Obrazy na stronie
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spiracy to evade a Proclamation. Why, if
disobeyed it, surely I did not evade it
then comes this admirable legal dilemma. The
“ argumentum crucis" is nothing to it.
this-

It is

I cannot, my friends, conjecture why this De Potter charge should be brought against me. I will not do the legal advisers of Lord Anglesey the gross injustice to suppose that

A Proclamation issues-1 disobey itpunishment for that. Well, I do not disobey it. Why, then, I evade it-punishment for that again. Thus, whether it be disobeyed they speculated either on the Court or the or not, the only thing certain is the punishment. Jury. That would be an injustice of which 1 For committing what is called a crime-would not directly or indirectly accuse them punishment for not committing that crime-but, if they had so speculated, they would punishment again. Really, really, this is a speculate badly, little too bad.

I will put this matter for one moment in another point of view. To evade a Proclamation is to avoid obeying it; but for avoiding to disobey it there is to be an indictment that is, for not perpetrating what is called a crime. Who ever yet heard of an indictment for evading to steal a horse?, But this is a ludicrous usockery.

This trumping up of a ridiculous charge of conspiracy is therefore not new. The case of De Potter is, as we lawyers say, quite in point; but its results are widely different.

Whenever power is determined to crush a man “at ali hazards," it never wants a pretext. They could not, it is true, indict De Potter upon any known law. What did the lawyerlings of the Dutch King do? Will you believe it, reader? They actually indicted him for a conspiracy to evade the laws of libel and sedition, or to that effect. The Bench was packed; he was tried and sentenced to banishment.

It is quite true that a former Court of King's Bench decided that the word "pretence” in a criminal statute was perfectly synonymous with "purpose." That certainly was a wrong measure, but one which took place in angry times, and will never be quoted› as a precedent for imitation."

There is, however, one curious coincidence between the charge of a conspiracy to evade the Proclamation and the accusation brought of seditious speech or libellous language-still in Belgium against the celebrated De Potter.less am I accused of provoking to outrage or De Potter is well known to have been an breach of the peace. The fact simply is, that ardent enemy to the oppressions which his Lord Anglesey does not like discussion, and country suffered from the nefarious union with having made up his mind that there shall not Holland, and from the grinding and insulting be any, in any shape, that he dislikes—on he nature of the Dutch superiority. He struggled goes-that is all, strongly and perseveringly against the grievauces which his native country sustained from the insolent domination of strangers. He was closely watched. The law of libel, the sedition law, were both excessively severe-repeal the Union. as severe as with us-but De Potter, who sought ameliorations only by peaceable means, took care not to violate the law. Yet it was determined to annihilate him one way or the other.

But this would be cruel, if it were not laughable. Here I am striving for three things:-First, to abolish Tithes. Second, to destroy Corporate Monopolies. Third, te

And endeavouring to do these things by peaceable, legal, and constitutional means, and none other, I am set on and assailed as if it were a crime to love one's country, and to struggle honestly, faithfully, and disinterestedly to serve her, and to seek peace, comfort, prosperity, and liberty for her inhabitants.

There the comparison ends. De Potter was not long in banishment. The men who affliected his country became too outrageously tyrannical, and were expelled. He returned; but, to his immortal honour be it spoken, he forgot the injury done him, and forgave all his enemies.

I have now, my friends, exposed to you the nature of the charges against me-their contradiction, and thei, total absurdity.

I am not accused of any immoral offence,

My consituents-my friends-be not discouraged. Patience- obedience to the lawsno illegal oaths-no secret societies-no turbulence- -no violence-but at the same time, peaceable, legal, and constitutional agitation. Let every parish, nay let every village meet. Let there be a petition from every village, parish, town, and district. Let those petitious firmly, bollly, but respectfully, demand the total abolition of Tithe and Vestry Cesses. Let them state that Ireland is an agricultural country, in a most depressed state, and, there fore, requires that the agricultural produce should be relieved from all ecclesiastical burdens.

I

The coincidence is only in the charge. have not the talents nor the useful patriotism of De Potter, but I rival him in three things. First, in the enthusiastic love I bear to my unhappy native land: secondly, in the everliving detestation L bear to the oppressions and grievances under which she labours; and thirdly, in the rancorous and malignant hatred. borne towards me by the enemies of my native country.

Let your petitions state these three facts: First, That Ireland is the most fertile country in the world-the most productive for her extent the best situate for industry and/ commerce, aud yet that she is the country in the world deriving least benefit from these advantages.

Secondly, That Ireland produces more of, all the prime necessaries of life than any other country under the sun, and that there is no

other country in which the people receive so little of the necessaries of life for their use as Ireland.

Thirdly, That Ireland has, at one and the same time, the richest Established Church in the world, and the poorest population, with the smallest number of votaries of the religion of the State.

consult his national feeling, in opposition to his judgment. But, although he knew little of Ireland himself, and from what he did know, he believed its condition to be very wretched; yet he had heard that there had recently appeared there some signs of improvement, to which the Repeal, desired by petitioners, would put a stop, by immediately checking the introduction of English capital. His Lordship concluded by presenting Petitions from the Paper-stainers, Carpet-weavers, and other Trades of the City of Kilkenny, praying for the Repeal of the Union.

Earl DARNLEY concurred fully in the opinions expressed by the noble Lord who had just addressed their Lordships ;'but he had differed from that noble Lord when the Act of Union was passed, for he (Earl Darnley) had advocated that measure, in the expectation that · benefits to Ireland would result from it, which he had not yet had the happiness to witness. However, he believed that the good effects would now be soon observed, as the healing measure which the Legislature had most wisely adopted in the last Session had removed the chief obstacles to the improvement of that country. He was convinced that the repeal of the Union would annihilate the incipient Par-prosperity of Ireland. The individual who at present agitated that question had derived his had been made to exclude him from the other importance from the injudicious attempt which House of Parliament. No, calamity could be more destructive to the country of that individual than his efforts, should they be successful in repealing the Union.

TITHES.-Lord FARNHAM moved for Returns respecting the Composition of Tithes in Ireland, under the late Act of Parliament on that subject. He explained that the operation of that Act was greatly impeded by the manner in which the Select Vestries for settling the composition of tithes were constituted. The land of many parishes in Ireland was occupied principally in pasture, and in the cultivation of potatoes. Upon the latter the whole burden of the tithes was thrown; so that the very chiefly belonged, paid the most part of the poorest parishioners, to whom the potatoe land tithes, from which the pasture lands, always in the hands of the richest parishioners, were wholly exempt. Heuce it became the interest of the Select Vestries, which consisted of only twenty-five persons (they being of course the richest inhabitants), to oppose, the composi tion; because that would equalize the burden betweeu them and their fellow-inhabitants. To enable the poor of Ireland, whose advantage the Act was chiefly calculated to promote, to benefit by its provisions, it was necessary to enlarge the Vestries. He would introduce a Bill to increase them to fifty parishioners, in the course of the Session; unless the Government, in whose hands he would prefer to leave the matter, should themselves introduce the amendment. He would take that opportunity of stating that, in those cases where the operation of the Act was prevented by the tithe

Do not ask why all this is so. We do not govern ourselves. We are governed and managed by others. We are a province, when we ought to be a nation.

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Do not, therefore, ask why there is so much misery and woe in Ireland, but seek for amelioration through the only channel by which it can be obtained-that of the Law and Constitution; and if I have any influence with you, now, at my instance, and for my sake, redouble your exertions, multiply your petitions, and determine never to relax until Ireland regains her Legislative independence. I am, my friends,

Your devoted and most faithful servant,
DANIEL O'Connell.

PARLIAMENT.

I left off my extracts from the liamentary proceedings with those of the 14th of December, and these will be found in the Register, No. 25, Vol. 70. I must now, before the "Collective meet again, bring up the arrear, which I can do in this and the next Register; and then we shall start again.

""

Thursday, Dec. 16th, 1830.
HOUSE OF LORDS.

REPEAL OF THE UNION; and, IRISH TITHES, Every word that is said upon these two important subjects becomes every day of more and more importance; and, therefore, men should read attentively all that they can spare time to read on both.

Lord KING had a Petition to present to their Lordships, on a very important subject, respecting which his opinions were quite at variance with those of the Petitioners. When the measure of which they complained the Union of Great Britain and Ireland, was under the consideration of the British Legislature he was opposed to it; because he did not wish the corruptions of England to be increased by those of Ireland. But he now feared that it would be a mischievous experiment to repeal that measure after such a lapse of time. He believed that Ireland would suffer greatly from the separation of the two countries, the more so as they could be separated only by means of war, and to that a repeal of the Union would certainly lead. If he were an Irishman, he might perhaps be induced to

owners, the opposition was more frequently grievance-it complained of the deprivation of on the part of lay impropriators than of the an important national right-the loss of which clergy. had occasioned much and serious discontent throughout many parishes of the Metropolis, and in various parts of the country. The grievance of which the petitioners complained was the existence in their parish of a selfelected Vestry. He was anxious to take the earliest opportunity of stating, that on the very first day after the recess he meant to bring in a bill, the object of which would be to remedy the evils which formed the subject of the present complaint. The bill be intended to bring in would be modelled upon the former bill, or rather would be an exact counterpart of it, in the form it had been presented before it underwent the amendments of a committee. He wished in an especial manner to call the attention of the House to the prayer of the present petition, for such was the indignation which. Select. Vestries had excited, that he could not answer for the tranquillity of parishes, if something speedy and decisive were not done with a view to the modification of the present system. He was informed that many of the parishioners of St. James's had expressed their determination not to pay rates unless the Select Vestry were abolished.

Sir F. BURDETT said that Select Vestries were one of the practical grievances of the present day, constituting not only a gross violation of every constitutional principle, but of every principle of common sense. There was something in them so preposterous, that an English House of Commons was called upon to get rid of them at once, and the mode of doing so was perfectly simple: it was by a recurrence to the ancient constitutional principle, that no man was to be taxed without his own

2

Lord KING had no doubt, that if tithe-composition were carried into effect in Ireland upon fair terms, it would operate greatly to the advantage of the poorer classes in Ireland, who would get rid of tithe-gathering and proctors, and the whole harassing and expensive machinery for the recovery of those vexatious claims. He held in his hands documents respecting the tithes in six parishes of the county of Wicklow, of which the names were to him unpronounceable, occupy ing a surface of upwards of 40,000 acres. In those parishes a meeting of 4,000 farmers was assembled to make a composition with Archdeacon Magee. The venerable Archdeacon not agreeing with the parishioners, resorted not to the Consistory Court, but to the Court of Exchequer, as affording the most expensive process for the recovery of his tithes. His Lordship then read the following account furnished by the Archdeacon to one of those farmers:

Varney Cooney, to Archdeacon Magee,

debtor.

Out of the Lauds of Grange,

To tithe of 47 tons of Hay,

1

at 30s. Ditto of 197 brls. of Barley, at 16s.

Ditto of 88 brls. of Wheat, at 30s.

Ditto of 193 brls. of Oats, at 15s.

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£710

15 15

13 4

13 10

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£49 10

4

This land contains 12 acres of wheat, 12 of barley, 11 of oats, and 20 of meadowing.

HOUSE OF COMMONS.

consent.

The petition was then ordered to be printed BOROUGH OF EVESHAM.-I notice this in America, the infamous select Vestry-record. Corruption is clearly proved; in order to put sham-reformers upon

SELECT VESTRIES.-When I was

but precedents prevent Reform. What can we expect from Reformers like Lord John Russell.

bill was passed. I instantly wrote a Register, dated from Long Island, in which I proved its wickedness and its evil tendency. I was not listened to. And now I am to be quiet, am I, and hear it said in that same House of Commons that passed it, that it is "unconstitutional,"" preposterous," and repugnant to common sense!" Why was this not known then? Why was this not said then? The same man who sits and calls it by these names now was in the House when it was passed; and why did not he say these things of it then?

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The Marquess of CHANDOS, in rising to make a motion on this subject, said, that the Committee appointed by the House had upseated the Members that were returned, on the ground of bribery; and with this charge before the House, he certainly thought that election should be allowed to take place. The they were bound to consider whether a new evidence before the Committee had not yet been printed; but, at all events, it was known that the Committee had decided against the two Members, on the ground of corruptions and this, he contended, was enough to call for the interference of the House, when it was proposed to entrust the borough again with the right of returning members. All that be

Mr. HOBHOUSE presented a petition, which he had to state was most numerously and respectably signed-It was from the Free-at present asked was, that a short time should holders of tho parish of St. James, in the city be allowed for the printing of the evidence, in of Westminster. It complained of a great order that the House might judge for itself;

and he should therefore move, that the Speaker | being so frequently brought before the House, do issue his warrant to the Clerk of the Crown, se they were before that Act was passed. The to make out a supersedeas to the writ that had opinions of Election Committees were often, been issued for the election of two Members he thought, an obstacle to those inquiries for the Borough of Evesham. which the House was bound to make into cases of corruption. The question, however, before the House was not whether an inquiry should now take place into the corruption of the Borough of Evesham, but whether the issuing of the writ should be suspended or not? The circumstances of the case were these:-That after an inquiry by a Committee, that Committee had not given the Chairman instructions to propose that no new writ should issue. The first thing the House had to look at must be its own precedents. He had looked at the precedents quoted by the Honourable Member opposite (Mr. Ross), and

Lord GEORGE LENNOX seconded the motion, and called the attention of the House to a paper signed Edward Protheroe, Jun., in which that gentleman made the following statement:-"I plainly acknowledge my desire to renew our connexion. There is no inconsistency in this. With you, Gentlemen, I never had the slightest cause of dissatisfaction it is with the old system of your borough, with that unjust system which, after faithful and diligent services, accompanied by manly independence and disinterestedness in every speech and every vote, left me no hope of being re-elected, unless I condescended to that Honourable Gentleman could not deny traffic for my seat with those who bartered that there were numerous precedents of the your privileges."-When such a declaration | allegation of bribery made against Members, as this was made by a gentleman who was and yet the writs for those places had issued. well acquainted with the transactions of the There was no instance of a Committee reborough, he thought that the House had porting merely against the Sitting Members, pretty good evidence before it of what was and on that report the House suspending the the real state of the case; and he therefore writ. To justify that, there must be some trusted that Evesham would be disfranchised, special report aganst the electors. and the representation given to some more only said by some of the Members who comworthy place. He begged, however, to say, posed the Election Committee that the case that he himself personally knew nothing of implied further corruption; but that should Evesham, nor had he any acquaintance with be made a matter of special report before the the two gentlemen against whom the Com-House could be able to act upon it. The premittee had decided." cedents, then, were many in favour of issuing the writ.

It was

,

Mr. Ross said, that the sitting of particular Members, and ulterior proceedings against a borough for bribery, were two questions of a totally distinct character. The honourable Member referred to the cases of Penrhyn and Camelford, as precisely similar cases. In them bribery was proved, and the House was called on not only to suspend the writs, but to disfranchise the boroughs. In Evesham there was 426 voters, and of course they did not all vote for the sitting members; but it had been proved that every one of the non-resident voters who did vote were bribed. Every one of them actually received a bribe. On these grounds he would support the motion of his noble Friend for superseding the writ, which would give the House an opportunity to inquire.

Lord JOHN RUSSELL meant, in the few words he should address to the House, to con-mittee complained of the corruption being fine himself to the narrowest limits. He should extended to the Electors, but that was only not enter into the general question of Reform, the opinion of individual Members, as the nor assert that it would be improper to assent Committee decided against a special Report. to the motion, because the House had already In the other cases quoted by the right hon. ordered the writ to issue. There were many Gentleman, the Committees had made Special rights to be considered before the House re- Reports; but in those cases where Special solved to suspend the writ. An inquiry should Reports were not made, and only the sitting. be instituted, and evidence received, to ascer- Members were unseated, the House bad never tain if the Borough of Evesham were as cor- thought to suspend the writ. It was not nerupt as it was represented to be. There were cessary for him to quote precedents of the many points which the House ought to inves-kind from the Journals; they were so nume tigate; for he had always been of opinion that rous, that every Member must know it was the Grenville Act, by the inquiries it instituted continually customary for sitting Members through Committees, frequently screened to be unseated by the Report of the Comcases of bribery, and prevented them from mittee, without the writ being suspended.

Lord ALTHORP agreed with his noble Friend and the right hon. Gentleman, that this question was to be decided on the narrow ground of precedent; but that precedents were not to be slavishly followed. The House must decide if precedents authorised the suspension of the writ, and it was a matter of some importance that the House should not make a new precedent without due consideration. He did not think that the precedents quoted by the right hon. Gentleman justified the suspension of the writ. He differed from him, because, in the two precedents he had quoted, both the Committees had reported against the election. In the present case, the Report of the Committee was confined to censuring the Members. The right hon. Gentleman said, that Members of the Com

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THE LABOUrers.

HOUSE OF COMMONS. Mr. CURTEIS, in presenting a petition from Sussex, took occasion to make some observations on the state of the labouring poor, and declared he had conversed with many farmers, who one and all asserted that they never paid less than twelve shillings a week to any description of labourers, whether married or single. For his part, although it had been stated that he paid to his own labourers 1s. 9d. a day, he invariably paid 2s., with the option of their taking piece work if they pleased. The agricultural interests were, however, in such a state of destitution, that they must, would, and should be protected. (Hear, hear.)

Mr. BRISCOE, in alluding to the condition of the labourers, said he was satisfied the only remedy for their distress would be found in the extension of the system of spade labour in the cultivation of ground allotted to them for

that purpose.

Mr. LONG WELLESLEY bore testimony to the efficacy of this system. In a part of the county of Essex, near Tilbury Fort, six or

seven hundred of the labourers who had been in a state of insurrection were reduced to quietude and comparative comfort, by the immediate adoption of the system of spade labour. He deprecated, however, the discussion of these and other vitally important subjects on the mere presentation of a petition, and in the presence of so small a number of

Members.

Sir JOHN SERRIGHT said he had devoted a good deal of his attention to the subject of spade labour, and actually allotted gardens to persons in his own parish, who were by no means connected with his property. He found, however, that all projects of that kind failed; and he was convinced, from his own experience, and from conversation with some of the most experienced of the class of la"bourers, that if they possessed as much land

as they could cultivate by spade labour they could not earn sixpence a day. He should be very happy himself to give land to the la bourers of his own parish without the payment of rent, if there was a hope of their being able to subsist upon it; for he would gain much more from the relief afforded to the rates, than from the rent of the land.

Mr. Alderman WAITHMAN observed, that it was not merely the agricultural interest that were in the same condition; leasehold pro was distressed; all the interests in the country perty, especially in London, was utterly destroyed. No partial measure would be sufficient to meet the necessities of the time. Either taxation must be greatly brought down, or prices must be raised. He begged to give submit to the House a string of Resolutions, notice that on the 15th of February he would showing the destructive tendency of the present general depreciation of property.

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Monday, Dec. 20.

HOUSE OF LORDS. EMIGRATION. LORD TEYNHAM brought forward the subject of the new settlement in the Swan River, a settlement of which we have heard so much. I shall insert a statement that he read to the House, as coming from the Settlement, and then I shall insert his subsequent observations. I have often raised my voice against these cruel delusions on emigration. I know myself what new settlements are, I know what the men are who project them, and I know the greedy and cruel'knaves who carry the projects into execution. I therefore feel for every creature who is induced to submit himself and his family to the sore vexation, the certain ruin, and the probable consequent death, provided for them by the greedy and heartless men who thrive by schemes of emigration. I never knew one scheme which, if it succeeded at all, did not first produce misery and death to an amount that would rend any heart but that of a speculator'; and I insert this instance of

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