HL Deb 23 June 1848 vol 99 cc1057-73

rose, pursuant to notice, to bring under the notice of the House the present condition of Ireland, and to move the following Resolutions and an Address to Her Majesty:— 1. That it is incumbent upon this House to express the Approbation with which it has viewed the Wisdom, Energy, and Prudence with which the Executive Government of Ireland has been conducted during the recent Period of Difficulty. 2. That it is equally the Duty of this House to express the deep Sorrow with which it continues to view the prolonged Distresses of many Classes of the Irish People, and the Regret which it feels that the Measures passed in the concluding Session of the late Parliament for the Improvement of Ireland have not hitherto been productive of the Benefits which were anticipated from their Enactment. 3. To express the decided Opinion of this House, that further Legislative Measures are required for Remedy of the Evils under which Ireland labours for the Development of its natural Resources, and for the Improvement of its Agriculture and Commerce. The State of that kingdom was a far more interesting subject to their Lordships and to the Parliament of this country than that subject which had just now occupied them. It was now seven months since Parliament met, and what had been done in that period? Was the condition of Ireland at that moment such as to be satisfactory to their Lordships? He would not say, that the Legislature had not done everything in their power; but no one could deny that Ireland was in a state to excite and justify alarm. At the meeting of Parliament their Lordships were invited by his noble Friends below him (the Marquess of Lansdowne and Earl Grey) to legislate for the purpose of suppressing the state of crime which had become so formidable in that country; and without a moment's hesitation that House had assented to that demand, and, without the slightest hesitation or delay beyond that which the forms of the House rendered necessary, armed Government with the powers for which they sought. If he were to judge of the feelings of their Lordships by his own, he was quite sure that they would have been glad to have placed in the hands of his noble Friends even greater powers than they had asked for. They, exercising, as it since appeared, a sound discretion, made no such trespass on the liberality of the House, but were content with asking what they considered sufficient; and in doing so, he made no erroneous estimate of the necessary means of carrying out their views. The law with which their Lordships armed the Government on that occasion had been eminently successful, and had been exercised with the soundest discretion by his noble Friend at the head of the Irish Government (the Earl of Clarendon). To the Executive Government of Ireland, next to the Legislature of the empire, Ireland was indebted for her present tranquillity. It would ill become their Lordships if, with the knowledge of scenes which had taken place in other countries, they regarded the great probability that such occurrences would have happened in Ireland but for the ability of the Government there, they were to allow the Session to expire without expressing their opinion as to the manner in which the Executive Government of Ireland had conducted the administration of that country. That Government had had a great and difficult task, but had nevertheless performed it with perfect success; and it was a remarkable fact, that it appeared to be the first Government for many years that had possessed the rare faculty of enlisting the feelings of the people to an extent which had no parallel in their exertions to promote the ends of justice, and that fact was proved by the facility with which convictions of criminals had been obtained all over the country, and by the absence of difficulty in procuring the attendance of witnesses. The result of this had been the successful execution of the law; and considering the condition of Ireland, and what it might have been, he thought it the duty of the House not to allow the Session to pass by without expressing the opinion which they all must entertain of the conduct of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and of those who acted under him. But what had been done in Parliament? Were their Lordships of opinion that the condition of Ireland was such as to render any further legislative measures unnecessary? Was nothing to he done for the benefit of the various classes of the people in that country? It was not enough for the Legislature to stop short with achieving the prosperity of any one class—it must seek the benefit of all. Were they satisfied with the legislation of past years, or were they content with the measures brought forward in the last Session? A very small portion indeed of those Bills had yet received the Royal Assent. The scheme for cultivating waste lands in Ireland by the Government, and the scheme for facilitating the sale of encumbered estates, had not succeeded; at least, they were not passed yet. Of all the measures proposed by Government they had adopted none but the poor-law, and the million-and-a-half Bill to assist landlords to improve their estates. This sum, if distributed over the acreage of Ireland, would give about 1s. 6d. an acre—no very great amount for such a purpose. The Commissioners had sanctioned the applications for about 1,400,000l., or very nearly the whole amount of the proposed loan; but he should very much like to know how much money had actually been advanced to the landlords of Ireland. It was not by an entry in a ledger that land could be cultivated, or labourers rescued from the workhouse. Money, to be of any use, must he paid away, and laid out in wages of 10d., or 1s. 6d., or 2s. a day. Then, indeed, some good would be done for the people of Ireland, and the million and a half would go into the pockets, cabins, and interior man of the Irish labourer. But of the grant itself, it appeared from the last returns that the sums actually advanced amounted not to 1,400,000l., or half a million, but to 220,000. The whole amount was sanctioned by the House—1,400,000—applied for and sanctioned by the Commissioners; but only that small portion of it had yet assumed the shape in which alone it could be beneficial to the country. No greater sum than this 220,000l. had been advanced to the landed proprietors, to enable them to improve 19,000,000 acres, and to enable them to rescue the labourer from the workhouse; and yet in the face of such facts as these, they were incessantly told of the large sums which were given for the benefit of the people of Ireland, and for the advancement of agriculture. Their Lordships were well aware that for some years past the root on which the people of Ireland principally subsisted had in a great degree failed; and, though there were some who thought it might be almost desirable that potatoes should never again be cultivated in Ireland, yet still the recent and present loss which the failure of that root had occasioned must long be deeply felt; and though great temporary efforts were made to make good the want which thence arose, he must nevertheless be permitted to ask, what had been done for the permanent maintenance of the six millions of human beings who inhabited Ireland? He certainly might be told that a poor-law had been passed. Upon that subject he had but a few words to offer. He had the misfortune to be an Irish proprietor; and, though what Irish proprietors said might be listened to civilly in that House, yet, generally speaking, everything that Irish proprietors said with regard to their country, their own tenantry, or their own estates, was listened to there and elsewhere in a very unfavourable spirit. Facts, however, which had been so proved as to admit of no controversy, must be their only resource. He did not complain of the poor-law, though there were electoral divisions in Ireland where the poor-rate was not 2s., 3s., but 7s. in the pound. There was one division in which they were told of the rate being larger than the amount the proprietor received in rent for the land; and he had no doubt there were persons—and he was certain there was one individual in the House—who knew of the fact to which he alluded. In calling their Lordships' attention to this part of the subject, he ventured to hope it would not be supposed that he was influenced by any considerations of private interest; on the contrary, he felt the pressure of poors-rates as little as perhaps any proprietor throughout the whole of Ireland. On portions of his property, the rate did not exceed 2½d. in the pound; on other parts of his land, it was 1s.; on others. 1s. 6d.; and at the utmost, 2s. That was the utmost to which the poor-rate went on his property, and he certainly did not complain of the operation of the poor-law in his own case. But the state of things in Galway and Kerry unfortunately happened to be widely different from what they were in the county of Wicklow. In complaining, therefore, of the poor-law, he trusted it would be felt that he was not actuated by any selfish considerations, uninfluenced by any but public grounds, he thought it right to call the attention of the House to the fact, that in various parts of Ireland the sums charged on account of poor-rates amounted to 5s, and often to 7s. in the pound. That that state of things must he attended with the most serious consequences was a truth which he presumed that no noble Lord in that House would be disposed to contradict; therefore did he feel it his duty to invite the serious attention of Parliament to the present condition of Ireland. He would ask them, did they intend that such a state of things should be allowed to continue—did they propose to make the land valueless—did they propose to destroy an entire class of men—did they contemplate the uprooting and destruction of those whom he should call the landed aristocracy of Ireland? He was quite sure that no man for a moment imagined that their Lordships intended anything of the sort. But he thought it his duty to assure them that there were many parts of Ireland in which the landed aristocracy would be utterly destroyed unless the policy now pursued towards that country underwent a fundamental change. He should not say that he had examined all the blue hooks that had been printed on this subject; but this he would say, that he had examined a very considerable proportion of them, and he did not hesitate to assert that their contents fully proved the necessity for an extensive change in the principles upon which they had been accustomed hitherto to legislate for Ireland. He would repeat, that under the present system the landed proprietary of Ireland must be ruined. He did not say that would be the case in Leinster or along the eastern coast, but all beyond the Shannon must be destroyed; the whole of Connaught, to which he might add, Donegal; and as to Munster, it must share the same fate, with scarcely an exception. He believed that his noble Friend the President of the Council would not escape from the same predicament, as far as his estates in Kerry were concerned, inasmuch as it was stated his poor-rates were as much as his rental. When the landed aristocracy of Ireland ceased to exist, what, he would ask, would stand between the Government of this country on the one hand, and the democracy of Ireland on the other? He ought not, perhaps, to call it a democracy, but rather a mob; and by whom was that mob wielded I When he asked those questions, he at the same time guessed what their answer would be from their silent acquies- cence, that they understood and concurred in his sentiments. He implored the House to lose no time in seriously considering the subject with which the present conjuncture of affairs called on them to deal. In order to tranquillise Ireland they had made the property of Ireland provide for the poverty of Ireland; and if that which had been property continued to remain property all might be very well. This, however, be would tell them, that if they intended to place the burden of supporting the poverty of Ireland upon the property of Ireland, there was another burden which he must ask their Lordships to take off the shoulders of Ireland: he must ask them to do so for the sake of the peace and prosperity of Ireland—he must ask them to do so for the sake of the security of Ireland—he must ask them to do so for the sake of the empire at large—he must ask them to do so to put a stop to one of the sources of dangerous agitation—he must ask them to take off from the shoulders of the people the burden of supporting the Roman Catholic Church, by establishing that Church, and paying it from the resources of the State. That was what ultimately must be done. They must make no difference between the Roman Catholic priest and the Protestant clergyman. They must not enable the one to point to the other as an inferior or degraded person. The pastors of the two persuasions must, in familiar phrase, eat out of the same platter, and drink out of the same horse-pond. Now, he had to ask what was it they had done in the course of the Session for Ireland? There was an Encumbered Estates Bill still before their Lordships. A Bill of the same nature had been introduced last year, but it had failed—and why? Because, as he contended, the interest of Ireland had been sacrificed to the demands of England. Were such a Bill, however, to be carried, its beneficial effects would be slow of operation. He knew that the contrary opinion was very prevalent. They heard that English capital would flow into Ireland; now this was true in one sense; but if it were meant by the assertion that English capitalists would purchase Irish estates, and become the proprietary body of the country, why then he did not feel that any very great advantages would result from the change. He would rather see Ireland go on under the existing proprietary than see the old race of landlords displaced by English capitalists. But it would be said by England, "What can we do? We passed a poor-law—what more can we effect?" But under that poor-law were the people properly taken care of? Was their condition improved—was pauperism diminishing? Why, in the union of Ballinrobe alone, out of a population of 85,000, no less than 30,000 persons were in the receipt of outdoor relief, at an expense of 700l. a week, or 35,000l. a year. Now such a state of matters could not go on. Such a state of matters rendered it imperative upon Government to interfere. It was necessary that the people of England should be aware of what they did not yet seem to understand, which was, that at the present moment distress was actually increasing in Ireland. He repeated, it was not diminishing, it was increasing; and the people of England would find, year after year, that whatever might be the state of the unions at Christmas, it was in the early spring that the pressure on the rates, and the pressure ultimately on England, would regularly increase as the season advanced. A poor-law might be—nay, undoubtedly was—applicable to this country, where competence was the rule, and destitution the exception; but it was not, and could not be, applicable to a country where destitution was the rule, and competence the exception. A poor-rate had, in fact, been levied as a substitute for the potatoes; but so far from the expectation being fulfilled which had been entertained, that the famine would have the good effect of introducing a better species of food into Ireland, they would find that, if the next crop of potatoes should prove but an average good one, the Irish peasantry would again fall back upon them as their ordinary means of subsistence, and the Legislature would have lost the opportunity they possessed of working a great change in the habits, and introducing a great change in the food, of the people. But they heard it stated, and indeed it was hinted in documents emanating from the Government, that no further measures of relief were in contemplation. No doubt he would be told of the Landlord and Tenant Bill in the other House. But was that a measure of Government? No, it had been introduced by a private Member, and it had been referred to a Select Committee upstairs. This was the only remedial measure originated by the other House after seven months of legislation. But, after all, what would be its effects? It would only tend to interfere with matters which were much better left to the private arrangements between landlord and tenant. Rules and habits grew out of long-continued practice which they would vainly endeavour to eradicate by means of legislation. Then, with respect to great national works, he remembered that in the last Session of Parliament his noble Friend opposite, who, he supposed, might now be considered to be the leader of the Opposition, had expressed an opinion in which he (Earl Fitzwilliam) fully concurred. He had stated that much might be done for Ireland by the encouragement of railway enterprise. But, unaided by the State, railway enterprise would do little for or in Ireland; and when he said so of railroads, he meant the observation to apply to all kinds of great public works. If such works were to be executed in Ireland, it was by the Government alone that they could and must be executed. They must not judge of Ireland by what took place in England. They must not keep going on, with respect to the sister country, the old beaten track which they pursued here: because great public works were constructed in England by private enterprise and capital, it must not be inferred that the same thing could be done in Ireland. There was no capital in Ireland for the purpose, and English capitalists would not send their capital to Ireland. The present sovereigns of the railway community here would not send their capital for investment in Ireland, so long as there was a single nook of English ground into which they could push their speculations. England, indeed, was the only country in Europe in which great public undertakings had been effected without the aid of Government. He did not mean to say that there might not be here and there some exceptions to the rule; but the rule was certainly what he had stated it to be. In England, on the contrary, even in these times of difficulty, there was more capital afloat than its possessors knew what to do with. But in Ireland, if they wanted to improve the condition of the country—if they wished to make it, so to speak, a better machine for the production of capital—it was by the Government, and the Government alone, that the necessary public works must be undertaken and executed. Not that he meant to say that it was necessary that the whole of the capital should be advanced by the State; but this he did mean to say, that either by an allowance of money, or what he might call an advance of credit, England must bring about the completion of Irish public works. And when he said this, he would always wish their Lordships to keep it in mind, that in no part of the United Kingdom were works of great public utility more needed, or indeed so much, as they were in Ireland. He wanted to know what they were going to do with the unemployed masses of the Irish people? Were the Government going to employ them? He considered that it was the duty of the Government to do so. They should make a judicious selection of what works were to be executed, and then they should commence to employ the people upon them. He often heard the question asked, what would they do with the people when the works were finished? Now, he did not think that this question argued much thought or foresight. For any person, who for a moment reflected, could not help seeing that these works would lead to the enterprise of others. Let them assume that the Dublin and Galway Railway was constructed, would not warehouses, and storehouses, and works of every description, spring up along the line, affording the means of very extensive employment? He was in favour of a system of enrolment of these labourers. They would have to maintain a militia for the defence of the country if it was involved in war; why should they not maintain a similar body in time of peace to prevent a greater danger, that of famine? He would have a certain quantity of this enrolled band emigrate every year; they could be usefully employed in the colonies. And while he was upon this subject, he would say that he was in favour of a very large system of emigration. Emigration on a small scale would do no good: it might relieve the estates of individuals who had the means of carrying it on, but it would be of no use to the poorer proprietors. He could assure the Government that the country could not go on as it was at present circumstanced. The gentry of Ireland had exerted themselves in the late crisis with unexampled energy. He challenged any nation to show instances of greater devotion, greater self-denial, and greater zeal than had been evinced by the Irish gentry. But he did not stand there to defend that body: he only desired to say that the Imperial Government of Britain could not govern Ireland without the aid of that gentry. If the Government destroyed the landed proprietary of Ire- land, it would not be for the good of the middle classes, neither would it be for the good of the lower; and he could assure them, that if they destroyed the Irish gentry as a class, the destruction of the English gentry would very soon follow. With this fact impressed upon his mind, he asked whether the Government were willing to persevere in a system which destroyed one class without ministering to the comfort or happiness of the other. He was anxious that the English people should not imagine, because they had passed a poor-law, that therefore they had assuaged the miseries of the lower clases in Ireland. He knew that that was a very general impression in England. But he would tell them that they had done no such thing. The people had suffered more since the passing of the poor-law than they had ever done before, because the sources of charity in that country had become diminished. Every person acquainted with the people of Ireland was aware that the feelings which the peasantry entertained towards one and the other were quite incomprehensible to the same classes of people in England. The disposition of the Irish peasant had ever been that of sharing his very last potato with a stranger in distress. Under the baneful influence of this law, that beautiful feeling of charity was dying away. Such a calamity was foretold, and that which had been foretold had now become history. The people of England were a curious people. They possessed the feeling more than any other nation in the world, that anything which was theirs was good, and they were perhaps very much in the right. But they did not seem to have a notion that what was good for them might be very ill for others. Acting under this principle, they enacted a poor-law for Ireland, contrary to the wishes of every class in that country. The very class they intended to benefit by it were averse to it; yet nothing daunted by the opposition, they persevered in the measure. He wished to know whether the Government considered what they had already done was sufficient, and, trusting that the question would not be answered in the affirmative, he would conclude by reading the resolution.


said, that he felt himself placed in a difficult position by one part of the Motion of the noble Earl, namely, that which referred in terms of merited approbation to the important services which had been rendered to his country by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. It was not in conformity with Parliamentary usage to express approval of services performed by civilians, however beneficial they might be; that honour was confined to individuals who distinguished themselves in the military and naval services; and, therefore, whilst admitting to the fullest extent the pre-eminent merits of his noble Friend the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, he was obliged to call upon their Lordships not to place that part of the Motion upon record. In dealing with the question of the position of Ireland, he should deceive their Lordships if he did not avow that Ireland must mainly rely for the improvement of her condition in the individual interest, enterprise, and industry of her inhabitants. All that a Government could do was, to secure to the people of Ireland, if possible, a fair opportunity of developing those qualities. It was of primary importance to place the industrious man in Ireland in a situation of security; and therefore amongst the various measures to which he should advert, to show what had been done to improve the unhappy state of Ireland, the first was one by which order and peace had to a certain extent been restored. When the noble Lord talked of remedial measures, he must say, that he considered that Bill as one of a series of remedial measures. The noble Lord who directed the Government of Ireland was profoundly impressed with the necessity, not only of securing the rich in their possessions, but to the poor the rights of industry, by affording to those who were willing to work the opportunity of doing so. In his efforts to achieve that important object, the Lord Lieutenant had, to a great extent, succeeded. Galway, Clare, Limerick, and Tipperary—districts which some time back were distinguished by turbulence and outrage—were now comparatively tranquil; and this tranquillity was evinced not only by diminished returns of crimes and prosecutions, but also by the state of feeling prevailing amongst the better class of the poor, and the altered habits which had been introduced into the counties he had named. In the space of six months the outrages in all Ireland had fallen from 2,162 in December, to 1,182 in last month—a diminution to the extent of nearly one-half. That statement, made thus broadly, did not exhibit the most favourable view of the change which had taken place, for the diminution had occurred in outrages of the most aggravated character, Not content with repressing outrage and disorder, his noble Friend at the head of the Irish Government had applied himself to benefit the people by taking measures to induce them to adopt an improved system of agriculture. For that purpose he had sent into different parts of the country lecturers judiciously selected, whose duty it was to give practical lessons to the people. Those lecturers had been listened to with attention, their precepts had been followed, and already, short as was the period since the experiment had been undertaken, it might be said to be successful. One of the coastguard inspectors, who had recently made a general tour of inspection in Ireland, had, in compliance with the direction of the Lord Lieutenant, reported his observations on what he had seen. This Gentleman stated that the cultivation of green crops, particularly turnips had now become general, and he observed, that "it was most gratifying to find, that whenever the people had the advantage of instruction they eagerly availed themselves of it." These were hopeful symptoms, for the seed of knowledge thus sown was certain to bring forth fruits. Under the Land Improvement Act a sum of no less than 1,300,000l. or 1,400,000l. had been sanctioned; and though the sums actually issued might appear comparatively small, that was only because the issue was by instalments, as the works went on. In one union, 4,000 persons were by these means employed upon most useful drainage and other works; and in these cases there was a most beneficial example placed before the people; in fact, a sort of agricultural school was being established in every district of Ireland, and the people were enabled to judge for themselves to what extent they would profit by instruction. With regard to the Incumbered Estates Bill, there was reason to hope that it would have its effect, not in the way of dispossessing a numerous body of the gentry, as seemed to be apprehended, but by putting it into the power of men who had not the means of cultivating their land to transfer it to others who had capital. The noble Earl appeared to suppose that the poor-law had been held out, by those who supported it, whether in or out of Parliament, as a perfect panacea for the worst part of the miseries arising out of a great visitation upon Ireland, and as calculated to secure to the population a greater degree of comfort than before that visitation. He (the Marquess of Lansdowne) had never been a party to any such representation. He knew well the infirmity of any system of eleemosynary relief; and he should have felt glad if he could have seen any means of getting through the crisis without the introduction of a principle so new to Ireland. But with the experience they had of that law, with all its abuses—with that inequality of pressure which, in particular districts (as he knew practically in his own person), absolutely absorbed the whole rental of the land—he must say that he did not know any other means by which the great object could have been accomplished, of saving to a large extent—for unhappily it could not be accomplished entirely—the population from positive destruction. The noble Earl had alluded to the British Association. The British Association did but attempt to follow in the wake of the poor-law, and give aid where the distress was most overwhelming. A very improved administration of that poor-law was now in course of operation; and he saw no reason to fear, especially with a good harvest, that its pressure would, in the course of a very short period, be, if not entirely relieved, greatly mitigated. Fishing stations, too, had been established, which also appeared to be acting as schools for the population, showing them the great advantage of such undertakings. As for embarking in something upon a grander scale, it must be acknowledged that there had been no indisposition on the part of Parliament to aid Ireland; but did the noble Earl believe that the House of Commons would vote 10,000,000l. a year for any such object? Yet, without means, what could be done of that kind? But, indeed, would it be for the permanent interest of the country to keep expending millions under grants which, after all, could not be perennial, and which would supersede voluntary exertion? That was what he (the Marquess of Lansdowne) had always felt with respect to emigration. It was the tendency of human nature, in all persons, not to do that for themselves which they could get others to do for them; and the moment it was discovered that there was some source, be it the Consolidated Fund or subscriptions in England, or anything else, to relieve a particular description of distress, that distress would rise to meet the demand, and the very poverty and want would be almost created by the expectation of the means of relief. With regard to the subject of railways, they roust he established in those parts of the country in which such communications would answer best; but these were precisely the parts which stood least in need of relief. With respect to the ecclesiastical question referred to, he had on various occasions expressed his opinions, and those opinions he still held, confirmed as he felt them to be by the experience of years; the subject was one which no person who desired the welfare of Ireland could disregard. He would add, that he was convinced that measures of relief for Ireland could only be successful if they could be engrafted upon the industry and exertion of the country, and come as auxiliaries, and not as the main dependence of the people. The noble Marquess concluded by moving the previous question.


said, he considered that the noble Earl (the Earl of Clarendon) who had been administering the affairs of Ireland during a period of unexampled distress and agitation, had earned the respect, and deserved the gratitude, of the country. He (the Earl of Glengall) was surprised that neither of the noble Lords who had addressed the House on this subject, had referred to the main grievance, the chief misery of Ireland—he referred to the unfortunate agitation which had for so long a time been carried on in that country. It was absurd to suppose that the people of Ireland could be industrious and happy while the agitation existed, for it was now carried on to a much higher pitch than during the life of the late Mr. O'Connell. How could they expect that the condition of the country could be improved, or that industry could be developed, when the minds of the people were inflamed almost to madness by the most pestiferous agitation that had ever been witnessed? The agitation for fixity of tenure had been combined with that for the repeal of the Union. Fixity of tenure meant the plunder of the landed proprietors; and it was vain to suppose that the people would attend to agriculture, or to any industrial pursuits, while hopes were held out to them that they might obtain this object. He might remind their Lordships that, within the last few weeks, several tumultuous assemblages had been held in the neighbourhood of London. A vehement outcry was raised on the subject, and the strongest possible measures were taken to prevent such meetings. But these seditious and tumultuous assemblages were of daily occurrence in Ireland, and yet no effective measures were taken for their repression. He believed that by far the greater proportion of the outrages which had disgraced Ireland within the last year and a half were attributable to the agitation for fixity of tenure. One of the great grievances of Ireland was the system of intimidation which prevailed in that country. The landlord and the farmer were in the same position. Let them be ever so desirous of improving their property, the moment they set about it they were met by agrarian foes, and these legislators made very short work of any one who infringed their code. This intimidation equally affected the labourers, the shopkeepers, and the merchants. Unless a shopkeeper in a country town in Ireland subscribed to the funds for promoting agitation, he was immediately tabooed, and the result was probably his ruin. He (the Earl of Glengall) considered that some steps should be taken to put an end to this system. The late Earl Grey had succeeded in putting down agitation in Ireland for two years; but he (the Earl of Glengall) believed that unless it was repressed for five or six years, they could not expect to see that country in a peaceful, and tranquil, and satisfactory state. Lord Wellesley had said that crime could not be disconnected from agitation; and he (the Earl of Glengall) believed that that statement was perfectly true, for to the system of intimidation to which he had alluded he attributed the great majority of crimes committed in Ireland. The greatest difficulty was experienced in that country in obtaining evidence against criminals; for the witnesses were aware that they must submit to expatriation, or remain in the country at the risk of being murdered. Coercion Bills and special commissions had been tried in vain as a remedy for this state of things; and he thought it was much to be regretted that no Government had had the courage to step in and adopt vigorous measures for putting down the treasonable associations to which he had alluded. In many cases, he regretted to say, the agitation was promoted by the Roman Catholic priests. He was aware that there were many excellent men among that body; but there were many others who did not scruple to lend themselves to this system of agitation and intimidation. The fact was, that if they declined to join this agitation their congregations refused to support them, and they might be reduced to complete destitution. He was acquainted with the case of a priest who had lately been mentioned very frequently in the papers, and who was formerly strongly op- posed to agitation, but the consequence of this opposition was his almost total ruin; and he (the Earl of Glengall) believed that the state of wretchedness and misery to which that individual had been reduced, had alone driven him to become a violent agitator. In one of the last debates at Conciliation Hall, one of these agitators ordered all the persons to arm; and it appeared that these instructions were not disregarded, for in towns of 15,000 or 16,000 inhabitants, arms to the extent of 100 or 200 stand a week were disposed of. The direction now was to organise the country, and the consequence was that agitators were organising seditious clubs in all the towns and villages. They boasted of their success, and he had no doubt with cause, for the people were told that after the harvest they would obtain all they wanted; that was to say, the plunder of landed property. If this agitation were allowed to go on, their Lordships might rely on it that the same spirit would reach England. Under these circumstances he thought it almost useless to enter into the consideration of remedial measures, because until they gave security to life and property, and established the fact to whom Ireland belonged, they did nothing. They might enact as many laws as they pleased for the improvement of the country, but they would be neutralised by these treasonable clubs, and this organisation which was now going on. He believed that there was a great deal more capital in Ireland than many people seemed to be aware of. A vast number of persons had their 5,000l. or 3,000l., but in consequence of the agitation that existed they were afraid to lay out their capital, except in the funds; and it never would be expended in agriculture, or for the improvement of the country, so long as the baneful system of agitation was allowed to prevail. Large sums, also, were lodged in the savings-banks, and when there was a run on the savings-bank of Killarney the greatest commotion was excited where their Lordships, would the least expect it, namely, in the workhouses, from which the paupers rushed out to the savings-bank with the proofs of their deposits in their hands. As the poor-law had been alluded to, he must say that he feared that law had the tendency, to a great extent, of raising up everybody against the pauper, and this was the reason why those dreadful scenes, which were alluded to the other night, were enacted. All this was foretold at the time of the passing of the law, and the only answer given was, that there was a clause for emigration, in respect to which a great deal was intended to he done. Now, he thought that there was but one instance, in all the unions in Ireland, of that clause being enforced. He believed that nothing would be so advantageous to Ireland as encouraging the railway system, and the success of the lines already established had been very great. This would be one of the main means of improving the country; and it was to be hoped that something would also be done in aid of the fisheries, by which 200,000 or 300,000 people could he profitably employed. But it was, above all, necessary to put down treason. No one could tell how soon they might have war, and then it would he difficult to put down these treasonable associations, desirous of coalescing with foreign countries, if they were allowed to get ahead. Now was the time, while the country was at peace, to put them down, and after that they might pass remedial measures, and then Ireland, instead of being a dead weight about the neck of England, would become a tower of strength to this country.

The previous question then put, whether the said question shall be now put?

Resolved in the Negative.

House adjourned.