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"peculiar circumstances existing in Ireland." But he heard with great pleasure a speech from a gentleman bearing the name of Romilly-worthy of a lawyer, but not exclusively of a lawyer-a speech combining with extensive legal knowledge large political views well worthy of the subject handled.
On the broad principle and policy of the measure Sir James made this declaration amidst general cheering "I think it is absolutely necessary that every encourage ment and facility should be given to the subdivision of land in Ireland; and that the opportunity most favourable for effecting this is when land is brought to sale. I am most anxious to reunite to the soil of Ireland the Roman Catholic population of that country. That I believe to be one of the most efficacious means of insuring the safety of Ireland, and of forming and strengthening the bond of union between the two countries. During a long period of exclusion and inequality of rights, the Roman Catholics of Ireland have by industry accumulated capital, which I believe they are not unwilling to invest in the purchase of the land of Ireland. Unfortunately, the large estates held by right of confiscation, in the hands of Protestants, have become deeply encumbered. By reason of these encumbrances, the nominal owners of the estates cannot in all instances do that which it is their wish and their duty to do. I would relieve them from the painful position in which they stand, and would give them every facility to release themselves from their debts. Their creditors should in the first place be secured, and then their families provided for out of
the balance of the sale of the estates. For unquestionably their estates ought at once to be brought to market *** I consider the bill, as amended by the Solicitor General, well adapted to secure the interests of the owner in possession, the heirs, the remainder men, and the creditors. If there should be any imperfection in the measure, especially as to securing the sale of the property at its full value, I shall be ready to remove that imperfection. I am most anxious that the full value of the property should be secured; that no sudden or precipitate sale should be forced on, so that the value of the land should be depreciated by a larger quantity being brought simultaneously into the market than the demand requires. I am also, for the sake of the tenants in possession, desirous that care be taken that there shall not be a mortgagee panic, which would be fatal to the measure. But, under the present circumstances of Ireland, you must not be guided by caution only; you must not take your steps timidly, but boldly, at the same time prudently; for the period has arrived when with respect to this subject something decisive must be done."
The Bill did not pass through its ulterior stages without encountering some further criticism and hostility. Mr. Napier moved that it be recommitted for the purpose of striking out all the clauses added by the Solicitor General since it came down from the Lords. The Solicitor General vindicated the provisions which Mr. Napier had objected to, and the general policy of the Bill.
He maintained, in the first place, that the peculiar position of property in Ireland justified the resort
to provisions which at first sight might seem surprising; but, on the other hand, there was not a provision in the present Bill that was not justified by precedent in this country as well as the soundest policy. In this country the practical result under every welldrawn settlement was, that the tenant for life could sell an encumbered estate this Bill gave that power in Ireland, but under the guard that the tenant could not make encumbrances to bring about a sale for he could not sell on account of his own encumbrances— and that the title was not to be indefeasible till after five years. This term of limitation had a precedent in the Land Clauses Consolidation Act. He proposed to add a provision that every person interested in remainder under settlement should have personal notice of sale. He also proposed to provide that the Lord Lieutenant should have power to appoint serveyors to estimate estates sold under the Bill, and to see that proper prices were paid.
Sir John Romilly ended by observing that the creation of a middle class in Ireland could not be effected till land in portions of 100 acres each was made easily purchaseable. He would not be indisposed to extend a similar Bill to England.
Mr. Sadleir supported the amend ment. Colonel Dunne added some objections to those urged by the other opponents. Mr. Henley thought that the Bill struck at the root of all property; the machinery must be either unjust or nugatory. The best way to im prove Ireland was to give increased security to life and property.
Mr. Stuart entered into a detailed legal criticism of the clauses,
agreeing in substance with Mr. Henley as to the principle of the Bill.
Mr. Monsell strongly supported the Bill. He said it would be absurd to stick at technicalities in the present wretched condition of the tenants of encumbered estates. The Bill was also supported by Mr. P. Wood, Mr. Fagan, and Mr. C. Villiers. Opposed by Mr. Newdegate and Major Blackall. On a division the amendment was negatived by 197 to 52. It was then read a third time.
The amendments made in the House of Commons having been remitted for consideration to the House of Lords, the Lord Chancellor, on the 31st July, proposed the adoption of them, as materially conducing to the efficiency of the measure. He expressed his opinion of the proceedings in Courts of Equity in significant terms.
He entertained great respect for the Court of Chancery, but would not willingly enter that Court as a suitor, nor advise his friend to do so; in his opinion, therefore, the power of sale without the intervention of the Court of Chancery was a valuable addition to the Bill.
Lord Stanley entered into a detailed examination of the additions that had been made to the Bill, and condemned them as constituting, in fact, a new measure since the Bill was last in that House. He would move, if any one would support him, that the Bill be referred back to a Select Committee. Lord Monteagle expressed his reluctance to oppose the Bill; but it was so completely altered by the Commons, that he concurred in the desire for a reference to a Select Committee, in order to procure the
opinions of Irish lawyers on the new clauses. The Earls of Ellenborough and Glengall concurred. The Earls of Wicklow and Devon, the Marquis of Lansdowne and Lord Langdale supported the
amendments. On a division the House resolved, by 27 to 10, to consider the amendments: and they were agreed to without further contest.
DOMESTIC AFFAIRS-Extraordinary Tranquillity of this Country during the Continental Revolutions-Attempts made by the Chartists to disturb the Peace-Demonstration of the 10th of April, and its harmless Result-Excellent moral Effect produced thereby-Disorderly Assemblies and seditious Speeches in the Metropolis and other Places-Measures adopted by the Government-The great Chartist Petition to Parliament, and Proceedings respecting it-Report of the Committee on Public Petitions exposing the Misrepresentations as to the Signatures-Personal Dispute in the House between Mr. Cripps and Mr. Feargus O'Connor.-Interference of the Speaker and Expla nations of the Parties.-CROWN AND GOVERNMENT SECURITY BILL introduced by the Home Secretary-Objects of the Measure-Speech of Sir George Grey-Observations of Mr. J. O'Connell, Mr. F. O'Connor, and other Members-The Bill is brought in-Lord John Russell moves the Second Reading on the 10th of April-Mr. Smith O'Brien appears in Parliament for the last Time, and speaks against the Bill-Sir George Grey answers him in an animated Speech— Speeches of Mr. Thompson, Sir R. Inglis, and other Members-The Second Reading is carried by 452 to 35-The Clause making" Open and Advised Speaking" of treasonable Matter Felonious is much objected to in Committee-Mr. S. Martin, Mr. Horsman, Mr. Hume, Mr. Osborne and other Members strongly opposed to it-Speech of Sir R. Peel with reference to Events in France.-The Bill passes the Third Reading by a great Majority-Debate upon the Second Reading in the House of Lords-Speeches of Lord Stanley, Lord Brougham, Lord Campbell, the Duke of Wellington, Lord Denman, and other Peers. ALIENS REMOVAL BILL introduced by the Marquis of LansdowneExplanations and Debate on the Second Reading-In the House of Commons the Bill is opposed by Sir W. Molesworth - Remarks of Lord Dudley Stuart, the Attorney-General, Mr. Urquhart, Dr. Bowring, and other Members-The Second Reading is carried by a Majority of 119. EXTENSION OF THE ELECTIVE FRANCHISE-Popular Movement on this Subject and Exertions of Mr. Hume-A Resolution in favour of further Reform in Parliament is proposed by that Gentleman on the 21st of June-His Speech on that occasion-He is answered by Lord John Russell, who opposes the Motion-Speeches of Mr. H. Drummond, Mr. Fox, and Mr. Disraeli-The Debate is adjourned and resumed on the 6th of July-Speeches of Mr. B. Osborne,
Mr. Sergeant Talfourd, Mr. Cobden, Mr. F. O'Connor, Mr. Milnes,
HE security which under the protection of Providence this country derives from its free and popular constitution was never more signally exemplified than during the year of political agitation and disorder of which the memorable events are commemorated in this volume. While almost every throne on the Continent was emptied or shaken by revolution, the English monarchy, strong in the loyal attachment of the people, not only stood firm in the tempest, but appeared even to derive increased stability from the events that convulsed foreign kingdoms. In the most perfect constitution of society indeed, as it is impossible to extir pate the passions and vices of our common nature, disaffection, in a more or less degree, is always latent; and, as often as circumstances present the occasions of disorder, there will be found no lack of turbulent and unruly spirits to take advantage of them. It is at such periods that the soundness of a nation's political sentiments and the reality of its attachment to the constituted authorities is brought to a searching trial. A system which has been supported only by the strong hand of power, or by that allegiance which is the creature of habit rather than of reflection, is unable to withstand that contagious fever of innovation which spreads from country to country, under the impulse of any extraordinary movement in the human mind. On the other hand, a loyalty, based on reason and conviction, and an enlightened appreciation of the benefits derived from
well-tried institutions, proves a sure bulwark in the hour of trial against the machinations of conspirators and anarchists. Such was the lesson exhibited by England in the revolutionary era of 1848. The agitation which derived its impulse from the convulsions of the Continent prevailed only so far as to disturb for a moment the serenity of her political atmosphere. Awed by the overwhelming strength and imposing attitude of the friends of order, the mischief subsided almost as soon as it appeared, and the cause of rational freedom was materially strengthened by the futile efforts made to undermine it. When a knot of obscure and illdisposed malcontents would fain have played off in our metropolis the scenes which had been enacted with such sanguinary effects in Paris and Vienna, their insignificance was demonstrated, and their menaces rendered impotent by the firm and imposing attitude of the loyal and well-affected inhabitants arrayed in the defence of peace, property, and order.
The 10th of April was the day which the disciples of physical force, organized under the banner of Chartism, had announced for a grand display of their strength and numbers; a demonstration by which it was intended to overawe the Government into a concession of their demands, as the only means of averting a violent revolution. But the day which was to have been signalized by the jubilee of democratic licence terminated in the most decisive triumph of the Throne and Constitution. Without the slightest collision between the