Obrazy na stronie

It has been strongly, but I believe largely for future amelioration. But truly, said in another place, that this can we look to this as a remedy for office in its execution is radically vi- existing evils ? I may be permitted, cious—so vicious, said a noble lord, too, to say, that if by education be inthat justice is poisoned at its source. tended the capacity of reading and To the subject of grand juries I will writing, I believe the Irish are not an not advert; it is in a train of exact, uneducated people ; certainly not as and I hope, effectual inquiry. The compared with the people of Engtithe system, too, well deserves minute land; the reports before the House investigation, as largely contributing prove this. Mr Newnham, in a work to the disorganization of Ireland. containing much useful information, Another evil aflicts us, to which the states, from actual enquiry, that in a executive government can alone apply district comprising about one half of a remedy, by discountenancing that the county of Cork, there were up. course which it has too often pursued. wards of 300 unendowed schools, edu. Thuse then who traduce and vilify the cating not less than 22,000 children ; great body of their countrymen, should and here I have to instance conduct feel that such conduct can never lead highly honourable to a Roman Catho. to power or emolument.

lic clergyman, Mr O'Brien of Done. "If I am now asked, why at an ear. raile, who, having established a catho. lier period I have not proposed to the lic school, and endowed it with one House a similar enquiry, I answer, in half of his private property, offered to 1804 I urged it ineffectually. From subscribe to the establishment of a that time the country has been enga protestant school in that parish, as ged in unremitted and extended war. largely, in proportion to his means, as fare ; but to some of the labours of any other parishioner ;-this I consi1806, the statute.book will bear testi- der as real liberality, without any ob. mony. I know no danger so great as ject but the common good ; and I that' of discontented subjects. We would say to the clergy of every perare now arrived at a season of pro- suasion through the empire, Go and found tranquillity, and if the House do thou likewise.' Education can, shall decide, that no attempt shall be however, be no cure for the political made to trace to their source those evils of Ireland, unless accompanied evils which aMict Ireland, and endan. by radical reform of the present viciger the empire, it will be my duty to ous system ;-it has grown out of the bow to their decision ; but I shall accumulated misgovernment of many theo deeply deplore the day which centuries, and it is the bounden duty connected Ireland to this country by of parliament to institute exact enlegislative union. Never has such a quiry into the causes and effects of favourable moment presented itself, that system to search it to the bot. and with unfeigned sorrow should I tom, and neither to be allured nor de8ce it pass away unprofitably. I am terred from the path of duty by preastonished that the ministers who have, judice or power. No class of men, by the disturbed state of Ireland, jus. great or small, should be allowed to tified their claim for extended military impede reform ; but, with a steady force, do not themselves propose re- and firm hand, parliament should carry medial measures ; one, and one only, through the measures necessary to the has been adverted to-education.* Of welfare and the security of the state." its superior efficacy, no man can think Mr Peel, the secretary for Ireland, more highly than I do, as providing rose on the conclusion of this speech, and expressed his regret, that the ho- able improvement had taken place ; nourable baronet should have thought but the insurrection act was still in it necessary to bring before the House, force. Since he last addressed the at so much length, a subject of such a House, the magistrates of the county nature-the discussion of which, he of Louth and county of Cavan, had feared, in the present state of things, petitioned the government of Ireland would only serve to irritate and in- for the application, not of the insurAame the wounds, whose effects were rection act, but of the extraordinary alike lamented by himself and his Ma. police act. Such was the general jesty's ministers, as by Sir John, or state of Ireland at the present moany of the gentlemen on the other side ment. There was nothing more diffiof the house. Since, however, the cult than to give the House a characsubject had been brought forward, he ter of the precise nature of the disturwas aware that it must be gone into, bances which now agitated Ireland. and the example set by the House had In former periods of the history of made it necessary that it should be that country, tumults and outrage had gone into at some length. Before, subsisted ; but they were generally to however, entering upon the details to be traced to small and comparatively which the non. baronet had called his unimportant causes. Particular and attention, Mr Peel said, the House local grievances, personal animosities, would-naturally expect from him some or hereditary feuds, constituted the information with respect to the actual principal sources of them. Al other state of Ireland at the moment of the times, grievances of a more distinct present discussion. He assured the and positive nature were alieged ; such House, that, generally speaking, the as the high price of land, for example, north of Ireland was tranquil. No and then the professed object of the disturbances prevailed there, except combinations was to lower it. But what arose from distillation, and the the disturbances which now prevailed consequent opposition to the revenue had no precise or definite cause. They laws in certain districts. Those, how- seemed to be the effect of a general ever, were neither serious nor alarm- confederacy in crime -a comprehening. The extreme west of Ireland, sive conspiracy in guilt-a systematic also the counties of Mayo, Galway, opposition to all laws and municipal and Carlow, were comparatively tran- institutions. The records of the courts quil. The same might be said of the of justice would show such a settled south of Ireland, of Cork, Wexford, and uniform system of guilt, such &c. The east of Ireland was likewise monstrous and horrible perjuries, as generally tranquil. He meant, that could not, he believed, be found in in those counties no applications had the annals of any country on the face been made to government for extraor. of the globe, whether civilised or undinary police. The counties in which civilised. He was far from meaning disturbances actually prevailed were to say, that those dreadful offences Tipperary, King's County, West- arose from the generally malignant or meath, and Limerick. The magis. depraved character of the lower ortrates of the King's county had re- ders. In different counties different quested the application of the insur appearances were presented. He had tection act; but they had since peti- himself been in some, and it was im. tioned for its removal, asserting that possible to find any where men more tranquillity was perfectly restored. In tractable, more obedient to the laws, Westmeath and Limerick, a consider. or more disposed to pay all duz deference to their superiors. He was laws against them. With respect to ready to declare, that it was impossi- the murder of that magistrate, he was ble to see them without admiring ma- afraid it was too clearly established, ny of their qualities. He believed, from the records of the courts of jusindeed, that the character of the Irish tice, that it had been planned several people had been variously misrepre- weeks before it was carried into exe. sented, in general, not from any deli. cution. The magistrate, upon whom berate design, but because, in fact, the foul deed was committed, was a they were often presented under diffe. most 'amiable man. He spoke only rent and singular aspects. From his from the opinions of others, as he had observation of them, he believed they not the least knowledge of him perpossessed great fidelity ; in their deal. sonally. He was kind, indulgent, and ings with each other, great honesty ; a ready friend to the poor; but, at from their early marriages, they were the same time, he was a most deterin general very chaste ; and be it told mined enemy to that terrible system of to their honour, that certain crimes combination which prevailed.' In the which disgraced and degraded more neighbourhood of his dwelling, a house civilized countries were utterly un. had been burned down, because the known to them. He was even told, inhabitant of that house had taken that the Irish language did not possess land at higher rent than was thought a name by which they could be desig- a proper equivalent by those misgui. nated. But in some parts of Ireland, ded men. The magistrate, in conseespecially in the county of Tipperary, quence, exerted himself to discover their depravity was shocking. If any the offenders, and by his indefatigable one should urge that he over-stated it, efforts six of them were apprehended. he was prepared to confute him by ir. Upon this, the remainder determined refragable documents.

He did not

to murder him. On the day fixed for speak from vague and ambiguous ru. the atrocious act, there were no less mours. What said the records of the than four different parties stationed on courts of justice in that county?' different roads waiting for his apWhat would be the evidence of the proach. The murder was committed twelve men impannelled to try the at some distance from Cashel, and the midnight murderers of an invaluable particulars which he related were de. magistrate belonging to that county ? rived from a gentleman who happened If he required proof for what he had to be travelling that road at the time, asserted, he need go no further. If and resembling the magistrate (Mr any one would take the trouble to Baker) in person, narrowly escaped peruse the minutes of that trial, they from falling a sacrifice. Information would be able to form a thorough idea was conveyed by signals from one of the character of the people. They party to another. The gentleman to would see their extraordinary fidelity whom he alluded saw several persons to each other in a bad cause---the fa. on the tops of the houses and haycilities they afforded to escape punish- ricks, waiting for the fatal catas. ment-the readiness they manifested trophe. When the shot was fired, to redress the injuries offered to any of loud cheers were uttered by those who their party—the difficulty of bringing were thus waiting, and then they all home conviction to the guilty, and the retreated. The plan, therefore, had detestation in which every one was evidently been determined upon months held who at all contributed, or was before it was put in execution; and instrumental in giving effect to the although no less than 13,0001. were

offered as a reward for apprehending that the evils originated in the impothe murderers, by the government and licy of the first conquest of Ireland. by the resident gentry in the county, That conquest was not undertaken by he believed no evidence whatever was a sovereign at the head of an army : obtained as the result of that offer ; but was accomplished by instalments, such was their fidelity in a bad cause, if he might so speak. Different par. and such was the abominable system ties of adventurers went over to Ireof confederacy upon which they act- land, subdued detached portions of ed. Not a person was found to come territory, and as they progressively forward and make a voluntary disclo- made those acquisitions, they gradual. sure. He would mention one con. ly assumed a paramount authority over clusive proof of the feelings by which the native inhabitants. The evils of they were actuated. One of the mur. that kind of conquest were sufficiently derers, who was apprehended, and af- proved by the history of Ireland. terwards hanged for his crime, when Other writers also had pointed out the in prison, expressed a desire to dis- defects of the system adopted towards close some particulars. His life was Ireland. An impartial one (he meant offered as the promised reward for his Spencer, who wrote in the reign of confession. He accordingly commu- Queen Elizabeth) had forcibly stated nicated a part; but he afterwards re- the impolicy of excluding Ireland from tracted, at the instigation of his wife, the benefits of the English law. In who went on her knees to him in the fact, there were a hundred customs prison, and implored him to be execu- which then existed, though but now ted rather than divulge the secret. operating, which gradually tended to (A laugh, and hear, hear!) The form the character of the people. Sir House might probably smile at the John Davis observed, that by the anconjugal affection of the woman ; but cient laws of the country murder was he could assure them, there was as compounded for by a fine, a rape for a much attachment between the hus- rape, and a robbery for a robbery. band and the wife as could possibly When it was proposed by the goverexist between two persons, and the nor of Ireland to send a sheriff into concern which she felt was, lest her the county of Fermanagh, the chiefs husband should forfeit bis character tain of that district said the sheriff and respectability by betraying his should be welcome ; but desired to friends. He actually retracted, in know the price which was set upon consequence of the persuasions of his his head, in order that, if he should be wife, and was accordingly executed. killed, he might know what fine to

“ Having thus admitted those me impose. Such was the deplorable state lancholy facts, he now came to the of the country at that time ; but Sir statements which had been made by John Davis allowed, that more had the right honourable baronet. The been done for the benefit of Ireland causes of the evils which afflicted Jre- during the reign of James I., than land were complicated in no common during the whole of the preceding four degree. They might, he was willing hundred years. Certainly, many of to allow, be traced back to a very re. the causes indicated by Sir John Davis mote period in some respects.' Sir and others, as contributing to the inJoba Davis, in that invaluable treatise jury of Ireland at that time, had cea. on the State of Ireland, which the sed to operate ; but others had arisen right honourable baronet bad justly of a different, though not less importo denominated a Golden Book, stated ant character. The animosities of faVOL. IX. PART I.


milies, the irritation arising from con- districts which were disturbed, with a fiscations, and other similar causes, view to discover whether there was were of a description which no legis. any connexion between that and the lative interference could reach. Time causes of the disturbances. He bealone, the prevalence of a kind and lieved the poor of Ireland would be paternal system of government, and found to be in this condition. Althe extension of education, were the most all of them rented small farms, remedies which must be chiefly relied which they took from the farmer upupon. At a later period of the his. on certain conditions. Their rent was tory of Ireland, he was willing to ad- partly paid by labour. Thus, if a mit the impolicy of imposing commer

man gave

four guineas an acre for his cial restrictions; an impolicy of which, farm, he worked for his landlord at he believed, we were even now reaping 10d. a day; if he paid three guineas, all the bitter fruits. By those restric. he received 8d. That 10d., however, tions we had curtailed the capital of commanded a greater proportion of Ireland, and lessened her means of in- subsistence in the article of food which dustry; and, paradoxical as it might constituted the sole diet of the Irish appear, an increase of population had peasant, than the same sum would arisen from those effects. He wished produce in England. He was perto explain in what manner he conceived fectly aware that the food of the poor that increased population to have taken in Ireland was inferior, and he sincereplace. The consequence of the bad ly wished that it were possible to find policy in imposing the commercial re

any means of giving him better, and a strictions was, a deprivation to Ire- better place in which to enjoy it. Noland of a market for her produce, thing would be more calculated to which made land so cheap, that the seduce them from idle and vicious haowners of it were enabled to employ bits, and to inspire a relish for domesany number of hands in cultivating it. tic comforts. They allotted small portions of it to " He should now proceed to exaindividuals; and it became the more mine some of those causes which the productive, because all their labour right hon. baronet appeared to think was applied to those small portions. still existed, and for which he also According to the opinion of the most seemed to think remedies might be experienced agriculturists, the same adopted. He could assure him that quantity of land, so cultivated, would he felt the strongest disposition to produce nearly three times the quan- employ any remedies which might be tum of human subsistence, (he meant suggested, and which should appear potatoes, the staple food of the Irish capable of a really practical applicapeasant), which it would produce of tion. First, as to the appointment of any other kind of subsistence. Hence, sheriffs, on which a considerable stress the immediate means of supporting a had been laid by the right hon. bafamily were more within the reach of ronet. He was perfectly ready to the poorer classes of Ireland than of admit, that that was a point in which similar classes in this country. What- material and essential information ever enquiries might be made into the might be introduced. The subject, condition of the Irish people, it would however, had been fully and delibebe material to ascertain their state as rately discussed in a select committee, to the supply of food. He had at which sat during last session for the tempted to prosecute that enquiry, purpose of inquiring into grand jury and he confined his attempts to those presentments. He held in his hand

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