§ Lord Ebrington
addressed the House nearly as follows: Sir, however reluctant I may be needlessly to take up the time of the House, I think that little apology will be required from me for doing so on the present occasion. I wish, indeed, that the duty I have ventured to undertake had been committed to abler and better hands than mine; but whatever may be the opinion of hon. Gentlemen as to the substance of the Motion which I shall have the honour to submit to the House, I think that there are few persons who will not consider that, at a crisis so momentous, 784 and underall the circumstances of the country, this House is called upon for some expression of its feelings. And, Sir, I am happy to say, that I have not to look very far back for a precedent in the course which I am about to pursue. It must be in the recollection of many of the Gentlemen whom I am addressing, that in 1812, on the death of Mr. Perceval, Mr. Stuart Wortley, now Lord Wharncliffe, moved an humble address to the Prince Regent, prayinghis Royal Highness to take such measures as should enable him to form a strong and efficient Administration. In the debate which took place on that address, some Gentlemen objected to it, on the ground that it was an unconstitutional and improper interference on the part of the House of Commons with the prerogatives of the Crown; and, in reply to some observations of this sort, Mr. Canning, after stating that the interference of this House ought not in such cases to be had recourse to, except under circumstances of particular emergency, proceeded nevertheless, to vindicate the general right of the House to interfere, in these words:—"The House of Commons is a council of control, but it is likewise a council of advice; and I think the man ill read—not in your Journals, but in your Constitution—who should say that no case of such transcendant importance could exist in which it would not be competent for the Legislature, by the timely interposition of advice, to prevent the necessity of control."* These, Sir, are the words of Mr. Canning, conveying, in better and more forcible language than I can pretend to do, the feeling by which I am impelled. I beg to state that, in taking this course, I have no wish unnecessarily to embarrass the Crown in its choice of an Administration—that I have no desire to throw any obstruction in the way of his Majesty; but at the same time I cannot help feeling that nothing can be more injurious, both to the Crown and to the country, than that there should exist any misapprehension on the part of his Majesty as to the sentiments of the House of Commons, or that there should be in this House itself any doubt* Hansard's Debates, Vol. xxiii. p. 267.—It may, perhaps, be observed here, without impropriety, as it may spare the time of those who may seek, as the editor did, for Lord Ebrington's quotation in the collected speeches of Mr. Canning, that the speech from which it is taken, is omitted in that collection.785 as to the feelings of the majority of its Members. Sir, a strong and sudden change of opinion is reported to have taken place in certain quarters, in another place, on the favour of the measure of Reform, and I do not know but that such possibly may have taken place here also, in a different sense—I mean that a change of opinion may have taken place in this House as against the Reform Bill. I do not, however, believe that such is the case; but, at all events, I am sure that it is necessary, with a view to the tranquillity and the permanence of any Administration that may be formed, and to the formation of a true estimate by the Crown and the country of the sentiments of this House, that those sentiments should be fully and completely declared. It is true that I was last night requested by my noble friend (Lord Althorp) not to make this motion: it is true that a wish has been conveyed to me by my noble friend at the head of the Government in another place, that I had not given that notice which I felt it to be my duty to give. Sir, I am perfectly aware that my two noble friends, with that modesty which, in them, almost amounts to a defect, would have been perfectly satisfied to have retired from those situations which, we all well know, how reluctantly they occupied, with no other meed of approbation—with no other approving reward, than that which they must ever find in reflecting on their own manly conduct. This, at least, remains for them, after all the toils and anxieties which they have undergone—after all the obloquy which they have suffered in the great cause of obtaining for the people a free Representation; this, I say, at least remains to them—that they will carry with them into their retirement the consolation of knowing how much they have effected in that great cause. And yet, forsooth, we are now told that they ought to have submitted to have been dragged through the humiliation of having the question—of whether Gatton and Old Sarum should still be allowed to disgrace the Representation of the country, bandied backward and forward, until the majority of the House of Lords, four-fifths of whom are composed of the opponents of all Reform, could make up their minds how small a portion of enfranchisement they would please in charity to deal out to the people. Nay, still further, they were to be dragged through the humiliation of 786 hearing (as soon as that vote of last Monday was passed) a declaration made by one of those very opponents, who promised, not only the full measure of enfranchisement intended by the Government, but even threatened to go still further in Reform. After this, the late Ministry have at least the satisfaction of feeling that all the obstacles in the way of Reform have been actually conceded by the opponents of the measure, and that their good sense will no longer be insulted by the farce of houseless boroughs or the compulsory returns of close corporations. But I must say, that, if the Ministers had submitted to this degradation—if Lord Grey could have allowed himself to be so dragged through the measure—I for one (though I should not have shared in the imputation of insincerity which I know would have been lavished on him) should have felt that those Ministers who could be so forgetful of what they owed to their own situation, of what they owed to their own character, and of what they owed to the respect which is due to this House and to those who have supported them in the prosecution of their great measure, were totally unworthy of any confidence or support as public men. Under these circumstances, Sir, I have felt it to be my duty to propose to the House an Address, drawn up in language certainly far less strong than that which would convey the full expression of my own feelings, or, I believe, the feelings of the great majority of this House, after the change which has just taken place in his Majesty's Councils. In that Address I proceed to express to his Majesty our belief in the deep interest with which the people of this country still continue to regard the progress of the measure which has been carried through this House, and the disappointment and dismay which I conceive would pervade the country should any attempt be made to mutilate its provisions: and I conclude with imploring his Majesty, therefore, to call to his Councils only such persons as will carry into effect, unimpaired in all its essential provisions, that Bill which has already passed this House. These, Sir, are shortly the heads of the proposition which I have to make to this House. I feel that it would be useless on my part to take up the time of the House by impressing on its attention any arguments of mine in favour of this Address, because I think that Gentlemen can find much better argu- 787 ments than any I can adduce in their own recorded votes, and their own observations upon so many repeated occasions in the course of this and the last Session of Parliament. I can, however, for myself state, that I feel most strongly on this subject. I can also state, that, so far as I have had an opportunity of ascertaining the feelings of those whom I have the honour to represent—so far as I have had an opportunity of ascertaining the feelings of the country at large—there has been no change—there has been no re-action. Whether there is any change, whether there is any re-action in this House, yet remains to be seen. If there is any such change here, it will surprise me not a little, but, at all events, if honourable Gentlemen have seen cause to alter the course which they have hitherto pursued—if they have seen any act on the part of the late Government inconsistent with that mode of proceeding upon which they have hitherto acted, I trust that they will at least have the manliness to stand up in their place and state their reasons openly and fairly, in order that they may be fully examined, so that his Majesty and the country may have the advantage of perfectly knowing the sentiments of this House. I have now only to thank the House for the patience with which they have listened to my remarks, and to move the following Address:—'That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, humbly to represent to his Majesty the deep regret of this House at the change which has taken place in the Councils of his Majesty, by the retirement of those Ministers in whom this House continues to repose unaltered confidence; that this House, in conformity with the recommendation contained in his Majesty's gracious Speech, has framed and sent to the House of Lords a Bill for the Reform of the Representation of the people, by which they are convinced that the prerogatives of the Crown, the authority of both Houses of Parliament, and the rights and liberties of the people, would be secured. That to the progress of this measure this House considers itself bound to state to his Majesty, that his subjects are looking with the most intense interest and anxiety; and they cannot disguise from his Majesty their apprehension that any successful attempt to mutilate or impair the efficiency of the Bill will be productive of 'great disappointment and dismay. That 788 this House is, therefore, impelled, by the warmest attachment to his Majesty's person, humbly but most earnestly, to implore his Majesty to call to his Councils such persons only as will carry into effect, unimpaired in all its essential provisions, that Bill for reforming the Representation of the people which has recently passed this House.'
§ Mr. Strutt
In rising to second this Address to his Majesty, I feel that I should be betraying the interests of my constituents if I did not give the Motion of my noble friend my warmest support. In one respect, too, I may say that I am fully qualified to second this Motion, because I believe I may assert that there is no Member in this House more unconnected with, or more independent of, the late Administration, than myself; and that no man has given a vote in favour of that great measure which is so identified with the late Government, with less of a party feeling than I have. I feel that it would be an unpardonable waste of the time of the House, were I, on the present occasion, to enter on that great question which has so long been under the discussion of Parliament. It is enough for my present purpose to remark, that this great measure of Reform was recommended from the Throne—that it was proposed to this House by his Majesty's Government—that it was received by the great body of the people with universal approbation, and has since continued to be sanctioned by their more deliberate approval; and lastly, that it has passed through this House, supported by a great majority of its Members. Now, therefore, that this Bill is in the greatest jeopardy, and liable to mutilation, if not to absolute destruction, I cannot believe that there is a Member in this House so lost to the duty which he owes to his constituents as to feel the least hesitation in coming forward, and declaring, in the most solemn manner, his firm and steady adherence to those principles which for the last eighteen months we have been labouring to enforce and establish. But, Sir, there is yet another object before us. There is a duty which we also owe to the authors of this measure—a measure so honourable to themselves, and to carry which through this and the other House of Parliament, they have laboured with so much indefatigable zeal. If, on a former occasion, we thought it necessary to sanction the conduct of his Majesty's Minis- 789 ters by a vote of confidence, I cannot believe that the House will on this occasion hesitate to repeat a similar, or even still more strong vote of approbation, now that they have given us the strongest proof of their attachment to those principles which have been adopted by this House. Sir, his Majesty's late Ministers have quitted office; but they still retain that which must be far more valuable in their own eyes, as well as in those of the country at large—they retain their principles uncompromised, and their character unsullied: they carry with them the affection and respect of the people, and they possess (as I trust the vote of this night will show) the undeviating confidence of this House. I am aware that the Ministers are charged with having retired unnecessarily from office, and that the matter on which they retired was more a point of form than a point of principle as regards the Bill. But even if I were disposed to admit this for the sake of argument—which, by the way, I do not—then, I say, what are we to think of the conduct of those who, professing the greatest zeal in favour of Reform—who, aware that the Ministers considered this matter not as a point of form, but of most vital principle—who, themselves believing that it was matter of form, and therefore unimportant—what, I say, are we to think of the conduct of those persons who have thought fit to leave the Government in a minority, thus endangering, upon a mere point of form, not only the great measure itself, but the very peace and tranquillity of the whole country? But, Sir, I deny that this was a point of form. It was a point of principle, and of most essential principle. The question was, whether disfranchisement was good in itself—whether that system of nomination which is now so deservedly odious to the whole country, was to be openly condemned by the Bill, or only considered as subsidiary to the question of enfranchisement—and whether an excuse was to be afforded to the opponents or to the lukewarm friends (which is much the same thing) of the Bill, to cause diminution in those schedules on which, I believe, the feelings and hopes of the people are chiefly fixed. Under these circumstances, I think that there can be but one opinion among all consistent Reformers—that the Ministers have acted in the only way in which they could act. Had they done otherwise, I, for one, should have thought that 790 they were neglecting their duty to their Sovereign, and that they were unworthy of the confidence of this House and of the country. A good deal has been said on other occasions respecting the state of the public mind on this subject; and I have heard it asserted that a re-action has taken place. Indeed I remember, that twelve months ago it was stated by the opponents of the measure, that the opinion of the people had taken a turn, and was decided against the Bill; and yet, within a few short weeks from that time, a large portion of those very Gentlemen were ejected from their seats by that very people who, it was said, were against this measure of Reform. If, at the present moment, there is any one who is blind enough to suppose that such a re-action has taken place, I believe that he will discover, from the conduct of the country on this momentous occasion, that he is most grievously mistaken—of course each Member can only speak for that part of the country with which he is more peculiarly connected. With respect to that portion of England with which I am acquainted, I can say, that not only has no re-action taken place within the last year, but the public feeling on the subject has increased considerably in intensity. If, Sir, any change has taken place, it is, that the people, having been wearied by protracted delays, and having been enraged by repeated disappointments, there is now beginning to exist among them a feeling of irritation and distress—a feeling which naturally and necessarily arises, but which must be viewed by every friend of public tranquillity with apprehension, and with a wish that it was in his power to allay and remove it. But if on this occasion it is to be held forth to the people that their hopes are to be frustrated—that the Bill is either to be mutilated in its details, or to be altogether destroyed in its principles, by being handed over to the adversaries of the measure—then, knowing as much as I do of the state of the popular feeling on the subject, I must say, that I look at the coming prospect with the greatest apprehension and dismay. There is one remedy, however, which it is in our power to apply, and that remedy consists in this, that the House at this, crisis act with wisdom, firmness, and decision. Let this House come forward and place itself at the head of the people. Let this House show itself true to its former pro- 791 fessions; let it show to the people that as long as they are true to themselves, this House will not desert them; and that instead of looking for leaders elsewhere, they have only to look to the ranks of the Reformers in this House for their real and natural supporters; and then, indeed, we may be able to feel the greatest confidence, not only that all may still be safe, but that it may yet be within our power to carry this measure to a triumphant termination. Before I sit down, there is one part of the Motion upon which I wish to say a few words. That which I consider as far the most important portion of the Address is that in which we implore his Majesty to call to his Councils none but those who are known friends of the principles which this House has supported, and on which the hopes of the country are fixed. It would be worse than idle to suppose that the majority of this House, if they have the least regard for their character, their professions, or their constituents, can think of giving their support to an Administration composed of persons who, though they may be sincere in their opinion, we have heard within the last twelve months contesting at one time the vital principles of the Bill, and at another cavilling for weeks and months together at its details. It is impossible that the people can be satisfied with a state of things like this. If, indeed, the time shall ever come when we are willing to intrust our victorious armies to the command of the officers of the enemy—if we shall ever call the culprits from the bar to the judgment seats—then, and not till then, will I consent to intrust the construction and management of this Bill to those who have shown themselves its avowed enemies, or its reluctant and wavering supporters. Sir, it is on these grounds that I have risen to second this Motion. I am convinced that it is necessary, not only for the sake of that great measure to which we are pledged, but even for the peace, tranquillity, and welfare, of the best interests of the country, that this House should now come forward with some Resolution of this kind; and I conceive that the Address of my noble friend exactly expresses that which it is the duty of this House to adopt. He expresses our cordial support of the Bill—our confidence in the late Administration—and, above all, it beseeches his Majesty not to call any men to his Councils who are not the known friends of that 792 great measure. For these reasons I most cordially second the Motion.
said, his first object in rising was, to ascertain from the noble Lord opposite whether it was his intention to make any further communication on the resignation of Ministers than he had given last night. He was the more anxious to ascertain that, because the advice which had been given, and rejected, formed necessarily the only topic of the debate for the night. The House, in fact, could not well go on with the discussion, unless they knew from the Ministers the cause of their resignation. He would, therefore, put it to the noble Lord opposite whether he was authorised to give any further explanation; and in case he did not rise, the House might take it for granted that he had nothing further to explain—(the hon. Member paused for a few seconds, and, on no reply being given, he proceeded.) Well, as no answer was given, the House must take it for granted that no further explanation was to be given, and the House must remain in the same state of ignorance as before.—For his part, he must declare that he was entirely ignorant of the cause which had led to the extraordinary resignation. He only stated what were his sincere sentiments. He did not see why such a statement need excite the laughter of Gentlemen opposite. He must further say, that he did not think what had passed between the Sovereign and his Ministers was a fair subject for an Address to the Crown. Many Gentlemen differed on the subject; one was of one opinion, and another of another; but, unless Goverment chose to be more communicative, he thought it was quite impossible to enter on the discussion of the transaction. He had every possible respect for the noble Lord at the head of the Administration. He had the sincerest respect for his character and abilities, and no one doubted that, in bringing forward that great change in the Representation, the noble Lord was actuated solely by the good of his country. He thought the country would also give those who opposed the measure credit for what they had done. He thought the country would not suppose them to be such absurd idiots, as, for the sake of personal interests, to oppose a measure which, in their hearts, they believed to be for the good government, good order, and security of the country [A laugh and cheers from the "Opposition."] If the hon. Gentlemen 793 opposite thought proper to interrupt him while speaking, and put a different construction on his words from what he himself intended, he could not help it, and was not afraid of that construction. If their opposition had been imputed to personal motives, he would only ask those who made such an imputation to look to the fact, that almost all the Members of Government opposite had been opposed to Reform, except the noble Lord (Lord John Russell); and that there was hardly a public man in the country, and more particularly in the King's Councils, who had not at one time or another been opposed to such a sweeping measure of Reform as that introduced by his Majesty's Government. He would not, however, enter on the subject of Reform; but he could not help making these remarks, in order to defend himself, and those with whom he acted, from the attacks which had been repeatedly and undeservedly made on them. If the noble Lord who brought forward the Motion were to look well to the question—if he were to consider the position of the three branches of the Legislature—if he were to look to the position of the Crown, the position of the House of Lords, and the position of the Commons, he was sure that it was a subject of the most awful consideration, and one which, unless he was prepared to give all power to the Commons, he ought to have maturely weighed before he had brought it under the consideration of the House. The hon. Gentleman, the member for Derby, who spoke last, seemed to think that the House of Commons should do every thing—he thought the opposition to the measure was factious and selfish—he underrated the motives of those who opposed it—in short, the speech of the hon. member for Derby implied that the House of Commons was every thing—that the people who sent them there were to have the sole control—and that King and Lords were to be put out of the question. Now, he was bound to say, that the people, in his opinion, had no small share already in the Constitution of the country, and in controlling the influence of the Crown, and that the present House of Commons afforded a tolerable proof of what might be expected from a Reformed Parliament. It was impossible, however, to look at that Bill, as a whole, without some apprehension that its tendency would be to destroy that balance of the Constitution which was 794 so necessary to the safety and peace of the country. He would not, however, as he had already said, enter into any details on the measure itself. He would take it for granted that it was a proper Bill, and that it was the bounden duty of the Peers to further its progress through Parliament, and finally present it to the Crown. Well, taking that for granted, what did the noble Lord who made the Motion call on the House to do? Why, to address the Crown on the Bill which had passed through the Commons triumphantly, and which was in progress through the other House, when it was stopped by the extraordinary conduct of the Government. Here it was impossiable for him not to bear testimony to the admirable conduct and the good temper of the noble Lord opposite (the Chancellor of the Exchequer); and, with all respect to the nobleman at the head of the Government, he must say that, had he had the same good temper and forbearance, the country would not be in its present state. He again asked, what was the object of the Address? and what were the facts on which it was founded? The House had passed the Bill, and sent it to the Lords; and, though it might be irregular to allude to that House, he trusted he should be permitted to do so for the present, as, without such a licence, the discussion could not go on, as the whole case rested on that point. Well, on the Bill being sent up to the Peers, various discussions took place; and, though hon. Gentlemen opposite, who supported the Government, had repeatedly asserted that they would have the Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill, the noble Earl, the First Lord of the Treasury, stated—and he looked on that as a good sign, boding that the Lords would be treated as an independent body—the noble Earl declared, that he presented the Bill for the consideration of their Lordships—that he would be ready to listen to arguments for any alteration in the Bill; but, if the great principles were touched, he could not for a day remain in office. Now, he would appeal to the House and to the country whether any one great principle of the Bill had been touched, and whether, that being the case, the Ministry were justified in adopting a course which had thrown the country into its present state. The state of the country, in fact, was such that no man could shut his eyes, to it. Why, it was in such a state that tumultuous assemblies were everywhere to 795 be seen, and he had himself heard some people this morning venturing to cry out, "No King, and Cromwell for ever." Why, it was impossible to have the Ministers of the Crown setting their own master, as it were, at defiance; and appealing to the mob, without seeing that such a course of things must lead to consequences the most serious. Nothing could justify the Ministers in putting the country into such a state, in embroiling it in such a manner. Certainly not a mere difference between them and their master—no mere ordinary possibility that an alteration in the Bill might take place at some future time—nothing of that sort could justify them; and any ordinary person must have seen that nothing but the certainty of great danger could have justified them in throwing the country into such a state of confusion as it was in now. When the noble Lord asked them to address the King, in order to ask his Majesty not to select for his Ministers any but those who would pass the Bill in what he seemed to consider its present state of purity, did he not go too far? He thought the noble Lord was going too far, notwithstanding the moderate language in which his Motion was worded; and he had often observed, that, on occasions of this sort, the humility of the language was generally proportioned to the arrogance of the matter. What was really meant by this Address was, to tell his Majesty that he had lost Ministers which that House desired he would take back again, [cheers]. He collected from the cheers of hon. Gentlemen opposite that they did put that interpretation upon the Address, and that the Crown was to be told, that, as far as that House could go, and as far as the Lord Mayor who had presented the petition of the City of London could go, in acting up to the recommendations of discreditable associations—and discreditable he would call them, notwithstanding their situation; because they had associated themselves with the principles of discreditable associations—it must have no other Ministers. The plain English of the Address was, to instruct the Crown to take back the Ministers. How was the Crown to take them back? It was not the Crown who discharged the Ministers; they had given notice that they would not serve the Crown. Was the King to go on his knees and beg them to return to office? He did not overstate his view of the case in saying this. He could read the plain 796 English and plain operation of this Address in no other way than that which he had stated: and when it was presented, supposing it to be disregarded, if it was, as it was likely to be—if the independence of the Crown was anything, if the independence of the Peerage was anything, and if all the power in the country was not to be vested in the clubs brawling without—surely, if that House passed such an Address, and it was rejected, that House would be lessening the value of that advice which could not be rejected by the Crown without the most serious consequences. But suppose that Address was passed, and the Crown said, that it was ready to do what the Address required, but that it could not make men serve who did not choose to do so? Why, the noble Lord, in telling them of his resignation, had said, that the Crown had been graciously pleased to accept the resignation; and now that House was asked to tell the Crown that the Commons wished the Crown to be graciously pleased to give it back again. if Gentlemen would for a moment abandon their abstract views upon questions like this, and would look at them more with a view to the vital interests of the country—especially those Gentlemen who said that they were so anxious about preserving the purity of the Constitution—they would see the danger of agreeing to an Address which was not a humble Address, but a positive mandate to the Crown. Were they to tell the King to call these Ministers together again at the same time that he might think that the measure which they recommended was hostile to the interests of the country? Why, how stood the case with regard to the Bill? The first proposal made to touch the Bill, was one that had never been carried into effect; that was really a proposal of some importance—it was to take out of schedule A the figures of fifty-six. But by whom was that proposal made? Was it by the opponents of the measure? No such thing. It was by the Ministers themselves. The second proposal came undoubtedly from a noble Lord supposed to be hostile to the general principle of the Bill. He proposed to postpone the schedule A, and to go in the first instance to the enfranchisement clause—that was the noble Lord's proposition; and he pot it to every candid man, whether there was anything in that hostile to the principle of the Bill? That suppo- 797 sition of hostility might exist, in the suspicious mind of the noble Lord who had proposed the Address, and of the hon. Gentleman who had seconded it, who had spoken in such a manner that it seemed they thought the House of Lords should not touch the Bill at all; but even if that suspicion were well founded—if they were right in believing that the Opposition did not act with fair intentions, still the Government did go into the Committee; and what after that was it that made the Government go to the Crown and break up the Administration? Surely it could not be the proposal of the noble Lord he had alluded to. Why, that very proposition was made in the House of Commons, and the noble Lord opposite then said, that it was a very unimportant matter, and observed that he did not think it at all important whether they began with the enfranchisement or disfranchisement, but as the Bill was drawn up with the disfranchisement clause first, they had better go on with it as it was. Surely the noble Lord was an authority for saying that he did not consider that proposal as one of direct hostility to the Bill. When they had passed to the consideration of the enfranchisement clauses, it was not as if they had rejected the whole Bill; and when the noble Lord went clown to call for the interference of the Crown, in such a way as to shake the nerves of every man in the country, if he had taken forty-eight hours to ascertain whether the Peers were sincere or not, he would not have done so. If the noble Earl at the head of the Government had thought as the noble Lord opposite had done, he would have said, that that change in the order of considering the clauses of the Bill was a matter of no consequence. If the noble Earl had permitted that proposition to be carried into effect, and the House of Lords had not afterwards passed schedule A, still the Bill would have been entirely in their hands; but he supposed that that which the noble Earl wanted in this instance would, in a Reformed Parliament, be the new improved patent steam-engine way of passing a bill through the Lords, if, indeed, the House of Lords still continued in possession of any power. He meant that what the noble Earl had done amounted to saying to the House of Lords—"We will not trust you—you mean to take us in;" but if the noble Earl did think so, still they could not take the Bill 798 out of his own hands; yet, in the most reckless manner, though forty-eight hours would have put to the test whether the supposed deceptive disposition of the Peers was such as it was supposed to be, the noble Earl hurried to ask for the interference of the Crown, and that interference being refused, broke up the Administration. They seemed to require that the passion for Reform which existed among some classes, should be equally powerful every where, and that all the Peers in the House of Lords should be Reformers, as all the people elsewhere were said to be. It was impossible to say what were the motives that had actuated the Peers in the conduct they had pursued, but to judge from what he knew, he must say, that he believed that the real feeling of most of the Peers was a strong dislike to the general principle of the Bill. He would go further and say, that not only those who formed the majority, but that two-thirds or three-fourths of the minority were of the same opinion. In every measure there were two things to be considered—not only what was desirable but what was practicable. No man could sit down and make a perfect constitution; but it was the part of a wise man to come as near it as the feelings and opinions of the country in which he lived would permit him. A great portion of that enlightened body who filled the seats of the other House of Parliament—and no person could look at the debate upon the Reform Bill and not see that whatever might be the merits of popular Representation, there was no want of talent in the hereditary branch of the Legislature—he said that no man could doubt that a great portion of that enlightened body were of the opinion he had described. Every one must agree that no one could permanently live in a country in hostility to the opinions of the great majority of the people of that country; and certainly he meant to say, that a large portion of the people of property and intelligence in the country were very timid on the subject of Reform. He could assure the House, that in what he was now saying he was speaking his sincere opinion, and he had opportunities of judging of the fact he asserted, for he passed a considerable portion of his time in giving advice to people how they should dispose of their property, and he could assure the House that among such people there was a 799 great deal of hesitation on the subject of the Reform Bill. If Gentlemen would take the opinions of those who were in the habit of considering their opinions—he meant of lawyers and physicians, who might be properly said to be the well-instructed classes of the community, and he might add, that they could not well take a better instance of the opinions of the instructed classes than by looking at the two Universities—it was his opinion that they would find full three-fourths of these classes adverse to the present Bill, and of the other fourth one-half at least looked with great anxiety to the result, as men looked for the termination of a dangerous experiment. He admitted that there was a portion of the people eager for Reform, and that so great was that portion who he might say were eager for Reform, that it would neither be safe nor consistent with the peace and tranquillity of the country not to give every consideration to the substantive opinion of that portion of the people. His notion of the conduct of the House of Peers was, that they, entertaining the opinion which he honestly believed was entertained by the educated and wealthy portion of the community, and saw the difficulty of preserving the Constitution, if they gave way to the desires of what he admitted to be the preponderating mass of the people. The Bill had passed the House of Commons; it was supported by a large portion of the Aristocracy, who—he would not say for the sake of maintaining themselves in power, but he would suppose from the conviction of the necessity and propriety of the measure—had joined the class he had alluded to, and then it went up to the House of Peers. When it got into the House of Peers, the Peers said that it was a Bill, a great portion of which must be passed, not for the purpose of making the Constitution better, but because it was required by a considerable body among the people; and his opinion was, that the House of Lords would have passed that key-stone of the arch, and then, that if the Bill had been suffered quietly to proceed on its course, and the enfranchisement clauses had been considered first, and the disfranchisement clauses afterwards, they would have been passed by the Lords, not with the conviction that they would improve the condition of the country, but that they were necessary to the peace and tranquillity of the country. Under these circum- 800 stances, he repeated what he had said before, that the noble Earl at the head of the Government should have waited for forty-eight hours, and so put to the test the sincerity of the House of Peers; but no, for on the first attempt of the House of Lords to make any change in the order of proceeding, the Ministers in a pet threw up their situations, after applying to the Crown for its interference. He thought that was wrong. The noble Lord, however, who moved the Address told the House, that it was beneath the dignity of Earl Grey to be dragged into the questions of Gatton and Old Sarum; but that, the noble Lord must allow him to say, seemed quite beside the question before the House. He, therefore, again insisted that they ought to know what was the advice given to the Crown that the Crown had thought fit to reject, and the rejection of which had induced the Government to resign? At present they knew nothing of it but from mere rumour, though he must honestly say, that he believed that advice was to create Peers, though whether the number of Peers desired was thirty or forty, or what it was, he was quite unable to guess. He was unwilling, however, to give credit to his own supposition, for, till the fact came before the public, he would not believe that the nobleman who had passed through life in the distinguished manner in which the noble Earl at the head of the Government had done, or the noble Lords and hon. Gentlemen opposite, who formed part of his Administration, would have proposed to the Crown to make the number of Peers supposed. He was especially unwilling to credit the rumour which the hon. member for Worcester had last night said he had heard, that the Ministers had asked for power to create as many Peers as they pleased or might think necessary to carry the Bill. If the Peers and the country knew that that was the remedy proposed to be adopted, in order to get a law that had passed the House of Commons carried through the House of Lords, it must much affect their opinion, and the opinion of the people of the firmness of the Crown on this occasion. The object of all these meetings, that it was now so much the fashion to hold, was to induce people to believe that, the King having supported the measure of Reform to some extent, had in fact, bound himself to support it to the full extent to which it was now wished to be 801 carried, and it was supposed that the King had changed his mind on the subject. It was impossible surely for the noble Lord to leave the King under the imputation under which he was now left by the noble Lord refusing to give the House a statement of the advice which the Ministers had offered to the King, and which, his Majesty having rejected, became the cause of their resignation. The address of the City begged that his Majesty would do what was necessary to carry the Bill. That which was necessary to carry the Bill was a question that would be differently answered in the minds of different people. He knew that there were some persons who would say, that as the Bill affected the popular Representation, the House of Lords ought to have nothing to do with it. Was that principle to constitute the ground of their Address to his Majesty? ["Hear, hear," from an hon. Member."] He thought from that most unconstitutional cheer that there was at least one hon. Member in that House who thought so. There was another doctrine on this subject, on which he should say one word, and that was a doctrine put forth by his Majesty's Solicitor-General for Ireland, who had said, that it would be perfectly competent to the Crown to require no Act of Parliament on this occasion, but to send writs to the towns that ought to have Representatives; and if they were to be told that, and then to be told that the Crown had refused to do what was necessary, they ought to know what that was; whether it was a refusal to create Peers, or to adopt the devices and shifts to which he had alluded. In theory he knew they did not talk of the King's act; but, practically, he asserted that it was now a direct question between the King in person and his Ministers in this one transaction, in which ex necessitate rei the Crown performed a personal act of Government. It was said last night, by the right hon. Baronet near him, that the Crown must perform a personal act of Government in the appointment of the Ministers; and if the choice of a new Ministry was a personal act of the Crown, the dismissal of the old Ministry was so too; for, to suppose that the King would take the Counsels of the new Ministry in the dismissal of the old Ministry was to suppose an act of insincerity on the part of the Crown. He thought that that would hardly be said of any Sovereign, and least of all 802 of his present, Majesty, for all must agree, that wherever the King had given his confidence, whether to the Duke of Wellington or to Earl Grey, confidence had never been given in a more frank and open manner than by him. He put it, therefore, to any hon. Member to say, whether, in fact, if not in theory, the transaction which they were now considering was not one that involved the character and conduct of the King; and he insisted, that they ought to have an explanation of the transaction from the noble Lord, that they ought to know what advice it was, that the King rejected, so as to be able to judge whether the Ministers were justified in making that rejection the ground of their resignation. That the King had not refused their advice on any slight grounds every body must be convinced; and it therefore became, doubly important that the House should know what that advice was which had been rejected. He would not ask whether any Gentleman (divesting himself of the passion which the agitation of a question of so much importance might have excited) could put his hand upon his heart, and say that he considered himself justified in voting for an Address which, whatever might be said by the Gentlemen opposite, and by the partisans of the Ministry, cast a direct reflection upon the honour and sincerity of the King; he asked, would any Gentleman put his hand upon his heart, and say that he felt himself justified in voting for such an Address without a particle of information having been given as to what was the cause of difference between his Majesty and his advisers? It behoved the House, under the circumstances, so far as it was aware of them, not to establish a precedent which must have a most serious effect upon the future prospects of this country. Undoubtedly, as the noble Lord had said, this was an occasion when the House was especially called on to do its duty manfully and consistently; but it could not do so without the fullest information. They must consider that they were arguing on constitutional grounds, and they should take care to divest themselves of all personal feelings, in order to be quite sure that they were not about to establish a precedent most mischievous in its tendency. He did not mean to say, that the House had not a right to come to this vote; but they were entitled to the clearest explanation of circumstances, before any one was justi- 803 fied in calling on them to assent to such a proposition. It was very easy to cast insinuations, and in the present clay of throwing dirt, it required no great courage to do so. These were not the days of the Hampdens and the Russells, when, if a man cast the slightest reflection on the King, he walked out of the House into the Tower. On the contrary, these were times when they ought rather to strengthen the Crown and the authorities of the country, not so much for the sake of the Crown and the authorities as for the sake of the true liberties of the people; for he maintained that the authority of the Crown was the safeguard of the people. It was impossible to look upon what was passing around them, without observing how the King himself, and all the branches of the royal family were treated in this country—with what avidity every libel was got up—that even the highest person of the other sex—a person whose sex (to say nothing of the dignity of her station) ought to be a shelter and protection, was attacked by every base and cowardly writer, who was able, anonymously, to spit forth his venom in the daily papers; and these things passed unheeded, not only by the community, but even by the Attorney General, and the other law-officers of the Crown. Nor were these things confined to England, for, in France, when the King was nearly run over by the wilful intention of a cab-driver, a fine of 5l. on the man was thought a sufficient punishment. When they looked at those things, and compared them with the treatment which the royal family of France experienced just before the revolution, they must say, that this was not a time for them to cast upon the King the imputations which the Address was intended to convey. He would put it to those who thought with him, that the authority which was vested in the Crown under that Constitution which was the best calculated to protect the liberties of the people of any system of Government that ever existed in the world ought to be maintained, whether this was a time for the House of Commons to throw its weight into the scale against the authority of the Crown, and the privileges of the House of Lords? Mr. Burke, speaking of times to which many occurrences of the present day bore some analogy, said—"We live under a mixed Government, in which the elements seemed to be fraught with each other's destruction; but they were not. Sometimes 804 the democratic branch was apparently threatening the royal or aristocratic; at others, the latter encroached upon the former. But the Constitution possessed an inherent adjusting power, which soon restored the balance of both, in enabling the wary statesman now to throw his weight on the democratic, now on the regal side, according as either preponderated." He would ask again, therefore, whether, in the position in which the country was placed, was that House called on to present an Address to the Crown, such as the noble Lord opposite had proposed? In the first place, he would insist that, from what had passed in the House of Lords, there was no necessity for the measure which it was supposed had induced the Ministers to resign. The Government could have put the question to a certain test, by which it could have been clearly decided, whether or not they wanted Peers to secure the passing of the Reform Bill. But if the House would consider the extreme nature of the remedy which the Ministers proposed to apply, it would allow, that if such a remedy could be justified at all, it could only be justified by some positive act of the majority of the House of Lords, most inimical to the Reform Bill. Again, he would call their attention to the fact, that the King was consistently friendly to the Bill, and that he was known not to have the slightest objection to any part of it; and he would ask, must it not be acknowledged that the King had a right to say to his Ministers under such circumstances, "You give me advice, which I cannot follow." When it was upon such grounds the noble Lords opposite took the extreme step of tendering their resignation, surely the House was bound to say to them, that they ought to have continued for some time longer to give the King that confidence to which the whole of his conduct entitled him, and that they ought to have waited for a case of positive necessity before they deserted him. Surely they ought not to cast upon him at that time (as they expressly did by their conduct, and as did also the Address now proposed to the House) the imputation of insincerity. The course which he felt it to be his duty to take was directly to negative the Motion of the noble Lord. He had expected that another course would have been adopted by that noble Lord, and that some proposition would have been brought forward on the general question of the Reform Bill, 805 in which the House, having twice passed that Bill, could concur. But he did not expect to hear a proposition made that the House should pass a direct censure upon the conduct of the King; for the Ministers had not been discarded by him. He had not withdrawn his confidence from them. It was they who withdrew their counsel and services from him. He trusted that the House would show towards the King, in any Address which might be voted, that respect and confidence which, he was sure, was most congenial with the feelings of the whole country. He trusted, at all events, that until some one of the Gentlemen opposite should have given an explanation of the causes which led them to retire from office, the House would directly negative any such Motion as the present.
§ Lord Althorp
spoke to the following effect:—The hon. Gentleman has said, that he is ignorant of the causes which has induced us to retire from office, and that he cannot imagine what was the nature of the advice which we gave to the King; and yet, throughout the whole of his speech it was evident that he was aware of the cause, as is every other Gentleman in this House. No one can be ignorant, after the statement which I made here last night; and the whole course of the hon. Gentleman's argument was such as to show that he was aware of it. I stated last night, that the advice which we gave was occasioned by our finding that it was impossible to carry the Reform Bill. We, therefore, Sir, asked his Majesty to enable us to take such steps as were necessary to carry the Bill; and to carry it where, Sir? Why, in the House of Lords. That was the statement which I made last night. But as my hon. friend does not think that was enough, I have no objection to state, for his better satisfaction, that the advice which we thought it our duty to offer to his Majesty was, that he should create a number of Peers sufficient to enable us to carry the Reform Bill through the other House of Parliament in an efficient form. Now, Sir, my hon. friend, in the course of his argument, has referred to what took place in the other House of Parliament, and he has very truly said, that, it is impossible to discuss the present question without referring to what took place there. I agree with him that we must take it into consideration; but he says that it was a mere question of form. Now, Sir, I 806 last night expressly admitted, that it was not a question of the greatest importance. Yet it was plain to my noble friends, and to every man in the House, that, after what occurred in the House of Lords it would be impossible to carry the Bill; for, by the decision of a majority of that House the Bill was taken out of the hands of my noble friends. It was no longer under their control or management, but was put into the hands of those who were in principle opposed to it. We had, therefore, but one of two courses to pursue—either to tender our resignations to his Majesty, or to call on him for powers which would place my noble friends in a situation in which they could carry the Bill in an efficient form. They adopted the latter alternative; and I say, Sir, that they were not to be blamed. They could do no other. But, Sir, when I say this, am I to be told, that I throw blame upon the King. On the contrary, although I think that it was my duty to act as I did, yet I have no right, and I have no wish, to throw blame on any person whatever. My hon. friend says, that we "fly in the face of our master." But, Sir, I would ask my hon. friend, does he think that language which it is fitting for a Representative of the people to address to a Minister of the Crown—and in the House of Commons? Is this the way in which my hon. friend would advise Ministers to discharge their duty under a great responsibility? Is this the way that hon. Gentlemen opposite would have us carry on the business of the country? But, Sir, I think very differently. I think that, when we found that we could not effect what we considered to be essential to the interests of the country, we should not have discharged our duty if we had not at once laid our resignations at the foot of our master, and asked him to dispense with our services, when we conceived that they could no longer be useful to the country. Was it a proper course for the hon. member for Thetford to bring before the House a discussion of the conduct which his Majesty thought proper to pursue. For my part, I shall be no party to the adoption of such a proceeding. I feel, as I stated yesterday, that, through the whole course of our Administration, his Majesty acted towards us so as to entitle him to the deepest gratitude on our parts. It would not become us to cast any imputation upon his Majesty. If we did so, or if we were to be 807 parties to anything having a tendency to that effect, we should be guilty of the greatest ingratitude. The House will recollect that, some time ago, I stated in this place, that we should not hold office longer than we saw a reasonable probability of carrying the Reform Bill. We have redeemed that pledge. When we found that there was not a probability that we should be able to carry the Bill in an efficient manner, we did the only thing which, as honest men, we could do, and we respectfully tendered our resignations to his Majesty. As I have already mentioned to the House, I really should have wished that my noble friend had not brought forward the present Motion. But, Sir, I deny that the hon. Gentleman opposite has a right to say that the Motion of my noble friend is intended to force the King to take us back into his councils. The Motion is such as might naturally be made by a person eager to secure the success of the Bill. That measure has proceeded now to an advanced stage. It is still in existence; and I am happy to state that the step which has been taken respecting, it by a majority of the House of Lords was such, that, although it obliged us to adopt the course which we have taken, still it leaves it in the power of any other Government to carry the measure through in a perfect form. It is desirable for those who are anxious for the success of the measure—at least it is not an unnatural course for them to pursue—to call on this House to address his Majesty to pray that he will be pleased to form an Administration so as to secure the ultimate success of the measure in a perfect form. This is not a Motion to force us back into office. For, on the contrary, seeing what took place in the other House, it is possible for his Majesty to form such an Administration as would be able to carry the Bill in the way in which we proposed to carry it. There is nothing in the Motion to justify my hon. friend (Mr. Baring) in saying that it tends to force the King to recal us. This, Sir, is a topic to which I should not have chosen to refer; but, in consequence of the observation which the hon. Gentleman who last sat down made in allusion to us, I thought it necessary to explain myself thus early in the debate.
said, that, having interrupted the hon. member for Thetford in a manner which he must certainly admit to be somewhat disorderly, he was anxious to ex- 808 plain himself. He agreed with the hon. Member that the subject of the Address moved by the noble Lord opposite was of the utmost importance to the best interests of the nation. He agreed with him that the late Ministers were bound to explain to the House the grounds on which they had taken the important step to which the Address alluded; and he was satisfied that, in what had fallen from the noble Lord, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as full an explanation had been given as the House could expect; and he was satisfied that—come when the fullest information might—the country would see that the Ministers had behaved as became men of honour, and that the people would look up to them with confidence and esteem. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Baring) had said, that, there were three powers in the State—the King, the Lords, and the House of Commons—but he forgot the people. The hon. Gentleman said, that it was the duty of that House to support the Constitution of King, Lords, and Commons, which he (Mr Baring) considered to be the most felicitous that ever existed, and the best calculated to protect the liberties and interests of the people. But for his part, he (Mr. Hume) looked to something more than names. It was too much the fashion to appeal to names, and to divert attention from facts. Look to the results of the felicitous Constitution. Look to the country at this moment. Sunk in the deepest poverty—bowed to the earth under an enormous debt, and groaning under unparalleled evils. Were these the results to which the hon. Gentleman would refer in proof of the unrivalled excellence of the system. There were many things to be seen in the Constitution more than were comprehended in the one view which the hon. member for Thetford took of it. The hon. Member had spoken of the good sense and intelligence and property of the kingdom as being opposed to the Reform Bill. Look throughout the country, and say, was there ever a greater libel cast upon the people of England than that assertion of the hon. Gentleman? Were not all the good sense, and intelligence, and the greatest part of the property of the kingdom unanimously in favour of the Bill? The hon. Gentleman had talked of "throwing dirt," and complained of aspersions which had been cast upon noble persons in the other House, but was 809 there no dirt thrown upon others? Who was it that threw dirt upon the people? Did not the hon. Member call them the "brawlers without?" and was it fit that they should be spoken of in that way? Was it becoming that a Representative of the people, or one supposed to be sent to that House to represent them, and to watch over their interests, should cast dirt upon them, and asperse them? The hon. Gentleman had said, that there were three estates—King, Lords, and Commons. Granted. But were not the Commons the people? Was not that House the people? [a laugh.] Did they not represent the people? He could very well understand the laugh, for he knew, as they all knew, that the majority of the hon. Gentlemen around him were not Representatives of the people; and it was, therefore, that he wished to see the Reform Bill carried, in order that all the Members of that House should be Representatives of the people, not the nominees of noble persons in the other House. The hon. Gentleman had talked of their duty to the Crown. But he would say, that, if they owed a duty to the Crown, the duty was reciprocal. The Crown and the Peers owed a duty to the people. The people were not to be shared out of all power in the State, nor were their rights and interests to be sacrificed to the other two estates. But he did not wonder that they were sacrificed when he saw beside him so many nominees of the Peers. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Baring) had said, that there was no want of talent in the other House. He would not say that there was, and he should have no objection if the hon. member for Thetford himself should be taken up there to increase the store of talent which that House already possessed. His purpose in rising before when he interrupted the hon. Gentleman, was to enlighten the ignorance of the hon. Gentleman, which was greater than that of a boy just come from school. Surely the public newspapers must have sufficiently informed the hon. Gentleman as to the cause of the Ministers' retirement if he was shut out from all other sources of information. However, the noble Lord opposite had now enlightened him; and he (Mr. Hume) must say that he was delighted with the speech of the noble Lord. He was glad that noble Lord had justified himself on such excellent grounds. As to the Address, he (Mr. Hume) was astonished, after the decisions to which the 810 House had already come upon the subject of the Reform Bill, that any Gentleman could find fault with the Motion of the noble Lord. He only regretted that it did not go far enough. The House not only had the right to advise the Crown, and if the Crown did not attend to their advice in a matter which they believed to be of importance to the interest and the liberty of the people—they had not only the right to advise, but the power to give efficiency to their advice; and, he trusted, that that power would be exerted whenever their duty to the people required it. The people were not for the King, but the King was for the people, and it was his duty to use his power for their good only; and, when he used his power otherwise, or refused to do that which the interest of the people seemed to that House to demand, then it was the duty of the House to exert that power which the Constitution gave them to induce the King to pay attention to their advice. He (Mr. Hume) did not wish, in anything which he might say respecting the duty of the King to his people, and of what the people owed to the Sovereign, to speak disrespectfully of his Majesty. He merely said, that if the King did not exercise his prerogative for the good of the people, then it was the duty of the House to lay their advice humbly and respectfully at the foot of the Throne. But he would repel indignantly the assertion of the hon. member for Thetford, that the more humble was the language of an Address from that House to the Crown, the greater in direct proportion was the arrogance of the matter. The construction which that hon. Gentleman had put upon the present Address was most unfair, for he attempted to give it a meaning which the noble Mover never intended to convey. The character of the noble Lord was enough to refute the assertion that anything arrogant could come from him. It was evident that the noble Lord, in proposing the from of Address, made the language studiously humble and meek, and avoided every expression which could bear the meaning imputed. It was, at first, owing to the delicacy of the noble Lord, much more moderate and humble than at present; and much more so than the circumstances of the case required. It had now become the duty of the House of Commons to go to the Throne, and to say that, having for eighteen months given their attention to 811 the provisions of the Reform Bill, and being of opinion that it was necessary for the protection of the best interests of the people—aye, and of the Throne—the Commons respectfully advised his Majesty to reconsider his determination as to the late Ministers, and to take them back into his councils; for it would not be difficult to prove that there were no other men in that House, or in the House of Lords, who had not by their own conduct proved themselves to be incapable of carrying the Bill. It was in the recollection of every man in that House, that when, in consequence of being left in a minority of twenty-nine on the 15th of November, 1830, the right hon. Baronet below him (Sir Robert Peel) and his colleagues retired from office, and were succeeded by the Gentlemen opposite, nothing could exceed the delight of the country to see in power the men who had devoted their whole lives to the interest of the people, and who had ever been the advocates of Parliamentary Reform. Those Gentlemen did not take office greedily—the conduct of their whole lives proved that greediness of office could not be charged upon them.
denied that he had used the word greedy, or imputed sordid motives to the Ministers. He could not sit quietly, and hear language attributed to him which he would be ashamed to use.
did not impute to the hon. Gentleman the words which he disclaimed. But, he would ask, did Earl Grey enter upon office without a condition? Did he not, in fact, take office upon the express condition that the King would enable him to carry through a Reform of the House of Commons, such as he should deem to be efficient? Was there no agreement then? He would tell hon. Gentlemen, that whenever the explanation came which they so loudly called for, it must be shown that there was from the first an understanding between the Ministers and the King. All that the House had heard from them showed that they did not enter into office without a pledge to carry a Reform Bill, such as they should think to be the best for the interests of the country. Earl Grey had been all his life the advocate of Reform, and in 1793 he pledged himself to such a Reform as he had now endeavoured to carry into effect. It was not to be supposed then, that after a lapse of forty years, he came into office pledged to the same measure of Reform, if he had 812 not the support of the King to the utmost extent; and whatever might have occurred since, he was sure that the Ministers could not have been in the wrong. But it had been objected to the creation of Peers, that there existed no necessity for having recourse to any such extreme proceeding. Did any rational man suppose that Lord Grey was so little acquainted with human nature as that, after the vote to which the Lords came on the second reading of the Bill he could, for one moment, suppose it possible to carry the Bill without a creation of Peers? Could he have been ignorant, even at the moment when he carried the second reading by a small majority, that he could eventually advance the Bill so as that it should become the law of the land? No—it was impossible for any man in his senses to imagine that such an object could be accomplished otherwise than by the means he had mentioned. Could any man who once gave his support to the Bill suppose that there was any other way of carrying it? Or could he lay claim to the slightest shadow of consistency if having once given it his support, he should suddenly turn round and deny the means requisite for carrying it to a successful conclusion? If he anticipated correctly the fit answers to these interrogatories, then he would say, with the greatest confidence in the soundness of the opinion, that it peculiarly behoved the House of Commons to take a decided measure at the present important crisis. He could but recollect, and he was sure the fact must be full too in the recollection of all who heard him, that there never was a plan of Parliamentary Reform propounded in this country which united so many persons in its support, as did the plan brought forward under the auspices of Lord Grey. It could not be forgotten, either, that when that plan was brought forward in that House on the 1st of March, 1831, it found but little favour in that House; and that when carried to a second reading, it was by such a small majority that it became as obvious then that the House of Commons would never agree to it, as it was now plain that the present House of Lords would never give it their consent. What was the consistent and noble course of conduct which his Majesty thought it fitting to pursue? He came down to Parliament, and by instantly dissolving them, gave that sanction to the Bill and to the counsels of his Ministers which until within 813 a day or two he had never once withdrawn. Well, then, the measure came to Parliament recommended by the sanction of the King, in a manner that obtained for him the universal gratitude of his people. Never did Monarch receive such a meed of affectionate applause. Let the House only look to the language used by the King on the memorable 22nd of April, 1831; the words were these: "I have been induced to resort to this measure for the purpose of ascertaining the sense of my people, in the only way in which it can be most constitutionally and authentically expressed, on the expediency of making such changes in the Representation as circumstances may appear to require, and which, founded upon the acknowledged principles of the Constitution, may tend at once to uphold the just rights and prerogatives of the Crown, and to give security to the liberties of the people." In consequence of that dissolution a general election took place; and how did the people respond to that call? Did not the country, from one end to the other, declare in favour of the Bill? Did not many who had been habitually opposed to the late Government waive many of the objections which they might have had to any measure proceeding from them? The timid were induced to extend the amount of Reform—the more earnest Reformers limited their wishes—and never did there arise an instance in which a Government made so near an approximation to pleasing every body. He knew it would be impossible to please every body; but this he did know, that the plan which had just been rejected went further to satisfy the greatest number of Reformers than any former plan that ever had been laid before Parliament. At the opening of the present Session his Majesty used this language:—"I feel it my duty, in the first place, to recommend to your most careful consideration the measures which will be proposed to you for a Reform in the Commons House of Parliament. A speedy and satisfactory settlement of this question becomes daily of more pressing importance to the security of the State, and to the contentment and welfare of my people."†Those were the sentiments of the King; at least they were sentiments to which he gave his most solemn sanction, and in so many words did he deliver them* See Hansard, vol. iii. pp. 1010–11. †Ibid. vol. ix, p.1, 2.814 with his own lips to the assembled Parliament of this great country, and now they found that the Monarch rejected such advice as was necessary for carrying the Bill into a law—nay, even if such explicit declarations had not at any time been personally made, the mere fact that the Monarch retained the authors of the Bill in his service was enough to justify all mankind in taking it for granted, that the Bill had his entire sanction and support, and so also should they assume that he had given his consent, and pledged himself to all means requisite for carrying forward that measure to its full completion. He asked the House to tell him what were men, so placed, to do? They owed it to their Sovereign not to remain in office a single day after they found themselves unable to carry the Bill upon which they had staked their existence as public men. They began with the Bill under the circumstances which he had stated—they went forward with it, confronting one of the most formidable Oppositions that ever was organized to defeat a single measure. Not a moment's delay took place, that they could, by possibility, have avoided—it was at length sent to the Upper House, and its fate there was but too well known; but what followed upon it? A protest was entered upon the Journals, and signed by seventy-six of the most influential Members of the Upper House, declaring that it was a measure of the most revolutionary character, and tending to destroy the balance of the Constitution. He would inquire how they were to judge of men's conduct otherwise than he had proposed they should judge, namely, not by the language, but by the actions, of those noble persons. Surely, men of the world would judge of them, not only by what they said but by what they did. He could not help being actually amused by the artlessness with which the hon. Member below him spoke of the confidence that might be placed in the declarations of those noble Lords, when they assured the world that they would give not only as good a Reform as the Ministers who had just left office, but that they would go a little further, and throw Weymouth into the bargain. The hon. Member who had thus so artlessly told them to place unlimited confidence in the declarations of those noble Lords had spoken most contemptuously of some of the public meetings which had been held in various parts of 815 the country as well as in the metropolis. He would inform the hon. Member—he need not inform many other Members in that House, for most of them knew it perfectly well—that those meetings were any thing but deserving of the contempt which the hon. Member had thought proper to lavish upon them. He would recommend the hon. Member to attend one of those meetings; and if he could form anything like a judgment of himself, he must return with the full conviction that the humblest speaker in the habit of attending there was fully equal to the task of exposing the fallacy of his reasonings—speeches of that stamp would not be endured at a Political Union—not even a millionnaire could render such logic as that acceptable, if addressed to any auditory, unless it were the Holy Alliance; but it was reasoning that would never do for any political club, nor for any Reform Association, from one end of the kingdom to the other. Reference had been made to all that the Anti-Reformers had promised to do; but then let it be remembered how late they were in coming forward with that promise of theirs. Over and over again they were asked to state what extent of reform they were ready to concede, but they sedulously concealed their intentions, and took care to say nothing. But setting aside all considerations connected with them personally, and with their conduct as individuals, and as a party, he would come to this point—on what foundation did the Bill rest? The first principle of the Bill was schedule A. It was an inversion of everything like common sense and reason, to give any other part of the Bill precedence of that schedule: and it was unparalleled to address any advocacy of such a mode of proceeding to an assembly of grown up persons. There were no intelligent children who would allow their minds to be influenced by such a mode of treating an important subject. It was idle to think that the conduct of the late advisers of the Crown could be assailed upon such a ground as that, forsooth, they had put the wrong part of the Bill first. He had himself heard the noble Lord who had propounded the plan of the Anti-Reformers, for so he would persist in calling them—he had heard that noble Lord say, that the Bill was revolutionary. Was it men such as that who were in future to fill the councils of the King? Was it men who told the country that though disapproving 816 of the Bill as a whole, they were yet willing to go with it into Committee, in the hope of there improving its details? If any man thought he could lead people into the belief that the Bill could come out of such hands otherwise than ruined, they would find few but old women for their disciples. He doubted if there was any sane man in the United Kingdom who thought that the party whom he had been alluding to entertained an honest wish to go into the Committee with the desire of improving the Bill, and rendering it better, upon the same principles and basis upon which it had been originally proposed; and yet he supposed it was to men of that stamp that the country was to look for a new Administration. What were they to think of an Administration, in the present posture of public affairs, who would not give one rotten borough for the sake of obtaining Reform? And be it remembered, that a Judge of the land formed a portion of that remarkable party. Let them only look to the conduct and public principles of that noble Lord. Did the hon. Member for Thetford forget all the various changes which the opinions of that noble Lord had undergone? Was there any old woman in the country who would put faith in declarations coming from one who had changed so often? It was almost in vain to combat any further the reasonings of the hon. Member below him, who had all at once taken it into his head to contrast the Aristocracy with the people, so much to the disadvantage of the latter. He would undertake to draw by lot fifteen weavers, shoemakers, or other artizans, and he would undertake to say, that there would be not one of them who would not prove that the whole speech of the hon. Member was, upon his own showing, fallacious. But he would no longer occupy the time of the House with any subject so unimportant. The moment had at length arrived, when a House faithful to their trust could no longer refrain from approaching the Monarch, and humbly representing to him that they could not place confidence in any Administration except that of those men who had, under his own gracious sanction and support, introduced the important measure for amending the Representation of England and Wales. That measure now had been before the country for eighteen tedious months, and no man who mixed with the people out of doors could for a moment 817 doubt that a degree of intense anxiety existed upon the subject, far surpassing anything which the annals of past occasions of political excitement could supply. All public business was at a stand—at least there was no public business done in that House; all men had been waiting with the anxious hope of seeing the great measure brought to a happy conclusion, and were they now to see nothing but the disappointment of all their anxious hopes and wishes? Some allusions had been made to the present advisers of the King—he did not allude to responsible advisers, but to an influence behind the Throne: if there were advisers behind the Throne, let them be unmasked. If it were in his power to unmask them, he would do so most willingly. He should bear the present state of affairs in mind, and if it ever should be in his power to make known that influence, nothing should deter him from the disclosure. While on that subject he could not refrain from noticing, that an attempt had been made to fix upon the Reformers a disposition to impute to an illustrious personage, standing in the closest relation to his Majesty, something like improper interference on that subject. Now, once for all, he wished to put down anything of that sort; there had not been a syllable uttered, and he was sure there would not be any Members of that House ready to impute to her anything of the sort, or state anything whatever to her disadvantage; and he must say, that he thought it very unfair to endeavour to cast a slur upon the Reformers by insinuating that they had made any accusation of the sort; they had never gone further than to affirm, that his Majesty had been very ill advised, and he hoped that would be the last time that he or any Member of that House should have occasion to advert to the subject; and now, in concluding his notice of it, he would say, that if any individuals, of either sex, presumed to give irresponsible advice to the King, let them take the consequences. The public had ears to hear, and eyes to see, and judgments to guide their conduct, and let those who meddled with affairs of State take fair warning, and be prepared for the consequences—the natural and unavoidable consequences of their own conduct. But to put an end to observations of that kind, he should once more repeat, what he had so often said before, that no Government could expect to carry any measure of that difficult and import- 818 ant character, without removing from the higher offices all persons supposed to be hostile to the measure. He would speak out. There was Lord Hill. He was known to have voted against the measure. It was now too late, however, to dwell at much length upon topics of that nature; the time for them had passed away. The business with which the House was that night occupied, was the conduct of the noble Lords and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, and the act of the late Ministers of the Crown in reference to the Reform Bill; and of that conduct he hoped there was no man whose opinion was of the slightest value who would, for a moment, say that the conduct of those persons should be judged by isolated circumstances—it ought to be taken as a whole, and judged of in the aggregate, and viewing it in its collective character, he would, without fear of successful contradiction, boldly affirm, that they would be unworthy of the confidence of that House if they had not taken the only step which it was in their power to take—that of respectfully tendering their resignations to the King; and now he would ask, who was to succeed them? Was it the right hon. Baronet below him (Sir Robert Peel)? Was it the Duke of Wellington?—he who declared against all Reform. Could they expect anything good from them? And surely that House would not give its support to any Administration upon which it could not place the fullest reliance for the passing of the Bill. He demanded to have Schedule A to a large extent—to its fullest extent—and Schedule B, and the other Schedules, in all their important parts; and with respect to the other parts and regulations of the Bill, he required that they should not be so changed as to prevent the effectual operation of the rest of the measure; and with nothing less than that should he rest satisfied; nor should anything induce him to support a Ministry that would accept office without stipulating for the means of carrying such a measure into beneficial effect. They had been told, however, that some of the candidates for office proposed to give them the scot and lot right of voting in some places. He, of course, did not object to the scot and lot qualification—he cared not how widely the qualification might be extended, though he should not contend for it in any manner that might tend to create a division amongst the sincere friends of that which he willingly 819 called an efficient Reform, as far as it went. That measure of Reform which had been introduced by the noble Lord opposite, was one which upon these grounds, had had his most cordial support; and which during its existence was marked by this extraordinary quality, that it obtained the unanimous approbation of the whole country. There was not a public meeting held in any part of the United Kingdom which did not express a general approbation of its provisions. It did not, however, please the owners of boroughs; and the hon. Member below him told the House, in his usual manner, that the boroughholders, as such, had no feeling hostile to Reform. He believed there was no intelligent man, who paid the slightest attention to public affairs, could believe it possible for any hon. Member gravely to get up in that House and make such an assertion; let them only recollect how the borough Members usually voted in that House; let them only remember the result of those votes; and then let them say, whether or not those results were brought about by mere accidental coincidence or by design? The history of that House would show—he would not say whether by design or accident—that the votes of the borough Members all tended one way; it had become matter of the most perfect notoriety, that almost all the Peerages procured for many a year were procured through the agency of the rotten boroughs; those were the high-minded chivalrous Peers who threw out the Reform Bill—those were the dirty means by which the House of Peers had been recruited—he called them dirty means, the expression was perfectly classical, and had been used by Mr. Burke, and was often repeated in that House. It was, then, through those dirty means—it was through that mass of filth and ordure—that Commoners ascended to the House of Peers; it was time, therefore, that that filthy and disgraceful traffic should be brought to an end, that there should be an end of the language, the derogatory language, in which those Peers, so elevated, were accustomed to speak of the people of England. Amongst the various arguments which had been urged in favour of the rejection of the Bill, it had been said that the Universities were opposed to it. Yes; the clergy were certainly opposed to the Reform; and, when they looked at the votes of the heads of the Church in the upper House, they could 820 not doubt the sentiments of the great body of the clergy; but, as to the property of the country, it was ten to one in favour of the Bill. Though he had touched upon so many topics, and had so long occupied the attention of the House, he could not, before he concluded, refrain from noticing what had been said with respect to the petition which came from the Corporation of London, respecting which it had been said, that the petitioners had much better have occupied themselves with their own affairs. Now, he should be glad to learn whose affair the Reform Bill was, unless it was the affair of the people of England? And he presumed it would be admitted, that the inhabitants of the metropolis were entitled to take a lead in any proceeding so deeply affecting the interests of the people of England. They had, he would contend, the fullest possible right to call the attention of the House to the fact, that the Commons possessed the control of the public purse, and that, if the people were left without due Representation, that the funds of the public ought to be intrusted to parliamentary Commissioners appointed by the constitutional guardians of the public money. The petitioners came to that House backed by every sound argument, and by every principle of justice, and as one of the Representatives of the people, he should stand up in his place and support such a proposition some hon. Members might smile, but this he would tell them, that they were standing on the brink of a volcano, and that the sooner they made themselves acquainted with their real situation the better. There was amongst the Members, in the midst of whom he then stood, some degree of education; they had sufficient intelligence to take care of themselves, and he warned them to be cautious before it was too late. Of this they might fully satisfy themselves, that, should the proper time arrive, the House of Commons would not be backward to do its duty, even constituted as it now was. The best men, in every age, had sanctioned, by the declaration of their opinions, the doctrine for which the petitioners contended. It had ever been held, that the constitutional doctrine was, that the Crown should enjoy its prerogative, the Lords their privileges, but neither could deprive the Commons of their control over the public purse; or the people of their just right to full and fair Representation; and, indisputably, 821 the Representatives they at present possessed had the undoubted right of using their control over the public purse to secure an improved mode of Representation, or to effect any other legitimate object; they had a clear right to a redress of grievances before they gave away the/money of the public. He was fully prepared to go that length, and he was sure that the people would back him. For his part, he had never voted a single shilling to a Minister. According to the Constitution, the money was always voted to the king. In the present excited state of the public mind, it behoved them to be cautious what they did, and make provision to avert the danger before it overwhelmed them. He held it utterly impossible for any half dozen men to sit down, and, by any calculation, to arrive at the real opinion of the one hundred and fifty Lords who voted on Monday in the House of Peers. Having now sufficiently wearied the House, he would come to his last point—that Ministers were right in the view they had taken of the subject, and in the course they had adopted. He gave the opponents of Ministers great credit for having kept their counsel to the last; but it was certain, that the proposition which had been vainly resisted went to the root of the Bill. The great sore and ulcer of the present system was, the existence of rotten boroughs; and the object of Ministers had been to remove them. What was the rule they had established for this purpose? That all boroughs which had not a population of 2,000 persons, should be placed in schedule A; and that all boroughs which had not a population of 4,000 persons, should be placed in schedule B. If, therefore, these had been abolished, and not a single borough enfranchised, an important change, and a great good, would have been effected. The Amendment in the other House, therefore, went to the foundation and vital principle of the Bill. All the Lords were at variance upon every point; and upon none more than the position, that the Amendment was a mere matter of form. The degree of enfranchisement in the Bill had nothing to do with the degree of disfranchisement; and it was a wonder that, in the course of the debate, nobody attempted to set noble Lords right upon the point; for the debate concluded, as it had begun, in complete ignorance of the true principles of the Bill. It was, as it 822 ought to have been, a sine qua non with Ministers to carry their measure of Reform, and they were right to tell the King, that, if he would not trust them with the power of creating thirty, fifty, or even 100 Peers, they were unworthy the royal confidence, All they wanted was the authority of the Crown: it was understood that the proposal was, that sixty Peers should be made, and that less would not have done: for his part, he should have had no objection to the creation of 100 Peers. This he would say, knowing what he did of the other House of Parliament, that he would stake his existence, that if the King had given Earl Grey a carte blanche to make as many Peers as were wanted, not ten would have been requisite. From the course taken by the majority on the late occasion, it was evident that some little bird had whispered them, that the King would not consent to the creation of any Peers. Somehow or other they had obtained a knowledge of that fact; and, under the circumstances, Ministers had no choice—they were perfectly right in what they had done, and they stood justified to the country. Instead of delaying all public business—instead of keeping the public mind in a ferment, they did wisely to bring the whole question at once to issue. The true mode of avoiding the necessity for making many Peers was, to obtain an unlimited power of doing so; if only twenty, forty, or sixty were granted, the evil might return—the snake might be "scotched" and not "killed," whereas, if the Minister had been trusted with full authority, the Peers would have known their interests, if not their duty, and would have passed the Bill with only a small addition to their numbers. He hoped that the House, by its vote to-night, and the country, by its conduct hereafter, would uphold Ministers in the course they had taken, and would support the Reform Bill to its triumphant termination.
explained. The hon. member for Middlesex had hardly touched a point to which he (Mr. Baring) had adverted, without misrepresentation. He had never said, for instance, that the City of London had no business to petition, but merely that the petition was unwise. He had never imputed that Members in this House were the instruments of clamour out of doors. Thirdly, the hon. member for Middlesex had represented him as asserting, that the Motion of the noble Lord 823 was full of arrogance. Nothing could be further from it; and all he (Mr. Baring) had stated was, that, in times of turbulence, phrases of humility were usually in proportion to the actual arrogance of every proposition.
assured the hon. Gentleman, that he had not intended to misrepresent what he had said, but he had taken down from his mouth the assertion that clubs and brawlers without had their delegates within. He had also understood the hon. Gentleman to assert, that the petition of the City of London was a very foolish one, and, as a citizen himself, he must say, that no greater insult could be offered.
§ Lord Morpeth
, in offering himself for a very short time to the notice of the House at this peculiar and momentous conjuncture, knew not whether he might not labour under some degree of disqualification, from the circumstance, that a near connection, though not in the actual service, was in the confidence of his Sovereign, as a member of the Administration. Whatever deduction this fact might make from any value possessed by his opinion, he must, of course, be content to bear it; but he could not, at the same time, forget, that he had been sent to the House of Commons by perhaps the largest constituency of the empire, and that he had not chosen to add any other post, however highly offered, to that of being their Representative. He had a claim, therefore, individually, to speak on their behalf, and on his own, what seemed best fitted to this painful and solemn crisis. His noble friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, had plainly stated, what no man doubted, that the advice of the Ministers to his Majesty was a large, that is to say, an adequate creation of Peers. He (Lord Morpeth) was as willing as any man to admit that, in some points of view, this step might appear a violent and startling measure—that it would establish a precedent, which, if followed without an apparent and undeniable necessity, would expose the individual giving such advice to the highest responsibility. But if the alternative were, as he contended in this instance it was, that the measure thereby to be carried would restore and perpetuate a good understanding between different orders and classes in the realm, or (to use the very words of the hon. member for Thetford), "to secure the prosperity and happiness of the country," any person 824 who talked of the degradation of the Peerage for such a beneficent and healing purpose, was without the essential attributes of a manly understanding and enlarged patriotism. Were the memorials of ancestral dignity, or the escutcheons of ancient chivalry, to be accounted sullied and degraded because the order to which they belonged had taken deeper root in a more congenial soil—the affections of a grateful people? He entirely and heartily concurred in the Address moved by his noble friend, and he earnestly hoped that it would be effectively and zealously supported; he regretted, indeed, the necessity for such a proceeding—he regretted the intelligence which had suddenly and unhappily burst upon the country yesterday—he regretted it from attachment to his Sovereign—who, he must always believe, had the interests of his people at heart—he regretted it for the sake of the interests of the Crown, and of the probable comfort and peace of the present reign—he regretted it on account of the Government, which must speedily be at an end, unless the House of Commons supplied the means of averting such a calamity. In his opinion, Ministers deserved better things; he was not such a clumsy panegyrist as to assert that they were uniformly free from error; occasionally inexperience and want of official habits had led them into mistakes; but, looking at essentials (without including in the view the great and just measure of Reform), it would be seen, that, under circumstances of much difficulty and embarrassment, they had secured to their country and to Europe the invaluable blessing of peace. Whatever was the result, Ministers would retire with character untouched—consistency untainted—and honour unblemished. As, when they entered office, they bore with them the hopes, so on withdrawing from office they would be followed by the plaudits of the nation—populum reditus morantem. He the more lamented the present gloomy prospect for Reform, because recent events were eminently calculated to give a fatal and ill-advised triumph—not to the Tories—not to the Conservatives—their day was past, and little more would be heard either of their principles or their speeches—but to the extreme Radicals [cheers from Mr. Hunt], who either founded their hopes on mischief (and probably the utterer of the last cheer did not wish to be included in that number), or who pushed their views 825 much further than our better reason and the actual condition of society would allow—theirs would be the triumph, unless the House interposed to prevent it, and unless the real friends of conservative Reform—the true friends of the Constitution stepped forward to vindicate the measure, and to ensure its success. He remembered, no longer ago than the election before the last, when he had the honour of canvassing the county of York, in company with the present Lord Chancellor, long before any tidings had arrived of the French or of the Belgian revolutions, that he had heard enough, in the language and opinions of those whom he addressed, to satisfy him that it would be an almost unheard of blessing if the friends of Reform of all sorts, by some lucky fatality, could be brought to concur in one general and comprehensive scheme, which would be a remedy for prevailing abuses, a satisfaction of existing claims, and a barrier against future encroachments. That scheme was the Reform Bill—that remedy, that satisfaction, and that barrier, Parliament had had in its hands. This happy conclusion—this concentration of the wishes and opinions of all Reformers, had grown and prospered until yesterday—it was at once dashed down and destroyed. He did not dread the ultimate success of the cause of Reform—what he feared was, its immediate or rather intermediate prospects. Were the friends of the measure to look for straightforward dealing from those whom his noble friend had happily described, when he said that they made speeches against disfranchisement, and yet in the same breath asserted, that they were ready, by destroying 113 seats in the House of Commons, to make even schedule A hide its diminished head? In the event, too, of a change in the Councils of the King, to whom was Parliament to look as a leader? His singular aptitude in debate, and his other eminent talents, seemed to point out the right hon. Baronet, the member for Tamworth (Sir Robert Peel), as the fittest person; but would he charge himself with the responsibility either of this or of any other measure of adequate relief? The disappointment would be deeply and severely felt in all parts of the country; but he (Lord Morpeth) trusted that the people, both from a principle of duty (from which no man could be justified in swerving), and from a principle of policy (which no man should be unwise 826 enough to neglect) would receive the tidings with calmness, and bear their disappointment with temper. He hoped that they would, on all accounts, preserve tranquillity and obedience to the laws, while they adhered firmly and steadily to those men who alone could tread the path of safety, and bring this great experiment of Reform to a happy issue. As far as related to the House of Commons, if there were any thing like gratitude, consistency, or honour left, it was bound now, as on former occasions, to support those who, through doubt, difficulty, and obloquy, had advocated the principles of Reform, that hereafter it might never be said of the Representatives of the people, that through their fault the Bill had been lost, on the passing of which the nation had set their hearts.
§ Mr. Robinson
wished briefly to state the grounds on which he should vote for the Motion of the noble Lord. He looked upon that Motion to be substantially a reassertion, by a solemn Address to the Crown, of the opinion entertained by that House on the Reform question. It would show at least, that a British House of Commons did not shrink from the vote it had already given, and that it was anxious to convey to the Crown and the country, that no measure of Reform, essentially different from that which had passed by so large a majority, could be acceptable to that House. He had heard an opinion expressed out of doors, as well as within the walls of that House, to the effect that the Motion of the noble Lord was premature; but he begged to express his dissent from that opinion. Neither could he concur with those who censured the Government for resigning. Ministers themselves were the best judges whether they ought to persevere after what had occurred in the House of Lords. Be this as it might, it was most important that the country and the Crown should have no doubt of the opinion of the House of Commons, whilst his Majesty was engaged in forming a new Administration. Such was, in his opinion, the proper time, beyond all others, for that House to state to the King, firmly, but respectfully, in the mode which the Constitution pointed out, that no Government was likely to receive the support of that House which should not be prepared to introduce and carry through Parliament a measure of Reform fully commensurate with that which had already 827 passed through the Rouse. If such a declaration was made by that House, he held it to be impossible that any Administration could resist it. How could the Government of the country in that House be carried on by any Administration which was adverse to Reform? Was it by another appeal to the people? Could any one be weak enough to suppose that, after the opinion of the people had been so plainly and decisively manifested on the question of Reform, the effect of another appeal must not be, to send the same or other Representatives to that House equally favourable to the Reform question? In conclusion, he wished to put it to those Gentlemen who thought the measure of Reform introduced by Ministers too extensive, what the situation of the country would be if they passed two or three years more discussing this subject? He begged to remind them what had been the state of the nation for two years during which this subject had been under discussion. As had been well observed, the whole business of the country had been in a state of abeyance. Commerce was languishing—everything was at a stand—and, for his own part, he could not look without the greatest apprehension and dismay at the continued discussion of this question. It had been said, that it would be better if Reform was effected by degrees; but that he must deny altogether. He believed, if the House of Lords had passed the Bill sent up by that House, it would have set the question at rest for many years. He did not believe any House of Commons could be got now which would be satisfied with a less extensive measure; but, if such a House could be got, what would it lead to? To the agitation of the question again; and, eventually, the measure of Reform now before Parliament, or something very like it, must be carried. The only question, therefore, as it seemed to him, was, whether they were to have Reform now, or after a few years' longer discussion, during which the country would be kept in agitation, suffering, and uncertainty? He should only add, that the noble Lord's Motion had his cordial support, and he could not see how any one who voted for the Reform Bill could vote against that Motion.
would detain the House but a few minutes to express the view he entertained of the Address which had been proposed by his noble friend. He was 828 not only prepared, but anxious, to join him at this important crisis, in expressing the firm adherence of that House to the great principles and essential provisions of the measure of Reform which had been sent up to the other House of Parliament. It was a duty imperatively forced upon them by circumstances which might induce the people of this country to think, that the measure to which they were so much attached, was now in danger, as well as by the importance of impressing upon his Majesty, and upon those who might be called upon to form a new Administration, whoever they might be, that they must be prepared to carry the main principles of that Bill into efficient operation. He was also prepared, and desirous to express with his noble friend, his deep regret at the change in his Majesty's Councils, by which the completion of the Reform Bill would fall into other hands than those which originated that measure; into the hands of men who could not take charge of it without some sacrifice of that consistency, which was so valuable an ingredient in any public character, but which the necessities of the time called loudly upon them on this occasion to give up to the still higher considerations of public safety. He regretted deeply, for this reason, that this change in his Majesty's Councils should have taken place; but he must avow, that he thought the circumstances which had led to this change were rather of a personal, than a political nature, and that the step which his Majesty's Ministers had taken was not called for by the occasion. The vote come to in the other House was not in itself of essential importance to the Bill. A similar proposition had been looked upon as unimportant by the noble Lord, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and by the noble Paymaster of the Forces; and if it did throw some suspicion upon the ulterior objects of those who made the proposition—though those suspicions might have been much allayed by the declarations of many who supported it—yet it would surely have been wiser to allow two or three days' discussion to bring these suspicions to the test, than to act at once upon them, and proceed to the extreme measure to which his Majesty's Ministers had had recourse. He believed that these discussions would have removed this unfounded suspicion, and that, at the end of another week, schedule A would have been brought back to 829 its original place in the Bill, not materially altered from that shape in which it had been sent up, but, as appeared by the declarations of some noble Lords, rather enlarged and extended in its operation. That it was a very embarrassing situation for a Minister of the Crown not to have the command of a majority in the passing of any important measure which he proposed, he was fully prepared to admit, and he had always foreseen that great difficulties would arise from that circumstance in the passage of this Bill through a Committee of the other House; but he had also thought that, provided the main principles of the Reform Bill were carried into effect in that Committee, the patriotism of the noble Lord would have induced him to submit to some of those embarrassments, and what he might think humiliations, when so fearful a step, as advising his Majesty to annihilate the independence of the House of Lords, or of throwing the country into its present awful situation, was the only alternative. At any rate, he had thought that the noble Earl, by consenting to go into the Committee with that branch of the Legislature in its present state, especially after the language which he had employed on the second reading of the Bill, had given, at least, a virtual pledge, that such was his intention. Under these circumstances, therefore, whatever might be his opinion upon,the policy of pressing that Motion to a division, he felt himself warranted in asserting, that it was rather a feeling of personal annoyance on the part of his Majesty's Ministers, than of real doubt as to the ultimate success of all the main provisions of the Bill, that had led them to pursue the course which they had taken. However that might be, he entertained a sincere regret at their retirement from his Majesty's Councils, and could have no hesitation in expressing it. The measure itself, however, he did not consider in any real danger. The House of Lords had affirmed its principle, and a great number of its most influential Members had expressed their assent to its more essential details. As he had said before, he regretted that the conducting it should have passed out of the hands of its proposers; but the main point, after all, for the advantage of the country was, that it should be carried, no matter by whom, and that as quickly as possible, into effect. He was convinced that not only the interests, 830 but the wishes of their constituents, would be best considered by keeping this object constantly in view. It was a settlement of this question, which was desired by all parties in the country; until that object was attained, all public confidence was suspended, and the operations of commerce and industry paralysed. Let everybody, then, lend his hands, and apply his shoulders to the forwarding of this main point; and he trusted a very few days would see such progress made in the essential parts of the Bill before the other House, as might set the public anxiety at rest. There was one part of the Address proposed by his noble friend, on which, before he assented to the whole, he must make sonic remarks. It was that which spoke of unabated confidence in his Majesty's Ministers. Now, confidence he had been obliged to refuse to his Majesty's Ministers on several points of their policy, and, therefore, he could hardly, in strictness, talk of reposing unabated confidence in them. Even in the conduct of their measure of Reform, there were several points to which he had thought it his duty to follow the dictates of his own judgment, and to differ from the course which they had recommended. If, again, these expressions should be intended to convey approbation of the advice given by them to the Crown, for the annihilation of the independence of the other House, he should feel it impossible for him to unite in the expression of such an opinion; but he had not heard it so interpreted by those who drew up the Resolution. He considered it as expressing regret that the Reform Bill should have passed into other hands, and re-affirming their attachment to its essential provisions, as the most desirable at the present crisis—an object too important to allow him to look nicely at the expressions in which it was conveyed. With this explanation he should feel it his duty to support the Resolutions of his noble friend.
Sir Robert Peel
spoke to the following effect:—Sir, the noble Lord has imposed a duty on me of stating to the House why I dissent from the Resolutions. After the discussion in which the House has been engaged for the last eighteen months, it would be absurd in me not to suppose that my opinion respecting these Resolutions differs from the opinion of the majority of this House; but I see nothing, Sir, in the circumstances of the times 831 which should make me shrink, in the slightest degree, from expressing that opinion, because I am convinced that it differs from the opinion of the majority. I differ from the Resolutions because I do not place confidence in his Majesty's late Ministers. I differ from them because I do not agree to the expediency of the measure which has been under discussion; and I differ from them, because I consider that they establish a precedent dangerous at all times, but peculiarly dangerous in the circumstances in which we at present stand. I differ most from the Resolutions, because they advocate an extensive change in the Constitution of this House; to which I—though it has been sanctioned by the majority of this House—have always refused to be a party. I retain my opinion, that the change is a perilous experiment—the most perilous that ever was tried; and retaining my opinion unaltered, nothing which I have heard this night—nothing in the language of the hon. Gentleman (the member for Middlesex), who has expressed his readiness to withhold the Supplies, and vest the money in Commissioners—nothing, I say, which I have heard in the language of the hon. Gentleman, has at all tended to diminish the apprehensions which I entertain of the measure of Reform. I shall presume to say, if we are about to make an extensive change in the Constitution if we are about to make this House the express image—not of the deliberate and well-weighed sentiments of the people, but of popular impatience—that I dread the consequences, and I must look with active and scrutinizing regard at any precedents likely to confirm that disposition to encroachment which I so much dread. The consequence of the change will be, to make this House the express image and reflection of the popular voice, I believe, and this we have always urged. But if we make this House answer to the expectations of the people, I do not see how that can be reconciled, particularly as some hon. Members have described this House as immediately backed by the popular voice, and as supported by the physical strength of the people at least—I cannot reconcile to myself how such a House of Commons can exist with our mixed form of Government. If there could be any thing dangerous in the Resolutions at any time, that danger must, in my view, be particularly apprehended if we adopt such 832 a precedent on the eve of another extensive change. The House cannot be surprised that I differ from the Resolutions, and cannot be surprised that I think the moment for submitting them to the House not well chosen. That was the opinion, too, of the noble Lord opposite—the opinion of an individual than whom no man's opinion is more worthy of confidence, who for eighteen months has been intrusted with the management of public business in this House; and that noble Lord's first impression was, that, at the present moment, when there was no Government existing—when there was an important crisis at hand—feeling that it would interfere with the prerogatives of the Crown for the House to declare the opinion which was implied in the Resolutions, the noble Lord had thought, in the first instance, that at this moment such an expression of opinion was to be avoided. The noble Lord's more mature opinion, after reflection and deliberation, confirmed his first impression. Though I have not often voted with the noble Lord, on his opinion I place some reliance; and he has repeated to-day the opinion he gave last night, that the moment for these Resolutions was peculiarly inappropriate; and in that opinion I cordially concur. If I wanted any authority against the terms of the Resolutions, I should refer to that of the noble Lord, the author of the Resolutions. We have been told by the hon. Gentleman, the member for Middlesex, something of the history of the Resolutions proposed by the noble Lord. The hon. Member, in rebutting an accusation that was never made, and that will never be deservedly made—an accusation that the noble Lord, who had moved the Resolution, had shown disrespect to the Crown—the hon. Member, acting, as he frequently does, from completely misunderstanding the matter, and from mistaking the observations to which he undertook to reply, entered into a most unnecessary vindication of the noble Lord, and in the course of that vindication had made some important disclosures—"I can prove," the hon. Member said, "that the noble Lord did not intend any disrespect, because he contemplated originally much milder Resolutions, something very short and very simple in themselves"—something which the hon. Gentleman described, with a construction peculiar to himself, as much too weak for him. The hon. Gentleman then 833 had been permitted to suggest alterations which the noble Lord admitted, and which made the Resolutions not strong enough, indeed, for him, but more acceptable than the original Resolutions. The hon. Gentleman, then, is the author of part of the Resolutions, and I have the original Resolutions of the noble Lord, as a proof that the present Resolutions are not exactly what he approved of. If, then, I am to find out the object of the Resolutions from the speech of one of the authors of them, I must say, from the speech of the hon. Member, that they are intended to express decided approbation of the measures of his Majesty's Ministers in recommending an increase of the House of Peers. The Resolutions call upon the House to express unaltered confidence in the Ministers who have resigned, because such advice was not followed. But, before the hon. Member, who knows all about the matter, calls on me to agree to the Resolutions, he will, perhaps, condescend to give me as much information as he possesses. The hon. Member says, he approves of the Resolutions; perhaps he will tell us how much of them he drew up? The hon. Gentleman has a habit of taking down words, and I have followed the hon. Gentleman's excellent example. The hon. Gentleman said, "I think it necessary to express our unabated confidence, in consequence of the course the Ministers pursued. I blame them not for asking to make twenty or thirty Peers, or for demanding such an addition to the House of Peers as would secure the success of the Reform Bill; if the Ministers had demanded sixty or 100, if that were necessary, it would only make the measure more acceptable to me." The hon. Gentleman said—and it was impossible to misunderstand him—" that there are two parties, and it is impossible for one party to be wrong, and that party is the King's Government." The hon. Gentleman did not draw the conclusion; but it did not need his logical acumen to know, that, if one party cannot be wrong, the other must be. This is the inference which the hon. Gentleman did not draw, but which every body else will. The hon. Gentleman has talked of some intrigues, of some recent communications. It the hon. Gentleman has any information on this subject, let him bring it forward; let him state who it is that assumes a power unknown to the Constitution, 834 which the Constitution has never granted, and interferes between the responsible advisers of the Crown and the Crown itself. I am not prepared, then, to assent to the first Resolution, which expresses unaltered confidence in the Government. I am bound, out of respect to myself, to say, that I cannot agree to that Resolution. With many of the measures of the Government I have found it impossible to agree, and when I have found it necessary to object to them, I have boldly stated my objections; but having objected to their measures, it cannot be expected that I should express confidence in the men. My opposition, however, has not been factious; and when I have been able to assent to their measures, I have given them a fair and honest support; but I must abstain from agreeing to a Resolution which calls on me to express unaltered confidence in respect to their past proceedings in giving advice to the Crown. It seems to me that the Resolutions are not applicable to the present circumstances, which do not call upon us to express unaltered confidence. In the present state of our information to express confidence, when no explanations have been received, is too much consistently to require. I have a right to know, before being asked for such a vote, to know under what precise circumstances the advice was given, and precisely what it was. The noble Lord (Althorp) says, that the advice they gave the Sovereign was, to make a sufficient number of Peers to enable the Government to carry a particular measure; but if upon such grounds I am asked to declare unabated confidence in the Ministers I must say nothing can be more unfortunate or more inconsistent, for I can conceive nothing more fatal to the dignity of the Crown, more foolish, more destructive of the Constitution, and the best interests of the country than for the Crown to act upon such advice. If that were to be done, what meaning could be given to the words "authority of both Houses of Parliament?" What an abuse of words it would be to talk of that authority, and why call upon us to go through the solemn mockery of declaring that measures had received the sanction and the authority of both Houses of Parliament? The hon. Gentleman says, and he calls upon the House of Commons to support a Resolution, that it is adviseable, by creating sixty or a hundred Peers, to overwhelm the independent 835 voice of one branch of the Legislature; and as I cannot be a party to an Act winch would convert all our subsequent proceedings into a mere mockery, as well as overthrow the Constitution, I cannot join in that Resolution. The noble Lord (Lord Morpeth) asked, what disgrace would it be to the escutcheons of the Peers to have an infusion of other Members into their body? Does not the noble Lord see the use which Government may at any time make of the same language? After a century shall have passed, perhaps, he thinks this precedent may again be acted on, and then that some Government may find some measure as important as this, and deserving to be carried by similar means. Let the noble Lord not deceive himself; he will not have to wait so long to see the precedent acted on. I know that this measure is described as one of unequalled importance; but two years will not elapse before some other measure, supposed to be of equal importance, will require that this precedent should be repeated and the Peers overwhelmed by a new creation, to carry some popular purpose. In the abstract, certainly, it must ever be most dangerous for the Crown to create an immense number of Peerages with a view to carry any particular measure, and nothing can excuse or justify it but some overpowering necessity. Conceding the principle, for the sake of argument, which, in fact, however, I never will concede, what proof have we of any necessity to justify such a creation at present? In making this precedent which would be so dangerous under any circumstances it is now doubly dangerous, because there is no actual necessity to justify it, but only a vague suspicion that at some future time a necessity may arise, and without waiting till it has arrived, and merely to enable the Government to meet such a contingency, the Ministers have given advice of so fearful and fatal a tendency. In making the concession that such an abstract principle may be acted on, I demand to know why you will not wait till the necessity arises? Half the debate on the present evening has been taken up by taunts against Gentlemen who have changed their opinion and admit the propriety of passing schedule A. On such a subject nothing is more unworthy or more unwise than such a proceeding; for though hon. Members differ from some noble Lords, why should they cast imputations 836 on them when they were endeavouring as men of honour to make an honest compromise on an important question of this kind? Suppose it was found that the House of Lords, after the second reading of the Bill, considered, that by the second reading they were not strictly bound to agree to the whole measure as concocted by the Government; but, supposing that they had agreed to go into a Committee, and having done that, were willing to give their support to schedule A, to reproach them with that might be a good sarcasm; but it was fatal to the correctness of the reasoning of those who used it. the sarcasm was irreconcileable with the argument. If the Lords were prepared to make such sacrifices; if the Ministers could carry schedule A, why, he would ask, did they not make the experiment, and try if schedule A could be carried? There are peculiar instances which make it proper in our discussions to refrain from noticing what occurs in another place; but though feeling that such notice, if drawn into a precedent, would be fatal to all order, yet there are occasions when we may do so, and I believe it is notorious that upwards of seventy Peers signed the protest against the second reading of the Reform Bill; and it was also notorious that a great number of those who voted for the second reading voted for the postponement of schedule A. Among them were Lord Wharncliffe and the Earl of Harrowby, and a great number—I may perhaps say fifty—who were prepared to affirm, without recurring to schedule A, that the system of Government could no longer be carried on by means of nomination boroughs. If the House of Lords were resigned to permit that large Reform, why not accept it? Suppose some difference should arise about schedule B, the great object was stated to be to get rid of the small nomination boroughs; and supposing the Peers to concede schedule A, could it be believed that it would be impossible to reconcile the country to a modified Bill? The question before us arises out of a proposition made to the other House, that schedule Abe postponed. I admit that this question involves, at least in the minds of the authors of the Bill a principle of importance. By some persons it is said that the nomination boroughs are a blot and a defect on the Constitution, which are incompatible with its recognized principles, and that they must 837 be abated as a nuisance. They would on that ground alone destroy them. The other party said, that care and caution were necessary in disfranchising them, and would not admit that disfranchisement should precede enfranchisement, and they, therefore, proposed to postpone the disfranchising clause. Suppose that the ultimate consequence had been, to disfranchise these nomination boroughs; as far as that particular object is concerned, is it to be believed that the people would have stood out on the point whether schedule A should be first considered or not? By not waiting, at all events., the Ministers had showed that there was nothing palpable but a difference of degree, and they can of course show no necessity for the extraordinary step they recommended. Admitting, therefore, which I do not admit, that a creation of Peers to carry a particular measure would be justifiable in certain circumstances, I say that you have failed in making out any case of urgent necessity; I, repeat, therefore, that I cannot do otherwise than condemn the advice which it is understood was given to the Crown. I repeat, also, in as courteous language as possible, that I think the course which the Government has pursued has far from tended to control the expectations of the people, or to induce them to take that calm and modified view of this great question of Parliamentary Reform which was so desireable. On the contrary, I think that the line of conduct they have adopted, ever since they have been in office, by their declarations and by their correspondence, instead of assuaging, has only tended to raise those expectations, and to lengthen the period of the excitement which we must all have wished to avoid. Considering all the circumstances of the case, if ever there were a set of men who were studiously bound to avoid placing their Sovereign in a situation of difficulty, by resigning their offices, never were there a set of men who had stronger motives for avoiding such conduct than his Majesty's Ministers. In the first Resolution, therefore, I cannot agree; and most cordially do I agree with my hon. friend, the member for Thetford (Mr. Baring), in meeting that Resolution with a direct negative, abstaining from availing ourselves of any of the courtesies by which the pain of meeting a Motion by a direct negative is avoided. The first Resolution expresses an adherence to his 838 Majesty's Government; I vote against it because I see no reason for the House of Commons expressing any such adherence. The second Resolution merely quotes a passage from the Speech from the Throne, and describes an opinion of the House of Commons already expressed on the Reform Bill, and of course to that opinion the majority will adhere, and will repeat it. I pass it by as not requiring remark. The third Resolution is to this effect—"That to the progress of the measure, this House considers itself bound to state to his Majesty, that his subjects are looking with the most intense interest and anxiety." But why express the whole of his Majesty's subjects, when it is well known that a great difference of opinion prevails amongst them, and that many of of them are opposed to this measure? The Resolution, however, goes on to say, "that they cannot disguise from his Majesty their apprehensions that any successful attempt to mutilate or impair the efficiency of the Bill will be productive of the greatest disappointment and dismay." Now, what are the circumstances? We have sent a bill up to the other House—that is a formal proceeding; that Bill has been read a second time; but a difference of opinion has existed as to the collocation of certain clauses; is it right in the House of Commons now to pledge themselves, under no circumstances, to admit of modifications in that Bill? I call on the House to consider the precedent they will set if they agree to this Resolution. Let it be applied to other hills. We send up a bill to the House of Lords, and before the House of Lords can consider it, we send up an address to the Crown, praying that the Bill may not be mutilated, and declaring that we will consent to no mutilation. Is this a fitting course for the House of Commons? Is it a proper exercise of its functions? Why, we will not allow the Peers to exercise any right of dissent, not merely from our Bill, but even from the collocation of its clauses. Is that not interfering with the other House of Parliament? This is not a question as to the conduct of Ministers, it is a question between the two Houses of Parliament relative to a bill pending before the other House; and on a matter of so much delicacy, without consulting the Journals of that House, resting merely on common fame, the House of Commons is called on to address the Crown not to suffer any mutilation of the 839 Bill. We are called upon to state to the Crown that no other bill but this will satisfy the people. But the power of the Government itself will be destroyed by that Bill. No Government can exist which does not control and restrain the popular sentiments; and no restraints can exist if Government is to look for support to a House of Commons, which, being the express image of the people, would, after the example of this precedent, send up an address to the Crown requesting that a bill before the Lords shall not be mutilated and rendered less efficient. It is certainly a most dangerous proceeding for a Government first to rouse the passions of the people upon the subject of a particular bill, until disappointment becomes almost impossible, and then to send it to the Lords, and address the Throne not to permit their Lordships the free exercise of their functions. Now, then, let us see what is the last Resolution. There is a majority in this House in favour of Reform; they may, probably, think that these are merely Resolutions pledging the House to adhere to their former opinions: they are no such thing. This last Resolution is, in substance, neither more nor less than a dictation to the Crown. I call particular attention to this Resolution. It was only yesterday we had notice of the Motion of the noble Lord, and this day we are called upon to pledge ourselves to the dangerous course of not submitting, under any circumstances, to the mutilation of a measure which is now under the consideration of another branch of the Legislature. The words of the Resolution are:—'That this House is, therefore, impelled by the warmest attachment to his Majesty's person and Throne, humbly, but most earnestly, to implore his Majesty to call to his councils such persons only as will carry into effect, unimpaired in all its essential provisions, that Bill for the reform of the Representation of the people which has recently passed this House.' If the House agree to this Resolution it will completely dictate to the Crown who is to serve it. Combined with the other Resolutions, it will establish a most dangerous precedent. One Resolution pledges the House not to admit of any mutilation of the Bill; and this Resolution addresses his Majesty not to call to his councils any persons who will not carry it into effect unimpaired in all its principal provisions. The Resolutions, then, together, tell the Crown that the only persons proper to 840 serve it are those persons who will carry into effect the Bill. I wish to ask, first, if you think it proper to call on the Crown, on appointing Ministers, to require pledges of them? Is it right, on the Crown appointing any of its servants, that it should require of them, not only that their opinions should be generally stated on any point, but should refuse to allow them to form their opinions as the exigency of any case might require, and should insist on their pledging themselves beforehand to all the details of every measure? These are new principles; and I shall prove that, though now emitted, there is high authority against them. In 1807, a Government went out of office, of which the present Government is the natural successor and inheritor of its political opinions; that Government retired from office, not because the King would not consent to the bill admitting Catholics to Parliament—for that bill was withdrawn in deference to the scruples of the King—but because his Majesty required Lords Grenville and Grey, while they continued in office, that they should make no proposition of a similar nature. They answered that they would not fetter themselves by any such pledge; that the public safety must be their law; and they must be left atliberty to act according to the exigencies of the times. How was the pledge they were now called on to address his Majesty to exact, different from this? It was calling on his Majesty to exact a pledge from his servants both as to principles and as to details. What were the Resolutions proposed in the House of Commons and Lords in 1807? Those Resolutions expressed the opinion of Earl Grey and his friends at that period, and it would be useful to quote at least one of them, as showing what was then the opinion of the present Ministers as to exacting pledges. The Resolution moved by the Marquis of Stafford, in the House of Lords in 1807, was this:—" That this House, feeling the necessity of a firm and stable Government in this most important crisis of public affairs, is impressed with the deepest regret at the change which has taken place in his Majesty's councils, and that this regret is greatly increased by the causes to which the change has been ascribed; it being the opinion of this House, that it is contrary to the first duties of the responsible Ministers of the King to restrain themselves by any pledge, expressed or implied, from submitting to his Majesty 841 faithfully and truly, any advice, which, in their judgment, the course of circumstances may render necessary for the honour of his Majesty's Crown, and the welfare of his dominions."* I call upon the House to contrast the Resolutions which I have just read with those now proposed. What the present Resolution dictates, the Resolution of 1807 strongly deprecated. The Crown is called upon to exact a pledge from its Ministers to carry the Reform Bill into effect in all its essential principles of representation. The Crown, Sir, acting upon these Resolutions, would be compelled to say to any person who might be honoured by his Majesty's selection, you must pledge yourself to carry these principles into complete effect, before I can admit you into my service—no matter how pregnant they may be with danger to the country—no matter in what disputes they were likely to involve both Houses of Parliament. No man, Sir, could, with any propriety of feeling, accept office on such terms. In 1807, there was no attempt to require any pledges as to the details of the measure. I consider it a violation of the Constitution itself to call on the King to require those who may be about to enter his service to give such pledges. On these grounds, therefore, I feel it my duty to oppose these three Resolutions. The noble Lord has referred to the precedent of 1812, but when Lord Wharncliffe brought forward his motion, a proposition had been made to Mr. Canning to enter the Ministry which had failed; another negotiation, however, had succeeded and it was then matter of notoriety who was to be the Minister. But here we are not only to call upon the Crown to appoint an efficient Government, but, by these Resolutions, are required to dictate to it the principles on which that Government is to be carried on, and in reality the persons of whom it is to be composed. In my opinion, there is neither necessity nor justification for entering into these Resolutions. When this House shall be modelled upon the principles of the Bill brought in by the hon. Gentlemen opposite, then, I have no doubt, they will find a ready disposition to violate and encroach on the prerogatives of the other branches of the Legislature. When such language is made use of as I have heard to-night, I doubt not that the most ardent anticipa-* Hansard, vol. ix. p. 352.842 tions of hon. Gentlemen opposite will be fully realized. I cannot but deprecate, to the utmost of my power, the establishment of such a precedent—a precedent which I consider to be opposed to the principles of the Constitution, and to the welfare of the nation itself.
spoke as follows. The right hon. Baronet appears to me quite inconsistent in his observations. First, Sir, he makes an open and avowed declaration against all Reform, that is, against the power of the people honestly and truly expressing their sentiments in this House; and then he is apprehensive that they will obtain that power to which they are entitled: he declares that he will oppose them, and then he thinks that they will be able to beat him. I am delighted to find that such a declaration has been made by the right hon. Baronet. I am rejoiced that he has expressed himself so clearly and distinctly upon this point. I am glad that, so far as he is concerned, there can no longer be any delusion upon this subject, for he tells the people this most important fact, that from no Administration of which that right hon. Baronet forms a part, is Reform to be expected. Upon the part which I myself have taken respecting the Reform Bill, I can feel but one regret, and that is for having consented to so high a qualification as 101. From the feelings which appear to have actuated many Gentlemen, and from the part that I have seen them act, I can have but one regret, and that is, to my consenting, not to so low a qualification, but to so high a qualification as that of 101. Had I, Sir, been aware, when I agreed, to that qualification, that it would extend no further the right of suffrage than I have since found it does, I certainly never should have consented to it. And it is my hope, nay, my confident expectation, that should the Reform Bill again come back to this House, the people will insist upon a much larger, more extensive Bill, one that will confer still greater rights and privileges upon them, than were conceded in the Reform Bill already agreed to by this House. The resolutions which are now before this House, have my most hearty assent, and they shall have whatever support I can give them. I thank the right hon. Baronet for putting these resolutions upon their proper ground. He has most truly stated, that these resolutions mean to express our confidence in his Majesty's Ministers; they 843 most certainly mean that; and also, that we intend to express that confidence, on account of their conduct, in giving to his Majesty that advice which they have lately tendered to him. Such is the meaning, and such the intention of the resolutions. The hon. member for Worcester has frequently felt it to be his duty to differ from his Majesty's Ministers. I, too, have differed from them upon many occasions, but especially concerning the manner in which they have governed Ireland, and the measures they have proposed respecting that country; but, though I have done so, I feel it to be necessary, and so does the hon. member for Worcester, to vote for these resolutions, and, upon this ground, that they express our confidence in the Ministers for the advice which they have given to his Majesty. I agree to these resolutions, because I concur in the wisdom of the advice they gave to the King. I agree to these resolutions, because I am convinced that it was necessary for them to tender the advice to the King which they have offered him. I agree to these resolutions upon such grounds, without further committing myself, by that declaration of confidence, than such grounds can commit me. The right hon. Baronet has addressed a speech to this House, which does not seem to me to be at all suited to the occasion on which he has delivered it. The right hon. Baronet should have recollected that we are not now engaged in a war of words between two parties. This is not a question of Whig and Tory—whether the one is to continue in place, and the other to remain out of it. It is not a question as to who is to have the gift of office and the exercise of patronage. No; it is a question between slavery and freedom. It is a struggle between liberty and despotism. It is a conflict between the ruthless despotism of a selfish oligarchy, and the ardent, the enthusiastic, hopes of a freeborn and brave people. Yes, I repeat it, the question is now between freedom and the despotism, the ruthless despotism, of a sordid oligarchy. The unconstitutional power assumed by a sordid and worthless oligarchy to nominate Members of Parliament, has twice been condemned by overwhelming majorities of this House. The power has been denounced by this House, and let it be recollected, that, as often as the Speaker takes the Chair in this House, at the commencement of the Session, it is declared to be a gross infringement of the 844 rights and liberty of the subject for any Peer to interfere in the election of Members of this House, and yet, in spite of these declarations, in open and shameless violation of them, the nominees of Peers continue to occupy seats in this House. They do so as the nominees of Peers, and not as Representatives of the people. The question, then, is not a party one, it is not one of Whig or Tory, but whether, so atrocious a system of flagrant corruption and open violation of the Constitution is to be perpetuated, or put an end to. I repeat it, then, this is a question between liberty and despotism; whether the Lords are to continue to control this House, or the people to obtain an increase of power in their own House? There is, however, another question to be considered. The security of the Throne is now involved; for, let the Members here delude themselves as they please, the people are unanimous out of doors. Some people, indeed, talk of a reaction. But where are we to see that reaction? The question of Reform has been before this House for eighteen months. Has there been an attempt made at any public meeting to discuss petitions against Reform? Has there been in England, Scotland, or Ireland, a single public open meeting against the principle of Reform? The people, therefore, so far as they are concerned, have proved their partiality to Reform. They have declared that corruption is not to continue; and does the House think that that disposition is abated? Have the people of England relaxed in their determination? Are the symptoms of it to be perceived at any meeting since the House of Lords have, by their dexterity, rendered it essential for his Majesty's Ministers to bring on the crisis which they have wisely brought on? They anticipated the dexterity of their enemies. I can understand clearly from the right hon. Baronet what he wished. He wished to drag on the Ministry for a fortnight or three weeks amidst vain hopes, idle expectations, and loss of the confidence of the public. How can any man tell me, that Gentlemen deserving of the confidence of the public, or who had any confidence in themselves, could allow a bill to proceed, the conduct of which was taken away from them? They would from that moment have been degraded in their own feelings, and condemned by the unanimous voice of the people, if they had kept their situations 845 without taking adequate means for the success of the measure. They were responsible to the people for the Bill, and how could they continue in office without making the measure what it ought to be? I cannot, therefore, but commend the Ministers for the advice they have given. Now let the House see whether that advice was wise and proper. Calculations have been made as to the number of Peers that would be necessary, and the hon. member for Middlesex has been taunted for having said he would have created 100 Peers, if it were necessary, to carry the Reform Bill. Would any Ministers have been so absurd as to go to the King with a half-measure, and ask him for a given number of Peers, without knowing whether that number would be sufficient? That would have been too absurd. Their enemies would have rejoiced at their having taken that line, as their friends rejoiced at their having scorned it, and asked for an adequate number of Peers to carry the measure. But the House is told that this would be a dangerous precedent. It is not asserted that the thing is exactly unconstitutional. I should have wished that the right hon. Baronet had supplied me with that argument, for I have a strong recollection that, at the time of a measure called the Union, one-third was added to the Irish House of Peers, to enable the Minister of the day to carry that measure. And, if that was done to extinguish the rights of a free and independent nation, shall I be told that it is not to be done to revive the liberties of England? The precedent is good for me, but bad for the right hon. Baronet. At this moment Peers have influence in this House. A Peer from Ireland, who voted against the Reform Bill, nominated another individual, and sent him to this House to vote against it also. This House has declared against the system, but the Peers say they will not give it up. They say, "We are the majority, and we will keep the nominating power.' And how is this difficulty to be got rid of? It may be got rid of by force. I recollect that, at a Reform meeting, somebody suggested that the Augean stable of the Lords should be cleansed, by turning the river into it, when another person proposed, as an amendment, that instead of turning the river into the House of Lords, the Lords should be turned into the river. This is certainly one way of getting rid of the difficulty; it is to be 846 commended for its expedition, though not for its consonance to the Constitution. That certainly is not the mode that I would either support or adopt—so far from recommending, I would dissuade the people from adopting that mode. His Majesty's Ministers have recommended a different mode. No force or violence is reconcile-able with a constitutional mode of proceeding. They cannot overpower the House of Lords by any other branch than the Crown. On such an occasion it is reserved for the Crown constitutionally to get rid of the difficulty, instead of turning the river into the Lords, or the Lords into the river, by exercising its power of creating the number of Peers, and sending into that House Members who have no selfish interest, no boroughmongering interest, and who are able to vote disinterestedly, and therefore honestly. The Lords, therefore, need neither be sluiced by the river, nor thrown into the river, but may retain their existence to its full extent. I regret to hear that any influence has been exercised to induce the Crown to reject this advice. I do not think that they were very enviable persons who exercised such influence; but if a new Ministry were to be formed in despite and contempt of this House, and if an Anti-reforming Ministry be appointed, it will be in contempt of this House, and of the British people, I cannot conceive it possible to look without apprehension to the consequences, and without regret for the conduct of those who have brought the country to such a state, from the supposition that the people of England will be satisfied without an ample measure of Reform. There never was a grosser delusion than to imagine that the people of England will suffer their Bill to be mutilated; and those who expect, that what is called the good sense of the people will put down their desire for Reform, reason rashly and unwisely, and will find themselves greatly deceived by the event. It is said, that these Resolutions are unconstitutional, in calling upon the King to require a pledge, and the precedent of 1807 is referred to—the most unfortunate precedent which the right hon. Baronet could have selected. It would be too much to expect Tories to react history; but do they understand their own story? Do they understand their own acts? Do they understand their own tale? In 1807 the cry was raised of "the Church in Danger," and 847 "no Popery," and the country was excited from one end to the other. The Ministry went out, and the Tories came in triumphantly. But did they put an end to the Catholic question? Did they put an end to agitation? Did they succeed in their objects? No. They gave the country twenty-five years of agitation, confusion, and disturbance; they absorbed the public attention from every other important subject, and they ended by being disgracefully beaten. That is the history, the short epitome, of Toryism: they had to do with the patient people of Ireland: I repeat it: they had to do with the most patient people on the face of the earth. Even the sneering contempt with which a reference to their patience is heard, only proves to me, that their forbearance endured not only injury and oppression, but base insult. They have done so, and they succeeded, without violating one law, or committing one crime; for I defy any one to point out a single crime committed by any one who has been active in asserting the rights of Ireland. I much doubt whether they would have so patient a people to deal with in England; and I do not believe they would find them by any means so patient in Scotland. Let the right hon. Baronet, therefore, make the utmost of his precedent of 1807. But is it so unconstitutional to require a pledge? Were no pledges required from Ministers in 1807? Have there been no pledges against liberty since that time? Will the right hon. Baronet tell me, that Administrations have not been looked for, whose principles were known to be hostile to freedom? And will any man refuse to pledge himself to his own principles, unless, indeed, he intends to forsake them? That would be an admirable Tory distinction. But I entertain a perfect conviction, that any man who would violate his principles, would throw in the pledge too; he would not be the more bound by it. The objection certainly should never come from those who have broken their pledges to a party—who deluded their followers into one line of policy, and then adopted for themselves another. It does not appear to me, that there would be anything unconstitutional whatever in the King's ascertaining the principles of the Ministers, and calling upon them, before they held office, to become Reformers. The present Ministers came into office as Reformers. On their coming into office, they pledged 848 themselves distinctly to Reform, and, by continuing such Ministers in office, the King was himself pledged to the carrying of Reform. I do not mean to say, that the King has violated that pledge, for the King, of course, can do no wrong; but those irresponsible persons have much to answer for, through whose advice his Majesty is now placed in such a situation as to appear opposed to Reform. I am glad, Sir, to find, that his Majesty's Ministers have acted as they have done. If they were endeavouring to create a good opportunity for retiring from office, they could not have selected a better one than the present. The Ministry have retired from office, but they have done so with their characters pure and unsullied, and they have done so with the public confidence in them undiminished. Soon, Sir, I hope to see them returning again to power—to power which they have endeavoured to exercise for the good of the people, and which I hope they will be enabled to wield much more efficiently and effectually than they have yet been able to do, for the permanent and full accomplishment of the desires, the wishes, and the just demands of a great, an enlightened, and a brave people.
was understood to say, that, if the address was meant to imply approbation of the advice to allow the Ministers to create an unlimited number of Peers, as seemed to be implied by the speeches of most of the Members, unless his noble friend disavowed that interpretation so different from the sense in which he understood the Resolutions, he should be compelled not to vote in favour of the Resolutions.
§ Mr. Macaulay
observed, that, in the course of the last eighteen months, they had often been on the verge of anarchy; but, until this crisis, he had never known what it was to be once anxious on the subject of political affairs. If ever there was a time which called for the firmness, honesty, wisdom, or energy, of a political assembly—if ever there was a question in which the interest of the community was involved, that time was the present—that question was the question of his noble friend. Amidst all his anxiety, however, there was ample cause for joy. He remembered with delight the noble conduct which that House had pursued from the day they first met in that place up to the present moment; and he anticipated with 849 confidence that the majority would adhere to that noble line of conduct which was indispensable to their own honour, and the safety of the commonweal. It was pleasing to reflect that they had still leaders to whom they could look up with confidence and pride, that those leaders were deserving of the support which they had given them, and who had fallen, indeed, but it was with unblemished honour. Amidst the dark events by which they were surrounded, there was this consolation—their sincerity as Statesmen had been put to the test, and it was not found wanting. By the voice of the people they were brought into power—by that voice they were supported in power—and they retired from power rather than betray the people who trusted them. They would thus carry with them to their retirement—and very brief he trusted it would be—the proud satisfaction that their conduct was fully appreciated by the people. He did not feel bound, on the present occasion, to enter into any discussion on the subject of Reform, but he should address himself at once to the particular Motion before the House. He was sure that the right hon. Baronet opposite trust, on a little reflection, see that he was wrong in asserting that that House had no right to interfere with the prerogative of the King in the choice of his Ministers. It appeared to him that there was nothing more in accordance with the principles of the Constitution—nothing for which there could not be found more numerous examples in the best times of our history—than the course which was now proposed to be adopted by the House, namely, the respectfully offering its suggestions to the Sovereign as to the choice of his Ministers. The appointment of his Ministers undoubtedly belonged to the Sovereign, but it was a clear constitutional doctrine, to which he did not know a single exception, that, with respect to every prerogative of the King, that House had the right respectfully to offer its advice and its suggestions to the Sovereign. That was a position, he was sure, which a person of the constitutional knowledge of the right hon. Baronet would not feel disposed to dispute, and he was equally sure that it would not be denied that, under certain circumstances, that House had a right to offer its advice to the Sovereign as to the persons whom it judged fit to fill the offices of his Ministers, as it had often suggested to the King the names of persons 850 fit to fill offices in the Church, or fit, on account of their services in the army or navy, to fill any public offices under the Crown. He, therefore, laid down this as a position that would not be controverted, that the House had a right, with respect to the prerogative of the Sovereign in the choice of his Ministers, as with regard to all the other prerogatives of the Crown, to offer its respectful advice. He undoubtedly did understand the present Resolution as a recommendation to his Majesty to retain his present Ministers. He could not see how it could be otherwise understood, for he could not discover any other materials from which such a Ministry as that which they recommended to his Majesty could be formed. "But," said the hon. member for Thetford, "the Ministers had voluntarily retired from office, and the House, in adopting such a Resolution as this, would be advising his Majesty to force office on men who would not undertake it." Surely such a sophism was unworthy of the acute mind of that hon. Member. When we advise the King to take back his Ministers, we also advise him to take back their advice with them. That was what he (Mr. Macaulay) meant by the vote which he would give on this Motion, and he was sure it was on such an understanding that it would be supported by a majority of that House. Now, as to the objection raised to the creation of Peers, it amounted, if he understood it right, to this—that a creation of Peers, for the purpose of carrying a measure, even of the most vital importance, went to destroy the authority and weight of the House of Lords, and was, therefore, indefensible upon any principle of the Constitution. He conceived that the prerogative vested in the Crown, of creating Peers, for the purpose of carrying any public question, was a valuable and useful power, the existence of which was absolutely necessary, in order, on important occasions, to obviate great and pressing inconveniences. He believed it would be found that the exercise of such a power was in accordance with the principles of the Constitution, as laid down by the greatest constitutional writers on all sides and of all parties. A reference to Swift, on the one side, to Walpole and Steele on the other, and to De Lolme as a middle and impartial authority, would satisfactorily bear out that assertion, and would prove that the Constitution did not recog- 851 nize any branch of the Legislature existing as the House of Lords would exist if this prerogative were not vested in the Crown, with uncontrolled and irresponsible power. They knew that kings had fallen upon erroneous courses, and what had happened in the case of an hereditary monarchy might happen in the case of an hereditary nobility. We had had a James 2nd, and it was not beyond the range of possibility that we might have a House of Lords full of high spirit, imbued with prejudices that could not be overcome; and, unfortunately, opposed to the wishes and feelings of the people, and was there to be no means of remedying such a state of things? The Constitution afforded the means of dealing with a factious and perverse opposition on the part of the House of Commons, for the King could dissolve the Parliament, and appeal to the people, at a time when he might think that appeal would stand the best chance of success. Again, that House had a check upon the King, for it could refuse the supplies; and was there to be no check at all upon the House of Lords? Was there any thing in the Constitution of that illustrious assembly—the House of Lords—which exempted it from the necessity of some similar controlling check? If that power, which was subject to abuse from Kings and Commons, could never be abused by Dukes or Earls, the best course was, to leave the whole Government in the hands of so pure, wise, and virtuous an assembly, to abolish the Monarchy, and to dissolve themselves. But, if this were not the case, was it not monstrous to imagine that the House of Lords should be exempt from some check like that to which both King and Commons are subject? Were there no check, the only appeal of the people could be to physical force; but, fortunately, the Constitution affords the means required, by conferring on the King the prerogative of making Peers. He admitted that there was some danger that the power might be abused; but of two dangers, he thought it proper to choose the least; and when they remembered that the Ministers who advised the creation of Peers would be responsible for that advice, he thought it a power not much likely to be abused. Unless some one could bring in a Peerage Bill much less liable to objection than the Peerage Bill of Lord Sunderland, he thought the King's prerogative a useful one, and one 852 which, at this period, he was called upon to exert. As to impeachment, which had been spoken of, who would venture to impeach the Ministers for a step absolutely essential to the welfare of the kingdom? This exercise of the Royal prerogative might be necessary, too, for the preservation of the very existence of the other estates of the realm, and justified on grounds of the purest public policy. Let them suppose a case in which the two Houses were placed in direct and immediate collision by an uniform and continued difference of opinion on every question. Suppose the House of Lords was to be for war, and the House of Commons for peace—suppose the House of Commons to be for one Ministry, and the House of Lords for another—suppose, too, the struggles consequent on these differences of opinion to be continued—suppose that they lasted throughout an entire Session of Parliament—suppose that they were found so inveterate as to be incurable even by a dissolution of the House of Commons—why, what, be would ask, must be the consequence of such a state of things? That the whole machinery of Government must be stopped unless his Majesty exercised his prerogative by giving one of the parties a predominance. The Government must in such a case stand still, or new Peers must be created. But, then, it is urged against this creation the monstrous, anomaly of which you would be guilty by concurring in the creation of Peers merely to give one party an ascendancy over the other on a particular question. He would ask them to look a little more narrowly into that question. He thought he should be able to show that it was a course just, reasonable, and perfectly defensible on all principles of law and of equity. If the objections were so strong to the creation of a large number of Peers in one day, were there none to the creation of more than two hundred in less than half of a century. Suppose that one party holding power for nearly fifty years ennobled, from time to time, nearly two hundred of its own supporters, while all others were passed by; suppose all the Peers for that period to be chosen from one faction, while all rank was denied to the other; was there anything so monstrously unconstitutional in that other party setting themselves right in the political balance, and resuming that station in the House of Lords to which they were entitled when 853 they obtained the ascendancy? If it was unconstitutional for the Whigs, when they obtained power, to resume that balance of influence in the House of Lords, of which the long tenure of office by their adversaries had deprived them, then the inevitable result must be, that the possession of political ascendancy for thirty or forty years, would be a possession for ever. It was no longer a question of public opinion or political rectitude, but it must be a question of whether one party or the other had been longest in office; of whether Mr. Pitt or Mr. Fox held the Premiership in 1800; or Lord Grey or Lord Liverpool presided over the Cabinet in 1820. The upholding of such doctrines was not to be tolerated even for an instant. It would make the present generation the mere slaves of the past, and be utterly inconsistent with the first principles of politics. But the matter might be placed on still stronger grounds than that. Suppose this party, holding power so long, to have adhered to principles tending one way, while public opinion was constantly and rapidly verging towards the other; suppose the party which possessed a majority in the House of Lords to be devoted to a course of policy directly contrary to the feelings and wishes of the nation; suppose, in fact, the House of Lords and the nation to have been during the whole of that period moving in diverging directions; supposing, as the result, an overwhelming majority in favour of the one course in the House of Commons, and an equally overwhelming majority in favour of a different course in the House of Lords; he did not mean to say that this state of things was decidedly injurious to the Crown or to the country, or that it might not arise out of the working of the Constitution; but, then, he would ask them in such a case to look at the situation of the Lords. The House of Lords was not strictly a representative body, nor did he contend that it should be so; but it must, nevertheless, be mixed up a little with the other classes of the country, and have some connection and affinity with the general interests of that people from whom they derived their wealth and importance. Under such circumstances as he had attempted to describe, to add to the number of the House of Lords out of the great mass of the intelligence and respectability of the country would not impair, but, on the contrary, extend their influence— 854 would not swamp, but, on the contrary, support their power and independence. This was his view of the condition in which they were placed, and he saw no other course left for them to adopt than by a large addition to the numbers of the House of Lords from the supporters of that party so long excluded from power, to place the Aristocracy in harmony with the other institutions of the State. It appeared to him that everything was in favour of this creation—the letter of the law and the strongest reasons of public policy. The power of the King to exercise his prerogative for the purpose was undoubted; and the letter of the law was in harmony with the letter of the highest law of all—the safety of the State. He, therefore, for once concurred most cordially in the Motion of the noble Lord, and concurred with him also in the expressions of regret for the retirement of those who had supported the Reform Bill, and in his desire that none should be looked for as their successors who were not prepared to give that Bill their unqualified concurrence. If that Government, which had supported the Reform. Bill with so much zeal and so much sincerity, did not return to office, then he would say the Bill was lost to the country. Lost, he would say, because he could not conjecture how those who would then have the management of it, could, even in a mutilated form (for mutilated it would be), consent that it should be carried. That the hon. Members who sat on the benches opposite should attempt to carry such a Bill seemed to him utterly impossible; and, although one or two expressions which fell from them might bear the interpretation of such an intention, he could not believe they were spoken in earnest. He would not go back to the history of East Retford in 1829 and 1830. He would take a much later period. He would speak of those who abandoned office not eighteen months ago—who resigned their places because they were hostile to all Reform whatever. He would speak of those who, from the 1st of March, when the first Bill was introduced, down to the final dismissal of the second Bill to the House of Lords, attacked all its provisions with the most inveterate hostility; who stigmatized all disfranchisement as robbery, and all enfranchisement as usurpation; and who bellowed Universal Suffrage as a means 855 of terror into the ears of the rich, and declaimed about 10l. Aristocracy to the poor. It was of these hon. Members and their party he spoke; and he could not think it possible that they would so descend as to give their support and countenance to the Reform Bill. He believed they had too much honesty; he believed they had too strong a sense of shame. The inconsistency of the act would be too glaring—the time was too short—the memory of their former professions was too recent—the motive would be too obvious. He could not trust himself to believe that the party of which he spoke could entertain an idea of supporting the Reform Bill. The party, then, that—if they accepted office—could carry the Reform Bill, would not carry it; and there remained only that other party which might be disposed to attempt it, but who were much too powerless and insignificant to form an Administration. He did not mean to designate those attached to that party offensively, but the House probably understood that he alluded to those who were commonly known by the name of the "waverers." From that party, he apprehended, it was utterly impossible to select a number of men who could conduct the public business of the House of Commons. The case, then, stood thus: those who might support the Bill could not form a Government; and those who could form a Government could not support the Bill with any regard to their public character, or with any respect to political consistency, unless with the introduction of most extensive amendments. The Bill he regarded, therefore, as lost; and, on the whole, he thought it better it should be lost than suffer mutilation in the hands of its enemies, and be drained of that which they called its venom, but which he considered its life-blood. The Members of his side of the House had been accused of making prophecies which they accomplished themselves, and no one had been more subjected to these accusations than he had. They had been accused of prophesying the agitation which they endeavoured to excite. The fault of that argument was, that it might be used at all times, with the same success, whenever a deliberative assembly was warned of the dangers which awaited its decisions. It was the duty, however, of those who believed such dangers existed to speak out, and to speak boldly. If they spoke 856 for the purpose of exciting discontent, they were guilty of a great crime; but his conscience acquitted him of any such intention. He knew that he was as anxious as any man for the preservation of order and the security of property. He knew that he was prepared to contend as strongly against the errors of the people as to argue for their rights; and he would, at all times, rather be the victim of their injustice than its instrument. The time, however, might come when those who derided the warning would be sensible of its value—when those who laughed at the danger might witness the evils they could no longer avert—when those who despised all advice might feel themselves bereft of all relief. The time might come when the candid but unpretending counsel of a Cordelia would be found preferable to the bold but crafty recommendations of a Goneril. Let the Legislature depend on those who boldly declared their opinions as to the danger of rejecting Reform, rather than upon the smooth-tongued Conservatives; the former, he contended, were the only true Conservatives. He would not cry "peace, peace," when "there was no peace." As to those who might attempt to play the part of a Polignac ministry in England, and endeavour to carry on the affairs of the State without public confidence, nay, in direct opposition to the sentiments of the people, he told those individuals that they had to do with a people more firm and determined than the French, and he warned them to take care how they ventured on the attempt. Why, the ink was scarcely yet dry of the protests which noble Lords had entered against the Reform Bill. Their speeches were yet ringing in the people's ears, in which they denounced the measure, and would they attempt to take office? In attempting to administer the Government they were so eager to grasp, they must either shamelessly desert the whole of their former protestations, or go in direct opposition to the wishes of the majority of that House. And, even if they could succeed in overcoming the majority of that House, they would still have dangers before them from which Mr. Pitt would have shrunk, and even an Earl of Strafford have hesitated to encounter. They would go forth to the contest with public opinion without arms either offensive or defensive. If they had recourse to force they would find it vain 857 —if they attempted gagging Bills they would be derided: in short, they would, in taking office, present a most miserable exhibition of impotent ambition, and appear as if they wished to show to the world a melancholy example of little men bringing a great empire to destruction. In this perilous hour he would call on the House of Commons to remember the high mission with which they stood charged—to remember the important privileges with which they were invested. Now, at the hour when a paltry faction, elated by a momentary triumph, were, on the one hand, preparing to destroy all the hopes of the people, and the enemies of social order, on the other hand, were rejoicing in the prospect of anarchy and confusion—now, at this eventful hour, he implored them to rise in the grandeur of their hearts, and save a Sovereign misled by evil counsel—save a nobility insensible to their own welfare or true interests—save the country, of which they were the guardians, from a disastrous convulsion, and save, he would say, the hive of industry, the mart of the whole world, the centre of civilization—from confusion and anarchy. Their vote of that night would, he trusted, revive industry, and restore confidence. It would place out of all possibility of danger the public peace; it would stay political dissensions, and, by averting the calamities with which they were threatened, preserve the authority of the law, and uphold the Majesty of the Crown.
§ Sir Charles Wetherell
professed himself unable to come to a vote which would imply confidence in a Government that engaged itself for the payment of the Russian Loan, and meanly evaded the provisions of the Foreign Enlistment bill. The noble Lord who made the Motion that night had observed, that Earl Grey could not, after the vote of Monday evening, retain his place, in order to be cuffed and battered about by a majority of the Tories; but the noble Lord, the leader of the Government phalanx in the Lower House, had allowed himself to be cuffed and battered about on the subject of his Budget, and yet he still clung to his office. One by one had the items of that Budget disappeared—vanished "like the baseless fabric of a vision, leaving not a wreck behind;" and yet that noble Lord had not resigned. The noble Lord in the Upper House should have followed the example of the noble Lord in the Lower, rather than abandon 858 his office under such circumstances. When the noble Lord (Ebrington) announced his intention to make the Motion now before the House, the noble Lord (Althorp) told him, he thought he was wrong, and advised him to abstain from the course he had adopted. That advice was perfectly consistent with the noble Lord's upright and candid character; but he should have gone further; he should have adjourned the House rather than allow the noble Lord to take a course so embarrassing to the Crown—so totally unprecedented in the annals of Parliament. He did not mean to say, when the noble Lord himself disclaimed it, that there was any connection between him and the Government: but when he recollected that the noble Lord had once before, on the rejection of the Bill, signalised himself by a similar motion, he must think there was a strong sympathy between him and the Government, which was, rather more than accidental. He hoped, however, that, when the question came to a vote, Ministers would see the propriety of taking no part in the division. It was the practice of the House, when a Member was personally connected with the subject of debate, that such Member should walk out before the decision; and as the present debate had been all personal to the Ministers, and was, in fact, a mere question of whether they should continue to hold office, he hoped they would retire—sail out of the House in a body, the First Lord of the Admiralty leading the van. The object of the Motion was neither more nor less than to keep the Ministry openly and forcibly in possession of their places. He repeated his assertion that, on such a question, with such an object, the five Cabinet Ministers were bound to leave the House on the division. He did not impute design and stratagem; but if there had been design and stratagem for the purpose of replacing Ministers, nothing could have been better contrived. He would now state shortly the reasons why he could not concur in any one of the Resolutions. They consisted of three elementary propositions. The first was a declaration of unabated confidence in Ministers, and regret at their retirement; the second dictated to the Crown the Ministers whom it should call to its councils; the third required that those Ministers should proceed with the whole of the identical Reform Bill which had recently 859 passed that House. Now, really, he could not give unabated confidence, or any confidence at all to Ministers. It bad been stated by the noble Lord, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the refusal of the King to make Peers was the cause of the resignation of Ministers; but he had not stated the number of Peers the Ministers advised his Majesty to make. The hon. member for Middlesex had, however, asserted, that sixty or seventy was the smallest number that could be effective. Now, could any rational man regret the retirement from office of Ministers who assigned, as the ground of that retirement, the Royal refusal to create sixty or seventy new Peers? In the case of Lord Oxford such a proceeding was deemed a high crime and misdemeanor. Did hon. Gentlemen, did the Whigs of 1832, mean to repudiate the doctrine held in that ease? Instead of condemning the Sovereign for not consenting to this most extraordinary exercise of the Royal prerogative, were he (Sir Charles Wetherell) called upon to pronounce an opinion, he would say, that his Majesty had vindicated his own honour and independence by refusing to commit the great political crime proposed to him. By that refusal he had done himself immortal honour. Yet this advice given by the Ministers, constituted one of the grounds on which the Commons were expected to express regret at the retirement of Ministers. He refused to assent to the Motion, the effect of which would be, to declare that the King had acted wrong, and the Ministers right. He repeated, the demand of Ministers was criminal in its nature, and the King had done himself immortal honour by the courage, firmness, and constancy with which he vindicated himself and the principles of the Constitution. Why send Ministers back to their places? Was it that they might repeat their crime, and renew their solicitations that his Majesty would destroy one of the estates of the realm? The hon. and learned member for Calne had referred to the case of James 2nd, that unhappy Prince who had been expelled, and justly expelled, the Throne for his arbitrary conduct; but, if a hundred Peers were to be thrown at once into the House of Lords, in order to carry a particular measure, there was little difference between the two ignominious cases of arbitrary dictation. It was a mode of operation most offensive to the spirit of the 860 English people; it was a plan by which the House of Lords was to become the nominees of Ministers, and the nominees of those Ministers who professed to hate in their heart and soul the very principle of nomination. How was a body to act secundum eguum et bonum that Was absolutely in the hands of the Ministers—that was bound to decide on a subject, not as it really viewed it, but as the Ministers viewed it? He should now proceed to the second point in the resolution—the dictation to the Crown of what Ministers it should nominate, for that, he contended, was the object of the resolution. In this dangerous public crisis, any man who gave his opinion to the Crown, did it under a sort of intimidation; but he was a recreant, and deserved all the taunts which had been menaced, who refused to give assistance to the Crown because his advice and assistance might be given at some degree of peril to himself. He agreed with his right hon. friend near him (Sir Robert Peel), that that could not be considered a plan of Reform which took away from the Crown the power of selecting its own Ministers. It was the first time—at least in modern days—in which the House of Commons had ventured to tell the King, that he must and should choose as his Ministers those who had retired. It was a most unauthorised, violent, and Radical proposition. They were to tell their Sovereign, forsooth, that the noble Lord opposite, and his colleagues, were the only persons who could carry on the Government of the country; and they were called on to do that after it had been shown, that the only reason why those Ministers had quitted office was, because the House of Lords were desirous of ascertaining what new Members of the House of Commons it might be expedient to create, before they destroyed the old. The noble Lord(Ebrington) had said, that every thing had been expressed with perfect suavity; but he (Sir C. Wetherell) said, nevertheless, that it was a most unauthorized, violent, and Radical resolution. What a bauble, what a folly, was it to talk about the suavity of the expression, when the object of the resolution was, to tell the King that Earl Grey and his colleagues were the only persons who could carry on the public business! It was a mockery on the House, it was a mockery on the public, for Earl Grey, with all his talents—and he admitted his talents, to say—not only "I insist on car- 861 rying this measure, but I will also prescribe the exact way in which it shall be carried; I will dictate to the House of Lords what clause shall be carried first, and what second." He must say, that a more ridiculous quarrel, a more absurd cavil, he never heard. Yet that was made the ground of the Minister going to the King, and telling him that he must make a certain number of Peers, who were to be prescribed the very mode and the very series in which the several clauses of the Bill were to be read. They were not only to be told how to vote, but to be prescribed the mode of their voting. There were two ways in which the House of Lords might be rendered useless: one was by at once voting them useless—the other was to make them so, by overwhelming them with a number of new Members. The latter was the mode adopted by the Gentlemen opposite, and though not so revolutionary as the other, it was not less effectual. Practically and essentially they were the same thing. Every one of the three points in the resolution, therefore, was a grievous aggression on the Constitution. If the present House of Commons could venture to tell the King that he shall not choose his own Ministers, and that the Ministers shall pass in the House of Lords the identical Bill this House had sent up to it—if the King, the House of Lords, and the Ministers, were so degraded in this Parliament, how would it be in a Reformed Parliament? If Earl Grey was to complain because the House of Lords would not obey him, was not the dignity of the King affected? Was not the dignity of the whole House of Lords affected? Says Earl Grey, "They shall speak and vote as I will" Were the House of Peers not insulted by this, and by the threat of infusing an addition of Members? If the House of Lords should he overwhelmed by such an infusion—if it were possible that the King could be so criminal as to comply with the demand, he agreed that the time would then be come when the House of Lords ought to be suppressed, for it would be no longer an estate of the realm. If this was a case which was of a peculiar nature, and not to be repeated, that would be no justification; but was it really a precedent that would not be repeated nor followed? Suppose, in a Reformed Parliament, the people desired to have cheap bread, and the House of Lords refused to pass a Corn Bill; and 862 the hon. and learned member for Calne told them that the Lords would not let them have corn at 4s. and 5s. the bushel. "What!" they would say, "shall the Lords dare to do this? Who are the Lords? They have no interest in the country but their wealth and property. Then, if the House of Lords will not pass the Bill, let Earl Grey call sixty or seventy Peers into the House, as he did before; you have given us in that way a Reformed Parliament, now give us cheap bread." Would the hon. and learned member for Calne—would the hon. member for Middlesex say, that the Political Unions would be satisfied on any other terms? All these consequences were involved in the monstrous and intolerable resolution before the House—a resolution never entertained by a House of Commons since the Civil War. If the gracefulness of the language was to be an excuse for the violence of the act, the conduct of the republicans of that period was justifiable, for their language was humility itself. He congratulated the country that, in the head of the House of Brunswick, they had a Prince who would not copy the example of a Sovereign whose concessions cost him his Crown: he congratulated them that he had refused this oily and smooth violence—this unconstitutional poison—this concealed villainy, under the insidious garb of liberality—this most unmeasured, exorbitant, and unlicensed exercise of prerogative, that would at once have annihilated the House of Lords, and have laid down a principle which might be for ever copied. What was proposed by Earl Grey to-day might be proposed by another Minister to-morrow, which would make the House of Lords the mere dependents of Ministers.
§ Mr. Schonswar
hoped, that every man who had voted for Reform would support this Motion, and that there were no waverers who would prostrate themselves before the rising sun.
§ Mr. Hunt
begged to say but a very few words. The hon. member for Calne had laid down the proposition, that, if Reform were to be carried at all, it must be by his Majesty's late Ministers. That reminded him very much of the fable of the "Dog in the Manger." As the dog could eat none of the hay himself, he took care that the ox should have none. So it seemed that the Whig Ministers, unable to carry Reform themselves, were determined to 863 take care that no one else should. He believed that the people were anxious for Reform, but he believed that the great body of the well and sound thinking people of this country did not care one rush whether that Reform were carried by Whig or Tory. For his part, he could not place his confidence in a Ministry which, out of office, inveighed against a standing army, but, in office, increased that standing army, not once, but twice, and never diminished it. Neither could he place his confidence in a Ministry which, while it expressed its sympathy for the Poles, actually paid money to Russia, which enabled that country to conquer and subdue the brave patriots of Poland. More than that, he could not place his confidence in a Ministry which had so grossly deceived the people, even upon the question of Reform. Ministers had led the people to believe that the King would sanction any measure, no matter of what kind, to enable them to carry their measure. It was continually put forth by their friends, the Press, that the King, the Commons, and the people, were in favour of that measure. That assertion, so put forward, was never contradicted by Ministers. Then, if the King was not prepared to go the length of carrying the measure, he said that those who were in the secret had misled the country, and, therefore, were not entitled—at least, he could not conscientiously give his vote in favour of resolutions expressive of undiminished confidence in them; he had no doubt but that those resolutions would be carried by a very great majority; and, therefore, he hoped the House would give him credit for conscientious motives in opposing it. What did the Press say? What did that portion of it which, throughout the whole of these discussions, had been friendly to Ministers, say? The Morning Herald, which throughout had professed and advocated the principles of the Reform Bill, said, in an article published that day, 'It is clear that a gross deception has been practised upon the country; and let us ask, who have been the parties to that deception? The King's name had undoubtedly been often made use of by the Whig Ministers, in such a way as imposed on the public credulity, and made it be very generally believed, that there were no lengths which the utmost limits of constitutional power embraced, which his Majesty was not prepared to go, with the 864 view of carrying the Reform Bill. The people have been, therefore, grossly deceived.' This was an extract from a paper which hitherto had been staunch in its support of Ministers; and he took the liberty of reading it for the purpose of showing, that he did not stand alone in his opinion—that there was at least one of the editors of the London Press who agreed with him. He said that that man was the best friend of his country, of his Monarch, and his countrymen, who, regardless of all party, lent his consent, aid, and support, to the best measure of Reform that could be obtained.
§ The House divided, on Lord Ebrington's Motion. Ayes 288; Noes 208—Majority 80.
§ Lord Ebrington
said, considering that, under existing circumstances, it would be more consonant with his Majesty's feelings to have this Address presented to him with as little parade as possible, he begged to move "that the Address be presented to his Majesty by such Members of the House as were of his Majesty's most honourable Privy Council."
§ Sir Charles Wetherell
begged to remind the noble Lord, that the right hon. Gentlemen opposite, the late Ministers, were of his Majesty's most honourable Privy Council; and having reminded the noble Lord of this, he begged to ask the noble Lord whether the object of his Motion was to insult the King, by sending the Address to his Majesty through his Majesty's late Ministers.
§ Lord Althorp
said, that there could be no doubt that, in the Motion he had just made, his noble friend had departed from the ordinary usage of the House; which usage was, that addresses like this should be presented to the King, not by the members of the Privy Council, but by the whole House. It must, however, he thought, be clear to any man of ordinary sagacity, and of ordinary candour, that the object of his noble friend was, to consult his Majesty's feelings by having this Address presented in the most private way possible. He was quite sure, that the majority of the House would duly appreciate this considerate view of his noble friend; and he was equally sure that very few persons, indeed, either in that House or out of that House, would think that the hon. and learned Gentleman had displayed much loyalty in taunting and ridiculing his noble friend for being delicately scrupulous lest 865 there should be even the appearance of wounding his Majesty's feelings.
§ Sir Charles Wetherell
said, that the noble Lord had a right to his view of the subject, but he had also a right to his, which view he should certainly take the liberty of defending. [A general cry of "Spoke" prevented the hon. and learned Gentleman from proceeding.]
§ Sir Richard Vyvyan
expressed his surprise that any intention should have been entertained of moving, that an Address, which involved the principle whether the other branch of the Legislature should be dictated to by the Minister, and which had only been carried by a majority of eighty, should be presented by the whole House. He would much rather that the Ministers would solicit a private audience from his Majesty, and present the Address themselves in private, than that the whole of the House should be guided on this occasion by merely a majority of eighty. He had never heard of such a thing before. Many Gentlemen had voted on the present occasion, after declaring that they only voted for the Reform Bill, and not for a change in the House of Lords; and yet, after all, the question had only been carried, in a House of 500 Members, by a majority of eighty. It was necessary that the nation at large should know this. The Ministers had been tried by a packed Jury; and they had also voted themselves in order to swell their own majority.
§ Colonel Sibthorp
said, that among the majority 100 persons might fairly be reckoned as being influenced by the expectation of being made Peers.
Sir Robert Inglis
wished to express his concurrence in the Motion, and to do justice to the delicacy of the noble Lord which dictated it. He approved of it, and gave it his support.
§ Lord Ebrington
said, that he would not be tempted, by anything which had fallen from Members on the other side of the House, to imitate that tone which, in the exercise of their discretion, they had thought proper to assume on the present occasion. He could not, however, help expressing his surprise at the ignorance of the hon. and learned Member opposite with respect to the practice of former Administrations, when questions like the present had been brought forward. If he had studied the history of Mr. Pitt's Administration, he would have known that 866 that Minister and his colleagues always voted when questions like the present were brought under the consideration of the House.
§ Question carried, and the Address ordered to be presented to his Majesty by such Members of the House as were of his Majesty's Privy Council.
|List of the AYES.|
|Althorp, Viscount||Etwall, R.|
|Anson, Sir G.||Evans, W.|
|Anson, Hon. G.||Evans, Col.|
|Astley, Sir J. D.||Evans, W. B.|
|Atherley, A.||Ewart, W.|
|Baillie, J. E.||Fazakerley, J. N.|
|Bainbridge, E. T.||Ferguson, Gen. Sir R.|
|Baring, Sir T.||Fitzroy, Lord J.|
|Baring, F. T.||Foley, Hon. T. H.|
|Barnett, C. J.||Foley, J. H. H.|
|Bayntun, S. A.||Folkes, Sir W.|
|Beaumont, T. W.||Fordwich, Lord|
|Benett, J.||Fox, Lieut.-Col.|
|Berkeley, Captain||Franco, Sir R.|
|Blake, Sir F.||Glynne, Sir S.|
|Blamire, W.||Godson, R.|
|Blount, E.||Gordon, R.|
|Blunt, Sir C.||Graham, Rt. Hn. Sir J.|
|Bouverie, Hon. P.||Grant, Rt. Hon. R.|
|Briscoe, J. I.||Greene, T. G.|
|Brougham, W.||Grosvenor, Lord R.|
|Brougham, J.||Guise, Sir B. W.|
|Buller, J. W.||Handley, W. F.|
|Bulwer, E. L.||Harcourt, G. V.|
|Bulwer, H. L.||Harvey, D. W.|
|Bunbury, Sir H. F.||Hawkins, J. H.|
|Burrell, Sir C.||Heneage, G. F.|
|Buxton, T. F.||Heywood, B.|
|Byng, Sir J.||Hobhouse, Sir J. C.|
|Byng, G.||Hodges, T. L.|
|Byng, G. S.||Hodgson, J.|
|Calcraft, G. H.||Horne, Sir W.|
|Calvert, C.||Hoskins, K.|
|Calvert, N.||Howard, P. H.|
|Campbell, J.||Howick, Lord|
|Carter, J. B.||Hudson, T.|
|Cavendish, Lord||Hughes, Colonel|
|Cavendish, Hon. Col.||Hughes, Ald. W. H.|
|Cavendish, Hon. C.||Hume, J.|
|Chichester, J. P. B.||Ingilby, Sir W.|
|Clive, E. B.||James, W.|
|Cockerell, Sir C.||Jerningham, Hon. H.|
|Colborne, N. W. R.||Johnstone, Sir J. B.|
|Cradock, Colonel||Jones, J.|
|Crampton, P. C.||Kemp, T. R.|
|Creevey, T.||Knight, R.|
|Currie, J.||Knight, H. G.|
|Davies, Col. T. H. H.||Labouchere, H.|
|Denman, Sir T.||Langston, J. H.|
|Duncombe, T. S.||Langton, Colonel G.|
|Dundas, Hon. J. C.||Lawley, F.|
|Dundas, Hon. T.||Lee, J. L.|
|Easthope, J.||Lefevre, C. S.|
|Ebrington, Viscount||Leigh, T. C.|
|Ellice, E.||Lemon, Sir C.|
|Lennard, T. B.||Smith, G. R.|
|Lennox, Lord A.||Smith, Hon. R.|
|Lennox, Lord W.||Smith, J.|
|Lester, B. L.||Smith, J. A.|
|Littleton, E. J.||Smith, M. T.|
|Loch, J.||Smith, R. V.|
|Lumley, J. S.||Spence, G.|
|Lushington, Dr. S.||Spencer, Hon. Capt.|
|Maberly, Col. W. L.||Stanhope, Captain|
|Macaulay T. B.||Stanley, Lord|
|Macdonald, Sir J.||Stanley, Rt. Hn.E. G.|
|Mangles, J.||Stanley, E. J.|
|Marjoribanks, S.||Stephenson, H. F.|
|Marryat, J.||Stewart, P. M.|
|Marshall, W.||Strickland, G.|
|Mayhew, W.||Strutt, E.|
|Milton, Viscount||Stuart, Lord D.|
|Moreton, Hon. H.||Stuart, Lord P. J.|
|Morpeth, Viscount||Surrey, Earl of|
|Morrison, J,||Tavistock, Marquis|
|Mostyn, E. M. L.||Tennyson, C.|
|Newark, Viscount||Thicknesse, R.|
|North, F.||Thompson, P. B.|
|Norton, C. F.||Thompson, Ald.|
|Nugent, Lord||Thomson, Rt. Hn. C.|
|Ord, W.||Throckmorton, R.|
|Owen, Sir J., Bart.||Tomes, J.|
|Paget, Sir C.||Torrens, Col. R.|
|Paget, T.||Townley, R. G.|
|Palmer, General C.||Tracey, C. H.|
|Palmer, C. F.||Tynte, Charles K. K.|
|Palmerston, Viscount||Tyrell, C.|
|Pelham, Hon. C. A.||Uxbridge, Earl of|
|Pendarvis. E. W. W.||Venables, Ald. W.|
|Penleaze, J. S.||Vere, J. J. H.|
|Penrhyn, E.||Vernon, Hon. G. J.|
|Peel, E.||Villiers, F.|
|Pepys, C. C.||Villiers, T. H.|
|Petit, L. H.||Vincent, Sir F.|
|Petre, Hon. E.||Waithman, R.|
|Philips, Sir R.B.||Walrond, B.|
|Phillipps, C. M.||Warburton, H.|
|Phillips, G. R.||Warre, J. A.|
|Ponsonby, Hon. J.||Wason, R.|
|Portman, E. B.||Watson, Hon. R.|
|Powell, Colonel||Webb, Col. E.|
|Poyntz, W. S.||Wellesley, Hn. W. T.|
|Price, Sir R.||Weyland, Major|
|Protheroe, E.||Whitmore, W.|
|Ramsbottom, J.||Wilbraham, G.|
|Ramsden, J. C.||Wilde, T.|
|Rickford, W.||Wilks, J.|
|Rider, T.||Williams, Sir J.|
|Ridley, Sir M. W.||Williams, J.|
|Robarts, A. W.||Williamson, Sir H.|
|Robinson, Sir G.||Winnington, Sir T.|
|Robinson, G. R.||Wood, C.|
|Rooper, J. B.||Wood, J.|
|Rumbold, C. E.||Wood, Ald.|
|Russell, Lord J.||Wrightson, W. B.|
|Russell, Sir R. G.||Wrottesley, Sir J.|
|Russell, C.||Acheson, Viscount|
|Sanford, E. A.||Belfast, Earl of|
|Schonswar, G.||Bellew, Sir P.|
|Scott, Sir E. D., Bart.||Boyle, Lord|
|Sebright, Sir J.||Boyle, Hon. J.|
|Brabazon, Viscount||White, Colonel H.|
|Browne, D.||Adam, Admiral C.|
|Burke, Sir J.||Ferguson, R.|
|Callaghan, D.||Fergusson, R. C.|
|Clifford, Sir A.||Gillon, W. D.|
|Doyle, Sir J. M.||Grant, Right Hon. C.|
|Duncannon, Viscount||Haliburton, Hn. D. G.|
|Ferguson, Sir R.||Jeffrey, Right Hon. F.|
|French, A.||Johnstone, A.|
|Hill, Lord A.||Johnstone, J.|
|Hill, Lord George A.||Kennedy, T. F.|
|Howard, R.||Loch, J.|
|King, Hon. R.||Mackenzie, S.|
|Lamb, Hon. G.||M'Leod, R.|
|Lambert, H.||Morison, J,|
|Lambert, J. S.||Sinclair, G.|
|Leader, N. P.||Stewart, Sir M. S.|
|Macnamara, W.||Stewart, E.|
|Mullins, F.||Traill, G.|
|O'Connell, D.||PAIRED OFF.|
|O'Ferrall, R. R.||Bernal, R.|
|Ossory, Earl of||Biddulph, R. M.|
|Oxmantown, Lord||Bouverie, Hon. D.|
|Ponsonby, Hon. G.||Burdett, Sir F.|
|Power, R.||Fitzgibbon, Hon. R.|
|Rice, Right Hn. T. S.||Graham, Sir James|
|Russell, J.||Newport, Sir J.|
|Ruthven, E. S.||O'Connell, M.|
|Sheil, R. L.||Slaney, R. A|
|Walker, C. A.||Whitbread, W. H.|
|Wallace, T.||Wyse, T.|
|Westenra, Hon. H.|