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continued labours in an amount of public admiration and trust such as, upon the whole, surpassed that which had fallen to the lot of any other statesman of our times. This feeling pervaded every class of the community, from the aristocracy from which he sprang, down to the ranks of humble and honest labour. All who knew him were acquainted with his genial temper, the courage with which he entered into the debates of the House, his perfect command of “fence," and his genuine old English delight in a fair stand-up fight. Yet notwithstanding his possession of these powers, there was no man whose inclination or habit was more fixed in avoiding whatever could tend to exasperate.
Another remarkable characteristic of the noble lord was, that he invariably said precisely the thing that he meant to say. It was his force of will, combined with a sense of duty and the determination not to give in, that enabled him at such an advanced age to make himself a model for all his contemporaries in the discharge of duty, and not only to struggle with, but actually to repel, the infirmities of age and decay of physical power.
He had a nature, too, that was utterly incapable of bearing anger or a sentiment of animosity. This was a noble gift of nature, delightful to remember of him who had passed away.
Mr. Disraeli, although not enjoying the private friendship or sharing the political sentiments of Lord Palmerston, was anxious to express, on the part of the Opposition, their cordial approval of the proposition of the Government. Whatever differences of opinion might exist upon political questions, sixty years of political services, always distinguished and sometimes illustrious, could not be permitted only to be cherished by the admiring and, perhaps, grateful feeling of the country. Most fitting was it, then, that an outward and visible sign should be set up in the chief sanctuary of the realm to preserve the memory of a statesman who had combined in the highest degree two qualities that were seldom met together-energy and experience. He trusted the time might never come when the love of fame would cease to be the sovereign passion of our public men; but he still thought that that statesman was to be peculiarly envied, who, when he left us, left not merely the memory of great achievements, but also the tender traditions of personal affection and social charms.
Mr. Beresford Hope cautioned the House against another reproduction of the monumental horrors which now studded our cathedrals, and expressed a hope that the memorial to Lord Palmerston would be alike worthy of the man and the country.
Sir J. Pakington hoped that there would be no such delay in this case as in the Wellington monument, sanctioned thirteen years ago.
The address was agreed to amidst loud cheers.
Disturbed state of Ireland-Progress of the Fenian conspiracy-Suspension of the
Habeas Corpus Act-Rapid proceedings of Parliament on this emergency-Debates in both Houses-Immediate effects of the suspending Act-Temporary subsidence of the insurrectionary spirit-Discussions in Parliament on the condition of IrelandMotions of Lord Lifford and of Earl Grey-Motion on the subject of the Irish Church Establishment by Sir John Gray-The debate is adjourned and not resumed
- The Landlord and Tenant question - Bill introduced by the Secretary for Ireland -Debates on the Bill in the House of Commons; conflicting arguments of Mr. Lowe and of Mr. Stuart Mill—The Bill is ultimately dropped in consequence of the change of Ministry-Attempt of the Marquis of Clanricarde to carry a Bill on the same subject in the House of Lords-The ineasure is opposed and withdrawnRenewal of the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act proposed by the Earl of Derby's Government–The late Lord Lieutenant (Lord Kimberley) and other members of the late Ministry support the measure, which is passed – Revival of the Fenian conspiracy in the autumn-Menaces of the insurgent leaders in the United States Alarm of the loyal and well-disposed classes in Ireland-Vigorous defensive measures of the Government-Arrests of suspected persons, and seizures of arms—
ends without any outbreak or overt act on the part of the conspirators. The condition of Ireland at the commencement of the year was such as to give it an unhappy prominence in the proceedings of the early part of this Session. The Fenian conspiracy, of the origin and nature of which a full account was given in the preceding volume of this work, still occupied the full attention of the Executive in that part of the kingdom. Numerous arrests and seizures of arms were made in various places, the military were held in constant preparation against an outbreak, and much alarm was felt in certain districts by the owners of property and the loyal part of the community. The Special Commission was engaged in disposing of the long list of prisoners arraigned before it; yet neither the penalties of the law nor the demonstration of force in the hands of the Executive appeared sufficient to control the insurrectionary tendencies which threatened the peace of the country. Under these circumstances the Government were driven to the necessity of asking for extraordinary powers to enable them to cope with the emergency, and little surprise was occasioned when, on the 16th of February, Earl Russell announced that Her Majesty's Government proposed to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act in Ireland, and that measures would be taken to carry a Bill with that object through all its stages, in both Houses, on the next day (Saturday) and to obtain the Royal assent at once, so that the measure would be in operation in Ireland on Monday morning, the 19th.
Both Houses accordingly met on the 16th ; and at twelve o'clock Sir George Grey rose in the House of Commons, which was unusually thronged both with members and strangers, to bring in a Bill to suspend for a limited period the Habeas Corpus Act in Ireland. He allowed that this was a strong and extraordinary measure, but assured the House that it would not have been asked for had not the ordinary powers of the law been found insufficient to check the alarming and widespread Fenian conspiracy. Sir George traced the history of Fenianism in Ireland up to the cessation of the American war, when it assumed a more active form owing to the stimulus which it received from the American organization. He read extracts from articles in the" Irish People," and from documents seized by the police, to show that the object was to wrest Ireland from the British Crown, and that men, arms, and money were to be supplied from America for this purpose. The Government had hoped that the recent trials would have broken up the conspiracy, but the escape of Stephens had given fresh energy to it. He read reports from the Irish Executive, stating that depôts and manufactures of arms had been discovered in various parts, and that a large number of Irish-American emissaries were known to be dispersed throughout the country, swearing in members, endeavouring to seduce the troops froin their allegiance, and holding out false hopes of material assistance from the United States' Government. Though in a few individual cases soldiers had been led astray, the Government had the fullest confidence in the loyalty of the army as a whole, and, with regard to the American Government, this conspiracy had not received the slightest shadow of support from them. Many of these emissaries had been arrested from time to time, but they were sufficiently wary not to carry evidence about with them which would justify the authorities in putting them on their trial. He described the steps which had been taken by the Government in despatching reinforcements and spreading detachments throughout the country, and read letters from the Lord-Lieutenant to show that he had for some weeks contemplated the necessity of this measure. The latest communication he had received and which had induced the Government to adopt the present step, was on the 14th of February, and the greater part of this letter Sir George Grey read to the House. Lord Wodehouse wrote as follows:
“ February 14, 1866. “I have come to the conclusion, after most careful consideration, that the time has arrived when it is indispensable, for the safety of this country, that the Habeas Corpus Act should be suspended. The Chancellor and Mr. Fortescue authorize me to say that they entirely concur in the pressing urgency of the measure. There is a complete agreement amongst my advisers, and they feel most strongly with me the urgent necessity for prompt, indeed immediate, action. The state of affairs is very serious. The conspirators, undeterred by the punishment of so many of their leaders, are actively organizing an outbreak, with a view to destroy the Queen's authority. Sir Hugh Rose details the various plans they have in contemplation, and he draws no exaggerated picture. There are scattered over the country a number of agents, who are swearing in members, and who are prepared to take the command when the moment arrives. These men are of the most dangerous class. They are Irishmen, imbued with American notions, thoroughly reckless, and possessed of considerable military experience, acquired on a field of warfare (the civil war in America) admirably adapted to train them for conducting an insurrection here. There are 340 such men known to the police in the provinces, and those known in Dublin amount to about 160, so that in round numbers there are 500. Of course, there are many more who escape notice. This number is being augmented by fresh men constantly arriving from America. In Dublin itself there are several hundred men (perhaps about 300 or 400), who have come over from England and Scotland, who receive 1s. 6d. a day, and are waiting for the time of action. Any one may observe these men loitering about at the corners of the streets.
As to arms, we have found no less than three regular manufactories of pikes, bullets, and cartridges in Dublin. The police believe that several more exist. Of course bullets are not made unless there are rifles to put them in. The disaffection of the population in certain counties, such as Cork, Tipperary, Waterford, and Dublin, is alarming; and it is day by day spreading more and more through every part of the country. But the most dangerous feature of the present movement is the attempt to seduce the troops. Are we to allow these agents to go on instilling their poison into our armed force, upon which our security mainly depends ? I feel confident that the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act will have a most salutary effect. It is remarkable that our reports show that the Fenian leaders are saying that there is no time to lose, as, if they delay, the Act will be suspended. I trust that the Cabinet will not think me an alarmist. I have watched every symptom here for many months, and it is my deliberate conviction that no time should now be lost in suspending the Act. I cannot be responsible for the safety of the country if power is not forthwith given to the Government to seize the leaders. With that power I hope still to avert serious mischief. I most earnestly urge that the Bill for the suspension be brought in without delay."
“Upon the receipt of that letter,” said Sir George Grey," I sent immediately a request to the noble lord at the head of the Government that the Cabinet might be at once summoned. The Cabinet was accordingly summoned, and I placed before them these letters for consideration. They felt it to be their imperative duty-a duty from which they could not shrink-to immediately lay these facts before the House of Commons, and ask it to grant the power which the Lord-Lieutenant, and they agreeing with him, think absolutely essential for the safety of the country. There is one feature in this insurrection which is of a satisfactory nature. It differs from other conspiracies which have existed in Ireland in this respect, that it embraces within its sphere no persons who, from their character and position, are entitled to exercise a just influence in the country. I think the paragraph in the Queen's Speech most justly described the conspiracy. It said that it was not for any legislative change--not for the repeal of the connexion of Ireland with the British Crown-but that its avowed object was to wrest Ireland from the British Crown, and transfer it to a foreign power. It also justly described it as a conspiracy against authority, against property, and against religion, and as one-I won't say discountenanced --but repudiated by any man in the country who has any thing to lose, or who, of whatever creed or political opinion, naturally feels alarmed at objects such as these.” In conclusion, Sir George Grey explained that the duration of the Bill would be limited to the 1st September next, and he impressed upon the House the necessity of passing it into a law without a day's delay.
Mr. Disraeli, after pointing out to the Government that they had allowed a clause in the Act of the 50th George III. to be repealed last year which would have enabled them to deal summarily with these emissaries, admitted that Sir George Grey's statement was authentic, and that it justified the House in assenting to the partial suspension of the Constitution. While reserving the right of inquiring at some future time how far the conduct of the Government had contributed to bring about this critical state of things in Ireland, he gave a complete support to the introduction of the Bill.
Mr. Bright expressed the shame and humiliation which he felt at being called on for a second time in a Parliamentary career of twenty-two years to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act in Ireland. He asserted that Ireland was in a state of chronic agitation, and that the numerical majority of the Irish people were in favour of a complete separation from England. The causes of this he traced to the unjust legislation of the Imperial Parliament, which, since the Union, had passed many Coercion Bills, but only three really good measures for Ireland—the Catholic Emancipation Act, under the danger of civil war; the Poor Relief Act; and the Encumbered Estates Act, under the pressure of a terrible famine. That there might have been improved administration he admitted, but he denied that there had been any statesmanship shown in dealing with the Irish question, and he doubted whether any of the Ministers in his time had comprehended it. He attributed this in a great measure to the system of parties, and, in an eloquent passage, depicted the happy results which might be secured if two great and trusted leaders like Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Disraeli, suspending for a moment their contests for office, would combine in an effort to ascertain the causes of Irish discontent and to apply a remedy. He pointed out that the fact of Fenianism having to some extent a foreign origin aggravated the difficulty, and asked