HC Deb 08 November 1830 vol 1 cc266-96
Lord Althorp

said, observing the right hon. Baronet in his place, he wished to ask him for some explanation of one of the most extraordinary and alarming events that he had ever known in the course of his public experience. He was desirous to know, what could have induced his Majesty's Ministers to expose his Majesty to the great unpopularity which might follow from his disappointing the expectations of thousands of his faithful subjects, by advising his Majesty to decline fulfilling the promise he had made to dine with the Lord Mayor to-morrow? It was not in London alone that the most serious effects would result from this affair. The alarm which the intelligence of it would create, from one end of the kingdom to the other, would necessarily be excessive. He supposed that his Majesty's Ministers had not taken an important step like this without proceeding on the most authentic information, and without the most deliberate consideration. Were it not so, their conduct would deserve the severest censure. Under these circumstances, he begged to ask the right hon. Gentleman the grounds of the measure which he had adopted.

Sir Robert Peel

said, that however anxious he might be fully to answer the question which had been put to him by the noble Lord, and to give every information on the subject referred to which it was in his power to give, he was sure the noble Lord would not expect from him— he was sure the House would not expect from him—any declaration or statement that might be prejudicial to, or in any way interfere with, the course of the public service. The letter which had appeared in all the newspapers of the day, addressed to the Lord Mayor, was authentic, and the signature to that letter was his. That letter conveyed the deliberate opinion of his Majesty's confidential servants, that they had felt it to be their duty to advise his Majesty to postpone the visit which their Majesties intended to pay to the City of London on Tuesday next. The opinion was founded on the firm belief entertained by his Majesty's Government, that a collision of a very serious nature might take place in the attempt to maintain the public peace. Such a collision was at all times to be avoided; but peculiarly so on an occasion such as that in question. If ever an anxiety could be justly entertained to avoid such a collision, it must be at a time when an immense concourse of innocent and unsuspecting persons were assembled, at night, in the streets of the metropolis, to witness a great public festival. When it was considered that such an evil might be avoided, since there was no obligation that the festival in question must take place, and when to that was added the fact, that information had been received of an intention on the part of evil-disposed persons to make that festival a scene of tumult, and probably of bloodshed, he thought no man would deny that it was the duty of his Majesty's Ministers to give his Majesty the advice which they had given. It was his firm belief, while he was ready to do the most ample justice to the loyalty of the people of London, while he was convinced of the warmth of their attachment to their Sovereign, while he was perfectly assured that the most implicit reliance might be placed on their affection to his Majesty, while he admitted that in the great body of the people he was disposed to place the most unbounded confidence, he was perfectly persuaded, that if their Majesties were to visit the city of London, a tumult and riot would ensue, involving consequences of a most deplorable character, and perhaps leading to bloodshed. I should be doing (continued the right hon. Baronet) injustice to the feelings and character of the great body of the inhabitants of this metropolis, if I did not make an avowal of my sincere belief in their loyalty in the most distinct terms; yet, though my information leads me to believe that in their zeal and affection the utmost confidence may be placed, it also made me perceive, that it was in the power—and, unfortunately, I learnt that it was also the intention, of a few abandoned and desperate characters, to promote disorder and tumult, which it would be difficult to repress by night, without incurring the risk of inflicting that punishment on the innocent which ought to fall upon the guilty alone. On that night there would be in the streets of London not merely many good citizens and loyal men but also an immense concourse of women and children. Supposing that an attempt should be made to involve a part of the town in darkness, in order to facilitate an attack upon either the lives or the property of a part of his Majesty's subjects, in what position would those persons, who are intrusted with, and are responsible for, the peace of the metropolis be placed, if they should be obliged to resort to force in the midst of a mixed crowd of unoffending women and children? If such a collision can be avoided, is it not right, is it not prudent, is it not the bounden duty of Ministers, to take such measures as will avoid it? I have now to inform the House, that in the course of Saturday and of Sunday last a variety of information from various quarters came into my office, which led me and the other members of his Majesty's Government to believe, that there was a possibility of a great tumult arising on Tuesday next, from the acts of a desperate and abandoned set of men, who, though few, were still sufficient in number to create very general and extensive alarm. In the course of Saturday, the Lord Mayor elect of Lon- don, the chief magistrate of the metropolis for the ensuing year, felt it to be his duty to make to the Duke of Wellington a communication, which I will now proceed to read to the House, being willing to afford it every information upon this subject which my duty will permit me at present to disclose. This communication was received by his grace the Duke of Wellington on Saturday morning. My Lord Duke,—From the situation of Lord Mayor, to which I have been elected, numberless communications are made to me, both personally and by letter, in reference to the 9th, and it is on that account I take the liberty of addressing your Grace. Although the feelings of all the respectable citizens of London are decidedly loyal, yet it cannot but be known there are, both in London as well as the country, a set of desperate and abandoned characters, who are anxious to avail themselves of any circumstance to create tumult and confusion. While all of any respectability in the City are vying with each other to testify their loyalty an the occasion, from what I learn it is the intention of some of the desperate characters above alluded to, to lake the opportunity of making an attack on your Grace's person— [Very loud cheering, mingled with considerable laughter, from the Opposition benches]. "Good God! A sarcastic cheer!" continued Sir R. Peel; "and made, too, in the House of Commons, on hearing that the Lord Mayor of London has communicated to the Duke of Wellington that he had reason to believe that an attack would be made on his Grace's life as he accompanied his Majesty to the civic festival! And from an officer in the army, too! [This was an allusion to Colonel Davies, whose cheer was remarkably loud.] Whatever may be the opinions entertained by individuals as to the official acts and political character of the Duke of Wellington, is there a single man in the country—I am sure that the gallant Colonel who cheered so loudly, when the heat of debate has passed by, will be among the first to deprecate such attempts —is there, I say, a single man of the slightest respectability in the country, who would wish to carry his political hostility to such an extent? To proceed, however, with the letter— While all of any respectability in the City are vying with each other to testify their loyalty on the occasion, from what I learn it is the intention of some of the desperate characters above alluded to, to take the opportunity of making an attack on your Grace's per- son, on your approach to the hall. Every exertion on my part shall be used to make the best possible arrangement in the City; and at the same time I feel, that should any violent attack be made in one quarter, any civil force alone might not be sufficiently effectual, and I should not be doing my duly, after what I have heard, did I not take the liberty of suggesting to your Grace the propriety of coining strongly and sufficiently guarded. I probably may be considered giving you needless trouble, but the respect which I, as well as every person who really wishes the welfare of the country, must have for your Grace, and the gratitude we owe you, have induced me to adopt this course. I have, &c. (Signed) JOHN KEY, Lord Mayor elect. Here, then, was an intimation from the Lord Mayor elect of London to the Duke of Wellington, that there was no security for his Grace, on his visit to the City, unless he came provided with a large military guard. Would it be fitting, I ask, for his Grace, after all the services which he has rendered to this country, to be seen going to Guildhall accompanied and guarded by a troop of soldiers? Is that a salutary state of things, in which it is announced that a Minister of the King cannot go to meet his Sovereign at Guildhall without being exposed, I do not say to the usual symptoms of popular obloquy, but to the risk of an attack upon his person? But this is not all. Intimations reached my office that an attack was to be made upon his Grace's house in the course of the night, when the police were at a distance, under the pretence of calling for lights to illuminate. I say, that any such attack must be accompanied by riot; and that the attempt to suppress such riot by force, when the streets are filled with women and children, must be accompanied by consequences which all of us would lament. That, however, is only one of the causes which I have for believing in the possibility of such an attempt at riot taking place. Every one is aware that there exists in the. public mind considerable excitement against those authorities which have been appointed, under the sanction of the House, to maintain the public peace, —I allude, of course, to the body which, is known by the name of the New Police. To maintain order in that procession, had it taken place, it would have been necessary to draw together all the civil power which the New Metropolitan Police places at the disposal of the magistracy, it being desirable to resort to all civil means, in preference to military means, for the preservation of the public peace. The police must have been collected from nine o'clock in the morning, to line the procession from St. James's-palace, from which his Majesty would start, to Temple-bar, where he would enter the City. If they remained on duty all night, then those parts of the town which it is their special duty to guard, would be left unprotected; and, therefore, if there were any mischievous designs entertained against property, those designs might be easily perpetrated. If, however, each party of the police remained separated, then there would be grounds to apprehend that there would not be a sufficient civil force to maintain order in the line of procession, on an occasion when not only the ordinary population of the metropolis was likely to assemble upon it, but also a vast concourse of strangers from all parts of the country. I am now sorry to be obliged to inform the House, that in the course of Saturday and Sunday last, the most industrious attempts were made in various quarters to inflame the public mind against the new police. Thousands of printed hand-bills were circulated, some of which I will read to the House, for the purpose of shewing the means employed to inflame the people against that portion of the civil force which is intrusted with the preservation of the public tranquillity. These are not written papers, drawn up by illiterate persons, and casually dropped in the streets, but printed hand-bills, not ill-adapted for the mischievous purposes which they are intended to answer. One of them is in these terms:— To arms, to arms!—Liberty or Death! London meets on Tuesday next, an opportunity not to be lost for revenging the wrongs we have suffered so long; come ARMED, be firm, and victory must be ours!!! "AN ENGLISHMAN Another of them is couched in the following terms:— Liberty or Death! Englishmen! Britons!! and honest men!!! The time has at length arrived—all London meets on Tuesday — come armed. We assure you from ocular demonstration, that 6,000 cutlasses have been removed from the Tower, for the immediate use of Peel's Bloody Gang—remember the cursed Speech from the Throne!!—These damned Police are now to be armed. Englishmen, will you put up with this. Now after hearing the inflammatory language of these hand-bills, I call upon the House to consider how great the likelihood is, that after the police had returned to their ordinary duties, in their respective portions of the town, a desperate attack would be made upon them. If it were made, it would, of course, be resisted by the civil force; if the civil force were insufficient to repel it, military aid would be called in; and then, on that night of general festivity and rejoicing, in the midst of crowds of unsuspecting men, women, and children, there might be resistance, and if resistance, bloodshed, occasioned by the necessity of supporting the civil authorities. I am sorry to add, that the experience of what took place at the last popular assembly fortifies the impression which the information transmitted to my office originally created in my mind,—that there might be such assaults committed by the people on the police. The last public procession which we had was on the 2nd of November, the day on which his Majesty came down to open the Session of Parliament. In the course of the night of that day, the police having attempted to apprehend certain persons discovered in the commission of crime, were violently attacked by numbers, of the lower classes; and the individual who aided the police, by giving them permission to deposit their prisoners in his house, and to shelter themselves under its protection, had his house attacked and most of his windows broken. The next morning there came before the Magistrates of the different police offices in the metropolis, not less than sixty-six cases of assault committed in the course of that night on the police constables. Of those sixty-six there were ordered to find bail to appear at the Sessions, forty-two — there were fined, or in default of payment imprisoned, nineteen—there was remanded one—there were discharged on their own recognizances two—and there were also two absolutely discharged. Still there were sixty-six cases of assault committed on the police constables on the night of the 2nd of November. Such being the case, when on Saturday and Sunday the hand-bills which I have just read to you were industriously circulated, directing the people to attack the police with arms, could we, as Ministers, view without apprehension the consequences which might ensue in different parts of the metropolis, when the business of the day was concluded, and the police constables were separated by their duty in their respective districts? If unprovoked attacks were made upon them, and I have decisive evidence before me that such attacks would be made upon them, is there not danger that, in exerting the energies of self-defence, a few desperate characters might, in spite of the great loyalty of the mass of the population of London, have provoked consequences highly injurious to the public tranquillity? The House, I have no doubt, will be glad to hear, that the Government asks for no new law to repress these disorders, but is determined to enforce the old, which is sufficient for the purpose. We feel it, however, to be an imperative duty to avoid an occasion by which, in these agitated times, any collision may be produced between the constituted authorities and the people. I know the disappointment which has been experienced by the necessity of postponing the civic entertainment. I know that great sacrifices have been made, by various classes of his Majesty's faithful subjects, to pay every honour to him during his visit to the City. I was this day waited upon by the deputies of various trades, which had undertaken to protect the peace during various portions of the procession, and I could not hear, without regret, the expressions of disappointment which they uttered at finding that, though their Majesties had full confidence in the exertions of their loyalty, they were not to have the proud gratification of escorting them upon their entrance into the City. With a full knowledge of all these circumstances, I cannot help thinking that the disappointment occasioned by not holding this festival is a very subordinate consideration indeed, when placed in the balance against the maintenance of the public peace. These, Sir, are the grounds on which the members of his Majesty's Government came to the unanimous resolution of advising his Majesty that this occasion should not be given for assembling on a November night an immense concourse of people of all descriptions. I sincerely believe, that if they were assembled the public peace would be disturbed. I sincerely believe, that recourse to military authority might be necessary for its preservation, and that, in the struggle to secure it, numbers of unsuspecting and unoffending persons must unavoidably be sacrificed. If such results were probable, I ask again whether it was not our duty, as the responsible Ministers of the Crown, to advise his Majesty to forego the satisfaction of visiting the City of London, in order to spare him and his consort the permanent pain of having been unconsciously the cause of bloodshed and suffering to their unoffending subjects? I know not whether the House will approve of the course which we have adopted upon this occasion. I know that it will be said that the Government is unpopular, whilst his Majesty is most enthusiastically beloved by his people. It is my duty to bear that taunt, rather than forbear from giving that advice, of which the adoption is calculated to secure the tranquillity of the metropolis,—to prevent the loss of life—and to prevent, above all, any addition to that excitement of feeling which is at present so much to be deplored. I will submit to any taunt founded on the obloquy or objectionable character of the Ministry among the people, rather than give them any cause for excitement which I can possibly avoid."

Mr. Brougham

assured the right hon. Secretary that he should hear no taunt from him on this painful occasion. But, though he gave the right hon. Secretary that assurance, he nevertheless felt it necessary to return his thanks to his noble friend near him for having elicited from the right hon. Secretary the statement which he had just made. He could assure the right hon. Secretary, that the few words which he was going to address to the House were intended to add to the effect which his speech would have in quieting the alarm, which he would not say had been excited without any cause, but which he thought had been excited without sufficient cause, in this great metropolis. Though it was not strictly right for him to address the Chair at present, there being no question regularly before it, still he trusted that a consideration of the public convenience, and of the peace and tranquillity of this great metropolis, and he might even say of the country, would be admitted by the Speaker as a sufficient excuse for his saying a few words, although irregularly, to the House. He felt exceedingly sorrowful that a festival, by which the good City of London had set such store, should not be holden with all that pomp and pride of circumstance which, of old custom, belonged to it, and with that which, on this occasion, gave to it its chief interest,—he meant the presence of the Royal Family. That was not, however, the event which he chiefly lamented upon this occasion. The alarm which had been excited by the unexpected appearance of the right hon. Secretary's letter was so great, that the most awful mercantile inconvenience must result from it. Within a very short time after its appearance, the Stocks fell three per cent; and that fall of three per cent, be it minded, was in addition to a fall of four per cent, which occurred last week. He did honestly and sincerely confess, that he looked with apprehension to the probable consequences of so unexpected a fall. Many a good man and many a worthy family, engaged in the ordinary transactions of commerce, and not indulging in wild and dangerous speculation, would find himself reduced, in a single week, from a state of affluence to a state of beggary, by the blow which such sudden revulsions always gave to public credit. If, then, anything which he could say could have a tendency to lessen the existing panic,—and he assured the right hon. Secretary that what he was going to say was intended to accomplish that object, and that object alone,—if he could succeed in showing to the public that there was no reason for anticipating that general confusion and disturbance of which the letter of the right hon. Secretary, appearing without the explanation which he had just given, was calculated to excite the idea— if he could succeed in removing and allaying the apprehension which was now so general in the City, and which would soon be equally general in the country at large, he thought that he should be rendering, as he did it conscientiously, an acceptable service both to the Government and to the House. He considered the statement of the right hon. Secretary as very satisfactory in one point, and calculated to produce much good. The right hon. Secretary had admitted that there was no deficiency of loyalty, of good conduct, and of peaceable demeanor among the great, opulent, virtuous, and intelligent classes, of which the population of London and Westminster was composed. He had avowed that they were not merely not tainted with disaffection, but that they had even been singularly forward in the readiness with which they had volunteered to assist in maintaining the public peace. That statement would be of the utmost importance in allaying the notion that there was any intention on the part of the people to revolt against their present form of Government. As to the remaining part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, to what did it amount? It amounted simply to this—that it was a bad thing to have a large assembly of the people on the 9th of November, and for this reason,—that though 999 men out of 1,000 then assembled might be peaceably and loyally disposed, yet the odd units—the few who were riotously inclined—might put out the lights in the street, might involve the town in darkness, and might afterwards commence a scene of riot and confusion, which could not end without bloodshed! Now if this were any objection to his Majesty's attendance at the civic festival, it was not an objection to which the course of events had suddenly given birth within the two or three last days. Every one acquainted with the state of society in this country must be aware, that such an event as his Majesty's visit to the City must, from its very rarity, collect thousands, if not myriads, to witness it, so that any accident to which the metropolis was exposed at present, from the collection of a large mass of people together, must have been as palpable a month ago as it is now. The right hon. Secretary had told the House, that it was the duty of Ministers to advise his Majesty not to visit the City if there was a possibility of any accident occurring in consequence of his visit. Now, with all deference to the right hon. Secretary, he did not think, that he had alleged a sufficient reason for his Majesty's not appearing among a loyal and affectionate people, who anxiously expected his presence. If he had said thus much in justice to the inhabitants of this great metropolis, and to allay the apprehensions which he knew they felt, it gave him great pleasure to make another remark, in justice to his Majesty. If it had appeared that, on a given day, it was universally believed that the King could go safely to Guildhall, and yet that, within two or three days afterwards, in consequence of a certain event, a notion had got into circulation that he could not go there without danger,—if such an idea had remained unexplained, it might sanction an opinion at home, and more especially abroad, where the King's immense and well-deserved popularity was not so well understood,— it might look, he said, as if, for some new and undefined reason, that popularity had become endangered to such a degree, that his Majesty could not meet his faithful commons of London without fear of a tumult and riot. But the speech of the right hon. Secretary had convinced him to the contrary. "My conscientious opinion," said Mr. Brougham, "is, that his Majesty may go safely to Guildhall now, without suffering any inconvenience, save that arising from the pressure occasioned by the eager wishes of his affectionate and faithful subjects to behold him;—ay, as safely as he confessedly could have done before the country heard the Speech from the Throne. I must regret that a trial was not made of the affection which his people bear to his Majesty. But perhaps the error, if it be one, is on the safe side. I cannot, however, help thinking, that it is a little hard on his Majesty, that in consequence of nothing—not even a syllable,—having been said in the proclamation of this morning as to whose unpopularity it is, that causes the postponement of the civic festivities, it should be made to appear as if it were the unpopularity of the King, and not that of his Ministers. Whereas it now appears, on the showing of one of the Ministers themselves, that if his Majesty would go to Guildhall, and if the Duke of Wellington would stay at home, the King, being unattended by his unpopular companion, would be received with the most sincere and heartfelt exultation by a loyal, an affectionate, and a grateful people, whilst the noble Duke, being left at home to defend his own house, would, from his well-known gallantry, find no person hardy enough to attack it. I regret much the appearance of the letter of this morning,—I regret it on account of the mischief which it is certain to cause in the mercantile world,—I regret it also on account of its apparent connexion with that Speech from the Throne, followed up, as that fatal Speech has been, by the still more fatal declaration of the Duke of Wellington, against every species of reform,— a declaration to which, in my conscience I believe, he owes nine-tenths of his present unpopularity. I wish that that declaration had not been made. I wish, also, that I had not lived to see the day, when a forgetfulness of those invaluable services in the field,—which have made for the Duke of Wellington, as a soldier a general, and a conqueror, a great, a brilliant, and imperishable renown, coupled with a deviation by the noble Duke from his own sphere of life, into the labyrinths of politics, and with an attempt on his part to shine as a great statesman,—a character which nature, that formed him a great General, never intended that he should become—I wish, I repeat, that I had not lived to see the day, when the forgetfulness of his great merits by the rabble,—a forgetfulness never to be pardoned, always to be condemned; for no deficiency on the part of the Duke of Wellington as a politician ought to eradicate the gratitude which we all owe to him as a soldier; and even as a statesman, he is not without his merits — I wish to heaven, I once more repeat, that I had not lived to see the day, when the forgetfulness of the people to the merits of the soldier, and the forgetfulness of the soldier to his own proper sphere of greatness, has displayed to England, to Europe, and to the world, that the Duke of Wellington cannot accompany his Majesty on his journey into the heart of an attached and loyal population."

Colonel Davies

felt compelled to address the House upon this occasion, in consequence of the pointed allusion which had been made to a cheer of his by the right hon. Secretary. He could not conceive how the right hon. Secretary could so misconstrue his cheer as to suppose that it meant an approval of any attack which the ruffian rabble might make upon the person of the Duke of Wellington. He viewed with as much indignation as a man could do the infamous attacks which had recently been made upon his Grace by some of the lowest ruffians in the country. What caused his cheer and astonishment was, that after such an alarming letter as that which appeared in the newspapers that morning—a letter containing a declaration, which he conceived, could only be justified by the discovery of some widespread conspiracy against the Throne—it should turn out, that the main, and indeed the only reason, why the City was disappointed of a visit from its Sovereign, was the unpopularity of the Prime Minister. Was it the intention of the Duke of Wellington, now that he found that he could not raise his own popularity to the same height with that of his Majesty, to bring down his Majesty's popularity to the same level with his own unpopularity? He could not admit that the right hon. Secretary had made out any case sufficient to justify the postponement of his Majesty's visit to the City. He had told the House that he expected to have the police attacked in the course of the evening, provided his Majesty dined in the City tomorrow; but he had not informed the House, why the same attack would not be made upon them, provided his Majesty should persist in his present determination to stay away.

Sir Robert Peel

said, that however tempting the occasion might be, he would not enter into any of those questions of party-feeling which the hon. and learned Gentleman had raised in the course of his speech. His object was, to co-operate with the hon. and learned Gentleman in his endeavour to calm the public feeling. He would therefore endeavour to abstain from replying to the sarcasms into which the hon. and learned Gentleman had so naturally fallen. He cordially admitted the hon. and learned Gentleman's intentions; and he wished to state, in the most clear and positive terms, that the hon. and learned Gentleman had put a correct construction upon his language. "I believe with him," said Sir Robert Peel, "that the King and Queen might safely go to Guildhall to-morrow without any other inconvenience, save that arising from the exuberant loyalty of the people. I believe with him, that from one part of the procession to the other, there would have been nothing but one universal demonstration of loyalty and affection to their Majesties. I believe that every man possessed of property in the metropolis would have been ready to expose himself to any danger for its protection, and for the protection of the public peace. I know that among those who had confederated for that purpose were 1,400 or 1,500 persons connected with the first houses in London. So far am I from wishing to have it inferred that there was any disloyalty among the citizens of London, that I now declare my sincere conviction to be, that never was there an occasion on which greater attachment to the King, and a stronger disposition to maintain the public peace, were displayed. Still let the House reflect on the condition in which the metropolis would have been placed. All the firemen would have been engaged as guardians of the public peace. To maintain order in the line of procession all the ordinary police of London must have been on duty by as early an hour as nine o'clock in the morning. With all the facts which came to the knowledge of the Government, I did not think it safe to leave all the suburbs of London exposed to plunder for the whole of to-morrow. What I stated in my former speech, and what I repeat now is, that voluntarily to get together, on a November evening, a large concourse of innocent people, men, women, and children, when certain agents of mischief are known to be at work, may be productive of consequences which should be avoided if possible. The gallant Officer says, that in spite of the postponement of his Majesty's visit, the attack on the police may still take place to-morrow night. It may so; but then, mark the difference. The association of the people to-morrow night will be voluntary, and without apparent cause, and, now that warning is given, must be only for mischief; whereas, if the King's visit had not been postponed, the association would have been sanctioned by the Magistrates, and would have been, as far as they could discriminate, perfectly innocent. I beg pardon for again intruding so long upon the House. I merely rose to state, that the hon. and learned Gentleman has put the exact construction that I could have wished upon my words, and that, if any opinion has got abroad that there is disloyalty in London, that opinion is quite groundless. In conclusion, I beg leave to state my sincere conviction, that there never was a Sovereign on the British Throne better entitled to, and more in possession of, the undivided affections of his people, than his present Majesty. If I omitted to state that circumstance before, it was only because I thought it too notorious to require mention."

Colonel Sibthorp

rose to assure the right hon. Secretary, that in proposing the very question which had just been put to him by the noble member for Northamptonshire, to another Minister, before he (Sir R. Peel) entered the House, he had not done so from any want of courtesy to the right hon. Secretary. A sense of what was due to his King, his constituents, and his country, had urged him to press for the earliest intelligence on this most important subject.

Mr. Alderman Waithman

said, that it was impossible for him to remain silent upon this occasion, without disregarding one of the most sacred duties which he owed to his constituents, who had been placed in a most extraordinary situation by the conduct of the Government. We were told that we had a King of the most popular cha- racter, and yet that he could not partake of a dinner with his good citizens of London without running the risk of seeing the public peace disturbed by a handful of desperate and abandoned men. With such an imputation on the City of London, it was incumbent upon him to state to the House one or two facts, which it was important that the public should know, in addition to those which had already been mentioned by the right hon. Secretary. He must mention, in the first place, that when he left the Court of Aldermen that day, who were specially convened to consider of Sir Robert Peel's letter, there was but one opinion on the subject in the whole court: all the members were astonished and confounded by the contents of that letter. Having long acted as Magistrates for the metropolis,— having sat in committee every day for some weeks past, in order to superintend the arrangements at Guildhall,—and having sworn in a number of most respectable citizens as special constables, they were indeed surprised, with all the information which they possessed as Magistrates, at hearing to-day, for the first time, that there was cause for apprehending a breach of the peace in the City. After some inquiry it appeared, that a communication had taken place between the right hon. Secretary and a deputation of three Common Councilmen, the Lord Mayor elect, and an Alderman, now acting for the present Lord Mayor. He would not enter into a repetition of what passed at their interview, for the right hon. Secretary could inform them of it more clearly than he could. When the Committee was asked whether they were apprehensive of a riot, their answer was, unequivocally "we are not." He (Mr. Waithman) knew, however, that the Lord Mayor elect had written a letter to the Duke of Wellington on the subject of his personal safety, warning him that it would be endangered if he came into the City. When the Committee was asked whether, in their opinion, there was the slightest cause for apprehension, they expressed their most decided judgment in the negative. An hon. Baronet and Alderman, had been running about a good deal backwards and forwards, had been making communications from one quarter to another, on the ground, as it would appear, that he thought he knew much more than others; whereas it was clear, from his communications, that he knew much less. It was an astounding circumstance that the Lord Mayor elect should have communicated that information, which was deemed so important as to occasion more than one or two Cabinet Councils, and had ended in such a result, without having made the slightest communication of it to the Magistrates of London. The result was, a reflection upon the whole Magistracy of the City of London, importing that they were incompetent to preserve order in the City, which they were ready, one and all, indignantly to repel.—Whence the Lord Mayor elect had received his information —information so important as to have been the occasion of the most disastrous disappointment to the whole metropolis— he could not tell. Until informed of his communication by the letter of the Secretary of State, the Court of Aldermen were utterly ignorant of it. It was a gross reflection, he repeated, by whomever made, and one that he was authorized indignantly to repel, to suppose that the City Magistrates, and the police under their command, could not have prevented any breach of the peace. What, then, was the plain truth of the matter? Why it must be, either that his Majesty did not possess the affection of the people, or that his Majesty had an obnoxious Ministry; and there could be no doubt which of these two was the fact, for every body knew, that no British Monarch was ever more beloved by his people than was William IV. The Ministers seemed to have doubted whether the letter of the Lord Mayor was a forgery or not; for, at nine o'clock on Sunday night, the Under Secretary of State came into the city to inquire whether or not it was a genuine letter of the Lord Mayor elect; and the Under Secretary of State brought with him a letter, which he was to deliver to the Lord Mayor if it turned out that the other letter was genuine, but which he was to take back again if it turned out to be a forgery. Nothing could exceed the consternation, the universal consternation, which this absurd proceeding had excited in the City. It had affected the funds, as they had all heard; it had affected the trading interests of every description; and the alarm would quickly spread throughout the country. And all this mischief had been caused by timidity or folly without any ground or reason! Was it not, he would ask the House, most ex- traordinary that the Lord Mayor had not consulted any of his colleagues; that none of the City Magistrates had been thought wise enough to be trusted with this important information; and that those who represented the City of London in Parliament, and who were at the same time Magistrates of the City, should have heard nothing about this intended breach of the peace? Yet this was the fact; the Lord Mayor had asked the opinion of no one, had consulted with no one. He could not express, because he could not trust himself with, language to express the indignation he felt at such conduct. As to what might have happened,—he had very little apprehension that any thing would have happened on the other side of Temple Bar—on this side Temple Bar, it was for the Ministers to watch, and be answerable for, that. Let it not be supposed that he was insensible to the wickedness and the malice of those who molested the new police; he blamed them as much as any one could, and if he had opposed the establishment of the new police in the City, it was only because he did not wish to see the peculiar laws and usages of the City broken in upon. However, if the new police and the Ministers could not have preserved the peace, on such an occasion as this, out of the City, he would tell the House who could, and who would, have preserved the peace, both in and out of the City during his Majesty's visit;—the citizens would, the respectable tradesmen and shopkeepers of the City of London would, he was sure, have willingly undertaken this office, if there had been any necessity for it, and have conducted his Majesty peaceably to Guildhall. The Ministers ought to have known this, and ought not to have advised his Majesty as they had. He verily believed that the Ministers, by this act, had signed their own death-warrant, they had committed an act of political suicide, and that, if any jury were called to sit upon them, no other verdict but "insanity" would be brought in. He could not sit down without once more impressing upon hon. Members that there was no danger, that there was no cause of fear, that the citizens of London were able and willing to have prevented any breach of the peace, and his Majesty, he was sure, might have visited the City, and heard no other sound than the boisterous merriment of a delighted people.

Mr. Hobhouse

said, that as member for the City of Westminster, he trusted that he might be allowed to say a few words on the present occasion, promising the House that they should be very few. He had felt it his duty to inquire, so far as his means extended, since the delivery of the Speech from the Throne, and since the declaration which the Prime Minister had made in the other House of Parliament, whether any change had taken place in public opinion respecting the Government or his Majesty. His inquiries on this subject had been neither few nor limited, and the result of those inquiries enabled him to assert with confidence, that there was no disaffection at all among the people. That word either was, or ought to be, always applied with reference to the general Government of the country, and not with regard to the particular Administration of the day. Using the word in this its only proper sense, he repeated, that he might with confidence assert, that towards the august person who filled the Throne, and towards the established Government of the country, as a limited monarchy, no disaffection at all existed among the people. But he should not do his duty if he stopped here: he should be unworthy of the place he filled in that House if he hesitated to speak out on an occasion like the present. Disaffection there was among the people, but it was disaffection towards the Ministry. Among the people there did exist the strongest feeling against the longer continuance of those gentlemen in office, and he must say, he did very much wonder, considering the many hints those gentlemen had received, that they did not find out that there was another alternative open to them besides preventing his Majesty from attending the City festival. This other alternative had been suggested to him by many gentlemen, not only among those with whom he commonly acted, but by gentlemen connected with his Majesty's Government. The alternative to which he alluded was, that the Ministers should have resigned their places. The introduction of party politics, on an occasion like the present, had been deprecated; but the whole question was, whether the Ministers ought not to have considered,—before exciting the consternation which had resulted from that letter of the right hon. Secretary,— whether they could not have prevented all chance of a disturbance, and whether they could not have effectually secured the preservation of the public peace, by going out of office. If they thought not, then they had, no doubt, acted in a manner which their consciences must tell them was right. He told the Ministers the other night—what they must hare known to be quite true—that there had never been effected so great an alteration in the public feeling, in so short a time, as that which had been manifested since that fatal Speech from the Throne, and that still more fatal declaration of the Duke of Wellington. His firm conviction was, that if the King's Ministers had resigned to-day, the King might have gone to Guildhall to-morrow, not only without the Duke of Wellington exposing himself to danger, as, God forbid the Duke or any other man should! but amidst the redoubled acclamations of the people. To that determination the Ministers might be assured they must come at last, and, that too, at no very distant period. They might be assured too, that there was a deep and strong feeling pervading the whole of the country, that there must be a change in the system by which the so-called Representatives of the people were returned to that House; and if the Duke of Wellington would not accede to this desire on the part of the people, they must find a Minister who would. If the present Ministry took the same view of this subject as the Duke of Wellington had taken, the sooner they retired the better.

Mr. Brownlow

could not help breaking through the rooted disinclination he had to address the House, and giving vent to the expression of the grief, the disappointment, and the unmeasured indignation he felt at this transaction. When he recollected that the King of England,—his King, to whom he owed his allegiance, and to whom he was ready, with his allegiance, to offer his heart and love,—a King the most popular, and justly the most popular, that had ever ascended the Throne, and who might have wandered from Wapping to St. James's unattended by a single soldier or policeman,—when he recollected that such a King should have had for Ministers men who had put such a Speech into his mouth, that they seemed determined to make him the offensive organ of unpopular sentiments,—he could not refrain from giving expression to his feelings. But for this conduct on the part of the Ministers, there would have been no pretence for the unwise and unjustifiable proceeding, out of which the present discussion had arisen. Was it not clear, however, from all that they had heard, that there was no disaffection towards his Majesty? What, then, had been the cause of the postponement of his Majesty's visit to the City? The meaning of the transaction was obviously this —that the Ministers had, by the Speech they had put into his Majesty's mouth, displayed a heartless indifference towards the people, not sympathising with their sufferings, but turning a deaf ear to their wishes. For this conduct it was, that the Ministers, not the King, feared to trust themselves among the people, who would have proved to them, more to their conviction than to their satisfaction, that they did not preside over the councils of the country with the popular voice in their favour. The Ministers feared the expression of popular disapprobation, and they had, therefore, advised his Majesty to remain at home. He wished it to be understood, and he trusted that it would be understood, from one end of the country to the other, that it was the Ministers, and not the King, that had anything to fear. As for the Duke of Wellington, he did not believe that a single hair of his head would have been touched. The fact was, that the Duke of Wellington had shrunk from the expression of popular disapprobation, and, in order to shield himself from that, he had covered himself with the Royal mantle

Mr. Alderman Thompson

rose for the purpose of confirming the statement which had been made by the hon. Alderman opposite (Waithman) which was doubtless correct, though the hon. Alderman had mentioned some matters which he (Mr. Alderman Thompson) should not have thought himself justified in introducing here. True it unquestionably was, that only one feeling— a feeling of affection and loyalty to the King—pervaded the whole body of the citizens of London, and, in his own mind, he had no doubt that, from the arrangements which the Magistrates had made, the entertainment to his Majesty would have passed off without any breach of the peace. Every measure for the preservation of the peace had been taken, and no less than 1,600 special constables had been appointed in addition to the ordinary police force of the City. Further than this, a body of respectable citizens, residing in the eastern part of the metropolis, amounting to between 4,000 and 5,000, had sent in their names and places of residence, and offered their services for the purpose of keeping the peace. While he admitted this, yet, when he considered the nature of that unfortunate and unauthorized communication which had been made by the Mayor elect, to the executive Government, he must say, that he thought the Government had been placed in a very delicate and embarrassing situation. He had been in that House long enough to have heard motions made on the subject of the collision which took place between the people and the military at Manchester, and he was quite sure, that every Gentleman who heard him would have bitterly regretted so unfortunate a circumstance as that one drop of blood should have been spilt in a similar collision to-morrow. While, therefore, he regretted the unauthorised communication that had been made to the executive Government, and while he regretted also the disappointment which had resulted to the citizens from that communication, yet he could not concur with those Gentlemen who had stigmatized the Ministers for the advice they had given to his Majesty. He was anxious, however, to rescue the Magistrates of the city of London from the imputation of timidity. The Court of Aldermen had that day come to the following resolution:— This Court doth hereby take the earliest opportunity of informing their fellow-citizens, that they most unequivocally and decidedly disavow the knowledge of any communication made to the Government of the inability of the magistracy to preserve the peace of the metropolis on the Lord Mayor's day (which they are bound and ready with their lives to maintain on all occasions,) because they are quite satisfied of the complete efficiency of the police, and that the steps taken by the magistracy to increase the civil force were commensurate to the highly important occasion of his Majesty's visit to this great City; and they cannot but lament that any representation should have been made which has had the effect of influencing the postponement of his Majesty's visit to this loyal City of London. (Signed) WOODTHORPE.

Sir Robert Peel

said, he could only state, that on Saturday two Aldermen came to him, as from the City authorities, one of whom was the Lord Mayor elect, and the other a gentleman who said, he was deputed by the late Lord Mayor. These gentlemen told him, that the civil power in the City would not be sufficient for the preservation of the public peace, and asked for the attendance of a body of the military. He referred these gentlemen to the Horse Guards. Now, after receiving such a communication as this, and listening to the speech of the hon. Alderman (Thompson), he must say, that, considering the heavy responsibility that rested with him, he wished that the magistrates of the City of London would be good enough to depute proper persons to make communications to the Government.

Mr. Alderman Thompson

said, that he had not cast any responsibility upon the right hon. Secretary. In justice to the right hon. Secretary, to the Magistrates of the City of London, and for the satisfaction of the House, he felt himself called upon to state, that those two individuals, whom the right hon. Secretary had referred to, had not only no authority to make any such communication to the Government from the Corporation, but that the fact of their having made that communication was totally unknown to the Magistrates of the City.

Sir R. Peel

said, he could not, of course, know what authority those two gentlemen had, but they certainly represented themselves to him as authorized to make the communication he had mentioned. One of them being the Lord Mayor elect, and the other acting for the late Lord Mayor, it never occurred to him to question them as to their authority, and certainly the offices they filled seemed to point them out as very fit persons to make such a communication, for to them, one might naturally suppose would be left the arrangements for the preservation of the public peace.

Mr. Hughes Hughes

said, that he begged to call the attention of the House to a letter which had been received by a respectable tradesman, and of which he had obtained a copy. It ran thus:— Sir; If you let or illuminate any part of your house on the 9th, your life will be in peril. There is at present too many Englishmen starving to let money be spent so. (Signed) "SWING. [Cries of "Oh! oh!" and much laughter.] The respectable tradesman who received this letter did not laugh at it; but, on the contrary, seemed inclined to disappoint his friends to whom he had promised places, and also to refrain from illuminating. A great many other tradesmen, he was informed, had received similar communications; and he thought that, under all circumstances, the step which the Ministers had taken was a judicious one. He begged to remind hon. Members that the information communicated by the Lord Mayor ought to be received without suspicion, because, in adopting this course, the Lord Mayor had sacrificed both honour and popularity.

Mr. Hume

said, it was lamentable to see the situation into which the metropolis had been plunged in the short space of nine days. He maintained, that the personal popularity of the Sovereign was undiminished, but he contended that it was a lamentable thing that, in consequence of the presence in his Majesty's Council of one single individual this metropolis had been put in imminent danger; for he understood that the presence of the noble Duke at the head of the Government was one of the main causes of the alarm. He trusted, that the House of Commons would feel it their duty immediately to lay an Address before his Majesty, respectfully soliciting him to dismiss the noble Duke and his colleagues from his councils; for the whole population in this City, and in the country, was against them. It was to him (Mr. Hume) a matter of astonishment how any man in that House could sit still, and not feel it his duty to move an Address for the dismissal from his Majesty's councils of those evil counsellors whose conduct had excited so much alarm and irritation. He was confident that to-morrow would be characterized in the City by tranquillity and peace. If the inhabitants of this metropolis valued their rights as Englishmen, and if they wished to see the Duke of Wellington removed from office, they would to-morrow exhibit the most orderly and peaceable demeanor.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

agreed with the hon. member for Middlesex, that if his Majesty's Ministers deserved to be dismissed from office, it was the duty of those hon. Members in that House who entertained that opinion to move an Address for their removal. They only deserved to remain in office as long as they retained the confidence of Parliament; and if they had lost that confidence, it was only for Parliament to pronounce its decision, and they would bow to that decision, not only with deference, but even with satisfaction. He said with satisfaction, and he would repeat it, because there could be to them no greater satisfaction than to see the Government of the country placed in those hands in which Parliament thought it should be placed. They had been told, that it was the duty of Ministers, after they had given the advice which they did give, to have resigned last night, and it was said, that if they had done so, his Majesty might then have proceeded triumphantly and tranquilly to the City to-morrow. But what would be the opinion of Ministers if they had acted in such a manner? Would not the hon. gentleman (the member for Westminster) be himself, in that case, the very first to tax them with cowardice, because they determined to forbear accompanying his Majesty to Guildhall tomorrow? Would they not be told that they had brought his Majesty into a difficulty,—that they had involved him in a perplexity, and had left him to get out of it as well as he could; and that they had left the City of London without any adequate means for repressing the disorders which they had anticipated would take place? He would, in conclusion, again express a hope, that if the hon. member for Middlesex was of opinion that his Majesty's Ministers should be removed from office, he would bring the question forward as soon as possible.

Sir J. Graham

was very unwilling to come forward at a moment of very great excitement, when more mischief might be done by a Member's expressing his sentiments than by his retaining them to himself. He had, therefore, determined to forbear from expressing his sentiments, strong as they might be, on this occasion; but he had been induced to depart from that determination in consequence of the speech of the right hon. gentleman who had just sat down. That right hon. gentleman had intimated, that if that House should come to a decision that the public interests no longer demanded the services of himself and his colleagues, they would receive that decision with satisfaction. Now, if he (Sir James Graham) did not greatly misunderstand the feeling of the country, that feeling had — particularly within the last few days, in consequence of the declaration of the noble Duke (Wellington) in another place, and of the sentiments expressed in that House by the right hon. gentleman, the Secretary for the Home Department, respecting the vital and all-important question of reform —set strongly against the Ministry, and he was sure that the vast majority of the people of this great country did not place any confidence in his Majesty's Ministers. But the right hon. gentleman (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had endeavoured to taunt them for not bringing forward at once a motion for the dismissal of the Ministry, if they were of opinion that they deserved to be dismissed. The Ministers were, no doubt, anxious that it should be brought forward in that manner, but he (Sir James Graham) was opposed to a premature discussion of that question, aware as he was that, in consequence of the constitution of that House, the bringing forward a question in such a shape, and before the public mind was properly prepared for it, would be the most effectual way to strengthen any Administration. He therefore trusted, that it would not be brought forward now, that they would go on with the Orders, as they had been entered in the Order-book, and that upon this day se'nnight the sense of the Commons of England would be taken upon that which he (Sir James Graham) considered the most vital and important of all questions,—namely, whether it was expedient or not that the state of the representation of the people of the United Kingdom should be considered, with a view to its Amendment. In reference to that question, the Duke of Wellington had declared himself against all reform, and the right hon. Baronet (Sir Robert Peel) had declared himself unable to see his way, and that he could give no opinion upon it. His Majesty's Ministers, therefore and the public had come to an issue upon that great question, whether it was expedient that the state of the representation should be considered, with a view to its alteration. That was the point upon which they had come to an issue, and, as far as he could see, the declaration which had been made by the Duke of Wellington against reform, and the sentiments which had been expressed by the right hon. Baronet, had, in an incredibly short period of time, effected the greatest possible change in the sentiments of the public with regard to the Ministry. The right hon. gentleman, in his letter published that morning, had stated that it would be dangerous for his Majesty to go in a procession to the City "by night." Why, within one short week from that day, his Majesty had gone in a procession "by night;" he had gone to the theatre, and he had encountered no danger whatever, but was, on the contrary, rewarded by the most loyal and enthusiastic demonstrations of affection on the part of an attached and devoted people. What had since intervened? That celebrated declaration of his Majesty's Prime Minister, that nothing should induce him to discuss this question of reform; and that, if it should be brought forward by others, it should be opposed by him. From coming into contact with a great body of constituents, he was tolerably well acquainted with the opinions of the population of this country; and he would say upon that point, in reference to which the Duke of Wellington had declared that he would concede nothing, that his Grace was at direct issue with the people of England; and when he said the people of England, he meant, not merely the lower orders, but the middle classes of society, in conformity with whose sentiments the Government must be conducted, or it could not stand. The right hon. Baronet had himself, upon a former occasion, stated, that he rested upon public opinion, and that he was ready to stand or fall by its decision. Now, public opinion demanded a reform of the representation in the Commons House of Parliament, and while the right hon. Baronet and his colleagues declared that they would not grant it, the people of England said that it must be granted, or that there would be no peace in the realm, and no security for property. That was the point on which the Ministers and the people of England had come to issue, and which he hoped would soon be brought to trial. He trusted, therefore, that no premature discussion would be introduced with regard to the confidence of Parliament in Ministers, but that upon the great question of reform the decision of the House should be taken. That declaration of the Duke of Wellington which had rendered him so unpopular, had astounded, alarmed, and confounded the people of England. The noble Duke had previously enjoyed a portion of the confidence of the public, but that declaration had made him the most unpopular Minister that was ever known in England. At the same time he (Sir J. Graham) must say, and he said so from the bottom of his heart, that any act of personal violence offered to that noble Duke would be a stain upon the annals of this country, which years of future glory would never wash away. He did hope whatever opinion might exist as to the civil conduct of his Grace, that eternal gratitude, which he deserved for his splendid military services, for his dauntless valour, and for his glorious achievements, would wait on him, and that his person or his life would never be placed in hazard in this country. He feared that the noble Duke was too fond of ruling alone, and that he was obstinately attached to that policy which he thought was right; but he trusted that the noble Duke would not continue obstinately to pursue a line of policy which might place the peace and the prosperity of the country in jeopardy, and in his conscience he believed that public opinion had pronounced—decidedly pronounced—against the policy of the noble Duke.

Mr. Slaney

said, that at this moment the people were most anxious to ascertain the amount of the danger which the letter of the right hon. Baronet anticipated that they would have had to encounter if his Majesty had persevered in his determination to dine in the city to-morrow. It appeared from what had been disclosed in the course of the present discussion, that the danger would have been much less than had been supposed. The line of conduct adopted by his Majesty's Ministers had been founded upon the busy, and, he must say, the unauthorized communications of two Aldermen,—communications which had been repudiated by the Aldermen who represented the City of London in that House. He was surprised that no inquiry had been made by the Government in the first place, as to the authenticity of the information communicated by the Lord Mayor elect. It appeared to him that in this instance the Government had committed a great error by acting on the incorrect information communicated by two busy, and, as it now appeared, unauthorized Aldermen.

Sir C. Forbes

remarked, that much had been said in the course of the present debate, upon what was termed the just unpopularity of the noble Duke at the head of his Majesty's Administration; but the services which that illustrious individual had performed for this country and for Europe, in a military point of view, and lately to the United Kingdom, by removing the disabilities of the Roman Catholics entitled him to our gratitude, and would send his name down to posterity as one of the greatest Ministers who ever presided over the Administration of affairs in this country. He would ask the House, indeed, and more especially the hon. Gentleman opposite, what the situation of Ireland at this moment would have been if the measure of Catholic Emancipation had not been carried? There could be no doubt but that it would have been in the same situation as Belgium. When so much was said of the unpopularity of Ministers, and so earnest a wish was expressed that they should retire from office, he desired to ask if they retired, who were to succeed them. For his own part he knew no man fit to be at the head of the Administration of the country at this time but the Duke of Wellington. It was very easy to say that there was a decided feeling of hostility towards his Majesty's Ministers, but so far as his opportunities of ascertaining the fact had enabled him to come to a decision, he should say, that out of doors no such feeling existed. He was sure that the majority of the people were in favour of the present Ministry, and he felt confident, that when that question should be put to the test, the result would confirm his opinion. Every one knew that when a feeling had been expressed by any influential man, or set of men, hostile to the measures adopted by his Majesty's Government, it was easy to bring a very large number of persons who, on usual occasions, had been in the habit of expressing approbation of the measures of the Government—it was easy to bring those persons over to follow the opposite course.

Mr. Denman

participated entirely in the sentiments of disgust which had been expressed by the hon. member for Cumberland, at the personal attacks which had been made upon one of the greatest men of the day, whose extraordinary military services in the cause of the country ought to shield him against personal attacks on account of political opinion. Descending from such a distinguished character to men of far humbler station in the country, he was desirous to bear his testimony against those brutal and savage outrages which had been committed against a body of men who had been of the greatest service to the metropolis. The most savage attacks had been made upon the new police, and having witnessed their conduct, he must say, that it appeared to him that they were, generally speaking, an active, steady, well-conducted, and respectable set of men. It was true, that some of them had been brought into disgrace, but they were few, and were punished by the officers of their own corps. He had witnessed the conduct of the inspectors of police, a very respectable class of officers, and from what he had seen of them upon jury trials, they were excellent members of a very useful body of men, who deserved the thanks of the community, instead of the violence by which they had been assailed. It appeared to him that the unfortunate step which Ministers had taken, originated in an unfounded alarm. When the two Aldermen waited on the right hon. Baronet opposite, he should have asked them whether they had been deputed by the Court of Aldermen to make the communication which they had made, and what were the grounds upon which they had formed their opinion. That respectable individual, the Lord Mayor elect, had been made the scapegoat on this occasion. He was not a Member of that House, and had only expressed an opinion, in consequence, perhaps, of rumours which he might have heard, and which might not have reached other quarters. The Lord Mayor thought it right to make a communication to the Duke of Wellington on the subject, but the Government should not have acted upon that communication until they had first ascertained the grounds upon which it rested, and what reasons there were for thinking that the Duke of Wellington would be assailed. The late disgraceful attacks upon his Grace had been instigated by persons whose interest it was to make a tumult, and who consisted, principally of that same class which assailed the new police, and which unfortunately amounted to thousands in great towns; namely, pickpockets, and vagabonds of that description. But the unfortunate step which Ministers had taken in consequence of an unauthorized communication, had inflicted a deep wound on the loyalty of the country; and the effect of it on foreign nations was likely to be most disastrous to us, whatever might be the circumstances, whether of negotiation or hostility, in which we might be placed. As that step had plainly not originated with his Majesty himself, he must express a hope that his Majesty would name another, and an early day to honour the citizens of his good city of London with his company, and he had no doubt that his Majesty would receive the assembled thanks of a vast multitude on that occasion.

Sir R. Peel

said, it had been assumed that the communication of the Lord Mayor elect had been the only one that had been received by his Majesty's Government, and the hon. Member opposite had said that his Majesty's Government should have ascertained the grounds upon which that communication was made. An interview had taken place between himself and the Lord Mayor elect after the receipt of that communication, and if the information which had reached his Majesty's Government on the subject had been solely derived from him, Ministers would certainly have paused before they proceeded to act upon it; but the information received from the Lord Mayor elect had been confirmed by communications from at least twenty other different quarters. He thought that the Lord Mayor elect had acted perfectly right, and he must repeat that Ministers had not come to any resolution till after an interview had been had with the Lord Mayor subsequent to the receipt of his communication. He must also take that opportunity of saying, that he could never forget the honourable and candid conduct of the learned Gentleman opposite, (Mr. Denman) that evening; which did not, however, surprise him (Sir R. Peel), knowing as he did in common with every other person the high and honourable character of that learned Gentleman. He was gratified but not astonished at hearing the sentiments which that learned Gentleman expressed respecting the attacks upon the Duke of Wellington, as well as the brutal attacks made upon humbler but very useful individuals. They were sentiments which might draw down upon him some unpopularity —he spoke of unpopularity amongst the low and the vulgar; but they were the sentiments of all respectable and good citizens in the state.

Forward to