§ The Speaker informed the House that he had procured a copy of the King's Speech, to prevent mistakes; and he would read it, for the satisfaction of the House.
§ On the Speech being read,—[for which see ante, p. 1315.]
rose to move an Address to the Crown in answer to the Royal Speech. In rising to address such an Assembly, under the circumstances in which he was placed, he could only rely for indulgence on the kind feeling of the House, and on the courtesy of those Members in particular, who, having preceded him on similar occasions, knew the embarrassment incidental to so novel a situation. At the same time, he was aware that a cause like that confided to his hands ought not to suffer from the inadequacy of his talents for the perform- 56 ance of the task. The accession of the Sovereign at a period so pregnant with great events abroad and at home, presented matter for interesting reflection, and the personal character of that Sovereign, together with the tenor of his Speech, he might add, were of a nature to call for congratulation. The settlement of a Regency, as suggested by the Royal Speech, was a delicate subject of discussion, but the terms of the recommendation sufficiently indicated the extent to which his Majesty's confidence was reposed in their fidelity and judgment: it was for them to show that his confidence was not misplaced. Of such a Monarch, he trusted it was not too much to say, that he was liberal in his principles, kind in temper, and condescending in disposition, that he rejoiced, not in the unsubstantial pageantry of a Throne, but in the happiness of his people; and that he ever considered how he should best maintain the essential spirit of the Constitution, which inculcated liberty to all, injury to none. It was impossible to view without regret the affairs of France, a country in alliance with ourselves, which, after having accomplished a revolution, accompanied by fewer evils than are usually attendant on such a crisis, still continued unsatisfied and discontented, to the deep injury of the commercial interests of this country in so far as they were connected with those of our neighbour and ally. The Belgian States, it was to be lamented, exhibited even greater horrors than those of which France had been the theatre, having rebelled and levied war against their King, who was ready to make any concessions in their favour which they could reasonably demand. Nevertheless, although no amicable termination to these dissensions had hitherto been produced, he was not without hopes that they might yet be adjusted by the mediation of Great Britain, in conjunction with the other allied Powers of Europe. The adage, that the bitterest foes are those of our own household, was, however, but too deserving of universal acceptation. But amid these wars and rumours of wars, which daily reached our ears, it was some satisfaction to reflect that we, at least, maintained a good understanding with the world at large, notwithstanding the discord which raged on every side around us. Through the storm which agitated society throughout Europe, and endangered the existing institutions of all the States over 57 which it rolled, our ship still rode triumphant; but if ever it should threaten the establishments of England, he had no doubt that our safety would be found in the renewed vigour and aroused energies of the people. He would not then go through the unnecessary details of the system of economy proposed, but might congratulate the House on that which had been already achieved, namely,—the repeal of taxes last Session, which pressed so grievously on the public, and on the lower classes more particularly. Nor could he forbear to advert in terms of praise to the moderation of his Majesty, who, notwithstanding the increased expenditure, had so far waived his personal claims as to recommend a revision of the Civil List. He hoped that Government would not fail to follow the example, for the awakening spirit of the age called loudly for reform and improvement. The character of the Sovereign, and the aspect of public affairs, warranted the presumption that the spirit of the constitution would be kept up, and that Ministers in the work of reform would not be found wanting. Although the new Parliament had certainly been deprived of the services of several able statesmen,—of one who had long presided at the head of their councils, amongst others, of whose many excellent qualifications that was no time to speak,—he trusted they would be enabled to do their duty to their own credit and to the satisfaction of their country. He had now done all that he had proposed, and would leave the further discussion of such important subjects to the deliberate judgment of abler debaters and more experienced statesmen, merely adding, that he would give his decided support to the present Government, as one calculated to uphold the liberty of the people, the safety of the Church, and the dignity of the Crown. The noble Lord concluded by reading the Address, which, as usual, embodied and echoed all the sentiments of the King's Speech.
§ Mr. R. A. Dundas, in rising to second the Address, also craved the indulgence of the House, and observed, that at a period of such unusual excitement at home, and more than ordinary embarrassment in our foreign relations, he trusted he should be pardoned for feeling some embarrassment, and that he could not be expected, in the presence of so many Gentlemen, better capable than he was of 58 doing justice to these important subjects, to enter much at large into the consideration of the topics which they suggested. Although it was not for him to offer an opinion on the cause of the Revolution in France, or to say whether it proceeded from the Sovereign or the people, or whether it was produced by the acts of the King or his Advisers, yet he was convinced there was not a Member of that House, whatever might be his political creed, who did not regret that event: he repeated, he should feel surprised if there was any Member who did not join with the majority in regretting the events which arose from that Revolution, and the circumstances which attended it—circumstances which were calculated to awaken those feelings respecting civil dissensions which it was fondly hoped, had been allayed for ever, and which were calculated to produce others so dangerous to the tranquillity of Europe. While he deplored these events, it was, however, a subject of congratulation that the illustrious person now called to the throne of France, and who was said to be distinguished by almost every grace which adorns humanity, had declared his determination to preserve most faithfully the relations of amity with this country. After alluding to the fact that the other Powers of Europe had recognised the new government of France as promptly as this country, the hon. Member observed, that the same reasons which produced regret for the changes which had taken place in France, must operate to produce still greater regret for the disturbances in the Netherlands. It might, indeed, have been supposed that the people of a country which had suffered so much from the horrors of a war, and which had been so often made the arena on which the great Powers of Europe decided their quarrels, would have been taught by the sad experience of former calamities, to restrain their feelings within the bounds of moderation, and to have adopted every reasonable method of redressing their grievances, before they had recourse to the power of arms. As, however, they had unfortunately pursued a different course, it was some consolation, in the midst of the anxieties felt for the peace of Europe, when a country so intimately connected with the causes of all former contests was in a state of anarchy, that, however appalling the prospect of war might be, or however much the pre- 59 sent unsettled state of Belgium might affect the interests of all other countries, it was, he repeated, gratifying to find that no jealousies prevailed on the subject between the great Powers of Europe—that they were determined to take no mean advantage of the calamities with which the Netherlands might be afflicted, and that they were resolved to respect in their full force the treaties of 1815, and use then-most strenuous exertions in obedience to them, to restore the tranquillity of Europe. Adverting to Portugal, he said he was glad to hear that the Ruler of that country had determined to give his subjects an Act of Amnesty, and he hoped that in doing so he would also learn for the future to respect the laws of humanity. If the Portuguese have chosen Don Miguel for their sovereign, it was not for this country or any country to dictate to them more than to the French the person they should select. He approved of the course pursued by the Government towards Portugal, although he did not think the recognition of Don Miguel's authority could inspire in the House or the country any feelings of respect for his character as a Sovereign. Greece had not been mentioned in his Majesty's Speech, but he felt bound to declare that he believed the delay of the settlement of that country had not proceeded from any want of care or attention on the part of his Majesty's Government; and he also believed that the new government of France would be found as anxious as Russia or as this country to co-operate in the fulfilment of those treaties which would secure to it perfect independence, and enable its inhabitants to indulge once more that spirit of enterprise for which they had been in former times so celebrated. Turning from our foreign to our domestic relations, it was a matter of congratulation to all lovers of their country to know, that however gloomy might be the prospects of the people in the apprehensions of some persons, the seeds of civil dissension had not yet been successfully sown in this country. For 140 years, since the period of the Revolution, the people had enjoyed, under our excellent constitution, full and uninterrupted prosperity. Abroad the arms of the country had prospered by the courage and devotion of the people—at home their liberties had been protected and secured by the working of their justly-praised Constitution. He would say, indeed, that Eng- 60 land was the great birth-place of rational liberty. In it, of all countries on earth, was to be found in the greatest perfection that alliance of social order with good government, which formed the happiness of the people, and which was far removed from the visionary plans of those constitution-makers, who sought to pervert the judgment of the people, that they might the better instigate them to mischief. The laws and the religion of this country formed its security and its safeguard. While other nations groaned under the yoke of tyranny and oppression, and while the people of other countries either suffered without relief or subverted their Government and institutions, the Constitution of England had remained untouched and unaffected, like that sacred chain of nature which binds the jarring elements in peace. Disorders, it was true, there had been, and attempts, he knew, were not wanting to excite discontent and dissatisfaction; but they arose not from any defect in that Constitution, but from the depravity of human nature; they were the work of men who were wicked enough to contrive any kind of mischief, but who lacked the courage to execute it, and who would render others the sole victims of their own dark and dangerous policy. He was convinced, however, that there existed, among the intelligent and enlightened portion of the people of this country, a bond of union which was unknown to others; and having that bond of union, under the safeguard of the Constitution, there was no real ground of apprehension. He looked, however, in these critical times, with confidence to his Majesty's Government, and particularly to his right hon. friend near him, (Sir Robert Peel,) and the noble Duke at the head of the Treasury; and he was convinced that the Parliament would not hesitate to arm them with powers suited to the exigencies of the occasion. He could not conclude, without deploring the loss which that House had sustained in the melancholy death of one of its most eminent Statesmen—a death the more melancholy from its taking place within sight of that town, to the prosperity of which his efforts had always been especially directed, and at the moment when one of the great objects of his desire, as well as of its inhabitants, had been brought to a glorious and successful termination. Whatever difference of opinion might prevail, with regard to 61 the commercial policy of that Gentleman, he was sure there was no Member of that House who did not feel regret for his death, and deplore the loss of a man whose talents were unquestioned, and whose life had been devoted to the service of his country. This eulogium might be styled foreign to the subject before the House; but although that right hon. Gentleman's political opponent, he thought he should be unworthy of a place in that House if he failed to pay a just and proper tribute to his talents and his services. With regard to the questions of the Civil List and the Regency, he was confident they would receive due consideration from the House; and he therefore should now conclude by expressing his belief, that the distress of the country, felt so strongly at the commencement of the Session, had, as was anticipated, subsided under the influence of time. He thanked the House for the indulgence with which they had been pleased to hear him; he would no longer trespass upon their time, but would conclude by expressing his cordial concurrence in the Address moved by his noble friend.
§ The Speaker having read the Address,
§ Lord Althorp
said, that the subjects to which his Majesty's Speech, and the Address which had been moved by the noble Lord referred, might be classed under two heads—our domestic and our foreign relations; on both of which he begged to say a few words. With respect to the first, he had heard with gratification that part of the King's Speech which declared his Majesty's determination to enforce strict economy in every branch of the public expenditure. Such a declaration, if duly acted upon, would communicate general satisfaction throughout the country. With respect also to the passage in his Majesty's Speech which related to the Civil List, it was most gratifying to him, and it must be most gratifying to every one, to find that his Majesty was disposed to place his interests in the hereditary revenues, and in the other funds, which, in former settlements of the Civil List, had been reserved to the Crown, at the disposal of Parliament. He was quite sure that in doing so his Majesty might rely with perfect confidence on the House and the country; because he was certain, that while the House and the country must feel the absolute necessity of the most rigorous economy and retrenchment, they would 62 be very sorry indeed to make such an arrangement with respect to the Civil List, as would be incompatible with the comfort and dignity of the Sovereign. He hoped, however, that whenever this subject was brought under the consideration of Parliament, the particular interests of his Majesty would be carefully separated from all other interests; for nothing could be more inconvenient, or more calculated to foster unjust prejudices, than that questions relating to the maintenance of the proper dignity of the Crown should be united to questions with which they ought to be altogether unconnected. He hoped, therefore, that the estimates of the Civil List, when submitted to the House, would be in such a shape as would admit of their being discussed with reference solely to what was due to the honour and dignity of the Crown; and that the other questions to which he adverted should be considered with reference to the general expenditure of the country. As to the Regency question, he was happy to understand that it was to be brought forward. Until, however, the provisions which it was intended to propose were known, it would, of course, be impossible to make any particular observation on that subject. With reference to the last topic of a domestic nature to which his Majesty's Speech adverted, it must be quite unnecessary for him to say, that he lamented as much as any man could lament, the turbulence and malicious mischief which had been manifested in various parts of the country, and especially in the neighbourhood of the metropolis. It was certainly most deeply to be regretted that any portion of the people, however suffering from distress, should be so misguided as to be induced to destroy the property of their employers, and thereby to diminish the power of those employers to assist them. He would not say any more on the domestic topics of his Majesty's Speech. As to our foreign relations, and first with respect to the recent occurrences in France, he begged to observe, that the honorable Seconder had expressed a regret at those occurrences which was not to be found in the King's Speech. All that the Speech did, was to announce the fact, "that the elder branch of the House of Bourbon no longer reigned in France, and that the Duke of Orleans had been called to the Throne by the title of King of the French." If the hon. Gentleman meant by his regret, that he regretted that 63 any government had been induced to invade the liberties of a country, in such a regret he perfectly concurred. But if the hon. Gentleman meant that he regretted that a sovereign and a ministry, so misconducting themselves, should suffer for their behaviour, in a regret of that nature he could not for a moment concur. As to the Netherlands, he was sorry that his Majesty had been advised to express any opinion on the state of public affairs in that country. He entertained considerable objection to the part of the Address which expressed to his Majesty a corresponding opinion on that subject; but it was so inconvenient, and was attended with so much disadvantage to. discuss a question of that nature on an occasion like the present, that he would abstain from saying or doing anything more than entering his protest against any interference on the part of our Government in the domestic concerns of the Netherlands. As to the external and diplomatic considerations which might arise out of existing circumstances, that was a question which stood on very different grounds. With respect to the proposed recognition of the Sovereign of Portugal, when he considered that the present sovereign of that country had been a sovereign de facto for three years, his hostility against any foreign interference with a de facto government compelled him to say, that he did not think we should do well if we delayed the proposed measure. Having stated his views on these several points, he would proceed to make a few observations on the general state of the country. He confessed that he was not alarmed on that point. He did not believe that the country was in such a state of general discontent as to justify immediate apprehension. At the same time he felt that great skill and great care would be necessary to guide it safely through its difficulties; and he was bound to say, that he did not think his Majesty's present Ministers were qualified for so arduous an undertaking. But while he stated this he would add, that he should look at their measures, and if those measures appeared to him to be such as to deserve approbation, they should receive his most cordial support. He made that declaration for himself, but he believed it would also be found to express the sentiments and intentions of all his hon. friends near him [assenting cheers from the Opposition]. At 64 the same time, feeling as he at present did with respect to the existing Administration, he should certainly not object to any proposition, the tendency of which might be to displace them. On the question of economy and retrenchment, he thought the country had a right to demand the strictest limitation in every department of the public expenditure. He thought that the country had a right to demand this; and he also thought that his Majesty's Government ought, in the present Session, to take a more extensive and statesman-like view of the general system of our taxation than it had hitherto done. It would be affectation, however, on his part, if he were to say that he had any expectation that it would undertake such a task. It might be, however, that they contemplated some proceeding of the nature he alluded to; and if so, he confessed it would come upon him as a very agreeable surprise. The object ought to be to take such an enlarged view of the principle of our taxation as might tend to render its pressure as light as possible on the industry of the country. There was another great question which he had long supported, the importance of which had not hitherto appeared to have been duly estimated by the country, but which now seemed likely to assume a more practical character. The people at large seemed at length to be convinced that the most effective measure towards a remedy for the various evils under which they laboured, was a reform in Parliament. For himself he believed, that if concessions on this subject had formely been made, less would have satisfied the people than would now satisfy them. This was not to him, however, a matter of the slightest regret. The reform ought to be extensive; and he was very far from being sorry that at the late elections the people seemed to be almost universally of the same opinion. He hoped and trusted, that in the course of the present Session much would be effected in furtherance of this most desirable object; and every measure of that description should receive his most cordial support.
§ Mr. Dundas
was understood to say, that the noble Lord had misconceived his observations on Don Miguel.
The Marquis of Blandford
said, it was of the greatest importance, in these eventful times, teeming with jealousy and suspicion on the part of subjects towards 65 their rulers, that from this new Parliament, which ought to speak the voice of the people, his Majesty should hear and know what they felt and thought of the measures and character of the last Parliament: because, if his Majesty should be led to believe, that the last Parliament was generally approved of by his people, it would be one of the most fatal errors that could be palmed upon his Majesty, and might lead him to connect himself with that small faction in the State, which was notoriously the master of the last Parliament. That circumstance alone might defeat and disappoint all the hopes of those who placed their reliance upon the personal disposition of his Majesty, who were sincerely attached to our ancient Constitution of King, Lords, and Commons—and who looked to his present Majesty, as he undoubtedly had the power, with hopes that he would be the great instrument of restoring that Constitution to its pristine purity, and thereby prevent— what, at such a period as the present, was but too likely to happen—the bringing into disrepute among the people even the very frame of that Constitution; engendering perhaps a spirit for theories, novelties, and questionable "improvements," in place of a lawful endeavour to get back the well-known and long-tried Constitution of their ancestors. Under the last Parliament, laws were put in force which greatly increased the value of the current money then circulating in the kingdom, and a deaf ear was turned to all the just and reasonable petitions of the people for a corresponding reduction of the taxes. Hence the affairs of all persons concerned in land and trade became unexpectedly involved in confusion; and losses to so great an extent occurred, as in thousands and thousands of instances were productive of utter ruin—while the land itself, and most other sources of productive industry, suffered a diminution of their former value of the most alarming nature. Such, indeed, had been the influence of our fluctuating monetary system over other countries, that to it might be ascribed the contraction of the currency in France and elsewhere. That, again, had caused so great a want of employment among the working classes, wherever heavy taxes had to be paid, as seriously endangered the very existence of the governments where those in power had not the wisdom and the virtue to make large and corresponding reductions 66 of the taxes, instead of endeavouring to prop their existence by forced loans, false credit, and all the abominations of the funding system. Under the last Parliament, the laws of England were fearfully altered; the Judges of the land, the ambassadors to foreign courts, the governors of our colonies, and a great variety of other officers, as well as placemen and pensioners, were paid far beyond what the country could afford; and at the same time doctrines and opinions were maintained, and conduct adopted by different functionaries, diametrically opposed to the maxims of our common law, and to those long-acted-upon principles of our ancestors, to which England owed her former prosperity and power. All this had, he contended, arisen from want of the proper intelligence, honesty, and superintendence of a fairly chosen and uncorrupted House of Commons, and the consequent dread of the due exercise of the power of impeachment by such a House. Trial by Jury—that palladium of our Constitution, had been, in some cases, absolutely set aside, in defiance of Magna Charta, and the declarations of the most learned text-writers and commentators upon our laws. In other cases, this celebrated mode of trial had been so accommodated and dealt with, as to have ceased altogether to be that palladium of the rights and liberties of the people that it used, and always was intended to be. The King's Attorney General, an officer utterly unknown even by name to the common law (and it would be difficult, he believed, for any lawyer to point out the Statute by which such a functionary was created), had assumed the most wanton and unconstitutional powers, and dared to threaten the liberty of the Press in language that ought to have deprived him of his office, even had it been a more legitimate one, and better known to the law and the Constitution than he supposed. Being wholly unconnected with those in place and power, or with any persons seeking place and power, he had determined to place upon record, for the information of his Majesty, what in his opinion—and, he believed, in the opinion of every intelligent and independent man in the kingdom—was the cause of all these evils; namely, the want of reform in the House of Commons. He meant, therefore, to move an Amendment to the Address. Very many of his brave and sensible fellow-subjects had already 67 spoken their minds to his Majesty in the honest language of loyalty, and as in common with them, he had something to lose by misrule and convulsion, he could not suffer the present opportunity to pass by, without declaring fully and fairly those sentiments which were uppermost in his mind, and which he knew to be the prevailing sentiments in the minds of the great mass of his countrymen. The noble Marquis concluded by moving the following Amendment:—
"In this its first Address to the Throne of a new King, instead of making itself the mere echo of the Ministers of the Crown, this House feels that it ought to show itself to be the very mirror of the people; and that, to do so, it must not fail to lay before your Majesty all their thoughts and feelings, all their wants and wishes, as well as all their loyalty to your office, and attachment to your person.
"The discharge of this important duty, and the present serious aspect of public affairs, render it impossible, as well as improper, to address your Majesty otherwise than at considerable length.
"Your Majesty is to be informed that this House, in common with the great majority of your people, holds the memory of the House of Commons of the last Parliament in utter hatred and contempt, for the following reasons:—
"First, because the last House of Commons uniformly turned a deaf ear to the just complaints and petitions of your people; and, secondly, because instead of acting upon the old constitutional principle of withholding the supplies until the grievances of the people were redressed, which it was earnestly and seriously urged to do, it seemed to consider itself of no other use, and chosen for no other purpose, but to vote, night after night, immense sums of money, to be drawn from the pockets of the people; exhibiting, at the same time, the utmost indifference, and often the most sovereign contempt, of all consideration in what manner such enormous sums could be obtained, without the risk of involving the great productive interests of the country in the most extensive embarrassment and ruin.
"That in proof of this, your Majesty has only to look at the unprecedented numbers of bankruptcies and insolvencies of farmers, traders, and others of your honest and industrious subjects, through all the years of the existence of the last House of 68 Commons; and your Majesty will thereby be convinced, that while great numbers of landed proprietors have been driven from their paternal mansions, and have been compelled to see them occupied by loan-mongers and stock-jobbers, while others have removed themselves, their families, and their fortunes, for ever from your shores; and while the middle classes of your subjects have been reduced with frightful rapidity to the labouring class, the labouring class has been reduced to absolute beggary and want. That numbers have actually died from starvation, and others have been obliged to submit to the most degrading services, and to see themselves and their families the victims of fever, induced by famine—that thus, in a short time, instead of ruling, like the two first Princes of the House of Brunswick, over a nation devoted to your government by the happiness and blessings it should enjoy, your Majesty may find yourself ruling over a nation of paupers and of placemen—of those who live upon the taxes and the poor-rates on the one hand, and on the other hand of loan-mongers and borough-mongers, wallowing in the stagnant and unproductive accumulations of their joint and several monopolies. Such, Sire, are the effects of the accursed and unnatural funding system, in its last agonies, and the vain attempts to save this monster in England are at this moment overturning the governments of other countries far more rapidly than the folly, or even the wickedness of their rulers. That the acts of the late House of Commons, both of omission and commission, under which the people of this once happy country have been brought to such a state of wretchedness and suffering, inculpate all concerned in the highest degree of criminality; from which nothing can excuse them but a sincere and contrite confession of their sins, and a total and immediate alteration of their conduct, without which it will be the duty of this House to expose, by name, to your Majesty, all those who are feeding upon the vitals of the country, as the only chance left, since argument has failed of saving itself, and perhaps even the Throne of your Majesty, from the storms of convulsion.
"That in order to have obviated such complicated evils as are hereinbefore set forth, it was the duty of the late House of Commons to have done more, and to have talked much less.
69 "That that House was told, both within these walls and without these walls, that the reason why it felt no sympathy in their sufferings, no anxiety for their relief, was because the majority of its Members had an interest directly opposite to the interests of the people; that this majority was not chosen, as of right it ought to have been, by the majority of the land-owners and householders of England; but was nominated and appointed by a few individuals, who, partly by the effects of time and accident, but still more by a barefaced perversion of the spirit and meaning; of our laws and Constitution, had acquired the power of selling:, or otherwise disposing of, the seats in this House, in such manner as best suited their own interests.
"That the late House of Commons was also repeatedly called upon, entreated and implored, to set about reforming such a monstrous abuse, but that it uniformly refused to listen to such call; and, though hesitating, fluctuating, and changing, upon other questions of vital consequence to the country, upon this question of reform it determined to follow the advice of one of its own Members, and one of its own 'temporary elective dictators, dependent upon its own corrupt and prostituted votes,' which has been truly called 'the most odious of all forms of tyranny,' to 'oppose reform in every shape to the end of its political existence;'—and that, to the eternal disgrace of the last House of Commons, it kept this profligate determination obstinately to the last. But your Majesty may be assured, that if your Majesty had not been advised to dissolve the last Parliament in the sudden and unexpected manner in which it was dissolved, the late glorious events which have taken place in France, would have had a mighty effect in shaking this profligate determination of the said House, and of inducing it to consider the difference between the guilt of bringing on death upon a nation by slow poison, or by a sudden blow; and that, by the law of England, there is such a thing as treason against the people as well as treason against the King. Your Majesty may also be further assured, that when great numbers of the nobility, being members of the Privy Council, were charged, in despite of the constant prayers of the Church, with being traffickers of the seats in this House, and that one of the fruits of such traffic, was, not an endowment of 'grace, wisdom, and understanding,' but 70 an endowment of more than half a million a year of the public money among themselves; and that another fruit was the patronage of the Church, of the Army and Navy, and of the collection of about sixty millions a year of taxes among the families, friends, and dependents of the masters of seats in the House of Commons. If these things had been seriously considered, it is not to be believed that the blood of English-men would submit to be for ever tainted with such political disgrace, but that there would have been a race among the said masters, and the buyers and sellers of seats in Parliament, who should be foremost in laying down upon the altar of this country this unhallowed and most damned property, or power of trafficking in the representation of the Commons of England. Your Majesty may consider it as the firm conviction of the people—that if the last House of Commons had done its duty, it ought, upon every principle of justice, to have reduced the taxes at least in the same proportion that it raised the value of the currency, and thus half the present amount of taxes might and ought to have been taken off, including the whole of the cruel and harassing Excise laws, and all those cheating indirect taxes, by which every labouring man who earns and expends 30l. a year, has 18l. taken from him. All the just expenses of the Government, and the interest of the Debt, might have been reduced, with perfect equity, in the same proportion as the taxes, and all the unjust expenses of Government, in useless and sinecure places, the diplomatic, colonial, and all other departments, kept up solely for the purposes of corruption, might and would have been done away with, if the last House of Commons had been the real, and not the sham, Representatives of the people. That the late attempt to destroy the freedom of the Press, and freedom of election in France, and thereby the more effectually to rob the people of that country of their rights and property, never would have been made, if the last House of Commons had had the sense and honesty to have restored freedom of election in England; that the king of France might still have been upon his throne, and all danger have been prevented from the mischiefs of anarchy and confusion, which have only been avoided by the unexampled wisdom of the brave and learned youth of France, and the splendid forbearance of the brave and honest working men of Paris, who did 71 not hesitate to risk their lives when they saw that a system of tyranny and taxes was about to be fixed for ever on them, and on their children. And in reference to this affair, so important in its consequences, too much praise and thanks cannot be given to your Majesty for the honour you have conferred on England, whose sons were heretofore famed as 'ever first and foremost in the achievement of liberty,' in taking the lead, and setting the example of acknowledging the new king of the French; who, like your Majesty, sits upon his Throne by the best and highest of all titles, that which is said to be the voice of God himself; namely, the voice of the people. For this great honour and service, it is the unanimous opinion of this House, of the whole nation, not to say of all Europe, that this act may justly be ascribed to the personal character of your Majesty, and to your own sense of justice, and of the true interests of your subjects; and your Majesty, therefore, deserves to enjoy the hope, that your name may be remembered by millions still unborn, for the lasting blessings of peace and friendship between France and England, which this act of your Majesty has every prospect of consolidating. And the Members of this, the first House of Commons in the new Parliament, promise your Majesty, as it is fit they should, that if others learn nothing by example they will; as they do not doubt that a King who has already given such proofs of his desire of being beloved by his people, and of promoting the welfare and happiness of the industrious classes, that a King, who more than thirty years ago, from his own mouth in Parliament, denounced 'monopolies, as the canker of the State,' and called upon the Legislature 'to root them out,' will never endure to see his people ruined, and his Crown put in hazard by that worst of all monopolies—the monopoly of the seats of the House of Commons. So they implore your Majesty to withdraw your confidence and the patronage of the Crown, from all persons engaged in, or resolved upon, upholding this odious traffic, and thereby implicating your Majesty in such connexion. And if, in so doing, your Majesty, who as yet stands clear of this system, and above all suspicion in the eyes of the country, should have to encounter a factious opposition to your government, or if the usurping proprietors of seats in the House of Commons should be so lost to 72 every sense of justice, and to their own interest, as to dare to set up their usurpation against the ancient, just, and undoubted prerogatives of the Crown, your Majesty may rely upon the zealous and determined support of this House, and of your people, even to the last drop of their blood.
"And your Majesty may be assured, that nothing short of the complete annihilation of this odious and unrighteous monopoly of seats in the House of Commons will ever satisfy the just and unanswerable demands of your people to be restored to their ancient Laws and Constitution, of which they know they have been most wrongfully deprived by the corruption and prostitution of this House, within little more than the last hundred years, which is but as yesterday in the history of laws of such high antiquity, and such transcendent fame throughout the known world. That, next to the disesteem in which the memory of the last House of Commons is held by the people, for refusing to enter upon the great question of Parliamentary Reform, would be the grievous disappointment and just indignation of the people if nothing more than the representation of a few large towns were to be offered them, while the great master-grievance, of a proprietary interest and domination over seats in this House should be allowed to continue. And your Majesty may also rest assured, that the great majority of your people have no desire to alter the frame of the Government of King-, Lords, and Commons, which has endured so long, and been productive of such advantages to the community; neither do they think it necessary or expedient to claim or demand any new plan or scheme of representation unknown and untried in the history and practice of their ancestors; but they will never cease to demand that, wherever, according to that history and that practice, the right of representation has been bounded, there shall also be bounded the burthen of taxation."
§ Mr. Cresset Pelham
addressed the House, but was inaudible. He was understood to approve of the Address.
§ Mr. Long Wellesley
was understood to say, that he should be unworthy of the confidence which some part of his countrymen had shown themselves inclined to repose in him, if he did not repeat in that place what he had declared elsewhere; 73 namely, — that he was friendly to the cause of reform, and that he was convinced that nothing could relieve the distress of the country, except a change of system, a remission of taxes, and an alteration in the mode of collecting them. He should have been glad had he seen in the King's Speech any declaration which could have led him to expect a remission of taxes. He said this, because he believed that the best interests of the nation were in a state of great depression—because he believed that there was disaffection in the country. Yes, he believed there was disaffection; although, looking at the general state of opinion, he also believed that there never was a better, or sounder, or more loyal sense of public feeling in the nation, than there was at the present moment. He likewise believed that there never was a time when all the measures of reform, retrenchment, and economy, which the condition of our circumstances required, could be affected with so much security. It would have been satisfactory, most satisfactory to him, to have heard an annunciation made by the Government of its intention to adopt such a measure, because he was convinced that it would have placed both Government and Parliament in better odour with the people than it was now likely they would ever be. He had lived and travelled much upon the continent, and from what he had seen and heard there, he was satisfied that our foreign policy could not long remain in the state in which it was at present. He called the revolution in France a glorious revolution, on account of the exemplary mildness and moderation with which it had been conducted. But if there was one man, either in that House or elsewhere, so stultified as to suppose, that the revolution, and the public sentiment which it had engendered, would stop where it now was, either in France or Belgium, that man was most egregiously mistaken. He was satisfied that they would see similar occurrences to those which they had witnessed in France and Belgium, taking place in Italy, in the Prussian States, and indeed in all those countries which had been ceded by the Holy Alliance to different sovereigns, and which had been prevented by the power of the sword from giving expression to the feelings which animated them. That was his sincere conviction, and therefore the question to be now considered was, not 74 what would originally have been best to do, — that was unfortunately past and gone,—but how we should act, to prevent that which was already bad from becoming worse. The course to be adopted to attain that object was, in his opinion, a system of complete non-intervention. He believed that in that opinion he was not singular. When he first heard the Address read over, he thought that, if his recollection did not fail him, he had seen some diplomatic paper, which justified him in the sentiment which he had just expressed respecting non-intervention. He had, since that time, looked over the Debates of the House of Lords, and, to his surprise, he found a diplomatic note, delivered by our minister to the Congress at Verona, bearing the signature of the Duke of Wellington, and declaring the decision of the Cabinet of that day to be in favour of a deviation from the general policy of the Holy Alliance, and in support of the system of non-intervention. There was, in the Speech from the Throne, a most extraordinary sentence, to which he should have occasion more specifically to allude by-and-by. If the meaning of that sentence were, that it was the intention of the Ministers not to interfere, either with the form, or the principle, of the government which the Belgians intended to establish for themselves, or with any object which they might propose to effect, by the assertion of their independence,—if the meaning of that sentence were, that they would only interfere with the consent of France, in such a manner as would put an end to anarchy, and prevent a government from being formed injurious to France,—for Belgium, it ought to be recollected, had been placed in a false position, for the express purpose of checking the aggressions of France,—if the meaning of that sentence, he repeated, were, that Ministers intended to assent to the establishment of a free government in Belgium, the case would be much altered from what he understood it to be; but certainly, as it was at present, it both deserved and demanded explanation. The sentence was as follows:—"I lament that the enlightened administration of the King (meaning the king of the Netherlands) should not have preserved his dominions from revolt, and that the wise and prudent measure of submitting the desires and complaints of his people to the deliberations of an extraordinary meeting of the States General 75 should have led to no satisfactory result." He would not call the attention of the House—for it would be unnecessary—to all the extraordinary circumstances which had both preceded and succeeded his Majesty's resolution to call the States General together. But the King's Speech proceeded,—"I am endeavouring', in concert with my Allies, to devise such means of restoring tranquillity as may be compatible with the welfare and good government of the Netherlands, and with the future security of other States." Now it was worth remarking, that there was nothing said here of the independence of Belgium, but something was said about the future security of other States, and he should like to know what was meant by that. If it was meant that the fortresses of Belgium should not be permitted to remain in the possession of the Belgians, but should be garrisoned by foreign troops, then he would say, that there was not one soldier, unless indeed, he were a Russian or a Prussian, who would not become, whilst stationed in those fortresses, infected by the public opinion, which now pervaded the most intellectual portions of Europe. He had no hesitation in asserting, that if it were the intention of Government to recur to the policy of the Holy Alliance, which had annexed Belgium to Holland, without any regard to the wants, and wishes, and feelings of the Belgians, that object could not be effected in the present state of the world. He would likewise add, that if it were the determination of the Government to persist in that intention, the country was at that hour on the eve of a war, and where it would end God Almighty alone knew. The hon. Member then proceeded to comment upon the following clause in the King's Speech:— "Appearances of tumult and disorder have produced uneasiness in different parts of Europe: but the assurances of a friendly disposition which I continue to receive from all foreign Powers, justify the expectation that I shall be enabled to preserve for my people the blessings of peace." He likewise adverted to that paragraph in the King's Speech, in which allusion is made to the recognition of Don Miguel as King of Portugal. He said, that he could not understand the principle which had induced the Government to pursue such an opposite line of policy, as acknowledging Don Miguel, as king of Portugal, and ackowledging the Duke of 76 Orleans as king of France. He concluded, by apologizing for the length of time, during which he had intruded on the attention of the House, and by thanking it for the indulgence with which it had listened to his observations.
§ Sir J. Yorke
said, that he was one of those Members who was most happy to see the hon. Member, who had just sat down, returned again to the House; and he was particularly pleased that he had come back to it with such a magazine of oratory, and still more so, that all that oratory was to be expended on a subject with which the hon. Member was not popularly considered to be very conversant, —he meant the subject of finance. All the drift of the hon. Member's speech— for he saw the feeling of liberality which the hon. Member had towards the French revolution—all the drift of the hon. Member's speech was, that he could not allow the Mover and Seconder of the Address to deplore the French revolution as an event calculated to disturb the peace of Europe. For his own part he did most sincerely deplore its occurrence: for though the noble Mover, and the hon. Seconder —one or other of them, he did not exactly remember which—had declared that he would not say who was wrong or who was right, he must say that a fact had occurred which might produce throughout Europe a convulsion, which the hon. Member, with all his ability, might find it difficult to allay. The hon. Member had told the House that he had been bred up a diplomatist— that he had lived and travelled much in foreign countries—and that he had received great information on particular points now in dispute; and he had then comforted it by saying, that there was not a single member of the European family of Kings who would not shortly undergo the same fate as the late King of France.
§ Sir J. Yorke
begged the hon. Gentleman's pardon. He did not wish to misstate the hon. Member's sentiments, perhaps he had misunderstood him. All he wished to do was to follow the hon. Member through the numerous points of his multifarious harangue. He could not agree to the Amendment which had been proposed to the Address. He thought the Speech from the Throne a good Speech —good in itself—not merely good on account of its omissions, though be was 77 inclined to admit the truth of the old maxim, "The least said, the soonest mended." His Majesty had been bred up in a man-of-war—had been educated in the cock-pit, and had come from sitting on a midshipman's chest to take his seat upon the imperial Throne of these realms. It was comfortable to him, as a member of the same profession to which his Majesty had formerly belonged, to see such an array of the Representatives of the people assembled on the first clay of the Session, to do justice to the expectations of the country, and to endeavour to dole out, from their concocted wisdom, a system which might give repose to Europe, and secure the peace and tranquillity of the world. The noble Lord had proposed a long Amendment, which, in the language of his profession, he would call a tough and long yarn, and which looked vastly like the pamphlet of some political doctrinaire. "I felt for you Sir," said Sir Joseph, addressing the Speaker, "as you proceeded in the laborious task of reading that document. One pair of lungs was scarcely equal to the feat. I felt for you, Sir, extremely, as you had not only to read the original Address, which was long enough in all conscience, but also the still longer Amendment which was attached to it. I was surprised that the Representative of the house of Marlborough, with all his manliness and courage, should have had the boldness to present such an Amendment to your notice. He ought to recollect, that if ail these taxes were done away with, neither the house of Wellington, nor the house of Marlborough, could retain that great share of gratitude which they now enjoy by the gifts of a rich and powerful people." He should not quarrel with the original Address merely because it expressed an anxiety to allay the turbulent spirit now abroad. He did not understand, nor would any man who had sat so long in the House as he had, and had voted 1200,000,000l. for defraying the expenses of the last war, understand why we were not to interfere and prevent the fortresses of the Netherlands from falling into the possession of France. Those fortresses were security fortresses, and the last remains of the indemnity money which this country had received from France. Was not his Majesty to be at liberty to revert to the treaties by which those fortresses had been repaired? Was he to remain as quiet as if he were struck dumb? Was he 78 to sit with his orb in one hand, and with his sceptre in the other, and become a mere nonentity in Europe, at a time when he was naturally anxious to prevent the Netherlands from falling again into the hands of France, and to deprive France of the power of commanding the entrance into that glorious river the Scheldt, and of making herself once more the mistress of the basins of Antwerp? Let them recollect that that great master of the art of war, Napoleon, had said, "that he who held Antwerp held the key to Holland," because he could overwhelm it by the legions which he could in a proper season, pour over the ice He held, that his Majesty had acted rightly in making the allusion which he had made to the present condition of the Netherlands. He thought that his Majesty could scarcely have said less than he had said, and that his Ministers, with all the responsibility to which they were exposed, had acted wisely and prudently in putting the present Speech into his Majesty's mouth. He desired to see unanimity in the House on the present occasion. He admitted, that they ought to be cautious, and to look at the signs of the times; but even that caution ought to teach them to do that by their King, their country, and their families, which would enable them to transmit unimpaired to their posterity the various blessings which they now enjoyed.
said, that it was with great reluctance he rose to address the House on the present occasion, because he had expected that his learned friend below him, who was so much better qualified for the task, would have been among the first to notice the various topics introduced into his Majesty's Speech. He had heard with regret the speech which had just been delivered by the gallant officer opposite; it breathed war, and nothing but war throughout, in support of a system which had been condemned by all good men, from its first establishment, as founded for the express purpose of putting down liberty and supporting despotism all over Europe. He therefore regretted that the gallant officer, in giving his support to the Government, had thought it necessary to give his support to that infamous system. The Speech from the Throne would be read with great regret by the country, for it breathed nothing but war and expensive establishments, and mentioned not a syllable respecting the distress which pervaded all parts of the em- 79 pire. He was pleased at hearing the expression of approbation which the hon. Member, who spoke last but one, had given to the change which had recently taken place in the government of France, in contradiction to the Speech from the Throne, which viewed that change with regret. What country had we got into? Was England the land of liberty, now that we heard a noble Mover of a Parliamentary Address to the Throne uttering language of regret on seeing a great people rising in their strength, and wresting their liberties from the unwilling hands of their despots? He protested, in the name of the people of England, against the practice of bringing the Speech forward in Parliament without any previous notice of its contents, and of then following it up by an Address, the mere echo of the Speech preceded by speeches of the Mover and Seconder. It was impossible for hon. Members under such circumstances, to know what they were doing, and to distinguish the King's Speech from the speeches which followed it. He should therefore consider as one speech the King's Speech, the speeches of the Mover and Seconder, and the speech of the gallant officer who had just sat down; and therefore it was, that he regretted from his heart that utterance had been given by them to a sentiment of disapprobation on the firm conduct of the people of France during the late trying emergency. They had been oppressed, he might say, cruelly oppressed, by an individual who held the throne by the selection of the potentates of Europe, and not as the throne of his ancestors—for that had been forfeited, and had been held by another for many years. It mattered not how long it had been held, because held it had been; and the hopes of the re-establishment of the Bourbons in France were once as faint as the hopes which he entertained of becoming king of France. Foreign bayonets, however, did their work, and displaced Napoleon; for the people of the continent came forward with heart and soul in the cause, on the promise and pledge that they should be rewarded with free constitutions as a compensation for the blood they were called on to shed, and the trouble to which they were forced to submit. The Bourbons had been replaced on the Throne of France by the force of British bayonets. The fact might be unpleasant to some ears; but so it was, though their return was coupled with 80 a constitution and chartered rights. That constitution the king of France had attempted to take from them, almost from the first day on which he had sworn to defend it. He was only the chief executive officer of the government, and as such he was bound to be the guardian of the chartered rights of the people. Yet, notwithstanding this, he went on year after year, encroaching upon them; and now they, the representatives of a free people, were compelled to hear a British King and British Parliament, and a British officer too, regretting that tyranny had been overwhelmed, and that France had once more been restored to liberty. So far was he from joining in that regret, that he could scarcely listen to the expression of it with patience, knowing, as he did, that the despots of Europe were all banded together to stifle liberty, even in the cradle. He must own, that it was with regret that he saw a red coat rising to second the Address. The character of an officer was naturally formed by the system of discipline to which he was subject, and therefore it was, that he felt hurt that any British officer—and the hon. Gentleman opposite was a British officer—should regret the changes recently effected in France. To the honour of France and Frenchmen be it told, that no such change where despotism got the better, had ever been conducted with such moderation. Let the gallant officer look at all the States of Europe, where despotism had prevailed over freedom; and let him recollect how the scaffolds had streamed with blood, and how many thousands and tens of thousands of enlightened patriots had been driven from their homes to gratify the spite, malice, and revenge of one or two crowned individuals. He regretted extremely, that the King had made the Speech which the House had that day heard. He believed, that his Royal heart was constant to the free institutions of his country, and that it was his bad advisers who had put into his mouth words which would be read with indignation by every honest man in the kingdom. The gallant officer said, that all the people of England regretted the success of the French revolution. He denied the truth of that position; he verily believed that four-fifths of the people of England and Scotland heartily rejoiced in it. He protested against a British King being made to utter sentiments which were directly at variance with those that 81 had been expressed by the country at large. He believed, that there were individuals in this country who were sorry for what had taken place in France, because they saw that their unhallowed practices, their undue privileges, and the monopolies by which they were supported, were in danger. Such men might, and did, condemn the proceedings of the French, but honest Englishmen did not. The right hon. Secretary (Sir R. Peel), in the last Parliament, and in almost the last speech he made in that House, said, that the measures of the Government should be measures suited to the people,—measures which should meet with the concurrence of the people. The right hon. Gentleman said, that the Government would fall back upon the people, and look to the people alone for support. If, however, the right hon. Gentleman thought, that what he had put into the mouth of his Majesty was in accordance with the opinion of the people—if such was his belief, he would soon find himself mistaken. Throughout England the people had met on the subject of the changes that had taken place on the continent, and every where had they expressed in the highest terms their admiration of the courageous conduct of the French. He asked the right hon. Gentleman, whether it was consistent with the line of policy the Government meant to pursue, to put into the mouth of his Majesty a determination to interfere with the affairs of Belgium? He would boldly assert, that all men who were friends of freedom—all who felt for the true interests of this country, would deeply regret such an interference. Every man who loved liberty admired the Belgians for turning out the Dutch, who had acted in such an infamous manner. He repeated, that the Dutch had acted in the most infamous and scandalous manner. They had heard of incendiaries in Kent—had there been none in Antwerp? a fine city laid in ruins, and that too, when the king of Holland had not the slightest hope of retaining possession of it. Could it be, that the Ministers of England thought such conduct deserved the language which they had put into the mouth of his Majesty?— Was it an enlightened government that took away every vestige of personal liberty from the subject? Was it consistent with an enlightened government, ruling over two countries, that out of ten officers of the government, nine should be Dutch? 82 Had the right hon. Gentleman forgotten that the freedom of the Press had been abolished, and that the Trial by Jury had been taken away; and was it after these things that the Duke of Wellington and Sir R. Peel had thought fit to call the government of the king of the Netherlands enlightened, and to put into the mouth of his Majesty sentiments so abhorrent to the people for England?—Was it possible for them to inflict a greater indignity on the British people? Let not the right hon. Gentleman suppose, that the explosion in France brought about that in Belgium. The Belgians were ready before; and, indeed, every one must be convinced that it was impossible for the system recently adopted there to go on long. The hon. Member who had spoken before the hon. Baronet had not been fairly dealt with; he did not say, that all governments were about to be revolutionized; he said, that all those countries which had been parcelled out by the Holy Alliance, contrary to the feelings of their people, must undergo some change. Such a circumstance was by no means improbable; and what was it in the King's Speech of which the people of England had to complain? Why, that those treaties which it was said were to pacify Europe, and which had been found to have exactly the opposite effect, were, notwithstanding, still to be maintained. It was for that House, on behalf of the people of England, to tell the Ministers that it would not concur in supporting those treaties. Was it not time for the House to hesitate, to doubt that policy which might formerly have appeared wisdom, but which was now proved not to be so? Was it not time to pause when they saw France removed from the alliance that had supported those treaties, and when they must know, that if those treaties were at all events to be supported, they must be supported by the labour and at the expense of the people of England alone, and in hostility to France, continuing the privations of our people, at whose expense they had, indeed, been originally procured? The hon. officer had talked of finance. Did he not know that twelve hundred millions had been expended by this country to restore the Bourbons, and that, in three days, all that we had done at so much expense had been destroyed? Did not the House see, that the ill-treated but glorious Belgians had been parcelled, out like so many pigs to a 83 purchaser, in a manner disgraceful to Europe, but especially disgraceful to England, that had suffered such a parcelling? Was the Government now to support such a proceeding, and would doing so pacify Europe? Under these circumstances, could a greater insult be offered to the House of Commons, and to the suffering and starving people of England, than that of being told, that his Majesty meant to interfere in support of those treaties which had already fallen to pieces? In that respect the Speech was most improper, and he hoped that the House would not concur with the intention there expressed, but would support the Amendment. He should be glad to know how non-interference with Donna Maria, and interference with Belgium could be reconciled? They could not be reconciled; and such conduct, instead of adding to the character of England, would heap disgrace upon it. He asserted, that England was not prepared to sacrifice men or money in interference with the affairs of other countries. It was against the declaration that the Duke of Wellington had put into the mouth of his Majesty that the House ought to oppose their opinion, expressed by a strong majority. It would be a disgrace to England to boast of her own liberty, and yet force slavery on other nations. Some things might have happened since the last Parliament which had changed the opinion then expressed by the Ministers. He feared there had; but he must say, that if ever there was a man disappointed in his expectations of what other men would do, he was that man. He came down, expecting that some sort of reform and retrenchment would be proposed—that something would be done to relieve the burthens of the people—but he found nothing of the kind; on the contrary, he found the Ministers putting into the mouth of the King sentiments which threatened the interference of this country with the people of other countries. Instead of what he had anticipated, the first ten paragraphs of the King's Speech were about foreign politics. What did the people of this country care about foreign politics? What, he would again ask, could people who were starving at home, care about the government of other countries? He would ask any Member (at least every Member who had constituents) if he had not heard, before he came to that House, that, as the first part of his duty, he must attend to the reduction of the public bur- 84 thens? He did not put that question to those who were their own nominees, nor to those who, by the use of unjust means of influence, had obtained seats in that House, but of all the rest he asked, whether they had not pledged themselves to effect for the people a great relief in the amount of taxation [cheers from several parts of the House.] Yet not one word had been said in the Speech about reduction of taxation. [Some observation was here made to the hon. Member, who continued]. He was told his language was not precisely what was due to the King, that he forgot what was required by delicacy: but to abstain from noticing such matters was not true delicacy towards the King—those men used the King ill who did not speak the truth to him—such individuals as the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues, for instance—if it was they who kept the King in ignorance of the real situation of the country. What were the people told in the Speech about economy? Literally nothing. If the right hon. Gentleman thought that the British people were for ever to be hewers of wood and drawers of water, while a small class lived luxuriously on their labours, he would find himself mistaken. Britons would not be less than Britons. If the feelings of the people had not been loudly expressed, they were not, for that reason, the less deep. They would, however, be expressed loudly enough before long. Their wants were neither numerous nor unreasonable, and they would have them supplied. What they wanted was, relief from taxation, and with that a cure of the present vice of elections. They wanted to get the Peers out of the Commons and to confine the former to their own department. That was the cry from one end of the country to the other. They asked for bread, and they were given stones—they were told that the Government meant to meddle with the affairs of other countries, and he believed they did so to keep the people of England quiet; for such had always been the tricky policy of this Government. But was such a course to be pursued when thousands were dying of want? ["No, no," from the Treasury benches.] He was not surprised that they who fattened on the riches of the land should deny his assertion; but he wished they would go and look into the state of the people in different parts of the country, and then they would not deny that which no man 85 could with truth deny. The people required a reform of that House, because that House was the origin of all the evils from which the country suffered. The noble Lord who had moved the Address had expressed a wish with which he (Mr. Hume) most heartily concurred—namely, that the Government should give liberty to all, inflict injury on none. He agreed with that sentiment; but he asked, was that the case at the present moment, when millions were granted for the gratification of a few at the expense of the starving: artisans of the country? Every act of that House tended to the same point. He concurred with the hon. Member who spoke last but one, that if his Majesty had declared his firm intention of reducing the taxes, he would indeed have proved himself the father of his people. Was it consistent with their duty as Representatives, or even as self-called Representatives of the people, to pass such a milk and water Address as that which had now been put before them—an Address which left out everything that was of importance to the country? Perhaps he was wrong in the severity with which be had spoken on one point, for some hon. Gentlemen might think that there was abundance on the table of every peasant throughout the country. The Seconder of the Address had re-echoed the sentiments of the King, as to handing down the Constitution of the country unimpaired—a Constitution which the hon. Gentleman had described as untainted with innovation. Did the hon. Member mean to say, that the Constitution of this country now, was what it was a century and a half ago? If so, he denied the statement. A change had been effected for the benefit of the aristocracy at the expense of the people, and what had thus been taken from the people ought now to be restored to them. That was the opinion of the people, and on their behalf he protested against the course which the Government was now pursuing. There was one other thing to which he wished to allude. The Speech stated that there were individuals who were endeavouring to disturb the public mind, and that dissatisfaction existed among the people. He denied it; there was, indeed, great dissatisfaction with the Ministry, but no disaffection to the King. It did not exist in Scotland; he had seen much of the people there lately, and more quiet or better people he had never seen. There 86 was no disaffection in England; perhaps it was meant to apply to Ireland. What! was it because the hon. member for Water-ford had got some whim in his head? Why might he not have a whim in his head as well as anybody else? Was that, he repeated, any reason why the government of Ireland should exercise all its powers? Was there a man breathing, beyond the precincts of the Castle, who thought such proceedings necessary? The name of Mr. O'Connell must have frightened them; and so, because Mr. O'Connell had written a letter, calling a meeting to discuss whether it would be proper to dissolve the Union, the government of Ireland had thought fit to prevent the meeting by proclamation. What, was the Government so weak as not to be able to bear the paper bullets of one man? In the House of Commons his reasons must ultimately be weighed; if he could convince him that the Union ought to be at an end, he would vote for the separation; but the hon. Member would certainly have great difficulty in accomplishing that task. He had no hesitation in saying, that if any one should bring forward a proposition to put an end to the Union, he would listen to it with patience; and if Ireland was still to be treated as at this moment, he would entertain it with favour. He regretted that passage in the Speech which related to the Union, for union it was not. Ireland was not united to this country, but treated as one of her colonies, and in her government were to be found all the vices of a colonial government. When he saw the tenor of the Speech and of the Proclamation, he must think that it was the object of the Government to render despotism familiar to every man. If it was meant that disaffection existed in Ireland, he meant to deny the statement; for, setting the Duke of Leinster's meeting in opposition to that of the hon. member for Waterford, what did the whole matter come to but a difference of opinion? Was disaffection confined to the hon. member for Waterford? Then let him be named: let an Act of Parliament be passed against him: it would not be the first which had been enacted against him; for when he was duly returned to Parliament, an Act was contrived for the purpose of excluding him. The Ministers, however, had no right to say that Ireland was disaffected, merely because one Irishman was. If Mr. O'Connell [cries of "Order, 87 order"]; well, if the hon. member for Waterford thought that the repeal of the Union would be a good measure, this House was the only fit place to discuss that subject in. But was all Ireland to be gagged on account of one man; or could not the House of Commons enjoy freedom of speech without denying it to the people of Ireland? The Lord-lieutenant of Ireland had exercised a despotic power which was not called for, and his proclamation was a gagging proclamation. But what was most remarkable, this act of despotism had been levelled against one party only. The repealers of the Union had been gagged, but the Duke of Leinster and his friends had been allowed to do as they pleased. He contended that the proclamations of the Lord-lieutenant were unnecessary acts of oppression, and that to charge Ireland with disaffection was injurious and insulting to the people of that country. With the exception of two sentences, he could not concur with the Speech, and he warned the Ministers, that if, after the warnings given elsewhere, they still persevered in the same course—on them, and on those who supported them, must be the responsibility for the evils that would follow. To-morrow, when the Report was brought up, he should place on record his opinion, so as not to let it appear that he had been guilty of deserting his duty in bringing to the attention of his Majesty the real state of the country. The hon. Member resumed his seat, after apologising for the length at which he had troubled the House, and for any warmth of expression that in the course of his speech might have escaped from him.
§ Sir Robert Peel
said, it appeared to him that it was the wish of the Members to come to an early expression of their sentiments on the Address, and he was glad, therefore, that he was not called upon to detain them at any length, either in support of his Majesty's Speech, or in answer to the objections which had been made against it. With regard to the speech of the noble Lord,—the fair, the temperate, and the candid speech of the noble Lord, for so he could only in justice characterize it,—that speech showed that it was not at all necessary for him to detain the House at any length; for with one single exception only, the noble Lord fully concurred in the Speech from the Throne. The hon. Gentleman who last addressed the House, had, 88 it was true, pronounced a loud and angry denunciation against his Majesty's Speech, but that hon. Member had been able to find fault with it by no other means than an intentional misrepresentation of every part of it upon which he had treated.
§ Sir R. Peel
assured the hon. Gentleman, that he had meant to say unintentional misrepresentation. He was sure the hon. Member would do him the justice to suppose, that if he had said "intentional" it was by mistake. The hon. Gentleman had said, that his Majesty, in his Speech, charged the people of England with disaffection; but, so far from this being the fact, his Majesty had expressed the satisfaction which resulted to him from the conviction that he could rely with safety on the loyalty and the attachment of his people. "I reflect (these were the words of his Majesty) with the highest satisfaction on the loyalty and affectionate attachment of the great body of my people." It was altogether contrary to the fact, therefore, to say that his Majesty had charged the people with disaffection. His Majesty had, however, said, that he could not view without grief and indignation the attempt of some to traffic with the distresses and the sufferings of the people, and to raise themselves into unenviable notoriety by aggravating calamities where they did exist, and by raising imaginary evils where none were in reality to be found. This was a conjuncture which required all the temper, all the moderation, and all the patience they could command in their deliberations; and he must therefore say, that he regretted the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hume) should— not with bad intentions, he was sure,— have indulged in inflammatory language, which, to say the least of it, could not conduce to that cool and temperate discussion which was always desirable, and never more necessary than at present. He put it to the hon. Gentleman whether it were right,—whether it were consistent with the fact,—to represent the people of this country as in a starving condition. If there were suffering in some parts of the country, no man, he was sure, could more deeply lament or more sincerely commiserate it, than himself; and, however firm might be the determination he had taken to put down disturbance and acts 89 of violence by every legal means, he could assure the hon. Gentleman that the consideration of how the causes of the people's distress could be removed should never be absent from his mind. But the people were not in a starving condition, as the hon. Member must know, or might have known, if he had inquired. That there was severe suffering and distress in some parts of the country, could not be denied, but that was a condition of things which, notwithstanding the general state of the people, was, he feared, in many places almost unavoidable. In approaching that part of his Majesty's Speech which related to o r foreign policy, the hon. Gentleman had, he must say, broached a doctrine that was altogether new in the House of Commons. The hon. Gentleman had said, that foreign policy was not interesting to the House of Commons, and that the people of England cared nothing about foreign policy. When the hon. Gentleman talked about economy, let him tell the hon. Gentleman, that foreign affairs must not, could not, be lost sight of; and that they would force themselves upon his consideration. If the hon. Gentleman would not be economical with reference to other than the internal affairs of the country,—if the hon. Gentleman's economical policy were based upon the exclusion of all reference to other countries,—the hon. Gentleman would be a very dangerous adviser of the Crown, and would find himself ultimately no true economist. With regard to what the hon. Gentleman had said upon that part of the Speech from the Throne which related to France, let him tell the hon. Gentleman, that though it was only a short time since he had been in possession of the Speech, yet that time was quite long enough to have enabled the hon. Member to ascertain what it contained. And here he must protest against the notion which the hon. Gentleman had inculcated, that the Government was responsible for every word which fell from the Mover and Seconder of the Address. He had heard nothing in the speeches of the two hon. Members who moved and seconded the Address which, rightly understood, he dissented from; but, let him tell the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hume) that he was not a little surprised to find him supposing it to be necessary that any Gentlemen who moved and seconded the Address should be previously tutored by a Minister of the Crown, and that, consequently, the Govern- 90 ment was responsible for all that fell from Gentlemen on such occasions. This was hardly consistent with the doctrines usually propounded by the hon. Member. The hon. Gentleman had said, first, that his Majesty had regretted the events that had taken place in France; and, secondly, that the Government, being disappointed in the successful opposition that had been made to the ordinances, must, consequently, have approved of those ordinances having been issued. Now, with regard to the first assertion of the hon. Gentleman, that was in a moment destroyed by the mere observation, that it was contrary to the fact. His Majesty, so far from expressing any feeling upon the subject, had merely narrated the simple fact, that "the elder branch of the House of Bourbon no longer reigned in France, and that the Duke of Orleans had been called to the Throne by the title of the King of the French." The hon. Gentleman might, he thought, very easily understand, when he considered the present situation of the elder branch of the House of Bourbon, who were exiles in this country, that his Majesty could not describe, in terms of very severe reprehension, those acts which had led to this result. As to the Government or his Majesty approving of those acts, what ground, he would ask, had the hon. Gentleman for making any such assertion? If the hon. Gentleman who accused him of participating in this approbation, meant to say that he (Sir R. Peel) thought that the ordinances referred to were consistent with good policy, or with the Fundamental Law of France, the hon. Gentleman was very much mistaken; for, God knew, he could not say that such were their characters. That he lamented what had occurred in Finance was quite true; he did lament it, and for that very reason he deeply deplored the cause. It had been attempted in various quarters to raise a prejudice against the Government, by repeating a charge which, on a former occasion, he had intended—and he thought he fulfilled that intention— positively and unequivocally to deny. He had stated distinctly, as he thought, that no charge could be more wholly and entirely unfounded, than that the Government of this country had interfered in the appointment of Prince Polignac. He had said that, neither directly nor indirectly, had there been any interference on the 91 part of the Government, or of any member of the Government, in the nomination of the Polignac Administration. He begged once more to repeat this statement, and to say that, in using the expression "neither direct nor indirect interference," he meant to include all possible modes of interference which could be suggested or imagined. It had been said, moreover, that the Government had counselled the issue of those ordinances which had led to the recent events in France. But the Government had not the slightest conception that it was intended to resort to any such means. Further than this, allow him to observe, that the utter secresy in which the intention to issue the ordinances was kept, precluded all interference on the part of the Government, by friendly advice, to prevent that intention being carried into execution. Upon this subject he trusted it was unnecessary that he should say more; and he thought that, with regard to France, he must have satisfied even the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hume) himself; for the hon. Gentleman must see, that the fact was, that his Majesty had expressed no regret at the events that had taken place in France; and the hon. Gentleman would perhaps, on consideration, admit that silence on the part of his Majesty, as to the character of the ordinances, was not, under the circumstances, any ground for concluding that either his Majesty or the Government approved of them. With regard to Belgium, allow him to observe, that there was a very wide distinction between the affairs of the Netherlands and those of France, as well as between the causes of the events which had taken place in the two countries. The hon. Gentleman had said, "Look at Antwerp;" but there was no mention made of Antwerp in the Speech from the Throne; and all that was said about the government of the Netherlands applied to the condition and character of that government previous to the revolt. "But (said the hon. Gentleman,) the Speech from the Throne breathed war. At the very time that it mentioned the intended recognition of Don Miguel, and the actual recognition of the French King, it would be an inconsistency, as well as an impropriety, to interfere in the affairs of Belgium." In answer to this, allow him, first, to observe, that he did not know what expression in his Majesty's Speech it was from which the hon. Gentleman inferred that we were 92 about to interfere by war. Next, let him remind the hon. Gentleman that, with reference to this country, there were peculiar circumstances in the condition of the Netherlands. No person, with even the most moderate knowledge of history, could be ignorant that the Belgic provinces had, at one period, been under the dominion of Austria, at another under that of Spain, and at another incorporated with France; and that, whether under the one or the other, they had always been the ground on which the great conflicts of Europe had been determined. For this reason, the condition of these Provinces had always been a subject of deep interest to every State in Europe, and especially to England,—not with regard to the form of government, but with respect to their tranquillity. In the year 1814, when the fall of Buonaparte rendered a settlement of Europe necessary, the Netherlands were in the occupation of Austria, and Baron Vincent was the governor of them. The government of the Netherlands was at that time offered to the king of the Netherlands by the five Powers, on condition that they should be governed in a certain manner. Whether they had or had not been so governed was not at present the question; but these were the terms offered to, and accepted by, the king of the Netherlands. A great part of the provisions then entered into had for their object the benefit of the Belgic provinces, and the good government of the country. He would contend that we ourselves were greatly concerned in the maintenance of the connexion between Holland and Belgium. He was surprised, he must confess, at what had fallen from the hon. Gentleman opposite on that point. He was astonished to hear him assert that the separation of Holland from Belgium was a matter of indifference. He was the more surprised at hearing such an assertion from the hon. Gentleman, as it struck him that he had heard the hon. Member himself admit, upon former occasions, that the position of Holland always must be contemplated as an object of the greatest importance to England. Well, a revolution had taken place in Belgium—a contest had arisen, the object of which was, to procure the separation of that country from Holland, and, in the course of which, circumstances had occurred afflicting to all the friends of humanity. At that very moment a bloody civil war was raging 93 between the Belgians and the Dutch, and he would ask, would it be proper, would it be wise, under such circumstances, to allow them to settle the matter themselves, and to effect whatever accommodation they could? He would put it to the hon. Gentleman, and to the House, whether, in such a case, it were unwise on the part of those foreign Powers, parties to the Treaty in 1814, which had given the Netherlands to Holland,—whether it were inconsistent with the policy and humanity of those Powers to attempt, in the words of his Majesty's Speech, "to devise such means of restoring tranquillity as may be compatible with the good government of the Netherlands, and with the future security of other States?" If any one single Power were to interfere by offers of mediation between the contending parties, it might excite jealousy, but it could not be denied that the Treaty of 1814 authorised such an interference, and that it was a right possessed by all the Powers, parties to that Treaty. Now he (Sir R. Peel) could state, that the same course of policy which had in this instance appeared advisable to the Government of England was also that which appeared advisable to the government of the King of the French; and that the other Powers, parties to the Treaty of 1814, had acquiesced in a proceeding by which an attempt would be made to bring about an adjustment of the affairs of the Netherlands, by the interposition of all those parties who were so deeply interested in the settlement of that country. So much for that topic in his Majesty's Speech. With regard to Portugal, it appeared to him that the policy which it had been determined to adopt was precisely that which the interests of the country demanded; and when the Speech from the Throne recommended the recognition of Don Miguel, it by no means implied that the slightest variation had taken place in those opinions which his Majesty's Ministers still entertained, and which they had repeatedly expressed, respecting his acts. He could assure the hon. member for Middlesex, and the House, that whenever the acts of Don Miguel had interfered with the rights of British subjects, his Majesty's Government had demanded, and had received, immediate satisfaction. Without, in the slightest degree, departing from those opinions which they had expressed regarding the 94 means by which Don Miguel had become possessed of the sovereign authority in Portugal, his Majesty's Ministers had determined to adopt the course of policy announced in the Speech from the Throne; and was the House prepared to condemn his Majesty's Government for thinking that the time had arrived when, a certain act of justice and humanity being performed by the government of Portugal, the interests of British subjects should be consulted by effecting a renewal of our diplomatic relations with that country? His Majesty's Government had certainly refused to recognize Don Miguel until the performance of the act to which he had just referred; an act of general amnesty, on account of those political proceedings which had been directed against him while assuming the power which he now possessed in Portugal, had been promised on his part, and they had now his positive assurance that such an act was about being immediately carried into execution. They had not made it a condition of the recognition which had been already determined upon, but until that act was performed they would not make the recognition complete. Two years and seven months had elapsed since the accession of Don Miguel to the sovereign power in Portugal, and his own subjects appeared to acquiesce in his possession of that power. The interests of British subjects were seriously affected by the non-recognition of Don Miguel, and with at least the apparent acquiescence of his own subjects in his authority, was the Government of this country still to refuse to recognize him, and was it to allow the interests of British subjects to be materially injured by the continued interruption of our relations with Portugal? Looking at the matter in every point of view, he entertained a confident hope that the policy of the British Government, with regard to Portugal, would not be deemed undeserving the approbation of that House. He did not know that there were any other portions of our foreign policy into which it would be necessary for him to enter upon this occasion. He had endeavoured to confine himself merely to a reply to the observations of those hon. Members who had preceded him, being of opinion that the present was not the proper opportunity for entering into the general details. The hon. Gentleman had admitted that his Majesty's declaration respecting the 95 Civil List was quite satisfactory. His Majesty it would be seen, had placed at the disposal of Parliament his interest in the hereditary revenues, in those funds which may be derived from the droits of the Admiralty, and in other revenues that had been hitherto reserved to the Crown; and had trusted entirely to Parliament for a just and liberal provision for the maintenance of the honour and dignity of his Crown. He could not sit down without shortly referring to the hon. Gentleman's observations with regard to the course which had been pursued towards Ireland. The hon. Gentleman had characterized as a disgraceful act the issuing of the proclamation which had been directed against an attempt to disturb the repose of that country, and to involve it again in that agitation from which he (Sir R. Peel) had believed the Catholic Relief bill would have redeemed it, and from which, as he still believed, it would have been by that measure redeemed, if it had not been for the events at Paris and in Belgium, which had been taken advantage of for the purpose of propagating an impression amongst a high-spirited and unreflecting people, that the same success might, perhaps, attend their efforts. The hon. Gentleman had asked, was a man in that House to be prevented from moving for a repeal of the Union?—and was the hon. and learned member for Waterford, if he had got such a whim in his head, to be prevented from bringing it forward there, and having it fairly and openly argued and discussed? But such was not the course pursued by the hon. member for Waterford. That was not the way in which he had brought forward the discussion of the question; and was it, he would ask, for the indulgence of what the hon. member for Middlesex had called "a whim," that the repose of a whole country was to be hazarded, and that it was to be made a scene of confusion and bloodshed? What was not the responsibility—how great— how tremendous—he spoke not of the legal responsibility, but of the responsibility before God and their country,—which those men took upon themselves, who could excite a whole population in the manner against which the proclamation to which reference had been made was directed. The hon. Gentleman was not to suppose, that they were to be gulled and deluded into the idea that the simple object of the assembly which that proclam- 96 ation put down was to promote petitions to Parliament. Had the hon. Gentleman read the declarations which had accompanied the acts of that assembly? Surely the hon. member for Waterford would not stand up and affirm of that association, that its sole object was to prefer a temperate appeal to the Legislature on the question? That hon. Gentleman had himself declared, that Ireland was not yet ripe for revolt,—that she was not yet ready to oppose force to force. Could any man, after that, doubt that the intention of that hon. Gentleman was to form a permanent association, meeting in Dublin, the object of which would be to organize the people of Ireland on this question,—to form their minds upon the subject, and to keep them in continual agitation until the time should arrive when they might look to the employment of force with success, and it would become dangerous to refuse the concession of their demands? He believed that that was the very assertion made by the hon. and learned Gentleman himself in the association alluded to; and it was because he believed it to be true mercy to put an end at once to such an attempt to organize the popular mind of Ireland, that he, in conjunction with the rest of the Ministers of the Crown, gave his sanction to the instrument for extinguishing that Association. In doing so, did he mean to deny that the situation of Ireland called for inquiry; or did he mean to say, that he was prepared to withhold his assent from such measures as he might think calculated to relieve her distresses? No such thing. He was anxious to see the condition relieved and ameliorated; but having the power to prevent the agitation he had described, and to render ineffectual the mischievous efforts to organize and inflame the people of Ireland, he, for one, dared not incur the responsibility—not of issuing that proclamation, for that he had incurred but the awful responsibility of withholding it. Let them not, by suffering such agitation to continue, prevent the accomplishment of those good effects which the healing measure of emancipation was calculated to produce. Let them not again bring into play parties and factions. Let them not revive the religious animosities which had so long disturbed that unfortunate country. Let them not trifle with a subject of such tremendous importance. Let not an inflammable population be excited by 97 attempting the mad, but peculiarly exciting, project of a dissolution of the Union. Was it come to this, that after having, by successive efforts, improved the condition of the country by consolidating and binding together the various parts of which this great empire was composed,—after having, in the early period of our history, succeeded in putting an end to the divisions of the heptarchy,—after having united Wales to England, and subsequently Scotland to this country,—and after having consummated the great object of concord by uniting Ireland to Great Britain,—were they, after having accomplished all that, now to begin to retrace their steps and to dissolve the connexion between the component parts of this great empire? If they should begin by dissolving the Union with Ireland, what reason was there why they should not proceed to dissolve the union which had been effected with the other parts of the empire,—to repeal the Union with Scotland, and to dissolve the connexion with Wales? He should not argue this question further at present, but if ever the time should arrive when such a question as the repeal of the legislative Union with Ireland should be submitted for calm and dispassionate discussion and argument in that House, he did not despair of being able to show, from experience of the past, from what had taken place when Ireland had a Parliament of its own, and from the sympathy for Ireland which had, since that time, grown up in the English mind; —he did not, he would repeat it, despair of being able to show, by arguments drawn from all those sources, that this speculation was calculated only to raise one individual to a bad eminence, at the expense of the best blood of the two countries, and of the repose and tranquillity of both.
§ Mr. O'Connell
said, the duty that I have to perform to-night is to me extremely pleasing, as it affords me some opportunity of repelling calumny, and of vindicating my own motives. I do not stand forward to claim the favour of a hearing —assailed as I have been, I should be entitled to it anywhere—but here I appear as the representative of the people, with almost as many constituents as any Member who hears me, and with more than those of all the Ministry combined. The Members of Government have carefully slunk from all populous places—scarcely one has been returned for more than a 98 rotten borough; but I am sent here by a large body of the people, and I claim to speak as their representative. First, I appeal to every man whether the Speech put into the mouth of the Sovereign is not one of the most unsatisfactory discourses ever pronounced by the chief of a great nation? I speak of it both as it relates to foreign and to domestic concerns. I did not hear in it one word about the poverty and distress of the people in any part of the kingdom — not one word regarding relief. The rotten-borough system—the oligarchical mode of returning Members to this House is, I know, reckoned among the blessings of our condition; and for this reason, not a syllable is said respecting that distress which the right hon. Gentleman was unable to deny. If there be no distress, why is night made horrible by fires, the blaze of which may be seen from the metropolis? Why are the people in a state of disturbance and insubordination within a short distance of the very seat of Government? Is there no cause for this, and is the calumny to be pronounced upon the people of England, that they break out into acts of open violence without the pretence of suffering? Nothing is said about the alleviation of distress, and, above all, nothing about the alleviation of the distress of Ireland. But I arraign the Speech for what it says or omits on our foreign as well as on our domestic policy. We have had excuses for not rejoicing in the success of the French people, and we have been told that much is due out of courtesy to the exiled family of France. Courtesy, indeed, towards a sovereign who wished to cut down and massacre his unoffending people without pity or remorse! Regret Ministers may feel—not at the unmerited sufferings of those people, but that the efforts of the king of France were not successful in rivetting upon the French the chains of slavery. That king and his ministers attempted to take away, almost altogether, the elective franchise from the French people, and to put down the liberty of the Press. Who attempted to put down the liberty of the Press here, and to prevent the expression of the popular sentiments in Ireland? Why our Attorney-general and the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland. In Belgium I can also find some happy coincidences with the conduct of our Government at home. In the proceedings against that illustrious man, De Potter, it would seem as if an English Attorney-general 99 had been imported from this country to frame the indictment which was preferred against him. Let us refer next to Portugal. Don Miguel is to be recognised, and why? Because he has promised an amnesty to his subjects; that is to say, he who has been bound by no oaths, is to be trusted on his honour. "When will this amnesty arrive? Yes, when the dungeons have been cleared, because the scaffolds have streamed with human blood. The right hon. Gentleman tells us, that Don Miguel is king with the approbation of the people, but let us remember, that 4,000 or 5,000 British troops happened to be looking on at the time, and aided the tyrant in his usurpation of the sovereignty. There is this great difference between King Philip and King Miguel— King Philip has separated Church from State; he has dissolved the adulterous connection that injures the cause of religion wherever it exists; but King Miguel has united Church and State; and while he rules the one, he tramples on the other. The right hon. Gentleman most pitifully implored the House to tell him why this country should not interfere in the affairs of Belgium, when a civil war was raging there. I deny the existence of civil war: it is a war between nation and nation— the Belgic nation and the Dutch nation; and I do not think that, excepting the Union of Great Britain with Ireland, there is a fouler blot in the page of history than the annexation of Belgium to Holland. The people decided against it, yet it answered the purpose of the Holy Alliance to declare that 361 votes constituted a majority, and 700 votes a minority. The Government of the king of the Netherlands is called an enlightened Administration; if so, the rebels are without excuse, and nothing can justify their acts. I assert, that his administration, instead of being enlightened was odious, tyrannous, and grinding; that it refused independence to the Judges, and the Trial by Jury to the people: if any reforms were proposed they were as hypocritical as the right hon. Gentleman's reforms of the law in this country, where great evils are perpetuated by the removal of insignificant abuses. Why am I listened to, as it were with sufferance, when I ask whether such an administration is enlightened? The suppression of the liberty of the Press may, indeed, have its recommendations with his Majesty's Ministers, and with many Gentlemen who 100 hear me. Was that an enlightened administration which decreed, that the language of Courts of Justice should not be the language of the country, and that the process should be Dutch, where Flemish only was spoken and understood? Was it a proof of an enlightened administration when the king abolished parochial schools and diocesan seminaries? Yet this is the man whom the right hon. Gentleman has so warmly lauded — who is called enlightened, while he is involved in the darkest ignorance — and who perseveres in these measures when the world is in a state of transition, and when the blind systems by which men have been oppressed for ages are disappearing before the light of science and the heat of truth. Such is the foreign policy of the King's Speech. Is there, from beginning to end, one particle of sympathy with the success of liberty— one spark of joy at the destruction of despotism? I look in vain for any recognition, however distant, of the great principle, that the people have only to be united to be successful, and that when they are determined to struggle in a just cause, the military power becomes powerless, and the arm of force is withered at the moment it is raised to strike. But if we are to interfere, in conjunction with whom are we to intermeddle with the affairs of Belgium?—With the members of the Holy Alliance? No; they have too much to do at home. If violence have not yet displayed itself, it will break out, and la guerre sourde will, ere long, be converted into open and avowed hostility. Great Britain would herself be at war at this moment, were she not bound in sureties of the peace to the extent of eight hundred millions sterling. I little thought I should ever have cause to bless the National Debt; but I bless it now, since it incapacitates the British Government from interposing to crush the growing spirit of human freedom. This brings me to remark, that not a word is said in the Speech regarding the reduction of taxation, the abolition of military institutions, or the destruction of the rotten-borough system. Old Sarum and Gatton are to be preserved; and, notwithstanding the formal resolution of this very day, that it is a high breach of privilege for a Peer to interfere at an election, I do not want the aid of my glass to look round me and say, "You, and you, and you, have been sent here by Members of the other branch of the 101 Legislature." If I have a wish to rescue my country from the fangs of an odious oligarchy, I must pursue that course which has been so loudly censured by the right hon. Gentleman. He has talked of my conduct upon a recent occasion; and held me up to be repudiated by the supporters of the King's Speech. I am content. I am vindicated before my God; and I will not condescend to vindicate myself here. [hear, hear!] I am much obliged by the sympathy that cheer implies: it shows that there is no necessity for a separation of the Parliament of Great Britain and Ireland. I thank you. You may triumph over my country — you have triumphed— but you never will again. It is easy to triumph over the individual, and I wish you joy of it. In the King's Speech I read that his Majesty "cannot view without grief and indignation, the efforts which are industriously made, to excite among the people a spirit of discontent and disaffection." If it be meant to impute to those who take a constitutional and legal part in Ireland, that they are ill affected to the present King, I will assert that a grosser calumny was never uttered. They are convinced that there is not in the kingdom a better-intentioned man than its Sovereign. Never did Monarch receive more undivided allegiance than the present King from the men who in Ireland agitate the the repeal of the Union. Never, too, was there a grosser calumny than to assert, that they wish to produce a separation between the two countries. Never was there a greater mistake than to suppose that we wish to dissolve the connection. No; but we want a connection of authority, not of subserviency—of equality, not of submission. Ireland must be equal, not inferior—she must be a kingdom, not a province; and I declare solemnly, that I believe it would be more for the benefit of England than of Ireland that the Union should be dissolved, and that the Parliament should be restored to Ireland. It would lead me too far a-field to debate now the question of the Union; but let me ask any man what good did it ever do to my unfortunate country? I have put this question a thousand times. You answer,—it has accelerated Catholic Emancipation. I deny that; it postponed emancipation. Five preparatory Acts were passed in twelve years, and then came the Union in seven years afterwards, lest the measure should be ultimately carried. 102 It was, indeed, tardily conceded by Great Britain, when those who long opposed it suddenly turned round, deserted their ancient adherents, and claimed the merit of liberality, for what was extorted from their fears. Does any man who hears me know how the Union was brought about? It was avowed in the Irish Parliament, that a rebellion had been fostered for the purpose, and that it cost the Government 1,500,000l. to buy over the Opposition. In short, it may be safely said, that all other corruptions were pure and honest, compared with the gross, bare-faced corruption which accomplished the Irish Union. Cavalry and infantry were employed to prevent public meetings; and if a design of the kind at Clonmell had been persevered in for one moment longer, the streets would have flowed with the blood of the Protestant gentry. What advantage has Ireland derived from the Union? Nothing but disadvantage. The rental of Ireland ought to be twelve millions, and no less than five millions of that sum are remitted to absentees. The productive taxation of Ireland has been diminished since the Union to the extent of three millions: although the population has more than doubled, the consumption of tea, wine, and sugar, has decreased. In short, there is not a single piece of evidence, derived from the state of the revenue, which does not prove that Ireland has been grievously injured by the Union. The Imperial Parliament has passed four Acts out of five in favour of the landlords, those absentees who extort all its wealth from Ireland. By the Subletting Act, the landlord has obtained unlimited power over the property of his tenants. By the Vestries Acts, these landlords tax the Catholic people for the support of the Protestant Church, the great revenues of which go into the pockets of their children and dependents. And what are the effects of all these oppressive laws? Look at the poverty of the people, look at the misery and distress which have been manifested at Naas, Newry, Cork, and Dublin; look at the riots at Limerick, and the starvation under which the peasantry are dying. There is deep distress, and there is disaffection in Ireland — disaffection to the Government that has oppressed — and let me tell you that you would have disturbances too in Ireland, but for the man who is looking for the repeal of the Union, and who happily possesses so much of the 103 confidence of the people, as to be able to prevent them rising against the public authorities. Take away that influence, and what would be the result? You may send over a military Secretary to put down the public spirit by a military force, but in vain. Tell the people of Ireland that you have no sympathy with their sufferings — that their advocate is greeted with sneers and laughter —that he is an outlaw in the land—and that he is taunted with want of courage, because he is afraid of offending his God. Tell them this, and let them hear also in what language the Secretary of State, who issued the proclamation to prevent meetings in Ireland, has spoken of Polignac. If he be asked his reason for issuing that proclamation, he will answer, "My will," although, at the same moment, it would be easy to demonstrate its illegality. But I will not enter into this discussion now — I cannot trust myself—my feelings overpower me. Phrases have been attributed to me, which, if I had used, I should regret, but which I never did use; but I have no apology to make to the instruments of despotism anywhere. The right hon. Gentleman has asserted, that I said that. Ireland was not yet strong enough to oppose force to force. I never said it — I never said anything like it. I am sure that he is incapable of inventing the expression, but those who have informed him, have informed him falsely. I found my country agitated by poverty and distress from one end to the other, and it has been asserted that I therefore created the cry for the repeal of the Union. How much men mistake! It would be cruel—too severe a punishment— to ask hon. Gentlemen to read all my speeches from the time I first entered upon political life—but if they did read them, they would find that the restoration of her domestic legislature to Ireland was my earliest thesis—my constant avowal. I would not revive the topic in the last Session — I was prevented in part by the discussions on the cold-blooded additions to the taxation of Ireland, in the shape of an increased stamp-duty, which would have had the effect of crushing the Press. This fact shows the sympathy of the House for the sufferings of Ireland—a sympathy of which it affords fresh evidence whenever I attempt to speak. The Irish people, seeing that they became poorer every day— that they declined from bad to worse —thought that the only chance of prospe- 104 rity, was to be found in the repeal of the Union. In looking for the accomplishment of that end, who has talked of the employment of force? Nobody; but they all knew that to come to Parliament with one or two petitions was to have them neglected, and that nothing of this kind could be effectual but by the universal petitions of the people of Ireland claiming the repeal of the Union. This is the only mode by which great measures of reform can be obtained: while only a few petitions came from small towns or villages, the cause of reform in Parliament was ridiculed and scouted; but, now it is supported by the universal population of England, the whisper flies from bench to bench, that the time is approaching when it must be conceded. I think the people of Ireland aggrieved. How are they to procure relief? By petitions. How are petitions to be obtained? By magic? No; only by men meeting and associating together for one common object. Polignac never would have attempted in France what has been accomplished in Ireland; and even the king of Belgium would have refrained until, by the importation of the law of conspiracy, he had convicted De Potter. The modes we adopt, and which we wish to adopt, are legal and constitutional; we want no force but the force of reason, and we eschew all violence, even the violence of argument. Wherever we have influence, there is no disturbance; where we have no influence, there Whiteboyism and Ribbonism prevail. Let me be shouted down—take away my influence—and how will you prevent confusion? The consequences will not rest upon me— for them you alone will be responsible. [The hon. and learned Gentleman after adverting to the poverty, disease, and distress, in Ireland, and to the manner in which money was exported to absentees, referring particularly to the counties of Wicklow and Westmeath, concluded thus:] So long as the people of Ireland proceed for the repeal of the Union legally and constitutionally, they shall have all the aid I can give them. Let Ministers suspend the Habeas Corpus Act, it shall not deter me. Prepare your gaols and your dungeons; these are times when men must speak out, and I will do it. I will discharge my duty, in spite of taunts of cowardice, and threats of punishment; and I will proceed, be sure, not less firmly and resolutely, because constitutionally. 105 You may deprive Ireland of the poor wreck of her liberty, but you shall never make me your willing slave.
§ Mr. Curteis
quite concurred in the sentiments expressed in his Majesty's Speech, and in the policy which it recommended, particularly as regarded Ireland. In these times when so much sedition was abroad, he maintained that it was the duty of the Government to restrain the liberty of the people, or the agitators in Ireland might otherwise cause a rising of the people there. He should decidedly oppose his Majesty's Government, however, if it should go to war, and not retrench. The hon. member for Waterford wished it to go forth that he did not get a favourable hearing in that House. Now he was sure that there was not a single hon. Member who had addressed the House that night who had been more favourably listened to. He protested against the sentiments which had fallen from that hon. Member with regard to the repeal of the Union. In what he had said, he believed that he spoke the sentiments not only of his constituents, but of the majority of the people of this country.
§ Mr. Brougham
spoke as follows: It is with feelings of satisfaction, mingled with pain, that I feel myself called upon to say a few words on this debate—with satisfaction that the hon. member for Waterford has had an opportunity of answering that personal attack which the House has witnessed, and that the patient and profound attention with which he has been listened to, gives an ample refutation of the libel (libel I would not say, for I wish to avoid anything harsh), but the assertion against justice contained in the complaint, that its Members were determined to clamour down the arguments of the hon. Member, and shut their ears to the complaints of his constituents. It is with satisfaction, therefore, that I have listened to the able and eloquent speech of the hon. Member delivered on such an occasion; but it is with pain, with very great pain also, that I have heard that speech, because it contains a picture of Ireland, which, if not magnified in its proportions—if not painted in exaggerated colours, presents to my mind one of the most melancholy and alarming conditions of society ever heard of, or recorded in any state of the civilised world. I was indeed in some hope when I heard the lineaments of that picture, traced as they were by a hand 106 powerful for the task, and when I called to mind that men high in office, and possessing all the advantages of communication and intelligence which that office gave them, had frequently acknowledged the accuracy of the hon. Member's information on the state of the country, and the fidelity of his representations; when I recollected all this, and heard that hon. Member describe a state of distress in Ireland to which all Europe can bring no parallel, and yet saw not one Member of the Government rise in his place and give these statements a denial, I confess I felt a pain which it is difficult adequately to describe, and without looking at the Speech which has been delivered from the Throne, I find, therefore, enough to inflict pain and create discontent. But when I examine the terms of that Speech, I find cause to raise within me all the vigilance which my situation as a representative of the people demands, and to fill me with still greater fear and anxiety for the future. Let. me first, however, discharge the more pleasing office which my duty as a good subject demands from me, by expressing my heartfelt satisfaction at the line of conduct his Majesty's paternal goodness has led him spontaneously to adopt, in tendering unhesitatingly, for the use of the country, all those extensive Crown Revenues which form his patrimonial possessions, and by declaring and promising that the Civil List shall be reduced, while he at the same time gives up all these odious, unconstitutional sources of revenue and perquisites of Royalty which are to be found in the Droits of the Admiralty, the four and half per cent fund, and the hereditary revenues of every kind in Scotland and in Lancaster, and elsewhere, at home and abroad, which in former reigns the Crown has been so loath to relinquish. This declaration is to me a matter of unmixed satisfaction; and when the noble Lord who moved the Address spoke of the absence of pomp and extravagance which distinguished the present reign, and which marked his Majesty's desire to live as a plain English gentleman, I could not but stop to think whether the plaudits which followed that announcement would have been so vehement and so general if uttered in the reign which preceded the present. I now come to the more painful part of that duty which I owe to the House, to my Sovereign, and to the country, in entering my 107 solemn protest against the doctrines contained in the Speech now before us. That Speech breathes interferences from the beginning to the end of it. It is bottomed on principles now for the first time in the history of this country acted on and avowed by the Ministers of the King. I trust it is the speech of the Minister. I have the power to call it so, and to carp at it, and cavil at it, and tear at it, and rend it to tatters at my pleasure; because, although nominally the Speech of the King, there is no principle of the Constitution better established than that it is to be regarded as the Speech of the Minister, of the Duke of Wellington, the first Lord of the Treasury. I claim it as the ancient right of the Members of this House to treat the Speech as the language of the responsible Minister of the Crown; and as such I now proceed to consider it. I say then, Sir, that the boasted declarations of non-interference are by this Speech declared at an end; and that we are called on to pledge ourselves to examine into the internal arrangements of foreign States, to discuss the state of their affairs, and to give our assent, by this Address, to a Speech of the Minister of this country blaming one government and censuring another, and making ourselves the Judges and the Censors of the conduct of Governments and of nations as free and unfettered as our own. I do not undertake the unpleasant task of criticising this performance from any spirit of party, or for the gratification of any of its feelings. If I was disposed to indulge in such a task, God wot I need not have recourse to the operose proceeding of dissecting the Speech they have put in the mouth of his Majesty on this occasion. Looking at any part of the conduct of the Ministry which assumes to itself the possession of the talent and the experience requisite for the direction of the affairs of the Government in that which they proclaim a tremendous crisis of affairs, I could not be at a loss for subjects of inconsistency on which I might dilate. But I do not assume the critic for any party purpose. I do it to warn this House and the Government (the country needs no warning)—to warn them against the fatal consequences of the path they are now pursuing. Let us see what is said:—"I have witnessed with deep regret the state of affairs in the Low Countries." Now, it is common to say in this House—"You do not pledge yourself to 108 anything by agreeing to the Address; it is a mere form of compliment, and you may vote against it the day after if you please with perfect freedom." This is one of the solemn plausibilities which, I confess, somewhat puzzles my understanding. Not many days ago I swore at that Table the rankest nonsense which the mind of man could conceive, for I took an oath in the true intent and meaning of the words, that a man who died a century ago had no right to the Throne of these realms, and that I would resist to the utmost extent of my power all attempts of his son, successor, or successors, to recover that Throne, there being no successors whose title is to be resisted. That Statute means, therefore, absolutely nothing, although it is much to be wished that the formality was rendered unnecessary; neither does the Address, you are told, mean anything, for you may to-morrow oppose all to which you have pledged yourself to-day; but it is, therefore, that I feel it the more necessary to arouse the attention of the House to the acts of to-morrow, by entering my protest against the Speech today. The Speech goes on to say, "I lament that the enlightened administration of the King should not have preserved his dominions from revolt." I say that this is the very first time in the history of this country that the King is made to express an opinion on the conduct of a foreign population, or of the powers which administer their affairs. Why, with our hands full at home; why, with Ireland, agitated and discontented; and Kent as we have heard to-night, in a state of alarm which calls for the interference of the Legislature; why, with some places agitated, and all dissatisfied, we should turn our attention from the state of our own population to brand other nations with revolt, seems one of the strangest contradictions which it is possible to conceive. I deny that there is such paltry and impertinent intermeddling in the intention of the King of England. I rebut it as unworthy of the Sovereign in whose mouth it is put, and as unworthy of the Tribunal to which it is addressed. Would to God, however, that this little mean piece of gossipping-intermeddling had no worse end than being stigmatised as it deserves; but much I fear that it must lead incontestibly lead to a rupture of the terms of amity in which we have lived with the nations to which it alludes. I desire you would 109 attend to the maxim—"Do unto others as you would be done unto." But let me reverse the maxim, and suppose that the king of the Netherlands should now think it his duty to reply in the same language to his subjects that the king of Great Britain is this day called on to use to us. Let us suppose his Majesty of the Netherlands addressing his States-general in somewhat like the following words: "I lament to see the unhappy state of the people of a portion of the dominions of my Ally the king of England." This would do for Kent. Let us take another part of the same subject. "I lament that the wise and paternal Government of my good friend the king of Great Britain has been frustrated in all the just and reasonable expectations it entertained on the subject of the pacification of that part of his dominions called Ireland." Or, "I lament that the people of the Empire of Great Britain generally have been so grievously disappointed on the subject of a reduction of taxation; and I grieve much that all the plans adopted for the relief of the enlightened people of Ireland have been prohibited by the tyrannical—(you have called the people of Belgium rebellious, she may call you tyrannical)—have been prostrated by the tyrannical conduct of the Ministers of the King: but I entertain a confident expectation that in a little time, the Legislative Union between the two countries, which all good men and true patriots deem to be a curse, will be speedily and totally dissolved, and Ireland left to enjoy the advantages of her own capital and her skill." If we have a right to intermeddle with the Dutch or Belgians, they have, I contend, the same right to intermeddle with us; and they may say, as we say of the States-general, that they regret to find that the Anti-Union Association (or the Volunteer Association, or in whatever name they delight) —they may say, they regret to find that the exertions of these worthy successors of the still more worthy defunct Catholic Association, to accomplish a repeal of that unholy legislative Union, have led to no satisfactory result. Gentlemen might treat these things with ridicule, but it would be otherwise if they came from the mouth of a foreign statesman; for I know no people under heaven who would resist with more readiness and with more severity—or be more ready to fly to arms to resent the slightest attempt at a parody of any portion 110 of that Speech which we are now considering. I said it was reserved for the enlightened policy, and knowledge of precedents,—accomplishments which have been at all times displayed by the present Cabinet, to advise their Master to deliver the Speech on which I am now commenting; but I should be glad to know from whence they derive their precedents on this occasion. Is it from the precedents of former reigns? If it be, I ask, then, if there is in the history of the world an act more nefarious than the partition of Poland? But yet look to the Speech from the Throne at the end of the Session of 1774. Look to the Speech at the opening of the Session in 1774 and 1775, and mark the studied silence which prevails throughout the whole of these documents—not that the information of the Foreign Minister of that day was not as good as that enjoyed by the Minister of the present, for I believe the information of the noble Earl (Aberdeen) stands recorded in the annals of diplomacy, for the perfection of the most profound ignorance which has ever been known in that department of public affairs. Why, who is it who does not remember that on the very last occasion when his Majesty addressed this House, the Royal Speech was made to congratulate it on the unusual and profound peace and tranquillity in which every nation of the Continent was slumbering. And when was this? On the 23rd of July; four days before the explosion—four days only before the issuing of the Ordinances—four days before that Revolution, which in my conscience I believe to be the most glorious in the annals of mankind—whether we regard the promptitude with which the attacks of despotism were repelled, or the yet more glorious temperance which distinguished the combatants after the battle was over. There is therefore no comparison of ignorance between the case of Poland and that of Belgium or France. But let us turn to another period, when Mr. Pitt, the scattered remnant of whose followers the present Ministry profess to be, was at the head of the Government. France was then convulsed—the Royal Family were prisoners—the scaffolds flowed with blood —scenes were daily taking place, compared with which all that has happened in Belgium dwindles into a mere speck; Burke had declared that France was blotted out of the map of Europe; Fox and his party, on the other hand, had an- 111 nounced that a new light of liberty was about to spread over Europe; all classes in the country were arranged on one side or the other; and yet what was the exemplary caution and statesman-like course adopted by Mr. Pitt? Goaded by the party called Anti-Jacobins, surrounded by men opposed to French opinions, eternally harassed to adopt some decided means to stop the progress of revolution, what course did he pursue? During the years 1789, 1790, 1791, and 1792—during the whole of those years of massacre and misrule in France, there is not in the Royal Speeches to be found the shadow of the shade of an allusion to the revolted subjects of the French King; and it was not until the 13th September, 1792, that we find in short a delicate allusion—to what?—to the conduct of this bloody-minded people to their Sovereign?—No: to the sufferings of the enlightened Monarch?—No: to the just and equal administration of the laws, and the failure of the attempts at conciliation? —No; not one word of praise or of censure; but to one topic, and to one only, contained in a cautious and delicately-worded paragraph on the subject of the Declaration of the National Convention, calling on the subjects of other States to rise in arms against their lawful Governments. Have I not shewn, then, that Mr. Pitt would rather have had his right hand burnt off than have attempted to draw up such a Speech as this—have I not proved that from the time of Poland through all the momentous proceedings up to 1792, until a case arose which really demanded it, neither the Government of Mr. Pitt nor any other government ever ventured to commit the Sovereign to any reference to the proceedings of the government of other nations—until a case arose which loudly and imperiously demanded it. But my alarms are not grounded on what has passed. I wish to impress on this House, that if its Members slumber and allow the formality of an Address to prevent any expression of their opinion—if they do not make their voices heard, and frighten away his Majesty's Ministers from the course they now have in view, the peace of Europe is not worth six months' purchase, live to see it broken who may. Let us look to the passage which follows the expression of censure and praise: —"I am endeavouring, in concert with my Allies, to devise such means of restoring tranquillity as may be compatible 112 with the welfare and good government of the Netherlands, and with the future security of other States." The security of other States! A Congress rises in my eyes, the Congress of Vienna—the deeds of Lord Castlereagh and Lord Metternich pass before me, and I call to my mind the declaration of Voltaire, that a gathering together of Kings, which I believe he calls an abouchement des Rois, must always be viewed with terror and alarm. But it is not a Congress to restrain France within her proper limits; it is not a Congress to prevent Belgium from uniting herself with that country to increase her power; no, this we could understand; that would be according to the precedents of Mr. Pitt; but you must not go to the North of Italy, you must go to Genoa, you must ransack the portfolio of Castlereagh, and search the records of the Holy Alliance to find a precedent for the subjects to be considered at this forthcoming Congress. "I am endeavouring, in concert with my Allies, to devise means," &c. In plain language this was saying that we, like the Holy Alliance, will take upon ourselves, in the first place, the police of the Netherlands; and in the next place, like that famous Alliance, the police of the rest of Europe. How that is to be accomplished I know not; but I suppose by a Congress, for we cannot send over our new Police—by a Congress, and subsidies, and preparations for war, and other measures of a belligerent character, all of which I am not Œdipus enough to divine. "Appearances," it is said, "of tumult and disorder have produced uneasiness in different parts of Europe," and of these appearances, says the Minister, "I do not like the aspect;" "but the assurances of a friendly disposition," his Majesty adds, "which I continue to receive from all foreign Powers, justify the expectation that I shall be able to preserve for my people the blessings of peace." A more incorrect assertion, perhaps a more unwarranted expectation never was borrowed from the archives of the Foreign Office; no, not even the celebrated and similar congratulation on last July 23rd, only four days before all France was spirited up into revolution, and burning with a bright flame of triumphant liberty. I regard it, Sir, as the duty of the Crown—I regard it, Sir, as the duty of the Minister of the Crown, to preserve for our use, for the use of the people of this country to adopt the language of the Speech, the "blessings of 113 peace;" but I know no way in which these blessings may be more securely preserved—there is nothing, I take it, more clear, more indisputable, more unquestionable, than that a firm resolution—not to interfere with others is the best way to preserve peace; and nothing is more certain, in the circumstances of the country, to encourage war, nothing could more tend to destroy that peace, than to involve the country in foreign interference with neighbouring States. I know of no danger which can render hostilities more certain, and none more liable to bring them home to us—nothing more liable to make widespread war abroad crush and overwhelm us, than for us to adopt those principles of the Holy Alliance which are contained and embodied in the King's Speech. Let it not be said, that Ministers, the most feeble, the most unable, to manage the Government, of any Ministers into whose hands, by a strange combination of accidents, the Government of this country ever fell—let it not be said, that they who were hardly sufficient to manage the routine of official business in the calmest times—who were not able to manage the business of this House in ordinary times— will never deem themselves sufficient to manage the business of a great and complicated war; and that they who were unable to steer the bark in the fairest weather, will never court the tempest and defy the storm. Let that not be said; for I am aware that headstrong men are very apt to underrate their weakness and overrate their power, and that no men are more apt to deem failure impossible than those who cannot calculate the danger. The Ministers are but men, and they are surrounded with busy, meddling, buzzing personages, who encourage a little alarm —who think no harm can come of a little terror—who insinuate that negotiations may attract attention—who hope much from Congresses—who just wish that they may be doing something—who do not like to be doing nothing and being nobody— who wish for something to make a display in Parliament, and a puff in the public prints—and who are not at all adverse to have a Congress at Lunnan, which will have two or three advantages; it will enable them to be important who do not like to let other people work; who wish to have all the work and all the honour to themselves—who like to have it all their own way—to be their own Minister, their 114 own Ambassador, their own General; and then they know that the people of Lunnan like to see foreigners, and they hope, by these little amusements and diversions, to tide over the Session. First, things of little importance will be made great subjects, and perhaps they are great subjects to the faculties of those who would be called on to discuss them when the Congress was assembled. With a view of preventing war we should have Protocols and Conferences, full of sound and of no meaning, but which might affect the Parliament, and call forth all the resources of the Cabinet. But let them not suppose, when, they have gone so far, that they will be able to stop short just where they like; for I can assure them that, if they interfere, war will be inevitable. I must here say that, as a general principle, I will support measures that I approve of, let who will propose them, and I will oppose bad measures, let them come from whom they may. I am opposed, for example, to the repeal of the Union with Ireland, thinking that would be productive of injury to both countries, though that measure is brought forward by a gentleman with whom I act on some occasions, with whom, on many occasions, I agree—whose services I prize, and which I should be the last man to forget, and which it would be most unjust in me not to praise; but though I esteem his services, I must describe as bad that measure he contemplates, and must declare that I will oppose it. Let good measures come from what quarter they will, I will support them. So far, however, I must qualify the doctrine of its being not men, but measures, that I ought to support, as to assert that this doctrine in a monarchy is unintelligible and irrational. In a Republic, indeed, where all measures are known and discussed, either with open doors or in the streets, and where I have my veto on whatever is proposed; where a treaty cannot be concluded without my knowledge, where. I cannot be bound by a treaty I never heard of—to make war twenty or thirty years after its date, for the defence of Belgium or of Portugal; in. a Monarchy, I say the doctrine of measures not men is irrational, and men, as well as measures, must be looked to. The men may make a treaty which will make war inevitable at some distant day, unless the honour of the country be sacrificed; and as long as the men can act secretly, we must look to them and their character as 115 well as the measures they avow. This doctrine, with this limitation, I think it necessary to lay before the House; if hastily taken up—if exaggerated—it is not done altogether rashly and unadvisedly; but it has been dictated by the King's Speech, which I did not see till within four hours. I have had no longtime for reflection; but during the time I have had, I have reflected painfully on the language of the Speech, and the situation of England. I hoped further reflection might mitigate alarm; but I see no other conclusion to be drawn from the Speech, and I am alarmed for the consequences, than, that now for the first time the principle of interference, instead of the rule of non-interference, with the concerns of other nations is adopted by the Government. Let me warn the Government-let me warn the Members of this House —if the House should hesitate to discharge its duty, and meet this new principle with reprobation—let me warn the House, that the sentiments expressed this night by the new member for Sussex, who has so well and so ably addressed the House—who has candidly declared what are the sentiments of his own most respectable constituents—let me tell the Members of this House, that he spoke not only the sentiments of his own constituents—he spoke the heart-felt, the deep-rooted, the immovable opinions of the whole people of England. The people of England will not have the peace broken—the people of England will not endure that the Prime Minister should risk that peace by any fancies of his for foreign interference, for any theories of servility, or for any love to crowned tyrants; the people of England are enamoured of their own liberty, and they are friends to the liberty of others. If the Ministers must call the king of the Netherlands enlightened, the people of England will look at his acts, and from his acts they will not call him enlightened, or think a war ought to be hazarded to preserve his power. His acte are known, and the character of them is not what I think proper. He marched pending a negotiation—he marched while a negotiation was going on with his accredited agent, his son—he trepanned his subjects; he marched his armed troops to Brussels pending a negotiation, and the people were roused by this act of perfidious cruelty, and annihilated his army. The 116 last act of his reign, his parting account with his Belgian subjects is fresh before us; it is known to the English Ministers, who call him enlightened; and if he has reduced the second city of his dominions to flames, he no doubt gratified his desire of vengeance against his revolted subjects, over whom he was no longer to reign, and against the country he was no longer to possess. I am unwilling to refer to other events; but, I ask, were these, of such a character as to call for any expressions of praise from an English Monarch? A better cause, perhaps, might be found, than that of the Belgians; their cause was not so good as that of the French; I lament several parts of their conduct; the Belgians were only beginning to suffer—the French had long suffered; I advocate not the conduct of the Belgians; I think it not so praiseworthy as the conduct of the French; I hold not the conduct of the Belgians up to imitation; I am not here to praise or defend it; but I cannot free from blame those who compel me to enter into the unseemly discussion, by making the affairs—the domestic affairs—of a foreign country the subject of a discussion in Parliament, and a leading topic in the King's Speech. I should not discharge my duty if I were not to say one word of Ireland. I declare that my opinion is decidedly hostile to the repeal of the Union. I ascribe the extraordinary excitement of the last few weeks in Ireland to the events in Belgium. There is no other way, I think, to account for the rapid spread in that country, within a few weeks, of opinions that, up to a recent date, were confined to a few shopkeepers of Dublin. I consider, however, that the events of Belgium have been misinterpreted and misapplied by the people of Ireland. The people of Ireland mistake the facts of the two cases. How men there, who, I know, are zealous friends of their country, can ground their arguments on the similarity of the two countries, or how they can be listened to with any respect, when they compare Belgium to Ireland, I cannot understand. As a zealous friend to Ireland, I hope I may be allowed to point out the discrepancy in the situation of the two countries. There never was a more violent union, a more uncalled-for and unjustifiable union, than that violent union between Belgium and Holland. The religion of the two countries was different, and even hostile; and though it may be 117 partially different between Ireland and England, between Belgium and Holland, the religion was totally different. The language too, was different. French was spoken in one part, Flemish in another, and Dutch in a third. A speech de- livered in French was answered in Low Dutch, and was followed by an oration in Flemish. The interest of the two countries was different. France was the market of Belgium; but a Corn-law was inflicted on her for the advantage of Holland. They were, therefore, totally different countries; and they were forcibly united by the Ministers and men of the Holy Alliance, and nothing but force kept them together. The people were at war against each other. In the legislature, the eighty Dutch deputies were constantly found voting on one side, and the fifty Belgian deputies on the other. In spite of all the decrees of the Congress, they were like oil and water; they were kept united for a while by agitation; but when the agitation was over, they separated again, each taking its own place according to its specific gravity. In England and Ireland the language was the same—the religion was different, but not in the same degree as in Belgium and Holland; and in the Legislature the Irish and English Representatives were never directly opposed to each other. If the Union were done away, could the advocates of the repeal suppose that the English gentlemen would continue those laws which now allowed Irish cattle and Irish corn free access to the English market? If the Union were repealed, would not Ireland get back that pure body which voted that there should be no agistment tithe— that body so pure—so uncorrupt, as not to be equalled—that body which voted that it would not pay the tithe of agistment, while it compelled the poor man to pay tithe in potatoes? I know that in some cases the tithe on potatoes was paid. If the Union were repealed, Ireland would get back this pure body, and surely it was not desirable that body should be revived. The case of the Netherlands could not apply in this instance to Ireland. I have given my opinion frankly on these subjects thus early to the House and the country, that they may at this early period, by the expression of their resolution, rescue us from the danger of war. I have no fears, no alarms, there are no evils to apprehend from the situation of France. I have no fear that the Revolution of that 118 country should spread into this, as has been insinuated in a passage of the Speech. I think I speak advisedly, when I say that there is no danger of any such events occurring in this country. We are safe, not because of the wisdom of the King's Government—not because of the care of Ministers—not because of Congresses— not because of negotiations; but this land is safe, its Monarch is safe, its Parliament is safe, its institutions are safe—safe from the contagion we only witness at a distance— safe from the contagion of Revolution, because the Constitution has got in it none of that rottenness on which contagion can fix its hold. It has in it none of the pabulum which can support the disease. There may be a few misguided men—a few discontented spirits; but the law is sufficient to cope with them. The people, I am persuaded, are sound at heart. They love the monarchy. The people might love a republic in America, but we did not love it; we love our Parliament; I heartily wish it were purer, and then we should have nothing to fear; we preferred our limited King, our limited Crown, I will use the word prefer, because I know that it is made the shibboleth of a party: then, I say, the people of England prefer a limited monarchy, and with that an aristocracy; for an aristocracy is a necessary part of a limited monarchy, the people of England prefer a limited monarchy to the republic which may be suitable to another country. The people of England are quiet, because they love their institutions. I wish well to the rights of the people, and by these rights I am resolved to live, being ready to perish with these rights and for them; because I, for one, think these rights are understood by the people, and are appropriate to their character and temper. Limited monarchy and aristocracy are the best security for i these rights, and I, for one, wish for no change; I wish for no revolution; and I speak, I am sure, the sentiments of the great bulk of the people, who love the institutions of their country, who love monarchy, and love nobility; because, with the rights and liberties of the people themselves these are all knit up together. They have a strong attachment to our form of government; and I would in-finitely rather, if all these must perish, perish with them, than survive to read on the ruins the memorable lesson of the instability of the best human institutions.
§ Sir H. Parnell
wished to make one or two observations only on what had fallen from the hon. and Learned Member for Waterford relative to Ireland. He did not mean to follow him through all his observations, but he begged to state, that in his decided opinion, there was no general wish in Ireland for the repeal of the Union. As a proof of this he referred to the fact, that the hon. and learned Member made an attempt last year to get up a public Dinner to promote that object, and completely failed. He had advertised his meeting, he had done every thing he could to promote his object, but without success—there was no dinner. At the last general election, also, not one word was ever said of the repeal of the Union. He felt confident that the question of the repeal of the Union did not excite general interest in Ireland. He was surprised to hear the hon. Member say, that Ireland had received no benefit from the Union. What was the state of the connection between the two countries before and since the Union? Why, formerly, the trade of Ireland was under numberless restraints; and ever since the Union, measure after measure had been carried to get rid of those restraints. How any friend to Ireland could be blind to the benefits she had obtained by opening the English markets to her produce, was what he could not comprehend. Let the hon. and learned Member only fix some day for discussing the question, and he would undertake to satisfy him that Ireland had obtained a great many benefits from the Union. He was satisfied that the hon. and learned Member's opinions were erroneous. He gave him credit for his intentions, but was, nevertheless, of opinion that his plan would Only add to the distress of Ireland, not remedy it. As for the consumption of Ireland not having increased since the Union, that was quite a fallacy. There were abundant proofs that the consumption of Ireland had increased very much, and at the end of last Session the committee, of which his hon. friend (Mr. Spring Rice) was chairman, had elicited much evidence of the fact that, Ireland had become richer and richer every year. He believed, in fact, that there was no country in Europe, in which, during the last few years, improvement had been more rapid. When the hon. Member spoke of the great distress of Dublin, he was convinced that in his statement there was much exaggeration. He trusted that the 120 hon. Member would name an early day for going into the discussion, in order to put at rest the erroneous expectations that were formed in Ireland. He would have liked that the Society of Anti-Unionists, or whatever else they might be called, had been allowed to pursue its course, instead of having been put down by proclamation; and he was sure that it would only have made the errors of its views, and the errors of those who supported the repeal of the Union, more manifest.
§ Mr. M. Fitzgerald
wished, before he replied to the observations of the hon. member for Waterford, on Ireland, to say a few words on the speech of his hon. and learned friend, the member for Yorkshire. He begged, however, that his learned friend would not suppose that he meant to follow him through the full, eloquent, discursive and amusing speech with which he had favoured the House. In all the latter part of his hon. and learned friend's speech relative to Ireland and the Constitution of this country, he begged leave to express his most cordial acquiescence. His hon. and learned friend had thought proper to colour and exaggerate that part of his Majesty's Speech which related to the Netherlands, but his hon. and learned friend's statements were not sustained by any arguments or facts. His hon. and learned friend could not say, that his Majesty's Speech enforced the doctrine of interference, without wresting the words from their meaning. His Majesty's Speech alluded to the disturbances in Belgium; and with respect to the Belgians he must say, that his hon. and learned friend had distorted the argument. His Majesty stated his regret that the government of the Netherlands had not succeeded, by its conciliatory measures, in pacifying its subjects. If the circumstance had been omitted, would his hon. and learned friend have been contented? His hon. friend stated, that he was averse from war, and was he convinced that his doctrine was the best to secure peace? His Majesty alluded to Belgium — a country closely connected with this—and he expressed his regret that it was involved in troubles, the consequences of which could not be foreseen. He differed from his hon. and learned friend as to his doctrines, and thought his learned friend's opinion was not borne out by facts. He laid down the principle that non-interference was the policy of this country, and 121 he had referred to Mr. Pitt's perseverance in that principle; but were not the facts of that case against him? If Mr. Pitt had followed Mr. Burke's opinion, and interfered earlier, would he not have preserved this country from many evils? Our abstaining from interference did not prevent France from pursuing a system which ultimately plunged the whole of Europe into war. He was not an advocate for interference, but certainly, in the best periods of our history, interference had been practised. He did not say that at the present time non-interference was not wise policy; that was to be determined by the maxims of expediency, and the principle was to be acted on, if it were consistent with the safety of the country; but it was not the principle or the policy of this country in former times. During the Protectorate of Cromwell, and in the previous reign of Elizabeth this country had constantly and generally interfered in the affairs of other countries, conceiving that the proper regulation of the domestic concerns of these countries was indispensable to our own security. The hon. and learned member for Yorkshire would probably himself admit, that in the case of Poland, this country ought to have interfered; for it was contended at the time by Mr. Burke, and Mr. Fox, that we ought to have interfered and prevented its partition. The feeling of his Majesty's Ministers upon the subject was, to avoid interference as far as it was consistent with our own security. The hon. and learned member for Yorkshire had asked, why no member of his Majesty's Government had taken any notice of the distressed condition of Ireland? The reason was, that the subject was not regularly before the House on this occasion. No one could deny that there was great misery in Ireland; and he believed in his conscience, that his Majesty's Government were as well disposed as it was possible to be to look that condition in the face, and to endeavour to discover a practical remedy for it. But it was certainly inconvenient, and could be productive of no useful purpose, to introduce the subject on the present occasion; and he would, therefore, reserve his opinions upon it, until a legitimate opportunity offered for investigating it in all its bearings. There was one point of view, however, which had been taken by the hon. member for Middlesex, to which it was necessary to allude. 122 The hon. Member had charged the right hon. Chief Secretary for Ireland, with a despotic exercise of power in arresting the progress of discussions on the subject of the repeal of the Union, by a Society regularly sitting for that purpose; and had maintained, that that was an interference with the right of petitioning. There was nothing in the proclamation which had been issued on that subject to justify such a charge. On the contrary, his right hon. friend was perfectly ready to open the door to all petitions upon the subject. But he did feel it right and expedient to issue a proclamation, prohibiting the continuance of an establishment which was a kind of Parliamentary Association in Dublin. permanently to discuss a political question. The hon. member for the Queen's County seemed to think that the existence of that Society might have been allowed. He entirely differed from his hon. friend. The hon. and learned member for Yorkshire was on one point perfectly right. The people of Ireland had been excited by the example of the Belgians; and it was his (Mr. Fitzgerald's) sincere conviction that, unless interference had been resorted to, the people might have come into collision with the authorities, and a civil war might have ensued. Humanity, therefore, demanded the step that had been taken.
§ Mr. Spring Rice
denied that the protection of Ireland from civil war could ever depend on the proclamation of a Lord-lieutenant. If Ireland were in danger of such a calamity, it would require a much more active and powerful influence over public opinion to save her from it. He protested most strongly, both against the statement of danger which had been made by the hon. member for Kerry (Mr. M. Fitzgerald) and against the remedy which he recommended. Whenever, however, the question of the state of Ireland should come under the consideration of Parliament, he hoped that the question respecting the recent proclamation, and the conduct of the Irish Government would be carefully separated from that much greater, that vital question, the repeal of the Union. It was agreed by all the Members of that House—by all but one—that to the Union they must cling; that the continuance of its existence was indispensable to the happiness of Ireland and the stability of the empire; and that, if it were repealed, this country would be 123 degraded to the lowest rank among the nations of Europe, and Ireland would be scarcely entitled to rank at all among civilized nations. This, however, was not a subject to be discussed hastily or incidentally. It required the most cool, deliberate, and dispassionate consideration. While he sincerely regretted the view which his hon. and learned friend, the member for Waterford, took of it, there was one encouraging circumstance; namely, that he was convinced no hon. Gentleman could take such a view, and entertain such opinions, and at the same time hesitate to fix an early period for the consideration of the question, when it might be discussed without personality or violence, and with that calmness and deliberation due to one of the gravest subjects ever submitted to the decision of Parliament. AH that he asked was, the opportunity of full and temperate discussion, conducted on the principle professed by his hon. and learned friend—the interests of the people of Ireland; and if he (Mr. Spring Rice) showed himself incapable of proving that the repeal of the Union would be destructive of the interests, not only of the aristocracy, not only of the landed proprietors, not only of the manufacturing classes, but of the lowest peasantry in Ireland, he would consent to abandon the opinions which he at present entertained upon the subject. He was anxious to maintain the Union, firmly believing, that on the maintenance of the Union depended the prosperity of the whole empire. He would enter no further upon the subject at present, because, for the reasons which he had already stated, he was desirous to avoid a desultory discussion upon it.
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
perfectly agreed with the hon. member for Limerick, that it was desirable to avoid a desultory discussion on such a subject, although he was perfectly ready to enter into it, and more especially with respect to his own conduct, in regard to the proclamation that had been adverted to; and he frankly confessed, that he abstained from noticing some of the observations of the hon. and learned member for Waterford, because he thought it better to do so than to give the remotest appearance of a personal character to such a discussion as the present. But, as he thought he perceived that great misconception existed in the minds of several hon. Members on this point, he begged leave to observe, that 124 there had not been evinced the slightest disposition, on the part of the Lord-lieutenant of Ireland, to prevent meetings in any part of Ireland, for the fair discussion of the question of the repeal of the Union. Such meetings had taken place at Cork, at Killarney, and at other places. When one was proposed at Drogheda, the Mayor had referred to him for instructions how to proceed. His answer was, that if no disturbance was contemplated, there could not be the slightest objection to allow the popular feeling to be expressed on the subject. When, however, the hon. and learned member for Waterford addressed a letter to the people of Ireland, recommending them to establish Anti-Union Associations; when he recommended the establishment of a Society for the redress of Irish grievances, which Society was to send its emissaries into all parts of the country, he had given the Lord-lieutenant his opinion, which coincided with that of the Lord-lieutenant himself, that to allow of the establishment of such societies was to allow of the revival, under another name, of what was formerly called the Catholic Association. He maintained that the new society came under the description of those societies, which the Act for suppressing Dangerous Associations was intended to suppress. He felt no difficulty himself in drawing a distinct line of demarcation between such associations as those which he had just described, and associations of a legal and constitutional character. Had he entertained any wish to stifle public opinion in Ireland upon the subject of the Union, he should not have answered the Mayor of Drogheda, or the Mayor of Cork, that there was no objection whatever to meetings for the purpose of expressing the public opinion; although there was a great objection to allow of the formation of associations with the power of adjournment, the avowed object of which was to over-rule the constituted authorities of the country. He wished only further to observe, that,. admitting the existence of great distress in Ireland, he firmly believed that the descriptions of that distress had been much overcharged. From the best information which the official returns afforded, there was reason to believe that a rapid improvement was making in the internal condition of Ireland. He had no doubt that the condition of the peasantry was much alleviated. The hon. and learned member 125 for Waterford appeared to dissent from that opinion. He referred to the evidence in support of it. On all the best information which had been laid before the Legislature, he maintained that the condition of the peasantry of Ireland had improved, and was perceptibly improving. It might be asked what measures his Majesty's Government meant to pursue on the subject? In the last Session a report had been made by an able committee, on the introduction of the Poor-laws into Ireland, containing several valuable suggestions. It was his wish to act, as far as he could, upon those suggestions, after they had been more maturely considered by his Majesty's Government; and to use his utmost diligence to carry them into practical effect. With respect to the repeal of the Union, whenever that question was brought forward he should be prepared to express his opinion upon it; and he perfectly agreed with the hon. member for Limerick, that great advantages would result from its calm and dispassionate discussion. He hoped that, whenever that discussion took place, he should show that he was disposed to treat the arguments of the hon. and learned member for Water-ford, not only with courtesy, but with the greatest possible candour.
§ Mr. Hodges
expressed the regret with which he had heard the right hon. Baronet opposite say, that the distress of the districts in which it was endured was without remedy, and that their state of despair could not be relieved. Adverting to the condition of Kent, he stated, that there were two classes of the people under great distress; but that there was a third class, for whom there was no excuse, who were instigated by others to become midnight incendiaries—a character very nearly allied to midnight assassins. By acts of that nature, they hastened their own destruction. At the same time it ought to be considered, that human suffering had a limit, beyond which it could not be borne. The hon. Gentleman read a letter from a Magistrate of Kent, to illustrate the condition of the people. It was as follows:—"I was present at the affray yesterday, and assisted in seizing some of the people. They were very civil, and did not try to strike a blow at any one, though most of them had large sticks in their hands, which is perhaps to be attributed to their being aware that a great number of them were known to myself and others, 126 as well as to a distant view of troops. We desired them to state their complaints. Their spokesmen made us feel that they were well founded. I believe from my heart it was true, as he stated, that it was a matter of indifference to them whether they perished by hunger or by the sword. They said, that if we would relieve their grievances, they would disperse. If not, worse would come. Things could not stop as they were. Amongst the small farmers who were called upon to act as special constables, a strange scene presented itself. Some would not serve because they would thereby become marked men; others said that they were ruined by taxation. The majority of them refused to be sworn in, observing that their petitions for relief had never received the smallest attention, and that the cause in which the labourers were engaged was theirs." It was the duty of all honest men to come and state truths like these. He was convinced that nothing would remedy the evil, but that remission of taxation, which could be effected only by a reformed House of Commons. Whenever that great question came again under consideration, he hoped it would receive greater support than it had received on any former occasion.
§ Sir Robert Peel, in explanation, denied having said that the sufferings of the country were such as could not be remedied. When it had been asserted that the people of England were in a starving condition, he had maintained that such was not the fact; but he had always admitted and deeply lamented the existence of severe distress. He had also observed, that, in so complicated a state of society as that in this country, there could scarcely be a time in which there would not be much local suffering.
§ Sir E. Knatchbull
adverted to the deep and uninterrupted attention with which the hon. and learned member for Water-ford had been heard—an attention almost unprecedented—as a proof that the people of this country, and the Members of that House were not indifferent to the affairs of Ireland. At the same time, whatever ability the hon. and learned Gentleman had shown, he was undoubtedly much mistaken on the subject of the repeal of the Union with Ireland. With respect to the outrages in Kent, there could be but one opinion of their atrocity. He wished it, however, to be most fully understood 127 that the peasantry of the country had no part whatever in these transactions. He derived his information from various authentic sources, as well as from his own personal knowledge, and the result was a firm conviction, that the peasantry of Kent were a loyal, respectable class of persons, who would be utterly incapable of destroying property in the manner described. The magistracy had stated, that they were ready to hear and investigate cases of individual distress, and to remedy them to the utmost of their power. In such exertions they would not be found deficient, and he trusted that they would prove successful in their endeavours to remove it before long. It was not his duty, as a magistrate, to force the people to act in the capacity of constables, but he had invited and urged them to do so, and it was but justice to add, that they evinced no reluctance in adopting the suggestion. On the first day of the last Session of Parliament, he had submitted to the House a motion, which, however, had not received its sanction, nor even the support of the hon. member for Middlesex. It would, however, have removed a great many of the existing difficulties, and might have prevented those conflagrations and other evils which had proceeded to so alarming an extent.
§ The Amendment was negatived without a Division, and the Address agreed to.
§ Mr. Hume, in giving notice that on the bringing up of the Report he should place on record his opinion as dissenting from the Speech, said, that his reason for voting for Ministers on the occasion alluded to by the hon. Baronet, was because he believed that they were in earnest in their professions of economy; but if the hon. Baronet would now try him, he would find that his opinion was quite changed; for he was determined not. again to do anything to keep in a Minister that acted so much in opposition to the wishes of the people.