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effects could arise. If the House thought the Government of Ireland capable of taking measures for the safety of that country, let thai Government iake those measures which it thought most adviseable; and it should always be recollected, that in cases of conspiracy ineasures of halle were not advisable, as they prevented the guilty from being brought to that punithment which they deserved Being convinced that the House were satisfied that the present motion onght not to be carried into effect, he [hould give it his decided negative.
Mr. Windham explained several points in his speech, in which he conceived inat he had been misunderstood by the Chancellor of the Exchequer ; he particularly alluded in the expedition to Quiberon ; and said, that so far from deprecaring any inquiry upon that subject, it was one upon which he had always called upon Gentlemen, and dared them to enter into the inquiry.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer begged leave to state one fact which he had omitted in his former speech ; it had been stated that military spies from France, under the title of commercial agenis, had been arrested in Ireland ; this was not the case, because Government had prevented those persons from going to the place of their destination.
Lord Caftlereagh explained.
Dr. Laurence said he did not know of this motion before he came into the House, but having heard it he was determined to give it his support. He by no means agreed with the noble Secretary of Siate that the motion was objectionable because it could have no practical and immediate effect, it appeared to him that such a motion as the present was perfectly proper ; and he also cintended, that ihe hon. Gentleman who brought it forward was perfectly justified in his opening speech in going inio those general observations for which he had been so much censured. The hon. Genlleman ihon proceeded to enter at considerable length into a defence of his right hon. Friend (Mr. Windham) particularly for his conduct on the day when the message was delivered respecting
Ireland. He iheu adverted 10 che affertion of Mr. Windham, y that the Government of Ireland had suffered itself io be sus
prised : his he contended was ftriétly true, and they were the more culpable, because they had not only received in fotomation from different quarters, but they had the evidence of facts to warn them of their approaching danger. He, however, did not object to the measures which had been adopted with regard to Ireland, he only complained that they hal VOL. IV. 1802-3.
been adopted without fufficient information having been laid
The Attorney General faid, it certainly was not his intention to follow the learned Gen:leinan through the whole of his multifarious speech, because it seemed as if it had been the intention of the larned Gentleman in his speech, at the conclusion of the session to sum up the whole of the debates which had occurred during the feition. There were a variety of subjects upon which the Hon. Gentleman had commented, which appeared to him to have not even the most remote connection with the question before the House, and upon these points he was not tempted to follow him. Nothing certainly could be more true than that when a rebellion was iuppreilert, it was desirable chai the laws should revert as soon as por?:ble to their anrient channel: this principle was felt so trong v by his Majesty's Ministers, thai they withed, even in tiine of rebellion, to keep the laws in their usual chancel, except only in cases of actual rebellion, and consequently, in the martial
law bill which had been paffed, there was no stoppage of the regular course of justice, except in those particular cases. A confiderable part of this discussion had turned up in the manner in which ine lare measures with regard to Ireland had been patred, and the right hon. Genileman seemned to support i he motion with the view to enable \linisteis 10 justify ihemselves for their conduct upon that occasion. He was not o opinion that the conduct of Ministers or of Parliament, upon "that occasion, required any juttification.
With regard to the mor oa before the House, the only practicable means of carrying it into eilėct would be to addrets the King not to prorogue Parliament, a measure which he did not fuppose any Gentleman would recommend at a period like the prefent, when the presence of Gentlemen was fo necellary in the couniry. But it had been swil that a Committee migli be appointed to lit during the prorogation, for the purpose of examining into the state of lieland. He withed to know whether the right hon. Gentleman meant that an Act of Parliament thould be paffed to appoint fuch a Committee ? (Mr. Windham faid he had not fiaied how it was to be appointed, he had only recommended that it should be done.) The only way in which he was aware :!'at such a Committee could be infused was, by an act of Parliament, and he would verture to say, that there was not a precedent for such a measure, on the journals of the House. There were besides great conítitutional difficulties in the way of such a measure; because a Committee so conficuted would be independent of the power of the House, and of the prerogative of the Crown. The hon. Gentleman had recommended this, in order to thew the people of Ireland the vigilance with wluch their affairs were attended to.
But it would thew a strange kind of vigilance to agree to a measuie of this kind on the latt day of a leilion, when it could not be attended with any practical good effect; but he adınitted it was not only the period of the fellion which induced him to oppose the motion, because he thould equally oppose it if brought forward on the fuft day of thic feflion. Indeed he -did not think that fecret Committees ought to be appointed unless when applied for by Government. Nothing could be more obvious, than that in the cate of treasonable confpiracies the Executive Government ought to be left to itself, because the greatest poflible mischief might arise from the inftitution of premature inquiry, because it might tend to prevent the punishment of the guilty, and to cut up the sources of future infor
mation. He was far from attributing any such motive to the hon. Gentleman who brought forward the motion, but certainly its adoption might have that effect. That hon. Gentleman had talked much of conciliating the people of Ireland, but it should be recollected, that in attempting to conciliate part of the inhabitants of that country, they inight run the risk of alienating others. There was in that country some as loyal, affectionate, and tried subjects as any in his Majesty's dominions; and it was necessary to take care, that in endeavouring to conciliate those whofe affections we bad not, we did not alicnate those whose affections we had, whole loyalty was tried, and whose energy and bravery si, in a most critical moment, faved that country. He could, if it were necessary, enlarge very much upon this subject, which however he should not do; he only tlrought it right to throw out this consideration to those who were constantly talking of conciliation, Convinced therefore as he was that this inotion could have no practical good effect if adop*ed at this moment, convinced that it was a motion which cught not at any time to be agreed to, he thould give it his decided opposition. .
Lord Temple observed, that words had been attributed by fome right hon. Gentlemen to his right hon. Friend, which he had never expressed: he talked much of precedents, with. out recollecting that his right hon. Friend threw out the idea of appointing a Committee in the way of suggestion, and not advanced in argument; and he lamenied that the learned Gentleman should exhaust so much time in endeavouring 10 refute whiat was never seriously meant to be proposed. He deprecated the idea of our alienating the affections of those who at present were favourably inclined to us, in the attempt to conciliate those who may feel differently. The rebellion was by no means a catholic one ; the cottagers and others, of both religions, were equally insecure from its ravages; they were equally the victims: it could not therefore be juftly styled a catholic rebellion. He Gould support the motion, because he thought it important to know whether Government was in pofseflion of information sufficient to enable them to act decisively sooner than they had done. Adverting to the occurrences which took place in Dublin, he ob. served, if Government had previous information, or were aware of what was going forward, they ought to be brought to a severe account for it. Had they in such a cale speedily come forward with vigour and decision, the life of Lord Kilwarden and many others might have been saved. He censured the precautions taken by the Government of Ireland for the security of the capital as inadequate and infecare. Having served on garrison duty in this city, he hail an opportunity of underitanding that part of the subject. The inotion was one which he thought ought to be adopted as a means of learning whether Government hail thore means of information which those who acted with him contended ihey had, and on account of which they should have acted very differently.
Lord Caftlereagh spoke in explanation of some points which fell frorn him, and adverted io lhe equal responsibility, in a general sense, of all the Members of his Majesty's Government.
Lord Temple said a few words in explanation ; as did
The 11torney-General who vindicated himself from the charge of having aspersed the Roman Catholics of Ireland, a great number of whom he believed in his conscience, to be as faithful and loyal subjects as any in that part of the united kingdom.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer explained, that the reason of his going into a statement of many of the leading measures of his Majesty's Government was, the affertion made by an hon. Gentleman, that a kindred system of remissness and delay existed on the part of boih Governments. With a view, therefore, to obviate any unfavourable impressions that such affertions may give rile to, he had entered into such derail.
Colonel Craufurd thought the language held by some Gentlemen in the House that nighi, would almost induce him, for the sake of Ireland, to regret that the union had taken place. He was astonilhed that at a time when a rebellion. had recently broken out, when many people in Ireland imagined a degree of remissness on that part of Government existed, and when the capital was nearly surprised; when, under such circumstances, a notion like the present was made in the United Parliament, they should be told that no useful purpose could be answered by it, and that the United Parliament could do nothing in it. Very different, he believed, would be the conduct of an Irish Parliament in suche circumstances. He thought the subject thould be inquired into. When he heard of a want of precedent objected to the appointinent of a Committee, he would ask where was a precedent to be found for the present situation of the empire?