A Debate & The Vote

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The Debate

William Scully MP

“[Derryveagh is] a case of oppression that could not be paralleled in any part of the world out of Ireland [whose] “scenes were a scandal to civilization and to any from of Christianity. “… Derryveagh] caused a thrill of horror in Ireland”…“[The question being] Whether it was fitting that Mr. Adair should conintue to hold Her Majesty’s Commisssion [as Justice of the Peace in Donegal].”

Chief Secretary of Ireland

“[Hopes] the House would concur that as Mr. Adair had not acted in excess of his legal rights, and had not been guilty of a breach of his duty in his capacity of a magistrate, it would be an unusual. and too strong an exercise of power, to deprive him of the commission of the peace.”

Mr. Monsell, MP

“The indignation of Parliament ought to be brought tgo bear on every man who was guilty of such a barbarous outrage… [and] the atrocity…itself called for exceptional treatment.”

Mr. Maguire, MP

"”Mr. Adair by throwing out 244 people helpless upon the world, had been guilty berfore God and man of a great outrage and a great wrong.”

Mr. McMahon

“If honorable Gentlemen wished to maintain the rigths of property they ought to keep a broad and clear distinction between the acts of humane, genlemanly landlords, and those of mere land jobbers, who, with the rank and station of gentlemen, combined the feelings of bum-bailiffs.”… “Mr. Adair, having acted in so inhuman and cruel a manner as to punish hundreds for the crime of one or two, was no person to whom the Queen’s commission as a magistrate ought to be intrusted.”

Mr. Foster, MP

“[Adair’s act is defensible because] two classes were at war.”

Mr. Connolly, MP

“The evictions here, although severe and perhaps extreme were necessary under the circumstances, for Mr. Adair was so hemmed in by the Ribbon consipracy and that if he had not gtaken some such step he must either have given up his estate entirely or have held it subject to the control of these assassins.” …“Nothing could be more painful than the idea of turning out a multitutde of poor people into the road; but there was another idea quite as painful - the existence of such a state of terrorisim as prevailed in that part of Donegal. Landlords were bound to exert themselves to the utmost tgo put an end to such a dreadful tstate of things’ and much as Adair’s conduct had been decried, he believed he had acted the part of a courageous and independent man. It was not Mr. Adair who drove the people to despeation, butg it was the people who drove him to extreme measures. This was a plain statement of the case and he would not flinch from it.”

Mr. Butt, MP

“[I] must deny that the conduct of Mr. Adair was a private transaction. Upwards of 200 policemen, who were supported by the country, were brought to the aidof Mr.Adair for the purpose of ejectng his poor tenants. Was that not a public transaction? The people of Ireland would be justified in inferring from the tone of the government speeches that there was no sympathy for them in that House” and Butt warned “…that opposition to the wishes of every one of its irish supporters could not, in the nature of things, continue much longer, and that they would soon lose all Irish suport.”

Viscount Palmerston

“It would be a most outrageous and dangerous abuse of the power of the House to interfere with the private transactions of any individuals within the limits of their legal rights… [or] to inquire into the motives from which an individual has exercised rights that none deny.” …“[Such invasions] might lead to abuses so intolerable that the whole country would rise in indignation against the proceedings of this House.”


When the vote is taken, the final tally is: Adair 88, Derryveagh 23.