HL Deb 23 May 1862 vol 166 cc2092-4

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.


said, that considering the recent assassinations in Ireland, and those agrarian crimes which in past times had disgraced that country, and which appeared to be reviving in all their force, the Government had only done their duty in introducing this measure. He believed, however, that the real remedy for the evils that afflicted Ireland was to be found in the spread of education and enlightenment in that country. He expressed his conviction that the Roman Catholic priesthood might, if they pleased, do much towards preventing such acts by exercising their influence in aiding the authorities to bring the offenders to justice.


said, he was not surprised that the noble Earl connected with Ireland should have called attention to those outrages which had lately occurred in Ireland, but doubted whether the pre sent was the most fitting time to enter upon a discussion of the subject. He denied that the Roman Catholic clergy were in any way chargeable with sympathy for the crimes or the criminals, but, on the contrary, was satisfied that they detested them as much as the noble Earl or any one else, and were as anxious to bring the perpetrators of such diabolical acts to justice. He (the Earl of Cork) had in his pocket an address delivered from the altar by the parish priest of Brandon, in which he called upon his parishioners to give every information they could to the authorities, and to aid the ends of justice in every way in their power. He could assure the House that the great majority of the Roman Catholic clergy by no means shared in those views of religious hostility which the noble Earl attributed to them. The late outrages, as those in former years, were attributable to the misplaced attachment of the Irish people to the land. In Ireland the idea was generally entertained that the occupiers had as much right to the land as the owners, and that no person was entitled to eject them. This feeling was encouraged, and revengeful feelings stimulated, by Ribbon societies and other secret and illegal combinations. He believed, however, that in a comparatively short time, as the condition of the country was improved and confidence was established between the owners and tenants of the soil, that erroneous and dangerous notion would disappear. In other respects the country was unquestionably improving, and he earnestly entreated the Government to make some determined effort to put a stop to a system by which these agrarian offences were rendered comparatively easy of perpetration, and at the same time difficult of detection. He regretted to say that that system was approaching very near to the county with which he was connected, and which up to the present, time had been free from it. A neighbour of his, one of the best landlords in that part of the country, or indeed in Ireland, had recently received a threatening notice, and the brother of his own agent had also received a notice simply for having endeavoured to enforce payment of a debt due to him.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Monday next.