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passed away for ever. Driven from office, however, in the succeeding year, he reunited himself with the most immitigable antagonists of Irish freedom. A reconciliation having been effected, the right honourable baronet conceived it to be consistent with his sense of public duty to accommodate himself to the sublimated Protestantism of his Parliamentary associates on the Speaker's sinister side, and to adopt the policy prescribed to him from the cloisters of Oxford, and the heaths—the exceedingly barren and desolate heaths-of Kent. He accordingly did his utmost (should he say, his worst?) to obstruct-a word once pronounced so emphatically in that House, and which still rang in his ears—to obstruct the Whig Government in their endeavours to carry out the principle of Emancipation, and to enlarge the political rights of the Irish people. The other evening his right honourable friend the member for Taunton (Mr. Labouchere), provoked by an exceedingly unprovoked aggression, preferred that charge; and that charge can be most readily established. Reference to two examples would suffice : the Municipal Act, and the Registration Bill of Lord Stanley. The former, after years of frustration, had been passed in a mutilated form. Recently indeed an intimation had been given by the Govern
ment of their willingness to amend it, so as to assimilate corporate privileges in the two countries; but what a satire was their present on their former conduct! The Irish Registration Bill was still a greater discredit to Ministers. By that Bill the constituencies of Ireland would have been annihilated; but as soon as Ministers came into power in 1841, it was thrown aside. Session after session the Secretary for the Home Department had promised a Registration Bill. Yet now, on the eve of a general election, instead of a Bill to adjust a subject by which the people still continue to be agitated, a measure admitted to be one of a most rigorous and unconstitutional character even by its originators and abettors, was brought forward by the Government. To return to the rapid narration of events. The right honourable baronet having been placed at the head of her Majesty's councils, found himself surrounded with difficulties of his own creation. He became entangled in a web, in which he had caught the Whigs, and was perplexed in the inextricable maze which he had spun out for himself.
He was forced to select as colleagues men who were objects of peculiar disrelish to the Irish people. One of them was said to have repented of a very unhappy phrase; and Lord Chan
cellor Lyndhurst had relapsed into Mr. Sergeant Copley. But the phrase that escaped him was not forgotten. The bow was unbent and the string was relaxed; but the deadly shaft adhered.”
After glancing at the judicial appointments in Ireland, Mr. Sheil proceeded : “ The Prime Minister endeavoured to countervail his doings by his sayings; but, although we are told by Shakspeare that it is a kind of good deed to say well, between his doings and sayings there was an antithesis so marked, that his professions excited the alarm of one party without creating the confidence of the other. Seven millions went into opposition. Two-thirds of the Irish members, every man of the Liberal party in Ireland who could write with exciting force, or speak with contagious fervour, the whole of the Liberal press, the whole of the Catholic hierarchy and priesthood, were ranged against the Government. Agitation burst forth with unprecedented violence.
The Repeal Magistrates—miserable expedient—were dismissed. A bad measure was rendered still worse by the forensic subtleties and Lincoln's Inn sophistications with which it was defended. Then came the monster meetings, followed by the monster prosecution, insidiously conceived, and conducted in a spirit of oppres
sion. The world beheld the leader and liberator of a Catholic nation tried by a jury exclusively composed of Protestant tradesmen, who were absurdly called his peers; and that under the auspices of a Prime Minister by whom Catholic Emancipation had been carried, and the English Special Jury Act had been reformed. At last the long series of ignominious proceedings terminated in a discomfiture of the Government, of which there was no former example—terminated with a denunciation pronounced by the Chief Justice of England, from the highest seat of judicature in the world, and in the conversion of the porch of a prison-house into an arch of triumph, through which the most remarkable man in Europe, whom they had had the temerity to call a convicted conspirator,' was given back to the embrace of an enthusiastic and devoted people. Such was a sketch of the history of the Administration down to the year 1844 in Ireland. From that time Government had existed but in name in that country. How was it possible, when justice had committed suicide, when authority had perpetrated a felony upon itself, when those who were entrusted with the enforcement of the law had brought it into scorn,-how was it possible, when these events affected all other
classes, that their influence should not reach the lowest grades of the community? That when the moral atmosphere was thus charged with contagion the poor peasant should remain unaffected ? That amid the general turbulence, the hurly-burly into which the country was cast by the Government, they who have the greatest grievances to complain of, they who groan beneath the wrongs which we are told by the highest of all authorities make the wise man mad,' should not break out into those excesses for which their incarceration after sunset was prescribed, with all the pertinacity of baffled empiricism, as a sovereign and unfailing cure ? A previous Administration had been differently constituted, and it had produced opposite results—the decline of political agitation, the abatement of religious antipathies, and the diminution of prædial crime. But if this new measure of repression was really, in the opinion of its authors, indispensable, why was it not introduced at the commencement of the session, and pressed without delay? It was surely ready; it only con. sisted of three pages; and a Coercion Bill might be produced as an impromptu in the law office of Dublin Castle. They were improvisatores in oppression there. After it had been read a first time in the House of