« ZurückWeiter »
of these divisions in the govern- lic Convention appeared. A proment, and this state of opinion in clamation was issued for its supparliament, upon the condition of pression, and it was suppressed. Ireland ? He did not know, In 1825 parliament had to enact whether divided councils at home, the suppression of another body of and disturbance in Ireland, stood a similar character; and now it in the relation of cause and effect; was called upon to consider what but, at all events, they had been should be done with a third. He concurrent. There was scarcely himself had quitted the admione year during the last twenty- nistration of Irish affairs in five, in which the government had 1811. The period between that been able to rely on the ordinary and 1814 was one of excitement in law. In 1800 the habeas corpus Ireland. In 1814 the Insurrection was suspended, and the act for act was re-enacted; in 1815 it was suppressing rebellion was passed. repealed; it was renewed in 1816, In 1801 those measures were re and again repealed in 1817. In pealed. In 1803 broke out what 1822 it was once more renewed, was called Emmett's rebellion, and and continued in operation during 'both the measures just mentioned 1823 and 1824. In 1825 Parliawere renewed. În 1804 they ment passed an act for the supwere continued. In 1806 they pression of illegal associations. had expired; but the west and That act continued in operation south of Ireland, under the admi- during 1826 and 1827, and expired nistration of the duke of Bedford, in 1828. The session of 1829 were in such a state of insubordi- commenced by another act for the nation, that a special commission was suppression of the Catholic Associappointed. In the following year, ation. Coupling those facts with 1807, the Insurrection act the divided councils of the king, passed. This act authorised the and the disunited state of parlialord-lieutenant to suspend trial ment, had he not, he asked, estabby jury, and render it a transport- lished his first position,—namely, able offence to be out of doors that matters could not remain as between sunset and sunrise. The they were; that there must now be Insurrection act continued in force an end to a neutral government, during 1808 and 1809, and was and that there ought to be an repealed in 1810. It had been united cabinet, determined either to asked, why government had not offer unqualified resistance to consuppressed the Catholic Association, cessions, or prepared to consider the as if that body were an evil that possibility of adjusting thequestion. had just started into existence. The next question was, wheThat body had existed long previ- ther an united government, deously, though not under the same termined to offer permanent retitle. There had been a Catholic sistance, in the present state of Committee,-a body formed of the country, could be formed, delegates, consisting of ten persons and could go on? Now to from different parts of Ireland. him every consideration connected Two trials took place, in one of with the question made it dewhich the parties were convicted, monstrable, that such a governand in the other they were ac ment, even if formed, would not quitted. In 1814, another Catho- be able to conduct the affairs of
the country to any good purpose. same intolerable state of alarm, The first thing required of them discord, and confusion, to which would be, to put down the Catho- they had now come. lic Association; and how would But suppose the Association put they manage that? Before the down, what would such a governintroduction of the act of 1825, ment do with the elective franthe opinions of the law officers chise? A dissolution of parliaof the crown in England and ment had been called for. Well, Ireland had been taken; and both suppose it done. He could easily had declared that the common believe that a dissolution, so far law was not sufficient to meet the as this country went, would add evil. Towards the close of the to the numerical strength of the last session, when the Association opponents of concession ; but he had begun to adopt more violent was convinced it would not render courses, which government was the settlement of the question prepared to resist, the opinions of practicable without concession. But, the law-officers of the crown were even if, by such means, a governagain taken, as to whether the ment so constituted might be able common law was sufficient to meet to carry a measure for the supthe evil; and their unanimous pression of the Association, and answer was, that it was not suffi- might be able to carry through the cient to put that body down. supplies of the year, what mode, Then, if these remedies were inef- he would ask, could they adopt for fectual, where was the remedy ? carrying on the internal government If it were true, as he believed it of Ireland ? First, they should was, that there was in the system, look at the constituent body of as it now existed, an elasticity that country for this was a most which could not be wholly re- important matter for the considerpressed, though a law might be ation of a government formed on carried for putting down those the principle of opposition to conmeetings, still, if the causes were cession. Now it appeared that, allowed to continue, the agitation of the Irish members who voted on would be increased, and the evil the Catholic question last year, would continue in an aggravated there were 61 representatives of form. But would the parliament, counties. Of that number 45 voted one branch of which last year for concession, and 16 in favour of voted in favour of concession, by a resistance to the claims. Of the majority of 272 votes to 266, members for large towns in Irenow be willing, at the call of a land, 16 voted against concession, government opposed to concession, and 17 in favour of it; making, in to pass a fresh measure of coer the whole, 62 in favour of concion? He doubted the fact that cession, and 32 against it. He it would enable government to had been told, twenty-three councarry any measure founded upon ties in Ireland were ready to folthe principle of permanent resist- low the example of the county of ance to those claims.
Clare. Now, let those who thought government, therefore, could not
so add the probable increase of cope with the Association ; that numbers which that would prois, under such a government, duce (though he was willing to things would continue in the admit that even in that case many
of the present members would be Catholics, and 2,000,000 Protesta re-elected in those counties), and ants of all denominations. At first they would see that a government, sight, it might be supposed that constituted on a principle of resist the government could be carried on ance to concession, would have the by means of the 2,000,000 of whole or the great majority of the Protestants; but then it should be representative and constituent body considered, that, of those Protestof Ireland against it. In this case, ants, there were 1,200,000 residing separated as Ireland was from
in Ulster. They were then to England, he would contend, that, consider, how they could conduct with such a feeling of opposition such a government in Munster, to government on the part of the Leinster, and Connaught, where representatives and constituents, the Catholics were 4,250,000, and there would be constituted a moral the Protestants only 750,000 ; influence opposed to the local where there were not only whole government, which would render it parishes, but whole districts of impossible to carry it on. The country, even to the extent of ten remedy therefore could not be contiguous parishes. without found in a dissolution of parlia- single Protestant. How could the ment. But still, a government administration of justice be carried united on the principle of resist- on in those places? In the withance might try one other remedy, drawal of the civil privileges, were viz. they might retract the privi- they to withdraw the trial by jury? leges they had already granted, If they left that, the re-enactment and which they found too power- of the penal code would be useless, ful for their control; but in that for it would be impossible that the case they would open a chapter, laws could be executed fully, as which, beginning with the recal far as the interference of a jury was of privileges, might render mea- necessary, where a great body sures of a stronger and much of the people had an interest in demore coercive character necessary. feating them. With the country It appeared to him that no govern- in that state, with such a feeling ment could do that; or, if they did, on the part of the Catholics, who it would lead to a struggle, which, formed in the country generally if pushed to its legitimate conse, the great majority, and in large quences, must end in a result districts almost the sole population, little short of the re-enactment of there could be no security for the the penal laws. We had already Protestant establishment, backed as gone too far to render such a course the views of the Catholics would practicable. We had removed the be by a powerful alliance in parseal from the vessel, and suffered liament. Let it also be considered, the great spirit to escape.
We that, in the continued resistance to had no means of conjuring him concession, a government would back again to his former narrow have to fight the battle not only limits. In round numbers, and with the Catholics, but also against allowing for the increase of popu- protestants, who conscientiously lation which had taken place supported their claims. Let the since the last census, the population House look at the declaration of of Ireland was 7,000,000. Of the Protestants, which had recently these, 5,000,000 were Roman been before the public. That de
claration earnestly implored the for their relief, but even their satisfactory adjustment of this very petition to have their grieve question, as necessary to the se ances considered. The French war curity of the Protestant establish- broke out in 1793, and, in spite of ment im Ireland. The individuals, the declarations of the preceding by whom parliament was thus year, in spite of the numerous addressed, were men who had a petitions, in spite of the vote of great interest at stake. They were the Commons, and the opinions the owners of property to an im- of the preceding session
the mense amount in Ireland. Could session of 1793 opened with a it be said, that this was got up for recommendation from the Throne, the
purposes of party? The sig- to take the grievances of the Canatures would be a satisfactory tholics into consideration; and a bill answer to that question. There was almost immediately passed for were affixed to it the names of two the removal of many of the disabidukes, seven marquises, and twenty- lities, but with such haste, and so six or twenty-seven earls, besides inconsiderately, that to this day other peers. His wish was, and one we were reaping some of its bitter of the objects to be accomplished by fruits. Until he saw a bolder man the measure which he should pro- at the head of affairs than Mr. Pitt pose would be, that there should —until he saw a more Protestant be a union amongst Protestants; parliament than that of 1793, he for it could not be concealed that could not think we should be safe there was no security for Pro- in time of war with a government testant establishments, while the determined on continued resistance; Catholics were united in one com nor could he think but that, at the pact phalanx, and neither the Pro- opening of a war, we might feel testants nor the government were ourselves obliged to recede from united. But lastly, assuming for our former declarations, and to a moment that a non-conceding grant the prayer we had before recabinet should not only attempt, fused, and that in a but should succeed in carrying into which, at a more favourable opporeffect this system of coercion, how tunity, we should be unwilling to long would it last ? It might en consent, and with much less security dure during peace: but would a than we might obtain on such an government be competent tù up- occasion as the present. Since, hold it in time of war? If not, the then, the existing state of matters commencement of war would be was one which could no longer be the worst period in the history of suffered to exist, since the time had the empire. He looked back to the come when the government must time, when bold hearts animated adopt one decided rule of policy or the head of the government,—to another, and must resolve as a gothe year 1792, when Mr. Pitt was vernment either to concede or to at the head of affairs. He saw in resist, and since a government dethat year grand juries and other termined to resist could not carry public bodies unanimous in for on the affairs of the country withwarding petitions against any con out aggravating all the evils and cession to the Catholics-he saw dangers which were to be removed, the House of Commons of Ireland it followed that no course remained rejecting not a resolution, or a bill, but to settle the question by ad
justing a system of concession on tation of their numbers it would be the one hand, and security upon difficult to carry practically into the other.
effect ; and even if it were practicMr. Peel, in the next place, pro- able, it would have the misceeded to explain the nature of the chievous effect of making them measure which he and his col- combine; and holding them up as leagues had resolved to propose as a sacred band, charged with the inthat which ought finally to adjust terests of the Roman Catholics. No and settle the question. No
less difficult would it be to find any sons, he said, except the members efficient text for deciding on what of government had been parties to questions a Roman Catholic memthe framing of the bill." It had ber should be entitled to vote, and been thought advisable, that it on what he should not. It would should not be proposed as a com be difficult to determine what promise or compact with any par- questions relate exclusively to the ties whatever, and that for its con interests of the Established Church cessions, as well as for its restric- -and it might be, that questions, tions, government alone should be nominally relating to the Estabresponsible. The principle and lished Church, might not be those basis of the measure was to be, the in which its interests were really abolition of civil distinctions, and involved. If the Roman Catholic the equality of political rights. member were entitled to speak, but There would be exceptions, stand were precluded from voting on ing on special grounds, but such such questions, injury might be inwas to be the general rule. Ano- flicted as effectually by an able ther pervading principle of the bill man with party ties and connexions, would be, the maintenance, in fact making an inflammatory speech, and in word, of the Protestant and then leaving his party to supreligion as by law established, its port it by their votes,-yes, as doctrines, its discipline, and its go- much mischief might be inflicted vernment. He would, first of by such a man, if he spoke, as if he all repeal those laws which were entitled to vote. On the placed Catholics, unless they took whole, such a restriction would be certain oaths, on a different footing a departure from the principle of from Protestants, even in regard to the bill, viz. the abolition of all real property, a distinction which distinctions, and the equality of
poProtestants and Catholics were litical rights.
In conformity with equally interested in abolishing: the same principle, the bill would the next provision would be, the proceed, as a inatter of course to admission of Catholics to parlia- render Catholics admissible to all ment, on the same terms with Pro- corporate offices in Ireland, and all testants. Unless this was granted, offices connected with the adminisall other concessions of political tration of justice, and to all the power would avail nothing. It higher civil offices of the state. He had been proposed to restrict the was aware, he said, of the objecnumber of Catholic members, and tions as to the last; but having to define certain subjects on which once resolved to yield political they should not be allowed to power, this could not be refused. vote. Both of these limitations He doubted the wisdom of qualiministers had rejected. Any limi- fying the Roman Catholic to re