Изображения страниц

the petitioner, and thereupon an account was stated between them, in respect of the petitioner's said claims for commission, and the said sum which the petitioner had agreed to accept in lieu thereof, and the balance upon that account was found to amount to the sum of 9027. 11s. 3 d. in favour of the petitioner, which said sum was afterwards paid to the petitioner by the said victualling board; and thus, after being prosecuted for four years, and harassed and exhausted in mind and body, the petitioner actually received the said sum of 902l. 11s. 34d. from the said victualling board, instead of paying them the sum of 1,889l. 10s. 94d. for which he had been so unjustly exchequered; that the other item of 994l. 5s. 104d. on account of interest, for the recovery of which the petitioner had also been prosecuted as aforesaid, was, by an order of the Court of Exchequer, dated the 17th of December 1819, referred to arbitration, although the said victualling board were well aware that the same charge had been allowed by the navy board in the accounts of Mr. Henry Sewell, formerly naval agent at Madras, and who had advanced his own funds at the same time, and under the like predicament, as the petitioner; that the arbitrators admitted of the principle upon which the petitioner had made the charge of interest, but reduced the rate from twelve to five per cent, contrary to the order of reference from the Court of Exchequer, which confined them to the question of whether interest should be allowed or not, and took no notice of the rate to be allowed; but the petitioner being desirous to obtain a settlement of his accounts, which, up to this time (May 1820), had been kept open for a period of thirteen years since his return to England, he did not object to the award: the petitioner was accordingly, on the 11th day of July, 1820, paid the sum so declared due to him, and which said sum amounted to 353. 11s. 6d. ; that the expenses to which the petitioner has been put, in defending the said suit in the Exchequer, amounted to the sum of 2871. 14s. 3d., and the expense during the progress of the said arbitration amounted to the further sum of 2891. 15s. 6d., making, in all, the sum of 5771. 9s. 9d. besides other expenses consequent upon the said suit in the Exchequer, and incident to the audit of his accounts, to an amount not less than 3,000l.; and the petitioner submits that, in instituting the

lance of 9,129. Os. Id., which thus reduced the said sum to an alleged balance against him, amounting to 3,322. 3s. 4d.; that the said victualling board did shortly afterwards, by a letter, dated the 6th of November, 1811, acknowledge the correctness of the petitioner's statement, by deducting from their alleged balance of 9,1294. Os. 1d. the said sum of 5,806. 16s. 9d.; and the said letter further informed the petitioner, that "if the said sum of 3,3221. 3s. 4d., now the final balance against him, were not paid in five days from the date of their said letter, instructions would immediately be given to their solicitor, to proceed against him, as their patience was perfectly exhausted;" that the said victualling board did accordingly commence a prosecution in the Court of Exchequer against the petitioner, the said prosecution being for the recovery of two items, part of the said balance of 3,322l. 3s. 4d., namely, one item on account of 1 per cent commission charged by the petitioner on certain disbursements, and amounting to the sum of 1,889. 10s. 93d, and the other item on account of 12. per cent interest per annum (the legal interest in India) on money advanced by the petitioner to government, and amounting to the sum of 9941. 5s. 103d.; and the petitioner submits, that the said victualling board acted with no less irregularity than injustice, in prosecuting him for a part only of a final balance, and holding over his head a second prosecution in respect of the remainder of that balance; that the said victualling board did, by every species of delay, procrastinate the said suit in the Exchequer for a period of four years, during which time the petitioner was harassed and exhausted in mind and body, besides being put to very considerable expense, as hereinafter-mentioned, and, at length, seeing no hope of the said prosecution being brought to a hearing and issue, the petitioner proposed to the said victualling board, to accept an annuity of 7531. 15s., during the eleven years that his said agency had subsisted, in lieu of his claim to the said item of 1,8891. 10s. 9 d. and of a charge of 5 per cent commission upon certain purchases made by him; and with respect to the other item of 994/. 5s. 102d., the petitioner proposed to submit the same to the award of arbitrators, to be mutually chosen; that the said victualling board agreed to accept the proposal of

Sir Henry Parnell addressed the House as follows:

Mr. Speaker;-I do not feel, that the House will require from me any justification of my conduct, when I propose to it to adopt a different course of proceeding in respect to Ireland, from that which the right hon. gentleman has called upon it to pursue. Because, if ever there was a time when it was the duty of every member belonging to Ireland to come forward and offer his opinion to the consideration of the House, the present circumstances of that country call upon them to do so; and if I were to remain silent on this oc

absolutely necessary to be done than what the right hon. gentleman proposes to do, I should be guilty of nothing short of a great neglect of my public duty. Parliament is highly interested in every thing which may tend finally to put down disturbances, to compose discontent, and to conciliate the affections of the people of Ireland; and, therefore, let the merits. of the motion be what they may, which I shall submit to the House, it will, by promoting discussion on the state of Ireland be productive of a good effect.

said proceedings against him, the said victualling board had not a shadow of pretence; that the gross injustice of their proceedings has been manifested by their immediately consenting to reduce their arbitrary balance of 9,1291. Os. 1d., to 3,3221. 3s. 4d.; by their afterwards picking out two particular items, and prosecuting the petitioner upon them, and not upon the whole balance which they alleged was due from him; by their consenting not only to waive the claim which they made to the sum of 1,8891. 10s. 94d. but actually to pay the petitioner the sum of 902l. 11s. 34d.; by their submitting their remaining claim to arbitra-casion, feeling as I do, that much more is tion, and thereupon paying the petitioner the sum of 353/. 11s. 6d. instead of being paid the sum of 994/. 5s. 102d.; and, in fine, by their having paid to the petitioner the sum of 1,2821. 7s. upon the final close and settlement of his accounts, instead of receiving from him the sum of 3,3221. 3s. 4d. which they alleged to be due from him as aforesaid; and the petitioner begs further to state, that to bring the said victualling board to this settlement, he has been obliged to sacrifice claims to the extent of upwards of 5,000l., to which he considers he had a well-founded right, Before, Sir, I proceed to show the and which the petitioner is enabled to grounds on which I propose to amend the prove, the said victualling board having motion of the right hon. gentleman, by refused to pay to the petitioner the moving that a secret committee be apbalance which, according to their own pointed to inquire into the extent and showing, was due to him, unless he re-object of the disturbances existing in Irelinquished those claims; the petitioner therefore humbly prays, That the House would direct an inquiry to be forthwith instituted into the conduct and proceedings of the said victualling board, and allow him to be heard, by his counsel and agents, in respect of the matters aforesaid: and that the House would be pleased further to institute an inquiry into the hardships sustained by public accountants, from Exchequer process and otherwise, in order to afford the petitioner such relief in the premises, as to their wisdom may seem meet, and to prevent others from suffering the like injustice in time to


Ordered to lie on the table, and to be printed.

IRISH INSURRECTION BILL.] The order of the day having been read for the second reading of the Bill for continuing the Irish Insurrection Act, Mr. Goulburn moved, "That this Bill be now read a second time." Upon which,

land, I beg to say, in order that my motives may not be misunderstood, that I do not wish to obstruct the passing of the Bill for continuing the Insurrection act. But when I say this, I by no means support it because I think it will have any permanent effect in putting down and preventing the renewal of disturbances; but because I believe that it is called for to afford protection to the lives and properties of the loyal inhabitants of the disturbed districts. I wish also to declare, that in moving this amendment I have no intention of casting the slightest reproach upon the administration of lord Wellesley I feel the greatest confidence in his disposition and in his ability to serve his country, and to conduct the government to the best advantage amidst the great and numerous difficulties with which it is encompassed. I am ready to acknowledge, that lord Wellesley, du

From the original edition printed for Ridgway, Piccadilly.

[ocr errors]

ring the short time he has been in Ireland, has brought forward several very valuable measures. The act for reforming the constables has proved of great utility, and promises to be completely successful. The revision of the magisracy is of great value, though the extent to which it has been carried is far short of what it ought to be, to make it a perfect measure. The bill for a composition of tithes I consider of the greatest importance; and a measure, that, in its amended state, will be easy to be carried into execution. But, above all, I think lord Wellesley is particularly entitled to praise for the efforts he has made to administer the laws impartially, and to check the violence of religious animosi


But, Sir, it appears to me, that the present question is not one between parliament and lord Wellesley. It is his business to administer the laws such as he finds them; but we are now occupied in making a new law, and in legislating generally for the affairs of Ireland; and the question is, therefore, one between parliament and the government generally, and not fit to be confined within the narrow limits of a mere Irish question. It is, in fact, as much an English question as an Irish one. The dearest interests of Englishmen are included in it; and they are particularly concerned at this moment in taking care, that such a system of measures shall be adopted as are best calculated to establish tranquillity in Ireland.

to it in Ireland, of appointing to all the inferior revenue offices, the concession deserves to be considered as one highly creditable to them; and the new distillery bill is also a measure, which shows the anxiety of government to reform abuses in Ireland.

In respect, Sir, to the amendment I now submit to the House, I am aware, that the period of the session will afford to the right hon. gentleman the opportunity of objecting to it on that account. But I think, Sir, that if I had brought forward a motion for inquiry into the state of Ireland before the right hon. gentleman had communicated to the House what the plans of government were, I should have been justly liable to be complained of for not giving time to government to mature their plans; and since the right hon. gentleman has developed them, I appeal to the House whether the business that has been before it would have afforded me an earlier opportunity of bringing forward my motion. In such a case as this, it will ill become the right hon. gentleman to set forth this old plea of the late period of the session. The state of Ireland is every day becoming worse; it is so bad as to lead the public mind to anticipate some dreadful calamity, and to excite universal alarm; and, therefore, if an inquiry would occupy the whole summer, the House ought to go into it, and not refuse it because, according to the common routine of parliament, the session would close in the month of July.

I wish also, Sir, not to be considered We now see, that all that is intended as one of those, who make indiscriminate to be done by government is, to continue charges against his majesty's ministers, the Insurrection act. That is, after the for having done nothing for the advan- experiment of having recourse to it last tage of Ireland. So far from thinking year has completely failed, and after the that this is the case, I give them credit disturbances are greatly extended, parliafor having effected a complete change in ment is to separate with no better pros the administration of government in Ire-pect of an improvement in the state of land. From the time of the king's visit Ireland, than what this most severe, unto Ireland to the present moment I have constitutional, and inefficient measure seen but little to find fault with, that has offers. been done in Ireland; and a great many beneficial measures have been passed, though not much taken notice of by the House. The acts, which have passed this session, for removing the duties upon the trade between England and Ireland, are measures of the greatest value. The act for consolidating the boards of revenue is of great value. As this measure goes to take from government the great patronage which has heretofore belonged

When, Sir, I examine what the state of Ireland is this year, in comparison with what it was when the Insurrection act was passed last year, I consider that it has become infinitely worse, and that the danger is much more formidable. Last year there was some reason for expecting, that this law might have produced, at least, a temporary restoration of tranquillity; but now, after we have had full experience of its powers, and of the persevering re

sistance which is made to it, no one can venture to say, that it will operate as a remedy of the disturbances. It is under these circumstances, so new and so formidable, that I feel it my duty to call upon the House not to separate, until it is in full possession of the actual state of Ireland. It is impossible to collect the necessary information from speeches in this House, or from despatches, and other documents. Nothing but a committee, exercising unlimited powers of inquiry, can effectually expose, in all their proper bearings, the nature, extent, and object, of the existing disturbances,

associations, collecting arms, and making proselytes, with a view to the complete extension of their principles throughout the country."

From these documents, we are able to ascertain to what an extent the disturbances existed in 1822 in the south of Ireland, and what was the general character of them. But it appears, that, while these disturbances were thus covering nearly the whole of the south of Ireland, a distinct secret conspiracy, carried on by the Ribbon-men, was establishing itself in six other counties, having the same general object in view, but working by more skilful and deep-laid means. The attorney-general of Ireland, in his speech on the trial of Michael Keenan, in Dublin, on the 4th of November, 1822, gives the following description of this conspiracy:"For some time past, I believe considerably more than for two or three years, a plan has been formed in Ireland for associating the members of the com

I might, Sir, I conceive, let my motion rest upon this general statement, as affording a sufficient parliamentary ground to justify me in calling upon the House to adopt it; but I consider the necessity of instituting an inquiry so urgent, that I feel myself called upon to set forth, in detail, every thing which can contribute to secure the concurrence of the House to the request I make, not longer to post-munity, by unlawful oaths, to overthrow pone this inquiry. I shall begin, by showing the extent of the disturbances, as they existed in the past and present year; and, in order to do this, I shall refer, in the first place, to the dispatches of lord Wellesley. In the dispatches of the 3d and 11th of January, 1822, lord Wellesley states, that disturbances have occurred in no less than sixteen counties, which he mentions by name, in the provinces of Leinster and Munster. He says, that in the province of Connaught the great body of the people have been sworn. And, in a dispatch of the 1st May, 1822, lord Wellesley says, "In Ulster strong indications have been generally manifested of resistance to the process of the law."

In the next place, I refer to the right hon. gentleman (Mr. Goulburn), who, on the 22d of April, 1822, in speaking upon the state of Ireland, said, "the disturbances which then prevailed were such as had not been known for a considerable time past; such as had ultimately broken out into open insurrection against the government. He could not better describe the state of the south of Ireland, than by stating, that there was no county in which the police was sufficient to protect the peaceable." And, on the 8th of July, 1822, the right hon. gentleman further said, "A general system of insubordination prevailed throughout Ireland: a general combination, conducted by secret

the established government. The machinery, by which it is sought to effectuate this purpose, is one of a very complicated nature, and evincing much consideration and contrivance. The association has already extended into several neighbouring counties" (five or six are the number mentioned, in a letter from the attorneygeneral to lord Wellesley, dated November 26, 1822), "and is intended to embrace the whole kingdom: it is, however, not connected with the outrages which have for some time disgraced the south of Ireland. The object of the association is rather the hatching of mischief, to be brought into future operation. They condemn the disturbances of the south, and regret their premature appearance: their design is to wait until some period of danger and difficulty, when they hope, by a vigorous and united effort, to be able to shake the whole foundation of our civil polity to its centre."

The attorney general gives the following description of the manner in which this conspiracy is conducted." The course was, first to have lodges formed, the number of men in each of which was not limited, but seldom exceeded thirty or forty: each of these members was bound, by an oath, to be of the society, to conform to its rules, not to reveal or divulge its secrets, and to obey the order of his superior: each of these lodges had a master, who was to represent his lodge

[1154 in the baronial* commmittees: from these hon. gentleman, the accounts that daily baronial committees delegates were ap- come from Ireland show, that the dispointed to represent the counties: and turbances are extending, and that the from these, delegates to attend provincial whole country is placed in a state of great meetings: and from these, again, dele-apprehension of some desperate calamity gates to attend national meetings, thus finally composing a general association, affecting to represent the entire community."

The House will not fail to remark, how formidable an association this must be, that has been going on for two or three years in five or six counties, having the city of Dublin for its focus, and governed in the way that has been described. If reports are to be credited, this association is not confined to five or six counties, but is spread over the whole of the province of Ulster, and over a great many of the midland counties; and, although no persons have as yet been discovered to belong to it of consequence or consideration, where there exists so much skill and method in contriving it, and so much natural talent among the people for conducting the operations of such an association, it appears to me to be much more formidable than those other associations, that are less organized, and more forward in committing open acts of outrage and disturbance.

The references I have made show the extent of the disturbances in 1822; I will now submit to the House what is their present character. Lord Wellesley, in a dispatch of the 29th Jan. 1823, expressed an opinion, that the country had become more tranquil; but, in another dispatch, dated the 8th of April, he says, "Subsequent events have disappointed that expectation; and, during the month of March, the system of outrage and terror has been pursued, in the parts of the province of Munster, with increasing activity and vigour, and has reached other parts of the country. In less agitated counties of Ireland, crimes of an insurrectionary character appear to be more frequent."

The right hon. gentleman (Mr. Goulburn), when he moved for leave to bring in the bill for continuing the Insurrection Act, said, "There existed an emergency so alarming, as not to admit of time to inquire into it." In corroboration of this description of the state of the country, as given by lord Wellesley and the right

[merged small][ocr errors]

befalling it. All my communications with the Irish representatives go to confirm

these accounts.

If, Sir, these disturbances, which I have described, had commenced for the first time last year, formidable as they are, they would be much less alarming than they must appear to every one to be, who will take the trouble of examining how closely they resemble, in plan, spirit, and object, the series of disturbances which have for some years occurred in Ireland; because this similarity of circumstances indisputably proves, that some deepseated evil must be at the bottom of so much national discontent, and such daring insurrection. The House will see, by looking into the details of former disturbances, that the existing disturbances can only be considered as one of a long series which in succession have broken out in different parts of Ireland.

In the year 1820, my hon. friend, the member for the county of Galway (Mr. Daly), proposed to the House a motion* similar to that which I now am about to submit to it, founded upon the disturbances existing in the counties of Galway and Roscommon. He described the state of the south and west of Ireland in the following words :-" There never was a period, when the state of Ireland required a more prompt and vigorous interposition on the part of government; a period, when the disturbances were so extensive, and the outrages of so violent and dangerous a character." His statement was corroborated by the speeches of my hon. friends, the members for the counties of Clare and Derry. These disturbances commenced in the autumn of 1819, and have continued ever since, except for a short interval in 1821. In 1817, the Insurrection act was continued, in consequence of disturbances in the counties of Lowth, Tipperary, and Limerick. In 1816, the dispatches of lord Whitworth were laid before the House, which showed the existence of disturbances from 1810 to 1816. Lord Whitworth states-" A special commission was appointed in 1811, in consequence of the outrages

[blocks in formation]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »