§ Lord Archibald Hamilton
rose to make his promised motion. He said, he was sure he had never risen in that House on any occasion when it was more necessary for him, than it was at present, to experience their candour and indulgence, both with reference to himself individually, and to the subject which he was about to bring under their consideration. It would certainly be superfluous on his part, after the numerous petitions which had that day been laid on the table, to insist either on the inherent importance of the question which the House were now called upon to discuss, or on the intense interest which the people at large took in that question. He hoped, that any deficiency on his part would be considered as made up by the number of petitions laid upon their table, of which there was not one, at all connected with the Queen's case, that did not 140 either beseech the House to restore her name to the Liturgy, or express some disapprobation of its removal from it. These petitions, which were a sure mark of the direction in which public opinion was running, would, he trusted, be considered as adding some weight to his arguments, and would induce the House to listen, if not to him, at least to public opinion, of which, in this instance, he should be the organ. One of the first impressions created by the subject which he was introducing to their notice, was, the general ferment and irritation excited throughout the country since the commencement of the late melancholy proceedings—a ferment which had not only reached that House, and prevented it from transacting the ordinary business of the nation, but had extended itself from one corner of the kingdom to the other, and had interfered with all the usual occupations of its inhabitants. With regard to himself he had only one observation to make. He had no doubt, standing in the place in which he stood, and speaking on the subject on which he spoke, that the noble lord and the right hon. gentleman opposite (and perhaps it was an imputation in which some other members might be induced to join) would assert, that he addressed himself to this subject as a party question, and that he had no object in agitating it but a party object. Once for all, he protested against any such inference. He felt himself to be upon firm ground when he repelled it. He begged the House would recollect his former conduct on this subject. He did not wait to know what the public opinion would be; but when her majesty was first insulted by ministers, when her very name was not introduced by them into their speeches, but when they spoke of her by circumlocution, he stood up in his place in that House, and asserted her Majesty's inalienable and incontestible rights, unconnected with any regard to the feelings or opinions of his party. He now declared, that, whatever the result should be, no man would regret more than himself if the question should not undergo a grave, calm, and dispassionate consideration. When however, the noble lord and the right hon. gentleman opposite called the present a cold, legal, and unconstitutional question, he could not refrain from asking whether, in the mode in which the name of this injured and illustrious woman was first struck from the Liturgy—whether, 141 in the motive in which that act had originated—and whether, in the conduct that had followed, there was any thing which shewed that they considered the question to be a cold, legal, and constitutional one? On the contrary, did not the whole of the proceedings exhibit a disposition to inflict every description of insult, injury, and injustice on the individual, and to excite and irritate the country at large? It was on these grounds, and on these grounds alone, that he was induced to make his present motion, and not from any motives of a party nature.
He begged to be allowed to advert to one other point with respect to himself. It must be in the recollection of the House, that when the hon. member for Bramber (Mr. Wilberforce) made that motion which had occupied so large a portion of the interests and time of the House in the last session, he (lord A. Hamilton) had stood up in his place, and made a speech, which he concluded by an amendment alluding to the very omission of which he now complained.* And he now asked the House if they did not think, if the amendment which he had proposed on that occasion had been adopted, and if his majesty's ministers had then retraced their steps—if they had replaced her majesty's name in the Liturgy—much, if not all of the ferment and irritation which had been excited, would have been avoided, and this House, the Crown, and the country, would have found themselves in a much more favourable situation than that in which they were now placed? In saying this, he must again beg, that party motives might not be imputed to him, although he by no means wished to disclaim fair and open political hostility towards the noble lord and the right hon. gentleman opposite.
There was one other preliminary observation which he wished to make, although, perhaps, it was unnecessary. It was this—that in bringing forward his present motion, and in the ample discussion which such a proposition as the restoration of her majesty's name to the Liturgy was calculated to occasion, he should consider the subject as one with reference to which ministers were as fairly responsible, and which was as unconnected with any thing personal to the Crown itself, as any subject whatever that could possibly* See Vol. 1, p. 1259.142 be submitted to the deliberations of parliament. He considered the sound constitutional doctrine to be, that whatever subject was tit to be discussed in that House, was a subject on which ministers, and ministers only, were responsible; and that no one had a right to introduce any subject into that House which was not bottomed on their responsibility. He felt himself, therefore, to be in no way liable to the imputation of introducing topics personal to the Crown; because the subject was one on which ministers solely were responsible.
He now came to the case itself. The first observation which he should make was, that he was not in possession of the course which his majesty's ministers meant to pursue with respect to her majesty. He should be glad to learn what that course was. It must be evident to every one, that matters could not rest where they were. It was not possible, that her majesty, the Queen, could exist in this country in the situation in which she was now placed, merely with (and the noble lord had intimated, that it was the only proposition which he had it in contemplation to make) an addition of some nature to her pecuniary means. If nothing were done to allay the feelings so powerfully excited throughout the empire; if nothing were done of substantial justice towards her majesty; if nothing were done to prevent those effusions from the press on both sides, so generally and extensively mischievous, it was difficult to say what the consequences might be. With reference to the last subject which he had mentioned, he begged not to be understood as suggesting any restraint on the press. What he recommended was, that the cause of the present intemperance of the press should be removed—a cause which his majesty's ministers had as much reason to be ashamed of, as the country, at large, had to deplore. What had been the foundation of all these calamitous events? If there was one thing more than another in that concatenation of causes—for it was not a single cause which had operated to plunge us into our present condition—but if there was one cause more than another, which had wrought upon the public mind, and brought it to its present state of excitement, it was that unjust, that impolitic, that oppressive, that unconstitutional measure which was the subject of his motion. Now, he wished to ask, if the House should 143 not think fit to express their opinion that his majesty's ministers had done wrong in omitting her majesty's name in the Liturgy—he wished to ask, either the right lion, gentlemen opposite, or the House itself, what measure could be suggested so likely to calm that irritation which the injustice done to her majesty had produced in the country?
After the notice of a motion which had, the other night, been given by his noble friend behind him (the marquis of Tavistock), he wished to confine himself as much as possible to the question of the omission of her majesty's name in the Liturgy; because he understood, that that motion would afford a more ample opportunity for entering at large into the consideration of all the extraordinary proceedings connected with the subject. But it was impossible for him, or any other man in the House, to contemplate those proceedings, and the consequences with which the country had been visited, without feeling the utmost disgust and indignation at ministers, who, by their conduct, had put, and for six months had kept, the whole population of the empire in a state of continual ferment and agitation. The proceedings of his majesty's ministers had been not only most unwise, unjust, oppressive, and impolitic towards her majesty, but they had been—to use the only word which could sufficiently express and was appropriate to their most mischievous character—absolutely revolutionary in their nature [hear, hear!]. Since he had had the honour of a seat in that House, in all the efforts of reformers or radicals, in all the exhibitions of violence which he had witnessed within or without those walls, he was not aware of a single proceeding so truly revolutionary in its tendency as were the proceedings of his majesty's ministers with reference to the important subject under discussion.
In order to state the grounds on which he called upon the House to come to the resolution with which he should conclude, on the injustice and inexpediency of the step which ministers had taken, it would be necessary for him to call upon honourable gentlemen to consider well the situation of her majesty at the time her name was excluded from the Liturgy; because he unfortunately perceived, during the discussion of a former night, that some members allowed subsequent irritation to have a retrospective effect—as if the supposed misconduct of her majesty, after 144 the act was done by the exclusion of her name, ought to operate against her, and that ministers ought to be allowed to punish the Queen beforehand for imaginary crimes recently committed. When he heard a worthy alderman (Heygate) the other night, deprecate the omission of her majesty's name from the Liturgy, but at the same time appeal to her Letter to the King, and to her answers to addresses, as a reason for approving of the continuance of that original act of injustice, he could not but ask the House what such a proceeding was, but trying the Queen for one offence, and punishing her for another [Cheers.] Her majesty's name was excluded from the Liturgy at a time when she had a right to expect very different treatment; and he now called upon the House to do justice on the other hand, by applying to her majesty's case, the subsequent injustice she had endured, and the irritation to which she had been exposed. The principle on which a contrary practice proceeded, had been admirably well illustrated on a former night, when it was said, that it could be resembled only to the proceedings of the Inquisition, where words extorted from an unhappy and innocent sufferer, under the infliction of the rack, were taken as undubitable confessions and depositions of guilt. Hoping that this House, even as at present constituted, would be too just to imitate such a course, he would proceed to state what he conceived to be the situation of her majesty, at the time her name was struck out of the Liturgy; because he wished the House to understand, that he thought such a proceeding, on the part of ministers, not only impolitic and oppressive, not only illegal and unconstitutional, but an act of the grossest injustice towards a person already grievously wronged and injured, and whose wrongs and injuries need not have come before the House, or been exposed to discussion in the forum of the public. At the time when the prayers of the people were first refused to her, her majesty was without any home, without any state in the country. The law had deceived her; for by the laws of the land she stood the undisputed Queen of England. As Queen, and as a woman in domestic life, she was left equally destitute. She was a wife, but she had no husband. She had no station. She left, this country after having received many, insults, with a letter of licence to author- 145 rise and to justify whatever line of conduct she might think fit to pursue. She was followed by spies; her very servants were corrupted—she was persecuted in every way, and by all the acts of diplomacy—she could go to no place where there was a British minister, that she was not sure to meet with insult and contumely. She met with no protection. Under such circumstances, considering the treatment which her majesty had received, considering the insults that were heaped upon her; above all, bearing in mind the letter of licence, would the House place itself in the moral chair?—Would it affect to be shocked and outraged, even it' guilt were brought home to the door of the Queen—to the door of a woman who had a letter of licence from her husband [Hear, hear!]? If all that her accusers imputed to her were true, which he believed to be false, for he believed her majesty to be innocent; still, if all that had been imputed to her were true, the manner in which she had been authorised in the first instance, and afterwards pursued and watched and persecuted, while her servants were instigated, seduced, and corrupted, absolutely precluded any fair or reasonable man from bringing forward an accusation. This was not all: had she not undergone a severe trial, on a grave charge, in this country, and upon which she had been fully acquitted? Had she then, he would ask, received any thing like fair play? On the contrary, he should say, that whatever might have been the result of the trial she had undergone, the Queen had been first grievously wronged, and provoked into the commission of the crime recently imputed. [No, no, hear!] He would repeat, that her majesty had been provoked, deliberately provoked, into the commission of offence; if any offence she had committed.
With respect to the legal part of the subject he would offer but a very few words; he would ask the noble lord and the right hon. gentleman opposite, to state distinctly, if they could, the reason, why her majesty's name had been originally excluded from the Liturgy, He asked that simple question, and he expected a plain and satisfactory answer. It was said, that there were at the time very heavy charges against the Queen; but he would ask if those charges had been proved? If they had not been proved, why was not the name of her majesty reinstated in the 146 Liturgy?—if they had been proved, why did not her accusers proceed to some judgment against her? The fact was, that ministers had neither thought proper to consider her guilty or innocent; and as they had been influenced by a vague mixture of hope and fear, she had been treated with a vague mixture of justice and injustice.—In reference to the point of legality, it was necessary to refer to the original order in council, under which, the change in the Liturgy had been made. It set out with stating, that "Whereas in the Act of Uniformity which establishes the Liturgy of the Church of England, provision is made for such alterations in the prayers for the royal family, as from time to time shall become necessary." Before he proceeded further, he denied that to be a fair statement. No such provision was made: no power was given to alter the prayers, but merely to change the names. Alteration in the prayers would consist of a substitution of words, and a change perhaps of substance and meaning; but alteration of names could extend to nothing else but the names mentioned in the Liturgy. He knew not, whether the law officers of the Crown meant to found any thing upon it; but he asserted, that the order in council was not conformable to the statute, which applied merely to the alteration of names, and not of prayers. Upon what authority then, but their own, did ministers found the violent change they had directed? If any thing more were wanted to confirm the opinion he had hazarded, it would be supplied by the concluding words of the sentence, "and be directed by lawful authority." If the act meant to give a licence to change sentences and expressions, would it not have been differently expressed? If such a prerogative were to be conferred on the Crown, why was not the statute express in the terms it employed? it was framed by men of learning and acuteness in that day, who would not have been guilty of an omission so important. The sole authority cited in the order in council was the Act of Uniformity. Another observation here occurred: by that order no more authority was given to pray for George the Fourth than to pray for the Queen. It might indeed, be said, on the other side, that the king never dies, and therefore it was needless; but the reply was at least as obvious, that the accession of George the Fourth made the Queen Consort; and if 147 the order had said nothing but about omitting the names of the prince and princess of Wales, he would ask, whether, as a matter of course, the Queen would not have been prayed for? In the next place, he should wish the other side to state, to what extent they contended, that the Act of Uniformity gave them authority. He should be glad to know, whether they meant to go so far as to insist, that the king might alter the prayers of the church from mere caprice? If any such doctrine were advanced, he was sure that it would not want instant refutation.
One other suggestion he would offer. Was it ever contended—could it ever be contended, not only that this statute gave the king authority to alter the prayers as his caprice might dictate, but actually to lender the Liturgy a sort of penal power, amounting to the actual degradation of his Queen? [Hear.] He was not now to be told, that this was merely a legal or constitutional question. Such an attempt had been made and had failed: because the omission was used for the express purpose of degrading and insulting the Queen. Would ministers, with the advice of their high law authorities, go the length of asserting, that the framers of the act meant to give the power of degradation as a punishment? It was impossible: so that whether the question were looked at as a matter of law or justice, the House could arrive at but one conclusion —that ministers had done an illegal act, and inflicted a severe wrong in excluding her majesty. One more observation on this part of the subject, and he would conclude it. He did not mean in any way to question the legal authority of the King; but he was certainly much surprised to find, not only the head of the church, but the head of the law, presiding at the council where this illegal order was made. It might be presumptuous in him to question the proceedings of such high authorities; but they had done one thing that was either illegal or wholly nugatory. This self-same order had been sent to Scotland, where, in matters of this kind, ministers had no jurisdiction. He spoke in the presence of the Lord Advocate; but still he would assert, either that the order there was a dead letter, or a nugatory piece of nonsense, or it was a direct violation of the law. What had been the consequence? The order had been in Scotland what it ought to have been in 148 England, mere waste paper. It might not then be too presumptuous for him to; add, that as the conduct of government had been clearly illegal with regard to one part of the kingdom, it might be suspected, that it was not completely legal with regard to another.
Now, though it was not very material to notice all the names which were attached to that order in council, yet there was one name, which from the extraordinary circumstances with which it was connected, he felt in some measure obliged to revert to. He alluded to the name of Mr. Canning. Nothing could be more disagreeable to him than to speak harshly of any individual in his absence; but he must say, that it was of that absence that he now had to complain. Common report gave out, that that right hon. gentleman had differed with his late colleagues. If this were the fact (but of the truth of which he was ignorant), he would ask, whether it was too much to expect, that he should have been in his place, to have stated the grounds of that difference? If Mr. Canning could profess in his place, as he had done last session, an undiminished regard and affection for her majesty; if he could tell the country, that he for one would not be her accuser; surely, if his resignation proceeded upon principle, as he wished it to be understood, it was not too much to expect, when the interests of the Queen whom he so loved and so revered were at stake, that he should have remained in England only a few days longer, when his presence might have been of such essential service. That right hon. gentleman had subjected himself to animadversion by the line of conduct he had pursued, and on this account, he (lord A. Hamilton) felt himself called upon to say, that he was at a loss to discover on what principle, if any, he had vacated his office and differed with ministers. His name was appended to the order in council; he had kept his station in the cabinet during the whole of the proceedings; and at the close, when his opinion and support might have been of so much benefit, he abandoned his former coadjutors and retired from the kingdom. He did not pretend to say what might be other men's notions of duty; but if he (lord A. Hamilton) had retired from office, because he thought ministers had acted improperly towards the Queen, he hoped he should have had the justice and resolution to have stood his ground. As it was, the right hon. gentleman had left it in 149 doubt, whether he differed from his late friends, in what particulars, and to what extent. If he agreed with ministers, he owed it to his friends not to desert them in their utmost need; and if he differed from them, he owed it to his Queen to state fairly, openly, and manfully, the grounds of that discordance.
Having thus far gone through the subject, perhaps it might be fair now, to state the nature of the resolution with which he should conclude; it would he to this effect, that the order by which her majesty's name was excluded from the Liturgy, was ill-advised and inexpedient. It was; not however, to be supposed, that he limited his object and intention to that only: no; justice required, the interests of the country required, not merely that ministers should receive censure from the House for having done wrong, but that they should be supplied with a stimulus to do right; and right could not be done without replacing the name of the Queen I in the situation from which it had been improperly removed. In order to induce the House to proceed thus far with the subject though he did not mean to conclude with a vote to that extent—[Hear, hear, from lord Castlereagh]. He was somewhat surprised by the cheers of the noble lord; the noble lord and his friends would find employment enough to get rid of the motion now pending, without inviting others; and the whole subject, at to very distant day, would be before the House. Was it not, however, more natural and parliamentary, in the first instance, to notice what had been done? If he had now attempted more—if he had proposed an address to the King to restore the Queen's name to the Liturgy, he was convinced, that he should have been taunted with having proposed, what was personally offensive to the sovereign, and more than the necessity of the case required. But at all events, be that as it might, he certainly did not conceive that he was bound; to receive his tactics from the enemy [a laugh]. They all knew, that the proceeding against her majesty was sanctioned by a vote of the House of Lords; but they also knew, that no sooner did the measure receive that sanction than it was abandoned. Now, the question he would ask was, whether ministers intended to in force that vote? What effect, he would ask, did ministers intend to give to that judgment, if judgment it might be called? If they considered it a vote or a verdict, 150 which was effective, why recede from it? why abandon it the instant it was pronounced? And if they did not consider it so, why did they persevere in the persecution of her majesty [Hear, hear!]? Why not restore her to her rights? Why not replace her name in the Liturgy? He could not be aware of what their views or intentions were, but he hoped they would explain themselves; he hoped they would say, whether they considered it as a verdict, vote, or judgment, on which they intended to act. He hoped ministers would relieve the House and the country from further discussion on this painful subject. He regretted, that he trespassed so long upon the patience of the House, but when he took upon him the duty of bringing forward so important a question, he was not to consider himself, nor indeed the length of lime which he consumed. To him it appeared evident, that the striking the name of her majesty out of the Liturgy was a proceeding most injurious—injurious alike to the Crown and to the country. Why, he asked, were the people ordered to pray for the members of the royal family? Was it because of their extraordinary merits—for any peculiar virtues which distinguished them in private life? No; they were not prayed for in consequence of any personal qualifications, but simply because of their station. He would beg of the House to reflect on the consequences-of excluding her majesty's name from the Liturgy—he would beg of them to consider how far that principle might be carried. If the House once established an example of that kind, he would beg of them to reflect how far it might be followed, not by that House, but by the public. Were ministers disposed to stigmatise the royal family, they might injure the Queen in the first instance, they might wound her feelings; but the measure would prove them to be short-sighted as well as unjust. The Queen would be exposed to the first shock; but the whole of the royal family would be exposed. Ministers talked of the public danger—they affected to lament the public discontent—they talked loudly of blasphemy, sedition, and irreligion; but, was there any mode that could be adopted more likely to injure religion and to degrade royalty, than the one which ministers seemed to pursue? Towards the interests of religion and the throne, of the country, and of the royal family, he considered their proceeding equally injurious. He would again ask, 151 did ministers mean to rely upon the judgment of the House of Lords? If they did, he would just beg of the House to apply the principle to a sentence pronounced in a court of law; and then they could see how ridiculous it would appear. If it were the decision of judges, and if, the moment that such decision was declared by the majority, it was abandoned, the cause would have been given up, and the whole proceeding would necessarily fall to the ground. When the noble lord declared, that ministers did not intend to take any new measures against her majesty—when he said, that they did not intend to do more against her, they took credit for what they were not entitled to receive. The fact was, they could do no more against her. He gave them—the country gave them—no credit for kindness or forbearance; they carried their persecution as far as they could. If they should determine to exclude her majesty's name from the Liturgy without granting any kind of equivalent (indeed, he knew of no equivalent they could grant), he would call on the House, to consider what a situation the Queen of England would be placed in. The hon. and learned gentleman opposite (the Attorney General) might, perhaps, have learned something of the foul, odious, disgusting, and abominable attacks which were daily made upon her majesty, by that part of the press which was supposed to be under the patronage of ministers—would they encourage those attacks? If they allowed every person who wished to curry favour with men in power to libel the Queen Consort, they might depend upon it, that they would take the very best means to degrade the throne, and to expose every member of the royal family to the foulest imputations. If they were determined to leave the Queen in the situation in which she stood, they would leave the country in a state of excitation—they would leave the royal family exposed to a deluge of aspersions, and the country exposed to danger.
He would ask, had ministers any remedy to propose? The noble lord opposite said, he had none but an allowance. If he had no proposal to make, but to continue her majesty's allowance, to use the words of a gallant general (Sir R. Wilson) they would see disunion and discord and the most implacable enmities pervade the land. Perhaps, indeed, he did not go so far as the gallant general, but this he would say, that the people would look upon the treat- 152 ment of the Queen as unjust and cruel The people had early discovered, that her majesty was a persecuted woman—they supported her cause, and would continue to do so, whilst she had wrongs to complain of. He would ask ministers how long they intended to keep the country in a state of inflammation? The interests of the nation were neglected, commerce and agriculture were suffered to go to decay—six months of the public time had been already consumed on this painful subject, to the utter exclusion of all other considerations—the functions of the legislature were suspended—the House of Commons seemed as if it did not participate in the common feelings of the nation—as if it felt no wish to attend to the general interests, although they knew, that the greatest distress and embarrassment prevailed; surely they would not overlook the sufferings of the people in the present session, as they had done at the end of the last, merely because his majesty's ministers, unfortunately for themselves, and still more unfortunately for the country, had got into a scrape from which they could not extricate themselves. How they had got into the scrape he knew not; but he believed the noble lord and his colleagues to be men too wise and too honourable to have instituted these proceedings willingly, and at their own instance. The current opinion was (whether well founded or not he could not say), that they had unfortunately given a pledge, in an evil hour, that if the Queen should set her foot in this country, some proceedings should be commenced against her; they being persuaded at the time, that her Majesty never would return. They had thus become responsible for a proceeding, which he believed, they had not advised, but which had been involuntarily forced upon them. This was a line of conduct, on the part of the administration, which it was the duty of that House to deprecate; for there was, at once, an end of all the good which the country ought to derive from the government, if it was not to have the benefit of the talents of ministers, however small—and certainly the present administration possessed no great portion of talent—and if ministers were to come forward as the advocates of a measure which they had not advised, but which they had an interest in supporting,—Unless ministers meant to contend, that the vote of the House of Lords was a real and effective judgment, he maintained 153 that they had done wrong, not only in the first instance by omitting her majesty's name in the Liturgy; but by their subsequently persevering in that exclusion.—But the principal point on which he insisted was, that until ministers took measures to tranquillize the country, or rather, until the House took that care into their own hands, discord and confusion would continue to pervade the kingdom, from one end of it to the other. The noble lord concluded by moving,
"That the Order of Council of the 12th February 1820, under which, the name of Her Majesty, Caroline, Queen Consort, has been omitted in the Liturgy, and the accustomed Prayers of the Church, appears to this House to have been a measure ill advised and inexpedient."
§ Mr. Charles Ellis
said, it was not his intention, when he came down to the House, to take any part in the debate of this night; but he was sure, the House would think with him, that the observations of his noble friend—if he might be permitted so to call him—with respect to the resignation of a right hon. friend of his (Mr. Canning) called for some remarks in reply. That he should have taken upon himself the task of vindicating the conduct of his right hon. friend required, he owned, some apology both to the I louse and to some of his own friends, who were far more able to execute the task. But he rose, rather to deprecate any such course, and to entreat the friends of his right hon. friend to exercise their forbearance, whatever charges or insinuation of charges might be made against him, by the noble lo*d, or by any other member. His right hon. friend, on the first agitation of this question, had taken the earliest opportunity of avowing to the House, his determination to take no part whatever in any proceedings against her majesty. From the moment that the hope of an amicable adjustment failed, his right hon. friend had abstained from all interference. He was absent from the country during the whole of the proceedings in the other House of parliament, and did not return till after the bill of Pains and Penalties had been withdrawn. On viewing the state of those proceedings on his return, he felt convinced, that the course which he had pursued before, was no longer compatible with the station he held, and there appeared to him no other alternative than to surrender his office. Having thus purchased the right of acting con- 154 formably to the resolution which he had at first announced, he again absented himself till the conclusion of this calamitous affair. Such was the course which his right hon. friend had thought it his duty to pursue; and it was not his intention to offer any remarks on the propriety of his conduct, or to mix up his right hon. friend with proceedings, from all participation in which it was his desire the abstain. He should therefore, confine, himself, to what had been said by the noble lord, as to his right hon. friend's concurrence in the omission of her majesty's name in the Liturgy. His right hon. friend, in a speech which could hardly yet be erased from the recollection of the House, had stated the reasons which appeared to him to justify that measure. He should not, therefore, do his right hon. friend the injustice of weakening, by any remarks of his own, the arguments which he had then urged with such force and effect; and he would therefore, only state, that his right hon. friend, in retiring from office, did not wish, in the slightest degree, to withdraw himself from any share of the responsibility that might attach to his colleagues on account of that measure. With respect to the curiosity which the noble lord had mentioned, as to the degree in which he and his colleagues might have differed, he begged, that the noble lord would satisfy himself with waiting for the return of his right hon. friend. Thus far he trusted he might say, without any breach of confidence, that on all the great questions of external and internal policy, his right hon. friend cordially concurred with his late colleagues. He hoped he should not be so far misapprehended as to be supposed to disapprove of what the noble lord had said. It was not the intention of his right hon. friend to shrink from a justification of any part of his conduct. If any honourable gentlemen had charges to prefer, his right hon. friend would be found, not only to be ready, but he might be bold to say, able to answer them. It was necessarily in their sense of propriety, what was the fit time of bringing them forward—whether they should make the attack in his right hon. friend's absence, or delay it till his return. He did not deprecate any such attacks, or claim for his right hon. friend any courtesy; but he begged the House to call to mind, the manner in which his right hon. friend had repelled other accusations, when they had been 155 brought forward as substantive charges. He begged them also, not to lose sight of the consideration, that the line of conduct which his right hon. friend had felt it to be his duty to pursue, could not have been dictated by an attachment to office on the one hand, or by the ambition of conciliating popular feeling on the other. It was dictated alone by a strong and conscientious sense of the conflicting duties which he owed to the illustrious persons whose unfortunate variance had distracted the country.
in rising to reply to the speech with which the noble lord had introduced his motion, begged to say, in the first place, that it contained one sentiment with which he entirely concurred, That sentiment, the noble lord had expressed in plain terms, in the beginning of his speech, although he had thought proper to qualify it towards the conclusion: it was, that his Majesty's ministers, and they alone, ought in this case to be the responsible persons. The noble lord had intimated to the House, that ministers, in the advice which they gave to the Crown, had been actuated by motives which did not leave them the exercise of their own judgment. Whatever might have induced the noble lord to make the supposition, he (Mr. Robinson) could not consent to take any advantage from such an admission; for the advice was given by his majesty's ministers, and by the legality and expediency of that advice they were ready to stand or fall. When he considered the language in which the noble lord had characterized this act—when he heard it called an illegal proceeding—an insult to the sovereign—an injury and a disgrace to the country, and a measure for which the noble lord had no milder epithet than revolutionary—it would be base in ministers—it would be the height of meanness, not to avow their responsibility. Before he proceeded to make any observations on the motion of the noble lord, and on the arguments that had been used in support of it, he would advert to the circumstance which had led to the alleged offence. The noble lord had not argued at great length in support of the opinion which he had expressed as to the illegality of the measure; and he apprehended, that such an argument, if he himself were to enter into it, would not be very satisfactory to the House, or very likely to lead to a just conclusion. He said, however, that his majesty's ministers, neither at the time 156 they gave that advice, nor at present, entertained the slightest doubt of its legality; nor could he now conceive on what grounds it was contended, that that advice was not consistent with law. If the act were imperative on the Crown, in all circumstances, with respect to the insertion of the Queen Consort's name in the Liturgy, it was equally imperative with regard to the names of all the royal progeny. [Cries of "No, no," from the Opposition]. In the terms of this clause he could not find one word that separated the name of the Queen from that of the royal progeny. In many cases, however, the names of the royal progeny had not been inserted; and therefore, with respect to them, the act had never been imperative on the Crown; and since he could find no distinction made in the act between them and the Queen, he could not see why it should be imperative in the one case more than the other. He felt that he could not argue this point in a satisfactory manner; but he would repeat, that ministers did not believe then, nor did they now believe, that there was any illegality in the omission.—Let the House look at the situation in which the question stood when ministers took their determination. Her majesty was living, and had long been living in a state of separation from her royal consort; during the time she had been princess of Wales, her separation had been authorised by his late majesty, and had been recognized, and in some degree sanctioned, by acts of parliament. Her majesty was residing abroad, and it was at that moment that propositions were made, which it was hoped, would terminate by arrangements, for her majesty continuing abroad, and ceasing to assume the style and title of Queen [Hear, hear! from the Opposition Benches]. At the time of making that proposition, ministers had abundant reason to believe it would be acceded to. If, therefore, with the prospect of such an arrangement, they had inserted her majesty's name in the Liturgy, they would have been guilty of an absurdity; since they would have invested her with that style and title, which it was proposed, that she should not assume. Under these circumstances, it would have been a most extraordinary proceeding indeed, to have advised the King to begin by conferring on the Queen that mark of honour and respect, which the insertion of her name in, the Liturgy would convey. He thought the course which ministers had taken was 157 the strongest proof that they were sincerely convinced of its legality. With the prospect of being compelled to make that charge which they had brought against her majesty, and having in their power the means of making that charge—[cries of "Hear, hear," from the Opposition.] He was unavoidably obliged to allude to that proceeding, though he was not called on at present to justify it. What he wished to observe was, that with the prospect of bringing the charge against her majesty, ministers would not have been warranted in advising the insertion of her name in the Liturgy. If they had done that, they must have gone a great deal farther, and advised the king to place her majesty, in all respects, in the same situation as if there had been no imputation against her. Many persons, he believed, were of opinion that her majesty should have been so placed; but there were others, lie also believed, who were not disposed to recommend that course. There was a third class, who, like the first, recommended that her majesty should he treated with all external marks of respect; that she should have a palace and every other royal accommodation; but that she should be treated with coldness, and discountenanced by the court. Now, he had no hesitation in saying, that to have placed her in such a situation, and at the same time to have said, "Oh, do'nt go near her—pay her no respect," would have been the greatest violation of the principles of honour on which ministers had acted.—But it had been said, that ministers had insulted their Queen, betrayed their King, and brought their country to the verge of revolution. And what was the motion of the noble lord for the remedy of those evil measures? [Hear, hear.] If ministers had been guilty, they merited severer punishment than the mild and mitigated castigation of the noble lord's motion. If they were really guilty, and escaped without punishment, that escape would be the most fatal omen to the constitution and to the country. He asserted, that with the opinions the noble lord professed, it was his duty to take another course, and not to have brought down his milk and water resolution; telling the House, at the same time, that there was another motion in reserve, which they did not know when to expect. If it was the intention of the noble lord merely to do justice to the Queen, why take this isolated point—why advert in anticipation to another motion, 158 as if the present were intended to ascertain the feeling of the House? He could not account for the noble lord's conduct, unless by supposing that he wished to have the benefit of all the shades of opinion existing in the House, by mitigating, as far as possible, the terms of his present motion.—Great stress had been laid, by the noble lord, on the petitions which had been brought forward. Many petitions had been presented that night, and he believed, that all of them prayed the House to take the promptest measures, not for turning out ministers, or for allaying the agitation of the country, but for effecting the restoration of the Queen's name to the Liturgy. Now, was that the object of the noble lord's resolution? It was no doubt, involved in it, and might be expected to follow, if the present proposition were carried; but, on so great a question as this was represented to be, was parliament to take particular points of the subject, or to action any but clear and explicit grounds? The noble lord said, that he had recourse to this mode of proceeding with a view to conciliate the Queen and the people; but he (Mr. Robinson) contended, that the present course was calculated to produce an opposite effect, and that the House ought either to speak plainly or not at all. Such was the view he took of the present motion; it was not of a clear, direct, and simple character, as it ought to be, and as he understood the promised motion of another noble lord was, he was not disposed to meet the resolution with a direct negative. The noble lord had staled, that he would not take his tactics from his opponents, and in this respect he would imitate the noble lord's example; and, since the noble lord had brought a proposition for an abstract resolution instead of a direct and specific motion, he should take the liberty of moving "that the House do now adjourn."
§ Lord Archibald Hamilton
rose to explain. In answer to the right hon. gentleman, he begged to say, that he had used the word "revolutionary" without doubt, and he had used it advisedly. He also begged to be understood as applying it, not solely to this particular act of the erasure of her majesty's name from the Liturgy, but to the whole of the proceedings which had been had against the Queen.
being in possession of the House, began by observing, that if 159 the right hon. gentleman who had so recently sat down, and whom, as one of his majesty's ministers, he must look upon as one of the advisers of those unfortunate measures, for which, upon the part of his colleagues, he had been endeavouring to offer an apology, had felt such a proceeding necessary, how much more was he (Mr. Hobhouse) bound to apologize to honourable members for any trespass he might make upon their time and patience. With respect to the observations of the hon. gentleman who spoke first, after the noble mover, upon another right hon. gentleman, he begged to say, that as that right hon. gentleman was not present, he should refrain from all remarks on his conduct. He thought it was due to the character and situation of that individual to wait until he should be in his place, so that he might have an opportunity of refuting any charges of whatever nature they might be, that might be brought against him. On such an occasion as this, honourable members had something else to do than to enter into particular justifications of their colleagues. It was calculated to take out of the view of the House that which ought to be the main subject of their consideration. For his own part, he could not help suspecting, that something like a parliamentary manœuvre in the hon. gentleman's rising so early, as it were, to give the cue to those friends of the late President of the Board of Control, whose scruples, had not operated, like his, to make them relinquish office. If that was the intention of the hon. gentleman he hoped he would not be followed, but that the friends of the right hon. gentleman (Mr. Canning) would consider what had passed that night, and that the unanimous petitions of the people of England would operate on them to give an independent vote. With respect to the right hon. President of the Board of Trade, he had heard the speech of that right hon. gentleman with surprise. The right hon. gentleman had not given them a single excuse for the conduct of ministers. He had told them, that he would not enter into the legal question, and yet he had concluded by moving, that the House do now adjourn: leaving the conduct of the ministers without excuse. Upon what principle of law, of argument, or of fairness, could he attempt to excuse the conduct of his colleagues in office, if he could not first 160 prove, that what had been done by them was not an infringement of the constitution, and a violation of the statute law of the land? Without affecting to be more a lawyer than the right hon. gentleman, he meant to say, that the onus probandi lay entirely upon ministers; it was for them to prove, that when they ventured to erase her majesty's name from the Liturgy they were not violating the law. It was not for the opposition to prove, that ministers had done any thing of the kind. [Hear, and a laugh from the ministerial benches.] He should be able, he hoped, to show the noble secretary for foreign affairs, that this was not a foolish opinion. Since the time of the reformation—before which it was known there were no statutes regulating the religious formularies of the country;—from the time of the reformation to the present, there was no single instance in which the name of a queen consort had been omitted, under circumstances similar to those in which her majesty stood. The fact was, that there was one exception; and he would mention it, as he observed the learned attorney-general was taking notes, as if he had made some slip—the case of the queen of George 1. But he asserted, that that was no instance in point. That queen had been unknown to this country as princess of Wales, or in any other character; she had been divorced before she became queen; she had never kept a court in England as princess of Wales, and was in no way known to or recognized by the people of England. The 13th and 14th of Chas. II. commonly called the Act of Uniformity, contained words so clear and explicit, that it was impossible to get over them. The names were directed to be "changed and altered from time to time, and fitted for the occasion." It was impossible, that those grave authorities by whom that statute was framed—he meant sir Matthew Hale and lord Clarendon—could ever have been guilty of that slip-slop (as it was sometimes termed) in language, as to have supposed for a moment, that the words "change and alter," could embrace a power to "omit" also. They evidently and expressly meant that the names should be varied with the occasion, and fitted thereto. What was, perhaps, a strong confirmation of this fact was, that at the time when the statute of Uniformity was framed, the reigning king, Charles II. had no queen; but there was a vacant space left, in the provisions of 161 the act, for the insertion of her name; and accordingly the moment that the king did marry, the queen's name was inserted in that space, and in the Liturgy, conformably to the act. The right hon. gentleman was moreover called upon to show on what documents his colleagues proceeded, when they struck her majesty's name out of the Liturgy? In truth, however, that right hon. member had only excused one fault by another; for he said, that had ministers inserted the Queen's name in the Liturgy, then she would immediately have come over, and claimed all her rights as Queen Consort. And why should the Queen not claim all her rights? But it was quite certain, that when her name was so struck out she would instantly come over. When thus insulted and condemned, she had nothing to do but to come where she might have something like a trial; and where she might shew her accusers, that they had no grounds for their charges. Those loose, unsifted charges formed no ground for the proceedings of ministers. His late majesty, in his Letter to the Princess of Wales in 1807, had declared, that charges brought against persons, and examined in their absence, were not to be considered as legal charges. But it appeared, that his majesty's ministers acted upon them as upon legal proofs. They did not go to those persons who were best able to inform them as to the truth; they did not question the honourable persons who had been about her majesty, her domestic physician, or the noble ladies who had resided with her, but on loose papers, drawn up by they knew not whom, they proceeded at once to the act which he declared to be absolutely illegal. The testimony which they had brought forward was quite extraordinary. As he himself had long resided at Venice, he knew perfectly well, the infamous character of one of the persons whom they had brought us an important witness from that city, a person named Bianchi, the porter at an hotel in that city; a man who bore a character so infamous as ought to have deterred any man, or set of men, from ever adducing his evidence in a court of justice. Ministers ought to have inquired, before they instituted those proceedings, whether they had grounds which would satisfy the country; nor should they then have commenced them without a state necessity. What state necessity was there? They knew that the country was in an extraor- 162 dinary state of agitation. The right hon. gentleman in moving for an immediate adjournment, had at least proved, that what he had called parliamentary tactics, were not confined to the Opposition side of the House. No doubt, he expected, by such a mode of getting rid of the question, the votes of a few gentlemen, who would otherwise support the proposition of the noble mover. But he trusted, that those honourable gentlemen would well consider what they were about to do, and that by so adjourning they would reject the prayers and petitions of the whole people of England, of which they had received such striking manifestations. He would entreat them to remember, that even if on other occasions, they considered themselves pledged to vote with the right hon. gentleman, by a point of honour it now behoved them to give up; and finally he would refer them to the vote which they had concurred in during the last session; a vote which had characterized the whole of the proceedings against her majesty as being derogatory from the dignity of the Crown, and injurious to the best interests of the country.
§ Mr. Wetherell
and several other members having risen at the same time, the cry for that gentleman became general. He said, that he had been in hopes of hearing some grounds alleged by his majesty's ministers as those upon which the order in council had proceeded, by which the omission of her majesty's name in the Liturgy of the church had been directed. The right hon. gentleman who had spoken after the noble lord opposite, had gone into a variety of observations, the tendency of which was, the justification of that act upon the part of the ministers of the Crown. Without wishing to follow the right hon. gentleman through all the statements contained in his speech, he was quite prepared to state the reasons upon which he differed from him on this most important subject. The right hon. gentleman had critically argued, not so much the matter, as the form of the motion submitted by the noble lord. For his part, he thought that form was an extremely correct one. He thought the right hon. gentleman however, had stated, in a very candid manner, what was his own view of the question, and his own opinion upon its merits: and having himself possessed the means of frequently considering it, he would now state what was the result of that attention and inquiry which he had 163 bestowed upon it. And firstly, he thought, this act was to be considered as the act entirely of his majesty's ministers, and not as that of his majesty. Such was his judgment; and if in making it, he had come to an erroneous conclusion, he could only say, that it was an error of some maturity. When, the day before yesterday, he bad the honour of moving for the production of certain documents and papers, it was not for the purpose of informing his own mind upon any particular knowledge to be derived from them, because he had already taken pains to make himself acquainted with their contents; but he had done so with a view of possessing the House of the same necessary information. It was singular to observe the conduct of the right hon. gentleman and his colleagues upon two occasions, immediately connected with the present discussion. When he (Mr. W.) first made a motion with reference to the papers which had been laid upon the table, the noble lord (Castlereagh) moved the previous question; and now, when the noble lord (A. Hamilton) submitted some other proposition relative to the object contemplated by his own motion, the right hon. gentleman moved an adjournment. Ministers, however, must not suppose, upon a great constitutional question like this, that the attempt to defeat him by a mere point of tactics would be successful. It was truly a great question, involving, not the rights of the present Queen Consort alone, but the public rights and privileges of all queens consort in these or future times—a question not upon this single violation alone, not on this individual case, but upon the general tenure of those rights and privileges recognized by the statutes and constitutions of the realm. It was, in truth, a question involving this important consideration—whether the statute and constitutional law of the land, has vested in the privy council of the king, a power to leave out or to insert as it chooses, the name of the Queen Consort. That was the plain question; and though he admitted, that as upon this point, they could not argue the abstract question, yet it was a perfect fallacy to suppose, that they could authorize such a principle in any particular case, without authenticating its general operation. It was manifest, that if the act of omitting her majesty's name was to be attacked or to be defended, the future principle would be affected generally, according to the deci- 164 sion to which they should come. The particular question was, whether, according to act of parliament and the consuetudines regni, such act was or was not illegal. This mere form of putting the question might suffice to show that it was not confined, and could not be confined, to the present case alone. Out of this a further consideration naturally arose, and that was, whether any queen consort of the realm was to hold the privilege of having her name inserted in the Liturgy of the church, at the mere pleasure of the king's council.
Referring, therefore, to what the right hon. gentleman had suggested as an insuperable difficulty, it resulted, that, it would be a mere fallacy to argue this case on those individual circumstances which might seem to constitute it an isolated and particular question; if they did not, in truth, embrace the whole point under consideration, and become, as such, necessary to be taken into the discussion. It was, therefore, that he took the liberty of calling the attention of the House to those peculiar facts (and God knew they had been sufficiently calamitous ones!), from which it appeared, that an omission had been directed to be made of this description; they were to decide upon a right which had existed for three centuries, over since the first use of a reformed Liturgy; they were to decide the question, whether the legal and constitutional usage should be violated by doing in this case what must endanger all other laws and usages of the realm. He had already stated, that, since the time of the Regency, he had met with no one question whatever, so considerable and so important as this. They should remember, that they were called on to decide a question of a civil nature—no less an one, than whether that privilege, which for three centuries had been supposed to attach, not to the natural person of the Queen, but to her exalted public station and character, was, after the lapse of so many years, to be laid at the feet of the privy council? or, in other words, whether the Queen Consort of these kingdoms was to be exalted or degraded at their mere will and pleasure? Presuming, not that his humble labours could benefit the House—presuming, not that his information could enlighten honourable gentlemen, but presuming to offer his own mature and unbiassed opinion, he now took the liberty of accusing his majesty's ministers 165 of having made an order, upon the 12th of February last, which was grossly illegal. If the right hon. gentleman, who had; manfully come forward that night, and for whose personal character no man entertained a more sincere respect and consideration than himself, had thought proper to apply the epithets of "milk and water" to the motion of the noble lord opposite, he could promise the right hon. gentleman, that he should not have to complain of him for making use of language of that description. The right hon. gentleman, in an argument, which, to be sure, appeared rather absurd, had stated, that that noble lord might have been a little more severe on his majesty's government. For his own part, he must say, that he was not disposed to use language quite so subservient. He was sure, that the right hon. gentleman knew the personal respect which he entertained for him; and, without meaning any offence to him, he begged to repeat, that he would take especial care to avoid the charge of not stating his opinion with as much strength and plainness as the forms of the House would allow.
In that view of the case, he did assert, that so far as his humble opinion was concerned, he did not put the question upon the ground of expediency or inexpediency; but he was disposed to put it upon the plain and broad ground of illegality. His argument was, that the act was an undoubted contradiction to the ancient and unquestionable privilege in dispute, as it was confirmed by the Act of Uniformity. He was little disposed to trouble the House with a detail of facts which must be known to all honourable gentlemen too well to need repetition; but some short data there were which it was material to notice. He did not mean to dispute, what no man acquainted with the history of his country would dispute, that after the Reformation, the supremacy, in all ecclesiastical regulations, was vested in the king as head of the church. Neither did he dispute, that in the reign of Henry VIII, the Crown had the power of regulating the service of the church as it pleased. He would not weary the House with a train of historical references: it was sufficient to know, that prior to that period, the direction and management of ecclesiastical affairs had been entirely under the see of Rome. Subsequently to this period, this whole system had been altered and reversed, and ecclesiastical 166 government had been intermingled and identified with the civil ordinances of the state. In the reign of Edward VI, a Liturgy founded upon these principles of alteration was established. In succeeding reigns, various acts of parliament were passed; which, from time to time, made the Liturgy of the church, and all matters connected with it, matters of civil regulation. In other words—and this was important to observe—the church was made a part of the state, and the state a part of the church. He would not trouble the House with particularly adverting to these different statutes; all this was undoubtedly originally the effect of the Reformation: the Liturgy might thus be said to have been established by the Reformation. In subsequent reigns it was, indeed, altered; thus it was altered by queen Mary. After that period, and in the reign of James I, it was reduced into pretty nearly the same form in which it existed at present. Thus it continued until the reign of Charles I. In that reign it was well known, that the political dissension which existed, arose from religous as well as a civil feeling, The Liturgy of the church, which was thus originated under Edward VI, came to be reviewed in the reign of Charles I; and by the civil and religious authorities of his day some partial changes were effected in it, of that slight nature to which he had already alluded.
Thus far it had been necessary to make mention of historical facts; and these brought us down to the reign of Charles II. And here it was proper to remind them, that the church and state were now to all intents and purposes to be considered as mingled and connected; the church, and all parts of the church government, being part and parcel of the state itself; the king, recognised as the head of the church, was the head of the state also. The union of these two circumstances led to the fact, that after the Reformation, very different regulations in matters ecclesiastical were adopted; because they were not ordered as theretofore by the authority of the pope, but subjected to civil authority by the power of parliament. In other words, the Liturgy was established by act of parliament; and the regulations and enactments ordained and provided by that statute, and by all others made in furtherance of the same object, became of equal effect, validity, legality, and strength, and were as much binding, and exacted equal obedience, as any other 167 acts of parliament whatever. He took upon himself to say, with great deference and humility, that he had now proved his position; namely, that these regulations of a civil nature were those which made the church part of the state. He had already said, the Icing was head of the church. Referring, indeed, to the reign of Henry VIII, it might perhaps, be said, that by virtue of his prerogative, he might have governed and regulated its ordinances of his own authority alone, even supposing no acts of parliament had intervened; but that was not the case now. Leaving the question of prerogative alone, sufficient was shown to prove, that it was at least controlled by the power of parliament in this case; and enough was also shown to prove, that the regulations of the church were part of the civil law of the country, and were to be governed by that law as well as by any other matter.
Allowing the king, therefore, to be the head of the church (and God knew he had no wish to impair one tittle of his prerogatives in that character!), the next question was, whether acts of parliament passed subsequently to the Reformation had not curtailed them. Let no man suppose here, that he was for a moment denying the plenary powers of the Crown—powers which it undoubtedly possessed; but it would be a waste of time to show in what instances those plenary powers, which might formerly have been exercised by the Crown, had been since lost and confused, by the Crown itself having delegated them to parliament, though originally they were its own. He had already shown in what way the Liturgy was framed and subsequently modulated; the exigencies of the times afterwards gave rise to certain restraining statutes. It was well known, to all who heard him, that the Covenanters, and others of the puritanical party, undertook to revise particular parts, not only of the civil, but also of the religious institutions of the state. At that time, divisions pervaded the whole kingdom of the same nature; and, consequently, in the year 1661, it was resolved, to establish a Liturgy, that should unite as closely as possible, all religious parties in the state, and make them submit as much as possible to the state's authority. The purpose was, not so much to make out a form of Liturgy which should unite all men in any universal form of belief, but to settle, and ensure to all the component parts of the state, in facie ecclesiæ, a 168 legal recognition of all the civil parts of the ecclesiastical institutions of the country. There was no man who maturely considered the subject, but would concede to him this proposition—that the great purpose of the Act of Uniformity was, that church and state should be in all respects mixed; so that you might mix up, as it were, allegiance to the church and state, and secure the same obedience to the latter as was already required to the former. Such was the principle of the Act of Uniformity, by which it was intended, that a civil and a religious rebellion, which had so long raged, should not operate to the prejudice of the establishment. It was to the evils of dissension that the Act of Uniformity addressed itself. There were subsequent acts, the due performance of which were also provided for by that statute. Accordingly, there was to be found in the Liturgy, a recognition of the authority of the king, of the prelates, of the privy council, of the magistracy, and every, other component part of the civil constitution of the country. He would now call the attention of the House to the effect of that act. The Liturgy of the church being thus settled and established, was annexed to the act, and authenticated under the great seal, was, to all intents and purposes, part and parcel of the Act of Uniformity. It was as much a part of the act, as if it had been written in the parliament roll, and transcribed from that roll into the statute book. This was a point, which he apprehended, neither the Attorney General, nor any gentleman conversant, with the law of the question, could dispute. The Liturgy, then, was to be considered as virtually and substantially part of the act of parliament; and it was, indeed, only in consequence of its length, that the whole of the church service was not enrolled, and printed among the statutes. The act directed, that the Liturgy thus identified with it should be printed, and carried into effect; and that 21 copies of it should be deposited in the Tower of London, and various other repositories of public documents. The Liturgy thus established, could undergo no change unless there were some change in the Act of Uniformity, reserving a power to make such alteration. It was clear, that the Crown had no power to alter or add to any part of the Liturgy, as it related to faith and doctrine; not a comma or a word could be altered in any prayer or collect. How 169 far then, did the power of alteration extend? He would read to the House, the very short clause of the Act of Uniformity itself; which was, he thought, so express in terms, as that it could leave no doubt on the mind of any hon. gentleman upon the question before them:
"Provided always, and be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that in all those prayers, litanies, and collects, which do in any way relate to the king, queen, or royal progeny, the names be altered and changed from time to time, and fitted to the present occasion, according to the direction of lawful authority."
These were the words of the act. Now, it was singular, that if more was intended than to change the name to George or Frederick, to Anne or Caroline, that the framers of that act should not have thought of inserting the word "omit," or something to that effect. The vocabulary of the English language was nearly as full and perfect at that time as it was at the present day; and yet, how happened it, that sir Matthew Hale, lord Clarendon, and the other learned men who had drawn up the act, with all the copia verborum which the language presented, should not have hit upon a word which would bear the construction of expunge, or omit, or leave out? But they had done no such thing. They merely left it "to be altered and changed," as he had just read. How came it to pass, that it was not stated, if such was ever intended, that it should be left to the power of the Crown to omit the name of her majesty or the royal family? How came it to pass, that after all the revisions which this subject had undergone by parliament, by the convocation, and by the twelve learned lawyers—how came it, he asked, to pass, that if such a power as that now assumed was ever intended to be conveyed, all these high authorities should have concurred—not in putting in the word "expunge," or "omit," but in merely inserting these words—"To be altered and changed from time to time, and fitted to the present occasion according to the direction of lawful authority?" Was any honourable gentleman prepared to contend, that at the period of the restoration, when the throne was to be restored to all its dignity and splendor, it could be in the contemplation of the legislature to pass an act in which a power was to be granted to degrade the queen? From the Reformation down to the period of passing the Act of Uniformity, the 170 names of queens consort had been uniformly inserted in the Liturgy. Catherine, the queen consort of Henry the Eighth, was in the Liturgy; the queen consort of Charles the First was in the Liturgy; and the principal of reinstatement and redintegration had been constantly acted upon, through the whole period of time which intervened between the Reformation and the reign of Charles II. There was another argument, which operated very forcibly upon his mind, though he did not know how it might strike other gentlemen. At the time of the passing of this act, Charles II, was not married, and a blank was left in one collect for the name of the queen; leaving it perfectly to be understood that it was to stand pro re nata for the insertion of the queen consort's name when the king should marry; and not only was the blank left for the name, but also for the titles; and, in fact, after the marriage of the king, some copies of the book of Common-prayer had the blank filled up and the name of her majesty the queen consort inserted. He did not know how this might strike others; but it struck him beyond all doubt, that the intention was, that according, to the act, the name of the Queen must be necessarily inserted. This just brought the case of the Liturgy as it stood in the preceding reigns. They had one uninterrupted course from this time down to the reign of George I; and in this period, would any one attempt to say, that it was not the consuetudo regni? They had the proof of the constant practice of three centuries; and he thought, that a constant custom for three centuries was fully sufficient to establish a prescriptive right. And who were they who disputed this usage; who were they who denied this presumptive right? They were those from whom he should never have thought, that the infraction of a long-established usage would have come. Who could have expected from the present anti-radical administration, from this monarchical administration—they who in and out of doors were so loud in combating every thing like reform or change, who trembled at the bare idea of the least deviation from any and every long-established custom;—who, he asked, could have expected that such a violation of the constant practice of three centuries would have come from them? What was it, that was in the present day more ardently supported by this anti-radical, anti-reform, 171 monarchical administration, than a veneration for what was termed the ancient usage of the country? And yet it was from this same quarter that they now found an attack upon the undisturbed practice of three centuries! What was it that was more anxiously looked to by all ranks than ancient customs? Upon what did the privileges of that House rest? Upon the consuetudo parliamenti. Upon what did the prerogatives of the Crown depend? The jus coronæ. Upon what the privileges of the Lords? Usage. Upon what, in a word, did some of the best and dearest rights which men enjoyed in this country depend? Usage. And now we were to take from the present monarchical administration the doctrine, that usage the most ancient, was to be abolished at their discretion! In obedience to the dictates of this anti-radical, monarchical administration, those men, who, as he had said, were shocked at the least word that whispered change or reform, the House was now called upon, without any argument or any precedent, to give up the practice of three centuries. [Hear, hear]. He, in his humble situation in life, had always been opposed to the principles of the radicals; he had ever deprecated their wild and visionary schemes of reform; he had looked on public affairs with an eye as active, as ardent, and persevering as many men; and he had held the same opinion with respect to the principles of all violent reformers; and his sentiments with respect to them were still unchanged. He begged to ask them, as an humble individual, for he liked to be consistent—[cheers from the ministerial benches]. He did not feel annoyed, nor would he be put down by the cheers of the noble lord and his friends. He knew well from what cause they proceeded: he would repeat, that he liked to be consistent; and he begged to ask the noble lord who was so strongly opposed to every thing like change or innovation, upon what principle or precedent it was, that he would attempt to justify the abolition of the constant practice of three centuries? It was not from the noble lord that he expected such an example: but when he did set it, bethought, at least, that some argument, founded upon reason and practice, should be urged to justify it. It was this violent, and he would say, illegal conduct, on the part of his majesty's ministers, that had placed him (Mr. Wetherell, in the situation in which he 172 then stood in opposition to all the measures adopted against the Queen. He maintained, that the whole course of the proceedings pursued by his majesty's ministers, from the first introduction of the bill of Pains and Penalties, had been a series of monstrous and unjustifiable innovations on the constitution. If the noble lord had not been guilty of these aggressions on the constitution; if he had not endangered the peace of the country and the security of the monarchy, he should still have given him his support, and not have stood there his determined enemy in every thing which respected the measures against the Queen. From the moment that the Queen's name was illegally and unjustifiably left out of the Liturgy, from the moment that the illegal and fatal order of the 12th of February took away all chance of a fair trial, he had placed himself, and would continue to place himself, in opposition to every measure of ministers founded upon it.
After the date to which he had already referred, he would now beg leave to call the attention of the House to whatever there were of precedents for this unjust proceeding. He could not, of course, presume to guess what new field of research might be opened, or what unexpected powers of eloquence might be displayed by the distinguished persons who formed the present administration; but there was one topic which he might venture to anticipate as likely to be urged on this occasion; he alluded to the omission of the name of the Consort of George I. That monarch ascended the throne in 1714; and for eighteen years previous to that period, the princess of Zell had been a prisoner in Hanover; she breathed her last in the same dungeon in which she had been confined for eighteen years. She was never mentioned in any public document, or upon any public occasion, as the queen of George I; and even her name was not to be found in the index to Tindal's History. She was never, in any way, recognised as queen, nor did her name ever appear in any state paper or address to the king, or in any document, public or private. But this was not all; George I. was actually divorced from his queen, and this was sufficiently established in Coxe's Memoirs of Sir R. Walpole, who was minister at the time. It was idle and contemptible, therefore, to adduce as a precedent, the case of an absentee and a prisoner, who was not only never recognised 173 as queen, but between whom, and the king, the conjugal relation was dissolved by the decree of a court of judicature. If any person had a right to be considered as the queen consort of George the First, it was the duchess of Kendal, and not the princess of Zell; for a left-handed marriage, as it was termed by the German jurisconsults, had been solemnized between the duchess and that monarch. He was not sufficiently skilled in the German law to know what was the exact nature of such marriages; but he believed, a left-handed marriage was that which was contracted between a person of rank and one below his own dignity; and the difference between it and an ordinary marriage was, that it left the woman the control and possession of her own personal property If, then, at his accession, any individual was entitled to the privileges of the consort of George I, it was the duchess of Kendal, to whom he was so married, and not the princess of Zell. Looking, then, at this most wretched rag of a precedent, who was it, he asked, that understood the history of his country, or that had any pretensions to common sense, could attempt to support by it, the measure which his majesty's monarchical ministers had adopted? He would maintain, that no man in his senses could attempt to rely upon such a case. The House had now before them the invariable consuetudo regni down to the present time; for the case which he had just disposed of could not for an instant be looked upon as an exception. They had that constant custom before and since the period of George I; and if there was any doubt as to the custom, it would be fully removed by the act of parliament. He would now remind the House of another point which bore on the subject. The rights of the Queen were hers, not as attached to her person, but to her political character. By the common law, she had in this character, rights and privileges, equipolent with those of the king. She had besides, all the legal privileges of a femmeseule, not from the jus mariti, but belonging to her character as Queen Consort. She had also considerable patronage, and a right to exact from all subjects the same homage that was paid to the king himself. These privileges were hers immutably and indelibly. They were not in the power of the king to give or to take away. But if the king had by law, the power of depriving her of any of these—if he could of 174 his authority say, that his subjects should not pay any marks of respect to her person—if he could prevent them from kissing her hand or order them not to respect her person—if any of these things could be legally done by his majesty, then he should think, that his majesty might also be in some manner justified in the exclusion of her name from the Liturgy. But, when he found that the converse of all these was true, he thought, that the converse of the argument must be also true. He again asked, how ministers, how any men in their senses, could admit (and they must admit it in order to support the ground they had taken), that the king could not legally do any of the things which he had just mentioned, and at the same time contend, that he could strike her majesty's name out of the Liturgy? How, then, did it come to pass, that his majesty had the power in the one case, and not in the other; the one privilege (that of the Liturgy), as he had shown, belonging to her majesty as much in right of her character as Queen, as any of the others? How did it happen, that by common law he could not takeaway the name of Queen, and yet, that he could abolish the rights of that character? Looking at the question in a legal point of view—and in that view he had given it his most serious consideration—the thing appeared to him so plain as not to admit of the slightest doubt. But his own opinion was not the only one upon which he rested. He had put the question to men of unquestioned legal knowledge—men not less eminent for information than sound judgment—men connected with no party, and of course not biassed by partial views; and every one of them had concurred in stating, that the text of the statute left no ambiguity, but that combined with the general usage of three centuries, the case did not admit of a doubt. They concluded, that the law and the custom were decisive; and that therefore, the expunging of her majesty's name from the Liturgy by the privy council, was in every sense, illegal. But, notwithstanding the cheers which he had heard from gentlemen on the ministerial side of the House—cheers which he set to the account of the vote which he intended to give on this occasion—he would again ask this anti-radical, monarchical administration, what it was, that they had urged in defence of this violation of the law, and the custom of the country? Let them look 175 once more at the clause in the Act of Uniformity. Now, as an humble individual, he begged to ask his majesty's anti-radical, monarchical ministers, amidst the cheers of their friends, whether, if the name of the Queen might be left out by the order of the privy council, under the authority of this act, the name of the king might not also be omitted by the same authority? Might it be permitted to a plain man to ask this monarchical administration, whether, by this same authority, they might not leave but the head of the church—he who would lose the throne if he married a Papist? As a plain man he begged to ask them, whether they would contend (and they must contend it, in order to support their argument), that by the authority of this act, they would be justified in leaving out of the Liturgy, the bishops, the privy council, and the other public authorities who were there mentioned, as directed by the act? He presumed, that no one would contend, that the king, the privy council, the bishops and others, could be kept out by this act. Why then, he demanded, was the name of the Queen alone to be omitted? Did the act give the power of omitting that name and no other? The argument was absurd. The Liturgy, in effect, as far as the name of the Queen was concerned, was in the reign of Charles I, what it was in that of Charles II; and though Henrietta, the queen of Charles I, was highly unpopular, no power was attempted to be given of excluding her name from the Liturgy. It was not left in the power of a faction of a court to put her in, or a faction out of court to put her out. The House of Commons impeached the queen of Charles the First, and yet they did not afterwards think of such an expedient as the expunging of her name from the Liturgy any more than that of the king. But he thought, it was unnecessary to press this part of his subject farther upon the House.
He could not but observe, how different was the conduct of the noble lord (Castlereagh) upon this occasion, from that pursued by Mr. Pitt in the case of the regency: instead of proceeding to act at once, he went into the question of precedents, and all those which bore upon the subject were produced and examined. Instead of consulting the privy council only, instead of meeting a demand for inquiry by the previous question, he 176 did what was his duty—a committee to search for precedents was appointed, he produced all the documents which were necessary, and laid them before the House. This was fair and open. But what a contrast to this was the conduct of the noble lord! Now, looking to the act of parliament, unless it was supposed, that a court of censure was intended to be placed over the Queen—unless it was wished to renew the odious court of commission—unless such an iniquitous tribunal was to be established—what did they do by consenting to the present measure? They allowed the privy council the power of excluding her majesty's name, without charge, without examination, without trial! No;"actum est;" it was done; and because it was done, it was meant to be supported as irretrievable. The establishment of such a precedent was most dangerous; and might be most fatal to the peace of the country. They might, according to this principle, at any time expunge the name of a Queen without any reason assigned; and though it was possible that such a case as this might never again occur, yet, by assenting to it, now that it had occurred, a general principle was laid down, by which, at any future time, the Queen might be the victim of a faction at court, and deprived of all the privileges of royalty. The principle, he contended, was absurd, as it was now supported; but it was worse—it was highly illegal and unconstitutional. Were the House, he asked, prepared to sanction a precedent teeming with such frightful consequences? Were they prepared to set an example by which, at any time, a queen who might have the misfortune to be unpopular at court, was to be left unprotected to the fury of her enemies, and deprived without trial? It might be said, that the present was a case in which moral conduct was concerned; but who was to be the judge of such a question? If once they gave a discretion to ministers, they would, in allowing them a particular example, establish a most dangerous general principle—a principle by which every attribute of royalty would become precarious. He felt, that he had too long occupied the attention of the House. [Hear, hear.] He was willing to have this tried by any test; and by whatsoever test it was tried, it would be found equally injurious, and opposed to the due administration of law and the strict principles of justice. It might, on 177 the present occasion, serve the purposes of a faction at court; but history furnished them with examples of the purposes to which faction might convert such precedents. She who was the object of court favour to day might be sacrificed as its victim to-morrow; and it should be recollected, that her majesty was once the object of the favour and respect of those by a great portion of whom she was now most vehemently opposed.
He had viewed this question generally; he had looked at it as a question of law—as a question of the discretion which might be vested in a government; and in every view which he took of it, he was convinced, that its sanction, on the present occasion, would be unjust and unconstitutional. He was equally indisposed to regard the popular favour, or the caprice of a court; the favour of the latter was as precarious as the arbitrio popularis auræ, described by the poet as belonging to the people. If discretion, unlimited and unrestrained, were to be admitted in deciding the rights of individuals, there could be no calculation of the consequences—there could be no security against injustice, nor any protection against the most frightful misgovernment. If they degraded a Queen without law, or contrary to the statutes that secured her rights and privileges, there was no reason why they might not apply the same arbitrary principle to the degradation of a king. In reason and good sense, the same rule might be applied to both. He said again, that the proceeding of the privy council, in striking her majesty's name out of the Liturgy, and thus punishing her without trial, and degrading her against law, fixed his mind in a firm determination to oppose all the measures which should be built upon this act of injustice, or emanate from so impure a source. The subsequent proceedings confirmed him in this resolution; and the trial, if trial it might be called, before judical accusers and senatorial judges, but increased his feeling of aversion to the whole conduct of her enemies. The whole course of proceeding was illegal and unjust. On a proper occasion, he would prove, that the Milan commission, was illegal—that the mode in which the evidence was collected, was illegal—that the conduct of the privy council could only be compared to that of the star chamber—and that, as the trial began in rottenness and injustice, so the end bad been highly oppressive and 178 revolting. Entertaining this opinion, he was bound to oppose the conduct of ministers, and to denounce to the House the proceedings of the noble lord. His vote, thank God, was his own—his sentiments were his own—and he would neither disguise their nature or withhold their expression [Loud cheering.] Long [before the trial commenced—long before the threatening offer at St. Omer, he began to feel, that ministers were misconducting themselves towards her majesty; and, feeling so, he would have despised himself if he had concealed his feelings. The result could not but be anticipated. Those subsequent acts could not but be objectionable which were founded at first in gross illegality and monstrous injustice. Without any cause publicly assigned.—without any trial—without any authority but the discretion of ministers—her majesty had been dethroned and insulted before foreign nations, and cashiered in the face of the country. Nay, more: she was told, that she could not set her foot in the country of which she was Queen, without exposing herself to a still more dreadful fate. The threatening letter of the ministers, handed to her at St. Omer, contained at once an infamous bribe and a bill of impeachment, to induce her to stay away, and to deter her from demanding her rights. The principle of action disclosed in this conduct was fit for the reign of terror; it was becoming the most oppressive power in the most troubled times; it was worthy of a Pagan state; it had no parallel in Christian history. [Loud cheers.] By an illegal proceeding—by an act of caprice—the ministers of the Crown dethroned and cashiered the Queen, and then held out to her a threat of more dreadful punishment, if she ventured to visit the country in which she held so high a rank, or dared to claim the privileges to which she was entitled. In their threatening letter they, in effect, told her—"We have dethroned you already, we have degraded you in the face of Europe; but if you venture to set your foot upon British ground, we shall still farther degrade and punish you."
When he saw proceedings thus commenced in rottenness and injustice, marked at every stage by new acts of cruelty and oppression, his mind was made up, and he was determined to take his stand against them. If the bill of Pains and Penalties, of which he was supposed to know nothing;—to which he could scarcely allude, as 179 being presented to another House and withdrawn—had been brought down to this House, he (Mr. Wetherell) must have moved an amendment. "This bill (he would have said) is entitled, a bill to deprive her majesty of her rights and privileges as Queen Consort of these realms—why, she is already deprived of them by the privy council. It is entitled, a bill to dethrone her majesty—she has been already dethroned. It is entitled, an act to degrade the Queen—but she has been already degraded; and why dethrone her who has already been dethroned, and degrade her who has already been degraded?" The privy council had exercised a discretionary authority and passed a judicial sentence, and then they appealed to parliament to sanction their authority and to confirm their decision.
He conjured the House to look upon this not as an insulated case—not as an individual or personal example. The question was, whether a Queen Consort, without being legally charged with any crime, without a hearing in her own defence, and without the formality of a trial, could be deprived of her rights and privileges—could be degraded from her rank by a secret tribunal—by a kind of star chamber, which gave no reason for its decision, and did not summon the party to explain her conduct? Being of opinion that a precedent thus set might not stop where it began, but might lead to the most mischievous consequences, he would vote for the motion of the noble lord. The opinion which he had expressed was, that the omission was totally illegal; but he could have no objection to say, likewise, that it was unadvised and inexpedient. The whole of the proceedings against the Queen were of a dangerous and irregular character, contrary at once to the interests of public order and the rules of righteous judgment. A tribunal to try the Queen for offences unknown to the law might likewise extend its authority to try a king; and thus the measure was revolutionary and mischievous.—The hon. and learned gentleman had concluded by thanking the House for the patience with which he was listened to, and declaring, that long before the offer at St. Omer, he was convinced of the illegality and the inexpediency of the measure which he had now exposed.—The hon. and learned member sat down, amidst loud and continued cheers.
§ Dr. Dodson
said, that the real question 180 before the House was, whether the Crown had the power to omit the Queen's name in the Liturgy. Upon this question, he for one, had no hesitation in deciding in the affirmative, and therefore he protested against the inferences of his hon. and learned friend the member for Oxford; into the extraneous matter of whose speech he by no means intended, or thought it necessary, to enter upon this occasion. His hon. and learned friend did not confine himself to the immediate question before the House, as to the omission of the Queen's name in the Liturgy; but had endeavoured to show, that it was illegal and unusual, nay, that the Crown was not entitled to make any alteration in the Liturgy. He however, should confine himself to the question before the House, and had no doubt he should be able to convince the House, that the proceeding so strongly deprecated by his hon. and learned friend was neither unconstitutional, nor illegal. His hon. and learned friend was constrained to admit, that the power of altering the form of prayer was in the Crown, because it was enacted in the 26th of Henry the eighth, that the king should have all the power and authority in the church which had been assumed by the church of Rome. His hon. and learned friend did not know, that that power had been taken away. Was it to be supposed, that seeing, that Henry 8th, was vested with that power, he never exercised it? The fact was, he did exercise it. He declared, by an order in council, that the bible should be translated and read in English. During his reign there was a constant exercise of that right. During the reign of Mary, the power of the pope was restored; but in the reign of Elizabeth, the statute of Henry the eighth was revived and acted upon. But his hon. and learned friend said, there had been an Act of Uniformity which took away the power of the Crown. There was no act in existence which took away the authority of the Crown; on the contrary, the power of the Crown was confirmed by the 13th and 14th of Charles the second, called the Act of Uniformity. The House would see nothing in that act which took away the power of the Crown. It went to promote the power of the Crown, inasmuch as it imposed additional penalties on those who impugned the book of Common Prayer. The book of Common Prayer emanated from royal authority; consequently it increased and sup- 181 ported the power of the Crown. His hon. and learned friend, and the noble lord who brought the measure before the House, had relied upon some clause which made it legal to alter the names of royal persons in the Liturgy. In the acts of Uniformity, which passed in the reigns of Edward and Elizabeth, there was no such clause, and yet alterations were made. But then it was said, it was the change of the names of the royal family, and not the queen. He found in those changes the names of a king and queen, as well as the names of persons related to the royal family. Some names had been inserted, and others taken away. What passed in the reign of George 3rd? Did not his late majesty take out the duke of Cumberland's name from the Liturgy? His hon. and learned friend however, said, that if they left out the name of the Queen they might leave out the name of the king. His hon. and learned friend need not be under any alarm on that account, because the king himself only had the power of altering the names. It therefore was not to be supposed, that the king would leave his own name out. Taking the argument of his hon. and learned friend to be correct, and that the king and council had not the power to leave out names in the Liturgy, he might ask him, how he accounted for the alteration in the form of prayer which had so often taken place? Were not those alterations made on account of his late Majesty's illness, and upon the delivery of the Queen? If he had no power to make alterations in the form of the Liturgy, how came those things to be done, and to be considered legal? The learned doctor concluded, by begging the pardon of the House for having trespassed on its attention. He had promised, at the outset, not to detain them long, and he had endeavoured to express what had occurred to him in as short a compass as possible.
of Galway, begged leave, in the first instance to address himself to the consistency of the House, and to remind them of what occurred late in the last session. He appealed to the recollection of every gentleman, whether the question of the Liturgy was not repeatedly under consideration; and whether it was not, for the last time in that session, discussed in conjunction with a motion for an address to her majesty. The legal right of the Queen to be named in the Liturgy, was then hardly lisped by those 182 tongues which now vociferate with such emphasis, that right Which it seemed they had then abandoned.—In proof of an almost unanimous opinion on that subject (said Mr. Martin), we voted an address to her majesty, calling by implication on her majesty to acquiesce in the step taken by the king in council; and by which step, her majesty's name was not, on the death of the late king, ordered for insertion in the Liturgy; and praying her majesty to be assured, that by such conduct she would be exalted in our opinion. I do not affect to refute the eloquent expressions used by the member for Bramber in that address. I state the import only. To this address, unfortunately, after ineffectual negotiation, the Queen was recommended by some very mischievous counsellors to express a firm but respectful dissent. Thus stands the fact. It is very clear then, that in June last, we thought it not right to call on the king to retrace his steps, or to retract his opinion; and in accordance with this our opinion we voted the address. Let me ask, is it because the Queen was then influenced by counsellors alike the betrayers of her majesty and the people—is it for this reason, that we are to compliment her who rejected our interposition, at the expence of the administration who assented to the proposal of a gentleman generally opposed to the noble lord and his colleagues?—Mr. M. said, that when he heard that address read, he hardly expected, that without some modification, his majesty's ministers would have assented to it. That they did so, is to their immortal honour. It was on their parts a peace-offering; and is it a just return for such conduct to come to the resolution proposed by the noble lord. Some there be, who may think, almost in the words of the resolution, that her majesty's exclusion from the Liturgy, was not called for at the time by any strong state necessity. Notwithstanding this, Mr. M. asserted, that even those who are of that opinion, might vote for the adjournment, which was the previous question; and for this reason, that by so doing, they in no way give up their private opinion, though they decline to come to a solemn vote directly expressive of that opinion, inasmuch as such vote would, in substance, convey a recorded censure which is in the contemplation of but very few. Gentlemen opposite to me, say, insert the name of her majesty in the collects and Litur- 183 gy of our church, because her majesty has vanquished a foul conspiracy, insinuating, that the conspirators were the government, and, to speak out, his majesty. Such language being held, it is utterly impossible to call on the king to insert the Queen's name in the Liturgy. If gentlemen can be content to compliment the Queen without degrading the Crown, let them propose a law, enacting, that in time to come it should be the law of this land, that no queen's name should be omitted from our Liturgy. This would certainly attain every object her majesty should have in view, for the Queen would then be prayed for. But this law they will not propose, because it would put this question to rest which they, in the phrase of Mr. Cobbett, consider nothing less than a perfect God-send to their party.
§ Sir John Newport
deprecated the manner in which the king's name had been made use of in the course of the present discussion, for the purpose of influencing the minds of members of that House. To answer a legal argument by appeals to the personal feelings of any body of men in that House, gave the strongest reason to suppose, that the legal argument could not be met.—[Hear, from the Attorney General.] As it seemed to be the intention of the learned gentleman opposite to meet the argument, he would furnish him with one more subject for the exercise of his ingenuity in answering it. In the Act of Uniformity passed by the Irish parliament, two years after the act passed in this country, there was a clause which ran thus:—"In all prayers, litanies, and collects in the Common-prayer, wherein mention is made of the king, queen, royal family, lord lieutenant, or any other of the lawful authorities of the kingdom, the names and titles shall be altered and changed from time to time, as circumstances may require." These words were a plain comment, which served to explain the intent and meaning of that part of the act; and being so, it appeared to him, to be impossible to contend, that any authority was thereby given to leave out any of the parties so mentioned, or to make any alteration but that of the names. With respect to the proposal of bringing in a new act on the subject, it was for those to do so who thought, that the law as it now stood was inconclusive on the subject.
The Attorney General
confessed, that he rose to address the House under feel- 184 ings of considerable surprise. If the law of the question were so clear, so very clear, as the hon. gentlemen on the other side supposed, how did it happen, that, eleven months after the act had been done, those hon. gentlemen came forward with a motion—to do what? To declare that act to be illegal? No; but to declare, that it had been unwise and inexpedient tacitly to admit the existence of the right, by alleging, that the right had been exercised improperly. If the act was illegal, why had the hon. gentlemen opposite so long slumbered? Why had the noble lord begun by announcing a motion, the very same which he had formerly contemplated as an amendment to the proposition of the hon. member for Bramber, and concluded, by making a motion of a tendency altogether different. Why had not that noble lord followed up his original intention? Why had he permitted the speech of the worthy alderman under the gallery (alderman Heygate) on a former evening to affect the line of his proceeding? Why had he not, as in June last, moved at once, to restore her majesty's name to the Liturgy instead of trifling about the expediency of having removed it? To come, in the first place, to the question of legality—why, the very motion of the noble lord was an admission of the legality. [Cheers from the Opposition.] Let not the gentlemen on the opposite benches, however, imagine that he meant to rest the case upon such admission. Not so. Feeling, notwithstanding what had fallen from his hon. and learned friend, the member for Oxford, that the law of the question was most clear and indisputable, he should endeavour to impress the same conviction upon the House. Still he could not help again adverting to the nature of the motion before the House. If the act was illegal, why discuss its wisdom or propriety? Once show the act to be illegal, and no matter what might be the conduct of the Queen; whether it was such as the whole nation might be proud to approve, or such as it must be compelled to condemn, nothing could justify ministers in having advised that act; there was litera scripta upon the subject; there was a course laid down for them to pursue; and to recommend any other course, would be, to recommend the exercise of such a dispensing power on the part of the Crown, as no minister, in his senses could venture to advise.
The whole argument of the hon. and 185 learned member for Oxford assumed, if he had not misunderstood it, that the right of the Queen to be prayed for was immutable, a right annexed to her station as Queen Consort. The immutable right the hon. and learned gentleman had grounded, at first, upon the words of the act of parliament; that ground however, had quickly been shifted, and the hon. gentleman said, "if that," meaning the act of parliament, "does not give it, usage and prescription does." [Cries of "No, no."] He was in the judgment of the House whether those words had not fallen from his hon. and learned friend. Why, indeed, should the hon. and learned gentleman have mentioned usage, if he had not intended to rely upon it? But, both upon the act of parliament and upon the usage, the hon. and learned member should be met. First, he would contend, that the Act of Uniformity gave to the sovereign no star chamber jurisdiction, as it had been called; it did not even give any new right or privilege; all it contained was, a proviso securing those rights which were already from the time of Henry 8th, in existence. The hon. and learned member for Oxford had said, that the act of Charles 2nd, made the form of prayer annexed to it, part of the act itself. Granted. It was then insisted, that that act gave power only to alter and to change; giving no power to add or to omit. Now, it was only necessary to refer to that very form of prayer to find a blank, which, unless by the power of adding and omitting, could never be supplied. Instances upon instances, however, might be cited, in which, between the passing of the acts of Uniformity and the present day, omissions had taken place. The hon. member for Westminster had told the House, that from the year 1546 to the present period, there was no instance in which a queen consort had been omitted in the prayers of the church. It would be seen by the prayer-book used in the time of Philip and Mary, that a queen, not a queen consort but a queen regnant, had been in that situation; for during that reign the king was prayed for, and the queen though queen regnant was not. [Hear, hear, from the Opposition benches, and cries of "queen consort."] Queen consort did the honourable member say? That was the case of a queen regnant; and that queen was not prayed for. The book was to be found in the British Museum; and the form stood "pro rege, et princi- 186 pibus suis." The hon. and learned member for Oxford had ascribed to the Act of Uniformity, that immutable right of the queen to be prayed for, which no king, it was insisted, had power to takeaway. He (the Attorney General) wished to see the enactment; he desired to have the clause laid before him, under which the immutable right was to be claimed. So far from the course having been uniform from the Reformation downwards, there had been repeated instances of deviation. In the reign of George 2nd, the name of Frederick, prince of Wales had been struck out of the form of prayer. In the commencement of the late reign, the same measure had been adopted with respect to the duke of Cumberland. The words of the act were certainly "to alter and change." The framers of that act had not probably the copia verborum of the hon. and learned member for Oxford, and did not think it necessary to employ variety of words where the meaning might be expressed by one; but the advisers of George 3rd, at the period alluded to, men upon whom the hon. and learned member, notwithstanding his aversion to anti-radical and to monarchical administrations, would scarcely pass hasty censure, those advisers had recommended to the king, to strike the duke's name out of the Liturgy, he (the duke) being still in existence.
He would now come to that instance which he took to be an instance of the highest value, and which had been described to the House as an instance of no value at all—the measures pursued towards the queen of George 1st. Did the hon. and learned member really mean to contend, that the divorce mentioned by Coxe was a divorce actually annulling the marriage between the parties? Why, the very same page which spoke of the divorce, stated, that the queen was gazetted as duchess of Zell, and as duchess dowager of Hanover. It was said, that the second marriage, the marriage with the duchess of Kendal, was a good and valid marriage. Why then, was it not set up as a legal marriage? [Hear, from Mr. Wetherell.] He thanked the hon. and learned member for his cheers; he was no more disturbed by them than that hon. member had been by the cheers addressed to himself. The hon. and learned member said, that by the divorce of the queen, the second, the left-hand marriage, became valid. What historian had ventured so to treat it? But, to the more immediate question. If the 187 law was as imperative as the hon. and learned member for Oxford sought to make it, then, no matter what might be the conduct of Sophia, the advisers of the king were bound to say to him:—"the law, the Act of Uniformity, has given to the queen so immutably the right of being prayed for, that no ill conduct on her part can abrogate that right;" and, neglecting to take that course, the ministers of George 1st, were at least, as blameable as the present ministers, who had merely advised the sovereign to omit inserting the name of the Queen specifically in the Liturgy, retaining it only insomuch as it was still comprehended in the general title of "the royal family."
Before he quitted the question of legality, there was one further argument to which he would advert. The House had been told, and by the hon. and learned member for Oxford, that the queen consort was as fully entitled as the king himself to the submission and to the allegiance of the people. This was a new principle of law, and he could not conceive where his hon. and learned friend had met with it. He had always, for his own part, understood, that the queen consort, with all her privileges, was but a subject of the realm. He had always considered it just as clear a matter of law, that the queen was to pay allegiance as that the king was to receive it. These were points upon which he had never entertained any doubt, until, out of doors, he had heard of the Queer, addressing the people as "her subjects." He had listened with pain, without doors, to such language; certainly he had never expected to hear it uttered in the House of Commons, especially by a lawyer, and still less by a gentleman of such approved loyalty as his hon. and learned friend the member for Oxford. The Attorney General concluded his argument upon the first part of the question, by lamenting the form of the noble lord's (lord A. Hamilton's) motion, as peculiarly calculated for the purposes of party; and by expressing a hope, that upon the legality of the act in discussion, he had satisfied those members whose minds were open to conviction.
He would occupy the time of the House but a very few moments on the expediency of the exclusion of her majesty's name from the Liturgy, and he would now put it to the House, whether they were prepared to say, that the measure at the time of its being advised was inexpedient? A charge 188 of a most serious nature was then hanging over the Queen. The commission who examined the evidence in support of it had been branded as illegal, without knowing what the commission was. The assertion was a gratuitous one on the part of his hon. and learned friend. But he it legal or not, with that question they had nothing to do at present. Evidence was in the possession of ministers of a serious charge against the Queen, which evidence they believed satisfactory. Under such circumstances he would again ask, whether the House was prepared to say, that it was not expedient to give such advice? It was not his intention, now to provoke discussion, on the subject of guilt or innocence. He was desirous to confine himself to the question, and regretted, that his hon. and learned friend had not done the same. If the evidence in the possession of ministers, before the subject had been brought forward, left any doubt as to the expediency of the advice, that which was subsequently disclosed put it beyond all controversy. While her majesty continued princess of Wales, he would not say, that, even with such evidence before him, if so humble an individual were consulted, he would have advised the removal of her name. But when a change in the Liturgy became necessary, while such a charge was hanging over her majesty, if her name as Queen Consort had been inserted, with what face could ministers afterwards have come down and said,—"We have a charge against the Queen, which, as we think, forms a ground, not only for degradation, but for divorce?" The answer would immediatelybe,—What, you who advised her name to be inserted in the Liturgy, who placed her in the enjoyment of all the rights and privileges of Queen Consort of these realms! This motion, however the noble lord might disguise it, was the very same in substance as the one he had brought forward last session for the restoration of her majesty's name to the Liturgy, though evidently intended to answer another purpose. A few words as to the religious part of the question. The truth was, it embraced no religious consideration whatsoever, as had been clearly shewn, upon a former occasion, by the member for Bramber (Mr. Wilberforce). Her majesty was not shut out from the prayers of the people, because she was prayed for under the term, "royal family." The only question was, whether, under the circum- 189 stances, she should have any particular, mark of respect shewn her, beyond other branches of the royal family. He hoped, he had now satisfied the House, that by this omission there was no infringement of the Act of Uniformity. The question at last, came to this, whether they were prepared to say, that his majesty's ministers were not justified by circumstances in the advice they gave, and whether an address should be presented to his majesty, praying, that the Queen's name might be restored to the Liturgy.
§ Mr. Wetherell
explained. He had not contended, that the Queen Consort was entitled to the allegiance of the people. What he had said was, that from immemorial usage, the Queen was entitled to all those external symbols of respect and marks of homage that were paid to the king.
§ Sir James Mackintosh
assured the House, that it was with great reluctance he rose to address them at an hour when their patience must be nearly worn out, and upon topics which were not generally acceptable to that assembly; but having satisfied his own mind of the illegality of the exclusion of her majesty's name from the Liturgy, he felt that he was bound, at every inconvenience, to deliver the opinion which he had formed upon reflection, and which he should carry with him to the grave. He was convinced, that the advice given by his majesty's ministers was a violation of the written and common law of the land; a subversion of the rules of justice, and an attack upon the principles of the British monarchy. He did not mean to go at any length into the arguments on the subject; his task was an easy one, after the able manner in which the question was treated by his learned friend the member for Oxford, whose arguments appeared to him the most conclusive, the most luminous, and the most satisfactory he had ever heard. His reasoning was unanswerable, and he should therefore, merely confine himself to a few observations on some points urged by his hon. and learned friend the Attorney General. The arguments of his hon. and learned friend, and of the right hon. the president of the Board of Trade, were arguments, ad hominem, charges of party feeling and of other vague motives, without deciding any thing either as to the law or the expediency of the question. The Attorney General charged his noble friend with altering the object of his mo- 190 tion. If he looked to the order-book, however, he would find, that the motion, of which his noble friend gave notice, respected omission and not insertion. They, on his side of the House, were taunted with inconsistency, for slumbering on this question for eleven whole months. There was no ground for this charge. He himself had argued the subject in June last, and his noble friend, soon after, gave notice of a motion for the insertion of her majesty's name in the Liturgy. The bill of Pains and Penalties then came on, and proceeded with such rapid strides, as to leave no time for any other consideration, and no opportunity for bringing on the motion. There was another objection of a most extraordinary nature. They were charged with expressing the motion in a manner too mild. Whatever might be the sense they entertained of his majesty's ministers, and however anxious they might feel to convey the truth to his majesty's ear upon so important a subject, it was still their duty to convey their sentiments in expressions of the most mild and least offensive nature. This charge, therefore, was worth nothing. It merely shewed the disposition to find fault, if there was the least ground for it. It was a strange objection, therefore, to urge, that ministers were charged in the motion only, with an act of inexpediency, and not one of illegality. They were also told, that they had shewed much adroitness in bringing this motion forward, so as to make it a mere party question, a mere charge against his majesty's ministers. And how were they met by ministers? by moving an adjournment, by praying, that the House would not pronounce judgment on them. They prayed, that the question should not be gone into, that no witnesses should be examined, that they might be exempt from trial. They endeavoured to evade the decision of the House one way or the other. The absurdity of this was the more apparent, as ministers had staked their credit on the legality of the advice. Such was their confidence in the justice of their case, that they did not venture a direct contradiction, but begged, that the House would not proceed to trial, that no judgment should be given.—He would now tell his hon. and learned friend, the Attorney General, that his argument drawn from the case of Philip and Mary had no force. To prove it, what did his hon. and learned friend do? He quoted 191 the mass-book in the time of Philip and Mary. He introduced the Popish ritual; as if Philip and Mary were supreme heads of the Church of England, a title they would have looked upon as damnable and heretical. The fact was, that the name of the queen was never found in the ritual before the Reformation. He would next come to the case of the princess Sophia. His hon. and learned friend seemed to think, that she could not have been divorced, as she was called in the gazette by the name of the duchess of Zell. Did he forget, that she inherited this title from her father, that she was the daughter of the duke of Zell, from whom she inherited large estates? Her being styled duchess of Zell at her death, appeared to him pregnant proof of her having been divorced. His hon. and learned friend contended, that there was no divorce à vinculo matrimonii. He, however, thought there was. Every person knew, that in all Protestant churches, except that of England, a divorce à vinculo malrimonii might be obtained in a consistorial court; and the noble lord himself (Castlereagh) admitted, in alluding to this subject last session, that the record of this divorce was still extant in some of the consistorial courts of Hanover. George 1st, could as easily have obtained a divorce à vinculo matrimonii as a divorce a mensa et thoro; and therefore, the probability was, that he obtained it. This case of a woman, about whose guilt he had no doubt, who had been confined eighteen years previous to the divorce and thirteen years after, and whose divorce passed sub silentio, appeared to him to supply but a wretched argument. Such evidence would not be thought sufficient in a common case of trespass or right of way. The parliament of England, at the time, had no means of obtaining information on the subject, for it never occurred to them that they could send clandestine commissions even into Hanover, for the purpose of examining witnesses. The weight attached to this case appeared to him most decisive proof that the gentlemen opposite felt the weakness of their argument. Why go back to the time of Henry 8th, when the member for Oxford confined himself within the period that elapsed since the Act of Uniformity? His learned friend, the Attorney General, seemed to think, that the member for Oxford founded the meaning of the statute on usage. What he had said was, that if there remained 192 any doubt as to the import of the statute, the usage was sufficient to explain it. He had not yet heard distinctly from the opposite side, whether they rested on the Act of Uniformity or Supremacy, or whether they construed the words "alter and change" to imply omit. On this last point the whole question turned. Did his learned friend, the Attorney General, mean to contend, that the 13th and 14th of Charles 2nd, made no change in the law? If his reasoning was correct, it effected no alteration, and the act was quite nugatory. So far from this being the case, it appeared to him, that though small the power of altering and changing, they inserted the clause for the special purpose of reserving that power to the Crown. There would be no necessity for such a reservation if it possessed the greater power of omitting. The clause, so far from vesting an indiscriminate power, was made imperative, "that the names be changed," not that they may be changed. If such was not the sense of the words, sir Matthew Hale and lord Clarendon were ignorant of the language; and he should prefer being wrong with their ignorance to being right with the learning of the gentlemen who argued, that such was not the import of the clause. They who argued thus; contended, in effect, that a special provision was necessary in the Act of Uniformity, for altering and changing, while the greater power of omitting, remained untouched—The question for the House now to decide was one which they only were competent to decide; and which was a question far more important than the present, namely; whether or not, the queens of England should be degraded from that constitutional independence in which the wisdom of our forefathers had placed them, and which they had enjoyed for centuries, and be reduced to be the slaves of every administration? The next passage in the act was:—"that the names of the king, queen, and royal progeny shall be changed and altered from time to time." Now, he asked whether the words "altered and changed" could have any view to delinquency or moral turpitude? Was it not more consistent with common sense to say, that these words had in view the alterations which must take place by births, deaths, or marriages? Could it be said, that coupled with the words "from time to time," it meant delinquency which might occur from time to time? 193 Could it be really believed, that those lawgivers who were so remarkable for their piety, their policy, and their learning, had in view, when they used the words "fitted for the present occasion," any tiling but the changes which must take place by the course of nature? The clause did not say, there should be a change of persons: no, it only said, that there should be a change of names. Some weight had been attached to the words "by lawful authority;" but what did those words mean? That it was not fit to leave a discretion in the breast of every incumbent of a parish, to decide who were the king, queen, or royal progeny. If that were allowed, we should, about seventy years ago, have heard queen Clementina, king James, and Charles prince of Wales prayed for in most parishes in England. This was the real meaning of the passage. It did not intend, that a discretionary power should be lodged in the breast of the king, or that these persons should be prayed for by his order; but "by lawful authority," that was, that the church should appoint the persons to be prayed for who filled the situations. He must say a few words more with respect to the usage since the passing of the Act of Uniformity. It had been said, that there was an instance in the reign of Charles II, of a presumptive heir to the throne being prayed for in our churches. This, however* was not the regular practice; and there had been no similar instance since that period. But, prince George of Denmark, it was urged, stood in the same political relation to queen Anne as that in which the present Queen stood to his majesty George IV; and yet, his name was not introduced into the Liturgy. Was not this readily accounted for by the circumstance, that the 25th clause in the Act of Uniformity made no provision for, and no mention of, the husband of a queen regnant? He came not under the description of "king, queen, or royal progeny;" and it was the opinion of the great statesmen of that day, that the Act of Uniformity was to be construed strictly. He believed, there was no correlative word in the English language, to answer in the case of a woman to the epithet "uxorious" in the case of a man; but it was well known, that queen Anne, whatever might be her virtues or defects, was a fond and devoted wife. Prince George of Denmark was not of an ambitious character; but had 194 any desire been expressed for inserting his name in the established ritual, lord Somers might have resolved every scruple on the principles now contended for, by telling her majesty, that she had the same power over the Liturgy which the pope exercised over the formularies of his church. But he and his illustrious colleagues believed some respect was due to the plain and unequivocal sense of an act of parliament. In fact, every case and argument adduced on the other side came in direct support of the proposition which they were intending to overthrow; but it was not upon cases or arguments that the noble lord opposite seemed to build his hopes of security. It was remarkable, that the name of the princess Sophia of Hanover, whom queen Anne disliked, was inserted at the same time that the name of her husband was omitted. Her name was inserted as daughter of the princess Elizabeth, and grand-daughter to James I; and the circumstance proved the respect and reverence which was then entertained for the Act of Uniformity. With regard to the omission of the names of the prince of Wales and the duke of Cumberland, in the year 1728, they having been previously inserted, it was not a little remarkable, that in the year 1731, when Geo. I, and his eldest son were in open hostility, his name, as well as that of his brother, was restored. Why was this done? or upon what supposition could it be explained, but that the omission was discovered to be faulty and illegal? The last precedent referred to was, the omission of the duke of Cumberland's name at the commencement of the late reign. George III, certainly bore no good-will towards his uncle, nor was it for himself as a Highlander to deliver a panegyric on that illustrious person, who, although a very good Whig prince in England, was certainly not a very merciful commander in Scotland. He had never meant to deny that the words "royal progeny" must be understood with some limitation, and that it was for the lawful authority to judge how that limitation should apply. The whole progeny of the princess Sophia might now consist of several hundreds, the mention of some of whom might excite a smile in that house; for, in fact, amongst them were two young gentlemen of the name of Buonaparté. The question was, whether one instance in the year 1760 could justify a proceeding directly contrary to law. He had ima- 195 gined, that something must be in reserve when this exclusion was first adopted, that ministers must be prepared to defend the measure by some argument which did not occur to his mind. He had expected, that it would, at least, be shown to have been an exercise of doubtful power. But the speech of the Attorney General had undeceived him; and he now regarded it as a clear breach of the law, an invasion of the rights of the royal family and of the principles of hereditary monarchy itself. Of all the reasons which could be given by persons of sound reason and understanding, that given by the president of the Board of Trade was the most extraordinary; namely, that ministers wished to effect some arrangement. The principle upon which they proceeded was, to him, new in the system of diplomacy. This was the first time, that he ever heard of negociators attempting to effect their object by offering a decided insult. He agreed with those who said, the Queen, if she believed herself innocent, had no alternative but to come here, or to be satisfied to be branded as an adulteress. If ministers desired to hold the balance fairly, not to poison the fountain of justice, and to do their duty to a royal personage, would they have pursued the course which they had resolved upon? What did they do? They had her proclaimed weekly from twenty thousand pulpits an adulteress. The omission of her name in the Liturgy, coupled with the reports in circulation, could suggest nothing else. Was not this a deviation from justice? Yes; so complete a deviation from justice, that he, if he had a hundred lives, would sooner lay them down than take a part in them. Ministers might talk of policy and of law, and many members in that House, who, when they heard a lawyer speak, thought the probability was, that it was a doubtful question, and that they would act as safely by voting with their friends; but in the case of the Queen there was not much difference of opinion, as men of all parties, who would lay their hands upon their hearts, must deplore the omission as a most unfortunate occurrence; there was no man of good sense in private life who did not express his regret in the firmest language. Knowing these things, he was surprised how these men could support a political crime which had been committed by ministers. Was it wise 196 in ministers, who apprehended so much from discontent, to excite such a deep interest upon a political question which did not require to be decided by any nice I rules of logic. He had not conversed with one intelligent person, whatever were his political opinions, who did not deplore the original omission. If the cry of the people had been for punishment and blood, as in the case of lord Strafford, whom he regarded as a guilty man, he would have offered himself a sacrifice rather than lent it any sanction; and he would have acted in the same manner when the innocent and virtuous lord Stafford fell a victim to popular delusion. But when it was for lenity and indulgence towards an unfortunate lady, he thought, that such a cry might be listened to by a prince of any humanity even at Constantinople or Morocco. But, in this instance, the illustrious object of popular favour had been degraded before trial, prosecuted without cause, tried upon insufficient evidence, and was subjected to punishment after acquittal.
The Solicitor General
contended, that the motion went in substance to address the king for the re-insertion of the Queen's name in the book of Common-prayer, and it was for the House to consider whether it would assent to such a proposition. The noble mover had observed, that the country was in a state of ferment and irritation; and did he think, that this motion was likely to allay that ferment? He must, however, congratulate the House on the new lights which had burst in upon them, for certainly it was but a recent discovery on the part of gentlemen opposite, that the Queen had a legal right to have her name inserted in the Liturgy. He begged leave, in support of this statement, to advert to the conduct of those gentlemen, who in June last, proposed to negociate for an equivalent. With respect to the legal question, it was not his intention to say much, as his learned friend, the Attorney General, had entered so extensively into that point. He would merely observe, that from all the references and precedents that had been used, as also from the transactions, during the reign of Henry 8th, and the provisions of the Act of Uniformity, it was manifestly clear, that the right of inserting the Queen's name in the Liturgy was vested in, and remained immediately, with, the sovereign for the time being. As 197 a corroboration of this opinion, he would refer the House to the schedule which accompanied the Act of Uniformity. In that schedule a specific prayer was appropriated for the king, and one for the Queen, and the royal progeny was attached to it, by the particular direction of the king. If the Queen had a right to be prayed for, so also had the whole of the royal progeny; and as the royal progeny had no clear and legal right to the insertion of their names, by what system of law could a Queen Consort claim it? Much had been said upon the feelings throughout the country upon this question: he thought the question had been handled for the purpose of attacking, and it came with the less grace from the Whigs, inasmuch as the very order in council which had been so much complained against was a mere transcript of one of a similar nature, which was framed and passed by the Whig aristocracy of the country. He mentioned this not as a reproach to that body of individuals, but to shew how ill-founded their arguments were. There was a wide difference between excluding her majesty's name and inserting it. If, indeed, it had already been inserted, then the propriety of erasing it might become a matter of doubt; but here no insertion had been made, and the king, exercising his royal prerogative, was called upon on this occasion, to do so with a fair and justifiable reference to the circumstances of the case. The question therefore was, not whether his majesty had the right to erase the Queen's name from the Liturgy, but whether he had omitted to insert it upon reasonable and constitutional grounds. His hon. and learned friend had argued, that because the name of the husband of queen Anne was not inserted in the Liturgy, therefore the sovereign had no power to insert it, the name not belonging to any of the royal progeny; but his hon. and learned friend was under a mistake; for the wife of Frederick, prince of Wales, although no part of the royal progeny, had her name inserted in the Liturgy, and she was afterwards prayed for as princess dowager. This showed the discretionary power vested in the sovereign; and again in the case of Frederick prince of Wales, the name was omitted, not as his hon. and learned friend supposed, by accident and during infancy, but when that prince had arrived at a state of manhood. The same 198 had occurred in the case of the duke of Cumberland, whose name was omitted and inserted at pleasure, and without complaint. His hon. and learned friend was under a mistake, when he asserted, that the name of the queen of George the First appeared in the gazette as duchess of Zell; she appeared as electoress dowager of Hanover. There was no divorce à vinculo matrimonii in that case, but a mere separation; so that she was indisputably queen of England; and as such, if the doctrine of the hon. and learned gentlemen opposite was correct, her name ought to have been inserted in the Liturgy. From all these cases, he contended, that the king in council had a right, if he pleased, to omit inserting the Queen's name in the Liturgy. In the case of her present majesty, if there was no claim of right could there be one of courtesy? What were the circumstances of her situation? Look at the way in which at least a part of the evidence against her was supported. That evidence had been before the public, and every body was acquainted with the effect of a part of it. It was a little too much for the member for Westminster (Mr. Hobhouse) to claim credit for his impeachment of one of the witnesses, when he did not come forward and impugn him at the trial. Knowing the charge which was then made, knowing the evidence which was adduced in support of that charge, and being in possession of the statements which accompanied that evidence, as also of the highly honourable characters who made those statements, and their personal worth and respectability, he felt no hesitation in saying, that it would have been impossible, as well as impolitic, it would have been derogatory as well as unconstitutional, to have extended any act of grace and favour to an individual so charged as her majesty was. But it was said, that this was prejudging the Queen. If her majesty's name had been struck out, then, indeed, that assertion might be made with some foundation. While these charges were pending, his majesty's ministers could do no otherwise than they had done. With respect to the feeling of the country upon this subject, he was not afraid of popular clamour. He relied upon the soberness and the prudence of a large portion of the community, who were satisfied, that nothing but the best motives actuated the individuals engaged in this 199 enquiry and on whom they placed the most implicit reliance. He was not disposed to re-agitate the question which had been ably touched upon the other night by the hon. member for Sudbury; but he would take that opportunity of observing, that if ever a malignant falsehood appeared—if ever a disgraceful libel was published—it was contained in the notorious letter addressed to the king. [Cries of "Name the Passage."]—It would be quite unnecessary, he was sure, for him to take up their time by alluding to any particular passage in the letter, as they must all of them have read it; and having done so, if they did not already concur with him in opinion, he was satisfied no argument he could produce would induce them to do so. He would conclude by observing, that it was his opinion, that the present motion was a mere prelude to an address to the king, and he sincerely hoped the good sense of the House would reject it. His impression was, that no person could agree with the present motion without being alike an enemy to the monarch and the monarchy, itself.—[Loud cries of "Order" and "Take the words down."]
spoke to order. He said, it was quite beyond the bounds of debate for any member of that House to insinuate, that another member could not vote for a particular motion then under discussion, or which was likely to arise out of the discussion, without taking a part against the monarch and the monarchy itself. Such a declaration was contrary to the whole course of parliamentary proceedings; and such words were never used without being made the subject of animadversion and correction from the chair.
The Solicitor General
begged to explain. The present motion, he said, did not go the length upon which he had animadverted. He had only said, that if it were followed by another, of a particular nature, and that second motion carried into effect, which he was persuaded it could not, from the turn the present motion must take, that, in that event, he thought a particular consequence must follow. He disavowed imputing any motive to-any hon. member, or any injurious effect to the present motion, which he was persuaded would fail.
§ Lord Milton
again said, that for any hon. member to say, that any motion would lead to, another motion, which was an attack on the monarch and monarchy, 200 was a breach of order, which called for the interposition of the Speaker.
§ The Speaker
expressed his regret, that he had not accurately caught the words attributed to the hon. and learned gentleman. The right hon. gentleman then stated, what he inferred to be the effect of the expressions used, and drew a distinction between an effect prospectively imputed to be the result of a motion by way of argument, and a motive ascribed to an individual as intending to produce that result. The latter would be highly disorderly; the former in his opinion not so.
The Solicitor General
disavowed imputing improper motives to the noble lord who brought forward this motion.
§ Mr. Scarlett
observed, that the present question was one which mainly involved the stability of the present ministers, and they themselves had made it a question of that nature. At so late an hour, he did not wish to enter deeply into its consideration; but every man who valued principle, who valued the dignity of the throne and the maintenance of the constitution, was called upon to make a stand for their defence. The due administration of justice was concerned in this question; but confident declamation could neither alter its nature, nor detract from its importance. The present question involved the fate of ministers; but the president of the Board of Trade had met the charge against his colleagues by a vote of adjournment. This was a proof of the justice of their cause, of the manliness with which they dared to meet it! The world, however, would judge of this. Honest men of the present day would see it as it deserved to be regarded. Why did not ministers call on their majority to bear them through their appeal? Their confidence bespoke, that at least they had some colour of justice or mistaken policy on their side. In the hour of trial they were found to have neither. It was said, on a former occasion, that the time might arrive when discussion would come. That time was now come; and, to the great dissatisfaction, he believed, of all sides, the merits of the government were not to be discussed, nor the necessity of their measures met by any decisive measure. The Solicitor General had spoken very confidently; but confidence was not proof nor assertion always fact. The House of Commons was not, perhaps, the best tribunal to discuss legal topics; 201 but on common-sense subjects, on subjects where good feeling and sound patriotism were concerned, he was satisfied their decision would be guided by a sense of justice. He would venture to say, there were not ten gentlemen in the House who would, in a private room, have any difference of opinion on this important subject. The Solicitor General had appealed to the honourable feelings of the House. He also would make the same appeal; and he would add to it, an appeal to their justice; and on that combined appeal he was satisfied no two men would disagree. The case of the Queen was simply this—trial before accusation—punishment before conviction. The ministers said, they did not wish to prejudice her case, or to prejudge it. What did: the whole tenor of their conduct display—what, but the very opposite to that which they had promised? The ministers alleged, that they had charges against the Queen. What then should have been their conduct—what was, in point of fact their duty? The state of parties could not have been affected by an honest policy—insincerity had brought with it an intricacy and a cruelty of proceeding, and with it their defeat. The conduct of ministers was of that nature, that it prejudiced the administration of justice: they issued forth opinions of guilt before trial, and a privilege not denied to the meanest individual was refused to the second person in the State. The expediency' and policy of the proceeding were altogether out of the question. His majesty's government no longer wished to have their measures tried by such a test. On these points they totally failed. On the law of the case, the hon. and learned member for Oxford had left them not a word. It was said, in the course of the debate, that Henry 8th, had all the power he could choose; but surely no man meant to infer from that, that a constitutional sovereign could either wish for, or exercise such a power. But even in the time of Henry 8th, it was urged, that his proceedings were intended for the peace and tranquillity of the realm; it would be for the House now to decide whether the measures of his majesty's ministers were calculated for the same purpose. But why was the House of Commons now talking of Henry's power, which seemed only a parallel to that of the pope; when by the Act of Uniformity, all such powers were confined within the regulations 202 of law? The argument of the Solicitor General was this: "The king has the power to alter the whole Liturgy, or he has not." But how was that made out? By assertion; by an exception to rule cases: the question was not once met distinctly by him. Then the case was doubtful as to the right of exercising such an authority; and if it were doubtful, caution should have been used, and punishment should not have been inflicted on an uncertainty. The whole shewing of the arguments on the other side, evidently proved, that something was intended to affect the dearest interests of the Queen; and sure he was, that before an audience representing the feelings of the British people, judgment before accusation would not be admitted. Was it to be contended, that his majesty could, of his own caprice, strike the names of all he pleased out of the Liturgy? For if this was not contended for and maintained, the erasure of her majesty's name from the Liturgy was evidently illegal. The charge against the Queen was but ex parte—the decision by ministers was final, and thereby had they passed judgment on themselves. They withdrew the bill, evidently fearing, the House of Commons might not be of the same opinion with the House of Lords, and that public opinion might, as it had done, boldly act against it. With all their professions of a love of justice, why did they not allow a right of appeal? The whole complexion of the evidence against her majesty was doubtful; why then pronounce a decided judgment. Such, however, was the ministers' love of justice—such their wish not to excite prejudice! The truth, however, was, that they paid more deference to their places than to their sovereign. They brought on the measure, he sincerely believed, against their wishes and their judgment. In the House of Lords they had a majority of nine, and yet they preferred the abandonment of what they said was necessary to their existence, rather than lose their places. They made no sacrifice, but to their office. He would not longer detain the House, but he called on those who imagined, that if they were left in the minority on this occasion, they would give up their situations, not to refrain from voting against them on that account, convinced as he was, that no vote of censure, no expression of disapprobation, would ever induce them to forego the advantages of office.
commenced by ob- 203 serving, that it was not his intention, on account of the extreme lateness of the hour and the fatigue consequent upon so protracted a discussion, to enter at greater length into the question, than the briefest review of its merits would require. He would compress into the smallest possible space those observations which he found it necessary to offer to the House. But at the outset he could not avoid saying, that notwithstanding his long experience of the practice of parliament, and his knowledge of its various tactics, it had never before fallen to his lot to witness so rich a specimen of inconsistency, so rare a combination of incongruities, so total a dereliction from the common usages of that House, as the ingenuity of the gentlemen opposite, on that night, presented to his view. He must protest against the introduction of arguments such as those which were advanced in the speeches of some gentlemen who had preceded him, and which were founded upon colloquies and rumours out of doors. It had been urged, that the character of his majesty's ministers, and their entire conduct, were involved in the truth or falsehood of the charges against her majesty. This extravagant notion he at once and unequivocally denied. The conduct of the king's government was not committed upon the issue of those charges. It was his duty, and that of his colleagues, indeed, to take care that charges should not be made against that illustrious person on slight and frivolous grounds. That duty they had strictly performed, and every unbiassed mind would, in its own conviction, bear him out in the assertion. They had been charged also with the exertion of political influence to bias the course of justice; this also he denied. On the contrary, when the charges were brought forward, and it was found necessary to institute proceedings against her majesty, the government wished all those with whom they had political connexions, to act in complete oblivion of that connexion; and the gentlemen opposite had only to look to the result, and they would mind that noble persons who had been supposed under the influence of government, and even some who shared the private intimacy of the sovereign, had acted on that occasion with the greatest freedom of opinion and conduct. He regretted, that he could not pay a similar compliment to the hon. and learned member who had just preceded him, and many of his 204 friends; he regretted, that their conduct had not been so free from the taint of party motives; but he was convinced, that every rational and honest man in the community would acknowledge, that government had acted, throughout the whole of that important business, with more pure disinterestedness than could be attributed to their political enemies. The hon. and learned gentleman who had preceded him had given a different exposition of the nature of the motion from that which it had previously received. He had put that motion in the light of a vote of censure upon the members of the administration; if it was so, a censure more disgraceful to those who introduced it never was made a subject of debate in that House. It was a novel plan to select a single point of censure, whereby to attempt to overwhelm with disrepute the whole conduct of an administration, and, by this means, to pick up a few votes, which might be made use of to their injury in an oblique and covert manner. Was he speaking of suppositions or facts? Let the case be fairly looked at. Was any clear and definite proposition made? Was any tangible measure proposed? No; the motion contained nothing of the kind. It had, indeed, been broadly hinted, that, at 11 future time, some step might be taken towards the re-insertion of her majesty's name in the Liturgy. Such observations it was well worth observing, had not been followed by any practical, any intelligible resolution whatever. It could not therefore be concealed, however artfully disguised, that the real object of the present motion was, to secure the votes of a few members, who on former occasions had riot expressed a decisive opinion. In the face of such conduct, was it possible any one could believe, that the gentlemen opposite were actuated by a desire to do justice to the Queen or country? Had such been their intention, their conduct would have been widely different; but he would boldly assert, that they were making use of the Queen's name for their own purposes—they were sacrificing her to their own selfish interests—they were throwing her majesty overboard in order to put down the actual government. As to the legal merits of the question, if ministers had committed a violation of the law, it was the greatest joke that could be. With respect to the motion itself, the words "ill-advised and inexpedient" had reference to what happened a year 205 ago, and did not bear at all upon existing circumstances. If he were attacked openly he would meet it by an open defence. But a covert attack of this kind was not entitled to plainer dealing than that on which it acted. Had the framers of the motion come forward boldly with a vote of censure he would have met it with like boldness, but they had had recourse to a system of management which could only be met by management. When a motion was introduced which conveyed an unfair and indirect censure upon administration, and when it could lead to no practical result, it was proper to meet it by moving the other orders of the day, or by a motion of adjournment. It was very extraordinary, that those generousminded defenders of the Queen, who pretended to take such a chivalrous care of her interests, had allowed twelve months to elapse since government had perpetrated, he would use no other word, a great injustice against the Queen, and at the end of that time should come forward with nothing better than an airy and abstract proposition. It was strange, that this act of injustice should have been allowed to go unpunished so long; and it was still more extraordinary, considering the zeal which some honourable members had evinced on points comparatively insignificant, which related to the character of the Queen. It would be recollected that one of those gentlemen had even entered the field and fired a shot against "The Western Luminary." He hoped he was not planet-struck when he engaged in such an adventure. But the fact was very curious, that while so much anxiety was shown to chastise a wretched newspaper in the West of England, which had used some coarse and vulgar language towards the Queen, not a word was said about the omission of her majesty's name, either by the hon. gentleman, or the great luminaries of the law on the opposite side. The House was, indeed, at that time, so far from regarding the act as either illegal or ill-advised, that even the honourable member for Bramber (Mr. Wilberforce) did not think proper to introduce in his motion, a word relating to it, and he committed the feeling of parliament on that subject. It was true the noble lord (lord A. Hamilton) had maintained on that occasion, the same opinion which he did now; but the House then scouted it by so overbearing a majority, that when the votes were about to be taken on the 206 amendment, he preferred, that they should be taken in the negative of the original motion rather than risk his own amendment. And even upon such a decision of the question, what were the numbers? Why the numbers in favour of the original motion were 391, and against it 124, and even of that 124, several would have voted against the amendment had the noble lord pressed it. If ministers, then, had done any thing legal or ill-advised the House was an accomplice, for their conduct on that very point met the sanction of parliament, when they resolved, in July last, to address the Queen. It was in contradiction to that measure of parliament, that the present question was agitated—that measure which had been made the subject of subsequent negotiation. But he trusted, that parliament, who had given their sanction to the act which the motion censured, would act with consistency, and treat that motion as it deserved.—He would not enter at any length into the law of the question; but as to that subject, there was nothing so decisive in the clause on which the arguments of the noble lord so much relied^ as to make it imperative upon the king's government to insert in the Liturgy her majesty's name. The reason for passing the Act of Uniformity, seemed to have been forgotten or misconceived by some gentlemen on the other side. That act was not passed through any jealousy of the power of the Crown, but merely to prevent encroachments and alterations from being improperly made in the prayers of the Church, and to counteract heresies and schisms dangerous to the established religion. That clause was consequently inserted for the purpose of shewing, that, though the general prayers of the church were not liable to alteration, yet those collects, and that part of the litany which affected the royal family, were open to the discretionary revision of the king in council. This discretion was not an ecclesiastical anomaly; it was perfectly analogous with the spirit and genius of the political constitution, which gave to the king the control and direction of all the concerns of his family, and of every individual in it. There was nothing like a jealousy of the royal power exercised in the management of his domestic relations. To the king our constitution had given the important duty of the education of his own children; and had, in a great measure, given him a power over 207 their marriages. It would be therefore a precedent of a most dangerous character, if the House was, for the first time since the commencement of the monarchy, to arrogate to itself the right of interfering with the king's direction of his own family. On this principle the most injurious innovations might be supported. If they could force the king to reinsert her majesty's name in the Liturgy, which, in the exercise of his royal prerogative, he omitted, then might they also interfere with regard to the allotment of a palace, or insist, that she should share the honours of the coronation, or receive other marks of the royal grace and favour, which, under other circumstances, the king would have been happy to have bestowed upon her. And here he could not avoid observing upon the mode of argument resorted to by the gentlemen opposite. They had spoken as if their feelings were quite outraged, by the omission of her majesty's name previous to her being put upon her trial; they called it a prejudgment of the case, and expressed themselves as if their feelings were quite shocked by such an exercise of the discretion of the Crown; but such a charge did not come from those gentlemen with a very good grace; it could not be forgotten, that when their party impeached lord Melville, they did not hesitate to prejudge his case, by striking his name out of the list of privy counsellors. Did they feel any delicacy then? No; on the contrary, when they had voted for the impeachment of that valuable and useful servant of the Crown, although he had actually retired, they were not content until they dragged him out of the privy council, and inflicted an unnecessary stigma on his name. Their delicacy, of which they now boasted so much, did not then prevent them from advising the sovereign to degrade, before trial, his old and faithful servant, and to perform the most painful act, which any monarch had ever imposed upon him. Where then, he would repeat, was the considerate lore of justice to which those gentlemen pretended, and which they talked so much of in the case of the Queen? But what was their conduct relative to the Queen herself? Did they, on a former occasion, when her honour and character were affected by secret charges, give her the benefit of a public trial? Did they proceed according to any of the known and received forms of justice, or the established 208 laws of evidence? Or did they not place her whole life and character under the investigation of four commissioners, having at their head lord Erskine himself; who was in the habit of talking so much about the inestimable privilege of trial by Jury, and who lately boasted that he had spent his whole life in the defence of the laws of his country and the maintenance of the pure principles of British justice? Was it for the party who sanctioned such an inquisitorial mode of proceeding to talk now of delicacy and impartial justice? Their professions would be rightly estimated by their practice, when it was recollected, that they had instituted a secret tribunal to try the Queen herself, of which the illustrious person accused knew nothing, did not know that it was even in existence, unless as far as she was made acquainted with it by rumour, and which secret tribunal closed its sittings without giving her an opportunity of offering a single word in her defence, until she was brought up to receive judgment from the late king; and a heavy judgment it was, and must be considered, as long as there was any thing like female delicacy in the nation. Never had the Queen cause to complain of any body of public men so much as of those who had lately become her zealous and ardent partizans, but who had sacrificed her before for their purposes, and were doing the same now, under the specious pretext of a love of justice and regard for the injured reputation of a woman, whose character they had before held up to public and private animadversion. That she should be politically connected with this party was the greatest of all her misfortunes, and from his soul he felt compassion for her situation. He had still at hand more proofs of the sort of delicacy which belonged to gentlemen opposite, and which had usually characterised their proceedings. He would ask, what was the evidence on which they had refused to one of the members of the royal family, such a revenue as would have enabled him to have lived at home—were they not guided in that harsh and precipitate mode of proceeding by idle rumours out of doors, and by the veriest slanders that had ever been propagated? If such was their conduct on that occasion, what right had they now to impute to ministers a want of delicacy towards the Queen, when they were in possession of such heavy and serious charges against her? For himself, 209 he could safely affirm, that lie had acted as the nature of the case absolutely required, and the public interest demanded; and were that act to be done again, he would pursue exactly the same conduct, which he felt not to be an optional matter at all, but an imperative duty. He had acted in such a way on that occasion as a regard for the public honour, as well as the consistency of government, required; and parliament saw it in the same way, when they made the erasure of her majesty's name the basis of the negotiation which followed. In a case so surrounded with difficulties, and involving such high and complicated interests, his majesty's government did not act without due deliberation. They were, he would frankly acknowledge, under considerable embarrassment, on account of the use which they saw would be made of the question by the seditious and disaffected. It was much to be regretted, that the law on the case was not more clear; he wished it had been so; but as it stood, if they had at first inserted her majesty's name in the Liturgy, while such heavy charges against her lay upon the council table, and had been afterwards under the necessity of erasing it, on account of the confirmation of those charges, the moral indignation of the country would have burst upon them in such a way, that, they could not have withstood it. It was true, that since the bill had been withdrawn, the Queen stood in the situation of a person technically acquitted, and was in the enjoyment of her rights as Queen Consort, as if her character had been unimpeached. She had come out innocent according to the forms of law; and those privileges to which she had strictly a lawful right she was in possession of. But, was there no resting place to be found between the strict rights of law, to which she was clearly entitled, and those matters of grace and favour which it was the pleasure of the Sovereign to confer or withhold? The insertion of her name in the Liturgy was not a matter that she could insist upon as a strict right; and when her character had been so far affected by the evidence in support of the charges against her, that 123 peers had pronounced her guilty, it would be very improper in him, as a minister of the Grown to advise it to be granted her as a boon. How did the right hon. gentleman opposite (Mr. Tierney) express himself in regard to her majesty when the charges 210 were first preferred against her? Rethought it right to call his expressions to their mind, because the gentlemen with whom he acted seemed to have forgotten them. He had said, on that occasion, that he would not vote one shilling towards a provision for the Queen, until the result of those charges was properly ascertained; for it was evident, that either the Queen was insulted, or the king betrayed. This shewed how serious that right hon. gentleman took those charges to be at the time, and how necessary it was to institute proceedings upon them.—There was but one observation more which he had to make respecting the right of inserting the name in the Liturgy, and he thought it might be taken as conclusive of the matter. Blackstone, who had been very particular in enumerating all the rights of the queen consort in the chapter upon that subject, did not mention, as one of them, the right of being prayed for in the Liturgy. What, then, was it made a ground of censure on the conduct of ministers, that they had, under such circumstances, and in such a state of the law, omitted her majesty's name in the Liturgy, where it would have stood of course, had her conduct been free from all imputations? But it was not in a technical acquittal, to restore it to the proper moral standard [a laugh]. As to the opinion of the gentlemen opposite on this point, it had not, with him, much weight; and should he tell them why—it was because their opinion was as strong before the evidence was given as after. When once those proceedings had closed, ministers were resolved to move no further measures on the subject; but since those gentlemen who affected to be the Queen's friends, had renewed their discussion of the question, be their's the odium, their's the mischief, which must result from its useless agitation. Towards the Queen personally, he would repeat it, he felt compassion; but his duty as a minister, looking to the honour of the king; and the interests of the country, put him under the painful necessity of making the guilt of her conduct apparent. From the station which she held, and recent circumstances, that conduct was calculated to produce effects dangerous to the state. It was not free from responsibility like the sovereign, however her advisers might shrink from the avowal of their designs. He could not be silent upon her conduct, since she had been so infatuated as to deliver herself over to a 211 party, whom he believed to have views dangerous to public tranquillity and the constitution. He therefore felt, that he could not honour her more in a political than in a moral point of view. Had she not, in her answers to addresses, reviled the king, degraded the Crown, and vilified both Houses of Parliament? And did she not attempt to diffuse principles at variance with the safety of our most valuable institutions? He would caution honourable members, whose minds were yet unwarped by the efforts of party, not to allow themselves to be entrapped into the support of the present insidious milk-and-water resolution, which was intended to draw after it, consequences, that no man who was ignorant of the tactics of the politicians who framed it could suspect. But, thank God, the country was coming to its senses. He had no doubt, that the efforts of that party which had so disturbed the country would soon expire in despair; if parliament preserved its tone of dignified determination, and vindicated its high character, in this hour of distraction and clamour. Its path of duty was plain before it. It ought to sustain the actual government, in unimpaired honour and character, that its usefulness to the country might be undiminished, or it ought to extinguish the present cabinet as ministers, without hesitation. Whatever resolution of censure was brought forward from the other side, he trusted that it would come in a fair, tangible, and manly shape, not in that shadowy character which it was difficult to grasp, and which eluded common apprehension. But he could not believe, that parliament was to be taken by an artifice like this. He was sure it would not allow any party thus covertly to break down the confidence which ought to be placed in the ministers of the Crown, to make their services efficient to the nation. All he asked was, that any resolution which was intended to carry censure upon their conduct, should state so clearly and unequivocally, and also state distinctly, the grounds of such censure then, indeed, ministers would be fairly put on their trial. He pledged himself, that if this was done, no sanguine hope of success which their enemies should entertain, would be opposed by any influence of the Crown, whose servants were enabled to rest their claims to the national confidence, upon the best of all pretensions, the character which they had acquired during a long a san- 212 guinary and eventful war, wherein their counsels were crowned by the most triumphant success that ever befel any country, notwithstanding the awful danger? and difficulties by which they had been so long surrounded. On the reputation thus honourably acquired, and on the labours of an interval of peace, devoted to the best interests of the state, and the preservation of our invaluable institutions—on these, and these alone, would ministers rely for the support of parliament and the nation; and, with truth on their side, they had no doubt of overwhelming the charges of their enemies with complete confutation.
§ Mr. Brougham
stated, that he should not have thought of trespassing upon the patience of the House at that late hour, were it not for the speech of the noble lord, who had allowed expressions to fall from him which he could not allow to pass unanswered. He could have wished, for the sake of that noble lord, and still more for the sake of the country and of the illustrious lady whom the noble lord had done all in his power to vilify, that he had been allowed to be silent; but the whole of the noble lord's speech was designed to give new life to the fatal dissentions which were agitating the country, and to place the illustrious parties concerned, in a state of contention for an indefinite length of time. For the sake of casting new stigmas upon her majesty, and fixing upon her the charges ministers had abandoned in their evidence, he had not only infringed all bounds of decorum, but all forms of debate, and with the artful sedulousness of the penner of a paragraph for a party newspaper, had entered into a laboured analysis of the votes, in the Lords, to whose proceedings in ordinary cases a bare reference only was allowed. If at a time when not only justice, but all the forms which were the handmaids of justice, were violated for the one purpose of destroying the Queen (unless, indeed, he should add that of distracting the country), he might be allowed to follow so vicious and unparliamentary a precedent, he should be able to give a satisfactory answer to the noble lord. He could shew, that of the illustrious individuals who composed the majorities and minorities, not one could possibly be influenced by the royal person who was the object of the prosecution; he could shew, that the royal person who, was the real prosecutor, was represented 213 in that assembly which was to decide on his cause, by his household, by his state officers, by his ministers themselves, and by all those who were open to influence, either from the highest rewards a monarch could bestow, or from the lowest boons which a peer could accept, to relieve a dependent or to conciliate an adherent. Was this fact nothing in judging of the real value of a numerical majority? Was an array of influence great as this ever excited against individuals who presumed to call themselves judges.
§ The Speaker
interposed, on the ground that it was irregular to remark on the motives which had influenced members of the other house of parliament.
§ Mr. Brougham
remarked, that the noble lord had himself wandered into discussion of the motives of the peers, to which it was necessary that an answer should be given.
§ The Speaker
said, that the distinction as to the remarks made upon the other House of parliament was this:—At the end of every session, the journals of the House of Lords were communicated to the House of Commons, as the votes of the Commons were regularly communicated to the Lords. As soon as the journals of the Lords were so communicated, they became matter of historical record, and whatever appeared on the face of them, could be remarked upon. The noble lord had remarked upon the reasons which noble lords had given for their votes, which, as he understood, were professedly drawn from the protests which were of course found on the journals. If the noble lord had gone beyond this, as the hon. and learned gentleman seemed to have understood him, he (the Speaker) was remiss in not having checked the noble lord upon the same principle as he had checked the hon. and learned gentleman.
observed, that he had argued, that the ministers had not made the bill a party question in the other House.
§ Mr. Brougham
continued.—If it was true, that the minister had not made this a party question, such a circumstance could not by any possibility appear on the face of the journals, but if such circumstances were so recorded, it would not be found on those journals or any where else, because it was notoriously and directly contrary to the fact. Never, not only in out own times, but if they recurred to 214 the history of times beyond their own personal knowledge, they would find, that never, on any question, had a more violent spirit of partiality been shown. His majesty's ministers avowed themselves the authors, the patrons, and the managers of the bill, and had shown the zeal and spirit of prosecuting parties. If it so happened, indeed, that at last some (not of the ministers themselves be it remembered, but of their adherents) voted against the bill, would the noble lord contend, that by the ministerial side alone were these symptoms of impartiality shown? Was it not notorious that there were three or four of the noble lords with whom it had been his habit to act, with whose opinions he had generally concurred, and whose talents he had admired (never more, indeed, than when they had of late been so misdirected) who formed the most active friends of the bill not in voting, indeed, but in fair and open debate? These noble lords bore much of the brunt and odium of the measure, white the ministers kept behind at their safe and effectual labour of entrapping and securing votes. Turning from these proceedings he thanked the noble lord for the opening of his speech, in which, with a charity peculiarly his own, he had undertaken to defend the Queen—to defend her from her friends, from his noble friend who had made the motion that night, and from his right hon. friend (Mr. Tierney) who sat next him. The noble lord had referred to the first notice which his right hon. friend had taken of the omission of the Queen's name, and he had repeated the memorable assertion of his right hon. friend, that "the Queen had been insulted, or that the king had been betrayed." The noble lord had also referred to the denial, which he (Mr. Brougham) had givin to the assertion, that the Queen was degraded by the omission of her name in the Liturgy. He confessed, that he was not then willing to allow that the Queen was degraded by that act. It was a part of sound philosophy, that a man should not contemplate the full amount of the injury he suffered from the wrongs of a superior force, which he was powerless to resent or to resist. If this feeling might be allowed to operate on a man in his own case, how much more strongly might it operate when the character at stake was that of a client—not only of a client, but of a woman and a Queen? The noble 215 lord might take the fact in any words, and no one was better able than the noble lord to vary the combinations of adjectives and substantives, to pile high sounding epithets, and to frame phrases which filled the ear and eluded the mind. He allowed, that he had not been unwilling to believe, that the Queen had not been degraded. It was not for him, at that time, to declare, that his royal mistress was degraded, when she had to meet all the terrors of the threatened investigation; he said "the terrors" of an investigation, not that innocence should be exposed to danger from justice or from inquiry, but her majesty was on the brink of an investigation in which innocence was no security; in which she was to be met by perjured men and perjured women; and by bribing men and bribing women—where perjury and bribery were suited to accomplish one object, where the long arm of power and the long purse of an administration joined their influence over Italian hands and Italian hearts—over hearts ready to crouch to the one, over hands ready greedily to snatch at the other. From such a trial, from such a threatened prosecution, the most guiltless might shrink without incurring, for a moment, the imputation of crime. After her majesty's ill-advised, ill-fated migration from this, the land of her adoption, contrary to the representations of his late revered friend (Mr. Whitbread), contrary to his own advice recorded and in her majesty's possession, for six years she had been all but forgotten by the people of this country. Now nothing was talked of on the other side, but her increasing and inconvenient popularity. Why was she popular, and why were the hearts of all classes interested in her behalf? Because she was oppressed and persecuted; and if ministers wished to sink her into comparative oblivion, he would give them a recipe:—" treat her well;"—they had nothing to do but to abstain from persecution. The people had witnessed a woman and a Queen maltreated, insulted, trampled upon; they had seen injuries inflicted where injuries were possible; and insults where injuries were powerless. They felt for her, because they loved the monarchy and the persons of their rulers with what an historian had called, with somewhat of a sneer, "a childish admiration of Royalty." For this the people of England had covered their Queen with 216 the shield of their protection, and had covered themselves—he would boldly say it—with immortal renown, as lovers of justice and detesters of tyranny.—After adverting to the notice lord Castlereagh had taken of himself, Mr. Brougham proceeded to observe upon the reluctance with which minsters, not long since, had been compelled to pronounce the name of Queen. In this respect he had lived to see strange changes. He had heard, not only the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pronounce the title as glibly and as frequently as sums of money to be voted out of the pockets of the people, but even the noble lord had been prevailed upon to treat her majesty with the respect which became "an old courtier of the Queen's, and the Queen's old courtier" [hear, hear!]. What was still more astonishing, was, that in another place, where her majesty had so recently been upon her trial, he had heard even the sovereign himself pronounce the name of Queen. As to the form in which his noble friend had made his motion, the accusation which was made against it was, that it was so framed as to catch stray votes, and specially, for he was so pointed out that he could not be mistaken, to catch a worthy alderman, who had the other night spoken on the subject [Alderman Heygate]. Now any one who had heard the worthy alderman's speech must, have seen, that it was vain to make any such attempt. Whatever might be the words of the motion, however the bait might be varied or disposed, no art, not that of the most complete angler, would be able to hook the worthy alderman. There was so much of the tortuous motion of the eel in the way in which the worthy alderman wound through the argument, he was so slippery and so winding, that he would defy the best-sanded fist to gripe him. The worthy alderman had so carefully stated the question, now a little remark on the one side, now a little set-off on the other, that if the arguments were cast up one against the other, the difference would be found the most perfect zero that was ever exhibited in the best-balanced book in the city. All this arose, no doubt, from the infinite candour of the worthy alderman; but it proved, that the motion would not have the effect of catching him, as it certainly was not framed for that purpose, as it was drawn up in its present form, before the alderman gave 217 that candid exposition of his sentiments. It was fair, that gentlemen who thought variously on one point, but who agreed on others, should choose the point on which they could unite; not that on which they differed. Most of them thought, the omission of the Queen's name was illegal, some of them doubted as to its illegality; all were clear as to its being inexpedient and ill-advised. He was of opinion most strongly with the hon. and learned member for Oxford, that it was illegal. But, was there any thing unfair, was there any thing other than candid and manly, in his joining in a declaration that it was inexpedient and ill-advised? He conjured the House, such of them as doubted of the illegality, to look to this part of the question. He had the implied promise of the noble lord, that if the Queen was not convicted she should be restored to all her rights. He had the direct words of the noble earl in the other House (Liverpool);—he had the still higher authority and warrant of sound reason and the law of the land. The Queen has been acquitted—she must be treated as if she had never been tried, or there is no justice in England. To call back the attention of parliament to the weighty affairs from which they had been distracted—to give opportunity—which, while this overwhelming subject occupied the country, could not be afforded, to consider the distresses of a people, who now, unmindful of their own sufferings, poured forth their generous and disinterested petitions in favour of their persecuted Queen—to calm the agitation of the country by doing justice to her majesty, and then to rescue from imminent and hourly-increasing danger the fabric of the constitution was the object of his noble friend's motion.
Mr. Alderman Heygate
said, that uninjured as he felt himself by the attack of the hon. and learned gentleman, he had no wish, rising unexpectedly, and at that late hour of the morning, unnecessarily to protract the contest. He would, however, tell that hon. and learned gentleman (never more ingenious than he had been that night, and never less convincing), that he was not vain enough to imagine, that the trap which had been alluded to was set by the noble mover, for so humble an individual as himself. But, at all events, be gave credit to the hon. and learned gentleman for having discovered at an 218 early period of his speech, that he (Mr. H.) was not likely to be its victim; a sagacity at which he wondered the less, when he called to mind the small success of the recent efforts of that hon. and learned gentleman to catch and manage another alderman [a laugh, and cries of "Hear!"]. But his were light and playful sarcasms, and far less terrific than the heavy artillery brought to bear against him a few evenings since from another quarter [Mr. Hume]. On that occasion, the weighty epithets of "barbarous and unmanly," were lavished upon the line of argument, he had then thought it his duty to pursue, and which, whatever faults it had, was at all events clearly straight forward, and decided—lavished upon him because he had ventured unconnected with party, to allude moderately, openly, in his place in parliament, in the face of her majesty's advisers, official and extraordinary, and for his own justification with his constituents, to public documents bearing the name of the Queen, and circulated with indefatigable industry to the remotest corners of her sovereign's dominions. He professed not to conjecture, and must leave it with the House to decide, whether the method pursued for putting him down was adopted because better arguments were not to be found, or whether it was intended to afford in his person, an example of that degree of liberty of speech and freedom of debate which would be hereafter allowed to individuals who dared to speak their own opinions by some of those to whom he alluded, when they should have attained that power which they now so confidently anticipated. But he could not doubt, that the British House of Commons would, in spite of this system of terror, shew by their decision that night, that they were resolved still to support the majesty of the throne, and the constitutional authority of the legislature; and that no individual, however illustrious by birth or exalted rank, not even the Queen Consort, the first subject of the state, should be able with impunity to suffer her name to be used, even without design, as the vehicle of sentiments at variance with the first principles of civil liberty, because calculated to induce the interference of a military body in political affairs, in opposition to the Crown which commands, and the parliament which pays it [Hear, hear!]. As to the motion now before the House, he hoped, in a few minutes, to shew the hon. and learned 219 gentleman, that however refined and candid he might be called, he was able to come to a decisive conclusion at last. He objected to the motion, as he did to some of the answers of the Queen, and for the same reason. The maxims were true in the abstract, but mischievous in the application. If carried, this motion was to be followed by others in endless succession; and it would tend only, in his judgment, to prolong the unhappy agitation of the public mind, and to interrupt still further the important business of the nation. He felt confident the House would that night, endeavour, by their vote, to draw a veil over transactions neither creditable nor beneficial to the parties concerned.—He would add only one word more. He was no supporter of ministers, nor an enemy to the Queen; on the contrary, he sincerely wished—no one could wish it more seriously—that her majesty might continue, after so eventful a career, during many and happier years, to enjoy, with a suitable dignity and with credit, discretion, and repose, the ample income which he doubted not the liberality of parliament would in a few days provide.
After a short reply from lord A. Hamilton, the question being put, "that the House do now adjourn" the House divided:—Ayes 310:—Noes 209. Majority 101.
|List of the Minority.|
|Abercromby, hon. J.||Bury, viscount|
|Allen, J. H.||Byng, George|
|Althorp, viscount||Butterworth, Joseph|
|Anson, hon. G.||Buxton, T. F.|
|Anson, sir G.||Calcraft, John|
|Ashurst, W. H.||Calcraft, J. H.|
|Astell, William||Calvert, Charles|
|Aubrey, sir John||Calvert, Nicholas|
|Barham, Joseph F.||Carew, R. S.|
|Barham, J. F. jun.||Carter, John|
|Baring, Alexander||Cavendish, lord G.|
|Baring, Henry||Cavendish, Henry|
|Barrett, S. M.||Chaloner, Robert|
|Beaumont, T. W.||Clifford, captain|
|Belgrave, viscount||Clifton, viscount|
|Benett, John||Coffin, sir I.|
|Bennet, Hon. H. G.||Coke, T. W. jun.|
|Bentinck, lord W.||Colburne, N. R.|
|Benyon, Benjamin||Cole, sir Lowry|
|Bernal, Ralph||Concannon, Lucius|
|Birch, Joseph||Coussmaker, G.|
|Blake, sir F.||Creevey, Thomas|
|Boughey, sir J. F.||Crespigny, sir W.|
|Boughton, R.||Crompton, Samuel|
|Bright, Henry||Cripps, Joseph|
|Brougham, Henry||Curwen, J. C.|
|Browne, Dominick||Davenport, Davis|
|Burdett, sir F.||Davies, T. H.|
|Denison, William||Martin, John|
|Denman, Thomas||Milton, viscount|
|Dickinson, W.||Monck, J. B.|
|Dundas, hon. T.||Moore, Peter|
|Dundas, C.||Moore, Abraham|
|Ebrington, viscount||Mostyn, sir Thomas|
|Ellice, Edward||Newman, R. W.|
|Ellis, Hon. G. A.||Newport, rt hon. sir J.|
|Farquharson, A.||Nugent, lord|
|Farrand, Robert||O'Callaghan, J.|
|Ferguson, Sir R. C.||Onslow, Arthur|
|Fitzgerald, Lord W.||Ord, William|
|Fitzgerald, rt. hon. M.||Ossulston, lord|
|Fitzroy, lord C.||Palmer, Charles|
|Fitzroy, lord J.||Palmer, C. F.|
|Folkestone, viscount||Pares, Thomas|
|Gaskell, Benjamin||Paniell, sir Henry|
|Glenorchy, viscount||Peel, William|
|Gordon, Robert||Pelham, hon. C. A.|
|Graham, Sandford||Phillips, G. R.|
|Graham, J.||Phillips, George|
|Grant, J. P.||Pierce, Henry|
|Grant, G. M.||Ponsonby, hon. F. C.|
|Grenfell, Pascoe||Powell, Edward W.|
|Griffith, J. W.||Power, Richard|
|Guise, Sir William||Powlett, hon. W.|
|Gurney, Hudson||Price, Robert|
|Gurney, R. H.||Prittie, hon. F. A.|
|Haldimand, W.||Pryse, Pryse|
|Hamilton, sir H. D.||Pym, Francis|
|Harbord, hon. E.||Ramsbottom, John|
|Heathcote, sir G.||Ramsden J. C.|
|Heathcote, G. J.||Ricardo, David|
|Heron, sir Robert||Rice, T. S.|
|Hill, lord A.||Rickford, William|
|Hobhouse, J. C||Ridley, sir M. W.|
|Holmes, sir L.||Robarts, A. W.|
|Honywood, W. P.||Robarts, G.|
|Hornby, Edmund||Robinson, sir George|
|Hughes, W. L.||Rowley, sir W.|
|Hume, Joseph||Rumbold, Charles|
|Hurst, Robert||Russell, lord John|
|Hutchinson, hon. C.||Russell, lord Wm.|
|James, W.||Russell, R. G.|
|Jervoise, G. P.||Scarlett, James|
|Kennedy, T. F.||Scott, James|
|Lamb, hon. W.||Scourfield, W. H.|
|Lambton, John G.||Scudamore, R. P.|
|Langton, J. H.||Sebright, sir John|
|Lawley, F.||Sefton, earl of|
|Leake, W.||Smith, hon. Robert|
|Legge, hon. H.||Smith, Samuel|
|Lemon, sir W.||Smith, Abel|
|Lennard,T. B.||Smith, John|
|Lester, B. Lester||Smith, George|
|Lloyd, J. M.||Smith, William|
|Lloyd, J. Jones||Stanley, lord|
|Lockhart, J. J.||Stuart, lord J.|
|Lushington, Stephen||Sykes, Daniel|
|Maberly, John||Talbot, R. W.|
|Maberly, W. L.||Tavistock, marquis of|
|Macdonald, J.||Taylor, M. A.|
|Mackintosh, sir J.||Taylor, C.|
|Madocks, W. H.||Tennyson, C.|
|Mahon, hon. S.||Tierney, rt. hon. G.|
|Marjoribanks, S.||Titchfield, marquis of|
|Marryatt, J.||Townshend, lord C.|
|Tulk, C. A.||Williams, T. P.|
|Tynte, C. K.||Williams, William|
|Vernon, G. V.||Wilson, sir Robert|
|Wall, C. B.||Winnington, sir T.|
|Warre, J. A.||Wood, alderman|
|Webbe, Edward||Wyvill, M.|
|Western, C. C.||TELLERS.|
|Wetherell, C.||Duncannon, viscount|
|Wharton, John||Hamilton, lord A.|
|Whitbread, W. H.||PAIRED OFF.|
|Whitbread, Samuel C.||Plumer, William|
|Whitmore, W. W.||Williams, Owen|
|Wilkins, Walter||White, Luke|