Page images


Mr Hill, member for Hull, dur- not stomach such insolence, and“ reing a visit to that town, some time in pudiated the accusation”

through October last, in a harangue to his other channels, in language which constituents, at the Cross-keys Ion, he who ran might read. Mr Hill's accused one, or more than one, of offer, wbich we have facetiously the Irish Members, of the most dis- called above “ polite and genegraceful duplicity in regard to the rous," and which many or most Coercion Bill. His speech was re- people, we remember at the time, ported in three Hull papers, the Hull gravely called "manly," was impu. Packet (an excellent paper), the dent in the extreme to the many Hull Advertiser, and the Hull Rock- who he knew were innocent, and uningham, and was, within a few weeks, just, and worse than unjust, in the excopied into every newspaper in Great treme, to the one or two who he Britain and Ireland. The three re- thought were guilty; and from first ports of the speech agreed in all that to last the part he played can now was essential--the charge being, that be regarded by no upright mind one or more of the Irish Members, but with disdain and disgust. Mr who voted publicly against the bill, Sheil from the first saw that he was urged Ministers in secret not to abate “ the Irish Member” accused of a single atom of its severity, as other- speaking with great violence against wise no man could live in Ireland.

every part of the Bill, of voting The version of it given in the Exa- against every clause of it, and then miner, Nov. 10, 1833, and which is going to Ministers, and saying, ėmbodied in the Report of the Com- Don't bate one single atom of it," mittee of Privileges, points very di- and who is Mr Hill, that he should rectly either to Mr O'Connell or have had the audacity to dream for Mr Sheil; and it soon became the a moment that Mr Sheil would congeneral belief-not that the latter descend to correspond with him by gentleman was the criminal—but letter about an accusation, made not that he was the person meant in against his honour as a gentleman, Mr Hill's startling accusation. The or his honesty as a man, but charging public was every day more and more him with being the basest of vil. confirmed in this belief by denial lains ? after denial, given in various modes, Had Mr Sheil so far forgotten him. by about nine-tenths of the Members self as to write to Mr Hill, no doubt to whom the charge could refer, he would have got the same answer without a syllable on the subject then, which he afterwards got from issuing from tongue or pen of Mr that fat and foolish Lord; and he Sheil, who had formerly been fa. would bave been placed by the pubmous for other qualities than taci. lication of that answer in a pleasing turnity or retention, and shewn him- predicament in Tipperary. To vin. self prompt and forward to wither, dicate himself would for months with the fires of his written and oral have been utterly impossible ; and eloquence, all rash assailants of his had he become a correspondent of political character.

the very considerate Member for Mr Hill, finding that he had made Hull, he would, as surely as he is a charge which implicated all the now alive, have been now dead-Irish Members who had opposed the while his murder would have been Coercion Bill, publicly offered to let thought a sacrifice. We ask Mr Hill, every Irish Member, who chose to in his own belief, then, if such would ask him the question by letter, know not have been the almost inevitable by return of post whether or no he consequence of such a crime being was the alledged delinquent. We be- publicly charged against Mr Sheil ? lieve a good many of them availed But that gentleman smothered his themselves of this very polite and indignation till Parliament should regenerous offer, and received satis- assemble; and he knew that then he factory answers in the negative; could vindicate himself, and cover while other indignant patriots could his accusers, if not with shame, with disgrace, proving them, one and all, Lord had in the previous part of the to be ninnies, gossips, eavesdroppers, debate affirmed, that no Irish Memtable-talk-retailers, tale-bearers, or. ber had actually communicated with naments of the three-black-crowse the Cabinet- he meant an Irish school of poetry, with imaginations Member who had spoken with that meddle not with flowers, but warmth against the Coercion Billfind their materials of fiction in a to urge them to pass the measure succession of small vomits.

against which he meant to vote. The Parliament reassembled ; and on Noble Lord distinctly stated, that no the evening of Wednesday, the 5th Irish Member had communicated Feb. 1834, Lord Althorp—in reply with the Cabinet. He should then to Mr O'Connell, who had asked wish to know on what authority the him first if any such statement had allegation was made. So far as the been made by any Member of the charge of communication to the CaCabinet-and secondly, whether anybinet went, it was an acknowledged such statement had been made to falsehood. He would also allude to any Member of the Cabinet-an- the implied accusation, that Irish swered that, for the first, he begged Members who voted against the Bill to state, as far as he was concerned, had absolutely urged it forward. that no such communication had been What was the foundation for so hi. made, and that he believed he could deous an imputation as that? The also answer to the same effect for Chancellor of the Exchequer had his colleagues in office; and that for stated, that no intimation was ever the second, no such statement, as made to the Cabinet of the nature far as he was aware, had been made that the present accusation would to any Cabinet Minister. But he warrant. He would then ask, on added, " that he had good reason to what authority was the statement believe that more than one Honourable made, and to whom was it commuMember, who had not only voted but nicated ? spoken violently against the Irish Coer- “ Lord Althorp said a statement cion Act, had made use of very differe was surely made, but he would afent language in private."

firm that it was not made to a Cabi. There seems to have been some net Minister. — (Hear, hear, and little doubt or uncertainty, at first, laughter.)—He would say more, that arising from the emphasis laid by no message to that intent was sent Lord Althorp on the word Cabinet to the Government. But he would Ministers; but that was soon re- not say that the statement was not moved; Mr Hill's statement at Hull made to the Cabinet. From what was, even at this earliest stage of the source the information came he enquiry, shorn of its most malignant would not then exactly state. beams; the House must have seen “ Mr Sheil said, that he would put at once, that the gravamen of the it to the candour of the Noble Lord, charge was struck out of it, and that as he had so studiously evaded a the “ Irish Member," or Members, distinct declaration of the offender, were already acquitted of one great whether he was one of those whom crime—and all that remained was to he heard had vehemently spoken and ascertain-if the House chose to go voted against the Bill, and at the into the enquiry-whether or not same time declared that without the they were guiltless of another. Bill there could be no tranquillity

After some childish altercation for Ireland ? with Mr O'Connell, Lord Althorp “Lord Althorp-As the honourable sat down, and remained deaf to the gentleman has put the thing so dicall of " Name-name;" for the rectly and pointedly to me, and as he House were naturally enough impa- has not left me auy means of evading tient to know " who is the traitor ?" so unpleasant a question, I must say Mr Sheil-who had been waiting for that he is. the proper time to speak-was then “Mr Sheil stepped forward to the loudly called for—and the following table, and with great earnestness of conversation ensued between him manner, and in a very grave and and Lord Althorp.

measured tone, said—' As the Noble “ Mr Sheil, who was loudly called Lord has stated that I am one, I will for, rose. He said that the Noble only in this state of the proceedings declare in the presence of this House, most properly said, " as the Noble -in the presence of my country, Lord skulked behind this fence of and, if it be not profanation—in the his own erection, he would boldly, sopresence of the living God, that the lemnly, and fervently declare, that the individual who furnished the infor- informant and the whole statement were mation to the Government, has been blackened with the foulest, the most ma. guilty of the foulest, the grossest, lignant, and the most dishonourable falsethe most malignant, and the most hood.". Here the House groaneddiabolical calumny.

and Mr Sheil continued to expose Mr Hill now rose, and said, " that the shameful treatment he was meethe was the individual who first ut- ing with-and insisted on nailing on tered the words which were now Lord Althorp's breast the“ responmade the subject of so much ani. sibility" he had chosen to take upon madversion. His attention was not himself—in spite of Mr E. J. Standrawn to them till long after they ley's" putting it to the honourable were mentioned. They were words and learned member to consider carelessly thrown out in the heat whether he was at all likely to clear of convivial excitement.

He saw his honour from the charge by fasthree different versions of his speech, tening the responsibility on Lord Aleach of which disagreed from the thorp.” Mr Secretary Stanley thenexother. He never made any declara- pounded "responsibility," and avertion that any individual who voted red that Lord Althorp had not meant and spoke warmly against the Irish any thing offensive-and “ that he Bill, had urged Ministers to pass it. was the last man in the world to He merely said, that such member wound the character of another." had expressed his opinion of its po- His Lordship had merely meant to licy.” But not to cumber our pages say " that he had heard certain with drivel of this sort, let our rea- statements, that he had a confidence in ders turn to the Report of the Com- the person who made them, but that, as mittee of Privileges, and there they a Minister, he could not disclose the will see all that Mr Hill said at Hull name, and therefore he himself rouched and elsewhere.

for such a statement being made ! !Lord Althorp would not give up Could Mr Secretary Stanley for a his authority-but he said he had moment believe that Mr Sheil would perfect confidence in it—that he be- swallow such a nasty dose as that ? lieved the charge was true-and that But Lord Althorp himself grew

sick he was willing to “take upon him- on seeing it offered to an Irish genself the responsibility.”

tleman in one loathsome cup after Then arose a discussion on the another, and put an end to all farther import of the word “responsibility,” folly among the grammarians by as used on this occasion by so great stating his own view of the meaning, a master of the English language as of“ responsibility,"_"astatement had my Lord Althorp. Lord Palmerston been made to him in which he beliered. said wisely, that he already refused He felt, when the question was put to give up the name, and said he to him, that a declaration to that ef. merely took on himself the responsibility fect was likely, nay must give of, of the statement made. He did not pledge fence; and therefore he determined himself to the truth of the statement. How himself to vouch, that such a statecould he ? Every one knew that the ment had been made,—to declare his simple assertion of a fact on the authority belief in it,—and not to disclose the of another was a very different thing from name of the person who had made a pledge for the authenticity of that fact. it, but to take upon himself the reIt was too much to expect that every one sponsibility. If offence, therefore, should be thus called on to become a gua- was taken, he was answerable for rantee for the accuracy of every state. it.” ment he made on the authority of one in In the report, a column and a half whom he placed confidence." On this of inconceivable nonsense follows the House cried“ hear ! hear !” Yes, this declaration; and so dull of apthey cried hear ! hear! to this hub- prehension was the Honourable bub of despicable nonsense. But Mr House, that on Mr O'Dwyer saying, Sheil was not to be imposed on by “ he understood the Noble Lord such wretehed stuff--and at once

to say, that he fully believed the statement of his informant,” there made by the Noble Lord; and that were loud cries of No! No!

the bonourable member for Hull, in Mr Hill then rose, doubtless with answer, said, "that if, in the judgment great dignity, and, that the House of the House, it was deemed incummight be under no mistake, ob- bent upon him to make such concesserved,“ that every syllable of what sions ! though he certainly felt there he had stated to his constituents at was no necessity for them, yet he Hull he had heard,-he believed at would, with due humility, bow to the time,—and he still believed.”- the opinion and wishes of the House." And this he said in presence of Mr The House said nothing—but looked Sheil, who had just sworn, in the at Mr Hill with a significant smile. face of Heaven, that every syllable It was indeed a burlesque on Hurlyof it was false!!!

thrumbo. But Mr Sheil's quarrel was with The House was occupied night Lord Althorp, not this person; the after night with this shameful affair; history of man does not afford an- but we have no room for their proother instance of such insult; and ceedings—suffice it to say, that Mr the parties were, of course, commit- Sheil was subjected to a new series ted to the custody of the Serjeant at of insults, which he seems to bave Arms. We abhor duelliog; but we borne in a way that will bear lookabhor with a more mortal hatred, such ing back on-should his mind, in conduct as inflicts on a man the neces. spite of disdain, ever revert to those sity of having recourse to a challenge; scenes which his contemptible eneand had Mr Sheil shot Lord Al: mies believed were but the opening thorp through the head or the heart, scenes of his shame, while they were the calumniator - humanly speak the “prologue to the swelling act,"; ing-would have deserved death. of which the catastrophe involved The Christian religion alone can in their own utter and everlasting destruct and inspire a man to forgive gradation. such injuries and insults as those The whole affair was rightly referwhich were heaped in full and foul red to a Committee of Privilegesmeasure upon Mr Sheil's head, in and here is their report. the highest assembly of a nation not yet supposed to consist altogether of beaten slaves.

“ Mr Grote brought up the Report The House then hoped that Lord of the Select Committee appointed Althorp would promise not to accept to enquire into the charge against a challenge from Mr Sheil-and bis Mr Sheil. Lordship-by the advice of his col- “When the question was put that leagues-did so; Mr Secretary Stan- the Report be laid upon the table, it ley saying, “ in fulfilling this duty, I was followed by a general cry, am bound to state that my Noble through the House of Read, read,' Friend has acted by the advice of his and • Order, order.' colleagues, who on no occasion “The Report was then read, and the would, for any consideration on following is the substance of it:eartb, hint to him advice which “ The Committee of Privileges, to would in the slightest degree be dis- whom the matter of complaint was creditable to bis character, or would referred, arising out of a paragraph cast the slightest shade on his untarnished in the Examiner newspaper, dated reputation!

Nov. 10, 1833, stated that they had After this Mr Sheil, of course, agreed upon a Report, which they could do nothing else but acquiesce now submitted to the Honourable in the amicable arrangement; for the House. House had relieved Lord Althorp of “ They stated, that the paragraph the "responsibility," and taken the in question, purporting to form part "responsibility" upon itself; so of the report of a speech publicly aboui ten o'clock the House rose, delivered by Matthew Davenport and sat down to dinner.

Hill, Esq., Member of Parliament for We forgot to say that Mr Shaw the borough of Hull, was as follows: thought the honourable member for “It is impossible for those not Hull ought to make the same as- actually in the House to know all the surances as those which had been secret machinery by which votes are


obtained. I happen to know this, tion the Committee proceeded to en(and I could appeal, if necessary, to quire. Two witnesses were called a person well known and much re- before them at the suggestion of Mr spected by yourselves,) that an Irish Hill, and others were about to be Member, who spoke with great vio- examined, when Mr Hill himself, lence against every part of that Bill, finding the testimony already heard and voted against every clause of itvery different from what he had exwent to Ministers and said, “Don't pected, freely and spontaneously bate one single atom of that Bill, or it made the following communication will be impossible for any man to to the Committee : live in Ireland.”__"What!" said they, « That he had come to the con“this from you, who speak and vote viction that his charge against Mr against the Bill?”_“Yes," he replied, Sheil, of having directly or indirect" that is necessary, because if I do ly communicated, or intended to not come into Parliament for Ireland, communicate, to the Government, I must be out altogether, and that I any private opinions in opposition to do not choose."-(Cries of Name,' those which he expressed in the and · No.')— Consider for a mo- House of Commons, had no foundament, can I do it ?'—(“No;' “Yes.') tion in fact ;-that such charge was - That is a point for my considera- not merely incapable of formal proof, tion. I have a great respect for every but was, in his present sincere beone here; but if every one in the lief, totally and absolutely unfoundroom was to hold up bis hand for it, ed ;-that he had originally been inI would not do it. The secret is not . duced to make mention of it in a my own. If he had told it to me, I basty and unpremeditated speech, would have said, “ Mark, I will keep under a firm persuasion that he had no such secret as this; I will publish received it on undeniable evidence; it to the world.” But if I name the but that, being now satisfied of the Member, I put it in the power of the mistake into which he had fallen, individual who made that declara- and convinced that the charge was tion, to know the gentleman who told wholly untrue, he came forward to me.'

express his deep and unfeigned sor“ The Committee then proceeded row for having ever contributed to to state that, in entering on the deli: give it circulation.' Mr Hill added, cate and embarrassing duty imposed that if there were any way consistupon them, they ascertained from ent with honour by which he could Mr Hill that, though he could not make reparation to Mr Sheil, he admit the entire accuracy of the should deem no sacrifice too great to above paragraph, as a report of what heal the wound which his erroneous he had publicly spoken at Hull, he statement had inflicted.' nevertheless recollected to have pub- “ The Committee continued—' It licly charged an Irish Member of is with the highest gratification that Parliament with conduct similar in the Committee found themselves ensubstance to that which the para- abled thus to exonerate an accused graph described. The Irish Mem- Member of Parliament from imputaber so alluded to was Richard Lalor tions alike painful and undeserved. Sheil, Esq, M.P. for the county of The voluntary avowal of an erroTipperary; and Mr Hill stated the neous statement on the part of Mr charge, to the best of his belief, to Hill puts it now in their power to have been substantially as follows: pronounce a decided opinion, and to

« « That Mr Sheil made commu- close the present enquiry. Neither nications respecting the Irish Coer- of the witnesses who appeared becion Bill to persons connected with fore the Committee deposed to any the Government, and others, with facts calculated to bear out the allethe intention thereby of promoting gation against Mr Sheil, nor did their the passing of the Coercion Bill, and testimony go to impeach his charachaving a direct tendency to produce ter and honour in any way, or as to that effect, whilst his speeches and any matter whatever. The Commitvotes in the House were directed to tee had no hesitation in declaring the defeat of the Coercion Bill.' their deliberate conviction that the

“ Into the substance of this allega- innocence of Mr Sheil, in respect to

« PreviousContinue »