HL Deb 11 May 1843 vol 69 cc174-5
Lord Brougham

said, that it was necessary for him to correct a gross misrepresentation concerning a noble Friend of his, formerly Lord Althorp, who had been referred to on that question which was so ably brought before their Lordships by the noble Earl (the Earl of Roden) on Tuesday evening. It had been represented, that his noble Friend had declared, that if all the Irish Members were for the repeal of the union, he should be for granting that repeal; that was to say, assenting to the dismemberment of the empire. Never was there a more entire or a more gross misrepresentation, and he had the authority of his noble Friend himself, who was unable to attend in his place, to say so. He should be sorry, after hearing such a statement, that a single day should pass without setting it right. It implied that his noble Friend had tempted the Irish Members to come over to the repeal by holding out to them the hope of succeeding in such a detestable, if not grossly absurd scheme. It was almost impossible to conceive how such a fancy came into existence; but as there was generally some foundation for every such fabrication, bow-ever false, in this ease the foundation was this—Some hon. Member, when his noble Friend had made the declaration that civil war itself would be preferable to the dismemberment and destruction of the empire —some hon. Member had put the case, that supposing all the Irish Members were favourable to the repeal, and asked what his noble Friend would do then? His noble Friend had given the only answer which a statesman could give to such an absurd question. His noble Friend had said, he would wait till that time came, and then be Would tell the hon. Member what he would do. His noble Friend probably remembered what happened as to the union with Scotland. Ten years after the union with that country, the Scotch Members had voted for the repeal of the union. It happened, that they were aggrieved by some tax. [The Lord Chancellor: " The malt-tax."] And they thought it right to vote for the repeal of the union. But if all the Irish Members were, on account of the Poor-law, or on any other account, to imitate the Scotch Members on Lord Seaford's motion, and vote for the repeal of the union, the consequence would be that all the English, Welsh, and Scotch would only stand more firmly together, to preserve unimpaired the integrity of the empire.

Lord Campbell

agreed with all the sentiments of his noble and learned Friend, but he rose to set him right on an historical fact. The Repeal of the Union with Scotland had been moved in that House, and lost by only a majority of one.

The Earl of Wicklow

said, that nobody in his senses could suppose that Lord Althorp had ever given so absurd an answer.

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