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in the Act was accepted by the great leaders of the Roman Catholic party, it was applauded by the Roman Catholic bishops, and had been recognised by the Roman Catholic gentlemen from 1829, a period of thirty years. He trusted it would not be disturbed now by those who wished to preserve religious peace and tranquillity in the country."* Another of the Irish Attorney-General's orations was delivered on the end of March, 1859, when the Representation of the People Bill was discussed.
At the General Election of 1859 the Attorney-General, who hitherto had been constant to Enniskillen, was returned by the University of Dublin, together with Mr. Lefroy.
On the 30th of June, 1859, Mr. Whiteside introduced to the House of Commons the first series of Bills he prepared in order to consolidate and amend the Criminal Statute Law of England and Ireland. In doing so he entered, with considerable details, upon the subject, and contended “ that whatever measures concerned the liberties, and lives of the people of the United Kingdom must always be of paramount importance in that House." When Sir William Somerville, on the 5th of July, 1859, introduced his Bill to amend the roth Geo. IV., ch. 7, and sought to allow Roman Catholics to hold the office of Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Mr. Whiteside spoke most energetically against the Bill. He contended that “ Catholics should not be Lord Chancellors, as the Irish Chancellors appointed to Protestant livings, and also exercised regal authority, being Lords Justices in the absence from Ireland of the Lord Lieutenants. Also, when questions of doctrine arose the Lord Chancellors of Ireland selected the Judges who were to decide upon these doctrines. Then the Lord Chancellor was an ex officio Member of the Ecclesiastical Commission, and thus shared in the control of the property of the Established Church.”+ In reply, Mr. Gladstone showed “that all the Church patronage
* Hansard P.D., vol. clii., p. 812. + Hansard P.D., vol. cliv., p. 1109.
vested in the Lord Chancellor of Ireland was a vote he shared, in common with five or six others, to two livings in the City of Dublin, and that the exercise of this vote would be provided for by a clause in the Bill; the ex officio Membership of the Ecclesiastical Commission did not refer to any official, but only to such as were Members of the United Churches of England and Ireland ; and with respect to the Chancellor being a Lord Justice, the Bill provided against a Roman Catholic Chancellor holding such an office.” When the subject of Mixed Education in Ireland was brought forward in July, 1859, by Mr. Hennessy, Mr. Whiteside spoke at considerable length upon the subject, and in favour of denominational grants.*
This able and distinguished Irishman was never wanting when the just claims of his countrymen to distinctions or rewards came before Parliament. In March, 1860, Sir Francis Baring argued upon the propriety of giving some substantial reward to Captain McClintock, R.N., and the crew of the ship Fox, which discovered the fate of Sir John Franklin. He was ably supported by Mr. Whiteside, in consequence of the interest he had always taken in the fate of Sir John Franklin, and of his personal friendship with the gallant Commander of the Fox. Having described briefly the voyage of the Fox, Mr. Whiteside said, “The last Arctic Voyage had called forth qualities, and he excepted none of the twenty-five men who formed the crew of the Fox, of a higher nature than were displayed on the battle-field. The soldier had a quick death, or a joyful victory; but there was a more enduring spirit, and a loftier resolution, and nobler qualities of mind and body required, successfully to conduct such an enterprise as this, than were required for the field of battle.” †
The steam communication between Galway and America, so calculated to foster and promote Irish commercial enter
* Hansard P.D., vol. clv., p. 291.
prise, was ably supported by Mr. Whiteside in the House of Commons. On the oth of August, 1860, he referred to the great numbers of Irish born, or of Irish descent, who were in the United States, at least 4,000,000. He believed that great trade was sure to flow, and that great advantages, not only to Ireland, but to Scotland, would result from these Transatlantic packets. He argued that if the mail contract then about being discontinued was confirmed, and judiciously acted upon, it would be admitted in after years that a more wise, beneficent, and valuable improvement was never made than the speedy communication proposed between Galway and the opposite coast of the Atlantic.* Unfortunately the company ultimately fell to the ground.
When, on the 14th May, 1861, Sir Hugh Cairns moved for a Select Committee to inquire into the law affecting the contracting and celebrating marriages in Ireland, Mr. Whiteside said “there had never been any genuine law of marriage in Ireland. When they looked to history they found that marriage was always connected with Christianity, and the Saxons, besides the custom of having the priest to bless the union, took the precaution of having part of the ceremony at the Church door. It was Chaucer who wrote
“ A woman she was the most discrete alive,
Husbands at Church-doore had she had five.” This was done that the neighbours might see her face, that no pretender should be put forward afterwards, and that she should have dower if she outlived her husband. He referred to the Act passed by the Irish Parliament which rendered a marriage between a Catholic and a Protestant void if the Protestant within a year before the marriage had professed himself to be a Protestant. During the debate on the third reading of the Church Rates Abolition Bill, on the 19th of June, 1861, Mr. Whiteside delivered a very sarcastic speech. He ridiculed the tone of several of the previous speakers,
* Hansard P.D., vol. clx., p. 1018. + Hansard P.D., vol. clxii., p. 2060.
who, he said, spoke one way and voted another. He quoted, at the conclusion of his speech, from Southey's “Book of the Church," the following extract :-“From the time of the Revolution the Church of England has partaken of the stability and security of the State. We owe to it our moral and intellectual character as a nation, much of our private happiness, much of our public strength. Whatever would weaken it, would in the same degree, injure our common weal; whatever should overthrow it would, in sure and immediate consequence, bring down the goodly fabric of that Constitution whereof it is a constituent and necessary part. If the friends of the Constitution understand this as clearly as its enemies, and act upon it as consistently, and as actively, then will the Church and State be safe, and with them the liberty and prosperity of our country."*
Colonel Dunne brought forward a motion to inquire into the condition of Ireland, on the 12th of June, 1863. Mr. Whiteside made an excellent speech supporting it. He showed the depressed state of the country, the great decline in agricultural produce—in oats, wheat, potatoes, and live stock; the population had materially diminished, and an inquiry into the causes was called for. The vast range of subjects on which Mr. Whiteside addressed the House can alone be found in the volumes of Hansard. The bombardment of Kagosima, Japan, caused a very important debate in the House of Commons on the gth of July, 1864, and Mr. Whiteside delivered a very amusing and instructive speech in reply to the English AttorneyGeneral, Sir R. Palmer. When the Right Hon. Thomas O’Hagan, Attorney-General for Ireland, introduced his Court of Chancery (Ireland) Bill, on the 25th of April, 1864, Mr. Whiteside strongly opposed the passing of the measure. Having complained of the conduct of the Attorney-General with respect to hurrying this Bill through Committee, the Attorney-General in reply said, “ He had listened to the • Hansard P.D., vol. clxiii., p. 1322. + Hansard P.D., vol. clxxi., p. 851.
extraordinary performance of the Member for the University of Dublin with very considerable amazement. He had never doubted his hon. and learned friend's powers, but here the hon. and learned member had occupied, he would with all respect say abused, the patience of the Committee for two hours and a half, with a speech which had about as much to do with the motion as the affairs of Kamstchatka or the Great Mogul. Even the authority of the Chairman could not restrain his eloquence; for, although he had given notice of a motion which the Chairman told him he could not move, he had continued to speak upon it for an hour. When the hon. Member for Mallow left the House, in rushed Mr. Whiteside in the fine frenzy that so well became him, and was so usual with him, and made a charge against him. He (Mr. O'Hagan) could only say that he brought in this Bill on his own responsibility. He believed it was for the public interest that it should be carried. If it was not carried it would not be his fault, and he left the responsibility on those who chose to accept it."*
The Opposition having defeated this Bill, and another like Bill having been introduced by the Attorney-General for England, Mr. Whiteside was not long in proposing a Bill on the same subject, and on the 16th of February, 1865, moved that leave be given to bring in a Bill to alter the Constitution, and amend the Practice and course of Procedure in the High Court of Chancery in Ireland. On the 20th of June, 1865, he spoke upon The O'Donoghue's motion upon University Education in Ireland, and contrasted the conduct of some of the former prelates of the Roman Catholic Church in that country, with the strong Ultramontane opinions of those of the present day. He contended there was no need for a Catholic University in Ireland, and seemed to approve of the Queen's Colleges. Mr. Monsell, who replied to him, observed upon the altered tone of the Member for the University of Dublin, who, he
.- . Hansard P.D., vol. clxxvi., p. 28. . . .