HC Deb 03 February 1824 vol 10 cc45-86

The Speaker having reported the Speech of the Lords Commissioners, and read it to the House,

Mr. Rowland Hill

rose to move an ad- dress of thanks, and spoke nearly as follows:—"Mr. Speaker, I should not have ventured to present myself to the House, for the first time, on this important occasion, if I were not convinced that the indulgence to those who undertake to move the Address to the Throne is always in proportion to the necessity there may be for showing it. With a full sense of my own inability to perform this task, I trust I may rely on even a larger portion of their kindness than they have been called upon to show on any former occasion. Nothing, indeed, should have induced me to undertake it, but the full persuasion that the Address of Thanks I shall have to move to his majesty, for the most gracious Speech which we have just heard, will be received with the unanimous approbation of this House. Sir, I think myself particularly fortunate that this duty has fallen to my lot at a time when, from the very gracious sentiments contained in his majesty's Speech, it will be extremely difficult for any man to find the means of raising a discordant voice [Hear, hear!]. Sir, when I look back to the last few years of our history; when I recur to the stupendous exertions and unequalled difficulties of the long war in which this country has been engaged, and the consequent distress arising from those exertions and those difficulties; I say, when I contrast that state of the country with its present condition, I am filled with admiration and astonishment; and the suddenness of the change and rapid contrast in our situation appear to be more like the creation of some superior power, than to flow from the ordinary influence of human councils. [Cheers.] Within seven years of a war, which has endured for a quarter of a century, in which all Europe was engaged; but the resources mainly supplied by Great Britain; we find our commerce extended to the remotest corners of the globe; our manufactures in the highest prosperity, and public credit, the life blood of the state, full of animation and vigour; while that which is the most important interest of them ally the agricultural, with which my own, and the fortunes and welfare of those I have the honour to represent, is in a gradual state of amelioration.—In addition to this gratifying prospect, I am happy to be able to add, that from Ireland, hitherto the dark quarter in our political horizon, a ray of light has broken forth, which I hail as the augury of future improvement. By the wise removal of invidious distinctions and restrictions in our mutual commerce, by an extension of the blessings of education, and by a cordial sympathy in her sufferings in times of calamity, the reflecting part of the people of Ireland have been convinced of the deep interest which Englishmen take in her welfare; a conviction which will ultimately tend to make her a large participator in that happy state which makes us the envy and admiration of the world. In common with every lover of peace and of my country, I rejoice at the continued assurances of the friendly disposition entertained by foreign powers towards his majesty; and it is an act of justice in me to offer up my humble tribute of applause and gratitude to his majesty and his ministers, for the undeviating neutrality which this country has maintained during the late partial agitation of the Continent; a neutrality, which I am persuaded has prevented the re-kindling of a war throughout the states of Europe, and has established the peace of the world on a foundation of no ordinary stability—In referring to that part of his majesty's Speech in which he has commanded the estimates of the present year to be laid before the House, I have to congratulate you; affording as it does, a striking proof of the prosperity of the public finances, that even after provision is made for the expenses incidental to an augmentation, his majesty has been under the necessity of making in both his naval and military force, an expectation is held out, that some means may be found of relieving several branches of our national industry. The expediency of this augmentation is unhappily founded on the state of the West-India Isles. I cannot, however, but indulge the hope, that a steady and calm investigation will prove that the true interests of the Colonists are inseparably connected with the moral improvement and meliorated condition of the slave population; and that the chief cause of the military augmentation will soon cease to exist. Offering, therefore, my grateful thanks to the House for the kindness with which they have heard me, I shall move that an humble Address be presented to his majesty.—The hon. member then moved an Address, which, as usual, was an echo of his majesty's Speech.

Mr. James Daly

rose to second the Address. He said, that although he considered himself inadequate to handle the various and important topics contained in the address, he yet conceived that he should better consult the wishes and the convenience of the House, by entering at once into the discussion of the subject before them, than he should do by wasting their time in making apologies. He was induced to second the Address moved by his hon. friend, from a consideration of the various topics contained in the speech of which it was an echo, from the tone and temper with which they were introduced, and from a belief that there would be little or no opposition from any part of the House. To him it appeared, that the internal state of the country, as well as its foreign relations, were calculated, upon a fair and impartial view of the whole, to give great and sincere satisfaction. For a vast number of years, England, almost single-handed, had had to struggle against all the powers of Europe, guided and impelled by the genius, and activity of one of the most extraordinary, and one of the ablest men that the world ever produced. It was, on the part of this country, a struggle, not for strength, not for ambition, it was a struggle for independence—the question was, whether she should fall under the feet of the conqueror of Europe, or whether she should remain a free nation? It was not his intention to detain the House by entering into a detail of the glorious achievements of the army and navy of England during that memorable struggle. Great Britain at length had triumphed in the contest, and Europe, through her; means, was delivered from the ascendancy of the man who had conquered, and who would have enslaved her. After the termination of the war, England, at the Congress which was held by the powers of Europe, was as conspicuous for moderation in the cabinet as she had been for valour in the field: her ministers, wisely considering her real welfare, saw, that to promote that end, it was necessary to establish and to secure the permanent tranquillity of Europe. They went, therefore, to the Congress, prepared to sacrifice petty interests, and to place Europe in such a situation as was best calculated to avoid all future grounds and causes of disagreement and of quarrel. Such having been the liberal and the wise determination of ministers, it was not a matter of surprise, although it was of congratulation, that with respect to England the relations of Europe remained undisturbed.

He was glad to find, from the Speech of his majesty, that the relations of peace and amity between England and foreign powers remained in full force; and he hoped they would long continue undisturbed. At all times such a state of things was most desirable: at the present moment most particularly was it a matter of public congratulation. Parliament had met after the conclusion of a war in another country, the termination of which certainly could not be considered agreeable to the wishes of any British subject [Hear, hear!]. No one who lived in a free country, and who knew what freedom meant—no one who enjoyed the invaluable blessings of liberty—but must regret the extinguishment of the slightest spark of that liberty, no matter in what part of the world it might have been accomplished. Such was his feeling; but still he was bound to say, that the slight struggle which the people of Spain had made, afforded the strongest proof, that the policy pursued by the government of England was sound and wise. The manliness and determination which: our ministers had shown, contrary, he would say, to the feeling of the country, I reflected the highest credit upon them. The miserable resistance that had been made in Spain, afforded but too melancholy a proof, that the people of that country had not the hearts to fight for liberty, even if they had souls to value its blessings. England, during the great struggles that she had made, had afforded many noble proofs, that where her interests and her honour were concerned, she would not hesitate to go to war; but, after those struggles had ceased—after the blessings of peace had been happily earned and were about to be enjoyed—to throw those blessings away, to dash the cup from her lips, would not have been the way to promote the real glory or the permanent interest of the country.

To those ministers who had preserved the country, the acknowledgments of the country were due; the effects of their policy were before the world, and no candid man would condemn them. During the pressure which the country laboured under after the termination of the war, the ministers acknowledged the fact of that depression; but at the same time they ventured to predict its rapid improvement and its future prosperity. The state at that period might have been compared to a ship in a storm: she had much to encounter, but buoyed up by her native energies, she rode triumphantly over the waves, and reached the destined port. The various branches of her commerce had increased, and extended themselves. The agricultural interest, than which none was more important, and none had been so much depressed, it was gratifying to think was reviving. And happily, the increasing prosperity of the agricultural interest was not owing to any peculiar circumstance, to any political and unlooked for event, but to the increasing wealth and affluence of the country—to that wealth and affluence which every day created new wants, and enabled the people to gratify them.—He would now, slightly, advert to other topics of the address. The House was aware that for the last eight years, most enormous sums had been remitted, in the way of taxation. The remission of taxes had relieved the people, and had placed the financial system of the country upon an effective footing. It was to the operation of that system that England owed the proposed arrangement of her debt at the hands of Austria. Nor would France, were it not for the aid of English capital, have been able to march her armies into Spain—a monstrous aggression, which he condemned; but he noticed the fact merely to show the influence and power of this country. He had heard at different times, both in and out of that House, observations as to the power of England, and her influence as regarded foreign states; but it was his opinion, that that influence was never more conspicuous, that England had never held the balance of power with, a more even or steady hand than she did at the present day.

Looking at the state of South America, it was gratifying, in the highest degree, to mark the progress of freedom in that country: it was gratifying to see millions throwing off the most abject yoke of slavery that ever disgraced the world, and pressing forward to vindicate the dignity and the independence of human nature, and to rank themselves amongst the nations of the earth [Hear, hear!]. The establishment, upon the part of England, of consuls in different parts of South America, was one step, at least, and a most important step, in favour of her liberties. He hailed it as such: but, whilst he did so, he would have it understood, that he would not wish lightly to encourage rebellion: he recollected that England, during the contest between her and America, loudly complained of the interference of other powers, as an infraction of those general laws which one nation was bound to preserve with respect to another.

With regard to the West Indies, he thought that parliament could not act with too much caution, or with too much delicacy, as to the measures which it might be deemed necessary to apply, for the purpose of promoting the amelioration, and of ensuring the tranquillity of the West Indies. They would have to consider the system which for a long course of years had been pursued in that country; they would have to review the various acts of parliament that had been made as regarding it; they would have to consider the interests and the rights of the proprietors; and to adopt their measures with a slow and cautious hand. He said this, not from any want of good feeling towards the slaves; the first vote he had given in that House was a vote for the total and complete emancipation of the negroes, and he always looked upon that act of emancipation as an ornament and glory to the English statute-book. He was an anxious friend to the emancipation of slaves in every country; but he could not, at the same time, shut his eyes to the situation of proprietors, nor to the injustice of what would be neither more nor less than an interference with the rights of private property. Under all the circumstances, parliament would act wisely to weigh well the state of the West Indies, before they proceeded to overturn a system which had existed for so many years in that country.

There was another subject to which he would advert—a subject which, he had no doubt, interested the feelings of that House—he meant the situation of his own country. Gifted highly by nature, possessing a soil superior to that of England, it was a most melancholy and humiliating fact, that in every other particular she was far behind her: it was painful to allude to the various proofs of misgovernment—of oppression—which accounted for the constant disturbances which prevailed in that country. He did not deny that much had been done for Ireland; that large sums had been given to promote education. He hoped they had been properly appropriated. The splendid munificence of England two years ago, had done more to strengthen British influence, and to place the people of England in a true light before the people of Ireland, than any circumstance which had ever occurred. The assembling of magistrates in petty sessions, instead of administering justice or injustice in their own houses, he knew had been attended with the most beneficial results. Justice so administered, impressed the people with the belief that at length the laws were about to be dealt out with an even hand to the great man and to the poor man. The want of employment of the population was one of the prominent evils of Ireland, but he hoped that that evil would soon be remedied. But it could be only remedied by the circulation of English capital; and is was a pleasing fact within his own knowledge, that during the last six months large sums of British capital had found their way into Ireland [Hear, hear!]. He hailed this as the commencement of a great good, for it was his opinion, that one British merchant employing his capital in manufactures in Ireland, would be of greater benefit to that country than whole volumes of laws [Cheers]. But when he said this he meant not to deny the influence of wise and wholesome laws, or the influence of wise and able men called upon to administer those laws. The measures that had been recently taken had not improved the situation of the people: indeed, so rapid an improvement could not have been expected. But it was his hope that Ireland would improve—that measures would be taken to bind the people to the laws, to remove the causes of disgust and dissatisfaction, and to ensure the public tranquillity. He was convinced that British capitalists, once assured of safety and protection, would employ their money in that country, and under their influence he had as little doubt that Ireland would rapidly improve [Hear, hear!]. There was another great benefit which might be easily conferred on Ireland, and which it was injustice not to confer. To what, he would ask, were the British people indebted for their superiority, their prosperity, and their happiness? They were indebted for those great blessings to the union that prevailed amongst them, founded, as that union was, upon the full and equal enjoyment of their common country, and the blessings of their common constitution [Cheers]. He believed that any measures which might be taken, however well intended, would be of no essen- tial benefit to Ireland, as long as the people were kept divided by means of the very laws by which they were governed. These laws could only be looked upon in the light of a disgrace and misfortune; they went to bar out the great majority of the people from the rights of their country; they went to arm one party against another, and to depress and degrade the whole. He had felt it necessary to say thus much, because he would have ill discharged his duty, if, whilst he alluded to the measures of improvement which had taken place, he did not say that, unaccompanied by the great measure of justice to which he alluded, they would turn out to be of very little value; he did not mean to say that they would be of no value. As the supporter of the policy of the present ministry, he trusted that he should be excused in seconding an Address to the Throne on a royal Speech, which pointed out the fortunate results of that policy, in the continued peace of Europe, and in the increasing happiness and prosperity of the empire at large. [Hear, hear!]

Mr. Brougham

said, that he rose thus early to press himself upon the attention of the House, chiefly in consequence of the observations which had fallen from the hon. member who had so eloquently seconded the motion for the address. With respect to the Speech itself, he was in the same situation in which he believed the great majority of the members of that House found themselves on the present night, when they had heard for the first time of the topics of the speech, save what they had gleaned by hearsay in the morning, through the various channels of communication open to them; partly, indeed, through the English newspapers, partly, also, through the foreign; for through the one, as through the other, they had anticipations of, he believed, equal accuracy. He should therefore wish, considering the great importance of the occasion, the greater importance of the crisis, and the magnitude of the topics which such a speech must necessarily embrace—he could wish, he said, on this occasion, and now more than on any other within his memory, to be allowed to recur to the good old established practice of consideration before they discussed the Speech from the Throne, and not to be driven prematurely, and in a state of comparative ignorance, to do that which, in whatever way it could be view- ed, amounted to nothing more nor less than a committal of themselves to the adoption of certain propositions, which were precipitated into their view by his majesty's ministers on the very first day of the session. But, as he knew little of the contents of the Speech, except from the sources to which he had already referred, and as he had only heard the subjects therein referred to glanced at and elucidated in the speech of the hon. seconder, not having had the advantage of hearing the hon. mover's speech, he had only the power, upon the spur of the occasion, to notice such arguments as he had heard in support of the topics, in a speech which he had not had the opportunity of considering; and the consideration of which he was afraid he had no chance of inducing the House, according to the good old practice, to postpone. There were, indeed, certain expressions and opinions which had fallen from the lips of the hon. seconder, which he had heard with great delight; and so, on the other hand, there were others which the hon. seconder had used, to which he could not defer his opposition one moment, and the policy and principle of which he must positively contradict. For the former—namely, the parts of the hon. member's speech which gave him the warmest pleasure—he had to refer to his concluding observations, which, considering the occasion when he uttered them, his situation, and the circumstances under which he avowed such principles, were not only worthy of the age in which the hon. member lived, but afforded some presage that the time had at length arrived, when that disgraceful system under which Ireland had been so long misgoverned was to be abandoned, and when that unhappy country was at length to be ruled upon some constitutional, intelligible, and consistent mode of government; and not by having one officer in its administration so placed and so acting, as to thwart another, or both of them so relatively situated in the scale of their system, as to be neutralized by a power which worked at home, and which they were afraid to strike; or by not being allowed to carry with them any settled determination to act entirely for the benefit of the people and the tranquillity of the state. It was time that an avowal should be made of some wish to give to Ireland the benefit of constitutional freedom—of that practical administration of good laws, which was the rea and best mode of securing the public cooperation in their behalf: it was time to hold out that hope to a suffering and long misgoverned people, who had, to use the eloquent language of the hon. seconder, only known the British constitution by the bars which shut it out from them. If this were the new and sound policy which was to dawn upon Ireland, he hailed its approach, not only as the greatest blessing which could be bestowed upon that afflicted people, but as the most certain means of extending concord among all classes of his majesty's subjects, and of making them more generally useful to the empire at large. This change, however, to be effective must not be delayed: it must be promptly taken up by an effective arid honest effort of the government, emanating directly from them, and promulgated with an avowed determination to have it strictly and inflexibly applied.

Concurring as he did in this part of the hon. member's speech, it was with regret that he had to follow up his other observations with the most decided expression of dissent from many of the sentiments uttered by him. Indeed, he could hardly understand some of the comments which he had made upon the policy and conduct of this country towards her foreign relations:—he hardly knew on what portion of her late intercourse with foreign states England ought to felicitate herself—the cursory expression of regret which the hon. member had applied to the infamous invasion of Spain, following his allusion to the single sentence which the speech contained respecting that event, and which was one congratulating the sovereign on the line of policy he had been advised to adopt. Good God! what was that line of policy? It might have been right, or it might have been wrong—it was now too late to argue the question of that policy; but was its effect that upon which the parliament had a right now to congratulate their sovereign? To have adopted a different policy might, perhaps, as the hon. member supposed, have led to defeat; but even in that view of it, they were only one degree better off than they would have been had they made the experiment of their interference. This country might have been, under one alternative, doomed to witness, notwithstanding her interposition, the conquest of Spain by France, and the ultimate possibility of being involved in a war, without making the attempt to frustrate the aggression of the invader. That course she had not taken, but had remained a witness of the aggression. Was that a topic of congratulation? It might have been wise not to have gone to war; but he must repeat, that of all topics of self-congratulation, and of all times to urge them in the face of the world, this was the most extraordinary, the most incredible, when the avowed object of France, and those with whom that power was in conjunction, was, to put down the spark of liberty wherever it dawned. Was that the moment for England to congratulate herself upon her non-interference to save the rights and liberties of independent states? At least, it became a free nation like this, not to withhold her remonstrance from being heard, rather than her congratulation upon her own passiveness, by the supporters of that league of despots, who, in the first instance, through the agency of France against Spain, have avowed their armed conspiracy against the liberties of the world. That such a moment should be taken by a British Parliament to congratulate the Crown, that matters have not gone worse with the people of England, would hardly be credited, unless by those who had heard the words of the address. Let the House recollect what it was which had happened since they had last met: it was only the conquest of Spain by France—only that France had, by force of arms, possessed herself of that ancient and once powerful nation—and only that Great Britain had suffered, almost without remonstrance, that French achievement to be performed. And yet England was now to congratulate herself upon what she had done, or rather had failed to do, for the preservation of the liberties of an independent state. There was a time when that event (the conquest of Spain) was much more distant than it lately looked—when the situation of England at home was most different from what it now was—when the necessary mode of conducting the particular war was the most expensive of all the expensive wars that had ever been undertaken—and yet, at that time the struggle of Spain was by England manfully and victoriously defended, and her victories in that cause celebrated throughout the world. But, of what avail, he now asked, had been that expense and that bloodshed? It was now indeed (and sorry was he to say it), useless to discuss the different policy which the government had on the late oc- casion pursued; but, for God's sake, if it cannot be the subject of remonstrance, let it not be put forth on parliamentary record as a fit source for expressing felicitations to the throne.

The hon. member had dwelt upon the inadequate resistance made by the people of Spain to their invaders, and had from thence inferred, that the Spaniards had altered their attachment to a free constitution, and, to say the least of it, had evinced but a very moderate desire for a species of liberty for which they were not prepared, and manifested no feeling to make any sacrifice for the maintenance of the new constitution provided for them. This argument of the hon. member cut two ways; and, viewed in either, carried with it many difficulties. He should like to know if Spain was not against the present restored government—if the feelings and principles of an immense part of the Spanish population were not decidedly favourable to the system which the allies had subverted—if such had not been, and still was the predominant desire of that people, why was France compelled to keep 60 or 70,000 troops in Spain to prop the throne of Ferdinand? The hon. member's argument, to say the least of it, placed him in this dilemma—either the Spaniards loved a free constitution, and must be kept down from the enjoyment of it by an overawing force; or France has conquered Spain, and is prepared to hold it as a conquered country. There was no getting rid of that dilemma. There was one of two conclusions to which the argument, as put by the hon. member inevitably led—one of them was most hostile to the plighted faith of a great nation, most dangerous to the safety of surrounding states, and most deeply committing the public honour of France; who, but the spring before her invasion, had disavowed all idea of a direct attack upon Spain. In the face of Europe, France had disavowed that aggression formed any part of her views towards Spain. The British government had been duped by the disgusting hypocrisy which then veiled the designs of France; and being so duped, the means were overlooked of doing what could be done to avert the fate of Spain. But, on the other hand, if that were not the alternative to which Spain was reduced, and that she had a desire to maintain her constitution, but compelled to yield to the force of circumstances, was herself unable to present a sufficient front to her invaders, although she claimed the aid of other free countries for a support that would have been trifling to them, yet adequate to her exigencies—a trifling pecuniary aid, a small naval co-operation, the resources which she might have derived from the individual services of enterprising individuals by the repeal of the foreign enlistment bill—these, with her own efforts, might have had a fair trial, although it was impossible to foresee the actual result. There was no getting rid of the dilemma which he had pointed out. He believed the cause of the disasters of Spain had arisen from the conduct of both parties, who were affected by the dilemma. He believed that Spain had been prepared to defend her constitution, though left to herself, without leaders and external support, and that still she was kept down by the overwhelming power of France—that she had suffered a conquest of her national independence, the worst and most dangerous of all conquests, in the face of a civilized world. This was an overt act in the conspiracy of the great band of tyrants against the liberties of free states; and it had been done while another great nation, herself the cradle of freedom, remained a passive spectator of that blow, which, by the least active interposition, she might have repelled.

What had this country gained by the policy on which they were now called upon to felicitate themselves? The hon. gentleman had asserted, that at no former period of her history had Great Britain held a more commanding attitude in the eyes of the world, or one in which 6he more completely held the balance of power in the scale of human politics. Where was this shown? Where was this preponderating control of influence visible? They once, indeed, could boast of that proud pre-eminency; but he challenged any man to point out its existence now, in governing the destinies of states. Either, they had the power, and refrained from using it, or they had suffered the beam which upheld liberty and the independence of nations to be kicked by a herd of despots, and the balance to be overpowered; or they had suffered themselves to be duped and cajoled, and shut out from the European system; or, what was, if possible, still worse, to be called into it, when (and indeed upon no other occasion) they were wanted as brokers, when the bills were to be paid, and the money was to Be supplied to meet the exigency of the scheme. One mode of estimating the sense entertained by the continental powers of the conduct and station of England was, to see in what light foreigners treated them. It was now the proverbial talk abroad, when the politics of England were discussed, that she was no longer entitled to rate herself as a first-rate controlling power—no, nor even as a second-rate; but must take her place as an insular power, where nature had put her, or where she had put herself. It might be said, that the dangers which were imputed to the system of the foreign despots were fanciful, distant, and chimerical. He was prepared to maintain the contrary from the avowed principles of the conspirators, commonly called "The Holy Alliance." [A cry of "Hear."] What! was this designation of these Sovereigns doubted? Why, it was not his, but that which they had given themselves. There was but one view which could be taken of that league of conspirators, and of the motives of their alliance. He did not expect that any measure would proceed from these conspirators during the course of either the present year or of the next year, or even of the year after that, expressly designed to wound the pride, or outrage the feelings of the people of this country; for though that people were prevented by many considerations from plunging hastily into the miseries of war, though they were bound over to keep the peace in recognizances of eight hundred millions sterling; yet, as in the case of private individuals, there were insults which compelled them to forfeit the recognizances into which they had entered, so also, m the case of nations, there were circumstances so injurious to their honour, so galling to their pride, and even so alarming to their fears, as to induce them to forfeit the recognizances by which they were bound, and to say, in language more warranted by high feeling than by sound discretion, "Let the debt go; let the storm come; we are prepared for the worst; and hap what hap may, we will submit no longer to the contumely and outrage of these oppressors of mankind." Therefore, it was, he conceived, that the imperial personages abroad would proceed slowly and gradually, but still silently and surely in their infernal work; that they would not assail us by any direct and immediate measures, but would accustom us by degrees, to bear, first one thing and then another, till at last, when they had come to that point at which we necessarily must stop, we should find that we had lost the golden opportunity of resisting them with success; and having lost with it, that which to individuals was every thing, and to nations almost every thing, namely, our honour, should be driven at their good time, and not at our own, to wage a long and sanguinary, and perhaps, unsuccessful struggle against those whom we could have resisted successfully had we resisted them in the outset of their aggressions.

In making these assertions, he was not indulging in empty and unsupported declamation. He had only to ask the house to look at the conduct of these crowned conspirators abroad, and then request it to judge of what their intentions, and feelings, and conduct must soon be toward us. He had been treated during the last session—and as it was a most important point, and one of which he had a most vivid recollection, he would proceed to it first—he had been treated with a sneer of contempt, by a right hon. secretary, when he had stated, that, according to information which he had received, the allied sovereigns had commenced a system of unwarrantable interference with the internal government of the Swiss cantons. He had said at the time that he did not believe all the information which he had received, but had added, that if the least part of the least statement which he had heard were founded upon fact, it was much too much. The right hon. secretary, in reply, contented himself with parodying the expression which he had used, and did not venture to say, "there is no foundation for such a story," which would have been satisfactory, or "we do not ourselves know of any such thing," which to him would have been more satisfactory; for he should have supposed that as the well-paid minister, whom we had residing in that country, with all the intelligence which it was his duty and his business to collect, had not heard any thing of such a measure, there could not be any truth in the information which he had received regarding it. The right hon. secretary, however, ventured to say, "If the least part of the least statement which the hon. and learned gentleman has made, is much too much for him to disclose, it may be a satisfaction to him to know, that that least part is much more than his Majesty's Government are informed of." From the epigrammatic turn of the expressions which the right hon. secretary had then used, he had an entire recollection of the reply which he had then made; and yet, notwithstanding that reply, it now turned out beyond all dispute, that the intelligence which he had received, was much more correct than that which had been transmitted to his Majesty's government: for though, hitherto, he had not been proved to be correct in what he had asserted regarding the offer of placing Switzerland under the protectorate of an Austrian prince, still he had been more than borne out by facts, in what he had asserted regarding the restrictions which were to be placed upon the freedom of its press, and the regulations by which it was proposed to send all emigrants out of its territories; or, in other words, by imperial mandate, to convert Switzerland, which in all former time had been an inviolable asylum to all persons persecuted for their religious and political opinions, into a mere province and appanage to Austria. Sorry was he to state, but it was a matter too important to be passed over in silence, that those individuals whom the calamities of their country and the oppression of its rulers had induced to seek refuge in Switzerland, had been driven from its confines, with an aggravation of suffering that was totally unnecessary even to accomplish the infernal purposes of their persecutors; and that the press had been put down with a degree of superfluous violence, for which it was impossible to account upon any rational principle: for, not content with putting down those journals which communicated political intelligence, or those journals of intelligence in which certain matters of political discussion were mixed, they had even put down those journals of which the object was mere literary and scientific discussion, for no other reason, that he could learn, than that they savoured of discussion, and that discussion and conspiracy could not stand together. He might be told in reply, that notwithstanding all these circumstances, the finances of Switzerland, though small in amount, were flourishing, that its people were contented and cheerful, and almost free from taxation; that there was tranquillity within, and no disturbance from without; but yet, though all this were true, he would still call Switzerland an unhappy country, placed as it was at the beck of foreign despots, and therefore forced to connive at the wrongs, which those public conspirators, against all that was free, and virtuous, and holy, were daily inflicting against the liberties of mankind. The people of Switzerland were made their accomplices, and thus contrived to preserve nominal freedom, whilst practically suffering all the indignities of the most abject slavery. By such conduct they trusted to escape those evils, which open resistance would immediately bring upon them; and all they gained by such obedience to the mandates of their masters was a postponement—a short postponement of the misfortunes which they dreaded.

Nor was it in Switzerland alone, that these conspirators made their power to be felt and feared. In Germany they exercised similar control; and it was not too much to say, that they acted as a police; a kind of royal, imperial, and military police—all over the continent of Europe. Indeed, they acted like that unseen body which formerly exercised its influence over Germany, to counteract principles and practices as detestable as their own. Like that unseen body, these conspirators met in secret conclave to effect their objects: like them, they deliberated on their decrees in private, and afterwards appointed individual members to execute them in public. For instance, sentence went forth against Italy, and Austria was appointed to desolate and overrun that beautiful country. On a subsequent occasion, Spain and Portugal became the object of their rage, and to France was allotted the task of punishing and enslaving them. On one day Austria, and on another France, was the power selected to execute the orders of this confederation of despots; and that, too, without any deference to us or to our interests (indeed, as to our interests, it would only enhance the merit of the deed, if it were decidedly hostile to them); without any regard to our feelings, principles, customs, or opinions; and the bitter fruits of those orders, were reaped by their victims, or by ourselves, without any question being made as to their effects, or any objection being urged by us as to their consequences [Hear, hear]. And this, he was to be told, was subject of congratulation to the people of England! This was holding the balance of power, swaying the destinies of Europe, and executing our own purposes as absolutely as we ever did in the "high and palmy state" of our national glory!

To return, however, to the point from which he had digressed. He had before described to the house the complete state of vassalage to which the press had been reduced in Switzerland. If any man doubted of its being in a similar state of subjection and degradation in Germany, he would merely remind him of what had occurred a short time ago, in the kingdom of Wurtemburg, where a mandate was given to the government to suppress an obnoxious journal, and where the obnoxious journal was suppressed accordingly. He had been told upon authority which he could not dispute, that there was no part of Germany in which the editor of a journal durst publish any thing that was calculated to give umbrage; he would not say to the sovereign of his own country—for that was a matter of municipal law and domestic arrangement—but to the Czar of Muscovy, the King of France, or the Emperor of Austria—foreign powers, natural enemies to each other, between whom no alliance could exist that was not founded upon the principle of conspiring against the liberties of nations; and who had no more right or title to interfere with the press of Germany, than the Commons of England had to interfere with the press of France, or to command the suppression of any journal published in its metropolis. He was afraid that this was the case, in Italy also. An Austrian army, as they all knew, had over-run that beautiful yet miserable country. The south of it was still occupied by a body of 30,000 men, whilst the north had recently witnessed a scene of horror, ["hear" from all sides of the house], of which the mere recollection made the blood curdle in the veins, and filled every feeling breast with the strongest emotions of disgust and abhorrence. Despotism had there added new horrors to the cruelty which it always exhibited in the execution of its decrees, and had aggravated, by the most ingenious barbarity, the mental tortures which it was in the habit of indicting on its unhappy victims. He wished not to excite the feelings of the house by any glowing appeal to their passions; but he could not help asking them, whether any language of condemnation could be too strong for a government, which, when individuals had been sentenced to death after three years' confinement in a fortress, remote from their friends, unacquainted with their crime, and unconfronted with their accusers, could, after their relatives had undertaken a week's journey to apply for mercy, send them back without any answer, and withhold from them the knowledge that an order had been already issued to remit the capital part of the sentence, and to change it—he could not say whether in mercy or not—into protracted imprisonment, for ten or twenty years, in an Austrian fortress? Let them reflect on the mental agony in which those unhappy females must have travelled back to their unhappy relatives, in ignorance of the commutation of their sentence, and expecting to arrive at the place of their imprisonment too late to catch their last sigh, or to pay the last offices of affection to their bleeding remains: let them reflect on the mass of wanton and unnecessary suffering to which they had thus been exposed; and then, if they could, let them withhold from those who inflicted it, their disgust, their hatred, and their deepest execration. This was a sample, and he was sorry to say, not a solitary sample, of what was daily going on in that conquered country. He spoke of it, not as an evil caused by its municipal law, but by the presence of a foreign and insulting enemy. It was not, however, the only grievance to which the Austrian subjects of Italy were exposed. It was true, that torture had been abolished, and that the rack was no longer in use; but, unfortunately, the judge of police was invested with a power, which enabled him, if his victim did not answer as he wished, to aggravate his sufferings in whatever proportion he thought fit. For instance, he could place him in a dark instead of a light dungeon; he could feed him on bread and water, instead of the usual prison allowance; he could confine him for ten or even twenty days in a cell, which he was authorised to render more or less damp and unwholesome, according as the prisoner showed a greater or a less sense of the enormity of his offence; in other words, according to the honesty, or obstinacy, or strength of nerve of his victim; and thus he was enabled to extort by a slower, though not a less effective torment than the rack, an avowal of guilt where the individual was not guilty, and a denunciation of crime against those who had never committed it. These practices, they were aware, had been now carried on in Italy, under Austrian superintendence, for upwards of three years. In some cases, the victim had sunk under them; in others, he had been so completely worn down by his sufferings, as to have sought to escape from them and from life together, by confessing guilt Which he had never perpetrated; and in many, the nearest relations had inculpated each other of crimes, which it was afterwards proved, upon the clearest evidence, it was not possible that they could have committed. This, he repeated, was daily done in Italy under Austrian superintendence, in conformity with the mandates of the conspirators, whom he had before described. They need not order it to be done in Spain by the satellites of France, because they had a more active and appropriate agent for their purposes in that country, in the person of Ferdinand its beloved monarch [a laugh], who, he defied any man to deny it, was more the object of the contempt, disgust, and abhorrence of civilized Europe, than any other man now living in it. "There he is," continued the hon. and learned gentleman, "a fit companion for the unholy band of kings, who have restored him to the power which he has so often abused, in order to give him an opportunity of abusing it once more: there he is, with the blood of the murdered Riego yet dripping on his head, seeking fresh victims for the scaffold, and ready to proceed, on the first summons, to the torture of the helpless women and unoffending children whom fortune may have placed in his power. I believe that in this house, as well as in this country, there is only one feeling regarding the conduct of these despots. I believe that if the country were polled man by man, though there might be some who think it unfit to give vent at present to such sentiments as I have expressed regarding them, there would be none to dispute their propriety or correctness. I believe that I might call upon the house now, as I did three years ago, in the case of the unprincipled aggression upon Naples, and with the same success. I believe that I might even call upon those gentlemen who think me unwise in making the declaration I have done, and put the question to them, one after another, without any fear as to their answer, do you, or do you not, abhor the whole conduct, character, and principled of those conspirators, who are now exerting their utmost power to degrade the moral dignity of man, to bring back the times of intellectual darkness, and to deluge the fairest portions of Europe with the blood of all who opposed themselves to the completion of their infamous designs?" [Loud cheers.]

The hon. and learned gentleman then reminded the House, that it behoved it to consider the difficulties into which the recent policy of the continental monarchs was calculated, at no very distant period to plunge this country. However insensible we had shown ourselves to the aggression upon Old Spain, it appeared that we were likely to be a little more sensitive to any aggression upon New Spain; He knew that there was a party in the state—he trusted an insignificant one—which had said, "let France rule old Spain; let all the resources of that magnanimous and once powerful nation be placed in the hands of our ancient enemy and rival; let all the sea-coast of Spain, with its different harbours and arsenals, be in her undisturbed and undisputed control: let her have possession, as long as she pleases, of those parts of Spain from which an enemy can most easily invade Ireland—that country in which, as the hon. seconder of the address had well remarked, it has long been our plan and our policy to keep the people divided and disconnected—let all the advantages of Spain, natural as well as adventitious, after they have been improved to the utmost by the intellect of France, a power the least likely in Europe to neglect them, be employed against us; let all this be done; still; all the danger that can arise from them is a distant apprehension, an idle fear; if we do quarrel with France, it is no matter; we have beat her once, when she was mightier than she is now, and if need be, we can beat, and will beat her again." All this might be very true: we might, and he trusted we should be successful in such a struggle; still he thought it might be as well to avoid even the cause of quarrel, in a case where, if quarrel did occur, we must necessarily run up a bill of 100 millions, to say nothing of the many thousand lives which must be sacrificed during its continuance. It was all very well that such a calamity—for war under any circumstances was a calamity—should happen, where the honour as well as the interest of the country was at stake; but still if it was to occur, we should not allow our adversary to take undisputed possession beforehand of every advantage that was calculated to annoy us. Some individuals, however, acted.—and he was not now alluding to his majesty's ministers—as if the honour of the country were not worthy of regard, and as if its interests were the only legitimate cause for its engaging in war. They considered that our honour had not been tarnished by the aggression of France on Spain; yet they saw our dearest interests endangered by the very suggestion that a similar aggression was contemplated by France upon Spanish America. Their language almost amounted to this—"I care not for my character, I value not my honour; but touch my pocket, and you touch my life. Touch what you will, but for God's sake touch not the colonies; if you do, you touch the manufacturers of England; you place yourself in collision with one of our most delicate interests," and, as some said, though he again repeated, not his majesty's ministers, "You give us cause, and make it time for us to arm." He could not understand by what misapplication of ingenuity, or by what subtilty of argument, such persons could persuade themselves that we had a right to protest against the aggressions of France upon South America, after we had not uttered a word of protest against her aggressions upon Spain. At the present moment the colonies belonged de jure to Ferdinand. According to the doctrines advanced by France before she invaded Spain he was not more out of possession of Mexico than he was out of possession of Madrid. It was to relieve him from the power of the constitutionalists, and to restore him to his legitimate authority in Spain, that French troops were marched into Spain. This pretext was not quarrelled with; and what was there to prevent a similar excuse from being as good in the case of Spanish America, as it had been in the case of Old Spain? Besides, it might be asked, had not Ferdinand a right to take back colonies which were undoubtedly his before the commencement of the war? To that question he knew that the right hon. secretary opposite had given a decisive answer. In one of his state papers he had said "Time, and the course of events appear to have substantially decided the separation of the colonies from the mother country." But he would ask, had not "time and the course of events," at the period of the French invasion, more "substantially" decided, that the Spanish constitution was the constitution of that country. Had not that constitution resisted all the attempts of its assailants, from its establishment in 1820, down to the year 1823? The fact was beyond dispute. Until French gold and French intrigue set up the army of the faith, the constitutional government of Spain was clearly an independent one; indeed, it had been recognized more than once by our own cabinet, and had been more formally recognized several years before by the imperial autocrat of Russia himself. If we ever went to war to prevent France from taking possession of the former conlonies of Spain, there would be an inconsistency in our policy, which ought to be reconciled, but which, in his humble opinion, it would be beyond the wit of man to reconcile. He knew that he was expressing the hope of every man in the country, when he said, that he trusted that the colonies of Spain would never, under any circumstances, return under the dominion of the mother country, no matter whether she was to exist under a constitutional government, or an absolute despotism, or whether England, France, or Russia, was to hold the preponderating power in her councils. He trusted that the inconsistency which he had pointed out in our policy admitted of reconciliation; but whether it could or could not, he trusted that we should not neglect our duty to America, although we had grossly neglected it towards Spain. The question, however, with regard to South America, he believed, was now disposed of, or nearly so; for an event had recently happened, than which no event had ever dispersed greater joy, exultation, and gratitude over all the freemen in Europe—an event in which he, as an Englishman, connected by ties of blood and language with America, took peculiar pride and satisfaction—an event, he repeated, had happened, which was decisive on the subject; and that event was the speech and and message of the president of the United States to Congress. The line of policy which that speech disclosed became a great, a free, and an independent nation; and he hoped that his majesty's ministers would be prevented by no mean pride, no paltry jealousy, from following so noble and illustrious an example. He trusted that as the United States had had the glory of setting, we should have the good taste to follow, the example of holding fast by free institutions, and of assisting our brother freemen, in whatever part of the globe they should be found, in placing bounds to that impious alliance, which, if it ever succeeded in bringing down the old world to its own degraded level, would not hesitate to attempt to master the new world too. [Cheers.] On this point there was no occasion to have recourse to conjecture, as they had facts before them. Ferdinand had been expressly told by the emperor Alexander, that if he would throw off the constitutional fetters by which he was trammelled, he would assist him in recovering his trans-Atlantic dominions. In this case they would send out no army, they would equip no fleet, they would not appear to take an active part in the struggle; but they would most assuredly give assistance, in an underhand and covert manner, to the efforts of the Spanish Government. Treasure would be privately supplied; arms and ammunition would be sent out, secretly, but in the abundance required to meet the views of Spain; and, above all, that would be done with respect to South America, which had already been successfully practised in the Peninsula; bodies of Intriguers amply supplied with money, would be sent out; the priesthood of the country would be found most willing allies in creating suspicion and sowing dissension; and unless an effectual resistance were made (and to expose the danger in the first instance was the most effectual step towards resistance), those colonies would be again brought under the iron rule of the mother country. If the declaration of America did not, as he hoped it would, put an end to those attempts on the independence of the colonies; if a vigorous resistance were not opposed to those machinations; sooner or later their liberties would fall a sacrifice to the intrigues of Spain and of the allied powers.

He could have wished that the hon. seconder had omitted one expression which had fallen from him in the course of his speech. He alluded to that part in which he had spoken of the unfortunate termination of the contest in Spain, and to the little resistance which had been made by the Spanish people. He would not then enter into an inquiry, whether that result was occasioned by the influence of foreign powers, or by the conduct of the people themselves. Undoubtedly, blunders had been committed. The want of a settled constitution, and somewhat of a too scrupulous policy, had led them in a crisis of affairs delicate and critical beyond all previous example, to stand on form, when they should rather have attended to substance; added to this, were the efforts of the priesthood whose mischievous influence was deeply to be lamented in Old Spain. Of these internal evils, aggravated by external aggression, the liberties of Spain became the victim. With respect to those distinguished individuals who had left that country to avoid the tyranny which they must have experienced had they remained in it, it must be admitted by all parties, that they retired from the contest with hands unstained with blood, and with reputations untainted even by the breath of suspicion. They possessed not resources to save Spain, but they had more than ample resources to save themselves from contumely. Those great men had retired, subject to no charge; but conspicuous for that honest, illustrious, and in this country, he hoped, honoured poverty which they preferred to wealth, when acquired by an abandonment of principle. He hoped to God that they would find, wherever they went, the same sympathy, and kindness which had been extended towards them in England. The people who had squandered such sums of money on projects that were worse than useless might well extend the hand of assistance to those high-minded men; and he anxiously hoped to see the day, when they might do justice to their transcendant merits, by treating them in that generous way which their virtue deserved. He begged pardon for detaining the house at such length. He had, indeed, occupied a much longer portion of its time than he at first intended; but he felt so strongly on some of the points introduced by the hon. seconder into his speech, that he could not avoid noticing them. He should only add, that the pleasure which he felt at the admission contained in the concluding part of the hon. gentleman's speech, was as great as the gratification he experienced in having discharged his duty, by entering his protest against other portions of it.

Mr. Secretary Canning

said, he rose with some degree of diffidence, because he had not previously intended to present himself to the Home immediately after the hon. and learned gentleman, in consequence of the impression created by a rumour which he had heard, namely, that it was the intention of some hon. member on the other side to propose an amendment to the address. However, as that intention seemed not to be entertained, and although the hon. and learned gentleman had thrown no obstacle in the way of that practical conclusion at which he believed the House would arrive, yet there were some points in his speech, which it would be neither respectful to the House, nor just towards his majesty's government, to pass over in silence. Whatever might have fallen from the hon. seconder, which appeared objectionable to the hon. and learned gentleman, he must request, in fairness, that the whole of the Speech from the throne should be considered together—that it should not be taken in its separate topics, but should be viewed with reference to the general tenor of the matters under consideration, and to the general state of the country in all its relations. He entirely agreed in the sentiment, that the present was not the moment to consider with the best advantage, or with reference to the immediate business of the day, the by-gone question of the policy which had been adopted towards Spain. That question must refer solely to the address carried in the last session of parliament—he need not say with how large a majority, or with how general a concurrence of the public voice throughout the country. The policy then recommended had been strictly adhered to; and the events which were then in progress had now been brought to a conclusion. It was impossible for the Speech from the throne to omit all notice of that subject; and it was equally impossible to have noticed it in a manner less calculated to revive extinguished feelings, or to excite any of those angry emotions to which the introduction of such a topic might be supposed to lead. He was not inclined to follow the criticism of the hon. and learned gentleman, who had gone over the whole of the speech of the hon. seconder; situated as he was, any other person would be more proper to undertake that task than himself; and therefore he should not enter into a discussion as to the causes to which were to be attributed the failure of the efforts which had been recently made in Spain. God forbid that he should exult over those who had been discomfited! God forbid that he should utter an unkind sentiment towards those who were now mourning in anguish over their defeated hopes, and whose misfortunes, no individual talent, virtue, or exertion, could avert! Undoubtedly, the issue of that contest must have been seen to depend on events and circumstances which no human being could estimate with certainty or confidence. One great consideration was, the degree of support which the existing constitutional system was likely to receive from the feelings and affections of the people of Spain—that people on whom it had always been said so much dependence might be placed. As this country had not any thing to do with the struggle—as his majesty's government felt that a strict neutrality was the wisest and best course to pursue—he was prevented from stating what the opinion of ministers were with respect to that constitutional system. He was not desirous to point out its defects—he was not desirous to point out its unfitness in many respects for that country—he was not desirous to point out how far it was unsuitable for monarchical and Catholic Spain. It had failed; and with its failure a state of things had grown up, respecting which, standing in the situation he then held, he would not utter an opinion. It was, however, satisfactory to state, that, in the contest for its establishment, no British army, no British navy, no British treasure, was employed. So far as this country was concerned, the Spanish people were left to act for themselves.

Then came the question, for what purpose were they to have interfered, and to what extent was that interference to proceed? Now, it was not merely necessary that they should send fleets, and armies, and supplies to Spain; but, to have been of use, they must also have carried into that country, unanimity, firmness, and confidence—qualities, of all others, which strangers never carried into a state where they were about to employ their arms—qualities which, money, fleets, and armies haying been supplied, the people must, after, all, acquire for themselves. Now, if unanimity and confidence—requisites so necessary for carrying on the contest—did not exist, was it possible, even with our assistance, that the effort to establish the constitutional system could have succeeded? or that any thing beyond a protraction of the struggle would have been effected? But the hon. and learned gentleman had connected the affairs of Spain with another question, which was not yet decided; and he had declared, that he could not under- stand how it was possible that this country could raise a barrier against the invasion of Spanish America by a foreign state, unless she was prepared to exert her power against the war which France was waging with Spain. But, the distinction was very plain. Precisely on the same principle that they determined not to consider the internal affairs of Spain as a fit subject for their interference, they would be justified in preventing foreign powers from interfering with the affairs of the colonies. They must consider the mother country and the colonies, according to the peculiar circumstances of the case; and he must say, that there never had been an instance in the history of the world, where the separation of the mother country and the colony had taken place, where a neighbouring state had not a clear right to exercise its judgment on the question of recognition. Undoubtedly, the mother country might protest against that recognition; and it was equally clear, that the foreign power, while in a state of friendship with the mother country, had no right to give that aid to the colony, which was not recognition but support and encouragement. It might be difficult to state the point where the period of recognition should commence—where the recognition would not be connected with previous encouragement, and where to withhold it would be unjust. But, when that period arrived, it was not the state in which the mother country then stood that should influence the decision. It must rest on its own peculiar grounds, without taking into consideration whether the constitution of the mother country was a mitigated monarchy, as was the former constitution of Spain, or a monarchy of a more absolute and unlimited nature. The question, he repeated, must he decided on its own special merits, and with no reference to the constitutional changes which Spain herself had undergone. If they were prone to deal with others as others had dealt with them, there would be no necessity for so much caution and forbearance. They had only to look back to the loss of their own colonies in America, and they would see that others did not hesitate to deal with them in a manner very different from that which they had adopted. But, not to do precisely as we have been done by, but to do as we would be done by, was the true political as well as moral maxim [Hear, hear!].

The hon. and learned gentleman had observed, that if they were now to recognize the independence of South America, they would only be following the example which had been set in another quarter; alluding to the message of the President of the United States. In some of the principles laid down in that document, he entirely agreed; and he might be permitted to say, that, long before the message was sent forth, it was distinctly admitted, in the state papers of Great Britain, that the question between the mother country and the colonies was not a fit subject for foreign interference; but he did not agree in the principle, that the parent state had not a right, if she could, to recover her own colonial dominions. [Mr. Brougham motioned, that such a principle was not laid down.] In the paper to which the hon. and learned gentleman referred, there was a passage which many individuals construed in that way, and he certainly understood the hon. and learned gentleman so to have construed it. He was clearly of opinion, with the President of the United States, that no foreign state had a right to interfere, pending the dispute between the colonies and the mother country; but he was as strongly of opinion, that the mother country had a right to attempt to recover her colonies if she thought proper. At the same time, he was not blind to the difficulty of making such an effort with any prospect of success. Looking to the question in this point of view—and he thought it was the correct one—it appeared to him, that it would be unkind, unjust, unfair, and, he would add, ungenerous, if this country had not afforded an interval, to allow Spain an opportunity of selecting that course which appeared to be most beneficial for her, colonial interests. He contended, that Great Britain would have acted unfairly and ungenerously, if, while Spain was convulsed by a dreadful struggle, while the whole force of the country was absorbed in a civil war (one of the parties, in that war having called in a foreign, army),—that Great Britain would, under such circumstances, have acted unfairly, if she had taken advantage of this untoward state of things, to make an inroad on the colonial possessions of her ally. Even if the time and opportunity had been wholly lost by the delay, still he must rejoice that they had been suffered to go by, and that nothing had been attempted to be done until Spain was as much in possession of herself, after the confusion into which she had been thrown, as it was possible for her to be. Even on that part of the speech from the throne, he thought the hon. and learned gentleman would bestow his approbation, if he calmly considered it. What was there stated? Ten months ago, in a paper laid on the table of that House, it was stated, that the situation of those independent states depended in a great measure, on external circumstances. Now, after a lapse of ten months, when Spain was restored to her power as substantially as she could be, under her peculiar circumstances, came this speech from the throne, which told the House, "that his majesty had reserved to himself an unfettered discretion of acting towards those colonies, as their circumstances and the interests of his own people might appear to require." The hon. and learned gentleman surely did not want his (Mr. C's.) interpretation of this passage: he knew the meaning of it to be, that his majesty had declined overtures for any joint consideration of this subject—that he had kept his discretion completely unfettered on a question in which he felt that the interests of his people were concerned—that he had entered into no compromise, and was perfectly at liberty to act "as the circumstances of those countries and the interests of England might require." What more could the country desire, under these circumstances, but that a question of such magnitude should be temperately and fairly considered? He would appeal to any man, however eager he might be for the accomplishment of his wish in this respect, whether they had not acted wisely towards themselves and generously towards Spain, in allowing this delay? Was it not just that a pause should be granted to the parent state, during which she might have the advantage of learning the sentiments of the different powers of Europe? Could any one doubt, that by allowing this pause, by suffering this subject to be temperately discussed, by giving an opportunity to Spain herself, perhaps, to acknowledge the independence of those states, they did not bestow a greater boon on the colonies themselves, than the immediate recognition of England would bestow on them? And, would not such a pause render any step which they might themselves hereafter take more proper and more efficient? Would it not appear to be such a step as might be justified both in the eyes of God and man, as the best and most prudent that could be adopted? Such, really, was the fact, precisely as he had stated it. A proposition had been made by the government of Spain to the government of this country, and. an answer had been returned. That answer was on the road to Madrid; and after it had been disposed of, the time would arrive when government would be enabled to speak with more explicitness on the subject [Hear!].

He did apprehend with the hon. and learned gentleman, that of all the topics on which the speech from the throne touched, this was the most important. He might, perhaps, say, except one—on which, as the hon. and learned gentleman had not noticed it, he should also remain silent; as he had no wish to provoke unnecessary discussion. He believed that the subject of the South American Colonies was so prominent in the minds, the feelings, and the wishes of the country, that he was perfectly justified in putting it forward as he had done, in the little with which he felt it necessary to trouble the House. As to the general question, with respect to the station in which this country stood towards Europe and the world, he would make a very few observations. He said, "Europe and the world;" and in using that phrase, he felt that it was perfectly applicable to the time in which they lived. When he spoke of Europe and the world, the phrase had reference to Europe and America—the old world and the new, the different interests of which must be nicely balanced by every person who wished to attain the character of a British statesman. He could not take to himself the praise which the hon. seconder, in addressing himself to this point, had conferred on the government; but he must, on the other hand, repel the blame which the hon. and learned gentleman had cast on his majesty's ministers, and contend, that England stood in as proud a situation to maintain her just rights—to maintain her own proper interests—that she was as much courted, as much respected, and that her opinion was as anxiously desired by other powers, as had ever been the case. He agreed, indeed, in the observation of the hon. and learned gentleman, that she was not now in the same state as she had been in some other periods of her history. But, why was this?

Because the whole state of the world had changed,—because (whether right or wrong, he would not inquire) there were now great preponderating powers which possessed within themselves more strength and resources than they could command in former times—more strength, perhaps, than ought properly to belong to them: but, as those elements were in being, they were compelled to deal with them, in proportion to their weight and importance in the general system. His majesty's ministers had been taunted for the patience with which they had viewed the conduct of those powers. They had been taunted on account of the internal abuses which existed in those countries; but he should be glad to know at what time it was customary to interfere in the internal regulations of foreign states? He would look back to the reign of king William or queen Anne, and he would ask, if an alliance were then made with the emperor of Germany or with the most despotic prince that ever sat on the throne, whether their ancestors would have criticised the conduct of those who had carried on the negotiation, because they had entered into a compact with the sovereign of a country, the constitution of which was different from their own? They could not alter the constitution of state. They could not make a new world, They could not form another world, "of one entire and perfect chrysolite." They must deal with the world as it was; they could not figure and fashion it to suit their own convenience. Was it policy, he would ask, to hold no communion except with states which possessed free constitutions. If it were so, then our alliances must be extremely narrowed indeed! If there were to be no alliance with those who were termed despots, would they ever have been able to have overthrown that colossus of despotism, before whose throne almost the whole world had bowed the knee? The hon. and learned member had stated, that things were going on in Austrian Italy which were sufficient to make one's blood curdle and run cold. He (Mr. C.) confessed he was ignorant of the particular transactions; but he believed he knew sufficient to direct his mind to the proceedings to which the hon. and learned member alluded. Trials for conspiracy, he understood, had taken place at Milan, convictions had followed, and sentences had been pronounced. The testimony might be false; the witnesses might have been perjured; the judges might be corrupt. He did not know that this was the case, but he would even assume it to have been so; and even if it had been so, did the hon. and learned gentleman mean to say that this country was therefore to break off all communication with Austria? What was to be done, he wished to know, with Austria, in the view of the hon. and learned gentleman? How was the gap which her absence would leave to be filled after we had lost her? Were we to abolish her as a power, or to take up arms against her, because her internal arrangements did not meet our approval. This was surely too absurd and extravagant a proposition to be listened to. Let us rather maintain all our external relations, and preserve our connection with the great powers of Europe, with reference to the corpus imperii, on broad and general principles of state policy, without examining too minutely into abuses which may exist in foreign governments, or into practices which our better government and happier institutions enable us to criticise with asperity, or denounce with abhorrence.

He believed, however, that the hon. and learned gentleman had been greatly misinformed in some of the circumstances to which he had adverted. He perfectly well knew, that about twenty of the chief persons concerned in the conspiracy at Milan, of whose guilt or innocence he did not pretend to offer any opinion, were convicted and condemned to death, upon their own confession; and he knew also, that the Emperor of Austria had extended to them his mercy, not without a struggle against the opinions of some of his advisers, who thought that the interests of the empire would be endangered by that extension of mercy. As to the particular statement made by the hon. and learned gentleman, with respect to the relation of one of the culprits, he could say, with all sincerity, that he was ignorant of the transaction to which he alluded; but, if the hon. and learned gentleman imputed to the Austrian government any undue severity, in the administration of the law on that occasion, he conscientiously believed that he was mistaken. The hon. and learned gentleman had proceeded to allude to other malpractices which existed in the Austrian government, and to comment with much severity on imprisonments, and dungeons, and on the cruelty of extorting confessions; but the hon. and learned gentleman did not seem to be aware, that by the law in that country, sentence could not be executed on a criminal unless he confessed his guilt. To us this might seem a very absurd law, as it was constantly the practice in this country to hang criminals who died protesting their innocence, and we did not think confession necessary; yet, on the first statement of the law, as it existed in Austria, it could not be denied, that it seems to be rather a humane provision than otherwise. He believed it to be an absurd provision; because the confession must either be unfairly extorted, or if the proof was sufficient without such confession, it was unnecessary. He did not, however, think it was quite fair to state the fact that these persons were goaded on to confession, without also stating the fact, that by the Austrian law, sentence could not be executed on a criminal without such a confession. He did not wish to be considered as advocating the expediency of such a provision. He did not deem it a part of his duty to vindicate the laws of a particular state, with which we were politically connected. He did not feel it to be his duty to make himself master of the details of a particular trial, which might have taken place in that state. But, if other nations were to judge of us, as the hon. and learned gentleman was now judging of the Emperor of Austria, with what barbarity and coarseness of feeling might they not charge us, when they referred to what they had all witnessed, with so much disgust, during the last three months? He alluded to the recent trial and execution at Hertford. What imputations might not be cast on the national character, if they judged of us as critically as the hon. and learned gentleman was now judging of the Emperor of Austria, when they read the eulogiums which had been published in this country en a hardened, un-confessing, convicted murderer? Would it be fair to make use of this transaction, as an argument to impeach the national character of this country? What would the hon. and learned gentleman think, if as a pendant to the picture which he had drawn of the trials at Milan, the transactions at Hertford were to be critically commented upon in a foreign assembly, and converted into an argument against the character of the British people? Such an argument would be quite as fair, and quite as much to the purpose, as the ar- gument which had been employed by the hon. and learned gentleman.

The next point to which he would advert, and he should do it in a word, was the observation of the hon. and learned member upon his question last session, on the subject of Switzerland. The answer which he had given to the hon. and learned gentleman's question, he had given at the time, in perfect sincerity; and when the hon. and learned gentleman said, that he ought to have been better informed, by so well paid a mission, upon the subject, that argument certainly did not apply ad hominem, whatever other merits it might lay claim to. If the quantity of information derived, was to depend upon the payment of the mission, he, upon that principle, ought not to have been informed, for he had reduced the costs of the mission by one-half [a laugh]. In point of fact however, he had not been informed in the slightest degree as to the reports in question, when he had given his answer to that effect, to the hon. and learned gentleman, and it was only on going to his office, about a quarter of an hour after, that he had found the same detail of facts upon his table, which the hon. and learned gentleman had opened in his speech, coming, perhaps, from the very same source from which they had come to the hon. and learned gentleman. As to the reports of an Austrian prince having been in view at any time for Switzerland, he believed there was not a shadow of a foundation for the story. For the charge of harbouring conspirators, and the remonstrances, he would only thus much, that if the accusations had been true, the remonstrances were justifiable. But he believed, that both the hon. and learned gentleman and himself, had been misled in what that statement of facts, as it was called, contained; and that a great part of the stories circulated abroad had been founded upon the solicitations of ill-disposed persons in Switzerland herself, who desired—and there were some whom he knew to be capable of such a purpose,—who desired to bring the great powers of Europe upon their country; because they themselves, in the objects of some particular faction, had been defeated. The more he reflected upon the subject, the more he was convinced that such had been the fact; and as to the Austrian prince, he believed such an idea had never existed but in the brain of the drawer up of those state papers which had furnished him with his information as well as the hon. and learned gentleman opposite; and had, in fact, teased every court in Europe which would take the trouble to look at the writer's lucubrations. With respect to Germany herself, as regarded those circumstances upon which the hon. and learned gentleman had commented, he certainly could hardly conceive a more inconvenient arrangement, than that power of the German diet to interfere with all the states of which Germany was composed. But, the independent state (Wurtemberg) to which the hon. and learned gentleman alluded, this independent state which had been interfered with, was part, let it be recollected, of the German federation. He himself thought the principle was bad; but it was not fair to call an application of it a flagrant outrage. The power in question might, or might not, have been exercised improperly as regarded a particular state; but still it was the law. And, even under any circumstances, was it to be said, that, wherever there had been an improper interference with a paragraph in a newspaper, we, England, were to blot out of the map of that state, Europe, and to say we would have no alliance with it? The hon. and learned gentleman must give up the old world, and look only to the new, if he meant to establish any such a principle. He knew that it was maintained by some, that England ought to set herself up as a barrier for all Europe, against principles of a despotic tendency; but he could not be persuaded, that it was the policy of England to do lightly any act which might plunge herself and all Europe into a bloody and unceasing war; Of all the wars—and unhappily we had experienced but too many varieties of them—of all the wars which we had seen, and which had brought desolation in their train, the wars of opinion had been decidedly the most fatal; and a single spark flashing unhappily from the hasty zeal of England, might light up a conflagration on the continent, which no after-exertions could extinguish; might lead to a contest of opinions and principles, which would divide all the nations of Europe, and only terminate, probably, with the total destruction of one of the contending factions. Was this, then, an object for England to aim at? Was this to be laid down as the intent by which ministers were to regulate their conduct? Or might they be allowed to say, that their object was peace; be the component parts of that peace more or less perfect? To see England moving steadily on in her own orbit, without looking too nicely to the conduct of the powers in alliance with her: to see her content with her own glory, and by that glory exciting other nations to arrive at the same advantages which her peculiar system had bestowed upon her; but not, by a wild crusade, or endeavour, to force those advantages upon free countries, converting blessings into curses as respected them, and courting danger and difficulty as regarded herself? It was this course which he took to be the true policy of England. It was with this view to peace, while peace might be maintained, that his Majesty's government had acted, and were prepared to act. But it did not follow, because they forbore to seek for difference, that when it came, it would not find them on the alert; or that the strength which had slumbered would be the less effective when called into action.

He did not know that, in what had fallen from the hon. and learned gentleman opposite, there were any other points, on which he needed to detain the House; but he would just say a very few words, with reference to those observations respecting Ireland, which had been made by the hon. seconder of the address, at the conclusion of his speech. With regard to Ireland, he wished it to be understood, that his sentiments were what they had ever been. He retained all his old opinions with respect to that great question; and fully believed, that sooner or later, those opinions would make their way in that House; but he differed from the opinions which had been laid down by the hon. and learned gentleman opposite. There was no word, which, in parliamentary oratory, was more bandied about than the word "inconsistency;" and, in general, the person who charged another with that offence, did not measure the consistency of the accused by his own, but by some arbitrary standard that he had chosen to set up. Now, it might be an absurd opinion to hold, that in the present state of public feeling in England, the Catholic concession could not (to use the common parlance) be carried as a "government" question, and that the public men of the country did not afford the materials for an administration, united upon that point, and upon other questions of paramount importance. But, if that opinion of his was absurd, it was not an opinion of the present day; it was the opinion which he had always expressed in that house; and "inconsistency," as he took it, was the differing, not from others, but from one's self. The hon. and learned gentleman, however, on the opposite bench, and another individual in another place, had thought it expedient to charge him with inconsistency in his conduct, with respect to the catholic question; and, by rather a whimsical choice, they had both laid hold of that particular period of his public life, in which he had enjoyed the best opportunity for showing what his sentiments upon that question really were. It was said of him, that in the year 1812, he had been willing to become part of an administration, which was to consist of the marquis Wellesley and himself, and other gentlemen on the same side of the House; that that administration would have been an administration united upon the Catholic question; and that therefore it was inconsistency for him to act with any government otherwise constituted. Now, whoever might be the historian that had referred to this passage of his (Mr. C's) life, he had looked, by some accident, at only part of the transaction. If he had examined one side of the page as carefully as he had the other, he would have found (continued the right hon. Secretary) "that, in the year 1812, when his royal highness the Prince Regent was graciously pleased to instruct the marquis Wellesley and myself to form a government, the stipulation of marquis Wellesley had been, that he should make proposals to some of the gentlemen on the opposite; side, and my stipulation—what was it? Was it to exclude the Protestant faction, as it is called, altogether? No; but it was that I should be at liberty to make similar proposals to lord Liverpool, which, accordingly, I did." Such, then, had been; his (the right hon. secretary's) expression of his opinions; not when he had been called upon to join a government, but to form one. It was true, that lord Liverpool and his friends had declined taking office with that government; and also that he himself had not thought it necessary, upon that refusal, to give the thing up altogether: but his choice had been a government composed of mixed elements; and his opinion was still, that if the Catholic question was to be carried, it would be carried by an administration which made it, not a government question, but a general one. He did still hope that the prejudices of Englishmen might in time be reasoned down; and that in time the Catholic question might find that support in the country, which, he was sorry to say, he did not think it found at present. But, by whatever hand, or at whatever period, that question should be brought forward, it would receive from him, whether in or out of office, the best support which he was able to give it. But it would still find him believing, that nothing was to be gained by attempting to carry the point in the way of a government question; and that (if that were necessary) there did not, moreover, exist materials at the present moment, sufficient to form an administration concurring upon that subject, and upon others also on which it would be necessary for them to agree.

He had said, and he meant to keep his word, that he would not travel into any part of the Speech from the throne, which had not been touched upon by the hon. and learned gentleman. There was one most important point in it, which he should therefore leave at rest, feeling that it was not because its value was underrated, that it had for the present been passed over by the gentlemen on the other side. The speech of the hon. and learned member opposite, had gone chiefly to matters of foreign policy; and he had endeavoured to explain to the House, the course which, upon that head, Government had pursued. The Speech from the throne contained an account by ministers of their stewardship, and of the policy which they had pursued, since the House had last met; and if, upon that statement, they did not come forward to challenge approbation, at least, they were prepared to meet criticism without dread or apprehension.

Mr. Bright

protested against being understood to concur in the system of policy which had been adopted with respect to our West-India Colonies.

Mr. Canning

said, that the language of the Speech from the Throne was, of course, to be understood as comprehending the sentiments of ministers on that subject, and that the whole question would be open to discussion at a future opportunity.

Mr. Secretary Peel

said, that as the hon. and learned gentleman opposite had inferred, from a part of the Speech from the Throne, that measures were recommended introductory to the admission of the Catholic claims, he was anxious not to be misunderstood on a question of so much importance. As his right hon. friend had taken an opportunity of expressing the opinions which he was known to maintain on that subject, and his intention and perseverance in them; he (Mr. P.) trusted that he might also be permitted to take the same opportunity of repeating the determination, which he had so often expressed in that House, of opposing the se claims, whenever they might be brought under the consideration of Parliament.

Mr. Hume

expressed his regret at hearing the observations which had fallen from the right hon. Secretary opposite, with respect to that unfortunate country, Ireland. He had, in effect, declared, that the same ruinous system of policy which had so long distracted, and divided Ireland, was still to be persisted in. This was a lamentable declaration, on the part of ministers, in whom that House was called upon to place is confidence. He complained that there was no distinct statement in the Speech from the Throne as to what taxes were to be taken off, and what amount of relief was to be afforded to the country. The Speech was as lame in its composition, as it was possible for any public document to be. They were told, that arrangements had been made for that purpose, but there was no mention of any thing to lead them to conjecture what class would have the immediate advantage of the intended relief. The fears of the country ought to be instantly assuaged by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, by stating what taxes would be taken off. Not a moment should be lost in giving the House and the country proper satisfaction upon this part of the Speech. His object in rising was merely to protest against its being understood, that because they were silent, they felt no disapprobation whatever.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that it was his intention at a very early period of the session, to lay before the House the view which his majesty's ministers had taken of the state of the finances, and of the course of measures which they thought it advisable to adopt for the future. He therefore thought, that under these circumstances, neither the hon. gentleman, nor the House would consider that he was wanting in proper respect, if he declined entering at present into any specific statement of the measures which it was his intention so shortly to submit, and which he trusted would prove satisfactory both to the House and the country.

The Address was agreed to nem. con.