Abbildungen der Seite

united empire, and from fome documents which he might have, which were open wo ihe eye of any individual ; but he protested that as to Ireland he saw nothing in this motion which iended to be of any advantage whatever. The possible effect of agreeing to it was that of unhinging the minds of the people at a ime when it was most effential they should be undisturbed by political disquisitions. Indeed, he had no difficulty in faying, that motions upon the foundation of alledged grievances should never be aflented to, unless those who state the grievances are provided with fome remedy for them, such a remedy as may at least feem to be expedient to be adopted. He regarded this as a general maxim, that when any person complained of an evil, he should produce the remedy he proposed to apply to it; so that the House may have an opportunity of deciding upon the evil and the proposed remedy together. This he had no difficulty in laying down as a general doctrine, applicable to all species of complaints made for the inismanagement of political affairs; but if circumstances ever made a motion particularly unfit, they had that effect at the present moment; in supporting which affertion he need only revert to the present situation of ou affairs abroad and at home, and thole things which we had lately witnessed with regard to Ireland; for without entering into the question, whether Ireland has been more or less well or ill governed lately, or how it was governed, or what may have bien the causes which have produced certain effects, or what the remedies may be, he did not believe that the motion now before the House would have any good effect, for he did not believe that those which were stated to be the cause of the evils of Ireland had any connection with them, nor did he believe ihat some of the remedies which had been mentioned would have the effe &t of remedying these evils. Be that as it might, the question now with every man in Great Britain, and indeed every part of this united empire, was this - What is beli to be done at this moment, to oppose the foreign foc, and to put an end to the machinations of dome!ric enemies and traitors? and the result of deliberating en ihat question ought to be, and must be, to exercise, firmly and steadily, all ihe power and energy of the empire, not by looking back and asking ingenious men to see wheiher they could not find something iliat might possibly have been bester if transacted over again; he was confident such a course of proceeding could produce no good whatever, but might be the cause of great evil. He was of opinion that the energy


of the United Empire should be called forth at this period; that the whole of its strength Thould be exerted to support the Constillution of the country in Church and State, as by law eitab:ilhed, and against the enemies of the Empire, foseign and domestic, at ine present crisis; and he would alk the House, whether, under all the circumstances by which we were surrounded, this motion was likely, in the least degree, to produce that effect on the contrary, he thought it presnant with evil.

Mr. II'. Elliot declared that he was so far from thinking the motion now before the House an improper one, that if it had not been determined some time to be brought forward by the hon. Gentleman who made i:, he pould have ihought it his duiy to have made it himself. As to the information now asked for, he was allon.thed cha: Ministers themselves had not laid it before the House; he was astonished that they had permitted so much time to pass without making some further communication to the House than they had made on the subject of Ireland. It migh: be allied of him, if this was his opinion, why was he filent when his Majesty's message upon that subject came to the House? to which he would observe, that he was not present when tha: touk place; when he heard it he was much affected by it, and pariicularly as it related to the fare of the late Lord Kilwarden, on whore character he pronounced an handsome panegyric. He ob. served, however,' that he thought that thai horrid eveni, arrocious as it was, arose out of some sudden affray, and was no part of a systematic rebellion, for then he had not read the proclamation which was issued on that occasion. He ob. ferved that Ministers had misconducted ihem elves towards the House upon this subject, and said, that if he had been in the House at the lime of the ciscuition of is, he should have concurred in the sentiment of his right hon. Friend (Mr. Windham), not that he should have opposed the meafure which the House adopted, because that appeared to be necefsary, but he should have concurred in the sentiments expelled by his right hon. Friend, that there never was a measure of that nature before adopted by the House upon such scanty information ; for martial law had never before been adopied by Parliament without ample information of mater on which it was founded. He nevertheless would have adopted martial law; he had said su already, but he should have done to from a conviätion of the neceflity of the thing, not because Nlinisters had done iheir duty in laying proper information

5 P 2

before would

[ocr errors]

before the House, nor upon the statement of the proclamation. He said there was a great difference between the present case and that on which Parliament had formerly adopted martial law in Ireland, for then they had the reports of iwo Secret Committees, liating much matter on which the House was justified in proceeding, but in the present case, Ministers would not give to the House information. They might say they had not perfect information at that time to give, and therefore they could not give what they had not, but they pofleffed information now, and they ought to give it. He maintained, that Ministers had displayed great ignorance on this subject, or they had been criminal. He must presume that Minifters had information upon this fubject, or ke mmit impute to them a systematic delufion towards that House and ihe public. There was, in the most favourable way of viewing the matter, a culpable remiffness on the part of the Executive Government in Ireland. He believed that Government had information upon the subject of the conspiracy. Now, if their information was ever lo detective, he thought they had been remiss, for in a country like Ireland, there would have been no harm in a litile precaution ; but he understood, that a week before the rebellion broke out, some men had been wounded, and there was a discovery of some gunpowder; and on the Friday, the day before the conspiracy happened to be detected, Government had received information, stating that the disaffected party had betrayed symptoms of great agiration–That they had Icfe their work in parties; which was a signal of insurrection; and above all, that men were coming from various parts of the country to Dublin : now this ought to have put the Executive Government on their guard He did not say that no preparation was made against this infurreétion, but he said it was an inadequate preparation : Ministers were surprised by what had taken place, but he was not. He had received a letter from a person not likely to form any opinion adverse tu Government without good evidence, stating, that the troops in the barracks did not come for a coniderable tiine after the assault was commenced; and it was quelled by the volunteer corps called “the Liberty Rangers." The garrison was not prepared, the ironps of the line were not informed in tiine.' He spoke from information which satisfied him of the culpable negligence of the Executive Government, for which reason he mould be glad to see their dispatches, to know how the facts stood. Hc would familiarize this case by example. Suppose Government here had information of a conspiracy against London, and that they had learnt the people in Kent and Surry had left their work, and were coming to London in parties; would not Government here be thought reinils if it fuffcreí the metropolis to be surprised as Dublin was? He believed that the indignation of the whole town would be directed against them. Why then, he would alk, did we not feel the fame fentiment with regard to Dablin? Why should we negleit ireland? Could Ireland feel that Government had done its duty with regard to that part of the United Kingdom? Could the Members of that House lay their hands upon their hearts and say that they had done their duty, without calling for full in forination upon this fubjeét? Some months agn the Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed a provision for the Prince of Wales, and he said the time was particularly proper for granting it, becaule a time of profound peace; and he made an impression upon the House, and on the Royal Exchange, that there was a probability of the peace being of long duration ; but in a month atlerwards a meilage came staring armaments which indicated the danger of an invasion. So that at one day this great and prosperous country was represented by Ministers as being free from danger, and then in a month is was represented as being in danger of invasion. This he called a misrepresentation of the itate of things, and for which Ministers were responsible, or they were culpably negligent in not procuring the necellary information. If he was told of any great effect being produced, he naturally looked for a great cause for it: but when he looked at the correspondence between his Majesty's Ministers and the enemy, and found that military spies were detected in Ireland in the beginning of the peace, under the name of Commercial Commillioners, he would have thought that the vigilance of Ministers had been turned to Ireland. He could not account for this sort of surprise on Ministers with regard to Ireland ; a lulling spell seemned to have overspread their faculties. They seem to have been almilt petrified or rendered callous. He thould trouble the House no more upon the present occasion, for various reasons; but he did think it ought to know the present circumstances of Ireland. He saw things in the newspapers on which the House ought to have information. He had heard of the declaration of the rebels. We ought to know the movements in ihe


[ocr errors]

Norih. In a word, he protested against the separation under this ignorance of affairs,

Lord Cufflereaghlaid, he should submit to the House a very few words on the luije& now before it. The speech of the hon. Gentleman who brought this mailer forward was of a general nature, and embraced topics much ivo large for the prefent mole of curing, for each of them would d mand a feparate discullion vetore juiuice could be done il ; so that he thould have little indeed to say it his hon. · Friend (Mr. Ellin) had not brought forward some topics of which it vias his duty to take some nosice. He though the view his hon. Friend took of this mailer, divided itselt into iwo points ;one, that the Executive Government were bound to give more iniormation on the affairs of Ireland than they had given relative to the late melancholy occasion. Where his hon. Friend formed the principle or latesman-like motive for giving ibat information, he was at a loss to know; as Jiule was the application for this information founded on precedent in the practice of the Executive Government of Ireland; and he did not think that the precedents to be found in the practice of the Executive Government were wholly unworthy of notice upon this occafion. He spoke of the Executive Governments of Lord Camden and Lord Cornwallis ; 'no Government of which he had ever known the history was placed in a situation more difficuli and critical, and extricated jilelf out of its difficulties so well as those of the iwo noble Lords whose names he had just mentioned, but certainly neither of these two Governments furnished a preecdent to support the motion now before the House. It was indeed crue, that after the rebellion, when all creafon was pui dowi), when individuals were brought to justice, Governmeni cime to Parliament with all the information they purfelled, but not uniil all the individuals accused of being coneernes in the rebellion havi been brought to justice; this was after the danger was over, not like the prelent, where the danger was pending; and therefore, how a ran of reafoning powers, and enlightend mind, could expect this morion to be agreed is, by which a full view was to be given of all that Governmeni knew with respect to dang r, he was at a loss, fince all reasoning was against it, and no precedent for it. There was mitefly in this motion great danger, if the Houle comply withii, for if Government broughi forward the information now called for, the statement would present


« ZurückWeiter »