Skip to main content

Poor Laws (Ireland)—Rate In Aid Bill

Volume 104: debated on Thursday 19 April 1849

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

The House then went into Committee on the Poor Laws (Ireland), Rate in Aid Bill; Mr. Bernal in the chair.


"That the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland be authorised to direct the advance, put of the Consolidated Fund of the said United Kingdom, of any sum, not exceeding 100,000l., for affording relief to certain distressed Poor-Law Unions in Ireland, the same to be charged on any Rate to he levied in each Union of Ireland under any Act to be passed in the present Session of Parliament."

said, it would not be necessary for him to make any detailed statement in moving the Resolution he was about to submit to the House, because he believed they were fully aware of the circumstances under which it was necessary for the Government to call upon the House to vote a further advance of money to relieve the destitution prevalent in the western unions of Ireland; and the object of his Resolution was to advance 100,000l for that purpose, to be charged upon the rate in aid. He might, however, state one or two circumstances which would show the House that it was indispensably necessary that this advance should be made. He found that in some of the unions of Ireland it was utterly impossible to raise the sums necessary for affording relief to those who required it. The poor-law inspector said, with respect to the Carrick-on-Shannon Union—

"It is positively impossible to collect a larger sum than 100l. per week, while the weekly expenditure requires 380l."
Of the Bantry union, the inspector reported that to procure the necessary quantity of wheaten meal and flour for baking the bread for the workhouse, for one week, he was obliged to give his personal guarantee to the contractor. The inspector of the Ballinrobe union said—
"The debts for provisions alone amount to more than 4,000l. The vice-guardians have promised to pay the contractors on Thursday next. I am quite sure they will be unable to do so from the rates, and that the contractors will then refuse any further supplies."
With regard to the Swineford union, the poor-law inspector reported that the meal contractors had called on him to state that, in consequence of the large sum due to them, they could not execute the orders of the guardians for the week's supply, leaving the union in a fearful state; and, he added, that from the reports of the relieving officers, and his own observation, he painfully felt that serious consequences might be apprehended from the extreme destitution prevailing in many cases. He could assure the House that it was not from any want of exertion on the part of the guardians to collect the rates that this inability to provide means for the support of the poor existed; for it appeared that in a union with which the Member for Roscommon was probably acquainted, during a period of about fourteen months aggregate rates of 9s. in the pound had been levied, and a sum of 26,000l. realised off the property of the union on a valuation of 85,873l. With very few exceptions, great readiness to pay the rates was evinced, and in a great portion of Ireland a large collection had been made; but in other parts, where the most extreme destitution prevailed, and where many of the tenements were unoccupied, and many of the former ratepayers were now themselves in the receipt of relief, it was clearly impossible to collect an amount of rate at all adequate to the exigency of the case. He would now state the sums advanced out of the grant of 50,000l. Advances had been made to seventeen unions to the amount of 38,800l.; and in the course of last week, he had authorised a further issue of 5,000l., which sum, however, was not yet distributed, making the whole amount of advances 43,800l., in addition to the 12,000l. which had been issued previously to the meeting of Parliament from the funds of the British Association. Consequently, the sum at the disposal of the Government might probably be exhausted in another week; and he could only repeat in respect to these distressed unions, that if assistance from the Treasury should cease, even for a short time, it would be utterly impossible for the destitute population in them to escape consequences which the House would shrink to contemplate. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving, that the Government be authorised to advance the sum of 100,000l. to certain distressed unions in Ireland, to be charged on the rate to be levied under the provisions of the Rate in Aid Bill.

wished to know if this advance was to be made before the Bill passed? He had understood the noble Lord at the head of the Government to say, that unless the Bill passed, the grant would not be made. Although he (Mr. Hume) might concur in the propriety of relieving this distress, he saw that the Bill upon which the security for the advance depended was in what might be called a doubtful state. From a communication made this day to the noble Lord at the head of the Government by a noble Lord connected with Ireland, it seemed doubtful whether certain hon. Members were not disposed to oppose the rate in aid; and if that were so, the understanding on which the money was to be advanced might not be maintained. He, therefore, wished to know whether any part of this money was to be advanced before the Bill became law, for he should object to such a course, inasmuch as after the money was paid there might be great difficulty in passing the Rate in Aid Bill, or it might not be passed at all? He appealed to hon. Members connected with Ireland if the destitution in that country were so great, and they did not feel for the sufferings of their fellow-countrymen, and if they would not assist in passing a Bill for their relief, why others should do so, well knowing that their constituents had protested against the advance of any more funds on the same terms as the 50,000l.? The House ought to know if it was really the determination of the Government to carry this Bill out, or whether, from the communications which had taken place, it had now become a matter of doubt and difficulty to them whether they should pass it, or adopt some other plan, such as an income tax upon Ireland. Surely the Government must have now made up their minds. If there should be risk that if the money were advanced the Bill might be thrown out, the House would be to blame if they proceeded in the manner now proposed. He hoped, therefore, that the noble Lord would state what his plans were. He (Mr. Hume) should propose to add the following words to the resolution, but would not move them until the noble Lord had spoken:—" That no part of the advance be made until the Rate in Aid Bill had received the Royal Assent."

said, he would endeavour to satisfy the hon. Gentleman, at least so far as stating plainly what were his views as to the course which ought to be adopted. The proposal of the Government now was, that the sum of 100,000l. should be advanced on the credit of the rate in aid; and supposing this resolution to be affirmed by the Committee, and affirmed upon the report, he then proposed to insert a clause in the Rate in Aid Bill, carrying into effect these advances. It was the Government's intention certainly, seeing that there was no other proposition likely to meet with more general support, to proceed with the Rate in Aid Bill, and to ask that and the other House of Parliament to support them in carrying that Bill so far as to its receiving the Royal Assent. But then the hon. Gentleman asked whether it was their intention to advance some of this money before the Royal Assent was obtained. He (Lord J. Russell) would state candidly to the hon. Gentleman and to the House that only about 6,000l. remained of the 50,000l. advanced under the former vote. That amount of 6,000l. might be expended before the Bill received the Royal Assent; and he did not think he should be doing his duty if he allowed such an interval to pass without affording any relief. He proposed, then, that those who had hitherto received sums mentioned as amounting to about 5,000l. a week, should continue to receive such relief during the interval. If that or the other House refused assent to the Bill, he must bow to their decision; but then certainly he should not proceed, or authorise any advances from the Treasury on account of the Bill. But of the sum—and it could not be to a greater extent than some 4,000l., 5,000l., or 6,000l.—which might be required in the intervals between the several stages of the Bill, he should feel justified in ordering that advance; and if the Bill should not pass, he could then come down to the House and ask for such a vote as would sanction that advance, but no further amount. What he meant was, that he should ask for 5,000l. or 6,000l., which might have been advanced for some weeks—not for the whole sum of 100,000l., but merely for the sum of 5,000l., or whatever it might he which had been advanced in the interval, and to save these sufferers from utter misery and destitution pending the decision. He agreed with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose, that if it was the opinion of Parliament that neither in the one case nor the other the necessary sums should be advanced for the relief of this extreme destitution, the Government would not then be justified in proceeding any further. But in that case those who had refused this Rate in Aid Bill would, he thought, be held justly responsible. Such a course, in his opinion, would not be justified by sound policy. All he could do now was to state plainly what the case was; and he trusted his hon. Friend would not think the Government to blame in not allowing the interval to pass without affording some relief where such extreme distress existed. He should propose that the Bill be pressed with all possible expedition to receive the Royal Assent.

begged to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he had made any calculation as to the particular sum which would be required to meet the destitution in those unions, and whether he could form an idea as to how long the 100,000l. would last?

said, he did not state any reason for adopting the particular sum of 100,000l. Government proposed to take a vote of money in advance on the credit of a rate in aid to be levied on Ireland; and, as they had found that the sum of 50,000l., which they had already taken, would last very nearly three months, and as the expenditure would necessarily be heavier during the summer months, they did not think the sum of 100,000l. would do more than carry them over the intervening months till the harvest was got in—a period not likely to be more than between two and three months. But, should the expenditure be greater than they anticipated, there would still be a surplus from the rate in aid, which they anticipated would return from 200,000l. to 250,000l. a year.

then rose to move an Amendment of which he had given notice. He said he could assure the House that never was there an occasion on which they were called upon to exercise their indulgence more special than the present, when he craved them to extend that indulgence towards himself. Perhaps it would induce them to give him that the more readily, if he stated that he would not occupy their attention at any great length; for although a proposition of very weighty importance, such as that he had to bring before them, would require him to enter somewhat into details, still the state of the subject was such that he would not enter into these with any great minuteness. He knew it might be said that it was sufficient for Irish Members to vote against the proposition of Her Majesty's Ministers, and that it was unbecoming in an individual Member of the House to take upon himself the responsibility of doing more than simply negativing the proposition, considering it not his business to advance any substantive proposition on the subject. If it were a question of ordinary importance—if it were one in which merely political or commercial principles were in consideration—if it were any question but the one now before the House, he would say that the observations he had alluded to would be perfectly right. It might be quite consistent for an Opposition to say, "We disapprove of your measure, we disapprove of the principles on which you found it, and we dispute the arguments by which your measure is supported, but it is not our business to propose a measure in its stead." But, on the present occasion, these debates appear to me in the light rather of a criminal trial than as ordinary debates, with this difference, that instead of there being one unhappy wretch, the prisoner in the dock, you are trying a large portion of the people of the sister country. Peeling then that all the argument which could be advanced lay against the proposed rate in aid, and knowing that no argument had been adduced in its favour, and knowing that in the important county (Kerry) which he represented, the inhabitants were at that moment on the very verge of starvation, many of whom would ere this, but for extraneous aid, have terminated their existence by a painful and lingering death, he had felt it necessary, by way of giving the Government proposition his strongest opposition, to announce his intention of moving an Amendment upon it. But if he wanted any confirmation of the propriety and justice of the course which he had adopted, he would find it in the words of the noble Lord at the head of the Government. The noble Lord had stated that night, that if this proposition should be thrown out, and no substitute for it should be proposed, it was not his intention to apply for any further grant for Ireland. He (Mr. Herbert) therefore now reminded the House of what the result would be, should the proposition he thrown out without any substitute. Now he was not pressing the House to go into the question of relative taxation. The House had already given expression to an opinion—whether it was fair or right was not now the question—but it had given undoubted expression to an opinion that, unless Ireland would submit to further taxation in some shape or other, no further grants would be made from the imperial treasury. Therefore, it now became a question with Irish Members whether, waving all consideration of the justice or the expediency, or the policy, of such a tax, they would not come forward and say that, in order to save life, they would submit to a tax. For himself, he had no hesitation in saying, as a proprietor possessed of all the property he wished to possess in that country, heavily taxed as he already was, he had no hesitation in saying, "I believe we will." Those were the motives that had induced him to come forward on that occasion and take upon himself what he thought would appear to be a very awful responsibility, considering the short experience he had had in that House, and the humble talent which he possessed in order to bring it before them. Now it had been decided by the House that some increase of taxation must he imposed on Ireland; yet still it was a question, how that taxation was to be imposed; and in answer to such a question, it had been held by a high authority, an authority not likely to be disputed in the House, that taxation should be placed upon those best able to bear it. When he viewed the proposition of Her Majesty's Ministers in the light of that dictum, he found that it did not fulfil the condition, nor, indeed, any condition, of legitimate taxation. The House had heard the arguments which had been urged against it, and he therefore did not now consider it necessary to enter again upon that discussion, or bring any arguments to demolish what he might call the flimsy structure raised by Her Majesty's Ministers. He might be permitted, however, to direct the attention of the House to a return which had been laid upon the table only yesterday; and especially he begged to call the attention of the right hon. Member for Tamworth to it, for the right hon. Baronet, in his first speech upon his proposal for Ireland, alluded to certain precedents in England for a rate in aid. He was not now going to re-argue the subject, but he wished merely to shew that the argument from precedents failed as applied to Ireland. The precedent alluded to in England was the fact that certain distressed parishes, if overburdened by the poor-rates, might obtain aid from the neighbouring parishes. The return which was moved for by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin was thus described:—

"A return of the names of any unions or parishes in England and Wales in aid of which any rate or assessment for the relief of the poor has been made upon any county, hundred, union, or parish, during each of the ten years preceding Lady-day, 1848; specifying the names of such last-mentioned counties, hundreds, unions, or parishes, and the poundage and date of such rate in aid; also, the poundage rate which had been made on such first-mentioned parishes or unions respectively, during the year prior to such rate in aid; the amount of such poundage on the valuation, and the amount thereof which had been actually paid prior to such rate in aid having been made."
The Poor Law Board reported the following as the only information which they had been able to obtain upon the subject:—
"They find that in the year 1844, the parish of St. Alban's, in the city of Worcester, whose population in 1841 was 247, and whose poor-rate in the year ending the 25th of March, 1844, was 1331., applied to the quarter-sessions of Worcester, and complained that it was greatly overburdened with poor, and that the inhabitants of the parish were unable to raise and levy among themselves sufficient sums of money for the maintenance of the poor thereof. In the first instance they sought a rate in aid from St. Swithin's and St. Nicholas'. The application was made at the Michaelmas sessions, but was adjourned until the ensuing sessions, when an assessment was made by the recorder upon the parish of St. Nicholas in the sum of 1007. in aid of the parish of St. Alban's, and the amount was ordered to be paid during the year 1845, by four equal quarterly payments."
At the Michaelmas sessions of 1847 a similar application was made on behalf of the same parish of St. Alban's, and an assessment was made upon nine parishes to the amount of 100l. A similar application was made at the Midsummer sessions of 1847 on behalf of the parish of St. Andrew, in the same city, when 400l. was levied upon eight neighbouring parishes: with regard to this the report added—
"The Board have ascertained, from correspondence in their office, that the application was made on the part of the parish of St. Andrew to enable it to meet a sudden demand made upon them for the maintenance of a lunatic pauper, adjudged to belong to the parish after a long and expensive litigation."
The whole population of these parishes was only 26,000l., much less than many electoral divisions in Ireland, and the whole valuation did not amount to more than 99,218l. He submitted, then, that to attempt to found a precedent for this species of taxation upon the ground that it had been applied in England, was altogether fallacious. He said he would now advert shortly to the circumstances under which this proposition was made to the House. But first he must say that he had had but very little Parliamentary experience. Before he had the honour of a seat in the House he had been accustomed to read the proceedings which took place there with considerable care; and he would now say, that never, in his memory or in the memory of any other Gentleman, was a proposition brought before the House in a similar way to this. It was proposed to the House by the noble Lord at the head of the Government. It was brought forward first in a Committee of his own appointment. The Members of that Committee wished to hear evidence on the subject, and to inquire, to consider, to reflect whether, on the whole, that was the best mode of meeting the emergency. The noble Lord would not allow it, he pressed it upon the Committee, and he carried it at that time. A great number who were taken by surprise, who, he would say it without meaning any disrespect to the noble Lord, were entrapped into a decision, upon considering the merits of the proposition were convinced that it was not the most desirable method of meeting the emergency. Four Members of the Committee who thus adopted the proposition had since spoken and voted against it; and if it were to go back again to the same Committee—probably the noble Lord had his reasons for refusing time for reflection—he was convinced that it would now be rejected. Well, Her Majesty's Ministers submitted it to a Committee in another place, and the resolution adopted in that Committee was decidedly adverse to it. Only observe how the Government were placed with regard to this proposition. The First Minister of the Crown nominated his own Committee, and for witnesses before the Committee he summoned his own officials—he summoned his Poor Law Commissioners, and such men so circumstanced that their natural bias would be in favour of any proposition that any Government might take the responsibility of making. Well, with witnesses thus selected, every particle, every tittle of the evidence was against the proposition. The Chief Commissioner resigned; yes, when he heard of the proposition being made, without waiting to be summoned—without waiting to be called upon to give any testimony on the subject, feeling how impolitic was the proposition, he resigned. Well, in spite of those circumstances—and he was not overstating them, for he had merely adverted to the general features of the case—the noble Lord pressed the proposition on before the House. He thought he was justified in saying that these circumstances were unprecedented. He believed it never had occurred that when a Government had nominated a Committee upon a subject, when that Committee had decided against their proposition—when their own witnesses were unanimously against it, and when their officials resigned on hearing that such a proposition had been made—he thought that no proposition was ever so introduced to the House. These circumstances might, he hoped, form some excuse for the course which he had taken that night, and which, under different circumstances, he would have shrunk from adopting. He said he wished to state clearly that the proposition which he was about to make to the House, was quite distinct from any question bearing on the general taxation of Ireland. On that subject he knew there was a difference of opinion. Some hon. Members might think that Ireland was already taxed as much as they had a right to tax her; while, again, other hon. Gentlemen might consider she was not. He did not feel himself at liberty to give an opinion upon that subject, and it was not necessary that he should; he only hoped that that question would be definitely brought forward, and he might suggest, by the way, that a Committee should be appointed to consider and finally settle it. If they did not think Ireland was taxed enough, let more taxes be put on. He would say that he believed there were men of a right spirit in that country, who would much sooner pay an additional amount of taxation, heavily burdened as they were already, and bear to have their comforts curtailed, than sit in that House and hear their taunts from night to night. And taunts for what? For not paying what no Minister had ever yet asked them for. He appealed to the House, whether they thought that the Irish Members ought to be taunted? He said, he hoped that the question would be raised in a tangible shape, and that it should be settled whether or not they were overtaxed. If not, then let the additional taxes be put upon them; for then it would be shown that those taunts were not only galling to their feelings, but that they would do England harm. He assured them that every word written or spoken to the disparagement of Ireland did England harm, because England could not feel herself secure so long as feelings of hostility to Ireland existed. And that there were feelings of hostility to Ireland, both in that House and out of it, he knew too well to be able to disguise it. In speaking, then, to this proposition, and giving it his support, no Irish Member need pledge himself to any question of general taxation; for the proposition was intended to meet a great emergency in that country's experience, aggravated as her evils had been by the course pursued towards her in that House. They were come to a crisis, and the question put to them was, how that might be provided for without in the mean time considering the principle of taxation, or whether or not Ireland was now bearing her share. Instead of the proposal made by the noble Lord to raise a sum of 100,000l. on the credit of a rate in aid, he (Mr. Herbert) proposed that the necessary amount should be raised by an income and property tax levied on every species of property whatever. He did not wish to pledge the House to any amount to be raised by a tax, because he did not see that there was any charm in the sum of sevenpence halfpenny, or in the minimum of 150l.; he did not see that either of these two sums should have a charm for the House, or should be fixed for Ireland. Moreover, they had a precedent of a different sum being fixed—in Scotland, for example, where the occupying farmers were not taxed to the same amount as the occupying farmers in England. In England it appeared that the profits of the farmer were calculated as equal to half the rent he paid, and he was taxed accordingly; whereas in Scotland, the proportion was taken at one-third, and the taxation there went upon that hypothesis. That then was a precedent for adapting the taxes to the capability of the country; and he thought it would be admitted that the country paying the tax should always be considered on its own merits. He would not presume for a moment to bring before the House a regular detailed plan for the taxation of the country; but he maintained that at this crisis a tax ought not to be imposed in the shape of a rate in aid. Still less, however, did he argue that Ireland was fit for an increase of taxation; he thought she was not. He did not believe there was a single interest in Ireland capable of bearing taxation—least of all, that interest which it was proposed to tax by the rate in aid. He should read a few lines from the speech of the First Lord of the Treasury, when speaking last year on; the question of the income tax for England. On that occasion he used these words, as applying to Ireland:—
"If you check the exertions now making in! Ireland to place her in a state of prosperity, you check prosperity in the united kingdom; but if, on the contrary, you abstain from imposing on that country a burden which she might for the moment be unable to bear, and reserve the imposition of any additional burden that she is more equal to sustain, you in fact promote the prosperity of England and Scotland itself."
It was then assumed by Government that she was not capable of bearing an increase of taxation; and so it was determined by the vote of the House. He now assured them that the condition of Ireland was ten times worse at this moment than it was last year, and that the various interests of the country, whether the mercantile, or the commercial, or the agricultural, were far less able to bear any increased taxation than they were at the moment when the noble Lord uttered the sentiment to which he had alluded. She was then exempted from an income tax, and the arguments that were used then would apply now with a force increased tenfold. He would not, therefore, now argue that Ireland was able to bear an income tax; still less would be argue that an income tax would be palatable. Always unpalatable, even in England, it was certain to be much more so in Ireland. What it was he rested on as an apology for making such a proposition at this moment for Ireland was, the crisis at which she was arrived. Let it be observed that his was no now proposition. A considerable number of Members had already voted for a very similar proposal—the Amendment moved by the hon. and gallant Member for Longford, which, however, would not have exempted the class the Government now proposed to tax, and he (Mr. Herbert) wished to exempt. However, he had referred to it as showing that his proposition was not entirely new to the House, and that many hon. Gentlemen bad already expressed a favourable opinion in respect to it. He remembered that last year a large meeting of Peers, Members of Parliament, and others was held at Dublin, where a resolution was unanimously adopted to the following effect:—
"That while we fully recognise the claims to subsistence of all our fellow-countrymen, we consider it but equitable that the necessary charge for relief of the destitute should not be borne exclusively by particular classes, but shared by the community at large; and with this object we would suggest that an income or property tax should be imposed on Ireland, the proceeds of which should be applied to the relief of the destitute in aid of local taxation."
He (Mr. Herbert) thought any tax not merely local, but which was levied from the country in general, ought invariably to go into the imperial treasury; and, therefore, he was opposed to the resolution he referred to, which he had quoted, however, as showing how far, at that time, the representatives of Ireland were prepared to go. It had been said in that House, that this was a landlord question; it had been said by the hon. Member for Dublin that the object was to shift the burden from the shoulders of the landlord to those of the hardworking tradesman, and the professional man. He (Mr. Herbert) disclaimed any intention or wish to exempt the landlords; and if he had such a wish, he knew, that were he to bring forward such a proposal, he would not be listened to for a moment by that House. The rate in aid, however, would fall just upon the class that ought to be exempted; it would fall upon those who were on the verge of difficulties, or were perhaps at that moment struggling with them: it would fall upon those who had been the sufferers to a vast extent from the calamities of last year, and who were but beginning to recover their position; it would fall upon that class of which so many were flying from the country, and the evils which they believed to be impending over its inhabitants; and it would thus fall upon the man who, though not rich, was yet labouring with profit to himself and benefit to the country around. Upon these grounds alone he believed the measure was impolitic. It would create more destitution than it would remove. The House could scarcely imagine the difference in the position of the unfortunate farmers which had taken place since the famine. Instead of clinging, as they once did, tenaciously to the land, the difficulty now was to keep them upon it. Landlords had absolutely to coax their tenants to remain; and the noble Lord at the head of the Government might depend upon it that if his measures had any tendency to create a further disposition to emigrate among that class, they would do unmitigated harm to the country, and increase the difficulties with which he would have to grapple next year. The measure, too, would be injurious to the small tradesmen in the towns. If it affected any class at all, it would affect that numerous and deserving body who invested their savings either in small dwellings, or in carrying on small trades, whilst those who carried on a thriving business would be exempt. It was therefore objectionable on this ground. But before he quitted the consideration of its effects upon the agricultural classes, he would mention one fact relative to the county of Kerry, which he had the honour to represent. During the last three years, since the famine, a sum of 1,000,000l. sterling had gone out of that impoverished county for emigration and food, without bringing back any return whatever. At least half a million of this money had been expended in the purchase of food. [Mr. BRIGHT: Hear!] The hon. Member for Manchester might consider this fact a sign of prosperity, and so it would be at Manchester, because it would show that the lower classes were able to purchase a larger quantity of food; but the hon. Gentleman must recollect that Kerry was exclusively an agricultural county. It possessed no manufactures, and no other resource but the land; so that the half million paid for food had actually been paid out of agricultural capital, besides the other half million for emigration.

asked the hon. Member whether the million he referred to was paid by one county only, or more?

replied, that it was paid exclusively by the county of Kerry. With regard to the proposition involved in the Amendment, it might be objected that there was no machinery to collect the tax. He could not admit the validity of that argument, especially when he considered that a similar argument was not permitted to have any weight against the proposition of the poor-law. At that time no machinery existed to collect the poor-rates, and it had to be created. If, therefore, the proposition he now made was right and proper in the judgment of the House, he hoped it would not be rejected upon the ground of the want of machinery. Let the principle be adopted, and the machinery could be created. But what did the Government call for? Why, for a tax which was to be collected through the machinery of the poor-law. He wished it was in his power to reproduce the powerful remarks of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, against placing any further duties upon boards which, at present, it was found difficult to work. Let the House take care lest, in putting extra pressure upon that machinery, they clogged the wheels till the machine failed to work for the purpose to which it was adapted. He had but one more argument to urge in support of his proposition. As he had already said, it was but a choice of evils; and anybody making such a proposition must labour under great disadvantages, because he was compelled to admit all the arguments against it. Now, a great majority of the Irish Members—or, at all events, a great majority of the Irish people—were very much taken with the comprehensive plan of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth. That scheme was a bitter comment upon the do-nothing principle of Her Majesty's Government; but it had a condition attached to it, which was, that in order to carry it out, Ireland must hear increased taxation. He (Mr. Herbert) was disposed to accept with very great respect any opinion of the right hon. Gentleman; and if he, with his knowledge and experience, thought so gigantic a plan necessary for the prosperity of Ireland, what a bitter commentary upon the measures of Her Majesty's Government! That plan had excited great hopes in Ireland. Among others, it had excited the hope that the present Ministers would not long occupy the Treasury benches. In many parts of the south and south-west of Ireland there wanted but the laissez faire et laissez passer system of Her Majesty's Government to extinguish the last ray of hope. At the present moment there was but one feeling there, and that was a feeling of disappointment. He had himself protested against the course of Her Majesty's Government with reference to the poor-law. He protested against their measures when the noble Lord proposed the grant of 50,000l.; and now, again, when a grant of 100,000l. was proposed. [Lord J. RUSSELL; And against the Land Improvement Bill?] No, not against measures for the improvement of land; but particularly against the conduct of the Government with reference to the poor-law. He protested, too, against the statements that Irish Members were looking for more grants of money—for he declared his conviction that it was the neglect of suggestions made by Irish Members which had materially aggravated the evils for the cure of which the House was now called by the Government to vote money. He acknowledged the debt of gratitude owing by Ireland to this country during the late crisis; but the blame of mismanagement and the want of good effects rested, not on the people or gentry of Ireland, but upon Her Majesty's Government. He felt strongly the position in which Irish Members were placed upon this question. He hoped English Members would never know what it was to stand in the position of the representatives and country gentlemen of Ireland. England had bad her distresses and trials, but they had always been of a local character. He hoped English representatives and country gentlemen would never be in a situation to feel that all the exertions and sacrifices they might make were but as a drop in the vast ocean of misery; he hoped they might never be selected to endure a law placing upon them, not a fair and legitimate responsibility, but a burden of liability which they could not and ought not to be called upon to bear—which placed them in the position of a man tied hand and foot and thrown into the water, whilst those who had so tied him stood on the bank reading him lectures, and calling upon him to swim. This was no exaggerated description of the position of those who had property in the south and west of Ireland. They were

"——impoverished, deprived of all command, Their taxes doubled, as they lost their land."
A change of circumstances had taken place since he had given notice of this Amendment. When he first proposed it, he honestly believed that the substitute he proposed would be the best for the emergency; and, at that period, he had a full intention of dividing the House upon it, even if he stood alone. It was not, however, his intention to withdraw his Amendment, though the events of yesterday had totally changed the position of a number of hon. Gentlemen who might, or might not, have supported the proposition. He found these words in the speech of the noble Lord during the most extraordinary proceeding's of yesterday:—
"I should not, however, act fairly, and fully explain the intentions of the Government, if I were not to say that, according to all the information which we have collected, both in the past year and the present year, with respect to an in come and property tax upon the same classes and to the same amount as in England, if we were to make that proposition, we should feel it necessary to accompany it with other propositions with respect to taxation in Ireland."
Such were the words of the noble Lord at that meeting. [Lord J. RUSSELL: Go on.] Very well; the noble Lord further stated—
"The whole amount would not he more than we now expect to raise by the rate in aid."
The noble Lord had not stated what the other propositions, with respect to taxation in Ireland, were to be. It would, therefore, be perfectly consistent with the most bonâ fide honesty of intention to withdraw the Amendment. That, however, was not his intention. He should reserve his course until he heard the "other propositions of the noble Lord; and he hoped the noble Lord would not treat the House in the same cavalier manner that he had thought proper to treat the Irish Members. He trusted the noble Lord would not tell the House, as he had told the Irish Members, to deliberate upon a question without telling them what the question was. He hoped the noble Lord would not venture to ask the House to vote for the imposition of a tax, of which he would not tell them even the name. He hoped the noble Lord in the course of this discussion, would condescend to state distinctly what the other taxes were to which he referred. At all events, if the noble Lord did not, and if his own proposal did not appear satisfactory, he hoped the House would not consider him guilty of a want of sincerity in withdrawing the Amendment. He hoped, however, the noble Lord would give the explanations which were required; and, in the meantime, he should conclude by moving the Amendment.

Amendment proposed—

"To leave out from the words 'distressed Poor Law Unions in Ireland,' to the end of the Question, 'in order to add the words' and in consideration thereof that an Income and Property Tax be assessed on incomes and property in Ireland not liable to Income and Property Tax under the Act 11 and 12 Vic. c. 8,' instead thereof."

expressed his regret that the hon. Gentleman should have felt it his duty to proceed in a course which was entirely opposed to the opinions of a large and influential body of the Irish Members. He did not think the hon. Member for Kerry had succeeded in making out a case that would justify the House in adopting his proposition. He had quoted the opinion expressed on a former occasion by the noble Lord at the head of the Government, that Ireland was unable to bear any additional taxation, and he had said that at the time that opinion was delivered, the state of things in his own part of the country was exceedingly bad, but that it was now ten times worse. In this opinion every Member for Ireland would coincide with him. There was no doubt that while the means of that country had diminished, the destitution of the people had increased. He did not agree with the doctrine, that those who were opposed to any measure on the part of the Government were hound to bring forward some other measure as a substitute. It was enough to justify their opposition that they considered the proposal unsuited to the condition of the people. Now, looking to the 27th clause of the Act of Union, he contended that it was not competent for the House to impose a separate taxation upon Ireland, unless it could be shown that that country did not bear its proportionate burden as fixed by that Act. But he believed that Ireland did pay her proportion of taxation. It was forgotten that a large portion of the rental of Ireland paid the income tax in this country. The rental of Ireland was 13,000,000l, 8,000,000l of which were remitted to the absentee landlords and mortgagees resident in England, all of whom paid the income tax. It was quite clear that the noble Lord at the head of the Government concurred in the opinion formerly expressed by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, that Ireland did pay a full equivalent for an income tax, because the noble Lord, in his speech to the Irish deputation yesterday, had said that if the Irish Members disapproved of the rate in aid, and were prepared to vote for the Amendment of the hon. Member for Kerry, he (Lord J. Russell) was ready to take an income tax, but he should hold himself free, in order to raise the 300,000l. required, to impose upon Ireland every tax which was at present payable by England, but from which Ireland was exempt. But why was Ireland excused from paying these taxes? Not from any leniency shown to that country, but because the expense of collection would have exceeded the amount collected. It was altogether a pounds, shillings, and pence question. Ireland had been taunted for not having repaid the million of money lent her for building workhouses, and had been reminded of the very different conduct which had been pursued by England, where between 2,000,000l. and 3,000,000l. advanced for the same purpose had been repaid. But how very different were the circumstances of the two countries! Ireland protested against the advance. To her a poor law was an innovation, whereas in England that system had existed for centuries. But, in addition to this, at the time the poor-law was introduced into Ireland the people of that country were told that 350,000l. would not only maintain the whole of their destitute poor, but would enable them to repay by instalments the million of money which had been advanced to them. But what was the fact? Ireland paid last year 1,300,000l. over and above the sum which Government had pledged themselves should be the limit required for the support of her destitute poor. Did English Members consider the enormous expense this country was incurring by maintaining the present system in Ireland? It was impossible, injustice either to England or Ireland, that the system of outdoor relief could be maintained. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, whose experience and practical sagacity no one could dispute, and than whom none was wiser in his generation, had declared that this course could not be maintained. There had been employed in Ireland for the collection of poor-rates between October and February last a military and constabulary force amounting to 8,000 men. He called upon English Members to consider whether they were not sacrificing themselves by upholding such a system. A great authority had very recently reminded them of the wide difference that existed in respect to the condition of the two countries; and had pointed out that in England property was subject to the charge of a poor-rate, and that all engagements were entered into with especial reference to that charge, whereas in Ireland the land was inherited free from any such liability, and all engagements were entered into under the idea that such a charge would never he imposed. He denied, therefore, that the land of Ireland was subject to sale for the payment of arrears for poor-rates. It was of importance that the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth should have shadowed forth a plan of such vast magnitude as he had done in respect to Ireland, because it showed that he was aware of the crisis in which Ireland was placed; but it was dangerous, coming as it did from such an authority, that it should be left in an indefinite shape. Let the right hon. Baronet propose his plan in an intelligible form, let him not deal in generalities, and turn their minds away from what was practicable. The plan of the right hon. Baronet was so vast, that it would involve at once an outlay of 30,000,000l. of money. Was the House prepared to vote such a sum for such a purpose? He thought those who supported the right hon. Baronet's proposition did not take a full view of the case. Ireland possessed resources sufficient to secure the prosperity of the country, which only needed capital to develop. The introduction of capital would result from good government; and if the noble Lord at the head of the Government could devise and carry out such a scheme of government, he would add to his fame, and remove the great difficulty of his administration. He would not detain the House further, but was anxious to remove any impression that might exist, that any want of courtesy to the Ministry induced Irish Members to refrain from stating their opinions on the proposition before the House.

considered that Irish Members were placed in a most unfair position in being called upon to choose between two measures—both of them measures of great injustice and hardship towards Ireland. Seeing that the whole system of government now tended to draw money from Ireland to be spent in England, it was in his opinion only just that England, who derived the benefit, should pay for the poverty which that system occasioned. It was most ungenerous on the part of English Members to call upon Ireland to support that poverty; he should have thought they would have been proud rather to have had the opportunity of doing so much justice to that unfortunate country. With regard to the Amendment, it would be most disastrous. Ireland now paid more than her fair share of taxation, and he could not vote for the imposition of a further tax, which, besides its injustice, he knew it would be impossible to raise. Then, as to the Government proposition—the rate in aid. That also was open to many objections. The poor man, who was now supporting himself with difficulty, would be ruined if forced to pay it, and the result would be to add to the pauperism which already existed. But what was he to do as an Irish Member? He saw his countrymen perishing by starvation, and the waste of human life was becoming frightful in its extent. The House refused to listen to the cries of perishing humanity, and, disregarding a most solemn obligation between two nations, proposed to tax Ireland beyond her fair share, in violation of the Treaty of the Union. Placed in the dilemma in which he found himself, disastrous as he knew the rate in aid would be, he saw no alternative but to vote for it, as the only means of obtaining that immediate relief which was necessary to prevent the still further spread of famine and starvation. He should therefore vote for the Government proposition, but with the saddest forebodings of the misery it would occasion. He hoped the House would allow him to read some statements as showing the manner in which, while they were debating these projects, human life was being sacrificed in Ireland. The first was a letter from the Rev. W. Flannelly, C.C., dated Clifden, April 10. He said—

"Every but in the district is full of dysentery, and even along the hedges the unfortunate evicted outcasts can be seen perishing of neglect and starvation. On Thursday last one died near a ditch, in Tuvegariff, and his only protection against the damp earth, or the inclemency of the weather, was a handful of half rotten straw. Michael Coarsy, of Giranbane, died of starvation, and his hovel was tumbled over him by the "driver" in the last agonies of death. Thomas Mullin, of Cloon, died of starvation, and his whole family, already reduced to walking skeletons, must soon share the same sad fate. The whole population will be swept away by the half-pound system, especially as there is no medical aid of any sort in this wild and extensive territory. It is a wonder the Government would not take the trouble of paying a small salary to a medical man, if they value the lives of Her Majesty's faithful subjects."
In another letter, dated April 14, he said—
"On my journey through the parish this morning, to attend dying calls, now more numerous than ever, on account of the prevalence of dysentery, &c, I met the heartrending spectacles of two dead bodies not one mile asunder on the public thoroughfare. Application was made to the relieving officer for a coffin, but to no purpose, and the messenger informed me that he was insulted and beaten for daring to call for any such thing. Last week an inquest was held on John Chambers, who died for want of sufficient food. He had eight children and wife; got 31½ lbs. of yellow meal weekly, say about eight ounces to each individual daily! As a matter of course, he died, as also his son Michael, same hour, same cause, father and son in one coffin, his nephew Gallagher in the same grave, who got no meal. It was proved that this man was frequently carried home from stone-breaking. We next went to Carrasollagh, where Mary Gibbons was buried on the mountain side; I should not say buried, for she lay under a wall from whence her unfortunate husband threw down stones to cover her remains, not having a spade, nor strength if he had one, to dig a grave. The poor man, Gibbons, in coming out of his wretched hovel to give evidence before the coroner, fell to the ground from exhaustion; his family of five got twenty-one pounds of meal weekly—say about ten ounces each daily! The jury came to the same conclusion, that the woman, Mary Gibbons, died of starvation. It was proved that this family were generally the last two days of each week entirely without food. Two houses were pointed out to us, in one of which three persons were buried in the floor, and in the other one person. Same week a man was seen crossing the mountain with a dead man slung in a rope on his back. Same week a girl was found dead under a wall at Oriendoff, her head resting on a stone. Same week Rev. Mr. Seally met two females, wretched skeletons, dragging a dear relative to the grave."
With these facts before him, he felt that the blood of these poor people must be on the heads of those who refused to adopt any means that offered to relieve such unexampled misery.

said, that it was his intention to vote for the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Kerry, because he thought it better than a rate in aid. The county which he had the honour to represent (Londonderry), stood second or third, if not first, in Ireland—[Mr. FRENCH: DO you mean with regard to latitude or longitude?] He said, that he meant with regard to taxation. There were districts in Derry that paid as much as 4s. 6d. in the pound in rates. He had recently presented a petition from the grand jury of Derry against the rate in aid, but expressing their willingness to contribute to any equitable taxation that might be imposed. He begged to repeat what he had stated on a former occasion, that he was convinced if the collection of the rate in aid were mixed up with that of the ordinary poor-rate, it would endanger the working of the whole poor-law system in Ireland.

said, that he did not rise with the view of arguing the question of the soundness or unsoundness of the rate in aid, as he believed that even the supporters of the measure admitted that it was unsound in principle; but he wished to point out to the House the injustice of taxing the northern and eastern districts of Ireland for the support of the poor of Connaught. There were, it should be recollected, some material differences between the poor-law in England and in Ireland. They had no law of settlement in Ireland; and, again, with regard to the payment of rates, the tenant in Ireland deducted not merely half the rate, but half of the poundage rate from every pound of rent that he paid his landlord. It was consequently the interest of the tenants on boards of guardians to have the valuation of the unions as low as possible; and in some instances the inequality thus produced operated so unjustly that in the union in which he resided, he would have to pay 9d. for every 6d. paid by his hon. Colleague in another part of the same county. He confessed he should prefer the proposition of an income tax to that of the rate in aid, upon the understanding that the tax should be similar to the English income tax, and paid into the English Exchequer, so as to give the Irish a right, which he thought they had already, but which would then fix the right upon the mind of every English Member, that in times of emergency they could draw upon the Imperial Exchequer for the relief of the people, whether for the relief of distress in Connaught, or in the western isles of Scotland. He was satisfied that if they passed the rate in aid now, they would have the income tax in addition in the course of two years; but if they voted for the income tax, they certainly would not have the rate in aid. Another objection he had to the rate in aid was, that it was, in the first instance, to be paid by the poor tenantry, which was not the case with the income tax. Now he preferred meeting an emergency like the present with money taken from the funds of the rich, rather than from the small means of the poor. They had heard a good deal of argument against the proposal to forgive arrears of rates which had already accumulated upon many estates. It was his belief that they must do so at last, and if done once and for all it would prove of great benefit in promoting the occupancy of lauds which were now lying idle. The hon. Member for Dundalk bad argued that it would be advantageous to let the lands go out of cultivation for a time, and that, if let run to grass, they would become more valuable to the landlord; but the fact was, that these lands were nearly exhausted, and when they became waste they were overrun with weeds and thistles so as to injure the cultivated fields around them, and to become worse and worse every year. But there was a more important question than the fund from which the money was to be raised, and that was, how it was to be expended. In the present system he saw lavish expenditure, insufficient relief, and continued demoralisation. He thought they had taken an erroneous view of the state of Ireland. The truth was, there had always been distressed districts in the country; but the other portions had been enabled to struggle on till the extended poor-law, by the working of the electoral system, swamped all the districts together. Now this evil was to be met by the Government searching out the original plague spots, and separating the sound from the unsound districts. They should leave the sound districts to take care of themselves, which they were perfectly able to do, and in the unsound districts they should hunt the evil up into a corner, and apply a vigorous remedy. The means of doing so was to some extent pointed out to them by their Boundary Commissioners; and he entreated the Government, if they would not adopt a still smaller area of taxation, at least to adopt that recommended by him. He would recommend that not relief alone should be given, but that assistance to emigration should also be afforded. He would now allude to what had been called a great measure for Ireland. He must say that he thought that great proposition involved a serious amount of danger. He had listened most attentively to the speech of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, developing his scheme, and he was aware that in Ireland it had excited a great deal of hope. But the House ought to recollect that such was the condition of Ireland, that they were ready to grasp at any proposition which might be held out to them. The basis of that plan appeared to be that it was to be worked through the medium of English gentlemen residing in Ireland. Now, he wished the House to consider how needy parties in Ireland—and he believed they were all needy, whether landlord or tenant—how they would come before the commission, in the one case with a proposition for the sale of their lands—in the other seeking for the means of emigration. He believed that no English gentleman would be able to stand the importunity of the exacting demands made upon them. But there was another difficulty. In carrying out the vast scheme of emigration which the plan contemplated, the commission would have to contend with the influence of the Catholic clergy in the west of Ireland. They and their flocks were inseparable, and the clergy would not submit that their flocks should be expatriated in the manner proposed. This difficulty, he believed, would be found to be insuperable. Hon. Gentlemen seemed to start with the principle, that it was the duty of the landlords to employ the labouring population in the country. He believed they might as well say, that when a great house in London failed, it was the duty of the landlords to employ the shopmen. He considered that it more properly belonged to the farmers to employ the labouring population, and he must say he believed that the departure of the small farmers would be the greatest boon that had ever been conferred on Ireland. They never employed labourers themselves; they never would if they could help it; the land was badly and insufficiently tilled by the members of their own family; and in times of difficulty they themselves became labourers. He thought, therefore, the departure of that class would be a great benefit, as it would enable the land to get into the hands of men of science and skill, who would give employment to the labouring population, and without that he believed Ireland would never he raised to her proper position. With regard to emigration, he hoped the Government would he cautious in what they did, and take care not to injure that which constituted one of the best and finest feelings of the Irish character—the readiness of the Irish emigrant who was successful himself, to help the emigration, not of members of his own family only, but of his friends and neighbours. Care must also be taken not to remove too many of the ablebodied labourers, for he looked forward to the time when even more men than were at present in Ireland would be required for the labour of the country. He concluded by a reference to the extent of the private charity which had been sent to Ireland from England. He stated the opinion not only of his own constituents, but of every man worthy the name of an Irishman, when he implored the House to believe that, whatever might be said by a few angry spirits, Ireland was at heart most deeply thankful. He implored the House to believe, that deep as was the debt, still deeper was the gratitude which was felt for those unparalleled exertions by which so many lives had been preserved.

said, he would not enter into the wide field of argument to which the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had invited the Committee. He had abstained from voting on this question for two reasons—first, because he was reluctant to say "No" to the only proposition which the House had had before it for affording relief; and, secondly, he was reluctant, by his single vote, to add to the embarrassment which must attend this or any Government in the administration of Irish affairs, under such a pressure But at the same time he was bound to say that, reluctant as he was to say "No" to the proposition of the Government, he felt that his own private opinion must give way to that of his constituents, who had a right to have their sentiments represented. If, indeed, he had made up his mind to vote against the rate in aid, he should have tendered the resignation of his seat immediately. But he had received no communication or representation whatever—though he knew the feeling in the north of Ireland against this measure was strong—from the particular borough with which he was connected. His own objection, independent of that which was generally entertained against a rate in aid, was, that in his opinion it trenched upon the spirit in which the Act of Union was worded. The words used by Mr. Pitt in bringing forward that measure were, there should be a perfect identity of interests; that Ireland should be as Yorkshire was to England. If the proposed rate in aid had been an imperial rate in aid, extending over the various counties of England, Ireland, and Scotland, for relief from a dispensation of Providence, he was satisfied that Irishmen would freely incur their share in any tax which might be proposed. He was satisfied that if the positions were changed, and that Yorkshire should be placed in the lamentable situation in which Ireland was, such was the genuine feeling of Irishmen, that they would freely be taxed for the relief of that distress. In conclusion, he must protest against the manner in which a dispensation of Divine Providence had been treated by the Imperial Parliament. He was bound in honesty to protest against it. He held, with the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon, that to refuse the aid which was given by a grant of 50,000l., was tantamount to passing sentence of death upon a large number of our fellow-creatures; and it was with a feeling of sorrow that he had witnessed the difficulty which the Minister had to obtain that grant. When he recollected that millions had been lavished for commercial interests—yes, for commercial interests—though he was sorry to say that Ireland had little to do with that, except the blood her sons had shed in supporting the interests of the empire—he said it was impolitic on the part of the Imperial Parliament to stand in the way of a grant which involved consideration of life and death. He never could forget—and he was satisfied it had prejudiced the public welfare—the struggle which the Minister had to induce the House to carry a grant to the extent of 50,000l. He thought it was too much for hon. Gentlemen to complain that the Government had not come forward with more comprehensive measures for Ireland, because the Government, after all, was but the organ of the House of Commons. [Mr. DISRAELI: Hear!] He understood that cheer. But it was in the power of the House of Commons to make or unmake a Goovernment. If the Government were to blame for not having come forward with large schemes, it must be recollected that no large schemes could be carried out without a large expenditure of money, and they ought to put the saddle on the right horse, and he thought the blame lay at the door of the Imperial House of Commons. The House of Commons ought not to forget that it was in a great measure owing to their legislation, by reducing the price of agricultural produce, that Irish ratepayers were unable to pay a larger amount of taxation. He fully coincided in the sentiments expressed by the hon. Member for Longford with reference to the gratitude of the Irish people for the generous benevolence of the English people towards them. There was no effectual mode of relieving the burden of Irish pauperism, nor preventing its disastrous influence upon England, but by grants from the Imperial Exchequer, and it was only by such assistance that the resources of Ireland could be so effectually developed as to enable her to bear the heavy burden of her own pauperism.

could not consent to consider this discussion as a discussion on a mere Irish question. The hon. Member for Kerry who moved the Amendment had made a mistake, which was frequently made by Irish Members—which had been made by the Government itself, as appeared from the interview of yesterday—the mistake that this question was not an imperial one, but one in which the feelings and interests of Irish Members were alone concerned. The hon. Gentleman evidently considered the income tax as an alternative to the rate in aid. He could not consider it in that view at all. He thought that the proper way to meet the rate in aid would be, not by moving an Amendment for an income tax, but by a direct negative. It was not the want of a tax from which they suffered, but from the want of a policy. The principle of a rate in aid had been sanctioned by the House, and the question was now reduced to a very small and narrow compass. They were asked to advance this sum upon the security of the rate in aid; and the question was, what was the value of that security? because the value of the security made all the difference between a loan and a gift. The hon. Member for Montrose, who had established his character as the very type of economy in the House, declared that he would not give another sixpence. Then, said the Chancellor of the Exchequer, lend us 100,000l. The reply to that was, on what security? and that was the question which the representatives of English taxpayers had now to discuss. On that subject he held evidence in his hand, which had been recently taken before the Committees of each House, and which he was rather surprised had not been referred to by the noble Lord or the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The evidence was of great importance: it was the evidence of the officials employed by the Government itself—of men well acquainted with the subject; and as regarded the validity of the security and the utter absurdity of the pretext that one single sixpence would be repaid, the evidence of those witnesses was clear, consistent, and conclusive. That evidence raised the question as to the policy of the rate in aid, which again raised the whole question of their policy in Ireland. They could not narrow the question to the mere policy of the Ministerial measures, because the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth had compelled them to take a wider and deeper view. The right hon. Member for Tamworth must know that the existence of the rate in aid was incompatible with his plan. The rate in aid once passed would not only be an embarrassment and an impediment, it would be an absolute extinguisher on the plan of the right hon. Gentleman. He could understand the motives which in the first instance had induced the right hon. Baronet to refrain from embarrassing the Government by declaring himself adverse to the rate in aid; but now, with the evidence that had been laid before them, he could not understand how the right hon. Baronet should act the part of an unnatural parent to his own plan, so far as still to support this scheme for a rate in aid. To return to the witnesses. Mr. Griffith is asked by the right hon. Baronet this question:—

"Do I understand you to say that the poor-law valuation throughout Ireland has been estimated upon data varying throughout Ireland, and is an unequal valuation?—I think that is the fact.
"Is it your opinion that any general rate levied upon Ireland with reference to that poor-law valuation would be an unequal rate?—I think it would.
"You would reject, therefore, with reference to a general rate throughout Ireland, the basis of that poor-law valuation absolutely?—I would.
"The poor-law valuation is not applicable; the tenement valuation has only just begun, and is imperfect; there remains, therefore, but the town-land valuation for a general rate?—I conceive that the townland valuation, though there are objections to it, which the present examination has brought forth, is still the only uniform valuation that we have to rest upon; it is the only one which has been conducted on a uniform principle.
"But you admit that, without adjustment and without alteration, the townland valuation is very imperfect?—The imperfection arises from the deteriorations which have taken place in some local districts more than in others in the last three or four years."
He is then asked by Mr. Monsell—
"It would be unjust to do it without a power of appeal?—I think so.
"If there were a power of appeal given, would it not take many months?—The appeals would cause considerable delay."
So far with regard to the question of valuation. With regard to the collection of the rates, Mr. Gulson, another witness, after stating that the old rates were often obliged to be levied with the assistance of the military, is asked this question:—
"With your knowledge of Ireland do you think that those difficulties would be considerably augmented if in addition to the rates to be raised from their own district the people of the north, for example, were called on to pay 5 per cent or 2½ per cent for the benefit of others?—If I know anything of the people of the north, they would certainly rebel against contributing by any rate in aid towards the poverty in the south."
He afterwards qualified this opinion by stating that he did not think they would positively rebel, but that nothing but force would induce them to pay. But the value of that distinction may be judged of by the fact that in the collection of the present rates it was admitted that sometimes detachments of no less than three regiments of soldiers had been employed. But he is asked this further question as to the practicability of the collection:—
"The proposition is, that there shall be a rate of 5s. imposed, and that so much of that rate shall be raised as, in the judgment of the commissioners, that electoral division could afford to pay—will that not operate as a kind of bounty on the non-payment?—No doubt of it; I think I may defy you practically to work out the proposition."
Upon the other question, whether there was a probability of the loans being repaid, Captain Huband's evidence was extremely clear. He was asked—
"Did your guardians show an inclination to repay the loans that were made for the purpose of building workhouses?—I think they would object to the repayment of any money that was lent them for any purpose."
Well, then, they had the three points of want of proper valuation, obstacles to the collection of the rate, and improbability of the repayment of the loan, settled by the three first witnesses. Next came Mr. Senior, and, from his evidence, it appeared that the case became more hopeless at every step. First, he confirms Mr. Gulson, as to the difficulty of collection. He was asked—
"What do you think the effect would be of raising a rate within the district, not for the benefit of that district itself, but as a rate in aid of a national kind, to be applied for the relief, we will say, of Connaught and Munster?—My belief is that it would at once lead to a passive resistance to the collection of the rate in some districts; that passive resistance might or might not load to active resistance."
He then shows, not only that the new rate cannot be collected, but that the old one will be endangered.
"Do you conceive that it would be a passive or active resistance merely with regard to the new rate, or that that active or passive resistance, as applicable to the new rate, might endanger the collection of the previous rate, the collection of which you have stated to be easy and satisfactory?—It would in practice be impossible to disentangle the one from the other, for they must be collected together.
"Would the consequence of this dissatisfaction be augmented if the additional or national rate was not only a rate leviable upon the whole of Ireland, but was, by reason of the insolvency of certain districts, to be a rate exclusively leviable upon the districts remaining solvent?—That would further add to the difficulty of collecting such a rate."
He, then says, speaking of the injustice of the rate—
"I can hardly conceive any evil greater than the rating of the whole of Ireland, for the deficiencies arising in a particular part, which may be very distant from the districts so rated."
But, it is said, that" the rate is to be limited. What comfort does Mr. Senior draw from that? He says—
"Assuming the principle to be adopted, that one part of the country is liable for the deficiencies of another, the parties who had to pay the rate would feel no security that it would not be in the wisdom of Parliament to pass the limit."
He was of opinion that the amount would exceed 6d. in the pound, and he said he should prefer a larger definite liability to a system of taxation involving a new principle, and capable of indefinite extension. Next, with regard to the administration of the law, Mr. Senior thought there would be the greatest difficulty in inducing the guardians to strike the rate. He believed they would prefer the alternative of resigning. And no witness gave them any greater hopes. Capt. Kennedy said—
"However useful a rate in aid might be under proper safeguard, it would be useless and wholly inadequate as here proposed—the progressive effect of this measure would be a diminution of self-reliance, and a rapidly increasing balance to be paid out of some fund or other—or else starvation would ensue."
"Some fund!"—What fund? Can we doubt that it must be the Imperial Exchequer; and what becomes then of the security for this loan? And as to the limit, Captain Kennedy adds—
"I am afraid to put a limit to what I believe the rate in aid necessarily would be, if it is adapted to meet the contingencies that will occur."
MR. Gulson, on his re-examination, pronounces the maximum as "practically an absurdity and an impossibility." And Captain Kennedy winds up by a truth which reflects a censure on his employers. He says—
"I do believe that if the potato failure had been treated as it might have been treated, it would have been looked on by this country as one of the greatest blessings that ever occurred."
All the evidence, too, it should be observed, was upon one side. It was that of witnesses who were the very men whom the Government should have consulted before bringing in any measure upon the subject of the poor. So that the inference was, either that they had introduced this measure rashly and ignorantly, without consulting the persons whom they ought; or, if they had consulted them, they had disregarded their opinions. Step by step those witnesses confirm, establish, strengthen one another in the bold, unhesitating, and universal condemnation of the Government measure. Their conclusions establish these facts. That the present collection of poor rates is very difficult, and only accomplished with the aid of soldiers: That the new rate must, in their opinion, he unequally and unjustly levied—that it will be regarded as oppressive, and violently resisted: That not only will the levy of this new rate be impossible, but the old rate will be also lost: That your limit as to time and amount are both deceptive—that your proposed maximum is an absurdity: That the boards of guardians will in all probability resign: That the loan will never be repaid: That the boards of guardians and poor-law inspectors having all pronounced this rate unwise, unjust, and oppressive; the resistance, passive at first, may become active subsequently—conflicts with the military may ensue—bloodshed must follow with all its consequences, and the rate not levied after all: That the deficiency increased by these means must ultimately be supplied, and the pauperism relieved by grants from the imperial exchequer, paid by taxpayers of England. Such was the unanimous testimony of as competent and credible a body of witnesses as could be brought together on the subject; and in the face of all these facts, in despite of this evidence, they were told that it was the determination of the Government to persevere. He thought that the incurring of such fearful risks, for such small results, would place the Government in a position which they themselves could not undertake without feeling considerable apprehension. Then, again, the Act could not be put in operation for a considerable time. He believed the rate would not be levied at all. Indeed it was believed that it was not intended to levy it; and he thought this was one of the worst features of this proposal—that it was not only based on false principles, but almost looked as if it were advanced by false pretences. He had opposed the rate in aid, not only as a bad measure in itself, but as standing in the way of anything better. He believed every one must admit that the time was come when they should feel ashamed of these makeshifts for Ireland. It was time they should have a policy; and his object was to compel a policy, and more especially when at this most critical moment the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth had come forward with a plan and an effort to rescue them from their degraded condition, he (Mr. Horsman) was prepared to give the right hon. Gentleman all the aid in his power, and which he so well deserved. In his (Mr. Horsman's) view, the right hon. Gentleman had done a great deal of good by the speech he had delivered. But there was a great deal more which he had yet to do. He had, as regarded Ireland, established the magnitude of the calamity; as regarded England, he had shown the vastness of the opportunity; and as regarded Parliament, he had proved the greatness of the responsibility. All this he had done with a force and a reality from which they had no escape. Struck down as Ireland was by the infliction of a calamity unparalleled in modern times, it was from the extent of the calamity that he had told them to draw hope—for it had thrown down obstacles which no human power could have surmounted, and opened out avenues of improvement which no statesman had hither to dared to dream of. Had the right hon. Baronet done no more than this—had he merely compelled them to an acknowledgment of the opportunity and the duty, he would have done much. But he had gone yet further; and in a speech which betokened a deeper study of the wants and miseries of Ireland, and a more correct perception of English as conjoined with Irish interests, certainly, than he (Mr. Horsman) had ever before heard delivered in that House, he had unfolded a view so large, hopeful, and statesmanlike, that the time of Parliament could no longer be wasted upon the consideration of mere makeshifts or expedients; but for the future their consideration of Irish wants and remedies must embrace topics as large and as extensive as had been touched upon by the right hon. Gentleman. [Mr. J. STUART: Hear, hear!] He should venture to say to the hon. and learned Member for Newark, that he discussed the speech of the right hon. Baronet with reference to the plan, and not at all with reference to the individual. The right hon. Gentleman's plan—and he called it a plan, because, unless the right hon. Gentleman were prepared to embody his suggestions in the shape of a plan, he believed that one so experienced as the right hon. Baronet could scarcely have felt himself justified in taking that opportunity of throwing them before the country—that plan had for its main object the regeneration of Ireland by an extensive change in the proprietorship of the land. That change of proprietorship seemed to him (Mr. Horsman) to be the leading idea. Now, no one could deny that the right hon. Gentleman had there hit the real blot in Ireland, and if by achieving his object, he could substitute a solvent for an insolvent proprietary, with all the natural results of that change in the full employment of the people, the skilful cultivation of the land, and the full development of the internal resources of the country; undoubtedly they might yet see Ireland an atmosphere of industry and peace and progress, instead of the picture it now presented of ruin and despair. He had listened to the right hon. Gentleman's suggestions with the more interest, because it appeared to him that he did not aim solely at a change of proprietors, but that he aimed also at introducing proprietors of a new class. He spoke of the classes of small proprietors; and he (Mr. Horsman) thought there was no class of more importance to the country. That they were particularly desirable, was plain from what had been observed in other countries; and that it would be extremely practicable to introduce them into Ireland, would be easily shown. He understood the right hon. Baronet to he particularly anxious to induce customers to come forward and bid for the land; and to give such inducement there were three requisites necessary. The purchaser should be made safe upon three points: cheapness and simplicity of title; limited liability for poor-rates; and, thirdly, he must have capital. Now, every one of these requisites depended upon the other; and there was an evidence of design in the plan, which gave, he thought, some probability of its having been well digested beforehand. But that there were immense difficulties in its way, could not he doubted. They would not, he thought, be found insuperable, if met in a fair and patriotic spirit. The first part of the proposal was, that a commission should be substituted for the agency of the Court of Chancery; and the more that part of the proposal was considered, the more it would be approved. The difficulties of the Court of Chancery had been predicted as likely to be fatal to the Bill which was passed last Session, and therefore it would be well to find some substitute. He believed at that time, and still believed, that a commission after the model of the commission which distributed the West Indian compensation, and discharged its functions so satisfactorily, would have been a far safer and more efficient tribunal. One of the worst matters connected with the tenure of land in Ireland was the worthlessness of the majority of the titles. It was in evidence before the Committee—["Oh, oh!" and "No, no!"] He repeated, he spoke from the evidence given before the Committee of that House. One of the principal witnesses said, that very few titles had come before him in which there were not some flaws. ["Hear, hear!" and "No, no!"] All he could say to those Gentlemen who cried "Oh," and "No," was, had they read the evidence? But there was no doubt of the fact that many parties who held mortgages on estates in Ireland, would have long since compelled owners to sell if they were sure they had good titles. At all events they had difficulties to contend with which only such a commission as that proposed by the right hon. Baronet could arrange. As to the powers to be invested in the commissioners, and other matters of detail, they should wait for further explanation on such points. The great objects were to force the encumbered estates into the market, to obtain prompt sales of land, and to provide for the payment of all sorts of arrears. Now, the most insuperable difficulty which he (Mr. Horsman) saw in the plan, was the proposition to sell the land through the intermediation of the Government. It was notorious that the hint thrown out by the right hon. Gentleman as to the propriety of Government buying up the encumbered estates in Connemara, had led many needy proprietors to lay hold upon the hope, and where contracts for the sales of estates had been actually commenced, they had been broken off in the expectation of an increased price being obtained from the Government. That objection was an extremely obvious one, too obvious to have escaped the right hon. Gentleman, though he himself did not see how it could be got over. But as to the substitution of a commission for the Court of Chancery, be thought it an excellent plan. He now came to the next desideratum for a purchaser-limited liability for poor-rates. It was manifest that without this no one would be got to buy. It was not necssary to quote evidence to prove it: common sense and every day's experience showed it; the same fear which was driving one set of cultivators out, would deter another from coming in. It was needless to repeat, that limited liability could not exist with a rate in aid—then how was it to be accomplished? This involved the whole question of the amendment of the poor-law, to which all eyes were turned when Parliament met. Towards the solution of that important question, they had made no progress. The trouble and responsibility of it were coolly thrown on a Committee, while the statesmanship of the Cabinet was limited to a grant of money. But it could not be denied that it was the poor-law which had aggravated the misery and completed the ruin of those districts: without the poor-law there would not have been more misery in Ireland, nor less generosity in England; but they would not have had capitalists driven out of the country, and rich lands lying waste. Thus, then, the amendment of the poor-law, and the establishment of limited liability, were the most important questions with which they had to deal. All had their opinions upon them: it was impossible to read that evidence without having an opinion; the Government, indeed, had indicated one, that diminishing the area of taxation would increase evictions. That opinion, however, was not only combated by the witnesses, but contradicted by the fact that where the unions were largest, the evictions had been most common. As, however, the Government were to introduce a Bill on this subject immediately, he would not then anticipate the discussion. Then he came to the last desideratum, which was, capital. Now he saw no reason to doubt that if capital could, by the introduction of such changes as were proposed, be safely invested in Ireland, it would flow in; for there was an accumulation of wealth and spirit of enterprise in this country which dared every storm and braved every clime to seek employment; and Ireland, with its rich and virgin soil, vicinity to English markets, and advantages of British connexion, presented attractions to settlers which no colony held out. But these would take time; and employment and capital they wanted immediately. Then he reverted to what he said before—create and multiply to the utmost small proprietors. They were the class of men of all others most needed in Ireland, because their condition was favourable to the calling forth of those very qualities which were most rare in Ireland. They were celebrated throughout Europe for their industry and frugality—for early self-reliance and independence of character—and, moreover, their habits of forethought and self-control, early acquired, rendered them the class among whom the increase of population is proverbially slow. As to the encouragement of small proprietors, Mr. Mill, Mr. Sismondi, and Mr. Laing, had described the advantages attendant upon their establishment in Switzerland, in Norway, in Flanders, and in Belgium; and even in France, before the revolution, Arthur Young was compelled to acknowledge how beneficial was their presence. He said—
"Give a man the absolute possession of a desert, and he will make it a garden. Give him a nine years' tenure of a garden, and he will leave it a desert."
And he added—
"It is the magic of property which converts sand into gold."
Now it was obvious that this class of men would be particularly valuable in Ireland—they were of a class whose affectionate interest in the land was proverbial, and the more they spread, the more the system of cottier, and conacre, and middleman, must disappear. The question came, how were they to be encouraged? He answered, encourage them as they now encouraged large proprietors to improve—by loans from Government; and it might be done simply and safely by extending the principle on which their loan societies now existed in Ireland. Be it observed, they had now loans of two classes to individuals going on in Ireland, under the authority of Acts of Parliament: loans to large proprietors for the improvement of their estates; and to small tradesmen, through loan societies, to enable them to carry on their business. He proposed a third class of loans of a safer and more wholesome character. It was notorious that the possession of land was a passion among the Irish—equally notorious that among the farmer class there was more capital than was generally acknowledged or believed. Now many of these men would gladly exchange the character of tenant for that of proprietor, if they could do it safely. And when they had not means sufficient to pay the whole purchase-money of the estate, he would assist them by advancing a portion on the security of the estate; and by placing strict limitations on the power or subletting or subdividing, they would establish a most useful class of agriculturists—particularly interested in keeping down pauperism, and preserving peace; and with good security for the repayment of the money, they would also have security against that from which they were now suffering so grievously—the flight of small capitalists to America, and the desertion of the land. In order to form a judgment of how advantageously loans to poor people, even on bad security, could be advanced, and how largely they were availed of in Ireland, it was only necessary to refer to a return of the operations of these loan societies. The loan societies in Ireland had advanced 1,870,000l. in small sums to tradespeople, on personal security, in the course of one year, 1845; and the profits upon the advances amounted, from the date of their establishment in that year, to 100,000l. Now this security, or the security of the rate in aid, was not so good as that on which he proposed loans to small proprietors; and that was a more wholesome system of loan, for it was their interest to contract their large loans, and extend their small ones; for lending to large proprietors, and propping them in their distress, was a vicious proceeding, and inconsistent with the plan of forcing incumbered estates into the market; whereas lending to small proprietors was an incentive to industry and improvement. He hoped, when the plan of the right hon. Gentleman would be more developed, that the creation or encouragement of small proprietors would form a prominent feature in it. The noble Lord at the head of the Government, when objecting to any assistance being given to emigration, had dilated upon the advantages of the voluntary emigration at present going on. Considering the character of that emigration, he doubted if the noble Lord was right, but he was sure that he was wrong in saying there was no way in which the Government could give assistance except by paying the passage of the emigrants. There were, on the contrary, many ways; and he would state one instance in which an Irish proprietor had assisted no less than 3,000 poor people to emigrate. Within the last few weeks that proprietor had contracted to send out forty-six additional families; and he had been obliged to refuse 164 others, his resources being exhausted. Now, the contract under which those poor people had been sent out to Canada was, that they were to be found in labour for sixteen weeks after their arrival upon a Government railway. But the Government could still more easily give employment to the emigrants upon their arrival in a colony; for it was evident they had advantages for doing so more cheaply than any individual could. They could assist them with money to pay their passage to Australia, taking their bonds for repayment within a certain time after their arrival. And there was a third mode suggested by Mr. Senior, which was, the Government should in certain cases have a power to emigrate a number of poor people from an estate, and compel the repayment and the expense from the estate, in the same manner as a poor-rate. He would no longer detain the House by going into a consideration of other remedies and means of employment which had been proposed. In conclusion, he should say that the question was, whether or not they should establish a permanent policy in Ireland. They had before them two suggestions—two plans: the one put forward by the noble Lord at the head of the Government; the other, by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth. The one treated the matter as a merely Irish question; the other, as an Imperial one. His, (Mr. Horsman's) belief was, the Legislature was answerable for all the evils of Ireland. He believed they themselves (the Imperial Parliament) were highly culpable as regarded Ireland. The present calamities had not come upon them unawares. In 1837, a Committee of that House reported that one-third of the whole population of Ireland was habitually receiving alms at certain portions of the year. The blue book which contained that appalling fact was thrown upon their table, and remained unnoticed. But there was another fact hardly less dreadful, of which they had been equally cognisant and careless. In those four counties of Ireland where the distress was greatest, the average duration of man's life for the ten years preceding the famine was only twenty-five. Let them consider these two facts: in one of the most fertile countries in the world, united to the wealthiest of commercial empires, one-third of the population habitually paupers; and in one of the healthiest islands of Europe, the life of man dropping at twenty-six; and what excuse could they make to their consciences for being blind or indifferent to such facts, or, knowing them now, and in the crisis in which they stood, what apology could they set up for consenting still to torture Ireland in a childish and cruel spirit? It was not safe for them to do so: the interests of England, the character of Parliament, were involved deeply in the question. They had now to say, whether in a just and generous spirit they would endeavour to work out a nobler destiny for Ireland: would they, by infusing new elements of life and prosperity into her system, double the resources while adding to the security of the empire? Let them discuss the question in a spirit worthy of the occasion. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, by raising the discussion on this question, had taken higher ground than had been occupied before; he had put them upon their trial both before the country and the world. If they could not, after the utter prostration both of purpose and principle which had been displayed during the two last Sessions, rise at once to the dignity of great principles, let them at least show that they were emancipated from the thraldom of small devices, and ashamed of the degradation of mean and mischievous makeshifts.

said, that the real question before the Committee was, whether the sums necessary for the relief of Irish distress should be raised by a rate in aid, or by a tax upon the whole of the property of Ireland? The proposition of his hon. Friend the Member for Kerry was, he conceived, that any rate in aid to be raised for the relief of extraordinary distress existing in Ireland, should be levied upon all descriptions of property in Ireland. To the principle of the taxation of Ireland for the purpose of relieving Irish distress he was perfectly ready to submit. He could not shut his eyes either to the great distress which existed in Ireland, or to the extraordinary exertions which had been made in this country in order to relieve Irish distress. He could not, therefore, feel justified in refusing his assent to a proposition authorising relief of Irish distress from a tax upon Irish property. He considered it most unjust to tax landed property exclusively for the support of the pauperism of the country. His reasons for arriving at that conclusion were, that during the last year there had been collected, from Irish landed property alone for the relief of Irish distress, upwards of 1,700,000l. There had also been collected from the same source for local purposes under the Grand I Jury Act, and for the repayment of loans advanced by this country, no less a sum than 1,300,000l., making together 3,000,000l. levied from landed property alone, the annual value of which was considered to be only about 13,000,000l. Nearly one-fourth, or about 5s. in the pound, had, therefore, been taken from the landed property of Ireland for the purpose of relieving Irish distress and other local purposes. If Ireland were to be called upon to contribute a fund for the relief of the distress of the country, the Government ought to call upon property which had not yet contributed anything for that purpose. As he had already said, the landed property was valued at 13,000,000l., and other descriptions might be taken at 5,000,000l. A rate, therefore, of 6d. in the pound upon this 18,000,000l. would amount to 450,000l. The proposal of the hon. Member for Kerry had been called an attempt to shift the burden from the landed proprietors to the tradesmen. This was a most unfair view of the case; because, in the first instance, the rate would be divided between the landlord and the tenant; and, next, the landlord would deduct a proportion from those to whom the greater part of his revenues had to be paid. He had not the slightest hesitation in saying that he wished to see the burden shifted from the tenant farmer to the landlord in the first instance, and he wished also to see the landlord able to transfer the burden to those who ought to bear it. Therefore, upon every point of policy and justice, the proposition of the hon. Member for Kerry was better than that proposed by Her Majesty's Ministers. As an Irish Member he should be ashamed of himself if, in this dilemma, he came forward and said that he would oppose the rate in aid, unless he were prepared to propose some substitute. He did not wish to throw upon this country the burden of supporting Irish poverty. He felt himself now at perfect liberty to vote for the grant of 100,000l. as a loan, because he felt confident, if the proposition of the hon. Member for Kerry were acceded to, the repayment of that sum would be secured.

said, that he had listened to the speeches of the hon. and gallant Member who had just sat down, and of the hon. Member for Kerry, with great satisfaction and attention. Upon the present occasion they had had a clear and distinct proposition made by Irish Members, in a spirit which could not fail to call forth the respect and admiration of the House. He did not for a moment doubt the sincerity of the hon. Member who had brought forward the Amendment, although it did not appear, from the speeches made by other Irish Members, that many of them concurred in the view he had taken. Of those Irish Members who had spoken, two had supported the proposition, two had spoken against it, and two had taken views of the subject, neither condemning the proposition of the Government, nor that of the hon. Gentleman, but opposing altogether the imposition of any additional taxation upon Ireland in her present distressed state. An hon. Member had deprecated the use of any expressions which could give pain to Irish Members. He (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) was not conscious of ever having uttered a word in the shape of reproach to them. It had been his painful duty now, for nearly three years, to hear and read every day accounts of the distress which existed in various parts of Ireland, and these accounts had filled him with far too deep a sympathy for the sufferings which prevailed so extensively in that country, to allow himself to be diverted from what he believed to be his duty, or led into the expression of any angry or unmerited expression of opinion on the conduct of those hon. Members representing those portions of Ireland where distress had so largely prevailed. He knew well enough how much many of the Irish people were disposed, rightly or wrongly, to attribute the whole of their sufferings to the conduct of the Government. He could well bear these reproaches and these attacks, which under existing circumstances it was perhaps but too natural for them to make. His anxiety was to avoid everything which could in the least degree excite anything like angry feelings during this debate; and he should be extremely sorry if any hon. Member supposed that Her Majesty's Government could be either tempted or driven from what they believed to be their duty by anything of that description. No doubt the conduct of Irish Members had added greatly to the difficulty of dealing with questions affecting the relief of Irish distress. He did not say this in the least as a reproach, but with the view of showing that those difficulties, great in themselves, had been aggravated by the course adopted by many of the hon. Members connected with Ireland. In treating of the present state of affairs in that country, and the great revolution going on in the social condition of the whole of the western districts, several hon. Gentlemen, who had taken a prominent part in the debates, had reduced the dimensions of that question to a mere discussion upon the details of the poor-law. They had not taken into their consideration that the failure of the food of the country for three years had rendered destitution so prevalent there. They had assumed that it was entirely owing to the operation of the poor-law; and the hon. Member for Cocker-mouth (Mr. Horsman) had stated, even tonight, that the existing distress was owing to the maladministration of the poor-law, and the bad legislation of that House. Could any one who knew the state to which that country had been reduced—that thousands had perished for want of food—who knew the quantity of holdings which were thrown up, and the distress and ruin which had fallen upon many proprietors there from the non-receipt of rent, owing to the failure of the potato cultivation—could any one who knew all these things, entertain for a moment the opinion that these calamitous results were to he attributed to the large area of taxation which had been so frequently pointed out by Irish Members, and not to the dispensations of Providence, which had for the last three or four years afflicted that unhappy country? His belief was, that these evils were not caused by the operation of the poor-law. That law might have aggravated the pressure upon property; but no person could say that life had not been spared and relief afforded by the poor-law in that country to a very great extent. When this was the view taken by Irish Members—when they were even told by them that the assistance given by this country tended to aggravate the distress, and was of no benefit to the starving thousands whom it saved from the last miseries of starvation—could they be much surprised that English Members, upon their authority, should not feel disposed to look at the question in a different light to themselves? He could not agree in opinion with the hon. Member for Roscommon (Mr. F. French), who stated that it was a breach of faith on the part of that House, that the sum raised under the poor-law last year had amounted to 1,600,000l., while it was stated in the debates on the passing of the Bill that 340,000l. only would be the probable amount required. He could not see how any person, unless by a complete perversion of words, could construe that into a breach of faith on the part of that House. When he saw an additional sum of 1,300,000l. imposed upon Ireland above that which was supposed to he the ordinary amount of poor-rate levied in that country to support its poor, it constituted, in his opinion, a fair claim to the consideration of the House to give such assistance as might fairly be given to the country, in order to meet the difficulties which had been of so unparalleled a nature. What he wished hon. Members to hear in mind was, that the question of pressing relief was very different from that of a permanent improvement in the poor-law. When the House met, it was found indispensably necessary to provide some aid to the distressed unions of Ireland. A proposition to vote a sum of money for that purpose was met with opposition from several of the English Members, who objected to voting any sums of money for the relief of Irish distress, while distress existed in this country. The hon. Member for Montrose had said, that in the parish in England in which he lived he had paid 16s. in the pound for poor-rates, and it was hardly fair to call upon the English people under such circumstances to contribute for the relief of Irish distress. The hon. Member for Northamptonshire (Mr. A. Stafford) had been foremost in the opposition. The noble Lord the Member for Down said, that it was only reasonable that from Ireland should be derived the means of supporting the pauperism of Ireland, and the hon. Member for Meath (Mr. Grattan) had disclaimed their "dirty money." The hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin had made a strong-protest against any further burden being imposed upon Ireland, and had therefore declared his intention of voting for the resolution moved by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Northamptonshire. Much stress had also been laid upon the duty of self-reliance on the part of the people of Ireland; but when he looked at what had taken place in the single union of Kilrush, where thirteen thousand poor people had been driven from their homes, and their houses pulled down, it was little less than mockery to talk of self-reliance. Without going into the painful details of distress in that union, it appeared that in that locality alone thirteen thousand people had been rendered homeless. The majority of that House, he believed, were of opinion that further contributions must be made for the relief of Irish distress; the only question was, how those further contributions could be most fairly and lightly levied upon Ireland. The hon. Member for Cockermouth had referred to the evidence of Mr. Twisleton and others; but it should be remembered that the view taken by those gentlemen was not the view entertained by the House of Commons. Mr. Twisleton was of opinion, that all should be done by a grant from the imperial treasury; and such was the opinion of other Government officials. He (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) admitted that the arguments against the rate in aid were very strong. [Cheers.] Had he ever denied the fact? He admitted it, and felt no shame in doing so. He admitted that the arguments against the rate in aid were very strong, but so were they against the income tax. [Cheers.] He did not know what hon. Gentlemen would get by that cheer. They were of opinion that it was from Irish resources, in some shape or other, that future contributions should come. The hon. Members for Kerry, Londonderry, and Longford, had admitted that Ireland should contribute for the maintenance of the poverty of that country. The Government were charged with not having deferred to the opinions of Gentlemen connected with Ireland with respect to this subject; and the hon. Member for Kerry had quoted the most recent case of a rate in aid having been levied in this country. The hon. Gentleman stated that, with one exception, only one rate in aid had been levied within the last ten years, and that upon small localities. But he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) suspected, that if the poverty of any part of this country had rendered a grant necessary, the principle of the rate in aid might have been extended beyond the two parishes in Worcester shire which had been referred to. He denied, however, that any Member of the Government had admitted that what had been done in England should be taken as a precedent for legislation in Ireland. Some years ago, a proposal for a rate in aid, similar in principle, but not in extent, to the present proposition, had been carried out in Scotland. By an Act of Parliament, the 23rd of George III., chap. 53, several of the northern counties of Scotland had a rate in aid imposed upon them for the relief of distressed portions of those countries. It should not be forgotten either that this notion of a rate in aid had been suggested in Ireland long before it had been broached in that House. Most of those also who advocated a diminution in the area of taxation, admitted that that reduction might lead to a rate in aid. Where there was a large congregation of paupers in these confined areas, as in the case of the Kilrush union, additional relief was of course required. The question remained, from what source was the money to be taken? It should not come, he thought, from the national treasury, or be made up by an income tax; and if neither of these methods was adopted, he thought a rate in aid was the alternative. A body of delegates from different boards in Ireland had met some time ago in Dublin, to consider what amendments they should suggest in the Irish poor-law. As the result of their deliberations, they sent circulars to the different unions in Ireland, containing their suggestions. Those suggestions went to effect the individualising of responsibility, and the reduction of the taxation area, so as to make it, as far as possible, coterminous with property. The delegates further recommended the imposition of a union rate, and that each rateable district should be charged with its own poverty. The next recommendation of the assembled delegates in Dublin, was, in point of fact, the same as the proposal of the Government. The difference between the proposition of Her Majesty's Government and that of an hon. Gentleman opposite was, that the former would apply the money to be raised to the maintenance of life and the alleviation of destitution, whilst the latter would apply it to the purposes of destitution. It had been said that the only ground put forward for this proposal was the necessity of the case. That, he thought, was a pretty strong argument for anything. He believed that Ireland had a strong claim upon this country, and that if the former showed a desire to contribute to the relief of her own distresses, England would not withhold that further assistance to which she would then be fairly entitled, and which her distresses might imperatively demand. Hon. Gentlemen opposite seemed inclined to attack the Government for having endeavoured to elicit the opinion of Irish Members upon this subject. They designated the course pursued as an unprecedented one; but it should not be forgotten that the circumstances in which Ireland was now placed were unprecedented. Considering the present situation of Ireland, he thought it only reasonable and fair that the Government should endeavour to ascertain what were the opinions of Irishmen upon this subject. He was willing to bear the imputation of having taken this course, for he thought that, under the circumstances, the utmost deference should be paid to the suggestions of Irish Members, and that the Government should give as much consideration to those suggestions as was consistent with the discharge of their duty. His noble Friend had stated to the deputation of Irish Members, that if the rate in aid were not adopted, it might be necessary to extend some other taxes to Ireland not now borne by her. He (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) admitted that the proposal of a substitute for the rate in aid did not now meet with that favour from Irish Members which was apparent at an earlier period of the Session; and at the meetings held in Ulster lately, he could discover no other feeling than hostility to all taxation. He did hope that the line to he pursued by the Irish Members would not be to repudiate altogether their admitted liability; and then he believed that if any further assistance from England were required by Ireland, the English people would not he disposed in any way whatever to withhold it. He had himself proposed, in that House, large grants and loans for the benefit of Ireland; and without then entering into the question whether they had always been applied in the very best manner, all he would say was, that the view which he had taken from the first was that it was for the interest and benefit of this country itself that Ireland should be aided through her difficulties; but he was sure that the disposition shown by the Irish Members to repudiate all contribution whatever, was not the way to induce the other parts of the kingdom to make any further efforts in behalf of Ireland. At an earlier period of the evening be might have alluded to other points raised by the speech of the hon. Member for Cockermouth; but other opportunities would offer themselves for his doing so, and he did not think the present occasion very opportune for the purpose; therefore he had confined himself, in the observations he had addressed to the House, to simply stating the grounds of the rate in aid, proposed by the Government, to be raised in Ireland for the relief of Irish distress; and whilst he admitted that the view taken by some of the Irish Members for raising the necessary taxation was not objectionable in principle, yet, gathering from the progress of the debate, that the Amendment proposed would not gain any general support, but rather that many wished that Ireland should escape from any contribution at all, he saw no objection to the plan for raising the required amount from a rate in aid in Ireland, as the cheapest and easiest mode of affording the necessary relief; and he therefore hoped that the House would agree to the vote which his noble Friend had placed in the Chairman's hands.

Sir, if the Chancellor of the Exchequer felt it necessary to apologise to the Committee for rising to address them at this late hour, I feel much more under that necessity; but as the right hon. Gentleman has been pleased to indulge in certain allusions, which appear to justify some observations on my part, I trust the Committee will pardon me if I venture to trespass briefly on their attention. The first part of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman was founded altogether on the assumption that hon. Members on this side of the House were unequivocally opposed to any grant from the public funds by way of extraneous aid to Ireland under its present unhappy circumstances; but now that he has had the advantage of some moments' reflection, it is scarcely necessary that I should remind him that he was not at all warranted in making any such assertion. No hon. Gentleman on this side of the House has ever during the present Session opposed the proposition of making a grant from the public resources for Ireland. All we have done is to insist that grants for purposes of temporary assistance should be accompanied by measures of a permanent character, which might have the salutary effect of preventing the repetition at future periods of appeals to the Legislature. That was the ground of the opposition we offered to the first measure of the Government at the commencement of the Session: to the vote of 50,000l.—an opposition to which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made a special reference this evening, in the hope, as it appeared to me, of demonstrating that there has been some shadow of inconsistency in the conduct of my hon. Friend the Member for Northamptonshire, of whom I hesitate not to say that, with a perseverance most laudable, a consistency for which he is eminently distinguished, and a sagacity which subsequent events have fully vindicated—he has on all proper occasions, and at earlier periods than many other hon. Members who now affect to take a great interest in this matter, taken every available opportunity to enforce his views with respect to Irish pauperism on the serious attention of this House. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer taunts my hon. Friend, as though, in offering opposition to the present proposition, he were acting with remarkable inconsistency, forgetful that at the commencement of the Session he was himself guilty of the grossest inconsistency, and pursued a course well calculated to provoke the hostility of hon. Members at this side of the House. The right hon. Gentleman, with an air of triumphant elation, read the third resolution, proposed by way of amendment during the first discussion, declaratory that such grants were "vicious in principle, unjust in practice, and impolitic with respect to the suffering districts themselves, as tending to destroy all spirit of self-reliance." The right hon. Gentleman read these words in a tone of cordial self-gratulation, and on closing the book was greeted with a single cheer from one solitary political economist. But he omitted to read the concluding resolution of my hon. Friend the Member for Northamptonshire, that "it was the duty of the Government to introduce without delay measures which would obviate the necessity of applying to Parliament to grant money for the relief of Irish distress." Now, that is the case of my hon. Friend, and our case as well. We do not oppose this grant as a measure of temporary relief, except on the ground that while we are ready to meet the exigencies of the present urgent emergency, we at the same time call on the Government to construct a policy which will effectually prevent the recurrence of the emergency. The Chancellor of the Exchequer deprecated any discussion as to the Irish poor-law on the present occasion; and no sooner had he done so than he forthwith proceeded to enter at considerable length into a discussion as to the propriety of reducing the area of taxation. I will not follow his example. We are to have an opportunity hereafter of minutely canvassing the whole question of the Irish poor-law; and I therefore think it better to steer clear of the question on the present occasion. But I may be permitted in passing to observe that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was not happy in the proofs he adduced, when he referred to the evictions which had taken place in the union of Kilrush. He assured the House that if they knew Ireland as well as he did, they would not oppose such votes as the present, inasmuch as it had come to his cognisance that in the union of Kilrush no less than 16,000 persons had been recently evicted. [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER: Thirteen thousand.] Well, thirteen thousand. But the areas of taxation in the union of Kilrush are the largest in Ireland, and his details, therefore, only prove the injurious tendency of the system. Then the right hon. Gentleman went on to scrape up from all imaginable quarters, with a research which we greatly admired, evidence in favour of the principle of a rate in aid. He referred with confidence to the 23rd Geo. III., and relied on it as establishing a precedent which would be sure to carry the Government triumphantly through the difficulties of the present case. That Act applied to Scotland. A rate in aid for a country where there was no poor-law The object of that enactment was to enable the Commissioners of Supply to raise a certain sum of money for the relief of poor people in certain counties who were in danger of dying from starvation. Such a law might furnish a precedent for a poor-law—which by the way it did not—but I am sure the House will concur with me in thinking that, when the right hon. Gentleman undertook to prove that it furnished a precedent for a rate in aid, he squandered, in a most unprofitable manner, time which was stolen from the painful labours of the Exchequer, and which—in the condition of the revenue at the present moment—might have been devoted to a more profitable purpose. But if the precedents in England and Scotland were not of a very felicitous character, what shall we say of the more remakable instance from Dublin—from that mysterious association, that secret society, the name whereof is unknown to every one, and the purpose of whose assembling was never heard of until this evening? A meeting of delegates from the various boards of guardians throughout the country! It is rather a remarkable circumstance that, though I have the honour of sitting in the immediate vicinity of several hon. Members who are connected with those boards, I find, upon inquiry, that this is the very first time they have ever heard of the patriotic efforts of their brethren at the other side of the water. I am going to vote myself in favour of the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for the county of Kerry, because I feel called on to decide between the Motion he has proposed, and the rate in aid which has been proposed by the Government—that rate, on the credit of which we are now called on to assent to a grant of 100,000l. I will vote for the resolution of the hon. Member mainly, although not entirely, for a reason stated by more than one Member in the course of this debate, and most recently by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the county of Longford. In the difficult position in which we are placed, I feel that an income tax will not press on the small farmers, and that a rate in aid will do so. This is a consideration which ought, perhaps, to weigh with all Members; but I feel that it ought, at all events, to have a paramount influence with us who deplore the adoption by this House of that fatal policy of which the small farmers are now the victims. There are other reasons why I prefer an income tax. The hon. Member for Kilkenny noticed some remarks of mine on this head the other evening, and I adhere to the opinions I then expressed. I do think that it would be well that that portion of the proceeds of the general property and income tax paid into the imperial exchequer, which is levied from Irish resources, should be peculiarly and exclusively applied to Irish purposes. I do not mean to say that fiscally there would be any gain to the empire by such an arrangement; but I do think that if Ireland were to obtain by means of it only that amount of extraneous aid which, under any circumstances, she would be likely to procure, she would obtain it in a manner more gracious to her feelings, and more agreeable to her just pride. If such an arrangement be practicable, I think it would be well that we should support it. I am also in favour of an income tax rather than a rate in aid, for this reason, that an income tax will be imposed on all species of property; and although its exercise, at the present moment, may not be considerable in amount, it is our policy and duty, upon all legitimate occasions, to protest against that system which has so long prevailed, of oppressing the land with peculiar taxation. There is another reason, also, why I am opposed to the system of the Government, and cannot accede to the proposition of this evening, based as it is on a security in which I have no confidence. I have no confidence in the power of the Government to raise a rate in aid in Ireland, for this reason, above all others, that it is evident to me, and I am sure must be manifest to this House and the country, that the Government have no confidence in it themselves. The history of this Bill has been sketched by the hon. Member for Cockermouth to-night with graphic accuracy. When we first met this Session, and the first proposition of the Government for the regeneration of Ireland, which was awaited with the deepest interest, turned out to be a vote of a small sum of money as a means of relief, great and universal was the feeling of disappointment. Unfortunately the sufferings of Ireland were not of recent occurrence, or of a novel nature. We had all observed the condition of that country during the whole of the autumn, notwithstanding that the startling events which were occurring all over the world were of such a nature as might well have distracted the attention of England. The Government must have long, and deeply, and carefully weighed all these circumstances; and the country expected, and had a right to expect, the communication of large remedial measures when Parliament assembled. We were met with this vote for a small sum of money, and a proposition for a Committee to inquire into the Irish poor-law. The feeling at this side of the House was, that Government ought to have been prepared with specific measures of a remedial character, without drawing on the credit and capacity of this House. In no spirit of acrimony, but with moderation of tone, yet with firmness of purpose, this view of the question was urged on the consideration of Government; but our representations had no effect. The Committee was appointed; and it was not until the general feeling of disappointment which everywhere prevailed, at length impelled the noble Lord at the head of the Government, suddenly, in a precipitate, and one might almost say in an agitated manner, to come down to the Committee and propose a measure, making it a primary condition of his proposition that the Committee of Inquiry should not inquire at all. When it was announced that the Committee, thus docked of its attributes, had assented to these degrading terms, and had acquiesced in the views of the Government, I felt that all was over. I have the greatest confidence in the salient qualities of the Irish people; but I had not as intimate a knowledge as some of my friends of their powers of rallying. But I never shall despair of Ireland, or of the Irish people, or of the Irish representatives again, when I find that with a patriotism I cannot sufficiently applaud, and a moral courage which still amazes me, men who had the complaisance to assent to the proposition of the Government in a Committee, had the heroism in this House to save their country and vote against it. Well, at least we had a measure of some mark and likelihood before us; but the objection which applied to the first proposal of the Government was equally applicable to the second, namely, that it was accompanied by no measures of a permanent character which would prevent the occurrence of an emergency we all so much deplore. Our opposition was offered to it on that account, and although that opposition was not formally successful, it was virtually efficacious. The tone of the Government did not favour the idea that they were confident of carrying their measure. Easter came, and then what happened? The first thing that attracted notice was a paragraph in the journals at once recognised as having received the official stamp. The Irish Members were invited to meet on a certain day at Downing-street, where they were to be received by the Minister. I ventured to say this evening, when a startling conversation took place between my noble Friend the Member for Down, and the noble Lord at the head of the Government, that I thought the conduct of that noble Lord in so calling Members together was unconstitutional. The noble Lord deprecated any decision at the moment, and notwithstanding I was called to order, I believe I might, according to the forms of the House, have availed myself of the occasion to make the observations which occurred to me; but I cheerfully yielded to the intimation of the Chair. But after what the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has said, I will repeat my opinion that it was an unconstitutional step. But the right hon. Gentleman has taken new ground on the subject in the course of his observations. He says, he is not ashamed of deferring to the Irish Members, and that he will always feel it his duty to consult them. But this deference of the Minister to the Irish Members, seems to have been a very Irish kind of deference. This mode of consulting the Irish Members is of a peculiar sort of confidence. My own opinion is, that it is unconstitutional in a Minister to call together, in a private place, a large section of the House of Commons, and confer with them. [Sir J. HOBHOUSE: No, no!] I shall be happy to hear the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Control—than whom no man is more able, or more learned in the British constitution—offer any just criticism he likes. I think I know what the right hon. Baronet means by saying "no." Perhaps he thinks, or the noble Lord thinks, that though it may not be according to the letter—to the pedantic construction of the Bill of Rights—for a Minister to consult a large body of the House of Commons, yet we all know Ministers have been in the habit of calling Members of the House of Commons together, and communicating with them. Of this there cannot be a doubt. It is very true that our constitution, in spirit, though not in letter, is a Parliamentary constitution—a constitution governed by parties; and that very fact renders it necessary that the leading Members of parties should, from time to time, communicate with those acting in concert with them in political matters. But there is no similarity between a Minister calling together his political friends in a private manner, and a Minister advertising in the newspapers for a section of the House of Commons to meet him in his dining room. Here is the distinction. In the one case a Minister asks his political friends to support him; but in the other case he seeks of those who are in many instances his political opponents counsel, and not support. ["Hear, hear!"] I repeat that such a proceeding on the part of a Minister is not constitutional. It is a shuffling off of responsibility, calculated to alarm the just confidence we ought to feel in men who are honoured with the confidence of the Sovereign. I say, there is something degrading in a Minister going to 105 Members of the House of Commons, and saying, "Can you give me an idea—have you got a suggestion you can offer—do tell me how I am to govern Ireland; for if I do not know how to govern Ireland, I can no longer govern England, and I may cease to be Prime Minister." I say this is unconstitutional, and grossly unconstitutional. Some hon. Members from Ireland are in the habit of coming here and complaining that they are not made enough of, but I really think we treat them pretty well. Some of them want a Parliament of their own; but, according to this system, they have a Cabinet of their own. They consult together—they hold councils, and they frame their own measures. What Parliament in College-green could be better organised than all the Irish Members called together and locked up in the dining room of the Prime Minister? I repeat it is unconstitutional, because it tampers with free discussion in this House. The Minister and the Members should come here and discuss affairs of public moment, and not shut themselves up behind screens and with blinds drawn down in the private chamber of the Minister. But even if there had been no violation of the constitution, the act of the Minister was an extremely ineffective one—what has been the course of affairs? The Minister calls together, in this unconstitutional manner, a sixth of the House of Commons, to meet him in his private apartment—and when they are there, what is put before them? Now let us, as practical men, look at the manner in which the Prime Minister demeans himself. "Will you," said he, "support the Rate-in-Aid Bill, or, as an alternative, accept an income tax—and something else?" The answer of the Irish Members was naturally that their objection to the infliction of an income tax was very great. They said, however, "As you have got us here—as we are in for it—as we are here in secret council in a Parliament of our own, whatever may have been our first scruples, let us do business. We will decide, if you will tell us what we are to decide upon." "No," said the Chancellor of the Exchequer—the right hon. Gentleman who confesses that he is not ashamed to defer to Irish Members, nay, more, that he feels an honest pride in consulting them—" it would have been impossible for us to have put the alternative, for there would have been something unprecedentedly indelicate and altogether unusual in our whispering to a private ear the taxing propensities of the Government of England." And the hon. Gentleman added, "It is only in Parliament that we can disclose the alternative." The Irish Members very properly said the same thing, and told the Minister that it was only in Parliament they could give their answer. I think, therefore, I have some ground for expressing my opinion of the conduct of the Minister in this extraordinary assembly—an assembly which I have no hesitation in characterising as unconstitutional, ineffective, and absurd. I can conceive nothing more absurd than a Minister of the Crown advertising for a body of Members of the House of Commons to meet him one morning to see what God would send them; and then to find him accompanied by a Cabinet Minister, his private secretary, and a reporter, telling them that he had nothing to say, and, at the same time, preventing them from saying anything. And then the proceeding is wound up by the Minister's sending an accurate bulletin of what transpired to an evening paper, as the latest piece of intelligence. But the whole thing has been in perfect harmony with the Irish policy which has been pursued; throughout the entire Session. "Infirm of purpose" is stamped on every measure; if, indeed, we can say we have a measure. That policy has been a series of hints—a policy of inuendoes, concluding by an invitation for suggestions by the Government to their political opponents. Here we are to-night discussing the same subject which was before us on the first night of the Session, namely, whether we shall grant to Ireland a small sum of money, without any one being certain that even the poor-law is to be remedied. What prospect is there, at this moment, of any measure being brought forward to prevent the recurrence of another claim like the present? We have again to ask the same question, with reference to this vote of 100,000l., which we asked three months ago with reference to its junior brother. What must have been the feelings of the Irish Members when they first saw the advertisement, when they received the invitation? They might have felt—"Now it is coming—now we are going to have not only a comprehensive, but, unlike some other great schemes, a comprehensible measure." Instead of this, all the Irish Members have gained has been that they have been told, that in the barrenness of legislative construction on the part of the Treasury bench, that if they propose any measure of a more generous—larger, or of a more national character than the Government proposal, it will not receive the sanction of the Minister. I am unwilling to use any expression of harshness beyond the common criticism of debate. The hon. Gentlemen opposite are men we all respect—whoso characters we esteem, and whoso talents we acknowledge. They are a body of Gentlemen who, as Ministers, owe their existence to necessity. Whatever they do, their destiny is still to govern—they neither need fear rivals, nor apprehend successors. Under these circumstances, I wish, at all times, to use those terms of respect which would rise to the lips of every one who felt inclined to speak of them. But I may be allowed to say, that if they pursue the course they have too long pursued with regard to Ireland, it is not that they will lose the confidence, but I fear they will exhaust the patience of the country.

Sir, it is hardly necessary for me to address this Committee with respect to the answer which the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire has given to my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because the hon. Gentleman has not invalidated any one of those arguments which my right hon. Friend employed in support of his proposition. My right hon. Friend stated, that when the grant was first proposed, the opposition to that grant came very mainly from the hon. Member for Northamptonshire, who pointed out that Ireland paid some 11,000,000l. less in taxation than England, and that these grants did more harm than good. The hon. Gentleman has not been able to shake in any degree that statement. My right hon. Friend stated, that there was the instance in Scotland of what would not certainly be a rate in aid, but of taxation in consequence of a deficiency of crop. Now, that taxation was 14 pounds Scots in every 100 pounds Scots. That was 14 per cent, and was imposed on the counties in Scotland in which distress existed. Now, if it could be proved, as alleged, that the imposition of a rate of 6d. in the pound placed on all property assessed in Ireland is a violation of the Union, and tends to separate the two countries, the same objection was applicable to that Act of Parliament with respect to Scotland, which imposed on certain Scotch counties a rate of 14l. in every 100l, for the purpose of the relief of distress. That we have not copied exactly that precedent-can hardly be made a matter of reproach to us, having taken the spirit of that precedent; because, if we were to propose to impose on the county of Mayo a large taxation for the relief of distress in that county, it is obvious we should be looking to resources which would fail us when we desired to provide for the distress. So far, then, as my right hon. Friend's statement went, the hon. Gentleman has certainly done nothing to shake the validity of his arguments. But the hon. Gentleman went further, and has chosen to give a narrative of what has occurred during this Session with respect to which it is necessary that I should make some observations; and the first observation I have to make is, that though it is perfectly competent for the hon. Gentleman to give an account in works of fiction of the state of political parties in England, to Pourtray those parties as he pleases, and to invent events and occurrences which may give great amusement to the public, and interest all those who read them, yet it is not fair in a Member of the House of Commons to make, in a speech in Parliament, a narrative to suit his own imaginary view of what might produce an effect; it is not fair for him to make occurrences happen which never did happen, and so to shape the whole course of events that his narrative may be exceedingly interesting, while the plain truth itself would give very little entertainment to the House. The first statement of the hon. Gentleman was, that the intention of the Government, in having a Committee on the Irish poor-law, was, that that Committee should frame measures for them; and that, great discontent having been expressed in this House at that intention, I went down to the Committee, and proposed in a hurried and agitated manner a number of resolutions. Now, that is fiction. It would make an admirable chapter in a novel, and be there a very pleasant representation of what occurred in the year 1849 in regard to the English House of Commons, and Committees of this House; but the fact happens to be somewhat very different from that representation. It happens that I said in this House, when urged by Irish Members to state before the Committee met what Government intended to do with respect to the Irish poor-law, that it was not my intention to do so; but that as soon as the Committee should assemble, and there should then be brought together a number of Gentlemen who were thoroughly acquainted with Ireland, I would state to them the views of the Government on the subject. Anything less like going down to the Committee in a hurried and agitated manner than this statement, some four or five days in advance of what I intended to do, can hardly be conceived. Then the hon. Gentleman says, that during the Easter recess I put an advertisement into the newspapers asking Irish Members to come to my dining-room, and that, having got them there and shut them up, I asked their counsel as to what should be done, and begged for advice in respect to what measures should be adopted with regard to Ireland. I again say, that that is a very pleasant, but a very imaginary statement. What happened was, that I wrote to every Gentleman representing any Irish county or borough, and asked him to do me the favour to meet me on a certain day; and when those Gentlemen did meet me, what I proposed to them was, not to give me counsel with respect to what we should propose, but, an hon. Member representing an Irish county, the Member for Kerry, having given notice of a proposition, which he has this night brought forward very fairly, and in a spirit of patriotism not only Irish but imperial, I asked them whether, as Parliament had decided that the urgent Irish distress should be relieved from extraordinary resources, it was their intention or not to vote for the proposition of the hon. Member for Kerry; because, if it were their opinion that the resources for the relief of the urgent Irish distress should be derived from the fund suggested by the hon. Member for Kerry, it would be far better, instead of the Government going down to the House to make this proposition, and then for another to be made which might be supported by a great majority of the Irish Members, that we should be informed beforehand, and then we should be ready to adopt the proposition of the hon. Member, and put that before the House instead of the Government proposition. The House will recollect that, when I last spoke on this subject, I said that if the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire meant to say that he should vote for the proposition of the hon. Member for Kerry, there would not be any insuperable difference between us; because, if such were also the opinion of the majority of the Irish Members, I should think it better to obtain the rate or tax in Ireland in the manner, I will not say the most palatable, but the least disagreeable to Ireland, rather than to impose it in the manner the most offensive and most disagreeable. I did not think that in making this statement to the Irish Members, I was doing any thing unconstitutional, or any thing inconsistent with my duty, or in the least degree lowering to the dignity which a Minister of the Crown ought to possess. On the contrary, as this tax was not to affect the whole of the united kingdom, but only a portion, I saw nothing inconsistent with my duty in endeavouring to learn what were the opinions of those representing that part of the kingdom to which the tax in question was to apply, and whether they had a preference for one proposition introduced by the Government, or for another, notice of which had been given by an hon. Member. The hon. Gentleman, in different parts of his speech, has made various statements, and says nothing is more indicative of our being infirm of purpose than our being disposed to change the proposition which we had already submitted to the House; but the hon. Gentleman himself at last gave some countenance to a change of purpose, because, alluding to those Irish representatives who, in Committee upstairs, voted in favour of the rate in aid, he adverted to their patriotism because they came down to the House and voted in a contrary manner, no doubt in deference to the wishes of their constituents. If that be patriotism, and if we paid the same deference to the wishes of the Irish representatives, there could not have been any thing so particularly culpable on our part. With respect to this subject, I must say that I think the hon. Member for Cockermouth has somewhat gone beyond the usual privilege of debate, when he says that the proposal for an advance is a proposal made upon a false pretence.

What I said was, that it was not only based on false principles, but might almost seem to be on false pretences.

Well, taking it with that salvo, all I can say is, that that "seeming" would be a very false "seeming;" that it would not be the real fact with regard to it; certainly, my expectation is, that if the Bill for the rate in aid should pass, the advance would be repaid by the sum which would be taken, probably, not by a special rate. Now, with regard to the proposition made by the hon. Member for Kerry, as I have said, we were ready to consult the wishes and opinions of Irish Members; but I think we were not mistaken in our original view, that with respect to the interests of Ireland it was better to take the measure of a rate in aid, than resort to the proposition of an income tax. My right hon. Friend said, that with regard to the rate in aid, it was to be collected by a machinery already in existence, whereas the income tax would require a new machinery; my right hon. Friend, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, has very naturally not gone beyond that statement; but if any one will reflect what is the meaning of a new machinery with regard to taxation, it will be seen that it means something which is not at all agreeable in practice. With respect to an income tax, it is generally agreed that you could not have an income tax in Ireland without applying it to trades and professions, and then you must ask every man what have been his gains and profits. Now, that is a question which is not answered without difficulty, it being of course very injurious to any man in trade to state that his profits have been extremely low during the preceding year—that they amounted to little or nothing; and, on the other hand, if he should state that they hate been very considerable, of course the tax he would have to pay would be large. The machinery of other taxes, of any tax of excise, requires supervision, and is therefore likely to be considered to be attended with most irksome circumstances. I certainly should not object to any discussion of the proposal of the hon. Member; I have stated that I think it a very fair proposal; but I do wish the Committee to recollect what are the circumstances in which we are proposing this rate in aid. I beg the Committee to recollect that which I have so often stated, but which I have generally found nearly, if not totally, omitted in debate, that there is a very considerable population who have for many years lived upon the potato as their accustomed food; and who, when those potatoes fail, having no employment, receiving no wages, and not gathering that accustomed food, are left totally destitute, and without extrinsic aid must perish. Now, when a subject of this kind is under consideration, let it be discussed in what form the House will give relief in the way they best can; let them say that they will do it by means of an income tax, if they do not prefer the rate in aid; but let me ask them, at all events, to come to a decision by which the Government may be enabled to relieve that extreme distress. I do not wonder, certainly, that objections have been made to repeated grants; but, at the same time, I must represent to the House that the failure of the potato in 1846, and the grants and loans that were made in 1846, can by no means diminish a similar misfortune occurring in 1849. We may well say, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth said—and which I think has not been correctly or fairly represented by the hon. Member for Cocker-mouth—" Let us supply the immediate necessity, let us vote the means of relieving this extreme distress, but let us consider what is to be the case in future years, and let us have a future policy as well as the means of alleviation." The right hon. Baronet did not say—" Let us have a policy, and let us therefore not have any means of alleviation." I do not think that is a just representation. It was for the future that he proposed there should be some policy laid down. I do not wish to enter further into the questions which the hon. Member raised: with respect to a portion of them, and a great portion of what the right hon. Baronet said, we shall have opportunities of discussion when the Bill of my Friend the Solicitor General comes before the House; there must be frequent occasions when this other question of policy towards Ireland will be considered. But what I do ask the House is, that whatever may be their opinion of future policy, whatever their opinion of the mode in which this immediate want shall be relieved, they will consider that the want of 1849, the distress of 1849, the hunger and the starving of 1849, are as great as existed in 1846, almost as great as in 1847; and I hope this Committee will decide in such a manner that effectual relief for the present distress may be provided.

This resolution will have to be reported, and we shall have, afterwards, to go into a Committee on the Rate in Aid Bill; and I do not think I am asking too much to ask the House to continue the debate.

There are numbers of Irish Members who are anxious to speak. If Irish Members do not wish to adjourn the debate, I shall bow to their decision; but if there are Irish Members who wish to speak, I shall persist in the Motion I have made. The debate has been carried on on extraneous points. There has been no argument in favour of the rate in aid, or the application of the income tax to Ireland.

regretted that his hon. Friend the Member for Kerry had persisted in bringing forward this Motion. He had already stated, in writing to the noble Lord, the reasons which had induced many of the Irish Members to decline giving an opinion upon the question. As to the imposition of the income tax, he conceived it absolutely impossible to answer to those who had sent them here as to whether they were willing to agree with their Members in consenting to such an income tax. If the hon. Member for Kerry pressed his Amendment, he could not vote for that Amendment, however willing he might be at another time to vote for it and support it. He desired distinctly to be understood as perfectly willing to enter into the question of increased taxation of Ireland, on the understanding that it should be imperial taxation for imperial purposes; for he really objected to local taxation. As far as he was concerned, if he had any weight with the hon. Member for Kerry, he should press him not to go to a division.

, on the other hand, requested the hon. Member for Kerry to persist. He wished, for one or two minutes, to reply to the observations of the noble Lord at the head of the Government.

rose to order. It was not competent to the hon. Member to speak on the question—upon the question of adjournment. If any one was to speak he was in possession of the House.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question." Whereupon Motion made, and Question put, "That the Chairman do now report progress, and ask leave to sit again."

The Committee divided: Ayes 77; Noes 206: Majority 129.

List of the AYES.

Alexander, N.Hornby, J.
Archdall, Capt. M.Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Arkwright, G.Jones, Capt.
Bagge, W.Keating, R.
Baldock, E. H.Lawless, hon. C.
Bankes, G.Lewisham, Visct.
Barron, Sir H. W.Lockhart, W.
Bateson, T.Long, W.
Bennet, P.Lowther, hon. Col.
Bentinck, Lord H.Mackenzie, W. F.
Blackall, S. W.Macnaghten, Sir E.
Bourke, R. S.Magan, W. H.
Bremridge, R.Meagher, T.
Broadley, H.Masterman, J.
Broadwood, H.Monsell, W.
Bruon, Col.Moore, G. H.
Buller, Sir J. Y.Neeld, J.
Butler, P. S.Newdegate, C. N.
Chichester, Lord J. L.O'Flaherty, A.
Clements, hon. C. S.Packe, C. W.
Compton, H. C.Palmer, R.
Corry, rt. hon. H. L.Plumptre, J. P.
Crawford, W. S.Portal, M.
Damer, hon. Col.Ronton, J. C.
Dawson, hon. T. V.Sadleir, J.
Devereux, J. T.St. George, C.
Disraeli, B.Spooner, R.
Fellowes, E.Stafford, A.
Ffolliott, J.Stanley, hon. E. H.
Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W.Stuart, J.
Fox, R. M.Sullivan, M.
Godson, R.Tenison, E. K.
Granby, Marq, ofTonnent, R. J.
Greene, J.Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Hamilton, Lord C.Vyse, R. H. R. H.
Harris, hon. Capt.Walsh, Sir J. B.
Hayes, Sir E.Wodehouse, E.
Herbert, H. A.TELLERS.
Herries, rt. hon. J. C.Dunne, Col.
Hill, Lord E.Scully, F.

List of the NOES.

Abdy, T. N.Baines, M. T.
Adair, R. A. S.Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T.
Aglionby, H.Baring, T.
Anson, hon. Col.Bass, M. T.
Armstrong, Sir A.Beckett, W.

Bellew, R. M.Heywood, J.
Berkeley, hon. Capt.Heyworth, L.
Berkeley, C. L. G.Hindley, C.
Birch, Sir T. B.Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.
Bouverie, hon. E. P.Hobhouse, T. B.
Bowles, Adm.Hood, Sir A.
Boyle, hon. Col.Howard, Lord E.
Brackley, Visct.Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Bramston, T. W.Hume, J.
Bright, J.Jervis, Sir J.
Brisco, M.Jocelyn, Visct.
Brotherton, J.Keppel, hon. G. T.
Brown, W.Kershaw, J.
Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W.King, hon. P. J. L.
Burroughes, H. N.Knox, Col.
Buxton, Sir E. N.Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Cardwell, E.Langston, J. H.
Carter, J. B.Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Charteris, hon. F.Lewis, G. C.
Childers, J. W.Lincoln, Earl of
Christy, S.Lindsay, hon. Col.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.Littleton, hon E. R.
Clifford, H. M.Locke, J.
Clive, hon. R. H.Lushington, C.
Cobden, R.M'Cullagh, W. T.
Cockburn, A. J. E.M'Gregor, J.
Cowper, hon. W. F.Maitland, T.
Craig, W. G.Mangles, R. D.
Currie, H.Marshall, J. G.
Deedes, W.Marshall, W.
Denison, J. E.Matheson, A.
Douglas, Sir C. E.Matheson, J.
Drummond, H.Matheson, Col.
Duncan, Visct.Maule, rt. hon. F.
Duncan, G.Mitchell, T. A.
Buncombe, hon. O.Moffatt, G.
Duncuft, J.Moody, C. A.
Dundas, Adm.Morris, D.
Ebrington, Visct.Mowatt, F.
Edwards, H.Mulgrave, Earl of
Egerton, W. T.Mundy, W.
Ellice, E.Newport, Visct.
Elliot, hon. J. E.Newry and Morne, Visct.
Emlyn, Visct.Norreys, Lord
Estcourt, J. B. B.Norreys, Sir D. J.
Euston, Earl ofNugent, Lord
Evans, J.O'Brien, Sir L.
Evans, W.Paget, Lord A.
Filmer, Sir E.Paget, Lord C.
Fitzroy, hon. H.Paget, Lord G.
Fordyce, A. D.Palmer, R.
Forster, M.Palmerston, Visct.
Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.Parker, J.
Glyn, G. C.Pearson, C.
Goddard, A. L.Pechell, Capt.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H.Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.Peel, F.
Greenall, G.Pennant, hon. Col.
Grenfell, C. P.Peto, S. M.
Grenfell, C. W.Pigott, F.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.Pinney, W.
Grey, R. W.Power, N.
Guest, Sir J.Prime, R.
Gwyn, H.Pryse, P.
Haggitt, F. R.Pusey, P.
Hardcastle, J. A.Rawdon, Col.
Harris, R.Repton, G. W. J.
Hawes, B.Ricardo, O.
Hay, Lord J.Rice, E. R.
Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.Rich, H.
Headlam, T. E.Romilly, Sir J.
Heald, J.Russell, Lord J.
Henley, J. W.Russell, hon. E. S.

Rutherford, A.Trollope, Sir J.
Sandars, G.Turner, G. J.
Sandars, J.Vane, Lord H.
Scholefield, W.Villiers, Visct.
Scott, hon. F.Villiers, hon. F. W. C.
Scrope, G. P.Walmsley, Sir J.
Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.Walpole, S. H.
Shirley, E. J.Walter, J.
Sidney, Ald.Ward, H. G.
Smith, J. A.Watkins, Col. L.
Smith, M. T.Wellesley, Lord C.
Smith, J. B.Willcox, B. M.
Somers, J. P.Williams, J.
Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.Williamson, Sir H.
Sotheron, T. H. S.Willoughby, Sir H.
Stansfield, W. R. C.Wilson, J.
Stuart, Lord D.Wilson, M.
Stuart, Lord J.Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Stuart, H.Wood, W. P.
Talfourd, Serj.Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.
Tancred, H. W.Wyld, J.
Thesiger, Sir F.Wyvill, M.
Thicknesse, R. A.Young, Sir J.
Thompson, Col.
Thompson, G.TELLERS.
Thornely, T.Tufnell, H.
Townshend, Capt.Hill, Lord M.

was anxious to have the opportunity of explaining why he could support neither the rate in aid nor the proposition of the hon. Member for Kerry. He believed other Irish Members wished to speak, and he hoped, therefore, that the noble Lord would not persist in going to a division on the main question that night. He would move that the Chairman report progress.

would not oppose the adjournment, as the feeling of a large portion of the House appeared to be in favour of it, but reminded Irish Members that by postponing their decision they increased the difficulty of providing the means for relieving the distress which existed.

Committee report progress; to sit again To-morrow.

House adjourned at One o'Clock.