§ MR. GEORGE A. HAMILTON
said, he had a very important petition to present. It was a petition from the Bishop and Clergy of the diocese of Meath, in synod assembled. They stated that by constant residence in a district extending from the sea to the Shannon, and comprising two and a half counties, they were intimately acquainted with the condition of the country, being connected by interest with property, and with poverty by their duties and profession, and were therefore in a position to judge impartially between them. They denied that neglect of their duty was general among the resident gentry, and that such an assumption could safely be made the basis of legislation. They further denied that it was possible for the landlords of the past or present generation to have rendered the people of Ireland independent of such a calamity as the failure of the potato crop, by any means that would have been sanctioned by public opinion or the feelings of humanity; and they deprecated such statements as suggesting a clearance of estates as the first duty of property and the condition of its security. They recommended, as permanent measures, that a right of relief should be given to the aged, the infirm, and disabled; and that this relief should not necessarily involve the rending asunder the ties of nature. They prayed that for the relief of the able-bodied, a demand for labour should be created, by developing the resources of the country. They earnestly recommended that no outdoor relief should permanently be given to the able-bodied, but that the workhouse test (left available by the out-door relief to the infirm) should be retained as the test of 829 real destitution. They further prayed that food might be given to those who were now perishing, without exacting useless lahour; and that a power of ordering such relief, in time of famine, should be vested in the Lord Lieutenant; and that farmers and landlords might be encouraged by loans to cultivate with the spade land which would otherwise remain unfilled. All this they commended to the consideration of the House, expressing their earnest hope that, in adherence to truth and equity, in the sympathy of England, and in the goodness of God, Ireland might yet be preserved.