§ Lord Mandeville
said, although self-exculpation is in my judgment, a matter of very secondary importance, yet, in justice to the cause which I have undertaken, I conceive I am bound to notice the remarks made by the noble Lord, the Member for Armagh, relative to the delay which there has been in bringing this matter forward. It has been put off five several times; the first was at the request of the friends of the noble Lord; the second time was, because the learned gentleman, the Member for the Tower Hamlets, conceived it was too late an hour in the evening; the third time was the night of the discussion on the Irish Church, which did not end until half-past three in the morning; the fourth time was on the night of Lord John Russell's motion on the Irish Church, when both the noble Lord (Lord Acheson) and the learned Dr.(Lushington) assented to the general wish of the House, and compelled me to withdraw my Motion—and the last time was, when the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Tamworth adjourned the House, so that I had no possible opportunity of bringing it on sooner. I do not impute to them any desire to delay, but I affirm that they had still less reason to impute that wish to me. The papers for which I am now to move I conceive are necessary to complete the evidence which has been moved for by the Member for the city of Armagh. I will, therefore, commence by shewing what the papers already laid upon the Table do prove, and then I will revert to the points which are to be established by the papers for which I now ask. It appears that there had been a series of acts of violence from the time of the Armagh races, unto the period of the election, sufficiently notorious to cause the Government to direct the inquiry. This inquiry was to be made by the magistrates—it was to be of the fullest description—to embrace the previous occurrences, and to extend, if necessary, as far back as the time of the Armagh races; the object being to discover not only the facts but the origin of these feuds. These points are proved by Sir Henry Hardinge's (the late Secretary for Ireland's) letter, In page 20 and 22 it says:—"It appears to his 1072 Excellency expedient that all the circumstances connected with the outrage committed by the burning of the cabins, and with the previous occurrences, should have the fullest investigation by the magistrates assembled," &c. The second letter is as follows:—"In my letter of the 21st instant, I informed your Lordship that his Excellency considered it expedient that all the circumstances connected with the burning of the cabins and with the previous occurrences, should receive the fullest investigation. It is his Excellency's desire, that the inquiry should be so conducted as to ascertain not only the facts that have occurred, but the origin of the existing feuds, and that it should extend if necessary to the period of the races, three months ago, when the quarrel between the parties is said to have commenced." My first complaint is, that Lord Gosford did not make these intentions of the Government known, either in his notice to the magistrates, or in his public proclamation, the former of which was as follows:—"Having received his Excellency's the Lord Lieutenant's directions to have an investigation at the earliest moment at which it may be practicable, of all the circumstances and occurrences connected with the late outrage near Charlemont, I beg to inform you that the inquiry will be held at the court-house in Armagh, on Wednesday, the 20th day of January, 1835." The notice was—"Having received his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant's directions to hold an investigation into all the circumstances and occurrences connected with the late outrage near Charlemont, I hereby give notice, that I shall hold such investigation at the courthouse in Armagh, on Wednesday next, the 28th instant, at the hour of eleven o'clock in the forenoon, when the attendance on that day is requested of all or any persons who can give information or representation respecting such outrages." In both these notices, it will be observed, that the inquiry into "the previous occurrences," is wholly suppressed; the effect of this was, that people who could and would have given evidence as to the previous occurrences, never thought of coming forward. The first ground of complaint, therefore, is, that the noble Earl did not give such notice as was calculated to carry into effect the directions of Sir Henry Hardinge. In the next place he did not advise with the magistrates as 1073 to the witnesses to be summoned, and even when I asked for a list of the witnesses that were summoned, that was refused me—nor did he consult as to the topics of inquiry, but, on the contrary, he discountenanced inquiry into the origin of the disturbances, though the necessity was again and again pointed out to him. This is established by the evidence of a dozen witnesses, shewing that the act of violence by the Protestants was in consequence of the series of atrocities committed by the Roman Catholics. In the evidence of Thomas Sinclair, for instance, he stated that "Armagh races were the commencement of the disturbances of the country," and that "M'Mahon's (a Roman Catholic's) house was broken by way of retaliation for Glasse's house being broken, and M'Cutchey and M'Whinney (all Protestants) being beat." We have the same testimony also from the magistrate, Mr. Olpherts, Captain Rowland, and others. Here, then, was a series of acts of violence on Protestants, and although Lord Gosford was directed by Sir Henry Hardinge to inquire into them, although the necessity of that inquiry was shown, although Lord Gosford was requested by the magistrates to do so, still he would not go into that inquiry. Yet there was one reason why Lord Gosford should have been exceedingly anxious not to appear to blink that inquiry, because, in consequence of riots being apprehended at Armagh races, the sovereign of Armagh requested Lord Gosford to put them off, which, however, he would not do, and therefore, he himself was implicated in occasioning those disturbances. But how did he act? All the acts of violence suffered by the Protestants were passed by, and the Protestants were at once put on their defence, for the first act of retaliation, of which they were unfortunately guilty. And here I must notice, that I was greatly misunderstood by the learned Member for the Tower Hamlets, when I spoke on a former night. I was reported to have said, that the inquiry was conducted by partisans on one side only, and that even the witnesses were all chosen from one side, to the utter exclusion of rebutting evidence. What I did say was, that the inquiry was conducted as the case of one party, and, in proof, I said that evidence respecting acts of outrage, that were committed on the same day was rejected, on the plea that they would finish the case of one party first; 1074 and then I said, why should it be so conducted, why was one party to be put on their defence more than another, where there were mutual acts of violence, and where both parties were implicated in outrages? In proof that the statement which I then made was correct, I will read an extract from a letter which I received from Mr. Green, a magistrate for the county—"Having gone through the evidence respecting the attack upon M'Mahon's house, Lord Gosford proceeded to inquire into occurrences that had taken place a day or two after, without doing justice to the Protestants, who had been so dreadfully beaten and fired upon the same evening that the house had been attacked; and upon my requesting to know from his Lordship if it would not be better to finish the transactions of Thursday before passing to a subsequent one—Lord Gosford said, 'why no—that is not the line we have laid down, we think better to hear one party first, and then if necessary, we can return and hear the other.'" My next statement was, that Lord Gosford denied the magistrates an opportunity of making their report by assuring them that none should be made, other than the transmission of the evidence; moreover he said publicly, that the beating of M'Whinney was the cause. Lord Gosford nevertheless made a report, as did also the stipendiary magistrate, to whose report Lord Gosford directs the attention of the Government as correct, and which report the magistrates were not permitted to see. Lord Gosford's report was as follows—"Sir—The investigation finished last Wednesday evening, after a very close and minute inquiry into the circumstances, which his Excellency was pleased to submit to our consideration. The principal feature in the business was the burning of seven houses in the townland of Anahagh, belonging to Catholics, and I confess this appears to me to have been a most wanton, atrocious outrage, and any attempt to palliate or soften the offence, failed in its object, and tended in no way to shake my opinion of the transaction." And then he concludes—"I am decidedly of opinion that the people of this country are well-inclined to live in harmony and good will with one another; and if the Gentlemen would in their respective neighbourhoods, use their influence in cultivating this feeling, the happiest results might be expected." This is Lord Gosford's report, which I did 1075 not know to be in existence, until I saw it among these papers, but having heard that Mr. Jones had sent a report, I wrote to him saying, that though Lord Gosford had declared that there should be no report, yet that I understood that he (Mr. Jones) would send a report, a copy of which I requested to see. His answer was as follows;—"In reply to your letter of yesterday, requesting a copy of my communication to Sir Henry Hardinge, relative to the late inquiry, I feel regret that consistently with my idea of my duty, I cannot comply with your Lordship's wishes, at the same time, I should suppose by an application to the Government, your Lordship's object will be easily obtained." In consequence of this letter, with the advice of other magistrates, I wrote the following letter to Sir Henry Hardinge:—"Sir, some of the magistrates who assisted at the late investigation at Armagh, have expressed to me their dissatisfaction at the manner in which the inquiries have been conducted and reported on, and they have requested me to solicit from you a copy of the communication made to you on the subject by Mr. Jones. The circumstances under which this request is made, will I trust, be its own justification. It was an express understanding that no other report than a copy of the evidence was to be forwarded to you, and in consequence the magistrates separated without preparing a statement of their impressions respecting the inquiry, and the conclusions to which they were led by the evidence. It now appears that a communication has been made to you on the subject, the nature of which Mr. Jones does not hold himself authorised to make known to the magistrates, but of which he states his assurance you will favour me with a copy. I trust you will not find it inconvenient to comply with my request," &c. This request, however, was denied me by the Government. Now, in reverting back to Lord Gosford's report, it will be observed that he states that the investigation was agreeable to the directions of Government; but it did not embrace all the topics to which the Government directed his attention, but on the contrary it only examined one. The charge that was made against the yeomanry was so far from being touched upon, that the officer who commanded the corps said to have been implicated, although he moreover is a magistrate for the 1076 county of Armagh, received no summons, and was not even made acquainted with the intention of holding the inquiry. In the next place, Lord Gosford says, that the outrage by the Protestants was most wanton and atrocious, and that "any attempt to soften or palliate the offence failed in its object." Why, Lord Gosford refused to inquire into the extenuating causes, the continued provocation and violence, so that the road had become impassable for Protestants, as will be seen intimated in the evidence given by one man of the name of Jackson, who said he had been attacked as many as ten times on that road; that he had informed Mr. Opherts, the magistrate, of it; and that he had also told Lord Charlemont of it, who said that he would acquaint Lord Gosford of it, in order to have a police station in that neighbourhood. Another cause of the exasperated state of feeling was the violence done to the Protestants at Armagh races, partaking quite of the character of assassination; one person going about and pointing out the Protestants to people who came from a distance, in order that those not personally known might be employed in these acts of violence on people of whom they also were perfectly ignorant, save that they were in this instance marked as fit subjects of vengeance; and a very aggravating circumstance in the case was the undue leniency of the Armagh magistrates when the ringleaders in these outrages were arrested. Another observation which I must make upon this report of Lord Gosford is the unjust insinuation thrown out against the gentry, as if they were the cause of the outrages: "If the gentlemen would, in their respective neighbourhoods, use their influence," &c. [Loud cheers from the Ministerial benches.] By those cheers I suppose that hon. Members conceive that these events took place in the vicinity of some great Orange landlord, but that is not the case. The proprietor is Lord Charlemont, and the magistrates in that neighbourhood are also chiefly of his Lordship's political sentiments. But, however, to return to the subject in hand: I say that the report which was sent by Lord Gosford, unknown by the magistrates, was very different from that which, had they been permitted, they would have sent. Another defective circumstance in the inquiry was, that many wounded people were not examined; this the evidence shows; in fact a witness of 1077 the name of M'Mullen names three persons, Johnston, Holmes, and Cullen. On the second day of the examination I handed in to Lord Gosford the surgeon's certificate respecting the precarious state of Johnston, and on the fourth day of inquiry I mentioned the case of Holmes, and again called Lord Gosford's attention to the case of Cullen. These men were examined by Mr. Jones on the Sunday that intervened whilst the inquiry was going on; I have the substance of their examinations. One was a bell-hanger from a distance, who went into Armagh for wire; he was stopped and asked his religion, when upon his saying, "I will never deny my religion," he was knocked down and left for dead. Now none of this information was given to the Court by Mr. Jones, although of course they were very material features in the case; and here I will read a letter from Mr. Greer, a magistrate of the county, in confirmation of this fact:—"Mr. Jones (the stipendiary), upon the Sunday pending the investigation, visited in Moy three men, who had been beaten very nearly to death upon the evening of the attack upon M'Mahon's house, and having heard all they could say, told them 'they need not go into Armagh any more, as it was painful for them to move, and he would take their informations after the business was over in Armagh.' This he never has done. Those men had attended the three first days of the investigation; but in consequence of Lord Gosford having refused to hear the Protestants until they closed the Papist side, their evidence could not be heard." I have in my hands a return of at least twelve or fourteen more individuals who were also beat in this manner; and it is for an official return to the same effect that I now ask. Another point which I ask for papers to establish is, that some of the magistrates of the county were not summoned. I stated before, that this was the case; and I have letters from some of the leading magistrates of the county, to whom the Protestants would look with great confidence, gentlemen who preside at magisterial duties in the county, who attend the grand jury, and are gentlemen, as I before observed, who commanded the yeomanry to be implicated. I have here letters from these gentlemen, stating that they did not receive summonses. Another circumstance to which I objected was, that there was no sworn note-taker. I took notes for the first two days, which 1078 I was not able to do afterwards; but when we subsequently went over the evidence, I found, by examination, that several most material points were not taken down; and, upon the fourth day of inquiry, when I had been cross-examining a witness, I observed that the note-taker was not taking any notes, and upon remonstrating, he told me, in reply, that he took no notes of evidence elicited upon cross-examination. Why, the case of the Protestants rested almost wholly upon the cross-examination, and I did not find out until the fourth day that none of this had been noted down. The next circumstance of which I complain is, that in consequence of the note-taker not being sworn, there was a necessity of the evidence being revised. Now, this revision was not made in open court, although the evidence was chiefly taken in open court, but it was made with closed doors, so that the witnesses could not be present to check the alterations that were made; and now there are parts of the evidence, as here reported, which are directly contrary to what the witnesses affirmed. In the evidence of M'Cready, for instance; he was in the house of M'Mahon when it was wrecked, and he stated that he "himself was an Orangeman," and, therefore, he was able to say decisively whether the people who committed this outrage were Orangemen, but this is not recorded in his evidence; but had it been, it would have cleared the Orangemen from being implicated in the business. M'Bride spoke to the character of M'Mahon's house; he stated that parties of a very exceptionable character assembled there, and that assemblies from M'Mahon's house frequently beat people; this is not recorded in the evidence. So also Williamson stated, that the houses were burned after the beating of the Protestants, which is not stated, though Sinclair swore that there were no Roman Catholics beaten at Clontilew races; this is changed into "it was not exclusively the Catholics who were beaten at Clontilew." Byers stated that two Protestant houses were burned; but the evidence says, that there was the house of one Protestant, who had a Catholic tenant. Atkinson, the chief constable, stated, that the men appointed by the Portreeve of Charlemont to keep the peace, when he took them, used no resistance before giving up their arms, which is changed in the evidence into their having "used force and resist- 1079 ance before giving up arms." Donelly acknowledged, upon cross-examination, that he himself was convicted of the riots at Armagh races, and fined ten shillings; this is suppressed in the evidence: the evidence then, as here reported, is not trustworthy evidence. There was one point which I must state, in which I was led into error; it was with respect to the newspaper reporters. I supposed they had been excluded by Lord Gosford, in consequence of what I saw in the Newry Telegraph, "that the lieutenant and magistrates of Armagh have thought fit, for reasons best known to themselves, to interdict the publication of their proceedings on the interesting inquiry lately held in Armagh." When I wrote to the editor of the Telegraph for the order to which I conceived this alluded, his answer was, that the person whom he had employed to take notes was the same as had been appointed by Lord Gosford, and that Lord Gosford had interdicted him from giving a copy of those notes. This, he adds, taken "with the fact of having been myself authoritatively stopped by my lord Gosford at Portadown, where I attempted to report the proceedings at that investigation," led him to the conclusion that he was not allowed to publish the proceedings. I now proceed to make some remarks upon what I said on a former evening. I do not hesitate to say, that expressions, which not only affirm facts but impute motives, are highly reprehensible; they are always offensive, and, when separated from the connexion in which they were used, they are not unfrequently unjust. Such were two which I used; one which I remember, and one which I have been informed I uttered. The expression which I remember was, that the note-taker, not being sworn, gave occasion for the evidence to be garbled; the other expression was, that the tribunal was packed. Now I desire to withdraw these expressions, while I maintain the truth of these two assertions, that the evidence was incorrect and incomplete, and that the report was not the judgment of the majority of the magistrates, but the decision of two individuals, namely, Lord Gosford and Mr. Jones. Before I conclude, I must say one word with respect to the Protestants who have been assailed in their business. First, look at the different characters of the Protestants and Roman Catholics, as shown by the testimony of Osborne the 1080 sub-constable; he passed through both parties. The Protestants said "they were only protecting themselves, and wished witness good speed;" but when he came to the Roman Catholics, "a man said that as he was a policeman, he was as bad as those that burned the houses, and ought to be killed, and with this, raised a musket at witness." On the other hand, see the harsh treatment that the Protestants received, and the leniency that was shown to the Roman Catholics. Respecting the Protestants who were arrested, they were keeping the peace, and were acting legally under the appointment of the Portreeve of Charlemont. Nevertheless, they were arrested—had their guns taken from them; though a certificate of registry was produced, the gun is still detained; and the people, after having been on guard all night, were kept confined until nine the following night, and then discharged only on the Portreeve undertaking for their future appearance, although there was no charge against them. On the other hand, the Roman Catholics who attempted the life of Mr. Williams were discharged on bail. And yet see the result of the assizes, in order to learn who really were the perpetrators of the outrages in Armagh. The number sentenced to transportation were twenty, and sentence of death was recorded against two: of these, nineteen were Roman Catholics, and three Protestants, in the proportion of six to one of the heavier crimes. The total number of convictions at the last assizes were thirty-two, of whom twenty-four were Roman Catholics and eight Protestants, making a proportion of three to one in the smaller offences; and this, be it remembered, in a county where the number of Protestants greatly preponderates over the Roman Catholic population. In conclusion, I would wish the House to bear in mind how the Magistrates were treated. They were not consulted as to the summoning of witnesses; it is true, that they had the power of cross-examining those who did appear, but the cross-examination was not taken down; it is true, that they were able to form an opinion upon the examination, but that opinion they were not allowed to record; and with respect to the Protestants, they were put on their trial without the ordinary means of making their defence. The noble Lord then concluded by moving for a return of "The chief constable's report of the outrages 1081 which were perpetrated at the Armagh races in October last; the dying declaration of a man named M'Whinney; the committals of the persons charged with the assaults upon the M'Whinneys; the various bail bonds, with their several dates, and the amount of bail; the date of M'Whinney's arrest, and the cause; copy (if any) of the recognizances entered into by M'Whinney previous to admitting the offenders to bail; copies of any declarations or depositions taken by Mr. Jones, the stipendiary Magistrate, of men wounded by musket shots, or otherwise, about that time; the numbers, names, and religious belief of all men wounded by musket shots, or otherwise, at or about that time; copy of the reports from the stipendiary Magistrates, and of the reply from the right hon. Secretary for Ireland respecting the Portreeve of Charlemont; a list of the Magistrates summoned by the Lord-Lieutenant to the county of Armagh, at the investigation held in the town of Armagh in February last."
said, that on coming into the House that evening, it had not been his intention to offer any objection to, or throw any impediment in the way of, the production of any information or of any papers calculated to throw light upon these unfortunate transactions; and he should persist in that intention, notwithstanding the noble Lord's calling in his Motion for a return of the religious belief of all the parties who had been wounded in this transaction. He was willing that an attempt should be made to gratify the noble Lord even in this respect; and he would therefore make no objection to the production of any document that could throw light on this subject. The reason why he took part in this debate was this: the noble Lord, on a former occasion, had ventured to make assertions respecting the conduct of the Earl of Gosford, as Lord-Lieutenant of the county of Armagh, which had struck him not only with astonishment but also with alarm. If those assertions had been well-founded—if, when an official investigation had been instituted into a transaction by order of the executive Government, the officer intrusted with the task of presiding over the investigation had been so forgetful of his duty, and so regardless of public principle, as, instead of discharging his functions with impartiality, to have used them, not to elucidate the truth, but to throw censure on one 1082 party that was not entitled to bear it, and to acquit from blame the party on whom it ought to fall—if such a charge was consistent with truth, it would have been the duty of the present Administration, and even of that Administration which preceded it, to have made an example of the Earl of Gosford, being such an officer, for the benefit of Ireland, for the sake of justice, and for the purpose of demonstrating that to whatever extent party feuds might proceed in Ireland, the Government would hold the scales justly and impartially between all parties, and would visit any officer with that exemplary punishment, which nobody would deny to be just, supposing him to have been guilty of one-tenth of the charges which the noble Lord opposite had brought against his noble Friend, the Earl of Gosford. He insisted that the charges which the noble Lord had preferred upon this occasion, and also upon another occasion, against his noble Friend were destitute of all just foundation whatever. He averred that two of the charges which the noble Lord on a former occasion had brought against his noble Friend, the Lord-Lieutenant of Armagh, were two of the most serious charges that could be brought against any man living. What were they? Nothing less than these; that his noble Friend had packed the magistracy which had to inquire, and that he had garbled the evidence which that magistracy had taken, and that he had deceived the Government to whom he had to transmit that evidence for its guidance, and that he had thereby committed the grossest injustice against the individuals between whose conflicting claims the Government had upon his representations to decide impartially. He would take the liberty of reading to the House the observations which had fallen from the noble Lord when he had formerly introduced this subject to the notice of the House. He would take those observations from no note of his own. He would refer to the most authentic record of their debates, and would consider that report as accurate, unless the noble Lord should now avail himself of the opportunity to retract the observations which he was therein reported to have used. The noble Lord was reported to have used the following expressions:—"The case was brought before the Irish Government, and an investigation was immediately ordered. The Lord-Lieutenant of the county, whose bounden duty it was 1083 to act impartially, summoned only the magistracy of one party.—[Lord Mandeville: "I affirm that I did not say any such thing."]
If the noble Lord chooses continued (Dr. Lushington), to retract anything which he said formerly—and it is not for me to deny the accuracy of the noble Lord's memory—I will not pin him to the accuracy of any single expression; but for all the tenour of the speech, which I repeated, immediately after it was delivered, to the noble Lord, from utter astonishment, at the language which he had used, for the general correctness of the statement which I am about to read, I refer not to the noble Lord's own memory, not to my own memory, not to the litera scripta of the report, but to the recollection of every Member of Parliament who was present and heard the noble Lord's speech. This was not an insulated expression, for the noble Lord proceeded, according to the report, as follows:—"He (the Earl of Gosford) excluded all the Magistrates who were known to be friendly to the Protest-tant cause." Was that, he asked, the coinage, was that the invention of the reporter? Supposing that these were not the exact words of the noble Lord, had he not made declarations tantamount to them in effect and substance? But the report proceeded:—"This was a complicated inquiry involving the interests of two parties; why should the inquiry have been conducted by the partisans of one side only? The conduct of the Lord-Lieutenant was highly reprehensible. He selected his own court;—he formed his own tribunal;—he selected his own witnesses; for the witnesses chosen for examination were all from one side, to the utter exclusion of all rebutting evidence." It would be difficult for him (Dr. Lushington) to strengthen the force of his language; but if the noble Lord had used language of only one-tenth of its force, he would still have found it impossible, even after six weeks' elaborate study, to have produced anything like facts to justify it. But this was not all. The noble Lord further said—"The Lord-Lieutenant made the investigation partial. He excluded from it the public press. No official reporter was present, all that was done was done with closed doors, and was done with closed doors for the purpose of preventing a fair and impartial report of the inquiry from going before the public. I have stated this in order to put the House in possession 1084 of information which I believe to be true. I say further, that no evidence was produced to prove that the parties who attacked the houses of the Catholics were Orangemen." Immediately after the noble Lord had concluded his speech, he (Dr. Lushington) had put to him four distinct points—and this was the note which he had taken of those points as soon as the debate was over, for the purpose of communicating them to his noble Friend, the Earl of Gosford. He had stated to the noble Lord opposite that he (Lord Mandeville) had said that the Earl of Gosford had packed the Magistrates who were to conduct the investigation. Secondly, that he had said that the Earl of Gosford had selected the witnesses to be examined, excluding those who could speak in favour of the accused. Thirdly, that he had said, that the Earl of Gosford had garbled the evidence, and had sent in a report founded upon the evidence so garbled. And fourthly, that he had said that there was evidence tendered, and not received, to prove that the accused were not guilty. He had put these four points to the noble Lord in language the most clear and explicit, and yet the noble Lord, after hearing the appeal then made to him, had never got up in his place to deny the language attributed to him on any one of those four points. If that language had been imputed to the noble Lord incorrectly, he would have gladly embraced the opportunity of repelling his (Dr. Lushington's) observations with indignation. But the noble Lord had done no such thing; he was silent then, why was he silent now? In justice to himself, in justice to the cause of truth, in common decency to the Earl of Gosford, it was the noble Lord's duty to have risen on the moment and said, if such was the case, "The charges which you suppose me to have made against the Lord-Lieutenant of the county of Armagh I never did make, and accordingly I repudiate them." Instead of that, what was the course adopted by the noble Lord? The noble Lord had let it go forth to Ireland for six weeks, that these were the charges which he had preferred upon good authority against the Earl of Gosford, and which he was resolved to persist in; and for that period, if the noble Earl's character had not been more impregnable than the noble Lord thought it to be, individuals might have apprehended that there was some slight mixture 1085 of truth in those charges. He would now proceed to show that the statement which the noble Lord had made on a former occasion, and the statement which he had made on the present occasion, were both equally destitute of all just foundation. The noble Lord had said, that his noble Friend had packed the magistracy for the investigation. Now, how stood the fact? There were 37 resident Magistrates in the county of Armagh. A letter was written to the Earl of Gosford by Sir Henry Hardinge on the 24th of last January, requesting him, as Lord-Lieutenant of the county of Armagh, to investigate into the circumstances connected with the burning of certain houses near Armagh, and into the causes which occasioned such an outrage. Now, would the House, after the speech of the noble Lord, credit him when he said that of these 37 Magistrates every one was regularly summoned? And yet such was the fact. Of these 37 Magistrates 24 were opposed to the Earl of Gosford in politics. Six of the remainder were not of the same politics, but were neutral. There were then only seven Magistrates left. Now, on the first day of the investigation no less than 26 Magistrates attended. Of this number 16 were Tories. On the second day 14 attended,—of these nine were Tories, and five connected in politics with the noble Earl. On the third day there were 10 Tories present, and five not Tories. On the fourth day the Tory Magistrates present were to the others as 10 to 4; on the fifth day as 13 to 4; on the sixth day as 15 to 4; and, on the seventh day as 10 to 1. So much for the charge of packing the Magistrates. And he would soon proceed to show, from the letters of those Magistrates who were not connected with his noble Friend in politics, what were their opinions with respect to the charges made against the Lord-Lieutenant of their county by the noble Lord, and what they thought respecting the form of the proceedings over which his noble Friend had presided. The noble Lord had said, that no notice had been given to the Magistrates of the time when this investigation was to take place. Now, the letter of Sir Henry Hardinge, calling upon the Earl of Gosford as Lord-Lieutenant of the county of Armagh, to institute an immediate inquiry into these transactions, was dated, as he had before said, on the 24th of January, 1835. On receiving 1086 that letter, the Earl of Gosford issued a circular, dated the 26th of January, stating that he should hold a public meeting for this investigation on Wednesday, the 28th of January, at which all persons who knew any thing respecting it, or who felt interested in it, were invited to attend—the earliest period at which the Lord-Lieutenant could give it, for he could not have received Sir H. Hardinge's letter, at the earliest, till the 25th.
§ Lord Mandeville
was sorry to interrupt the hon. and learned Gentleman, but he had only spoken of the short notice given to the Magistracy—it was only given to them the day before the investigation commenced.
And I am speaking on that same subject. On this point, thank God, there can be no misunderstanding between us.
admitted, that the noble Lord was correct if he meant, speaking of that notice technically, to say that it was not a legal summons for the Magistracy to attend the investigation, but on that point he would say a few words hereafter. All that, he meant to affirm at present was, that his noble Friend without one moment's delay after he had read Sir Henry Hardinge's letter, had made it public to all the world that an investigation into these transactions was to take place before him as the head of the local authorities. This notice must necessarily have reached the Magistrates of the county, as well as the people in general; but the noble Earl did not confine himself to it. What was the next step which he took? He caused letters to be delivered personally to all the resident county Magistrates, informing them of the day fixed for the investigation, and inviting them to attend. The noble Lord opposite complained that the notice was short, but there was no blame attributable to the Earl of Gosford on this head, who, considering the urgency and importance of the question, had no right to delay the investigation. The noble Earl gave the Magistrates the fullest opportunity to attend; and, upon two or three of them expressing regret that the notice had not been longer, he declared his willingness to postpone the inquiry, if the bench thought proper, but the proposition was rejected by a majority of the Magistrates present. The noble Viscount had contended, that according to the terms 1087 of Sir Henry Hardinge's letter, the Magistrates were bound to enter into a more extended investigation than they did, and he blamed the Earl of Gosford for this, as if he alone were responsible for the course agreed upon by the whole court. The noble Lord had also stated that the noble Earl concealed from the Magistrates the extent to which Sir Henry Hardinge wished the inquiry to be carried, and that he exerted himself to limit the investigation. Sir Henry Hardinge's letter of the 21st of January to the Earl of Gosford states—"It appears to his Excellency expedient that all the circumstances connected with the outrage committed by the burning of the cabins and with the previous occurrences should have the fullest investigation by the Magistrates assembled at such a place as your Lordship may deem most convenient." In a subsequent letter, dated Dublin Castle, 24th January, 1835, the right hon. Baronet says—"His Excellency concurs with your Lordship in thinking that Armagh would be the most convenient place for the investigation of the circumstances connected with the late outrage near Charlemont, and he is desirous that the inquiry should be commenced at the earliest moment at which it may be practicable." It appeared, then, that the noble Earl in summoning the county Magistrates as soon as possible was merely acting in obedience to the instructions he had received from the Irish Government, he only attempted to fulfil the command of Government. Sir Henry Hardinge further said—"In my letter of the 21st inst. I informed your Lordship that his Excellency considered it expedient that all the circumstances connected with the burning of the cabins and with the various occurrences should receive the fullest investigation. It is his Excellency's desire that the inquiry should be so conducted as to ascertain, not only the facts that have occurred, but the origin of the existing feuds, and that it should extend, if necessary, to the period of the races, three months ago, when the quarrel between the parties is said to have commenced." It could not be contended that the noble Earl should have set forth all this in his general notice or his letter to the Magistrates; but he did state that the inquiry was instituted for the purpose of investigating "all the circumstances connected with the late unfortunate outrage." These 1088 were the terms of the noble Earl's public notification, and they fully embraced the spirit and meaning of Sir Henry Hardinge's directions. It should be borne in mind that there were no positive directions given by Sir Henry Hardinge to carry the inquiry back to the period of the races. It was to be extended to that time only in the event of its being considered "necessary" by the Magistrates. Upon this two questions arose—first, ought the inquiry to have gone back further than it was carried by the Magistrates; and next, if it ought, was the Earl of Gosford to blame for the limitation actually given to the investigation? He did not hesitate to say, after perusing the evidence which had been offered in this case, that it was not necessary to go further back with the inquiry than the point to which it had been carried, and he was persuaded that other hon. Gentlemen, after reading the documents, would be of the same opinion. But, be that as it might, he affirmed that Lord Gosford did not stop or limit the inquiry, he had the authority of the noble Earl to declare, that he did not. A discussion arose on the subject among the Magistrates, and it was determined by a majority to limit the inquiry and confine it to the points which it eventually embraced. Did the noble Viscount enter a protest against this supposed violation of the directions given by Sir Henry Hardinge on the part of the Lord-lieutenant? Did any other Magistrate? Was any charge made at the time against the conduct of the noble Earl and the Magistrates who limited the inquiry? Could any trace of a protest or other written document be shown in relation to the point? If not, and it was fair to assume, that there was nothing of the kind, as the noble Viscount had not produced it, it was too much to impute to the noble Earl, as a serious fault, the sole blame of not carrying the inquiry further back. Having disposed of this, he proceeded to another charge brought forward by the noble Viscount, relative to the production of witnesses. The noble Lord charged the Earl of Gosford with selecting witnesses to prove a one-sided case; now, what were the steps taken with respect to the collection of evidence? In the first place, there was a general notice issued calling upon all persons interested to attend and give evidence; 2nd, directions were given to the police to summon all necessary witnesses; and 3rd, Sir Frederick 1089 Stovin, who was at the head of the Constabulary force, gave in a list of witnesses, most of whom were Orangemen. Was there any partiality, selection, or packing of evidence here? He asked, whether any Magistrate had suggested the propriety of examining any individual whose evidence was refused? Had any testimony been rejected? Did anybody offer to give evidence, and was he not summoned? He positively answered these questions in the negative. The noble Earl had summoned every witness whose name was given in; he issued orders to the police to bring forward all who could give evidence, and he refused to examine no one who offered himself. Of the witnesses examined twenty-six were Protestants and nineteen Catholics. There was no proof of any intention to stifle inquiry by refusing to receive the testimony of any man; the presumption was quite the other way. Was this a case in which the Protestant party were without assistance and support? Far from it. Was not the noble Viscount opposite present? Did the noble Viscount require any one witness to be summoned, and had the demand been rejected? In truth the investigation was carried to the utmost extent possible, with a view to ascertain the truth; and if it had ended unsatisfactorily, the fact must be attributed to the calamitous state of society in that country, and not to any misconduct or failure of duty on the part of the Magistracy. The next point related to the manner in which the investigation was conducted, and the evidence taken. The Earl of Gosford, being anxious that notes of the evidence should be taken with the utmost accuracy, applied to the Clerk of the Peace (an individual not at all connected with the Catholic party), and that gentleman selected Mr. Blair to take down the evidence, as a person well qualified to do so. When he said, that Mr. Blair was connected with the Newry Press, he supposed no man could doubt what that gentleman's politics were—in fact, he was an Orangeman, and connected with a high Orange paper. An attorney was present at the investigation, who, he believed, was connected with the noble Viscount. [Lord Mandeville observed, that he was connected with the gentleman in no way whatever, except as his client.] Well, he really did not see what closer connexion could exist than between attorney and client. He maintained that 1090 the investigation was not an ex parte one—that the Protestants were sufficiently represented and supported among those present, and that both parties had been fairly dealt with. The Earl of Gosford had acted not only with integrity and strict impartiality, but with a wise caution, as if he had foreseen the possibility of something like the present proceeding, groundless and preposterous as it was. The notes of evidence were corrected by the Magistrates present, by Mr. Jones, by the Clerk of the Peace, and the noble Viscount himself suggested occasional corrections. The noble Lord complained of omissions in the report of the evidence: did he at the time insist on the cross-examinations of which he now spoke being taken down, and if a refusal were returned to the demand, did he enter his protest? No, the noble Lord did no such thing. Was it not too much then, that he should now come down to the House and become the accuser of the noble Earl? He would next read extracts from letters written to the Earl of Gosford by certain individuals who were present at the investigation. One gentleman wrote to this effect—"The charge made in the Dublin Magazine vanishes into thin air before Lord Mandeville's attack. You in your House, and I hope somebody in the other House of Parliament, will denounce and destroy such infamous and false statements." Among the letters were communications from Sir Frederick Stovin and Mr. Jones which he should next quote. One was to this effect—"I have seen a reported speech of Lord Mandeville, in which he makes various allegations against your Lordship's conduct at the late investigation in Armagh; to all these charges I can give the most unqualified contradiction. A more open and impartial inquiry I never witnessed, and you evinced the greatest anxiety to extract from the witnesses the whole truth. The reporter of the Newry paper obtained permission from you to take the evidence, and so far from the witnesses being selected, I, for one, did not know the nature of the evidence they were to give. In the other letter it was said, "I have seen Lord Mandeville's speech; a more unjust attack was never made." A letter from Mr. James Jones, a Justice of the Peace, was as follows:—"I wish to express my full concurrence and approbation of the mode in which the late investigation at Armagh was conducted. You acted with perfect impartiality towards 1091 all. If I were disposed to cavil at your Lordship's conduct, I should say, that you appeared to give too much indulgence and freedom to all parties." He believed that this was the only censure which it would be possible to pass on the Earl of Gosford—that he listened too readily to the extreme partisans on both sides. In a letter written by Mr. Olpherts, a Magistrate of Armagh, that gentleman said—"I freely tender you my testimony, that it was not in the power of man to act with more uprightness and impartiality than you did during the entire investigation. As to the charge of your having selected your own Court and witnesses, there was public notice given of the inquiry, and you caused private letters to be sent to every Magistrate in the county. I never remember so many Magistrates attending on any occasion. I may add, that they were chiefly of Conservative principles: several Orange witnesses were examined, so that as to the constitution of the Court and the character of the witnesses, Lord Mandeville is in error." The next letter was from the reverend James Blacker, a gentleman who, unless the information communicated to him was destitute of all foundation, did somewhat lean towards the Orange party; of course, he (Dr. Lushington) was ignorant of local politics in Ireland, but nevertheless, he believed he might venture to say, without any fear of contradiction from the noble Lord opposite, that Mr. Blacker's principles were a little more congenial with those professed by the noble Viscount himself, than with the political sentiments of the Earl of Gosford. Notwithstanding which, hear the reverend Mr. Blacker's letter to the noble Earl:—"I have this moment read with great regret, in one of the London papers, an attack made by a Member of the House of Commons upon your Lordship's conduct, both as to summoning Magistrates to attend the investigation who agree with you in politics, and as regards other matters equally without foundation. As one differing from you in politics, I think it right to say, that I was summoned." [The reverend gentleman very properly put a clash under the 1] "and I" [a dash again] "attended almost every day, and without flattery, your Lordship will permit me to add, that I never witnessed more impartial conduct in a Chairman in my life." This was the testimony of the reverend Mr. Blacker, a political opponent 1092 of the noble Earl, but an honest and truth-speaking man, who came voluntarily forward to exculpate the noble Lord, and vindicate the cause of justice in the eyes of the people of Ireland and England. He held in his hand several other letters to the same effect, but thought it would be trespassing on the time of the House needlessly to read them. He had produced, or was ready to produce, letters from eight Magistrates—from Sir Frederick Stovin, Mr. Jones, the stipendiary Magistrate, and six county Magistrates, the majority of whom were of different politics from the noble Earl. If evidence like this could not contravene the shadow of a charge still unretracted by the noble Lord, how was it possible for justice to be done in this case? The House must weigh and balance this testimony against the noble Lord's charges, unsupported by any written document—charges with one set of which the noble Lord came down on one day, and with another set on another day, the latter as destitute of foundation as the former. The noble Viscount now charged the Earl of Gosford with a breach of engagement, and stated, that after having promised the Magistrates that the evidence taken in the course of the inquiry should be transmitted to the Lord-lieutenant without note or comment, the noble Earl nevertheless forwarded a Report along with it. He denied that any such promise was made on the part of the Earl of Gosford. Further, he declared, it was understood that the Earl of Gosford was absolutely bound in performance of his duty to make such observations on the case as were necessary for the attainment of the object of the inquiry. Had any one Magistrate ventured to assert that such an undertaking had been made by the Earl of Gosford? Could any minute be found on the record of the proceeding, that the evidence was simply to be transmitted to the Castle without note or comment? No such minute was to be found; and he asked the House, whether every syllable contained in the Earl of Gosford's letter was not fully borne out by the papers on the Table? A more moderate Report, or one couched in briefer terms, could not easily have been made. What was its sum and substance? The Lord-lieutenant of Ireland was in a great measure left to form his own opinion of the transaction, a desire being at the same time expressed, that he would also consult 1093 the Report of Mr. Jones, the stipendiary Magistrate. But it appeared that it was likewise ground of complaint with the noble Viscount (Viscount Mandeville) that the stipendiary Magistrate had sent a Report to the Castle. Why, it was the duty of the stipendiary Magistrate to send a Report, and what right had the noble Viscount to prevent him from executing that duty? On the part of the Earl of Gosford he challenged every inquiry into that noble Earl's conduct. The noble Earl wished for nothing more than the fullest investigation, the most ample production of documents, and the most scrutinizing examination of every act he had done, and of every order he had given. The noble Earl denied in toto all and every one of the charges brought against him by the noble Viscount, not merely the charges made six weeks ago, but the softened charges of the present day, and the noble Earl authorized him (Dr. Lushington) to declare that they were all utterly destitute of truth and foundation. And in justice to his own character, to the high situation which he filled in Armagh, in justice to the people of Ireland, and the inhabitants of that district, whose interests must suffer if his character were deteriorated, by being considered unworthy of a trust delegated to him as a Representative of the Crown, the Earl of Gosford demanded at the hands of the noble Viscount a further and complete investigation of all the transactions; or he required, as a measure of justice not to be denied, the unqualified retraction of the charges made against him—charges which he deemed false and calumnious. The noble Earl, too, was astonished at the quarter from whence these charges sprung; proceeding as they did, not from an individual who might by accident have picked up vague rumours, but from a Magistrate of the county, present during the proceedings in question, who ought, consequently, to have known with accuracy all that had passed, and who, let him add, from his connexion with the noble Earl himself, should have been the last person to have given utterance to them. Whatever course the noble Viscount might take, he would now appeal to the House and to the public—not to Tories nor to Whigs, not to Catholics, nor to Orangemen, though in the instance of Mr. Blacker it was shown that political feeling did not always destroy common honesty and common integrity—but, he 1094 repeated, to the House and to the country; and he asked, whether he had not refuted every charge made by the noble Viscount opposite? His object had been to relieve the noble Earl (the Earl of Gosford) from the possibility of any tarnish attaching to his character, which had throughout his public life hitherto continued unstained. He trusted that he had succeeded in this object, and he wished that the noble Viscount opposite might have the good fortune to relieve himself as well.
§ Colonel Verner
did not rise for the purpose of answering the speech of the hon. and learned Member who had just sat down but because he felt called upon to make some observations on the present occasion. Notwithstanding all that the hon. and learned Gentleman had said, he could not help asserting, and this was the feeling of others as well as of himself, that it was his impression that the investigation was neither a fair nor an impartial one, and consequently that blame rested somewhere. But in saying this he begged it to be clearly understood that it was by no means his intention to impute to Lord Gosford anything like improper conduct. He meant to bring no such charge against the noble Earl, but he did mean to declare, that it had been considered by many persons, fully competent to form a right judgment on the subject, that the investigation was not conducted either fairly or impartially. This was the opinion which he entertained, and if the house would allow him he would state the grounds upon which the conclusion at which he arrived had been formed; but before he did so he wished to say, that it was at his request the postponement of the present motion took place in the first instance. He was present on the first day of the investigation, and he heard the letter of Sir Henry Hardinge before alluded to, and that right hon. Gentleman's instructions to Lord Gosford, read. Those instructions certainly stated that the investigation was not to be confined alone to the outrages recently committed, but was to go back, if necessary, to the period of the previous races, which took place the October before; and that such was the intention of the Irish Government was obvious from the evidence of several persons who were examined, for both Mr. Olphert and Sir Frederick Stovin, slated that the recent outrages originated in the proceedings of the previous October races. He 1095 must here state, that the names of several persons who were too severely wounded to attend in court were handed to the stipendiary Magistrate, who in consequence received their evidence at their own houses.—He would not take upon himself to detail what passed on those occasions; but if the House would permit him he would read the affidavits of those persons, and leave hon. Members to judge for themselves whether or not Mr. Jones fulfilled the duty which devolved on him as he was bound to have done by producing these depositions at the investigation. The hon. and gallant Colonel read affidavits from persons, stating that they had been attacked, and so severely injured by the Catholic party, as to be unable to attend the investigation. He should say, with regard to himself, that his character having been assailed by that Gentleman (Mr. Jones)—and there was a disposition on both sides to allow Gentlemen who had been assailed in the course of these transactions, an opportunity of defending themselves—it was but fair that that Gentleman should be called upon to state upon what authority he had identified him (Colonel Verner) with the party which committed the outrages, and should give him an opportunity of clearing himself from such an imputation. The reason why the evidence of certain persons was not taken at the investigation, with the leave of the House, he would then explain. At the commencement of it there was an understanding that the evidence was first to be heard only upon one side, and several persons who were attending upon the other having waited three or four days, and it still appearing that they were not likely to be soon called, were told that they might go home; they did so, and the investigation was closed without hearing their testimony; fifteen persons were thus dismissed, and sent away to their own homes, with material evidence to give who were never afterwards called. He would take the liberty of telling the hon. Member for Armagh, if he entertained the idea that the copy of these proceedings would show the outrages to have been committed by Protestants, it was an opinion so at variance with the fact, that, in the report of the investigation, there would be found the testimony of no less than eleven persons, who swore they did not know that there was an individual of the Orange party present at the burning 1096 of the houses; he should say, therefore, that it was an unjust insinuation of the hon. Member, and that it would have been more becoming of him if he had refrained from making observations as to the persons who were present at the outrages until the termination of the assizes, especially as many of them were about to take their trial at these assizes against whom such observations might create an unfair prejudice in the public mind, and the result of these trials would prove whether the hon. Member was justified in his statement or not, at present, as his noble Friend had already stated, out of twenty-five persons who had been tried, convicted, and sentenced to be transported for being concerned in these offences, three alone were Protestants. Let hon. Members look for a moment at the conduct of Mr. Jones, the stipendiary magistrate, in the case of the persons who attempted to commit the outrage upon M'Whinney and his family; when they were brought before him he denominated the offence a common assault; but when he perceived the feeling which was created in the court by such a declaration, he altered his opinion, and called it a bail-able offence; and what was the result of the trial of these very persons? four out of the seven who were committed, were convicted and sentenced to be transported for an offence, which was in the first place, designated by that Gentleman as a common assault, and in addition to which, the judge, in passing sentence upon them, made the observation that they might thank the merciful interposition of Providence that he was not then passing sentence of death upon them; but notwithstanding all this, strange as it might appear, these were the persons, who having committed such an outrage, were permitted to go at large on bail, while, through the peculiar manner in which justice was administered in Ireland, the only individual who was committed to prison, was the unfortunate man upon whom the outrage was perpetrated; this man was arrested and put into prison, that he might be compelled to prosecute, to allay the feelings of the people, the Magistrates having taken bail so sufficient, that a report was circulated they had been bribed, and these were the men who had been put in the place of those Magistrates who always did their duty honestly and conscientiously. The hon. and gal- 1097 lant Member then read some letters containing details of some of the proceedings connected with the outrages, and the treatment of the witnesses who had given evidence in the case of M'Whinney and concluded by saying—the hon and learned Member, Doctor Lushington, had stated that these letters were from Gentlemen who were friendly to his (Colonel Verner's) interest, but he begged to say that three of them were from those who were adverse to him, and that the others were from an agent of a noble Lord who had also been an opponent of his. He should not have troubled the House, had he not thought it right to put it in possession of these facts.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, that the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had put the House in possession of one very material fact, namely, that he did not mean to charge the Lord Lieutenant of the county of Armagh with any improper conduct. This was most material to the subject under discussion, because the Question they were called upon to determine that night, whatever might be the form of the Motion, or whatever the extrinsic circumstances connected with it, was the conduct of the Earl of Gosford in that capacity, charged as he had been distinctly by the noble Lord opposite, with having packed his tribunal, with having refused to call witnesses, and with having garbled evidence which he afterwards transmitted to the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland. The noble Lord had, in the course of the few words of mitigation and apology which he had felt it his duty to utter on the occasion, thought proper more than once to express his regret at having ever made use of those offensive terms. He retracted the words, but he adhered to the fact. Why, where was the fact to which he did adhere? Where was the single fact which had not been taken from him by the irresistible statement of facts made by the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets (Dr. Lushington)? If the noble Lord thought there remained one shadow of a fact by which to sustain his refuted accusations, all he could say was, that not one unprejudiced person in that House, or out of it, could accompany him in the conclusion at which he arrived. He had expected—indeed he had hoped—that the noble Lord would have made himself acquainted with the real state of the case, 1098 and have adopted a different course. He was aware that these calumnies—he would retract the word—he had no right to use it—these statements unsupported by fact, had been circulated in all the newspapers of the land at a period of considerable excitement; the noble Lord had since had an opportunity, he believed, of visiting Ireland, and of communicating not only with the Magistrates whose evidence had been adduced, but with all the Magistrates who had attended on the occasion. Had he profited by this opportunity? Had he produced, or could he produce, evidence to support his statement? If he could not, would it not have been a more manly as well as a more Christian proceeding to have come forward and done justice to an injured man, instead of making at the latest moment an insufficient and inadequate apology? ourable He (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) would say, that that was not a condition in which any man coming forward as the noble Lord did as a public accuser, but who now appeared as the party accused, ought to be placed—it was not a course which any honourable man was bound to take. He was sure that the friends of Lord Gosford, and the friends of good government, would not regret the hands into which the defence of the noble Earl had fallen. A more complete or more triumphant defence could not possibly be made. At the same time that he said this, he could not but regret that they had not there any Member of that Government under whose authority Lord Gosford had acted—whose orders he had carried into effect—and between whom and the noble Earl himself the correspondence had taken place. He did not mean it as a reproach, but the Members of that Government were not there. They were not there either to support the noble Lord, and condemn Lord Gosford, or to throw the shield of their protection over Lord Gosford. The present Ministers were unconnected with the matter, except in so far a the interests of justice were concerned. He rejoiced that the defence had fallen into the hands of his hon. and learned Friend against the formal accusation preferred by the noble Lord. The noble Lord had been the performer in that great drama of which they had long heard so much; the noble Lord was not only the main but the singular performer on the stage in this formal drama. When the 1099 noble Lord sat behind on those benches where they, the present Ministers, now sat, he had told the noble Lord that when next he introduced this subject, it ought not to be by a mere motion for papers, from which nothing could result, but that he ought to prefer a direct motion upon which the opinion of the House could be pronounced, and that it was not fit nor proper to wound in a debate the character or honour of any man, nor to make allusions particularly to one in the position of Lord Gosford, who was administering the functions of Lord-lieutenant for the purpose of criminating him. If the noble Lord were convinced of the accuracy of the facts which he stated, he could tell the noble Lord, that, as a Magistrate of Armagh—as a well-wisher to the peace of Ireland—as one deeply interested both by the responsibilities of his situation and position in the well-being of the country, the noble Lord was bound not to confine himself to a paltry motion for papers, and thus in directly attack the character of Lord Gosford; but he was bound to bring forward a direct resolution of censure upon that noble Lord. He could tell the noble Lord, that if he had brought forward his Resolution of censure, the House would have met it with one burst of indignation. There was not a shadow of pretence for accusation—there was not even a shade to rest upon the character of Lord Gosford. Let them see under what circumstances the proceedings of Lord Gosford were made the subject matter of attack. The closing passage in that noble Lord's letter was objected to. "It is my decided opinion," said the Lord-lieutenant of the county of Armagh, "that the people in this county are disposed to live in harmony and good-will with one another, and if the gentry in their respective neighbourhoods would use their efforts to cultivate that disposition, it would be attended with the happiest results." Was it to be believed that a statement of that description would be brought forward in the House of Commons as a charge against Lord Gosford? But then it was insisted by the noble Lord, that this was an unjust insinuation, that it was to suggest that there are persons in Ireland not disposed to live in harmony and good-will with one another. Now, if there was any doubt upon this subject, if there was any living man who knew so little of the North or the South of Ireland 1100 (for the description could apply to persons on both sides), if there was any man who had a doubt upon this subject, he would appeal to the evidence of the noble Lord himself—to his conduct all through this transaction—to the charges which he preferred without any notice—to the charges, which he now repeated after he had had time to make a deliberate inquiry—to the charges which he never should have revived after he had held that inquiry—he appealed to any man who had a doubt upon such a subject, whether or not there were hon. Gentlemen—ay, and noble Viscounts too—to whom a little admonition of living in peace and harmony with their fellow men was not required—an admonition which, he repeated, it was all their duty to respect, and on which they would do well to commune with their own hearts, and regulate by its principles their own actions? But the Gallant Officer (Colonel Verner) acquitted Lord Gosford, and brought forward new charges, by calling into question the conduct of Mr. Jones, the stipendiary Magistrate. Now, after the extraordinary speech that they had heard made—one, too, he would venture to say, unexampled in Parliamentary annals—after seeing the utter failure of complaints, there being no possible ground to sustain the smallest charge, he was not, certainly, inclined, without more inquiry, to condemn Mr. Jones. He must say, from the whole of the proceedings of Mr. Jones, as far as he could collect of the transaction, he saw nothing to condemn in the conduct of that gentleman. But, perhaps, Mr. Jones, not being connected with the party of the noble Lord, had created some alarm. Mr. Jones was sent to that country under the orders of Sir Henry Hardinge, and he was acting under the authority of the late Lord-lieutenant. He should not go further with the case of Mr. Jones. He wished to keep to the point, as it was the case of Lord Gosford. That House was called upon to judge respecting the charges preferred against that nobleman—that House would discharge its duty by scouting them. Allusion had been made to some gentlemen, Magistrates, who had so honourably come forward, who were not sent for by Lord Gosford—who were not connected with him, and yet were anxious to do him justice. He only wished to add one to the very few points which were not dwelt upon, as he recollected, in the very powerful state- 1101 ment delivered by his hon. and learned Friend. He wished to add a few words upon the subject of the reverend Mr. Blacker, the brother of a gentleman who formerly held the commission of the peace, and whom, he believed, Lord Gosford had, as Lord-lieutenant, from some cause connected with party, removed from his commission of the peace. Here the reverend Mr. Blacker, the brother of the individual removed from the commission of the peace by the agency of Lord Gosford, or under his sanction—here that individual came forward to support that noble Lord. He did so like a gentleman, and he thanked God there were such men of all parties in Ireland. He saw his political opponent unjustly attacked, and he brought forward his honest and unsuspected testimony to the integrity of Lord Gosford. He should wish to call the attention of the House to one or two facts. As to the mode in which the Magistrates were summoned, he would wish to remark upon that, in addition to what was said by his hon. and learned Friend. The Magistrates were summoned in the only way which it could be proper to have them summoned. The Lord-lieutenant wrote a letter to the acting clerk of the peace, Mr. M'Kenzie and who was not, he believed, connected in political feeling with Lord Gosford. By the direction of Lord Gosford, the acting clerk of the peace, who had a list of the Magistrates, sent a circular to each of the resident Magistrates of the county. Nothing could be more fair or impartial. This meeting was an open meeting; and those who imagined that Lord Gosford had held a secret meeting, and that he would withhold testimony, had only to be informed, at least it was only necessary for the Irish portion of the House to be informed, that amongst the persons who were constantly present was the reverend Mortimer Sullivan—and it was not at all likely he would have been introduced into the assembly if the object were not entire impartiality. Under those circumstances, he wished again to remind the House of the fact, that most serious charges had been brought forward involving the character of one of the highest Magistrates in Ireland—charges which had been repeatedly postponed—he thought, on some occasions, improperly postponed; and upon others inevitably so—that at length they had come to issue in that House upon these 1102 charges—they had been heard, and they had been answered; and he now firmly asked that House, and through them he asked the country, was there any man in that House (and if there was, let him rise in his place), who, with the exception of the noble Lord, would, on the present occasion, say that Lord Gosford had either packed the tribunal, refused to call witnesses, or garbled the evidence? Was there any man so inveterate in his prejudices as not to agree with the statement of his hon. and learned Friend. If there were none, then he congratulated the noble Lord on his pre-eminence, in having brought charges affecting the public character and the private honour of a distinguished man, and then standing alone persisting in those charges, after they had been fully refuted. Against the force of those angry charges he must oppose his firm and distinct defiance; but he would take the liberty of making an appeal to the honour and sense of justice of the noble Lord himself. If it should be the feeling of that House—and such he knew it to be—that such charges met with an entire refutation in that House, even at that moment, late as it was, he would tell the noble Lord, that, gaining by the experience he must have obtained in the course of that discussion, he should at the last hour retract the charges which he had made; or the noble Lord should take the other alternative presented by his hon. and learned Friend—he was bound to put his charges in train of inquiry. Let him give notice for a Committee to inquire into the conduct of Lord Gosford, he promised the noble Lord that the Government—that they who were the friends of Lord Gosford, would be the first to second such a proposition; or let the noble Lord express his regret that he had ever brought forward charges which were so unsustainable. He put it to the noble Lord, that he had only in consistency one course to pursue—not that that House, or that the country, refused investigation, for he knew that they were satisfied; but if the noble Lord could not prove the statements that he had made—if he knew that they could not be proved, then, in justice to himself—in justice to that House, and in justice to the country, he should abandon his attack, and express his regret that he had ever made it. The noble Lord had it yet in his power to do this. Let him entreat the noble Lord not to stand alone in that 1103 House, as a person who brought forward an accusation which had nothing to support it. He regretted that they had not an opportunity of coming to a distinct vote upon this question, but that opportunity had been withheld by the noble Lord. If the noble Lord had taken another course, he should be ready, as under the present circumstances he was perfectly ready, to meet it at once, and negative any charge that the noble Lord had made. He would wish to restrict himself, as that alternative might be at once taken. No notice had been given of such a course, and it might be said, however untruly, that such a vote was taken by surprise. He put it again to the noble Lord to make the now only amends that it was in his power to make; for he was sure the hon. Friends about the noble Lord would not support, him in the charges he had made, and they must wish to extricate him from the difficulty in which he had placed himself.
§ Lord Acheson
said, that, after the very able and zealous manner in which the conduct of his noble relative, the Earl of Gosford had been, advocated by his hon. and learned Friend below him he should trespass very briefly on the time of the House. He would refer only to two of the charges. First, in answer to the noble Viscount's doubts as to the proceedings having been taken far enough back, he would refer to the letter of Mr. Blacker; secondly, as to the hearing of witnesses. The noble Lord (Gosford) had distinctly declared that he was ready to hear any witnesses who might be brought forward for the purpose of sifting the matter to the bottom, and coming to a fair conclusion. For the rest, in respect to the present motion, he (Lord Acheson) wished to speak of it more in sorrow than in anger. He had a right to complain, perhaps, on the part of his noble relative, that it had been brought forward without notice, and that against an individual who could not by any possibility defend himself. At the same time he would say that the noble Viscount had placed himself in a predicament in which he stood bound, either to retract or go on with the accusation which he had advanced; and on the part of his noble relative he was authorised to declare that the more rigid and strict the investigation the better he should be satisfied. If any hon. Gentleman, therefore, had anything to say upon 1104 the subject he begged it as a favour that he would not hesitate to do so. In conclusion, on the part of his noble relative, he begged to thank the House for the kind and flattering manner in which they had treated the matter.
§ Mr. Shaw
said, that, considering the near connexion of the parties—their station in society—and the relative position they held in Ireland—where few such residents were to be found, he had, from first to last, sincerely regretted those proceedings. He had, at an earlier stage of them, used his most anxious efforts to put a stop to them; he deplored the difference of opinion between the two noble lords having been ever brought before the public; but his noble friend (Lord Mandeville) having expressed his regret for, and retracted the offensive expression complained of, as being too strong, but still maintaining his opinion that the investigation at which his noble Friend had personally attended, was not on the whole fairly conducted, he felt that his noble Friend could not, to please a majority of that House, say what he did not think, and, with every respect for the noble Earl, and for the hon. and learned Gentleman who had defended his conduct, and for his noble Friend, if he would permit him to call him so, who had just sat down, he was obliged to add that, in the debate of that night, at least as far as the noble Viscount (Viscount Mandeville) near him was concerned, he had not met with treatment calculated to conciliate. The charge alleging the garbling of reports and packing of the Court, his noble friend had withdrawn, but he was now placed in a very peculiar situation. His noble Friend was a resident in that country, faithfully and efficiently discharging the various duties required of him as a country gentleman, a landlord, and a Magistrate. No one not residing in Ireland, and not knowing the noble Lord, his family, his connexions, and his influence, could set an adequate value on his residence in that country. His residence there, and his intercourse with the people, should not be objected to him. Was the question of residence in a country suffering so deeply from absenteeism, and every question of private and social life, thus to be mixed up with politics. There was a cheer when he said that his noble Friend was in a peculiar position. He did not expect to see this subject taken up 1105 with such a strong manifestation of party feeling on the other side. His noble Friend considered himself justified, and others agreed with him, in acting as he had done. The facts were these; he was present at the first inquiry, and he left it with a feeling of dissatisfaction. He did not think it was fairly conducted. Some of the facts he stated were admitted. Yes, it was admitted that some of the Magistrates were not summoned—[from the Opposition side. The resident Magistrates were]—No they were not all summoned ["Name!"] his noble Friend named three or four who were not summoned. He (Mr. Shaw) recollected one, Mr. Green [from the Opposition—he did not reside in the county.] He surely resided in the vicinity. It was not fair in such a case to draw an imaginary line of boundary, and, by the accident of locality, determine what was and was not residence. Though a man might be separated by a stream or a ditch from a county, yet, if a Magistrate of it, he should surely be invited to an investigation like that, as he was summoned to Grand Jury and other Magisterial duties. He (Mr. Shaw) was stating that the impression of his noble Friend was, that the conduct of the investigation was improper. There was another fact of which he complained, namely, that the investigation was too limited, and did not go back to the occurrences of the races, which were connected with these transactions, and led to them. A third fact was, that a cross-examination of certain witnesses would not be suffered. His noble Friend did object to those proceedings; but it could not be expected that, as was said, he should enter a formal protest in Court. He thought, and so did others at the time, that it was agreed no Report was to be sent to the Government, at least sufficient transpired in Court to warrant the impression. His noble Friend was ready to retract any offensive expressions he might have used, and regretted them; but it could not be expected he would go further, and retract, as he retained his original impression still, whether well founded or not. He disapproved of and regretted the harsh and un-conciliatory tone adopted on the other side. It was not likely to close the breach, but rather to widen it, between these noble relatives. His noble Friend (Lord Mandeville) considered he was justified in receiving the impression he did. He acted on the best of his judgment, and 1106 could not be blamed. He (Mr. Shaw) regretted that the affair was not adjusted before. He did not advise that it should be brought on, but his noble Friend conceived himself bound to act on the impression he entertained. His noble Friend softened the expressions complained of. No, he did not deny the charge; for, in substance, his noble Friend adhered (whether erroneously or not was not the question) to his original opinion. He (Mr. Shaw) was sorry, as both the noble Lords were residents in that county, both brother Magistrates, and connected by close family ties, that the matter had ever been brought before that House, and he hoped it would not go further. He would again express his regret that the subject was not suffered to drop, and that such harsh expressions and angry feelings, of a personal and political character, were displayed on the other side of the House; they could not tend to weaken the impression made upon the mind of his noble Friend, and, least of all, to draw from him that retraction sought by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, but which, retaining the opinion which his noble Friend assured him he still did, his noble Friend could not, with truth and honour, express.
§ Mr. Hume
said, that during the whole time he had had a seat in the House, he had never heard such a charge brought forward as this. He had never before heard a charge brought forward for which there was not at least some shadow and appearance of reason. But in this case he had listened to the noble Viscount's accusation, and to the answer made by the hon. and learned Member for the Tower Hamlets, and he was bound to say that every single imputation cast by the noble Viscount upon the conduct of the Earl of Gosford was entirely removed. If ever there was a complete refutation of serious charges, and there could not be a more serious charge than that of a Magistrate perverting public justice, it was in this case. He was surprised at the counsel given by the hon. and learned Member, that those who opposed the noble Viscount should rather endeavour to conciliate than to irritate him. Did the noble Viscount deserve conciliation? He, on the contrary, had to charge the Chancellor of the Exchequer with using language which was too conciliatory, when he counselled the noble Viscount to express that regret and contrition for having brought such un- 1107 founded charges, which his own sense of honour and justice should have induced him to do without any such admonition. He thought also, that the House, for its own character's sake, should state its decided opinion on the subject. Were they, sitting there as judges, to be continually called upon to furnish fresh evidence, when it appeared perfectly clear that there was not the slightest ground for the imputations thrown out? Were they, after those charges—evidently without foundation—had been hanging over the head of Lord Gosford for six weeks, to assent to fresh charges being brought, which it was clear could not be supported? What would they gain if the papers now moved for were laid before them? What object would be attained by having the chief constable's report? What would be the use of the dying declaration of the man M'Whinney? But it appeared, after all, that this man was alive and well. Would the papers moved for by the noble Lord throw even a shadow of light on the subject? He was surprised at the pertinacity of the noble Viscount; and whether the noble Viscount persisted in his Motion or not, of this he was satisfied, that the House ought to declare its opinion on the conduct of the noble Viscount. It appeared to him that the noble Earl, the Lord-lieutenant of Armagh, had acted in the most upright manner—and would to God that all Lords-lieutenant manifested a similar independent and impartial conduct. If he had his will, many Lords-lieutenant should be removed in England as well as Ireland, for pursuing directly the opposite course to that which the Earl of Gosford had been censured for. The truth was, that too great delicacy had hitherto been exercised with respect to the removal of Magistrates from the judgment seat. Lord Eldon had declared that he would not consent to the removal of a Magistrate unless he had been convicted in a Court of Record. This was a monstrous principle and ought not to be acted upon. He repeated, that the present was the time for the House to express its decided opinion on the subject. Could any man say that, on such a Motion as the present, and after all that had taken place, it would be a denial of justice to refuse these papers? He had no hesitation in saying that the statement of the noble Viscount was utterly and entirely unfounded? He hoped that the House, in vindication of an impartial Lord- 1108 lieutenant, and an upright and honourable Magistrate, would at once reject the motion, and at the same time adopt such a course as to mark the sense it entertained of the conduct of the noble Viscount in making such charges. They could not do less than make a positive declaration, both in justice to the noble Earl, and in justice to the country, and he should therefore move an Amendment to the Motion of the noble Viscount, "That it is the opinion of this House that the conduct of the Earl of Gosford in the recent investigation in Armagh, did not afford the slightest ground of complaint, and that the imputations made against him by Viscount Mandeville were entirely without foundation."
The Speaker having put the Amendment,
§ Mr. Shaw
rose, and said that such a course of proceeding, as moving that Amendment was contrary to all rule and precedent. The name of Lord Gosford was not in the original Motion, and he objected to the Amendment as quite irregular in point of form, and opposed to the rules of the House. The hon. Member for Middlesex referred in his Amendment to a statement made by an hon. Member in that House, which might be made in any discussion. The hon. Member, without any notice, brought forward a Motion condemning the conduct of another hon. Member, and directly striking at the freedom of debate. The hon. Member could not, in point of form, move his Amendment, as the name of Lord Gosford was not in the original motion. Besides, he was bound to give notice, if he meant to pass a censure upon a Member of that House. Such conduct, if persevered in, would be considered the conduct of a tyrannical majority. He repeated it would be so, and the public would view it in that light.
said, that it was not at all necessary there should be any connexion between the original Motion and an Amendment, and he hoped his hon. Friend would persevere with the Amendment he had proposed. It was a common practice on a motion for the House going into a Committee of Supply, to have amendments proposed that had no connexion with the original motion. He hoped hon. Gentlemen had read the evidence in this case. By that evidence it would be seen that fourteen houses of Roman Catholics had been burned by Orangemen, and not 1109 one of the offenders had been brought to justice. It was not, however, the fault of the Earl of Gosford, that justice had not been done; and for the impartiality of his conduct as a magistrate and Lord-lieutenant of the county, (he Mr. O'Connell) hoped the house would protect him. Lord Gosford had acted with the utmost forbearance, and with a total absence of all party spirit.
said, he had not intended to say one word upon this subject, but he could not refrain from observing on the injustice of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, pronouncing judgment without a trial, particularly when he must be in his heart aware that the charges he had made against the Orangemen were without foundation. He would appeal to the hon. Member for Armagh if it were true that the Orangemen had, as was stated, arms in their hands on the occasion in question? The hon. and learned Member had thought proper to pronounce a condemnation of the Orangemen without even hearing their defence, but this was only consistent with the practice of the hon. and learned Member, who, on all occasions, threw out his imputations upon all who differed from his views. He would say that if this Amendment were persevered in, it would be considered by the country, and ought to be so considered, as the oppressive act of a tyrannical majority. The fair way to proceed would be to give notice of this Amendment as a substantive motion, and then let the question be regularly brought forward. He was not disposed to say one word in condemnation of Lord Gosford, and indeed, he regretted that this proceeding was allowed to go on, or had been brought at all before the public. He should be glad if his noble Friend (Lord Mandeville) could, consistently with his sense of truth and propriety, say anything to relieve the feelings of Lord Gosford, but he could not certainly press upon his noble Friend anything which he did not feel to be right.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
, thought that the present Motion was irregular in point of form, but he hoped it would be allowed that the real question at issue was the conduct of Lord Gosford. It was competent and fit for the House to express its opinion on that point; but let it not travel out of the usual course, and mix up with it extraneous matter. The present Motion, if carried, would be 1110 unintelligible on the Journals of the House and might be used as a precedent. The fact was, that the conduct of Lord Gosford did not deserve the charge brought against it, and it was the duty of the House to pronounce an opinion on that conduct; but there was no precedent for the adoption of such a resolution as the present.
§ The Speaker
said, the present proceeding was a novel one, and full of difficulty. To name the noble Lord (Mandeville), a Member of that House, expressly in the Amendment, was quite irregular, as it would refer to his speech, and not to the motion which he made. [Mr. O'Connell, "Leave out the name."] It would be better to avoid such a case of difficulty as would meet those who would refer to the present motion as a precedent. [Mr. O'Connell, "Leave out the name."] The proceedings now proposed would certainly be unintelligible to all, except those present, and would not be understood on the Journals.
§ Mr. Hume
said, his object was to make his Motion as intelligible as possible. He wished it to appear on the Journals that the imputation made by the noble Lord on Earl Gosford was unfounded. However, he would, if his Motion as at present shaped were irregular, omit the name. But when hon. Members understood the matter—
§ The Speaker
—Those present do, but others who are not present, do not. It would establish a precedent which would be unintelligible to others hereafter.
begged to recal to the recollection of the Speaker that a discussion arose in that House on the conduct of his predecessor. Two Gentlemen entered into a warm debate—one of them censured the conduct of the Speaker. Mr. Canning rose, and moved as an amendment that the thanks of the House be given to the Speaker for his impartial conduct. The imputation on the Speaker came out immediately in the debate, and not by premeditated motion. It was idle to debate the specific terms of the resolution, 1111 It was notorious that the noble Lord brought charges against the noble Earl and that he (Dr. Lushington) rebutted them. If Members were absent from the debate, with the public notice given them, for the noble Lord's Motion was publicly entered on the paper of business, it was their own fault. All had heard of the charges already. The House could not without a violation of duty refuse to place on the Journals the fact that the noble Earl was not guilty.
§ Mr. George F. Young
desired to repudiate any share in the imputation brought by the learned Recorder for Dublin, against those who would support the Amendment, namely, that they were a tyrannical majority. He hated tyranny in all shapes, especially that of a majority taking advantage of a minority. The noble Lord placed himself in a situation that compelled the House to adopt such a resolution.
§ Amendment withdrawn.
§ Lord Mandeville
observed, in reply, that two charges were made against him, irreconcilable with each other. The one was, that he had made a different statement to-night, from that which he made on a former night; and the other, that he had repeated, virtually, the same statement, although he had retracted the offensive expressions. The latter he intended to maintain. When the learned Doctor, on a former evening, put words in his mouth which he did not use, and he wished to explain, he was put down by a general cry of "Spoke, spoke," and not allowed to explain; but before the post hour on the following day, he contradicted the hon. and learned Gentleman. The hon. and learned Member stated that the Conservative Magistrates formed a majority upon the Bench; but although they were not excluded from hearing the evidence, they were denied the privilege of reporting their judgment upon it, for Lord Gosford did say, that there should be no report. Of the letters which had been read by the hon. and learned Civilian, he would only observe that they were all a denial of matters which he never stated. He did not charge Lord 1112 Gosford with rejecting individual witnesses, but with postponing the evidence of some, and refusing to hear the testimony of all, who could depose as to the outrages by which the election riots had been preceded. He would conclude by saying, that his complaints had not been replied to.
The original Motion was negatived.
§ Mr. Hume moved the following Resolution:—"That this House is of opinion that the conduct of the Earl of Gosford, as Lord-lieutenant of the county of Armagh, in the investigation held at Armagh, does not afford the slightest ground for blame; and the imputations made against him, are entirely without foundation."
§ Resolution agreed to.