The Marquess of Clanricarde
called attention, in connection with this subject, to that system which had been discovered to be in active operation in Shinrone. There could be no doubt that police constables there had been inducing persons to commit crimes. He wished now to know from the Government what steps they had been taking on that subject. He hoped that some stringent measures would be adopted; and for the purpose of showing what sort of witnesses the Crown was compelled to rely upon, he should state a case which was mentioned in the papers of that very day:—I suppose you never intentionally told lies?—I did not.Will you swear that?—In the first information I swore I did not tell the truth.Oh, you did not tell the truth? Now, that was lie the first, was it not?—I suppose it was.How long was it after the murder before you lodged the first information?—In the July after.I believe you lodged other informations?—I did.How long was that after the time you swore the first information?—It was last winter.You were in custody at that time?—I was.I believe it was in consequence of some religious feelings that you came to swear your second informations. Nay, don't smile, man. The question may appear a silly one, but I wish to have it answered. Now, on your oath, was it not on account of some religious scruples that you went a second time to swear informations?—Witness (doggedly): It was; I could not go to my duty till I had done so.1685Well, I suppose you told the truth then?—I did not [sensation]. I did not wish to bring in myself as one of those that done it.And that was lie the second, on your oath?—It was.And told for a religious motive?—I wished to save myself.And hang as many as you could?—I did not say that.But you would swear a lie to save yourself? I would.Baron Richards: Stop a moment. Now, listen, witness. Would you deliberately swear a lie to save yourself from punishment?—I would [sensation].Mr. Walsh; I think you said, in your examination by the counsel for the Crown, that you saw John and Patric Wade inside the ditch on coming up?—I did.Did you state that in your first examination?—I don't know.The learned counsel here read the informations sworn to by the witness on the 16th of February, 1844.The Court: Now is that information true?Witness: It is, except that I denied myself to be one of the party.Mr. Walsh: And that is the only lie in it?—It is.That is the only lie in it on your oath?—Which?That about the stranger you talk of?—It is all true except that I called myself the stranger.Mr. Walsh: Now, I will read you another.Mr. Scott, Q. C.: Stop; this is not an information; it is only an examination.The Court: Every thing that he has stated should be taken into account. I have not the least scruple in giving the counsel for the prisoner every possible assistance in the cross-examination of this witness.The learned Gentleman then read the paper.To witness: Now, that is your third account?—I dare say it is; but I was keeping myself out all through.Mr. Walsh: You talk of John Wade's asking you for a pistol. Are you in the habit of keeping one?—I told him I had not handled one for that year.Mr. Walsh: Why, that was only on the 30th of March. Come, tell me on your oath, when did you handle one before the murder?—I could not tell the day; I'm no scholar.Mr. Walsh: Come, Sir, I don't want the day, nor even the month; but tell me how many years it is since you handled a pistol?—About five or six months before the murder.You were fond of firing at a mark? Look how the fellow laughs! Pray, what did you fire at?—At an old hat.With a head in it, I suppose?—No there wasn't.And why did you fire at that hat—to 1686 keep your hand in practice, I suppose?—I suppose so.Pray, where did you set that hat when you fired at it?—On the top of a ditch.Just above it, as if a man's head was in it?—Yes [sensation].Where did you get the pistol?—I stole it.Were you ever accused of seducing a girl?—No.But did you ever swear that you would seduce as many as you could?—I did.And you certainly would have done so?—Of course I would [sensation].Now, Sir, according to your own account, you are a robber, a perjurer, and a murderer. You have sworn that you helped to knock the man's brains out who was murdered?—I did.Now, did that man ever offend you? had you ever any quarrel? did he ever speak an angry word to you, or had you the least cause for murdering him?—No [great sensation].How much do you expect, how much blood-money for each person you have hanged?—I don't know.And you would live upon that money?—I would.If the Government were such as to give the people of Ireland confidence in the administration of justice, they would resort to the Courts of Law for protection, and would in time abandon what was called "the wild justice of revenge." He warned the Government against reposing in fancied security; for although Ireland was more free from crime now than it had been for many years, yet he said that there never was a time when the spirit of agitation had sunk deeper into the minds of the people, or done more mischief than it was now doing. He did not question the policy of the prosecution instituted against Mr. O'Connell and his associates, but in referring to the Repeal Association, he must be allowed to remark that a feeling in its favour was rapidly gaining ground, and that that confederacy at present wore a most dangerous appearance. The Repeal Rent had swelled from 100l. odd in the week, to thousands; and since Easter little short of 25,000l., if not quite that amount, had been contributed to it by the poorest portion of Her Majesty's subjects. It was a remarkable fact also that at two elections which had taken place recently, the Gentlemen who were elected pledged themselves to attend in the House of Commons whenever the good pleasure of their constituents might permit them, but to attend at the Repeal Association regularly as a matter of duty. At no time had that association presented a bolder front of defiance than at present. During the last week the 1687 following language was used in Dublin:—"What would be the position of the Empire if the Irish should say, 'You have trampled on our rights in peace, how can you ask us to shed our blood for you, or pay you taxes in war?' What would be the result if the Irish people acted thus? He would not, however, speculate on any such contingency, but he would tell the British Government this, that in order to obtain the support of the Irish people, which would enable them to defy the world, they should be prepared to consent to a Repeal of the Union." He mentioned these things, because it seemed to him that the system of the Government with respect to the Repeal question, and with respect to Ireland, had totally and entirely failed, and he thought that those who were about to repair to that country were justified in endeavouring to elicit from the Government some assurance that endeavours would be made to secure, if possible, a greater degree of tranquillity than had prevailed during the last autumn and winter. When the Repeal question was originated in 1834, and when his noble Friend near him (Lord Monteagle) did so much good service to the State, by completely defeating Mr. O'Connell, and demonstrating that the Union was more beneficial to Ireland than to England, a promise was made on behalf of the Crown and of Parliament, that well considered measures of improvement would be brought forward for the benefit of Ireland, and the removal of all just causes of complaint and this assurance had the effect of pacifying the people of Ireland—Repeal was given up for a time, and "Precursor Societies" were established, whose principle was to see what would be done for Ireland before recourse was had to Repeal; the late Government had endeavoured to redeem that pledge, and they succeeded to a great extent in conciliating the confidence and support of the Irish people; but those who constituted the present Government obstructed the measures proposed by the former Government to give satisfaction to the people of Ireland, and it was their duty, on coming into power to consider what they could do to remove the obnoxious views which were in consequence entertained of them in that country, for when the Prime Minister said that "Ireland was his chief difficulty," he must have had in his mind the conduct of his party when in opposition. When, therefore, they took office it was their duty to show that the professions which they had held out of liberal disposi- 1688 tions towards Ireland were sincere, and to prove by their acts that their good intentions towards Ireland were something more than mere expressions. Yet at the end of the third Session of their tenure of office, nothing had been done, and if they went on doing nothing, the demand for Repeal, which had already spread to a fearful extent, would increase to such a degree that the longer they deferred settling it the more difficult they would find it to eradicate it. And not only had nothing been done, but nothing positive even was held out. He would admit that the Bill respecting Charitable Bequests was a most excellent Bill; but it was merely an improvement of an already existing Board, and enabled Roman Catholics to do that which they could do without, the necessity of any new law. With respect to the subject of National Education, they were leaving it in pretty much the same condition in which it had been before. It was true they had increased the grant for National Education; but the increase of the population of Ireland was such that they must either greatly increase the grant or abandon the system altogether. And how, again, had they shewn, in their selection of Bishops, their consistent advocacy of the plan? Why, they had selected for promotion to a Bishopric an individual whose most distinguishing claim appeared to be his bitter hostility to the system of National Education. But if they were desirous that the people of Ireland should believe they were in earnest on that subject, they ought to adopt a different course of conduct. This Session had been barren of laws affecting Ireland, but if it had been barren of laws it had not been barren of Bills, and amongst those which were brought forward was one which was well calculated to increase and strengthen the Repeal agitation in Ireland—he alluded to the Bill brought in upon the subject of the constituency of Ireland and the elective franchise in that country. The constituency in that country had dwindled away, but the Government introduced a Bill this Session, which, instead of having for its object the extension of the franchise, was intended to make the law with respect to registration more stringent, and the effect of which would be to limit the constituency. Why, then, in the present state of the constituency in Ireland, did they introduce a Bill which would have the effect of limiting the constituency? In all their proposals with respect to Irish registration there was an evident tendency to 1689 limit the constituency, instead of providing any means of extending it, a tendency rather to deprive people of the right to the elective franchise than to give facilities for obtaining it. If they intended to act fairly and justly towards Ireland, they ought to take the earliest opportunity of bringing forward a proper measure on this important subject—a measure which would place the registration in Ireland on a fair and just ground. They had recently agreed to a Bill which would place two seats in Parliament at their disposal—he meant the Sudbury Disfranchisement Bill, and he was sorry that before that Bill passed it had not been announced that those two seats in Parliament would be transferred to Ireland, as he trusted they would. It would be a most wise and fair disposal of those two seats in Parliament to transfer them to Ireland, and he trusted that such an addition to the representation of Ireland would be soon made. The county of Cork ought to have an additional representative, for at present so large and populous a county was inadequately represented, and there was no other portion of the empire which had so strong a claim for an additional representative; indeed, the claim of Ireland for additional representatives was so strong that he had no doubt the two Members would be transferred to that country. He should now direct the attention of their Lordships to that most important subject, the administration of justice in Ireland. It was impossible to deny that of late years, until the present Government came into office, the tribunals of justice were gradually growing into favour with the people and obtaining their confidence. He did not mean to say that the present Government were not inclined to do justice to Ireland, but it was not enough to desire that justice should be done to Ireland, it was necessary that such a course should be adopted as would give the people confidence in the administration of justice, and make it, more or less, popular in the country. But had they done so? What had been their conduct with regard to magistrates? They had summarily determined to dismiss a number of magistrates from the commission of the peace for attending Repeal meetings, without giving them any sufficient warning, and the result of that was to remove a great number of popular Magistrates from the Bench, and produce a bad result upon the minds of the people. That course was adopted in some cases on very slight grounds, and in one case in par- 1690 ticular, in the county of Clare, the dismissal of Mr. O'Brien from the Magistracy was a striking instance of the grounds on which they thought fit to dismiss Magistrates. He held in his hand a correspondence between Mr. Sugden, the Secretary to the Irish Lord Chancellor, and Mr. O'Brien. Mr. Sugden wrote to Mr. O'Brien to know if it were true that he had attended a Repeal meeting at Castle Lyons; and to that letter Mr. O'Brien answered that he had attended a meeting at Castle Lyons, which had been held for the purpose of passing a vote of sympathy with Mr. O'Connell, and he added, that a collection took place after the meeting, to which he subscribed 1l., but it was not to any Repeal fund. He added that he was not a Repealer, but if he were he would not be deterred from stating his opinions by any such course as that which had been adopted towards him: and he stated that for twenty years he had been a Magistrate, and no fault had ever been found with his conduct. The result of that correspondence was, that the Lord Chancellor superseded Mr. O'Brien. Now what course had been adopted in England? On the very week on which Mr. O'Brien had been deprived of the Commission of the Peace, a meeting was held in Covent Garden, for the purpose of expressing sympathy with Mr. O'Connell. It was a meeting for exactly the same purpose as that which Mr. O'Brien attended; and at that meeting there were three or four Members of Parliament present, and Gentlemen took part in bringing forward resolutions who were Justices of the Peace. Now, nothing more had been done by the Magistrates who had been dismissed in Ireland from the Commission of the Peace, than had been done by the Gentlemen who attended the meeting in Covent Garden, but no Magistrate had been deprived of the Commission of the Peace for attending the meeting in Covent Garden. Mr. O'Brien said, that he looked upon the chair of a public meeting like that at which he attended as a fit position for a Magistrate, the meeting having been held by the people, under the shield of the British Constitution, to pray for a redress of wrongs. Yet the Government thought it right that Mr. O'Brien should be dismissed from the Commission of the Peace, and Mr. O'Driscoll restored to it. Mr. O'Driscoll, who had been twice dismissed, was restored, although the Government admitted that his conduct was reprehensible, and did not defend his restoration by saying that it was abstractedly 1691 right, but that it had been done in consequence of a memorial which had been sent to the Lord Chancellor. Thus they restored an unpopular Magistrate, whose conduct they did not attempt to defend, and dismissed a popular Magistrate, because he attended a meeting which was held for the purpose of expressing sympathy with Mr. O'Connell. Such a course was an unfortunate course for the Government to take, if they wished to give the people confidence in the administration of justice. Then, with, regard to stipendiary Magistrates, they passed over Catholic Gentlemen and appointed a Protestant Gentleman, Mr. O'Brien, because he was a converted Repealer. Having directed their Lordships' attention to the course which had been adopted by the Government during this Session, he should now direct their attention to the physical condition of the Irish people. The physical condition of the people of that country was a subject which required deliberate and attentive consideration, with a view to ameliorating it, and their Lordships should recollect that it had a great effect on the political condition of the country, because men were more inclined to lend themselves to the views of agitators when they were suffering from want and local oppression, whilst allowing a state of suffering to continue gave an argument to those who were desirous to urge the apathy of the Imperial Parliament to the condition of Ireland. The Landlord and Tenant Commission was mentioned in the Queen's Speech, as intended to inquire into the occupation of land; but he (the Marquess of Clanricarde) would tell them that they might alter the occupation of the land as much as they pleased, but unless they took some steps to ameliorate the condition of the people it would be all vain. In order to ameliorate the condition of the people, they ought to make some attempt to develope the natural resources of the country, for that was the true way of removing many of the evils that now exist; but no step of that kind had been taken. He should now shortly allude to another important subject as regarded the condition of Ireland, namely, the Poor Law. Their Lordships were aware that the Poor Law had been laid hold of in Ireland for the purpose of exciting local discontent, and they ought, therefore, to show an indication that they took an interest in the condition of the poor, by giving attention to that subject. He was sorry to say that things appeared to be in the same position now as they had been 1692 three years ago, with respect to the physical condition of the people of Ireland, but they were in a very different position as regarded the social condition of the Irish people from that which they occupied three years ago. The Repeal agitation had proceeded to a great length: and although he knew that the Government took credit to themselves for not adopting a Coercion Bill, he would remind them that they had acted rightly, for a Coercion Bill, would not remove any of the grounds of the Repeal agitation. If the Government wanted to get rid of the feeling in Ireland in favour of a Repeal of the Union—a feeling which he was sorry to say was strongly entertained, and which was spreading amongst those who were far above the lower classes—they should be prepared, during the next Session of Parliament, to bring forward large, and sound, and well-considered measures for the improvement of the country.
§ Lord Wharncliffe
could assure the noble Marquess and the House that the only desire of the Government was to administer the Government of Ireland fairly and impartially, and that all these measures evinced that this was the only object they had in view. He was not about to follow the noble Marquess through the long historical details with which he had commenced his speech; but should confine himself to an explanation of the conduct of the Government on the different questions which had been alluded to. The noble Marquess complained that the present Government had done nothing for Ireland; that their professions had been great, but their acts insufficient. It was he (Lord Wharncliffe) who, in a speech at the beginning of the Session, had said that the Government were not only anxious to do their duty as regarded Ireland, to keep the peace, and to punish those who so long had kept that country in a state of discomfort and danger, and who had proceeded nearly to the extent of treason; but that when they should have done that, they would be anxious to do all they could for Ireland, and to show that they felt it to be their duty to consider Ireland in every respect as an integral part of the empire, and to legislate accordingly. He then announced that the Government were prepared to enable the Roman Catholics to secure endowments to their priests and Ecclesiastics, and in this respect that they should be placed on a footing in which they should not be subjected to the inconvenience and uncertainty that they had previously ex- 1693 perienced. The Government had redeemed that pledge, and it was universally admitted that they had done so in a proper and conciliatory spirit, a spirit in which they were desirous to act. They had also held out that they would take the subject of National Education in Ireland into consideration. The noble Marquess said, that the head of the Government had given an evasive answer with respect to the subject of Education in Ireland to the Church Education Society in Ireland, when they applied for a grant and that a vote had since been obtained for the National Society. But what was the fact? When the question was put, the head of the Government gave the only answer which he could give until he had an opportunity of fully and maturely considering the question, and he then said that he could not propose any such grant as they wished for. They had redeemed their pledge on the subject of Education, for they had increased the vote for the National Society of Education in Ireland this year. With respect to the grant to the National Society, the Government had done more than held out a hope, for he had expressed a determination to take into consideration the best mode by which the education of the superior classes of the people could be carried on. He was sure their Lordships would admit that in a question of such great importance it was highly necessary to see that steps were not taken in a wrong direction, while at the same time it was necessary to guard against disgusting or displeasing other parties in the country. Even with respect to Maynooth his right hon. Friend had declared that he was not disposed to leave that establishment in its present unsatisfactory condition. He did not exactly pledge himself to any extent; but at the same time he certainly would not have said what he did if he had not intended some real benefit to follow. The noble Marquess had complained that nothing had been done for the social improvement of Ireland, and he had referred to the Landlord and Tenant Commission. He had found fault with that Commission at first, and he still continued to have little hope. But, surely, before attempting to remedy the evils in the social condition of the country, it was necessary for them to know in some authentic shape what those evils were, what were the circumstances of the tenure of land, what the condition of the tenants, and of the cottiers, as respected the landlords, and whether there were any circumstances in their 1694 mutual relations which would enable the Legislature to do anything for their benefit. The Government had taken the subject into their consideration, and, though they had not matured any measures, they had not lost sight of the subject, and he hoped next Session to be able to produce something worthy the consideration of Parliament. The noble Marquess had also found fault with the Government for their conduct with respect to the Registration Bill. He charged it upon them that their object in introducing the Bill had been to curtail the franchise. Nothing could be further from the intentions of the Government; and, on the contrary, if the Bill were looked into fairly, it would be seen that its object was to increase, not to restrict, the constituency. If it could have been shown that a restriction of the constituency would have been the effect of the Bill the Government would have been prepared to take steps to remedy that defect, and to do what would have the effect of increasing the constituency. Although it was not easy to create a large constituency in Ireland, however, he believed that that Bill would have effected it. The noble Marquess next complained that the Government had done most unpopular things with regard to the magistracy. Into the cases of Mr. O'Driscoll and Mr. O'Brien, he (Lord Wharncliffe) would not again enter, as they had been so fully and so recently discussed. With respect to the dismissals from the magistracy generally, he entertained the same opinion that he did at the commencement of the Session. He believed with respect to the greater part of those who had been dismissed from the Commission of the Peace—he did not apply his observation to all—that in the state in which Ireland was at the end of 1843 and the beginning of 1844, it was not safe to leave in the Commission of the Peace gentlemen who attended repeal meetings, which in the course of the discharge of their duty they might be called upon to put down. He believed that the Government would not have done their duty if those gentlemen had been allowed to remain in the Commission. The Government had desired to govern the two countries on equal terms, considering that they had a duty to perform to both. They were bound to defend certain institutions, and to see that the peace was kept, and violence as much as possible prevented; and, remembering that they had those duties to perform, they had endeavoured at the same time to show to 1695 the people of Ireland that they had no ill-feeling towards them,—that, although the people of Ireland had been misled by agitators, who kept up that state of misery and degradation in which they had so long been placed,—it was the anxious desire of the Government to take such steps as would raise their condition and make them a happier people, at the same time, that they would not be allowed to break the peace or to commit violence towards others. Those were, and had been, the objects of the Government. Every Government must a times be unpopular, and must be called on to resist demands which they might consider fatal to the interests of the whole country; but, at the same time, he thought that the present Government could look back with satisfaction to the time that had passed since they had been in office. They had not desired to govern Ireland by corruption or violence, or by means of party; but they had endeavoured, if possible, to govern Ireland as every country ought to be governed, by kindness, by an attention to the wants of the people, and by a desire to do impartial justice among the people. The noble Marquess had also complained that the Government had not attended to the physical wants of the people. Nothing could be more difficult in legislation than properly to attend to the physical wants of a people situated as the people of Ireland were: very much must be done by the inhabitants of the country themselves. But the Government had done what they could. They had given every encouragement to the promotion of that great railway, which he hoped and believed would be of the greatest benefit to Ireland. They certainly had not assisted the parties with money, because they thought such matters were much better left to private enterprise. As his noble Friend had not concluded with any Motion, he would not trouble their Lordships further, but would only repeat the Motion, that the Bill be now read a third time.
§ Lord Monteagle
did not wish to throw any difficulties in the way of the Government with respect to their measures for the benefit of Ireland; but he must say, that if there was any one question more than another which ought to be in a calm and just spirit, it was the consideration of the affairs of Ireland. He thought that a much more important case had occurred than that at Shinrone. The case occurred at the last assizes. It was that of certain parties who had been engaged as witnesses 1696 in a Government prosecution, and their particular duty in this respect being completed, they determined to set up for themselves, and to promote outrages which would afford them employment as informers. They accordingly, amongst other things, planned a train for firing of certain buildings upon the estate of Lord Dunraven. They were, however, detected in these practices, and brought to trial for having instigated the offences and were convicted, and were now suffering the penalty of transportation. This, he thought, would sufficiently explain to Government the necessity for extreme caution in the employment of such instruments. The first question, no doubt, put to those who, having conscientiously resisted Repeal, returned to their seats in Ireland, would be, what has this Session of Parliament produced for the advantage of Ireland? The most satisfactory answer that could be given to that question would be an appeal to the Statute Book, and the Acts agreed upon during that Session; and it would be highly desirable to contrast the beneficial Acts of the Imperial Parliament with the unwise, impolitic, jobbing system of the Irish Parliament. Let it not only be a contrast of the words spoken here, but a contrast of the deeds of the Imperial Parliament with those of the Irish Parliament. Some allowance, he hoped, would be made by the Irish nation for the disadvantage under which they had been placed this Session in that House, in consequence of a judicial question of considerable moment hanging over their heads, which might be said to have deprived all other questions of their relative interest. The object of himself and of his noble Friends on that occasion was not, he assured the Government, to institute a critical review of the acts of the Government during the Session, hanging, as it were a bill of indictment over the Government, which should strengthen their party, or add fuel to the flame of public excitement there, but to lay before the noble Lord and the public suggestions as to the course of policy and legislative acts which they hoped would be brought to maturity in the next Session. The noble Lord, he would with pleasure admit, had fulfilled the pledge which had been given at the commencement of the Session; nor could he possibly be induced to undervalue the measures introduced by Government to conciliate the affections and feelings of the people of that country, particularly that respecting Catholic Charities, which he thought 1697 was certainly the most important of that class of measures introduced into Parliament since the union of the two countries. It displayed the sincere desire of the Government to improve the people, and plainly told every parish priest in Ireland, that it was the intention of the Government to legislate, not in hostility to, but in accordonce with their interests. With respect to a provision for the Catholic clergy, he thought the objection urged against the interference of the Government in this respect was devoid of foundation. There was, he thought, good reason to believe that such a provision would tend materially to improve the condition of the clergy, without giving to the Government any power to control the actions of the clergy, or making them tools in the hands of the Executive. He was deeply sensible, he confessed, of the value which such a measure must possess, and of their merit in having had the courage and good sense to recognise the existence of the Roman Catholic bishops and archbishops in Ireland; for in these cases words were things, and there was not one parish priest throughout all Ireland that would not, by that recognition, feel that a stigma, hitherto attached to them, whether right or wrong it was unnecessary to inquire, was now completely removed; and he did not doubt that the power and control of the bishops over the Roman Catholic clergy would be more beneficially exercised than heretofore. Believing the measure to be an excellent one, he could have wished the Government had taken its decision earlier. Events in Ireland had somehow severed the Protestant clergy from the National System of Education in that country; and now the Protestant portion of the community turned round upon the Government, and rather unwisely complained that that system was almost wholly confined to the Catholics. Had the decision and determination of the Government been earlier made known, it might well be considered it would have produced a beneficial effect in this respect. He could also have wished that the Government had sooner managed to have introduced a plan for the employment of the poor, together with the plan for their education. He believed if they could once get the labouring classes in Ireland to thoroughly appreciate the inestimable advantages they might derive from applying their labour zealously upon their own little holdings, instead of relying upon the contingent receipt of 6d. a day from the 1698 farmers, a great improvement in their condition would speedily be effected. He would remark, for the purpose of warning the Government against falling into the same predicament, that a measure had originated in the other House relative to the franchise in Ireland, respecting which an opinion had gone abroad. He regretted to say that, whether it was the right or the wrong impression, the people, of Ireland looked upon it as an attempt to diminish the franchise, or take it away from a large class of existing voters, the consequence of which had been most mischievous, making converts to the Repeal movement in thousands. He believed the effect of the Bill would be, to increase the number of persons who were to enjoy the benefit of the franchise. He did not refer in this instance to the mere occupation Clause, or tenancy at will. The great danger in those cases was, that as long as the franchise was made dependent on the landlords in Ireland, they would have the power, at any time, to determine the right to the franchise, by determining the tenancy. It behoved every Irishman, in his opinion, to oppose the new Clause introduced into that measure. They had proposed a 5l. franchise, without the possession of the land itself, which he thought would never answer any good purpose, and which he also apprehended must have the effect of defeating the franchise. [Lord Redesdale: But that is the title to the franchise according to the Law of England.] If the noble Lord would give to Ireland the entire of the law of England respecting the franchise, he, and he believed, Irishmen generally, would be content. [Lord Redesdale: Such is the principle of the county franchise.] He wished to be understood, when he said he should be content with the English franchise, that he meant the whole of the franchise in this country. There was another subject he would address himself to, which he thought was one of more importance than all the rest put together—it was that of the endowment of the College of Maynooth. If there could be one announcement by the Government more dangerous than another, it must be that of its intentions with respect to Maynooth, and the education of the Catholic clergy, unless Her Majesty's Ministers were prepared to deal with it largely and generously; offering to that great body a boon worthy of themselves as a Government to propose, and of the Roman Catholics to receive. He was aware of the difficulties to which 1699 the Government might expose itself by touching on the subject of Maynooth. Noble Lords, however, might depend upon it, that if they raised the vote for Maynooth from 8,000l. to 10,000l., it would excite just as great an outcry as if they at once came down with a proposition for a measure which would be alike worthy of the British Legislature to offer, and of the people of Ireland to receive. The objection was not so much to the amount of money to be voted, but to the principle involved; and although some parties might conceive the principle to be violated by the present paltry vote, there were others who said that this vote was part of the compact entered into at the time of the Union, and, therefore, the vote must be continued; but if you went beyond it, and gave one shilling more, you would be letting in idolatry, and break down the lines of the Establishment. The outlay would be just the same whether the increased grant was great or small. He conceived the great point for the Government now to adopt was not to limit themselves at present; but if they could not make up their minds to adopt a large and liberal measure, they had better do nothing. Look at the question as deeply involving the interest of a most important portion of the Empire—view it as a government should regard such an important question—namely, the education of the Roman Catholic clergy. Only estimate how great was the object of raising the education of the spiritual instructors of seven millions of the people, and thus make them better fitted for the important station they had to fill as guides for the people, and fitter companions and associates for the country gentlemen in Ireland. He thought that this was a very serious subject; and he hoped that it would meet with full consideration during the recess. He could have wished to have said something respecting the Landlord and Tenant Commission. He did not differ very much from his noble Friend on this subject; but he felt that he could not touch on the subject without diminishing some of those rays of hope which the noble Lord wished to spread. The noble Lord said that he could not recommend any alteration of the Law of Landlord and Tenant at present, as he in the first place wished to have the result of the inquiry before the Commission, and wished to know what was the present state of the tenure in Ireland, and what were the pressing evils which grew out of it. Now he (Lord Monteagle) contended 1700 that the Commission could not give more information than the House had already in its possession. Was not the library full of information on this subject? and they could not get more by any number of Commissions. He had to apologise for having said so much; but he trusted that he had not given utterance to any expression which was likely to excite an angry feeling, or that anything had fallen from him condemnatory of the intentions of the Government.
The Earl of Wicklow
said, that his noble Friend who began the debate had expressed great alarm at the Repeal agitation in Ireland. Now he (the Earl of Wicklow) did not wish to underrate it, for he must admit that it was one of a very serious nature when they found that the leaders in this association possessed such great influence over the people, and were joined and aided by the Roman Catholic hierarchy and priesthood in this agitation, and it was impossible not to say that the question was one of importance; but still he felt bound to declare that he did not view it with the same alarm as his noble Friend. His noble Friend in allusion to a quotation which he made, referred to two countries, as an example of what was going on in Ireland—namely, to America and to Belgium. His noble Friend had referred to those two states as an historical argument illustrative of the subject. It appeared to him that these cases were totally unconnected with the present subject, and that they could not be referred to as examples. In these two cases the whole of the people, from the highest to the lowest, all the persons of property in those countries, as well as the poor, were engaged in the attempt to establish the independence of their country; but this was not the case with respect to Ireland, and he did not think that it ever would be the case there. Many circumstances existed which rendered it hardly possible that this should be so. There was one thing which gave him great confidence against the success of this agitation. It was that the middle classes and industrious classes of that country, in reference to the feelings of the Government towards Ireland, must be aware that there was a most anxious desire on the part of every Government in this country, whether Whig or Conservative, to do all in their power to advance measures for the amelioration of the moral and physical condition of the people of 1701 Ireland. His noble Friend who spoke last had said that the best thing that could be done to meet this agitation of Repeal was to pursue such a course as to enable him and other noble Lords, on their return to Ireland, to refer to the Statute Book for a proof of the soundness and excellence of the legislative measures which had been adopted with regard to Ireland. His noble Friend should, however, have recollected that the leaders of the Repeal Association were constantly impressing it on the minds of the people that there was no possible measure which the Imperial Legislature could pass could confer the slightest benefit on the Irish people. No measure, however beneficial it might be, could be brought forward in either House which the leaders of that agitation did not denounce as an insult to Ireland. He therefore thought that his noble Friend could hardly expect from any Government measures which would give satisfaction to the Repeal Association. That, however, was no reason why the Legislature should not pass measures into laws which they deemed beneficial to the country. The noble Marquess said, that Her Majesty's Ministers should show their attachment to the Education System in Ireland, by refusing to select any clergyman for Church preferment who was not favourable to the system. This he considered would be a most unfair course, for a clergyman might in other respects possess the highest qualities to fit him to fill a high situation in the Church, and yet he was to be passed over because he did not agree with the Government on the subject of National Education. It would also be most injurious as it would be supposed that it was an inducement held out to the clergy to change their opinions on the subject, and it would be inferred that if they did so, they might look forward for promotion. He therefore thought that the Government had acted more wisely, more honourably, and more consistently by adopting the course they had followed, and at the same time while they thus acted in a way best adapted to promote the interests of the Church, they did lessen the number of the supporters of the system. For his own part he believed that the system was good, and that the feeling against it on the part of the clergy was diminishing; and when it was farther extended, he had no doubt that they would reap the advantages that had arisen from the adoption of the system 1702 and thus without the adoption of any such course as his noble Friend suggested, they would get an additional number of supporters of the system among the clergy of the Established Church. He could not, also, agree with his noble Friend in condemning the appointments which had been made in the Courts of Justice, as he considered them to be unexceptionable. As for the Magistracy, he would not follow his noble Friend into the long statement which he had made on the subject. All that he would say was that it was impossible, after the Lord Chancellor of Ireland had adopted the course which he did in writing to those Magistrates who had taken part in the Repeal agitation, and after the answers which he had received to these communications from those gentlemen which he did, that he could escape from the result of carrying into effect their expulsion. The subject of the Registration Bill had been much adverted to. He admitted that a great deal of angry feeling had been excited by the discussions growing out of the various Registration Bills which had been introduced by different parties; He was astonished at the clamour which was excited on both sides by the Registration Bill of this year, which in his mind, was a proof of its excellence. It was, however, most violently abused by both parties—one side saying that it would open the franchise too much, while the other alleged that it would not only restrict it within a very narrow compass, but that it should be regarded as a sweeping measure of disfranchisement. He believed that very erroneous opinions had been adopted on this measure, for he was satisfied, from the Statistical Returns which he had consulted, that if the Bill had passed there would have been a great increase to the elective franchise. He did not, however, approve of all the Clauses of the Bill, though, taking it altogether, it was a great improvement on the existing law. He most strongly objected to that Clause in the Bill which rendered it necessary to take an oath in a Court of Justice in the claim for the franchise. He hoped that such a Clause would not be in the Bill which must be brought forward on the subject in the early part of next Session. He had not approved of all that Her Majesty's Government had done, and, above all, he condemned a measure which passed a few days ago, as unwise, unjust, and impolitic—he alluded 1703 to the Party Processions Bill; but, in saying this, he must add that he believed that there never was a Government more anxious to do more for the benefit of Ireland than the present Government; but, as for giving measures that would satisfy those engaged in agitation, he knew that it was a matter of the greatest difficulty. There had been several valuable improvements made in the law during the present year, and he had heard also, with great pleasure, some of the statements made by his noble Friend, holding out the prospect of future measures of improvement. He hoped, among other things, that the Government would have the courage to bring forward some measure for the purpose of making provision for the Roman Catholic Clergy in Ireland. He trusted also that in the course of a very few years there would be very little difference, or rather an equality as far as could be, of the laws between Ireland and England. He believed that, if they went on on the same plan as they did at present, in the course of a few years there would be but few points of difference between the two countries.
regretted the crippled state in which this important subject of debate had been brought under discussion. The matter in debate was supposed to be the state of Ireland, but how could they do this without taking into consideration the manner in which the State Trials had been commenced, proceeded with, and concluded? He was glad, however, that his noble Friend near him had not introduced that subject on the present occasion, and he was also glad that the noble Lord opposite did not say anything to provoke discussion on the subject. But when they proceeded to talk of Ireland, without allowing the name of O'Connell to be mentioned, it was like enacting the play of Hamlet, the part of Hamlet being left out by particular desire. He had no wish to make illusions to any topics calculated at that time to excite discussion, but he felt that it was absolutely necessary to look to the State Trials as connected with the policy of the Government with respect to Ireland. The noble President of the Council must excuse him, however, in making one remark, in reply to an observation of the noble Lord. The noble Lord, in allusion to the course which had been pursued by the Government to put down agitation, said, that his Colleagues and himself did not call upon Parliament to 1704 suspend the Constitution. The noble Lord said that this was a very weighty observation, but how was it possible to consider its weight without looking to the circumstances which had taken place. Now, he (Lord Campbell) would say, that although it was most culpable to suspend the Constitution, he would rather see the Constitution suspended than the Law perverted. When a suspended Constitution was restored, it appeared in its full vigour; but when Law was perverted, it shook all confidence in the administration of justice. He should however cautiously abstain from saying anything in reference to the State Trials ["Loud cries of"Hear, hear," from the Ministerial Benches]; and notwithstanding that cheer, he should not depart from his intentions. When the noble President of the Council boasted that Her Majesty's Ministers had not asked for extraordinary powers, he could only say that the Government of the country had acted according to the usages of our ancestors, and he conceived that it was a matter of importance, not by silence to appear to approve of the argument which might be raised in the noble Lord's boast. He could not refrain from expressing his very great alarm at the apathy which he observed to prevail on the subject of Ireland. The noble Lord perhaps was entitled to boast that the rigour of the Government had preserved tranquillity in Ireland. It happened that people seemed contented while a state of tranquillity existed. He admitted, that this tranquillity did exist, but could they rest satisfied on the continuance of that tranquillity? But was the House and the Government satisfied with the present aspect of affairs? Was there not great and almost universal discontent prevailing in that country? Was not the repeal rent constantly increasing, and was there any reason to suppose that the feeling in favour of it had in any degree subsided? He agreed with the noble Lord who spoke last, that no great apprehension need be entertained as to the success of the cry for Repeal. It did not meet with much sympathy in this country, for all classes were united as one man against it; and he hoped that they ever would be, to maintain the Union as being essential to the well-being not only of England but of Ireland. He believed that the success of the Repeal agitation would be a most unhappy event for both countries, and would be productive of much greater evil to Ireland than to England. He be- 1705 lieved that when the eyes of the people of Ireland were opened, as they would be by being well governed, that they would altogether abandon the cry for Repeal. He recollected that during his connection with that country an election took place at Dublin. He alluded to July, 1841, when two of the candidates for the city of Dublin were Mr. O'Connell and Mr. Hutton. Mr. O'Connell was the great hero of Repeal; but Mr. Hutton openly avowed that he was the enemy of Repeal. The result of the election was, that Mr. Hutton polled very nearly as many votes as Mr. O'Connell. This, in his mind, was a convincing proof that at that time the agitation for Repeal had subsided. But how had it revived? He did not charge the Government with not wishing to promote tranquillity or to benefit Ireland; but what had been the result of the policy which they had pursued? The people felt a sense of grievance, and the cry for Repeal had arisen from it; and when that sense of grievance subsided the cry for Repeal would also subside. The present Government had been three years in office; and they had done nothing in the shape of legislation for Ireland. If the Franchise Bill, to which allusion had been made, was deemed by many Members of the present Government to be so essential when the late Administration was in office, and when it was pressed night after night, to the impediment of other business, why did not Her Majesty's Ministers bring it forward before 1844? The noble Lord had promised that there should be an increased grant to Maynooth, and that the system of National Education should be advanced; beyond this, all was a vague expression of a promise of future good; but there was nothing practicable, and there was nothing to show that the Irish Catholics were to be treated as fellow-countrymen. He did not say that they must disestablish the existing Church, but he said that they must form an equal Establishment for the Catholic Church, and until they placed the Catholics on the same footing with the Protestants in Ireland, there could be no peace or tranquillity in that country.
§ Lord Wharncliffe
observed, that the noble and learned Lord said, that he would make no allusion to the State Trials, but in reference to a remark of his, he, in a sort of sneering tone, made some observations about a perversion of law in connection with them. How the noble and learned Lord could call that an abstinence from all 1706 allusion to them he could not tell. The time would come, and he trusted it was not far distant, when the whole subject would come before Parliament; he was quite ready to meet the noble and learned Lord on the subject, but he must repudiate any such insinuations as had been thrown out by the noble and learned Lord.
§ Bill read a third time and passed.
§ House adjourned.