said, he rose to call the attention of the noble Secretary for the Home Department to the evidence given before the Clare Election Committee respecting the riot at Six-mile Bridge, and to ask the noble Lord the Member for the City of London whether it was the intention of the Government to proceed against the Rev. John Burke and the. Rev. Michael Clune, Roman Catholic priests, who had been reported by an Election Committee of that House, the former to have excited the people, and to have taken part in the riot, and the latter to have excited the people to take part in the riot which occurred at Six-mile Bridge on the 22nd day of July, 1852; which, by destroying the freedom of election, rendered void the return of the two knights of the shire elected to serve in Parliament for the county of Clare at the general election of 1852. Did Government mean to vindicate the law which had been so grossly violated by the proceedings of certain parties at this election? He would remind the House that the candidates were three—Colonel Vandeleur, Sir John Fitzgerald, and Mr. O'Brien—gentlemen of influence in connexion with the neighbourhood; a circumstance which naturally gave rise to a sharp contest. For a time, however, there was every appearance of its going off as quietly as an election in Ireland could do, until a Mr. Wilson, an excitcable gentleman, and once in the commission of the peace, having seen at Cork, in an English newspaper, an account of the Stockport riots, returned 293 home about the 12th of July, determined to excite as much as possible the feelings of the people, and forthwith put forth a violent placard calling on the people to save their religion from insult and destruction by their conduct at the forthcoming election. This was posted up about the 13th of July; the polling took place on the 22nd and 23rd. [The hon. Gentleman then proceeded to describe the assembling of voters on Lord Conyngham's estate, preparatory to their marching towards the polling place, and another party of voters, conducted by Mr. Delmege, a magistrate, under an escort of troops in the command of Captain Egar. The voters who were thus escorted advanced in cars into the town of Six-mile Bridge, through a crowd of people who lined the roads; and in order to reach the Court-house, the place of polling, as quietly as possible, turned aside by a back road, which happened to be unguarded by the police. There was hooting and hissing, but no violence, until the procession arrived opposite to the Roman Catholic chapel, where Captain Egar heard Father Burke use the words "God" and "traitor," believing that he said to the people, "Will you be traitors to your God?" Mr. Keane also heard him say," Fire, boys; rescue Keane's men, boys." That happened in the middle of the chapel ground. Father Burke came up to the cars, and asked one of the voters whether he was to vote against his religion? The man wished him to let him alone. After the rev. gentleman urged the rescue of the men, a rush was made upon the cars, and a soldier who came to the assistance of the voters was caught hold of by Father Burke, who said he did not care for the coat he wore. Two other men seized him, and he was knocked down from behind. Father Burke again said, "Boys, stand to your religion;" and was answered on the part of the mob with "Boys, fight for your religion—boys, fight for your religion;" and then with jumping in the air, and a wielding of their sticks. He thus excited the mob, and then took part in the riot. Captain Egar said the loss of life would have been greater but for the firing of the soldiers at the time they did. Corrigan, the head constable, stated that he heard Father Clune, about two minutes before the firing, addressing the mob and saying, "You are standing here idle; oh, what is this for; will you allow them to come?" The mob upon that ran round the Courthouse towards the place where the affray 294 took place, and the witness immediately afterwards heard the firing.] It was for the House to consider what effect such interference had on the voters; but he thought they would agree that the Committee were right in the conclusion to which they had come. Two voters, of the names of Halloran and Bower, stated that they intended to vote for Colonel Vandeleur, but were intimidated. There were the other voters, M. Mahon and Malony, whose evidence was to the same effect. These four men had stated to the Committee that they were intimidated, and did not vote. It was for the House to say what it would do with regard to these two priests. It might be asked why the Committee had not recommended the House to adopt a particular course? The reason was, that they thought it necessary that the evidence should be printed, and laid before the House, and that the House should determine whether it would allow persons who had so violated the privileges of voters and freedom of election, as these priests had done, to escape with impunity. He would, therefore, beg to ask the noble Lord the question of which he had given notice.
§ MR. MONCKTON MILNES
said, before his noble Friend replied, he wished to state briefly the reasons which had induced him, as a Member of the Committee, to take a course different from that which was pursued by his hon. Friend the Chairman of the Committee (Mr. Miles). He ventured, at the outset, to say that this was not exactly the mode in which this question ought to have been brought forward. If the question was of that gravity which his hon. Friend believed it to be, it should have been matter for a Motion in itself; and he was sure no Member of the House could have expected that his hon. Friend, in simply putting a questions, would enter into a long statement, for the purpose of bringing a charge against the two persons whose names he had brought forward, and against the Government. He had risen, however, to, state, in a few words, the motives which caused him to oppose his hon. Friend in this matter, and which had induced him, when he moved in Committee a condemnation of two rev. gentlemen, to propose an Amendment to his Resolution. His belief was, that they had no right to bring charges against absent persons, who had not the means of appearing to answer for themselves, and that in condemning them the Committee had acted in a manner hardly just, proceeding as they did on ex 295 parte evidence. His hon. Friend had hardly stated the great difficulties which the Committee had to encounter as regarded the evidence. Indeed he could no help thinking that it would be better if Committees of that kind were composed of Irish Members, by whom the state of society and the peculiarities of the people would be better appreciated and understood. The difficulty of deciding on which side was the influence, or which the intimidation and injustice, was really beyond the capacity of any ordinary Englishman For instance, one of the witnesses, who was asked a question respecting the abduction of voters, said, "They were willing enough to go, provided they were forcibly taken away." In short, the evidence was such that he found it impossible t come to the conclusion at which the Chairman had arrived. But what he wished to call the particular attention of the House to was this—that after these rev. gentlemen had been held up to public opprobrium the Committee unanimously came to the conclusion that "there did not appear to have been any general undue interference on the part of the Roman Catholic clergy at the late election for the county of Clare." There was no doubt much violence, especially at Kilrush; but he must say the impression left on his mind was, that it was extremely doubtful whether it was right in Irish elections of this kind to permit the military to be present. It was found the persons were going along in cars very pleasantly—indeed making a joke of it, when the soldiers conveying them to the poll were booted and attacked. The question then arose, whether on the whole, as matter connected with the maintenance the public peace, it was right to allow the military to interfere in the direct manner they did? He found in the evidence the strongest proofs given of the gross misconduct of these rev. gentlemen; but, at the same time, he had also before him what was not technically referred to the Committee, though known to all its Members—the depositions taken before the coroner's inquest—and he found there the these rev. gentlemen totally denied and absolutely contradicted the evidence give against them on that occasion. Under all the circumstances of the case, therefore, he had not thought it right, as a Member of the Committee, to give a decision on the matter one way or the other. As to the question of prosecuting, he left that to the discretion of Her Majesty's Government.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
Sir, I agree with my hon. Friend who has just spoken that the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Miles) has pursued rather an irregular course on this occasion, because, in asking a question of which he had given notice, he has entered into a very detailed and elaborate discussion of a matter which his question relates to. It is, Sir, a common saying, that it is a long lane which has no turning—even the longest lane has a turning; and I think that the longest bridge, even the Six-mile Bridge, ought to have an end. The object has been before the House ever since March last. The question has been fully discussed, and I think the opinion of he House was pronounced very emphatically upon it. It has been discussed, not July in this but in the other House of Parliament. It was the intention, as has been stated, of Her Majesty's Government originally, that these two priests should be prosecuted for the conduct which they pursued on the occasion of the Six-mile Bridge affair; and the Irish Government were informed that such was the desire of Her Majesty's Government. But the Irish Government, acting upon and with the advice of its legal officers, judged differently; and I have no hesitation in saying, that we approved of the decision so taken upon grounds which we afterwards stated to the House. It is not, therefore, the intention of Her Majesty's Government to order any further proceedings upon this case. Now, Sir, if hon. Gentleman, or any other person who had read the proceedings before the Clare Election Committee, had thought that the evidence given before that Committee would justify this House in taking the matter into own hands, and in giving directions for a prosecution, I think that course ought to have been taken at the time. This evidence was reported to the House in the beginning of June. If the matter had then been taken up, the assizes were coming on, and trial might have taken place. But the matter has been postponed until the assizes are over, and no legal prosecution could, I believe, now take place earlier than the spring of the next year. You would, therefore, be prosecuting these gentlemen in the year 1854 for conduct pursued by them in the summer of 1852. Well, Sir, it may be said that a prosecution is necessary for the sake of example. How can that be alleged? Why, since the Report of the Committee was laid before this House, we have had another election in the same county, and the very same candidates standing as 297 were candidates at the election of 1852. This subsequent election has passed off with perfect tranquillity—no disturbance of any kind arose; and no complaint, that I have heard of, has been preferred against the conduct of any persons, whether lay or clerical. Now, therefore, a prosecution is not necessary for the purpose of example. But I shall perhaps be asked whether I concur in condemning the conduct which these rev. gentlemen pursued. I have no hesitation in saying that I do; and Her Majesty's. Government must have been of that opinion when they expressed a wish that a prosecution should take place. But I may be asked whether the conduct of these by rev. gentlemen, blameable and reprehensible as it was, is so marked an exception to the conduct pursued by the Catholic priesthood generally at the late election, as to make them fit subjects for punishment by way of example? I should say I am afraid I must answer that question in the negative. However reprehensible their conduct was, it does not stand so prominently forward as to make it a subject to be picked out and brought forward for the consideration of a legal tribunal. ["Oh, oh!"] Sir, I am bound to say, and I say with great regret—but I am bound in sincerity to say it—that the conduct of many of the Catholic priesthood at the late election some of the highest and some of the lowest rank, was such as I think must give great pain to all those who wish that the ministers of religion—be they Catholic or be they Protestant—should continue, by their conduct, to preserve that respect and deference which are essential to the due performance of their sacred calling. Things were said and done upon that occasion by Catholic clergymen which, if they had been said or done by Protestant clergymen in this country, would have raised an outcry from the Land's End to John o'Groat's. Well, then, on the other hand, it must be admitted that there were peculiar circumstances belonging to that crisis—that the circumstances attending the last election, if the do not justify, do at least furnish a great palliation, of the conduct complained of. In the first place, there was a great political crisis, which political crisis was in the opinion of the Roman Catholic priesthood of Ireland a kind of religious crisis. They had been threatened with Motions for taking away the endowment of Maynooth. They anticipated, most unjustly and most erroneously, that the party then in power would be likely to use the power which they had 298 acquired for hostile purposes—to take away those grants, concessions, and liberties, which had been given by Acts of Parliament in former times to the Catholic subjects of the Queen. I must, therefore, make great allowance for the excitement which prevailed amongst the Catholic priesthood upon that occasion. But I would conjure the House to draw a veil of oblivion over everything that then passed. I conjure them not to rake up feelings and animosities which are now calmed and extinguished. I should hope that these reverend gentlemen feel that the dangers which they anticipated had no real existence, and that they will reflect more seriously upon their position and their duties. We have seen that in this last Clare election they have abstained from the repetition of any conduct which would be calculated to call for censure or condemnation; and I should be sorry that this debate should be continued this evening. If it were to be continued, we should pass an evening of irritating discussion, which would have a very mischievous effect, both in this country and Ireland. Her Majesty's Government would also be prevented from proceeding with other questions which relate to a more distant part of the Queen's dominions—questions, I think, of a more practical and important character than that of the Clare election of 1852. I, therefore, in reply to the hon. Gentleman, state that it is not the intention of Her Majesty's Government to take any further steps with regard to these two reverend gentlemen; and I should hope that this House would pass an act of oblivion upon all the irregularities which occurred at the election of 1852. Let us all hope for better times, when both laymen and clergymen, priests and landlords, will agree to allow electors to act as they may deem best, and not compel them to act in that way which my hon. Friend (Mr. M. Mimes) has described—namely, that of being "willing to go if they were forced to do so." Let us hope that they will allow them to exercise their rights in such a way as they may choose, and that hereafter we may have Irish elections conducted more in harmony with the spirit and principles of the constitution.
said, he would ask, after the speech of the noble Lord, whether it was not possible to provide a remedy against the recurrence of such events as he had described? If the noble Lord expected that party spirit would cease, either in England, Scotland, or Ireland, he was 299 greatly mistaken. The question was whether the ballot would not be a remedy for such evils; but if the Government had a better remedy let them propose it. Many complained of the interference of Roman Catholic priests at elections, and others might complain of the interference of Protestant clergymen; but still he though, that both classes had a right, if public interests warranted their interference, to interfere peaceably, legally, and quietly Spiritual influence, if it was exerted as alleged, could not be met by any legislation; but after the admissions, broad am large, made by the noble Lord, it was fit and proper to consider what remedy coup be applied to the evils complained of.
§ COLONEL NORTH
said, he wished to call the attention of the noble Lord the Secretary of State for the Home Department to what was stated to have taken place previous to the late election for the county of Clare, with respect to the proceedings in a Roman Catholic chapel in that county. It had been reported that the occurrences which had taken place upon the last holiday of St. Peter and St Paul, in the chapel in question, had virtually decided the Clare election, for the rural electors had been there assembled and had been called out by name by the priest, and obliged to promise that they would record their votes in favour of the Liberal candidates. He should be gratified if the noble Lord could contradict that report, for he, for one, should be happy to draw the veil of oblivion over the occurrences at Six-mile Bridge. He hoped however, that something would be done to put a stop to that clerical interference with the people in Ireland, of which they had heard so much.
§ MR. SERJEANT SHEE
said, he though the Government had taken a wise and statesmanlike course when they determined after receiving the advice of their lay officers in Ireland, not to prosecute to two rev. gentlemen whose names had been mentioned by the hon. Member for Somersetshire (Mr. Miles). Every one who read the evidence must come to the same conclusion. His own opinion, after reading the evidence, was that there would have been no reasonable probability of the conviction by any jury of those two rev gentlemen; and, if they had been tried, by such a fair, honest, and impartial jury as he was in the habit of seeing in the Courts of Westminster, or upon his circuit, they would have been sure of an 300 acquittal. At the same time he must say he never heard a more unfortunate statement than that made by the noble Lord, for the purpose, he supposed, of reconciling hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition benches to the course taken by the Government. The noble Lord thought proper to get up and make a charge against the whole body of the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland, which he (Mr. Serjeant Shee) felt convinced could not be substantiated. Did the noble Lord know that, notwithstanding all the assertions made about intimidation and spiritual influence exercised by Catholic priests, for the purpose of procuring the return of Members to Parliament against the honest wishes of the electors, only in respect to one county and one borough in Ireland had the returns been set aside? Could any one read the evidence taken before the Election Committee for the borough of Sligo, without coming to the conclusion that the decisions at which the Committee had arrived, was one of the most doubtful decisions ever reported to that House? He was surprised at the course pursued by the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume). That hon. Member had for many years been an active friend of the Roman Catholics of Ireland, to whom at one time he owed his scat in Parliament. He had, in that House, constantly and repeatedly, protested against the grievances of the Roman Catholics of Ireland, and, by frequent Motions, had brought before the House that enormous scandal—that great ecclesiastical grievance which was a disgrace to the Protestant people of these realms—the maintenance of the Irish Church Establishment in its present condition, declaring that it was essential to the tranquillity and just government of Ireland that that grievance should be remedied. The noble Lord (Lord Palmerston), at a better period of his political life, had declared the removal of that grievance necessary for the restoration of tranquillity in Ireland, and for the good government of that country. The hon. Member for Montrose, like the noble Lord, appeared to have forgotten that grievance. [Mr. HUME: No, no!] At all events, they said nothing about it. Then, with respect to the recommendation of the hon. Member for Montrose. The ballot might do good—it might protect the honest voters, the tenants from the tyranny of their landlords; but as to restoring tranquillity, or destroying the influence of the friends of Ireland, that 301 would be quite out of the question until the grievances of the people should be redressed. If this were done, the priests would be little disposed to interfere in political matters. In almost all the counties the interference of the priests was very small. There were twenty-seven Roman Catholic bishops, but not more than four or five of them had taken any part in polities. The truth was that the Romish hierarchy and the priesthood of Ireland were little disposed to political agitation. Let them pass a good Landlord and Tenant Bill, and a just law about the Church, and that would be the way to destroy what was called spiritual influence in Ireland. There were grievances to be remedied, which would too, he believed, be remedied, were it not that those who ought to be at the head of the people—the landlords and the aristocracy—had a personal and pecuniary interest in their continuance. He had stood two contested elections, one for Marylebone and one for Kilkenny, and he did not believe that the people at Irish elections were disposed to violence or that their conduct deserved the censure cast on them by the noble Lord (Lord Palmerston). With regard to the soldiers, he knew that generally they were not disposed to give trouble at elections, and the Irish people liked them; though it unfortunately happened at Six-mile Bridge the soldiers fired, through some irregularity, without orders.
§ MR. MALINS
said, though he had a strong feeling with respect to the affair at Six-mile Bridge, he felt much inclined to concur in the observation of the noble Lord, that it would be better to draw a veil over that occurrence, and to refrain from instituting, at this remote period, any prosecution; and he came to this conclusion with the greater satisfaction on account of the emphatic disapprobation pronounced by the noble Lord with respect to the conduct of the priests in Ireland. He thought, after the statement made by the noble Lord, the House had a right to expect that the, Government would henceforth take measures to repress these proceedings on the part of the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland. He could not, however, concur in the observation made by the hon. and learned Member who had just spoken, that no jury such as that hon. and learned Gentleman was in the habit of addressing would convict, were a prosecution instituted by the Crown in the case of the two Catholic clergymen who had been referred to. He was perfectly satis- 302 fied that a conviction would be the result if they were tried before an impartial Surrey jury, even with the learned Serjeant as their counsel. But whether that would have been the case or not, it was but right, at all events, under all the circumstances of the case, that the parties should have been placed upon their trial. He did not think that the transactions reported on by the Clare Election Committee ought to be passed over in silence; but there was some force in the observation, that at the present remote period it was not worth while to further notice them he perfectly concurred with the hon. Member for Montrose in thinking that the interference of the clergy in political matters, in Ireland, was an evil which required an immediate remedy and he must say that, much as he disliked the ballot, yet, if he deemed it adequate for the prevention of that evil, he should vote for its adoption in the sister country. He was of opinion, in fact, that it would be better to deprive the inhabitants of Ireland of the elective franchise altogether, than to permit them to be tyrannised over by their priests as was at present the case.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, he must appeal to the House, and ask whether it was desirable that this discussion should go on? He did not, by any means, blame the hon. Member for Somersetshire (Mr. Miles) for taking advantage, if he could find no other opportunity, of the formal Motion of adjournment, to obtain from the Government some declaration as to whether or not it was intended to institute a prosecution against certain Roman Catholic priests, whose conduct had been adverted to by an Election Committee. But as the hon. Gentleman had made his statement, and as his noble Friend (Lord Palmerston) had replied to it on the part of the Government; as, too, the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny (Mr. Serjeant Shee) had commented on the statement of his noble Friend, he thought that, after all this, the House might rest satisfied with what had taken place, without entering into further debate, which could come to no definite result. Observations had been made about the ballot and the Irish Church Establishment; but whatever might be the opinions of hon. Gentlemen with regard to those questions, the opinion of the House with respect to them could not be tested on the present occasion, unless an Amendment were moved, as the Motion before the House only related to adjournment. Considering, then, that there was a great deal of business on the paper 303 waiting for discussion, and for which hon. Members had come down, he trusted that the House would decide that it was not expedient to continue the present discussion any longer.
said, the noble Lord seemed to blame him for the time and manner in which he had brought on this question. But he could have taken no other course, having resolved upon bringing the matter before them on the first opportunity. After what had been said by the noble Lord the Secretary of State for the Home Department, he would not utter another word of observation. He considered he had only done his duty in calling the attention of the Government to the circumstances.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, he did not blame the hon. Gentleman in any way, neither did he attribute any blame to the hon. and learned Member for Kilkenny. He had merely put it to the House whether it would allow the discussion to continue.
§ Mr. LUCAS
said, he would detain the House but a very short period; but after the observations which had been made by the hon. and learned Member for Wallingford (Mr. Malins), and of certain words which he was told had been used by the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston)—for he was not in the House at the time—with respect to the conduct of the Irish Catholic clergy at the election time, he considered it imperative for him to make some reply. He hoped the noble Lord, or at least the Government to which he belonged, would not, for their own sakes, follow the advice which had been given them by the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Mantis) if any Catholic clergyman was guilty of a violation of the law—if he were guilty of a breach of the peace—if he were guilty of exciting the people to commit a breach of the peace—if, in the excitement of an election, a Catholic clergyman went beyond that fair and legitimate course which every one understood was the proper and fitting and almost necessary course—all he would say was, that he, no more than any Member of that House, would stand up and defend him, or ask that he might be excused from those penalties which he had incurred by violating the law. But when the hon. and learned Gentleman told them that appeals ought not to be made by the clergy to their people when certain candidates were proposed who would vote against their interests and against their 304 religion, he would tell that hon. and learned Gentleman that it was perfectly monstrous and preposterous to suppose that such appeals would not be made; and he would further tell him that it was futile and absurd to endeavour to frame any law intended to prevent such appeals. He distinctly denied, and he was prepared to maintain that denial, that upon such occasions—namely, when candidates whom the priests and their flocks believed were inimical to their interests, inimical to their religion, were proposed—the clergy ought to be silent. Nay, more; he held that it was the absolute, the incumbent duty of the Catholic clergy of Ireland, if they believed that the proposed candidates would exercise their votes in that House in a manner injurious to the interests of their flocks, to advise, and counsel, and persuade them, by all constitutional and legal means, not to support such candidates. ["Hear, hear!"] Yes, he repeated, that was their highest, their most solemn duty; and if any law were enacted to provide that the Catholic clergy, under such circumstances, should not do so, that law would turn out to be a dead letter. If they attempted such a course of legislation, they would find very rapidly that it would be utterly ineffectual for the purposes they intended to accomplish, and that it would prove utterly fruitless, except as tending to the discomfiture of those with whom it originated. He understood that the noble Lord had said that the conduct of the Catholic clergy at the recent Irish elections was discreditable. Not having been in the House at the time the noble Lord spoke, he was not aware whether he had said anything as to the conduct of the landlords. Every one knew that, at the last election, the landlords were more prominent and active in their interference with the electors than the clergy, and that it was, in fact, the intimidation of the landlords which aroused the clergy, or rather induced the clergy to counsel the voters not to allow their consciences to be swayed by landlord intimidation. What had taken place at the Sligo election in relation to the noble Lord's (Lord Palmerston's) own property there? One of the candidates at the last election thought it was a great boast that the influence of the noble Lord was not opposed to him; and a placard was drawn up recording the fact, and stating that letters had been received from Lord Palmerston, declaring that all the tenants on his estate were free 305 to vote as they pleased—were at liberty to exercise the franchise according to their consciences. Well, what happened? That placard had not been on the walls of Sligo twenty-four hours when it was torn down, and succeeded by another, signed by the agent of the noble Lord, declaring that the information in the first placard was false; that no such letters had been received from the noble Lord, and that the inference drawn from such a statement was unfounded. The noble Lord probably heard these facts now for the first time, and he only mentioned them to show the House what sort of conduct was pursued at Irish elections in order to intimidate the voters. The conduct of the landlords upon such occasions was, in too many cases, oppressive, tyrannous, and calculated to exercise an unjust and unconstitutional authority over the consciences of the Catholic people of Ireland; and he once more repeated that the Irish Catholic clergy would be traitors to their trust—would disgrace their sacred character—would be deserving of the contempt of the whole empire—the scorn of the whole world, if, under such circumstances, they did not, by all lawful and constitutional means in their power, use their influence to prevail on the people to fulfil their duty, and to return fit and proper persons to represent their interests in Parliament, instead of a class of representatives who would use, or rather abuse, the legislative trust confided in them, for the purpose of trampling on the rights and privileges of their constituencies, and to sap, and, if it were possible, to destroy their religion.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
The hon. Member having mentioned a case in which I was personally concerned, I trust I may be excused for saying a word or two in reply to his observations. The facts were these: As regards the Sligo election, I wrote to my agent, stating that, so far as my wish was concerned, and those persons who felt disposed to attend to my wishes, my wish was that my tenants should vote for the two candidates then sitting—one of them being the hon. Baronet (Sir R. Booth), and the other an hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gore), who lost his scat at the last election; but I also stated that those tenants were at perfect liberty to vote as they pleased—and that no consequences whatever should ensue to them if they did not vote in the manner I wished. Four or five days before the election it seems that some of the ten- 306 antry had informed my agent in Sligo, that, if they were not protected or carried away, the Roman Catholic priest and his adherents would fall upon them and compel them to vote against their wishes; and the consequence was, that forty of them were literally obliged to be maintained in a House in Sligo, so as to keep them away from the violence which was anticipated from the Roman Catholic priests. I was also credibly informed, and I have no reason to doubt the fact, that, when the candidate whom they supported was going into the town to be nominated, he was told that there were waiting for him, at his entrance into the town, a mob of 2,000 people, headed by a priest with a double-barrelled gun in his hand.
§ MR. BRADY
said, he was of opinion that had it not been for the conciliatory spirit of the Roman Catholic clergy in Ireland, scenes of riot would have been much more frequent at the late elections than they had been. The Roman Catholic priests had hitherto been the principal counsellors of the people of Ireland, and it was through them mainly that the peace of that country had been preserved. He believed the noble Lord the Secretary for the Home Department would yet see reason to regret the speech he had made that evening, as the noble Lord the Member for London must have found reason to regret his well-known Durham letter.
§ House at rising to adjourn till Monday next.