HL Deb 31 May 1897 vol 49 cc1593-4

My Lords, I wish to be allowed to say a few words of personal explanation with respect to a remark made on Friday evening by the noble Viscount who spoke from the Cross Benches immediately after I moved the adjournment of the Debate. My noble Friend is reported to have said "he should say that the wild Irish had been pot at." Now, my Lords, some centuries ago, according to an old chronicler, Irishmen were divided into "mere Irish, wild Irish, and very wild Irish." As a native of the Pale my noble Friend would be classed as "mere Irish," and would naturally look upon a poor Connaught man like myself as "wild Irish." I cannot complain of that; it was probably only from extreme politeness that he refrained from including me among the "very wild Irish." But I do not quite know what he meant by saying "the wild Irish had been got at." If, however, he meant to convey a suspicion that my Motion was at the instigation or with the concurrence of Her Majesty's Government, or prompted in any way by any previous communication with them, I wish to assure the House and assure him that his suspicion is a wild one—I may say a very wild one. In point of fact, when I mentioned my intention in conversation with a Member of the Government a short time before my turn came to speak, it was received with so much surprise as to leave me in considerable doubt as to whether the Government would agree to my Motion or not. I beg to thank the House for allowing me this opportunity of stating that the wild Irish have not been "got at," and that there was nothing underhand about my Motion on Friday.


My Lords, I am very sorry if anything that I said displeased the noble Lord. It was certainly not him to whom I referred. Whether he is wild Irish or very wild Irish I leave to others to say. What I did think and now repeat is that, as far as I was concerned, it was sprung upon us at the last moment that the Debate was not to go on. How that was arranged I think the noble Viscount knows better than I do. When I came into the Lobby I was told the Debate was not going on. I am sorry we did not proceed with the Debate, which I do not think we shall hear this year, but I still say that an arrangement was made of which many of us were not cognisant until we came into the House.