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classes of the people, extirpate Fenianism, and lay the foundation of a state of things which would redeem a nation and save an empire. In conclusion, he moved that the House should at once resolve itself into a committee with the view of taking into immediate consideration the condition of Ireland.
Various amendments were moved by Mr. Neate, Sir F. Heygate, and Lord A. Clinton, but did not obtain any support. The Earl of Mayo then rose to state on behalf of the Government the view which they took of the condition of Ireland, and the policy by which they proposed to deal with it, not denying that much disaffection and even disloyalty existed in that country. He argued, however, that those feelings were confined to a much lower class than had been known in similar periods of discontent. The Fenian movement, he said, had produced no men of station and intellect like the Fitzgeralds and Emmets of '98, or even like the Mitchells and Duffys of '48. The whole of the landed gentry-Roman Catholic and Protestant-all the classes largely interested in trade, and the professional classes, were the most strenuous opponents of Fenianism. It was only among the smaller occupiers of land, agricultural labourers, and the artisans of large towns that it bad any root.
The real force of the movement lay in the United States, and if the connexion with the United States could be cut off for a few months the conspiracy would speedily collapse, for though there were large bodies of Irishmen in Australia and Canada, Fenianism was entirely unknown there. dealt next with various mis-statements made both at home and abroad as a sort of excuse for the disaffection which prevailed ; and, first, to the assertion that Ireland was an oppressed country, mis-ruled by Englishmen for their own benefit, he replied that if Ireland was tyrannized over, the tyrants were Irishmen, and he showed that the whole of the executive--the bench, the municipal authorities, and the constabulary-were Irish, and that a more exclusively national Government was impossible. To the assertion that the land of Ireland had at one time belonged to the peasantry he replied that at every successive confiscation the ancient sessors of land had invariably emigrated, and that none of their descendants were left in the country. Finally, he combatted at considerable length - quoting numerous statistics—the statement that Ireland is a decaying country, and showed that during the present generation there had been a great increase in the acreage under cultivation (from 13,000,000 to 15,400,000), in the value of live stock (from 21,000,0001. in 1841 to 50,500,0001. in 1866), and in other agricultural produce. There had been a steady rise in rents and in the rate of wages; the roads had been greatly improved; railway communication had been extended ; and more than 18,000,0001. had been advanced from the Treasury for improvement purposes. As further tests of the improving condition of the country he cited the increase of the consumption of beer and spirits, and of the deposits in the Joint-Stock Banks, and laid con
siderable stress on the general diminution of crime and pauperism, and on the large extension of education. The increase of tonnage in the Irish ports had been greater than in any other part of the United Kingdom, and, from his own experience, he disputed Mr. Maguire's assertion that the country towns of Ireland were decaying He canvassed next the various plans put forwardespecially those of Mr. Bright, Mr. Mill, and Sir John Gray-for the creation of a peasant proprietary, denying first of all, from the experience of French, Swiss, and other Continental communities, that this would be a Conservative class imbued with any particular respect for the rights of property. If the agricultural classes of Ireland had been deeply tainted with disaffection, he would admit the necessity of a strong remedy, but this he disproved by applying the tests of emigration, agrarian crime, and the records of Fenianism. Only two and a half per cent. of the emigration had been contributed by the agricultural classes; agrarian crime had sunk from 1000 cases in 1844 to eighty-seven in 1866, and of the 1100 men arrested under the suspension of the Habeas Corpus only twentyfour got their living by the land. All these plans for the creation of a peasant proprietary would lead to the old system of subdivision from which the country had formerly suffered so deeply. Passing on to the policy of the future, Lord Mayo, after discussing briefly the provisions of last year's measure, intimated that he would shortly bring in a Bill which, besides providing an easy means of securing compensation for improvements, would increase the leasing powers of limited owners, and would contain provisions for the encouragement of written contracts. This last announcement was received with considerable checring from both sides, but a further statement that it was proposed to institute a solemn inquiry into the relations of landlord and tenant provoked some derision from the Opposition benches. Lord Mayo, however, justified the project by the ignorance and misconceptions which prevailed, and he asserted that without fuller information the question never could be completely or satisfactorily settled. In addition to this, he would on early day bring in the Irish Reform Bill, and he hoped soon (for the Commission to which the subject had been referred was expected to report before Easter) to submit a measure for the more efficient management of the Irish Railways. The question of education was next touched on; and, first, as to primary education, Lord Mayo said it had been referred to a Royal Commission, which probably would speedily be able to suggest modifications of the present system, removing objections, and setting the controversy at rest for ever. As to the University question, it was not intended to disturb the existing arrangements of Trinity College or the Queen's University ; but as neither of these institutions commended themselves to the great mass of Irish Roman Catholics, it was proposed to confer a Charter on a new Catholic University, the organization of which he explained at length.
Parliament would be called on to furnish an endowment for this University, but for the present no endowment would be asked for Colleges in connexion with it. Finally, Lord Mayo dealt with the Irish Church question, which he reminded the House was now being inquired into by a Commission appointed at the instance of Lord Russell. That Commission would probably report in the course of this Session, and the Government, therefore, held it to be impolitic to deal with this question immediately. That there was any pressing haste he denied, for if the Church were overthrown to-morrow there would not be a Fenian the less, nor had any body yet suggested a feasible mode of disposing of the revenues. But neither on this nor on the land question could a satisfactory settlement be obtained by confiscation. Policy and justice might demand the equalization of Church establishments in Ireland, and Protestants were not disinclined to consider any fair proposal for that purpose. But it must be done by the process of levelling upwards not downwards; the destruction of the Irish Church would not conciliate one enemy, while it would alienate many friends. Lord Mayo concluded by impressing on the House the gravity of the occasion, with an emphatic warning against rash and precipitate measures.
The debate, having been adjourned, was continued for three nights afterwards, most of the leading members in the House taking part in the discussion. Our limits will not allow of more than a brief summary of those speeches which represented in the most striking form the sentiments of the various sections of the House.
Mr. Horsman expressed his thorough disappointment with the Irish policy of the Government, which on the Church question was inaction, on the land question procrastination, and on education retrogression. But though they were to do very little they were to inquire into a great deal- in fact, they had put the whole of Ireland into commission. Dealing first with the proposal to establish a Catholic University, he strongly denounced it as a project originally conceived in avowed opposition to the Queen's Universities, and for the propagation of Ultramontane doctrines both in religion and politics. As to the Church of Ireland, so long as it was maintained as a favoured Church, there would be no peace in Ireland, and it ought therefore to be swept away. It had passed beyond the stage of inquiry. It could not be shelved for another year, as the Government proposed, but Parliament ought at once to lay down the principle on which the ecclesiastical arrangements of Ireland should be continued for the future. Passing to the land question, he traced the evils of the present system to the time when Ireland was governed by corruption, and when the enormous multiplication of small holdings, each giving a vote, gave a larger market value to an estate than the highest cultivation. Looking to the different circumstances of England and Ireland, the doctrine that the same principles of legislation were applicable to both countries was utterly fallacious, and for the future our legislation ought to be in accordance with the wishes and wants of the Irish people without asking whether it would be applicable to England. Never could we rule Ireland without coercion until we had given full effect to the principle of religious equality, until we had removed in some way or other the feeling of insecurity which was driving the tenant farmers from the country, and had united all classes in one great system of unsectarian education.
Mr. Lowe maintained that in discussing the Irish question Fenianism should be left out of sight. It was an incidental circumstance of the present condition of Ireland arising altogether out of the close of the American war, and fed entirely from extraneous sources, and it was ridiculous to assert that it had any connexion with the land or the Church questions. The aim of the Fenians was plunder and confiscation ; they came, not to attack the British Government, but to desolate Ireland, and the existence of this conspiracy ought not to force us into any extraordinary or revolutionary measures. Feeling impatient, he said, as an Englishman, of perpetual misrepresentations on this question, he
proceeded to show the fallacies on which most of them rested. Though there was much that was unsatisfactory in the state of Ireland, she, nevertheless, as Lord Mayo bad shown authoritatively, was progressing, and in some respects rapidly. Ireland was no more governed by England than England by Ireland. She was adequately represented in Parliament, her taxation was lighter, and she received such large assistance from the public funds that England might complain of being overtaxed for her benefit. As to the land question it was absurd to inveigh against the law, which was the same in England and Ireland, and, though he had sat on many committees, he had never heard yet a case of landlord oppression which could be verified by dates or other circumstantial evidence. The system of small holdings was at the root of Irish ills, and while it prevailed to its present extent there must always be chronic poverty and discontent. The only remedy was to provide employment for the people besides agricultural labour. That could only be done by the flow of capital into Ireland. If capital did not find its way there it was the fault, not of Parliament, but of the friends of Ireland, like Mr. Maguire, who were perpetually crying out that the country was in decay and threatening agitation. But it was this system of small holdings which Mr. Mill proposed to stereotype. Mr. Lowe made a lively and humourous attack on the pamphlet recently published by Mr. Mill, and contended that it would aggravate all the evils of the present state of Ireland. The British Government, besides being a heavy loser in point of money, would become ten times more odious, by being placed in the position of landlord, and the peasantry would be inspired with a burning desire to get rid of us, that they might have no more rent to pay. The holding of land was regulated, not by laws, but by the condition of every country; and even if Mr. Mill's plan were adopted, the process of aggregation would soon recommence, or else the old evils of sub-letting and overcrowding would recur. Turning to the proposal to create a Roman Catholic University, be condemned it unreservedly as a concession, not to the Roman Catholic laity, but to the Ultramontane hierarchy of Ireland. Far from being a sedative, nothing was more likely to do mischief. But he refused to believe that the Government was in earnest in this proposal; it was rather a pyrotechnic device which would sink into oblivion when it had served its purpose. Otherwise, it would not have been broached first to Parliament, and without previous communication with the Roman Catholic Bishops. He deeply regretted the determination not to touch the Irish Church. The revenues of the Church he held to be public property, of which Parliament was the trustee for the benefit of the Irish people at large; and it was a scandalous misappropriation to devote them exclusively to the religion of less than ten per cent. of the population. It was the last link of a galling fetter, and when we had swept it away we might boast that we had broken entirely with the wicked past.
Mr. Mill was not much surprised that nothing was to be done on the land question, for he allowed that the time was far distant wben what he should consider a real remedial measure would be proposed by a Government. But he specially regretted the determination not to deal with the State Church, -an anomaly which was condemned by the whole human race, and which no people would submit to but at the point of the sword. The plan of endowing the Roman Catholic clergy Mr. Mill, retorting the taunt of Utopianism which had been levelled at him, characterized as “ kakotopian”—too bad to be put into practice. The clergy themselves certainly would not accept our bribe. The state of Ireland, he maintained, was more dangerous than it had ever been at any previous time, and the circumstance that it received its strongest support from abroad was the most dangerous feature. Admitting that since 1829 we had ceased to govern Ireland for our own benefit, and had only been guilty of not knowing how to carry out our good intentions, he traced the course of legislation since that year, pointing out our numerous mistakes. But the great reason of our failure was our unwillingness to face the large and bold measures which alone could cure Ireland. Mr. Mill defended at length, and with great elaboration, his pamphlet, which he said had been greatly misrepresented, and complained particularly of the epithet" confiscation.” His object was to promote security of tenure, which was the great want of Ireland, and he suggested that the Commission to be appointed should inquire how far the principle of his plan with modification, to which he was not adverse, could be applied in practice.
Mr. Hardy denied that Mr. Mill's plan, if it were put in practice, would have any effect in removing Irish disaffection, and he pointed out that the landed Estates Court already gave facilities for the