HC Deb 18 May 1819 vol 40 cc474-549
Mr. Tierney

said, that he rose in pursuance of the notice which he had given, to move for the appointment of a committee on the State of the Nation. In doing so he felt it necessary to throw himself on the indulgence of the House, since he feared he should be compelled to trespass for a considerable time on their patience. That indulgence, however, he had so often experienced on occasions of less importance, that he hoped it would not now be withheld. The best return he could make was to consume as little time as possible in the way of preface, and he should accordingly at once proceed to the question. His motion would be, that the House should resolve itself into a committee on the state of the nation. He was aware that if he acted only as a party man (and such, notwithstanding the odium which might attach to the confession, he was always ready to avow that he was), he should have abstained from bringing forward this proposition; because he was not so dull as not to perceive, that in bringing the question before the House, in point of mere party, he was giving up many advantages: he could hardly see how it was possible for the party (for they too He supposed must be considered a party) to which he and his friends were opposed, to stand in a situation less to be envied than at the present moment. It was difficult to imagine how any set of men could have been more cuffed and kicked about, and have taken the infliction more patiently, than the right hon. gentleman opposite with the noble lord at their head. In that respect they had displayed the utmost fortitude and forbearance; and if his wish had been only party triumph, he could not have done better than leave them alone: for an administration more lowered in the respect of parliament, or more degraded in the estimation of the people, was certainly never exhibited to public observation. The mind of man could not conceive an administration more dead to all the feelings by which persons in high stations were ordinarily governed: governed by no principle, and attached to no system; exhibiting no symptom of vigour, but vigorously maintaining themselves in their places, they made such a figure in the eye of the world, that instead of being objects of admiration and eavy, they sunk into objects of compassion and contempt. They had brought forward nothing—nothing of real importance; unless, indeed, some persons might attach a value to the fine fallacious speeches with which the House had been treated and the country deceived. Measures had been proposed by the opponents of ministers—measures of the utmost consequence to the welfare of the nation, and which they, as a matter of course, bad resisted: yet, at last, they had been driven into concession, and it was almost left to their antagonists to administer the law of the country. For instance, in the case of the proposed inquiry into the state of the penal laws, the ministers had declared that if the motion was carried, ruin must ensue—that we might as well give up the administration of the penal laws altogether—that all the reverence for criminal justice would be gone. The inquiry into the penal laws was, however, entrusted (and in what better hands could it have been placed?) to his hon. and learned friend, the administration of criminal justice was not impeded; and the noble lord and his worthy colleagues bore their defeat most patiently. In the same way ministers had declared, that if the system of Scotch burghs was investigated, nothing would be safe—the constitution of the empire would be endangered—no man could say that his person or his property was secure—a revolution would be almost commenced—the wildest doctrines of reform would be let loose upon the country; and, in short, every national calamity would ensue, if the inquiry were carried: but it was carried—carried against the utmost strength of ministers; and they contrived, notwithstanding, to retain their places. He could, in fact, go through a string of defeats they had successively sustained, were it necessary; but no man could be so blind as not to see that opposition, as a party, stood upon such vantage ground, that, as a party, by the present motion they had nothing to gain. But he had other duties to perform besides those of party—duties to the country, and they ought at all times to be held paramount: with this view, he was willing to forego any little advantages he might otherwise possess, and to place himself in a situation of difficulty and embarrassment, in order to discharge conscientiously the high and paramount duty which the country had a right to claim.

It seemed of late as if the noble lord and his friends had thought that they had no duties to discharge but to sit firmly in their places; but it would not do in these times to keep ministers merely to be looked at: if they put themselves in high responsible situations, if they were to govern a great empire, they ought to maintain their own dignity, and that of the empire; and if they did not, it was the business of the House to interpose. If ministers would not take care of their dignity, it was for the House to take care of its own; and for that purpose, he wished it to take a view of the real state of the nation with reference to the king's ministers. If there had been but two parties opposed to each other in the House, the issue of his motion would not be very doubtful: on the one side there would be nothing but zeal; and on the other, the whole weight of official attachment, and the influence of the Crown: but he now spoke in a House of Commons (having sat and spoken in very many) to which had been returned a larger proportion of men connected with no party than he had ever before remembered: they were a description of persons who professed, (and who had shown that they acted upon those professions) that they would vote without reference to either side of the House; and that they would weigh measures, and not men. He trusted that they would not be found wanting in trimming the balance at the end of the debate, and, if he made out his case, in giving him that support to which he should be entitled. He had to establish two propositions: first, that the present state of public affairs was full of difficulty, danger, and alarm, requiring prompt and vigorous councils; and secondly, that under the circumstances of the times, it was the duty of the House to do what was certainly unusual—namely, resolve itself into a committee on the state of the na- tion; not considering such a proceeding as a forward and officious interference, but as a measure strictly called for by the situation of public affairs. In making this proposal, he was not asking any gentleman to lend him his aid in thwarting and embarrasing the vigour, system, and energy of the executive government; but he was requiring him, where there was no vigour, no system, and no energy, to interfere between a weak administration and a tottering country, by discharging the most important duty an honest member of parliament could perform. Wherever he cast his eyes, he observed that all the principal nations of the world had been for some time past engaged in endeavouring to repair the inroads made upon their finances by war, and to arrange and husband their resources for future emergencies. It was clear beyond contradiction, from the foreign papers—the only sources of information he possessed—that the states of the continent had all turned their attention to financial subjects; yet we, and it was a melancholy thing to say, who had much more to restore, and a deeper interest in restoring, were the only nation whose government had not devoted one moment's consideration to that great topic. Undoubtedly his chief purpose was limited on this occasion to matters of financial arrangement; he did not mean to occupy the time of the House by discussing subjects of a different kind, nor should he touch upon foreign affairs more than as foreign affairs bore upon the particular question; to that extent, however, he hoped he should be allowed to make a few observations. The world at this moment, blessed be God, was in a state of profound peace, and long, long might it continue; but, notwithstanding the exertions of the noble lord and the other ministers of the great powers, Europe was not in that condition in which the most sanguine could venture to look forward to a certain duration of tranquillity. In truth, the whole state of Europe, as far as Great Britain was concerned, had been totally changed—whether for the better or worse he did not stop to inquire; but the situation was indisputably new to this country. Heretofore we had supported alliances with various powers, in order to be better able to meet the possible hostility and machinations of other states; but we were now one of five powers who took upon themselves, whether properly or improperly he would not discuss, to settle the destinies of the continent. Whether we had any allies particularly connected with and bound to us, was more than he was able exactly to discover; but of this he was quite sure, that the great interests of Europe were in the hands of five states by means of the recent addition of France. Originally they had only been four who had first thought it their duty (and he did not pretend to quarrel with the decision) to impose upon France the galling yoke of maintaining foreign troops to preserve order and to maintain the reigning family. It appeared, however, that France had behaved so well, she had conducted her-self so much to the satisfaction of her four masters, that at Aix-la-Chapelle they had determined to take her into partnership, and she now constitutes one of five powers, among whom Great Britain had one vote and no more. Upon this he had only to remark, that it was at least an uncertain state; the parties appeared to be bound by nothing but professions, which he hoped in God would be fulfilled—by a "holy alliance," which he trusted would be as sacredly observed as it was piously worded. But these things were most precarious, and a reference to one circumstance must convince every body that they were so; viz., that when France was freed from the burthen of foreign troops, and she was called upon to be one of the five powers, the gracious communication was made to the duke de Richelieu, with many compliments from the sovereigns, which no doubt were well deserved: she was, in fact, invited to accede to the confederation, much in consequence of what had been done during the administration of the duke de Richelieu; it was therefore to be supposed that the potentates and their ministers were well acquainted with the line of policy one of the five powers would pursue; but no—in one little month after the troops had withdrawn, the duke of Richelieu was dismissed from his office. This brother ally, this fifth power, no sooner was at liberty to act for itself, than its line of policy was most materially changed, and the ministers of the different states having thus shown themselves to be utterly ignorant of the policy of perhaps the most important member of the alliance, were left to wonder at what they had never foreseen. Did this or did it not show, that at least the existing state of Europe was involved in great uncertainty? He did not blame the noble lord —it was the last thing in his contempla- tion to provoke a hostile discussion on the subject of his conduct at present; there might be a time for that hereafter; but could the fact he had stated be contradicted, or the conclusion he had drawn from it be denied? He begged to ask for what did Great Britain go to war? Was it not to control the power of France? It would be said that she became more dangerous from her revolutionary influence? True; but the great and avowed object was, to deprive her of that great predominating preponderance by which she might be able to convulse the whole frame of Europe. What, then, was the state of France at this day? Was not her commerce reviving, and were not her finances arranged and improved very much by the assistance of England? Did she not now enjoy a free constitution? and in the name of humanity he thanked God that she did. Had she not a limited monarchy, and could not the people now speak through the voice of a representative assembly? All these were blessings recently bestowed upon France—blessings purchased by long and grievous suffering; they were not the reward (that was not the fit term to employ), but the result of her sacrifices, not only of blood, but, he would fairly admit, of character; for the restoration of which, years of good conduct would be needed. But could it be denied, that there she now stood in a much more formidable position than any man two years ago could have expected? He begged not to be understood as saying this with any feeling of jealousy towards France; or under any dread of her approaching hostility; he most devoutly prayed, that the triumphs we had gained might not produce in the mind of a proud and brave nation any thing beyond an amicable and laudable rivalry; at the same time we were bound to recollect that France was our rival, and that one day she might again be our enemy. It was our duty, then to imitate her example, and so to manage our own affairs as to be prepared for any unexpected change, He might easily enlarge on the situation of the Netherlands and other kingdoms, but his object was not unnecessarily to consume time, and if he had communicated to the House the idea he entertained, that the state of our foreign relations was such as to render necessary some arrangement of our affairs at home, what he had said would answer all purposes. There was, however, one foreign power out of Europe to which he must direct the attention of the House, with the same view as that with which he had mentioned France—he meant America; she was out of the pale of confederation; with her we had a separate treaty of peace; towards her we had long cast an eye of jealousy, and it well became us to be prepared for the worst. Let the House consider only what had happened in the last three months. Two British subjects had been executed by an American commander, under very suspicious appearances. There might be circumstances warranting his conduct, and justifying, according to the law of nations, the approbation which his government had expressed; but he was old enough to remember the time when, had two British subjects been executed by a foreign state in time of peace neither the administration nor the people of this country would have put up with it quite so tamely. He knew the subject was a sore one, and did not wish to press it farther; he was far from wishing it to be supposed that he meant to blame ministers for acting so cautiously; in conducting themselves with prudence they had discharged the best duty they could under the circumstances perform. He hoped, however, that he had not done amiss in just noticing the point as bearing on this question—whether Great Britain ought not to be placed in a condition, if necessary, to defend her rights? Next came the subject of territorial aggrandizement, regarding which ministers seemed to feel no concern. While the noble lord opposite was at congress, two German princes could not have exchanged a few meadows without important expresses being dispatched to him. But America owned no congress: because she was a long way off, ministers seemed to think that danger could not be near. She had obtained from Spain, the Floridas, and had thus been allowed to take up a position on a vast continent as injurious as possible to the colonial returns of this country, putting them in imminent and undeniable jeopardy. It was to be supposed that some representations had been made by ministers on the subject; and here again it would be unfair to find fault with their tone and temper, so very very moderate. Nothing certainly could be more absurd, than, at a moment when we could do little, to talk of doing much; it was, however, necessary to advert to this circumstance to show the difference in the conduct of a nation with impaired, and a nation with untouched resources. Let the House and the country reflect then, if it was not the duty of government to do something to prepare the empire for possible mischiefs that might arise even from France and America: its only security was in its preparation; and though it was very difficult to draw the line where wise prudence ended, and abject submission began, yet that point did exist, though he hoped in God Great Britain would never be driven to the extremity of being obliged to find it. It was our first and paramount duty to satisfy all the world that our object was peace; but it was fit, also to satisfy it, that we spoke from the love of peace, not from the dread of war, and our inability to sustain it. Peace procured on other terms was only hostility postponed—postponed under the most disadvantageous circumstances. To enter upon a war with an impaired national character was a great calamity; national character, in truth, was every thing to a people, and we ought always to be prepared to maintain it. In this country he knew of no substantial preparations on which reliance could be placed in the hour of need; it was not an unwieldy military establishment, not colleges for the education of youth in habits merely military, that could be of real service in case of a sudden attack: a well-manned navy, and a well-filled exchequer, were what Great Britain ought to confide in; then, indeed, her safety would be placed upon a rock which no confederation, no congress could shake: with a fine navy, and flourishing finances, she might set the whole world at defiance.

If he had thus far succeeded in making his meaning intelligible, it was unnecessary to dwell farther on this part of the case: if he had impressed upon the House, that the situation of the country with foreign powers made it necessary that no time should be lost in the arrangement of our financial situation, he had now to examine how the internal affairs of the country had been conducted since the peace, and how far the tendency of the system of the ministers was, to strengthen our financial situation. One of the great charges he had to bring against ministers was, that from the hour the treaty of peace was signed, they had entirely neglected every measure to improve the internal situation of the country. He knew of nothing they had attempted, much less accomplished. He would first consider the situation of the trade of the kingdom, on which it was unnecessary that he should dwell, because a reference to the evidence given before the secret committee on the Bank would establish nearly all he wished: the most intelligent merchants had given it as their opinion, not that any particular branch of trade had experienced an interruption, but that there existed a general and unqualified stagnation. One reason for this calamitous state of things perhaps was, that ministers, in all their negotiations with foreign powers, had never thought of any thing in the shape of a commercial treaty; he knew of but one commercial treaty they had effected, and that was with America—a treaty, if it merited the name, which had scattered more dismay among those connected with Newfoundland, than any other that had been entered into in the annals of our history. Certain bounties had, however, been granted to the merchants to prevent their being actual losers, but what was to become of the country at large, seemed to the noble lord and his colleagues a perfect matter of indifference. Thus our only commercial treaty was one by which the nation was most seriously injured. He had a bad memory, and should be glad to be reminded of any other commercial arrangement made by the British government. One opening, indeed, had offered itself, which he had hoped that ministers would have embraced—he alluded to the struggle of a brave and generous people for liberty. Independent of the sympathy which Great Britain, as a free country, must feel in every contest for liberty, independent of the ardour with which she would be inclined to aid the oppressed, it would not have been extraordinary if ministers, merely upon mercantile considerations, had looked towards South America, as a vent for our trade. Yet they had not only done nothing, but they had done worse than nothing. They had done their utmost to prevent the success of those by whose triumphs we might be benefited: for a bill was now depending, calculated to exasperate the whole mass of South Americans, and to destroy every hope of commercial advantage. At the moment when our manufacturers were starving, and when a distant prospect was afforded of alleviation for their distresses, they were deprived even of the consolation of hope, and were told that the government was about to adopt a bill that would inevitably throw the whole trade of South America into the hands of their rival. Therefore, he contended that ministers had done worse than nothing; they had neglected every opportunity of doing good; they had pursued only what was base in principle and injurious in practice, and had thrown aside all those considerations of generosity and policy, and love of freedom, which formerly were the prime movers of the British cabinet.

He would now advert to the finances of the country, considered strictly and drily as its finances; and in doing so, he could assure the House, that he should occupy but a small portion of its time. He had originally occupied himself much with the details of this part of the subject, but he found, that they were so minute and complicated, and that it would be necessary so long to intrude on the indulgence of the House, and at last perhaps without making himself intelligible, that he had at length determined to give it up as hopeless, and to content himself with a few leading facts. He would commence his observations with the year 1816, when the peace was consolidated, for it seemed difficult to determine whether 1815 was a year of war or of tranquillity; he would speak, therefore, of the period from the 5th January, 1816, to the 5th January, 1819, which would afford a fair sample of what was to be expected from ministers on the subject of finance. Upon this subject the production of papers had an auk ward appearance, but he was obliged very briefly to resort to them. On the 5th of January, 1816, the total of the funded and unfunded debt amounted to no less than 860,000,000l.: and with this fact before them, it was to be expected than any ministers, anxious to discharge their duty, would lose no time in coming to some arrangement capable of coping with so formidable an adversary. A proposition was indeed made to the House, in shape of a suggestion, for continuing the property-tax: they urged the absolute necessity that it should be continued for a certain period, and upon it they rested all their scheme for remedying the prevailing evils. Thus for the first and last time ministers seemed to have committed their financial opinions decidedly; but to their infinite dismay, the property-tax was rejected by the House. What followed? Did the ministers resign? Of course, nobody expected that of them. Did they produce any other project instead? None at all; but like angry boys, because the property-tax had been taken away from them, they threw the malt-tax after it. What next? Then they resolved to have no plan at all; and from that hour to this, he defied any body to show, that any thing like a financial plan had crossed their ill-fated imaginations. When they had lost their darling, the-property-tax, they most unanimously resolved, that they would live the rest of their time (which no doubt they offered prayers to Heaven might be a very long period), upon the bounty of the Bank of England, or trust to what was still more familiar to them, the chapter of accidents. In that year they borrowed 9 millions of the directors of the Bank of England, and postponed the payment of 3 millions which was due to that body; and at the same time they continued the Bank restriction for 2 years—that is to say, until 1818. Thus ended the whole financial scheme for that year. In the next, things looked flourishing—nothing was talked of but prosperity and congratulation: the most astonishing hopes were publicly held out in the speeches of the noble lord, and the chancellor of the exchequer. In short, such speeches were made as he had never heard before, and perhaps might never hear again. Stocks were to be at par; the 5 per cents were to be paid off immediately, the 4, per cents were giving way fast, and threats were held out even against the 3 per cents. Regarding that stock, he well recollected putting a question to the chancellor of the exchequer. He begged that that right hon. gentleman, who was rather to be considered unfortunate than guilty, would not suppose that he was making any attack upon him: he was, in fact, a very ill-used gentleman, and was thrust forward to bear the blame of a great deal with which he had had no concern. He was to be compassionated, not punished, as he was only the mouth-piece of administration on the subject of finance: the noble lord and his friends were, in fact, only responsible; and it was very unkind in them to make the chancellor of the exchequer the object of public reproach, when they ought at least to share his disgrace. However, when the noble lord, and the right hon. gentleman made the speeches to which he had just adverted, he gave them credit for believing that every thing was flourishing; they thought that the day was fast approaching, when they should be able to pay all in-cumbrances: they were told so by gentle-men out of the city, and having no knowledge or their own, they took the fact for granted; they really intended to pay off the 5 per cents, though in his deliberate opinion, to do so would have been a fraud upon the holders: they had lent their money in the faith of the growing prosperity of the country; and if by artificial means—means he knew to be artificial— ministers succeeded in raising the price of stocks, and paid them off, he had no difficulty in saying that it would not be an honest transaction. The false hopes the government held out had had the effect of imposing upon some old women, and very few of them, who feared their incomes would be reduced if the 5 per cents were paid off; but the great mass of persons with whom the right hon. gentleman was in communication, saw much better than he did, bow matters really stood, and by keeping their money in that stock, had been considerable gainers by the delusion. With those speeches, however, the country was carried over 1817; and there being a deficiency of 12 millions and a half, that sum was borrowed on exchequer bills. In 1818 the story of flourishing finances was repeated—the phantom of prosperity still danced before their eyes, but as unsubstantial as ever: paying off was still talked of, and even in the report of the committee of finance of this very year, if he was not mistaken, it was stated that they thought the time was not very far distant when a great saving would accrue to the country from the difference between the present rate of interest, and that to which the debt would be subject by-and-bye. It might be said, that in the last year the chancellor of the exchequer had had the courage to introduce a new plan; but it was only temporary, only for the service of the year. It was the creation of a three and a half per cent stock, which in some unexplained and inexplicable mode was to break the fall of the 5 per cents; then came the payment to the Bank of the 9,000,000l. borrowed; but that was postponed for another year, and the restriction was continued until July next. At that time he (Mr. Tierney) had brought forward the subject of the Bank, and had proposed the appointment of a committee to inquire: but it was of course resisted, on the ground that it was unnecessary. Some gentlemen urged even that the House had no right to investigate the subject; yet in the present session, the committee had been appointed, and had made its report, by which, however, one whole year had been lost. Why it had been refused when he had proposed it, he could not divine, unless it were that the motion came from the wrong side of the House. A bill was afterwards brought in to extend the period for resuming cash-payments. The Bank, however, were not pleased with the right hon. gentleman's plan—and he was obliged to alter the preamble of the bill which he introduced with reference to the continuance of the restriction. The preamble, as it originally stood, he gravely declared, was placed in its situation through mistake. The new preamble set forth," That unforeseen circumstances rendered the measure necessary." Now there were no unforeseen circumstances—there was no secret. The evidence given before the Bank committee, which was now public, showed that the loans with France were known at the time, and that the Bank strongly remonstrated against the measure.—In truth, the difficulty at that period arose, not from unforeseen circumstances, but from pursuing a course which the Bank did not approve of. Here then terminated the history of the last three years, and he would at once put it to the House whether any thing more contemptible could be imagined? This was the result of three years of profound peace following a war of painful sacrifices and unexampled burthens. He found in consequence, that on the 5th of January of the present year, 1819, the whole amount of funded and unfunded debt was 845,000,000l. or in other words, there was a decrease of. 14,000,000l. and no more since the year 1816, when it amounted to 859,000,000l. He could not go into the subject of the sinking fund, and contemplate our situation with reference to it, without troubling the House with a statement of many figures; he should not therefore regard it in that view, but content himself with reminding them, that this 14,000,000l. of reduced debt included all the reductions in the navy and ordnance.

In addition to these assets must be reckoned an excess of grants and arrears of property tax, amounting together to a sum of 8,460,000l.; which would leave a balance of actual reduction on the three years of peace of but 5,540,000l. So that the debt actually stood at 845,000,000l. without any prospect of its being materially diminished. In the Report of the Finance committee of the present year, they had the estimate of the next, precisely in the same way as if from the noble lord or the right hon. gentleman himself: for every person who heard him must, he presumed, be well aware that the reports which they were in the habit of receiving from the committee of finance, were, in point of fact, reports furnished by the right hon. gentleman. It was true that the committee had a chairman, who was called a member of that House; but their reports contained the sentiments and views of another person, who was called the chancellor of the exchequer; the only difference being, that the mouth of the former was made use of instead of his own, as the organ of the right hon. gentleman. By the last report it was stated, that there would be a surplus of 1,900,000l. on the present year, but that in the course of the two succeeding years that surplus would probably amount to 6,000,000l. According to this calculation, therefore, we should, after five years of peace, have lessened a debt of upwards of 800,000,000l. to the extent of 12,000,000l. only. Was it not, then, time for the House to interfere, nor longer suffer the best interests of the country to be sacrificed, merely because we had a ministry who were too weak to propose or carry any of those measures which the alarming situation of affairs required? What must be the consequences if in such a situation a renewal of hostilities should become unavoidable? Let them advert for a moment to the state of the consolidated fund, which was now in arrear to the amount of 3,300,000l. per quarter. The right hon. gentleman would also require 2,700,000l. to make good his repayment to the Bank, so that the entire charge on the consolidated fund would then be 6,000,000l. Let the House consider that the regular payment of the dividend must, under such circumstances, depend on the good will of the Bank. If they should think proper to withhold their advances, the right hon. gentleman might as well attempt to raise the dead as to raise the money. Such was the miserable situation of our finance minister! Ought this condition of things to exist, and ought the rights of the public creditor to have no better security in a time of profound peace? He did not suppose that the Bank would refuse an assistance which it would be both their interest and duty to afford, but the right hon. gentleman was at their mercy. In the course of the last year, no less a sum than 27,000,000l. were funded,—a new description of stock created, without providing for the interest, or establishing any sinking fund for its gradual extinction. He did not wish for the disclosure of any secrets, but apprehended that the right hon. gentleman had it in contemplation to contract for another loan of perhaps 22,000,000l. or 30,000,000l. of stock; so that in three years of peace there would be a new debt of 50,000 000l. created, and without providing for the interest of the last loan! He had heard, indeed, that the imposition of new taxes was intended. It was rumoured out of doors, that it was not intended to touch the sinking fund, but to impose new taxes. But if this were the case, what a melancholy prospect for the country, that, in addition to all the burthens under which the country laboured, it was to be subjected to farther taxation, amounting, perhaps, to little short of three millions. If the necessary means should be taken from the sinking fund, all that he should say was, that there would be an end to the small surplus which yet remained; but if they were to be raised in the shape of new taxes, the matter became still more serious. He would now give notice, that he would not consent to vote a single halfpenny until the finances of the country were placed on some stable and intelligible footing. He would not consent to goad and blister the people of this country any farther, until some safe and rational system of extricating them from their difficulties should be pointed out; for to go on from year to year as we had done, adopting one temporary expedient after another, could serve no purpose but that of maintaining in their places an incapable administration. He trusted that in his opposition to all such attempts, the House would, as he was sure the country would, stand by him, and give him its support. He had hoped before this time to have seen some general arrangement effected, by which, at whatever sacrifices, provision should be made for the removal of our difficulties; but his majesty's ministers had turned their backs on the prosperity and solid interests of the nation; their whole policy consisted in fostering delusion; and producing fluctuations in property and currency, which though undoubtedly advantageous to some, were the destruction of many. The effect of their system, if system it could be called, was, to bring odium on our general character, by subjecting us to the reproach of being a nation of gamblers and jobbers. The public funds had been found to fluctuate from 61 to 83, and from that to 72, which naturally occasioned a corresponding change in every description of property. It was very natural and proper that private individuals should endeavour to enrich themselves at the expense of their neighbours—he meant no reflection on them—the responsibility belonged entirely to the ministers of the crown; but the result of such practices was, that no man in the country knew the situation or value of his own property. All men now understood that the Bank were to be repaid, but in what manner no man could tell; rumours of the most various kinds were every where afloat; all the changes were rung upon this plan and that plan, and speculation had a boundless field for its exercise; but was it not disgraceful to a great country, that property should be rendered thus insecure? He did not mean insecure from violence, but insecure by the irregular and artificial schemes devised for carrying on the financial operations of the government. He lamented that insecurity the more, because, as he had already said, he believed that by wise and vigorous arrangements we might replace our finances on a stable footing. His majesty's ministers, however, would not do this, and therefore he called upon the House to do it for them. He begged the House to reflect, if any jar should happen in our foreign relations, if hostile negotiations or an armament should take place, what, with a debt of 840,000,000l., would be the situation of the stock-holder? It could not be denied that it must be extremely perilous; and could they suppose that all this was not well understood by foreigners? To suffer such a state of things to exist was to invite attack, to allow a premiam on insult. Even smaller states would cease to regard with awe or terror a nation struggling in an extricable labyrinth of financial difficulty.

There stood the ministers of the Crown convicted, neglecting the most important interests which could have been committed to their care. He did not wish to disguise his own object in bringing this charge against them, nor had he stated it in such a way as to conciliate any of those who might feel a reluctance to admit its truth, or to vote for that general inquiry for which he should conclude by moving. His own opinion certainly was, that the motion he was about to submit did go to produce a change of administration. The question was, whether he had not made out such a case as called upon the House to interfere. His first proposition was, that the state of the country was full of difficulty, danger, and alarm, and demanded the most prompt and vigorous councils. His second, that the House ought to interfere against the noble lord. It must be obvious that ministers were neither capable nor inclined to make any effectual effort for the improvement of our circumstances. They had, in fact, made no movement whatever to produce any beneficial change in our internal condition. What, for instance, was their conduct with respect to the Poors' Rate, of the pressure of which every man in the country was fully aware, while ministers were totally inactive, and inattentive to the universal call for some amelioration of that important system? A Committee was no doubt appointed to consider the subject, upon the motion of an honourable gentleman, somewhat connected with ministers, who had brought forward from his committee one bill, which was now no more, and another which was in the last agony. But in point of fact nothing was done, and this committee was the only movement made, after three years of peace, to take the subject of the Poors' Rate into consideration. Ministers had not, indeed, within the present session, brought forward any measure whatever connected with our internal affairs, but the army estimates. Such was the degree of activity and diligence they evinced at the present crisis. But the truth was, that ministers did not feel sufficient confidence in their own strength or influence to hazard any vigorous or decisive measures. —Committees might examine, and apply great labour and ingenuity: but without the support and authority of the executive, no measures of a general nature could be expected to succeed. They had now advanced to the 18th of May, and all that had been done during the present session was to pass the army estimates. A committee to inquire into the state of the Bank, and the question of resuming cash payments, had certainly presented a report; but that committee would not have' been appointed, except for the motion which he had previously submitted to parliament. When it was found that inquiry could not be resisted, it was determined that at least it should be a secret inquiry. The chief object with his majesty's present minister suniformly was, to retain their places, and to remedy no abuse, to attempt no improvement, that might endanger them. It was time therefore for the House to mark its sense of the difficulties and dangers with which we were surrounded. It was time to satisfy the country that it was determined to face those difficulties, and to provide for their removal. He who voted against the present motion confessed by that vote his perfect confidence in the wisdom, vigour, and enterprise of ministers, his unqualified approbation of their measures, and his opinion that their career ought not to be interrupted. He who voted for it, by so doing merely admitted the necessity of inquiry, and marked his sense of the state of national affairs. He might support it, although he would rather see the opposition hanged than admitted to office. It was true that some honourable members were on an occasion like the present, which was of rare occurrence, disposed to think that it had no other object than to enable one party to march into office by driving another party out. He did not know who might be very anxious to march in; but if there was one individual indifferent with regard to it, and who would as soon be without office as with it, it was the individual who had then the honour of addressing them. He did not state this as taking any credit to himself on that account; for he should feel no shame in avowing that office was his object; and that he saw no merit in refusing place. He would not be understood therefore to deprecate a desire for office—on the contrary, he felt that in which every considerate man acquainted with our history and institutions, must concur, that to occupy the powers of office was the best way of carrying any great measure into effect; therefore to enter into office upon public principle he always thought the fair object of a public man's ambition. A party banded together to obtain office upon certain principles, and steadily adhering to that union, was the only possible means of effecting any substantial good for the country. It was, therefore, a fair and legitimate object of pursuit with all who conceived themselves able to render service to the public. But with regard to his own personal wishes at present, he had none; his health and his time of life, though the former was much improved, did not permit him to desire official labour very ardently. The emoluments of office could hold out no particular inducement to any man, and this was always his opinion. A man of small fortune undertaking a ministerial office, must, he was satisfied, be rather a looser than a gainer. Office, therefore, had no temptation for him. But still if his friends were to go into office for the purpose of carrying their principles into effect, there was no sacrifice to which he would not submit—no unpopularity (if any) which he would not encounter, in order to afford them any assistance or cooperation in his power. One point he thought must be manifest to all men—that the security of the country in its present circumstances depended on a strong administration. In looking at those of whom it was now composed, he wished to express his opinions without giving personal offence; but at the same time he must state, that he conceived them to be banded together by no particular principles or views. This was the opinion entertained of them by the country, and even by many who perhaps would vote for them on that night. Many would also vote with them, because they imagined that no better administration could be formed. This might possibly be a well-founded opinion, but then the country was surely in a very bad way. In that view of the question the present ministers would remain in secure possession of their emoluments, at the expense of all those general interests which were dependent on their measures. There were many also who might say, that they would not vote with ministers on a question respecting Scotch Burghs, or any other questions in which those ministers were left in a minority; but yet, when a change of administration was proposed, that created an alarm among all the dependents upon that administration. The effect of that alarm might appear in the vote of this evening, by evincing a superior solicitude for official emolument to the promotion of the public interest. But still, with all the power of ministerial influence, he had no doubt that the result of the discussion would be found intelligibly and impressively to convey the sense of that House to the country. It had been said that his motion was premature, and should have been postponed till the report of the Bank committee had undergone a discussion. To him this did not appear to be a correct view of the subject. He had throughout his speech made little or no allusion to that report, nor had it any immediate connexion with the object of his motion. A committee on the state of the nation, however, would afford the best occasion for embracing the consideration of the report. The House must be aware that there was much to pull down as well as to build up. His majesty's ministers had given two opinions directly opposite to each other on the currency of the country. The House had a resolution on its table, which declared that Bank-notes were equivalent to the gold coin, whilst the reports of committees of both Houses declared that they neither were nor should be so! These questions might, however, be fully discussed on another occasion. But the most important point to be considered was, the means of adjusting the difference between our income and expenditure, and some arrangement would, he hoped, take place upon this point, before the conclusion of the sessions. That arrangement had, he was sorry to say, been too long delayed. The chancellor of the exchequer had no doubt promised to favour the House with his view of the financial condition of the country, but when that exposition was to be presented, the right hon. gentleman had not yet even intimated. He was however, anxious, not for a statement of the right hon. gentleman's views, but for some substantial acts to reduce our expenditure to a level with our income. That was the great desideratum for which the country unanimously and eagerly looked. He did not mean to press the right hon. gentleman to bring forward his budget, which was not perhaps to be expected for a fortnight or three weeks; but that, to satisfy the House and the country, he should communicate some plan, if he had formed any, with regard to the prospective state of our finances. Such a statement the right hon. gentleman might make without waiting for the budget, but he did not expect it from him; for he seriously believed, that the right hon. gentleman's mind was quite at sea upon the subject, if it were at all embarked in the pursuit. But to return to the motion—if the House went into this committee, it would prove itself to be impressed with a deep sense of public difficulty. If it were deemed too late in the sessions to appoint a committee to consider such a large and important topic as the state of the nation, he should have no objection to such a resolution upon the subject, as was adopted in a former sessions on the proposition of the president of the board of control, with respect to the Catholic question. Were the House merely to pledge itself to pursue the inquiry at some future period, this good effect would be produced—either that ministers would be compelled to undertake the necessary measures, or the Prince Regent's eyes would be opened to their weakness and neglect. Ministers might, in the interval between this and the next sessions, enter more attentively into a consideration of the state of the country, or feeling themselves unequal to the task they had undertaken; admit their unfitness for the offices which they held. Why should the House be scrupulous with regard to the effect of its proceedings upon those ministers who had so often shown them that they were not disposed to take a very slight hint?—That they were a combination of persons who laughed equally at the House and at the country, he had no doubt. They ought to thank him for the opportunity which this motion afforded them of discovering, he would not say their real friends, but their present strength. The triumph might be theirs, but he should at least have the consolation of letting the country know who were the persons anxious for a full investigation of its affairs. He felt considerable confidence, notwithstanding he stood opposed against all the influence, authority and patronage of office. It was clear, that if carried, his motion would produce either this good, that of forcing the ministers of the Crown to adopt more vigorous measures, and to add to their strength, or end in the removal of them all. They would, no doubt, endeavour, by all means, to avert such an event. There might be some changes among them of merely an official shape, but driven at last to feel their want of strength they might be urged to surrender, "if parliament would consent to wait." It was, however, in his view, the duty of parliament to call at once for the removal of those ministers. Many would, he was satisfied, vote for them this evening, who were as convinced of their incompetency as the country at large, and the sense of the country should be communicated to the Prince Regent, in order to urge his royal highness to do that which would alone be satisfactory, namely, the removal of all the ministers [Hear, hear, hear!]. It was his firm opinion, that such a change was necessary to satisfy and to Save the country. He thought that removal necessary, because the country could not be secure till its finances were arranged and governed upon sound principles. He thought it necessary for the purpose of conciliating the affections of the people, not by any subserviency to popular clamour, or indulging in idle schemes of visionary or impracticable reform, to such projects he declared that he was quite as adverse as the right hon. gentleman on the opposite side, but by a sincere disposition to promote what was practically useful. This could not be expected from men who avowedly set their faces against every species of reform, and merely because it was so. There were propositions of reform which he was cordially prepared to support, and which he thought ought to be adopted, with a view to satisfy the people and to save the constitution. The policy, therefore, which it was the intention of his motion to carry into effect was, the restoration of our finances and the conciliation of the people. The latter was at all times a most desirable object, the former was one of pressing exigency. Until secured, our foreign relations must be uncertain; once attained, we might look all Europe fearlessly in the face, and display at once our attachment to peace and our ability for war. He concluded by moving, "That this House will resolve itself into a committee of the whole House to take into consideration the State of the Nation."

Lord Castlereagh

wished, in the first place, to express his conviction, that although much of the argument of the right hon. gentleman was perfectly sound, and warranted by facts, and such as he himself was disposed to concur in, yet that the few observations he should trouble the House with, would induce it not to go the length of admitting the general views which the hon. member had taken of the state of the country. In rising, as one of the administration which had been so peculiarly the subject of the right hon. gentleman's animadversion, he felt all the difficulty of his situation, especially in attempting to answer the very able and luminous speech which the House had just heard. With the right hon. gentleman's view of the difficulties of our financial condition, he was not disposed much to differ, but in adverting to the conduct of his right hon. friend, the chancellor of the exchequer, he would put it to the personal generosity of the right hon. mover himself, as well as to the candour of the House, whether greater ability had been displayed by any financial minister, than, under the very peculiar circumstances of the country, had distinguished the system of his right hon. friend? Notwithstanding the scoff of certain gentlemen, or the tricks practised by the right hon. mover, who was such an expert tactician in debate, he would repeat, that the financial talents of his right hon. friend had proved of the most eminent description, especially considering the difficulties in which he was placed upon the lamented death of Mr. Perceval. He would call upon the House to recollect the exhausted state of the country at the period at which his right hon. friend took upon himself the administration of that difficult department: and he would then ask the right hon. gentleman whether he could show any instance of greater or more important exertion than that which had distinguished his right hon. friend. He felt perfectly confident that none of his right hon. friend's colleagues in office, would shrink from the responsibility, which an unqualified approbation of his efforts might bring upon them. He agreed with the right hon. mover that ministers were, as well as parliament, bound to look the difficulties of the country in the face, and not shrink from considering them most fully; though in doing so he hoped they would meet with more vigorous and steady support than the right hon. gentleman was likely to afford. He did not complain of the conduct of the right hon. gentleman, though certainly he had assumed a tone of candour and an air of plausibility, that so far misled some members as to make them suppose that his whole object was to awaken the attention of the House to those important questions on the discussion of which they were in a few days to enter. And here he would submit to the judgment of the House, whether, on the very eve of considering the important inquiry respecting the Bank, it was proper or becoming to bring forward a proposition of this nature. If, however, the right hon. gentleman thought the state of our finances and the incompetency of ministers so very pressing, that he was called upon to awaken the attention of parliament and to open the eyes of the Prince Regent to the subject, how came he so long to sleep on his post? His right hon. friend would soon bring forward, not only his budget for the year, but his view of the prospective financial condition of the country, and he had no doubt that the exposition would be found fully clear and satisfactory. In considering the difficulties of the country, he could not help regretting the rejection of the property-tax. For however he bowed to the decision of the House on that subject, he must always feel it a lamentable circumstance that the country was not reconciled to bear somewhat longer the burthens of war, in order to get rid of its financial embarrassments. But whatever those embarrassments might be, he saw no ground for alarm, dismay, or for any apprehension that, in the event of war, to which the right hon. gentleman alluded, the country would not be prepared to maintain that power and character against any foe which she had for so many years proudly asserted.—He trusted therefore, the House would understand, that if his right hon. friend declined entering at present into this question, as it regarded the financial arrangements for the year (and if he had any influence he would prevail upon him not to enter upon it), it was not because the statements of the right hon. mover could not be fairly-met, but because it would be premature to be induced by any taunts which the right hon. gentleman might throw out, to enter upon such an explanation before the whole of the financial plans were fairly before the House. He could assure the right hon. gentleman, that when the proper period for entering upon this subject arrived, he would find ministers prepared to meet him on the several points to which he had alluded. He now came to the narrow ground on which this motion was founded. It was not a question which involved the finance of the year, or the consideration of the Bank Report, for on those heads the House had not yet received such information as could justify the discussion of those questions. If, indeed, the right hon. member thought it necessary to enter into a discussion on those subjects, he would have an opportunity of doing so in the course of next week; and he would find, on that occasion, that any course he meant to pursue would be as open to him as it could possibly be to-night. But this was not the object in view. The real object seemed to be, though it seemed rather late for such an inquiry, whether his majesty's ministers were competent to the situations they held—whether they were entitled to the confidence of the House and the country. This was the question upon which they were at issue, and on this ground he was ready to meet the hon. member. He could assure the House, that he had no desire to remain in office a single day longer than he felt himself capable of justly discharging the duties imposed upon him. And farther, he acknowledged, that no ministry ought to remain in power who did not possess the confidence of parliament. With these feelings and impressions, he did not feel at all dismayed in putting himself and his colleagues, not merely in competition with the right hon. member and his friends, but fairly before the House, to be judged by the measures which they had adopted during their administration. He agreed with the right hon. gentleman that it would not be well to lull the country into a belief that it was in such a state that no possible danger or difficulty could arise. He, on the contrary, would maintain, with the right hon. gentleman, that the only way in which peace could be maintained—peace without subjection and disgrace, was to be always ready to resent insults and injuries, if insults and injuries should be offered. But while he stated this, he felt justified in adding, that he did not know that at any period of our history the foreign connexions of this country had been more satisfactory than at present, and the nation might flatter itself, that it had before it as fair a prospect of peace as it had ever enjoyed. He could not sit quietly by and listen to the taunts of the hon. gentleman opposite, on that coalition of great nations which had lately taken place. The principles which now bound the sovereigns of those nations together in strict alliance, he would venture to say, notwithstanding the taunting innuendoes of the right hon. gentleman opposite, were not those of ambition, nor of aggression; they were not united for the violation of public freedom, nor to oppress and overlay the liberties of countries, but to preserve to their subjects the fruits of those arduous struggles into which they had entered for the preservation of the independence of this as well as other powers, and which had ended in one of the most glorious conquests that were to be found in the annals of history. If the sentiments of that coalition were clothed in a Christian and religious grab, in his conscience he believed that it was attributable to the character of the sentiments on which it was founded, and he trusted that a British House of Commons would be the last to urge that as an argument against the coalition altogether. The right hon. gentleman contended that it had been the policy of that alliance to reduce the power of France. This he firmly denied. The allied powers were actuated by contrary views—they were anxious to see France occupy that, extended space in Europe, which her power entitled her to fill. It was against revolutionary France that the allied powers had exerted themselves—it was against revolutionary France that this country had fought single handed through those dark and bloody scenes, where the politics of the times deprived us of an ally—it was against revolutionary France that we had still fought, till assisted by other nations, who, at length, roused to a sense of their danger, had made common cause with us, we succeeded in overthrowing the monster. He could assure the House, that as far as this country or the other allied powers were concerned, there was not a feeling entertained injurious to France, or against which any Frenchman could justly entertain a jealousy. Over France, should France continue to pursue the career of peace, this country and its allies, would desire no greater triumph than to see her prosperous and happy. It had been said, that the British government, during the late negotiations, had not made use of the power which it possessed to secure those commercial advantages which it ought to have been the object of ministers to gain. He would not now enter upon this subject, but at the proper time he should be prepared to show, that the commercial interests of the country had not been neglected. He would show, that at no period of our history had this country carried on so great a commerce by one third as she had carried on during the last four years; and that the two last years were the greatest commercial years that had ever been known.

In respect to commercial treaties, about which the right hon. gentleman had said so much, happily for this country she had had very little reason to negociate them. Had such treaties been made, he thought they would rather have confined than extended our trade, which now knocked at every door and found its way into every port:—a trade which might be said to be independent of all the world, and only governed by laws of its own. But even if such treaties were advantageous, how could it be expected that a narrow policy of this kind could have been entered into at a period when we were struggling for the liberties of Europe? Nothing would have been more contemptible, at the very moment we were assisting foreign countries in the high and important task of recovering their independence, than to mix up matters of paltry traffic as the price of our assistance. How could such a pro-position have been made at a time when this country was winding up its exertions in the bowels of every state on the continent? Could ministers stop to higgle for commercial bargains with Spain and Portugal, and refuse to assist them unless their terms were agreed to? If this had been done, the consequence would have been, that this country would have come out of the struggle with its resources exhausted, and without having gained the grand object which induced us to enter into it—its own independence, and that of the several continental powers. He was perfectly satisfied to rest the character and conduct of ministers on the measures they adopted at that eventful period. The right hon. member had, in speaking of the arrangements made on the subject of the Newfoundland fisheries displayed a surprising want of information; for he had confounded that subject with the commercial treaty between this country and the United States. This was a convention founded upon the treaty of Ghent, and had no connexion with the commercial treaty. The House was aware, that if there was any one power, with which it was materially necessary that this country should enter into a commercial treaty, it was America; he did not mean a treaty of concession, but one of fair and honourable trade; and when he mentioned, that the annual amount of our trade with that country was from 11 to 12,000,000l. it was enough to show the great importance that ought to be attached to it. As the right hon. member had stated his object to be the removal of ministers, he might, at this late period of the session when the House had no time to throw away, have adopted a more expeditious mode of accomplishing his purpose. It was something strange that the right hon. gentleman should come down just at the end of a session, and ask the House to pass a resolution declaring the incompetency of an administration which had been in power for at least 8 years. Surely, the conduct of ministers was not so far obliterated from the minds of the House as to require a committee to inquire into it. It would be difficult for himself or his colleagues to defend themselves from a charge of so general a nature. If any particular charge were made, the matter would not be so difficult. He trusted it would not be considered arrogant of him to say, that he freely put it to the House, whether from the measures adopted by ministers, they were not fairly entitled to the confidence of parliament and the country, or whether those measures were such as to disqualify them from longer holding their places? The right hon. member had said a good deal of the want of principle on the part of ministers. Now, he would beg to ask, with out meaning any offence (although probably he might not be considered an unbiassed or impartial judge on the subject) where the principles of the right hon. member were to be found? He should be sorry, when a change took place in the government, if the right hon. gentleman were not to take the lead in the new administration, as he was certainly no small star in the constellation on the opposite side of the House. With this feeling, and desiring to know what was likely to be the character of the new administration, he wished to ask of the right hon. gentleman to what part of his life he would refer them to ascertain what had been his principle, he meant his political principle of action. The only pretension to principle he could find in the right hon. member (he meant in public affairs), was the dexterity and perseverance with which he and his friends opposed every measure proposed by ministers to stem the torrent of destruction which threatened to deluge this country. He might safely leave it to the country to decide on which side of the House most English principle and public spirit had been found. Ministers were charged with indifference to the internal interests of the country. This he denied. There was no branch of the government that had not been attended to. A committee had been appointed to consider the penal code. He did not see any immediate means of amending the poor laws, which would authorise ministers to take the question up. That question had, however, been under the consideration of a committee of the House, and much benefit was expected from the amendments proposed. The affairs of the Bank, the currency of the country, in short, every measure that affected the public interest had been attended to by government. How then, was the charge of indifference on the part of ministers justified? But there was another cause for bringing forward this motion, which the right hon. member had not thought proper to state to the Houses and that was for the purpose of showing the strength of the party of which the right hon. member was the head. The right hon. gentleman appeared to be determined to have a grand field day, and to parade his troops. The right hon. gentleman was aware that on another question now on the eve of coming under discussion, there would be some defections, some rebels against his authority; he therefore wished to bring forward some proposition which should unite all his forces, however opposed to each other in various other instances. Such a Mahratta confederacy as had been recently exhibited on the opposite benches was probably never seen in that House. He did not mean to charge them with the sanguinary part of the character; but a better description could hardly be given of the force on the opposite side of the House as it recently existed than that which had lately been given of the Pindarries by his right hon. friend near him. They were in a most extraordinary state of political confusion, "chaos" seemed "to have come again." They had no longer one leader, but as many leaders as there were gentlemen of talent among them. A great improvement had certainly been effected by giving the command to the right hon. gentleman. Now all was order—every one was in his place—all with "eyes front" looked to the right hon. gentleman for instructions ready to obey the word of command. Bound to acknowledge the infallibility of their political pope, they took their places at five o'clock, and hardly left them to obtain natural refreshment. All this might prove the right hon. gentleman a famous leader, since he had been thus able to establish passive obedience in the whig army. Those, however, whom he (lord Castlereagh) had to address, though some additions had been made on a late occasion to their numbers, were in the main the same troops who had before driven the opposite party out of the field, and saved their country. He would not believe that they had changed their principles. He believed that they loved the principles they formerly professed as well as they ever did, but like many a victorious army nursed in the lap of victory, they had perhaps become rather indolent. He hoped that they would now rally round their princicipals, and show the right hon. gentleman that it was not by dexterity that any measures were ever carried in this country. He put it to the House, he hoped not in an offensive manner, whether they could sanction a proceeding like the present. If they were not prepared to withdraw their confidence from the government, he claimed from them on the part of the government, or rather for their own character's sake, and for the sake of their consistency, that they would not suffer mere dexterity and discipline to prevail, that they would not suffer inferior numbers to conquer: for in the late divisions to which the right hon. gentleman had referred with triumph, he could trace very few who voted with the right hon. gentleman, but those who had been in the habit of doing so. If the former friends of government had changed their opinion, he hoped they would speak out. If they had a disposition to overturn the present administration he called upon them to come forward like men. If they thought that his majesty's ministers had done wrong, let them say so, and let them not suffer the government to be overthrown by mere dexterity and discipline. They were on the eve of a great question, which could not now be anticipated; and the House must be aware, that that was not the time to bring forward a motion like the present. The right hon. gentleman had not chosen a very favourable opportunity for the present discussion; except perhaps as it answered his purpose of showing his power to reduce chaos to order. The situation of ministers was never fuller of difficulty and responsibility. He was persuaded that the House would see that there was sufficient ground for a delay of a few days in bringing forward the financial arrangements for the year, and he concluded by trusting that it would that night be put fairly to issue, whether the right hon. gentleman and his friends, or ministers were entitled to the confidence of the house and of the country.

Mr. William Lamb

wished to state the reasons why he should give his vote in favour of his right hon. friend's motion. The House would recollect, that though his right hon. friend had alluded to our commercial regulations, and to our relations with foreign powers, yet the motion was principally grounded on the financial state of the country. He did not mean to compete with the noble lord in the humourous observations he had indulged in when speaking of his side of the House; but he wished to call their attention to the charges of dexterity urged against his right hon. friend. He appealed to the House whether, in what had fallen from the noble lord for the last half hour he had not used his utmost dexterity to turn the minds of members from the real question before them? The noble lord had, however, previously indulged in observations of a more serious nature, he had charged his right hon. friend with want of principle, with having used his efforts to oppose and fetter every measure proposed by government during the war. The only argument he should use in contradiction, to those charges against his right hon. friend was, a direct and distinct denial. There certainly did exist a great difference, of opinion as to the origin of the war, and on the manner and measures adopted during its continuance. But while he had sat in the House, he never knew his right hon. friend, or those who acted with him, oppose any measure necessary to the safety or interests of the country. Where could an instance be mentioned of any vote of supply being refused? Many objections had been urged against the conduct of ministers; advice was sometimes offered as to the mode in which the war ought to be conducted, and at different periods it was contended, that an effort ought to be made to bring it to a close, but it had never been the object of the opposition to prevent the country from putting forth all its energies in the way most conducive to its interests and its glory. We had, it was true, triumphed; but it behoved us to speak of our triumphs with modesty when we considered the financial embarrassment and difficulty in which the war had left the country. The noble lord had eulogised the whole financial system pursued by the chancellor of the exchequer. He (Mr. L.) admitted that during the war those financial plans were necessary; as the country had no alternative. But now the charge against the chancellor of the exchequer was, that though we were at peace, he had made no effort to relieve the country from the weight with which it was burthened. What his right hon. friend had said was, that the country was at present placed in a state of great financial difficulty, and that the measures proposed by the chancellor of the exchequer were not such as to entitle him or his colleagues to the confidence of the country, and on this opinion the motion was founded. A great cause of complaint against ministers was, their want of attention to the consequences of peace. It was since the peace that the right hon. gentleman had lost the confidence of the House and country. Ministers seemed totally unaware of the situation of the country. They seemed to think that all was to revert to its former state, that it was only a transition from war to peace that occasioned a temporary difficulty, and that all would again be in the former state of activity and prosperity, without considering the effects that must necessarily result from the exertions which the country had made, and the convulsions which the world had suffered. At the time when the property-tax was reduced, ministers proved themselves incapable to conduct the affairs of the country. The attempts to keep up credit and to lessen our burthens, by exchequer bills, were at least useless. It was stated by his right hon. friend, and admitted by the noble lord, that this motion was made to bring about a change of ministers. He supported it on that ground, as he conceived that the situation of the country, and the conduct of ministers called for it. Before he entered on this part of the question, however, he felt himself bound to say, that he had great respect for many of the ministry. With respect to the private character of all, and the public character of many among them, he admitted their excellence. The noble lord at the head of the Treasury was "as clear in his high office" as any minister could be. He had discharged the high duties of his station with great disinterestedness, and in the patronage of his office he had shown a strict regard for the public interest, by appointing such persons as were best calculated to serve the country. Another noble lord had been engaged in transactions perhaps more important than ever before called for the attention of a British minister. When he considered the delicacy and difficulty of the task imposed on the noble lord, and the many interests he had to contend with and reconcile, both at congress and in Paris, after the battle of Waterloo, he could not, however he might deplore what had been left undone, attach any blame to him for want of attention to the interests of the country. There was also his right hon. friend at the head of the board of control, whose abilities and eloquence were unquestionable. But, while he admitted all that, yet, looking at the administration in its collective character, he felt that they did not possess that public confidence necessary to conduct with effect the affairs of the country. There was something about them, which even rendered success in operative. On them military glory the most captivating to popular feeling, the most attractive of public attachment, reflected no lustre. He must, however, be allowed to say, that if their unpopularity attached to them, because they pursued the warlike system, because they adhered to the course of Mr. Pitt, such unpopularity came many, many years too late. There were in that House men, who in the time for precaution, warned the country of the dangers into which it was about to be precipitated, but whose counsels were unheeded. When he reflected on the events of the last 20 years, he must beg leave to say, and he trusted the admonition would not be lost upon the country, that experience had lamentably shown that wars must be resisted in the beginning—that when once begun, no human hand could arrest their progress, no human eye foresee their duration or extent. Yet we had seen, that hen those very persons who had deprecated the evils of unnecessary war, were called to conduct its progress, and were hurried in the torrent of its events to remedy the calamities which they had predicted, they were reviled and contemned for their exertion, by the most eager advocates of war and authors of the public distress. The unpopularity of the present ministry might in part be attributed to the failure of those means of patronage by which they were enabled to attach adherents. From the cessation of a war expenditure, many claims were made on them which they were compelled to refuse—numerous expectations were entertained which they were necessitated to disappoint. It was, he feared, too true, that peace was not pleasing to the British nation—not that they disliked the season of tranquillity and calm, but that peace seldom came unless saddened by the calamities of national distress, and oppressed by the burthens of a long preceding war. The reckoning remained to be accounted for, the exhaustion began to be felt, whilst the stimulus and excitement of the contest had subsided. To whatever causes attri- butable, most assured he was, that the present ministers of the Crown did not possess the confidence of the country; and if so, he felt equally certain that they could not long possess the confidence of that House. In fact, what had the House been doing day after day since the commencement of the session, but manifesting its distrust of administration? Why appoint committees on committees, to whom the powers and duties of the executive government were transferred, unless parliament distrusted the intentions or the ability of ministers? And if they felt that distrust, why not adopt the ancient and constitutional mode of obtaining an efficient administration? The practice of delegating to committees those powers, was roost unconstitutional, inasmuch as it tended to absorb the whole authority of the executive government in the vortex of that House. Moreover, it was as ineffectual as it was unwise, because it wanted all the strength, all the secrecy, all the energy, and all the responsibility of government. Take for instance the case of public economy on which so much had been said in this period of financial embarrassment; and while on that subject, he would premise that nothing like alleviation from the pressure can be expected, although he was impressed with the conviction that every practicable retrenchment ought to be made; first, as a saving of money; and next, because every unnecessary expense implied a failure of public duty. But he could not help saying, that taking into consideration the amount of the public debt, the expenses of the civil government (and he did not believe our government was an exorbitant one), to direct the attention of the country to the labours of a committee, was but turning the public eye where it would be deceived, as no material advantage was to be expected. For what was it in the power of that committee to effect? One blot might be hit—some trifling retrenchment might be recommended—but after all it was only in the habitual and vigilant superintendence of the executive government over the public expenditure, continued day by day, and carried with a searching power into every department of the state, that economy could be really effected. If the House of Commons believed the ministers of the Crown anxious to accomplish that object, let it confide in them; but if it did not place that confidence in them, it was its duty, in place of the unconstitutional and inefficient system of appointing committees, to take the ancient and constitutional practice of parliament, and adopt the measure recommended in the motion of his right hon. friend. For his part, he had strong objections to the present administration. He objected to their cumbrous and discordantly united cabinet; he objected to the manifest disconnection of their measures. The noble lord had that night described those who in that House opposed the measures of the government, as a body admirably united and disciplined under their skilful leader. He (Mr. Lamb) spoke most sincerely, when he wished that he could see some portion of that union, some portion of that discipline in the cabinet, of which the noble lord was a member. It would afford him a real satisfaction, whatever the nature of his own political attachments, to see the ministry of the country held together by some good system of policy, presenting themselves to their opponents as a formidable and impenetrable phalanx, rather than exhibiting a spectacle of division which was too palpable.—One leader coming down one night, when secure of the absence of the other—avoiding all discussion on questions of the most essential importance, leaving the urgent subject of the poor-laws to its fate, and abdicating the functions of the executive government to committees of that House. Such a system affected all the measures of the parliament—they were floating at the mercy of the waves, without compass or rudder. There were motions brought forward by many hon. members, particularly that introduced by his hon. friend, the member for the county of Worcester, for the abolition of lotteries, which, from his own feelings, he was inclined to support; but in the present state of our finances, with the amount of our debt, he was un-willing to diminish any portion of the revenue, unless there appeared a probable mode of making up the deficiency; and the more especially as he had no confidence in the chancellor of the exchequer, either that he could devise any plan to supply such deficiency, or that he possessed power enough to make that plan practicable. It was this want of plan, this absence of all system, this disconnection in the measures of the government—at all times so prejudicial to the interests of a nation—and in the present state of our financial difficulties, so peculiarly injurious, that had induced him to support the proposition of his right hon. friend, It was for the House to decide, as should seem mete to their feelings. With those who opposed the present motion, would rest the responsibility from which it relieved those who proposed and supported it.

Lord Clifton

supported the motion.

Mr. R. Martin

observed, that as the question was now reduced into a very narrow compass, being nothing more than whether the House would select the gentlemen on the opposition, or those on the ministerial benches, for the members of administration, he must claim his right to express his opinions upon it. If the contest of the evening was to be a contest for power, he would call on the right hon. leader of the opposition to step manfully into the arena, and there meet the noble lord, face to face. He would call upon him to do this, in order that the campaign might be shortened, and he (Mr. M.) might take his bene discessit at once, and depart for his county in Ireland. He repeated the assertion, that the campaign would be shortened, if the contending parties would give up the war of posts. If the modest gentlemen, whom he saw on the opposite benches, would suppose themselves for a moment on the treasury bench, and name the members of the administration which they wished to form, the House would be better enabled than it was at present to decide which of the two parties ought to govern the nation. If the hon. gentlemen opposite were as patriotic as they professed to be (and as they possibly were), they ought to come forward and support those measures which were for the good of the country, or propose those which they thought were calculated for that purpose. But it was too much for them to have a nostrum which they would not produce, unless they were rewarded with place. He owed no obligation to the present government—they had not returned him for the county which he represented, though one proof of their popularity in it might be deduced from the circumstance which he was going to relate. He had canvassed 12,000 freeholders resident in his county, with the standard of government unfurled, and had in consequence obtained a great majority over the mighty minion of opposition, George Bowes Daly.

Mr. Wynn

argued, that while the question of the metallic circulation of the country remained undecided, the House could not enter into a committee on the state of the nation with any prospect of reaping advantage from such a measure. A question of this kind by no means involved the fate of the ministry. During the administration of lord North, two several committees had been appointed to consider the state of the nation, without deciding any thing as to a change of ministry, or affecting their stability. Almost any question, even the most trifling, might however be made decisive of the fate of a ministry. It was well-known that it was in the debate and decision on the case of the Chippenham election, that the ministry of sir Robert Walpole had lost their places. He complained of the uncertain and unsteady conduct of ministers. Questions of vital importance to the country were abandoned by them, or they were driven to a reluctant and partial consideration of them.—The House, it was true, had entered into the consideration of questions of finance, of the penal code, of the Catholic cause, and other important measures; but not one of them was taken up by administration. Though, be did not place any confidence in his majesty's ministers, he had been strongly inclined, on entering the House, to move the previous question on the present motion, which, however fit it might be to entertain hereafter, was certainly premature at the present time; as, however, both sides of the House seemed to wish to come to a decision on the subject, he should not thwart their inclinations by following his original intention; he should however withdraw, and preserve his consistency by giving no vote at all upon the present occasion.

Lord John Russell

considered the present motion a tacit vote of censure on the conduct of ministers. Had his right hon. friend gone to a bolder measure, and directly moved a resolution of censure, he was not sure but he would have had the support of the hon. gentleman who had last spoken, and many other hon. members. Indeed, were he to judge from the opinions of men out of doors, in every street and in every district, he was persuaded that the, public felt neither esteem nor respect for the administration. The first objection which the noble lord had made to the motion of his right hon. friend was, that it was a premature entry upon the Bank report; and that, too, when his right hon. friend had not touched upon the affairs of the Bank, and had plainly disavowed any intention of doing so. The noble lord had not been contented with this mis-statement, but had proceeded to another, and had said that it was an additional trick in the tactics of his right hon. friend, whom he had represented as a most skilful general, to bring up all his troops in order on this question, on which they were united, inasmuch as they would be all divided again, whenever the Bank report was taken into consideration. So incautious had the noble lord been when he made this assertion, that he had forgotten how opposite in their financial opinions the gentleman on his right hand and the gentleman on his left hand were. This was a mark of imprudence of which the noble lord was so seldom guilty, that he could not explain how it had happened; but he certainly thought, that under such circumstances he had no right to exult over any disunion among his opponents, which, though it never had happened, yet by some accident possibly might happen. He (lord John Russell) had that evening heard, in the course of the debate, that the object of the late war was not to lower France in the scale of nations; this was a piece of information perfectly new to him. He would not enter into the grounds upon which that war had originally commenced, but he would assert, that it was defended on the ground, that as the revolutionary spirit had given additional vigour to France, it was requisite to put it down with all possible celerity. By the noble lord's statement, however, it appeared that the object of the war was only to crush revolutionary France: if that had been really its object, it had completely failed; as those doctrines which had been denounced with so much vehemence in Mr. Burke's book, had now a more powerful effect than ever in that country. He believed he might say with justice, that they were more prevalent, and possessed more influence now in France, than for the last fifteen years. Would the noble lord contend that the war was to restore a family, without any reference to the principles on which that family was to govern? For his own part, he was glad that France was under a dynasty which was so well affected to its real interests, as that which now sat upon the throne; but he must say, that the six hundred millions which had been spent during the war, were most wretchedly ill-spent, if they had produced no other effect than that of the restora- tion of a particular family. And for our disinterested exertions, what return had we received from the nations of the continent? It seemed as if since the peace of Paris all the nations of the continent had conspired against English commerce and English interests. He alluded particularly in this remark to the conduct of Austria, where he understood that British manufactures were received under even, greater restrictions than those of any other country whatsoever. This he attributed to the negligence of ministry, who he maintained, in their administration of our internal affairs, were equally remiss and culpable. He referred to their conduct on the important subject of the poor laws, on the discussion of which subject, though it was of vital interest to the country, not one of his majesty's ministers had attended. A lamented friend of his, whose loss was felt every day more and more—he meant Mr. Homer—had observed, that by the present poor-laws the people were returning fast to a state of villanage. The observation was true; they were returning to a state of villanage, and to a state of villanage that was incalculably more dangerous than that which existed six centuries ago, in an age of darkness and superstition. Sorry was he to say, that the once manly peasantry of this country were now becoming lazy and riotous, and disrespectful to their superiors, and that they were beginning to look up to the laws with no other view than that of obtaining by them a temporary subsistence. He maintained that his majesty's ministers ought to have provided for the diminution, if they could not effect the total eradication of this growing evil. They were, however, so accustomed to trust to the chapter of accidents upon all subjects, that they had trusted to it even upon this, and thought that it would bring them relief now, as it had done upon former occasions. The chapter of accidents in Avar had given them some advantages over Buonaparté; and yet if Buonaparté had not afterwards committed some imprudent actions, it was his opinion, that they would have lost all the advantages which they had obtained, by their own extravagance of conduct. The behaviour of the government on this head reminded him of an old story which he had heard, regarding a scene-shifter in the theatre, who, whenever any thunder rolled upon the stage, regularly cried out, "that is my thunder." Thus it was with the noble lord and his friends; they no sooner heard of the snow in Russia, than up they got and cried, "that is our snow." If the object of his political friends was power, they already possessed it—and power of the most gratifying kind. For instance, what could be more gratifying to his noble friend, in his motion relative to the Scotch burghs, than to induce the House to agree to it against the arguments of the ministry. On the whole, he gave the motion his hearty support.

Mr. Sinclair

said, that the right hon. gentleman had relieved the House from all doubt and difficulty as to the nature and intent of his motion, by avowing candidly that his object was, to effect a change of administration, or in other words to compel the Prince Regent to dismiss his present advisers, and of course, appoint, in their room, the right hon. gentleman, himself, and those of whom he is the leader. And this, sir, leads me to take (I trust) an impartial review, of the present state of parties in this House, and their comparative claims upon the confidence of the people. If, indeed, we were at once to adopt the representations of those who support the right hon. gentleman, we should be led to suppose that the struggle was entirely between corruption the most unblushing, and patriotism the most exalted. We should believe that, on the one side, not a vestige could be traced, of virtue, knowledge, or ability; no public spirit, no zeal for political freedom, no fond and reverential appreciation of our constitutional privileges and blessings. We should suppose that, on the other side, all the talents of the country were combined, that we should there find a concentration of whatever is great, good, or disinterested, no oligarchical influence, no close boroughs or purchased seats—no view to the patronage or emoluments arising from official situations; no commoners panting for the coronet; no peers impatiently aspiring to a more elevated title than they possess. But, Sir, will any one, who lays his hand upon his heart, and discards all party prejudice, or personal dislike—will any one, who weighs dispassionately the merits, or passes calmly under review the conduct, of public men, maintain, that such pictures are drawn faithfully from the life, or deny that the one is distorted by the darkening pencil of malevolence, and the other profusely embellished with all the high colouring of political partiality? I am indeed most willing to admit, and even proud, as a Briton, to reflect, that there are many, very many individuals, enrolled in the ranks of opposition, who are distinguished among their contemporaries, and will be revered by posterity, as preeminent in probity, in talent, and in benevolence; and who would disdain to be influenced by any sordid or selfish motive. I cannot doubt for a moment, that, if they at any time were called to preside over the destinies of the empire, they would anxiously adopt, and steadily adhere to, such measures, as would, in their judgment, be most conducive to the honour, and the welfare of the country. But, Sir, it is surely a just ground of complaint,; that their adherents unequivocally claim in their behalf a complete monopoly of public virtue; and arraign, without mercy, as political delinquents, at the bur of public opinion, all, who ever presume to oppose them. It is surely a just ground of complaint, that those, who now possess the confidence of the Crown, are held up to public scorn and execration, as far more unworthy than any ministers ever were, or, I trust, will ever be, of the smallest attachment or respect; and that to give a fair and conscientious, though limited support to their measures, is identified with the approval of corruption." Such, Sir, are not the doctrines, which I am prepared to maintain; such, Sir, are not the instructions, which I have received from my constituents. Elected as I have had the honour to be, by the un-bought and unanimous suffrages of a most respectable county, I have endeavoured so to conduct myself in this House, that the sacred trust reposed in me may be as freely and independently administered, as it was freely and independently conferred. It is not only no violation, but a punctual fulfilment, of our public duty, to abstain from invidiously disparaging the merits, and meanly undervaluing the services, of those confidential advisers, whom our sovereign thinks proper to select; and not, on all occasions, to resist all their measures with a spirit of defiance and rebuke. I well know, that any individual, however humble, who dares under any circumstances to raise his voice in favour of ministers, must expect to encounter a very full share of obloquy and misrepresentation; but, as I anticipate such treatment without fear, I shall not be ashamed to endure it; and I can assure the hon. gentlemen opposite, that no wit, however pointed, no sarcasm however severe, and no asperity, however contumelious, shall ever, on the one hand, intimidate me from opposing, or, on the other, deter me From supporting them. The present proposition has, from time immemorial, been looked upon as a mere party question, and in short as a fair trial of strength between the ins and the outs. Whoever draws the sword against ministers on such an occasion, must be considered as throwing away the scabbard. I am not one of those who are anxious to take the cabinet by storm, and compel the governor and garrison to surrender at discretion, and therefore I shall give my decided negative to the motion.

Sir Francis Burdett

observed, that the consideration of the State of the Nation was a subject so vast, that it required so extensive a view, and embraced so many objects, that the eye could scarcely comprehend the whole, and the judgment was puzzled what to select for observation. In this situation he should be inclined to address the House in the words used by a Roman emperor to the senate: "Quod scribam vobis, Patres conscripti, vel quod non scribam" &c. In whatever way, however, he regarded the question—whether he looked at it with reference to its great constitutional points, or with reference to other topics, such as the condition of our finances, the state of the poor, &c. which had been touched upon by several hon. gentlemen, he felt it to be impossible to contract it into that narrow compass which would make it simply a question, whether the present ministry should continue in office, or be succeeded by those hon. gentleman who acknowledged as their leader the right hon. gentleman whose motion was before the House. Indeed, were the question narrowed to the consideration, whether this or that set of men should form the administration of the country, he owned that he should not feel any anxiety on the subject; convinced as he was, that a change of men, without a change of system, would be of. little advantage to the people. Whether that declaration of his might induce the noble lord to think that the "chaps," of which he had so humorously talked was, "come again," or whether it should turn out that he stood alone in that declaration—that he, a solitary straggler from the ranks of the right hon. gentleman, on whose excellent discipline the noble lord had been so focose—the single Pindarree left to carry on an irregular warfare—he, knew not. He cared little what opinion was formed with respect to himself; being solicitous for nothing, but to deliver the truth in the few remarks with which he should trouble the House—For the hon. gentleman who bad just spoken, he felt great respect and private regard; but he thought that the hon. gentleman had been peculiarly unfortunate in his remarks on the present occasion; for if ever there was a debate, in which there had been less of the depreciation of party than in another, it was the debate of that evening. The hon. member who had immediately followed the noble secretary of state, had indeed, in the able speech which he had addressed to the House, rather outstated himself, and contradicted his own argument by the excess of his candour towards his political opponents. He had spoken of the noble lord as having accomplished the difficult and delicate tasks of diplomacy, which he had undertaken with great success and credit; as having conducted himself for along series of years in the public service with great ability and diligence; and as having used with great moderation the power and patronage afforded him by his official situation. Another member of the cabinet, who certainly possessed great talents and transcendant eloquence, had been described by the hon. gentleman in terms equally flattering; and he had also characterized several other individuals of the government, as persons in whom the public ought to place great confidence It was therefore extraordinary that the hon. gentleman should support a motion which he considered as involving a change of administration; thinking as he did, that so large a proportion of the existing administration were men of abilities and moderation. But the hon. gentleman had done more. He stated (a new argument within those walls for a change of ministry) that the present administration was very unpopular—but, according to the reason of the hon. gentleman, that it was unpopular far a cause for which it was not to blarney namely, in consequence of the public distress occasioned by the expense of a long, a bloody war—a war which was commenced against the liberties of France, and which ended in the embarrassments and oppression of England. At the same time the hon. gentleman seemed to think that whatever changes might take place, nothing very important in the shape of relief could be expected from economy On that point he (sir F. Burdett) differed widely from the hon. gentleman. He thought much might be expected from economy; and that if there were a change of administration, the new ministers must adopt a principle of economy rigid, uniform, and sincere. Without doing so they would not be able to keep their places and (what, in despite of the bad example of modern times, ought to be dearer to public men) they would not be able to preserve a high reputation. Much good would proceed from such a system. It would form a striking and brilliant contrast with the system of the present men; and the country would at all events have the satisfaction of knowing that the servants of the Crown were in earnest. At the same time he was sorry that the right hon. mover of the present question disclaimed all notions of reform—he meant of parliamentary reform.— [Mr. Tierney assured the hon. bart. that he had misunderstood him.]—Sir F. Burdett, in continuation, said that he was happy to find he was in error. He would the more willingly support the right hon. gentleman's motion. Economy, coupled with rational reform, would give the country a fair chance of salvation. There would then be what a mere change of administration could never give—a strong parliament. Without reform the House of Commons could possess neither virtue nor vigour; it could gain neither the affections nor the confidence of the people. Stripped of the higher attributes of a legislature, it would remain an instrument in the hands of every daring minister, instead of being the shield of public safety, the guardian of public liberty, and the object of public reverence. The present ministers were unpopular— and, not giving the credit to them for their ability and moderation which the hon. gentleman did, he thought justly unpopular—but that unpopularity did not arise merely from the embarrassed state of the finances of the country, although after four years of peace it was surely not unreasonable to expect that some attempt would be made to relieve the public burthens. It was not to that point alone, however, that the unpopularity of the present ministers, strong and universal as it was, might be traced. On other and more serious grounds he arraigned them before that new parliament—he arraigned them for the measures which they had proposed in hostility to the rights and liberties of the people; he arraigned them for having subverted the ancient bulwarks of the constitution of England. Having lost those rights and privileges which were their pride and protection, and which gave them fortitude to bear the burthens imposed on them, the people, thus deprived of all consolation under their sufferings, were no longer disposed patiently to endure them. And he must also say, however unpleasant it was to his feelings to address those who listened to him in any oilier language than that of respect, that parliament shared the odium of ministers, because it had supported, ministers in measures destructive of the public interests. The present was certainly a new parliament; but he was afraid that that was too true which had been said of it by the noble lord, who, when he had finished his ironical praise of the discipline of the right hon. gentleman's volunteers, harangued his own troops, his household troops, his Swiss troops, and exhorting them to stand by their colours, boasted his conviction, that no effort made by the right hon. gentleman's volunteers, however well disciplined, would be attended with success. The present was certainly a new parliament, but the greatest number of the members, if not the same individuals as were in the last parliament, were of the same description—the nominees of peers, whose interference in elections were nevertheless declared by the law to be a high breach of the privileges of the House.—And here he must beg leave to observe, that if any serious intention of reform existed, the object could not be obtained by attacking the peculations of this or that borough. When practices had been detected in one or two boroughs, the existence of which in most others was as notorious as the sun at noon-day, the House affected a violent indignation which it was impossible they could feel. This attempt at delusion, however, could not deceive the public mind, jealous, discontented, and enlightened as it had become. He for one would never countenance it, he would never consent to select and punish a single delinquency of that nature, while the general corruption was winked at, and allowed to go on with impunity. The borough system was a hot-bed that generated the rankest corruption. Until that system was reformed, he was convinced that no plan could be devised productive of any material public benefit. Were the voice of the country heard through its representatives within the walls of that House, how different would be the conduct of public men, and the situation of; England! If the present state of the country were fully considered, it would be evident that the whole community was weighed down by calamity. It was not this or that particular class—the whole of our agricultural and manufacturing population groaned under a taxation which could not much longer be endured The chancellor of the exchequer might try what schemes of finance he pleased; he might depend upon it that he was at the end of all his finance. The right hon. gentleman would no longer be able to deceive the House, however he might be cheered by the recollection of the facility with which he had gulled them (and certainly no person was less calculated to gull or dupe any one) when he made them declare, at a time when guineas were currently sold for six and twenty shillings, that a one pound note and a shilling were equivalent to a guinea! The state of things in England was intolerable; but England was not the only part of the empire which had reason to complain. If he turned his attention to Ireland, he there saw a gallant, generous, noble-minded people, equally oppressed by taxation with ourselves, and highly irritated by their exclusion from civil, rights, and from all the objects. of liberal ambition, on religious pretences. He called them "pretences," because it was impossible that, in the present advanced state of the world—it was impossible that, in the year 1819, any man could seriously believe in the existence of a danger which rendered it necessary, not only to injure, but to irritate and insult four or five millions of people by denying them a participation in the benefits of the constitution. Were those four or five millions of people less powerful or less to be feared in their present state of exclusion, when every surrounding object must remind them of their unmerited degradation, and must exasperate them against the shameful system under which they suffered, stript, as it was, even of a specious veil, and exposed to the eyes of indignant Europe in all its naked injustice? Were they, he asked, less to be feared now than if they were restored to their rights, and were bound by the high allegiance which freemen owed to the constitution of their native land—an allegiance to liberty and their countr? Englishmen were mistaken as to the state of Ireland. Early reading, and early prejudices; much of what was uncharitable, and much of what was untrue, made Englishmen too frequently draw conclusions with respect to the people of Ireland that were ungenerous and unwarranted. He was bound to declare, that when he visited, that country, he was most agreeably disappointed. He then saw what the people were, and while he admired their virtues, he could not but execrate the system under which they had groaned for so many ages of shame and misfortune. He wished that every hon. gentleman who heard him had enjoyed similar opportunities of observing the character of the Irish people;—all the existing prejudices against them would then be at once removed, and they would be restored to the rights they had lost, to the liberty they loved, and to the constitution they had defended in every field of Europe. The Irish had been frequently represented as a nation of savages. He could only say, that if they were savages they were the gentlest on the face of the earth. Generally speaking, the Irish were in manners as civilized and accomplished as any people in the world, not even excepting the elegance and politeness of France; while their kindness of heart, their instinctive generosity, and their unaffected and unbounded hospitality, must charm every one who had been amongst them. He was persuaded that Ireland was the only country in the world where, if a stranger were wrecked and thrown naked on the shore, he would find welcome, shelter and protection, in the first House he came to; and might afterwards travel from one extremity of the island to the other, without a penny in his pocket, and never be in want of either a meal or a night's lodging. Whatever might be the religious faith of such a people, prompting as it did to such a practice, it was surely not a fit subject for censure or oppression. The amiable qualities of the heart adorned the humbler as well as the higher classes in Ireland. Their charity was so extensive, that it flowed in a continued stream, "till that the very means did ebb." There were no people more susceptible of kindness, no people more capable of being led, and none more difficult to be driven.—With respect to Scotland, it had been that night observed, that the Scotch had had the good fortune to obtain an inquiry into one of the griev- ances of which they complained. An allusion bad been made to the success of a noble lord's motion, towards effecting a reform in a very important part of the political system of that country. That success bad been hailed as a most favourable omen. For his own part, he was willing to receive it as such—"accipio omen, felix faustumque sit!" Nevertheless he was doubtful of the result; He was fearful that the labours of the committee which had been appointed would not prove so favourable to the cause of reform as seemed to be expected. He was fearful that an apprehension would prevail that the object of the Scotch, namely, to nominate those who were to dispose of their property, was the object so long sought in this country; and that to grant it would be to give a mortal stab to corruption. He suspected therefore that, eventually, the Scotch would obtain no effectual redress. Whether they did or not, he trusted that all would see—he trusted that the Catholics of Ireland would see— he trusted that the Presbyterians of Scotland would see—he trusted that every honest man in the country would see, that to put down the present wasteful and corrupt expenditure, and to place the ministers under a constitutional control, it was necessary to effect a rational reform within these walls. Without that, vain would be all efforts at the amelioration of our condition: for no palliation that could be devised would destroy the ill consequences of the existing system. All other plans of relief—all amendments of the poor-laws, or of any other laws, would be useless—On the affairs of the Bank he should say little; but it appeared very ominous, that what it was proposed to do by the Committees of parliament, appeared to be considered by the directors of the Bank as calculated to aggravate rather than to alleviate the evil. What the Bank Directors had stated was true, namely that the real object of inquiry was, not whether the Bank of England was prepared to resume its payments in specie, but whether the people would be able to bear that reduction of the circulating medium, which a speedy return to cash payments would render indispensable. The fact was, that the country would not uphold its present taxes and weight of expenditure, and at the same time have the advantage of a metallic circulation. No palliation of the system would do. The people were gasping for relief; and the suspicions which they entertained of the new parliament would be confirmed by the declaration that night made by the noble lord, that he considered it to be of a character similar to that of the last.

Mr. Alderman Heygate

argued for the necessity of inquiry before fifty-four mil-lions of taxes, the amount of the annual revenues, were again levied on the people. When he contrasted the state of the country a few months back with its present situation, he felt himself bound to vote for the motion. At that time its agriculture and manufactures were in full activity; they were now in a state of stagnation and decline.

Mr. Dickinson

characterised the present crisis as one of the most alarming nature. The present ministers were evidently unable to conduct public business with common comfort to themselves, or with advantage to the nation. It was a government of departments; the head of each of which did not appear to communicate his intentions to his colleagues. The deplorable state of our circulating medium was occasioned by the neglect and inefficiency of government. The only remedy appeared to him to be the formation of a broad administration; and he conceived that the leading individuals of the existing political parties were by no means so far removed from each other, as many between whom coalitions favourable to the general good had been formed. He called upon the House to recollect, that it was a deficient revenue, a fallacious currency; and a weak administration, which had occasioned the French revolution. The motion had his hearty support.

Mr. Marryatt

said:—Mr. Speaker; When the noble lord on the treasury bench claimed the approbation of the House, on behalf of himself and his colleagues, for having terminated the late long and expensive war by a glorious and triumphant peace, I cordially acquiesced in every sentiment that he uttered; for I considered their conduct on that occasion, as having justly entitled them to the admiration and gratitude of their countrymen. But when he called upon us to acknowledge the talents since displayed by the chancellor of the exchequer, in managing the financial concerns of the empire, I heard him with very different feelings; and must enter my protest against being thought to subscribe to any such opinion. One would have thought that, after the peace, the first attention of the chancellor of the exchequer would have been directed to the state of our finances; and particularly that he would have availed himself of those resources, which might then have been derived from the adoption of judicious commercial regulations, adapted to the new state of things in which the country was placed. During the war, we enjoyed a monopoly of the commerce of almost the whole world and much of that commerce which is now irretrievably lost, and gone into foreign channels, might have been retained by good and proper management. The great object of Mr. Pitt was, to make this country the emporium of commerce, by means of the warehousing system; but instead of encouraging foreigners to deposit their commodities here, by the most liberal treatment, the chancellor of the exchequer injudiciously retained duties, which though properly imposed in time of war, when we commanded all the commerce of Europe, were obviously ill adapted to a state of peace when all Europe were our rivals. By continuing such duties, and various regulations which operated as duties the warehousing system has been discouraged and diminished. No stronger proof can be given of this fact, than that the stock of the London Docks, to which this commerce is principally confined, was during the war at 127 per cent. and since the peace has fallen to 60 per cent. At present it is something higher; but this is owing not to the increase but to the stagnation of commerce; for their warehouses are full, because goods cannot be sold; and thus the increase of their profits arises, not out of the prosperity but the distress of the commercial part of the community. The chancellor of the exchequer did indeed apply himself to one commercial subject, a new consolidation of the Custom-house duties. This, in point of fact, was along string of additional taxes, under the guise of commercial regulations. No sooner was this compilation printed and circulated, than the right hon. gentleman's house was besieged with deputations of merchants engaged in different branches of commerce, praying to be heard against various parts of his intended plan, and predicting that the most injurious consequences would result from its adoption. One instance will suffice to show the want of policy with which these new rates were framed; that the duty on tallow, the staple article of our ally Russia, was doubled. The merchants trading to that country were seriously alarmed, lest this tax should provoke the Russian government to retaliate, and lead to a less favourable tariff oh goods imported from Great Britain into Russia, than we now enjoy. The right gentleman felt himself so annoyed by the endless importunities and temonstrances of different parties against his new consolidation rates, that at length he got rid of them all, by giving an assurance that his plan should not be proceeded upon during that session of parliament; nor indeed has it been heard of from that time to the present moment. Thus terminated his grand effort for the benefit of commerce. In finance, he has brought forward no regular plan for making the revenue equal to the expenditure, but has resorted to a series of temporizing expedients, just to put far away the evil day; and has kept the country in the dark as to the real state of their affairs. However the necessities of the war might justify the continuance of a depreciated circulating medium, with those necessities that system ought to have ceased. In 1816, the period fixed by parliament for the resumption of cash payments, anticipation, as is frequently the case, produced the effect of reality. All the foreign exchanges were in our favour, the market and Mint price of gold were nearly the same, the value of all commodities fell, and the pressure and distress that necessarily followed occasioned great losses and many failures. All the inconvenience and suffering that must be expected to attend a return to cash payments were gone through, and that desirable object might then have been obtained without farther sacrifices. But the chancellor of the exchequer at that time had different views, and flattered himself that he should be able to effect a reduction of the interest on the 4 and 5 per cents; an object perfectly incompatible with the resumption of cash payments. To accomplish the former, it was necessary to increase the amount of the paper circulating medium, or in the common phrase to make money plentiful. To accomplish the latter, it was necessary for the Bank to restrict their issues, and make money scarce. The right hon. gentleman having determined on the course he would pursue, issued exchequer bills to a large amount, which he prevailed upon the Bank of England to purchase, who thus forced an additional quantity of their notes into circulation, so that their amount in time of peace exceeded what it had ever been in time of war. Owing to the competition of the Bank in the exchequer bill market, the interest upon these securities fell to 2 per cent; bills bearing 3 per cent interest, selling at 1 per cent premium. Many capitalists, rather than accept this reduced rate of interest invested their money in the funds, and the consols rose in 12 months from 63 to 83. Others purchased any commodity which they thought offered a prospect of profit; and these speculations which were carried on to an unprecedented extent, raised the price of different articles, and thus operated as a tax upon the public. In this state of things, the right non. gentleman began to flatter himself that the holders of the 4 and 5 per cents would be glad to accept a lower rate of interest than they at present receive, and that he should succeed in the accomplishment of his object, but just about this time; an advantageous employment abroad offered for that capital which could no longer find it at home. Large investments were made in the foreign loans negotiating by different continental powers; and heavy sums were also employed in foreign navigation and commerce. A sudden revulsion then took place, the public funds fell, and the right hon. gentleman's plan proved abortive. He did indeed make a saving in the interest of exchequer bills, but this was more than counterbalanced by the increased price at which he employed the sinking fund in the reduction of the national debt. So that the only permanent results of this attempt were, great fluctuations in the value of property, to the distress and ruin of many; and that a vast amount of British capital, which had formerly given support to public credit, manufactures, navigation, and commerce here, has been sent to perform those useful offices in other Countries. The most important functions of the chancellor of the exchequer, have lately been transferred to committees of this House. The finances are under the care of the finance committee, whose reports are made from time to time, and serve as the foundation of his financial measures. The resumption of cash payments is referred to another committee, so that he really appears, in a great degree, to have abdicated the duties of his office. I felt it my duty to make these observations, in answer to the appeal of the noble lord. Of his majesty's ministers in general, I think highly; and consider them as filling their different departments with great honour to themselves, and advantage to the country. I wish however, to separate the chaff from the wheat and therefore cannot join in a vote of censure upon them, but neither can I give a vote which would imply my approbation of the conduct of the chancellor of the exchequer, whom, in my, opinion his colleagues ought to consider as a second Jonas and that they have no alternative but either to throw him overboard or to sink with him. Under these circumstances, I shall vote with the hon. and learned member opposite for the previous question.

Mr. Maberly

said, that he should vote for the motion, because he felt that the state of the country required to be investigated. The country had, in fact, no sinking fund, and if the House would but contemplate the event of a war under such circumstances, they must acknowledge the difficulty in which we were placed. The report of the committee had alluded to the balance of the sinking fund, but he believed it would be found there was none. From what sources then, he would ask, could they draw a revenue? In the last parliament 11 millions were expended in drawbacks and bounties, and what had they produced? These were fair topics for inquiry. He might be told that inquiry was now on foot, but the committee now examining was not appointed or occupied in reference to economy, but with a view to regulation. If the government was resolved to come to the people for taxes, he thought it indispensable that the lower orders should be relieved, and that the higher should bear the burthen. This was the only way in which provision could be made against the difficulties with which the country was threatened. The lower and middle classes could not afford any more. The best way of proceeding was to meet our affairs boldly, and as his majesty's, ministers had not done so, he should vote for the inquiry into the state of the nation.

Mr. Bankes

described the question as a direct attack on the party which now administered the government; and as he had studiously kept aloof from connecting himself with any party, he should offer his unbiassed opinion on the point at issue. He agreed with those who stated, that the present parliament had as little of party spirit in its composition as any parliament that had ever sat; and he believed that if other parliaments had been similarly constituted, many of the evils under which the country now laboured would have been prevented. The present motion he thought premature, because one of the leading subjects which it embraced, the subject of finance was already fixed for Friday. It was contended, that the circumstances of the times required a strong government, and that his majesty's ministers did not stand fair with the country; but he believed that they stood at least as fair with the country as the gentlemen on the opposite side. It was under the present ministry that the enormous power of France was crashed. With regard to the expense of the present peace establishment, the House would do well to consider what the expense of a peace establishment must have been if that power was not subdued. He could not see any practical utility in coming to the vote proposed; and the administration were at least entitled to the gratitude of the country for this reason, that they had negociated a peace by which the nation was placed in a higher degree of estimation than at any former period of its history.

Mr. Williams

said, he should support the motion, because if he did not do so, he might be supposed to sanction the measures of the right hon. gentleman opposite, which he was unwilling to admit.

Mr. Canning

rose and said:—

The motion, Sir, of the right hon. gentleman, as fairly explained by himself, and as understood by almost every hon. gentleman who has taken part in this debate, is, to call upon the House to exercise one of its highest constitutional functions—to sit in judgment on the character, and pass a verdict on the conduct of the ministers of the Crown. Some attempts have indeed been made in the course of the discussion, to diminish the force of the right hon. gentleman's explanation, and to detract from his just admissions. But that diminution and that detraction cannot be allowed to weigh against the avowal of the hon. mover; who puts no other interpretation on his own object than this—that the decision of the House this night involves the fate of the existing administration. Lest any mistake arise on this point,—lest any hon. member should be unwittingly led to adopt a measure of which they do not mean to approve, I think it right to repeat, on my own part, and on the part of my colleagues, what has been most candidly and distinctly declared by the right hon. gentleman, that the issue of the division this night, if affirmative of the proposition brought forward by the right hon. gentleman, will pronounce the dissolution of the government which-now-possesses the confidence of the Crown. Do I mean on that account to impute any blame or any improper motive to the right hon. gentleman? No such thing. The present proceeding is an acknowledged and constitutional mode of ascertaining the sense of parliament on the conduct of the administration of the country. If there is any unfairness to be complained of, it certainly is not in the nature of the motion, but in the time and in the circumstances under which it is brought forward.

An hon. gentleman who spoke late in the debate seems to think that he may support the motion without passing a sentence of condemnation and dismissal on his majesty's ministers. With this qualification I, Sir, do not presume to find fault but I do think myself entitled to desire that all those who may think with the hon. gentleman will take an opportunity of distinctly expressing that opinion, lest by their votes, if unexplained, the House and the country—who will unquestionably construe the motion according to the general understanding of it, and according to the right hon. mover's own exposition of its intention and effect,—should be deceived with respect to the object which those whose votes are thus qualified have in view. Another hon. gentleman fancies he sees a way of escaping from the difficulty, by distinguishing between his general approbation of his majesty's ministers, and the abhorrence which he feels for the chancellor of the exchequer, in consequence of the London Docks not being so full as usual, and still more on account of the dastardly imbecility with which my right hon. friend has recoiled from a double duty upon tallow. Torn as his agitated bosom was by these conflicting sentiments—by a consciousness on the one hand, of the obligations which he owed to ministers for their general conduct and his indignation on the other, at these particular and reprehensible backslidings of the finance minister, the hon. gentleman declared that he saw no means of evading his embarrassment but by voting with an hon. and learned gentleman (Mr. C. Wynn) for the previous question. Un-happily, however, even this mode of retreat is not left open to him; for that hon. and leaernd gentleman has not moved, nor does he intend to move, the previous question. He did, indeed, mention such a question as moveable, and as not inapplicable to the motion before the House, but after propounding the matter gravely, and weighing it deliberately, he resolved to have nothing at all to do with the division, but to go home to bed.—If, therefore, the hon. gentleman is determined to follow the hon. and learned gentleman's suggestion, he must follow him not into the lobby but to his chamber. "Misery," as Trinculo says, "acquaints a man with strange bedfellows;" and when the hon. gentleman shall be reclined on the same pillow with the mover of the imaginary motion which he is so anxious to support, they may condole with each other on the difficulties by which they fancy themselves surrounded, and eventually perhaps may make up their minds, though somewhat too late, as to the vote to be given on a question on which, of all questions in the world, it seems most easy to come to a decisive opinion.

I have said that if I were disposed to complain of any thing in the right hon. gentleman's motion, it would be only of the time and the circumstances under which it is brought forward. But, in saying this, I beg to be understood as founding my objection not on the general situation of the country and of the world, but merely on the particular state of public business in parliament. This I think it necessary to premise, lest my observations on the proposition and speech of the right hon. gentleman may be misunderstood. The course of argument which has been pursued by the right hon. gentleman is this:—that the country stands, both internally and externally, in a situation of extraordinary difficulty and even peril; a situation demanding all the attention which the most able and experienced minds can bestow upon it. I am very ready to admit that the internal situation of the country is full of difficulties; but they are not insurmountable. There is nothing in that situation which ought to lead us to despair. I admit also that it is impossible to look through the world without perceiving that there may be some latent and not yet unfolded grounds of foreign embarrassment some distant chance that the exertions which have been made for the establishment and preservation of general tranquillity, however stre- nuous and ardent, may be frustrated at some period more or less remote, by occurrences, difficult to foresee, and not possible to be guarded against. Who will undertake to say that at this very moment some unperceived danger may not be gathering over the country? and when was there a moment in the history of the country at which such an undertaking could be confidently hazarded? In making these admissions, therefore, I beg to be understood as not alluding to any specific circumstances of difficulty or danger; but merely as not opposing to the vague suppositions of the right hon. gentleman, any assurance that might be understood as intended to deprecate discussion or to divest the right hon. gentleman's motion of the character and importance which he has assigned to it. Whatever may be the grounds, or whatever the amount of the apprehensions reasonably growing out of the present situation of affairs— in one thing I most cordially agree with the right hon. gentleman, that nothing could more effectually tend to preserve the tranquillity now so happily prevailing throughout the world, than an impression that we should not shrink from war in case of necessity. To this end it is unquestionably indispensable that our financial system should be sound. And to make it so, it is no doubt necessary to purge it of its defects, to repair its infirmities, and, above all things, to give such an ample and undisguised explanation of its real condition, as may render it perfectly clear and intelligible, not only to this country, but to the world. All this is as strongly felt by his majesty's government as by the right hon. gentleman; and the only matter of which they have a right to complain in respect to the present motion, is, that it is brought forward prematurely, and if not with the purpose, certainly with the effect, of intercepting and anticipating that exposition of the whole of our system of finance, which it is the undoubted duty of the ministers to bring forward, and which it is notorious that they will in the course of a few days submit to the consideration of parliament. The right hon. gentleman has so timed his motion as to enable himself, whenever this exposition shall be made, to exclaim, "Aye, this flows from my motion; just as the inquiry into the affairs of the Bank was the consequence of my former notice." As to the origin of the inquiry into the affairs of the Bank, that question was disposed of at the time; and I will not now weary the attention of the House by re-arguing it: but as to the financial statement, I can assure the right hon. gentleman that nothing but the obvious necessity of first completing the investigation of the committee on the Bank and of determining the character of the future currency of the country before any solid and permanent system of finance could be established, has prevented my right hon. friend, the chancellor of the exchequer, from proposing to the House the plan of finance which has been prepared, not merely for the present year but for the whole period of peace, whatever may be its duration. My single objection, therefore, to the fairness of the motion is, that it endeavours to take from ministers the initiative which belongs to them on this momentous subject; on which (as the right hon. gentleman himself most justly argues) the whole view of the state of the country, external as well as internal, depends.

The right hon. gentleman has however, avoided entering into any examination of the labours of the Secret Committee, or into the much agitated question respecting the currency, or into the details of our financial situation. In this abstinence I will imitate him: and having merely protested against the implication thus unfairly conveyed in the motion, that the right hon. gentleman's interference (however great his talents in that line, or however laudable the application with which he has directed them to that object) was necessary to obtain for the House and for the country a prompt and full examination of our financial wants and means—I will proceed to follow the right hon. gentleman through the wider range and more general topics of his speech.

The right hon. gentleman appears to think that in consequence of the alleged exhaustion of our finances, opportunities have been lost of asserting the interests and vindicating the honour of the country. On this point the right hon. gentleman did not indeed express himself in very direct terms. He was contented to "Just hint a fault and hesitate dislike." He just made the allusion and left it to work its own impression. He said that two British subjects had been murdered under the forms of justice by a general of the United States. The act was not characterized by the right hon. gentleman in terms of too strong abhorrence; but for what purpose was it thus alluded to in a motion for a committee to inquire into the State of the Nation; unless for that of insinuating, that there had been something in the forbearance of the British government which could not be accounted for but by a consciousness of absolute impotence? And yet the right hon. gentleman himself confessed his doubts whether, by the law of nations, the interference of the British government on this occasion would have been justifiable. The right hon. gentleman's doubts are well founded. His majesty's ministers have not been the less diligent or the less anxious in their deliberations and researches, to ascertain whether consistently with the law of nations, they could interfere, than if they had (as was the first natural impulse in every British bosom) made this country and America ring from one end to the other, with cries for redress. Let it not be imputed to his majesty's ministers that they alone of alt Englishmen—of all mankind—felt not the indignation at the act in question which it justly merited; that the moral guilt and baseness of that atrocious proceeding appeared to them in any other light than to the plain understanding of every right-minded individual; or that it would not have been easier—ten thousand times more easy as well as more grateful to have followed at once where their feelings led the way, than to have curbed and questioned and disciplined those feelings by a reference to their duties and obligations. But if the unhappy men who were the victims of this inhuman outrage, placed themselves by their own act out of the protection of their government; if there was no right of interfering in their behalf which would have justified an appeal to the last extremity by which atonement, if not granted on a first requisition, must be enforced; if therefore remonstrances disregarded would not have justified resentment; if to have called for reparation would have been to enter upon a course from which, when unsatisfied, we should have had nothing to do but to retire; surely it will be felt that the dignity of the country would have been ill consulted by a proceeding at once fruitless and humiliating, and surely credit-may be given to us for having discharged—reluctantly discharged—our duty to our country as ministers, without imputing to us an insensibility which would have disgraced us as men.

Again, as to the cession of the Floridas by Spain to the United States, the right hon. gentleman spoke, not as if he himself thought, but as if it might be thought by some one, that the British government ought to have interfered for the purpose of preventing that cession. Unquestionably it would have been more to the interests of this country, that the Floridas should have remained in the possession of Spain. But by what right, by what construction of the law of nations, independently of the specific stipulations of particular treaties (and nonesuch were in this case in operation), could the British government interfere to prevent a transfer of territory between independent powers; unless it had been prepared to make common cause with the nation of whom the cession was required? It is, I believe, pretty generally admitted on all sides, that ministers have rightly abstained from any interference in this matter; but if no blame is imputed to them, why was the subject introduced into the right hon. gentleman's speech, in a manner which either meant nothing, or meant that there might be something to find fault with?— On another point, the right hon. gentleman was less equivocal. He clearly did mean to impute blame to ministers, for not having openly espoused the cause of the South American provinces. When I recollect, Sir, all that has been so often declaimed in this House, on the advantages of peace, on the dangers of war, on the impropriety of interfering in the concerns of foreign nations,—when I recollect all those brilliant common places with which the ears of every hon. member present must still be ringing.—I confess my astonishment at the tone of the right hon. gentleman's remarks on the subject of Spanish South America. I am astonished at the suggestion coming from a statesman, not liable to be misled by the ebullition of any very romantic or fanatical spirit— that the government of this country ought to have committed its honour and resources in a new, and what I must call unnecessary war against Spain, for the purpose of fomenting the struggle between her and her colonies. I have heard of many wars rashly undertaken; I have heard of wars of interest) wars of temper, wars of honour, and wars of speculation; but I never yet heard of so mad a proposition as that the cause of the insurgents in South America (I do not mean by the term "insurgents," to give any opinion as to the merits of the cause) should be taken under the protection of Great Britain! Putting out of question the moral right of such an interposition, have any of these sanguine enterprisers, who contend for alliance with the insurgents, condescended to calculate the magnitude of the undertaking—the distance—the risk— the cost—and that to an "exhausted country?" No—the British government had but one wise, as but one honest course to pursue in this contest. They have not interfered to assist either party; but they have repeatedly offered their good offices with a view to reconcilement through an impartial mediation. That mediation has unhappily proved hopeless; nor was it our business to obtrude it undesired— nor would we, nor ought we to undertake to give effect to it, on condition of enforcing it on either side by arms-Amicable intercourse has been kept up with every part of South America, to which our flag has access; and I have no doubt that a strong sense is entertained of the pacific and impartial dispositions of England throughout the continent of South America, unless where her character has been maligned, and her motives distorted for purposes of local delusion, or of personal interest. But, on the other hand, the armaments fitted out from this country in aid of the South Americans, have undoubtedly created, (and have been most diligently and unfairly employed to create) an impression that the wishes and opinions of the British government were embarked with the adventurers of which those armaments were composed. Such a supposition is wholly inconsistent with the neutrality professed and observed by the British government, and may require contradiction; but it is unquestionably a conclusive answer to the imputation of partiality against the South Americans. The wisdom, as well as the good faith of this system of neutrality, must, I think, be obvious to every one, except to a race of petty politicians (I certainly do not mean to include the right hon. gentleman in this description) who hold, that the present is a fine opportunity for retaliating upon Spain, the conduct which we experienced from her during the contest with our North American colonies. Yes; we have retaliated; but I trust on a more just, at least a more Christian principle. Our retaliation has been to endeavour, by mediation, to heal the wounds which discord had inflicted on both parties in the quarrel. Would to God, that our offers had been accepted! Would to God that the parties who were the objects of it, had yielded to the suggestions of friendship and sound prudence; and that instead of tearing each other to pieces with a waste of blood, such as few wars have occasioned, some compromise could have been effected, favourable at once to rational principles of liberty, and to the peace of the old world and the new! In one respect, his majesty's ministers are certainly guilty of the charges brought against them. In their transactions with South America, they have abstained from endeavouring, by a commercial treaty, to turn the troubles and distresses of a struggling people to the advantage of this country. The assistance which they did not think it right to grant, they would not be tempted to sell. And so far have they carried their forbearance in this particular, that in all their repeated offers of mediation, while they have uniformly stated freedom of trade, as one of the conditions which justice would stipulate for the colonies, they have as uniformly disclaimed for Great Britain any separate or partial commercial preference. Let peace be established, let trade be open—competition, enterprise, capital would ensure her due share of advantage to this country.

These, I think, are all the questions of external policy to which the right hon. gentleman has adverted —with the exception of those general reflections on the state of Europe, which have been already satisfactorily noticed by my noble friend, the secretary of state.

To return to internal matters. The manner in which the right hon. gentleman brought forward his motion, rendered it almost impossible wholly to preclude discussion on the affairs of the Bank, the currency, and the finances. Nor has the caution which the right hon. gentleman himself observed on that subject, been imitated by those who followed him. To their remarks, however, I do not mean at present to reply. Nor shall I dwell particularly on the more unimportant charges which the right hon. gentleman has copiously flung out against his majesty's ministers; but shall confine myself to the pervading topic of his speech. According to the right hon. gentleman, not only are his majesty's ministers, taken as a whole, incompetent to bring the resources of the empire into full and healthy play, whether in respect to its internal or external polity; but their deficiency is rendered still more deficient, and their imbecility more weak, by divisions among themselves: there is no point of union among them, no common principle of action. The country ought therefore to look to an administration all strength—all unanimity—the members of which should not have taken different sides on any question of great political interest.—But where is this perfect administration to be found? Not certainly in the persons of the right hon. gentleman and his friends around him. Be it remembered, that it is not I who allege this matter of accusation. But if it be indeed absolutely indispensable for the conducting affairs wisely and steadily, with prudence and decision, that there should be no difference on any important subject among the members of an administration; and if it shall farther appear, that such differences would nevertheless exist under any possible administration that could be formed out of the materials now available in this country; the result, I fear, will be not only that the present ministers cannot go on, but that the country must altogether despair of an efficient and serviceable administration. The truth however, I believe to be, that those theorists tax human nature too high, who require, among any number of men capable of forming an opinion for themselves, an undeviating unanimity of opinion upon every one of the various and complicated questions that can occur in the management of the affairs of this extended and diversified community.—An agreement in general principles, and a concurrence in the details of practical administration, are undoubtedly necessary to give consistency to councils, and unity to action. But, upon points either purely speculative, or of comparative unimportance in practice, there may be—there must be—occasionally such differences among intelligent and instructed minds, as may render necessary mutual concessions for the sake of the public service. Measures must sometimes be shaped and modified by the comparison and partial compromise of different opinions. If the result be to present for practical adoption, and to support with frankness, strength, and union, measures of sound policy, any harshness of criticism or Severity of examination into the process by which such consent may have been obtained, would be utterly misplaced—would be to travel beyond the sphere of human action into that of thought, with which human judgment has no concern. I apply these observations specifically to the instance on which the right hon. gentleman has commented with the greatest severity—the question of the resumption of cash-payments by the Bank. If the measure to be proposed on the report of the secret committee has the concurrent recommendation of every member of the administration, I know of no point of honour which calls for explanation, as to the particular opinions which may have been compromised to arrive at that conclusion, and to produce that salutary concurrence. The existence of that complete practical concurrence, on that most important practical measure, I have the happiness to announce. The right hon. gentleman may easily point out (for they are on record) the particular differences of opinion which prevailed at a former period—a period when I and the right hon. gentleman thought together on the principles of this intricate and interesting subject. I, Sir, hold unchanged the opinions which I avowed in 1811. The right hon. gentleman, I presume, has not altered his opinions—indeed, I know he has not as to principles: but yet in the secret committee, concurring as it did almost unanimously as to the practical inference to be drawn from those opinions as applicable to the present state of the question, the right hon. gentleman admitted that he stood alone. It is not difficult for one man to be unanimous: but the right hon. gentleman has much difficulty in understanding how those who, holding different opinions on a difficult and abstract subject, have nevertheless been able to agree in one common conclusion; while he, holding the opinions of the majority, had contrived nevertheless to have a conclusion entirely to himself. The right hon. gentleman has talked of the supposed disunion among the members of the cabinet, as if it pervaded every question connected with the welfare of the nation. But the fact is, Sir, that I know but one great national question, namely, that which is called the Catholic question, on which the members of administration are divided in opinion; and no man better knows the sources from which that disunion has flowed, and the attempts which have been made to remedy it, than the right hon. gentleman himself. On that question indeed, I speak my sincere sentiments, when I say that it is hopeless to look for an united opinion in any administration which there are the means of forming. I believe I can speak with as much experience on this subject as any one in the House; and I am persuaded, that had it been possible out of the public men in the country to form an administration united on the Catholic question, and not differing widely on other questions of equal importance, that object would have been achieved in 1812. To that object, I twice in that year sacrificed what the right hon. gentleman acknowledged, and what I have no hesitation in acknowledging with the right hon. gentleman, to be the legitimate object of liberal ambition in a free state,—a share in the government of the country. Twice in that year did I sacrifice this object of ambition, for the express purpose of being the better able, either to produce (in conjunction with abler and worthier men, who earnestly and sincerely, but vainly, laboured after the same object) the union in administration of persons agreeing on this question,—or (failing that attempt) of serving the question more effectually out of office. It is not necessary to recall to the right hon. gentleman's recollection, the fruitlessness of the search after both of these objects. Every attempt at forming an administration that should be united upon the Catholic question, and at the same time upon other great principles and measures, more immediately connected with the carrying on of the public service, failed; and upon that failure the present administration was formed. In that formation, I was not included; but I speak with perfect confidence when I assert, that those who gave their support to the present administration on its formation, did so on the understanding, that every member of that administration entered into office with the express stipulation that he should maintain his own opinion in parliament on the Catholic question. Whether such a stipulation was wise or not, is another question which I will not now argue; but I will say to those who now first object to it, that they come too late. They ought to have stated their objection when the administration was framing, and not now charge as a crime that which was settled with their entire cognizance and zealous approbation. When I subsequently entered office, my opinion on the Catholic question remained unchanged; I take for granted, that the understanding which I have described, that I as well as every other member of the cabinet, should maintain my own opinions on that subject in parliament, was unchanged also; and I do not see on what pretext, having taken a course in perfect coincidence with that understanding, I could now be called upon, either by those who oppose, or those who favour the Catholic cause, to desert the ranks of the government. I feel no such obligation in point of honour; and I will go farther and confess, that after all that has passed since 1812, I should now doubt, with a view to the ultimate success of the question itself, the prudence of attempting to make it the test and bond of opinion in an administration. Although, as I said in 1812, there was no sacrifice which I was not ready to make, and which I did not make for the sake of forming an administration which should agree upon it, the difficulties in the way of accomplishing that object did then appear to me insurmountable; every succeeding year has added so much to my conviction to that effect, that if, by the vote of this night, the power of forming a new administration should be conferred on the right hon. gentleman, I venture to assure him, that he would find it less easy than he is aware, to form an administration which would be able to carry that question effectively and safely as a measure of government, and at the same time to do justice to the country in other important branches of its affairs. Indeed, the gentlemen on the opposite side of the House ceased, long before I did, either to imagine such a scheme of administration feasible, or to think it desirable—I know not which— for in 1806, when the framing of an administration was entrusted to the then leaders of opposition, they not only included, but solicited permission to include, in their cabinet, two noble lords (lords Sidmouth and Ellenborough) who were known to be decidedly hostile to any farther concession to the Catholics. If I might be allowed to state my present creed upon the subject, I would say, that I believe, not only that the difficulties of combining an administration unanimous on the question of the Catholic claims are insurmountable, but that it is not desirable, with a view to the public good, that such an administration should be formed. An administration decidedly and uniformly favourable to the Catholic claims, or one decidedly and uniformly hostile to them, would be equally likely to excite a clamour, and to engender an irritation, at variance with the best and most essential interests of the empire. In this case, as well as in many others, that which, at the time it occurred, was a bitter disappointment, has providentially turned out to be a most happy circum-stance. The question is (in my judgement) gradually making its way in public opinion; and to public opinion it ought to be allowed eventually and soberly to settle the question. Such are my sentiments with respect to that question, the only important question on which any difference of opinion exists in the cabinet.

Another charge which has been brought forward against government is, that they have not had strength enough to resist the motions which have been forced upon them. Undoubtedly, the charge is true in two memorable instances, in which ministers failed in resisting the appointment of committees. Overloaded with committees of their own proposing, the kindness of the opposite side of the House, it seems, has forced upon them others which they have not been able to decline, although anticipating from them mischiefs of the greatest hazard and magnitude.—Very true—twice:have these suggestions been tendered for their acceptance—twice attempted to be evaded, and twice have majorities of the House—not very large ones, it must be owned—but majorities compelled their acquiescence. If I am asked, whether this is the way to carry on the affairs of the nation? I answer, with the utmost frankness—No. A government by minorities would undoubtedly be a very new, and upon the long-run, not a very safe or efficient mode of administration. But, at the same time, there are various considerations to be weighed before a ministry can properly fix the point at which they will pledge their existence as a government upon a vote of the House of Commons. The occasion must be adequate; or they might cover themselves with ridicule. But the frequency of small occasions, I admit, would constitute an adequate case; and I admit farther, that enough of such smaller occasions have occurred, to make ministers very anxious to learn: whether the confidence of the House has really been withdrawn from the existing administration, and to make them feel very, thankful to the right hon. gentleman for having afforded an opportunity of trying that question upon the present motion. If the support to be calculated on by government be only such as they experienced on the two occasions to which I have alluded; if they can rely on no other, then, no doubt, they are gone. The right hon. gentleman says, that ministers will take no hints. If they are not prepared to take the hints to which the right hon. gentleman adverts, it is not because they turn a deaf ear to them, but because they do not understand them so clearly as to be sure that they would do right in acting upon them. A series of such hints occurring in rapid succession, would unquestionably throw the government into the right hon. gentleman's hands; and if such be the intention of the House, the sooner and the more clearly it is made manifest, the better.

But there is another view in which the appointment of committees is objected to the present administration. It is said, that they are a government of committees—that they abdicate the functions of the executive authority, and fritter them away by partial delegations. It is a little hard in the right hon. gentleman thus to blow hot and cold at the same time. Does he mean that the proposal of a committee is in itself a crime in a government, and the resistance of such a proposal in all cases a duty? Does he mean that the opposition only should have the privilege of proposing a committee, and then of railing at the government equally whether they adopt or resist it? When the hon. gentlemen get into one of their concilia-bules to devise a motion for the annoyance of ministers, do they once in a hundred times make such a motion in a direct shape for such or such specific measure? No. The constant device is, to move for a committee of inquiry; a committee of inquiry is the standing recipe for stray votes—for catching, for instance, that of the hon. member for Bramber. Bait the hook of these motions with a committee, and the fish are sure to bite. Nay, some hon. gentlemen it appears this night, are so voracious for a vote in opposition, that they even take the hook when there is no bait to cover it; when the right hon. gentleman plainly and openly tells them, that his object is not to obtain the committee which forms the pretext of his motion—that it is simply and nakedly to turn out the ministers.

But, Sir, I deny that ministers have resorted to committees except when they hare found themselves utterly unable to discharge the detailed duties entrusted to those committees. They shrink from no just responsibility; they neglect no attendance; they share no discussion in this House;—but it ought to be borne in mind how great a change has taken places of late years in the business of the House of Commons—a change which has thrown a burthen of business upon ministers which no physical or mental constitution can adequately sustain. I call upon those members of the House of Commons who recollect the good old times when the destinies of the empire were swayed in parliament by Mr. Pitt, or Mr. Fox, to say whether the labours of an administration in those days were to be compared with what they are now. The ministers were not then harassed and perplexed by a complication of daily business, with the whole of the details of which, however trifling, it was expected that they should be intimately and accurately acquainted. Their time was not then vexatiously wasted on questions of complaint and cases of pretended grievance such as a pied-poudre court would not entertain; such as a court of conscience would dismiss without the award of a farthing damages. It is now expected that ministers should come down to the House every night fully possessed of details of facts, and characters of individuals concerned, and histories of the transactions of years, whenever any person blasted in character may have prevailed on an hon. member to present a folio volume of a petition, charged with falsehoods and libels; and which, after three or four hours wasted in fruitless conversation, is found to be unfit to lie upon the table. Thus the marrow of the day is consumed: and then, after three or four hours passed in a weary, vexatious, useless debate, the ministers jaded and fatigued, as they must necessarily be, are expected to proceed to public business, with a host of new opponents, who plene pasti, come like giants refreshed to the battle; whilst the unfortunate minister, exhausted and impransus, is to enter upon a new course of wrangling, happy if at last he can get through one-third part of the real business of the day. It is not then in these cases the weakness of the minister of which complaint ought to be made, but the weakness of man for human strength is unable to endure this wearying, worrying, uninteresting, and unprofitable course of exertion. The right of petitioning is a sacred right; but every body must feel to what an extent in these days the abuse of it is carried. That abuse is arrived at such a height, that, in self-defence, if the House values its time which is the public property, and its functions which are for the public benefit, it must be remedied one way or other. While government is thus daily harassed and tormented, can it be matter of surprise that many important questions which require examination in detail, are referred to the consideration of committees? How else can they be beaten out, and sifted to the bottom"? Neither time nor human strength would avail for such a task.

"Why," it is said, "do not administration take up the subject of the poor-laws?" "Why" it is asked with admirable consistency on the part of the hon. gentlemen opposite—"why do not government, foolish and ignorant as they are, undertake to settle the most extensive and important problem that ever came before parliament? Weak and contemptible, why do they not carry a measure which Mr. Pitt, in the plenitude of his power, found too much for him; in which Mr. Whit-bread, in the vigour of his strength, and backed by the influence of administration, found himself utterly unable to make any way? With such examples before them, why do not government decide off-hand a question growing out of the usage of centuries, interwoven with the habits and deeply rooted in the prejudices of different classes of the people?"—A reference to what has actually taken place will be the best answer to these queries. It will be seen, that the subject even in the neutral hands, as I may call them, of my right hon. friend (Mr. Sturges Bourne) whose knowledge and industry so well qualify him for the task, and whose firmness and courtesy have conciliated the esteem and good will of all who have had to act with him upon the subject, who has conducted the discussions upon it without the shadow of an allusion to any topic that could stir up party feeling—it will be seen even in his hands, the principal measures emanating from the committee over which he presided, have failed of receiving the support of the House—and that the gentlemen on the opposite benches are divided in opinion respecting it. What is the inference? Simply this: that if government had brought forward such a proposition, and had attempted to carry it as a party or ministerial question, the benches opposite would have been, night after night, in as full array as they are at the moment at which I am speaking; and those who have not been able to agree on a question by the decision of which no political triumph was to be obtained, would have found it easy enough to concur in opposing—where opposition was stimulated by the hope of discomfiting their political antagonists. Gentlemen well know with how many inflammable and inflammatory topics the discussion of the poor-laws is nearly allied; how much food for declamation would have been furnished against the weakness, the inconsistency, the corruption of ministers, if they had hastily adopted any plan on a matter so deeply interesting to the whole nation, and perplexed by so many contradictory theories and conflicting interests. The time may come when, after the whole of this great subject has been well and thoroughly examined by the persons most capable of examining it advantageously, by persons bringing local knowledge and practical experience in aid of general principles of theory and law—it may be the duty of the executive government to select that one out of the different suggestions propounded by the committee, to which they will give their support, and which they will endeavour to persuade parliament to pass into a law. But of all the subjects of legislation on which government ought not hastily and prematurely to interfere, without ascertaining and if possible carrying with them the prevailing sentiment of the country—this of the poor-laws appears to roe to be the one on which it would have been the most unadvisable to take a precipitate course.

But to turn from these specific charges to the general scope and object of the right hon. gentleman's motion. Suppose for a moment, that it were carried, what is the amount of advantage, let me ask, that would arise from the change of administration? Suppose the right hon. gentleman and his friends in power; is there no question like that of the Catholic Claims or the Scotch Burghs which might produce some dissension in their ranks? What do they think of parliamentary reform? What do they think of another Westminster election? It is true that the hon. baronet, one of the members for Westminster, is this night with them; but it is only on the understanding that they will support his darling measure of parliamentary reform. After some hesitation, and a sort of whis- pering negotiation, carried on openly in the face of the House, it appears, that the right hon. gentleman has acceded to the hon. baronet's conditions, and that a coalition has been established between them. Suppose then, the new coalition ministry to be formed, who in point of talent—yes, who in point of talent, of rank, and of consideration in the country, is better fitted to be a leading member of that cabinet than the hon. baronet? Well then, every body knows that one of the first questions which the hon. baronet, when minister, would bring forward, would be the great subject of parliamentary reform. What then would be the conduct of the Whig members of the cabinet? Either they would come forward in a body to support the plan of their hon. colleague, or they would flatly contradict their professions during a long series of years, and by refusing to support a reform in parliament, create a division in their administration on what I presume the right hon. gentleman will allow to be one of the most important, the most comprehensive, the most vital questions that ever "agitated the country." What would this be but the very same reproach which they so unmercifully cast on their unfortunate predecessors? An honourable member has said, that if the ministers are popular in the House, the Whigs are popular in the country. Really, sir, I should have thought that popularity was the last topic that the Whigs would have suffered to be put forward as one of their pretensions to come into power. I do not presume to say, that the ministers are particularly popular, or that I am so, more than the rest of my colleagues; but I have myself gone through the ordeal of a popular election, without the accompaniment of mud and grenadiers. I was not subjected to such striking proofs of favouritism, as those idols of the people, the Whigs: my retreat was effected with more safety than that of the routed cavalcade, who, with laurels in their hats, and brickbats at their heels, bedaubed with ribbands and rubbish, were only rescued from their overwhelming popularity by a detachment of his majesty's horse guards! Suppose, then, these mud-bespattered Whigs were to come into office instead of the present ministry, where after all would be the advantage worth contending about? Is it the trifling difference between an unpopular and a pelted administration?—The right hon. gentleman has confessed that the present is a trial of strength; and I trust that the division of this night will show which party, in the opinion of the House, is most likely to give stability to our internal quiet, and permanence to our external glory; and to diffuse a general satisfaction, and general confidence throughout the country. With a view to deciding this question of preference aright, the right hon. gentleman has said, that it would be the duty of the committee to take a retrospective view of the transactions of past years. Yes!—and in fulfilling that duty, the committee would have, on the one side of the retrospect, to count nations rescued, and thrones re-established; battles won with matchless courage, and triumphs unparalleled in their splendor and consequences. They would see this little island, after having saved the continent, watch with steady tranquillity over the tranquillity which it had restored.—They would have to enumerate, on the other side of the account, a series of persevering objections to every measure by which these glories and benefits have been obtained; a succession of theories refuted by facts, and of prophecies falsified by experience: an uniform anticipation of disaster and defeat, contradicted by an uniform achievement of successes unequalled in our history.—The proposed committee, if appointed, would have to choose between the two parties to which these attributes respectively belong. But what need of a committee to make the option? The whole subject is before the House; and the House may at once come to the decision. All that I ask for my friends and for myself is—a decided course. If ministers are found wanting, let them be dismissed kindly (for promptitude in such a case is kindness) with a clear and striking majority. If the course which they have taken is approved, and if they are to be retained by the vote of this night in office, let them be retained with the assurance of receiving such a support as will enable them to conduct the affairs of the country with dignity and advantage.

Mr. Tierney

rose to reply. He said, that though he should not attempt to follow the long and able speech of the right hon. gentleman, as well because much of it was irrelevant, as because the House was at that hour so exhausted, he thought it necessary to set the right hon. gentleman right on some points which he had misrepresented. The motion had been represented to have for its object, by some, to turn out ministers; by others, merely a committee of inquiry. But he (Mr. T.) had explained, that he thought it necessary, in the present state of public affairs, that the House should mark its own sense of the situation of the country; and he had entirely separated this question from the expression of his own personal opinion. He had stated very truly, that it would be most gratifying to him to see the ministers turned out; but he had at the fame time shown, that gentlemen might consistently vote for the motion, who thought that the opposition ought all to be hanged. After the noble lord and the right hon. gentleman had expressed their opinion, that there was no prospect of the question being carried against them, the right hon. gentleman very magnanimously asserted, that if it was so carried he should resign—a promise which he had never made before, and which it was lucky he had not made on many other questions. But when the right hon. gentleman made this declaration, he (Mr. T.) did not observe that involuntary shudder which might have been expected at the idea of such a loss to the country. The House in general seemed rather surprised at his boldness, than sorry for his resolution. If the right hon. gentleman and the noble lord obtained this majority which they foretold, they would have no cause to triumph in it; for, with the exception of these two ministers, whom, according to their own account, it was the object of this motion to turn out, not a member had given any reason why they should not be turned out. The gentlemen who sat around them had held their peace, and thought that all they could do was to give a silent vote for those whom they would not venture to defend. But it was said, that the party with which he (Mr. T.) was connected, was more unpopular than the administration. It fell, indeed, under that sort of unpopularity, which always attached to the opposition of the day. It had the church and the influence of the Crown against it; but he would say "give us these same means of popularity, and you shall not keep your offices for a week" [hear!]. He would let the votes which should that night be given be sifted; he would have it examined who held offices and who had connections with the court, and be had not the least doubt that the party with which he was connected, would be found to speak the fair, unbiassed sense of the House. The noble lord had attributed to him a wonderful power; he had compared the gentlemen around hire to the Mahrattas, and had given him the credit of bringing them under perfect discipline. Now, as to the discipline! which the noble lord had spoken of among the ranks of opposition, he knew of none all he knew was, that a general good will towards each other, an ardent zeal for the interests of the country, actuated his friends, and brought them regularly and willingly to their posts; while, with the most extraordinary exertions of whipping, the noble lord could hardly obtain the occasional assistance of his friends and partisans. As to the Westminster election, when the Whigs stood on their own foundation, as in the case of his lamented friend, sir Samuel Romilly, there was no murmuring against them, no pelting, all was joy and acclamation: it was not till the Whigs were joined by the Tories that they lost the popular favour: it was not till they were incumbered with ministerial help, that it became necessary to have the accompaniment of dragoons. The right hon. gentleman then went at length into the conduct of ministers in the Bank committee: he said that the plan to be proposed to the House was not their plan; that it came, nobody knew how or whence; and, according to the ministerial system of looking out for windfalls, was immediately swallowed by the chancellor of the exchequer and his noble colleague, though he (Mr. Tierney) sincerely believed; that in their hearts they were not friendly to it, but adopted it because they had not any thing to suggest of their own. The right hon. gentleman then denied that his object was merely to turn out the ministers, though he thought that it would not do much credit to the House if their votes should this night show that they had more confidence in the present holders of office than sympathy with the overwhelming distresses of the country. It had been said, that no discordance could be proved to exist in the cabinet but on the Catholic question; but was not that enough? The right hon. member then proceeded to repeat and explain what he had said in his opening regarding Arbuthnot and Ambrister, the Floridas and South America. The noble lord had required that ministers should be tried, not by their conduct since peace, but during the whole war. Be it so, and then what glorious warriors they would appear! Who had managed the late war with America?—the present ministers. Who the splendid expedition to Walcheren?—the present ministers, and above all the noble lord, of whose military talents a right hon. gentleman, (Mr. Canning) had not then thought so highly. In truth, ministers had no more claim to credit than the rest of the parliament which voted the money for the supply of the duke of Wellington, upon whom ministers had the good fortune to light, and who had achieved all the glory which they now wished to appropriate without the slightest acknowledgment.

The House divided:

Ayes 178
Noes 357
Majority against the Motion 179
List of the Majority and Minority.
Alsop, Lewis Burgh, sir U.
Alexander, J. Burrell, sir C.
Allan, Alex. Burrell, W.
Apsley, lord Butler, hon. J.
Arbuthnot, C. Buxton, T. F.
Ashurst, W. H. Buxton, J. J
Bagwell, W. Callaghan, G.
Bankes, Henry Calthorpe, hon. F.
Bankes, G. Calvert, John
Barne, M. Campbell, A.
Barry, J. M. Canning, rt. hon. G.
Bastard, E Carroll, John
Bastard, J. Cartwright, W. R.
Bathurst, S. Casberd, R. M.
Bathurst, C. Cockerell, sir C;
Beaumont, T. W. Collet, E. T.
Beckett, J. Collins, T. P.
Bective, earl of Castlereagh, vis.
Bent, John Cecil, lord T.
Bentinck, lord F. Chaplin, C.
Beresford, lord G. Chichester, A.
Beresford, sir J. Chute, W
Bernard, lord Claughton, T.
Bernard, Thos. Clerk, sir G.
Binning, lord Clinton, sir W.
Bouverie, hon. B. Clive, lord
Blackburne, John Clive, R. H.
Blair, J. H. Clive, H.
Blair, James Clive, W.
Blake, V. Cockburn, sir G.
Boswell, A. Cocks, hon. J. S.
Bourne, W. S. Cocks, hon. J. S.
Braddyl, T. Cole, sir G. L.
Bradshaw, R. H. Colquhoun, A.
Broadhurst, John Colthurst, sir N.
Brogden, J. Compton, earl
Browne, J. Congreve, sir W.
Browne, Peter Conyngham, lord F.
Brownlow, C. Cooper, E. S.
Bruen, H. Cooper, R. B.
Buller, sir E. Copley, J. S.
Cotterell, sir J. Garvagh, lord
Courtenay, T. P. Gascoyne, I.
Courtenay, W. Gifford, sir R.
Cranbourne, lord Gilbert, D.
Crawford, A. J. Gipps, G.
Crawley, Sam. Gladstone J.
Crickett, R. A Glerawley, lord
Cripps, J. Gooch, T. S.
Crosby, J. Gordon, John
Cumming, G. Goulburn, H.
Curzon, hon. B. Graham, sir J.
Cust, hon. E. Grant, rt. hon. C.
Cust, hon. P. Grant, A. C.
Cust, hon. W. Grant, F. W.
Croker, J. W. Grant, G. M.
Dalrymple, A. Graves, lord
Daly, J. Greville, hon. sir C.
Davenport, D. Gurney, Hudson
Davies, R. H. Hamilton, H.
Dawkins, J. Hare, hon. R.
Dawson, G. R. Hervey, C.
Dent, John Hawkins, sir C.
Domville, sir C. Heathcote, T. F.
Dottin, A. R. Hill, sir G.
Douglas, John Hodson, John
Douglas, W. R. K. Holdsworth, A. H.
Doveton, G. Holford, G. P.
Dowdeswell, J. E. Holmes, W.
Drake, W.T. Homfray, Sam.
Drake, T. T. Hope, sir A.
Drummond, J. Houblon, J. A.
Drummond, G. H. Houston, A.
Dugdale, D. S. Howard, hon. F. G.
Dundas, rt. hon. W. Hudson, H.
Dunlop, J. Hulse, sir C.
Dunally, lord Huskisson, rt. hn. W.
Edmonstone, sir C. Innes, John
Edwards, John Innis, Hugh
Egerton, W. Irving, John
Eliot, hon. W. Jackson, sir John
Ellis, hon. G. W. A. Jenkinson, hon. C.
Ellison, Cuthbert Jocelyn, lord
Ellison, Rd. Jolliffe, H.
Estcourt, T. G. T. Jones, sir T.
Evans, W. Keily, John
Evans, H. King, sir J. D.
Fane, J. T. Kingsborough, lord
Fane, J. Kinnersley, W. S.
Fane, V. Lascelles, lord
Farrand, R. Leake, Wm.
Fellowes, W. H. Legh, Thos.
Fife, earl of Leigh, sir R. H.
Finch, hon. E. Leslie, C. P.
Finlay, K. Lester, B. L.
Fitzgerald, V. Littleton, E. J.
Fitzgibbon, hon. Lockhart, W. E.
Fitzharris, lord Long, rt. hon. C.
Fitzhugh, W. Lowndes, W. S.
Fleming, John Lowther, lord
Forbes, lord Lowther, hon. H. C.
Forbes, C. Lowther, J.
Forrester, C. W. Lowther, J. H.
Foster, rt. hon. J. Lushington, S. R.
Foster, J. L. Luttrell, J. F.
Frank, Frank Lygon, hon. H.
French, A. Lygon, hon. E.
Fynes, H. Macdonald, R. G.
Mackenzie, Thos. Roberts, W. A.
Macnaughten, E. A. Robinson, rt. hon. F.
Macqueen, T. P. Robinson, sir C.
Magennis, R. Rochford, G. H.
Mahon, hon. S. Rocksavage, earl of
Maitland, E. F. Russell, M.
Manners, lord C. Ryder, rt. hon. R.
Manners, lord R. St. John, hon. F.
Manners, General St. Paul, sir H.
Manning, Wm. Scott, sir, W.
Mansfield, John. Scott, hon. W.
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