In the House of Commons, last night, the order of the day having been read for the second reading of the Habeas Corpus Suspension (Ireland) Bill, a host of Irish Members succeeded each other in opposing it—Mr. O'FLAHERTY, Mr. SADLEIR, Sir HENRY WINSTON BARRON, Mr. SHARMAN CRAWFORD, Mr. REYNOLDS Mr. EDWARD RORKE ROCHE, Mr. JOHN O'CoNNELL, Mr. GB-al-raw, Mr. MOORE, and we may add Mr. °SRO-RIVE. Mr. SADLEIR moved that the bill be read a second time that day six months. The bill received a support more or less qualified from Colonel Tnoweson, Mr. TRELAWNY, Lord BERNARD, Lord CLAUDE HAMILTON, Mr. DISRAELI, and Sir ROBERT PEEL.
The debate was marked by some incidents. Mr. Roam having con- trasted the licence allowed to the Manchester agitation with Lord Claren- don's attempt to suppress even constitutional agitation in Ireland, Sir Wm- mem SOMERVILLE denied that there was any attempt to suppress consti- tutional agitatiou.
Could any one suppose, in the present state of public opinion, that any Lord- Lieutenant, or any one intrusted with the executive power, even if he had the inclination—which he knew the Lord-Lieutenant had not—:would presume to use the powers conferred upon him to put a stop to any agitation peaceful and legitimate, such as that of his honourable friend the Member for Limerick for the Repeal of the Union,' Certainly not. ("Hear, hear!' from Mr. John (JConnell.) The intention of the Lord-Lieutenant was, that he should be en- abled to suppress any agitation carried on for a treasonable purpose, with a trea- sonable object, and by treasonable means. Mr. JOHN O'Comrca.r. caught at this admission, and declared that, as the letter had no reference to the "constitutional agitation" in Ireland, or to that body for which he was preparing the way to resume its career of use- fulness—(Much laughter)—he should no longer pursue the course of ob- servation which he should have otherwise felt it necessary to follow. Lord CLAUDE HAMILTON hoped that this bill, like the relief grant, would be the last bill of the series; and that the Whig Government would no longer drive Ireland, likes shuttlecock, between conciliation and coat-
don. He censured Ministers for having come into office on professions of conciliation, &e.; which, like the Appropriation-clause of 1835, they had used only as a stepping-stone.
Mr. Manama grounded his support of the bill upon the exigency of the case; and expressly disclaimed a vote of confidence in the Government— an interpretation they are too apt to assume. He reproached Sir Wil- liam Somerville for his declaration that the bill was to be harmless against a pernicious agitation; and he again alluded to the "comprehensive mea- sures" for which Sir James Graham looked at the hands of Government.
Tothese accusations Lord JOHN RUSSELL replied. He began with Mr. John O'Connell's adroit but unfair inference from what Sir William Somer- ville had said. It was the opinion both of Lord John and Lord Clarendon, that the meetings of an association which is likely to fall very rapidly into a dub and a conspiracy, and tends immediately to lead to treasonable prac- tices, ought to be carefully watched.
To Lord Claude Hamilton Lord John replied with "what really was the history of the Appropriation-clause." He declared that he brought for- ward his resolutions respecting the Irish Church as an independent Mem- ber' • having urged them upon his colleagues before King William broke np the Cabinet on the succession of Lord Althorp to the Peerage. He denied that he advanced the Appropriation-clause as a means of ousting Sir Robert Peel After the measure had been several times rejected in the House of Lords, opinion in respect to it seemed to be changed, and Irieh opinion became decidedly indifferent. ("No rw!") Lord John had cer- tainly mistaken public opinion in England—had mistaken the power of resisting a measure which seemed to him to be so manifestly right that he expected it to be triumphantly carried through Parliament. In other respects —in Municipal Corporation reform, and in the conciliatory tranquillizing policy of Lord Normanby—the course of Government was decidedly suc- cessful. He had therefore no remorse to express on the part of the Go- vernment of 1835.
Mr. Disraeli had alluded to the opposition of Lord John and his friends to Sir Robert Peel's Protection of Life Bill in 1846: Lord John agreed with the late Mr. O'Connell, that while the suspension of the habeas corpus might have paralyzed agitation, the nature of that particular bill was to irritate. He opposed that bill because it was not adapted to the circum- stances of Ireland at the time; as he now advanced a still more restrictive bill in the belief that it was adapted to the circumstances.
Mr. Disraeli and Mr. Hume had alluded to comprehensive measures as those which it was the duty of Government to bring in- " Now it will be our duty to bring forward a series of measures. Some have been already given notice of, and others will be brought forward; but I do not think I should be acting fairly to the House ill did not say that any measure that we might bring forward would be totally unproductive without those two results Of which I spoke in the speech I addressed to the House on bringing forward my motion in 1846—namely, a spirit of self-reliance, and a spirit of cooperation. We would have proposed this very night—if this debate had not lasted so long—a
bill very greatly to extend the right of voting in Ireland I will not say, therefore, that even in the interval that may lapse during the continuance of this act of six months, all treasonable correspondence may be suppressed, or that any act that may pass through Parliament can change the social and political state of Ireland. All I say is, that the utmost exertions will be made, and that it will be the object of all the measures we bliffein to secure that end; and it will be for Parliament to say whether they are adopted or not. If they meet the consent of Parliament, I trust we shall see that they have accomplished our ob- ject; if they meet with the censure of Parliament, then it will be for others to propose other measures that will be more successful" Sir ROBERT PEEL supported the bill; but made an animated reply to Lord John's speech. He avowed the greatest respect for Lord Clarendon, and believed that he would not abuse the powers of the bill—no Lord- Lieutenant would—Lord Heytesbury would not have done so, Lord De Grey would not: but he could not consent to restrict the liberties of the people through personal confidence in any man. There is evil in the pre- cedent. He heard with pain the reference to past party conflicts. There is ample ground for mature, dispassionate consideration of measures for the welfare of that unfortunate country, without making Ireland the ground on which to determine their party animosities. But his memory differed considerably from that of Lord John Russell respecting the Appropriation- clause.
"The noble Lord says, In bringing forward the Appropriation-clause I acted in lay individual capacity. Could anybody expect that I should abstain from put- ting upon record my own personal opinions?' Now, I think the motion which led to the extinction of that Government was more of a party motion than the noble Lord is willing to admit. I do not regard it as a mere individual motion
on the part of the noble Lord I said to the noble Lord, 'Beware of fettering yourself by any abstract resolution declaring that at no time to come shall there be any adjustment of Irish tithe unless there be an alienation of ecclesiastical property: I was giving friendly advice to the noble Lord at that time. (Laughter.) But the noble Lord was not merely content with passing this abstract .proposol, but he absolutely insisted upon the House waiting on King William and Informing his Majesty that no adjustment of Irish tithe could ever take place unless there was an alienation of Church property. The noble Lord says, however, that the motion he then brought forward did not at all partake of the character of a party motion. This shows how apt contemporaries are to be deceived. . . . . But now the noble Lord has returned to power; and what account does he give of his Irish allies? He says, 'I came into power' I found the House of Lords against me; the English public were not very well disposed towards me; but my Irish friends relieved me from any difficulty about the Ap- propriation-clause, and I found among the people of Ireland complete indifference on the subject.' . . . . What a picture the noble Lord draws of his Irish allies when he says that the moment the personnel of the Government was changed their clamour on this subject ceased!" Lord Jona/ RUSSELL—" No; it was three years afterwards." (A laugh) Sir ROBERT PEEL—" Well, it took the noble Lord three years to make them Cool. (Laughter.) I appeal to any man whether it would have been decent to make such a change at an earlier period. (Renewed laughter.) They got habit- uated to Parliament: it is no imputation upon them whatever to say that, under a Whig Government, they got their fair share of official patronage."
Lord John was not quite accurate in his account of the events of 1846 If the bill was opposed because it was unsuited to its ends, it might have been amended in Committee, and Lord John was invited to so amend it. But he then exclaimed against the enormity of confining people to their houses at night. He now proposed a bill to give the power of committing to prison, by night as well as by day, persons who are subject to suspicion ! But Sir Robert would not resist the bill.
"I certainly shall not attach to my support of this bill even that condition which the noble Lord suggested when opposing the bill of 1846, that comprehen- sive measures of a healing nature ought to precede measures of coercion. I be- 'hove one of the greatest evils in Ireland at present is connected with the admin- istration of the Poor-law. I believe that the Government—and I believe that 4t - others also—have a sincere desire to improve the condition of Ire I will sk
not weaken or qualify my support of this necessary measure of coeij3y -
ing, as a stipulation, that before I assent to it I will know what mea- sures are contemplated. I give my entire and cordial support to tlill for the t — vindication of the law and for upholding the authority of the Crow " (Huck • I.
cheering.) Lord Jorrw RUSSELL explained, that he had not meant to state that the motion which he brought forward in 1835 was not a party motion; though he brought it forward in opposition to the views of some of his friends, and on principles which he felt it his duty to press. On a division, the amendment was negatived by 275 to 33; and the bill was read a second time.
In the other House also the most prominent subject was Ireland. Lord LANSDOWNE moved for a Select Committee to inquire into the administra- tion of the Irish Poor-law, with arguments similar to those advanced by Ministers in the Commons; and the motion was affirmed without opposi- tion; though not without strictures, especially from Lord STANLEY and Lord MONTEAGLE, who concurred in condemning the Poor-law as a total failure. Lord Stanley took a view similar to that advanced by Mr. Staf- ford; pointing out the increasing bankruptcy of several unions, and con- tending that the check should be "the electoral principle "—limiting the area of taxation to the electoral districts, so as to make the landlord more strictly responsible, but only for the poor on his own estate. No mere tinkering or botching of the Poor-law could produce any satisfactory re- sult. Lord Stanley enlarged on two auxiliary measures which had been warmly recommended—extensive emigration, and what is improperly called "home colonization." They are not incompatible or antagonistical mea- sures. He did not think home colonization—the settlement of paupers, especially townsmen, on waste lands—could be carried out on a very great scale. But he showed, that for the cost of one year's subsistence a pauper might be enabled to emigrate; and he advised a plan of emigration at the expense of the parish or union. He also suggested a plan by which pro- prietors who cannot keep the whole of their land in cultivation might lease part to the Poor-law Guardians; who should employ paupers in the im- provement of the lands, and then relet the lands for the benefit of the Union.
Earlier in the evening, Lord STANLEY asked whether the Colonial Legislatures in North America had taken any steps to abate the enormous and oppressive tax on British emigrants? The tax in Canada exceeds that imposed by the State of New York. Earl GREY believed that the Local Government of Canada meant to propose a modification of the tax; but the interests of the colonies must not be forgotten. The produce of the tax in Canada does not exceed the expense of the colony in aiding sick emigrants and forwarding labourers to distant places for employment: and, in spite of the tax, the emigration equals the demand for labour in Canada. Lord MONTEAGLE warmly contended for a more adequate con- sideration of home interests in the colonizing process; and Earl FiTzwu,- LIAM called for encouragement to public works in the colonies as a stimulus to emigration. But the conversation dropped without farther result.