HC Deb 10 April 1848 vol 98 cc73-135

moved the Second Reading of the Crown and Government Security Bill.


I do not rise, Sir, for the purpose of entering at length into the details of this Bill. I care very little about those details. I see in this measure a new attempt to meet the claims of Ireland by coercion rather than by conciliation; and it is in that view rather than upon any technical form that I oppose it. I can assure the House, in all solemnity, that I do believe this attempt which you are now making to coerce the people of Ireland will be utterly futile. The people will laugh at your attempts to indict a nation. Be that as it may, I have a duty to perform, and from the performance of that duty I shall not shrink. In the year 1842, before I joined the Repeal Association, I felt it my duty to make a last appeal in this House, asking from them what was then called "justice to Ireland"—that is, a series of measures calculated to give satisfaction to the Irish people consistent with the maintenance of the Union between the two countries. You refused that appeal—an appeal not only made by so humble an individual as myself, but by a very considerable portion of the nation of which I am one of the representatives. You have now one other opportunity of meeting the demands of that nation by yielding to their claims for a separate Legislature—for the principle of self-government as under the ancient constitution of Ireland, by Queen, Lords, and Commons. I am here to tell you to-night that I sincerely believe, if you refuse those claims during the present year, you will have to encounter the chance of a republic in Ireland. Unlike all the other Governments of Europe, the liberal Government of England, instead of attempting to pacify the country with which they are most closely connected by timely concessions, meet the demands of the people by prosecutions and by coercive laws; and this at a moment when your Foreign Minister is giving his countenance to the efforts of every other people in Europe to redeem themselves from servitude. I ask no better parallel for the condition of Ireland in respect to this country than that of Sicily in relation to Naples; and what is tile noble Lord doing with respect to the people of Sicily—the parallel state of Ireland—but saying the people are perfectly right in throwing off the Neapolitan dominion? But in my absence charges have been brought against me. If Gentlemen have charges to make against me, I should like them to be made here to-night. Charges have been brought against me as an individual, and against the party with which I act. I am here to answer those charges, both for myself and for my party; and I will say this with regard to my companions in the noble struggle in which we are engaged, that though I have had an opportunity of seeing the most distinguished men of all parties in this House, I never met a number of men acting for a great political object who appeared to me, at least, to be animated by such pure and disinterested motives as those with whom it is my pride to act. Now, Sir, with regard to myself. I have been called a traitor. I do not profess disloyalty to the Queen of England. But if it is treason to profess disloyalty to this House, and to the government of Ireland by the Parliament of Great Britain—if that be treason, I avow the treason. Nay, more, I say it shall be the study of my life to overthrow the dominion of this Parliament over Ireland. I undertake to say, and I challenge any man to rebut the statement, that there is no man in this House who stands higher in his public character than I do. I am certain that, both in this House, and in my country, there are men infinitely my superiors in talent; but since I had the honour of a seat as one of the Members for the county of Limerick, I can safely say I have never given one vote in this House from any other consideration than a sincere and honest desire to promote the public welfare. I defy any man to say that the votes I have given have been given from any other consideration. I tell the House more, now that I am to be an arraigned criminal, that I would gladly accept the most ignominious death that could be inflicted upon me, rather than witness the sufferings and the indignities that I have seen inflicted by this Legislature upon my countrymen during the last thirty years of my life. It has been stated I went to France for the purpose of enlisting French aid—that is to say, armed aid and succour for my countrymen in the struggle in which they are engaged. That is a misapprehension. If I had gone to France asking for aid of an armed kind, believe me I should have come back accompanied by a tolerably large legion of troops. You may believe what I say. I only wish you had been in France. The language I have held in Ireland and in France to my countrymen has been this—that Irish freedom must be won by Irish courage and by Irish firmness. I have no desire to impose upon my country one description of servitude in the place of another; for I believe that the liberty of Ireland and its redemption from its present position, were they won by foreign bayo- nets, could not be retained in its possession by foreign bayonets; and, therefore, it is not my desire or my intention to place my country under foreign dominion. What I did, however, I will boldly avow in this House. I went on behalf of a large portion of my countrymen, as one of a deputation to congratulate the French nation upon the overthrow of a dynasty which had forfeited all claim to continue in possession of the Throne of France; upon having shown to the nations of the world—and their example has to a certain extent already had that effect—how other nations were to win their liberties: but I have no hesitation whatever in affirming, and with pleasure I avow, that I did find on the part of the French people a great amount of intense sympathy with Ireland. I am glad that feeling exists, and I hope it will extend, for it is my business and that of those with whom I am associated to encourage that sympathy; and I may add, that I do not believe that that sympathy is confined to France alone, but that every nation in the world, every enlightened man, every statesman in the civilised globe, partakes in it, and looks upon Ireland as you look upon Poland, and upon your connexion with Ireland as entirely analogous to that of Russia with Poland. Sir, I will not reject the sympathy of other nations; but at the same time I am happy to think that there is amongst the middle and humbler classes of this country a large amount of sympathy with Ireland—that there is amongst them an anxious desire that they should obtain that power of legislation which they wish; and it gives me great satisfaction to think that amongst the Chartists, from five millions of whom there has been a petition presented this evening, there is scarce an individual who does not sympathise with the cause of Ireland. They feel that they have been unjustly excluded from all share in political power; they are resolved that the working classes shall assert their right to a share in the representation of this country; and they know they cannot do so at a better time than when you are embarrassed in your arrangements with Ireland. Therefore, whether from policy or sincere sympathy, I trust that the repeaters of Ireland will accept that aid which the Chartists are universally prepared to give them. Now, I avow the fact—I know not whether it be illegal or not—that I have been instrumental in asking my countrymen to arm. I conceive that under the present circumstances of all nations, it is the duty of every man to obtain the possession, and to learn the use of arms. There is not a nation, I believe, in Europe, which does not make it part of its duty to instruct its citizens in the use of arms; and I conceive that it is the peculiar duty of the Irish people to obtain the possession of arms at a time when you tell them you are prepared to crush their expression of opinion, not by argument, but by brute force. Let me remind the hon. Gentlemen opposite of what took place in 1792. It was no crime to my countrymen to enlist themselves then in armed array for the defence of their country against foreign Powers; and by that armed array they obtained that independence which England accorded as the inalienable right of the Irish people, but which compact she has since basely contemned and violated. I ask them to arm now for the preservation of order, as well as for the purpose of acquiring their liberties; and as I think it right that there should be no mistake as to the opinions and sentiments and intentions of the body with whom I act, I will read a resolution which was passed at the last meeting of the Irish Confederation. It was as follows:— Resolved—That we hereby repudiate, as a gross calumny, the imputation thrown out upon us by Lord John Russell, that the object of this Confederation is social disorder, and a violent separation from Great Britain; and we hereby declare that our object is now, as it always was, the legislative independence of Ireland, and thereby the attainment of social order; and we desire that such independence may be obtained, if possible, without civil war. We have also, acting on the suggestion of the late illustrious leader of the Irish people, recommended our countrymen to send to the metropolis of Ireland a national council, to be composed of 300 individuals; and I trust that before long that national council will be established in Dublin. With all deference to the Irish Members in this House, we do feel that there is no exponent of the Irish nation, and of the opinion of the country, one in one hundred of whom is only represented in this House. We are, therefore, prepared to call upon the people of Ireland to send to Dublin such a board; and with that body I would recommend the noble Lord to enter into early and earnest negotiations for the purpose of effecting an amicable settlement of the question now at issue between the two countries. I was quite prepared when I came here to experience the insulting sneers that I have met; yet, Sir, for my- self I believe that we shall eventually succeed in our efforts; and I can tell you that this is not a subject for sneering or levity. If we should unfortunately lend ourselves to the designs of the Government, and be led into overt acts of violence, I believe that in such a case we shall have at least the emancipation of our country postponed; but is the noble Lord prepared to govern Ireland not by satisfying the demands of the people, but by a system of detective police—by employing men that would instigate others to crime for the purpose of betraying them? Is that to be the principle on which to govern Ireland? The noble Lord relies upon packed juries. If he gets a fair jury, I say it is impossible to obtain a verdict. Let me tell him that if he fails, the prestige and influence of the Government is overthrown by that defeat; and if there be found one honest and intelligent juror out of the twelve to try us, his object is defeated; but if he succeed, what does he obtain? He little knows the spirit that prevails in Ireland, if he does not know that for every man he prosecutes he brings out 50, 100, ay, 1,000 men, who consider that so far from being disgraced by being convicted for serving their country, they would gladly suffer any consequences in such a cause. The noble Lord has boasted in this House of the signatures to the addresses of support which have been sent to Lord Clarendon. But what is their number? I think some 280,000 persons, whose names, by the way, are not known—that is, one-thirtieth of the population have been induced, by the most active solicitation, to sign those addresses. Now, I warn the noble Lord that he can place no reliance whatever on the influence of the gentry of Ireland. The gentry throughout three-fourths of Ireland are powerless, and all they could do with the aid of British bayonets would be to save themselves. The time was when they had influence, but it is not so now. Ask the county which the Burkes once led—ask the Duke of Leinster, who would be the most peaceful subject acting with the people, how many he could get to follow him? I believe he would not have a single partisan out of his own family. Ask Lord Ormonde, the most amiable man in Ireland, who is universally beloved even by those who differ from him in political opinion—ask how many men would follow his banner? Why, the noble Lord must know, that to look to the gentry of Ireland in the case of a struggle, is to place reliance upon a mere fictitious power. If this question should be settled by a recourse to the last extremity, which I, for one, most ardently and earnestly deprecate, the Irish gentry would be exceedingly glad to compound with any party which would allow them to remain in possession of their present property. You can place, therefore, no reliance on them. Then, there is a body, I admit, of considerable extrinsic strength—the Orangemen of Ireland. But the Orangemen of Ireland are at this time exceedingly discontented with the Government of this country. The Bill of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland is about to deprive them of that tenant-right which they value as an inheritance; and do you suppose that they can have any affection for a Government which is about to strip them of their means of subsistence? Amongst the Orangemen of the north there exists a great deal of the spirit of the United Irishmen; and it is singular that a great number of the confederated parties are connected with the north of Ireland. I can truly say that I most ardently desire that the Orangemen should arm. I am exceedingly anxious that every portion of the people of Ireland should acquire something like the power to vindicate their rights; and therefore, when you talk of arming the Orangemen, you do that which rather gives me satisfaction than conveys any uneasiness. The Government relies next upon the police force. Now that force is 10,000 strong, and is a remarkably fine body of men, but it is entirely national; they are taken from the people, and though they are excellent preservers of order, and though I hope they will preserve order—I honour them for the attempt—yet if we were ever led to a great national strife between nation and nation, the policemen would be too glad to obtain the certainty of the future honours and renown which would belong to them if they acted as the saviours of the country, not to take part in their country's cause. The Government next relies upon the Army. Now the Army is a very insignificant fraction of the whole population; and if during the rebellion 150,000 armed troops were required to retain possession of two or three counties in Ireland, under the circumstances do you suppose if it were to — come to a struggle—which God forbid!—do you suppose that your 30,000 men at present under arms in Ireland would present any serious obstacle to the attainment of their wishes by the people of Ireland? But, however painful these views may be, I believe that you cannot rely upon the Army in Ireland. I am persuaded that if there were a struggle to-morrow, a large portion of the Army in Ireland would refuse to act against the people ["Order!"] I do not know what is the meaning of liberty of speech, if one cannot speak freely upon these questions. The object of my argument has been this—for I treat with the most utter disdain the attempts of the Government to put me down by prosecution—the object of my argument has been to show that if ever unhappily these two great countries should come into a collision, the result of that collision would be extremely uncertain, and cannot in any case be otherwise than disastrous to you; and if you fail, it might not be unadvisable to consider what would be the condition of England with an independent republic on one side, and and an independent republic on the other. But if you succeed, you decimate the inhabitants, you destroy their industry, you paralyse their energy, and you are left with what you have had before—a disappointed population, useless to you, whilst you are despised by all good men. I do, under these circumstances, implore you, before it is too late, to consider as portentous what has occurred in other countries. Before the knell of English power in Ireland is sounded, I beg of you to make friends of the Irish people, by conceding to them those national rights which they claim, and to which, by every right, human and divine, they are entitled. Now, Sir, I have used no reserve on the present occasion in the commencement of these observations, and I shall use none at their conclusion. When the noble Lord tells me I am a traitor to the Crown, I repel the charge, and retort it. And I tell him that if, in the present condition of Europe, he attempt, as regards his own fellow-countrymen, to crush all the efforts on the part of the democracy to obtain those rights which the people of other countries have obtained—and if, as regards my country, he refuses their demand for self-government—if he plays towards this Government the part of Guizot, and Metternich in their respective countries, then I tell him, it is not I, but he and his Colleagues, that are traitors to the country, the Queen and the constitution.


Sir, when I saw the hon. Gentleman after his long absence from his place, rising upon the first moment that the second reading of this Bill was moved, I certainly entertained some hope, albeit but a faint one, that he had risen to disavow with indignation—that indignation which all loyal subjects of this realm must feel at imputations cast upon their loyalty—those charges which have been made with regard to him, not only in this House, but in every newspaper circulated throughout this country for some weeks past—that he would, with that fervid eloquence which characterises his harangues elsewhere, if not in this House, disavow those sentiments, and declare by virtue, if of no better feelings, of that oath of allegiance which the hon. Member has repeatedly taken to the Sovereign of these realms, that the imputations which have been so frequently cast upon his name and conduct were confounded. What, then, was my astonishment—nay, what were my feelings of pain and regret—feelings shared, I will venture to say, by every hon. Member in this House—when, with the miserable pretence of still professing some loyalty—a faint shadow of loyalty, with lip service to his Sovereign, coupling that boldness and daring which has characterised his speeches elsewhere with some cautious reserve—I heard him repeat the sentiments which he has elsewhere uttered, and charge my noble Friend, in defending the constitution of the country, with charges similar to those made against himself, of treason. The hon. Member said that in his absence he had been called a traitor. I presume he alludes to what I said on Friday last. For his absence I am not accountable: the cause of that absence he can no doubt best explain. But I did not call him a traitor; but this I did. I read to this House, from the report of a meeting of the Irish Confederation, the announcement made by one of the members of the association, Mr. Duffy, of a message which he had received from the hon. Gentleman from Paris, in which, casting to the winds the discouraging reply which the hon. Gentleman had received from M. Lamartine, who, from a sense of public virtue refused to encourage his designs—be they seditious, be they traitorous, or be they loyal, as the hon. Gentleman pretends to assure us—feeling that if he had encouraged them he should be violating the laws of nations, and giving good cause for a war between England and France. The hon. Gentleman led his countrymen to look for foreign aid to subvert their own Government. I asked if the hon. Gentleman were prepared to disavow the truth of that message which Mr. Duffy announced as the true exponent of the French sentiment towards Ireland, casting altogether aside the language of M. Lamartine—whether in fact the hon. Gentleman did say that— He had found there were Irishmen in Paris who were determined to aid the efforts of Ireland in securing her independence—that the French nation was deeply moved by the indignities and sufferings which the people of Ireland endured, and that he had seen enough to feel assured that were Ireland to demand assistance, France would be able to send 50,000 of her bravest citizens to fight with her for liberty. [Mr. S. O'BRIEN: Read the next sentence.] We owe to the people of France our sincere thanks for their hearty sympathy. Is that the sentence the hon. Gentleman requires? Or perhaps it is this:— But we feel that the liberty of Ireland should be obtained by the energy, the devotion, the courage, of her own children. Is that the language which he, knowing what the sentiments of M. Lamartine were, thought fit, as one of the truest friends of the Irish people, on whose word they might rely, to hold out as the real feelings of the French people. Did he mean that if the Irish failed in an insurrection, they might rely on the aid of France in accomplishing their object? The hon. Gentleman has not disavowed his attempts to seduce the soldiers of this country and the police from their allegiance; and he has insinuated that they were disaffected to the Crown, and would arise at his bidding against their Sovereign. I have said that I did not call the hon. Gentleman a traitor, but that I did read that statement which had been made by Mr. Duffy as having been transmitted to him by the hon. Gentleman from Paris. He drew his own inference. He said I called him a traitor because I read these statements. [Cheers.] The House also drew its inference, and I read that inference in unmistakeable language in those cheers with which the hon. Gentleman was received when he said, "I have been called a traitor." Sir, I altogether deny the right of the hon. Gentleman to constitute himself the exponent of the loyalty of the people of Ireland. The inhabitants of the north of Ireland, he said, were not loyal; and he has attempted to excite a feeling of dissatisfaction to-night by alluding to various topics, and to the Bill of my hon. Friend near me, as calculated to shake the allegiance of the Orangemen of the north. I say nothing of them as Orangemen; but we have undoubted proofs of this, that people of different creeds and from different parts of Ireland are inseparably attached to the Crown and the constitution of this country; and I am sure they will, one and all, indignantly deny the right of the hon. Gentleman to be the exponent of their feelings on such a subject. He has also said that the Chartists are all with them to a man. I utterly disbelieve that also. There sits by the hon. Member's side a leader of the Chartists, who on Friday night expressed in this House feelings and opinions very different from that, for he declared himself the firm friend of the monarchy of this country. I believe that in France, in England, in all quarters of the globe, the hon. Member, in his endeavours to seduce the subjects of Her Majesty, or to obtain foreign aid for his designs, will find himself miserably disappointed; that he will find in England a spirit that will rise with indignation against the dictation of the hon. Gentleman, and the exposition which he pretends to give of the true feelings of this country. Far be it from me to speak in a tone of defiance towards Ireland. I have no such feeling. We desire to see Ireland as a portion of this United Kingdom indissolubly connected with it; her people happy, rich, prosperous, and enjoying that constitutional independence which is the birthright of every subject of the Crown. In order to secure those inestimable blessings, we wish to see a union of all good men in opposing the dangerous doctrines and mischievous designs of the hon. Gentleman and his associates; and by this means we shall best secure—I will not say the Crown and the Government of this country only—but the real, lasting, and true interests of the great body of the people.


said, as he had been alluded to, he wished to repeat the expression of an opinion which he had often urged both in and out of that House, namely, that there was a power behind the Throne — the voice of the people, which should be greater than the Throne itself; but if the term "treason" were thrown in the teeth of any hon. Member in that House, he begged to say, that he had taken the oath of allegiance, and that that would induce him to protect Her Majesty's Crown even against the machinations of Her Majesty's Government. He was surprised that the descendant of Lord W. Russell should be the man to ferret out the law of Charles II., in order to determine what treason and sedition were; and he certainly thought, after the able and con- stitutional speech of the hon. Member for Oldham the other night, that the Government would have paused before proceeding further with this Bill. He would be the first man to resist the invasion of a foreign army, and he might tell the right hon. Baronet that he had refused to proceed with a deputation to France; but if Ireland had been treated with justice, he asked the right hon. Baronet how it was that so many thousands had died of famine? He knew the right hon. Baronet did not like compliments, and he knew how liable they were to be misinterpreted; but he must say, that but for that step which the right hon. Gentleman advocated, in spite of the whims of some of the constituencies, hundreds of thousands would have perished in Ireland. But were the Irish always to be beggars at Britain's door? He had that day witnessed a demonstration, and, thank God! it was a peaceable one. [Laughter.] Did hon. Gentlemen laugh at the idea of a peaceable demonstration? He rejoiced at it; but he would warn the right hon. Baronet that if he suppressed the free expression of public opinion, he would inevitably cause the formation of secret clubs and associations. When the Confederation was dissolved in 1839, two men went through the north of England and Scotland establishing secret clubs, with private signals and modes of communication. He (Mr. O'Connor) pursued them, however, and drove them out of the country; and for himself he must say, that he never said or wrote anything of a political character which was not perfectly open and patent to the world. He had never allowed the doors of any association to be closed against the press; and now they were going to prosecute the hon. Member for Limerick, and if they obtained a conviction from an honest or dishonest jury, their triumph would only be a weakness. What he regretted was, that there was no constitutional Opposition in the House. The opinion of this country was wild, because it did not see itself represented in the House by a constitutional Opposition; and until it saw that Opposition, there would be no bearing on the benches opposite. What he wanted was an Opposition based on constitutional principles, opposing the Government in their attempts to inflict laws of this kind. Was not this Bill an infraction of the rights of the subject? He knew of many Members who had voted for the first reading of this Bill from courtesy. He was made of sterner stuff; and, if he stood alone, he would move that this Bill be read a second time this day six months. It was monstrous, that with a starving multitude, not a single measure was proposed for the amelioration of their condition. When they asked for reform, they were met by prosecution and persecution. As far as he was individually concerned, without asking for the aid of a foreign Power—without secret associations—without anything injurious or unjust—there was not a man in the country who would go farther to shake off the English yoke from the Irish people than he would. He moved that this Bill be read a second time this day six months.


before observing upon the measure before the House, desired to express his heartfelt thanks that the proceedings of that day had been characterised by order. It must be a relief to the mind of every hon. Member, that, instead of being assembled within these walls labouring under the apprehension of a conflict out of doors, they sat in peace and quietness, convinced that they had sufficient foundation for the opinion that the people had seen that the best method of promoting the attainment of their just rights was to confine themselves to peaceful means, and avoid a conflict with the authorities. He had mingled much, for twenty years, with the working classes of this country. There were few men in the House who had more frequently come in contact with them; more fearlessly censured them when he deemed them wrong, and more cordially sympathised with them when he believed them to be right. He had never joined any political association; he had never given in his adhesion to a political creed; and he had advocated the right of all to participate in the constitution. He now came to the Bill before the House. In the first place, he had to object to the haste with which this Bill had been introduced into the House—a Bill than which a more important one had not been introduced into the House during the last century, or within the history of Parliament. What was it? It was a Bill to make the speaking of words on political questions a felony. It was a Bill affecting the constitution, and the integrity of the British dominions. Let him warn the House against being precipitate on this occasion. You could not make that felony which universal humanity did not characterise as a felony. Let them beware lest, by passing this Bill, they ennobled felony; let them beware lest they converted that which ought to be a badge of degradation into a badge of honour and renown. There were things which men knew to be and consented to see punished as crime; but you could not brand open and advised speaking as felonious without multiplying felons throughout this country to an extent so great that the police could not apprehend them, the prisons could not contain them, and the ships could not transport them. In one clause there were ten felonies. There was the felony of thinking. It was a felony to "compass, imagine, invent, or devise." That was branded a felony, and you only did not punish it as such because you could not discover it. But it was still branding the act of thinking as a felony, and the perception and exercise of the mind itself. Then we had it declared to be felony to meditate to deprive Her Majesty of any of the titles and honours she now enjoyed arising from any portion of Her Majesty's dependencies. Then we had the felony of printing, the felony of writing, the felony of speaking, and the felony of any other overt act or deed connected with the subjects previously recited. Now he had seconded the Motion that this Bill be read a second time this day six months, with the view of giving the Government an opportunity of striking out of the Bill so much of it as was comprised in the words "open and advised speaking." He agreed with the Bill, as far as it went, to put into another category offences hitherto described and provided as treason, and as far as it went to consolidate the laws respecting the utterance of seditious or treasonable language; but he could not agree to circumscribe the right of public speaking—to put a gag on the lips of a man—and to prevent him openly expressing his views on political questions; and he would oppose the Bill in all its stages whilst those words were in it. Was it come to this that such a law was recommended by those who sat on that (the Ministerial) bench? Had the hon. Member for Harwich forgotten the words which he had uttered on former occasions? If you allowed the assertions of this Bill, you might write on the stone which covered the ashes of Washington, "There lies a felon!" He did not think he should have lived to see the day when men could sit on that bench so recreant to every principle they ever professed, when out of office, as to bring in so atrocious a Bill, and commit so atrocious an outrage upon the social principles of mankind, and upon their inherent and Heaven-originating rights. He should be reminded of Ireland; but were twenty-seven millions of inhabitants comprised within the British dominions to be punished for the indiscretion of a few individuals in Dublin? You had laws against sedition before—you had them still. He would help to consolidate and enforce them; but when you come to stop the right to think and speak, he would say, "Thus far shalt thou go, and no further." This Bill took its rise from the discontent of a large portion of the people of Ireland and of this country, and it was always thus. Those who had neglected and eluded the just claims of the people for years—those who had brought them to the brink of despair, and excited them, by their own disregard of their rights, came down with Bills of coercion, and, taking advantage of the natural terror which prevailed in the public mind, obtained the passing of laws which were the disgrace and pollution of the land. He, for one, would not consent to avail himself of a season like this to pass one of the most censurable measures which had ever disgraced a Statute-book. Look at the origin of this state of things. Had not the petitioners come again and again in hundreds of thousands; and what had the Government done? The noble Lord had been asked if it was his intention to bring in any measure for the repeal of the rate-paying clauses of the Reform Bill? He answered emphatically—No! He was asked if it was his intention to consider the just claims of the Dissenters to be relieved from the impost of church-rates? He answered emphatically—No! He was asked if he would consent to a revision of taxation? The answer was—No. He was asked the other night for an inquiry into the history of a transaction as black as any which had disgraced our annals; and the noble Lord, through a subordinate Member of the Government, gave the emphatic answer—No. He was asked to equalise the income-tax? He answered—No. And although it was apparent to the country that ever since the Reform Bill had passed, it had not accomplished the ends proposed, yet the noble Lord did not alter it: he had promulgated the doctrine of finality, and rigidly adhered, up to the present hour, in refusing an extension of political rights to every part of the British community. And now, when the people had announced an intention of assembling on Kennington Common to present a petition, what did we behold? No man could read without a shudder the description in the morning newspapers of the military preparations made by her Majesty's Government. He did not ask the House to censure those arrangements; but he asked the House to sympathise with his feelings when he looked at a state of things which rendered such precautions necessary. They never could be necessary in any country which was wisely and justly governed; they were not necessary in France until there was a Polignac and a Guizot for a Minister; unhappily they were necessary in the metropolis of the British empire while the noble Lord was at the head of the Government and Prime Minister. For all this discontent there was a cause. The hon. Member for Nottingham, with all his talents, could never have raised the hundreds of thousands, if they had not substantial justice on their side. He could never have persuaded the people that they were wronged, if they had not been painfully conscious that they were wronged. He did not share the apprehensions of Government; he believed that if the procession had taken place, the people would have been as peaceable out of doors as they were now; but he was in favour of the people gathering together to assert their political rights. They had no other means of doing it. A journalist could express his feelings by his writings; an orator could make himself heard; but the man who was poor and helpless, unlearned, and wronged, had but one method of pleading in his own behalf, and that was by presenting himself, with numbers, before those who had deprived him of his rights. The Bill was intitled "A Bill for the better Security of the Crown and Government of this Kingdom." That was a wrong title. There had never been a law which concerned the interests of the Crown and Government of any country that was not a just law; because to accomplish these objects it must be a just and impartial law; but the noble Lord at the head of the Government must know as well as any man, that to inflict on the people such an Act, depriving them of the right of openly declaring their opinion, was to enact a law which was radically and eternally unjust. He had the greatest apprehension for a Crown and Government, if the Government persisted in enforcing on the country an odious and execrable Act. Could we look around us and fail to be astonished at the slow progress of the present Government? Had they not seen the sun of enlightened freedom arise throughout the whole of Europe? Her Majesty's Government professed to sympathise with the movement, to share the progress of events, and go forward with the people of Europe; and yet they came down and treated the people of England to a gagging law. This was not the time for such a measure. As far as he understood the Bill, should a man but deliver his opinions upon government in the abstract—should he but deliver his opinions upon the origin of human government, upon its purposes and designs, and express a preference for a republic as compared with a monarchy, he was liable by this Bill to be arraigned as a felon, and transported for the term of his natural life. This law, as it stood, was infinitely worse than the old law. When a man was charged with treason, there was great regard manifested for his security; he was allowed to have a copy of the indictment, a list of the witnesses; counsel and solicitor were assigned to him, and he could not be convicted except on the evidence of two witnessess. Now, he might be arrested on the evidence of a single individual, and was at once lodged in prison and deprived of any of the privileges which were extended to him under a charge of high treason. He hoped Government would see the necessity of preventing the multiplication of secret societies, which could not fail to be resorted to if freedom of speech were denied. At present he looked on this Bill as an offence against reason, and an outrage on liberty.


did not intend to follow the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down through the whole of his very discursive speech; but he must be allowed to express his surprise, after hearing that speech, that the hon. Member had come to the conclusion to vote against the second reading of the Bill, for he understood the hon. Gentleman to say, that although there wore some words in the third clause of the Bill to which he entertained strong objections, he was quite ready to give the other provisions of the measure his hearty support. It would surely be more in consonance with their proceedings for the hon. Member, expressing himself as he had done, to vote in favour of the second reading, and propose the omission of the words to which he objected in Committee. He (Sir B. Hall) was equally opposed to the words alluded to; and when the proper time arrived, he should record his vote in favour of their omission. He considered that the Government would have been wanting in the duty they owed to their Sovereign and to the State, if they had not asked for some powers to stop the treason and sedition which had lately been rife. The speech of the hon. Member for Notting- ham (Mr. O'Connor) had been marked by great loyalty on the one hand, and by strong condemnation of the Government on the other. He (Sir B. Hall) had been in that House ever since that hon. Gentleman was first elected for the county of Cork, sixteen years ago; and he must do the hon. Member the justice to say, that he had never heard him express any opinions which intimated a desire to depose the Sovereign, or to subvert the monarchy. He (Sir B. Hall) wished, however, in no unfriendly spirit, to give the hon. Gentleman an opportunity of avowing or disavowing certain opinions which had been ascribed to him within the last few days, and which were at variance with the opinions he professed in that House. He held in his hand a paper called the Northern Star, of which the hon. Gentleman had in that House avowed himself to be the proprietor, and in which, so lately as last Saturday week, there appeared a letter purporting to be written by the hon. Member. He must do the hon. Gentleman the justice to say, that throughout the whole of that letter he did not tell the people to resort to other than moral force; but he wished to give the hon. Member an opportunity of explaining the meaning of the words he was about to read. The hon. Gentleman addressed a letter to the "Old Guard," in which he said— Old Guard, I have received several letters warning me of the danger of joining in the procession; but this is my answer to one and all—that I would much rather be taken a corpse from amidst that procession, than dishonour myself, disgrace my country, and desert you by remaining away. Old Guards, the charges against me by the enemy have been numerous, but cowardice has never been one of them. But as to republic or monarchy, let the power behind the Throne be greater than the Throne itself; let labour select its own representatives annually, and pay them honourably; and I do not care whether you put the Pope, the Devil, or the Pretender upon the Throne. Let the people be the base and the superstructure, and I care not three straws what the figure-head may be. That was not hastily spoken, but deliberately written. These were not words uttered in the heat of debate, or in the excitement of a public meeting, but put forth to the world in writing; and being so decidedly at variance with all the sentiments uttered by the hon. Member in the House of Commons, he wished to give the hon. Gentleman an opportunity of explaining whot his real sentiments were, whether he really desired that the Queen should still continue on the Throne, or whether he was indifferent as to whether the Pope, the Devil, or the Pretender reigned in her stead. The hon. Member would do well, in addressing great public meetings, not only to instil into men's minds that they should endeavour to attain their rights by moral and not by physical force, but to read a short speech delivered not many days ago by one of the most eminent men in the most enlightened country in the world—a speech delivered by Mr. Welcker at Heidelberg, to a large assembly desirous of an extension of their rights—a speech in which that Gentleman said in substance— Do not let us mistake license for liberty. Do not let us imagine, that because much may require to be remodelled, all must be overthrown. Let us take England as our model. She has free institutions; her people have great political priviges; she alone remains proud and pre-eminent amongst the nations of the world, whilst all around her is a wreck. Desiring to see this country maintain that proud position, and considering that some steps should be taken to put down sedition, and put a stop to treason, he should certainly support the second reading of the Bill. The hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. W. S. O'Brien), in the course of the extraordinary speech which he had made, had indulged in remarks very much of a personal nature; it would probably be most in accordance with the feeling of the House to refrain from any observation upon that part of his speech. The Government had felt it their duty to take proceedings against him, and, as he (Sir B. Hall) thought, justly. The hon. Member would have to go before his own countrymen, and "God send him a good deliverance!" But that hon. Member was grossly and grievously mistaken if he believed that even in his own country, much less in this, there was any sympathy for sedition, or any affection for treason. The people knew their rights, and would defend them. They would not be dictated to, or led into rebellion by the hon. Gentleman and his associates. He would tell the hon. Gentleman in words much better than he himself could devise—in the language of one who was the greatest genius this country ever produced—who was as remarkable for the powers of his mind, as he was admirable in the force of his expressions—he would tell the hon. Gentleman that he had yet to learn that— When proud faction and her rebel crew Insult the Sovereign, trample on the laws, And bid defiance to his power, the people, In justice to themselves, will then defend His cause, and vindicate the rights they gave. He could not close the observations he had made, without, on his own behalf, and on behalf of his constituents, thanking his right hon. Friend (Sir G. Grey) for the admirable manner in which he had been prepared to meet any emergency that might have arisen: the country were deeply indebted to his right hon. Friend. But representing as he did 350,000 of the inhabitants of this metropolis, and brought into almost daily communication with various classes, he could assure the right hon. Baronet that he never saw greater affection on the part of the people. From the highest peer to the humblest mechanic there was a desire on the part of all to lend their aid for the promotion of order, the suppression of sedition, and the prevention of crime.


said, if the words "or by open and advised speaking" were struck out, he should have no objection to the Bill; indeed he believed the House generally would have very little objection to it if those words were omitted. And he thought he was entitled to ask that that should be done at a time when all were looking for improved legislation. If the Bill passed in its present state, they would again have enacted in England and Ireland such disgraceful scenes as had occurred in the case of Mr. Muir, who was prosecuted on the evidence of his servant, who stated that she had heard him speak in favour of an alteration in the system of legislation. That man was murdered by the Judges of that day. Lord Holland, in 1837, in answer to a circular on the subject, said— I send you my subscription to the monuments intended to be erected to the memory of five persons who were the victims of an iniquitous sentence in Scotland in 1793. I do so because it seems to me an unexceptional method and a fit opportunity of recording the disgust and abhorrence which I have always felt at those proceedings, and at 'the expedient of transporting men among common felons for political offences,' which, as Mr. Fox justly observed, was then for the first time invented. Parliament was now asked to make that the law of the land in England, Scotland, and Ireland; to pass it on an b emergency as a permanent law for the three kingdoms. It was unwise to pass severe laws for an emergency, for such laws were generally ill considered; and he had never known one of them which was not a matter of regret at a later period. If the Government were in possession of information which they did not wish to divulge, but which in their opinion rendered some strict measure necessary for a few months, let them so declare, and he thought they would not find much opposition; but to all appearance the ordinary powers of the law were amply sufficient, and that House ought not without some very cogent reasons pass a Bill which would remain a blot and a stain upon the Statute-book. The measure was in his opinion a violation of those principles, the maintenance of which was not only the best guarantee for the preservation of freedom, but for the safety of the Crown itself. If they passed it, there would be nothing but secret meetings, private associations, and a hateful system of espionage. Yes, he said so advisedly; for he was bound to look at a law not merely as it was probable it would be administered, but as, in bad hands, it might be administered. When he looked back and recalled to mind the events which he had himself witnessed, he felt convinced that all those penal statutes were hurtful and unserviceable, and that they but exposed the country to those terrible convulsions which occurred in another country from the same causes. What were the main causes of the late revolution in France? Why, the suppression of the liberty of the press and the interference with the freedom of speech? There had not been for five years before the late French revolution a single newspaper, except those in the pay of the Government, which had not been prosecuted. The Government of that country was a "gagging" Government; and what was the consequence? During the whole time, the Government was unconsciously standing upon a volcano — they were standing over a powder magazine, which a spark would ignite; that spark did fall, and Government and Crown were blown to atoms. Let this Government be cautious how it proceeded too far. This was a step in the wrong direction, and the people would not suffer it. He did not for one moment compare the middle classes of this country with the French people; they were men of a very different calibre—the middle classes of this country were peaceful and fond of order. Was it not delightful to witness their conduct upon that day? They were as determined as the Government to maintain that order which was so essential, but to none more than to the middle and lower classes. There might have been some discontent among the labouring classes. If it were in his power to prevail upon them, he would convince them that their greatest enemy was he who would induce them to violate the law. But he had observed nothing but good feeling exhibited towards the Government; and he regretted that it was at such a moment the Government thought it right to introduce a Bill enacting provisions so adverse to those privileges which Englishmen had always most valued. The people demanded an enlargement of political rights, and the Government brought in a Bill preventing freedom of speech and freedom of the press. If riot were apprehended, why not try the existing law? and if the existing law failed, when fairly put to the last test, he (Mr. Hume) would most readily grant any requisite additional powers. What was it they wanted? Had they not the means of putting down associations and conventions which they had reason to fear? He did not approve of some of those bodies. He did not think it right or becoming that a convention should be sitting in judgment over the acts of that House. He was as anxious to maintain the liberties of the country as any man, but he did not like arbitrary measures. A more effectual mode of putting down such combinations would be to improve the condition of the working classes so as to raise them in society—so as to elevate their tone of moral feeling. It was strange to see men, who all their lives professed such a regard for the freedom of speech now bringing forward a Bill to fetter it—that privilege of which Lord Holland, Whitbread, Erskine, and the other great men of their day, were the unceasing advocates. He had always considered the freedom of speech in public meetings as the palladium of the liberties of this country, for it was there where a community of feeling was established, and where violent spirits evaporated. He did not object to the utmost freedom of speech, and would allow any man to talk as much as he liked, provided he kept his hands off him. If he might advise the Government, he would tell them to despise those brawlers, and to show that they could not be affected by them. To act as they were doing was such a confession of weakness as he never could have expected from them. It showed a distrust in the population of these countries, which he considered unwarrantable and unfounded. He dreaded the consequences of their attempt, and thought it would be attended with results which they little contemplated. The day for coer- cion was gone by, and instead of restricting present privileges they ought to be endeavouring to extend them. But it was said that they must make it a felony to overawe Parliament. Overawe Parliament! Why, this was the purpose of agitation. He had long agitated out of doors as well as within those walls, and his object had been to overawe Parliament. Would any one say that Parliament had not been overawed when the Reform Bill was granted? Would any one say that Parliament had not been overawed when Catholic Emancipation had been granted? Every agitation, however constitutionally and peacefully conducted, must be more or less for the purpose of overawing. Why, it was a maxim of Jeremy Bentham, that it was the business of the people to make the few who govern, uneasy, in order that the many might obtain their rights. The many must plague the few in order to obtain any concessions. If the Government was afraid of the Convention, why did they not use the powers which they undoubtedly possessed, and put it down? By the 39th George III. a meeting of delegates coming from any part of the country was unlawful. It could be suppressed at once, and he took this opportunity of making them aware that such was the case. In 1831 and 1832, when the Political Union was in agitation, Lord Grey, by a public proclamation, forbade the meeting. The Government, however, was defeated, and a counter address was published to show that the day existed no longer when the mere declaration of a Minister would have the force of law in this country. However, he had no doubt that on the present occasion the law was quite strong enough for all necessary purposes. He thought the Government was very ill-advised, and the course pursued by them caused him great regret. In reference to the late apprehended disturbances in the metropolis, he thought the police commissioners, whether they acted of themselves or by the authority of the Government had acted most improperly. They appealed to the 13th Charles II., which not only forbade more than ten persons bringing a petition to the House of Commons, but actually enacted that if more than twenty persons signed a petition they rendered themselves liable to a penalty not exceeding 100l., or three months' imprisonment, unless the writer of the petition were approved of by three justices of the peace, and of the grand jury, the lord lieute- nant, or the mayor and common council. But that statute was not law, it was obsolete. The Bill of Rights declared— That the subject hath a right to petition, and that all commitments and prosecutions for such petitioning are illegal. Mr. Dunning stated in the House of Commons that, by the constitution of this country— The people had a right to petition their representatives in Parliament, and that it was by no means true that the number of names signed to any petition was limited. To argue that the Act of Charles was now in force, would be as absurd as to pretend that the prerogative of the Crown still remained in its full extent, notwithstanding the declaration in the Bill of Rights. But the commissioners said in their proclamation that the acts of the people were unlawful and criminal. That declaration was unworthy of them, and a gross aspersion upon those who had signed the petition. The proclamation was most discreditable to the Government and to the commissioners. The preparations made by the Government had spread alarm throughout the country. One would have thought that Lord Ellesmere's letter had been carried out, and that the French had actually landed at Greenwich. The police of the metropolis, 5,000 strong, were surely strong enough to preserve the peace, and if not, almost every householder was a constable, and ready to assist in maintaining the peace. What more could reasonable men desire? As he had already said, if the present laws were fairly tried and found wanting, he would be quite ready to grant any additional powers; or, if the Government would consent to omit the words "open and advised speaking and writing," he would consent to the present Bill; otherwise he should certainly oppose it.


The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, and the Member for the Tower Hamlets, do not appear to me really to understand the effect of the clause to which they have alluded. It is manifest that the feeling of the House is in favour of carrying a measure which will have the effect of conducing to the preservation of order, and of ensuring the safety of the country, and of doing so without any violation of the constitution; and, therefore, it is desirable that there should be no misunderstanding with respect to the Bill before us. The hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets complained that it created ten new felonies, in the first place, and expressed his opposition to the insertion of the words, "open and advisedly speaking." No one could concur more fully than I do with my hon. Friend who has just sat down, and the hon. Member for the Tower Hamlets, in thinking that the right of petition ought to be protected, and that at public meetings persons have a right to express their opinions of the measures of the Government in the fullest manner, or, if you please, in unmeasured language, if they should be seized with fits of eloquence, such as some persons are unfortunately afflicted with. Now to prevent that is not the object of this Bill. I do not think that anybody could have misunderstood what was the object of the Bill, after the explanation of the noble Lord (Lord John Russell). In the first place, with the exception of the four words objected to by the hon. Member for Montrose, the statute enacts nothing which has not been enacted by the 57th of George III., which is still in force, and is the declared law of the land. The first part of the statute which relates to the compassing, devising, or intending the death of the King, is not touched; neither is that portion wherein it is made treasonable to levy war against Her Majesty, for the purpose of compelling Her to change Her Councils or Her measures, or for the purpose of intimidating the Houses of Parliament. All this is made a felony, which was before punishable by death. The mode in which persons are to express their intention of committing these crimes is either by printing, writing, or by open and advised speaking. No speaking can fall within the penalty of these statutes unless it be such as is used for the purpose of levying war, by force to compel the Queen or this House to take certain measures without which force they would not be disposed to adopt them. You must also have a jury of twelve men, who shall be of opinion that the speaking has been of such a nature as is calculated for the purpose of levying such war. The Act limits the nature of the evidence to be given, and requires the evidence of certain overt acts to be given, such as printing, writing, or open and advised speaking. It has been frequently observed that speaking is liable to much misinterpretation, and that you have frequently words reported not supposed to have been spoken. In these cases the difficulty of proof will form a safeguard to the accused; and the party, as I said before, must be tried by a common jury; he will have the benefit of that jury; and I have always heard it said that it was part of our constitution to have confidence in the verdict of a jury; and I do not think that you will get juries to convict unless they are convinced that the open and advised speaking was of such a nature as that pointed out by the statute. The words "open and advised speaking," I am free to confess, are somewhat vague, and may possibly admit of being defined more correctly; but they are not words introduced for the first time: they have been used in previous enactments. I do not consider "open and advised speaking," language used during the moment of excitement at a public meeting, such, for instance, as if a person should tell an assembly to go down to this House and force it into the adoption of a measure—I do not think any jury would convict a man for such language. But if, on the other hand, the speaker says you will never obtain redress unless you organise and arm yourselves, and force the concession of what you desire—if this was done—if such language was held day after day, notwithstanding repeated warnings—nobody could doubt that such would be open and advised speaking, and, as such, would fall within the penalties of the statute. I believe that there is a great advantage in modifying these crimes, and changing them from treasons into felonies. It has been observed that there was something degrading in the crime of felony, but that treason was a more gentleman-like offence. There is no doubt that the crime in both cases is equally serious. Persons commit crimes from a desire of notoriety—from a desire of obtaining distinction. Thus we may see that there are individuals who throw themselves from the top of the Monument, merely to have their names placed prominently before the public; and, giving the hon. Member for Limerick the credit which I believe to be due to him of the utmost sincerity, yet I must say that many of the persons associated with him are actuated by no other feeling than a desire of public notoriety. It is very useful to put down this serious crime, and prevent persons from inducing ignorant and idle persons to join them in illegal associations, by the hope that they would obtain for them advantages which it is out of their power to obtain; which it is not in human nature—not in the condition of our existence to give them the things which they are desiring. I think it very beneficial to take away the éclat of treason from this crime, and make it felony, felony of the most vulgar description. I do not think that there was much force or justness in the argument of the hon. Member for Montrose, namely, that as the Government made use of one portion of the Statute of Charles the Second for putting down a meeting, that therefore it was their intention to resort to another clause in the statute, which rendered it illegal to present a petition signed by more than ten persons.


desired to ask the Solicitor General if there was any law, before the present Bill was introduced, which made open and advised speaking treason or felony?


Yes; open and advised speaking is treason when followed by an overt act.


was glad the right hon. Gentleman the Solicitor General had caught the Speaker's eye when he rose, for he had explained the nature of the measure in a clearer manner than any of those could have done who rose at the same time. In all the speeches he had heard from the hon. Member for Montrose during the last twenty-five years, it had never been his good fortune to agree entirely, or much, with any of them; but there were some points of his speech of that evening in which he concurred, and some for which he even thanked the hon. Member. He agreed with the hon. Gentleman in thinking that the general feeling in the metropolis, and indeed in the country, was one of confidence in the Government, under the existing circumstances. He thanked him for the expression of his own opinion that such confidence would not be misplaced, and was glad he had given the support of his opinion to the system which Government had adopted to maintain the peace of the metropolis. Admitting this, he could not, however, concur in the observations of the hon. Member with respect to the Bill before them. The hon. Gentleman gave his sanction to it with the exception of five words. He (Sir R. H. Inglis) gave it his sanction, even including those five words. But even if he had been of another opinion with respect to that part of the Bill, he should have agreed with the hon. Member for Marylebone, and with those who supported the other portion of the Bill, in thinking that opposition to that particular part of it should be reserved until they were in Committee on the subject. Taking advantage, however, of the discussion which had arisen with respect to the five words in question, he must express his decided opinion that the Government had acted wisely in introducing them. It was true these words did not occur in the previous statute, but it was equally true that they had been introduced to meet an evil which he believed would never have been allowed to exist in any civilised country but our own. They had read from day to day the attacks made on both branches of the Legislature—attacks almost approaching the Throne itself—the incentives to war, and the overtures of a treasonable character which had been addressed to foreign countries. These things were, he believed, unparalleled in any other country, and would not have been suffered in the most republican Government in the world. All these attacks had gone on without restraint, simply because there was no law existing to prevent them. The hon. Member for Montrose derided treason if it were confined to words alone, and said, "I will suffer any man to abuse me if he will only keep his hands off." But was not the analogy rather whether he would permit other persons to meet together and encourage each other, by open speech, to knock him down? But what did the hon. Member say would be the consequence of suppressing open expression of opinion? He said that parties would be driven to secret meetings. Be it so. Nine-tenths of the evil would cease when seditious speeches could not be made except in holes and corners. The great danger was when they were addressed to inflammable and excited myriads; and the hardship was that those who uttered the treason, and who stimulated the unfortunate listeners to outrage, were punished in a less degree than those whom they had driven to crime by their speeches. He held in his hand a collection of the speeches which had been made in this city within the last week, and which, in his opinion, were calculated to provoke the least impassioned of human beings to acts of crime and violence. He could not refer to the list of their speeches given in the Times newspaper of that day, without venturing in passing to pay a tribute of gratitude, not to the Times only, but to the Morning Herald, Standard, and every other newspaper which he had had an opportunity of reading, for the encouragement and support which, during the last month, they had afforded to the cause of good order, as against the systematic and habitual disturbers of the peace. He knew the danger of praising the public press, and never before had he had the courage to do it. But he did it cordially and gratefully now. With such evidence, then, before him as was supplied in the selection of the speeches in the Times of that day, he must say if he had any objection to the measure of Government, it would be that it was wanting in rigour, rather than that it exceeded in any degree what the crisis required. As in the old story, the trumpeter, who sounded the charge and encouraged others to the battle, met with the same fate; so those guilty of encouraging in others the spirit of sedition ought not to pass in safety through the world. The object of the Bill had been most clearly explained by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General; and it appeared that the five words to which the hon. Member for Montrose objected were not meant to suppress private speaking in Bryanston-square, or such private speaking as that alluded to in the case of Muir. Though he said this, he could never admit, with the hon. Member, that Muir was, as he said, murdered by the Scotch Judges. He was tried and convicted; and from what had fallen from the hon. Gentleman, it appeared that not more sympathy was expressed for his cause when he was dead than when he was alive; for it was after great difficulty that a spot was obtained to erect the monument to his memory. [Mr. HUME: A place was found in Edinburgh.] After an attempt had been made to obtain a site in London. The hon. Member had quoted a letter of Lord Holland on the subject. He was not one of those who agreed in the political opinions of that noble Lord, while he lived, and consequently could not attach any greater weight to the opinion expressed in the letter read by the hon. Gentleman, than to his opinions in life. He knew that the country would sustain the Government in maintaining the Bill as introduced. The feeling of the great majority in that House would equally sustain them; and he trusted that having introduced the Bill, they would not consent to any modification of it in Committee. The hon. Member for Limerick, who, it might be said, almost without a metaphor, had spoken with a halter about his neck, had defied the public feeling of the country and of that House. He thought the hon. Gentleman would be satisfied that the great majority in the House had only done themselves justice in the way in which they had received him. For one he was almost prepared, at the very instant when the hon. Gentleman rose, to ask him whether under such circumstances the House ought not to require from him, before he addressed himself to the question, an explanation of the conduct which he had pursued in the neighbouring country. It was true that the hon. Gentleman, before the conclusion of his speech, entered upon what he thought to be his vindication. [Mr. S. O'BRIEN made a sign of dissent.] The bon. Gentleman shook his head as if he bad not intended a vindication; but let the House listen to the opinions of the hon. Gentleman, and they might at length be able to appreciate them. The hon. Gentleman said—"I went to France for the purpose of congratulating them on having generated a spirit of independence which I trust will react on my own country." That had a meaning, or it had not. If it had, did it not amount to this — that he went to France to congratulate them on having generated a spirit of independence which had issued in a republican form of government—a spirit of independence which, said the hon. Gentleman, "I trust will react on my country?" Did not that mean republican institutions for Ireland? [Mr. S. O'BRIEN had said, that what he desired at present was a Government of Queen, Lords, and Commons for Ireland; but that a republic would be the result if they persevered in the present system.] The hon. Gentleman had used the modifying words of "at present." "Whatever may be my own feeling," said the hon. Gentleman, "if you continue to act as you have done, you will have a republic." He had not, then, drawn an unfair conclusion from the speech of the hon. Gentleman. The hon. Gentleman further said—"I own I have been instrumental in asking my countrymen to take up arms." A little afterwards, however, the hon. Gentleman was inconsistent enough to say that he deprecated recourse to arms. Where, then, was the use of arming? The hon. Gentleman had also said that he would be glad to have the Orangemen armed. But what was the use of arming if they were not to use their arms? Under all the circumstances, though he would have preferred the Bill with some other restrictions, he was prepared to support it as it now stood. He trusted that the Government would be prepared to maintain it in its present position, and that they would not, for the sake of obtaining a few stray votes, consent to neutralise the character of the measure. They had been taunted for weeks past with allowing encouragement to be given to malcontents in both divisions of the empire. Their defence was, that they were really incompetent to suppress such agitation. He believed they were sincere in such a declaration, and that it was not unwillingness but incompetence that had kept them from acting. Now, when they had laid on the table a measure which would give them the requisite powers, he hoped they would not throw them away, for he believed they were necessary for the liberties of the people, which were never so nearly being compromised as when they were sought to be converted into licentiousness.


rose for the purpose of stating why he should give his hearty support to the second reading of the Bill. In answer to the question of the hon. Member for Montrose, he might state that at the present moment there was a law which subjected to the pains and penalties, not of felony, but of treason, persons who by open and advised speaking incited others to the commission of the offences alluded to in this Bill. There was a long series of decisions on the effect of the Statute of Edward III., by which he considered the principle of that statute was fully established in this country. And notwithstanding different opinions which two distinct juries had formed in a case which had been referred to in the course of the present discussion, yet no one ever doubted that the law as it had been laid down by Chief Justice Eyre, on both those occasions, was just and correct; that it was treason to compass or imagine the death of the Sovereign. And that, he maintained, was the common law in both countries. This had been so laid down two years before the passing of the Statute of George III. The proposed Bill was calculated to mitigate the severity of the existing law in England and Ireland; and as it was so, and an improvement on the law as to its effect under the ancient decisions upon the Statute of Edward, he was in favour of the Bill. He confessed he did not feel quite sure as to the doubts which had been expressed as to the Statute of George III. being in force in Ireland. The present Bill, however, was not confined to Ireland—it embraced the entire realm of Her Majesty. He regretted the circumstances which had led to the introduction of the present measure; but having, as he had, the pleasure of knowing the hon. Member for Limerick, he did not concur with Her Majesty's Solicitor General with respect to the motives attributed to the hon. Member. For his own part, he would have contented himself by giving a silent vote on the present occasion, but he feared lest his opinions might be misconstrued. He did not want to imitate the conduct of those Irish Members who wished to redeem their popularity, after voting for a Coercion Bill, by their opposition to the present measure; but although regretting as he did the occasion of its introduction, as he was satisfied that it was necessary, and an improvement of the existing law, he would vote in favour of the second reading of the Bill, and resist any amendment upon it in Committee.


said, that very strong personal feelings upon the subject induced him to say a few words explanatory of the vote which he meant to give, and which he feared would be in opposition to the views of many of his political friends. He had often in the country mixed with people of the most extreme political opinions. He had encouraged them to state their views and their grievances frankly and fairly. He had often conversed with Chartists, and he had always met them with satisfaction, and come away from them with pleasure. [Laughter.] He did not mean the phrase in the sense in which the House, by its laugh, seemed to interpret it. He had never been glad to get away from the Chartists; but he had left them with pleasurable feelings at having heard them say so much that was so highly to their credit. As to this Bill, he thought that it had been much misunderstood and misinterpreted. He had anxiously studied the Bill, and he had come to the House prepared to say that he thought that Government had consulted the good and welfare of the subject by introducing the measure, and that the majority of the House would do well cordially to support it. He could not understand how the Bill was made out to be such a glaring infringement of the rights and privileges of the people as some of his hon. Friends seemed to consider it. The most important—indeed the all-important—portion of the Bill, was the third clause. Now, what was the common-sense meaning of that clause? Why, it provided that if any person should devise or intend to effect the death or destruction of the Sovereign, or to depose the Sovereign, or deprive the Sovereign of the crown, that that was an offence which ought to be severely punished. Surely that was a proposition which nobody could dispute. Then the next offence mentioned was the levying of war. Surely that, too, was an act which ought to be visited with condign punishment. Having then come to the conclusion that the offences ought to be punished, the next thing to be inquired into was the mode by which it was proposed to establish them. They were to be proved by "publishing in writing, by open and advised speaking, or by any overt act or deed." Now, "publishing in writing," were words absolutely necessary—it being requisite that a man should not only write, but make public, the treasonable matter. Then the next mode of proof was "open and advised speaking." Nothing, he thought, could protect the subject better than those words. It must be open deliberate speaking. The intention must be plain. [Mr. HUMS: The clause might apply to words spoken at your own table.] He would stand up for no law which would prevent a man at his own table honestly avowing his own opinions. It was the intention to stir up disturbance which constituted the offence; but were he to bring masses of people into his own house, to his own table, and there use language of the nature described in the Bill, then, certainly, he ought to be made amenable to the law. It was a jury who would be called upon to discriminate between what was an honestly and openly expressed opinion, and that which was intended to excite masses of people to treasonable acts. After the Bill should have passed, he should assuredly express his sentiments just as he had done before; but he should certainly never speak them with any intention of exciting anybody to depose or make war upon the Sovereign. As to the expression, "open and advised" speaking, he thought the word "advised" a safeguard for the person making the speech. On these grounds he felt satisfied with the general principle of the Bill, reserving to himself the right of reconsidering details in Committee. When the Bill was in that stage, he proposed to move an amendment as to the clause providing the punishment of transportation for life, as also to move an addition to that clause, so as to bring the Bill into accordance with the Act of 1842, passed in order more effectually to prevent and put down the attempts to shoot Her Majesty—a Bill which had been found to have had the most wholesome and salutary effect.


observed, that the objections of the House to the Bill appeared to have narrowed to a few words in the third clause, relating to "open and advised speaking." From the general principle of the Bill, providing for the assimilation of the law in England and Ireland, no one seemed to dissent, nor had any doubt been expressed—and he hailed the fact as a good omen—relative to the mitigation of the penalties for treason, from death to transportation. His objection, however, to the words in the third clause had neither been removed by the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General, or by that of the hon. Member for Cockermouth. They were told to confide in the justice and the generous spirit of discrimination to be expected from juries. Still, however, he objected in reference to the difficulty of ascertaining as to whether the words charged had been fully and correctly reported. By the error of the reporter, or the malice of the informer, a different colouring might be given to the expressions charged, from that which the speaker intended that they should have. Now, a principle permitting this, was a dangerous principle to introduce into the law. He had drawn up a proviso which he intended to move in the case of the clause being agreed to, and which enacted that the words charged should be taken down in writing, and the report so made submitted to the person accused, either immediately, or within a week after his arrest, in order that the report might by him be admitted, or denied, or explained away; and that such words of admission, denial, or explanation, should be appended to the first report, and should be given on evidence at the trial; it being further provided that in case of the refusal of the prisoner so to admit, deny, or explain his words, the said report should be received, taken, and held as full and correct proof. He thought that such a proviso would be of advantage, and would accordingly move it in Committee. In the mean time he would cordially support the second reading of the Bill.


was anxious to say a few words before the House divided. He had voted for the first reading of the Bill, not having then clearly understood the exposition given of its provisions by the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, nor the explanations afterwards given by the noble Lord at the head of the Government. But when the Bill was put into his hands, as soon as he saw those five words—"by open and advised speaking"—words held by more than one hon. Gentleman to be trifling and of no account, he was so much struck with curiosity at the novelty in le- gislation which they appeared to introduce, that he came to the conclusion that any hon. Gentleman would be justified in moving a delay in the second reading of the Bill; and that he, for one, would go out into the lobby one of that small minority which he feared would only be found to support such a proposition. He held that the Government, in providing for the security of the Crown, should attend also to the security of the people. By such an Act they would not be effecting any such purpose; and if they were by it, on the other hand, to shake the security of the people, they would be striking a deadly blow not only at the Government, but at the Crown of this country. He had another objection to the passing of the Bill hastily through the House. The Government seemed anxious to take advantage of the excitement of the present time, so as to hurry on the Bill with indecent haste—with more haste than they would use in the case of a common Turnpike Trust Bill. He warned the House against this precipitate legislation. He warned them against being carried away by the special pleading of Chancery lawyers. So long as the Crown did its duty to the people and the country, so long would he support it; but were the Crown to forget the duty it owed to the nation, then he would hold himself absolved from the duty which he owed to the Crown. But while he offered no slavish professions of duty either to the Crown or the Government, he held himself to be quite as good a subject as the noble Lord the Prime Minister. He trusted, then, that the House would not proceed to legislate in headlong haste against the privileges and liberties of the people. He could not let the opportunity pass without adverting to the painful display which the House had that evening witnessed. It was not for him to criticise the conduct of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the county of Limerick (Mr. S. O'Brien), whom he respected for his sincerity and honesty; but he could not let the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary pass without some observation. It was all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to get up and say that Government wished to promote the peace, prosperity, and riches of Ireland. But here they had been two years in office, and what had they done to promote either its peace, its prosperity, or its riches? He, for one, would not be a party to the indolence and imbecility of the Treasury bench. He could tell them they were dancing upon a volcano; and if they would not or could not legislate for Ireland, they ought to retire, and make room for those who had both the will and the power to do so.


said, that the right hon. Baronet opposite was ready to support the Government because this Bill created no new political offence, and did not increase the punishment. It was quite true that these offences were punishable by death; but that law was a dead letter, and the object now was to give vitality to the law, so that its effect was to create new political offences. The discussion was now centered upon the offence of open and advised speaking; and it was certainly that which distinguished this Bill from all others. There was a great distinction between words spoken and words written and published. Of the former there was no certain record, and it was most satisfactory to appeal from a bad law to a good jury. He wanted security in the positiveness of the law itself; and not in the good conduct of juries, upon which the hon. Member for Cockermouth was willing to rely. The House was well acquainted with the case of Mr. Winderbottom, who was punished for words which he (Dr. Bowring) believed were never spoken by him. Then, as to the overawing of Parliament, Parliament was constantly overawed by public opinion. What was the meaning of that pressure from without to which both the noble Lord and the right hon. Gentleman opposite had yielded? Was not that an overawing of Parliament? Further, it was very dangerous and impolitic to pass laws under the influence of a temporary panic. Almost every Act of liberticide had been passed under such circumstances. It was the legislation of passion and hatred, and not of that calm and serene philosophy which ought to be the groundwork of all laws. This was not a time for widening the breach between different classes of the community. If ever there was a time when it behoved them seriously to consider whether the national representation ought not to be enlarged, it was the present. England had set a noble and encouraging example to other nations seeking their enfranchisement; but the time had come when they should ask themselves whether they ought not now in their turn to do something for their own security, and place their institutions on those broad foundations on which alone they could rest in security.


quite agreed with those who thought this Bill should pass very speedily in some shape or other. Without entering into the extraneous matter introduced by hon. Members in the course of the debate, he would apply himself to the main question before the House, namely, how far this Bill could be approved of, either in its entierty or with some modifications. The question of the omission or insertion of "words spoken," was properly a matter for Committee. But whoever thought as he did, that the Bill was very excellent in so far as it proposed to extend the sphere of the Act of 1796 to Ireland, and to modify its provisions by reducing certain offences from treason to felony, must vote for the second reading. Although he objected to the words "open and advised speaking" forming part of the Bill, he should, nevertheless, vote for the second reading, because he thought that objection was properly reserved for the Committee, where he should not feel himself precluded from voting against their insertion. With regard to the insertion of those words in the Bill, he would say, that words spoken, implying an intention to levy war against the Queen, were even now a high misdemeanour; and, therefore, if the words "by open and advised speaking" were left out of the Bill, the offence would still be severely punishable. He apprehended that there was a marked distinction between treasonable words and treasonable writings. It was a distinction which had been recognised by the law from the earliest times, and the insertion of the words in question in the clause would be the introduction of a new principle. It was true that in the time of Edward IV. an Act had been passed by which the saying of treasonable words was considered as high treason, and two memorable convictions took place under it: one that of a man who said he could make his child son and heir to the Crown, which was the name of the tavern he kept; the other of a person who, having been punished for the slaughter of one of the royal bucks, said he wished its horns were in the King's belly. But it soon lapsed, and no other instances occurred of its ever being carried into effect. From that time the offence of "speaking" words became separated from that of "writing and publishing;" and the reason for the distinction was, that words might be spoken under the influence of temporary heat and excitement, whereas the other was the graver and more deliber- ate offence of committing to writing and publishing the words so uttered. The hon. and learned Gentleman quoted Blackstone's Commentaries for the principle of the law in this respect, as laid down by that learned Judge, wherein, after a definition agreeing with that of the hon. and learned Member, he referred to Prynne's case, under 4th Charles I., in Croke's Reports, where the Judges certified as to certain words spoken by the defendant, that though "they were as wicked as may be, yet were they no treason, because words spoken required a particular act to make them so." By the present Bill the Act of 1796 was to be extended to Ireland, and, with the exception of the words introduced for that purpose, the Bill was verbatim the same as that which had been so long applied to England. But he would ask was not 1796 a time as full of terror and as formidable as the present? Language was used at that period by men of high station of the most exciting character; and yet the words which it was now proposed to introduce had not been inserted. It had been intended by Mr. Pitt to introduce them at first, but he did not persist in that intention. A trace of that appeared in the second clause, which set forth that the saying of any words bringing the Government into contempt should be a high misdemeanour, and on the second offence a felony; but there was a wide difference between the offence of words spoken and of overt acts. That Act had been originally passed but for three years; and if the Government had made their present Bill a temporary measure, he should have felt more inclined to support it. The Act of 1796 was made permanent by the Act of 1817, which was the period of the disturbances at Manchester, and of great agitation and tumult throughout the country. The Minister of that day did not regard very favourably popular demonstrations of opinion; but even he made no attempt to extend the operation of the Act by including words in overt acts. It was a matter of high consideration with him; and he deeply regretted it should have been thought necessary to introduce those words, making the offence a felony, because the proof was not matter of evidence merely, but matter of enticement, and the class of persons addressed was to be regarded as much as anything thing else. The people likely to be caught by this Act were not the secret leaders and crafty men who instigated others for their own aggrandisement, because they would in all probability be well advised enough to keep clear of its provisions; but those foolish young men, who, yearning,only for popular display, set no measurement to their words, while they harboured no deeply-laid or formidable plans against the peace of the country. When they read all the wretched stuff uttered at the meeting calling itself the National Convention—all the ferocious nonsense of the "forcible-feebles" there assembled—they could at once see there was no real danger to be apprehended from those men. The really formidable and dangerous designers were those who urged these men on, and had the heart to conceal their mischievous and treasonable objects by the use of moderate language. A letter or two—an instance of which came under his notice very recently—might make all the difference between guilt and innocence in the utterance of words, and he therefore objected to this part of the Bill, though he admitted that some alteration was needed with respect to the law for seditious language. The defect to which he alluded was that when persons had been held to bail for such language, they went abroad before their trials came on, and, making use of their bail, exceeded all their former violence of language. He would propose to meet this by enacting that offences of such a character should be high misdemeanours, not bailable at all. This would at once meet the evil most complained of, and remove the present reasonable objections to the Bill.


said, the hon. and learned Member for Limerick had presumed to question the loyalty of the Orangemen in Ireland. He had stated that they were dissatisfied and discontented—consequently that Her Majesty's Government could not trust them in a case of necessity. Now he was of opinion that the conduct of the Irish Orangemen every day sufficiently contradicted that suspicion. It was not pretended that the Orangemen were satisfied, for they had had many reasons to be dissatisfied. They could not forget the great discouragement which they had met with from the noble Lord at the head of the Government. They could not forget that that noble Lord had brought in a Bill especially intended to put them down. They could not forget that they were one day lauded, and the next day persecuted by the right hon. Member for Tamworth (Sir R. Peel). Yet under all these circumstances the Orangemen of Ireland had remained steadfast in that loyalty and at- tachment to Her Majesty and the Throne which the noble Lord Lieutenant of Ireland had so wisely and independently acknowledged. There was a wide distinction between dissatisfaction and disaffection. And he now told Her Majesty's Government with perfect confidence, that if they would only give a fair share of support to Protestant principles in Ireland, they might set at defiance ten thousand Smith O'Briens. He thanked the Government for having so promptly introduced the present measure; and he believed that if they would but take firm hold of the leaders and instigators of rebellion in that country, and put on the thumb-screw with sufficient energy, it would have far greater effect in producing peace and quieting the Irish people than if they hanged up ten thousand of their poor deluded followers.


wished to explain that he had voted for the Bill at first in ignorance of its precise contents and character. He wished to allow the Government full power to do everything calculated to promote peace and good order; but he could not consent to the introduction of words into any Bill by which he or any one might be charged with felony on the evidence of a single person. He had not much confidence in juries, more especially as he was persuaded both they and Judges took vast liberties with facts where politics were concerned: and he must vote against the second reading of the Bill, inasmuch as he could not consent to risk the liberties of the people on the interpretation and use of the words to which he so strongly objected.


I feel much disappointed, Sir, that there has been no intention manifested or expressed on the part of Her Majesty's Ministers ever since the meeting of Parliament to fulfil that ordinary maxim of prudence, Venientæ occurrere morbo. It appears to me that while they had sufficient penetration to perceive the coming of the great pathological influenza, they could not see the deeper and more mischievous signs of the time in the coming of that moral influenza which has broken out simultaneously throughout all Europe. I wish I could say that these matters turned on mere political evils; but I look upon them as lying much deeper. I think that the mischief is this—a total discontent among the masses of those countries with their social position. This social position they are vainly attempting to remedy by a change of political influences and institutions. This is neither more nor less, whether they intend it or not, than a spirit of discontent with the Providence of God. Sir, it is as absurd to suppose that we can alter the constitution of society as it is to suppose that we can alter our own constitutions—as it is to suppose that we can make every man six feet high or five feet high; or that we can give to every man what measure of talent or what measure of folly we wish—what measure of wealth or what measure of advantageous circumstances. By vainly attempting these things you have increased the moral irritability which makes the disease incident to the lower classes more intolerable than it would otherwise be. You have stimulated them by that which you call education and by your schools, in which it has been said, by one of the most striking writers of the day, that you teach them everything except the one thing needful. Sir, I say—and I mean to prove it if you will hear me—for I am one of those vulgar people who believe that the correlative of a speaker is a hearer—I am of opinion, then, that hon. Gentlemen have hitherto turned the discussion of this evening chiefly upon the words of this Bill, which words I most humbly think would better be considered in Committee, and that I should be more in order by departing from most of the observations I have yet heard, and confining myself to the question as to the necessity of enacting some such measure as that which is now proposed. I find, too, that there has been, involuntarily I believe, on the part of every speaker, yet certainly a most remarkable unanimity of sentiment in connecting the disturbances in Ireland with the circumstances occurring in this country; while my opinion is that if there be any connexion at all it is of the most indirect character. It is perfectly true all that we see here and all that we see there are but phases of the same malady which pervades all Europe; and the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Wakley) knows well the truth, when I say that the same disease puts on very different symptoms in different constitutions. It has been distinctly asserted at the meetings of the Chartists— that the time had arrived when the world could do without Royalty, and so get rid of Kings am priests, whom our forefathers in their ignorance deemed it necessary to make governors. It was more than probable danger would overtake then very soon; and he would have the Convention resolve itself into a Parliament, and a struggle take place as to which of the two Parliaments should submit. The moment was assuredly coming when bravery, integrity, courage, and fidelity of the new delegates would be put to the test, for their enemies were making preparation for the day of trial. I do humbly think, notwithstanding the references which have been made to the year 1798 and so forth, that there was nothing at that period so overt in the way of rebellion as this. I remember very much of the proceedings of those secret societies—I very well remember the case of Muir and others, and of the Corresponding Society; but nothing occurred in those days which went to such a length as this. But what I am anxious to show is, that the question now at issue is not as to this or that institution—it is not a question of monarchy against republicanism. I know, and give full weight to all the arguments that may be urged in favour of the one against the other; but the question is not between republicanism and monarchy—it is whether the whole institutions of society shall become upset and perverted. It has also been said by one of the speakers at the meeting of delegates— that the people would be sunk for ever unless some great change was effected in the institutions of the country. Free trade had been tried in the balance, and found wanting. It had signally failed. The trade, foreign and domestic, was stopped, and the result was that the people were brought to a starvation rate of wages, and were reduced to a most destitute and pitiable condition. The products of improved machinery went into the pockets of the free-trade capitalists and millowners: and yet the working classes, thus reduced, were called upon to bear an intolerable and increased burden of taxation; and the question had now come to this, that either the working classes must perish, or a change must be made in the nation's institutions. The people would not quietly submit to such scenes as had been enacted in Ireland during the last eighteen months; they would no longer listen to the promises of John Bright and Company. Who John Bright and Company means I neither know nor care. I beg I may not be misunderstood. I trust I shall not be considered as intending the slightest disrespect to the hon. Gentleman of the same name opposite; but I beg to assure him that I have purposely refrained from inquiring whether he be the person meant or not, because I wish to be at perfect freedom to speak without any reference to any individual. I take the person here named to be a great master manufacturer. I take the essence of this to be, that the labouring classes think that they can better their condition by reducing the profits of the master manufacturer. Now, I speak for the interests of the operatives and the labourers, and not for the master manufacturers, when I tell those labourers that their best chance of prosperity is by increasing the capital of their masters. It is perfectly true that the measure of freetrade may have increased the capital of millowners and manufacturers, without improving the condition of the working classes; but I say it is impossible for the men under any circumstances ever to be in a prosperous condition, save as their masters are in a prosperous condition. The whole question resolves itself into this—how can the amount of money wages be increased? It is believed to be practicable to effect it by legislation; and that is the ground of the opinions that are now afloat. I have already stated that it is the determination of the people on both sides of the water to alter the social condition of this country; and we all know—and here again I am sure of the support of the hon. Gentleman opposite—that in all chronic cases—cases that are all but deemed desperate and incurable—we are apt to have recourse to nostrums, to mesmerism, to St. John Longs, and other quacks. But the only chance for effecting a cure in such cases is to judge from the past what is likely to conic in the future; and it is my conviction that any one who attempts to say that he can, by a new constitution of society, alter and amend the condition of the labouring classes, especially by bringing them, under pretence of a cry denouncing free trade, to battle against their employers, not only grossly deludes them, but is himself an abominable quack. I do not believe in any new revelation of the sort. I do not believe in what was said in a celebrated State paper the other day—and that we were about to establish a new code of Christianism by which to regulate the world. And yet it was in consequence of all this treasonous trash, in which the men of Dublin took a more especial delight, that the people of this country, too, were now for a moment in a state of treasonable agitation. The hon. Member for Nottingham, as delegate for Leeds, at a recent meeting, held forth in this manner:— If he was not prepared with a new system to succeed the present one—a new system which would enable every industrious man to live honourably, independently, and happily—he would not give a snap of the fingers for the Charter. (Hear.) But he had studied the question of the rights of labour, both theoretically and practically—he had devoted days and parts of nights to the consideration of the means of elevating the industrious classes, and he was ready, if he had the Charter granted to-morrow, to put every man willing to labour to work, and to obtain double and treble the wages he now earned. This same Gentleman told us the other evening that he, in the midst of this disloyalty, was the only loyal man—that "he amidst the faithless, was faithful only found." He described himself like one of the fabled virgins of the poet:— Una de multis, face nuptiali. To be sure the poet adds— Splendide mendax et in omne virgo nobilis ævum. Men who will trifle with the distresses of their fellow-creatures may pretend to bring to them light from Heaven; but they really only bring to them a glare front the bottomless pit. There seems to me not much courage nor much wisdom in thus acting. Here is avowedly a determination to form a national convention, and to call upon the country to obey it, and not to obey the Queen and the Government. Now, Sir, I go a great deal farther than most of the Gentlemen with whom I act in thinking that we have done nothing as we ought to have done towards reducing the expenses of the public establishments. I think we ought long ago to have extended the elective franchise—that we ought long ago to have shortened the duration of Parliament—and I think many other things upon subjects which are not now before us; and I have only abstained from alluding to these circumstances before because I did not like to thrust myself into other men's labours, and which I thought would be undertaken by others. But rather than suffer this Charter to be passed by as a foolish thing, leading to nothing, I myself will bring in the measure. I repeat it, that should a war ensue, it will no longer be a question as between republicanism and monarchy; but I do fear it will be as was foretold by Mr. Canning, many years ago, when he said that the next war that would desolate Europe would not be a national war, but a war of opinions—a war of country against town, of village against village, of man against man. This is the war that I am afraid of—this is the war of which I see gathering the elements on every side. The maxim of the "divine right of kings" has been nothing but a source of power in the hands of tyrants to inflict oppression on the people committed to their care, and a means in the hands of Ministers to saddle their own friends on the public purse. But, nevertheless, there is reason in the maxim, when rightly understood. That all right of government proceeds from the people is a truth, if it be a truth void of fruition; for it is, practically, an impossibility. You may talk, indeed, of a Government in which nobody governs, and in which nobody is governed; but no other Government than that which now exists can you have. The present danger is that you may be without any Government at all; and therefore I say, whether this measure be the best or not, and whether it be rightly or wrongly worded, I argue no longer, but consent to give this power to the Government in order to preserve to them the power of governing at all.


thought the question had been much lost sight of, particularly by the last two speakers. The hon. Member for Surrey had expressed his fears that there was a feeling existent in this country which would, at no distant day, array the great mass of the population who did not possess wealth against that portion by whom it was possessed. He admitted there was among a part of the people the feeling to which the hon. Gentleman had alluded; but he had the greatest consolation in believing that that feeling was not very widely spread. He was perfectly certain, with respect to the population of Yorkshire and Lancashire, that amongst that portion of the people who were most employed in connexion with the most perfect and expensive machinery, of late years there had been a very wide spread of intelligence on most questions of capital and labour, and that it was acknowledged by the great majority of the working population of those counties, that wherever there was the largest amount of capital in the hands of the trade or the particular manufacturer, the labour of those employed was most constant, and the remuneration the greatest for the labour done. But let it be borne in mind that persons who found themselves for a long period in great distress came to the consideration of those questions under most unfavourable and often irritating circumstances. Let it be borne in mind that they were cognisant of the great fact which the House must soon boldly look in the face, that out of seven grown men in this United Kingdom, only one man was directly represented in the Commons' House of Parliament. They naturally expected that if they were directly represented, they would be able to obtain a more equal distribution of the wealth of the country. The Bill before the House appeared to him to prove one of two things—either that our Government were getting worse, or that the people were getting worse; for now, having for generations carried on the government of the country without this law, they were in the year 1848, after all the improvements they had heard so much boasted of, about to introduce a provision which in 1795 or 1796 Lord Grenville was obliged to withdraw from the Bill of that day, and which was then most strongly objected to by a relative of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, the Duke of Bedford. He was not going to object to the first part of the Bill, which came before the House as a great mitigation of penalties, though it should be borne in mind that the penalties for treason could now for the most part not be carried into effect, and that the substitution of the penalties of felony would have for its practical effect, that it would bring many men before the courts, who, if convicted, would be liable to transportation; whereas, as the law now stood, they could only be indicted for treason, and receive the punishment of a misdemeanor. The Solicitor General had seemed to say that the words in the Bill "open and advised speaking," referred only to the expression of an intention to levy war; but he questioned if any man in England could read this clause, and say, without fear of contradiction, what it meant, so vaguely and loosely was it worded. As he read the clause, it meant that if anybody should express such compassing, imaginations, devices, intentions, or any of them, they were liable to be charged with felony, and to suffer the punishment awarded to that offence. He had yet to learn that it was wrong for any Member of that House to speak in favour of a different form of government, or that it was a crime in this country for any man out of the House calmly and deliberately to argue the question whether it might not be very advantageous to have a total change in the form of government in this country. He advocated no such change; but it was the more necessary that the House should deliberately consider what would be the effect of this Bill if it became law. He believed the Government were taking a most unwise course in seeking to extend this law to England, because at the present moment there was danger in Ireland. He should like to ask the Attorney General whether it would not be possible to issue a special commission in Ireland for the purpose of trying parties who were charged with sedition? which would obviate the complaint now made, that parties accused of that offence might go to France, or make seditious speeches before their trials came on. That would be a much wiser course than the Government had rashly adopted in the present case.


objected not only to the details but to the whole of this Bill. He bad heard some Gentlemen on that side of the House express their sorrow that the opponents of the Bill would be in such a small minority; but he was only glad to find that it would be so considerable. He was glad to see English Members at last rallying against coercive measures, betrayed as they had been into a fatal facility of consenting to coercive measures when applied only to Ireland. The learned Solicitor General seemed to think that it would be the easiest thing in the world to find judges and juries ready to put the most favourable construction on the words of an accused person; he did not know what might be the case in this country, but he knew that in Ireland it was the most hazardous thing in the world to leave the construction in the power of a judge and jury, even in the city of Dublin. The parties against whom this measure was said to be directed were about to be put on their trial; it would then be found whether there was really any serious difficulty in the law, and it would be quite time enough to come to the House after Easter, and ask for the alteration of the law to render it more stringent, if the existing law should be found insufficient for the ends of justice. He most earnestly deprecated the adoption by that House of any measures which might have the effect of exciting or irritating the minds of the Irish people under present circumstances.


said, he had abstained from voting against the Bill on its introduction, because he did not then fully comprehend its meaning; but the more he considered the matter, the more he was convinced that the clause so generally objected to by Members on that side was of a nature which the House could not agree to. He thought if the Bill passed, no man attending a public meeting to petition for a redress of grievances was safe from being liable to transportation for life. He did not see anything in the condition of Ireland to justify this Bill. He considered that this Bill was practically a repeal of the Habeas Corpus Act, and therefore he should give his vote against the second reading.


said, that after the appeal which had been made to the Government he thought it was unfortunate that the noble Lord at the head of the Administration had not stated that he had no objection to modify the objectionable clause of the Bill. Considering the nature of the subject and the excitement which prevailed upon it, he had never heard any Bill more calmly discussed in that House than the present Bill had been. He, therefore, thought the Government ought to have intimated that the objectionable portion of the Bill would undergo modification. The hon. and learned Solicitor General had given his opinion in a frank and manly manner upon the clause; but at the same time other hon. and learned Gentlemen had given their views of its construction, and at that moment there prevailed in the House the utmost diversity of opinion with reference to what would be the action of the law if the Bill should be carried in its present form. Was such a state of things creditable to the House? Assuredly not; and assuredly it was not for the safety of the subject that such a measure should become the law of the land. It had been said that judges and juries would comprehend the measure. Why, if it was not comprehended by those who made it—by those who manufactured it, by those who had introduced the words and constructed the clauses—he asked how it could be expected that judges and juries could do so? What he wished was, that plain commonsense words should be introduced into the statute. The hon. and learned Member for Oxford (Mr. Wood) had made a very excellent speech upon this subject—a speech not less able, not less lucid in all its facts, than the one made by the hon. and learned Solicitor General; and those hon. and learned Gentlemen, belonging as they did to the legal profession, were opposed as the poles in their opinion as to the construction of the clause. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Oxford consented to vote for the second reading of the Bill. Now, those who voted for the second reading must be prepared to see the measure carried in its present form. His own impression was, that he ought to move the adjournment of the debate, in order that the House, as well as the country, might have time for consideration upon this most important measure. Whence the necessity for this breathless haste? Considering the excitement which prevailed, he thought this was not the period for legislating permanently on a question of so much importance. Had a new light broken in upon the Government within the last week or fortnight, so as to render necessary the enactment of such a Bill as this? As far as he could judge, open insurrection had been preached in Dublin for the last six weeks, and the Government had almost appeared to neglect it. Certainly they had done nothing to prevent it. Public speakers in Dublin had declared that they would resist the law. The manufacture of pikes had been carried on openly, and pikes had even been sold by public auction in that city. He thought that in November last that House passed a Bill to give the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland the power to proclaim disturbed districts, and to issue special commissions for the trial of the offenders. He was one of those who believed that the present law, if carried into effect, would be amply sufficient to repress the crime exhibited in Ireland. But it appeared to him that there was a remarkable supineness on the part of the Government with regard to exercising the powers which had been placed in their hands. Of what use was the measure to which he had just alluded, if it could not be applied in Dublin? The Government had made out no case for the enactment of the Bill now under consideration. At all events, the people of England ought not to be saddled with such a measure on account of offences committed elsewhere. He regarded it as a gagging Act, and not less gagging than the Six Acts passed in 1819. If, however, the objectionable words were expunged, seeing the feeling of the House, he, for one, would offer no further opposition. But if the words were retained, he would join with others in offering, at every stage and at every step, the most determined and unflinching opposition to the Bill. The Government had been overwhelmed with fear at the prospect of the meeting of that day, for the presentation of the monster petition; and yet so far as he could learn not a single case of common assault had occurred. The people of this country believed that they were deprived by that House, and by the House of Peers, of their just political rights; and he believed so too. He further believed that they never would relax in their demands—their reasonable and just demands—until their rights were conceded. He also firmly believed that the concession of those rights would add to the security of property and the security of life, and would place the Throne of the kingdom on a basis which would render it absolutely immoveable. When he heard from the Irish Members of the horrible destitution to which the people of Ireland were reduced, and when he found that they were only visited with coercion laws, he said that the people of that country had a right loudly and indignantly to complain of the treatment they had received from the Legislature of this country. We were now in April, and yet the only measure that was brought forward for Ireland was a Landlord and Tenant Bill, which would create nothing but discontent and dissatisfaction. Thousands were dying of starvation—the poor-rates were eating up the rents, and in the face of that the present Bill was brought forward. The speeches of the violent agitators of Dublin would be powerless, if it were not for the suffering and destitution which existed amongst the people. The present measure would create more discontent than any measure that had been passed of late years. Every body in that House must be anxious to put down violence by reasonable and just means; but he could not believe that the House would enact a law for a specific purpose, when that law was to operate generally, and to have the effect of injuring to a vast extent the right of expressing public opinion. He would, therefore, humbly suggest to the House that the second reading should be taken without a division, upon the understanding that the Government should go into Committee pro formâ, and make the necessary modifications with regard to the clause which had raised so much objection. But if the Government did not consent to that arrangement, but proceeded to retain the words as they stood in the clause, he, for one, must certainly insist upon a division; and if the Government should not modify the clause in a future stage, he should oppose the Bill at every step.


In answering the appeal of the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, I shall not occupy, for any long time, the attention of the House. Let me first observe that I cannot, on the part of the Government, accept the proposal which he has been good enough to make to us to commit the bill pro formâ, and amend it with a view to future consideration. So far from agreeing to that proposal, I declare at once that except some verbal change may be proposed, there is no part of the Bill which I can consent to alter when we are in Committee. Sir, the hon. Gentleman, in declaiming against this Bill, and attributing to it a character of great harshness and violence, will, I think, mislead those who attend merely to his speech. I, therefore, beg to state again what is the present state of the law. By the 36th of George III. you have in England the character and penalty of high treason applied to more than three descriptions of cases; and there are three descriptions of offences to which the present Bill is proposed to apply. You have the penalty of high treason applied to those who intend or compass the deposition of the Sovereign. You have the same penalty applied to those who intend or compass levying war against the Sovereign. You have the same penalty applied to those who are applying for aid to foreign Powers to invade, by force, these realms. Such is the state of the law at present. With respect to all those offences which the hon. Gentleman seems to think ought not to be punished with transportation, there is now affixed to them the penalty of high treason. What we propose is, that instead of the penalty of high treason, those offences should be declared felony, and that the persons guilty of them should be liable to transportation. As the law at present stands, those who commit those offences by publishing any writing may be found guilty of high treason. We propose to carry that provision further, by saying that those who commit those offences, and declare their purpose, and intend either deposing the Sovereign, or levying war, or inviting a foreign force to invade the kingdom by open and advised speaking, will be liable to banishment for those offences. I am not going to defend that particular clause of the Bill. I stated the reason the other night why I thought that clause defensible; and my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor General has most clearly and ably explained the purport of the clause, and the reason why it was introduced, and I will not now again refer to it, as there is no doubt that the words will be objected to in Committee; but the other alteration that we make is, that it is proposed that this law shall extend to Ireland. Now, I do not think, omitting the course of argument that may be taken upon the extension of the penalty to words—I do not think it is a proposal to which reasonable objection can be made, either to diminish the penalty for those offences, or to extend the Act to Ireland. Does the hon. Gentleman, or does any one, mean to say that the intent to commit those offences against the sovereignty of the kingdom—against the peace of the kingdom, and to invite a foreign force, are not grave and serious in their character? Does he not think that if they are punished as grave offences—that while it may be fit so far to mitigate the law as to take away the punishment of death, it may be right also to make the law of more practical effect by taking away the solemnities of trial for high treason, which, as we know, so well prepare the mind for condign punishment of those who may be found guilty, but which very often offer a great obstacle to the punishment of those who have committed very serious offences. Sir, the hon. Gentleman, however, asks why it is that such a law should be introduced? and he tells us, that at a time when there is so much fear prevailing, and so much excitement, he wonders we can introduce it. Sir, I will tell him in answer, that I think it is on account of that excitement, and of that fear, and of the mischiefs that excitement and fear are producing, that we are justified in introducing this Bill. I admit to the hon. Gentleman, that excitement and fear have prevailed; and I think no one who has read the speeches that have been given in the newspapers as delivered in this town in the last week, or in Dublin during the last month, can have doubted what has mainly been the cause of this fear and this excitement. And, Sir, while I rely generally upon the support of the people of this country to oppose such machinations, I say at the same time that there is one great and numerous class of the people who are more peculiarly interested in a speedy cessation and suppression of such excitement and such fear; and in so speaking, and in asking that this House and the people generally should agree with us, I should not appeal to the gentry of England. I know their high spirit would induce them to come forward at any time in favour of the institutions under which they live, and which have been the glory of this country. I would not appeal to the middle classes of this country—I believe the whole of them to be most loyally affected, and at the same time there is no need whatever of apprehending that they may be misled by the arguments that have been addressed to their passions. It is not to them; but, Sir, it is the work- ing classes of England more especially who are exposed to danger by the excitements which have been addressed to them. It is they who would be the sufferers, as the hon. Member for Manchester very well knows, by any thing that would derange the peace and good order of this country—by any thing that would induce men to refrain from applying capital to industrial undertakings—by any thing that would induce a suspension of trade, or any cessation of those enormous occupations from which profit and wages are derived. It is those classes especially, then, for whom it is to be feared that they will suffer if any interruption of the peace of this country or of Ireland should take place; but if that is the case, is it not fit—is it not for their interest—that we should interfere as much as possible to put an end to those excitements? Is it not fit that we should interfere as much as possible to punish those who, by urging them to commit breaches, of the peace—who, by urging them, in fact, to overturn the institutions of the country—are putting in peril the welfare of those classes most expecially to whom they address themselves? If I am right in this supposition, the hon. Member for Finsbury, who takes so much interest in the welfare of the working classes, instead of opposing the passing of this Bill, should be one of the foremost to promote it. I must likewise address myself to the hon. Member for Manchester, who knows so well how very susceptible those who deal in the capital of this country, and those amongst us who carry on trade with foreign countries, are, in every case of disturbance to the peace and good order of the community. He is perfectly well aware, amidst all the new-fangled theories respecting the organisation of labour now thrown upon the world, that nothing is so serviceable to the labouring men of all countries, as that there should be a great number of employers who own the capital on which enterprise is founded, and the necessity for labour created. If this is the case, and if the hon. Member for Manchester distrust as I do those projects put before the working men, in which they are told, that by some future organisation of labour they will hereafter be secured in a perpetual situation of competence, and almost of riches; if, I say, we distrust those theories, he will think, with me, that it is essential at this time that we should take all means in our power to put an end to those disturbances and to those fears which are now agitating society. And I must tell the hon. Member for Finsbury, with respect to Ireland, with regard to which he reproaches us, that, although we may introduce Bills which we think for the benefit of that country, but which he may think useless and ill-framed for regulating the relation between landlord and tenant, and other Bills of a similar tendency—I do not call such legislation the great and main business of the Parliament and Government of this country. I consider such enactments as exceptions to our general sphere of duties—sometimes justifiable, sometimes beneficial, sometimes even peremptorily necessary; but I deny that they form the great business either of the Government or the Legislature. Those who are the most competent to regulate the relation between landlord and tenant in Ireland are the landlords and tenants themselves; those who can best regulate the relation between the employer and the employed are, generally speaking, the employer and the employed themselves. So likewise is it with regard to the other relations of society. Sometimes we may think fit to interfere; but I have always contended that those laws are to be defended as exceptions—as exceptions only in particular cases in which interference may be desirable; but that which is the main business, and the constant business, of the Government and of the Legislature likewise, is to see that the landlord and the tenant, the employer and the employed—that those, in fact, who carry on the peaceable occupations of industry, whether in the country or in the town, shall be protected by the law so long as they respect the property and lives of others; and that the law shall interfere, and that the strong arm of power shall interfere, against those who disturb them in those peaceful, useful, and beneficial relations. Such is the purpose to which the Government and the Parliament should direct their constant attention—such is that which society cannot do for itself—such is the task which private individuals cannot arrange one with the other—and such therefore is the task to which Government should chiefly and mainly direct itself. It is to that purpose that we direct our efforts in the Bill now under consideration, in the hope that we may be enabled to maintain in this country and in Ireland a state of peace and security—a state in which the offender against good order and tranquillity may feel that he can no longer hope to escape by the grand name of being a martyr to the laws of high treason, and to protracted inquiries and tedious litigations, by which, however guilty, he does not incur the penalty of capital punishment. It is effectually to punish such persons, and to maintain inviolate the necessary principles of Government, that we have brought in this Bill. If anybody could doubt—if anybody could hesitate as to the value of that internal peace, and as to the duty of the Government to preserve that internal peace, that which has occurred this very day abundantly attests the value of those benefits. What would have been the state, not of what are termed the upper classes, but of the working classes, if some of those incitements to crime, of which we have seen so much within the last few days, had been successful, and this town had been to-day the scene of confusion and bloodshed? And what is the state of the case now, when, owing to the staid, admirable, and majestic conduct of the great body of the people—when, owing to the respect which the people have paid to the name and authority of the law—when, owing to the attachment and love that they bear to their institutions—when, owing to the respect and confidence which they repose in those demonstrations of force which the Government has at its command, and which thus backed are most powerful, but which, without the concurrence of the great body of the population, would no more keep the peace in London, than it was kept in Berlin, Vienna, and Milan—public order has been maintained inviolate, and the lives of the community have been preserved? When those courses are thus successful, and when we contrast our situation as it stands to-day with what it might have been if the event had been otherwise, there is no man but must put higher value on the maintenance of that peace and security of society on which not only the preservation of our institutions, but the daily comfort and the daily subsistence of the great body of the people mainly depend. I can assure the hon. Member for Finsbury, that if I could at all believe that the liberties of this country would be invaded by this Bill, I would not be a consenting party to its introduction. I believe myself that that power of free discussion, whether by the press, whether by public meetings, which the people of this country now enjoy, will be enjoyed as fully after this Bill passes, as it is now enjoyed; but at the same time I believe that some reckless men will be checked in their career of excitement, and that, while those who should rise in arms, or those who should commit offences against them, will be strictly punished by the law, those who excite and urge others to such offences, will be no longer safe in their impunity. It is for this purpose I ask you to consent to the second reading of the Bill. If I am told it is a Coercion Bill for Ireland, I can only reply it is the same law under which we propose to put England and Scotland. With confidence, therefore, I ask the majority of this House to agree to the second reading.


rose to speak, but the House being unwilling to hear him, he moved "That the House do now adjourn."


seconded the Motion. Anything more indecent than the interruption offered to the hon. Member for Cockermouth by hon. Members who had evidently been dining out, he had never witnessed in that House. If it was too late to hear the hon. Member at that hour (Eleven o'clock) it was quite time that they should adjourn.


entreated the House to hear the hon. Gentleman.


would not press his Motion for adjournment. He only wanted to say a single word explanatory of the vote he meant to give, and for that purpose he had been waiting to catch the Speaker's eye since four o'clock. He would vote for the second reading of the Bill in the hope that the noble Lord, reconsidering that portion of his speech in which he declared his intention to adhere to the Bill as it at present stood, would consent to omit the words which referred to advised and deliberate speaking. Mr. Pitt, at the suggestion of Lord Grenville, consented to the omission of those very words when the Bill was originally enacted, and the precedent was one which ought to hold good in the present case.


would also vote for the second reading on the same understanding. If the objectionable words were not omitted in Committee, he would oppose all future steps of the Bill.

The House divided on the question that the word "now" stand part of the question:—Ayes 452; Noes 35:—Majority 417.

Abdy, T. N. Adderley, C. B.
Acland, Sir T. D. Aglionby, H. A.
Adair, H. E. Alcock, T.
Adair, R. A. S. Alexander, N.
Adare, Visct. Alford, Visct.
Anderson, A. Cavendish, W. G.
Anson, hon. Col. Cayley, E. S.
Anson, Visct. Chaplin, W. J.
Anstey, T. C. Charteris, hon. F.
Archdall, Capt. M. Chichester, Lord J. L.
Arkwright, G. Cholmeley, Sir M.
Armstrong, Sir A. Christopher, R. A.
Armstrong, R. B. Christy, S.
Arundel and Surrey, Clay, J.
Earl of Clay, Sir W.
Ashley, Lord Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.
Bagge, W. Clifford, H. M.
Bagot, hon. W. Cobbold, J. C.
Bagshaw, J. Cochrane, A.D.R.W.B.
Bailey, J. jun. Cocks, T. S.
Baines, M. T. Codrington, Sir W.
Baldock, E. H. Coke, hon. E. K.
Barkly, H. Colebrooke, Sir T. E.
Baring, H. B. Coles, H. B.
Baring, hon. W. B. Compton, H. C.
Barnard, E. G. Copeland, Ald.
Barrington, Visct. Corry, rt. hon. H. L.
Bateson, T. Cotton, hon. W. H. S.
Beckett, W. Courtenay, Lord
Bell, M. Cowan, C.
Bellew, R. M. Cowper, hon. W. F.
Bennet, P. Craig, W. G.
Beresford, W. Cripps, W.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Cubitt, W.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Currie, H.
Bernal, R. Currie, R.
Bernard, Visct. Damer, hon. Col.
Birch, Sir T. B. Davie, Sir H. R. F.
Blackall, S. W. Davies, D. A. S.
Blackstone, W. S. Dawson, hon. T. V.
Blake, M. J. Denison, W. J.
Blakemore, R. Denison, J. E.
Blandford, Marq. of D'Eyncourt,rt.hon.C.T.
Boldero, H. G. Dick, Q.
Bolling, W. Disraeli, B.
Bourke, R. S. Divett, E.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Dod, J. W.
Bowles, Adm. Dodd, G.
Boyle, hon. Col. Douglas, Sir C. E.
Brackley, Visct. Drumlanrig, Visct.
Bramston, T. W. Drummond, H.
Brand, T. Drummond, H. H.
Bremridge, R. Duff, G. S.
Brisco, M. Duke, Sir J.
Broadley, H. Duncan, Visct.
Brockman, E. D. Duncan, G.
Brooke, Lord Duncombe, hon. A.
Brotherton, J. Duncombe, hon. O.
Brown, H. Duncuft, J.
Brown, W. S. Dundas, Adm.
Bruce, Lord E. Dundas, Sir D.
Buck, L. W. Dundas, G.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Dunne, F. P.
Buller, C. Du Pre, C. G.
Bunbury, W. M. East, Sir J. B.
Bunbury, E. H. Ebrington, Visct.
Burghley, Lord Egerton, Sir P.
Burroughes, H. N. Ellice, rt. hon. E.
Busfeild, W. Ellice, E.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Cabbell, B. B. Emlyn, Visct.
Campbell, hon. W. F. Estcourt, J. B. B.
Cardwell, E. Euston, Earl of
Carew, W. H. P. Evans, J.
Carter, J. B. Evans, W.
Castlereagh, Visct. Ewart, W.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Farrer, J.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Fellowes, E.
Fergus, J. Horsman, E.
Ferguson, Col. Hotham, Lord
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
FitzPatrick, rt. hon. J. Howard, hon. E. G. G.
Fitzroy, hon. H. Howard, P. H.
Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W. Hudson, G.
Floyer, J. Humphery, Ald.
Foley, J. H. H. Hutt, W.
Forbes, W. Ingestre, Visct.
Fordyce, A. D. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Forester, hon. G. C. W. Jackson, W.
Forster, M. Jervis, Sir J.
Fortescue, C. Jocelyn, Visct.
Fortescue, hon. J. W. Johnstone, Sir J.
Fox, S. W. L. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
French, F. Jones, Sir W.
Fuller, A. E. Jones, Capt.
Gaskell, J. M. Keogh, W.
Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E. Keppel, hon. G. T.
Glyn, G. C. Ker, R.
Goddard, A. L. King, hon. P. J. L.
Gordon, Adm. Knight, F. W.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Knightley, Sir C.
Grace, O. D. J. Knox, Col.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Granby, Marq. of Langston, J. H.
Greenall, G. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Greene, T. Law, hon. C. E.
Grenfell, C. P. Lemon, Sir C.
Grenfell, C. W. Lennard, T. B.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Leslie, C. P.
Grey, R. W. Lewis, G. C.
Grogan, E. Lincoln, Earl of
Grosvenor, Lord R. Lindsay, hon. Col.
Gwyn, H. Littleton, hon. E. R.
Haggitt, F. R. Loch, J.
Halford, Sir H. Locke, J.
Hall, Sir B. Lockhart, A. E.
Hall, Col. Lockhart, W.
Hallyburton, Lord J. F. Lowther, hon. Col.
Halsey, T. P. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Hamilton, G. A. Mackenzie, W. F.
Hanmer, Sir J. Mackinnon, W. A.
Hardcastle, J. A. Macnamara, Maj.
Harris, hon. Capt. M'Naghten, Sir E.
Hastie, A. M'Neill, D.
Hastie, A. M'Taggart, Sir J.
Hawes, B. Mahon, The O'Gorman
Hay, Lord J. Mahon, Visct.
Hayes, Sir E. Manners, Lord G.
Hayter, W. G. March, Earl of
Headlam, T. E. Marshall, J. G.
Heald, J. Marshall, W.
Heathcoat, J. Martin, J.
Heathcote, G. J. Martin, C. W.
Heathcote, Sir W. Martin, S.
Heneage, G. H. W. Masterman, J.
Henley, J. W. Matheson, A.
Henry, A. Matheson, J.
Herries, rt. hon. J. C. Matheson, Col.
Hervey, Lord A. Maule, rt. hon. F.
Heywood, J. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Hildyard, R. C. Melgund, Visct.
Hindley, C. Meux, Sir H.
Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J. Miles, P. W. S.
Hobhouse, T. B. Miles, W.
Hodges, T. L. Milnes, R. M.
Hogg, Sir J. W. Mitchell, T. A.
Hollond, R. Moffatt, G.
Hood, Sir A. Monsell, W.
Hope, H. T. Moody, C. A.
Hope, A. Morgan, O.
Hornby, J. Morpeth, Visct.
Morison, Gen. Shirley, E. J.
Morris, D. Sibthorp, Col.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Simeon, J.
Mulgrave, Earl of Slaney, R. A.
Mundy, E. M. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Mure, Col. Smith, J. A.
Napier, J. Smith, M. T.
Neeld, J. Smyth, J. G.
Neeld, J. Somerset, Capt.
Newdegate, C. N. Somerville, rt.hn.Sir W.
Newport, Visct. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Newry & Morne, Visct. Spearman, H. J.
Noel, hon. G. J. Spooner, R.
Norreys, Lord Stafford, A.
Norreys, Sir D. J. Stanley, hon. E. J.
Nugent, Lord Stansfield, W. R. C.
O'Brien, Sir L. Stanton, W. H.
O'Connell, M. J. Staunton, Sir G. T.
Ogle, S. C. H. Stephenson, R.
Ord, W. Stuart, Lord D.
Ossulston, Lord Stuart, Lord J.
Oswald, A. Stuart, H.
Owen, Sir J. Stuart, J.
Packe, C. W. Sturt, H. G.
Paget, Lord A. Sutton, J, H. M.
Palmer, R. Talbot, C. R. M.
Palmer, R. Talfourd, Serj.
Palmerston, Visct. Tancred, H. W.
Parker, J. Tenison, E. K.
Patten, J. W. Tennent, R. J.
Pearson, C. Thesiger, Sir F.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir. R. Thicknesse, R. A.
Pennant, hon. Col. Thornely, T.
Perfect, R. Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Philips, Sir G. R. Tollemache, J.
Pigott, F. Towneley, J.
Pilkington, J. Townley, R. G.
Pinney, W. Townshend, Capt.
Plowden, W. H. C. Trelawny, J. S.
Price, Sir R. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Pugh, D. Trollope, Sir J.
Pusey, P. Turner, E.
Raphael, A. Turner, G. J.
Rawdon, Col. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Reid, Col. Urquhart, D.
Rendlcsham, Lord Vane, Lord, H.
Repton, G. W. J. Verney, Sir H.
Ricardo, O. Villiers, Visct.
Rice, E. R. Villiers, hon. C.
Rich, H. Villiers, hon. F. W. C.
Richards, R. Vivian, J, E.
Robartes, T. J. A. Vivian, J. H.
Robinson, G. R. Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Romilly, J. Waddington, D.
Rufford, F. Waddington, H. S.
Rushout, Capt. Wall, C. B.
Russell, Lord J. Walpole, S. H.
Russell, hon. E. S. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Russell, F. C. H. Ward, H. G.
Rutherfurd, A. Watkins, Col.
Sadlier, J. Wawn, J. T.
Salway, Col. Wellesley, Lord C.
Sandars, G. West, F. R.
Scott, hon. F. Westhead, J. P.
Scrope, G. P. Whitmore, T. C.
Seaham, Visct. Willcox, B. M.
Seymer, H. K. Williams, J.
Seymour, Sir H. Williamson, Sir H.
Seymour, Lord Willoughby, Sir H.
Shafto, R. D. Wilson, J.
Sheil, rt. hon. R. L. Wilson, M.
Shelburne, Earl of Wood, rt hon. Sir C.
Sheridan, R. B. Wood, W. P.
Wortley, rt. hon. J. S. Young, Sir J.
Wyvill, M. TELLERS.
Yorke, hon. E. T. Tufnell, H.
Yorke, H. G. R. Hill, Lord M.
List of the NOES.
Blewitt, R. J. Mowatt, F.
Bowring, Dr. Muntz, G. F.
Bright, J. O'Brien, W. S.
Callaghan, D. O'Connell, J.
Cobden, R. Osborne, R.
Crawford, W. S. Power, Dr.
Devereux, J. T. Power, N.
Fagan, W. Reynolds, J.
Fox, R. M. Scholefield, W.
Fox, W. J. Scully, F.
Gardner, R. Smith, J. B.
Grattan, H. Strickland, Sir G.
Greene, J. Sullivan, M.
Hume, J. Thompson, Col.
Kershaw, J. Wakley, T.
Lushington, C. Walmsley, Sir J.
Magan, W. H. TELLERS.
Meagher, T. O'Connor, F.
Moore, G. H. Thompson, G.

moved that the Bill be committed forthwith. The discussion on the second reading had turned principally upon certain words in the Bill which, no doubt, were of great importance; but he had not heard of any intention to propose to make any material alteration in it, with the exception of the omission of these words. He trusted, therefore, that the House was now prepared to go into Committee on the Bill.


observed, that the opinion of the House had now been expressed respecting this Bill. He did not recollect ever seeing so large a majority; and if he thought that such a majority was requisite to strengthen the hands of the Government, he would have been one of that majority. But believing that the violation of the constitution thus attempted would weaken the Government, and bring the Government into disgrace with the country, and feeling that Her Majesty's Ministers were urged on by those who wished them no good, he could not support them. They were proud of the support of those persons, and, as on former occasions, they would give it to them until a certain period, when, without ceremony, they would dismiss them. It was unusual to read a Bill a second time and go into Committee on a Bill on the same day, and therefore he demanded nothing extraordinary when he asked them to refrain from doing so. Did the Government, he asked, wish, within twenty minutes to Twelve o'clock, to go into Committee, and there discuss the most important clauses of the Bill. If they were to credit the speeches of a large number of Members who had voted, they would have considerable discussion and divisions on several clauses; and he asked the Government, were they afraid to give time for consideration? It was to be expected that the Bill would pass by a large majority, and therefore he submitted to the Government that if they were powerful they ought to be a little merciful. Let them allow the Bill to take its usual course, and with that view he would move to refer the Bill to the Committee—not on that night, but on any subsequent day Her Majesty's Government would fix. He did not wish to fix a day, but let it be the following day, or Friday, which was the first Government day. [An Hon. MEMBER: The Charter is to be discussed on Friday.] He understood the Charter was to be discussed on Friday; but let them take any other day—that day week. He would move that they adjourn it to that day week. He thought it would be very fit and proper that they should have that discussion on the Charter before they went into Committee, as a great deal of this was brought about in consequence of the alarm about the Charter; but surely they were strong enough to wait for a week. That day week the country would be aware of what was going on; but as yet the country had had no opportunity of knowing what was doing. It was a new matter altogether, and he therefore begged to propose that they should fix Monday for going into Committee.


said, the hon. Gentleman himself had admitted that the sense of the House had been taken in so decided a manner that there could be no doubt that the Bill must pass. Now, he would ask if it was a merciful part to postpone the measure to the time proposed? He must at the same time say, that as there were Gentlemen who made strong objections to going into Committee that night, and as he admitted that that was an unusual course, he would not take advantage of the majority which he possessed to go on against the wishes of those Gentlemen if the House was averse to it. His wish was, that the House should proceed that evening; but if they did not consent to do so, he hoped that the postponement would not be longer than till to-morrow. If the House would consent to meet to-morrow at Twelve o'clock, he would not object to the postponement, and he would propose that they go into Committee now pro formâ, for the purpose of making merely formal alterations, and leave those clauses of the Bill to be discussed in Committee to-morrow which gave rise to various objections.

After a short discussion,

The House divided, on the question that the words, "This day at Twelve o'clock, stand part of the question:"—Ayes 230; Noes 33: Majority 197.

List of the NOES.
Blewitt, R. J. Nugent, Lord
Bowring, Dr. O'Brien, W. S.
Cobden, R. O'Connell, J.
Crawford, W. S. O'Connor, F.
Devereux, J. T. Osborne, R.
Fagan, W. Pearson, C.
Fox, R. M. Power, Dr.
Fox, W. J. Power, N.
Gardner, R. Reynolds, J.
Grattan, H. Salway, Col.
Greene, J. Scholefield, W.
Hindley, C. Sullivan, M.
Kershaw, J. Thompson, Col.
Lushington, C. Thompson, G.
Meagher, T. Walmsley, Sir J.
Mahon, The O'Gorman TELLERS.
Mowatt, F. Hume, J.
Muntz, G. F. Wakley, T.

Main question again put.

Motion made that the House do adjourn:—Ayes 26; Noes 228: Majority 202.

List of the Ayes.
Blewitt, R. J. O'Brien, W. S.
Bowring, Dr. O'Connell, J.
Cobden, R. O'Connor, F.
Crawford, W. S. Osborne, R.
Devereux, J. T. Pearson, C.
Fagan, W. Power, Dr.
Fox, R. M. Power, N.
Fox, W. J. Reynolds, J.
Gardner, R. Salway, Col.
Grattan, H. Scholefield, W.
Greene, J. Sullivan, M.
Hindley, C. Thompson, Col.
Kershaw, J. Thompson, G.
Lushington, C. Walmsley, Sir J.
Meagher, T.
Mahon, The O'Gorman Tellers
Mowatt, F. O'Conner, F.
Muntz, G. F. Wakely, T.

Question again put,


protested against proceeding so hastily with a Bill on which the country had not had time to express its opinion. This haste to stifle freedom of thought and of speech, showed either weakness or consciousness of guilt on the part of a Government that had found it necessary to announce in that day's papers such horrid preparations for the slaughter of the people. He moved that the House do now adjourn.


said, that Government had already given up Friday, the only day in the week which they had at their com- mand. If the hon. Member could insure that the committal of the Bill would be proposed as the first Order of the Day on Wednesday, he might be induced to assent to the proposition; but under the circumstances in which he was now placed, he must call on the House to support him.

The House again divided, on the question that the House do now adjourn:—Ayes 24; Noes 213: Majority 180.

List of the Ayes.
Blewitt, R. J. O'Brien, W. S.
Crawford, W. S. O'Connor, F.
Devereux, J. T. Osborne, R.
Fagan, W. Power, Dr.
Fox, R. M. Reynolds, J.
Fox, W. J. Salwey, Col.
Gardner, R. Scholefield, W.
Grattan, H. Sullivan, M.
Hindley, C. Thompson, Col.
Hume, J. Walmsley, Sir J.
Blewitt, R. J. O'Brien, W. S.
Crawford, W. S. O'Connor, F.
Devereux, J. T. Osborne, R.
Fagan, W. Power, Dr.
Fox, R. M. Reynolds, J.
Fox, W. J. Salwey, Col.
Gardner, R. Scholefield, W.
Grattan, H. Sullivan, M.
Hindley, C. Thompson, Col.
Hume, J. Walmsley, Sir J.
Kershaw, T.
Meagher, T. TELLERS.
Mahon, The O'Gorman Thompson, G.
Muntz, G. F. Wakley, T.

House to go into Committee on the Bill at Twelve o'clock the next day.

House adjourned at half-past One o'clock.

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