Their Lordships were aware that the progress of improvement, of every kind, was entirely arrested. Individuals in the highest sphere of life, who were about to improve their estates, to erect mansions, or to extend their domains, at once abandoned their intentions; the labourers and artizans who would have been employed in effecting these improvement were discharged; and the avowed reason was, "We do not know for whose benefit these alterations may be made; we will not prosecute them until there is some restoration to peace and tranquillity." Those in the humbler spheres of life suffered to a considerable extent from this state of things; in consequence of improvements contemplated by the higher classes being abandoned, many of the humbler classes were deprived of employment. Indeed, the confidence of the people was shaken throughout the country. For the last few years, and until within a few months past, British capital had been pouring into Ireland, to the great benefit and improvement of that country; but this capital was now withdrawn. The result was, that great pressure was felt, and in many cases great misery was produced; and all owing to the Repeal agitation which was now carried on. Fearful anxiety prevailed; a feeling of alarm and apprehension existed among the loyal portion of the population, while high hopes and expectations were cherished by the Repealers. He could assure those of their Lordships who had not, like himself, witnessed the condition of Ireland, that they could form no just idea of the present state of that country. He thought it could not be charged against the Protestant population of Ireland, that they were apt to yield to needless or unfounded alarm. Indeed, he was convinced that those acquainted with them—those who had witnessed their conduct under the most trying circumstances, would testify that they were men of courage—men who would not entertain apprehensions without just ground. But when they saw thousands of individuals meeting together in different parts of the country,—bodies of men so well organized that they could be assembled almost at a moment's warning,—when they saw these multitudes marching in order with the regularity and precision of veteran troops—when they saw that the movements of these bodies of men were controlled by officers, whose directions were obeyed as implicitly as the commands of officers in her Majesty's army,—when they saw divisions of men professing to pursue their own lawful occupations (and a case of this kind had happened in the neighbourhood of his residence)—persons professing to go forth at night for the purpose of obtaining a certain kind of fish, marching in three divisions, with all the regularity of soldiers, and headed by a person who drilled them as they marched,—when these circumstances were taken into consideration, he thought it was no matter of surprise that the apprehensions of the Protestants should be excited, and that an idea should prevail that these bodies of men were being drilled to fit them for purposes to which he would not more particularly allude. And he thought there was still greater cause for alarm when they remembered the language used by the leaders of those assemblies in their addresses to their deluded adherents—declarations that they hoped the repeal of the union would be carried by fair means, but that it must and should be carried. These declarations accounted for the organization and drilling to which he had referred. The Protestants inhabitants of Ireland also heard it proclaimed that repeal implied the deliverance of that country from the Saxon yoke; and they found further that, in the opinion of the Repealers, the terms "Saxon" and "Protestant" were synonimous. It had been openly and distinctly stated, that the destruction of the Protestant religion was one of the objects of the Repealers. It also appeared that a large number of foreigners—whether officers or not was not ascertained—had recently passed over into Ireland, mixing with the people, and many of them attending the meetings to which he had alluded. This fact was beyond contradiction, for he believed the captains of the vessels which had conveyed these foreigners to Ireland were ready to bear testimony to the circumstance. Another fact calculated to excite apprehension was this:—it happened that, during the present summer, very few of the peasantry of Ireland had come over to this country for the purpose of obtaining employment during the harvest. Their Lordships were aware that, for many years past, it had been the practice for great numbers of Irishmen to resort to this country to seek employment during the summer; and it was an extraordinary circumstance that, while there had never been a greater want of employment, or a greater dearth of money in Ireland than the present time, so few Irishmen had come over to this country with a view to obtain employment. He thought these reapers and agricultural labourers were kept in Ireland for some purpose or other. The Protestants of Ireland also saw—and he mentioned this fact with great regret—that the Roman Catholic hierarchy and priesthood were, almost universally, banded together in this conspiracy, and seemed to be the generals and officers in this Repeal movement. He thought these circumstances were amply sufficient to excite alarm in the minds of the Irish Protestants; but little regard would have been paid to these things, alarming and frightful though they might be, had the Protestants of Ireland seen the Rulers of this country, her Majesty's Government, active and energetic in repressing, in the commencement, that unhappy state of things which had now almost reached its climax. He was perfectly aware that the noble Duke had, in his position of Commander-in-Chief, done all in his power by sending over to Ireland bodies of troops, to prevent and to meet any sanguinary outbreak which might take place; and he was convinced that he spoke the sentiments of all loyal men in Ireland, when he ventured, in their name, to express their thankfulness and gratitude for the interest the noble Duke had manifested on this subject. But this was not sufficient. Other measures were also necessary. He considered that it was advisable and necessary to enlist on the side of the Government, to aid in repressing the proceedings to which he had called their Lordships' attention, all persons, of every denomination, who were willing to associate with the object of maintaining peace and tranquillity. It was important that the Government should prevent, as far as they could prevent, any persons passing over to the Repeal movement who were in their hearts opposed to it. Standing there as an independent Member of their Lordships' House, he should not be acting as an honest man if he did not speak out boldly what he felt. He sincerely believed that the apparent apathy of the Government, (he said apparent, because he hoped it was only the apparent apathy of the Government,) had been the means of causing many individuals of the Roman Catholic persuasion, and he would undertake to say even some Priests themselves, to unite in the Repeal movement, who would not have done so had Government taken a bold and determined course. That was not his opinion alone; the fact, much to be lamented as it was, must be known—the conviction, reluctantly it may have been, must have been forced on the mind of every one who had lived in Ireland during the last six months. He held in his hand a letter, which, as it referred to this subject, he hoped he should be allowed to read. It came from a gentleman with whom he was well acquainted—a highly honourable man—a magistrate of one of the inland counties, who had lived on his property for upwards of twenty years, and who was in all respects a bright ornament to any neighbourhood; the writer stated, Some weeks before the Repeal meeting in Kells, which was on Sunday, the 23d of April, a very respectable Roman Catholic tenant of mine, holding about 500 acres of land from me and Mr.——,came to me to ask advice what he should do as to attending the meeting, saying he was opposed to it, and did not wish to go there, but had been ordered to do so by his Priest, and that all the other Roman Catholic farmers of the county were under similar circumstances, and almost all thought as he did and wished to stay away if they could. My advice was to stay away, and he left me with that determination, saying, if necessary, he would go to England at the time, and so be out of the country. A few days before the meeting took place he returned to me—told me he must be at the meeting—that he dared not be absent; it would be as much as his life and property were worth to be so, for that, having heard of his determination, he was called on by more than one Priest, and threatened, that if absent, he would be held up as a traitor to his country. In vain he said he did not wish to go, and when pressed hard offered to leave his son to represent him. Nothing short of his personal attendance would satisfy; of course he had to attend. This I know to be the case with many of the Roman Catholic farmers as well as him; and all these facts I wrote to the Government in England previous to the meeting, which, as a Magistrate of more than twenty years' standing, and constantly resident in my own county, I thought it my duty to do. I was begged to communicate with the Irish Government, which, of course, I did. The meeting was held on Sunday. There were from 15,000 to 20,000 people assembled, with 12 bands playing party tunes all day. All the families of the gentry in this neighbourhood were prevented going to their usual place of worship, and in consequence of the excited state of the town the church was closed in the evening. Dr. Cantwell, with 40 priests with him, appeared on the platform, when both Mr. O'Connell and Mr. Kelly, a priest, denounced the Poor-law in such terms that in our union, where a new rate had just been struck and collectors appointed, the collectors refused to act, and we had a difficulty in procuring others after some time at an advanced rate for collecting. When the Whitsunside recess came on, all parties, but particularly the Roman Catholic farmers of the better class, were most anxiously watching the course Government would take on the re-assembling of Parliament, and expressed openly their wish that Government would take some measure under which they could shelter themselves from the 'tyranny of their priests.' I give you the words of one of them to myself. This I communicated to the Irish Government. I am sorry to say the middle and humbler class of Protestants are so dissatisfied with Government, and feel themselves and their interests so sacrificed to the vain endeavour to conciliate their enemies, that nothing but self-preservation would now induce them to step forward, and I fear some have joined the repeal ranks from disgust. At the present time, in my neighbourhood, emissaries are going about from house to house, inquiring of every man (i. e. Roman Catholics), whether they are Repealers; if not they are given a fortnight to become so or take the consequences. If a shopkeeper, particularly a small one, is not a Repealer, and refuses to become one, a watch is set upon his door, and the people inclined to deal with him sent to another person. Such is the state of our country now; all the well-disposed are driven to be Repealers whether they will or not. At the time I gave my humble advice, that by energy and the least show of determination the movement could then be stopped; a message from the Queen would have done it, and it was most anxiously looked for as much by the Roman Catholics as Protestants. It came not, and those who at that time would willingly have caught at any expressed wish of Government to shelter themselves under, are now so identified with the Repeal movement, either from inclination or intimidation, that I fear it would now be a hopeless attempt to separate them. That letter spoke volumes as to the state in which the country was now placed, and the effect of what he thought the mistaken course which had been pursued by the Government. Their Lordships would remember, that early in the month of May, in the present year, he took the liberty of putting a question to her Majesty's Government upon this very subject. He felt that then was the time when something might be done to put a stop to this alarming state of things. The Government, probably for excellent reasons, thought otherwise; they took a different course from that which he recommended—he thought a more dangerous course, and one which he feared would not be easily retrieved. He had then also referred to the circumstances which took place in 1832, he directed their attention to the course which had been pursued by the Marquess of Anglesea then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and he showed them how, by that course, the noble Marquess had been able to put down repeal, which at that time threatened to make very great progress in that country. But there was another course pursued by Lord Anglesea, which he had not referred to, but which he would now mention, because it was a course still open to her Majesty's Government, and it was a course which he thought, sooner or later they must adopt, if they would save the country from ruin. Lord Anglesea called out the yeomanry, he put arms into their hands, and many of them were clothed at the public expense; hence there was a large addition made to the force of the country, which could have been augmented as circumstances appeared to render necessary. He would only add, with respect to that point, in 1803, when the incipient movement took place, called Emmett's rebellion, the Government of that day called out the yeomanry which had been disbanded; they were embodied, clothed, and armed to the number of 75,000. He mentioned these things to show what former Lord-lieutenants had done, and because it was still in the power of the present Government to make use of the same instrument for the preservation of the Union. Perhaps it was not easy for those not living in Ireland, who saw these things only afar off, rightly to estimate the tremendous situation in which the middling and poorer classes of her Majesty's loyal Protestant subjects in Ireland were now placed in consequence of the state of things to which he had adverted; but he warned them not by any means to suppose that the consequences of the alarming evils which he had described would be confined to Ireland. If the present agitation made head in Ireland, let them not suppose that its effects would exhaust themselves there. They might rely upon it that even those who were living in ease and comfort and security in England would, ere long, feel the effects of the present proceedings in Ireland: for, although it was an old saying, as old as the days of Elizabeth, yet true it was,— He that would England win Must with Ireland first begin. They would find they were mistaken if they supposed because they were in this country in the midst of peace and tranquillity they would escape those miseries with which the Protestants of Ireland were now threatened. He was afraid he had trespassed too long on their Lordships' time; but the importance of the subject to which he had called their attention, and the deep interest which he took in everything connected with Ireland, must be his excuse for detaining them so long. In conclusion, he again beseeched the Government, before the Session closed, to bring in an act either repealing the law relating to processions in Ireland or extending it to all large party meetings in that country.

The Duke of Wellington

—I am sure that your Lordships did not require any apology from my noble Friend for detaining your Lordships upon the subject of this petition; nor did your Lordships require to be informed of the possibility that the inconveniences attending the state of affairs in Ireland might eventually reach your Lordships yourselves, in order to induce you to give your most anxious attention to the subject upon which my noble Friend has addressed your Lordships. My Lords, it is not for me to dispute the statements made in the latter part of the speech of my noble Friend. It is my opinion, that he has by no means exaggerated the amount of the evils and inconveniences attending the state of affairs existing in Ireland. But, my Lords, I did not rise to declare my concurrence with my noble Friend, in those statements or to deny the dangers existing in that country, but what I wish to draw your Lordships attention to is, the prayer of the petition itself. And before I do so, I am anxious to advert particularly to that statement made by my noble Friend, respecting the conduct of these persons in the north of Ireland, who are obviously the immediate objects of the petition—their conduct throughout the whole of these disastrous events,—their conduct particularly during the last mouths, in which they (having formerly been accustomed to assemble and march in these now prohibited processions, and to celebrate certain days, to the memories and recollections to which they were attached) have in these last days refrained from such practices and processions, in obedience to the law, and with the sincerest desire to aid the views of the Government in maintaining the peace of the country. My Lords, I applaud this conduct. Not only do I applaud it, but I approve of the motives for it; and I anxiously hope that they will persevere in their conduct—aiding the measures of the Government to preserve the peace of the country, and ultimately the integrity of this mighty empire. But my Lords, I think that my noble Friend and the petitioners labour under great mistakes, in supposing that the act of Parliament to which my noble Friend has adverted, and which he calls upon us to bring in a bill to repeal, applies to processions other than those particularly described in its preamble, "processions for the purpose of celebrating or commemorating any festival, anniversary, or particular event, relating to, or connected with, any religious or other distinctions or differences between any class of his Majesty's subjects." That is the nature of the processions which are prohibited under the act of Parliament; and my Lords, it is a question of law which I don't mean to decide or give my opinion on, because it is worth nothing—it is a question of law, which those must have considered whose duty it is to put the law into execution, whether those other processions to which my noble Friend has adverted—those other carryings of banners, and marchings with music (whatever may be the degree of criminality attaching to such acts)—fall under the provisions of the act. My Lords, that is a question of law upon which neither a speech in Parliament nor a petition laid on the Table of this House can have slightest influence; that is a question which must be decided by men in their studies in the first instance, and afterwards in a court of law upon the trial of those who may march in such processions, and cannot be decided either by speeches in Parliament or by petitions laid on the Table of the House. My Lords, the truth is, that Parliament—both this and the other branch of the Legislàture—had this very question fairly submitted to it at the period when this act was passed. It was the meetings and the processions thus described in the preamble, and those meetings and processions only, to which it was intended that the penalties in this act should apply. It was intended to apply a remedy to an evil at that moment existing, and had not interfered with other processions. Nay, my Lords, the proposition was made both in the other House of Parliament and in this, to extend the provisions of the act, but Parliament refused. My Lords, I beg my noble Friend will recollect that, and not cast blame on the Government for not having applied the penalties of this act to those other processions to which he has adverted, but to which he will find, if he examines the act, its provisions are not applicable. Then says my noble Friend, "Repeal the act or extend its provisions." That, my Lords, is a point which it is undoubtedly the duty of the Government to consider m turely and to decide; and, my Lords, certainly feel that I am not standing here authorized to state, that it is the intention of the Government to do either the one or the other—to repeal the act, or to extend it to other processions adverted to by my noble Friend. I say, as I said before, that I am willing to admit the truth of my noble Friend's description of the estate to which these agitations, these criminal agitations I would call them, have brought the sister country—the extreme injury which they are doing to that part of the empire, and most anxiously desirous I am to see an end put to them. My Lords, I am also aware, that the Government are responsible for every act they do, and for all the omissions to which the noble Earl has referred, I will not go into a detail of these circumstances, because I am not on this occasion, able to state what the intent tions of Government are on this subject-My Lords, I do not think it desirable that they should be stated; but what I do say is this,—that I, whose duty it is to superintend one of those offices on which the execution of the measures of the Government depends—I feel confident, that everything that can be done has been done in order to enable the Government to preserve the peace of the country, and to meet all misfortunes and consequences which may result from the violence of the passions of those men who unfortunately guide the multitude in Ireland. My Lords, I do not dispute the extent of the conspiracy, I do not dispute the dangers resulting from organization in that country—I have stated it publicly on more than one occasion—I do not deny it—it is notorious, it is avowed, it is published in every paper all over the world—I do not deny the assistance received from foreigners—not from foreign governments—I have no right to say so, but from foreigners of nearly all nations—for there are disturbed and disturbing spirits everywhere who are anxious to have an opportunity of injuring and deteriorating the great prosperity of this country. I don't deny all this; but still I say, I feel confident that the measures adopted by the Government are such, as will enable the Government to resist all opponents, and ultimately to preserve the peace of the country. And if that should turn out to be the case, I believe it is best that we should persevere in the course in which we are proceeding, and not attempt to adopt other measures until it becomes absolutely necessary to adopt them. My Lords, I have felt it my duty to to say so much on this petition to which my noble Friend has called your attention. I repeat it, my Lords, the noble Earl and the petitioners are mistaken as to the meaning of the act of Parliament. I have stated the intention of the act at the time. I take it not from that act alone, but from a careful examination of the records of what passed when the law was enacted, and I do say, that either the repeal or alteration of the act, or its extension to other meetings and processions beyond those contemplated by it, is not at this moment desirable. I am fortified in that opinion by a mature consideration of all the circumstances of the case.

The Earl of Winchilsea

had been once closely united with the warm and respectful loyalty of the Protestants of Ireland, and though that bond of union had been torn asunder by the act of 1832, yet he was still united with them heart and soul, and could not permit the petition presented by the noble earl to be placed on the table without craving the indulgence of their lordships to make a few observations. When he considered the distinguished loyalty which had ever marked the Protestants of Ireland, when he recollected the patriotism which had of late rejected all temptation—a patriotism which was not chilled by the cold and frigid countenance of those who ought to have considered it their highest pride to rally round those who were standing forward with their lives to defend all that was valuable, or to uphold that connection with this country which was on the very verge of being broken and destroyed: when he considered that they had shown an absolute submission to the law, and to the act of 1832, although not without much violence to their feelings; when he considered the resignation with which they had met insults which were almost beyond human endurance, he was prepared to contend that there was not a body of men in the empire who had a greater claim to their lordships' indulgence than the petitioners. What was now the condition of their unhappy country? He remembered being met with sneers and taunts when, some years since, he had warned their lordships of the inevitable results of the concessions then made, and when he had stated unhesitatingly that if he were a member of the Roman Catholic Church, he would take the very course they had since adopted, of endeavouring to subvert the Protestant religion, and to recover back their forfeited church property. Could their lordships be blind to the present state of Ireland? To the opinion of the noble duke who had addressed the House he was bound to defer, but he thought that the act of 1832 was intended to include all banners and all exciting party tunes. It was so considered at the time, and if it did not apply, there never was an Act of Parliament which showed so much partiality and injustice, or which so degraded the Legislature. It was intended to apply as well to Roman Catholics as to Protestants, for he did not believe that their lordships would have passed an act so invidious, and so charged with injustice, as one which affected a portion of their fellow-subjects, and was not intended to extend to other religious classes. With respect to the present state of Ireland, who could be so blind as not to see the result? Magistrates had been dismissed, and, as he thought, justly dismissed, because they openly countenanced the repeal of the union, which meant the dismemberment of the British empire; and if these magistrates were guilty of an act of misdemeanour which it was thus necessary to mark as an example, he said that the individual who was the leader of the repeal, and who avowedly wished not only to throw off the union but to break the Saxon yoke, was still more blameable. There was a Sovereign still seated on the throne of this country, and if these words were not treason or sedition where would they find any? It was but justice, however, to Her Majesty's Government to declare that the course they had pursued merited the respect and good feeling of every friend of humanity. If they had erred it must be allowed they had erred on the right side. But if they looked at the results of history they would find that when the passions of large assemblies of men were excited, when their evil feelings were raised, when they were arrayed against the constituted authorities of their country, the consequences had ever been most deplorable, and all the friends of humanity had regretted that a lenient course had been pursued, which had made the termination ten thousand times more deplorable than if the law had been enforced with firmness, but at the same time without harshness. Those were blind who could not see the fearful cansequences now pending. Noble lords might go without those walls, and retire to the quiet of their own houses, but they would find that if the law of the country was subverted in Ireland, the time would not be far distant when it would be subverted in this country. If they trembled when they ought to display firmness, the glory of England was gone, and this country would be involved in a civil war, in its character, both national and religious, the most fearful that had ever desecrated this great and glorious empire. He was prepared to take his part, as he had told the Protestants in 1832. If England's battle was to be fought, he was ready to share all the danger; no sacrifices could be required which he was not prepared to make, and he would shrink from no danger in support of a principle he had ever held to be dearer to him than life itself.

The Earl of Wicklow

agreed with his noble friend that the existing agitation was as injurious to the prosperity of the country as it was disgraceful and degrading to the empire itself: and it would be the duty of the Government to suppress it if it were in its nature distinctly illegal; but the great difficulty had arisen from the doubts which existed on that subject. He was of opinion though the law might not be sufficiently strong to restore the tranquility of the country, that nothing had transpired which made it desirable to add to the power of the Government. He concurred in thinking that Ministers had acted prudently and wisely, if they doubted the illegal nature of those societies; if they had committed an error, which he did not believe, that error had been at any rate on the right side, by showing a disposition to leniency and mercy. As to the second prayer of the petition, which related to the repeal of the Processions Act, it must be evident that nothing could be done this session; and, it therefore came to the point, what would be done in the next session, when it would be necessary either to amend the law or not to renew it? He had no hesitation in saying that a great act of injustice would be committed, should the act be renewed in its present shape; and he hoped that even those leaders of the party which was in office when the act passed, notwithstanding the bias of their minds, would not allow the act to continue solely to affect Protestants. He believed that its operation was a blunder not intended by those who passed it. He was confident that they meant to include all parties; and if there was a failure, it was the mistake, and not the intention of the framers of the bill. It must either be allowed to expire or be made to embrace all. The noble earl had mentioned the claims of the petitioners to attention, and he must enforce their claim. They had shown a degree of forbearance, of loyalty, and of attachment to the interests of the country which he declared before God had never been surpassed. He was delighted to hear her Majesty's Ministers take the occasion of expressing their gratitude for it. His noble Friend had lamented that the Roman Catholic hierarchy and priesthood had been so generally for it was not universally mistaken, as to lend themselves to the mischievous agitation of Repeal. But this, though lamentable, was, he feared the result of a still more lamentable state of society. It was impossible for the priests, however ignorant and mischievous, to affect the minds of the population, if there were not a deeply rooted evil at the bottom. It was for the Legislature and for the Government by every means in their power, to remove the source which had enabled these persons to effect such mischief. They must, for one thing, strive to raise the character of the priesthood. He therefore repeated, that he was most anxious to see the Government directing its attention to this point. So long as the body consisted of the degraded and low persons of which it was at present composed, there could be no dependence on their aid; but if their condition were raised, and if there were introduced into the priesthood men of a higher class of character, he hoped that they would raise the country in the same degree.

The Marquess of Clanricarde

would not attempt to discuss what was likely to be the legislation of the next Session—sufficient for the day was the question thereof. The noble Earl, however, in laying the petition on the Table, had also laid before their Lordships the present condition of Ireland, and its discontented state; but the noble Earl's tone was very different from what he expected, or from what the noble Earl had used on former occasions, because the noble Earl was wont to attribute the condition of Ireland immediately to the Government. He did not say that the noble Earl was right then, and he did not know that the noble Earl was right now; but if the noble Earl would calmly consider his former speeches and motions the noble Earl would come to the conclusion that he had upon the present occasion rather lamely ended his speech by moving that the petition be laid upon the Table. He must recal to the noble Earl the language he had used in 1835. There was then existing in Ireland a society called the Precursor Association, which attracted considerable attention on the part of the noble Earl, who contended that the then Government was responsible for the existence of that association, and contended that the noble Marquess then at the head of the Government of Ireland (the Marquess of Normanby), so long as he did not put down that association, was responsible for it, declaring "Qui facit per alium facit per se." The Government, no doubt, now wished to put down the agita- tion, but there was a great difference between wishing and effecting that object constitutionally. He must say for one, whether the noble Earl were contented with it or not, that he had heard the few observations of the noble Duke with considerable pleasure. He was of opinion that they should not have recourse to any new laws, which drove them, he was afraid, to what noble Lords apprehended, but which he did not now anticipate, a civil war. But considering the state of Ireland as described, by the noble Earl who had presented the petition, by the Ministers of the Crown, and by every person who knew that country, it was impossible to look at what was coming without serious apprehension. Where would the agitation stop? That he should like to hear stated by any Minister of the Crown; He should like to have the opinion of the Government as to what would be the end of the present state of things in Ireland; he should like to know if they thought there would be a change for the better. To be forewarned was to be forearmed, and he should be glad to hear whether they could tell what was coming. He was not alluding solely to the agitation which the Government had made a single attempt to put down by means which that House had thought wise, but from which he still differed, the dismissal of magistrates, by which the Rent, which was only 117l. a week was now nearly 2,000l.; but he should like to know whether any expectation could be held out of any amelioration of the general state of that country, that it was in the power of Parliament to effect. The noble Earl had told them that no capital could now be employed in that country, and it was absolutely necessary that they should have a Government which would do more than appoint a police and look into the constabulary returns. In Ireland they were apt to look too much to the Government. It was therefore necessary that the Irish Government should pay more attention to the general welfare of the country than was necessary for England; and it was on this ground that Ireland had the more right to complain, that the only measures brought forward by the Government were the Irish Arms Bill and the Poor-law Amendment Bill. Those bills they would shortly have for discussion in that House and he would not say anything as to their details but he thought there could not be a worse excuse than he had heard had been made use of elsewhere for delaying other measures, such as those with respect to the franchise and the municipal registration, because they were connected with the Poor-law. He did not wish to make the Poor-law a party question, but he could not help expressing his regret that the Government, who were now responsible for the bill, should connect it with any prospective measures. There were, however, other matters which required the immediate consideration of the Government. So long ago as 1836, a committee had recommended emigration and the employment of the poor; but with the exception of the report, nothing had been done—there was no prospect of employment being provided for the poor, or a plan of emigration. The last Government had, in 1840, appointed a commission to inquire into the grand jury law; the report had been presented in 1842, when the labours of the commission terminated. Except the able report, nothing had been done, and the Government had not taken up the subject, as the country had a right to expect. It was too late in the present Session; but he hoped that in the next the Government would direct their attention to these subjects. They were now in a situation of great embarrassment and peril. He had learned from good authority that very few labourers from Ireland had come over to this country during the harvest: this might appear a small matter; but it was really most serious. The noble Earl had noticed it as a political symptom. He did not know whether it were so or not; but if the people were idle, and could not earn anything at this period of the year, the circumstance might have a very important operation. They all knew that doctrines were broached which a poor people might readily catch at, and he should be therefore sorry if, at the end of the Session, there should not be any intimation on the part of the Government of an intention to afford the poor employment, or to ameliorate the condition of that country; for if the Government had nothing else to do than to appoint constables, and look over the constabulary returns, it was absurd to keep a Lord Lieutenant and his staff in Ireland. He would not go into the state of crime in Ireland, or remark on the increased tendency to the crime of assassination, for he never could conceive that these facts could in any way be brought forward as affecting the character of the Government for the time existing. He could never believe that there had been any Ministry or any Lord Lieutenant that did not sincerely wish to put down crime of that kind. Last year the Government took credit to itself for having sent down a special commission; he had doubted the benefit of that act, and in the very neighbourhood of that special commission, within a short time after it had sat, three murders were committed. The way to prevent crime was to remove its cause; the condition of the peasantry was what required amelioration; and to ameliorate that was the only way of putting down crime. He, therefore, hoped the Government would take into their serious consideration the amelioration of the condition of the poor; and especially consider the removal of the cess presentments in Ireland, which caused great excitement in the public mind.

Lord Brougham

My Lords, subjects of such great importance are likely to take up the consideration of your Lordships, the Irish Arms Bill and the Poor-law Amendment Bill, at this late period of the Session, that my noble Friend has done an acceptable service to the country by bringing forward this subject in its present shape, with a view to its being calmly discussed. Nothing, indeed, can be more deplorable than the statement of facts with which the noble Earl prefaced the request he made to the Government and to this House. It is an unheard of condition of society, it is a novel state of this empire, it is novel not only in the history of this country, but in the history of any country—it appears an indication of a spirit almost amounting to disorganization, to find the influence of one or two individuals almost uncontrolled over the masses of the whole country, and to find this influence supported and exceedingly increased and exaggerated, and the mischief exasperated by those who are bound by the religion of peace, of which they are ministers, and who ought to be foremost in discountenancing, not only all disagreements, all hatreds, and all animosities—not only all acts which may endanger the peace of the land—not only all outrages and breaches of the peace—but all proceedings, the manifest and inevitable tendency of which is to produce these mischiefs. I should have hoped that this learned body—I hope and trust this still loyal body—I even now hope to God that they have too much sense of their duty as ministers of the Gospel and as loyal subjects, to sanction proceedings that may have such an end. It is a novelty to see the Roman Catholic priesthood, almost in a body, adopting such a course and no blame can fairly be imputed to my noble Friends opposite, that they have not, under such circumstances, armed themselves with extraordinary powers. I am far from closing my eyes to the perils to which the friends of the Queen's peace are exposed; but my difficulty is to decide on the fit mode to lessen the danger and check the evil. A Government can be prepared to maintain the public peace, if a breach of it be contemplated. It may render it fatal to any party who will attempt to infringe it. Those measures have already been adopted. My gallant Friend the noble Duke, with his wonted vigour and promptitude, has provided against such an emergency. I understand that in case of any act of criminality, Ministers are ready to put the existing law in force, and I think with them that the existing law is sufficient for the punishment of actual, and for the deterring of would-be offenders. My noble Friend behind me (Marquess of Clanricarde) says:— Remedy the evil by bettering the condition of the people—by improving the state of the peasantry. This advice makes me pause exceedingly; for I do not see how that is to be done, at least, in a hurry. His remedy is a slow one, when we want a speedy one In the course of years what he recommends might, perhaps, be accomplished; but we must not talk of years, but of months or weeks. My noble Friend (Lord Roden) has also told us, that one reason why Ireland is not prosperous is, that capital does not flow into the country. Unhappily this is too true. But why be surprised at it? What need is there of wonder? Is it likely that any capitalist will send his capital to a country where he does not know that there may not be an outbreak before he gets his first quarter's payment? But suppose even that those persons have no fear of a rebellion in Ireland—I myself think there is no fear of such a result—but it is clear, that the present state of things may lead to great mischief, and the improvement of that country, which was going on at a great pace, is now at a stand-still. Suppose, however, that the capitalist, as I said, has no fear of a rebellion, and is satisfied with the course taken by the Government, still it is likely he would say, "I should like my capital to be invested in a place where I can go over and look after it, and where, if necessary, I can send a person to attend to it without the fear of his being mobbed, and where there is no reason to fear that the next cry may be for fixity of capital, as it has already been of fixity of tenure;" for that may be the next cry; and as the tendency to fixity of tenure is to convert the tenant into the landlord, so the tendency of "fixity of capital" might be to convert the borrower into the lender. A capitalist does not like to send his capital to a country where a doctrine like this might be established on the model of another so very similar which has already been set up there. [Laughter.] We may laugh at this, my Lords, but it is a very serious matter. The capitalist does not like such a state of things, and therefore declines to send his capital to a country so situated. Yet there is such a glut of capital in the city of London, that notwithstanding the natural repugnance of men to send their money beyond seas, and invest it in foreign speculations, we see every day capitalists sending their money to be employed in foreign railways, when they certainly would much rather invest it in Ireland in similar undertakings, or in agricultural speculations. Capitalists can scarcely have confidence in those persons who call themselves exclusively friends of the people of Ireland—those agitators who profess for them a friendship violent, vehement, and absorbing—who profess to monopolise all the feeling and sympathy of the people of Ireland—in virtue whereof, I suppose, it is that they wring from the Irish peasant, from his paltry goods and chattels, from his wretched pittance towards their associations, their Precursor and Catholic Associations, and towards their tribute and their repeal rent; all these associations being connected with those agitators, and all which contributions to such associations these agitators tell the people tend towards the increase of what remains in their pockets. The capitalist may be told that persons who act in this way are the only real friends of Ireland, and are those who will put an end to the mischievous state of things there; but yet the capitalist does not like such persons. There is also this other thing which alarms capitalists. They hear these friends of the Irish people boasting of their meetings, and of their being able to command their hundreds of thousands of men. They see the power which they thus boast of used for the purpose of conveying the most vehement attacks on the Government, and the most violent abuse of the nation to which those capitalists themselves belong. The Celtic capital being little, and the poverty excessive, and the demand of the Celt for the capital of the Saxon being extreme—the wise Celt having for his object to lessen that excessive poverty, and draw some portion of the Saxon capital to supply the Celtic wants—this wise and judicious friend of Ireland, in order to effect his object, deals from one end of the year to the other in the most gross and unrestrained abuse of everything Saxon, and proclaims Saxon England as the determined enemy of Celtic Ireland. This is the Irish way of inducing English capitalists to send over their money to Ireland. Now, when my noble Friend behind me talks of sending capital into Ireland, I cannot help thinking that one way of facilitating that object would be to secure the cessation of that feeling of enmity towards England which appears to form the burthen of every composition addressed by those friends of Ireland to the people—of every composition, whether written or spoken. These capitalists, I say, hear the friends of the Irish people boasting of their command over the masses. They hear them boast of their meetings of hundreds of thousands, never, mark, less than 100,000 sometimes, as in one case, amounting even to 700,000. But your capitalist is rather a suspicious sort of person. He cannot understand what sort of a thing such a gathering as 200,000 or 300,000 persons could be—he cannot understand that, nor believe in it, any more than I can; but, at all events, he believes that there has been some great meeting. He does not suppose that all these statements can be wholly without foundation—he cannot think that it always is as it was in one case lately, where it was said that a meeting in Ireland had been attended by between 100,000 and 200,000 people, when a gallant friend of mine was curious enough to measure the ground on which it was professed to have been held, and found that instead of it being able to hold 150,000 persons, it was not capable of holding even 5,000. However, that was a rare instance of exaggeration. No doubt 20,000 people have been got together at these meetings, and on one occasion, that of the meeting at Cork I believe there were as many as 70,000 present. Therefore, at all events, large masses of men have been assembled together. Now, your capitalist likes large masses of produce. He likes to see large masses of gold and silver, or large masses of good bills with approved names to them; but he certainly does not fancy large masses of people, and large masses of people, too, who are collected together under a pretence which he knows must necessarily be false. For when a man tells roe of his addressing 200,000 men, I find it impossible to believe him: if he told me he had addressed 20,000 or 30,000 I could understand it. But when he tells me that the 200,000 men whom he proposes to address meet calmly to discuss a great national question, I at once turn with contempt, scorn, and disgust from such a statement, because I know it to be physically impossible that at a meeting composed of such immense numbers anything like discussion can take place. Well, then, the capitalist very well knows that no meeting of the kind can serve the purposes of discussion; and if so, there must, of course, be some other object. Where such numbers assemble the object cannot be a harmless one. I very well know what that object is, but the capitalist thinks it is for the purpose of breaking the peace. I do not myself believe so. I think that so long as the agitators can hold the issue of those meetings in their hands, they will be the last to risk their own safety. I put their virtue at the height of prudence, and no higher, and, therefore, that they will not break the peace if they can help it; but where you collect 30,000 men together and inflame their minds by such harangues as those which we know have been delivered at those meetings, it is useless and absurd for you to say that they will not take fire. As well might you approach a match to gunpowder, and say, "Don't explode." But I believe myself that those persons have a very different object in view. I believe that these meetings are part of a vast system of intimidation, for the purpose of showing the power of the leaders of the Irish people over them, and of overawing the Government. Profoundly ignorant are they of the Government with which they have to deal. They show themselves profoundly ignorant of my noble Friend, the noble Duke opposite. He is as little likely to be overawed by any of their machinations, their addresses, or their meetings, as those agitators themselves are likely, with their devoted and desperate followers, to be overawed or made to swerve from their course by any conscientious scruples or patriotic motives. But this system of intimidation is not without its effects. It deters the lawful and well-disposed from coming forward and doing their duty to the country and rallying round the Government. It prevents them from raising their voice, as they would do, against repeal. It would, indeed, be a grievous error to suppose, because of the little that is said against the repeal agitation, that therefore nothing is felt against it, or that there are not thousands of wise and reflecting men in Ireland who regret it, and regard it as we do in England, as an insanity,—if it be really entertained, as a daring scheme for ruining the empire; but it cannot be seriously entertained. The capitalist, however, sees another thing also; he perceives that harangues are addressed to the people of Ireland of the most furious description. True, he does not hear threats of outrage, because it would be dangerous to use them; but he hears the agitators say that they will have repeal—by fair means if possible—at all events, repeal; and that sounds very touch like outrage. But that is not all; they boast of their organization. I have read speeches, even of the leaders themselves, in which they boast that they see before them organized, disciplined mobs, who march to the sound of martial music, who deploy into line, and march in companies at the word of command,—who are, in fact, represented to be as much disciplined men as any of the troops that ever were commanded by the noble Duke opposite, though, perhaps, they are right in saying they are not exactly of the same sort, who march under their repeal wardens like a regular army under its sergeants and corporals. Now, there is no capitalist in this country who will not lay that boast very much to heart, or who would send one farthing of money to a country where there exists such an organized system of mischief. These, my Lords, are the reasons in answer to my noble Friend's remarks why I think capital has not been and will not yet be sent into Ireland. I remember well some eight or nine years ago, when I was in the Ministry, a system of organized meetings was going on, and was threatened during the whole vacation, after Parliament was up. I gave, however, an intimation in my place, that the conveners of those meetings were reckoning without their host if they thought that they could carry them on with impunity at the imminent risk of the public peace. I was the object of abuse for three months, but there were no more meetings. The parties knew well that the threat came from a quarter where it was likely to be followed up. Personal prudence prevailed. But what enabled me to do it? A law which was then in existence, but which has now expired. My noble and learned Friend on the Woolsack has now no such means of preserving the peace of Ireland during the long vacation. Those parties to whom I refer are most cautious in the distribution of their parts. They have one course for Ulster, another for Dublin (where sometimes they are to be found); but another and a very different one for Munster and Connaught. At the present time they would act in Connaught in a way different from that which would be adopted in Ulster, because there is no such law in existence as was then. That law gave the Government a power to change the venue, and try such offences in Dublin, in whatever part of the country they might have been committed. It was because I was fortified with that act that I ventured to made the declaration I have referred to. That act expired in 1840. A single clause of ten lines might have renewed it, but it was not renewed. The same law prevails as to excise prosecutions in England, and also in the common law of Scotland, where Edinburgh was what might be called a commune forum for all the country, when occasion required it. This was the law of Great Britain; why, on the principle of equal laws, should it not also be the law of Ireland? It will be for the Government to consider this subject, and I do not presume to offer advice to my noble Friend opposite on so important a matter, I have merely stated the facts. There was another proposition made by my noble Friend in his very lucid and effective speech; and I never heard a statement that tended more to increase the importance attached to the subject, or pity for those represented by my noble Friend—(my noble Friend the noble Duke dealt with one of my noble Friend's propositions respecting the Procession Act, and I therefore will not touch upon that)—but when my noble Friend proposes to call out the Yeomanry, I confess that here I pause; I am not very strong upon the subject, but I do incline and lean against it. I have a fear of collision. I am alarmed at any measure that without absolute necessity—I do not say that my objections would not yield to necessity, absolute necessity—but that without absolute and overruling necessity, should expose you to a collision of the loyal peaceable inhabitants of the north, and the unfortunate and misguided people elsewhere, who, I believe, are more sinned against by bad advice than sinning. They are objects of my compassion—we must all pity them. I speak not thus from any distrust. God forbid I should entertain any distrust of those people in the north to whom my noble Friend alluded. Anything more perfect, anything that more entitled them to the the admiration of all ages and the gratitude of the Government of their country, than their conduct under all provocations—provocations, insults, and taunts, which human nature always feels more severely than it feels injuries—anything, I say, more perfect was never exhibited by any people in any part of this empire. I can heartily say I concur in what was said by my noble Friend, the Lord President, who spoke as the organ of the Government on a former occasion, when he pronounced so powerful and energetic a panegyric on their conduct. That panegyric they have since still more deserved; for the advice so given by my noble Friend they have adopted, and have entitled themselves thereby to the increased gratitude of the Government and the Crown. One certainly is greatly at a loss to answer the question put by my noble Friend behind me—of what can we expect, or how is this likely to terminate. But if I were to predict at all, though it is always hazardous to do so, it would be that this will blow over, and that if any coercive measures had been adopted by the Government, they only would have had a tendency to add fuel to what I hope and trust is an expiring flame. It must be recollected, that no one was more strenuous for the Emancipation of Roman Catholics than my noble Friends and myself—that we have always shown ourselves very strenuous in resisting those measures that necessity did not wring from us, of coercion against the Irish people—that we always stood their defenders against all attacks, and that the sacrifices we, on this side, made for between 20 and 30 years when Lord Grey was at our head—from the year 1807 to 1830—sacrifices of the dearest objects to all Statesmen—that of being in a position to carry their principle into effect—for any one worthy of the name of Statesman ought to be satisfied with nothing less than carrying out his principles—that all these sacrifices were no doubt in a great measure made because we would not give up the claims of the Irish Catholics, which we had made an individual part of our own proper cause, and from which nothing could tear us until they were carried. Therefore I may consider we are giving them the advice of friends rather than hostile or suspicious advice. We tell them that their present course is fatal to them; that it is fatal to their own object; that the agitation under which they are living is the greatest evil and pest under which Ireland can suffer; and while they are told that they are miserable on account of not having a share of the Established Church revenues—a thing which could not by possibility affect the interest or estate, or life or conversation, or happiness of any one individual of the whole 6,000,000 of Catholics—they are made miserable, poor, kept idle, starving, and without wages, by that want of capital, that want of employment, which they owe entirely to their agitation, and which if they left off agitation and took to peaceable courses, and left their agitators in vain to call these meetings, would fall again into those channels of Irish industry which would once more make the country happy and improving. That is the advice I tender to the Irish people. One word more as to Foreign interference with this agitation. I quite agree with my noble Friend the noble Duke that it is confined to a few individuals, and that it does not extend to any Foreign Government; on the contrary, where it has last broken out is in a party, one of the most moderate in point of extent, one of the smallest in point of amount, one, I was going to say, ridiculously ludicrous in the disproportion of the phraseology used to the money collected, and to the means, and, I would also say, to the importance of the parties, for they are to my thinking but unimportant who have so spoken; but I have reason to say that that politic and wise Prince, who is as true a friend of the peace of this country as he is of the tranquillity of his own, and not only he, but his Ministers—all men, in fact, who deserve the name of Statesmen, all who deserve to be known, who deserve to be numbered amongst political characters, who deserve well of the mass of good society in the French capital—are only moved to pity at that demonstration. But no doubt there has been across the Atlantic a demonstration of a little more importance; but it is not of Americans, it is confined almost entirely to emigrants, and I have shewn you how little they gain in thus taking hold of Foreign agitation and Foreign alliance with Repeal. They say, "Oh, let us save the wretched, ill-treated, poor Irish from the misery of their situation by the Repeal of the Union!" I have illustrated how much that would be lessened by the operation of that which would cut them off for ever; but they say, "We helped the Americans in their distress, and therefore they will help us; it was the same case with the Americans in the war of 1776." But the whole question then was, whether America should be taxed by the British Parliament without being represented in that British Parliament. If instead of that the Americans had had 104, or, I would venture to say, 54—perhaps I might say the odd 4—you never would have beard of the American war, and the Colonies would have remained, as some say, an ornament of the British Crown, or, as others say, a millstone about its neck. But I have seen it said that a person named Tyler, said to be a relation of the President, has taken part in this agitation. No one is answerable for the fooleries—the excessive fooleries—any one of his family pleases to commit; and I do not for one moment believe that, as has been said, the President has written a letter to say that his heart and soul were in the cause. I will not believe it until I see the letter. Mr. Tyler is accidentally President of the United States; but, by the same accident that made him President, I hope and trust, and I have every reason to believe, that he inherits, with the President's chair, some of the wisdom and prudence of his predecessors. I will not believe that any man in the situation of President Tyler would write such a letter as that which I have seen referred to in some of the newspapers; as if the Queen of this country, like the President, were to say she had her heart and soul in the cause of the Carolina and Virginian negroes, and that she hoped ere long to see a white republic in the north, and a black republic in the south; and that the intolerable bond which now united them would be severed. Why we should have the American Senate and House of Representatives, most justly, up in arms; but though I hold Repeal to be as utterly ridiculous a measure, and as pernicious to be entertained, as I certainly hold the emancipation of the Carolina and Virginian negroes would be a wise, humane, just, and virtuous act, yet God forbid that, if I were in a situation of advising the Crown, I should think of uttering advice, either in an official capacity, or an unofficial capacity, for the purpose of exciting the jealousy and embittering the animosity that may be supposed to have prevailed between the two countries. That is a course which no good citizen of his own country or of the world, and loving the peace of the world, would think of advising. I have thought it my duty to state this matter with the humble, but earnest hope, that my strong impression of the bitter evils, the cruel calamities, that are now being inflicted on Ireland, and which may be summed up in figures as a matter of pounds, shillings, and pence, and from which every man in Ireland, more or less, suffers—the hope, too, of all capitalists in this country—may sooner or later be removed, and that capital and a spirit of industry may be infused throughout the land. I will say one word about agitation, not only with reference to Repeal, but extending a little further. I see now many who do not care about Repeal, but who care a great deal about fixity of tenure, which means confiscation of land, the destruction of property, the abrogation of all rights of property whatever; means, turning tenant into landlord, and the cultivator into owner; that is a popular doctrine, and very likely to be well received, coming from those who have little property, by those who have none. That is very likely to make some way in Ireland, and accordingly, I have heard there is something of preaching non-payment of rent, and converting the landlord's rent into Repeal rent, and that that is began to be felt already. The law is strong enough to deal with it; if not, it ought to be, and I think it is. But do not let any one suppose that that is wholly an Irish doctrine. Repeal in an Irish doctrine; Repeal will never cross the Channel. There was only one English Member, now no longer in Parliament, to support it, and there will be no more to support it in Parliament. But fixity of tenure, the destruction of property, is not Irish, it is not local; it is as likely to spread in England as in Ireland, I should rather say rather more likely; and let all in England as in Ireland beware how they allow it to be introduced. I should not have said so much, had I not heard something said in the other House of Parliament, coming from a certain quarter there, that fixity of tenure, if a thing not to be attempted, was a subject for consideration. It is, indeed, a subject for grave consideration—for alarmed consideration. I strikes at the root of society—of all government—and if not put down with a firm hand, and with a strong and unhesitating judgment, it will outstrip all the efforts of all the enemies of the country, in working the ruin and degradation of this mighty empire.

The Earl of Glengall

said, with respect to what his noble and learned Friend had stated as to changing the venue in certain trials, it might be beneficial, as the agitation that was carried on in Ireland had considerable effect on the verdicts of juries. They all knew that intimidation had for a considerable period affected prosecutors, and that that system led very much to annihilate verdicts in capital cases. The agitation had obstructed the course of justice most materially; and he earnestly entreated the attention of the Government to the point he was about to mention. At the late trials in the counties of Kilkenny, King's County, and Tipperary, on certain capital cases, when men were put upon their trial for murder, no verdicts had been obtained. In one or two other very peculiar cases, with evidence as clear as the sun at noon day, and the charge of the judge as distinct as possible as to the facts, acquittals were the result; but in three peculiar cases in those three counties, no verdicts had been had, the jury disagreeing. How was that brought about? It was very plain. The jurors, on being called, were well known to the prisoner's attorney. The attorney was, in fact, selected for the defence of the prisoner, because he knew the individuals who would be called on the jury. The prisoner had a right to challenge 20 jurors, and when two men were tried, they challenged 40, without any cause whatever being shown. The Crown had the same right, but did not exercise it. That was introduced by the late Government for a very good reason, perhaps; it sounded fair to English ears, but it had not worked well in Ireland for the administration of justice. The prisoner's attorney then challenged all the gentry who were called on the jury that he thought were not likely to be intimidated; and he continued his challenges until one or two persons who, he knew, would be intimidated were called. He was then perfectly satisfied—he knew how the case would go, and directly the jury were sworn and the trial commenced, there was not a man in the town or neighbourhood who did not know what the result would be. It was known and publicly mentioned, that the jury would disagree, and that there would be no verdict. What was the consequence? Those persons were tried at the next assizes. The same system was there pursued, so that in capital cases there was scarcely a chance of verdict of guilty. It was true that cases might be selected in those very counties where verdicts of "guilty" had been returned, and, possibly, if a return were produced, these cases might be pointed out, and be might be thought to be overthrown; but he (Lord Glengall) had been 14 years at this work, and was not to be caught. Verdicts of "guilty" might be found, but then they were in such cases as the murder of women, for plunder, and not when an agent, or one who went against the agrarian laws with which they were themselves connected, was murdered. The man who committed such a murder was not considered in the light of a contemptible villain, but as a martyr. In Kilkenny, what came out on a trial a few days ago? It was then distinctly sworn, and there was no attempt to contradict it, that there existed in that country a conspiracy—a combination of persons who were associated for the purpose of trying all the farmers, gentry, and agents; in fact, any person connected with land, and as every person in every county in Ireland is connected with land, it was an association to try every man. It was also sworn, that in that county there was an office called the Black Sheep-office, in which statements were only required to be made by persons fancying themselves aggrieved; a jury was formed to try the criminal, and if found guilty, and that he deserved to be shot, a murderer for 5l.—it might be for 5s..—was found in some distant part. That sentence was executed upon Mr. Shee. When the neighbouring counties of Kilkenny, King's County, Tipperary, Wexford, and Wicklow were ordered into the county of Carlow, to prevent Colonel Bruen's being returned, there was as many as 100,000 men to take the town, and had it not been for the admirable conduct of the Government in sending down 2,500 men and four pieces of artillery, the town would have been sacked. But the names of the Roman Catholics who had voted for Colonel Bruen were placarded all about the country with a black sheep on the top of the placard. Such was the extent to which intimidation was carried in Ireland.

Petition to lie on the Table, their Lordships adjourned.

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