10 NOVEMBER 1860, Page 12


" Tuns bad- begins, but worse remains behind," is the natural reflection of any thoughtful reader who studies the details of the Galway- Contract. IN c have riot forgotten how Mr. Lever de- clared that he would support any Government that would, in re-; tarn, support Galway Harbour ; in other words, the electors of Galway were asked to offer their votes for a price of some sixty theusand pounds per annum. The bargain was struck between the, .constituency of. Galway and their candidate, and Galway's vote; went into the House of Commops—for sale. We should be sorry to say that the Galway line is without merit. or to deny that its promoters are enterprising men. But Mr. Lever did make a contract with the then Government of Lord Derby which, we assume, was satisfactory to the Treasnry. It hai, not been satis- factorily arranged for the benefit. of the public, if we are to judge of its outlay in the building and sailing of the Connaught, which went down a week or two ago, and nearly lost its paasengers and mails. But Galway is satisfied; it, has got its, equivalent, and probably the,electors find more solid comfort in the subsidy, thea they are conversely disturbed by the ,,total wreck of vessels,. and the mere escape,of passengers. 'Underneath this contract we have another story—a subsidy in littde.; When, Mr. Laver was yet unaware of the proper mode of proceeding plitically for the aggrandisement of Galway, he imagined, in his innocence, that his object might. be gained by

argument and Influential He became aequainted vijth a Mr. O'Malley;Irwin, who undertook to do the argunienta- tits and inflUentiet part of the burdneas. The Vicar of Wake- figioi son went tolfoand,to teach the the English Ian- . ,.

nage, without liaringt#rati tnisen the necessary precaution of learning Dutch. So IFAin +incleipok to introduce Mr. Lever to the late ,Duke of Richmond,f,lie Marquis of Clanricarde, the Earl of Clancarty, Baron Ratbvhild, and Mr: G. A. Hamilton; but it is stated that Mr. Irwin did not himself know these

exalted personages. There is, however, nothing impossible to an Irish gentleman ; and no doubt, had we lived under an absolute monarchy, Mr. Irwin would have undertaken to introduce the transcendent merits of Galway to Majesty itself. Nothing, it is said, resulted from Mr. Irwin's exertions amongst the Irish members,

but some longer-headed advocate suggested the hustings as Gal- way's proper line of argument. There it was potential ; at least, we judge 80 from the results. Galway was subsidized—vulgar people would say bought—and has secured the privilege of carry- ing and imperilling human lives and letters at the publio coat.

The subsidy completed, Mr. Irwin asks for his " commission ; " Mr. Lever objects ; and so he and Mr. Irwin go to trial before the Lord Chief Baron, and a special—a very special—jury. It is the

misfortune of every thing Irish, that there is no direct mode of looking at it, and eliminating the truth from surrounding falla-

cies. Even an English jury got confused ; they only heard and only would hear one side of the case ; they stopped Mr. Sergeant Shee with an intimation that their minds were made up, and so the Lord Chief Baron advised submission to a verdict for 10001.

in favour of Mr. Irwin. If the jury :had waited, they would have heard a view of the case and a statement of the law which might

have enlightened them. But we are in possession now, after the lapse of months, of the grave point which the learned judge would have expounded.

Is Mr. Irwin's contract, upon which he founds his claim, good in law P This is the very pith of the matter in a sentence. The consideration put forward as supporting Mr. Irwin's demand, is

the use of his influence with Members of the Imperial Legislature. It appears to the Lord Chief Baron that that consideration is

illegal and incapable of being enforced. We sincerely trust it is so; for, although we are unable to argue the matter as lawyers, there are some considerations which render it exceedingly desirable that such should be the law.

It is notorious that bargains'for the use of influence are made, and some persons derive considerable incomes from that source. Indeed, for active service in promoting introductions to capital-

ists like Baron Rothschild or Mr. Baring, it is but reasonable that the agent should not only be remunerated, but able to enforce by

remedy of law his due claims; for it may be contended that he seeks to promote the benefit of the two parties he brings together. But all such considerations must be disregarded when the agent seeks to introduce a commercial scheme to Members of .the Legis- lature with a view to obtain their consent to a proposal that tl;e scheme shall be contracted for and subsidized at the expense of the community. The Members of the House of Commons are sent to represent the entire people who pay the taxes, and it would open a very wide door indeed to political corruption were such con= tracts for services to stand good in law. The Estimates would simply be schedules of jobs of the most vulgar and useless kind; every crotchet incapable of doing anything beyond sinking ships and consigning shareholders .to ruin would be patronized by go-

vernments compelled to barter contracts and subsidies for po- litical support. If such claims could be supported, a new class of

Parliamentary agents would be called into existence, boasting of their influence, interchanging courtesies in arrangements for mu- tual support by votes of their creatures within the House. Such

persons would interfere in elections, in order to get their friends

chosen ; and not unfrequently would resort to corruption amongst electors to be repaid in corruption by the elected. In fact, the success of Mr. Irwin's action well just let in the thin end of the wedge which would consign us to untold extravagance. Our ex- penditure is bad enough already, but, happily, it is free from the suspicion that men seek eleotion in order to benefit themselves personally. Jobbers are scarce after all ; few men would mount the hustings without some real or mistaken patriotic ideas. But such men can be found and supplied ; only we have the means to stop the supply. If the salutary dictum' of Lord Chief Baron Pollock is good law, and we shall not presume even'to doubt it, we are safe. Considerations of an immoral charactet cannot be supported either at law or in equity. Immorality in politics is just the same shock to the superstructure of constitutional free- dom, as immorality of conduct to the highest laws of ethics. But if the Lord Chief Baron has allowed the fine moral sense which he always displays on the judgment seat, to overstate the law, there is one more remedy in legislation. Legislators owe it to them- selves and their country to expand the Lord Chief Baron's views into a chapter of the Statute-hdok. The purity of our repre- sentation will be best conserved by..a determination on the part of representatives not to listen to agents recommending commercial schemes for contracts and subsidies. Such agents will not be found to exist if Legislation cuts the prbspect of remuneration from un- der their feet.