§ Sir John Wrottesley.
—I rise, Sir, in pursuance of the notice I gave upon a former night, to call your attention to a subject by no means new to the House. It has frequently been discussed incidentally, and in all these discussions there has hitherto appeared to be a material difference of opinion amongst his Majesty's ministers, as to where the blame was input able. It will not, then, be deemed surprising if his Majesty's ministers, wish all the means of information they possess, have not been able to form a decided and unanimous opinion, that there should exist also doubts in this House, and if these doubts do exist, that no individual like myself, should wish to bring forward this inquiry in a shape which, in the firm instance, will admit a wide field of discussion, and, if it meets the approbation of the House, will afford an opportunity of procuring every species of information that can tend to elucidate a transaction of such importance to the honor of the Irish government, and the safety and happiness of the Irish people.—I shall not inquire what has induced the hen. Admiral (Berkeley) to wave his motion, but I totally disclaim the intention with which he, from the most he norable motives of friendship, had been induced to bring it forward. I feel myself called upon to consider the subject on a more enlarged scale, and without wishing to throw a larger share of blame upon one part of the government, to exculpate another, that the subject should undergo a full, fair, and can did investigation. Upon any motion of inquiry relative to Ireland, it was formerly objected, that the Parliament of that country were competent to the management of their own affairs. Such an objection is since the Union, not only impossible, but appears to afford an opportunity of impressing the necessity of a strict attention to their welfare. It cannot be doubted that great sacrifices were made by the members of Ireland, and I hope no member of the British Parliament opposed that measure, without first reflecting on the important duty he took upon himself, and without a determination to feel an equal 738 regard for the interests of that country upon all occasions. Those interests were formerly the exclusive care of the Irish Legislature; their discussions were free from the weighty and important considerations of foreign policy, and their whole attention was directed to the improvement of the internal state of the country, and to keep a jealous and watchful eye over the government in whose hands their lives and property were placed. All these considerations are now blended with the great duties of a general attention to the interests of the empire at large, and I earnestly hope they will equally become subjects of serious and important concern to every gentleman who hears me, and that we shall prove we agreed to the measure of Union, not for the purpose of depriving Ireland of any benefit, but of lending our assistance, and all the abilities possessed by this House, in endeavouring to raise her to an equal share of prosperity with this part of the empire, and to conciliate the minds of the lower orders in that country, that instead of being objects of jealousy to the government, they may, like the people of this country, become a formidable increase to that national force, which we may be called upon to exert against the common enemy.—Another objection is of more recent date. A motion in some respects similar to that which I shall submit, was opposed upon two grounds, the first, that any motion "not proposed to be followed up by any practical measure, with a view to some beneficial effect, must at all times be liable to great objections."—In the present case, it is my intention to move for a Committee of the whole House, to inquire into the conduct of the government of Ireland relative to the insurrection of the 23d July, and the previous conduct of that government, a far as it relates to the said insurrections; and I have no hesitation in saying, that a beneficial effect must result from this enquiry. If, on the one hand, it should appear that the government of Ireland were active and vigilant, that they had taken every means of procuring correct information, that they had had the ability to discriminate what was true, and what was exaggerated; if the Lord Lieutenant should appear to have been at his post, prepared, in concert with the Commander of the Forces, to give the necessary orders, anxiously watching over the lives of his Majesty's subjects entrusted to his care, and placed under his immediate protection—is any man prepared to say, that a beneficial effect will not be derived by removing doubts which are entertained, and very generally too, of the conduct of the I Irish government? Will no beneficial effect 739 be produced by increasing the confidence of the people of that country in this House? Yes, Sir, the Irish are a generous and grateful people, the constitution of their country, which has undergone a material change, teaches them now to look up to us for protection, justice, and a redress of grievances. Let them not apply in vain. Let us not consider them as empty words, but consider their substance, and their consequences, and let the Irish nation never have reason to assert, that their interests are neglected, or that justice is denied them by this House.—If, on the other hand, it should appear, that government disregarded all the information given them, despised all advice, had been so ignorant of the real state of the country, as to be incapable of discrimination; that during their administration no system of police was arranged, with which they kept up a constant communication—if it should appear, that though frequently warned, they were not aware of the extent of the preparations, or inclined to give credit to them—will any man deny, that a beneficial effect will be produced by an immediate application to the throne, to dismiss those under whose very eye an insurrection has been matured, by whose negligence a great and illustrious character has been dragged from the arms of his daughter, and murdered in her presence, who, if proper precautions had been taken, might still have been contributing to the happiness of his family, and the advantage of his country?—The other ground of opposition upon that occasion was the early period at which the inquiry was called for. But when it is recollected, that in the year 1798, when the rebellion was over, and individuals brought to justice, the Irish government came to Parliament, with ail the information they possessed, it will not be deemed objectionable at this hour, when we are under precisely the same circumstances. I am at a loss, then, to judge what objection can be made to a motion, which I shall submit, from no motives of personality to any individual concerned, for with none am I acquainted, but solely in the spirit of fair inquiry and investigation.—I shall endeavour, as briefly as possible, to state the particulars of this transaction. As early as the December preceding, Mr. Emmett returned from the continent, and joined a conspiracy already formed. This time of its duration, about 8 months, is farther corroborated by the proclamation found in the depot of the rebels, and which they intended to have published, had they been successful. Nothing very material transpires till his Majesty's message of the 8th of March was 740 known. That which spread such general gloom over the minds of every gentleman in this House, seems to have given fresh vigor to these conspirators. In the same month, in the metropolis of Ireland, under the immediate eye of government, several depots were established, and particularly one in Patrick-street, and one near Dirty-lane. The forging pikes, making pike handles, collecting blunderbusses and pistols, making up military cloathing, and other warlike preparations, continued to be made without any interruption from the government, till the 16th of July, when the depot in Patrick-street exploded. A peace officer visited this depot the day the explosion took place, and found pikes, pike handles, and preparations for making gunpowder. What the government did in consequence of a circumstance of such evident notoriety, will be for them to explain, should the House think fit to grant this inquiry; but, so alarmed was Mr. Emmett, that he immediately changed his residence, and appears during the following week, to have made every exertion to accelerate his preparations till the hour of 9 on Saturday night the 23d of July, when he is stated upon his trial, to have sallied forth avowedly for the purpose of attacking the castle of Dublin. Men, from all parts of the country, had been observed resorting to Dublin, and a large body were actually armed near the depot in Dirty-lane, before they were at all perceived by the peace officers; nor had government any intimation of this depôt, which contained 8,000 pikes, and above 34,000 ball cartridges, besides other military stores.—As a recital of all the barbarous proceedings of these rebels is unnecessary to my argument, I will proceed to examine the conduct of government. That they did not make any preparations, I do not assert, but shall state to the House all I know they did, and leave gentlemen, until it shall be finally ascertained by an inquiry, to draw their own inference as to their sufficiency.—That government were repeatedly warned of their danger, by persons of great credit and respectability, there is no doubt, and I believe that in many instances, that information was most ungraciously received.—At 3 o'clock the commander in chief is stated to have been informed of it, and the lord lieutenant proceeded soon after to the Phœnix Lodge to prevent giving any alarm. I mention this to prove, that the not creating alarm was the determination of this meeting at 3 o'clock. I have reason to think that some precautions were recommended relative to the back and the ordnance stores, and a meeting of the principal officers of the gar- 741 rison was also determined upon; but still, in order to avoid giving alarm, it is expressly stated, that this meeting should not take place till after dark, nor were the guards to be re-inforced till the same period. That no information was given to the mayor, is not denied, but it is asserted, that informal ion was given to Mr. Alderman Alexander, the superintending magistrate.—Now, Sir, I am credibly informed, that Mr. Alderman Alexander actually slept out of Dublin that very night. In the absence of the lord lieutenant and a right hon. gent. who was attending his duty in Parliament, the first public officer was Mr. Marsden, the under secretary. This gentleman would of course have correspondence with other public officers, daring such an important moment. When the accounts continued to increase, it was his opinion, or rather, (to use his own words) it would be "bandsomely done" to reinforce the guards at the Phoenix Lodge. This the lord lieutenant, in the postscript to a letter which has appeared in the public prints acknowledges, but concludes that the commander in chief has received further intelligence.—Now, Sir, I take this to be an unequivocal proof, that the information given to the commander in chief at 3 o'clock, did not even warrant providing additional security for the person of the first magistrate; and this I will add, that no information was given him, that was not accompanied with doubts, stating that Mr. Marsden could' neither wholly credit nor reject them." Such was the want of accurate information, that two hours before the rebellion broke out, their secretary could neither credit or reject the reports& But there has been, en the part of some persons, an attempt to throw the blame on the military. The House will recollect, that at the period this transaction took place, Ireland was asserted to be in a state of perfect tranquillity. There were no acts for suspending the habeas-corpus, or for proclaiming martial law; consequently, its polite devolved upon the civil power.—I trust it will never be asserted, that under such circumstances the military should be resorted to in the first instance. I should, on the contrary, conceive, that they were in no way responsible, unless it should be proved, that upon application from the civil power, they were not prepared. So far, I believe, from this being the case, only one magistrate acted with them, who refused to allow them to fire, alleging himself not to be within the limits of his jurisdiction, and the insurrection was quelled in Thomas-street by a military force, without the assistance of a magistrate, the officer acting in his own defence—nor was he en- 742 abled to act so effectually in pursuing the rebels, as he might have done, for want of proper assistance from the civil power, but was obliged to fall back on the barracks in James street. But this part of the subject lies within a very narrow compass. If all was done that was agreed upon at 3 o'clock, and subsequently advised by the civil power, always under a positive order to avoid giving any alarm, I shall feel satisfied that the military are exculpated, and the positive of a letter received by Gen. Fox, just as the rebellion was breaking out, clearly proves that the lord lieutenant conceived he had done more than was necessary. The postscript runs thus: "I have just heard that "you have given directions for augmenting "the guard here to an officer and 30 men. "I conclude from it, that you have received "some further intelligence, which induces "you to think it adviseable, and as an alarm "is given, that precaution will not add greatly to it."—I might possibly be considered here, as wishing to exonerate the commander in chief. I disclaim any such intention, further than that impression which I have received from a careful investigation of the facts. But if there is any cause to blame his conduct, let that, also, be brought forward. The public have a claim upon this House for the truth of the particulars of that, transaction. It is that which I demand, and; will pledge myself, if the House thinks fit to acquiesce in this motion, to produce to them a scene of weakness and indecision, far beyond the conception of any one who hears me. I will prove a secretary writing letters unprecedented as to their equivocal meaning. I will prove him just as the rebellion broke out, writing this laconic and extraordinary epistle: "Our accounts grow more serious. "I am told that men are marching on the "line of the canal. Appearances look but "uncomfortable Yours, &c." This and the unsatisfactory accounts of the reports which he could neither credit or reject, were the intimations given of an insurrection that threatened to subvert the government of Ireland. I will then move for letters from the lord lieutenant, written after this barbarous and sanguinary rebellion, with an apathy and unconcern, of which nothing but the letters themselves, can give an adequate idea. Nor is there a man in this House, who possesses the warmth of honest feeling, who will not perceive with indignation, the very little anxiety which at this awful moment was manifested for the public safety. The precautions taken for the lord lieutenant will, I think, shew the insignificant opinion originally entertained of this rebellion, and form 743 a history of the minds of government during nine very important hours. At 3 o'clock the lord lieutenant conceived himself sufficiently guarded by a Serjeant and 13 men; between 8 and 9 he was surprised it should be thought necessary for him to be guarded by an officer and 30 men; and before 11, he sent orders to Sir Charles Asgill by Sir Edward Littlehales, for a further reinforcement of a captain and 50 dragoons, and a field officer and 100 infantry. I do not state this as more than necessary; en the contrary, I think the person of the first magistrate in that country should be held sacred; but I state, as a criterion of his opinion of the rebellion, and if we proportion the alarm in the minds of government to the number of men, it was just fifteen times greater at 11 o'clock than at 3, when the precautions were originally agreed upon.—Now, in considering all these facts, I have wished to trace some principle upon which the government acted; and the only consistent part they appear to me to have held, was a determination to avoid giving alarm. It may, therefore, be necessary to say a few words on the propriety of that determination. It has always been admitted, that it is better to prevent than to punish crimes. It is impossible the government could have intended to wait till this insurrection took place, with a view of discovering the authors; the risk which every loyal man must have you, the placing the lives of his Majesty's subjects, even for the shortest period, in such a state of danger, would of itself be deemed highly criminal, and the impropriety of such a measure cannot be more fully exemplified than in the unfortunate occurrence which actually took place.—Hut. it has been argued, that the melancholy circumstance of Lord Kilwarden's death was "accidental," the rising "a contemptible riot." Can that be deemed "contemptible," which had for its object the separation of Ireland, to deprive us of her valuable assistance at a moment when we were called upon to make every exertion for the very defence of these kingdoms? which was evidently undertaken in concert with the enemy, who had probably contributed to the powerful means which they had of carrying their plans into execution. Can that be called a "contempible rior," which induced yon to pass bills, giving the greatest possible power to the government of that country, and after a period of months deliberately to renew them? which obliged you to place the yeomanry of Ireland on permanent duty for 3 months, at an expense of above 400,000l. to be defrayed by die two countries? No& Sir, the government of Ireland found itself 744 embarrassed. To justify these strong measures, they were oliged to represent it in its true light; they then perceived that if it was important and extensive, they should have been better prepared against it, and what they call in their proclamations "daring and rebellious outrages in prosecution of a rebellions conspiracy, "dwindles into a "contemptible riot."—But let us not differ as to I terms. Grant a full and fair investigation. Let us have authenticated papers, and persons; at your bar. Let us have she facts, and the; appropriate name will easily be found.—I therefore move, "That this house do resolve itself into a commitee of the whole house to inquire into the conduct of the Irish government relative to the insurrection of the 23d of July, and the previous conduct of that government, as far as relates to the said insurrection."
—Sir; if I rightly understand the hon. baronet, he has founded his motion for this inquiry upon the supposed criminal neglect or incapacity of the Irish government in regard to the insurrection of the 23d of July. The hon. bart. began his observations with one which does not possess that accuracy, which, I have no doubt, the; hon. bart. intended. He assumed in the beginning of his speech, that it had been conceded that blame attached to some part of the Irish government either civil or military, and that, therefore, this motion was necessary to ascertain to which the blame actually belonged. If any such concession has been made, I should consider that event as being by far too important to justify me in opposing the inquiry. But no such concession was ever made by his Majesty's ministers from the first moment the affair was ever mentioned; the language of ministers was uniformly this, that in their judgment no blame whatever attached 10 the persons in the government in Ireland, whether civil or military. The facts connected with that transaction, are now sufficiently notorious to enable parliament to judge whether or not an inquiry be necessary.—I shall now shortly examine the grounds upon which I consider this inquiry as necessary or expedient; and if I shall be able to satisfy the house, that there is no ground to attribute blame to any character civil or military, I shall I hope satisfy them, that there is no ground for the present inquiry. I am perfectly aware, that those who are closely connected with the persons who form a part of the government of Ireland, either civil or military, may be anxious far an inquiry. Had the hon. bart. thought proper to bring forward his motion not collectively but specifically, it might have been 745 entitled to more regard, and attended with more success. Without entering into any minute inquiry, the facts connected with that transaction must undoubtedly be of sufficient notoriety to discuss the question, whether or not there be ground of accusation against any particular person, were the question to be put to issue on that particular point. As far as his Majesty's ministers are concerned, they have uniformly denied that any blame attaches on the part of his Majesty's government in Ireland: and they have always said, that those who are inclined to make that matter a subject of inquiry, may make it a matter of distinct inquiry, and not collective and general, as in the present instance.—As to the matter of expediency if I shall be able to satisfy the house that there is no fair ground to impute blame to any quarter, I shall go thus far, that it is not the duty of ministers to institute any inquiry, merely for the purpose of establishing to the satisfaction of the public, that no blame is imputable to any person whatever. There may be some individuals who have a close connexion with the transaction, who may wish that some investigation should take place own, that if I myself were in a similar situation, I should wish, for my own justification, that inquiries should be made. Private feelings, however, are totally inconsistent with parliamentary considerations, or what it is our duty in this place are indulge. Such wishes, in individuals, constitute, I must own, but an uncertain criterion of the real fact; bat surely, to an unprejudiced mind, those feelings must be the strongest, where the most complete innocence exists; where this is the case, it is certainly unnecessary to waste the valuable time of parliament in such investigations.—My first objection, therefore, to this inquiry is, that it is unnecessary, as there is no imputation of blame against any of the persons connected with the Irish government.—But there is another material objection in point of time to this inquiry, because the object of it is to attack lord Hardwicke, and it surely is not consistent with justice to institute an inquiry concerning his conduct, while his whole time is taken up in administering the affairs of Ireland. And this objection does not only apply to the lord lieut, but to the other persons concerned in the government of Ireland, whether civil or military: because, if the inquiry is instituted, the officers who hold chief commands in Ireland, must necessarily be examined; oil the persons concerned in the civil department must also be examined, and in the mean time & opinion of the people, with 746 regard to the government, would be suspended, the valuable time of parliament would be taken up, the principal civil and military officers must be brought from Ireland to be examined, and all this upon an occasion where no blame can be attached to any person whatsoever. I do not mean to say, that these are arguments that ought to preclude an inquiry, if any satisfactory grounds had been laid for one; but when no satisfactory case has been made out, undoubtedly the inconvenience that must attend it, will have great weight with the house. I profess myself at present fully prepared to meet the hon. bart. upon his own grounds, raid I have no doubt but that I shall be able to convince the House that this inquiry ought not to be gone into. The hon. baronet has stated, that the lord lieutenant and the Irish government were totally ignorant of the affairs of that country, that they were supine in the discharge of their duty, that they had not proper information, and that they were incapable of distinguishing the nature of any information given to them, whether it were true or whether it were false.—Besides these general charges, the hon. baronet has advanced some specific charges: he has contended that they did not truly appreciate the degree of danger with which they were threatened on the23d July, and that they did not take adequate means to meet it.—With respect to the general charges, I beg to say a few words; and first, I beg to deprecate that mode of stating the question which the hon. baronet has adopted. It has beer, inferred from the general language which ministers have used, with regard to the tranquil state of Ireland, that they conceived that all danger had ceased, and that there was no occasion for any precaution. I contend that every part of their conduct shews that they did adopt every necessary precaution; and even the transactions of the 23d of July, when they came to be fully examined in a court of justice, proved the justice of my assertion. It is true that ministers, speaking of the people of Ireland generally, said, that they were loyal, and that they were tranquil, that the laws could be administered in their usual course, and that, therefore, there were no grounds to justify them for calling for any extraordinary powers. But, I would ask any man in this House, when ministers held this language, did they mean to convey to parliament, that such a miracle had been wrought in Ireland, as that a country which had, in a great degree, been rendered systematically traitorous, had at once put on a completely new appearance, and that all the 747 seeds of rebellion were completely eradicated from it. I can venture to say, that no word ever dropped from any individual which could justify such an interpretation. No; it is impossible that such a construction can be put upon any thing that passed on any occasion. There were no such drivellers in the government of that country.—It is, however, but justice to Lord Hnrdwicke to state, that he did, before the 23dof July, seriously submit to ministers, upon general grounds, whether, under the contemplation of the treason existing in that country, the' suspension of the habeas corpus act ought not to be adopted as a matter of precaution? This consideration the noble lord did submit to ministers, without particularly pressing it as his own opinion. This is a proof, that his mind was not misled as to the real state of the country.—His Majesty's ministers, upon full consideration of this proposition, did not think it expedient to adopt that measure; and I think their decision, was a wise one, considering the situation of this country, which was united like one man in defence of their liberties and their independence, and considering the growing loyalty of the people of Ireland; because, under such circumstances, it would have been neither wise nor prudent to have acted upon principles of jealousy towards the people of Ireiand.—I trust I have now proved this point, that the lord lieutenant of Ireland had neither taken so superficial nor so unwise a view of the state of Ireland, as to suppose that it was a country of complete loyalty, and that no measures of precaution were necessary.—The next charge is, that government were not possessed of full information on the subject of the insurrection. New. I beg leave to contend, that it is not a subject of blame in every case, if government is not in possession of every step and plan which the conspirators might adopt, because in some cases it is actually impossible. During the former rebellion in Ireland, the system of terror was carried to such a pitch, that it is almost impossible to obtain intelligence. In the present, it was equally difficult to obtain intelligence, though from a different reason, for the secret was in so few hands, that there were scarcely any means of obtaining information. The explosion of the powder-mill in Patrick-street, however, determined the conspirators to lose no time in carrying their plot into execution; yet the secret was still confined to very few persons, namely, those v. ho were suffered to go to the depot, and t hey were not above eight in number. But after the explosion of the powder-mill, go- 748 vernment did obtain intelligence, for the conspirators wrote from Dublin on the I8th of July, to some persons at Belfast, requesting assistance, and that circumstance was known to the government on the 21st in Dublin. Information was also received from many channels of the intended rising on the 21st, 22d, and 23 of July. Upon the ground, therefore, of information, it does appear that the Irish government were not deficient.—I come now to consider whether they had adopted proper measures of precaution and, in order to decide that question, we must estimate the extent of the danger, to know whether the measures of precaution were sufficient. I shall first examine the extent of the danger as it appeared a priori, and then as it appeared in the actual result of the insurrection. The conspirators had not determined to act till after the explosion in Patrick-street, and then, instead of adopting the conduct which was adopted in the former rebellion, of communicating the secret to a great many persons, they only communicated it so a few. I beg the House to consider, what was the situation of the government of Ireland: they knew that an application had been made to the people of the north to rise, which application was so coldly received, that the report made to the conspirators was, that the north would not act. It was also known, that almost ail the counties in the interior had refused to act, and that the only support upon which the rebels could depend was from the counties of Kildare and Wicklow, and one barony in the formerly rebellious county of Wexford; and it was known that there was not any considerable body of rebels that could move speedily to Dublin. If, under these circumstances, I had been called upon to consider the subject, I certainly could never have entertained the supposition that the rebels of the city of Dublin could have entertained so absurd and mad an idea, as that they could, considering the garrison that was in that city, have entertained any hope of taking the castle. The man who, however, did attempt to carry this scheme into execution was a Mr. Emmett, a young man of an enthusiastic mind, who, in consequence of the death of his father, became possessed of about 3000l. and this sum he thought proper wholly to embark in the project of overturning the government of his country; he did not, as had been done on former occasions, run the risk of detection by applying for subscriptions, but proceeded upon his own capital, and collected a very considerable quantity of pikes; but, certainly, not so many as has been slated, for instead 749 of 8000 there were not above 3000; but even it he had collected 8000 pikes, it never could have entered into his head that he could find 8000 men in Dublin to use them; which certainly would not have been very easy in such a city as Dublin, and with such a garrison. Indeed, Emmett does not seem: to have bestowed much consideration upon the subject. It appeared that he applied to some people in Kildare to join him; they; were prudent enough, however, to make some inquiries as to the means he had provided to ensure success: Emmett replied& that he could not communicate with them at that distance, but if they would send two confidential delegates, he would shew them the means he had provided: they did, accordingly, send two delegates, who arrived in Dublin immediately previous to the insurrection, and were taken by him to the depot in Thomas-street; but they were so satisfied that the means were insufficient, that they made such a report, that scarcely any of the people from Kildare assisted upon that occasion. Mr. Emett was, therefore, obliged at last to march from his depot at the head of an army of 80 men, and before he reached the market house in Thomas-street, his army was reduced to 20 men, most of whom were general officers. This, therefore, appears to be the whole of the danger the Irish government had to guard against. But, even if Emmett had 8000 men for his 8000 pikes, the garrison of Dublin was able to have driven twice that number out of the town.—I now beg to sty a few words as to the nature and extent of the military preparations in Dublin. The garrison consisted of four regiments of infantry, and one of cavalry, amounting together, including artillery, to 4000 rank and file. This garrison was not placed in one point, but occupied no less than eight different positions, in barracks, the guard that was constantly mounted in Dublin amounted to between 3 and 400 men.—Now, with respect to the precautions that were used, the commander in chief, when he returned from the lord lieutenant, wrote to the officer commanding the artillery and ordnance, to desire him to use ail necessary precautions for their security, and the most effectual precautious were accordingly adopted to secure them from any attack. The national bank was the next object, which was defended by an officer's guard; it is besides a very strong building, and situated within 200 yards of two of the most considerable military stations in Dublin, the royal barracks and the barracks at Essex-Bridge.—?With regard to the castle of Dublin, nobody would 750 feel more concern than I should, if any of his Majesty's castles were taken possession of by rebels. But even if the rebels had taken it, it would not have facilitated their operations, nor would it have done any other mischief than that of enabling them to destroy a few records; but the castle was always defended by a strong garrison, and besides it was within 100 yards of the barracks at Essex-Bridge, in which was the 62d regiment, consisting of between 6 and 700 men. Between 7 and 8 o'clock, the artillery officer reported that all these stations were in a state of perfect security. Bat the commander in chief did not stop here, he made other arrangements; he augmented some of the guards, and others he ordered to be augmented after it was dark. At half-past 6 o'clock he sent orders to augment the bank and the castle guards with 50 men each, but the reinforcements were not to march till after dark. He gave orders for guards also to march to the following places, viz. to the lord lieutenant's, in the park; to the royal hospital, at Kilmainham; and to the guard at Kilmainham, each a serjeant and 12 men; 20 men to Chapelizod, and an officer's guard to Clondalkin, where the powder-mills were, I trust, therefore, that it will appear that the commander in chief had not neglected the necessary precautions for the security of I Dublin.—It now remains to be seen how& these precautions operated. When the at tuck broke out, it appeared that two small I parties were sufficient, completely to disperse the rebels, even before any other parties could march to their assistance. As soon as the insurrection was known, parties marched from the royal barracks, and I now hold in my hand an official report of general Dunn, who commanded the garrison in the barracks, that night, by which it appeared that between 10 and 11 o'clock, the following parties marched from the barrack, viz. 100 foot and 50 horse, to the lord lieutenant's, in the park; 50 men at the bank; 3 parties of 100 men each, besides some smaller ones, were sent in different directions; in all 470 foot, and 50 horse were sent from the barracks, and there remained besides 600 I rank and rile. There is not, therefore, the slightest presumption for imputing any negligence to the commander in chief in fact the precautions used, when compared with the danger, may almost appear more than was necessary. It is the death of Lord Kilwarden and Col. Brown, that gives a degree of importance to this transaction which does not really belong to it; for when it came to be examined in a court of justice, it appeared to be a most contemptible effort of a 751 wild and extravagant young man, and had more discouraged the rebels and brought the cause of rebellion into more contempt than any event that had ever occurred; and this was Mr. Emmett's notable receipt for overturning the government of Ireland& I am not, however, surprised that the public mind of that country should be a little disposed to criticise upon the transaction; for though the government was not surprised, I yet beyond all doubt, the public feeling of the country was surprised at this most extraordinary attempt; as it occurred at a time when it was remarkably dark, and in a country where the people are peculiarly alive to such matters, that there is no transaction examined after it is over, there is no battle criticised after it is fought, in which some error might not be found.—One of the charges against the lord lieut. is that he had not given written orders to the commander in chief; this is a charge which I am sure the commander himself would not make, because it is a thing not usually practised, It is true, that in one instance, written orders were sent to Gen. Lake, when he commanded in the north of Ireland, but that was under particular circumstances, and could not be necessary where the commander and the lord lieut had the means of verbal communication together. It has been urged that patroles ought to have been sent out; but if such extraordinary measures of precaution had been adopted as would have induced the rebels to lay aside their design, the consequence would be, that government would have been the laughing-stock of the country, for they would not have believed that any danger existed. Besides, in that case, how could the government of Ireland, under these circumstances, have applied for any extraordinary power to parliament They could not have laid such a case before parliament as would have justified ministers in proposing, or parliament in granting these powers.—Another criticism which has been made upon the conduct of the Irish government was, that they did not call out the yeomanry; but certainly that would have been a most humiliating display of alarm, when the garrison was completely sufficient for the defence of the town.—Another criticism is, that the lord-mayor was not apprised of the danger; but contend that this was not necessary, as information was sent to the superintending magistrate of the police. At the time of Despard's conspiracy in this country, I have no doubt but that government took the necessary precautions to meet any attempt, but do not apprehend that they sent to acquaint the lord mayor of the circumstance,—With 752 regard to the attack made upon the lord-mayor's house, the fact is, that 4 men went there, and the arms in the house were delivered up by a servant who was in the conspiracy.—Another charge is, that the troops had not ammunition. I believe that the rebels entertained a very different opinion upon the subject; but the fact is, that the commander had given orders that every man, in addition to 60 rounds of ball cartridge in lbs barracks, should always have 12 rounds in his pouch, so that no blame can be attributed to the commander in chief upon that ground. Besides, when it is considered that the troops could not act in a line in Dublin, but must fire by platoon of not more than 6 or B abreast, it must be obvious that 12 rounds each man was amply sufficient.—The hon. bart. has stated that the superintending magistrate slept out of town that night; how the fact really was I do not know, but if he did, that can be no imputation upon government, which had given him the necessary information, and it is perfectly well known that he gave orders for all the constables and police officers to be in readiness. I hope the House will excuse me for going so much into detail upon the subject, bat I conceived it to be my duty to do so and I hope the statement I have made will convince the House that the conduct of a administration in Ireland, both at the time of the insurrection and since, has been that of a wise, provident, and vigorous government.—I wish to ask, what was the conduct of that government after they knew the extent of the danger? They pursued the treason through all its ramifications, they detected the traitors, in every part of the country they tried criminals by the ordinary tribunals of the country, and displayed clemency whenever it could be done with safety. Upon the whole, therefore, I contend that the Irish government were not ignorant of the general state of the country before the insurrection, that they had information of the intended rising, and consequently were not surprised; that they took the proper precautions to meet the danger that threatened them, and that after the insurrection, they were indefatigable in detecting and bringing the traitors to trial before the ordinary tribunals of the country. In this they judged wisely and acted virtuously, as the laws of the country ought never to be departed from, but in cases of are necessity. For these reasons, Sir, I contend that no grounds have been laid to induce parliament to grant this inquiry, and therefore it is that I shall vote against the motion.
§ Mr. Canning
—Before I proceed. Sir, to 753 state shortly the grounds upon which I am compelled to give my vole in favor of the present motion, I feel desirous of offering a few observations on the ground which my noble friend who has just spoken has taken to oppose the present motion, a ground which might be urged against every motion that ever was made or ever will be made for any inquiry whatever in this house into the conduct of any administration; a course very well calculated to screen any government however liable to prepetual attack, and which to a government not very strong I in itself is more especially necessary for that, for many, and some of their particular reasons. It is not, in my opinion, wise to attempt to lay down any general rule to govern all cases of motions for parliamentary inquiry. The grounds in the present; case are three: two of them are of a general kind; the reason for or against the inquiry, is not to be considered as conclusive on the one side or the other, but considered from both together. Each case of proposed inquiry in this House should be I considered, not with reference to any rule that is supposed to be binding, but should be decided upon its own particular merits, It is injudicious to say that inquiries in this House are at all times improper, or at all times I to be indulged, but the House will judge in; each case as it appears before it, will judge when the topics are brought before it, whether the facts complained of are justly so complained of, and therefore ought to be inquired into, or whether they are assumed facts, and not to be considered; whether, in short, the accusation is justly made, or wantonly made; whether the resistance to it is made with a sense of the integrity of; the parties accused, and of the merit of their case, or brought forward to prevent its vile-ness and rottenness from being searched, and proceeds from an unwillingness to expose it.—My noble friend who now resists the present inquiry has not been sparing in his general topics, but has urged them with a plainness of colouring I hardly ever noticed before. What has may noble friend said against the inquiry now proposed? That it I will take up the time, the valuable time of Parliament. Undoubtedly it will do so. But how is the time of Parliament, valuable as it is, to be applied at all—is it not in the exercise of the most important functions of Parliament And what are these important functions—what but that of looking into the conduct of its government, to see whether the people are well or ill governed; to see whether those who act in the government are deserving of confidence or not? How 754 can this be known when complaints are most seriously exhibited, and offered to be proved, without an inquiry into the truth or the falsehood of such complaints? How can there be any confidence for the future, unless there is satisfaction as to the past? I must say, that the arguments offered in opposition to the present motion come with a peculiarly ill grace from the mouth of my noble friend.—Sir, I voted for the union between this country and Ireland. I was then an English member of Parliament; since that union I have sat here as an Irish member, and I will now ask, how it is possible for this House, the great bulk of which consists of English members, to refuse to inquire into a matter so generally interesting to the empire at large, and so particularly interesting to Ireland? Or, am I to be told that I tricked Ireland, when I gave my vote for the union, as a member of Parliament for England?—That the valuable time of Parliament should now be taken up in the discussion of this subject is, in my opinion, highly proper, for had it not been for the union, the subject would have been long ago discussed in Ireland—in that House, at the door of which, some of the outrages in question were committed. The very House in which the members would have assembled, had nearly been a scene of action. They would there have most assuredly instituted an inquiry, whether they had or had not been properly defended by the executive government? But if the inquiry now proposed is to be refused on the ground that the valuable time of Parliament is not to be taken up with this matter; if this is to be the specimen of attention—this the sample of diligence—this the scale of vigilance by which the anxiety of Parliament for the welfare of Ireland is to be measured,. I must repent of the vote I gave, as an English member, for the union, and now, as an Irish member, protest against this apathy in the House towards the interests of Ireland. Such must be my feeling, and such my sentiment if this inquiry is to be refused. I must repent of what I did as an English member before the union, and in my present capacity of an Irish member, complain that Ireland has not her fair share of your attention.—But not only is this motion supposed to be improper, on account of the valuable time of Parliament which would be taken up by it, but it is improper also, because the valuable attention of my Lord Hardwicke would be taken up by it; and it is asked how the government of Ireland is to go on, if this motion is carried, for then he will be compelled to come over to this coun- 755 try for his defence? And here, Sir, I must disclaim every thing personal in the present motion: the noble personage supposed to be the most interested in it, I have no knowledge of, otherwise than from the government of which he is the chief magistrate. I have no knowledge of my Lord Hardwicke. I never saw him, nor ever heard of him but as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. I beg leave to say, that I am not to be understood to intend any thing personally disrespectful to that noble lord; I speak of him merely in his official capacity on this occasion: but sti11 when the question is whether he has governed Ireland well or ill, I must be allowed to speak ray mind freely, nor will I take the plea in bar which has been offered to this inquiry by my noble friend, that the noble lord has no time to defend his conduct. What if he be obliged to come away from Ireland? What if he be a valuable chief magistrate? "I hope we have within the land five hundred good as he." I see no absolute necessity for his remaining in Ireland. If he has incurred the suspicion of Parliament, I see no reason why he should not be recalled and brought before this Parliament to make his defence, and another appointed in the office which he now holds. It may be urged, that this course would be indecorous towards the noble lord, but I would ask whether a similar delicacy has been observed in other instances? Has it been observed with regard to General Fox? Has it not been thought necessary to recal General Fox, even although it is admitted now that there was no objection to him?—And why, if the lord lieutenant has incurred the suspicion of Parliament, should not he also be recalled? It is now plainly admitted, that there was no objection whatever to the conduct of that gallant officer, and yet he was recalled, know not by what chain of necessity Lord Hardwicke is so bound to the office of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, that however he may be accused, he cannot come home to defend himself.—As to the arguments of my noble friend in bar of inquiry, he seems to have rested them upon three different grounds: 1st, that the government of Ireland had ample, information; 2d, that the danger of the day was not so great as it has been represented; and 3dly. (aground which has no relation to the mot on) that since the surprize into which government was thrown upon that occasion, government has been vigilant. Now if I were to admit the truth of this last ground of justification; it I were to admit, in its full force, the as senior, that from the moment of riot, or 756 whatever it was proper to call it, on the 23d of July, government has been the most vigorous, vigilant, and active that ever existed, yet no part of the accusation upon which this motion is founded would have been answered, for this motion is founded upon an allegation that they did not use proper precautions before and on the 23d of July; the motion has no reference to any thing which has happened since that period Now, it is complained of as a thing improper, that a better prospect has been held forth on the subject of the tranquillity and happiness of Ireland than ought to have been, or than the real state of things would warrant; and upon these topics my noble friend says that he has stated his opinion with no particular emphasis, but that what he said on that occasion was to be taken with shades and qualifications.—Now, Sir my complaint is that these shades and qualifications, with which subsequent speeches of my noble friend a bounded, were never made when the assertion of the tranquillity and happiness of Ireland was made. But when that assertion is complained of as being refuted by facts, then my noble friend turns round and products his shades and qualifications of what he said. This reminds me of the statement ma e by the Chancellor of the Exchequer last sessions, relative to the state of profound peace, in which that right hon. gent. then represented Ireland. He insisted upon it that when he talked formerly of a peace he did not mean profound peace: but that the words "profound" and 'peace" were so apt to come together. Why they go together, I know not, unless, indeed, that they both begin with a P.—Now, I expect that ministers will deal fairly with Parliament; I am of opinion that the words of ministers, especially when they are prospective, should be weighed well before they are delivered, for I do not understand the idea that men are to be called "nature's fools," for having believed the words of a minister; or that it should be thrown in their teeth that "none but fools could believe them." Now, the House is asked why they did not bung with them, when they believed the assertion that Ireland was likely to be tranquil and harpy, these shades and qualifications to accompany their belief, so as to be prepared for what has actually happened? But these were not loose or vague assertions, they were the serious assertions of a gentleman well qualified to make them, and for that reason likely to obtain credit for them when made, from the great advantage he is well known to possess by local knowledge, and therefore it is not matter of won- 757 der that the House of Commons gave that assertion credit.—But my noble friend has said that upon the explosion in Patrick Street, government began to think that all was not right. Now, that explosion was on the l6th of July; the insurrection took, place on the 23d. Here is a period of a week during which nothing was done; no precaution was taken by this "wise, vigilant, and provident government," notwithstanding this abundant reason for precaution. The explosion happened on the l6th, which ought to have put ministers on their guard, nothing, however, was done until the 23d. On the 23d the insurrection takes place, and then, but not till then, government thinks of measures of precaution. Now, I mast say, that if ministers did not believe there was danger after the 16th; if they could not see it, there must be an extreme blindness; if, seeing it, they did not provide against it, there was an extreme and culpable remissness. My noble friend found this a pinching part of the case, and therefore he took tile usual course of very ingenious men upon such occasions: instead of meeting the thing itself, he endeavoured to call the attention of the House off from it, to another, namely, the supposed misinterpretation of his opponent, for he has said the number of pikes, were not 8,000 as had been erroneously stated, and 50 considerably exaggerated on the other side, but that they were only between 3 and 4,000. Now, my noble friend ought to be correct upon this subject, because he has the best means of obtaining information; and when he made his statement, and endeavoured to divert the attention of the House to that which was not the truth, or from pursuing that which was the truth, he ought to have taken care that he was accurate in his fact?. And here I do not accuse my noble friend of an attempt wilfully to mislead the House; but I must say, he has some way or other failed to obtain correct information; upon this very subject in which he has been correcting the hon. bart. in his statement, he is glaringly incorrect in his own. hold in my hand a pamphlet, admitted, I believe, on all sides, to be pretty good authority, in which the fact upon the subject of the pikes, which my noble friend says, were only between 3 and 4,000, is stated so directly the contrary, and so entirely refutes the statement of the noble lord, that I shall beg leave to read a passage out of it. This pamphlet states, "that the rebels had on this occasion 36,400 ball-cartridges, scaling ladders, pikes, rebel uniforms, &c. and colours. 8,000 copies of a proclamation of the provisional government, &c. "and 758 that with regard to pikes," the mob having been supplied from the depot with arms, &c. there then remained the trilling number of between 6 and 7,000 pikes, &c." But shall I be allowed to bring forward this assertion against that of his Majesty's confidential servants? I trust I shall. And that the House may see on what authority this pamphlet rests, I will state who the author of it is. It is not a speculative or vague opinion of an individual who had no source of information on the subject on which he treated, but a grave document of perfect authority, no less than the speech of his Majesty's Attorney-General in Ireland, on the trial of Emmett; upon the accuracy of which I apprehend ministers themselves will not affect to entertain a doubt. It has of late become the fashion in this country to rundown the Attorney-General's law; but I ask ministers, if they are ready, in like manner, to run down the Attorney-General's facts? My noble friend has stated, that there were only 3 or 4,000 pikes belonging to the rebels discovered. The Attorney-General in his speech addressed to the jury, the object of which was to persuade them to sited blood, says, I that the number of pikes, after those who had been discovered in arms had been supplied was between 6 and 7,000& Now my noble friend shall take his choice. Did my noble friend make a wrong apology for the Irish govt. in stating the number of these pikes too low; or was this prisoner, against whom this speech was opened, and who was convicted upon the proof of it, hanged upon a falsehood? Perhaps it may be said, that the speech of the Attorney General was an exaggerated statement of the facts; but I should think that a man in so grave an office, on so I grave a subject; a man I do not, indeed, know personally, but of whom I have always heard much to his advantage as a professional man, and a man of honour, would not have exaggerated at all, for it was certainly a case in which he should say nothing but what was strictly correct, because it was a matter in which his fellow creature was to be deprived of his existence. Now, if that learned gent. did speak the truth on that most solemn occasion, my noble friend has been deceived in the amount of the arms of the rebels, and, consequently, in the amount also of the danger to which Ireland was exposed on the 23d of July. But there are two ways of stating things in an argument, with both of which my noble friend is perfectly well acquainted, and of which he is always well aware: the one is to slate and to prove by facts; the other is to state a general result of assumed facts, and to prove nothing. My 759 noble friend has taken the latter course, as most suitable to the case on which he was discoursing. He also claimed merit to the government for things in which they had no concern in producing. He told the house that the bank had a strong wall, which I imagine will hardly be considered as a proof of the precaution and the vigilance of government. And as to the castle, although he admitted it would have been disgraceful it should have been occupied by rebels, he says, that if they had entered it in Triumph, they would yet have found nothing in it. I hope ministers do not mean to invert this and say, that if they had entered the bank they would have found nothing there too. But, surely, there is something in impression I upon such an occasion as that of which I am now speaking. There is much to be considered in governing a people of high and quick feelings, and strong attachments; and, therefore, if the bank or the castle had fallen into the hands of the rebels, if either the castle or the bank had been surprized, and taken, even if there had been nothing& of value in either, it would have, had a very bad effect on the feelings of the people of Ireland.—I shall not follow my noble friend in the papers and minutes to which he referred, but all I can say is, that the statement did not strike me as having much in it. I may be wrong; ray noble friend may be right; but nobody knows which of us is right; therefore,—what? therefore let the house inquire; for that will be infinitely better than to depend upon assertions, unsupported by proof, in the speech of any minister, however respectable he may be as an individual.—I have shewn that my noble friend has suffered himself to be misled by defective information in one striking instance, and his other assertions may proceed from the same defective source. It has been said that the assertions of those who brought forward this subject were exaggerated. It has been said, and in one instance already proved, that the states merits on the other side are fallacious; there fore let the house no longer rest on exaggerated statements on the one hand, or false construction or defective information on the other, but let the house see the facts as they really are. It is evident from the pamphlet which I have already quoted, and which I shall beg permission to quote again, that the insurrection of the 23d of July was the consequence of a preconcerted conspiracy; it was a plan instigated by treason, by persons united together by one common bond of crimes, and insurrection was the consequence of their united efforts. But, whatever might be the degree of danger on the 23d of July, it is rather a curious defence to say, 760 that precaution has been taken since that day. I shall not delay the House by giving the clerk the trouble of reading the motion, but I believe it referred only to transactions previous to and on the 23d of July.—But another curious defence set up by ray noble friend is, that it was a very dark night on the 23d of July—a very dark night indeed& Now, if the question had not been, whether government were prepared, but whether their preparations were well executed that night, the darkness of the night or the difficulties of wind and weather, would be an excuse as far as it would go; but although the darkness of the night prevented ministers from seeing, it could not have prevented them from foreseeing. I do not see why the darkness of the night could li3ve made ministers blind at least a week previous to that time; and I can not help observing further, that though the darkness was so great that it was impossible to know what passed that night, yet my noble friend has stated that the number of rebels in the street that night was 80. But how did you count them? How that fact could be ascertained when it was too dark to see any thing, is beyond my comprehension& The effect of this darkness was most singular. It made men blind before it happened, and enabled them to see during its continuance. But, in point of fact, I would ask, whether the insurrection was so contemptible as has been slated, and made only by a contemptible mob in Dublin? T apprehend not: for upon the authority of a character high in office, and in the confidence of the Irish government (lord Redesdale), it has been stated, that persons had assembled from all parts of Ireland on the occasion, and it has been made the ground of a charge against three-fourths of the population of Ireland, that they had chosen and furnished their quota of these rebels;—that is, that three-fourths of the people of Ireland, furnished their quota of 80 men, since that was the whole number, according to the statement of my noble friend. All the Catholics are by this same high authority, implicated in the rebellion, and have their share of the guilt imputed to them. I allude to the documents, which I have read with shame and indignation, and when I heard my noble friend talk of the temper and moderation of the Irish government, I did expect& that it would have been shewn that their I conduct had been such as to remove every distinction, to prevent the recurrence of those differences that have so long disturbed the peace and tranquillity of that country. If that has been the policy, as I am sure it was the duty of government, ill, indeed, has that end been endeavoured to be accomplished& Good 761 God& Sir, that in the 19tb century, there should be found a man of great talents, fitted for great good in a state; of great learning too, but that which he has lately displayed, I could almost have wished that no body had it now, for I had hoped it had been exploded at least two centuries ago;—that this learned person should till the office of a great legislator, and the highest as a legal magistrate, cud that he should be appointed to preside in, the only country where such antiquated doctrine could do effectual mischief& I do not I say it is a fault, but it certainly is a great misfortune that such a person, with such sentiments, should be placed in such a station. I cannot augur favourably of the disposition of a government, in which such sentiments prevail nor do I think it likely that Ireland can ever be tranquillized, as long as they shall be acted upon. I cannot think it likely that those pictures of quietness, contentment, and happiness, which have been so gratuitously afforded to the House, and so diligently laid before it, that the rebellion was at an end for ever, that the principle on which it was fomented was destroyed, that Ireland was, by the rooting out of prejudices, become one body of harmony in temper and united in object will ever be realized, if the policy is to be that to which I have just alluded. Jam willing to give government credit for their intention to do away all animosity in Ireland. I do not mean to say that the correspondence to which I allude is to be considered, nor do I state it, as a fire-brand which threatens the country with destruction, but I do state, that great officer, as enjoying the full confidence and a great portion of the power of government, and whether he was the intended vehicle of publishing such sentiments I do not know, yet it has all the effect of design, and I cannot help looking upon the publication of such sentiments as conveying to the public the animus of government. Whether these sentiments are really the sentiments of the government, or no, I will not pretend to say, but the great character to whom I have alluded is a member of the Irish government; and the government in winch such a mind predominates—that is to say, a mind governed by such principles as have been published by that I great person who had great influence—where such a spirit presides—and where such a spirit rules, and such opinions are cherished, the government, influenced by it, I am sure, cannot be conciliating, nor agreeable, nor can it held forth any prospect of comfort, to say nothing of happiness, to the Irish people; a government which permits itself to cherish such sentiments, discovers an animus 762 that affords no comfort to those who are governed; it is an imprudent government, and very ill adapted for the safety of the public—As to the vigilance of the Irish government now, when they have been roused by two explosions, that appears to me as no reason why the present inquiry should not be gone into. With respect to the manner in which the affairs of Ireland were neglected previous to and on the 23d of July, I contend, that the negligence of government was so great, as not to keep on their stations the most important officers of state. Mr. Wickham, a gentleman who from his station and talent might have rendered essential service to Ireland, at the time of the insurrection, had not been desired to remain on his post, but was on an excursion of pleasure, and actually in Yorkshire when, the first intelligence reached him of the insurrection in Ireland but, however, no blame attaches to this gent, upon this occasion; it only makes the accusation the more weighty on those who ought to bear it. No consideration of the weight of personal responsibility on any body ought to induce the House to neglect its duty, which I apprehend it will do, if it declines entering into the present inquiry. I see no inconvenience likely to arise from this investigation that can be put into the scale and weighed against the public benefit likely to result from it. I hate the greatest esteem for my noble friend, and the highest opinion of his talents and abilities, but I am so entirely dissatisfied with his arguments upon this occasion, that I shall most certainly vote for the present motion.
§ Mr. Archdall.
—Sir; I beg the attention of the House to a few observations which I am desirous of submitting to their consideration respecting the present motion. I am not a roan who wishes to imitate any other man's manner, nor follow any other man's sentiments. I rise at present partly to offer my acknowledgements to the right hon. gent. who has just sat down, for the great attention he has paid to Ireland, and for the lively interest with which he seems on the present occasion to be impressed in favour of that part of the united empire. After having said thus much, I hope I may be allowed to doubt whether any of the good purposes, intended to be obtained by the motion, are likely to be the result of it. The hon. baronet who brought it forward said, in one part of his speech, that he did not know why the hon. admiral, who originally brought it forward, had given up she question I believe, I can tell him: and my opinion is, that he meant to clear up the 763 character of a very good and meritorious officer, which he thought had been wounded by the manner in winch he had been obliged to leave Ireland, but which he has since found, from the most unequivocal and repeated declarations of his Majesty's ministers, was not in any respect impeached by them, nor did any one of them ever entertain, for a moment, the least thought that was not highly honourable to that gallant and deserving officer.—I think the motion assumes also more than it ought to do. It assumes, in the first place, that the Irish government has not done its duty; and, 2dly, that this is the best time forgoing into an inquiry on the subject. I cannot see the matter at all in this light. I see nothing in the conduct of the Irish government, on the 23d of July, that is, in any degree, so extraordinary as many hon. gentlemen would endeavour to represent it. Many other governments besides this, have at former periods been in equally unfortunate circumstances. I think I can in my own person remember to have seen a much larger city than Dublin, which was also the metropolis of a much more extensive country, in a state of conflagration for several successive days, when her prisons were in broad-day thrown open, and burned to the ground; private houses marked out for pillage and devastation, and its high court of Parliament actually sitting during the whole time, and this done by an infatuated and drunken multitude, not confined to a few hundreds, as was the case in Dublin, but amounting to at least 40 000; and yet no mention has ever been made of calling for an inquiry into the conduct of I he government of that country to which I allude. It. is very possible, I think, that secret meetings may take place without government becoming acquainted with them. I agree with the right hon. gent., that the death of Lord Kilwarden has given a melancholy aspect to this affair, and has caused an infinite, deal of blame to be thrown on the Irish government which it does not merit. It is, I allow, an event deeply to be deplored; and I should be the last man in the world who would mean to say any thing in extenuation of murder; but I wish the matter should not be exaggerated, in order to throw an additional degree of odium on the government. How can it be supposed that 400 of the mob of Dublin, half drunk, should be capable of putting to a risque the security and safety of the metropolis, guarded at the same moment by a garrison amounting to 4000 disciplined regular forces.—My arguments on a former occasion, respecting the state of Ireland, 764 have been adverted to, as describing that country in a different situation to what it had at a subsequent period of no great distance of time, turned out to be. I then said, that in my opinion, "if the French should land there, every loyal man would join to oppose them from patriotism, and every Jacobin would do the same from the principle of revenge." think what I then delivered as my own sentiments have been since very folly illustrated and proved by the declaration of Emmett, who is generally allowed to have/been the most enthusiastic of all the rebel leaders. On his trial, he expressly declared, that if the French were to land, he would oppose them to the utmost with fire and sword. This declaration has been fully confirmed by that of I Russell, who, though not so enthusiastic, was reckoned the most steady of all the rebel chiefs.—I beg leave to say but one word more, and that is, on the allusion that has been made to the correspondence between: the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and the Earl of Fingal. I regret that this correspondence I has been brought before the public; and I cannot help thinking, that next to the impropriety of publishing those letters, that of I bringing them into discussion in this place, or indeed, I might say, in any place whatever, is the most to be deprecated. I cannot, however, agree with the right hon. gent, that these letters discover what he terms the animus of government. I do not conceive that government is, or ought to be supposed answerable for the conduct of judicial characters. The great personage who ins been alluded to, only acted as Lord Chancellor, and if he has in his judicial character mixed any thing that is political in its; tendency, it might, perhaps, be wished that he had not done so; for it strikes me, that judicial characters should interfere, as little, as possible, with politics. Such an interference may often be inconvenient and seldom useful: still, however, I contend, that it is no proof of any particular animus in the government, nor ought the government to be answerable for it. I consider the present motion as altogether unnecessary, especially after so long a time has elapsed; and as such I shall give it my most decided negative.
—Sir; as I happened to be in Ireland at the time when the insurrection broke out, I hope I shall be indulged with the opportunity of shortly delivering my opinions on the subject. I am willing to give the hon. baronet every degree of credit for the purity of his intentions in bringing forward the present motion; but I think 765 it a fair subject of inquiry, how far die agitation of such an inquiry, under existing circumstances, can be either advantageous or politic. I wish to ascertain precisely what are the objects to which the motion is meant to apply. As far as I understand its objects, they are either through the medium of reference to the affairs of Ireland, to infer an accusation against his Majesty's ministers here, or they are directed to the end of pointing out certain faults committed by the administration of Ireland, with a view of preventing their recurrence, by removing the present government of Ireland from the management of affairs in that country. On these points I beg leave to nuke a few observations.—If the object of the hon. mover, or of these who support the motion, is to make, through the medium of Ireland, an attack on ministers here, I cannot think this a fair or manly mode of introducing the discussion. I cannot help objecting strongly to such an insiduous way of bringing an attack on the government, and I feel it to be my duty to resist it in the most decided terms. It is degrading to the character of the people of Ireland to make use of them as a vehicle for the introduction of such a very ungenerous mode of proceeding, in an attack on men, to whom the Sovereign has entrusted the management of public affairs. It is sporting with the feelings of a brave and high-spirited people to make a stalking horse of their pretended rights, merely as a pretext for bringing forward a favourite subject of opposition. No man would stand up more earnestly for the true rights and privileges of Ireland, than I would, but if poi6on be introduced in order to dislodge ministers from their places, I cannot consent that it should be covertly introduced through the circuitous channel of Irish connexions. On this ground I shall, therefore, decidedly oppose tire present motion. If, on the other hand, it is the object of the hon. baronet to prevent the repetition of past errors, by pointing our existing abuses, and by recommending the dismissal of the present lord lieutenant of Ireland, the motion, in my mind, is not less obnoxious. And here I must be permitted to declare, that I consider the silence of the Irish members on the subject now introduced to the House, as the best evidence of their conviction, that the motion is altogether unnecessary, and applicable to no practical useful purpose. Had the motion been loudly called for, it is not presuming too far, to suppose, that at least one out of the 100 Irish members would have been found to bring the matter under consideration, and call for inquiry into a matter in which the 766 character of the government, as well as the safety of the empire, is so materially involved. If any Irish member thought that the safety of Ireland had been neglected, it is not asking too much, to be allowed credit, when I suppose that some one would have come forward, not to solicit as a matter of favour, but as a matter of clear undoubted right, that the affairs of that part of the I United Kingdom, should occupy the peculiar attention of the Imperial legislature. The silence which has taken place is, I must contend, not the silence of indifference, but a silence proceeding from a conviction, that there is no real ground of accusation against; government; a silence arising from a persuasion that the measures adopted are the best adapted to the existing circumstances of the empire. This is the silence observed by the Irish members, contradistinguished from that silence which might be supposed to arise from any idea that the subject was one on which, from considerations of prudence, silence was to be recommended. The charge; against the government of Ireland has on this, as on several former occasions, been brought forward by the British part of the representatives in Parliament, and, I have already stated, that when a charge is thus directly urged, silence is no longer expedient. It then becomes the duty of the Irish representatives candidly to deliver their opinions, and it is in the exercise of this opinion, that I shall at present explicitly declare my sentiments.—If, at an ealier period after the events which took place on the 23d of July, I had been called upon to deliver my opinion as to the expediency of inquiry, perhaps I might have seen room for considerable hesitation and doubt. If the object of that inquiry had been to afford an opportunity for I a most gallant and respectable officer, who from certain insinuation felt himself injured, to clear up his character, I should, in that case, have seen pretty strong grounds for going into a committee of inquiry. It is what equity and honour requires, that the unspotted glory and character of a gallant soldier should be free from every imputation. But no such cause as this now exists. The hon. officer's friends and relations are satisfied, that no sort of blame is meant to be attached to any part of his conduct on the 23d of July. The explanation is satisfactory, and this part of the question is, therefore, put to rest. The hon. general has not demanded further inquiry. His relations have not insisted on it. His friends have not persisted in urging any additional testimony in favour of his conduct on the occasion, to which the motion of the hon. baronet goes. 767 I wish, therefore, to press it on the consideration of the hon. mover, whether any good can result from pressing the question? By persevering in it his Majesty's ministers will be placed in a most disagreeable dilemma. If, on the one hand, ministers, however much convinced of its impolicy, were to agree 60 the committee proposed, I desire to know what would be the consequence, as applicable to the people of Ireland? In this C3se, they would be inclined to ask, on what principle it was that they were to obey a government of whose ability and integrity the most serious suspicions were entertained, and whose conduct was made the ground of parliamentary inquiry? On the other hand, if the inquiry were refused, a suspicion might be excited, that the refusal on the part of ministers arose froth a dread of having their whole conduct fully and impartially investigated. I cannot but wish, therefore, that the question should not be pressed, at least at the present moment. If, however, the question is to be persisted in, beg the House shortly to consider what is the real state of affairs, so far as the events of the 23d of July are involved. I will not pretend to justify the Irish government, by pretending that if all the circumstances which gave rise to the events of that day had been fully foreseen, the conduct of government would have been what it was in other circumstances. It does not at all follow from this, that because the government did not foresee the whole circumstances of the conspiracy, that therefore they were negligent in the use of proper means of precaution. I am ready, therefore, to admit, that to a certain degree the Irish government were surprised. When I say this, I beg leave to be distinctly understood. The government were surprised, not for want of foresight, but they were surprised because the insurrection itself took place under a certain degree of surprise. The attempt at rebellion was not only unnatural in itself, but altogether premature. It was an abortion of a conspiracy which the best doctor could not have prevented. Government was in possession of information that insurrections were hatching, but the precise moment when the explosion was to take place was not known, because the rebels themselves, twenty four hours before the riot burst forth, had nor finally concerted their plan of operations, or the period of open rebellion. So far, therefore, the conduct of the Irish government does no; appear to be liable to any very serious objection. But I wish now for a little to call the attention of the House to the particular circumstance under which the lord licit, entered on the exercise of his 768 public functions. He entered on his office immediately after the Union had taken place. At a time when, whatever may be 6aid of the general advantages of that fatal measure, Dublin was suffering from it the greatest calamities, and might literally be said to be destroyed. He entered on his vice-royalty when the content of the capital of Ireland was annihilated, when its trade and commerce were at a stand, when its public buildings were hastening to decay, I when its nobility and gentry, who were in the habit of spending in Dublin the half of their time, and more than the half of their money, had deserted that favourite seat of rational and elegant enjoyment. It was I under ah these discouraging and unfavourable circumstances that the present lord-lieut of Ireland undertook the arduous task of I the government of that country. Lord Hardwicke has done more towards drawing the; nobility and gentry who were left in Ireland, to reside in Dublin, than any other lord-lieut, who has been in that city for many years. If the object of the present motion is really intended to withdraw lord Hardwicke from that govt., Ireland will, indeed, be a very great loser. I beg leave to assure the House, that I am not, by any means, speaking as the panegyrist of lord Hardwicke. I do not even know him. As lord-lieut of Ireland, I never saw him; but I know that his lordship has, by the courteousness and amenity of his manners, and I by the conciliatory measures he has adopted, very much reconciled the citizen of Dublin to their situation, and rendered them much more contented and happy than they were before he went there. I beg the House to recollect what use lord Hardwicke has made of the extraordinary powers which have been entrusted to him. Has he ever shewn a sanguinary disposition? Has he ever, in a single instance, abased those I powers? Certainly I can answer no& He I has always acted with the greatest moderation; and, tempering the most rigid justice with the utmost humanity, has made those extraordinary powers go hand in hand with the best interests of the country, and subservient to its safety and protection. During the administration of this noble lord, the volunteer force is in a far better state of I discipline than it was ever known to be be-I fore. The present commander in chief, lord Cathcart, has repeatedly expressed his approbation and admiration of it; and if I the enemy should ever chance to set foot on those shores, I will be bold to say, they would be not only surprised and daunted, but they would be astonished to see so great 769 a host of loyal subjects and real patriots in so finished and high a state of discipline.—If the inquiry could go so far as to put that excellent and invaluable magistrate (lord Kilwarden) on the bench again, I should be happy to give it every support in my power. But if its object be to remove the present govt., I shall oppose it as indirect to the purpose for which it was intended. If the hon. bart. means to shew by it that Ireland is not well governed, I think the motion groundless. The present govt. I esteem a very good one; under its auspices the citizen soldier is now in a complete state el array, and thus arrayed, is eager and zealous to defend his country against all attacks from external enemies, as well as against those internal foes and rebels with which it has the misfortune to be infested. In my opinion, English members are not the best judges of what is most advantageous to the interests pf Ireland. I could not pretend to judge so well what would suit the particular interests of Wolverhampton and its neighbourhood as the hon. bart. could; and no doubt the non. burt's. word and opinion would have far greater weight there than any thing I could urge on affairs which relate immediately to that part of the country. For all these reason, Sir, I shall give my vote against the present motion.
—Sir whatever difference of opinion may exist as to the result of the motion of the hon. bart., there can exist only one sentiment as to the propriety of its bring brought forward. Ministers must feel gratified that the challenge which has been so often given, has at length been accepted, that the gauntlet which has been so often thrown down, has, at length, been taken up: by some of the gentlemen on the other side. The introduction of the motion must also afford satisfaction to the people of Ireland, as it must shew them, that what is connected with their interests or their safety, are subjects of the deepest interest to the Imperial Parliament. The public at large must rejoice at the discussion, as calculated to remove that veil which has, hitherto, been so studiouly I thrown over the events of the 23d of July. It is now, I believe, pretty generally agreed-that blame does exist somewhere, and it is a matter of the greatest importance that it should be ascertained in what quarter that blame lies. If ministers adhere to their former professions, it is their duty to court, Instead of resisting inquiry. This is not a question personal to Lord Hardwicke, but, if it is fairly entered into, involving the conduct of the administration here, in com- 770 mon with the government of Ireland. If blame can be clearly brought home to the government of Ireland; if it can be shewn that they were shamefully deficient in foresight and precaution, it is impossible for ministers here to free themselves from a certain share of the blame attached to such criminal negligence.—When, Sir, I had the honour of being the bearer of the Act of Union to the other House of Parliament, I confess that I felt a certain degree of pride, in being selected to carry to the other branch of the legislature, a measure from which t expected the must important benefits to both countries. To the period of peace, whenever it should arrive, I looked forward for the completion of this great national act. From its operation, I anticipated the introduction of a more wise and liberal policy in Ireland, the adoption of a system pf wise conciliation, designed to cover in eternal oblivion all former sources of animosity, to heal up all old wounds, to place the commerce of the whole empire on a footing of the most lasting friendship. At length peace arrived, but with it none of the blessings which had been anticipated Every tiling continued on the same footing in Ireland. Ancient grievances remained, and no effort at conciliation was resorted to. Instead of measures of beneficent improvement, ministers were studying polemical theology. New causes of agitation were introduced, and instead of mildness, new seeds of rancour were sown. No sooner were we told that we were in a state of profound peace, than we were apprized, that every act of the government with whom the peace was concluded, had been marked with insolence and aggression. Hardly were we informed that Ireland was in a state of perfect tranquillity, than we were told that rebellion had once more made its appearance in that unhappy land. It was impossible to attach any meaning to the declaration of ministers. All their declarations were marked by inconsistency, fickleness, and indecision. We are really at a loss to know, even at this moment, in what light ministers are desirous that the insurrection of the 23d of July ought to be considered. At one time, they described it as a miserable riot, a contemptible assemblage of ruffians, making their appearance in Thomas Street, extending their progress to Dirty Lane, and terminating their carper in Cutpurse Bow. On another occasion, when a different descript ion suited their views, the first law officer endeavoured to implicate in this conspiracy the great mass of the people of Ireland. When such contradictory accounts are 771 given, is it not, I beg leave to ask, fair to go into an inquiry on a subject confessedly of the highest interest and importance? It seems there was a private powder-mill in the very heart of Dublin, and government were totally ignorant of its existence, till the explosion took place, by which it was blown up, and thus, for the first time, brought into the observation of government. I have heard of private stills, private coining rooms, and so forth, but this is the first time I ever heard of a private powder-mill. [Mr. Sec. Yorke said across the table, that it was not a powder-mill.] I say it was a powder-mill; and this difference shews the necessity of inquiry. Well& it blew up, and no notice was taken, nor any precautions whatever; the prevailing maxim was, "the less is said the better," and so ended the history of the powder-mill, in which were found upwards of 30,000 bail cartridges& About the same time some casks filled with balls were discovered; but still no inquiry is instituted as to the existence of treasonable designs. The commander in chief is on a tour through the Island. Another of: he lords in council has retired to his country seat. The lord lieutenant has renounced the cares of administration. The v. hole weight of government is thrown en Mr. Secretary Marsden, and how is it that he contrives to perform the duties of this great office? On the Thursday before the rebellion broke out, Mr. Clarke, a most respectable manufacturer in the neighbourhood of Dublin, waits on him and informs him of his suspicions of an intended insurrection. He is dismissed with a desire to continue his inquiries, and to wait on Mr. Marsden the nest day. The next day he repeats his visit, and is then told to appear at the Castle, on Saturday, at two o'clock, to meet the lord-lieutenant, who was then to hold a council. A meeting with Mr. Clarke the next day takes place, and Mr. Secretary Marsden is then convinced that a rising on that same night is intended. A message is then rent to the lord-lieutenant, requesting his immediate attendance at the Castle. The lord-lieutenant does arrive, accompanied by the commander in chief, and some measures ore at length concerted for the protection of the capital. If a council is held who are those summoned to attend it? Is the lord chancellor one of the number? NO. Is the lord chief justice invited? Unfortunately no. In short, not a single privy councellor is invited to be present at these deliberations. The great object is to avoid all unnecessary alarm. If the greatest dangers ensue, still if alarm can be avoided, all is well; ruat cxlum but be sure to 772 I avoid alarm was the great burden of the song on that memorable day. Satisfied with recommending all tendency to avoid alarm, the lord-lieutenant retires to his country seat, and Mr. Secretary Marsden again resumes the uncontroled management of affairs. That hon. gent, seems, however, to proceed with wonderful indifference. He allows the time to pass on, and still the police are in no situation to repel riot as soon as it should make its appearance. Every where I see want of foresight, decision or vigour. Even the following day the lord-lieutenant does not issue his proclamation for the apprehension of the atrocious murderers; of the lord chief justice. He goes to chapel as usual, and it is not till the 25th that a council is summoned, that any thing like a vigorous act is resolved on.—The only defence I have yet heard set up is, that government and the rebels were both surprised together in a dark night; and I leave it to the House, whether that is a reason sufficient to ward off an inquiry? It has been; clearly shewn, that the lord mayor of Dublin had no notice whatever of the danger of this rebellion. So far from it, his house was robbed of arms. But it is said that Mr. Alderman Alexander, the presiding magistrate, had notice—and what did he do? I He went and slept out of Dublin, and devoved the whole duty on Mr. Oliver Carleton, the high constable; and the lord lieutenant went out of town, and left all the: weight and responsibility of government on the shoulders of the under secretary, Mr. Marsden. I shall not trouble tire House any longer. I cannot conceive a better time for; inquiry than the present moment, and therefore the motion meets with my most cordial approbation.
§ General Tarleton.
—Sir; I beg the indulgence of the House while I offer a few short and temperate observations. The situation in which I was placed in Ireland, enables me to form an accurate judgment. I was placed upon the Irish staff in last spring, but I was pot ordered to join till after the explosion of the rebellion on the 23d of July. I then lost no time in repairing to Ireland. On my arrival in Dublin, some days had elapsed, and the transaction of the. 23d of July began to be viewed in different lights. I had opportunities of conversing with all parties, wish the military officers, the commander in chief, the chief secretary, the officers of the volunlunteers, in short, with all those who were best enabled to furnish me with the means of forming an opinion, and the genera impression of all I heard was, that the Irish government was taken by surprise.—If the 773 House goes into the inquiry, it will be found whether, in fact, it was so or not; but I confess that was the impression made on my mind. From what has come out on the trials, which Mr. Wickham directed in the best manner, I am sure he was convinced, with me, that government was surprised. I will ask, if a powder mill had exploded at Charing-cross, and no measures were taken by Sir R. Ford to obtain information about it, would rot every ore be surprised? The explosion in Patrick street was as near to the Cattle; is Charing cross to this House, or to St. James's; and active inquiry might have been the means of preventing the insurrection an blood shed of the 23d July With respect to the hon. officer (Gen. Fox), the intelligence d not reach-him till it was too late. Is it, otherwise, to be supposed that he would have put off the council of war, which he held in consequence, to so late an hour, that one of the officers who attended at it, was obliged to return back, the insurrection having already commenced, and the ether found his safety in having a good pair of legs, (which it is often very useful to have on such occasions) and being acquainted with the bye-ways. The noble lord dwelt much on the strength of a garrison of 4000 men, and conceived the Bank to be particularly secure, from being placed between the royal barracks and the 62d reg. On speaking with the Col. of the 62d reg., I was informed, that the orders reached him so late, find from such a variety of quarters, that he could collect only 16 men in any sufficient time. The same officer informed me of the situation of a depÔt of powder, of which he informed Mr. Sec. Wickham, but that depÔt was not discovered till after the rebellion, the ramifications of which were very extensive. I heard at Naas, the capital of the county of Kildare, that information had been conveyed from thence to government, but that it had been little attended to. I found that the conspiracy also extended to the south beyond Cork, where the conspirators learned, by means of telegraphic fires, the ill success of the insurrection in Dublin, before the King's officers knew it in Cork. It was by this information only that the insurrection was prevented from being general over the country. I do not think that Gen. Fox, an officer who has done most meritorious service from a very early age, should be deprived of a command, superior in importance to every other in the service, without any reason being assigned for that privation. It was a command of much difficulty and danger, but there was the more room for reaping glory if the enemy should come. On 774 these grounds I conceive the inquiry to be loudly called for.
Mr. Secretary Yorke.
—Sir what has been just stated by the hon. general, the House cannot view in any other light than as hearsay evidence; and, perhaps, had the hon. gen. remained some time longer in the country, he might have met with further information, that might have induced him to change his opinion on the subject of the Irish government being taken by surprise. I am not anxious to oppose the motion, as I am certain that the lord lieutenant does not wish to shrink from an inquiry, and, shall, therefore, confine myself strictly to facts. I coincide in opinion with my hon. friend (Mr. Dawson), and my noble friend (Lord Castlereagh), that there is no parliamentary grounds laid for an inquiry and also, that there must be great inconvenience attending it; but still, if the House thinks proper to accede to the motion, I shall not object to it.—As facts have been referred to, I shall endeavour to set them in a right point of view. The hon. general (Tarleton) concluded with an observation relative to the recal of Gen. Fox. Now, I do not know that he was recalled. A difference of opinion had arisen between him and the lord lieut. Which; made it necessary that one of them should withdraw. Gen. Fox thought proper to return to England, and thus the matter ended.—I think it necessary, before I proceed further, to advert to the principle on which my noble relative accepted the charge which has been entrusted to him; the leading feature of which was, that a system of conciliation was to be adopted, and without indulging the idea that the diseases of the public mind were completely healed. And when; this is seriously attended to, I think the House cannot blame my noble relation for being extremely cautious in receiving information from all quarters of intended insurrection and rebellion, which might tend to create alarms, and to revive old animosities. Undoubtedly, the Irish govt. did receive information that some men, concerned in the, former rebellion, were desirous to recommence their old bad practices; but every account coincided in this, that the situation of the country was greatly improved, and was every day growing better. At this period the war broke out; and the Irish administration, combining the account of the enemy's intentions, with those of insurrections in the country, the lord lieut. suggested whether it would not-be adviseable to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act; the govt. of this country wished, however, from principles which the House will net very severely 775 criticize not to resort to so strong a measure without an absolute necessity, and therefore proceed to wait till they saw whether any thing of that kind would be attempted. In this situation of affairs, gen. Fox arrived in Ireland on the 1st June last It happened that some time before and at that moment the county of Kildare had shewn strong symptoms of insurrection, and on the 12th duly they were considered to be so threatening, that the lord lient. recommended it to the commander in chief to send troops to 3 or 4 different places in the county, in order to keep down that mischievous spirit The commander in chief, gen. Fox, set out on a military to be into the interior. On the 16th the explosion, as it is called broke out in patrick-street, Dublin, which has been much exaggerated; it having been said by some that a powder-mill blew up. Now what is the state of the fact? Two persons only were at home at the time, one of whom being nearly suffocated, in the act of throwing up a window, so cut Ins arm with the glass that he bled to death, the ether, who was also nearly suffocated, was a poor ignorant mar., and could give no further account than that the powder was brought there to make up the combustibles. This affair, however, lea govt. to make further inquires, and the lord-lieut. wrote on the 18th of July to the commander in chief, informing him of the transactions. This letter was not received by the general, as the lord lieut. expected, for it was sent by the military secretaries to him at Tullamore, and from his having changed his course, it did not reach him till he came to Dublin. The lord lient. however, concluded with reason, that he had received it; arid therefore it was, that he replied to the commander in chief, that he had nothing particular to communicate.—On the night of Thursday the 21st, the general returned. In the course of Thursday, the only fresh circumstance was, the alarm of Mr. Clark, an eminent manufacturer, who stated certain appearances and dispositions on the part of his workmen, indicative of an approaching disturbance. On Friday he returned, and said, he was convinced his alarm was not founded. Now, will gent, contend that govt. were actually obliged to know what happened before it happened? Or do they mean to say that govt. knowing what they did, did nor do every thing that was necesssary? I deny that assertion.—Many things having been stated with respect to the complaints of different persons against the Irish govt. for their conduct on that occasion, I shall produce three Letters to Mr. Marsden from Mr. 776 Clarke, col. Aylmer, arid Mr. Goring, and one from Mr. Finlay to Mr. Wickham. [Here the right hon. sec. of state read parts of these letters; that of Mr. Clarke particularly alluded to an article in "Cobbett's Political Register." Mr. Clark declared in his letter, that he had always received the most polite and ready attention to his communications, and praised the conduct of govt. inrespect to the transactions alluded to.] On the Saturday the accounts became more serious. The lord lieut. received the letter of Mr. Marsden while gen. Fox was with him. The hon. general who spoke last, has asserted that the govt. was surprised. But how can that be possibly for a moment contended, when they were so well prepared at 2 o'clock, and the insurrection did rot take place till 9, and there was a garrison of 4,000 men? until after the explosion in Patrick-street, I believe the secret was known only to 8 persons. Mr. Emmett, the fabricator of the plot, had spent his property, about £3000, in purchasing this depot; he had, therefore, no need to go about for voluntary subscriptions, as had been the case in some such schemes, and thereby make it known As to the quantity of arms in this place, there has been considerable mistakes. The man who was the keeper of the depot has said, that the whole consisted of 4 muskets, 12 blunderbusses, 3000 pikes, and 12 case-pistols, with a rich general's uniform, and some others which were worn when the riot broke out. Now, at 3 o'clock the lord lieut. and the commander in chief, were apprised of the probability of a riot. As soon as the general got home to Kilmainham, he wrote to col. Manley, to take care of the depot at Island Bridge &c, at the time stating, that he apprehended a rising, in consequence of information received by government. After this statement, it seems impossible to say, that either the civil or the military govt. was surprized; for certainly the riot happened to neither of them unexpectedly. The garrison was fully sufficient for every purpose. It consisted of the 16ih reg. of dragoons, one of the finest beg in Europe, of the 26th, 31st, 38th, and 62d reg. of veteran infantry, of 6 or 800 men each, together with the depot of artillery, making altogether about 4,C00 men.—Now, if a comparison is made between Dublin and London, and it is considered how much the former is inferior in size to the latter, it must be admitted that such a force was fully sufficient for such a city as Dublin. If any man will say, and can prove, that that force was not sufficient for the defence of Dublin, then, indeed, I will admit that blame does 777 attach to the Irish govt. So much for the state of the military defence of Dublin.—I shall next revert to the state of that place, so far as regarded the civil power, and the precautions which had been taken by the municipal officers. The lord mayor of Dublin was informed of the intended insurrection, in the course of the day of the 23d, 2nd had been with Mr. Marsden on the subject. It also appears from the examination of Mr. Carlton, that Alderman Alexander had been informed of a riot being expected to take place that day, and desired he might be prepared for it. In addition to this, I shall refer the House to the declaration of a person, whose name is very well known on the kite state trials; I mean Mr. Wilson, the peace officer, who certainly conducted himself with 2 great deal of precision, during the affair in question, who was on the very spot at the time of the insurrection, and was engaged with Emmett's party. Mr. Wilson states, in his evidence, that on the 23d of July, before 6 in the evening, he received a note, informing him, that the insurrection was expected, and desiring him to be on the alert; and he gave orders accordingly to the peace officers under him. It also appears, that the commander-in chief wrote to col. Manley, on the same day, informing him, that gov. had received information of an intended rising of the people, and desired that the necessary precautions might be taken without creating any alarm.—A noble lord has particularly dwelt on the circumstances of govt. having desired that no alarm might be made, and attempted to draw an inference from that, as if govt. had not been aware of any danger. I cannot state particularly what the directions may have been, which the Irish govt. gave at the time in question; bat it is very probable that, upon a consultation having taken place, it Was agreed that whaever measures of precaution were judged proper to be taken, they should be adopted with as little appearance of alarm as possible. It similar measures of precaution were to be adopted in this country, I should conceive it to be the duty of govt. to see that every thing was done in a manner the least calculated to give an alarm to the public. I will put it to any Irish gent, who happened to be then present, and who recollects the consternation which was spread all over Ireland in 1798 in consequence of the stopping of the mail coaches; whether it is not highly prudent to avoid any step that might spread terror and confusion throughout the interior of the country. This precaution was actually taken on the late occasion, and it was not thought necessary to stop the 778 mail coaches.—A great deal has been said concerning the postscript of a letter written by the lord lieut. to general Fox on the day in question, and in which he was understood to have informed the commander in chief, that lie had taken greater precautions than were necessary. Now, in order to judge of hat circumstance, it will be necessary for the House to hear the whole of the letter, as well as the postscript; and also to know the circumstances that gave rise to the letter. On that day col. Aylmer came from the county of Kildare, and gave information that parties of insurgents were coming up from that county, and that there was reason to apprehend they would attack the Lodge in the Phoenix Park, on their way to Dublin. As soon as the intelligence was received by the lord lieut. he wrote to gen Fox, stating what he had heard, desiring that precautionary measures might be taken, but no alarm excited. When he had finished the letter, there arrived at the lodge a reinforcement of soldiers; upon Which the postscript was written, and stated, that as ah alarm had been already spread, the precautionary measure of sending those men would add to it. The words of the postscript are, "I understand you have reinforced the guard here, by the addition of an officer and 30 men. I suppose you have received some other information besides what I have given you. As an alarm has already taken place, I think it will be increased by this measure." Now, gent, must plainly perceive, that these words in the postscript related solely to the defensive measures that were adopted in the Phoenix Park.—I have now made a plain and correct statement, of the different circumstances relative to the late insurrection in Dublin. I have no personal reason whatsoever to induce me to oppose this motion, and shall leave it to the House to judge, whether or not there is any foundation for blame against the Irish Government.
§ Mr. Fox.
—Sir; I should have contented myself with offering but a very few arguments in favour of the motion of the horn bart., but some of the remarks of the right hon. gent, who has just sat down will compel me to go a little more into detail than I intended, and to preface what I intend to say, with a few preliminary observations. In some respects the right hon. gent, and myself are plated is similar situations. He has the same feelings towards one of the parties, whose name his been so often mentioned in this discussion, as I have for the other. There is another* point of similarity in regard to our wishes on the subject of this inquiry, in which, indeed, he gees beyond me: he says that lord Hard- 779 wicke is desirous to have his conduct canvassed. My hon. relation does not go quite so far: he only has no objection to the inquiry. The right hon. gent, says, he will not oppose the inquiry: here indeed I go beyond him, for I will vole for the inquiry. He may be, and no doubt is, a much better member of Parliament, and a much better statesman; but in promoting this inquiry, I consider myself the better brother of the two. It is true, however, that when the right hon. gentleman said, that personally he would not oppose the inquiry, he took care immediately to correct himself, well aware, probably of the influence which such a declaration from him might have on many in this House; and while he avowed a wish for inquiry himself, he seemed anxious to shew, that to others who were in a less delicate situation, no parliamentary ground li3d been stated for the motion. And here I feel myself obliged to state that kind of complaint which I have frequently been under the necessity of making, against the practice of men in office resisting an inquiry, by employing arguments, founded on partial extracts from papers and documents, not in the possession or perhaps within the reach of other members. Such partial extracts generally contain only what is in favour of the ministerial argument, while every thing of a contrary tendency, or which could explain the parts that are insisted upon, are altogether withheld. The justice of this complaint of mine, receives a most forcible illustration from the example of this night. Respecting the anxious wish of exciting no alarm, so often ascribed to the lord lieut., the right hon. gent, says, "How do I know, as a member of Parliament, that so much stress bag been laid by the lord lieut. on giving no alarm?" To this I say, that however ignorant he may be as a member of Parliament, he cannot be ignorant of the fact, that, on this point, no more stress has been laid than the documents fully justify. I take upon me to say, that as an individual do know that the cord lieut. must have been exceedingly anxious on this head; for though out the correspondence, of which the right hon. gent, has read us what he thought useful for himself, the sentiments occur over and over again. They may defend the lord lieut. for his feel lag; but let them not attempt to deny its existence. Let us, then, have the whole of die papers laid before us, or let us have none of them. It will then be impossible to give false gloss by garbled extracts, and, upon a consideration of the whole, the House will we able to judge and decide. I am confident lit they must then see that the utmost 780 anxiety to avoid alarm prevailed in lord Hardwicke's mind; and that he disbelieved, totally disbelieved, the intelligence which had been communicated of an impending disturbance.—As the right hon. gent, considered himself obliged to advert to certain facts, in which he felt a personal interest, I mast be indulged in following his example; but first I must remark on what another hon. gent said, as to the notices which have been given on this subject. He says that an hen. relation of mine gave notice of a motion respecting the late commander in chief in Ireland and that I had likewise given notice of a motion. In lilts he is mistaken; for I always felt, that however I might be gratified in supporting this, or any motion of a more personal nature, I was not the most proper person to bring the business before the House. My hon. relation (admiral Berkeley) said, that if it should be stated to the House by ministers that no blame was imputed to gen. Fox, then it was not the wish, of that officer, that any inquiry should be gone into on his account. This the right hon. gent, thought fit to state; and of course the motion of my hon. relation fell to the ground. If, however, the government here, as in Ireland, are still disposed to defend themselves by imputing that blame to my hon. relation, late the commander in chief in Ireland, the infamy is theirs, and he stands acquitted. Here let me ask, however, whether lord Hardwicke, as well as ministers here, has acquitted gen. Fox, and ceased to defend himself by imputing blame to that gallant officer? Let us lock at the conduct of the Irish government and we must be convinced that they have not. The right hon. gent, says, that a coolness arose between the lord heat, and the commander in chief, and it was impossible that both could remain in the offices they held. Bat when did this coolness arise? I assert that this coolness did not arise till many days after the affair of the 23d, and that a perfect good understanding continued between them. But when accounts came from England, stating the impression made by that affair in this country, and when the lord lieutenant, perhaps to, his second surprise, found that every body was crying out against the Irish government for having been surprised, then, perhaps, it was insinuated to him by those around him, that the best way to defend himself was to blame others, and that the disgrace of the commander in chief would screen the castle from ail censure. Something of this kind seems to have been the progress, if we can judge from the effect. From that moment, indeed a coolness did exist, and the com- 781 mander in chief did resign, because he knew that it was the wish of the lord lieut that he should do so; and in such circumstances my hon. relation, feeling that he could not serve he public usefully, did resign; but, surely, that was a very different thing from a voluntary resignation, and it must have been considered so by the world. What then was to be the effect of such a resignation? If the lord lieutenant of Ireland was so ignorent of the ways of mankind, and of the modes of thinking, as to imagine that, at such a moment, to signify a wish for the resignation of the commander in chief was not to give an impression unfavourable to the latter, could he believe that the world would fail to conclude that the commander in chief was dismissed because his conduct was disapproved:—But to shew that the system of attacking my hon. relation is still pursued as the only means of defending the Irish government, I will produce two articles which have been published in the Dublin journal. But first let me ask, will ministers, and gent, connected with Ireland, deny that the Dublin newspapers, particularly the newspaper, are under the influence of government. Will they deny that the conductors of that journal would venture to insert paragraphs disagreeable to the castle? If may not be the case, perhaps, that the Irish newspaper are so much under the control of government as the. Paris journals are under that of the French government; but will it be pretended that she Irish government does not influence the Dublin paper? and particularly that called "Faulkner's journal?" No one will deny this, and the conclusion drawn from what I am about to read, I think is equally undeniable,—Here Mr. Fox read a paragraph from the Dublin journal, of the 14th Feb., respecting admiral Berkeley having given up his motion in consequence of what. Mr. Yorke said respecting general Fox. It stated in most abusive terms, that blame existed somewhere, and that if ministers were not obliged to resist such motion, from the inconvenience with which in won be attended, she result would fully justify, and prove unfavourable to general Fox. He then read a paragraph in the Dublin journal of the 18th Feb., again reflecting on gen. Fox, and contrasting his conduct with what Lord Cathcart's would have been, and stating the different consequences; at the same time stating, that though the death of Lord Kilwarden, &c. would not have taken place, the country would have lost the benefit which had arisen from the disclosure of rebellion, and from 782 the example of the pure and admirable dispensations of criminal justice.—Indeed, two more scurrilous and abusive paragraphs, continued Mr. Fox, cannot be conceived. When I see such paragraphs published in the journal of the castle, what am I to conclude? Had the first of these paragraphs I been disagreeable to the castle, is it to be credited that the slightest notice of disapprobation would not have prevented the repetition? It is impossible in fairness then to deny, that the Irish government does endeavour to defend itself by attempting to blacken the character of the commander in chief. From this, however, two material inferences are to be drawn. The first is a personal one, and it is clear that the recal of general Fox was intended to imply a charge of misconduct on that officer, and in this view the attack on my right hon. relation is pursued up to this moment. The next is of a public nature, and it is, that the Irish government are aware that their defence is utterly untenable, unless they are permitted to throw the blame, which exists somewhere, on Gen. Fox. They cannot deny that things are not right, but they would fain have it thought that they are not wrong.—But an hon. gent. (Mr. Dawson), thinks that he has a triumphant argument against the motion, because no Irish member came forward to make it. Having had that hon. Gent. with me on the question of the union, it may, perhaps, be a good answer to him to say, that one of the objections; to the union here was, that it would tend to increase the influence of the crown in this House, and then it was prophesied, that of the 100 Irish members not one would be found to bring forward any charge against I ministers. The prophecy, in this instance, seem? pretty nearly realized. But, since no Irish member has thought proper to move the inquiry, we see that the Dublin journal, I with inferior authority, indeed, states that the subject deserves inquiry, and the only objection to it is the inconvenience it might occasion to ministers at this critical moment. Now, the call for inquiry even of the Dublin journal, is important in every way; either as it speaks what is agreeable to the sense and feeling of a part of the people of Ireland; or as it speaks the sense of the castle, which in the newspapers it influences, admits that blame lies somewhere. To discover and to decide where that blame really does lie now remains for Parliament.—The hon. baronet, who opened his motion which so much ability and good sense, asserts, and offers to prove the various facts, My hon. 783 friend who spoke lately (Gen. Tarleton) has likewise stated many important facts. But to these it is said by the right Hon. gent., they are all hearsay. Why, to be sure, they are hearsay, and what other ground has Parliament to proceed upon in the first instance but hearsay: and what else can we have but hearsay, unless the House will resolve to inquire? There has been some criticism employed by the right hon. gent, on the word "surprised" as applied to the Irish government en the 23d. After what had been admitted almost by every person who had spoke, I did not expect to hear any dispute as to this point. Surprise may net necessarily imply blame. The greatest generals have been surprised. If the Irish government bad fairly said, we have had sc many false alarms, so much false information, that in ibis instance we have been surprised this defence might, perhaps, has been admitted. But they were not "surprised" I have always considered surprise to signify being taken unprepared. If then the Irish government had information at o'clock, and were taken unprepared at 9, I must still think they were surprised, and they are the more inexcusable if they did receive information and did not act upon it. This circumstance renders it more disgraceful, more unseemly, to be taken unprepared. To be surprised may in such circumstances be a great crime. Indeed, to be surprised is prima facie evidence of neglect. If a ship is lost a court of inquiry is held, because the rule is that a ship ought not to be lost "without an inquiry into the case, and this when there is not the slightest reason to suppose blame.—But there is something prima facie, which demands examination. The fact of the government of a great country being surprised, as that of Ireland was on the 23d of July, is of itself that prima facie evidence of neglect 53 would fully justify inquiry.—With respect to the precautions adopted, let us see what they were. It may not be amiss, however, to notice the extraordinary defence set up for the lord lieutenant against the government, so extraordinary that it is altogether inconsistent with common sense. It is said that communications were made by the lord lieutenant to General Fox, and a letter written on the 18th, acquainting him of the explosion of the powder-mill or magazine on the 16th. The fact is, that General Fox had been absent on a military tour. He arrived in Dublin late on the 21st, so that he did not receive the letter and communicated papers till that day. But, in truth., what is it to 784 have communicated such intelligence with out adding the view in which the matter appeared to them on the spot, and whose business it was to examine such matters. It is perfectly well known, that to communicate a mass of papers without pointing out the mode in which the circumstances they state may or may not be founded, according to previous information or observation, is communicating just nothing at all, and is worse than no intelligence. Next day, the 22d, the lord lieutenant wrote to General Fox, saying there was nothing new, and expressing a wish that the General would call at the lodge on Saturday upon his other business. Nothing was said or written to enable General Fox, who had been absent, to judge what importance was attached to the explosion of the 10th. Of what use, in God's name, was it to send such communication, unless the commander in chief was expected to do something on it? And had he any reason to suppose that the government expected he should do any thing? The informant ion of Mr. Clarke, on Thursday, though; afterwards repeated on Friday, should have; been communicated to General Fox with the weight that belonged to it. But nothing was done that indicated that government attached importance to the information they had received, or expected the commander in chief to do any thing in consequence of it. Is it then fair to say, that the commander in chief had the same information as lord Hardwicke? The latter had been more than two years in Ireland. He had an opportunity of observing the state and the sentiments of the people, and had 60,OOOl. a year to spend in secret service money, to I procure intelligence. He was able there-: fore, or ought to have been able, to discriminate information, and to distinguish true from false. The commander in chief had been in Ireland only about six weeks. He had been absent on a military tour, and had no secret service money to facilitate information, nor was it his business to attend to the I detail and examination of its results How, then, was Gen. Fox to know whether the information received was important, but from the impression it made on those in the habit receiving and criticizing it? When he saw that no information was sent to the lord mayor of the intended rising, that the lord lieut. went to the Phoenix Park, unless indeed for the purpose of leaving it empty, and that the rebels should find nothing in it, how could he imagine that the information was of a serious nature? what else could he I have concluded, than that Lord Hardwick? 785 did not believe the intelligence received? The right hon. gent, has read a letter from the lord Heat, to Gen. Fox, written on the evening of Saturday. At first I thought that the letter must contain something which shewed that the lord lieut believed that a serious rising would take place: but, in fact, it states nothing more than that the lord lieut. had received a communication from Col. Aylmer, and which neither the Col. himself, nor Lord Hardwick seemed to attach much credit to. In fact, if the lord lieut. did believe that a rising W3S 10 take place, why did he leave the Castle and go to the Phoenix Park? Surely, if there was danger, his presence at the seat of govt. would have given confidence to the loyal, and have in pried vigor into the operations of the civil and military power. Was the Phoenix Park his proper station if he believed that danger approached? But his courage and magnanimity induced him to quit the Castle How What courage, what magnanimity? If there was danger, his leaving the Castle and going to the Lodge was not courage, but either the grossest ignorance or the most culpable temerity. What merit could there be in personal courage that led him from a station where he was safe and useful, to a place where he could be of no service, and where, if an attack had been made, he might have fallen into the hands of the rebels, without the merit of defending his post, and periling in the defence of his country? The state of Dublin on that day presents a moat lamentable picture of a city deserted by all the efficient members of its government; and if danger was apprehended, never was conduct so unaccountable. The lord lieut. quits the Castle, and retires to his villa & The commander in chief goes to Kilmainham& The lord mayor of Dublin has no information, and goes to his villa& The superintending magistrate Alderman Alexander, tells his constables to be in readiness, and goes out of town to his villa& What is to be inferred from this, but that nobody believed that any riot or rebellion would take place? Is it possible that all these persons could have acted so had they been impressed with the belief that as serious rising was intended? Ministers have shewn that they will not be behind hand with their predecessors in taxing our pockets, but they wish to tax our faith beyond all example. I scarce ever come down to this House, but I am called upon to believe something which it is impossible for any man of common sense to credit; and now ministers come and tell us to believe what the m so superstitious Irish Roman Catholic bogtrotter could not digest. After 786 such a train of facts, how can any man affect to say, that the Irish govt. actually believed in the intelligence they had received?—I come next to a very important point. It is confessed, that at the beginning of last year the Irish govt. were of opinion, that it womb proper to suspend the Habeas Corpus, and to establish Martial Law. Ministers here would not accede to that system, being desirous of representing Ireland as tranquil, as they had described the peace as profound. That the power asked for by the Irish govt. and refused, was so readily gin anted after the 23d, must have convinced that govt. of the best mode of obtaining it. It was then that the ostensible initiation of the necessity became apparent. And when we hear the noble lord qualifying and objecting to the principle, that prevention is always best, it might afford some suspicion that the insurrection of the 23d would not have been so very disagreeable, had it not been accompanied by the murder of Lord Kilwarden and Col. Brown.—But although, in the eye of the law, one life is as good as another, it certainly is not so in the feelings of mankind; and, it is true, as the noble lord (Castlereagh) observed, that the murder of. Lord Kilwarden had given an additional interest to the melancholy affair of the 23d. But, since gentlemen argue so much of the good prolonged by the insurrection in disposing the intentions of the disaffected, in weakening their cause, and in establishing the glory of the loyal administration of Ireland, how many deaths d as this noble lord calculate as well compensated by to many advantages, and in what specific cases does he think that the principle of prevention is not the best? Such doctrines I must ever hold in the utmost horror. As was justly said the other night, on the subject of invasion, that every inch of Kent or Sussex is to be defended, so every man in Dublin, every house, every chamber, is to be saved front destruction if the system of prevention can be applied. Such conclusions would be a disgrace to the policy of the worst governments, would disgrace Machiavellians so much injured, if given as the result of the principles often so erroneously imputed to him. But I hope I mistook the scope of the noble lord's argument, though I am sure I do not mistake his words.—The defenders of the Irish govt. cannot agree about the proper name of the transaction of the 23d. Sometimes it is a "contemptible, riot," at others, a dangerous rebellion. It is said, there could be no danger, for there were 4C00 regular troops in Dublin. That force, I have no don but, would be able to suppress even a 787 formidable insurrection, but if an insignificant riot was expected cu the 23d, why was not the commander in chief directed to hold troops in readiness at the call of the civil magistrates? And why were not the magistrates in attendance to give their sanction to the operation of the troops if necessary? If it was a "contemptible lint," why did ministers, upon such a ground, call for the suspension of the Habeas Corpus, and the introduction of Martial Law? If, on the other hand, it was, as Lord Redesdale says, not 8 persons of the ringleaders, nor 8O rebels in all, but that persons came from all parts of Ireland to cooperate in a plan long meditated; are not ministers culpable in being ignorant of that state of the country? With respect to Lord Redesdale's letters, it its been said, that next to the indiscretion of publishing then", would be the indiscretion of discussing them. With all that genius which the Irish possess, (and I think they possess genius in a degree superior to other nations), with all this valour which they possess in an equal degree with the inhabitants of this country, with all the good qualities of every kind which belong to them, the people of Ireland have never been very famous for their discretion. It must no doubt, then, have been very gratifying to them, to find that a grave English chancellor sent over to then: had been guilty of an indiscretion, to which, indeed, nothing could be second: for it was of that sort that nothing simile et secunadum could exist. These letters are more than indiscreet. They must be infinitely mischievous if the author of them continues to fill his present station. It had been denied that Mr. Marsden had treated any one who came to give him information with want of attention; but I have heard, that in the case, of a Mr. Finlay, something of this kind was complained of. I do pot assert this to be the fast, but if an Inquiry is grated, I pledge myself to shew, that it is impossible any man of sense can be of opinion, that the lord haut of Ireland did believe that an insurrection, great or small would take place on the 23d of July, and that till within half an hour of the explosion, the Cory nagged chief had no intelligence with manner it was expected he should act it was sail by the noble lord very boldly, that the; was a complete far to justice in this affair bethought proper to qualify. This bar was the absence of Lord Hardwicke. Against such doctrinal I must beg leave wholly to prowls to Parliament doughty to exert its; control per the executive power, both in its near audits deist operations. If this were not to be the 788 case, what an argument against the union altogether& For this Parliament is unfit to legislate for a country, the executive administration of which it cannot control. It has been said too, that the hon. hart who made the motion must know better what happens at Wolver Hampton than in Dublin. Against this sort of language I must also enter my solemn protest. Though, doubtless, more connected with his immediate constituents, and more devoted to their particular service, every member of Parliament is member for the whole empire, for Dublin as wed as for Herefordshire or Yorkshire. Such doctrine as we have heard to-night would not have been endured formerly, and if it is suffered to prevail, there must be an gently of even the pretence, of benefit which Ireland was to derive from a liberal, protecting, dispassionate legislature. I sin decidedly of opinion, that there is sufficient prima facie evidence of neglect in the Irish govt. to justify the inquiry; that the contradictors assertions of ministers respecting the state of Ireland, render our necessary; and, I hope, that the House, in such circumstances, notwithstanding their partiality to ministers, will face that the question involves the creak of the whole government.
§ Mr. Dallas
said, the only question before the House was, whether they would lay the foundation of an address t; his Majesty, to dismiss from his councils the person alluded to, as being incapable to render his Majesty any service? He would consider the question as it put the House into a judicial capacity. He fully recognized that great duty and privilege of the House, to inquire into the conduct of the executive government. But it was unbecoming the character of the House to institute an inquiry without a sufficient ground. Ii was not enough, in the present case, to shew after the event that something better might have been dope on the 23d of July, by the govt. in Ireland; but a strong presumption of culpable neglect must he shewn, and of sufficient magnitude to call for so solemn? proceeding, as an inquiry by Parliament. He could of forbear to express ills super at the time of bringing this motion before the House, If the arguments of the friends of use rejection are conclusive, how do they justify their neglect in delaying this great and necessary inquiry? The House, if those arguments be good, is more culpable than the government of Ireland. Of the hon. gent. opposite to him, (Mr. Fox), it may be, truly should, that no man has a more acute understanding. Yet he, with all the motives arising from his regard 789 for his near relation, with all his attachment to the privileges of the House, and his attention to his own duty, could not find, in all the time that has elapsed, matter, to charge the govt. of Ireland with criminal neglect; for, if he had, the hon. gent, would have been induced by those motives, to bring the question himself before the House. Having made thee preliminary observations, he should inquire whether there was any proof of criminal negligence in the govt. of Ireland on the 23d of July; and this eluded the consideration of tits kind of intelligence they had of the design of the rebels, and the question, whether, on such information as they h id, they made preparations adequate to the danger as that evidence presented it to them. It was material to the complete view of this matter, to consider what the character of the insurrection was. Gentlemen wend condemned for calling this a "contemptible riot." What, he says, is that contemptible, whose object is to separate Ireland from England? No& not as to its object; but contemptible it may be in its means; and such it appeared to be as far as Dublin was concerned. The difficulty of obtaining information that is sufficiently accurate, in so affair to which few were privy, and in which the zeal of the parties would enjoin secret, was not to be overlooked. With all this, what is the degree of information obtained? On the 23d the lord-lieut. and she commander in chief came to the Carrie between 3 and 4 o'clock, and the necessary orders were issued for the security of the city of Dublin. A military council was held at 0 o'clock, and the different posts very strengthened. Thus it appeared that; no negligence had taken place on the part of govt. The learned gent, here want through the history of the information received by the Irish govt., as it had been detailed by Mr. Yorke. He then said he would take Mr. Fox's acceptation of the word surprised, as applied to the government, viz. whatever they knew, duly were not prepared; and would examine the state of the preparations. After which, he went into the history of the preparations of the govt. as detailed by Mr. Yorke. He contended chiefly, from this, that the lord lieut. had done all his office required; and that the commander in chief ought to have put every thing under his command, in a proper train of preparation. He said, if surprise meant ignorance, not of the general designs and intentions of the rebels, but of the individual persons concerned, the particular plan, and the moment of the attempt, then he would acknowledge the charge. But these the govt. had not the 790 means of knowing. The hon. gent. (Mr. Fox) had argued against himself; for, if the lord lieut. did not credit the information he received, or thought it doubtful (which that gent, had contended), then his preparations were, indeed, great. For his part, he thought, the govt. in Ireland had gained all the intelligence their means afforded, and made every preparation necessary on that information. He could not, therefore, conscientiously agree to put them on their trial. It would be injustice to them; it would be contrary to the true object of the discretion placed in Parliament. Inquiries into the conduct of the executive government ought never to be instituted, but on the most grave and important reasons. Upon an attentive consideration of the whole transaction, be was perfectly convinced that no blame was imputable to the civil or military government, and should conscientiously vote against the present motion.
§ Dr. Laurence
said, the learned gentleman had taken up the question as a counsel for a person accused, who keeps all the arguments against him out of sight. The House could only have general evidence to induce them to go into the inquiry. All the documents that would be evidence, were in the possession of the other side, and his hon. friends could not produce them. The learned gent. considered the House as a Grand Jury; and as such, he contended, they had sufficient evidence to grant the inquiry. He had very much at heart the preservation of that power in the House of inquiring into the acts of the executive govt. and those; of its servants. For this reason he had voted: against the administration he had general supported, in the case of Admiral Colpoys, because the proper evidence was not before the House. He deprecated the practice that had lately so entirely obtained, or denying evidence to the House. He maintained, that no time had been lost by those who professed themselves friends to the inquiry. The question had been brought forward soon after the 23d of July, but was given up at the instance of ministers, who thought the. advanced state of the session precluded the proper means of information. Since that period, the. conduct of the govt. of Ireland had been animadverted upon, by an hon. member (Mr. Fox), during be discussion of the army estimates Another hon. member, a relation of the gallant officer who commanded in Ireland, had also given notice of a motion; and the worthy baronet who then felt it his duty to take it up, had certainly lost no time in bringing the question forward.—As the darkness of the night 791 in which the insurrection broke out had been particularly mentioned, he should just observe, notwithstanding the darkness was represented to be so great, as to prevent a person from seeing his hand before him, that a man had been hanged upon the sole evidence of one, who deposed that he had distinctly seen him from a two-pair of stairs window.—Whether any blame could attach to any person or not, or on whomsoever it might tall, he hoped, for the honour of the country, an inquiry would be granted; and he should vote as conscientiously as his learned friend, when he gave his vote for the motion.
The Attorney General
could not too strongly call the attention of the House, to the necessity of having a grave case made out prima facie, before any inquiry could be instituted. The hon. gent, opposite to him (Mr. Fox) had called the letters and papers referred to, in justification of the govt. of Ireland, garbled intelligence; but he felt no difficulty in saying, that if there ever was an instance in which good and satisfactory documents were produced, that instance was the present case. For his own part, he was ready to oppose the motion; not from; he arguments and statements which those documents sniped him with, but from the grounds advanced by the hon. baronet himself, who had opened the discussion; and if ever the govt. had been surprised, it did not follow that they were, on that account, to be aroused of negligence, and the want of vigilance and precaution. When gentlemen take of preventive measures, they did rot seem consider, that although pantries of fierce and foot might have secured the tranquillity the city of Dublin, by doing constant duty every night, yet such measures of pretention would nave left the rebellion lurking in the heart of the city, if, as the fact was, the rebellion had not lasted for a single hour, what grounds were, there, he would ask, for forming any correct opinion of its magnitude? Yet enough, had, undoubtedly, been disclosed, to shew the disposition of this disaffected, their connexion with persons who had arrived from France, and the nature of their plans. Was it then going too far to arm, by the adoption of subsequent measures, government with powers which were calculated to guard against and counteract any new insurrections after the explosion of the last. If the necessary consequences of the motion were to be the removal of the lord lieut., and of officers entrusted with important military commands, those consequences alone would be a sufficient argument against its being entertain- 792 ed, as no such proceeding ought to take place, unless a grave case were previously made out.—With respect to the correspondence which had been the subject of an hon. gentleman's animadversions, it was undeniable that Lord Redesdale had not published his letters, and the mischief, if indeed any had been produced, was caused by the publication of the correspondence. It was rather extraordinary and hard, that the subject of that correspondence should be mingled with the conduct of government; for Lord Redesdale, in communicating his sentiments to the noble lord, on whom he was conferring the right of exercising the duties of a magistrate, was not guilty of any impropriety in suggesting what he conceived might be useful to the noble lord in the discharge of the duties of his new office. The Attorney-General concluded with declaring, that until a grave and material case was satisfactorily made out, the House could not with consistency agree to the proposed inquiry.
§ Lord De Blaquiere
rose at about 2 o'clock in the morning. He said, that before he went into the question he would crave the indulgence of the House for a moment, to make a short observation on what had fallen from an hon. friend of his (Mr. Dawson).—It was with sorrow and pain he had heard the hon. gent, express any jealousy upon the interference of English members in the concerns of Ireland. Such a proceeding ought to reconsidered not as an evil, but a benefit arising out of the union of the two kingdoms, as the temperate and dispassionate interference of unprejudiced men would be ever attended with the most solid advantages to that country.—He said, if it had been his good fortune to have been noticed at an earlier I hour, he should have endeavoured to have made some reply to the speech delivered by the noble lord at the beginning of the debate, but those items which he meant to have questioned were now gone by, leaving only one general impression upon his mind, that the noble lord had fallen into that error which the wisest logicians have often experienced; namely, that he had in fact proved to much. The noble lord had laid it down and asserted, that the conduct of the Irish I government on the 23d of July was better titan well—whereas he (Lord De Blaquiere) thought that the government of Ireland on that day was worse, infinitely worse, than bad &—His noble friend and he, were, therefore, completely at issue upon the point, and t a war of assertion was to be continued as it had begun. But suffer me, said Lord De Blaquiere, to call the attention of the House 793 to a distinction which may not be altogether undeserving of notice. God forbid& I should have the presumption to say, that any thing coming from my mouth deserved a bitter attention than that which any other man has offered, but when it shall be remembered that I desire to consign to a committee for the investigation of truth, every thing which I shall advance, and that those on the other: idea, who equally and boldly make their assertions, shrink from the investigation which I court, the House will, I am confident, make the distinction—Upon the subject of the present discussion look, said his lordship, a little back and see if all these disasters have not arisen more from the mismanagement of government than from any other cause. View that fatal system of not alarming the people, that wretched admixture of fear and flight, whose operation upon the minds of men led to doing that which was worse than wrong; namely, to the doing of nothing at ail; a system which had brought this country to its ruin, if its feelings had not been roused by the persevering spirit and sense of the right hon. gent, opposite (Mr. Windham), who hid awakened the people to a sense of their danger, without; terrifying their minds or exciting their fears; and which had led to those exertions that have put the country into a situation, far beyond the apprehension of danger.—In a hapless hour, however, the fatal, the favorite, but wretched system was like a pestilential disease wafted over to Ireland, and to this he did really believe was to be principally ascribed all the evils which have followed.—The House would please to remember (they could not forget it), that some weeks previous to that fatal day, he had in that very place where he then stood, spoken his belief of the forthcoming mischief. He was treated with attention by the House, but his Majesty's ministers and their friends heard him with disdain.—The country was then, as he feared many parts of it would be found now, in that state of silent, but perceptible stir, which has ever preceded every great explosion, and which has been the constant harbinger of deadly mischief.—All is tranquillity, said the friends of the administration—all is quiet, quiet, Mr. Speaker, said his lordship; so is gun-powder, if you will let it alone.
In respect to the transaction to which the attention of the House had been called by the hon. baronet, he would be careful how he gave offence by his words, he would be afraid to call it a rebellion, and with shyness would glance even at 794 an insurrection—most gentlemen admitted there had been a riot or a row, many more acknowledged there had been a disputes but, that there had been a difference of opinion every body admitted, upon the grounds of the impossibility of living under the austere control of the King upon the throne, and the tyrannical system of the English constitution, compared with the mild and benignant government of the Chief Consul of France.—in this controversy, as is often the case, from words they came to blows, and he believed it was known, that in about a quarter of an hour some, live and twenty or thirty men were laid dead upon their backs. To the honour of government however, be it said, they had yet made no attempt to prove that any one of these gentlemen had made away with themselves. The hanging which succeeded carried off many more, not more, he begged to observe than the injured laws and justice of the country required; but the thing went on merrily every day whilst he was on the spot, and he heard it observed, comically enough to be sure (and in repealing which be hoped he should give offence to no gentleman in that House) "that every man had been hanged, except those who deserved it.—It was too late in the night to enter minutely into the several items of the transaction. Enough had already been said. On the 16th of July, the rebel magazine in Patrick Street blew up; and it appeared by the evidence of Flemming on Emmett's trial, that all the remaining ammunition, ball cartridges to the amount of 30,000, arms, &c. were removed in the middle of the duly of the 17th from this rebel magazine to the rebel depot in Marshall Lane.—That at this depot in Marshall Lane, it appears on the trials, that from 10 to 30 persons were constantly employed, not in the manufacturing of manikin pins or pocket pistols, but in the construction of some of the most formidable and cumbersome implements of war.—Beams from 12 to 20 feet in length, ingeniously contrived, and holding from 20 to 25 pikes each other blocks of timber of the same bulk loaded with combustibles, I so massive and unwieldy, that less than 10 men could not easily move them.—Then I how could the House credit, as it had been asserted., that 8 men only were employed in the work. Ail this had been quietly going on for some weeks previous to the rebellion and within a few hundred yards of the Castle gate, and this being admitted, (for it cannot be denied), bow is it we are called upon unblushingly to extol the vigilance and exertions of the government of Ireland? if 795 the Lord Lieutenant had the power sufficient to crush this insurrection in the bud, which he (Lord De Blaquiere) always shrewdly suspected he had not, why was it not exerted? If the Lord Lieutenant had those powers and did not exert them, he was Criminally to biome; but if, instead of being armed with those powers (so indispensible for the executive government in a disturbed country) it should appear, and he thought he had picked no as much in he course of the debate, that Lord Hardwick was not only unarmed with those power but that he had actually applied for them to his Majesty's ministers in England, and had been refused; sure, said lie, my Lord Hardwick can be no longer to blame: the blame, the neglect, the responsibility, no louder attaches upon him, it reverts with accumulated weight up n the shoulders o the right hon. rent, who sits in the next bench—upon him and those with whom he has advised.—The noble lord who said that 3,000 pikes only were taken, had been misinformed, for there noble lord, he knew, was utterly incapable of giving the fiat of his word to at thing which he did not believe to be true; therefore was that 13,000 pikes we taken on the 23d of July, and the succeeding day. Ins authority was from one of the persons persons appointed by government to collect them.—To go into the military disquisition of the business, was at that hour too late: and, moreover, had been sufficiently explained by hon. gent, who had gone before him; but, that some thousand strangers had come into the town in the night between the 22d and 23d of July, every body knew. The government bad express information of it, not from ordinary and ill paid spies, but from Some of the not it respectable gentry of the country; and, that their object was to cot the throat of every loyal man. These are facts, said his lordship, for the truth of which, I desire to be brought to the tribunal of truth, for enquiry; that is, the committee moved for by the hon. baronet. He wished for the sake of the country in which lie had so long lived, and for the honour of the government under which he had so long served, that he might be put in the wrong: but, he supplicated, he implored the House, to satisfy the people of that neglected country, and let them know, whether all the calamities they hid so recently endured, were brought upon them by the visitation of God for their sins; or, whether they owed these disasters to the misconduct of men who were no more than themselves?—That an inquiry ought to be induced, if argument can prove any thing, bad already been proved.—The hon. general 796 who had been alluded to, did not go to Ireland to make a character; and it was the bounden duty of the House, to see, that he did not loose a character without a cause. The friends of that gallant officer, he was sure would vote for the inquiry; the hon. member his kinsman, had signified his intention so to do; it was honourable for both. He trusted the friends of Lord Hardwick would do the same, and to push the climax one step further, be thought, the right hon. gem. he Chancellor of the English Exchequer ought to do so likewise; as he should not scruple to assert, that, in the vulgar consideration of this business, his name had been continually mentioned; the government of Ireland with its yes open, and on the spot, could not nave acted the part they did, but for the express controul of the English cabinet.—Upon the score of Lord Hardwicke, he begged the House would indulge him with a word. He considered Lord Hardwicke as a high bred nobleman, of fine manners, and engaging address; that for probity and integrity, he had never been surpassed; and, that in his breast the God of nature had planted a heart as pure and immaculate, as ever reed in the bosom of man; but, this was not die subject then under consideration. He thanked the House for the condescending attention they had been pleased to shew him; he should of course vote for the committee.
§ Mr. Windham,
thought, that the House was much indebted to the noble lord who spoke last, n>t only for the important facts which he had furnished and the useful reflexions with which he had accompanied them, but for the pleasantry he. had introduced, and which, besides being very refreshing after so long a debate, was^ perhaps, the most forcible way of treating the question. There were some things so extravagant in their own nature, that nothing but ridicule could reach themSafe from the bar, the pulpit, and the throne,But touched and sham'd by ridicule alone.the person undertaking to describe them was forced to have recourse to ridicule, from utter despair of doing justice to them by any direct or grave statement. Of this sort were the greater part of the allegations used on the present occasion in defence of the Irish government.—Before, however, he touched upon these, he must say a word upon the right of touching upon them, which seemed to be called in question, or, rather to be wholly set aside, by the doctrines of an hon. gent, who had spoke early. It had been said, that to make inquiry into 797 abuses in Ireland, and to employ the result of such inquiries as a means of attacking ministers, was to make a use of Ireland, which mast be considered as disrespectful to that country. But, if this was so, it must be equally disrespectful to England, to charge upon ministers any abuses which might be found in England; and thus the government must be completely protected against a charge for abuses committed anywhere, if Irene alone were to be included in (he rule, the effect must be to make Ireland a sort of repository and sanctuary for abuses, into which parliamentary control and inquiry "runneth not,"—a privilege which he and not conceive would be very honourable to her, or such as the hon. gent. alluded to would wish to claim in her behalf. He was in another view concerned at those opinions, inasmuch as they tended to draw distinctions between the two countries, which the union must be considered as having done away. There could, in reality, be no more distinction between the two countries than between any two counties of. Britain. Whether any one had opposed; be union, as he believed was the case of the hon. gent., or whether they had supported is a is his ease, (though, possibly, it might not have because had before Been all that had happened, or, rather, all that had not happened but had been wished from that measure, and by which the objections to it, as well on the part of Ireland, a.; of England, might in his mind have been overcome): whatever previous? opinions and feelings might have been entertained by any one, ah persons must now agree in endeavouring form ender its effects as salutary and complete as possible.—Assuming, then, what he concluded was not seriously denied, the right of the House to I examine the question before them, one of the facts that first presented itself was the length of time, that the hon. gentlemen op posited to had had required, before they could make up their minds, whether they chose to be negligent or ignorant; whether they would be bulls or bears in the transaction: where they wished to pass for person?, HJI'I had not foreseen the danger, or who had neglected to provide against it. They did nor seem perfectly to have made their election even to that moment. One of the difficulties of arguing the question against them and one of the means which they had at escape, was, that yon could never tell on what ground to take them. Surprise, indeed, they had at length disclaimed. But then, the evils that had happened, or were upon the point of happening, 798 the near seizure of the Castle, the murder of the Lord Chief Justice, the possible and not unlikely possession of the city for some time by the rebels, were said not to be the effect of negligence: no: it was a deep design, now first disclosed, but even now not distinctly asserted, to avoid the use of repellants, to let the disease get to a head, in order that they might make a mere effectual cure of it. He was ready to confess that is as the only intelligible solution of their conduct; though he might be allowed to call in question the truth of it, because in fact it had, as yet, only been thrown out, without any assertion being made that this case was positively so. He could not, however, allow that the justification was a very good one, though he admitted that it was the only one that could by any possibility tally with the assertions that the Irish government was not taken by surprise, and yet not toiletry of any negligence. The only possible third course, was, that, seeing the danger, they chose, as was now hinted, to let it come on, in order that they might defeat it in the end with more elect and advantage. The objection to this course, supposing the fact to be as stated, was, that it was more proper for the case of a foreign them, than for a domestic traction. In the case of a foreign enemy it might be indifferent how many were destroyed; or it might be desirable to destroy as many as possible; but the feeling could hardly "be the save on the pan of a government with respect to a domestic faction, that to say, with respect to its own subjects. Prevention there seemed to be a duty more strongly called than punishment.—The rebellion had been called a "contemptible riot," and names of great reproach and contempt given to all concerned in it. But it must be recollected, that names of that description were equally applicable to those concerned in the rebellion of 1798, which yet was not a contemptible riot. He could not moreover but thins", that those who described their antagonist in these terms did not very well consider how such reflections recoiled upon themselves. They should parody the celebrated answer given by the Duke of Marlborough to Marshal Tallard. If the rioters were contemptible, what were those who were near being beaten by them?—That people flocked in upon the occasion from all the adjoining counties, and that the seeds of the insurrection were to be found distributed through three-fourths of the people of Ireland—these latter facts they had upon the authority of the highest legal officer in Ireland, (Lord Redesdale) a testimony, that 799 in every view was a matter of no light consideration. He should not talk here of the imprudence of these letters, nor upon the endeavour of removing the blame from the writer to those who had been instrumental in He publication. The letters could not have been published, it they had never been written; and as to the right of publication, without discussing that question too cicely, or professing to have formed any decided opinion upon it, it did not immediately appear how a man was restrained on any principle of engagement or good faith in respect to a transaction, to which his consent had never been asked. It was by no act of a mail's own that he received a letter: their could be no engagement, therefore, entered into, that he should not communicate that letter. What security even had he, that the writer had not previously communicated the letter, or might not at any time do so to ethers? And, without professing to know the fact, he (Mr. Windham) should be glad to learn, whether those letters had not been seen by friends of the noble writers, perhaps, by Ibis Majesty's ministers, before the time, when copies had got abroad from the hands of Lord Fingall. But even if these letters to Lord Fingall were to be considered as private, or could be made so by the mere act of the writer, and that the person receiving them was in consequence debarred the privilege of showing them to those whom they immediately concerned, the same interpretation could not well be extended to those which passed with Dr. Coppinger, the nature of which, any more than the situation of the parties, did not seem to imply any thing particularly confidential. These latter, however, were perhaps the most objectionable of all. In the former there was only the infinite absurdity and indiscretion if a correspondence, which was to offend, and prove to be retells, whether they would or no, three fourths of the population of Ireland, and to exhibit a picture, not indeed so extravagant as that which one of our poets ascribed to certain passages in another,Where God the Father turns a school divine,but where as great an indecorum was found as human affair? could well admit; namely, where a chancellor appeared in that character, and for the purpose of present oppression and persecution, was raking up ail the exploded controversies of more than two centuries ago his was bad enough in theology and still worse in politics. The doctrines were as false ns the promulgation 800 of them was injudicious and dangerous. But in the oilier case, there were circumstances leading to more fatal impressions of the character of the person concerned, than those even which could be derived from the strange perversion and singular imprudence manifested in the former correspondence.; A man who could write and think of the case of father O'Neil as is done in the letters to Dr. Coppinger, must be considered as I having lost for the moment all legal ideas& and feeling. What could be thought of a person in the situation of the noble ford, the? first law officer of the country, the great source of justice and equity, who instead of being shocked at the horrors of that case,—Ithe illegality of it as well as the cruelty,—could had nothing to excite his indignation in the first instance, but the audacity of the sufferer, who had dared to complain? Was he prepared to say, that the whole statement was false; that the whole narrative was fictitious; that there were no scourging, no transportation, no forged testimonies, no decisions of two successive governments, pronouncing; either the patty to be innocent, or the proceedings against him to have been illegal, or the educe insufficient? If be was not prepared to say this, if it was impossible that he should be so, if the nature of the transaction and I the means of information did not admit the I possibility of proof such as could counteract the presumption arising from the facts above stated, or iii the supposition, either of guilt or innocence, reconcile the proceedings to say idea of justice, how was it to be borne, I that a person standing in the situation of the noble lord, should have passed over all these enormities, and have discovered no ground of complaint, but against the person who had presumed to recite them?
§ Mr. Hawthorne
spoke to order, and observed, that the correspondence alluded to by the right hon. gent, had no connexion with the question before the House.
§ Mr. Windham
contended that he was strictly in order, as the question of martial law, which was the consequence of die 23d of July, naturally led to the consideration of the opinions of the noble and learned lord, who, from his high situation, was presumed to take a chief part in the administration of public affairs, and who, at the time of passing the law in question, was expressly stated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer as a security that no improper use would be made of it.
spoke to order, and trusted the right hon. gent, would see the impropriety of putting the noble lord, as it were, on his trial, when the motion related; 801 solely to the insurrection of the 23d of July.
§ The Speaker
declared, that he did not see the connexion between the correspondence alluded to and the question; but as the House had suffered the subject to be introduced and commented upon, other gentlemen might be allowed the same indulgence. Much would, however, depend upon the manner in which it might be treated.
then resumed his speech, and having recapitulated some of his former statements, he concluded with observing, that he could not conceive a graver case, or one which pressed itself more strongly for inquiry on the judgment of the House,
§ Mr. Tierney
said, that he could not but blame the right hon. gent., (Mt. Windham) who was formerly one of the most eager opponents to all inquiry, but who was now its most zealous champion. He knew that there were occasions where sentiments might be changed, without any abandonment of principle. Some gentlemen might smile, but his conduct, he trusted, was, and ever had been such, as to meet and defy every inquiry. He proceeded to remark, that the gentlemen on the other side had shewn little decorum in their change of opinion, and was surprised that those who had formerly sanctioned a system of severity in Ireland, should now express so great anxiety for the people of that country. It had been admitted that no imputation was thrown on the hon. general alluded to, and there were certainly no circumstances in the conduct of the Irish govt. which could be supposed to render the motion necessary. There seemed to be no complaint against the Irish govt., but that they had succeeded in tracing out treason in all its ramifications, and the only objection he should have expected from the right hon. gent. (Mr. Windham) was, that the traitors had been punished by a vigour within, rather than a vigour beyond the law.—The present motion appeared to him to be brought forward, for the purpose of bringing those together, whom it was difficult to reconcile, and the circumstance reminded him of the story of goose, the fox, and the bag of corn he principal merit of the present motion, was, that it contrived to unite all parties in a common vote: gentlemen who could agree on no two subjects were thus made to vote all one way, and carry on appearances of unanimity against ministers more specious than teal. It was 802 like the contrivances sought by parents who had agreed on a match, how to bring the young people together. Some did it by a ball, some by a water party, and some by one way, and some by another; but all contrived to help forward a matter very distinct from the apparent and avowed object. The late insurrection had not that importance which gentlemen were inclined to attach to it. It was a petty tumult, which accident had made of grater consequence than it otherwise would probably have been. He justified the vigilance of the Irish govt., and again maintained his own consistency. He had formerly voted for the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, and therefore, was justified even on that ground in doing so now. Upon the whole, he thought that no ground was made out to justify farther inquiry; the government of Ireland appeared to have taken every precaution necessary, and actually suppressed the rebellion in a few hours.
§ Mr. Grey,
at the late hour to which the debate had been protracted, promised not to detain the House long. The right hon. gent. (Mr. Tierney) who had just sat down, had, it seems, brought forward a charge of inconsistency against a right hon. gent. (Mr. Windham). He would leave the right hon. gent, to defend himself from the charge; but must be allowed to express his opinion that such a charge came with singular propriety from the mouth of a gent., who was a perfect model of consistency& He had also read the right hon. gent. (Mr. Windham) a lecture on decorum, as to the manner of changing opinions, perhaps, he thought it was quite decorous in members to change over from the opposition side of the House; but utterly inconsistent with decorum to relinquish the sweets of office. The right hon. gent had challenged any person to prove one act of inconsistency in his conduct, and had produced one solitary' instance, in which, formerly, he had voted for the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act. He (Mr. Tierney) on that occasion, had thought the arguments used justified the vote, but certain he was, that afterwards he had expressly voted against the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, notwithstanding the rebellion of that day was not as that of the present is now described by the 803 right hon. gent., a "petty tumult," but a great and serious insurrection against the govt., aided by an enemy's force. Yet now he felt it no inconsistency, to vote as he had done, for the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, and the introduction of Martial Law, on the ground of the danger arising from that "petty tumult," which appeared so insignificant in his eyes.—Mr. Grey then entered into a recapitulation of the conduct of the govt. of Ireland relative to the transactions of the 23d of July, and contended that a stronger and more sufficient ground of inquiry into public measures was never made out. He should therefore give his hearty assent to the motion.
§ Mr. Tierney
said, in explanation, that the insurrection was of little consequence, independent of the murder of Lord Kilwarden, which was accidental.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
perfectly concurred with his right hon. friend (Mr. Tierney) that the right hon. gent. (Mr. Windham) had changed the opinions he had entertained for the last ten years. He contended, that with respect to the disposition of some portion of the people to insurrection, the government of Ireland was by no means unapprised on the contrary, that they were fully aware that the torch of rebellion kindled in 1798, was by no means totally extinguished, though with respect to the general disposition of (he country, they were confident of a disposition to tranquillity and loyalty; and that, although the govt. of Ireland, subsequent to the peace, did not call for the renewal of those acts as indispensably necessary under the general disposition of the country, yet they suggested that the revival would be expedient in a partial degree, as placing in the hands of govt. a power to repress any occasion& symptoms of an insurrectionary tendency; and he incipit that the murder of Kindled and of Col Brown, were the only prominent characteristics of the outrage which burst forth, that could be viewed as of state importance, however lamentable the loss of many other valuable lives on that melancholy occasion. But, that any blame was as tempted to be imputed to the gallant officer in question, he utterly denied. He would ask the members of the House of Commons, whether they could put their hands upon their hearts, and think they were doing their duty in agreeing to this motion.
remarked, that the soldiers in Ireland were so dispersed in the barracks, that in men constituted the main body of one regiment the 64th. He could have 804 collected many more facts while in Ireland, but thought those produced sufficient for the purpose he had mentioned.
§ Mr. Calcraft
referred Mr. Tierney to his own political life for instances of inconsistency. As to torture, or at least what he formerly called torture, the hon. and right hon. gentlemen now sitting near him were the most forward in justifying its establishment and practice. If the facts already before the House, and of public notoriety namely, the murder of the lord chief justice, the murder of 16 citizens of Dublin, and other enormities, were not adequate grounds of further inquiry, such grounds could never be obtained.
§ Mr. Dent
rose amidst a strong call for the question, and replied to that part of Mr. Tierney's speech which referred to what he called party management in bringing forward this question. He was for an examination into the Conduct of government with respect to Ireland, and would support the motion for inquiry, which, in other instance, he observed, the Chancellor of the Exchequer had always affected to court.
felt it necessary, even late as the hour was, to offer a few observations upon this subject; because, as he certainly meant to give a vote upon this question, he wished to assign his reasons for that vote. If the question of this night was meant to imply any censure upon the conduct of Lord Hardwicke, it certainly should not have his assent; because the to duct of that noble lord had his most hearty approbation, it it was meant to convey any censure upon the government of both countries, as with respect to the particular occasion, he should feel equally averse to vote for it, I convinced, as he was, that blame ought not to attach: but, if it was directed to an inquiry into the conduct of his Majesty's ministers, for not having directed (heir investigations to the slate of Ireland, with a view to move the cause of discontent, and thereby prevent house lamentable ebullitions of popular discontent, which unhappily agitated the country, it should have his most hearty concurrence, because he had repeatedly endeavoured to impress upon his Majesty's ministers the necessity of such an investigation, but without effect; and because he thought their resistance to such inquiry most extremely culpable. In addition to this conduct he had to arraign that of a noble lord (Redesdale) at the head of the taw department of Ireland, in the prorogation of those letters which had appeared in the correspondence between had 805 and a respectable nobleman in that country, and in which the most wanton and unfounded insult was directed against three-fourths of his Majesty's subjects in that country, by the unjust impeachment of their loyalty, which was to his knowledge, and from every thing which had been manifested in their conduct, most unwarranted and unjustifiable.
§ Sir John Wrottesley
said he would take up the time of the House but for a few moments, by way of reply. He left his personal motives to be judged of by the House, from a knowledge of his character. It was in vain to make professions. He knew gentlemen, who said they took places from patriotic motives, but others were not satisfied of that fact, and thought they caught at them from low and mercenary motives. His object was certainly to implicate the conduct of both governments, relative to the transaction of the 23d July. In order to show that Gen. Fox was not duly apprized of the approaching rebellion, and that the Irish govt. were taken by surprise, he read an extract from a letter to Gen. Fox, sent at seven o'clock, 23d July, signed "A. Marsden." Was it, he asked, justifiable to protect and nourish such a man, and discharge, almost at the same moment, the gallant and meritorious officer whose conduct had been brought into question? Surely this was too weak. After recapitulating several other points of his former arguments, and she wing the insufficiency of the observations by which they were opposed, he concluded, by professing his adherence to the motion he had made.—The Attorney General and Mr. Fox said a few words in explanation. After which the question was pat, and on a division the numbers were
|For the motion||82|
§ Adjourned at half-past 4 on Thursday morning.
|List of the Minority|
|Adair, R.||Johnstone, G.|
|Baker, J.||Kensington, Lord|
|Bankes, H.||Laurence, F.|
|Barclay, G.||Latouche, R.|
|Barclay, Sir R.||Latouche, J.|
|Barlow, F. W.||Lawley, Sir R.|
|Berkeley, Hn. G. C.||Madocks, W. A.|
|Binning, Lord||Mildmay, Sir H. P. St. J.|
|Bouverie, Hon. E.||Milner, Sir W. M.|
|Brooke, Lord||Moore, G. P.|
|Bardett, Sir F.||Moore, P.|
|Byug, G||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Calcraft, J.||Morris, E.|
|Canning, Rt. Hon. G.||North, D.|
|Cartwright, W. R.||Northey, W.|
|Cavendish, Lord G.||Ord, W.|
|Coombe, H. C.||Osborne, J.|
|Cooke, B.||Ossulston, Lord|
|Courrenay, J.||Petty, Lord H.|
|Craufurd, R.||Ponsonby, Rt. Hon.W.B.|
|Creevey, T.||Porchester, Lord|
|De Blaquiere, Lord||Poyntz, W. S.|
|Dent, J.||Raine, J.|
|Dickenson, W. jun.||Russell, Lord W.|
|Dillon, Hon. H. A.||St. John, Hon. St. A.|
|Dundas, Hon. C. L.||Scudamore, J.|
|Dundas, Hon. G. H. L.||Shakespear, A.|
|Elford, Sir W.||Spencer, Lord R.|
|Elliort, W.||Staney, Lord|
|Ellis, C. R.||Surges, W.|
|Fitzpatrick, Rt. Hon. R||Temple, Earl|
|Folkstone, Lord Viscount||Townsend, Lord J.|
|Fox, Hon. C. J.||Walpole, Hon. S.|
|Francis, P.||Ward, R.|
|Cower, Lord G. L.||Ward, R.|
|Graham, J.||Whitbread, S.|
|Grenville, Rt. Hon. T.||Wilberforce, W.|
|Grey, Hon. C.||Windham, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Hamilton, Lord A.||Wynne, C. W. W.|
|Hippesley, Sir J. C.||Wynne, Sir W.W.|
|Holland, H. jun.|
|Wrottesly, Sir J John||TELLERS.|