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The House again adjourned, on the motion of Mr. Morgan O'Connell, who opened the discussion on the following Thursday. It was carried on by Mr. J. Young, Sir David Roche, Sir Charles Douglas, Mr. William Roche, Mr. Plumtree, Mr. Redington, Sir F. Trench, Mr. Hume, Mr. Lefroy, and Lord Morpeth. The latter said that he found it impossible to remain silent, although he had so recently gone into a vast number of statistical details. He would now confine himself, for the most part, to general principles and broad results. " The resolutions of Sir Robert Peel," he said, "had been framed in the true party spirit of carping and invidious recrimination. If," said the noble viscount, " the House of Lords and the gentlemen opposite really and actually believe that any portion of the big words of charge with which they had filled their mouths were capable of being substantiated, the impropriety of the late course of proceeding would appear in colours infinitely more glaring, for enough has been stated, twenty times over, to warrant I do not know how many impeachments." He continued to repel the various attacks upon the Government with great spirit and effect. With regard to the pardon of criminals, he said: " It seemed, indeed, that the exercise of the prerogative of mercy was the only subject upon which no statute of limitations was to run, the only crime which was inexpiable and not to be forgiven»"^ The most instructive portion of the noble Chief Secretary's speech was the statistics which he gave, collected from leading land- agents, as to the recent increase of the value of land in Ireland. In Galway it had risen from twenty years' to twenty-five years' purchase. In Cork, Limerick, and Tipperary, it had risen from eighteen to twenty-two* or twenty-three years' purchase. In Dublin, Car- low, Wicklow, Wexford, Tyrone, Derry, Longford» Monaghan, Cavan, Down, Antrim, Armagh, Fermanagh, and Louth, the price of land had increased by from three to four years' purchase within the last fifteen years. It was also shown that during Lord Normanby's administration there had been a large increase in the value of Irish stocks of various kinds, and the numbers of depositors in the various banks. The Chief Secretary concluded in a strain of great confidence, and even defiance, not unmingled with scorn of his adversaries. "And now," he said, "whatever be the import of this demonstration of the Lords, whether it be a mere exhibition of impotent hostility, or, according to what I must believe to be the more accurate view of the case, amount to no less than an attempt to supersede us in the due conduct and control of the executive government of Ireland, we are at all events determined to have this point cleared up; we will not accept your commentaries, nor your gloss, nor your palliations. We will leave no room for ambiguity. We have had enough of partial attacks and isolated charges, of inuendoes and abuse, of motions for papers here and for committees there. We now come for a direct and unequivocal opinion at your hands; we will take no low ground; we will exist no longer on sufferance. We tell you that we will not put up with passive acquiescence or endurance. We will not be even contented with acquittal. My noble friend asks you this night for a direct, downright vote of approbation. In the name of the Irish Government, and of the whole Government, as implicated in its Irish policy, I assert fearlessly that we have deserved well of our country. This is a conviction which no taunts of yours can lessen the force of; and upon this issue I call you, the representatives of the empire, to come this night to the vote."

They did not come to the vote, however, that night. After a speech from Sir James Graham, who described the resolution of Lord John Russell as a sort of cordial given to a dying man, Mr. Duncombe moved the adjournment of the debate, and next evening brought forward an amendment, of which he had given notice, condemnatory of the finality principles of the Government with regard to parliamentary reform. The other speakers this night were Sir George Sinclair, Mr. Ingham, Mr. Hobhouse, Mr. Leader, and Mr. Sheil. Mr. Leader was particularly severe on the Government. "In what position is the Government?" ho asked. " Why, the right hon. member for Tamworth governs England, the hon. and learned member for Dublin governs Ireland - the Whigs govern nothing but Downing Street. Sir Robert Peel is content with power without place or patronage, and the Whigs are contented with place and patronage without power. Let any honourable man say which is the more honourable position."

Mr. Sheil, roused by the attacks upon his country, delivered one of his most powerful orations, composed of argument, fired by passion. The parallel between Ireland and Scotland, which constituted the peroration of his speech, deserves a place in history. " You would inquire," he said, "into the state of Ireland. Spare yourselves that superfluous labour - let your wonder cease. If any other country had been governed as you have governed us, would the results have been the same with those presented by that island for whose guilt as well as misfortunes it ought to occur to you to hold yourselves responsible P Take any country - take, if you please, that of the honourable member for Kilmarnock, who is making notes of what I am uttering - I will furnish him materials for a reply by inquiring of him, or of any Scottish gentleman who hears me, what would have been the fate of his own prosperous nation under the application of such policy as has been adopted towards that ill-fated country whose calamitous condition you are now lamenting p I would ask, if Scotland had been portioned out by the sword of military rapine among merciless adventurers - if, after the work of robbery was done, a code for the debasement of the Presbyterian population had been enacted - if the Presbyterians of Scotland had not only been despoiled of their property, but deprived of all power to acquire any - if they had been shut out of every honourable employment - if they had been spoliated of every political franchise, deprived of education, and brought down to a state of worse than feudal vassalage - and if, moreover, all these legislative atrocities had been perpetrated under the pretence of maintaining an Episcopal Establishment among a degraded Calvinistic people, have you any doubt - can even the member for Kilmarnock disbelieve - that Scotland would now present to Tory orators a field no less desolate for their mournful expatiation? Inquire, forsooth, into the state of Ireland since 1835! No, sir! But from the day on which to rapacity, to cruelty, to degradation, to oppression, by which the wise are maddened, our wretched island was surrendered - from that day to this hour let your inquiry be extended, and you may then learn that it is not at the door of Lord Normanby that Irish atrocities ought to be laid, but that they should Ije deposited at your fathers' graves - that the long inheritance of their guilt should descend upon you. And you think," cried the impassioned speaker, " to plant your feet upon our neck! Ah, be not too sure of that. We are no more what once we were - no nation, but a mere degraded populace. An unexampled change has fallen upon those mighty numbers, who, in progressive recovery from the effects of conquest, rapine, and oppression, have brought to bear upon a tyranny once deemed as irresistible as it was remorseless, the resources which nothing but a cause just beyond all others in the sight of Heaven, and the deepest consciousness of its rectitude could supply; and after a struggle of which the fame should be as imperishable as the results are everlasting, by dint of energetic resolution and union indissoluble, have won from their antagonists their irrevocable freedom. These are they that, following up that noble event in no unworthy spirit, became the auxiliaries of their British fellow-citizens in another great achievement, and now, demanding equality as its only alternative, and putting in for that equality a justly imperative requisition, stand before you in one vast array, in which, with increasing numbers, increasing wealth, increasing intelligence, and consolidated power, are associated, and offer to your most solemn thoughts a series of reflections which should teach you to beware of collision with the Irish people."

The House was next addressed by Lord Stanley, who said this vote, if agreed to, would be of no value to the Government. It would have no operation at all on the Lords; and on the character of the Commons it would produce a bad one, by evincing a want of common prudence. The majority by whom it would be carried would be a very small one, less than the number of official members in the House, and it would be obtained only by the aid of unwilling friends and hard taskmasters. Mr. O'Connell followed Lord Stanley. Sir Francis Burdett attempted to speak, but was forced to sit down by the shouts of " Divide! " and " Question! " Lord John Russell then replied; and this great and memorable party debate ended in a triumph for the Government. On a division, the numbers were - for Sir Robert Peel's amendment, 296; against it, 318. Majority for the Ministry, 22.

The majority obtained on their Irish policy was about the number the Ministry could count on every vital question. It was not sufficiently large to exempt them from the imputation of holding office on sufferance; but if they were defeated, and succeeded by the Conservatives, the new Government could not hope to exist even on those terms; while Lord Melbourne had this advantage over Sir Robert Peel, that he was cordially supported by the Sovereign. Having escaped the Irish ordeal, it might be supposed that he was safe for a considerable time. But another question arose very soon after, on which the Cabinet sustained a virtual defeat. The Assembly in Jamaica had proved very refractory, and, in order to avoid the evil consequences of its perversity, Mr. Labouchere, on the 9th of April, brought forward a measure which was a virtual suspension of the constitution of the island for five years, vesting the government in the Governor and council, with three commissioners sent from England to assist in ameliorating the condition of the negroes, improving prison discipline, and establishing a system of poor laws. This measure was opposed by the whole strength of the Opposition. The question may be thus briefly stated. Previous to the Act of Emancipation, all punishments were inflicted on slaves by the domestics of the master, who was unwilling to lose the benefit of their services by sending them to prison. But when emancipation took place, that domestic power was terminated, and new prison regulations became necessary. The Colonial Legislature, however, persistently refused to adopt any, and continued a course of systematic resistance to the will of the supreme Government, whose earnest and repeated recommendation had been utterly disregarded. It was contended, on the part of the Government, that if such a state of things were permitted to exist, the authority of Great Britain over its colonies would speedily be lost, and every little island that owed its political existence to the protection afforded by the Imperial Government, would, without scruple, set its power at defiance.

Such being the state of the case, it might be supposed that no serious objection would be raised to the course adopted, in the interests of humanity and good government. But the Conservatives seized the opportunity for another party contest, and became quite vehement in their defence of the constitutional rights of the Jamaica planters. The debate was protracted for several nights, and counsel against the bill were heard at great length. Eventually the division took place, at five in the morning on the 6th of May, when the numbers were 294 to 289, giving the Government a majority of only five, which was regarded as tantamount to a defeat. On the 7th of May, therefore, Lord John Russell announced that Ministers had tendered their resignation, which was accepted by the Queen. He assigned as the reason for this step that the vote which had passed must weaken the authority of the Crown in the colonies, by giving support to the contumacy of Jamaica, and encouraging other colonies to follow its bad example. This obvious consideration rendered more painfully apparent the weakness of the Government, arising from division among its supporters; for if anything could have induced the different sections of the Liberal party to suppress their differences, it would have been the necessity of interposing, in the manner proposed by the Government, to shield the unhappy negroes from the oppression of their exasperated taskmasters. To this state of things, as the real cause of the resignation, Lord Melbourne subsequently referred in the House of Peers. He said: -

" I should be exceedingly sorry if the accusation could be justly made against me of abandoning my post in circumstances of difficulty or danger. When I was removed from office in 1835, I stated in reply to various addresses presented to me, that disunion among its supporters had broken up the administration, and that nothing but the most complete co-operation of all who in any degree thought with us could re-establish us in power, or maintain us there for any length of time, if re-established then. The union I advised had subsisted for a considerable length of time. But, at length, it has been broken up; and, considering that there was so much discord among my supporters, as to render it impossible for me to conduct the government efficiently and for the good of the country, I resigned my office. A great change has lately taken place in the constitution, which has excited considerable alarm in the minds of many who had great experience and knowledge in public affairs. One of the ablest and most experienced statesmen in Europe gave it as his opinion, with respect to these changes, ' They may do very well in times of peace, when there is no financial difficulty; but should we be involved in war, and feel the pressure of pecuniary difficulties, you will see how your new constitution will work.' Unless there be a due regard to the dictates of common sense in the country, that difficulty will be hard to meet. I will not attempt to decide which of the parties that divide the country is the better fitted to govern it, but I will quote a remark of William III., a man of a most prudent, simple, and sagacious mind. ' I do not know,' said he to Bishop Burnet, 'whether a monarchy or a republic be the better form of government - much may be said on either side; but I can tell you which is the worst - a monarchy which has not the power to put in effect the measures necessary for the good of the people.' "

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